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Authorities Fear Worst in Case of Three Missing Boys

Aired November 30, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a stomach-churning development in the search for three adorable little brothers missing in Michigan. Cops make a heartbreaking admission. They fear the worst outcome. A search leader is overheard saying the dad may have dumped the kids on the side of the road. People are now saying the woman the father claims he gave the children to doesn`t even exist. What`s he telling cops now?

Then, did the justice system fail two of its own? Free on parole, this 19-year-old allegedly executes two law-enforcement officers to cover up a petty burglary. How many times does our justice system have to break down before we finally change?

And a 15-year-old kid holds 23 classmates and his teacher hostage before shooting himself. But why? I`ll tell you how the frantic students managed to keep the now-dead gunman from opening fire on them.

Plus, a dramatic tug-of-war over a teen mom`s daughter. Volatile reality TV star Amber Portwood is accused of violently hitting her boyfriend in front of their daughter. Just last week, their 2-year-old girl was named a ward of the state. But tonight, she`s back with her controversial mom. Should she be able to keep little Leah?

ISSUES starts now.



CHIEF LARRY WEEKS, MORENCI, MICHIGAN, POLICE DEPARTMENT: This afternoon John Skelton was released from the mental health facility and immediately placed in custody by agents from the Toledo office of the FBI. Warrants were issued for three counts of parental kidnapping. Currently, he`s in custody of the agents, the Toledo office and will ultimately be lodged at the Lucas County jail.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, fast-breaking news in the search for three missing brothers who disappeared while spending Thanksgiving with their father, who was in the middle of an ugly divorce from their mother. And cops now fear the worst. They warn they might not find these adorable little boys alive.

Today, the second their dad was released from a mental ward, where he was being treated for trying to kill himself, cops arrested him on charges of parental kidnapping. So tonight, he is behind bars as we speak. But is he talking? Where are his boys?

New details suggest a very bitter custody battle might have triggered this entire nightmare. The three little boys, Andrew, Alexander and Tanner, were with last seen Thanksgiving day, of all things, playing in their dad`s backyard, innocent and happy. They were visiting him as part of court-ordered visitation. And we`re hearing that the dad did not want their mom to get custody.

Their father, John Skelton, originally told cops -- yes, that guy right there in the sunglasses -- that he gave the boys to a female friend, because he didn`t want them to see him try to kill himself. His so-called suicide attempt, well, guess what? It left him with a mere broken ankle.

Tonight, cops say that female friend, she doesn`t even exist. He lied. What did this man do with his three sons?


WEEKS: We`ve continued to talk to virtually all parties involved in this investigation, including Mr. Skelton. Statements that he`s made to investigators would indicate that it`s not going to be a positive outcome.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The mother of the boys reported them missing when she came to pick them up. They were no are to be found. They had vanished, as if into thin air.

Tonight we`re getting more information about this couple`s bitter, vicious custody battle. It`s bad. Did this father decide, "Well, if I can`t have my boys, then no one will"? Is it possible? Look at those faces. Could anybody do that?

1-877-JVM-SAYS. Give me call. What are your theories? 1-877-586- 7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. We begin with Bill Foster, a friend and neighbor of the Skelton family.

Bill, I know this is very difficult for you. Thank you for being here and joining us by phone. You`ve been involved in the search.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How are they characterizing this search when they talk to the volunteers such as yourself, sir?

FOSTER: Well, I`m over the civilian part of the search party going on, and we are covering it as a recovery effort.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who is using that terminology?

FOSTER: Actually, you know, it comes from higher above. We take our orders from the fire department, which, you know, takes their orders from the FBI and the police officials, you know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you actually heard someone in law enforcement refer to this as a recovery mission?

FOSTER: Yes. We have been, you know, informed that this is a recovery mission. You know, that`s why it`s so crucial in the search that we don`t disturb any evidence, that we, you know, come across in these searches.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, well, I pray that that is an inaccurate description and these -- look at these faces. I mean, we have to take a moment and look at these innocent little faces.

FOSTER: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is incomprehensible. Bill Foster, you were neighbors of the Skelton family. You know the mom. You know the dad. What is your characterization of the deterioration of this family, as they headed toward divorce?

