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Killer on Loose in Georgia; Special Needs Teen Missing

Aired December 6, 2011 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a cold-blooded killer is on the loose, after savagely sexually assaulting, then stabbing and killing a 7-year-old girl. Cops discovered her body thrown in a Georgia Dumpster like trash. Now the search is on to find the killer, who is believed to live in the complex or nearby. Is the killer behind this unthinkable act still in the neighborhood?

Then, a weeping teenager cries out for help in a heartbreaking YouTube video, claiming he`s been bullied for years, because he`s gay, and has actually considered suicide. What should a parent do if this is happening to their child? Why is there so much hatred at school?

And, were elderly women forced to drop their drawers in an airport security check? The TSA denies it, but these seniors are sticking to their story, and they are furious! I`m going to talk to them live tonight.

And we`re taking your calls.

VERNON KEENAN, DIRECTOR, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: This is going to be a very, very horrendous crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At first, police treated the case as a missing person, and now they believe someone abducted Jorelys.

KEENAN: Doing a search of the Dumpster which was removed from the apartment complex where the victim disappeared, the investigators discovered the body of little Miss Rivera.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would have went with anybody, I would believe. She was very outgoing, very friendly, and would have trusted anybody.

KEENAN: She was in the Dumpster. It appears from the examination of agents at the scene that she was severely beaten. We believe that she was sexually assaulted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody`s of interest. Nobody`s been ruled out.

KEENAN: The investigators feel very strongly that the killer of the child resides in the apartment complex or has, readily, access to that apartment complex.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the word is that the parents of this dead child have just been ruled out as suspects. Imagine the hell they`re going through.

Breaking news tonight, a neighborhood in total panic. The horrifying murder of a precious 7-year-old girl in Georgia has now sparked a manhunt for her killer.

Good evening, everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from New York City.

This is unimaginable, a horror. Little Jorelys Rivera kidnapped Friday afternoon from her apartment complex playground. Tragically, her badly mutilated body was found yesterday, thrown away like trash in a Dumpster. Cops say she died within 90 minutes of being snatched.

The autopsy report says that, during that very short time, this 7- year-old girl -- look at this face, look at those innocent, trusting eyes - - like the lady said, she`d make friends with anybody. She was sexually assaulted, stabbed, and bludgeoned to death. What kind of monster is capable of such horrific violence against a young child? Cops are determined to find him.

Tonight, police investigating a possible crime scene, a vacant apartment, just steps away from little Jorelys` home, where they found a mattress and blood. Cops say this killer is on the loose, right in this neighborhood.


KEENAN: The investigators feel very strongly that the killer of the child resides in the apartment complex or has readily access to that apartment complex.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, naturally, the neighborhood moms are terrified. They`re out of their minds with fear. They won`t let their kids out of their sight for a second.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don`t understand how somebody could do something like this. And it terrifies me, you know. I`m scared to let my kids go anywhere.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think about this nightmare? What should be done about this hideous violence against children? Call me: 1-877-JVM- SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, who is on the ground at the scene. I understand there is some activity right now. What`s going on?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jane, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Vernon Keenan, he just got here. The building behind me, this is where the command center is. This is where the tip line is located. You have all the law enforcement officials inside here.

They`ve told me today that I think a foreign investigator, Jane, it sounds like they`re narrowing their focus. They said they are looking at a number of people who could be involved in this. They`re not naming any suspects right now, but my gut tells me it`s not a matter of if, but a matter of when they get this monster, as you described, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you get a sense with all these top cops arriving on the scene that something is about to break, in a little while, that they`re sort of getting ready to make an announcement, Mike?

BROOKS: No, you know, just talking to them, I`m kind of getting the feeling that they might be moving closer to this. Their crime scene investigators were back at what we believe is that vacant apartment.

