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Toddler Missing in Maine

Aired December 19, 2011 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight a beautiful 20-month- old girl missing in Maine. Ayla Reynolds disappeared from her own bedroom at her father`s house Saturday night, one day after her mom filed for sole custody. Her mom says she wants answers from her ex. What happened to little Ayla?

And in Kansas City, a desperate search for a gorgeous college student. Nineteen-year-old Aisha Khan leaves a frantic voicemail for her parents that an intoxicated man is harassing her. Hours later, her sisters finds Aisha`s backpack and cell phone but no sign of Aisha herself. Could the drunken stranger be connected to her mysterious disappearance?

Plus a basketball superstar`s wife has finally said enough. Kobe Bryant`s wife, Vanessa, files for divorce amidst rumors for infidelity. This eight years after sticking by her man when he was charged with sexually assaulting another woman. You won`t believe how Vanessa reportedly found out about her husband`s alleged affairs. And we`re taking your calls.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police in Maine are searching frantically for a 20-month-old girl who was last seen tucked into bed in her PJs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received a call from the father, who reported his 20-month-year-old [SIC] daughter missing from the home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We canvassed the neighborhoods; we talked to neighbors and produced nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State police are still calling this the family`s home, the focal point of the investigation. As K-9 units search inside the home and also inside the garage. They haven`t ruled out an abduction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anybody out there knows anything, and I suspect that probably someone out there may know where the little girl is, is to please call us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A desperate search tonight in Maine for missing toddler, Ayla Reynolds.

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

Breaking news tonight in the frantic -- and I mean frantic -- search for a 20-month-old. Look at this adorable child. Ayla.

We are now hearing reports that cops took a large box out of Ayla`s dad`s home. That`s the last place that this child was seen. And two cars have been towed away from this driveway by police investigators.

Little Ayla was last seen Friday night when she was put to bed by her father, Justin Di Pietro. That`s what he says. Saturday morning Justin walked into Ayla`s room, and he said the little girl had vanished, was gone.

Ayla was the subject of a bitter custody battle between her parents and had been staying with her father when she disappeared.

On Thursday, Ayla`s mother, Trista, secretly filed for sole custody of her daughter. That`s a day before the child disappears. And then sometime Friday night little Ayla disappears.

Well, now the mother has a lot of questions. Listen to this from ABC`s "Good Morning America."


TRISTA REYNOLDS, MISSING TODDLER`S MOTHER: I`ve had no contact with him. He`s had no contact with me. Like, all I know is he`s the last man to see my daughter and all I want to know is where she is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We will break down all of the details of this mystery. We want to find this child, and I want to hear what you think about it. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Ken Aultschiller from WCSH, Portland, Maine.

Ken, what is the very latest?

KEN AULTSCHILLER, REPORTER, WCSH (on phone): Well, the latest, Jane, is the Woodland (ph) Service has been searching the surface and banks of Mesalonski (ph) Stream by plains boat and foot. They`ve taken two cars to get inspected. And obviously, they think that this child is outside in the wilderness somewhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s freezing out there. It`s cold. Obviously, a 20-month-old doesn`t just pick up in the middle of the night and walk out the door. Especially if she`s got one arm in a sling because she broke her arm or her arm was broken.

Holly Hughes, what do you make of that, that there`s the search for this child, outdoors at a specific location, even though this toddler is way too young to have walked to that location herself?

HOLLY HUGHES, ATTORNEY: Well at this point, Jane, they are just trying everything they possibly can. That`s why we see these vehicles towed away. They may not have any link to this case. But the police are doing everything they can to either eliminate people or include people.

So if you`ve got a little girl and, who knows what happened to her, Jane? And that`s why it is so important that we`re doing this show, get the word out there. The police don`t want to leave any stone unturned. So they are trying every avenue to try and recover this baby safely so that we can have her home for Christmas.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s hope. We pray. We want to be hopeful, and we want to try to help find this beautiful, beautiful child. Look at that face.

Nancy Grace just spoke to Trista Reynolds, Ayla`s mother. She asked Trista why she was seeking sole custody of the child. Listen to this.


NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: You were all on your own without even a lawyer to help you try and get custody. Why, Trista, were you trying to get full custody?

