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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Tip Leads to False Hope in Brittany Smith Kidnapping; Witness Spots Missing Brothers in Doughnut Shop
Aired December 9, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, breaking news in the frantic search for 12-year-old Brittany Smith. Momentary relief turns to frustration and despair. Cops in Florida are tipped off to a man matching her alleged abductor`s description. The guy is wheeled out on a stretcher, but it turns out: wrong guy. Where is the seventh grader and her murdered mother`s 32-year-old boyfriend?
Plus, a glimmer of hope in the horrifying case of three adorable missing brothers who are feared dead. First, there`s a possible sighting in Ohio. Now is their father claiming they`re still alive?
Then, a handsome snowboarder mysteriously vanishes in Aspen, Colorado. Cops say George Aldrich walked out of a bar and boarded a bus shortly after. But that`s where the trail goes cold. It`s been nearly two weeks. I`ll talk live to his devastated family. Where is Georgie?
And a female cop and her boss are caught on a police cruiser dash cam kissing while they transport a burglary suspect. The older, then-married boss is allowed to retire with full benefits. But she`s fired. Fair or a classic case of sexism?
ISSUES starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pray for you every day since I found out you were gone. And we`ll continue to pray for you until you are found and returned back to us. I love you.
If you anyone`s seen her, please call so we can bring her home for Christmas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a family rocked by a roller coaster of fast- breaking developments in the frantic hunt for 12-year-old Brittany Smith. Their hopes raised and then dashed by an early-morning drama.
SWAT teams in Florida swarmed a gas station after a man who looked like the girl`s alleged kidnapper barricaded himself inside the restroom -- restroom. Now, we -- we were actually on a conference call this morning, all on pins and needles: is it him? Police thought they had caught the kidnapper. But when they finally wheeled this guy out, it was the wrong man.
And now tonight we are back to square one. Where is Brittany? Cops fear the seventh grader is in grave danger and believe she was abducted by her murdered mother`s live-in boyfriend, who is 32. Cops say he is a person of interest in her mother`s death.
Just hours ago, frustrated by this morning`s disappointment, desperate for leads, Brittany`s family made an appeal directly to this suspect, Jeff Easley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Easley, I know you don`t know me, sir, but please let Brittany come home for Christmas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeff, we hope you`ll do the right thing and bring Brit home. We`d like to have her back home so that we can say good- bye and make final funeral plans for her mom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, Jeff, we beg you, please let Brit come home. We need her to say good-bye to her mother, so please allow Brittany to come home and say good-bye to her mother. Just please take her somewhere safe, drop her off, so she can come home and make that final good-bye to her mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But will Jeff listen? Is he even watching television? Or is he out camping somewhere in the middle of nowhere?
I`m taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to Amanda Codispoti, reporter with "The Roanoke Times."
Amanda, what a dramatic day. What is the very latest tonight?
AMANDA CODISPOTI, REPORTER, "THE ROANOKE TIMES": Absolutely dramatic. That false alarm in Florida had everybody in a frenzy today. I know the police were -- had a glimpse of hope that it would be him, but they were very disappointed to find out it wasn`t.
They`ve had over 500 tips, no confirmed sightings. She`s been missing for almost a week now. Family has been in front of cameras. Brittany`s family twice, Easley`s family once. But nothing.
I think the police expressed at a press conference today that they`re -- they`re getting a little desperate. They`re pleading for people to call in with any tips, no matter how -- how small of a tip it may be.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops in five states are working together to bring Brittany home. Listen to what the Roanoke police chief had to say just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF RAY LAVINDER, ROANOKE COUNTY, VIRGINIA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: We put out Amber Alerts yesterday in North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, West Virginia, and Ohio.
They`re checking campgrounds, parking areas where you may city stay overnight or just rest areas where folks might spend the night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, he could be anywhere. Six states, including Virginia. That is a lot of territory; it`s mind-boggling.
Here`s my big issue. If this Jeff Easley character is camping, is he even listening to the family`s pleas to bring Brittany home?
Dr. Wendy Walsh, or would you say that criminals in general are always fascinated by the coverage of their alleged crimes and will tune in to find out what`s going on?
