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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Designer Killed in Exclusive Hotel; Miracle: Kidnapped Teens Found Alive!

Aired December 13, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, stunning twists and turns in a celebrity killing in one of Manhattan`s most exclusive private clubs. Famed fashion designer Sylvie Cachay found dead in the bathtub of her chic hotel room in Soho. Prosecutors say her boyfriend couldn`t accept their breakup. Nicholas Brooks is now charged with attempted murder. But the surveillance video tell a different story.

And ecstatic relatives reunite with two missing teens whose cases we covered right here on ISSUES. I`ll tell you where Brittany Smith and Jean Burlinghoff were with found and what happened to the men cops say kidnapped them.

Then, a horrifying, jaw-dropping discovery in Alabama. Cops bust a meth lab just feet away from a child day-care center. I`ll tell you about the couple allegedly running this dangerous drug den. How much harm were those little kids exposed to?

Plus, Miley Cyrus caught on videotape smoking out of a bong. The 18- year-old superstar was reportedly taking a hit of an intense hallucinogen that`s legal in California. Is Miley headed down the same slippery slope as so many other child stars before her? We`ll talk to former child stars.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYLVIA CACHAY, VICTIM`S MOTHER: I want justice done, but nothing would bring back my baby girl.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The dead woman`s mother speaking out. Tonight, the war on women with invades a chic, exclusive New York hotel. The bruised body of a beautiful young fashion designer found dead, floating in an overflowing bathtub.

Police say Sylvie Cachay was strangled, bitten and had injuries to her scalp. Her lip was cut. Her mouth, damaged. Her boyfriend charged with attempted murder. Wait a second. She`s dead. Why is he charged with attempted murder? Just one of the mysteries we`re going to delve into right now.

Suspect Nicholas Brooks, the son of Oscar-winning composer Joseph Brooks, famous for that song "You Light Up My Life." But that Oscar winner has also been accused of serial rape. Why are the father and the son both in trouble with the law in two separate cases?

Police say the night before Sylvie died she and 24-year-old Nicholas Brooks checked into the exclusive Soho House together. His attorney says when his client left this guy right here to go boozing that night, Sylvie, the victim, was perfectly fine. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY HOFFMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My client did not kill the victim. I don`t know whether anyone killed the victim or how the death occurred.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good question.

The "New York Post" reports Sylvie was so drugged up on Xanax when she arrived at the hotel a concierge had to walk her to her room. Could that be a factor?

Sylvie`s friends and family say she was in the process of breaking up with that dude, and he could not accept the breakup. The victim`s mom believes Nicholas killed her designer daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CACHAY: Sylvie always wanted to help people. Always. And she thought that she could change him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he did it?

CACHAY: I think so, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was she strangled? Or did she drown in the tub? Or might she have even overdosed? The autopsy, inconclusive. What`s your take? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Michael Musto, night life columnist for "The Village Voice."

Michael, tell us about this exclusive Soho House and what is the very latest in this case.

MICHAEL MUSTO, COLUMNIST, "THE VILLAGE VOICE": Well, Soho House is based on a British original version of this place. It`s a private membership club/hotel. And it`s very chichi, Jane. I always feel I`m from the wrong side of the tracks to hang out there, but I do anyway. I go to special events because they have screening rooms. They have a dining room and they have a spa. And it`s very tony and very sedate and British in feeling.

This really has ruffled feathers, obviously, there. This is the most shocking thing that`s ever happened in a place like this. It`s, as you say, Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Isn`t there a famous, like, swimming pool at the top of this hotel, where everybody gathers and all the beautiful people gather at the top of this -- this swimming pool at the top of the Soho House?

MUSTO: That`s possible. I know they have that at the standard hotel. But in this case, sadly enough, it was a bathtub where with this up-and- coming designer found her end.

And Nicholas has been charged, as you say, with attempted murder and strangulation, but they say that the cause of death is not known yet, because the toxicology results have to come in. That`s pretty bizarre. I would say the bruises all over this woman have a lot to do with the cause of her death. Wouldn`t you?

All signs are definitely pointing to Nick, unless you count the ice deliveryman, who I think was the only other person the surveillance camera caught going into her room in that time period.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the "New York Post" reports the couple left the victim`s apartment after Nicholas lit a candle, catching Sylvie`s hair and her bed on fire. That bed right there. So they leave the house because of the smell, and they check into the exclusive Soho House shortly after midnight, around 12:30 Thursday morning.

OK. A couple of hours later, hotel guests start complaining, "Hey, water is leaking from the couple`s fifth-floor suite."

