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Mother Drives Children into River; Kobe Bryant Apologizes for Gay Slur

Aired April 13, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, why would a mother kill herself and her babies? Cops say a young mom intentionally drives her van packed with her four precious kids off a bridge into the Hudson River. Her 10-year-old son miraculously escapes the sinking car, races for help, but it`s too late for his little brothers and sister. What set this mother off?

And did basketball superstar Kobe Bryant mouth a homophobic slur during a game last night? After Kobe got a technical foul, he appeared to spew anti-gay hate speech at the ref. If so, isn`t this the same kind of bullying language we`re begging our own kids not to use?

Also, outrageous twists and turns in the Long Island serial killer case. Sources now say along with several female prostitutes, one set of remains is actually male. Did the psychopath change his M.O.? Or is there more than one killer?

Plus, nationwide outrage. Shocking video of a 6-year-old girl being patted down by airport security. Tonight, reports they may have even drug tested this child. Her parents are outraged, saying it goes way too far. So what do you think? I`m taking your calls.

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would not have imagined her to do this to her kids, to them little babies. I wouldn`t have imagined. And I just found out about this today, what happened. I`m in shock.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news, mind-boggling horror. Cops say a 25- year-old mom piles her children into her minivan and drives them straight into the river.

Tonight, three precious children and the mom herself dead. The little baby you`re looking at, dead.

Cops say Lashandra Armstrong purposely sank the car full of kids into the Hudson River after an apparent argument with her husband. Was this incomprehensible act some kind of revenge against the father of her children, or some twisted notion that she was somehow protecting the children from violence?

Three innocent children drowned, two of the couple`s boys, ages 2 and 5, plus an 11-month-old baby girl. Miraculously, 10-year-old Lashaun, who has a different father, managed to crawl out of the sinking car and even run for help. Listen to this.


MICHAEL VATTER, NEW YORK CITY FIRE CHIEF: The young man, who was soaking wet, was Lashaun Armstrong and was a passenger in the car and escaped after the car went into the water.

MICHAEL FERRARA, NEWBURGH, NEW YORK, POLICE CHIEF: He climbed out of the water. The water -- the vehicle was out in the river at that time. And he swam -- swam to shore. He made he was to the fire department.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This nightmare unfolded just six blocks from the family`s home in Newburgh, New York. Cops say the mom drove her minivan right off a boat dock and ending up 25 feet into the freezing cold water.

Divers found the four bodies inside the van under the water. Again, 25 yards from the shore. Did you see that teddy bear floating on the water?

The terror for these children absolutely unimaginable. What kind of nightmares will this brave 10-year-old who escaped have for the rest of his life? And what made this mother -- we`re going to show you. There she is in a photo from with her children. I assume that the older boy is the 10-year-old who got out, but we don`t know. We`re going to find out more from a reporter on the scene.

What made this woman do this unthinkable, unthinkable act? We`ve got an expert lined up on this story. HLN`s own Dr. Drew, he`s going to give us an analysis. How do we -- how do we understand the unthinkable? He`s going to give us insight into why mothers do kid -- kill their kids. And he`s going to be able to show us some of the warning signs. When should a neighbor or family member call the cops to prevent a tragedy like this one?

Now taking your calls. What are your thoughts? Give me a call on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

First, straight out to CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick, live on location in Newburgh, New York. Deborah, what is the latest on the domestic dispute that reportedly sparked this absolutely incomprehensible act?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That`s exactly what police are investigating, Jane, right at this hour. They did question the father, the father of the three youngest children, who died in that fatal car crash into that river, which is just here over my shoulder.

What we can tell you is that about 24 hours ago, police were called to the apartment, responding to a domestic -- some sort of domestic disturbance. A relative had called police to let them know that something was going on. When police arrived at the apartment, nobody was home. The apartment was empty.

Moments later, we are learning that the boy had -- was crawling out of the river. He was soaked. He was able to get out of the car, swim to shore. A passerby saw him, took him to the local firehouse, and that`s when the firefighters came to this location. It took them almost an hour to find the car. The police chief today saying that, had the boy not been an eyewitness to this crime, that that family could have been missing indeterminately. The car was under 8 feet of water 25 yards out from the shoreline.