FOSTER: It, you know -- there`s -- there`s been a lot of things happen. You know, the father took off with the kids back in September. The mom and family had to go to Florida and retrieve the children. And as we they started through the process, you know, he was kicked out of Florida himself by the judge down there.

And -- you know, they were trying to just be happy, you know. Tanya is a good mother. She was trying to get counseling for the children, you know, going to church. You know, because it still was a mom and a dad; they just wasn`t going to be together. And, you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they seem like they -- did he seem like the kind of guy who would be capable of hurting these three little faces here?

FOSTER: I -- I would never put that part in it, but you have to be a very bad monster to hurt these three little boys.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re right. That`s the way to describe it.

Let`s recap and review. And this looks like the suspect there being wheeled out once he was released from the mental ward, OK, in the wheelchair there. Take a look at that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s him being wheeled out after he tried to commit suicide and ended up merely breaking his ankle.

Mike Brooks, your analysis of Bill Foster saying that law enforcement is describing this as a recovery mission.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, after what they said today, that they do not anticipate a positive outcome, I`m going to have to say, unfortunately, you look at these three little boys, and you hope -- and you hope and you pray that they`re found alive.

But right now, Jane, it`s not looking that way. They`re looking -- they`re still asking the public if anyone had seen that blue 2000 Dodge Caravan along a 25-mile stretch of roadway, you know, between Thursday at 1:30 and Friday at 2:30, with this Michigan registration, 9JQ-H93. Let anyone know. You know, if you just saw it anywhere, please contact law enforcement. They`re trying to put together a time line, because right now they just don`t know, because it doesn`t seem that he`s cooperating with police at all right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the parents of these three boys were involved in a very ugly custody battle. And I`m holding the divorce papers in my hand. And boy, they are filled with some vicious, vicious charges.

Now, this man here points to the criminal record of the boys` mother in these court documents I`m holding in my hand. She reportedly served a year in jail for having sex with a 14-year-old boy back in 1998, long, long before her sons were born. It now appears that dad, in these court documents, was using that argument against her, OK?

And we also know that, when she filed for divorce, the dad, as you heard Bill Foster mention, took off to Florida with the boys without permission. It looks to me, Dr. Judy Kuriansky, that these little boys were pawns -- pawns in a very vicious divorce war.

DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: In an ugly way, I know, Jane, you could say, "Don`t rush to judgment; no one`s been accused yet," but I would have to say in my psychological opinion the dad could have done it, because there are such dads. They`re called family annihilators, and they engage what is called murder/suicides and also altruistic murders. It`s a way of saying, "Well, I`m saving these kids from a worst fate, because the wife, as you even saw in the court papers, was a child molester. And so I`m saving here," is No. 1, "saving my kids from a fate that my wife would have done."

And No. 2, he`s so angry at the woman. This is what the family annihilators do, when the men kill their kids, they are angry at the wife. And they take revenge and their anger out on the kids instead of the wife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a horrible, horrible thought.

By the way, this woman, I wouldn`t describe her as a child molester. She did something that was a horrible thing, to have sex with a 14-year- old. But that is why she is listed as a sex offender. I don`t know...

BROOKS: She should be.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, it`s all so, so, so disturbing.

On the other side of the break...

KURIANSKY: ... the profile, though. He fits the profile.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on, hold on. Bill Foster, you wanted to say something?

FOSTER: Yes. I`d like to comment -- comment on that right there.


FOSTER: In this community, we could care less about the mother`s past. We all know what she did, you know. She paid her time. She followed the law. Even at this time when she has to stay at different places. I know for a fact that she follows that registry to a "T." She would never, ever harm a hair on them kids` head.

And, you know, he knew that when he married her. He knew that when he had three children with her. He`s just a monster and does not want to pay child support. And God have mercy on his soul.


FOSTER: Because to do something like that, to throw up her past, it has nothing to do with trying to bring these three kids home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and Bill, you make a very good point. Anyone who would be willing to destroy their wife in that way, by revealing the most embarrassing detail of her past, what is that man capable of?

Everybody, including Bill, stay right there. We`re taking your calls on this. We know we`ve got Amanda from Michigan on the other side. We`re going to get to you, Amanda. 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Plus, a 15-year-old holds 23 classmates and his teacher hostage at a Wisconsin high school. What drove him over the edge? I`ll give you the very latest on that terrifying scene that went down. We`ll talk to somebody who was there.

