CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Rapist Targets Elderly Women; Mystery Deepens Over Pentagon Official`s Death; Model Kidnapped Newborn; Plastic Surgery Nightmare

Aired January 6, 2011 - 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, a serial rapist terrorizes the nation`s capital. Police say this man sexually assaulted a 68-year-old woman this summer in her own home and then came back to rape her again in the same place six months later. They also believe this brazen bully attacked an 86-year-old woman at an assisted living center just across the street.

Why has this predator been allowed to roam the neighborhood for months, and what`s being done to protect these women?

And mind-boggling details surface in the bizarre death of a former Pentagon official. He`s caught on camera, limping around, coatless, confused, carrying one shoe and muttering, "I`m not a drunk." Two days later he turns up dead in a Delaware landfill. How and why did he die?

Then, a stunning New York City model is handcuffed and hauled to jail after she allegedly kidnaps an infant. Police say Michelle Gopaul even set up an elaborate fake casting call for kids, all so she could swipe a stranger`s newborn. Cops say this 24-year-old also pretended to be pregnant. Why?

Plus, another plastic surgery nightmare. A 35-year-old woman dies looking for a shortcut to weight loss. Her liposuction turns into a death sentence. I`ll talk to her distraught, furious husband, live tonight.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope! Rape is not a joke! Give women hope!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, as women ban together to fight the war on women, a shocking story about a woman raped twice by the very same man in her on home on two different occasions. This sicko has attacked two different women, and their ages will shock you. The victims are -- well, one is an 86-year-old woman and the other a 68-year-old woman.

This monster raped the 68-year-old woman in her own home back in June, and then just yesterday he returns and rapes her again in the very same place, her own home. That is absolutely outrageous, for her to be victimized twice in exactly the same way by the same man.

Here is a sketch of the creep cops say is attacking these elderly women. He sneaks in through windows and rapes them while they`re sleeping. And then he runs away. How can this monster be allowed to roam free, preying on these poor, defenseless women?

Talk about the war on women. This is exhibit A. His first target, that 68-year-old woman living alone in this Germantown, Maryland, apartment complex. Then a couple of months later, he goes across the street to an assisted living center and rapes an 86-year-old woman. Eighty-six!

Incredibly, police say this brazen rapist then returns to the 68-year- old woman`s apartment and rapes her again more than six months after he attacked her the first time. This latest rape happened just yesterday.

Imagine, just imagine for a second, living through the nightmare of being raped and then having the very same attacker return and do it to you all over again. Talk about demented deja vu.

Now, cops have his DNA, apparently, so we have to ask, why is this sicko rapist still on the loose?

I`m taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Captain Paul Starks of the Montgomery County Police Department.

Captain Starks, thank you for joining us. I know you`re doing everything you can to find this guy. Now I understand you have the rapist`s DNA. Have you been trying to match it with any criminal whose DNA is already in the system, sir?

CAPTAIN PAUL STARKS, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, that part of the investigation we`re keeping close to our vest.

But I heard you say earlier that we needed a call for action. That`s exactly what we have been doing. First of all, we want to make her feel comfortable in her home. As you said, she`s been victimized not once but twice there.

Just today we had police officers over there installing auxiliary locks, Charlie bars, just making her again feel safe and more comfortable in her home.

We`re doing, of course, the traditional things, too: checking who`s been in jail and who`s been getting out at the times that these assaults and rapes have been occurring. We`re doing community meetings at the assisted living center, as well as in the area of Germantown.

We`re also running laser in that area. And when we stop somebody for speeding, we`re giving them a warning, sometimes a citation, but we`re also giving them this composite and a flyer, asking them if they`ve seen this person in the area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s bad enough being raped once. But twice? By the same man?

Now, here`s another case. Rape victim Liz Seccuro told ISSUES that happened to have been her biggest fear after she was raped back in college. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIZ SECCURO, RAPE SURVIVOR: My real fear and anger was that he would come to my home where I lived with my child. And so I really needed to keep it together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this brings me to my big issue: victimized twice. I cannot think of many more terrifying experiences than looking into the face of a man who has already raped you once. This woman was raped six months ago.

I`ve got to ask, why didn`t somebody provide her police protection or a surveillance camera at her home, knowing that this monster who attacked her six months ago was still on the loose? I mean, after all, take a look at this. This is it a Google street view camera. It shows us the area. So could a surveillance camera.

To me, this is a call to action. And I have a call to action that I`m going to issue right now. And that is, if a woman is raped in her home, there should be a procedure that provides added protection to that woman until the person who raped her is caught. That is my suggestion.