DR. WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST AND BLOGGER, MOMLOGIC.COM: Not always, Jane. Unfortunately, some of them are really out of their mind and in an isolated place. So seeing -- you know, I know that some of them are narcissistic criminals who definitely want to see their name in lights, but it may not be the case.
And you know, it`s so sad this kind of story because it is my understanding that he met the mother online. And, you know, pedophiles often target single mothers because they`re so desperate for the child care. And when he gives the children attention, that makes them endear themselves more to the boyfriend. So this is heartbreaking, this story.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you raise a very fascinating point, and clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky had a very similar disturbing theory when she joined me here on ISSUES just a few days ago. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLNICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: He went on the Internet to find a woman who had a young girl and then -- this is what sexual predators do -- they tell the young girl, "You`re -- I`m going to marry you one day." And guess what? All of a sudden she`s got his last name, so they are married in her mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: "The Roanoke Times" is reporting that one of Brittany`s young friends, a 13-year-old, said that Brittany months ago said she was afraid of this character, her mom`s boyfriend, and feared that Easley would, quote, "come over and take her away and hurt her mom," end quote.
Now, this character that we`re searching for dropped out of high school in 1996 after being arrested for assault with a deadly weapon against a government official. I`ve got to ask Wendy Walsh, and you know what? I`m going to throw this at Joe Navarro, because you`re a profiler.
What`s really disturbing to me is that this young lady, OK, on her Facebook page, didn`t list herself as 12. She listed herself as 18, and she also used the name Easley, the suspect, the mother`s boyfriend`s last name. So that doesn`t really dovetail with the notion of her being afraid of him.
Could she have been maybe in a sort of sick dance or somehow conflicted about her relationship with this man?
NAVARRO: Well, I think definitely. I think we have to go with her initial assessment of this. You know, oftentimes people have a sense of a psychopath, and they`re afraid of him. Their hair stands up when they`re around them. They sense that they`re evil.
But then, if they`re around them long enough, you know, we may have sort of a Patty Hearst situation, where they sort of go along with -- with what they`re being forced into just to remain alive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Absolutely. I really like the way you -- you really describe that because, initially, we do get that visceral sense of a person.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then our intellect takes over, and we start justifying: "Well, my mom has good judgment, so why would she be going out with this guy if he wasn`t a good guy?"
And who knows, maybe he lured her into, "Please use my last name on your Facebook, because we have a special relationship." Who knows what this guy was doing with her head?
Now, new details...
NAVARRO: And especially to keep her mother safe. If she sensed that maybe her mother was in jeopardy, maybe she went along with this -- this individual just to protect her mother.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thomas, Ohio, your question or thought, sir.
CALLER: Yes. I was just wondering, you know -- everybody has a cell phone -- if they`ve tried to locate him through cell phone or anything like that?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amanda Codispoti, you`re a reporter with "The Roanoke Times." What do you know?
CODISPOTI: Yes. I know that police have been looking at cell phone activity. They say that there`s been none. No cell phone activity, no credit card usage. I mean, the chief said yesterday it`s as if they`ve dropped off the face of the planet. It`s why he thinks someone`s got to be helping them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hmm. You know, I have to wonder if there`s a psychological game that we`ve got to consider here, Nicole DeBorde, criminal defense attorney.
Investigators have been searching campgrounds, but this guy has to know, if he`s been watching the coverage or even if he`s ever watched a "CSI," that cops know that he bought a blue pup tent when he was caught on surveillance video at the Wal-Mart. OK. There he is. We all know now that he bought a blue pup tent and some camping materials.
So is it likely that he would then proceed to go camping, knowing that they`re going to search the campsites for a blue pup tent? Or would he likely do something else entirely now? And do cops have to try to get into his head to figure out how he`s going to respond to all this new information?
NICOLE DEBORDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think that you make a very good point, and the police have to act on both of these ideas. For example, because he bought a tent, it`s very wise that they continue to check to see whether or not he is somewhere camping with her.
But on the other hand, they cannot foreclose the possibility that it might be a ruse. So the most dangerous thing that anybody can do in law enforcement and an investigation like this is close off possible avenues of finding the victim.
Everybody hang tight. We are just getting started, and we`re taking your calls on this. They`re piling up. On the other side. 1-877-JVM- SAYS.