Now, the suspect, Nicholas, leaves the hotel to go drinking at about 2:15 in the morning. At 2:49 a.m., hotel employees responding to the water gushing find Sylvie`s body in this overflowing tub.

And get this: at 3:30 in the morning, the young suspect returns to the hotel room, and that`s where cops took him in. Now, what his attorney is saying, Jayne Weintraub, is if you kill somebody, you don`t come back to the scene of the crime. So his attorney is saying that`s proof of his innocence that he sort of sauntered back into the hotel room after she was found dead.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it sure is a factor that I would consider. Isn`t it one that you would think about? I mean, why would he come back? Obviously, to him, he didn`t know she was dead.

And it does seem rather bizarre. It seems very conclusory to me that the cause of death is not strangulation, because if it was strangulation, there would be petechiae in the eye. It`s very -- it`s a very particular thing that anybody can see in the eye that knows anything about homicide. So No. 1, it`s not from strangulation. It`s certainly not from the neck compression that they want you to think it is. It`s not.

No. 2, there are bite marks. Well, that might have been from her own biting of her hand. It could have been from...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please!

WEINTRAUB: It could have been -- I need to say, it could be during a sexual act. We don`t know, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her neck was bruised.

WEINTRAUB: She had a bottle of Xanax in her. Jane, we don`t know. There`s a bottle of empty pills.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Excuse me. Let me say this. Hold on. Bite marks, OK? Bruising on the neck, injuries consistent with neck compression, bloodshot eyes, internal hemorrhaging, a cut lip, scalp injuries. Come on, Dr. Dale Archer, does that sound like -- I don`t know what that sounds like, but it certainly doesn`t sound accidental to me.

DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: No, it doesn`t sound accidental. And remember, this is a smart guy that we`re dealing with here. So he may have been smart enough to say, "The best thing I can do to take suspicion off of me is to go back to the hotel." So I don`t think that just because he went back, that proves that this guy is innocent.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brooks` college buddies say he was a druggy and a binge drinker, throwing money around to win friends. Classmates claim he was a slacker trust-fund kid with a seemingly never-ending supply of coke and booze.

The assistant D.A. says Nicholas, this guy here, has a violent history and rocky relationships with his own family. Prosecutors say he had a fight with an unknown woman last Christmas. Nicholas allegedly pushed her to the ground and told her, quote, "You`ll be dead in 48 hours," end quote. Now prosecutors say police were called to the scene but no arrests were made. Why the heck not?

Prosecutors say he`s currently unemployed.

Addiction expert Howard Samuels, founder of the Hills Treatment Center, what do you make of this suspect?

HOWARD SAMUELS, ADDICTION EXPERT: Well, obviously, you know, this suspect has a history of drug and alcohol dependence and/or abuse so, you know, for somebody like this to be involved in a crime like this, it`s not unusual. Whenever you have horrific crimes like this, you know, somebody is always usually involved in drugs, like the victim being high on Xanax and coming in and being in the bathtub. I mean, it just goes hand in hand with drug abuse. It`s just very sad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying that it could be a drug overdose. I mean, that`s the whole issue here. Is it possible that he roughed her up and, despite having roughing her up and maybe strangling her, that she was alive when he left and then, because she had Xanax, she ended up in the pool -- in the tub and then O.D.`s or drowns in the tub? I mean, at that point can he still be...

SAMUELS: Right. Very possible, Jane. I mean, Xanax is a very dangerous drug, and when you abuse it, you know, you pass out. I mean, you`re like drunk in itself, especially if you`re drinking alcohol with Xanax. It`s a very dangerous combination. So, you know, this woman definitely could have drowned because she O.D.`d with the Xanax.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s why he`s charged with attempted murder tonight.

Jimmy, Rhode Island, your question or thought, sir.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. How you doing tonight?

SAMUELS: I`m doing good. How you doing?

CALLER: I`m doing good. I have a comment and a question.

SAMUELS: Yes.

CALLER: The comment, the Xanax medication that she took, because they said they -- she couldn`t remember where her room was or anything like that, and would that cause her to be like hallucinate a bit, you know, she can`t remember nothing? And was the boyfriend tested for any of the drugs, too? Because if he had the Xanax in his system, who knows what he could have done?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jayne Weintraub, according to all sorts of published reports his friends say that he was -- they describe him in published reports as a druggy and a drinker. Now, there was a bottle of prescription pills found in the room. Your thoughts on that?

WEINTRAUB: My thoughts are that it`s an accidental overdose by her and that she might have hit her head in the bathtub. That`s what I really think. It`s not a strangulation, Jane.