Stacey Honowitz, you`re a Florida prosecutor who prosecutes sex crimes. Do you agree?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Absolutely I agree. It all sounds good in theory. It`s a matter of really getting it to work and getting the funding. You know, everything comes down to money. That`s what people say. I have...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what? Guess what, Stacey? Do you know how much money it`s going to cost to try to find this guy and to prosecute this guy, if we can even find him? Let me say this, most rapes, half of them -- a lot of them are never reported, and many of them remain unsolved.

HONOWITZ: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So a lot of money is going to be put into finding this guy. And if they find him, it`s going to be huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to prosecute him. Why not take a $50 camera and put it at the door and the window of this woman`s house? It`s proactive.

HONOWITZ: Maybe you should start appearing in front of the legislature, because they don`t hear this stuff. That`s the bottom line. They don`t see the cost-benefit analysis, the prosecution, and what it costs to investigate. All they know is there`s an unsolved mystery, and we`ll put people on it. An unsolved crime.

They don`t think that person is going to be raped by the same person again. They didn`t look at it that way. And it is quite rare, I must say. I did have one case in all my years where the rapist did go back to the person.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I will tell you, you`re right.

HONOWITZ: It`s a cost-benefit analysis. And maybe people need to speak up about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I will tell you what`s not rare. And that is being raped in one`s own home. Four in ten rapes take place in the victim`s home. Did you know that? It`s a shocking fact from the Rape Abuse Incest National Network. A person`s home is where they should feel the safest.

You remember Arkansas TV anchor Anne Pressly, this beautiful woman who was viciously attacked in her own home, beaten and raped and beaten unconscious. She eventually died. Her own mother found her in her bed with every bone broken in her body, practically.

And in her case, her rapist had also attacked before. But the DNA test wasn`t completed until Anne Pressly had been killed. Had they tested the DNA in the first rape right away, Pressly might still be alive.

I mean, I`ve got to bring in Mike Brooks here, HLN law enforcement analyst. I am simply asking, do we need to change how we do business when it comes to rape, so that we are proactive to prevent another rape, as opposed to reactive, providing security to a woman who`s already been raped twice?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Jane, I can tell you departments like the Montgomery County Police Department with Captain Starks here, they are proactive: try to give out tips before it happens. But you look at this assisted living facility, you`re supposed to feel safe there, as well as you`re supposed to feel safe at the apartment complex. They also have a role in this, too.

But let me just tell you, there is -- Captain Starks didn`t want to talk about the investigation, and I don`t blame him, because it is ongoing. But there`s a system called CODIS. We`ve talked about this a number of times on ISSUES. The Combined DNA Index System.

Now, that is a system where someone who has been arrested, possibly in another state, will be entered into a national system. And -- but the problem is, if the person has never been arrested and the DNA entered, then they`re not going to be in the system.

But the whole thing right now tonight, take a look at this composite. I mean, somebody in that area may have seen this person because we know he`s been in that area, across the street from each other, at least three times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I wonder if it`s an inside job or somebody who lives in the neighborhood.

Mary, Wisconsin, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi.

CALLER: I was wondering, did he leave any type of DNA left like in the woman`s bed: shedding skin, pubic hairs, maybe -- maybe with skin of the predator under her nails?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look, I know that Captain Starks is not going to answer that, because he`s already said he needs to keep all this close to the vest. But Stacey Honowitz, obviously, a rape, nine times out of ten, involves DNA from semen, correct?

HONOWITZ: Yes, I mean, absolutely. In this case they are doing the best they he can with the forensics that were left. And hopefully, there was some type of DNA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was.

HONOWITZ: There could have been skin cells under the nails. There could have been semen in her vagina. There`s many forensics they`re investigating. That`s what they`re doing. They`re not revealing any of that, but that`s what`s going on behind the scenes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy has to be familiar with this neighborhood, in my humble opinion, probably, right? Because why else would he rape two women living across the street from each other?

Now, take a look again at this street view from Google Maps. We`re taking you right to the neighborhood where this happened. You see the apartment building where the 68-year-old was attacked, and then just across the street is the assisted living center where the 86-year-old woman was attacked.

Robi Ludwig, you`re the psychotherapist. What kind of man rapes the same victim twice within six months? And what would motivate a young man - - cops say he`s between 16 and 25 -- to want to rape an 86-year-old woman?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, we know that rape is about anger; it`s not about sex. And people who are targeted are usually very vulnerable.