Plus, a man goes missing in Aspen shortly after he moves there. It`s been two weeks since he vanished, and now cops are asking for help in the desperate search for George Aldrich. I am going to talk to his entire family tonight in a prime-time exclusive interview coming up in a moment. We`re going to help try to help find this young man.
And more in the hunt for 12-year-old Brittany Smith and her abductor. Where on earth is she tonight?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I`m Rhonda, I`m Brittany`s aunt. Brittany, we love you. We miss you. I know God is watching over you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVINDER: If Jeffrey should hear this broadcast or get information related to this, I would certainly encourage him to allow Brittany to attend this funeral or attend any planning of the funeral. It`s -- it`s her mother, and I know that she would not miss this at all if it were not something keeping her from doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will any amount of pleading convince a 32-year-old alleged monster to free his prisoner, a 12-year-old girl, who by some accounts did not go off with him willingly? Her mom was murdered. He was her mom`s boyfriend.
Tonight, cops in six states frantically searching for Jeffrey Easley. Now, their hopes dashed early this morning. A suspicious man in Florida turned out to be the wrong guy. That was truly unfortunate.
Take a look at this scene. We were actually on our morning conference call here at ISSUES and -- when we heard that they thought they`d found this guy. We were all hopeful. Well, maybe the 12-year-old girl is outside somewhere. We were all on pins and needles and extremely disappointed when it turned out that this was the wrong man. It was some guy who had too much drugs in the men`s bathroom.
I`ve got to ask you this question from a psychological standpoint, Wendy Walsh. Florida, even though that was the wrong guy, wouldn`t it be likely you that they head off to Florida? Where they started at, it was 17 degrees at night. They`ve got to lay low. Wouldn`t they naturally move to a warmer clime? And by the way, they are believed to be in the dead mother`s silver Dodge Neon.
WALSH: It makes a lot of sense that they`re going to try to go to a place where it`s a little warmer, and they can be -- live more in the outdoors in the wilderness. But don`t count on anything.
I would like to know where his roots are, where his family is. Because he may go to familiar territory instead of trying to find his way in some area he doesn`t know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Amanda Codispoti, where is he from originally?
CODISPOTI: Yes. He`s got family ties in North Carolina and Alabama, I believe. And those are areas the police have been looking. They`ve contacted the departments there. They`ve sent them to specific locations in those states. But nothing`s turned up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at this guy. He looks heavy. That would be one way to describe him. Well, guess what? Here`s another shocker that cops revealed today in this manhunt for Jeff Easley. Listen to this from the chief of police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVINDER: It would be 265 pounds. He may have lost some weight. And I know we originally reported 265, but at this point we believe it`s closer to 215 pounds.
I think we`re more likely to see this person. And, of course, each and every one of you realize that he could have shaved. There are wigs available. And I think the public should be aware of that also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a huge shocker, because that photo looks nothing like this photo. This is the photo that we initially got. I`m going to try to go back to that other photo at some point to show the other photo. He`s dropped something like -- well, 265 minus 215. That`s how many pounds he`s lost?
Take a look at this guy, OK? And he may have shaved his beard. Who knows what he looks like at this point? This is -- wow, that is another just frustrating detail.
I think we have Andrea in Virginia. Your question or thought, ma`am.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi. How you doing? What`s your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hey, Jane. How are you doing?
CALLER: Great. I just think it is so scary to think that there are people out there on the Internet that are, you know, trying to target women so that they can get their children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And I`ve got to read something here. Brittany, her mom and this guy, Jeff, were all very active social media users. And tonight we are learning about some ominous messages found on the mother`s Facebook.
Here`s one from the very day that cops believe she died. Quote, "God please protect us from the evils of this world," end quote. The day before that she posted, quote, "If I should die before I wake God bless my friends. May I be remembered for my good heart and hopeless romantic ways."
What do you make of that, Joe Navarro?
JOE NAVARRO, AUTHOR, "LOUDER THAN WORDS": Well, you know, it`s -- this is one of these cases where it`s so convoluted, because you have the targeting of a child by a predator through the mother. And I have to tell you, when I was -- when I was in the FBI in one year, we had approximately 200 cases of men traveling interstate to seduce children.