REYNOLDS (via phone): Because her father has never had anything to do with her up until I needed to go and get a little bit of help for myself. And then when I left my daughter with my sister, that`s when he decided, "You know what? I`m going to take Ayla."

And I want to put it out there that every time my daughter has gone with Justin, she has -- she always comes back with bruises on her. She had come back with a pulled muscle.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, well, by the way, the attorney for the father, or the father, invited on the show any time whatsoever. We want to be fair.

By the way, you can see that exclusive interview with the missing child`s mother tonight on "NANCY GRACE" right at the top of the hour. So keep it right here on HLN.

We have with us tonight, a very dear friend of the missing girl`s family, Sandy Shepard. Sandy, are you there? Can you hear me?

SANDY SHEPARD, FRIEND OF FAMILY (via phone): Yes, I can.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you for joining us. I know you must be distraught. This child is adorable and angelic, and we want to help find her.

I have a couple of questions. The mother referred to the fact that she had the child until she needed to go off and get help. What -- what happened in October that the child, who had been living with her mother and grandmother, her maternal grandmother, was taken by the Department of Health and Human Services and removed in October.

SHEPARD: A lot of that you would have to ask Trista.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I understand that she went to rehab. Is that your understanding?

SHEPARD: Yes, that is my understanding. But also my understanding was Justin`s family is connected with DHS. So that`s why DHS was involved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, so you don`t think they were being objective?

SHEPARD: No. They -- DHS was working with Trista to help Trista get the help that she needed. He has other sources, and he was able to get Ayla that way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This seemed to have been a very bitter custody battle that this child was the subject of. A tug-of-war. Do you think it is any coincidence, or is there some meaning to the fact that the day before this little girl mysteriously vanishes into thin air, the mother, who was not with the child at the time, files to get sole custody.

SHEPARD: I do believe that is a little suspicious. But I also know that Justin didn`t have any idea of Trista filing the papers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you think it could be just an odd AND tragic coincidence?

SHEPARD: Yes and no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what`s the "no" part?

SHEPARD: The "no" part is that, like Trista had said in the "NANCY GRACE," that every time Ayla has gone with Justin, she`s come back with bruises, sprained leg, I mean, and then her broken arm, and then she`s missing. To me that doesn`t seem like a coincidence at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you`re saying that the broken arm that she had, which required her to have her arm in a soft cast and a splint, was received while she was staying with the father?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And did you ever get any explanation of how that happened? Was it a fall or was it something...

SHEPARD: From my understanding, he fell on top of her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s odd.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, we want to say that -- we want to be fair here, and this is dad is -- to all accounts, distraught and upset and looking for his precious daughter, who`s missing. So we can tell you that cops have absolutely no suspects.

But now we are hearing reports that two cars have been removed from the father`s house, where little Ayla disappeared. The house has remained the center of this investigation. Check out this report directly from the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those search parties continue. State police are still calling this, the family`s home, the focal point of the investigation, as K-9 units search inside the home and also inside the garage.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, you heard it, search dogs searching inside the home and in the garage. So Steve Moore, former FBI agent, what does that tell you?

STEVE MOORE, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, it tells me that they do have a suspect. It -- they`re actually focusing their search on the house. It`s not just to gather evidence. I saw that there were two policemen out there the other day just standing guard on the house at night. You don`t do that unless you`re trying to protect a crime scene or evidence that you think somebody might destroy.

I mean, this -- this case has more red flags than cline China. This thing has, between the child with the broken arm, with the father who just says she just disappeared. I mean, people don`t come into -- I mean, people do come into houses and take children, but the earth gets hit by meteors about as often. There is something seriously wrong with the situation as far as the father is concerned.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, I just want to say that there were other people, other than the father, in the home. And not all of them, according to the published a reports I`ve read, were relevant.

Now, on the other side of the break, we`ve got an investigative reporter who`s got new information, and we`re also taking your calls. So Latisha, hang in there. We`re going to get to you on the other side of the break. 1-877-JVM-SAYS. What do you think.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We canvassed the neighborhood; we talked to neighborhoods. There`s not much wooded area there. Again, mostly homes with lawns and light shrubbery. And it produced nothing.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police in Maine are searching frantically for a 20-month-old girl who was last seen tucked into her bed in PJs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received a call from a father who reported his 20-month-year-old [SIC] daughter missing from his home.