Jane, that vacant apartment is in the building, right next to Jorelys`. And we tried to get as close as we could today, because we were one of the -- one of the only people on the scene today, trying to do a walk-through and looking at everything that they were doing, and we had -- there were three crime scene vans from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that were processing that apartment.

We don`t know what kind of evidence they got today, but we did see some people here, some evidence technicians with evidence -- Brown evidence bags, walking into this command post area earlier today, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, as Mike just mentioned, Jorelys` body found in an apartment complex Dumpster that uses a trash compacter, so it was compacted, this area, this Dumpster that held this child`s body. Could that hold the key? Check this out.


BROOKS: This is the trash compacter where Jorelys` body was placed. By who? That remains to be seen. But here`s the hopper. This is where the trash is placed. You see that hole there? Well, that`s where the trash gets pushed into the green compacter. Now, how do you do that? There`s only one way to do it, and you have to have a key to put in here to turn to do that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that certainly raises the question, is the person responsible a person who might have obtained that key? We`ve heard unconfirmed reports that cops have given polygraphs to the maintenance staff. We have not been able to confirm it.

But you`ve got to wonder, who has a key to work the machine?

Veronica Waters, reporter, WSB Radio. What have you heard about cops honing in? I mean, obviously, they`re narrowing their search. They`ve already said they believe it`s somewhere who`s either living in this apartment complex, works at the apartment complex, or visits regularly, has access. What do you know?

VERONICA WATERS, REPORTER, WSB RADIO: Jane, this -- the GBI director has said, as you -- as you just pointed out, that this is either -- this predator either works, lives, or has easy access to this complex. What this is telling us is that everyone who was on the staff is going to be under suspicion, until whether or not those polygraph exams come back with clearances.

And the thing is that this predator, according to the GBI director, Vernon Keenan, was someone who did a carefully planned crime here. This was not someone who was a predator, who waited for the first opportunity, necessarily, but someone who waited for the best opportunity. Carefully constructed, carefully planned, was the way that this crime played out.

They have been examining this vacant apartment, where they say that the crime apparently took place, and analyzing evidence that they say appears to be blood. They`re very tight-lipped on exactly what forensic tests they are running or what other DNA evidence might have been in that apartment, but they are sure that that early on right now is the crime scene where little Jorelys was killed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so you`ve got a vacant apartment. You`ve got a mattress. You`ve got blood, and you`ve got authorities honing in on the garbage dump, the compacter where the child`s remains were found. And so they are putting together the pieces.

Pat Brown, what do you make of it at this point? Does it have to be somebody who either lives, works, or as access, visits this complex?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: I think so. And the No. 1 reason is, her body wasn`t taken away in a vehicle. Because if you had a vehicle, first of all, if you`re coming by, maybe you saw her on the street and grabbed her, you would take her someplace else and dump her body where it wouldn`t be found and you could go on your way. This person clearly does not have a vehicle, so when he killed her, what`s he going to do except dump her in the Dumpster?

And I`d like to say that I don`t agree that this was a well-planned crime. This is extremely violent. It`s an angry retaliatory serial killer. He always has his eye out for somebody if it comes into his path. I don`t think he planned this terribly, or he would have done a better job of putting her body in the Dumpster.

I think this poor little girl came across that street. He just happened to be -- he saw that she was alone. Nobody was around. He snatched her. And I do believe he may be maintenance. I think that is a good thing to look at. Because he knew that room was available. And we see this happens over and over again, where we see somebody working on a property, knows where the -- has a key to a room or has an empty room available, and when that little victim comes by. That`s where they end up, and they just take their opportunity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you got to wonder, though, if it was next door, if it was a vacant apartment complex close, you`ve got to wonder if somebody would not have heard her screaming, though. So -- so that`s what I find a little troubling about this. There`s so many troubling things. I mean, the child might have been muffled in some way, by somebody`s hand. I don`t even want to think about it. It`s too horrible.

