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Child Killer Confesses in Detail; Girl, 14, Missing Following New Year`s Eve Celebration

Aired January 17, 2012 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Here`s what we`re working on.

(VOICE-OVER) Tonight, a guilty plea in the horrific murder and rape of this precious 7-year-old girl found dead in a trash compactor at her Georgia apartment complex. Today in court, secrets were revealed about her disturbing death as the building`s 20-year-old maintenance man pleads guilty. Could there be more victims?

And beloved TV chef Paula Deen had a secret. She has just revealed she`s had diabetes for years. She also just inked a deal as a pitch woman for a diabetes drug. Did she hide her disease for three years to try to cash in? Has your opinion of this southern chef changed?

(ON CAMERA) I want to hear from you. Call me.

(VOICE-OVER) Plus, missing since New Year`s Eve. The search for missing 14-year-old Morgan Hernandez intensifies. Her grandmother says she saw a man shoving the little girl into a car. And then cops say they had a sighting. I`ll talk to her frantic father tonight live.

And dramatic new tapes reveal the panic and confusion after a captain abandons his sinking cruise ship. Tonight, you`ll hear that captain being angrily confronted as he is in the process of abandoning ship.

It`s all tonight. You will not believe your ears.

(ON CAMERA) Let`s do it!



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a neighborhood in total panic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re here to announce the arrest of Ryan Brunn for the murder of the 7-year-old Rivera child.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was severely beaten. We believe that she was sexually assaulted.

The abduction took place in the immediate vicinity of the playground where the 7-year-old child was playing.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That vacant apartment is in the building, right next to Jorelys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The murder occurred in that vacant apartment.

BROOKS: This is the trash compactor where Jorelys` body was placed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re confident that Brunn is the killer.


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

A chilling confession in the brutal murder of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera. Last month, we all watched in horror. It`s incomprehensible, really, that this beautiful, innocent young child went from being a missing child to the victim of perhaps the most vicious, horrific murder imaginable.

She was playing in her apartment`s playground when this killer found her and lured her with a roller skate to her death.

Ryan Brunn worked as a maintenance man in Jorelys` apartment complex in Canton, which is just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. At just 20 years of age, this man committed an unmistakable act of evil. I`ve got to warn you, the details are so graphic; they`re so disturbing. We`re telling you these details because, as a parent, you need to know.

This girl was snatched from her playground. There`s her family, weeping. Weeping uncontrollably in court after this Ryan Brunn pleaded guilty. He confessed his crime in gruesome detail. He was wearing a bulletproof vest in court today.


RYAN BRUNN, CONFESSED TO MURDER: Was going to lure her in for sexual conduct with myself here. Never had an idea of killing a child in my life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Until he did have that idea.

Brunn said he panicked and killed Jorelys to keep her quiet, so she wouldn`t tell her parents. Then he disposed of her body in the apartment`s trash compactor. He went home -- and this is the key here -- he got stoned on pot and meth, methamphetamine.

Was his sick addiction the secret that allowed him to do the unthinkable and commit this atrocity that we can`t even talk to without -- we can`t even discuss it without becoming overcome?

Two days after he murdered this child, as investigators were frantically hunting for her, Brunn then taped a note to the trash compactor, and the note read, "She is in the trash can." That`s a direct quote. What possessed Brunn to leave this crucial key for police? Did he suddenly develop a conscience? Apparently not. He revealed to the judge that he was high on meth when he wrote and posted the note. He might not have even been aware of what he was doing.

I want you to call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Ross Cabot, reporter for WSB. You were in court today. Paint a picture, because this family has gone through unimaginable. This family did nothing wrong. Their child was playing in the playground where all the kids in this complex play, and this had to happen. The handyman in the building responsible. Tell us what you saw.

ROSS CABOT, REPORTER, WSB: Well, I`ll tell you what. This is one of the most painful afternoons I`ve ever spent in a courtroom here in Canton, when Ryan Brunn came in, and Judge Frank Mills, the chief judge here in Cherokee County, pressed him over and over on details about what he did to Jorelys Rivera and why did he do it.

And those details came out bit by bit, as just a few feet away, Jocelyn Rivera, the young girl`s mother, wept constantly in court as an interpreter read to her what was going on in court, just a few feet from her. It was really gut-wrenching to hear these details come out. Judge Mills wanted to hear them all. He pressed for them. He got Brunn to say what he did and why he did before he sent him away to state prison where he`ll spend the rest of his life, no chance for parole.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So basically, it was a plea deal, death penalty off the table in return. This monster is going to spend the rest of his life behind bars, no chance of parole.

How families survive tragedies like this is behind me. And tonight I have one of my heroes with me. My dear friend, I can say, Dena Thompson. Dena is a mother who lost her child, 7-year-old Somer Thompson, very similar circumstances. This precious, precious little girl was kidnapped and murdered. And the man going on trial for her murder, some day, Jared Harold was a neighbor, and cops say he lured Somer to his house using a dog. Somer loved animals. And this little girl, Jorelys, was lured with some roller blades.

Dena, the similarities haunting. Your killer, the killer -- alleged killer of your precious daughter, still has not gone to trial. She was taken from us in 2009, more than two years ago. This guy confesses, death penalty off the table, he gets life. Try to tell us which is more horrific? Waiting for justice or having justice done so quickly that perhaps this family hasn`t been able to process?

DENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER THOMPSON: Wow, I don`t know which one is worse. I`m stuck in the boat of waiting. I`m glad that they have this kind of closure this soon into it, but I don`t know which one, honestly, would be worse. I can only know what I`m in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does it get any easier? Your daughter was taken in 1009, October, more than two years ago. Is there ever -- is there any closure? Is there any healing? Especially since the killer of your child hasn`t even -- the alleged killer, I have to say, legally -- hasn`t gone to trial.

