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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Sex Offender & Killer to Walk?; Toddler Served Booze, Again
Aired April 14, 2011 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a family`s outrage over junk justice. A convicted sex offender admits he gave their daughter drugs before she died and then dumped her body in the ocean. But now, he`s about to be freed from prison after serving only two years. The girl`s mom says, quote, "This killer needs to be shot." I`ll talk to this poor girl`s distraught dad, live.
And it`s happened again. It`s the second time in two weeks a toddler is served booze at a restaurant. This time, the tot got sangria at a Florida restaurant chain. His livid mom says a simple apology is not enough for endangering her child. How does this keep on happening?
Also, horrific and shocking last words from the mom who drowned herself and three kids inside a minivan. Her 10-year-old boy, who heroically managed to escape, says his mom cried out, "If I`m going to die, you`re all going to die with me," but you won`t believe what she tried to do next. And I`ll talk to the Good Samaritan who found this brave little boy. What did she think as he was telling her this horrific story?
Plus, celebrity families in total meltdown. The latest A-list breakdown? Superstar Catherine Zeta-Jones admit she is just went to rehab last week because she is bipolar. And mind-blowing claims that all the famous Judd women -- we`re talking Ashley, Wynonna and Naomi -- were sexually abused as children. Is the pressure of fame a recipe for disaster?
ISSUES starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NILI JOU, DONNA JOU`S MOTHER: For almost four years, our life is miserable, not knowing what happened to her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a stomach-churning nightmare. A furious family prepares to watch a three-time convicted sex offender, who confessed to killing their precious daughter, walk free tomorrow. He is being let out after serving only two years in prison. Two years. That`s what you can get for something like burglary.
In this case, a beautiful, young, straight-A college student died. Look at her. What kind of horrific breakdown in our criminal justice system is allowing this to happen?
This beautiful girl that you`re looking at, Donna Jou, vanished in June of 2007. She had placed an ad on Craigslist, offering math tutoring. That`s right. She`s a straight-A student, offering math tutoring. How could she know that a sex offender would replay to her ad?
And here he is, this monster, John Steven Burgess. Burgess told Donna`s parents that he dumped their daughter`s body in the ocean after she died of a drug overdose at a party at his house. Burgess pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to just five years in prison. And he is now going to get out in just two years? A girl is dead; parents are devastated. Three years early for good behavior? What a joke. Talk about junk justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
N. JOU: He`s a sex offender, criminal. Three times convicted. What happened to Donna`s rights? What happened to justice? He is going to do it to someone else. Another family is going to go through what we are going through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do we even know that Burgess told the truth about the party? Her body has never been found. Donna`s parents think their daughter may still be alive, maybe trafficked. Until somebody finds Donna`s remains, John Burgess` story is just that, a story.
So how can anybody justify this three-time sex offender`s early release from prison? Are you outraged? I am. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my very special guest, Donna`s father, Reza Jou.
Thank you so much for being here, sir. I can just look at you...
REZA JOU, DONNA`S FATHER: Thank you very much for inviting me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your pain, your suffering -- and our hearts go out to you. And here on ISSUES we want to be part of the solution to this travesty so that this doesn`t happen.
First of all, that doesn`t happen -- maybe we can stop this guy from getting out. He`s supposed to be getting out tomorrow. What are you doing to stop him from getting out? And, first answer me the question, tell us in your words, why you are outraged.
R. JOU: We have been victimized, not only by Burgess...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you can look me -- look up at me, right in my eyes, right here at the camera.
R. JOU: OK.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up. Up. Up. Up. There we go. Thank you.
R. JOU: OK, I`m looking.
Well, we have been victimized not only by Burgess, but we also have been victimized by the criminal justice system. We are outraged. They just always on the side of this three times convicted child molester.
This man has 25 years of criminal act, three times convicted child molester. The guy has been charged in the past for made prostitution (ph). He has heavily -- he has been heavily involved in porn production to Canada, Mexico and England. He has all kind of crime from 8 to 80 (ph). Theft, selling drug, and dealing illegal activities. And he get the opportunity to get free tomorrow and hurt other innocent, well-trusted people.