Right now, police looking into what caused it, but it does appear that the mother was having some problems. She removed the children from school midday yesterday, much earlier than usual. She had taken the father off of a list allowing him to pick up the children from that daycare.

We`re also told that she was changing the locks on her doors. She had changed the doors twice in a six-month period. So there were things that were going on, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And as you mentioned, there is a young hero in this story. Ten-year-old Lashaun, the oldest child, was also inside that minivan when it hit the water, but he managed to escape. Listen to what a neighbor said about this extraordinary little boy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Smart, polite, respectful. And what he did, it didn`t surprise me. It didn`t surprise me that he got out of the car and went to the firefighters, whatever he did. It didn`t surprise me, because he was so responsible with his little brothers.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, cops say it appears this 10-year- old boy, after the vehicle hits the water, manages to lower the driver`s side window and climb out of the sinking van. Sopping wet, he runs for help, and thankfully, he made it to a fire station.

Now we have with us tonight Michael Vatter, who`s a chief of the Newburgh Fire Department.

Sir, thank you for joining us. I know this is horrific for everyone in that community. What can you tell us about this little boy when he arrives at the fire station?

VATTER: When young Lashaun arrived at the fire station, he was soaking wet with river water. The river at this time of the year is probably about 45 degrees, so he was suffering from hypothermia. He`s absolutely beside himself. Understandably so. And he`s telling my dispatcher, you know, "Help my mommy, help my mommy."

And with the help of a passerby, we identified the location as the boat launch just two blocks from the firehouse. At that point, the fire department responded and notified the police department of a possible vehicle in the river with people trapped, and rescue operations commenced immediately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course, the first question that everybody asks in the wake of a horror like this is why? Well, here`s what cops say about what a relative told them. Listen to this.


FERRARA: They believe Lashandra was involved in a domestic incident with the father of three of her four children at 53 Williams Street in the city of Newburgh. They believe it was based on a phone call that the relative received where they stated that they heard tussling in the background, but also a history of domestic problems in the past.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. Could this have been a revenge killing, given that she just had a fight with the father of the three children who died? Could the mom have been carrying out the ultimate form of revenge?

Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of "DR. DREW" right here on HLN every night, 9 p.m., we`re so happy that you`re here to give us some insight, because it`s incomprehensible to most of us.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, "DR. DREW": It is incomprehensible. It is. And Jane, on my program to follow, we are bringing a Harvard faculty psychiatrist who analyzed this case, and I will -- having spoken to him a little bit already, I will tell you, and it`s certainly been my experience, as well, these are not normal behaviors. These are not revenge behaviors. These are not rational behaviors.

These, almost without exception, in my experience, are women in a psychotic state. And by psychosis, I mean they are disconnected from reality. Either a depressive psychosis or a postpartum psychosis, as so many of the nefarious cases have been. Remember the one down in Texas where the woman killed her kids in the bathtub. These were people who had chronic mental illness or acute mental illness who flipped into a psychotic state.

It`s not as though domestic violence leads to women killing their children. That just -- that`s not sort of part of the thinking typically. Chronic stress can cause somebody eventually to flip into this state and, of course, domestic violence can be part of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Drew, can I jump in with the chronic stress, because to have four children and to be fighting with the father of three of the children, that spells chronic stress to me if you`re a 25-year-old mother.

PINSKY: Absolutely. Absolutely. But remember, this -- this is what I want my viewers to know when I do my show tonight, which is this is a medical illness. This is symptoms of a medical illness, mental illness with psychosis. These things can be prevented if people are aware of the signs and when they trust their gut and they call for help in time.

The fact is that it`s not as though somebody that does this kind of thing is in their right mind. They`re in a disturbed, distorted, medically-distorted case -- medically-distorted condition that has a treatment, if you can get there in time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we are just getting started. We`re going to have more on this mother and three precious, innocent, innocent, innocent lives gone.