And this is the worst kind of predator that`s out there. So I think this is the best that we can do, is keep this in the light so that people know at least that there is still interest in this Amber Alert.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what I hear, Dr. Wendy Walsh, when she says, "May I be remembered for my good heart and hopeless romantic ways"? To me, it sounds like she`s -- she is just realizing "I made a very serious mistake with this guy. I`m a hopeless romantic. I`m always going to see the best in someone. And I was naive."
And it sounds like a lot of remorse, because something bad is brewing in that house, where they may have had a confrontation over his relationship with the girl, who a neighbor described as creepy.
WALSH: You got it exactly, Jane. Jane?
WALSH: It`s so true the way you described it, is that some people, more often women than men, have this kind of romantic delusion around their lovers and are unable to see the full range of their personality.
So she got some kind of reality check. She`s got some kind of message that, "Oh, my goodness, maybe this guy isn`t all good. But I`m a hopeless romantic. I`m going to trust that really he loves me and that everything is going to be OK." So she wasn`t...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to give Leigh a couple of seconds. Leigh, a very quick comment if you can, ma`am.
CALLER: Hi. Yes, it`s sort of a comment and a question. But they reported earlier that the gentleman -- not gentleman but the man who took the 12-year-old didn`t have any cash. So I`m not sure if the police have checked the local pawnshops, but they may be getting these items to pawn them for cash.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, he used the dead mother`s credit card to make the purchases at the Wal-Mart, and apparently, they tried to go to the bank and use that credit card afterwards and couldn`t. So that`s a tip there that he doesn`t have a lot of money.
Thank you, fantastic panel. We hope she is found alive.
Two cops transporting a suspect in the back of their cruiser when they start making out, kissy-kissy. You won`t believe it. It`s all caught on tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY JONES, CLAIMS SHE SAW SKELTON BOYS: The two older ones were really -- they didn`t act like they wanted to come through that door when they first came in. And they kind of huddled together.
The younger one kind of looked up and was looking around. He just didn`t know what he wanted at first. He wanted everything. And she just kept saying, "Just pick out your doughnut, Tanner. Just pick out your doughnut." That`s how the reason I know his name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news. Could three adorable missing Michigan brothers -- and they`ve been missing for 15 days -- still be alive? We hope, we hope, we hope.
Tonight, a witness -- you just heard from her -- says these three boys came into the doughnut shop where she works, accompanied by a mystery woman. She says the woman even told one little boy, "Pick out your doughnut, Tanner." That`s one of the names of the little boys.
Cops say they will follow the shocking lead but still fear these adorable kids could be dead.
Their father, John Skelton, claims he gave his sons to a woman named Joann Allen [SIC] and then attempted suicide. And he ended up with a broken ankle. Now he`s in jail. The boys 9, 7, 5, have not been seen since. Nobody knows if this woman even exists.
But tonight the boys` grandparents and great aunt are also coming forward, saying they know John Skelton, the guy behind bars charged with parental kidnapping, is telling the truth and his sons are alive. For his sake I hope so. For their sake.
You know, they say he gave his three sons away to protect them. He claims that he told his family he feared their own mother was abusing them, touching them inappropriately. This is a sickening update. But could it mean that these boys are still alive?
There is the dad in court.
Straight out to my wonderful guest, Bill Foster. He`s a friend and neighbor of the Skelton family.
Bill, what do you make of all this? Did you ever hear that John Skelton, the dad, was concerned over his sons being sexually abused?
BILL FOSTER, FRIEND OF SKELTON FAMILY: Absolutely not. I -- they`ve been my neighbors for the last eight, nine years. Like right now we`re only a block apart. We used to be right next door neighbors. We`ve watched their kids before. My kids have been there.
Never has John ever, even in private, has ever concerned -- you know, confided in me about anything like that. That`s just a big fat lie.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, John Skelton and his estranged wife were in the middle of a very ugly custody battle and divorce, so you have to ask, is he lying, pretending his ex abused his sons, when he actually killed them and is trying to point the finger at her? Or could there be truth to this?
Here`s the rub. Tanya Skelton does have a past. She pleaded guilty in 1998 in a case involving a 14-year-old boy with whom she had sex with -- with whom she had sex in the `90s.
Now, Bill Foster, what do you know about this?
FOSTER: About Tanya`s past?
FOSTER: Yes. You know, yes, that is true. You know, we all know that in this community. Tanya did her time. You know, she follows the registry. I know she didn`t want to move to Florida with John, because you know, she was worried about the children, because she has to re-register wherever she goes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in and ask another question. Ten seconds. Do you believe the story that the three boys who are alive and they were in the doughnut shop?