Plus, more on this really heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching search for these three adorable boys.


WEEKS: If you had seen the boys anytime between Thursday, Thanksgiving day, around 5 p.m., on through Friday afternoon.




WEEKS: Any time you have children this old that are not with a caring loved one, I think you have to assume they`re in some kind of jeopardy. They`re not with their loved ones, so I`m very concerned about their welfare.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three precious little boys, adorable children, still missing tonight, despite days of searching. And now their father is in jail, charged with parental kidnapping. The problem is, cops don`t think that`s the worst of it. They are preparing themselves for a sickening outcome. We hope, we just hope against hope, somehow if he got rid of his kids, he dumped them somewhere alive and not dead.

Amanda, Michigan, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hello. I had heard that -- that he was being extradited to Michigan and if, in fact, he did kill these children in Ohio, can`t they keep him there and possibly put him up to the death penalty?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me throw that to Darren Kavinoky.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sure, yes. Usually in the case of a murder, if the death occurs in a particular jurisdiction, that is where the case is brought.

And it`s so interesting. In this case, I understand all the cause for pessimism here. Let`s not forget that the charge, the arrest charge is that parental kidnapping charge. Obviously, you don`t need a body in order to have a murder case, but this would suggest that perhaps either that arrest charge is a pretext, and they`re hoping to get some kind of an admission or a confession from him that will make their case, or they just don`t know enough to actually bring that murder charge yet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And remember this guy is a long-haul trucker who happens to be currently unemployed. He has four children, by the way: these three as well as one child from a previous marriage.

Now, take a look at this financial problem. His current wife that he`s divorcing is asking for child support, alimony and money for legal fees in their divorce. And then he also has a 17-year-old daughter who he was paying support for. And in January, he was ordered to pay $3,500 in past due support.

So in plain old English, that means, Dr. Judy, that this guy is, on top of everything else, a deadbeat dad that wasn`t paying child support for his 17-year-old daughter. Could money have driven him to do something terrible?

KURIANSKY: Oh, sure. This is part of the profile, a very fragile borderline personality, probably psychopathic, also feels like a total failure. And so his way of almost killing himself is projecting onto killing these little boys. It`s like he`s killing the little boy inside himself who feels helpless because he has no money, can`t take care of his family and is absolutely filled with rage, anger, disappointment, and takes it out on those helpless children, which is what he feels like.

But this is in the twisted mind, and in psychological kind of interpretations, it makes sense, as horrific as it is. It`s like we`ve heard these stories before, even Susan Smith, who takes it out on -- took it out on her little kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Parents have been known to kill. It sounds unimaginable, but it has happened in the past. Cops say -- look at Andrea Yates, five kids she killed. Cops say this dad in this case was talking to them, but then believe it or not, this guy has lawyered up? Yes.


WEEKS: He`s been forthcoming with some information, the credibility of which we cannot verify at this time, so we certainly would be hopeful that he or whoever knows where they`re at would come forward.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Darren, what do you make of the fact that he has lawyered up?

KAVINOKY: Well, it`s a smart thing to do. I mean, regardless of what anybody`s judgment about this individual might be...


BROOKS: There`s the defense attorney coming out again.

KAVINOKY: Hey, Mike -- Mike Brooks, if you were the target of an investigation, you would make the wise call of lawyering up.

BROOKS: Oh, sure.

KAVINOKY: That`s what people do. Lawyers aren`t allowed to -- prosecutors aren`t allowed to comment on that in front of jurors. That`s just a right that we all have in this country of ours.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Mike Brooks?

BROOKS: You`re absolutely right, Darren.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I want to go to Bill -- I want to go to Bill Foster.

Bill, you actually had face-to-face contact with this family. Your kids played with these three precious kids.

FOSTER: Yes. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have are you been in contact with the mother at all since the nightmare unfolded? What is she going through?

FOSTER: I -- I have been in contact with some of the family. Not the mother, per se. I -- you know, they`ve asked for privacy in this crucial time. Even though I`m close, I know I`m welcome there to talk to them, I am respecting their wish and giving them time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are they keeping hope, or are they...