Imagine the horror of knowing -- that 10-year-old child who survived, knowing that mom, for some reason, drove all of them into the water. Imagine what that kid is going through and what that kid will go through for the rest of his life.

We`re taking your calls. They`re piling up on the other side: 1-877- JVM-SAYS.

And later, could one of the Long Island serial killer`s victims be a male? And, if so, how does that fit in?

But first, why would a mother kill herself and her three kids?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know what was going through her mind, what possessed her to do that, but it had to be something for her to do what she did. Because I just can`t understand it. I`m shocked. I can`t believe it.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was very quiet but, I mean, she didn`t bother anybody. She would sit outside and -- nothing that we would expect of this. I would never have expected her to do something like this, especially to her kids.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, what drove a mother to pile her four children into the family`s minivan and head straight for the river? A shockingly sad question in the wake of four drownings. Yes, the mom drowned, and three of her four young children drowned. Heroically, the 10- year-old, the oldest child managed to get out of the vehicle, and he ran for help, but it was too late.

Mara, Indiana, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. My comment is, this mom was 25 years old, and she had a 10-year-old child, which means she`d been having babies since she was 15. No 15-year-old is equipped to parent. Was social services in any way involved the family and, if not, why not?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Deborah Feyerick, you`re there on the scene. What do you know about this mom?

FEYERICK: Well, we spoke to the aunt. The aunt was here. She came down to the water to mourn. She was grief stricken, could not believe that her niece had actually driven the car into the water. She said -- the one thing she said is "You don`t know what she was going through. She was a good mother. She was a loving mother."

By all accounts, everyone we spoke to today, this was completely out of character, because Lashandra Armstrong was described as loving, polite and very attentive, watchful, but she was also very quiet, very withdrawn. A lot of people didn`t know what her business was, what she was doing. She was also a working mom. That`s another thing. So she had that stress.

But the people of the daycare say that when she went to pick up the children, she really looked out of it. She just -- there was something strange about her. She just didn`t look like she normally looked. She looked like she was under a great deal of pressure. And one of the people there at the daycare said, "Look, if you need to call us, call. We will come, and we will help you."

So clearly there was a lot going on in her mind, but Dr. Drew said, she wasn`t -- she may not have been in her right mind, because there seemed to be a lot going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And very quickly, where was the father? OK. They have a fight. A neighbor calls 911. The cops go there. By the time they get to the house, the mom and the kids have cleared out. But what about the dad? Where was the dad in all this?

FEYERICK: Well, the one thing we do know is that police were able to really get a handle on him very, very quickly in order to question him. What we don`t know, he was not at the apartment when they arrived, and clearly, he was not in the minivan when this all happened. The police did narrow in on him pretty quickly to question him, because they`re trying to figure out exactly what triggered this tragedy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And Michael Vatter, chief of the Newburgh Fire Department, how are we so absolutely sure she did this on purpose? Is it because the vehicle was 25 feet into the water, indicating perhaps that she hit the accelerator, otherwise it wouldn`t have gone that far in?

VATTER: Right now, Jane, it`s you know, conjecture, but everything suggests that it, you know, was some form of an intentional act to get that car, you know, 75 feet out into the Hudson River.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Seventy-five? OK.

VATTER: Yes. About 25 yards, 75 feet.


VATTER: You know, it didn`t just roll down the ramp. You know, it just didn`t roll down the ramp.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the little boy, did he indicate anything, like "Mommy was mad, Mommy" -- did he say anything about what was happening in the moments leading up to this?

VATTER: No, he really didn`t. He was -- when he was at the firehouse, he was just concerned about his mom, concerned about his siblings, and wanted us to, you know, go help him. But he was also frightened, very, very frightened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my goodness.

VATTER: And didn`t want to go back down there.


Dr. Drew Pinsky, it breaks my heart thinking about this poor little boy who survived and the psychological impact on this child. I mean, the nightmares.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: To have to leave your drowning mother and siblings and crawl out of a window and then race to get help and not get there in time, what kind of guilt -- let`s say survivor`s guilt, irrational guilt? I mean, the kid is a hero, but tell me.