FOSTER: I -- I have a good feeling they`re alive. That story`s, I mean, kind of up in the air. It kind of made the community have a spark of hope again. So I mean, we`re hoping it`s true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So am I.
You know what aggravates me, is that this woman -- thank you so much, Bill Foster -- waited several days before she called cops. If you`ve got a gut instinct, call cops right away.
A desperate search for a handsome snowboarder in Aspen, who seemed to have vanished without a trace. His frantic family joining me live in a prime-time exclusive interview, next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A handsome snowboarder mysteriously vanishes in Aspen, Colorado. Cops say George Aldrich walked out of a bar and boarded a bus shortly after, but that`s where the trail goes cold. It`s been nearly two weeks. I`ll talk live to his devastated family. Where is Georgie?
And a female cop and her boss are caught on a police cruiser dash cam kissing while they transport a burglary suspect. The older, then-married boss is allowed to retire with full benefits, but she`s fired -- fair or a classic case of sexism?
Tonight, a handsome, popular athlete mysteriously vanishes without a trace in a snowy ski town. Twenty-eight-year-old George Aldrich has now been missing for more than two weeks and his family is desperate for answers.
George, an avid snowboarder, had just moved to a snow-covered village in exclusive Aspen, Colorado, to work as a lift operator at a ski resort so he could enjoy his passion for the sport. He was last seen at a popular local bar with friends after he checked out a free outdoor Blind Melon concert in Aspen.
His friends don`t remember him leaving the bar, but George apparently got on the wrong bus -- see him right there -- as he tried to get home. Surveillance video caught him getting on a bus headed toward a town called Truscott on the outskirts of Aspen. Here he is the third passenger sitting down on the left. It`s kind of grainy, but that`s what we`ve got to work with, ok?
We`ve going to show that to you again and again. There he is getting on and there he`s sitting down, third passenger on the left. Bloodhounds traced his scent from where he got off the bus to another bus stop less than a half mile away. Then the scent disappeared.
Police believe he may have gotten into a passing car. George`s cell phone hasn`t made any calls since the Saturday he disappeared. The cell appears to be dead. No activity on his a ATM card either.
Tonight in a prime-time exclusive, George`s family, his father, his sisters, younger brother, all join us tonight. I want to begin with George Aldrich Sr.
First of all, sir, my heart really goes out to you and your family. I certainly cannot imagine the hell you`re going through right now. We want to get your son`s face out there, want to help solve this case, and hopefully find him safe and sound. What do you fear happened to your son?
GEORGE ALDRICH, SR., FATHER OF GEORGE ALDRICH: I`m not really sure what happened, but actually he worked all day, worked from 7:00 in the morning until 4:30, went back to his room, got on another bus with a roommate, went to the concert, saw some fireworks. Lots of people in Aspen that night, went out, was taking pictures with some friends at 10:00. He actually got on the right bus when he left Aspen at 10:15. He got off at Truscott on the wrong stop.
We`ve been out here for days. It`s easy to do. And then the dogs tracked him. People have been looking and searching up until today. Tomorrow there`s another search.
It`s just a mystery. He absolutely loved it out here. We met with roommates and friends and people. I don`t know where or what happened. And you know, we`re praying for the best but we`re not sure if he hitchhiked and got picked up and abducted or whatever. I`m not sure at this point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s pray that that didn`t happen.
Now, correct me if I make a mistake because this is a developing story. My understanding is that when he got off at that stop, at the wrong stop, he asked a woman, hey, can I get a ride with you? She said she didn`t have a car and she apparently saw him walking back toward the bus stop and then the bloodhounds followed him about a third of a mile farther, past that bus stop, to another bus stop at the Aspen Country Inn. Now, that`s where the scent goes cold.
So let me ask Sean Aldrich, you`re younger brother of the missing man. If I were out walking in the cold and I was disoriented, where am I, how am I getting home, I would go into the Aspen Country Inn and regroup and warm up and maybe have a cup of tea. Has anybody checked that in to find out if he was seen there, whether he went there to go to the bathroom or make a call or have a tea, whatever?