FOSTER: Well, you know, the whole -- the whole community is keeping hope. If there`s 1 percent, we`ll take it. You know, myself, we`re all wishing for a Christmas miracle. I`d do nothing -- I`d love nothing more than to have that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time. Thank you, sir. So sad. Let`s pray.



SUPERINTENDENT JODY WEIS, CHICAGO POLICE: It is with great satisfaction that I`m announcing charges against the individual responsible for the senseless killing of evidence technician Michael Flisk and retired CHA officer Stephen Peters.

After reviewing facts in this case, the Cook County state`s attorney`s office has approved two counts of first-degree murder against 19-year-old Timothy Herring.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a violent execution. A teenager on parole allegedly guns down two men: one a cop, the other a former Chicago Housing Authority officer and also a former cop. He leaves them, allegedly, both dead in an alleyway. Why?

Nineteen-year-old Timothy Herron, this guy right here, was out on parole after being released early, way early, for armed robbery. He was even wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet when he allegedly executed his neighbor, Stephen Peters -- there is Stephen Peters on the left -- and Officer Michael Flisk, who is there on the right. These photos obtained by the "Chicago Sun-Times."

Police say Herron broke into Peters` car and then spotted the two men outside, looking for evidence. Cops say the suspect, this guy, overheard them saying, "Hey, I found a fingerprint," so he figures, "Wow, I`m going to cover my tracks," and allegedly murders them in cold blood.

Now two good men, both fathers, are dead. What a senseless crime.

Straight out to HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks.

Mike, why was this violent teen released so very early on parole?

BROOKS: Jane, we talk about it all the time here on ISSUES. And he had only served half -- half -- of his sentence, for a 2007 armed robbery, Jane, with a weapon, of a liquor store. And he was on home electronic monitoring. He basically had a ankle bracelet on home monitoring. Lived right across the alley from Mr. Peters. And Officer Flisk, Mike Flisk was there. He was the evidence technician.

And -- and Herring comes up, walks across the alley and says, "Hey, I know who stole your parts out of your car." It was the stereo equipment out of his Ford Mustang. And Peters said, "Aw, don`t worry about that. He`s got a good fingerprint." He started to walk away. He pulled a gun, Jane, shot them both dead.

Then he went to get the trash can that had the parts to walk away. He saw that one of them was still moving. He came back, stood over them, Jane, in cold blood pumped one round into each of their heads.

And you know, Officer Flisk, he`s going to be buried tomorrow, Jane. He`s survived by his wife, a daughter, three sons, and Jane, he`s got two sisters and two brothers. All of them, all four siblings, all Chicago cops.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. We`ve got a caller. Tom, Florida, your question or thought, sir. Tom?

Well, let me get to my big issue. And that is, we`ve got a predator on parole here. And this is the problem. I agree with you, Mike. The problem with our criminal justice you system is that nobody, the victims, nobody knows how long a sentence really needs. You could give somebody eight years. They get out in three years. You give somebody life, they get out in ten years. We see this over and over again.

BROOKS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this guy is also charged with one count of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in an incident that happened back in June? Why the heck wasn`t he arrested back in June if they knew this much?

BROOKS: Well, because they probably didn`t know exactly until they -- until they recovered the shell casings from this particular scene.

You know, Jane, you talk about the war on women. There has been a war on cops in Chicago this year. Five officers killed in the line of duty. Four -- four -- of them by gunfire. Something has to happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Our thoughts go out to his family.

BROOKS: I know Jody Weis is happy about this lockup. Something has got to be done.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A 15-year-old kid holds 23 classmates and his teacher hostage before shooting himself. But why? I`ll tell you how the frantic students managed to keep the now-dead gunman from opening fire on them.

Plus, a dramatic tug-of-war over a teen mom`s daughter: volatile reality TV star Amber Portwood accused of violently hitting her boyfriend in front of their daughter. Just last week their 2-year-old girl was named a ward of the state. But tonight, she`s back with her controversial mom. Should she be able to keep little Leah?


CORRY LAMBIE, PRINCIPAL: Students in Marinette High School are safe. We were in a very tragic situation that I think our staff member and our students handled almost as perfectly as could have been handled. The only unfortunate part is we lost a student yesterday.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a horror. A high school sophomore holds his class hostage and nobody knows why. It`s a mystery.