I`ve got to tell you that on the other side of the break, we have a very special guest, one of my heroes, and she, too, lost her precious daughter to violence, very similar, eerie similarities. Her child was also playing innocently, right in the play area, right connected to her home. We`re talking about Erin Runnion.

And we`re also taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

The search for the killer of this beautiful 7-year-old girl. What -- what happened to her? Who did it? Cops are closing in.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) your children. Pray for them and don`t ever -- I don`t have any babies, but you have to be very careful with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, it`s obvious that whoever done it`s around here somewhere.



RICARDO GALARZA, JORELYS RIVERA`S FATHER (through translator): At first I thought it was a lie, but when I got here, my whole world fell apart. They told me that it was true and that they had taken her away.

MIRIAM RIVERA, RELATIVE OF JORELYS RIVERA (through translator): I asked the state of Georgia that the person who committed this atrocity, that they throw the full force of the law at him, because they need to stop this. They need to stop this abuse against children.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was the father of this sexually assaulted and murdered child. He and the mother of the child have both been cleared by authorities. They are not involved.

Now, reports are little Jorelys` mom temporarily lost custody of her two younger children, ages 1 and 4. She was actually in court yesterday, trying to get them back. We don`t know the outcome, but cops said, the mom had absolutely nothing to do with her child`s disappearance, but she didn`t supervise well enough.

However, I want to bring in Erin Runnion, whose precious daughter, Samantha Runnion, was killed. There are eerie similarities.

And you are one of my heroes, because you have started, fighting to protect children. Look at this beauty who was taken, also snatched while playing in the yard.

This mom works the overnight shift. She works a factory job overnight. She sleeps in the daytime. She had, apparently, a teenage relative watching the child who didn`t do a very good job, who wandered off. But I mean, this is a dilemma in our culture that mothers who work, their children still have to play, and sick, sick, sick, sick, sick minds take advantage of that to snatch these children, Erin.

ERIN RUNNION, THEJOYFULCHILD.ORG: You`re absolutely right. Vulnerability wouldn`t exist if there weren`t bad people looking for opportunities to take advantage of it.

You know, we have a terrible tendency to blame the victims and the families of the victims in these cases. And the reality is, our children should be able to play outside safely. Yes, there is a lot that we as parents can do to better create safer communities for them to play, but my heavens, she was in her own complex when this happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She was playing in her yard. And I know that this has to really hit you in an unimaginable way, because your precious daughter, Samantha, was also playing right next to your house. I`ve been to the yard. I covered your story. And it was right there. In the Mayberry world, it`s exactly where kids are supposed to play, Erin!

RUNNION: Exactly. And you know, it is true that as parents, we get a false sense of security when there`s more than one child playing outside together. And that`s part of why we do adult education/

But the main thing is is we`ve got to teach, train, and empower our children to be safer, to recognize typical tricks that predators use, and to give them some physical defense skills to get away from these people, if anybody tries to take them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, go to and check this out. Every parent needs to learn what Erin Runnion is trying to teach them.

I want to go to the phone lines now. They`re lighting up.

John, New Jersey, your question or thought, John?

John? Are you there?

Well, I`ve got to say this. This crime was so terrible, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he refused to describe the injuries. That`s how bad it was.


KEENAN: The victim died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, that the victim had been stabbed, and that the child had been sexually assaulted. There were also other injuries to the child, which I`m not going to describe.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say they`ve questioned all the registered sex offenders in the area, approximately 83 of them, and at this point, none of them are considered suspects.

OK, John, New Jersey, your question or thought, John?

All right. Let me -- let me do this. Let`s talk a little bit about the area where this happened, OK? We`re now understanding that this crime could have taken place within 100 yards of the playground where little Jorelys and her siblings and friends played. Here`s the layout of the possible crime scene.


BROOKS: It`s just a number of steps from that playground over here to the 9000 building, where Jorelys lived. It`s just a short distance. It`s basically a stone`s throw away. And she lived down here on the first floor of this apartment building.