And we canvassed the neighborhood; we talked to the neighbors, and it produced nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State police are still calling this, the family`s home, the focal point of the investigation, as K-9 units search inside the home and also inside the garage. They haven`t ruled out an abduction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anybody out there knows anything, and I suspect that someone out there may know where the little girl is, is to please call us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ayla was last seen Friday night, 8 p.m. Her dad says he put her to bed Saturday morning. She`s gone. She was wearing polka-dot pajamas that said, "Daddy`s Princess." Unbelievable. She had a soft cast on her arm from an accident a few weeks ago.

Police are taking any leads. If you have any information, definitely contact local authorities. And we are talking about Maine. This is all going down in Maine.

Let`s go to the phone lines. Lakisha, Indiana, your question or thought, Lakisha?

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: Yes, I got two comments, and I have a question. First of all, my comment is, it sounds like to me the child was in a bad situation to start with. She had multiple bruises and broken arm. And also, you said the report said it was other people in the house besides the father. Do they state who these other people were in the house?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s try it answer those. Those are excellent questions. Michelle Sigona, investigative reporter, what do you know?

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Here`s what I can tell you, Jane. I have a few new nuggets of information.

The first is that I spoke with a neighbor who lives on the opposite side of the street. She said that the father used to live in the home as a teenager, actually. The family purchased the house around 1999 to 2000. He lived there as a teenager, moved away. And about four to six weeks ago, he did move back. What he told the neighbors is that he was living in Portland at the time. He had come back.

But she never saw the child. The only child that the neighbor I spoke to had ever seen was of another woman who may be living in the house who has another child that`s younger, possibly younger than Ayla. So -- and so when she first heard these reports, she initially thought that it was that child that went missing.

Another interesting nugget this neighbor told me is that investigators have been around to all of the houses. Her backyard was searched. They did not search her shed. She did that herself.

But a neighbor on the opposite side of the house, I guess it would be on the back side of the house from where Ayla went missing, did hear a loud noise around 3:30 in the morning. So loud, in fact, that her dog woke up and started barking.

And the person next to her, that other neighbor -- sorry, there`s a lot of neighbors here -- had just told me, because I found out a lot of this within the last half hour, that police were looking to speak with that neighbor that heard the loud noise around 3:30 in the morning. They have reached out to some other folks in the neighborhood to try to find out where she was so they could collect that information. So authorities are going door to door.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. That`s a pretty big nugget. Well done, Michelle Sigona.

Holly Hughes, a noise at about 3:30, 3:45 in the morning on the very night that she disappears. What do you make of it?

HUGHES: She`s going to be an incredibly important witness, Jane. Because this is somebody, if her dog woke up and started barking, it woke her up, too. So did she look out the window? What did she see? The police are absolutely going to interview her extensively as soon as they find out where she was.

I also think it`s a little odd that she has gone missing around the same tame. I mean, where has she gone, Jane? They`re going to want to ask all those questions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is very, very fascinating.

Let`s go back to the phone lines. Jason, Canada, your question or thought, Jason?

CALLER: Jane, thanks. Thanks for taking my call.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. My pleasure.

CALLER: Have the parents taken a polygraph so far?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question. Ken Altschuller, you`re there. You`re covering it in Maine.

ALTSCHULLER: They have not taken a lie detector test. From what I understand, they have not been asked to take a lie detector test yet either.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know. I would think, Steve Moore, former FBI agent, the police have to eliminate those closest to the child first. That`s the way it goes. A lot of the panelists here are saying, it doesn`t look like a stranger abduction. Of course it could be. It`s happened in the past. Look at poor Jessica Lunsford. Look at many other cases -- Elizabeth Smart -- where children have been abducted from their bedrooms. It happens. But it doesn`t happen very often.

Do you think that the father, for example, just so -- to clear his name, should take a polygraph?

MOORE: Well, I`m not going to give him legal advice. But I mean, certainly, that would be something that he could do, a step forward to say, "Hey, listen, let`s get this investigation focused in the direction it needs to go."