And now, this young man is dead after shooting himself when SWAT teams burst in. Tonight we`re going to hear from students who were there. We`re going to find out what was going on inside that classroom for six long hours.

Students say they were just watching a movie in their social studies class when 15 year old Sam Hengel opened fire. Student Zach Campbell seemed totally shell shocked when he answered questions on the CBS "Early Show". Let`s listen to him.


ZACH CAMPBELL, HELD BY STUDENT GUNMAN: At first we didn`t know what was going on. Then he pulled out his gun and shot the projector on the Promethean board. Then we all kind of knew that something was very wrong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Hengel didn`t hurt anybody else. He even let some students go when they asked to use the bathroom. Friends say he was a normal guy, a good student, somebody with friends. Not a loner.

The truth is this could have ended a whole lot worse because cops say Hengel had two semi-automatic guns, a knife and bagful of ammo. So what exactly was this young man trying to do and why? There is no hint, no hint of a motive at this point.

Give me a call, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, if you have a theory.

We`re going to begin with Austin Biehl. He joins us by phone. Austin was in the classroom and was held hostage. Austin, first of all, I`m so glad that you got out all right. I`m so happy you`re ok although I`m sure you`re a tad shaken at the very least.

I understand you were a friend of Sam`s. Is that correct, sir?

AUSTIN BIEHL, HELD HOSTAGE BY FELLOW STUDENT (via telephone): Yes, you could say I was a friend of his. Not out of school a whole bunch but in school, I talk to him a little bit.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, tell us what this young man was like, and do you have any idea of why he wanted to do this?

BIEHL: I have no idea. He`s -- I know him as a really, really smart kid. He`s 4.0. Last time I checked nice, quiet. But once he`s around friends he`ll loosen up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Describe your fears in the classroom. And I understand that you or some of the students anyway used humor and kind of kept him engaged by talking to him during this long ordeal? Tell us about that.

BIEHL: Yes. We were just, after he opened fire in the beginning, all scared. Then one of the students just started talking to him about hunting, then that just let -- everyone else just started talking and trying to relax and make him calm. And we were just talking about movies and all that stuff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, why were you talking about hunting?

BIEHL: Because that`s the week of hunting. The last week was just hunting season, I think.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand he was an avid hunter, this young man.

BIEHL: Yes. He was hunting but he didn`t get anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, he didn`t get anything while he was out hunting.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Dr. Terry Lyles, crisis expert and psychologist, your thoughts? Could there be connection there?

DR. TERRY LYLES, CRISIS EXPERT: Well, you know what --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Could there be a connection there?

LYLES: There could be.

What`s so tough about this case, Jane, is that we just don`t know. It sounds like it was pretty normal. He`s an achieving student. He was likeable. He was -- you know, had friends like this gentleman said. So it`s really hard to know.

Something could have snapped. Maybe he had aggression that no one knew about hidden away. Maybe he was just trying to make a point. He used weapons since he was familiar and comfortable with weapons. But it just went really wrong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Austin, let me go back to Austin for one second. Where did he get -- do you have any idea where he got two semi-automatic weapons and a satchel full of ammo plus a knife? Were these his hunting guns?

BIEHL: No, I don`t think they were his hunting guns, but I have no idea where he would have gotten these.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is unbelievable. This is the bizarre thing about this. Most criminal profilers would say that this young man Sam Hengel does not fit your typical hostage taker profile.

LYLES: Absolutely.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean here`s big issue. This is a very peculiar profile. This guy -- you heard it -- this is one of the hostages, one of the people who was taken hostage says this a nice guy. He has friends; he`s a good student.

Let`s listen to the school principal.


LAMBIE: I was unaware of any problems with this particular student. He was a student in good standing here at Marinette high school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Academically (ph), sports, after-school --

LAMBIE: No, he was an outdoorsman. He liked his hunting and fishing. Those are some of the activities that he took part in.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Of course I said hostages -- I meant hostages.

Mike Brooks, what do you make of it? It`s just not your typical profile. Usually the kids who do this are loners, they can`t make friends, they have a big grudge and a big grievance against the other kids who they feel had taunted them and bullied them. This kid wasn`t bullied.