PINSKY: Yes. There is no telling what the psychological impact can be. As you said, there can be survivor`s guilt. There can be tremendous and varied psychological responses.

But let`s talk about the neurobiological responses. This kind of an experience shatters a young brain`s ability to tolerate the emotions. It literally reaches the upper limits of what can be tolerated and then goes beyond it, and that breeds chronic, chronic issues, such as you can pretty much guarantee he`s going to have some sort of posttraumatic stress disorder. He`s going to have behavioral disturbances. He`s going to have difficulty forming relationships. He is going to have difficulty for a long time. And without a lot of support and a lot of help, it`s not going to be a happy life for this young man.

And God only knows what he was dealing with that led up to this. So again, he is already at risk for mental health issues just by virtue of being in a family system where there`s a teen parent and domestic violence.

But let`s remember, though, it`s not as if every teen parent and every domestic violence situation is going to lead to a situation like this. As you heard, this was a woman that didn`t reach out for help, and that can be one of the sources of the stress. She didn`t have resources available to her, and she snapped.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I just hope somebody tells this kid he`s a hero for trying to help.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Tonight at 9, Dr. Drew digs deeper into what could make a mother so desperate to kill.

And coming up next...



KOBE BRYANT, PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: I`m so sorry that I had to put you through this and having to put our family through this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Kobe Bryant has something else to apologize for. It`s downright inexcusable and downright offensive.

The NBA superstar was caught on camera appearing to make a homophobic slur after he was slapped with his fourth foul during the third quarter of the Lakers game last night.

Now, we`ve blurred the video of his mouth, but he reportedly says, "f`ing bleep," the demeaning "F" word people use against gays. In fact, it was so shocking the announcer suggested cutting the camera away from Kobe, because there were kids watching.

Kobe issued an apology. Quote, "What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone," end quote.

Meantime, NBA fining him 100,000 bucks.

ISSUES reached out to the Lakers, did not hear back.

Joining me now, L.Z. Granderson, contributor for, senior writer for ESPN.

L.Z., you wrote a piece for ESPN about this incident. Your thoughts?

L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN.COM CONTRIBUTOR: You know, first of all, I have to tell you, Jane, his apology actually wasn`t an apology. He never said, "I`m sorry." He never actually said he regretted saying the word. He explained why he said the word. So the story for me just gets even more and more rich about his psyche, how he feels.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now he is appealing the $100,000 fine. So you take a kind of lukewarm apology, and you add an appeal to the fine. This guy can afford 100 grand the way other people spend lunch money. What kind of message does that really send about where his head is really at, vis-a- vis this issue?

GRANDERSON: Well, we already know that Kobe Bryant is one of the more arrogant egomaniacs in the league. So it doesn`t really surprise me that he was find the fine unjustifiable.

But this -- his statement is so rich. I mean, to say that he didn`t mean to offend anybody is absolutely ridiculous. I`ve never heard that phrase used in that situation as a compliment.

Of course, he meant to offend at least one person and offended many people in that phrase and not just people in the GLBT community. I mean, there are straight people who are also offended by what he said. So he really has disconnected with the severity of what he said and the ramifications of what he said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: L.Z., the reason -- one of the many reasons why this is so offensive and dangerous is because these are the kinds of insults that are traded in school yards that are making some kids depressed and downright suicidal, and we`ve seen instances of that.

And when there are tragedies where kids take their own lives, the adults get out and say, "Please, let`s stop our kids from using homophobic slurs." But if they are seeing it from the superstars, what kind of message does that send about homophobic slurs?

GRANDERSON: Well, I tell you what: one thing I am happy to see, not only did the NBA fine Kobe $100,000, but weeks prior I learned that they were working with Glisson (ph) to have PSAs with some of the league stars to address bullying in general and homophobic slurs being used in bullying specifically. So the league has been aware of this and is trying to use his talent to combat this -- this tragic, I guess, oversight in terms of the way these -- these slurs being used in our culture. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. L.Z., got to wrap it up. Love seeing you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Outrageous twists and turns in the Long Island serial killer case. Sources now say, along with several female prostitutes, one set of remains is actually male. Did the psychopath change his MO or is there more than one killer?