So you see some police line tape down there. It`s right around the corner. It`s a terrace-level apartment that we believe is the vacant apartment that they talked about finding the mattress with blood on it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, why was this apartment unlocked? We`ve reached out to the apartment complex management. We have not gotten a response. Does a vacant, unlocked apartment invite trouble?

BROOKS: I would say, as an investigator, it does, Jane. But, again, was it unlocked? Did somebody maybe have a key? Did they know the combination if there was a KNOX-BOX?

Because right upstairs, one floor above this terrace apartment that they were working on today, that they were processing, Jane, has another apartment that has a KNOX-BOX with a code on it, to get -- that has keys, to get into that apartment.

But, then, again, anybody who works in that complex would have a master key. Anybody who does maintenance in the apartment.

So nobody has been ruled out at all, Jane. Anybody who lives there or anybody who works there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pat Brown, a couple of seconds. Do you think they`re going to make an arrest soon? I`m getting that feeling.

BROWN: Well, I think in this case, Jane, they`ve got a better chance than most cases I`ve seen recently. They have a body. They have all the evidence that came with that body, because it was found so soon after. They have a location of the crime scene, and they`ve got a great little pool of suspects right there. So I would say there`s hope to get this guy off the street and keep him off the street forever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, a missing teen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... special needs vanishes into thin air. Her parents say she`s extremely vulnerable and desperately needs medication. Shanna Peoples`s distraught father is my special guest tonight.

Shanna, look at her, beautiful girl, last seen September 8. She left her home in Geneva, Alabama, to go for a walk and has not been seen or heard from since. Shanna`s desperate parents suspect foul play. They say Shanna is very developmentally challenged, that she does not know her phone number and often mixes up her address. Was Shanna kidnapped?

I want to welcome her really distraught father, Elvis McKee.

And Elvis, we cannot imagine what these past three months have been like for you. I understand you are calling us from the hospital, because you have been suffering chest pains, because of your desperation over finding your daughter. What`s it been like, first of all, for you?

ELVIS MCKEE, SHANNA`S FATHER (via phone): It`s been really hard, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so sorry. I`m so sorry.

MCKEE: Yes, me too. I just thought maybe someone can help find my daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We want to do everything we can. We want to do everything we can.

First of all, there`s one very promising thing, is that your daughter is very distinctive. She is almost 6 feet tall, or just about 6 feet tall. Now, she`s, what, 19, 20? She may have had a birthday? She was 19 when she vanished?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She just had a birthday, so she`s now 20. So you see this girl? Look at that face and imagine her 6 feet tall! She was last seen wearing pants, a green blouse, flip-flops. She has sandy blonde hair, green eyes.

Let me ask you about this, Elvis, what about this 50-year-old man who had befriended her and she was allegedly last seen at his house? Have cops vetted this guy? Have you talked to him? Have you talked to cops about this man?

MCKEE: Yes, ma`am. He`s been to the house several times after that. He was supposedly at work about 15 -- about 20 miles away, 30 miles away, when this happened. Her mom had just called her, maybe 30 minutes to an hour before she disappeared. And yes, we have talked to him, and he`s been cleared. They`ve done a polygraph test on him and all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Brad Dennis, you`re the director of search operations for Klass Kids Foundation. You are working with Elvis Peoples [SIC], trying to find his daughter. I hear this 50-year-old, according to the dad, has been cleared. But when I hear a 50-year-old making friends with a teenager who`s developmentally disabled, boy, do my alarm bells go off.

MCKEE: Jane, absolutely. I mean, the alarm bells are off. There was a number of friends and associates of his that hung around the area. We understand that at least one of those associates was in the area about the same time that she disappeared. So definitely, the alarm bells should be going off.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what about the cops? Briefly, what are they doing?