SEAN ALDRICH, BROTHER OF GEORGE ALDRICH: They`ve checked all the areas around Truscott, the Aspen Country Inn. I don`t think -- I think Truscott there`s a parking lot so I don`t think Aspen Country Inn -- I think it`s just a boss stop. But like I said the police are doing a great job. They`ve searched all the areas.
We`re just waiting on some more footage from RFTA to determine what happened after that bus stop, whether or not he got on another bus or he hitchhiked. If he hitchhiked obviously that could be a totally different - -
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do we have deputy sheriff Alex Burchetta with us because you`re the public information officer for Pitkin County? Sheriff, are you on, sir? Hello? Deputy Sheriff?
All right. Well, he`s supposed to be on, but maybe he can`t hear us. We`ll try to get back to him.
George was wearing a heated snowboarding jacket when he went missing. They`re really, really warm. You can see if you watch carefully he`s bundled up as he gets on that bus. The temperature dipped down to 17 degrees that night, but that`s actually kind of warm for a freezing area where people go skiing.
It`s very possible that let`s say he got lost. He could have survived the night if he was -- except if he was sort of injured or maybe passed out in the cold.
Now, I understand that, A, heat tracking helicopters have not picked up a trace of him. And I`ve been in those helicopters where basically you have a screen and anything that`s a warm body, whether it`s an animal or human pops up as a green dot.
So that`s what confuses me, George Aldrich Sr., the missing man`s father. It would seem that they reported him missing so quickly the day after. This was a Saturday night, a couple of days after Thanksgiving. He was enjoying himself.
He doesn`t show up for work on the ski lift the next morning. They immediately report him missing. So how far could he have gotten in that short range of time? I mean, you`re very lucky that they started searching right away. What does that tell you?
G. ALDRICH SR.: Actually, they`ve done two or three searches, including today. I`m not sure of the heat-searching helicopter. That would be something Alex would have to confirm. But I know helicopters have been out and they had a team today of about 37, 40 volunteers, five different teams, brought in consultants. We have bloodhounds coming -- that the original bloodhound that tracked is coming back tomorrow.
The whole Aspen rescue team has done an absolutely wonderful job. What that tells us is that either Georgie thought because if you realize Truscott to Snowmass where he lived could be about an eight-mile hike and there`s a lot of mountains, a lot of dark roads, or he could have hitchhiked and he could have ended up somewhere with somebody that maybe wasn`t perfect or nice. I don`t know.
We don`t know right now, and you know, what we`re hoping for at this point is to get that picture out and to make sure people look around and try to see if they recognize Georgie. A lot of prayers; we`ve had so much support from all three counties out here Pitkin County sheriff`s office, the Snowmass police, Aspen police.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in, sir. I want to use our time absolutely to the essence of finding your son. Brooke, you are -- right there are the two sisters of this missing young man.
Brooke, we kind of been talking about this, and eliminating certain possibilities. Are you afraid that he may have been abducted? Tragically we cover many abductions of women, but it`s highly unusual for a male to be abducted when there`s no financial motive.
BROOKE ALDRICH GLASGOW, MISSING MAN`S SISTER: Of course. It`s always a fear of ours. That was a fear in the beginning, and until we can see footage of Georgie getting on another shuttle, that`s always going to be in the back of our minds.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Breanna, what are you going through emotion alley? What`s happening with you right now?
BREANNA: I can`t hear.
GLASGOW: We`re very worried. We`re nervous for our brother`s safety, and we`re sticking together and just praying that someone will come forward, someone will see Georgie, see his picture, and that`s all we can do right now is stick together. We`re a big family and have a lot of support here in Rhode Island and out in Aspen.
We know that Aspen is doing everything that they can, the police department. Our dad and brothers are there and they`re rocks. They`ll find him. We`ll find him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to briefly bring in Sheriff Alex Burchetta, deputy sheriff. Do you think this is an abduction, sir, or do you think he got lost and fell down a ravine?
ALEX BURCHETTA, DEPUTY SHERIFF, PITKIN COUNTY: Well, at this point we`re still assuming that George got lost somehow on the way home from Aspen that evening. The abduction theory is certainly one of the theories we have on our list of theories. It`s one of those that we continue to track all the way through to the end.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But very briefly, Sean, younger brother, your brother is an athlete. If anybody -- he`s a snowboarder. I mean if anybody can handle falling down the hill, it would be him.