We outraged. This must be stopped.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know you`re going to have a protest tomorrow. He`s supposed to be released tomorrow. Is that correct, Reza?
R. JOU: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re going to protest, right?
R. JOU: Released tomorrow.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re going to protest?
R. JOU: Yes, we going to protest him. Yes, we are going to be in front of district attorney`s office in downtown Los Angeles, protest his release. And we are going to demand for this case to be reopened.
R. JOU: This case must be reopened, must be reinvestigated. My child must be found. They have not showed us any proof, any proof one way or the other. They have used Burgess` statement, a statement fabricated, a story from a known sex offender.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it.
R. JOU: A psychopath. A criminal person. And they want us to believe what Burgess said. What Burgess said is only served him. It does not...
R. JOU: ... give us the answer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But your daughter`s body was never found. They`re taking the word of a hardened criminal. And he`s saying, "Oh, I took her to a party."
R. JOU: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my big issue tonight. Could Donna Jou still be alive? Her body has never been found.
Now, I know the father, Reza, that we`re -- he`s here talking us to tonight. He believes that there`s somebody who`s posting Burgess` bail, paid to clean out his storage unit, made bank deposits to him every month totaling $75,000.
I`ve got to go to Joe Gomez, investigative news reporter for KTRH News Radio. You`ve been investigating this. So, who is paying him all this money? And could there be more to this story? And are the authorities investigating another possibility except what a liar told them?
JOE GOMEZ, REPORTER, KTRH NEWS RADIO: That`s right, Jane. I mean, there`s a lot to this story that has yet to unfold here.
We do know that Burgess has been convicted of drug dealing in the past. You know, as Reza just mentioned, he also has been involved in the production of pornographic, of animal pornography. He`s been involved in prostitution, in pimping out his very own girlfriend, Jane. This guy has a lot of criminal connections. Who knows who`s posting his bail? Who knows where he`s going to go once he`s finally released from jail?
Look, the bottom line is this guy knows how to get rid of a body, Jane, where nobody is going to find it. And we`re going to release him back into the public and expect him not to reoffend? It boggles the mind, Jane. It truly does.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to Erin Runnion. She is one of my heroes. She`s an advocate for families who are put in these horrific situations. She herself lost a beautiful child, Samantha, to murder in California. And this must be making your blood boil, Erin, that...
ERIN RUNNION, ADVOCATE FOR FAMILIES: It really is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me your feelings, given that your precious daughter was victimized by another sicko and that nobody believed previous victims of the sicko who killed your daughter when other children said, "Hey, he`s -- he`s molesting me," and they weren`t believed.
RUNNION: Yes, but you know, in Samantha`s case, at least in the previous trial, the district attorney had the courage to fight for justice for those victims. They went to trial. They tried to try the case.
In this case, poor Donna, they did not even try the case. It went to a plea deal. And the district attorney`s office knew darn well that, if he only got five years, he was going to be out in two and a half, because it was technically a nonviolent crime.
He murdered a girl. She deserves justice. This is about common decency, much less justice. I am furious.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tanya Acker...
RUNNION: I hope everybody comes to the district attorney`s office tomorrow.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you -- yes.
RUNNION: I hope it is there is a great turnout.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s going to be this protest, and it`s a protest outside the Los Angeles County District Attorney`s Office tomorrow. And I`m telling you, you`re all invited. I wish I could fly to L.A....
RUNNION: I`ll be there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who`s going to be there? You say, Erin, you`re going to go?
RUNNION: Erin, yes. I`ll be there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fantastic. Fantastic. Because you know what? We`ve all got to speak up. Nobody`s going to speak up for the innocent and the parents of victims unless we do it. We`ve got to band together and create a movement, because our criminal justice system is broken.
More on this terrible case of junk justice in a moment. We`re going to get Tanya Acker`s reaction, the attorney, on why he was just charged with involuntary manslaughter. Why did -- why did authorities take his word for what happened?
And we`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
And then I`m going to talk to a woman who found the Hudson drowning miracle child, who incredulously [SIC], amazingly escaped death with his quick thinking.