BROOKS: Right. No. We`re hearing that he was also in boy scouts and a lot of other things Jane. I`m sure if they go back and they look in his computer, talk to his friends -- because a lot of times, Jane, if someone is in crisis, even people closest to them will not recognize what`s going on.

And I tell you -- I can tell you as a former hostage negotiator, the teacher in this particular case is to be commended because she is the one who is the intermediary between the young man and the hostage negotiators. And you heard -- you also heard one of the hostages who was there talking that the kids there also were talking to him in that first hour. During a hostage situation I can tell you, Jane, we call that the initial stabilization and control phase because sometimes things are just up and down and up and down an all over the place. But they really seemed to calm things down.

And as you said earlier, he did let hostages go a little after 8:00 so things were going well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Austin, one of your classmates Zach Campbell told the CBS "Early Show" that all of you kept calm and kept Sam calm during the ordeal by talking to him -- we`ve been discussing that.

Let`s listen to Zach for just a moment.


CAMPBELL: I didn`t really know what to think, you know, just kind of hoping to get out alive, you know. He didn`t really want to hurt anybody. He just -- he was very depressed. You could kind of tell. He didn`t want to shoot any of us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Austin, you hear Zach saying he was very depressed. Did Sam strike you as depressed?

BIEHL: Yes, he did. I have -- I noticed a couple of things when we were talking. He didn`t get anything hunting. When we were talking about fishing, his fish were kind of small. He was sick Thanksgiving and hunting. He couldn`t afford packer tickets. He couldn`t afford a trail camp for hunting, some of those details.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Terry Lyles, what do you make of that?

LYLES: Well, you know what? I think as was just reported a moment ago you`re going to hear more and more of a back story as this comes out because a lot of times with adolescents and students they harbor their depression and it`s not noticed by everyone around them.

But you know what? He just got painted into a corner perhaps, acted out with violence. But obviously he didn`t hurt anybody in the class. It looks like he didn`t intend to and when he was backed in that corner he fired on himself tragically.

So there probably was some depression and other things going on there. We`ll never know probably the full detail of it. The sad part is he lost his life, the good part is people acted correctly in the classroom, heroically.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to ask.


DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: When are we going to have -- I`m sorry Jane. But I just have to ask, when are we going to have as part of a national conversation the idea that people that are depressed that are suffering with whatever it is that ails them. When are they going to have an opportunity to really deal with that in a way that`s powerful and that enables them to fulfill what`s really important?


BROOKS: Right.

KAVINOKY: You know, here it was -- if this kid is a hunter, obviously had he intended to hurt these stationary targets he well could have. I agree with the conclusion that he didn`t intend to harm anybody.

And it`s just so tragic that we`ve got this kid. This isn`t one of the trench coat mafia wearers. This is somebody who by all accounts appeared to be normal, stable and otherwise healthy. What was it that prevented him from really getting to the bottom of whatever it was that was troubling him?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And where did he get the guns?

Patsy, Texas, your question or thought ma`am.

PATSY, TEXAS (via telephone): Yes ma`am. I`m just wondering -- we`re hunters also, ok? I can`t see how parents would let a 15-year-old just do whatever he wanted to and keep his guns to himself. I just don`t understand it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I do feel that`s irresponsible. I mean don`t know who`s responsible in terms of whether it`s his parents or he got it from -- you never know where he could get them.

But obviously that is a problem, Mike Brooks, a 15-year-old hormonal teenager -- we know teenagers have a tendency to really dramatize trivial situations because they`re so hormonal. Having two semi-automatic weapons and a bagful of ammo, that`s a dangerous combo.

BROOKS: Well, you know, in a culture like this in Wisconsin, I mean I know a lot of people who live in that area, Jane, and that is all part of their life.

You heard what Austin was talking about. Hunting, fishing and ok, the rifles may be locked up, but many times in a -- in the rural areas like this sometimes the handguns are left out. We don`t know where the handguns came from, but this poor little Sam, you know what they say about suicide, it`s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I do hope that cops investigate where he got the guns so that we can learn from this experience.

And also let`s not forget that the average teenager has seen 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders on television by the time he reaches 18, which indoctrinates a young kid to view violence and gunplay as a solution.