For the police it`s simply an investigative tool. And if they have enough evidence right now to pursue something, they don`t need it. So it might be an indication from the police that they don`t need to hear from him, what he says.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s interesting. But I would think that it would be something that you would want to have if you could get it.

The police chief says the family has been cooperating. Cooperating, but Ayla`s mother, Trista, still has questions for the father. Here she is from ABC. Check this out.


REYNOLDS: I have had no contact with him. He has had no contact with me. Like, all I know is he`s the last man to see my daughter, and all I want to know is where she is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Briefly, Holly Hughes, he has not contacted her. Even though her child, along with his, has disappeared.

HUGHES: Very strange. You know, no matter what`s going on between the parents, they`ve both got to love this little girl. So for their not talking -- something is very -- this entire situation disturbs me. Because they`re talking about, well, you know, the Department of Human Services, child services, just gave the child to him. It doesn`t happen like that, Jane. People are interviewed.

The child was removed from her care and custody, which tells me they had concerns about how she was caring for the little girl. Now we`re hearing reports that in his custody, she`s coming up with bruises and broken bones. Something went horribly wrong here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me -- let me bring Sandy Shepard back here, the friend.

I don`t know if you`re more a friend of Ayla`s mother or father, but it would seem that they both have problems. Ayla`s mom going into rehab. Ayla`s dad, according to the mother, anyway, the child gets into accidents or has problems or bruises when the dad`s around. The child does have a broken arm. Do they both have problems? Sandy?

SHEPARD: Hi. Trista is a single mother of two. I wouldn`t call it problems. I would call it situations.

And Justin, on the other hand, he didn`t want to be the father. He said that many, many times. And now all of the situations leading up to her disappearance and then me just finding out now on your show that there was a noise at 3 a.m. in the morning. If I was that neighbor, I`d be up and looking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State police are still calling this, the family home, the focal point of the investigation as K-9 units search inside the home and also inside the garage.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is little Ayla? She disappeared in Maine, and if she`d just wandered out of the house, as someone suggested, tragically, she would not have gotten far. It`s winter already, or it feels like it in Maine. Saturday, the low, 16 degrees. Sunday it dropped all the way to 7. I don`t even want to think about that in terms of this precious child being out there.

Michelle Sigona, do we really know when she was last seen?

SIGONA: What we`ve learned from investigators, Jane, is that the father said that he put her to bed on Friday evening around 8 p.m. He reported her missing at 8:50 a.m. Saturday morning.

You have to think, this is a one-level home. Two, maybe three bedrooms max. So if you have a number of adults in there, possibly another child, if you pretty much move around from room to room, you`re going to know someone`s activity.

And if there are that, you know, that many adults within the house, someone was probably most likely sharing a room. Again I`m not sure. I wasn`t there, but one can only assume that.

So if that`s the case, and no one checked on this child for, you know, in excess of 12 hours, you know, there`s something to be said for that. And I think that that`s something that investigators are obviously looking into and to find out exactly when the last time she was seen alive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re being polite. It`s wrong not to check on a toddler for more than 12 hours, period, end of story.

All right. Phone lines again, Judy, Wisconsin, your question or thought, Judy. All right, Judy, you there?

CALLER: Yes. Hi.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do doing?

CALLER: My name is Judy from Wisconsin. My question is or more or less a comment. It seems that ever since the case for little Lisa in Pennsylvania has just been kind of dismissed. It seems like we`ve set a new precedent for children to just be disappearing from their home. And no one seems to really be -- it just set a new precedent for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what? You make a very good point. Holly Hughes, when one child disappears -- and listen, it`s happened in a lot of cases. Kyron Harmon vanished. Nobody`s been charged in that case. Little Lisa vanished. Nobody`s been charged. Does it perhaps set a precedent, as the caller suggests?

HUGHES: Well, you know, it`s heartbreaking when these children go missing, Jane. But unfortunately, child murder, child abduction, is not a spectator sport. These are crimes that are committed in the dark, in privacy. And unfortunately, and if they`re lucky or they`re a good criminal, they don`t leave evidence behind, so the police have nothing to work with.