The bruises, we don`t know how they happened, and we certainly don`t know if they were hard enough to have caused even a break or any other kind of asphyxiation that would have caused her death. That`s why he`s not charged with her death. they don`t have a cause of death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, so you`re raising the prospect that this family will be denied justice, even if she was the victim of somebody who tried to kill her, because she was high, and therefore, they could never say for sure whether somebody actually did her in or whether she did herself in? I don`t know if I buy that.

WEINTRAUB: Jane, I don`t know that the family...

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got a lot more to talk about. But let`s all think about it, panel. This is a designer murder in Manhattan. This was an up-and-coming designer.

We`re taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

And speaking of drug issues, we have Miley Cyrus caught taking a hit of a legal hallucinogen. And she`s doing it out of a bong. OK. This girl is now 18 years old. Is this another sign that the child star career is about to go up in smoke?

Plus, two teens found alive with their alleged abductors. I will talk to one girl`s ecstatic father and tell you how both of these young ladies were saved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRACY DYER WHITE, BRITTANY SMITH`S AUNT: Brit will now be here for Christmas. She will be here to tell her mother good-bye. She`ll be able to help her mother rest in peace tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soho House is full of celebrities, has very prominent New York membership and it`s very exclusive. So of course, when a fashion designer is found dead in a hotel room here, it`s going to raise eyebrows.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A designer to the stars dead inside a very exclusive New York hotel, which is also a club. Her boyfriend is the prime suspect. Did he strangle her and leave her to die in a bathtub?

Pat Brown, criminal profiler, you heard Jayne Weintraub, who`s of course a defense attorney, saying, "Well, they`ll never be able to prove murder, because she was on Xanax and she was in a tub. So therefore, she could have drowned." What`s your thought?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Jane, I think it`s a little too early to say that that can`t be proved. I think it`s also a little early to say it`s attempted murder, because look, the woman is dead. So either he murdered her or he didn`t murder her. I doubt that he tried to murder her, and then, you know, he walked out of the room and she popped her head on the tub and said, "Boy, blew that one," and then she stuck her head back in the tub and drowned herself. I mean, that doesn`t make a lot of sense to me. So they`re going to have to prove what he actually did do, rather than what he maybe did do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I wonder why they decided to charge him with that. And I`ll tell you the reason why, is because he did turn himself in. And I believe that the clock starts ticking, and they have to either charge him or release him at a certain point, Jayne Weintraub?

WEINTRAUB: Well, that`s true. But when you don`t have the evidence and there`s no reason to believe that -- there wasn`t probable cause except that he was there. That`s not enough reason to believe that he tried to kill her.

And I agree with Pat Brown completely. Either it was an attempt which did cause her death or it wasn`t. It`s very simple. They can`t say that he attempted to kill her but that`s not the cause of death because that`s not true.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t -- I don`t necessarily -- I don`t necessarily agree. If you try to kill somebody -- and I would like to know whether he has been tested for drugs. That would be very interesting. When they arrest somebody, do they normally check them and take a blood test from them? Yes or no? Jayne?

WEINTRAUB: Normally -- normally they don`t, but the fact that he has already given voluntary statements leads me to believe that he voluntarily consented to that if they asked. I`ll tell you what: they`ll have bite mark residuals, and they`ll be able to identify whether or not that bite mark is from him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

WEINTRAUB: It might be from her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please! Especially if it was at the neck. If it`s at the neck area, you can`t give yourself a hickey. OK. We all know that from our high school days.

All right. Here`s my big issue.

WEINTRAUB: Well, no, that`s true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is Nicholas Brooks just a chip off the old block? Both he and his father are facing felony charges. The dad is Joseph Brooks -- here he is -- the Oscar-winning songwriter of that `70s hit "You Light Up My Life." He`s awaiting trial on charges of raping 11 women from 2005 to 2008. A 91-count indictment accuses the elder Brooks of luring starlets to his apartment for casting-couch sexual assaults.

Michael Musto, you`ve covered celebrities for years, decades. A father and son both accused of atrocious crimes against women in two separate cases. What do you make of that?

MUSTO: And both -- and both say that they`re innocent because the elder Mr. Brooks says he didn`t do any of that. He doesn`t believe in that kind of casting-couch situation. Certainly not 11 times. Whatever.

I always found him a creepy individual. I think he should be in jail just for a musical he did on Broadway a few years ago about Tourette`s Syndrome, which actually, Jane, trivialized Tourette`s and ADD and was one of the worst shows I`ve ever seen. And "You Light Up My Life" has also destroyed my life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That could be, like, a sentence. You have to listen to "You Light Up My Life" 45 times as part of a...