But my first thought was, this guy is really angry with mothers or grandmothers, because look at who he`s targeting. I mean, when you think about it, any woman could be vulnerable, but he`s targeting a certain age group. So I would love to know his history, you know, who he thinks he`s really attacking and getting back at, because that would be my first guess.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re absolutely right.

HONOWITZ: These kinds of rapes are not -- these kind of rapes, the young guy with the older woman, is not rare. So many of my cases involve elderly women.

And Robi is exactly right. It`s anger. It`s violence. It`s not about sex. And there`s some kind of psyche going on with them. They are targeting these older women. And they also know it`s more difficult for these women to come to court to identify them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Exactly. They`re attacking women who can`t run away as fast.

Thank you, fabulous panel.

Now, a new year and new plan for a new body turns tragic. A 35-year- old woman dies during a standard liposuction procedure. I`m going to talk to her outraged, heartbroken husband.

Plus, a former Pentagon honcho, his body found hanging out of a garbage truck at a Delaware landfill. Now eerie surveillance video shows him looking confused, walking around with one shoe in the final hours of his life. It`s a fascinating mystery. Why did he die? Was he killed? And if so, by whom? We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IMAN GOLDSBOROUGH, PARKING ATTENDANT: It`s struck me as really -- as being odd, because he had one shoe in his hand, and he didn`t have a coat on. It was like really cold that night. There was snow on the ground.

He said his parking ticket was inside his -- inside his briefcase, so I said, "Well, where`s your briefcase at?"

He said, "The briefcase was stolen from me."

So when I kept asking him, "How was it stolen?" he just kept saying, "My briefcase was stolen. It was stolen."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOLDSBOROUGH: He was smiling. He seemed like he`s a nice guy. The only thing that didn`t seem right to me was just like he just, like, looked like he was kind of lost. And he was just looking around like -- like he was in an unfamiliar place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a murder mystery that gets stranger by the hour. You just heard from one of the last people to see John Wheeler, the ex-Pentagon honcho, whose body turned up in a Delaware landfill on New Year`s Eve.

Now, here he is two days before his death, wandering around a parking garage near his Delaware home.

Now, he told a parking attendant, "I`m not drunk. I`m not drunk." There he is. You see him. Come on, there he is. Oh, look, he`s staggering around. He`s got one shoe on, one shoe off. He`s carrying the other shoe in his hand. And he`s in this parking garage. Look at him staggering around.

He is not wearing a coat when he walks in, even though it`s very cold outside. It`s freezing. We all know how cold it was on the East Coast New Year`s Eve. Right? This is just a couple days before.

Different surveillance footage shows him near -- in Wilmington at a nearby apartment/office building the next day. And he`s wearing slightly different clothes. And then the following day, a landfill worker spots his body sticking out of a garbage truck.

So the question is, who killed this Washington insider? And what was behind his bizarre behavior before his homicide?

Now we`re delighted to have CNN`s Susan Candiotti joining us right outside the victim`s house in Newcastle, Delaware.

Susan, what is the very latest on this mystery?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things you pointed out, and that is that police are now saying that, inexplicably, Mr. Wheeler changed clothes from the time you saw him wandering about that parking garage, and then the next day he was wearing -- you know, in the parking garage where he had the one shoe in his hand, he had a sports jacket on.

The next day he`s wandering around Wilmington, Delaware, and he is in an office building/apartment building. And he spends time on two floors there, going about from office to office, talking to some witnesses. They ask him if he needs help, and he says no. But he is wearing a zipped-up sweatshirt on that video, which police have not released nor will the building owners, as well.

And -- and so they`re trying to figure out, let`s see, where was he in between the day before and that day? Did he go someplace to change clothes? Could he possibly have gone home? Did he spend the night in a hotel, on the street? So far they`ve found no evidence of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this.

CANDIOTTI: One more example of all the gaps in the time line here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. The first weird thing -- and please correct me. It`s a very complicated story. But my understanding is the first weird thing that happens is that the pharmacy near his house, he goes in a couple of days before he dies, and he says, "Hey" -- he talks to the druggist that he knows quite well. And he says, "Hey, could you give me a ride to Wilmington," which is about ten miles away.

Now, the druggist, the pharmacist, goes, hmm, well, you know, that`s kind of weird. "No. I`ll call you a cab." Well, when he says that, Wheeler walks out.

Now, to me, Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, that says Wheeler might not have wanted anyone to have a record of where he was going. Could this mean that he had a secret reason for wanting to leave his home area, where he lives, and go into downtown Wilmington?