But first, total failure of the justice system. I`m going to talk more with the devastated father, after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. JOU: To me, he has killed my daughter, so he has to stay behind bars for the rest of his life, not only (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but for the sake of society, for sake of our teenagers and our families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
N. JOU: No. Donna was so loving. Caring. She was a wonderful kid. Wonderful daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A three-time sex offender who confessed to giving a 19-year-old girl a deadly amount of drugs, including heroin, and then dumping her body in the ocean, is set to get out of prison tomorrow after serving only two years of a five-year sentence. And he is reportedly getting out for good behavior.
Well, what about his behavior that sent him to prison in the first place?
The family of the victim, 19-year-old Donna Jou, outraged, the father joining us here on ISSUES tonight. They`re planning a protest. Look at -- that guy has, like, a demonic expression. They`re going to be protesting outside the D.A.`s office tomorrow.
Tanya Acker, attorney, why was he only charged with involuntary manslaughter? This girl was a straight-A student who advertised as a math tutor. How does she suddenly end up at a party doing heroin? And why do we believe this story?
TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: Jane, this case is completely astonishing. I mean, frankly, I just don`t get it.
And if you consider the fact that, in south L.A., you`ve got kids who are faced with more time than that for carrying too much weed. We are treating drug criminals like hardened criminals. We are letting sex offenders and rapists and violent criminals get out of jail because of real overcrowding problems.
I think that what we really need now is to have more accountability on the part of prosecutors. Communities need to be involved. People are not exercising good judgment. Decision makers are not using their discretion in the way that we, the people, intended them to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Jarrick, Louisiana, your question or thought?
CALLER: My thought is that I really -- I sat down, and I`m watching this show, and I was really appalled to see that a three-time sex offender is fixing to get out of jail tomorrow. And I have a friend that just went to trial and for -- he was a three-time drug offender, but he got a natural life sentence.
CALLER: You know what I`m saying? He wasn`t no kingpin. He was only, like, a mediocre drug dealer, you know, in the town. And he got a natural life sentence. And you mean to tell me a three-time sex offender, drug dealer about to get out of jail tomorrow after two years in jail?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something. This is happening all over the country. This is what I talk about in my book, "Addict Nation," that we have an upside-down criminal justice system. We are sending nonviolent offenders like Jarrick and Tanya just mentioned, often poor, minority kids from the inner city, away, just warehousing them for decades and decades and decades.
Go to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and you`ll see a whole bleep load of cases, OK? These are nonviolent offenders. We`re locking them up, because they`re found with a little bit of drugs on them, for decades.
And then had this guy, who already has a rap sheet for beating up his girlfriend and is a registered sex offender, has got a rap sheet a mile long, a girl, a beautiful girl disappears on his watch, and he says, "Oh, she got high at my party and ODed, and I put her in the ocean." And they let him out after two years?
Joe Gomez, I got to say, our criminal justice system is officially broken. I`m not a judge. People say why do you have a gavel? Because we, the people, have to take control of the criminal justice system, because the system is corrupt and cynical. And it is a bloated bureaucracy that is not really functioning in the best interest of the citizens anymore.
GOMEZ: You`re right, Jane. It`s pretty outrageous that this guy could get out after admitting, after admitting to luring this beautiful 19- year-old girl, this straight-A college student to his home off of Craigslist and then pumping her full of heroin and cocaine. He admitted to doing that and then dumping her body off the port of Los Angeles into the ocean, where it was never found.
Two years in jail, good behavior, and he`s being let out? And his three -- the three previous convictions involving sex crimes dealing with kids, even. Oh, my goodness. What is it coming to, Jane? What is the world coming to?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Reza, I want to ask you...
R. JOU: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... do you think your daughter is still alive? And do you think that she might have been sex trafficked by this guy, given that you say he was involved in all sorts of horrific pornography?
R. JOU: Well, I am a scientist. I always look for the proof before said something one way or the other. The authorities, they haven`t showed me any proof one way or the other. They don`t have no DNA, no credible witness. The only thing that they have is Burgess` deceiving story. So -- and he also failed a polygraph test.