MUSTO: You get solitary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... plea deal. Yes.

MUSTO: You know what? Yes, I mean, this whole Xanax thing. I was on Xanax once for a head injury. And it does turn you into a vegetable, so I think that murks up the situation.

I think Nick could be a chip off the old block in that he seems to be an overly partying boy with very rough edges.

Also, there was the matter of the breakup and the fact that we know he wasn`t happy with the fact that Sylvie thought he was not mature enough to pursue their relationship.

But then you throw the Xanax into it, and I have to agree with Jayne. This is really going to murk up the judicial system here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Howard Samuels, she`s doing Xanax. He is known as a party boy, trust fund baby who often, according to published reports - - I don`t know -- and he and his attorney are invited anytime. Well, certainly his attorney. He`s behind bars right now, but his attorney is invited on anytime to tell their side.

But he`s known as a party boy who, according to published reports, was into drugs and booze. So you have addiction on both sides of this equation, potentially addiction on both sides of this equation.

SAMUELS: Well, Jane, I mean, water seeks its own level, OK? I mean, obviously, both of these people are into drugs, and you know -- and I think that`s sort of like the main theme here.

You know, when there are drugs involved, horrible things happen. That`s what`s so sad, is that, you know, so many people in this country just abuse drugs left and right, and this is what happens. Is a death of a horrible -- a beautiful young woman who had a great future. Very sad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it also shows you that -- go ahead.

ARCHER: Yes, Jane. I want to jump in here and say, yes, we don`t know that Sylvie was abusing Xanax. She could have been prescribed Xanax for a psychiatric condition. So I think we`re jumping to a conclusion saying she...

SAMUELS: No, I mean, come on. That`s ridiculous. That`s absolutely ridiculous. Obviously, if she comes in the hotel room and she doesn`t even know her room and she`s staggering, she`s abusing Xanax. I mean, come on.

ARCHER: You don`t know that it`s Xanax.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold it!

SAMUELS: Just that report I know.

ARCHER: It could have been alcohol.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. You have to talk one at a time. You`re not supposed to take alcohol and Xanax at the same time. And let`s be real here.

ARCHER: You`re not supposed to take...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

ARCHER: You`re not supposed to take them at the same time, Jane, you`re absolutely correct. But on the other hand I think to jump to the conclusion that this woman is a Xanax addict is just -- it`s not being fair to her.

SAMUELS: No, no one said she was a Xanax addict.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time! OK, Michael Musto, obviously, let`s go back to the whole nightlife issue. We can`t say, but the toxicology tests will tell the results of what was in her system. But obviously, prescription pills -- and we have five seconds -- are a huge problem in the New York night life scene. Yes?

MUSTO: Yes. Not when taken as prescribed but when abused and when mixed with alcohol. And people sometimes in the night life scene party too hard in ways that they can`t always help. I mean...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you...

MUSTO: ... it becomes an addiction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... fantastic panel. Up next, a...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHITE: Brit will now be here for Christmas. She will be here to tell her mother good-bye. She`ll be able to help her mother rest in peace tonight. That has been a ray of sunshine on this very dark event. And God bless you all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That ray of sunshine, thanks to a heroic witness who called cops after spotting 12-year-old Brittany Smith and her alleged abductor, 32-year-old James Easley, in San Francisco. The witness had seen Brittany`s story right here on HLN, on "The Nancy Grace Show." Kudos to Nancy.

Meantime, another miracle tonight. A month after a beautiful 15-year- old was allegedly abducted by her own sex offender uncle, she has been found alive and safe. Jean Burlinghoff and her 44-year-old Uncle Charles and a third guy were spotted in San Francisco on Saturday. Cops moved in fast.

The incredible news comes just after a week after I spoke with Jean`s dad right here on ISSUES. Listen to Jake Burlinghoff`s emotional plea to his brother at that time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE BURLINGHOFF, JEAN`S FATHER: Please drop Jean off at a police station or somewhere safe. It has been 21 days since you took Jean out of my life. If you have any ounce of feeling or soul left in your body or care about Jean or any one of yours or her other family members, let my little girl come home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so thrilled on this wonderful occasion to welcome Jake Burlinghoff back to issues tonight.

Jake, first of all, I am thrilled that we had a happy outcome here. It just warms my heart. Describe your emotions when you first heard the news that your daughter was found alive.