LUDWIG: But he would still have a witness, when you think about it. I mean, the only way to kind of not have a witness is if you`re walking or, I suppose, public transportation. But there`s still an eyewitness.

I mean, it just sounds like this man was confused and disoriented and was not acting like himself. And it`s not clear as to why. I mean, not knowing the whole story, the first thing I would think of, did this man have a stroke? He`s almost operating in that kind of way, very confused.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s another possibility, given how disheveled and out of it he was. I think a lot of people are wondering could he have been drunk or high on pills or both?

Now, here`s how his own neighbors describe him. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember one time his wife said, you know, "If Jack didn`t have a GPS, he`d get lost in the driveway."

PHOEBE DILL, WHEELER`S NEIGHBOR: We`ve never seen him inebriated. Was he inebriated when he wandered around like that? I don`t know that he would ever take drugs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue: why was he out of it? He insisted to the garage attendant that he wasn`t drunk. But sometimes people who are drunk will say, "No, I`m not drunk."

We also know that at one time he`d had prescriptions, because he went to that pharmacy where he gets them filled sometimes.

So my question is, Mike Brooks, could he have been on Valium, Vicodin or OxyContin or any other mood-altering drugs that a lot of people misuse?

BROOKS: You know, right now, Jane, it`s all speculation, but that will all come out in the toxicology reports, from the autopsy. That`s going to be very, very important to see, was -- did he have some kind of a bleed? Did he have a stroke? Did he all of a sudden start suffering from dementia?

Because apparently, he spoke with an attorney on December 27 and said he was incredibly lucid. So this was totally out of character for this guy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to continue on this mystery in a moment.

Meantime, cops say a model and aspiring singer kidnapped a baby!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOLDSBOROUGH: It struck me as being odd because he had one shoe in his hand and he didn`t have a coat on. And it was like really cold that night. There was snow on the ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bizarre behavior described by a parking garage attendant who was one of the last people to see ex-Pentagon official John Wheeler alive, his body found in a landfill New Year`s Eve.

Tell us, Susan Candiotti, about this dispute he was having with a neighbor.

CANDIOTTI: Well, that his lawyer says -- is playing down, rather. He was concerned about a house that is being built across the street from where he lives. It`s in a historic district. And so he had challenged that, filed a lawsuit. So there was a dispute about that.

During the course of all this, some smoke bombs went out of the house, but fire investigators have been unable to solve this. So far investigators say they can find no linkage between him and Mr. Wheeler. They`re still looking into that incident at the house.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but apparently, somebody saw a man leaving that other house where these smoke bombs went off, and the timing is odd, because wasn`t it right before he started acting in a bizarre fashion?

CANDIOTTI: Well, you know, there are a lot of rumors flying around right now, and a lot of unconfirmed sightings and information that`s floating about. Police right now are saying, "I don`t know where that`s coming from, but we don`t have any information to that extent."

Fire investigators, as well, looking for who might be responsible. They did question a couple of teenagers, but they were eliminated as suspects.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Interesting. Very curious.

Carla, Colorado, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Well, my thought is, I believe that the man was assaulted, and he had a brain injury, and that`s why he was acting like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Stacey Honowitz, you`ve covered so many of these cases. I have no idea what happened to this guy, but I do find it very strange that he wanted this ride into Wilmington. And his car, even though he was asking the pharmacist -- excuse me, the garage attendant, "Hey, I can`t find my parking ticket," his car was somewhere else, which would indicate to me he was seriously confused.

HONOWITZ: Well, we know he was seriously confused. We have the confirmation of that from some of the witnesses.

But I think we are all now speculating. There are rumors, like Susan said, all over the place. We`re not going to really know anything until some reports, you know, come to fruition, until we got the tox report.

I`m sure if somebody asked him if he was on alcohol, if he was taking anything, that she thought seeing him had face-to-face there was a problem. But again was it drugs? Was it a stroke? Was it dementia?

All of this is part of the investigation. We can`t expect it to get done so quickly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think dementia happens overnight.

HONOWITZ: I`m not saying that. I`m not saying that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think if he had dementia, people would have an idea, Mike Brooks, that he was getting that.

HONOWITZ: But that`s what they`re doing, Jane. They`re probably asking friends, family members, co-workers.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand that, but I don`t think it was dementia. Go ahead, Mike Brooks.

BROOKS: One of the things they`re going to be looking at, Jane, is because this is about five miles, this Newark landfill was about five miles from where he was seen downtown.