R. JOU: So this man is just a big liar, is a psychopath, is a criminal, is a guy that used to live prostituting his own girlfriend. So why do they believe what he says?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you question: were there witnesses at this party? He says that she ODed at a party. Where were the witnesses from the party, Reza?
R. JOU: Yes, there was -- Burgess had five foreign student living in that house. He was living with five foreign student, two female and three male. And they have seen Donna in that house when Burgess brought her to that house. And Donna...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to cover this. We`re going to cover the protest tomorrow. Good luck with it. Good...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JILL VAN HEEST, NIKOLAI`S MOTHER: How can you be so disorganized that alcoholic beverages even get into a kid`s cup, that you wouldn`t know the difference?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, incredibly, yet another case of a toddler being served an alcoholic drink at a well-known restaurant chain. This time, it`s a 2-year-old boy in central Florida whose mom ordered him orange juice, but instead, he allegedly got a sangria cocktail, chock full of white wine. And the waiter actually came back to the table after he realized his mistake, but the little boy had reportedly almost finished the entire thing.
Now, a similar thing happened recently at a Detroit Applebee`s restaurant, and that family is now suing. So tonight, our question: how hard is it to make sure kids are getting nonalcoholic drinks?
Straight out to personal injury attorney Steven Krawitz. You represented yet another family who sued Applebee`s over a similar incident. Is this just a coincidence that we`re suddenly hearing about all these incidents? Or is this apparently happening more often in general in the restaurant industry?
STEVEN KRAWITZ, PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY: Jane, they must drastically be reducing the drinking age across the country. But these restaurants, they...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
KRAWITZ: They don`t have the proper procedure up to segregate the alcoholic beverages from the nonalcoholic beverages. And especially the fact that they are serving these beverages in sippy cups and the fact that the sippy cups are anywhere near alcohol is a break down in their procedures.
I mean, these are bars and restaurants, and they must be keeping the sippy cups, which are served to the children, in fact, just showed on your segment there that it has "Olive Garden" written on it. So they are sometimes a promotional item that they give to the families to take home. And they`re obviously right near where the alcohol is, and that`s completely unacceptable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and again, I don`t know what the actual container was and what it looked like that was served to the little boy. I can`t say that anything you saw here is any actual container.
But let`s put it this way. Nikolai`s mom says she got suspicious that her son`s drink was spiked because of his behavior. He started getting rowdy, this little child.
KRAWITZ: Well, they also...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen to this for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN HEEST: He was acting up. He was misbehaving. His eyes were bloodshot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So, Olive Garden sent us a statement that it was "an unfortunate case of human error," that they deeply regret it and that it`s unacceptable.
So, my question is, Steven Krawitz, do you suggest that parents taste their children`s drinks at restaurants before they allow them to drink them? I will say, as a recovering alcoholic, I`m always very careful when I order a Virgin Mary, for example, to make sure -- I`ve even asked somebody else, taste it first, because I want to make sure they didn`t make a mistake and actually make a Bloody Mary.
KRAWITZ: Given the fact that you in the last week have -- have highlighted this problem, I would say that absolutely a parent would have to now, before their kid takes a drink of anything in a chain restaurant or any restaurant, served in a sippy cup, that they taste the drink before the child has the drink, because the parent, unfortunately, cannot now trust what used to be a no-brainer. The restaurants are serving drinks for kids, millions of drinks, but now, given this sort of rash of mistakes, unavoidable or unacceptable mistakes...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, the -- part of it is that...
KRAWITZ: ... the parents now have to test the drink.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... everybody in our culture is in such a rush everywhere. We`ve got to do everything so fast.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Horrific and shocking last words from the mom who drowned herself and three kids inside a minivan. Her 10-year-old boy who heroically managed to escape says his mom cried out, "If I`m going to die, you`re all going to die with me." But you won`t believe what she tried to do next.
And I will talk to the Good Samaritan who found this brave little boy. What did she think as he was telling her this horrific story?
Plus celebrity families in total meltdown; the latest a-list break down, superstar Catherine Zeta-Jones admits she just went to rehab last week because she`s bipolar.