And it`s just frightening. Every single day we hear about a new child who`s gone missing. The police are doing everything they can. They`ve got the search dogs out there. They`re looking for a scent to see if maybe a child was transported for the home. They are also going to have cadaver dogs, Jane. Is there a -- you know, a scent of decomp? Do we know if something happened within that house before the child was taken out of it? So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We see the dogs right now in the neighborhood. And we`d heard that there were two dogs at the house. So...

HUGHES: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... I have to say, it`s all very disturbing.

We`re going to quickly go to Jane from Texas for a quick thought. Jane?

CALLER: Hi, Nance.


CALLER: I`m sorry. .

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s no problem. That`s a compliment. Go ahead.

CALLER: I`m so -- I`m so proud of the work that you do. And thank you for airing this show for little Ayla and for Kyron. I was so touched today by this story. God bless his mother.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to say that the mothers of these missing children are going through hell. We want to help find them. Up next...



AISHA KHAN, MISSING COLLEGE STUDENT: Oh, my gosh, it was so scary. My heart is like pounding. I`ve never got this scared in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the toughest thing that they have probably ever gone through.

A. KHAN: And he left. He was so pissed. Pick up your phones. I am freaked out right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t know what`s happened. You know, if she`s out there in the cold, if she`s hungry for the last two days, if she has clothes or not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep us in your prayers and think of Aisha Khan all the time. You`re going to the gas station, you`re going to the post office; think of Aisha Khan at all times.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A beautiful young college student vanishes in broad daylight after confronting an apparent stalker. What clues can we glean from her terrified final voice mails?

Good evening everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell, back with you live from New York City.

It happened on the University of Kansas Edwards Campus in Overland Park, Kansas. Aisha Khan: vibrant, gorgeous, 19 years old, vanished Friday while studying for her finals at an outdoor picnic table. That morning she was harassed by a stranger who she thought reeked of marijuana. She slapped him, slapped him when he got too close then called her sister and left this frantic voice mail before disappearing.


A. KHAN: And he left. He was so pissed. Pick up your phones. I am freaked out right now. Ok. Bye.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh. This is gut-wrenching. That was the last time anyone heard from this beautiful young woman, you`re seeing right there, Aisha. She disappeared without a trace. And even more mysterious, she left behind her bag, her iPod, her school books and her cell phone.

Have you seen this woman? Give me a call. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.

We are very honored to have a very special guest with us tonight; Aisha`s sister and brother, Faiza and Imran Khan. Thank you both for being here. I know this is an extremely difficult time for you. We want to help. We want to get as much information out there as possible.

So, first of all, Faiza, you were the one who got your sister`s voice mail. Tell us exactly what she said and what happened after that.

FAIZA KHAN, SISTER OF AISHA KHAN: She called me and she said that you know, a creepy guy just came up to me and harassed me. And she slapped him. And she didn`t know -- she slapped him and she said that he seemed really pissed off. And after that, she hung up. She seems like she --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you about the intoxication. We have heard various reports that she thought she was drunk. That she thought he was stoned on pot. What did she say about that?

F. KHAN: She said what?


F. KHAN: Oh yes, she said that he smelled really bad and he smelled like marijuana. And yes, that was during the message, you know. When she said that creepy guy came up to her and harassed her. She described him. She said that he smelled really bad and he smelled like marijuana. And she slapped him. And after that, she hung up.

She said that oh, she said that please come, pick up your phones. I need to talk to you. And yes, just pick up your phone. That is what she said. Then, you know, she -- then she hung up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s listen to more of the voice mail that your sister left immediately before disappearing. Here she is describing how she felt after she slapped the seemingly stoned and smelly stranger who had been harassing her.


A. KHAN: Oh, my gosh, it was so scary. My heart is like pounding. I`ve never got this scared in my life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to bring in the brother, Sana Habib -- or Imran Khan.

I. KHAN: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Imran Khan. Thank you for being here.

And I want to ask you, what happened to allow you to relocate and find her book, her phone and her iPod in this very area where she is known to study and from which you think she made the call. I saw a photograph of it. It`s an isolated little picnic table where it would be hard for other people to see and it would be a potentially dangerous place in that she could be vulnerable there and be attacked there and nobody would see it. How did you find that stuff?