MCKEE: Well, Jane, Alabama Bureau of Investigations, as well as Geneva police department, they are actively involved in the investigation. They have been following up numerous leads. And we really believe that it`s a lead from the community that`s going to break this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there, but we`re staying on top of this. We`re not letting it go.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Teen bullying is widespread and heartbreaking. Now one young man issues a poignant cry for help.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: It is a sad and heartfelt cry for help posted by a 14-year-old boy named Jonah Mowry. He said that bullying led to despair and then finally, self-mutilation and thoughts of suicide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s what`s so powerful about him. Because what he was doing, it`s almost like how kids were bullied don`t feel heard. The fact that he was putting that message out on pieces of paper and not saying it was an interesting metaphor for what the bullied kid experiences.


GRAPHICS: Hi. I`m Jonah.

I get bullied every day. This started in 1st Grade.

A lot of people hate me.

I don`t know why.

I`m scared.

Suicide was an option -- many times because I kind of hate me too.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at that man -- that young man you saw right there, Jonah Mowry. He was 13 years old when he made that video. He felt scared, he felt alone. He was bullied regularly. He had resorted to cutting himself and he thought about suicide.

He was about to start the eighth grade and he was terrified to go to school. He only told a couple of people that he was gay. His parents did not know he was gay. Most of his friends had moved on to high school and he was afraid of what awaited him at school without his buddies.

In one of his many sleepless nights, he recorded this video, not realizing the astounding reaction it would get. I have to warn you, this is an emotional video and it contains some questionable language, but it`s important that we bear witness to what`s going on here, bullying.


GRAPHICS: A lot of people hate me.

I don`t know why.

But I guess I do because I kind of hate me too.

But -- I`m not going anywhere because I`m stronger than that.

And I have a million reasons to be here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That amazing video went viral. It has now been seen 5,700,000 times. And something extraordinary happened. Jonah experienced an outpouring of support from kids at school and even celebrities.

And I want to hear from you. What do you think about his emotional video, revealing his feelings about being bullied, in a way, standing up to his bullies via video. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to a very special guest, Dustin Lance Black; he is the academy award winning screenwriter of the amazing movie "Milk", the film about the life and death of California`s first openly gay elected official. You`re also a board member of the Trevor Project, which helps gay teens cope.

Dustin, you saw Jonah`s video and you have a special message for Jonah. What would you like to say to him?

DUSTIN LANCE BLACK, SCREENWRITER, "MILK": Oh, boy, I was so inspired by this. I was weeping. I think probably a lot of people were; not just gay and lesbian people. I don`t think anyone out there that really felt completely comfortable in high school, and we all had that moment where we felt really different, right?

But for gay and lesbian kids, there`s this isolation thing, I think you just touched on it, where we do feel so incredibly different. We don`t have parents who are gay and lesbian most of the time. We are hearing these messages from the church and government that aren`t exactly supportive and bullies are listening to that.

But despite all of that, this kid he went online and he made this incredibly moving video. And you know what he did at the end of it? He had a message of hope. It wasn`t that he was going to take his own life, but he was going to face those challenges and spread hope.

You know, I bet a lot of little kids out there heard that message, who were also feeling isolated for so many different reasons and it gave them hope too. I just told him on my message, I said, "Buddy, you`re a hero tonight."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He really is because this is so creative, it`s so well-written, it`s almost like a performance art piece. There`s a beginning. There`s a middle. There`s a very forceful end where he says, "I`m not going anywhere, ok, because I have a reason to be here. A million reasons to be here."

I always wonder, where does all this hate come from? Where does all this bullying come from? Guess what, people, it comes from the adults.

Get this, a teacher in Michigan took the word "gay" out of the Christmas carol, "Deck the Halls", this just happened. Just happened -- it`s a breaking news story. You remember the song, we all do, "Deck the halls".

Listen to this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, the teacher took the word "gay" out of that phrase, in the song. She claimed the kids were laughing and stumbling over the word "gay", so instead of taking a moment to talk to the kids about it, the teacher decided to take the word "gay" out of a Christmas carol.