And mind-blowing claims that all the famous Judd women, we`re talking Ashley, Wynonna and Naomi, were sexually abused as children. Is the pressure of fame a recipe for disaster?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEAVE RYAN, FOUND 10-YEAR-OLD SURVIVOR: The last minutes, when he was leaving to go out window, he heard his mother saying, "I made a terrible mistake. I made a mistake." So she came from the middle of the road to the driver`s side and tried to reverse the car back out. He was like, "Mommy, Mommy, what are you doing? Stop, stop, stop," you know?
And she was, like, "Get into the back seat," so he went into the back seat and she went to the back seat as well and cradled all the children with her arms and said, "If I`m going to die, you`re all going to die with me."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, horrific, disturbing new details about that terrible, terrible moment right before a frantic and possibly psychotic young mother plunged her minivan into the Hudson River killing herself and three of her young children, ages 11 months, 2 and 5.
A vigil in memory of this family was held just a little while ago at the waterfront in Newburgh, New York. Take a look at it there. So many people just so saddened by this.
Miraculously, one very brave, courageous, smart, quick-thinking 10- year-old boy managed to escape. We are talking about 10-year-old LaShaun, he hit one of the power windows and quickly got out of that sinking car. He raced for help, trying to help his family, but tragically, he could not save the rest of his family from a watery grave.
The fire chief said LaShaun had no more than a couple minutes to make his incredible escape into the icy 45-degree water. The quick-thinking, soaking-wet little boy was rescued by this wonderful woman, who just happened to be passing by and I`m going to speak with this woman in just a moment.
We are going to hear more of LaShaun`s story and what he said his mother and the man he called his stepfather were fighting about.
In the meantime, siblings of LaShaun`s tragic mom, LaShaunda, told NBC`s "Today" that she was behaving bizarrely before the apparent murder/suicide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She felt like somebody was watching her. She felt like there was pages of her diary missing. The lights in her house were flickering on and off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She started calling family and, like, apologizing and saying sorry. And it`s like, nobody knew why.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So was she having some sort of psychotic episode? In any case, what a nightmare. Everybody is talking about the story, especially in light of those new revelations, you can call me in a little bit 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
I`m so honored right now to be joined by a real hero. Meave Ryan is the Good Samaritan who found 10-year-old LaShaun after he escaped the sinking car and raced into the fire station.
Thank you for joining us, Meave. I know this has got to be something you didn`t expect to stumble into, a terrible tragedy.
Describe what you saw. Where were you and how and when did you come into contact with this little boy?
RYAN: Well, I was heading toward Fish Kill and there were two stop signs and then the second stop sign, I saw a figure. I didn`t know whether it was an adult or a child. Waving his hands and there was a lot of traffic that particular night. It was 7:45 at night.
When it was my -- no one stopped at all to talk to this person at that time -- you know what I mean. So when it was my turn to go to the stop sign, I saw the little boy, he was waving his hands saying, "Please help me. Please help me."
So I rolled the window and I said, "What happened?" And he said, "My mom drove the car into the water." So I said, "Please get in right away into the car."
So, I drove down to the scene of where the car was and I got out of the car and I said, "Is this where the car went in?" And he said, "Yes." So, I went in and about knee-high in the water to see if I could see anything and I saw nothing whatsoever in the water.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what was the little boy doing at that moment, aside from obviously shivering. The water had been 45 degrees and he was dripping wet. But emotionally, what was he saying about what was -- what happened inside the car?
RYAN: He was saying, "My mom, my mom is -- my mom just went crazy, my mom went crazy." He said, "There was an argument with my stepdad over him cheating on her." And he says say just went crazy. He kept saying the word "crazy" over and over again. And said that she just went into the water and wouldn`t let me, you know, wouldn`t let me escape because she was holding onto his waist of his pants.
And at the last minute, she had said, you know, you know, I made a terrible mistake, as he was making it out of the window. And she went into the driver`s seat, because at that time, she was in the middle -- middle seat of the car with all of the children, holding onto them. And you know, she said, "I made a terrible, terrible mistake." And she tried reverse and by that time the water was too submerged -- the car was too submerged with water for her to do anything more.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, did he say something to the effect that his mother had said, well, "If we`re going to die, we`re all going to die together?"