BURLINGHOFF: Oh, I was absolutely ecstatic. I -- for the first few minutes, I was trying to confirm if this was a rumor. And -- and then, of course, when I saw Jean, I was able to put my arms around her and hug her. And she was alive. I -- we were both crying and -- and she told me she was happy to be home. And it was absolutely amazing. It was absolutely amazing is an understatement. I can`t put the words behind how happy I was to see again and how happy her mom was to see her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How was she found?

BURLINGHOFF: Another amazing twist to the story, her -- her cousin who lives down in San Francisco was driving to buy a jacket and happened to see Charles and Jean getting out of a vehicle. And she saw them at first and I think she kind of thought, "Hmm, that`s weird. That guy just looks just like Charles."

And then as she got closer, she realized it was, in fact, Charles and called 911 and continued to follow at a safe distance, and...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She did everything right. The cops came in and moved in. And I think that`s fantastic.

Now, he`s been charged with two felony warrants connected to her disappearance. How did they survive so long and travel so far? I heard they went to soup kitchens? Tell us about that.

BURLINGHOFF: From what I can put together from the facts of the story, Charles hid her out in homeless shelters. And they ate at soup kitchens, and they -- they eat -- from what I understand, they didn`t eat real healthy. At one point Jean said they...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there, but Jake, we`re so happy for you. And Nancy Grace has much more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A horrifying, jaw-dropping discovery in Alabama. Cops bust a meth lab just feet away from a child day care center. I`ll tell you about the couple allegedly running this dangerous drug den. How much harm were those little kids exposed to?

Plus, Miley Cyrus caught on videotape smoking out of a bong. The 18- year-old superstar was reportedly taking a hit of an intense hallucinogen. It`s legal in California. Is Miley headed down the same slippery slope as so many child stars before her? We`ll talk to former child stars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That thing could have exploded anytime, and it could have injured some of the children or some of the grown-ups.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, an absolutely sickening and dangerous discovery right next door to a day careful of young children. Cops say a husband and wife were cooking meth in a fully operational meth lab just 30 feet from where young children were playing.

How will we ever know if these innocent children were somehow contaminated by the meth vapors? Cops found what they call a shake and bake lab in the couple`s detached garage. They didn`t find any actual meth inside but they found plenty of the chemicals and equipment to use make meth. It`s unmistakable.

Cops arrested Preston and Darla Keller and hauled them off to jail. And the parents whose kids were just next door are outraged this was happening so close to their precious children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMBER KLIEST, CHILD ATTENDED DAYCARE: It hurts me very much that it was -- not just for my daughter but around other kids also. That`s very hurtful. My kid or any kid that went here could have smelled them fumes or anything. I would have been very upset.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Kellers don`t have any children that we know of, but they did have dogs who were abandoned when they were arrested, these innocent animals now taken to a local shelter. Just more victims of this war on drugs.

This meth lab put the entire neighborhood at risk. But this type of mom and pop shake and bake operation is happening all over America. We have a meth crisis in this country and we`re talking about it tonight.

1-877-JVM-SAYS, what do you know about the meth crisis in America. What have you seen? 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to addiction specialist, Howard Samuels. I think this meth lab and its location showed that these people had no consideration about what these drugs could do to children nearby. All they cared about were the drugs.

Now, aren`t these makeshift labs in danger of exploding because they`re cooking flammable materials on an open stove?

HOWARD SAMUELS, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: You know what, Jane? Absolutely. I mean, you know, addiction is such a horrific disease that there`s no sense of anything with an addict/alcoholic. I mean this just sickens me, this story.

And you`re absolutely right. The crystal meth epidemic that is going on in the Midwest and the south -- because, you know, you can make this drug in your garage using very dangerous chemicals, and it is by far a huge crisis.

And that`s why, you know, people need to be educated so we can, like, expose these meth labs and expose these people before they harm our children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And here`s my big issue tonight -- shake and bake neighbors. Neighbors called the cops about the Kellers when they noticed there are too many people coming and going from the house and they got suspicious. And that`s exactly what neighbors should do.

This was a hazard to the entire neighborhood. That garage could have blown up and the shake and bake labs could be in any neighborhood. It is a crisis.

Have you ever heard of meth mouth? Meth is so addictive, users -- they don`t mind what happens to their teeth. Look at what happens to their teeth. They grind them down. This is disgusting. We found these really lovely photos from the American Dental Association Web site. And also meth users pick at their faces to the point where their faces become truly just absolutely disfigured.

Jamison Monroe, I know, having lived in California for quite a few years that it`s a big problem, crystal meth and meth in California as well where you`re based. What do you know about this meth epidemic?