Plus nationwide outrage: shocking video of a 6-year-old girl being patted down by airport security. Tonight, reports they may have even drug- tested this child. Her parents are outraged saying it goes way too far. So what do you think? I`m taking your calls.


RICHARD DORMER, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: This is a very disturbing type of incident. You know, eight bodies plus two in Nassau County possibly; very disturbing and, you know, people should be concerned.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The body count keeps climbing in the Long Island serial killer case; a murderer targeting female prostitutes. Now in a jaw- dropping twist, reports are surfacing that two more possible victims dumped on Long Island could be a man and a baby. How does that make any sense?

These startling new developments have everybody wondering, shaking their heads, scratching their heads. Is more than one serial killer at work here or if one serial killer has simply decided to break his pattern? Oh my gosh.

Here`s what police have to say about all of this today.


DORMER: We`re certainly looking at that. We have an open mind on the investigation. That`s the way that you do a case like this.

So we`re looking at all aspects of this, all possibilities.



Tonight, cops frantically expanding their search. They are scouring the skies and the seas for more possible victims. There`s a huge pond out there, there`s the ocean; there`s so many places to look. This as a new controversy has erupted.

Did cops wait four long months before talking to a key eyewitness in the case of missing prostitute Shannon Gilbert? The disappearance of that woman is what really sparked this entire hunt.

Now one resident is saying when cops finally came to question him, he turned around and asked them, what the heck took you so long? How many more bodies will they uncover in this den of death? Will one finally be missing prostitute Shannon Gilbert? And are we hunting down two or more cold blooded serial killers on Long Island?

Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to Jon Lieberman, host of "True Facts with Jon Lieberman", investigative reporter for John, what is the very latest tonight?

JON LIEBERMAN, HOST, "TRUE FACTS WITH JON LIEBERMAN": Well, I`ll tell you, Jane police are getting frustrated because there is a lot of misinformation out there as well.

So let`s start with the facts. As we first reported on your program two nights ago, Jane, the body count is up to ten. Ten sets of remains have been recovered out there, both in Nassau and Suffolk County. The only bit of confusion is police are not sure if they have nine people or ten people because they are not sure if the latest find, the skull and the bones, belong to the same person or different people.

At this point, and as we reported two nights ago, they are gearing towards that these are ten victims that these bones belong to separate people. That`s the first thing.

Second thing is, as we told you last week, Jane, the FBI is involved but now the FBI is not only involved in a behavioral aspect doing a sketch of what this serial killer could look like, the profile, but now they are also lending high-tech aerial surveillance to this investigation because, Jane, here`s the thing. Police truly believe they will find more bodies.


LIEBERMAN: That`s why they are bringing the FBI in. They have the infrared technology on helicopters and planes that can really help police identify remains here.

Now, to your point that there could be more than one killer that is something that police are looking at but they are not sure if there is one active serial killer and that some of these remains could actually be linked to serial killers of the past.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I`m going to get to that right now. New reports tonight that one of the bodies just found on Long Island have been there significantly longer than the others, something like several years. That`s causing speculation that another notorious serial killer from the past could be responsible for that particular body.

This creep, see this guy with the mustache over there, Joel Rifkin, he confessed to killing 17 prostitutes -- that`s right, 17 in 1993 and dumping their bodies on Long Island, same general area we`re talking about here. Three of his victims were never found.

But Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, what`s the likelihood that two serial killers just oh, by coincidence, are using the same dumping ground, two serial killers that also target prostitutes?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jane, Joel Rifkin, goes back to the `90s, to the early to mid-`90s and they`re saying that at least the remains had plank growth growing up through the remains that they found. And those remains were apparently right off the highway. And that was kind of Joel Rifkin`s MO, if you will.