So one of the things they`re going to look: where he was found, all the trash around him, where did it come from? Did it come from the same truck? That would give them some idea of where he was last before he came to that landfill. That`s going to be very, very important.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... right about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I just find it very, very interesting that he wanted to go to Wilmington, and he did not take his own car. Did he take - - it`s fascinating to me that he asked the pharmacist for a ride to Wilmington. Why?

BROOKS: A lot of different pieces to the puzzle they have to put together.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why wouldn`t he just take a cab if he couldn`t find his car? Got to leave it right there.

A 24-year-old model allegedly sets up a fake casting call so she can kidnap a baby? We`re going to talk to her lawyer next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY BATASAR, MICHELLE GOPAUL`S ATTORNEY: She`s in jail. Obviously she`s upset. The family is doing the best they can. They`re here. These are traumatic circumstances and we`ll deal with what we have to deal with in due course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, a beautiful, aspiring young model accused of kidnapping a newborn baby after cooking up a phony casting call for kids. Twenty-four-year-old Michelle Gopaul is sitting in a Toronto jail right now. Police say the New York City native placed ads on Craigslist offering $15,000 grand for a newborn to appear in a Bollywood film. Several unsuspecting couples took the bait and came in with their babies.

Now here`s the suspect Michelle in a rehearsal video from YouTube. Check her out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE GOPAUL, ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING BABY: Hi, guys. This is me, Michelle Gopaul. How are you guys doing? We just finished rehearsal and everything came out great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the Battelles (ph) brought their 1-month-old daughter to an office building in order to meet Michelle. They believed she was a casting agent. Police say Michelle took the baby into her arms and into a private room and then walked out the back door, got into a taxi and sped off.

After a couple of minutes the parents got concerned. They went into the room; they discovered that their precious daughter was gone.

Now, this story could have had a truly horrific ending. Incredibly, after a frantic four-hour search, the baby girl was found unhurt and Michelle was arrested.

So what on earth was Michelle thinking? What was she planning with this alleged bizarre and twisted hoax? And why did she tell friends she was pregnant months ago and why did she even register for baby shower gifts?

Straight out to Dylan Howard, senior executive producer for radar online; Dylan, what`s the latest in this unbelievably twisted kidnapping story?

DYLAN HOWARD, SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, RADARONLINE: Well, Jane, Michelle Gopaul is tonight behind bars in a Canadian jail without bail as a portrait emerges about what took place. Now, here we have a wannabe actress and model, someone who was searching for fame, someone who clearly was disturbed in some capacity, and someone who clearly wanted a child. So much so she set up these fake casting calls, posted ads on Craigslist, and enticed people to a particular casting call.

One family went there, lo and behold, she slipped out a back door and now she has so many questions to answer, as everyone universally is just shaking their head saying, "What?"

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Gary Batasar, you`re the attorney for the suspect Michelle Gopaul. You`re joining us by phone, sir, I understand?

BATASAR (via telephone): Yes, that`s correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s your explanation? Cops are saying she set up an elaborate fake casting call and lured about a dozen couples in with babies and took one of the children, a one-month-old girl, just took off with her. What`s her explanation?

BATASAR: Well, I`m sure you understand that, given the nature of the case, it`s a criminal matter at the very beginning stages and it`s difficult to make any comment on it. As far as we`re concerned, at this point, our client is presumed innocent and we have yet to see any of the allegations in court. I know much of it has been in the media and it`s quite a sensational case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, is there any possible explanation for her behavior? I mean, we have -- we`ve seen that she registered on BabiesRUs.com.

BATASAR: Right. It`s difficult for me to make a comment because quite frankly I haven`t been presented with any of the evidence --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, what can you say in her defense? I mean you called us, you said you wanted to appear, you wanted to talk. We want to be fair. Say something. Anything.

BATASAR: No. You guys called me for the interview. And I told -- I told your producer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Fine.

BATASAR: Innocent until proven guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. But beyond that, can you confirm or deny that she may have had any emotional problems? I mean, look, if somebody is emotionally disturbed we can have compassion for them, even though they allegedly did something terrible that put a child in danger and terrified some parents. We`re just trying to understand what has she told you?

BATASAR: I think you have compassion for people who are presumed innocent and the courts will decide if they`re guilty or not, to be quite frank. There`s no evidence at this point that she did anything wrong. I`m waiting for the evidence.

She`s been arrested. She`s in jail. And we`re in court next week on this matter.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So, you`re not going to say, that oh, she accidentally took this child into the cab because she thought I want to see how the child`s acting skills are on the street or anything. You`re not giving us that explanation.