Barbara Coloroso, you wrote "The Bully, The Bullied, and The Bystander"; to me, that`s outrageous. I think that teacher should be fired. I don`t understand what the thinking of adults can be when they think that that is a good solution to kids giggling.

BARBARA COLOROSO, AUTHOR, "THE BULLY, THE BULLIED AND THE BYSTANDER": Well, it`s never a solution. In fact, it`s facing it head-on that we need to do, and diminish the anguish these young people feel. Jonah did a wonderful thing, but my mind goes back to Jamie in New York, who did a video himself, and then killed himself. He got a lot of support from others on the online community.

And one of the things that Jonah got that Jamie did not was support from people right very close to him at school. And this is what we have to push as adults. I`m old enough to remember from South Pacific, you have to be carefully taught to hate before you`re 6, 7, or 8, to hate the people your relatives hate.

Bullying is a learned behavior.


COLOROSO: And these attitudes towards young people, based on their sexuality or their perceived sexuality or their race or religion or gender or physical or mental ability have got to be done away with.

And for a teacher to say, my kids were laughing --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you`re right. They are taught.

COLOROSO: Yes. You have to be taught. And if you`re laughing about it, you stop them and say whoa.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You explain and say, the word "gay" has many connotations and "gay" means happy, it means cheerful, it means elegant. So "gay apparel" as it was written in that song means cheerful, beautiful, happy apparel. That is pleasing. That`s what you say.

COLOROSO: But you also say, it`s also a word that`s used now, and can be used in a very hurtful way. And if it happens in this classroom, it will be no more, not here, never. This is safe harbor for every child.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jonah released a second video after the initial one, and afterwards, some people have criticized him and accused him of faking the first video, the one that was seen almost 6 million times. Here`s the second video.


JONAH MOWRY, BULLIED AT SCHOOL: Thank you for everyone who`s being nice. And to the people who are being mean and calling me "gay", thank you for stating the obvious. You could really be the next Einstein.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy`s clever. I think he has a future in television. I can`t believe that because he`s happy in another video, people are accusing him of faking the initial video.

Cleve Jones, human rights activist, and you were also a friend of Harvey Milk. What I find extraordinary is that because now the boy has come out, he`s told the world that he`s gay, he`s comfortable in his own skin; that`s why he`s happy, not because he faked the original video. I remember somebody once told me that coming out and telling the world who you really are, it`s like getting out of a virtual casket, is it not?

CLEVE JONES, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, absolutely. And I`d like to say to Jonah that I well remember how frightened I was going into eighth grade and the bullying that I experienced. I think we`re all aware that children can be very cruel to each other, but the most disturbing part of all of this is the extent to which this kind of behavior is encouraged or at least condoned by adults who certainly should know better.

And right now in the news there`s so many examples of that kind of behavior going on. You`ve got, for example, the "Ultimate Fighting Championship" that Fox is now broadcasting during prime-time, where we see great violence accompanied by the kind of homophobic language that I think on your broadcast, you`ve actually blocked out so that people can`t see it.

You`ve also got in Michele Bachmann`s district up in Wisconsin, the school district --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, can I just jump in for one second, please.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to clarify, first of all, I`ve never seen that show, so I can`t comment on the show you referred to, but we did not blur the video, because we thought it was important to show the video as the young man made it.

JONES: Good, good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But in the spirit of saying, we`re not going to hide. I mean, this whole thing is about being real, being honest --

JONES: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and he was honest, and he said exactly what happened. And we wanted to show it without taking it out of context.

JONES: Good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to the phone lines here. Cetera, North Carolina, your question or thought?

CETERA, NORTH CAROLINA: Hi, Jane, I am actually a student that has been bullied before for the same thing. I am gay. I feel that the school system should take more initiative when the child comes to the office for it, because they ignored me, very bad. And I was hurt, I was hit. And I think it`s preposterous that this kid had to go through this. And it`s really (INAUDIBLE)


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, excellent point, Cetera. Dustin Lance Black, are schools doing enough? We`ve heard this so often, the kid or the parents go to the administration and nothing is done.