I. KHAN: You are saying like why would she sit there?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. What happened after the phone call? Apparently your sister, who is sitting -- or your cousin sitting next to you, went up and got to the picnic table and found all of her belongs.

I. KHAN: Well, this happened when she called Faiza. Faiza wasn`t picking up her phone. She had it on silent. She tried to call her cousin too, which was Sana Habib. And she wasn`t picking up. I`m not sure why.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, why don`t you jump in? Faiza, jump in and tell us the story.

F. KHAN: Well Sana`s phone was in the car. So my phone was on silent. So she called me three times. And in between she called Sana. The third missed call for me she left a voice message saying this.

I. KHAN: When she left the voice message, she just said, she was just saying that she had done what she could and she just said bye, which is, you know, she always said that. Ok, bye, just whispering. I think not knowing what is going to happen next.

Now we don`t know what happened. I wish we had cameras at this point in that area. But we really don`t know what happened. That`s when, I guess, whoever came back to her probably had a weapon because they couldn`t drug her and take her because there would be people watching.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in here because a couple of things occur to me. One it is outrageous, I read in the wire copy, that Kansas University Campus does not have surveillance cameras. Why the hell not? Why the hell not?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, my gosh, we could be way ahead of the game. There`s the isolated picnic table. I would like it play that again if we can, where she was last seen and all of her belongs were found. You could see that it`s kind of one, two, three walls. And I saw another angle where it is isolated. Somebody could go in there, if they were mad at her, and attack her.

Now, Ron Rugen, private investigator out of Kansas City. What do we know about this man? He is smelly. That says to me he might be a homeless person. Not that all homeless people are smelly. But I`m just trying to not stereotype or jump to conclusions but if somebody is reeking, not just of marijuana but she said specifically that he smelled bad, which are two different things.

You have to wonder if there is a transient in the area, Ron that might be somebody that police know about.

RON RUGEN, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: You do. And this is not a low income area. This neighborhood is Overland Park, Kansas in Johnson County, Kansas. And that`s a known area where it is not a low income area. So someone like that would definitely stand out, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Aisha was married, just this past July. She had her wedding reception just three weeks ago. Today her distraught husband spoke about this disappearance for the very first time.


UNIDENTIFIED HUSBAND OF AISHA KHAN: I`m very thankful to everyone helping us, the community, the -- everyone. I need my wife back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Police have said they do not believe the husband is a person of interest in this case.

Holly Hughes, at first glance, this strikes me as an unfortunate stranger abduction assault. Some deranged stoned person out there, who may be a transient, who gets angry, at her because he approached her and harassed her and she had the temerity to slap him and who comes back for vengeance.

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. That`s exactly what it sounds like, Jane, unfortunately, again, like you, I`m not stereotyping but when you have folks who are maybe homeless, smoking pot, drinking. You also have a component of mental illness, someone who has nowhere else to go, someone who is unstable.

He approached this beautiful young woman. She rebuffed him. She basically said, "Go away. Stop harassing me." Someone who is not in their right mind anyway and possibly unstable -- yes, he could absolutely snap.

It is an isolated area. All it would have taken is one good hit and then he could have carried her out of there, unfortunately Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, to the missing woman`s brother and sister who are with us tonight we`re going to stay on top of the story. Call us if you have any new information. We`re not going to let it go. Our hearts go out to you. We want to find your sister safe and sound.

Thank you so much for joining us.

Another scandal for Kobe Bryant, this time, it involves his wife. Yes, she is saying, "Hasta la vista, buddy," even though she stuck with him after the scandal of 2003, she`s now saying I have had enough.

We are taking your calls on Kobe Bryant`s impending divorce, 1-877- JVM-SAYS.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s the holiday season and we are all out and about doing some modest, reasonable holiday shopping. Just a little bit, to show love. And of course, we`re too busy to eat healthy, right? Wrong. No, there is health food everywhere, all over the place. You just got to find it.

Look what I got at a cart on the street. These are chestnuts. Earn believe it or not, they were actually roasting on an open fire. So even when Jack Frost is nipping at your nose you can make a healthy choice.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kobe Bryant`s pre-season just got a lot worse with news that his wife of over ten years has filed for divorce.