But early on they said that they thought it was a single person but you can`t rule anything out here, Jane, until you find out who the identity of all these remains belong to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Joyce, Ohio, your question or thought, ma`am.

JOYCE, OHIO (via telephone): Jane?


JOYCE: Oh my God, it`s Jane Velez-Mitchell. I watch you every night.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so glad that you do. What`s your question or thought, Joyce?

JOYCE: Ok. I want to know, when this ladies first started missing last year summer, I believe I heard last year summer four ladies were missing and that, I believe they`re prostitutes?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they have gone missing at different times. One woman was missing in June. One woman was missing in September. One woman was missing last May.

In fact, let`s go to that case in May, right before prostitute Shannon Gilbert went missing in this very same area of Long Island last May. One resident said she actually ran up to his door and begged him for help. He immediately calls 911. Cops get there 45 minutes later but at that point she`s gone and he`s complaining now that they didn`t question him about that incident until four months later.

Here`s what cops had to say about that apparent delay today.


DORMER: I have no idea when the detective talked about that you`re talking about.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Debra Opri, criminal defense attorney, no idea? I mean, this is obviously the linchpin, this woman who disappeared who is a prostitute who`s running around in May screaming help me, help me, and disappears before cops get there. How could he have no idea what this question is about?

DEBRA OPRI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, shoddy and irresponsible. My opinion is that we`ve got to do something in a regulatory way with Craigslist. These girls cannot get out there and do this because women`s rights are becoming women`s victims to these situations and --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you talking about, women`s rights?

OPRI: Listen to me. Listen. Women`s rights --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This has nothing to do with women`s rights.

OPRI: No, no. Jane, women have got to protect themselves. They have a right for that protection. And we should do regulatory actions here to stop Craigslist from allowing this kind of advertisement. This is a long stretch of beach. It`s a big dumping ground. Do you think there`s only one killer out there?

This is becoming a feeding ground for people with criminal conduct and intent and these women are setting themselves up as targets. The police should have actually been out there within hours. Four-month delays? It`s ridiculous.

The woman who went banging on that man`s door for help, what did he do? Did he leave her outside? Did he bring her in? What did he do?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. I`ll tell you exactly what happened. And Mike Brooks you know about this. This Shannon Gilbert ran up to this guy`s house and said, "Help me, they are after me." He went to call cops and while he did, she went and hid underneath like a boat that was upside down and this guy pulls up in a car and says -- or a jeep and says, "I`m looking for a girl who left the party upset." And he said, "I called the cops." And he said, "You shouldn`t have done that."

And then she runs off, he follows her, and she`s never seen again. So that man who was in that jeep, couldn`t he be the serial killer?

BROOKS: Could very well. I mean where do you start? And I would start with the guy who is in that jeep. But we haven`t seen any composite of what this guy looked like; at least I haven`t seen it. If so, did they not go back to this guy and try to do some kind of composite drawing of what this guy in the vehicle looked like?

And then, you know, your comments about the delay and then going back to follow up, I agree. It`s shoddy police work. This shouldn`t have happened. They should have been out there -- an investigator should have been out there the next day when they couldn`t locate Shannon Gilbert. But --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ll say I agree with Debra Opri that they shouldn`t -- that prostitutes shouldn`t be using Craigslist. There`s been a warning out to prostitutes up and down the East Coast, don`t be prostitutes right now.


OPRI: Jane you`re right. Yes, if you put it out there every woman watching your show tonight, stay off of Craigslist, don`t advertise, and go into hiding because I`ll tell you something, you`re setting yourself up for a kill because this guy is just getting emboldened by the media coverage of this. And it`s a tragedy waiting to happen again and again and again.

BROOKS: That`s not going to happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Jon?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I was just going to say, you know, this happens every day, unfortunately, that missing person cases don`t get investigated as aggressively as they could and I`m a big supporter of law enforcement, as you know. But hindsight is always 20/20. So it`s absolutely shame that somebody didn`t get out there quicker --

OPRI: Do something with Craigslist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, do not go on Craigslist as a prostitute because this guy is very likely still operating. The killing spree could be in a progress right now.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Unbelievable video of a little girl enduring a security pat down at an airport; is this going too far? This little girl is six years old. Take a look at this pat down. We`re going to show it to you in its entirety.