BATASAR: Well, come on. That is ridiculous. Those are allegations. Nothing has been proven in court, yet. So let`s wait until the court hearing. Then we can have some discussion about exactly what the evidence is. If that comes to the --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Michelle`s friends say a few months ago she pretended to be pregnant. We even found her gift registry on babiesrus.com. She posted this. "It`s a girl. Can`t wait until my little 49 princess Valentina arrives." Now, Michelle listed her due date as October 10, 2010.

Dr. Robi Ludwig, what psychological reasons would push a woman to fake a pregnancy? Obviously if you want a baby there`s tons of legitimate ways to go about it. There`s adoption, fostering, yada yada.

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, here`s where this woman is different. With infant abductions, very often it`s a woman who is pretending to be pregnant to either capture or keep a boyfriend or because they`ve lied to a husband. But it`s not so typical that it`s a woman who is single.

So this is where this woman is a little bit unusual in terms of looking at the grouping of people who have done this kind of thing. So she might have been feeling desperate, a real need to be loved. Often these women live a lie prior to abducting the child.

And who knows? Maybe in her disturbed mind, assuming that she did this, she looked at all these famous Hollywood actresses who are successful and they seem to have kids on their own and it was part of the whole package of who they were and who they are. So, perhaps she linked the two in her mind.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, according to wire copy we have here, Michelle was never married. She had no children. And there was no bad breakup with a boyfriend. One of her friends said she was happy. So I don`t really get it.

But here`s my big issue -- casting doubt. While there are many honorable casting agents out there and I`ve worked with some of them, the casting world is notorious for hoaxsters who take advantage of people`s desire to get into showbiz, which can be intense. Now often, the phrase "aspiring models, actresses", we all know about the infamous casting couch. It can take on many variations.

However, this time, if cops are right, it would appear that the targets were stage parents, very eager, maybe even desperate to get their kids into the movies. So I would like to know, how did this seemingly naive young woman dupe so many people into thinking she was a legitimate casting agent? Because let`s face it, Mike Brooks, real casting agents don`t advertise on Craigslist.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No. You know, they advertise a lot of different places, Jane. But what is the bottom line with most people? It`s the bottom line. They`re out there to try to make some money, get their kids out there.

But when you look at this young woman, she definitely has to have some kind of altered mental status. I agree with Robi. It`s not like she also -- one of the other times you see abductions of children, if someone had a miscarriage, was expecting to have a baby. Not anything at all in this young woman`s past. So I`ve got to think that she has some -- some kind altered mental status that led her to do this, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Carmen, Pennsylvania, your question or thought, ma`am.

CARMEN PENNSYLVANIA: Yes. How was this woman able to take this child? Like where was the parents at? Like how did this sick woman -- was able to take this baby? What is going on with society now?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dylan Howard, how exactly was she able to get her hands allegedly on this infant? And we believe we are seeing the video of the infant that was taken.

Well, as we understand it, this is what occurred. The parents split up, one parent remaining outside in the car, another parent was inside this audition hall where the woman had rented this space to hold these auditions. She took the child into a back room where the audition took place while the father was outside. She slipped out the back door.

The father went into the office and lo and behold there the baby stroller was there without the child in it. The woman had fled out the back door. It was as simple as the father somewhat taking his eyes off his child, allowing the child to avoid being in the line of sight at all times.

And the sad irony of all this is, if the woman -- if these allegations are proved to be true, the woman, believe it or not, is probably never, if she does have health reasons, is never going to be able to have a child again because if she has health reasons that prevent her from having a child, no one is going to let her adopt and certainly most people around her would be suggesting --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she could also do some serious time for abduction if she he is convicted. That`s why I wonder, back to the attorney, if it turns out that cops have a good case, is there a possibility she might plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

BATASAR: Well, there`s no, as you said, all accounts show that she`s a happy person coming from a respectable family. There`s no evidence whatsoever of any issues in her past. And quite frankly I`ve not been presented with anything. If the evidence comes to fruition, then we`ll discuss it at that point.

But it`s very early. Some of the information we`re hearing I heard in your report thus far is incorrect, but --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, correct us. Correct us.

BATASAR: I wouldn`t correct you, but it`s in the media. And quite frankly, a lot of things are on YouTube and MySpace aren`t necessarily true, surprise, surprise.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve got the video of her on YouTube. And the video speaks for itself. We`re not -- we`re just playing it. All right. I thank you Gary. Come back anytime. We have more information you want to -- we want to be fair to your client.