Thank you, expert panel.

LYLES: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The drama continues behind the scenes of MTV`s hit show "Teen Mom". You will not believe what`s up with reality TV star Amber Portwood and her 2-year-old and this guy, the father of the child. It`s a wild, crazy, erratic mess. And we`re going to tell you all about it coming up next.



911 OPERATOR: So what`s your name?

AMBER PORTWOOD, REALITY TV STAR, "TEEN MOM": I`m Amber Portwood. There`s actually an investigation on me for battery from about six months ago. Because I`m Amber Portwood on "Teen Mom" but I need somebody out here because he`s pushing me outside in my underwear.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight -- MTV "Teen Mom" star Amber Portwood fights to get her baby back. The reality star`s baby was yanked away from her just last week by Child Protective Services and deemed a ward of the state. Well, tonight the baby is back home. Is that a good thing? And we`ll let you be the judge.

Amber was in hot water after she was shown beating down her baby daddy, Gary Shirley, on camera on the hit MTV show. The violent smack down sparked a police investigation. Amber was charged with two felonies in her Indiana hometown and she lost custody of her 2-year-old Leah.

Here`s footage of the brawl that aired this season on MTV`s "Teen Mom." Check it out.


GARY SHIRLEY, REALITY TV STAR, `TEEN MOM`: I`ll see you later. Get off me.

PORTWOOD: You need to shut your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth.


PORTWOOD: I`ll bring your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to court. You want to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me?

SHIRLEY: No. Amber, quit.


SHIRLEY: Amber get off of me. Amber?

PORTWOOD: No, I swear to God I wish I was bigger than you. I would (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SHIRLEY: One more hit.

PORTWOOD: One more hit? What are you going to hit me?


PORTWOOD: I am at that edge, do you want to (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

SHIRLEY: You want to hit me then? Are you done?


SHIRLEY: Amber, are you done? Are you seriously done? Thank you.

PORTWOOD: Don`t you ever (EXPLETIVE DELETED) come here again, you fat piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SHIRLEY: I don`t plan on it.

PORTWOOD: You stay the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my damn house.


PORTWOOD: You are trash.


PORTWOOD: You are so (EXPLETIVE DELETED) lucky you better watch your damn back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I might need to go to therapy just because I was subjected to watching that. That is scary stuff.

Dylan Howard, senior executive editor of RadarOnline, I am absolutely appalled and aghast that Child Protective Services gave the baby back to that woman?

DYLAN HOWARD, SENIOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RADARONLINE.COM: Well, Jane, for the third time in seven days little Leah the 2-year-old daughter at the center of this custody fight was placed back into the hands of MTV star Amber Portwood.

Now, as we understand it at RadarOnline, the reason that Leah was taken away from Amber in the first place last week and placed as a ward of the state and placed into the custody of her father, Gary Shirley, was because the living conditions at that home were not suitable. In fact, the child did not even have an adequate bed to sleep in.

So, as part of that, the court decided to take custody away from Amber, give it to Gary. But when those conditions were met, the baby has been moved back into the custody of Amber Portwood. This, of course, set against the backdrop of MTV and the big question in my mind, is an issue of culpability because we heard in that 911 call Amber Portwood saying that she was the subject of a probe that happened six months ago.

So there was a window of six months before this issue was in fact elevated to Child Protective Services. And the television producers behind this did nothing for the safety of that child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, let`s leave the show aside.

But Rob Shuter, I just don`t understand something. I do not understand how -- we all saw how violent that woman is. Ok, the tape doesn`t lie. I don`t care whether she cleaned up her house and got a bed for the baby. It`s not about housekeeping.

All right, maybe I`ll go to Judy Kuriansky on this.

It`s about what kind of person this -- this -- this woman is. And I can`t imagine Child Protective Services giving a child back to that bundle of -- of rage.



JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: She is a bundle of rage and very, very distressing. I agree with you, Jane. This is a young girl who is in a cycle of abuse, really, as reportedly she has been abused when she was young. Is just repeating it to out to her boyfriend and I`m very frightened for the young child because, unfortunately, that gets repeated.


KURIANSKY: She`s also supposedly told her boyfriend she would kill herself if he didn`t come back.