What do you think? Give me a call, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Her parents are furious.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 6-year-old child shouldn`t be subjected to this kind of treatment in the first place if there is no reason to suspect her or her parents of being criminals.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can`t you just re-scan here?




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Check this out. Are you seeing it? Watch carefully because I really can`t believe it. Yes, that`s the TSA agent patting down a 6-year-old girl at an airport security checkpoint. Her parents are so outraged that they actually shot this video and posted it on YouTube.

The little girl`s parents want to know why this happened to their child. They say they felt completely helpless and had to watch a total stranger touching their daughter all over her body. Did the TSA go too far?

It happened at the New Orleans Airport last week when the child was tagged for a pat down. Her mom asked if the girl could be rescreened instead. The agent said, "No, got to pat her down." These poor parents had to watch while the agent touched their child up and down, her personal areas.

The girl`s father told "Good Morning America" his daughter was very upset. I`m reading slow because I want you to see this pat down. Check it out. Look what`s going on here.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She broke down crying because she really didn`t understand what she had done wrong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We want to show you more of this. Wow. The TSA says the agent was just following proper procedure. You know what? Ok. We all know there are people out there who might actually stoop to using children or elderly people as mules, but couldn`t the TSA come up with a slightly less invasive way to search children?

What do you think? Give me a holler. 1-877-JVM SAYS.

Straight out to psychotherapist Robi Ludwig; what is the psychological impact of something like this on a 6-year-old child?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, I`m sure it was very frightening for her. She had the stranger going up and down her body. She probably sensed her parents` discomfort with it. And just this whole thing is so disturbing and really such poor judgment to think that you would even need to pat down a 6-year-old.

I mean what is the thinking, is this a control issue? It`s just very upsetting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen. You`re saying, "What is the thinking?" The thinking is obvious. That if you start exempting children, then somebody out there, ok, terrorists will use children. That`s what they do. They wait until -- in other words, here`s the problem. If you start making exceptions to the randomness, A, you`re going to be accused of profiling unfairly and, B --

LUDWIG: I understand that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- you`re going to open a loophole for somebody with bad intentions to then use people who are not being screened, whether they`re elderly or children as the mules to put whatever they want to get through the airport screening --


LUDWIG: I understand. But we can`t traumatize little kids in an attempt to -- I mean we don`t want to traumatize little kids in an attempt to protect everybody. I understand the goal is to protect, to not racially profile people. I get that. But there just has to be a better way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, what better way? We`re examining that tonight.

The little girl`s mom told GMA the invasive pat down sent her daughter the wrong message. Listen to this.


SELENA DREXEL, 6-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER PATTED DOWN BY TSA AGENT: There needs to be different screening procedures, especially for children. If we don`t find other ways, we`re then making them more vulnerable to people that would harm them in that manner.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. The TSA says the agent was following procedure but goes on to say that they need to "move beyond the one size fits all system."

J. Wyndal Gordon, criminal defense attorney, your thoughts on this?

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. Certainly I believe they could use far less intrusive means to conduct these searches. However, I do not think children should be exempt from being searched in these types of cases. I mean you can fit a bomb into a 6-year-old child`s pamper. I mean we can`t let people be exempt from being searched because it places everybody in jeopardy.


Carol, New Jersey, your question or thought, ma`am?

CAROL, NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Yes, I don`t see why the mother is upset. If her and the father were standing right there, it was their job to calm their daughter down and to explain to her what was going on. With people doing all these things to kids today, making kids do stuff. In Vietnam, didn`t they give grenades to little kids to take over to the soldiers? I see no problem with her being patted down.

If she went to be screened and got cancer they would be screaming, hollering she should have gone to the screen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Carol, you make some good points.