Now, up next --

(CROSS TALK)

BATASAR: I appreciate that Jane. I appreciate that, thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely.

Major developments in the growing search for a 16-year-old girl who vanished in Baltimore.

Many of us have made a resolution to get fit in the New Year, but we`re going to talk to the husband of one woman who decided to get liposuction and ended up dead.

This is a very frightening story, and the husband is just devastated. We`re going to talk to him about this plastic surgery nightmare next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPENCER ARONFELD, ATTORNEY FOR VICTIM`S FAMILY: We don`t know yet whether it was caused by human error or a complication or by malpractice. Her New Year`s resolution was to simply look better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A plastic surgery procedure goes horribly wrong. That, in a minute.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANICE SALLIS, MISSING GIRL`S MOTHER: It`s like constant labor pains without the birth over and over and over again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That mother living a nightmare as we speak. Just days ago we told you about her missing 16-year-old daughter. Felicia Barnes vanished three days after Christmas while visiting her sister in Baltimore.

Now the FBI is joining in the intense investigation into this girl`s disappearance. Detectives suspect foul play. They`ve put up billboards in fear that she may have been abducted and taken out of state.

I am thrilled that law enforcement is putting all resources towards finding this girl whose holiday vacation with her family turned into hell for her entire family. We pray she is found alive and ok.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARONFELD: People are not supposed to die undergoing plastic surgery and they`re certainly not supposed to die undergoing an elective cosmetic procedure as simple as this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a plastic surgery nightmare. A heartbroken husband says his healthy young wife died searching for beauty. But to him she was already so beautiful. It was supposed to be a New Year`s gift to herself.

Now instead of celebrating this woman`s family is planning her funeral; 35-year-old Lidvian Zelaya (ph) wanted liposuction in her stomach. Then she wanted the fat they took from her tummy moved into her backside.

Now, she went to the same facility that had already successfully given her breast implants. She wanted the perfect body. Instead, she lost her life. And now her heartbroken family is furious. They are -- they`re devastated and they`re seeking justice.

All of this, of course, raises new questions about liposuction in general -- liposuction. This woman, not the first to die during this type of plastic surgery and it`s also forcing a new look at those plastic surgery shows like E`s "Bridalplasty".

Now some critics say it encourages unnecessary plastic surgery. Shows like this profile beautiful young women competing for the very chance to get plastic surgery. The tag line, "The only show where the winner gets cut."

Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like starting a new life with a brand new everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want this body fixed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sunday`s on E! these brides will fight each other to win the ultimate celebrity dream wedding and their perfect dream body in the only competition --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just made me look like a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) liar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where the winner gets cut.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to leave with your eye open --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are we as a society feeding addiction to surgery and/or food by encouraging young women who want to change their bodies to solve their problems with a knife?

Straight out to my guest Ozvaldo Vargas and he is the husband of this young woman. Ozvaldo, we are so sorry for your loss. Tell us what`s in your heart right now. What are you going through personally? What are your feelings?

OZVALDO VARGAS, WIFE DIED AFTER PLASTIC SURGERY: I`m feeling terrible, terrible. Oh, my God, yes. I feel terrible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to say that we tried to get through to the attorney for the facility that actually performed the procedure on your wife. The line was busy, but the lawyer represents that facility told AOL News quote, "Because of federal privacy laws I can`t even confirm that she was a patient here. Until there`s a medical examiner report, anything that anyone says is pure speculation. Now, we`ll respond to any questions once this veil of privacy has been lifted," end quote.

The facility is invited on the show anytime to tell their side of the story. But I want to go to Ozvaldo`s attorney Spencer Aronfeld. What did the doctor who performed this surgery tell this family about what went wrong, sir?

SPENCER ARONFELD, ATTORNEY FOR VICTIM`S FAMILY: Well, Jane, that`s part of the problem. The doctor has never spoken to the family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What?

ARONFELD: Mr. Ozvaldo, I should say was only told that his wife was having some very serious medical complications as a result of the procedure and he needed to rush immediately to the emergency room of a local hospital, which ironically the doctor who performed this procedure had had his privileges revoked at this very hospital last year.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh.

ARONFELD: By the time he got to the emergency room, the emergency room, the emergency doctor came and told Ozvaldo the very sad news that his wife had passed away.

So she survived long enough to get from the clinic to the ER but she died moments after she got to the ER. And the doctor who supposedly performed this procedure and one of the reasons I say supposedly is because this clinic has still failed to provide the medical records to this family that would explain what happened, has never reached out to the family, has never reached out to this husband or to her father or mother to explain what happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is unbelievable. You have not, Ozvaldo, gotten any call from the facility at all? Sir, Ozvaldo.