S. ALDRICH: Yes, that`s why it`s such a mystery to us. There are -- there are no answers. I mean, everybody, like I said, everybody is doing a great job here, they are trying to -- they`ve done everything we`ve asked. They`ve done -- they`ve covered every aspect. And that`s why, like I said, it`s -- it`s just a mystery.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I -- I just want you to know we are going to stay on top of this story. Please call us if there are any developments. We want to find your precious family member alive, safe and sound. Thank you so much, Aldrich family.
B. ALDRICH: Thank you.
G. ALDRICH SR.: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, two cops caught on camera, making out -- that`s right, kissy, kissy -- while they transport a burglary suspect. You won`t believe what happens next. You have to see it.
And I want to hear what you think about it once you do. 1-877-JVM- SAYS.
Plus, an update in a horrific beating of a 15-year-old girl who`s mom was found dead in her own bedroom.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, the kissing cops and a double standard.
But first "Top of the Block" tonight and a very sad one but we are grateful that police have captured the man they say brutally beat this beautiful young lady, 15-year-old Taylor Adams, to death in her own home in Louisiana. Earnest Joseph III was arrested and will be charged with first- degree murder. And he is slowly coming into frame there.
This 27-year-old suspect was the victim`s neighbor. Cops say he had a violent past and was arrested several times, but they would not elaborate. You know, it`s a very sad state of affairs in America when we have to look at our own neighbors and ask, are you the enemy next door?
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Tonight, stunning new developments in the tale of the kissing cops caught on camera doing a little lip service in a squad car. The tryst turned into a huge scandal when the female officer was fired but the male cop was allowed to retire with full benefits. Is that really fair?
Ok, let`s check it out. Here they are canoodling in the front seat. When this video came to light the lovebirds were so embarrassed they both tried to resign. Smooch, smooch. But only the male who was then the married chief of police with children was able to retire even with his pension intact. And here`s the city`s explanation on GMA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREGORY BECK, ATTORNEY FOR PERRY TOWNSHIP: He was told directly that he tendered a letter of resignation the board would have rejected it and would have simply terminated him. And so he opted to simply retire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. After Officer Janine England -- doesn`t she -- she looks like a movie star or something -- was fired; she filed a discrimination complaint saying the city canned her because she`s a woman. And now the feds agree; the Justice Department is now getting involved.
Both adults admit kissing on the clock and they admit that that`s wrong. But why were city officials so willing to give the man the pass and punish the woman?
What do you think, call me 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Let`s begin with workplace law expert Robin Bond. Robin, is this quite simply a case of a woman living in a man`s world and suffering from a double standard?
ROBIN BOND, WORKPLACE LEGAL EXPERT: Well, it sure does sound like it. You know, I -- I don`t understand -- under our laws, if you treat someone differently because of their race, their gender or their national origin, it might violate Title 7. And there`s a long history in this department of permitting whites and males who had criminal pasts, DUIs, stealing tasers, not locking evidence properly, violation after violation and these people were permitted to resign. Not a single officer was ever fired.
And frankly you know a little canoodling on the job is not a crime.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unless it makes you act in a distracted manner, ok? And -- and that brings me to my next issue. There were two witnesses to this escapade, the dash camera and the prisoner in the back seat.
Now, in this GMA video --
BOND: He was sleeping.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- hold on, you can see that the female officer Janine England turns around ok, to check on him. Are you still asleep? Ok, there she is checking on him.
The prisoner was a 28-year-old burglary suspect. In fact, officer England and then-chief Tim Escola drove 300 miles to pick him up. The guy was in jail for a couple of days and then, oops, they let him go because they realized they had the wrong guy.
The suspect says he thinks they drove all the way to get him so they could get away and be alone together.
Now, Wendy Walsh, what`s your take on that because he, according to some reports I`ve read, is considering or has considered at one point suing everybody involved and the -- the township as well because he feels he was a victim of this canoodling because they wanted to find somebody far away that they could go get so they could go have time alone. That`s his charge.
WENDY WALSH, PSCHOLOGIST: And I say good for him. It seems like there was so much protocol that was not followed here and perhaps laws that were broken that it does need to be investigated. But you know what? There`s serious sexism here. Because why isn`t she screaming sexual harassment?