KURIANSKY: For a young child to even be exposed to that makes me even more concerned psychiatrically. There`s thoughts that she may be bipolar. She needs psychiatric help. She`s supposedly getting it, but it`s not good enough.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rob Shuter, your reaction to this?

SHUTER: It`s -- it`s horrifying. It`s heartbreaking is what it is. When you see this young lady behaving like this and think of her as anybody`s mommy, it really breaks my heart. And remember things are only going to get worse for this young lady because the one thing that she did have in her life was this reality show that she was earning a fortune from. She`s not on next season. She`s no longer a "Teen Mom".

So next year MTV will look for new teen moms so this young girl then will not have a job, not have any money. I think the spiral is going to get even worst.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, we`re hearing that that might still be up in the air but you know how it is with television. You never know what`s going to happen from moment to moment. We`re in it so we know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rozzie Franco --

KURIANSKY: And you would know, too, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rozzie Franco, you are a friend. You`re an investigative reporter and you come on the show often but you happen to be a friend of this teen mom. Ten seconds -- what the hell`s wrong with her?

ROZZIE FRANCO, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes. And I`ll tell you when I saw that footage for the first time I was riveted because when I met Amber she was calm, she was collected, she was cool, she was a loving mother. Then when I saw this show, I couldn`t believe what I saw before my eyes.

Yes, she`s bipolar. She has a personality disorder. And she`s getting help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. More on the other side; we`re just getting --



PORTWOOD: My ex-boyfriend is pushing me away, he pushed me outside in my underwear in the cold.

911 OPERATOR: What`s his name? What`s his name?

PORTWOOD: His name`s Gary Shirley.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: MTV mom star, "Teen Mom" star Amber and her boyfriend caught by MTV`s cameras. This was from an earlier season of MTV`s "Teen Mom". Check this out, if you dare.


PORTWOOD: I have no clue why I hurt Gary. I sort of do, but it`s kind of beyond myself. I can`t help myself. I have to get help and then help myself. Like I never notice how bad I am until I see -- until I see it.



PORTWOOD: Let me (EXPLETIVE DELETED) tell you something. You don`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) talk to my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dad like that, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hear me? You apologize to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amber. Amber, no.

PORTWOOD: No. You apologize right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amber, let him get out.

PORTWOOD: You don`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) talk to him like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let him get out.

You get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And apparently, the little baby is watching all of this. This is really frightening. She`s been hit with two felony charges and could face jail time.

Cassandra, Alabama, your question or thought, ma`am?

CASSANDRA, ALABAMA (via telephone): Yes. I want to know how she is able to get her child back after everything she has done. When my nine week old son was taken from me by the father of the baby and I am not even able to see my child. How is the state awarding her custody and I`m not even getting visitation rights with my son?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I can tell you`re very upset, ma`am. I`m so sorry that you`re going through that.

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, I do not understand how Children and Family Services could hand a child back to that woman in her state.

KURIANSKY: I tell you what my suspicion is and you would know this, Jane, being an addiction expert, that I think this is an enabling of this system and the TV show, who facilitates this woman to behave this way for the ratings and for the audience and everything else. That`s why she ends up being the victim here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. I want to jump in.

FRANCO: I have to agree with her. I saw it first-hand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead Rozzie. What did you see first-hand?

FRANCO: I`m just saying, I saw it first-hand. I mean, I was there; I was part of the filming. The only thing they wanted to do was to get Gary and Amber together in some kind of combative nature and some kind of altercation. The only thing the director wanted to --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second. Let me say this. This woman is old enough to make decisions and nobody can force somebody to behave that way. To me, this is a cautionary tale about the dangers of kids who don`t have their act together having children in the first place.

And I think that actually, Rob Shuter, there might be some benefit in people watching this, because this is the kind of thing that happens all the time in homes across America, when kids who have a huge amount of problems and are phenomenally immature, have kids.

SHUTER: You`re absolutely right. Blaming MTV for this is crazy. MTV watched what happened in this house and thank goodness they did, because if they hadn`t, we wouldn`t have seen this tape and we wouldn`t have known what a silly, silly young girl this is. She needs a lot of help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kids, if you are not an adult, don`t have kids.

You`re watching ISSUES.