VARGAS: No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well -- go ahead.

ARONFELD: In fact, Ozvaldo went to the facility to try to get a copy of the records and they refused to provide him with the records. I have spoken with the attorney for -- for the clinic, and he and I actually have many pending cases with each other, not even involving this clinic, and that lawyer has yet to receive the records.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this has to be a wake-up call. Lidvian was not the first woman to die from this simple elective surgery. Rap superstar Kanye West`s mom Donda (ph) you may remember this, in 2007 she died after multiple procedures, including a breast reduction and a tummy tuck. Former Miss Argentina died after getting a very similar procedure to the one Lidvian was having. She was having butt cheek implants.

Dr. Anthony Youn, you`re a plastic surgeon. What is the danger of liposuction? Is it high risk?

DR. ANTHONY YOUN, PLASTIC SURGEON: Well, overall liposuction if done conservatively by a well-trained plastic surgeon is a very safe procedure. And I do this almost every day and God forbid I`ve never had anything like this happen before.

That being said, people do need to realize that plastic surgery is serious. When people ask me, Dr. Youn, what`s the worst thing that can happen if you operate on me? I tell them, you can die, and then we go from there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to wonder why she wanted this procedure, Ozvaldo, she is beautiful. You thought she was perfect. You loved her. Why did she want to take fat out of her stomach and put it in her buttocks?

VARGAS: I don`t know. You know what? I don`t understand a woman --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: I recommend to all the people -- all the people who want to get a surgery, please investigate it first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight a healthy vivacious 35-year-old woman dies after getting liposuction. Now her heartbroken devastated husband is seeking answers and justice. And he is here on ISSUES tonight.

But I`m going to go to Dr. Anthony Youn, plastic surgeon, what again -- I want to know -- what are the dangers of liposuction. You`re taking fat out of your stomach and you`re pumping it into somewhere else, in this case the buttocks. What is the biggest risk there?

DR. YOUN: Well, there are risks with anesthesia. So a lot of liposuction is done under a general anesthetic. And so the person needs to be healthy, their heart needs to be health to undergo that.

Depending on how much liposuction is done, it can be a very mild outpatient procedure. Or if it`s done very aggressively, where you take five, six, even seven liters out of somebody and then re-inject into the buttocks, you can get severe bleeding, you can get fat embolism or clots that go to the brain or to the lungs.

So this is something that obviously people need to take very seriously, and make sure you know where you`re having it done at. I do my plastic surgery at Beaumont Hospital. It`s a real hospital. And I tell my patients, you can`t get any safer than that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, don`t go to a strip mall to get --

DR. YOUN: If you get it done at a strip mall, be careful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly.

Ozvaldo, how was your wife`s health before this surgery? Was she healthy and was she taking any medication?

VARGAS: No, she was in good condition. She was in good health. She going to run, she going to the gym; she was in perfect condition.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue tonight, do these shortcuts work? This woman didn`t appear to have a weight problem. The women who choose lipo or other procedures like gastric bypass, they are overweight and they`re seeking a quick, easy fix.

Surgery doesn`t obviously doesn`t solve the deeper-rooted issues of why people over eat and many of them gain the weight back. Take a look at Carnie Wilson. The Wilson Phillips singer famously underwent gastric bypass surgery. She lost 150 pounds in 16 months but guess what she gained it all back.

Spencer Aronfeld, I know that you`re covering the specific issue, but is this a wakeup call to women everywhere who think they can pop in and have a quick procedure and be done with it?

ARONFELD: Well, it shouldn`t be just for women, Jane. We have a lot of clients who unfortunately are men as well, that are feeling the pressure to look their best, to look younger, to compete in the job market.

Down here in south Florida, we have a lot of immigrants from foreign countries who want to compete and fit in. And there`s a lot of flesh that`s shown on the streets of Miami. And people should understand that plastic surgery is dangerous and when it`s done by people who don`t know what they`re doing in facilities that are not in hospitals, like where Dr. Youn practices, you are putting literally your life in their hands.

And I think the sad situation is that this family did not have access to information about this clinic or about this surgeon. And I guarantee you that had they known more about him, and known more about this clinic, they would have never undergone this procedure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I have to say, this is a warning to everyone. And we all need to remember that happiness is an inside job and also, the solution to problems is an inside job. Find out why you want to change as opposed to just undergoing the knife.

My condolences, Ozvaldo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END