RYAN: Yes, she said that too about two or three times, "If I`m going to die, you`re all going to die with me." And that was -- I`m sorry.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No continue on.
RYAN: No. It just scared me just to know that a mother could say that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, it`s unbelievable. Now this poor little boy, trying to just get out alive and obviously, trying to help his relatives, too.
Did he describe how he had the presence of mind to apparently lower one of the power windows? And then he got out on the driver`s -- the front driver`s side, where the -- right near where the mother`s driving?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me, what do you know about that?
RYAN: All I know is that he got out of the driver`s side window and as he was doing the -- going out of the driver`s side window, the mother, like I said, had second thoughts and was coming up to the driver`s side. And basically he was just screaming, "I`m going to go get help. I`m going to go get help."
What he told me is that he was regretful that he couldn`t teach his two younger brothers to swim, because he had just learned to swim last year. And he was going to teach them this summer how to swim. And he blamed it on himself for his two little brothers and especially his baby sister, because she was locked in the baby seat and he couldn`t unbuckle her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he felt bad also about being unable to unbuckle the seat belts? Tell me about that?
RYAN: Yes. That he wasn`t able to unbuckle the baby`s seat because she was buckled in, I guess, too tight. And he couldn`t get to her and the mother -- the mother was -- like blocking the baby anyway when she was going up to the driver`s side. So he just basically said, "I`m going to go get help. I`m going to go get help."
So when I saw him, he got help and in his own mind, he would have enough time to save them, but unfortunately, it was too late.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you get a sense that this little boy is going to suffer survivor`s guilt for the rest of his life?
RYAN: I do believe that. I do believe he is going to feel the guilt of it for the rest of his life. And he is definitely going to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder over all of this, definitely. Because it`s - -
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How has this impacted your life?
RYAN: It`s made me -- I`m a mother. I`m a single mom and I know how tough it is but it`s made me -- I don`t even really know how to even explain it but it`s just -- it made me go a bit crazy in the head over all of this because I feel so bad for him and his family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you plan to stay in touch with this little boy?
RYAN: I would love to. I would love to see him, you know, when the time would be right. I would love to meet up with him and see if he is doing ok and just know that he has a good support system. I know that he is being cared for in the proper way that he should be cared for, because he is a courageous little boy that did what he tried to do to help his family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then you raced him to the fire station. What happened when he got there? How was he able to describe the indescribable of what happened to his family?
RYAN: Well, I had to do most of the describing because God help had us, he couldn`t really talk because he was shivering so much. So we ended up being in the Fire Department`s dispatcher -- the dispatcher place where they do the dispatching, sorry. And the fire department, the City of Newburgh Fire Department were fantastic. They were on the scene right away.
And I just -- I had to do most of the talking for him, like I said, because he couldn`t speak. He was freezing cold. And I had to get a blanket for him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you go back to the scene with the fire department and the little boy when they tried to get the car out of the -- the minivan out of the Hudson River?
RYAN: Yes, he didn`t want to go by himself. So I said I`d go with him. And then he said, "I`ll go with Meave." And I said, "Ok, I`ll go with you."
So we went down with the detective and we were only down there maybe three or four minutes and he didn`t see the car, the car wasn`t up at that time, but we did see the scuba divers with the ropes and everything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you imagine going back to that river? You were there. And he is looking that the river and he can`t see his family and he has got to know, they are all dead.
RYAN: Yes. I didn`t --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean what was --
RYAN: I`m sorry. I just -- I didn`t think it was right for him to go right back to the scene.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course not.
RYAN: I mean it was just too much for him, because he said, "No, no, no, I can`t go back. I can`t go back." And only for me saying that he would go with me, you know, that I was -- I said I would go with him, just for him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: My God. And to see that little teddy bear floating in the water of the Hudson River, knowing that that family is underneath there; a little boy 5, a little boy 2 and an 11-month-old girl, too young to make a decision on their own.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s just -- it just -- it just is so depressing.