First of all, this is her commanding officer. He has power to coerce her. She`s a much younger woman. She is -- could be construed a victim. She needs to talk to our friend Gloria Allred to find out the rules there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you`re going to give her some ideas. Usually the dash cam is turned the other way, facing out of the car, right, over the hood to see what`s going on outside. Now, usually it`s not taping the people inside the car.
Ok, this is an example of a dash cam. You`re seeing the view of what`s going on in the front of the squad car over the hood. And that`s why the cops walk suspects in front of the car, to get evidence and also to protect themselves from charges of -- that they did something improper.
But -- but Joe Navarro, you`re a former FBI profiler. This camera was turned -- and we`re going to show it again -- inside. Your thoughts on that?
JOE NAVARRO, FORMER FBI SENIOR PROFILER: Well and that`s -- and that`s good procedure, you know. It used to be the camera only faced out when the arrest or the car stop took place. And then law enforcement officers learned, let`s turn it inside when you have a prisoner on board to prevent being sued for alleged sexual harassment or any kind of abuse of the prisoner, they reverse the camera which makes perfectly good sense.
In this case, obviously they forgot the camera was on. And that`s an "oops".
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, apparently the chief believes that the whole thing was jerry-rigged to catch them. However, authorities did an investigation and they decided that the camera had been either accidentally or intentionally placed there in covert mode, which is what they call it when they face inside to the inside of the squad car.
Steve, Ohio, quick question.
STEVE, OHIO (via telephone): Yes. The picture you have are on there, Jane, it is deplorable and it did happen and it`s a black eye for law enforcement. Chief Escola, as far as pensions go, has enough time to retire, which he did, which he could have resigned at any time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, you`re obviously backing the former chief.
The other side --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much did you say you had to drink?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One beer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had more than one beer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m trying to get these drunks home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok, how much did you really have to drink?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably two.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two beers?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Well, you are under arrest for DWI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s usually what usually is captured on dash-cams. But in this case it was the chief of police and female police officer kissing, holding hands, caressing each other. She leans on his neck -- there she is nibbling on his ears? I don`t know -- you decide. All with the dash-cam rolling and a prisoner snoring in the back seat.
I`m going to go back to Steve in Ohio because he has some more thoughts on this case and wants to complete his sentence. Go ahead, Steve.
STEVE: Jane, and as far as Officer England, yes, she was dismissed from the trustees of Perry Township, Ohio. She`s free to get a job anywhere. I don`t understand why if she would have had the time, she would have been able to resign or been fired. She didn`t have the time and that`s why she was fired. There was no discrimination against her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Steve, you`re making a good point.
I`m going to go to Joe Navarro, former FBI senior profiler. I guess what this gentleman`s essentially saying is that she didn`t have the same kind of seniority as the chief of police did. So it makes more sense for him to be able to retire with a full pension while she gets canned?
NAVARRO: Well, it doesn`t make sense. There`s going to be some lawsuits coming out of this, sexual harassment, discrimination, all sorts of things because obviously this individual is being treated different than the chief.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Robin, I hear you shaking your head.
ROBIN BOND, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual conduct or language on the job. And I know that the chief outranks her. She is on video being a very, very aggressive participant in this kind of conduct.
In her lawsuit she has not raised the issue of sexual harassment. What she said is I`m being treated differently because of my gender. The male officers were treated more favorably. In fact, every officer on this staff in recent history has been permitted to resign. Why are you firing me?
The second point she makes is, it`s employment at will, either party can quit at any time and I quit. I quit before you ever fired me. The only reason to fire me is because you`re either woefully ignorant of the law or you`re very vindictive. Because here I am an Asian woman of different national origin fooling around with a white guy in a police car in Ohio and I think that`s her point in her lawsuit. And I think she`s making a good one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re injecting also race and/or ethnicity into this which is yet another layer. Here`s one of the things that I find pretty fascinating on this, is that even the former chief has sort come to her defense saying other officers have done far worse. He apparently used the example stealing a taser, pocketing donations, DUI, but they weren`t fired.
What do you make of that, Joe Navarro?
NAVARRO: Yes, this speaks to it, there`s something inherently wrong when people are being treated differently, when you have someone doing something more gross. And I have to disagree the fact that --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Of course --