JAMISON MONROE, FOUNDER AND CEO, NEWPORT ACADEMY: It`s more of a pandemic, Jane. It`s a huge problem and it really makes me sick. What really makes me angry about this particular is that the chemicals that are produced when you`re making methamphetamine can carry for up to a mile affect innocent individuals a mile away from a lab, not to mention the potential for deadly explosion.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

MONROE: Also, only one out of ten meth labs are actually discovered so people in neighborhood need to get proactive about looking for meth labs because you never know what could happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I do know and I`ve heard anyway that a lot of times if it`s a meth lab because their sleep schedule gets to skewed they put tin foil on the windows. If you see a house that has tin foil all over the windows and the guy is not working at a casino or he works a night job, be suspicious.

And the other problem with it is, Pat Brown, all of the ingredients in meth -- and we`re not going to give them to you, but unfortunately they`re available on the Internet -- you don`t have to get them across the border to a foreign country. They`re over-the-counter meds or things you can get at the hardware store and that`s part of the problem, isn`t it Pat?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Exactly. That`s why people can create this all in their own homes. And I just want to get rid of this idea that drugs are a victimless crime -- drug use is a victimless crime.

First of all, the person is a victim, their families are victims and the communities are victims as we`re seeing in this. Injuries can happen to other people around. They bring in lots of scuzzy criminals in and out of the home that is the meth lab -- you know, that`s being used as a meth lab. Sometimes they have dangerous dogs guarding that. So, I mean there`s no such thing as --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s not blame the dogs, please.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: No, no, no. These dogs are victims. They have to go to shelters who might very well be put to sleep.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true. If you`re in the Birmingham, Alabama area and you want to get a pet, go to the shelter. And obviously those are dogs that weren`t spayed and neutered either. So that`s another problem.

BROWN: Right. But Jane, sometimes what happens -- the sad thing about the dogs is these criminals make the dogs as mean as possible so they can be very scary to people coming on to the property so they can protect their drugs. That`s what I`m saying. This kind of stuff affects almost everything around it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It really does. I`ve actually seen a couple of people go down for meth, and it is a scary sight. Anna, Texas, your question or thought.

ANNA, TEXAS (via telephone): Yes, I was actually wondering -- I know that they found this meth lab, but exactly what made them go and discover the meth lab? This was right next to a day care. This can happen anywhere. So what are some signs? What were their signs that caused them to, you know, find it?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, one of them, according to the authorities, was that there were with people coming and going at all hours of the night at this house and they got suspicious. This meth lab was just 30 feet away from a day care. That`s a stone`s throw away.

Cops say this garage was full of toxic chemicals used to make meth. The parents were bringing their kids to this day care every day, never knowing that there was this incredible danger of explosion and the vapors right next door.

The day care operator told ISSUES she`s so glad this issue is taken care of, but the fact is, these kids might have inhaled toxic chemicals. Howard Samuels, what could the vapors, the very strong vapors, that can make the meth cooker high just from cooking it, what impact might they have on a child still developing brain or body?

SAMUELS: Well, you know what, Jane, I mean it could definitely have a major impact. Here a child is developing and, you know, we`re talking about three and four-year-old kids. I mean, for them to be within the fumes of this could be very dangerous for them.

I mean you know, there`s no telling what could happen, but it`s -- none of it is good.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think these children should be tested? Should they go to the doctor and be tested?

SAMUELS: Oh, absolutely. Yes. I mean I definitely think they should be tested. I mean, they definitely should go to a doctor and be checked out to make sure and to make sure they`re ok. I mean, I think that`s off the top, absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to tell you, I covered a meth bust many, many years ago when I was a reporter and I`ve never been more scared in my life. They had arrested a bunch of people, but the address was listed.

I went to the address to get shots. And apparently they didn`t arrest anybody because very scary characters came out of the house and threatened me and my photographer. And we ran away, and then we tried to come back with a police officer, and it was such a scary situation the police officer wouldn`t even get out of the his car and said, you know, basically take your shots from inside the car and get out.

That`s the kind of fear that these meth labs and the people who run them -- they`re scary. They`re scary individuals. I saw it firsthand with my own eyes.

Now, I realize parents have to work and therefore they have to put their kids in day care. But it`s really scary how many of these horror stories we talk about here on ISSUES just different things happening at day care that are putting children potentially in harm`s way.

In Florida, cops say a 2-year-old Hayley Brockington (ph) died of heat exposure. Remember this story? A day care worker left her in the day care van for hours strapped to a car seat? Poor thing.