Here`s why I think they`re upset. What do we tell kids today? We tell them, hey, this is my danger zone. Don`t let any stranger touch you in your danger zone. Ok. And so we try to educate our kids to not let strangers, adult strangers come up and touch them in their private parts. What does this lady do? She`s touching them in their private parts. Mixed signals.

We`ll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re doing the drug test on her, the whatever test on her now on a 6-year-old.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A 6-year-old girl subjected to a highly invasive pat down at the New Orleans Airport. The TSA called it policy, the girl`s parents call it outrageous. And you just heard the parents there complaining about a possible drug test, which I have no way of confirming or not confirming whether or not that happened but that would seem really bizarre.

J. Wyndal Gordon, here`s what bugs me; I travel a whole lot for work and for pleasure. And every time I go through a screening the rules are different. Sometimes it`s like your shoes shouldn`t be in one of those little cases, sometimes they can be in one of the cases. Sometimes you have to take your iPad out of your backpack, sometimes you can leave it in. It`s either included or not included as a computer.

And I have to tell you because I don`t drink regular milk and I use soy milk and occasionally I`ve forgotten and left my soy milk in there. I haven`t done it intentionally. So don`t target me when I go the airport next week, people.

It goes right through. So, it`s like what the heck is going on. What exactly are they looking for, and are they finding what they are looking for or is it just a big (INAUDIBLE) Goldberg waste of time?

GORDON: Well I think it`s important that they do their job and their job is to protect those passengers who use the airport, who use the airline, the airplanes every day. She`s doing that. She`s clearly doing it in a professional manner. She`s explaining to the parents, to the child what it is she`s going to do.

And I don`t see anything necessarily wrong with what they are doing. I think they need to revamp their policies and their protocols. Maybe the parents and child should have a private room. The parents should be able to help the child instead of going having a frenzy in front of the child because probably scared the child more than the child actually being searched, seeing how her parents reacted to it.

So, I think the parents should warn the children before they get to the airport that there`s a possibility that they could be patted down but mommy and daddy are going to be right here, right beside you and we`re going to watch everything to make sure that nothing is done inappropriate or improper. And I think the parents could have done more to assist her with this experience.

LUDWIG: Well, it sounds like the parents were really upset, you know. So they were upset and it sounds like for whatever reason they weren`t made to feel comfortable. I understand in an ideal world parents might feel comfortable and be able explain it to a child. But it sounds like they were in shock and they felt powerless --


GORDON: They should have -- they should have asked some questions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You don`t argue in those situations. Do you want to make your flight? Do you want to have -- if you start giving people a hard time you`re not making your flight. You`re off in some corner for three hours.

Hank, Kentucky, your question or thoughts, sir? Hank? Hank? All right.

Let me say this. The TSA has a history of not being exactly sensitive to the needs of travelers. Take this man who was humiliated when agents ignored his medical condition. Check this out.


TOM SAWYER, TRAVELER: I said at that point you need to go slower and you need to go softer or you`re going to pull my urostomy bag off. He said, "What`s that?"


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, you can guess what happened next, embarrassing.

So, look they got a tough job. They are screening for life and death reasons and we want to give them -- we want to help them, ok. Nobody enjoys this, we want to help them. But sometimes it really doesn`t seem like they are accomplishing a whole heck of a lot except making us all crazy and having to race to our gate. Hang on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well we`ve got Hank back. Hank what`s your question or thought, sir?

HANK, KENTUCKY (via telephone): Ok. We`re from Kentucky and our question is that the security officer was doing her job. It was a random pick. And the parents were there to maybe help or console the child. I think it`s all out of proportion, really.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my thought on this. And I`m sorry, I thought Hank is usually a guy`s name but -- if we allow the full body screening, this wouldn`t be necessary because anything she might be catching with this scan, this body pat-down would be caught on a full body scan.

But a lot of people are against the full body scan saying that that`s invasive. Something has to give here. I would rather have the full body scan. Let`s just have one for all. That`s my thought.

Coming up next a mom of five vanishes into thin air. Nancy Grace, one on one with the missing woman`s husband.