RYAN: It`s horrible.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that little boy, I hope you stay in touch with him. I really do because he needs you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WYNONNA JUDD, SINGER: Growing up in the business, people have this idea that we have these perfect lives and that it`s hermetically sealed and what we`re -- I know for myself, I`m trying to say to percentage I have the same issues you do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Tonight, celebrity women in turmoil: all of them coming forward, sharing their shocking secret struggles, an entire famous family now admitting to sexual abuse.
First, sisters Ashley and Wynonna Judd reveal their painful past. Now, their country legend mom, Naomi, comes out with her own head-spinning revelations on the Judds, which airs on Oprah`s OWN network. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAOMI JUDD, SINGER: My first memory is when I was 3 1/2 and a man was trying to sexually abuse me. That was my first memory. I can remember everything about it. I rebuffed him then it happened a couple -- twice more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my god, her first memory is of sexual abuse. Two generations of women, victims of sexual abuse.
This is another talented, beautiful superstar speaks out about her private struggle. Catherine Zeta-Jones makes the astonishing admission that she is bipolar. Catherine`s rep tells us, quote, "After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check into a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her bipolar 2 disorder.
We are taking your calls on this 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to Kim Serafin, senior editor of "In Touch Weekly" magazine; let`s start with the jaw-dropping Judd admission. An entire family of women, all of them, sexually abused as children?
KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Oh, yes, it`s terrible. I mean there was a lot of publicity around Ashley`s book when she came out with that recently. Talked very openly about sexual abuse and other issues in her family -- drugs, feeling abandoned and then now, you hear this from both her sister and her mother, too. It`s just terrible.
But, you know, as you mentioned, when celebrities come forward, you -- you immediately look at them and you say this is a perfect family. They have great careers. They are loving. And then you find out there is this other side. And obviously for other people who have gone through something like that who have struggled with something, I think it puts a face on something like sexual abuse and probably makes other people who have gone through that feel that they are not alone.
And I think that`s really important. As difficult as it is for the Judds to come out and talk about this, they should hopefully know they are really helping a lot of people out there
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. You look at somebody like Ashley Judd and you think she has got it all. She is gorgeous. She`s a great actress. She has got so many talents and yet her book reveals that she suffered from a hell of a lot of low self-esteem and dealing with all these sexual issues and then come to find out her own mom has been suffering sexual abuse as a child and her sister has.
Now, let`s switch gears and talk about Catherine Zeta-Jones. There`s a woman who seems to have it all and she is now exposing bipolar disorder. There she is that stunner. She was by her husband, actor Michael Douglas, during his stage 4 throat cancer battle and there was a lot of stress involved with that. And of course, Michael Douglas` son has had legal troubles and has had trouble with drugs. So, there`s been that stress to the family as well.
And all of this may have triggered her to get mental health treatment for herself. Her rep says she is feeling great about starting work on two movies this week.
Psychologist Lillian Glass, first of all what can you tell us about bipolar 2? Because I was like, whoa, I didn`t know that there was a bipolar 2 as opposed to a bipolar 1?
LILLIAN GLASS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, there`s bipolar 2; there`s different types of bipolar 2 as well. There can be a mixed state.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is it? What is bipolar?
GLASS: It`s when people have mood changes. All of a sudden, they may be very depressed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have got them.
GLASS: Well, sometimes it can happen rapidly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It happens rapidly to me.
GLASS: Well --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think I`m bipolar, what I mean is -- what puts it over the top? What makes it bipolar as opposed to --
GLASS: What makes it is when you can`t function, when you can`t focus, when you can`t do things that you normally do and that`s when it becomes a problem.
You know, certainly, we all have moods, we all have issue, we all get up, we all get down. But when you stay down for too long or you get manicky and uncontrollable and you do things that you wouldn`t ordinarily do, that may be a problem.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, listen, somebody who knows somebody who has manic, they used to call it manic depressive, now they call it bipolar. They say manic people they get -- crazy. They talk a lot. They talk really fast. They get like hyper, intense. Everything is very important. That kind of stuff.