BLACK: No, clearly schools aren`t doing enough. And I think it is time for us to have legislation that holds these schools accountable for bullying in their schools against all kinds of different people, but certainly for gay and lesbian kids.

You know, until we have no more kids taking their lives for being gay and lesbian, we are not doing enough in this country. It`s time for that to stop. And you know, not just the schools, our political leaders. Where are these messages coming from? Let`s be honest. Every debate I watch, they`re saying that gay and lesbian people are second class and our love isn`t as worthy as a heterosexual love. And that`s got to stop. That`s where the bullies are learning this. That has to come down to our --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you all, fantastic panel. Got to leave it right there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When 85-year-old Lenore Zimmerman travels, she usually opts for the pat-down.

LENORE ZIMMERMAN, GRANDMOTHER: Mortified. I mean outraged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She claims that a TSA agent took her to a private screening room and strip searched her.

ZIMMERMAN: Don`t I look like a terrorist? I`m going to be 85 years old and I weigh 103 pounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s not suspicious-looking and she`s not disruptive and she`s very cooperative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Linda Kallish (ph) has been a diabetic for the past seven years. TSA told her to step aside and she waited for several minutes, her bag out of sight.

LINDA KALLISH, DIABETIC: My stuff could have been taken by somebody else. What would I do then without my supplies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A couple of security women whisked Lenore Zimmerman away in her wheelchair.

ZIMMERMAN: Will you pull your pants down, please? And then she pulled my underwear down and strip searched me. In my wildest dreams, I couldn`t picture such a thing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s the grannies versus the TSA. Three outraged grandmothers say they were put through the ringer when they simply tried to get on planes and travel. What turned their trip into a nightmare? This - - that airport screening process we all love to hate. Lots of people outraged that their, well, junk, as one man described his private area, gets outlined in these high-tech gizmos that they`ve got there. But nothing matches the outrage of 88-year-old Ruth Sherman who says she was ordered to drop her drawers and compared her screening experience to being sexually assaulted.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you feel when --

RUTH SHERMAN, GRANDMOTHER: Like somebody raped me. I felt violated. It`s a terrible thing. Would you like to go in the airport and they ask you to lower your pants and stick out your (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? Excuse me for my French. Would you like that?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s not holding back. What`s your nightmare experience with the TSA? I think we all have one. Call me, 1-877-JVM- SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Tonight, a very special guest, one of the women who says she was put through a humiliating ordeal and forced to strip down by TSA officers.

Straight out to -- they say a woman never reveals her age, so I`m going to not reveal your age, but you look fabulous for it, let me put it that way. Linda Kallish, what upset you? What happened to you? In a nutshell, what upset you?

KALLISH: What upset me was that they detained me for ten minutes before anybody came to take me to be searched, and then normally the TSA agent does take your belongings and puts them near you while she does the body -- the search. In this case, she didn`t do that.

She did the search on me -- I didn`t want a private room, I just wanted to get it over with. And she went through the usual pat-down, which I don`t know how familiar you are with that process, but they wear gloves and they go over your whole body and then they -- in my case, I have an insulin pump, they wipe off the insulin pump with this little white cloth and then they wipe their hands with a cloth and they put it through some kind of a machine that tells them if it`s explosives.

And after she was finished, she said to me, come with me. And then I got even more nervous. And she takes me to her supervisor, and she says I need to see this woman`s wearing a medical device and I need to see it. So she takes me to a room and another TSA agent comes in, and she says, I need to see where your insulin pump is infused -- I have it infused in my inner thigh and my continuous glucose monitor is on my outer thigh, so I had to take my pants off so she could see it, and she looked at it and she said, "Ok, now you can leave."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How did that make you feel?