And in Illinois a home day care operator is accused of putting a little boy in scalding hot water as punishment for -- look at that, I can`t even look at that -- for a bathroom accident. Get off that shot. It`s terrible.

And now we`ve got a meth lab next door.

Jayne Weintraub, as a parent, how do you protect yourself and protect your kids when you`re going to leave them at day care?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s a horrible dilemma, and it`s a crisis that all working women and I should say and dads have to deal with. But it is a reality in our culture today. And all you can do is check it out the best you can, and you need a system in place where you have other people that check on the child during the day so that you can also get a sense of what`s going on in that community.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. Here is my call of to action. Every day care center in America should have cameras on the inside and cameras on the outside 24/7, 365. That should be a national law because then the number of incidents inside and the number of incidents outside would drop.

Thank you so much, expert panel.

Up next, Casey Anthony`s very odd appearance in court.

And 18-year-old Miley Cyrus, another story about, well, you`ll see in a moment. She`s caught taking a hit from a bong reportedly an intense hallucinogen. It`s legal in California but illegal in other states. Is this another example of a child star who got too much too soon? What do you think? Is she in trouble?

Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is Miley Cyrus on a dangerous path? That, in a minute.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

During Casey Anthony`s hearing Friday evening, her team was ordered to provide details on their expert testimony. But Casey`s demeanor, her look, that`s the surprising headline here. She was all smiles, literally as she entered the courtroom. Look at that hair. Quite a change from previous times we`ve seen the 24-year-old. There she is, grinning, smiling, like a red carpet appearance.

Now, Casey is accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter and will spend yet another holiday season behind bars. But she is all smiles. Friday`s out used to mean being dancing and club hopping but now on exciting Friday evening is a stop at court. My, how things have changed.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes hold it, hold it.

MILEY CYRUS, SINGER: Oh, oh, I did all of that. Ok, I`m going to lose it now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Miley Cyrus` latest hit is off a bong. Shocking TMZ video Smiley Miley is living up to her nickname. Cyrus was caught on camera laughing hysterically while allegedly getting high off a huge bong. Has another ex-Disney princess gone sour? Miley seen here in this video obtained by TMZ was allegedly smoking an intense hallucinogenic herb called salvia.

I think that`s -- it`s so new that I didn`t -- we`ve been trying to figure out how to pronounce it -- I think its salvia. Lucky for her it happens to be legal in California, although it`s illegal in some other states.

Wild child Miley has come a long way since her innocent "Hannah Montana" Disney days.

It`s really clear that she`s trying to losing that good girl image. But is she spiraling out of control? She`s dancing on poles, she`s proclaiming to the world in her racy new video that she can`t be tamed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC VIDEO OF MILEY CYRUS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, so similar to the Britney and the Lindsay kind of -- it`s unbelievable. It`s like deja vu.

TMZ is reporting Miley`s reps paid off several college kids to keep this tape under wraps but despite allegedly buying them, the tape still leaked. Miley has taken hits but will her career take hits?

Straight out to Kim Serafin, senior editor with "In Touch Weekly"; put all of this in perspective. What is going on with this video?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Yes, I mean, it`s the first time we`re seeing Miley like this, but as you pointed out, she has been very consciously trying to make the jump from Hannah Montana to being taken as a serious actress, to be taken more as an adult.

But those of course, were legitimate choices that she made. This one I don`t think she wanted this video to get out obviously. And I think before we jump to conclusions and say, oh, she`s spiraling out of control.

I think the comparisons obviously to Lindsay, to Britney, we`ve seen it before so I think there`s a lot of people thinking like, oh is she headed down that path? Here she was starting young as an actress and getting maybe too much too soon and now she`s spiraling out of control?

But as you pointed out, it`s legal in California. She wasn`t doing anything illegal. She is over 18. And again, all of these other choices she`s made to be taken as an adult she made on her own and wants to be taken more seriously as an adult.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Here`s more of this TMZ video that shot at a party at Miley`s home right after her 18th birthday. Let`s check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? What`s happening?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Is that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Liam look-alike? What the hell is that? Is that my boyfriend? Is that my boyfriend? That`s my boyfriends.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) Oh, my God, he looks so much like him. He looks so much like Liam. Oh, my God. Is that me tripping? Is that me tripping; he doesn`t look like Liam at all? Dude.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, good old-fashioned 18th birthday party fun, or is she in self-destruct mode?

And I think it all boils down to, what the heck is this salvia? Ok? It is legal in California. It`s this intense hallucinogenic thing that apparently is not legal in 12 other U.S. states and is also illegal in Canada.