We are going to talk more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: All my life, I`ve been really interested in telling the truth. And there were a lot of secrets in our family, and part of what I`ve recently learned is that we`re only as sick as our secrets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we are back, talking about two celebrity families battling some real dark demons. Every woman in the superstar Judd family has finally revealed secret sexual abuse. Yes, all the Judds; Wynonna, Naomi and Ashley were sexually abused as children.
This, as another Hollywood actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones, reveals her private struggle with bipolar disorder.
So, Kim, is this just all coincidence, or do showbiz families -- because, remember, these are not just individuals in showbiz. They both are part of these big showbiz families. Kirk Douglas is Michael Douglas` dad. Do these big showbiz families have deeper troubles, do you think?
SERAFIN: Well, look, Catherine Zeta-Jones didn`t come from a showbiz family, necessarily. But I think it`s interesting because when you look at -- if you made a list of kind of the top celebrities who seem the most composed, most together, you`d probably put Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ashley Judd at the top of that list because every time you saw them in public, they looked perfect. They seemed so composed, especially Catherine during this whole traumatic saga with Michael Douglas, talking so openly about his cancer and everything he went through.
We all watched him. He looked like he was suffering but she always seemed spot-on perfect. So, obviously, when her rep is saying the stress of the past year played a part in this, I think people can certainly relate or understand.
And, you know, again, I think same thing with Catherine. The fact that she came forward, talking or her rep at least putting out a statement, being open about it is really great for a lot of people who do struggle with this; millions of people who struggle with bipolar disorder.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say to suddenly develop bipolar because of stress in the last year, that doesn`t really add up for me. I think there are certain key times in one`s life, maybe at puberty or at a certain time where the bipolar might manifest itself.
I don`t know if just having the stress of having a husband who suffered from cancer is enough to suddenly create bipolar disorder. I don`t necessarily buy that, quickly, Dr. Lillian Glass.
GLASS: I`m with you, Jane, absolutely, because something could have been manifesting all along.
But look at the pressure this woman is under. Not only did Michael have the health problems that he`s had to go through and go through chemotherapy. And it was so hard --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But a lot of families have -- I have tremendous compassion for Michael Douglas. He seems like a really wonderful guy, but there`s -- cancer is all over this country. Everybody is -- but not every family is grappling with some family member who has cancer.
GLASS: That`s true, that`s only -- Jane, no, absolutely. That`s only one part of it. She also has a child with special needs that it was announced several months ago. She had to move. In terms of the stress factor, she was off the charts.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Ok.
GLASS: And maybe this kind of pushed her over the edge.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I just don`t know if that creates something that`s a clinical diagnosis of something that`s a mental health problem.
GLASS: No, no, it doesn`t.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Emily, North Carolina, your question or thought?
EMILY, NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Yes, I wanted to tell you, I was molested from the time I was four until I was 15, and it affects your life your whole life, entire life. I`m manic depressive now. I am ADHD. And I tried to commit suicide over this. And more people need to come out and talk about it. And --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think you are very brave. Very brave, Emily from North Carolina, to talk about it. And you`re right. I think the Judds speaking about their childhood sexual abuse is absolutely wonderful, and I applaud them for it.
Back in a moment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now Kim Serafin, "The National Enquirer" is reportedly under fire for breaking this story about Catherine Zeta-Jones and allegedly forcing her to come forward. What do you know, briefly?
SERAFIN: I mean I don`t know if that`s the case. But obviously, celebrities all the time want to get ahead of the story. They want to control the story. So if there is something about their health or any issue, the best thing, obviously -- even if it`s not the most comfortable thing -- the best thing for them to do is obviously get there first, talk about it first so you can control the story. That`s what`s happened.
And Catherine has gotten a lot of sympathy and people are calling her brave for doing this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I think it`s always good when you reveal a secret. As they say, you are only as sick as your secrets.
And I think it`s really, really especially admirable for the Judd family to come out and talk about the sexual abuse as children. As you heard from the caller, so many people are going through that.
Thank you so much fantastic panel.
Next, Nancy Grace, a Georgia mom missing for nearly a week found alive and well.