KOBE BRYANT, NBA PLAYER: I love my wife with all my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His wife, Vanessa, stood by him eight years ago when he admitted to a tryst with a woman who had accused him of assault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always said (INAUDIBLE) very positive role model for young people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is asking for, reportedly, spousal support, joint custody of the two kids.

BRYANT: She is my backbone. You`re a blessing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. From basketball court to divorce court. Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant`s wife has filed for divorce after a tumultuous 10 1/2 years marriage. Vanessa Bryant has filed for divorce citing, what else, irreconcilable differences. Wasn`t there a movie by that name?

But we hear there is more behind the split, a lot more. TMZ saying whispers from the wives of other basketball players about a slew of illicit affairs brought down this gorgeous couple.

This isn`t the first time they have been rocked by a cheating scandal. Remember the rape allegations, against Kobe and the cheating admission back in 2003? That was a huge scandal we covered for weeks. Well, those charges were dropped; allegations made by a woman who worked at a resort. Kobe had to make a very public apology and his wife, Vanessa, sat by him literally and figuratively.


BRYANT: Beats of my heart, the air I breathe; you are the strongest person I know. And I`m so sorry for having to put our family through this and having to put our family through this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re the air that I breathe but maybe he is breathing some air of some other people too. All right.

So were the latest cheating rumors from the fellow basketball wives what caused Vanessa to throw in the towel? What do you think? Call me 1- 877-JVM SAYS.

Straight out to Jen Heger, legal editor, RadarOnline, what do you know about Vanessa being two-timed allegedly?

JEN HEGER, LEGAL EDITOR, RADARONLINE: There have been rumors, plaguing this couple for years. That Kobe has been unfaithful to her. exclusively reported this afternoon that Vanessa actually wanted to pull the plug on the marriage four years ago. Kobe begged and pleaded with her to not file for divorce. She actually hired another attorney, not Laura Waster who is representing her currently.

Kobe begged and pleaded and said I will to go marriage counseling. I will do whatever it takes. They did go to marriage counseling. Vanessa did believe that her husband changed. About 16 months ago she began to get suspicious again and ultimately her worst fears were confirmed and she had no other choice but to file for divorce because of his alleged infidelity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hate to say it. I will probably get a lot of hate mail on this. But I think marriage counseling is off then divorce counseling. Because when somebody has a cheating problem, they need to work on themselves, not their marriage. That is a character defect. That is a morality flaw that has nothing really to do with the person you`re living. You are a cheater allegedly.

Now, I don`t know. I`m not there walking around hanging out with Kobe. We just got a "no comment" from Kobe`s people but they are invited on any time; his lawyer, him, anybody. We want to hear all sides of the story.

Suffice it to say, it`s no surprise because basketball wives look out for each other. This isn`t the first marriage to fail. We all remember San Antonio Spurs player, Tony Parker, whose very famous wife, "Desperate Housewives" actress Eva Longoria, left him amidst rumors of cheating; or Shaq`s wife filing for divorce.

I have to say, is fame and fortune and the adulation that these men get and the women who throw themselves -- and I have seen it, K. Foxx, you have seen it too, host of HOT 97. You see these women that, it`s like, they`re charging to the finish line. I got use a basketball but I don`t know enough about sports to make up a basketball analogy. You know what I mean, K. Foxx.

K. FOXX, HOST, HOT 97: I know exactly what you mean. The thing, the downfall that these men have is basically they are thinking with the wrong head and they have options. You have a plethora of money. You have this great ability to be an athlete so you are already desirable. What woman doesn`t want a strong, powerful, wealthy man but at the same time, they need to respect their wives and their families. And they are not doing that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and let`s face it. These women kind of know what they are signing up for in the sense that they know their men are going to be on the road all the time. These are high testosterone characters we are dealing with and there are women who are literally targeting them at every stop.

I`m not condoning it, let me tell you. Don`t get married if you want to play around, that`s what I say.

But I want to go some of the callers because we -- boy, a lot of people. Patty, New York; your question or thought, Patty.

PATTY, NEW YORK (via telephone): Hi Jane. Vanessa actually think that -- or Kobe actually think that the $9 million ring would keep her around? What`s next, a $20 million ring?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what; we`re going to talk about the million- dollar ring in a moment.