Jamison Monroe, founder and CEO of the Newport Academy, you are an addiction expert, what the heck is salvia?

MONROE: Salvia divinorum (ph) is a plant that grows in Mexico and it gives you a very intense psychedelic high for about 90 seconds to a few minutes. Then you come down after that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think it`s a problem?

MONROE: What I think is a problem here -- and here is the deal, that`s why I`d like to reference Charles Barkley`s campaign, "I am not a role model, I just can`t do that -- responsibly do that here." Also, some people are going to say, kids will be kids.

But when you factor in the money and the fame here for Miley Cyrus, she is in fact a huge role model, and the huge spike, increase, in sales of salvia proves that.

So having Miley Cyrus smoking a plant out of a bong is not a message that we want to be sending -- very impressionable teenage girls.

Newport Academy is filled with teenagers who thought it was cool to cross that line. And believe me it`s a long and -- and not very fun road to get back to the other side.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, to prove your point, I didn`t even know what -- I never heard of salvia before this story.

"Saturday Night Live" will have a field day imitating this video. They have a new comedienne who does a dead-on impersonation of Miley. Check out this from NBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here`s a clip from my movie. I think you`re going to like it because it`s like really dramatic. Let`s roll that clip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you miss me, think of the oak tree out in the yard and remember my promise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is so sad because like you`re my boyfriend and like we just fell in love and stuff like that. And it`s like so dramatic because you`re going off to war and all that. And this is so not cool.

Stop. That is like pretty cool right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ten seconds Kim, is this a good impersonation and is show going to get a hit for this bong?

SERAFIN: Yes, you know, she`s so good at this impersonation. I think Miley is here to stay. I think we should not write her off and say that she`s taken the wrong path. Let`s give her some credit. I think she just turned 18 -- (CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. On the other side, Paul Peterson, who is a former child star and looks out for child stars. His reaction next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you frack (ph), we can`t go back. Keep our water pure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the new environmental war gripping our nation and the worry is it could affect the water you drink. This is an important story for all of us.

Look at this animation from Chesapeake Energy. The controversy is over chemicals being injected into the earth to break up rock and release natural gas, but are those chemicals contaminating the -- are those chemicals contaminating the groundwater?

It`s become such a powerful issue; it`s even a story line on the CBS show "CSI". Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURENCE FISHBURNE, ACTOR: We only want to understand what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to understand?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s television but this issue is really controversial. Straight out to Dr. Vincent Pedre, who is the medical director at the Pedre Integrated Health in New York.

Dr. Pedre, explain what fracking (ph) is and why you think it`s a problem.

DR. VINCENT PEDRE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, PEDRE INTEGRATED HEALTH: It`s a process that uses about a million to five million gallons of water combined with sand and 30 tons of chemicals, chemicals that we don`t have the identity of all of them, but through research, we found out that some of these chemicals are known carcinogens. They cause problems with our hormones and these chemicals through the fracking process could get into our drinking water.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One protester described his land as Ground Zero. Here`s why. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep our water pure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my well water coming out of my well. I live on Carter Road in Dimmick (ph), Pennsylvania, Susquehanna County; also known as ground zero. We were the first well contaminated after gas drilling began in the area. This is the results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ISSUES asks America`s Natural Gas Alliance what chemicals the drillers use. The alliance represents 34 drillers who support fracking. They e-mailed us a brochure that said the mixture is 99.5 percent water and sand and the remaining 0.5 percent consists of highly diluted additives.

Dr. Pedre, they`re saying it`s a highly diluted mixture. What is your response to that?

PEDRE: That 0.5 percent represents 100,000 gallons of these chemicals per frack job so it is a significant amount of chemicals. It`s not a small amount, and they don`t have to comply by the reporting requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act so there are no protections for average citizens to keep our water supplies clean and uncontaminated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I understand the EPA is studying this issue. Why don`t they just hold off until they find out whether it`s dangerous or not if the EPA`s study isn`t completed?

PEDRE: Well, you know, people who are activists are worried, doctors are worried about this issue, the Medical Society of New York state just passed a resolution supporting a moratorium for natural gas drilling through hydraulic fracturing and the state actually had just passed a law asking for a moratorium which the governor vetoed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

PEDRE: And really we should be waiting for the EPA. We should be waiting for the EPA to complete a study which they are doing right now. And it`s not just hydraulic fracturing --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This affects 34 states including New York, Pennsylvania. It`s a serious issue.

And you`re watching ISSUES.

Thank you Doctor.

END