KALLISH: Well, the whole process is very difficult, because I -- I don`t like to be out of view of my possessions. I need them to live, and if someone else took them by mistake, I`m in trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How did it make you feel, just tell me, did you feel humiliated? Were you angry? Were you understanding? Were you thrilled? What was your reaction?

KALLISH: Frightened, probably. They -- when you do this, when you go through the situation where you know you`re always going to be patted down, you are at the whim of the TSA agent that you get. And whatever they tell you to do, you have to do it. So if you get one that`s nice and that isn`t terrible, it`s better than -- I never had anything like this, and I`ve been flying for seven years.

It was totally unnecessary -- I did speak to TSA today, they did call me. My big question to them was, what does strip search mean? And they said they don`t do strip searching. So I said, well, what did they to me then?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. On the other side, 84-year-old Lenore.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you touch my junk I`m going to have you arrested. I don`t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying.

UNIDENTIFIED TSA AGENT: This is not -- this is not considered a sexual assault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be if you weren`t the government. I`d like only my wife and maybe my doctor to touch me there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now we have Lenore Zimmerman. And we`re going to say she`s 84 years young. Thank you for being here Lenore. You claim you were strip searched by the TSA because you didn`t want to go into one of those advanced image technology screeners. Were you really forced to drop your drawers, ma`am?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And how did that make you feel? Did it make you feel like a criminal?

ZIMMERMAN: Mortified. Angry. Upset. It shot my pressure up to 189 over 90. I missed my flight. I had to wait two and a half hours for my next flight. I called my niece who works for a law firm and see what kind of recourse I have on it. I heard from my niece who has a son-in-law who was in Europe and heard about it on CNN in Europe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say this, because we got to get both sides of the story. We all know life changed after 9/11. We remember the horror of that day more than ten years ago and we don`t want it to happen again. You remember it.

Let`s remind everyone.


(VIDEO of 9/11)


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The big issue here, ma`am, and I respect the fact that you feel terrible about this, but nobody knows what a terrorist looks like. You remember British-born Richard Reid, he tried to smuggle explosives on his shoe that`s why we have to take our shoes off. Last month three American senior citizens in their 60s and 70s alleged members of a French militia group were charged with planting biological attacks against the U.S. government.

Some of these guys look like they could be your husband. What is your reaction at this point that nobody knows what a terrorist looks like anymore?

ZIMMERMAN: I was in a wheelchair. I weigh 103 pounds. And as I said, I banged my leg and I was bleeding like a pig because I was on blood thinners. And I have a defibrillator so I normally get patted down because I won`t go through the electronic screen. I`m normally patted down but I`ve never been strip searched.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to the phone lines. Nancy in Massachusetts, your question or thought or TSA horror story, Nancy.

NANCY, MASSACHUSETTS (via telephone): Hi, Jane, how are you?


NANCY: I`m a disabled veteran, ok. I have to travel in a wheelchair. You know, I`ve been out of the military for almost 30 years. I`m 60 years old. I would love somebody to try to strip search me because I think all of my Marine Corps training would come back.

You know, it`s like Lenore here. She`s 85 years old. I could just about carry myself let alone carry something extra. But I think really we have to travel with passports and stuff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I think you`re making some good points. But, Linda what about this point if we start choosing who and we`ll get this on the other side then we`re going to --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: These two lovely seniors say they were forced to drop their drawers by the TSA but didn`t like it. But what about that argument whatever it takes to stop that potential terrorist? Lenore?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about that argument that whatever it takes to stop that potential terrorist?

ZIMMERMAN: I don`t think it`s necessary to strip search an 85-year- old woman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, you`re saying that because of your age and how you look and your gender that there`s no way that you could be a terrorist.

ZIMMERMAN: I would think so. I`m in a walker, in a wheelchair. I had banged my leg with the walker on my leg. I was bleeding like a pig. They brought in an ambulance and told me to see a doctor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time but we respect your opinion.