JAWN MURRAY: He`ll be crying like that again every time he has to cut a check and realize that half of it is going to Vanessa. And let me the tell you, all the NBA groupies, they thought they got an early Christmas present. They thought NBA All-Star week came early this year.

I thought it was an earthquake in D.C. All the people running to the airport to get to L.A. to be next in line, to be the next Mrs. Kobe Bryant.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Vanessa giving Kobe the drop kick, and this isn`t the first time Kobe has been caught cheating. Of course, we all know the scandal in 2003. He was accused of raping a 19-year-old Colorado resort employee. Kobe claimed the sex was consensual.


BRYANT: I didn`t force her to do anything against her will. I`m innocent.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. The charges were dropped when the victim, the alleged victim, refused to testify. Kobe bought his wife on 8-carat, $4 million apology ring. He also had to settle a lawsuit that the woman filed.

But look at the size of the rock. I think we`ve got it there. We`ve got to see it again. I mean, it`s huge -- $4 million rock.

You know, this is what it says to me, Vikki Ziegler, family law attorney. She sat there, allowed herself to be humiliated, was loyal to him, and this is what she gets in return? More alleged cheating?

VIKKI ZIEGLER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: I agree, Jane, I mean think it`s ridiculous. At the end of the day, people want to stand by somebody and they want to say, "I love you, no matter what." I trust you, and if you did infidelity or did something wrong, I`m going to make amends. I`m never going to do it again. I`m sorry to my wife.

That`s what he said on air in front of everyone. And what did he do, allegedly? Repeatedly cheats on her, time after time after time. That rock, he couldn`t even buy her 20 carats at this point. It`s not going to make amends.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s talk money. He`s worth up to $300 million, somewhere between $150 million and $300 million. How much of that is she going to get?

ZIEGLER: Oh absolutely. She could potentially get half of his net worth. What does that mean to me? She could be the next $100-million woman. Ok, why? They`ve been married in California, no pre-nup, I`m told.


ZIEGLER: No pre-nup. He was in the NBA for four years making a lot of money and he never executed a pre-nup with her. Apparently there were negotiations, they fell down, and they never actually executed it.

She could ultimately get over, because they`ve been married in ten years in California, alimony for an extended period of time; child support on a monthly basis. He makes $25 million a year. We`re talking big money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ouch. Yes. And they have two kids; one 8 and one 5.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. And she`d also get, probably, the $4 million Newport Beach mansion, just by the by.

All right. Eric, Idaho, your question or thought, Eric?

ERIC, IDAHO (via telephone): Hello, Jane. First of all, me and my wife love your show.


ERIC: And my question was, these women marrying these million-dollar athletes, how do they not know that their husbands are cheating on them when they`re out of town half the year?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think, Jen Heger, the way they know that is the wives who don`t want to be cheated on either have some kind of surveillance network. What do you know, Jen?

HEGER: Well, you know, I`m probably going to get a lot of flak for saying this, but happily married men just don`t cheat. I`m told that Lamar Odom has had women throw themselves at him and he and Khloe are extremely happy and he does not give another woman a second glance.

Also, that ring that everybody`s talking about that he bought for Vanessa after the rape allegations, he actually commissioned that ring two weeks before the rape allegations ever surfaced.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa. All right. K. Foxx on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: K. Foxx, Kobe was allegedly snared by the basketball wives surveillance system. Tell us about it.

K. FOXX: Well, basically, it`s like a Basketball Wives Club. You know, the husbands confiding in their wives, the wives ultimately went behind the husbands` back and told Vanessa.

She caught wind of this and she said, you know what; I`m done with the cheating scandals. I`m done with it. And it`s just so embarrassing. Once a cheater, always a cheater. And she`s going to be taken care of for the rest of her life. So she`s a smart cookie for sticking in there for ten years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You make a great point. It`s interesting she got past the ten-year mark, and that`s when she decided to throw in the chips, because that`s when she`s going to get the big payout.

Ten -- five seconds, Vikki, smart?

ZIEGLER: Smart move, definitely. I think frugal planning, strategy planning; and at the end of the day, it`s going to be a big payout for her, no matter how you slice it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh. Vanessa, you win.

Nancy next.