THOMPSON: There`s no closure. I think that there may be some resolution at some point, but closure, there`s -- I just don`t even think that`s possible. I think that you learn how to get on in life without what you`re supposed to have, something that someone wasn`t supposed to take from us, but they did. And so we have to press forward and try to do what we can to make it through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you tell us in any way, shape, or form what this family -- they were weeping in court today -- what they`re experiencing?

THOMPSON: They probably -- I mean, my assumption would be that they actually just don`t even really probably -- it doesn`t even make sense to them at this point. They`re still in the fog. I know for a year, for myself, it was just -- I couldn`t even believe it. I`m two days away from 27 months, and I still don`t believe it. So I`m sure that they`re still just kind of in a state of shock, but at least they don`t have to wait years and years for their justice to come for their baby.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to show you more of this sick, sick man, this evil man`s confession from court. Ryan Brunn explaining why in his demented mind, he felt the need to brutally murder this little child.


BRUNN: I was just so terrified and scared that -- I didn`t want her to go home and tell her mom or dad on me. And I just -- I cut her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: After the murder, he said he went and hung out with his friends and did meth. Was meth his toxic secret?

I want to go to Robin Sax, former prosecutor and author of "Predators and Child Molesters." I often find drugs at the center of these kinds of hideous crimes. What are the effects of meth that allow people to do the unthinkable?

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Meth is a stimulant, and it`s one of the most powerful, most addictive, most sickening drugs that`s actually out there. It really is one of those drugs that overtake you. But it`s interesting that it was the meth that seemed to have led to the confession in this case, not necessarily meth that he was under the influence when he was actually committing the crime to begin with.

But one would have to ask what residual effects as a meth user had he had? You know, he also had a history of combining meth with marijuana and potentially other drugs, that those effects together may have had some sort of place in why the prosecutor actually allowed for a plea deal to be like this to begin with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, my -- my experience is that drugs, especially a hard drug like meth, kills the conscience. You are a zombie and you have no, not even a clue, as to what is right and what is wrong.

BROOKS: Well, he said in court today that he had smoked marijuana prior to killing little Jorelys. So he said that he didn`t use meth that often, that he had used it that night, that Friday night and had gone out with some friends, but then had come back and saw that there was more trash in the compactor and started to compact her up again and put more trash behind her body.

And then on Saturday, he put some more evidence, his dirty -- his bloody tennis shoes and a shirt, into the compactor, and on Sunday, that`s when he wrote the note on the back of a McDonald`s receipt that he`d gotten from his apartment and taped that with scotch tape to the trash compacter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to go to the phone lines.

Sherry, Pennsylvania, your question or thought, sherry?

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: I just wanted to say that -- I wanted to send my condolences out to the Riviera [SIC] family. This hits close to home. I have an 8- year-old daughter, and I was, you know, just -- it just makes me so emotional that people -- you know, you can`t trust anybody anymore. It`s not -- you know, people that you`re living next door to, you can`t trust anybody anymore, and it`s just a scary world.

And you know, I hate to bring my daughter up in a world like this, for her to be scared, but like, some of the programs you have on here about little kids, I mean, I have to scare her, because she doesn`t understand how...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this innocent face, Sherry. Sherry, look at this innocent face. This girl did not have any fear. She did not know anything but innocence and playing.

And this Ryan Brunn, relatively new to Canton, Georgia, just moved from Brooklyn, and Facebook he wrote, "Bored, nothing to do in the hellhole of a town. Someone, hit me up." So a bored guy with a meth habit. A serious drug habit. And obviously, a very, very evil streak did the unthinkable. Our hearts do go out to this family, the Rivera family. We`re so sorry.

Coming up, the desperate search for a missing teenager. Her name is Morgan and her absolutely frantic dad with me next. Let`s work together to try to find this young woman. There may be some hope, a sighting possibly in the Houston area.

Also, Paula Deen, she reveals a secret. Why did the queen of comfort food wait three years to tell her fans something absolutely crucial? And what do you think: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.


JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Your cooking is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) bad for you. That`s what he said.

PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: Well, let me tell you something, girlfriend. Maybe it is bad for you. I think people have a misconception of southern food. I think that people think we eat fried chicken...




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fourteen-year-old Morgan Hernandez hasn`t been seen since New Year`s Eve.

RUBEN HERNANDEZ, FATHER: My kids were having a good time. Their grandmother surprised them to go watch the fireworks and the concert. Later that night, we got a phone call that she was missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see it on the news, and you know, you`re praying for them, because you`re hoping that they get their babies back, and then you turn around and it`s happened to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The big thing that we can do right now is get all of Houston aware of the fact that we`ve got a 14-year-old girl missing. That was at Discovery Green on New Year`s Eve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she sees us and there`s a way to let us know where she`s at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want her home and you know, praying to God that, you know, nothing bad has actually happened to her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s get together and help find this young woman. This Houston family is going through pure hell as they wait to find out what happened to their 14-year-old daughter, who simply vanished like that from an outdoor New Year`s Eve celebration in a huge Houston park.

Literally one moment Morgan is watching a New Year`s concert with her grandma and two brothers. The next moment she`s gone. Morgan`s dad, Ruben, broke our hearts when he appeared on ISSUES last week, describing what happened to his daughter through tears. Listen to this.


HERNANDEZ: My cousin, Angie, and Frank, they`re -- they`re helping. Sorry. They`re passing out flyers. They started another Web page for her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, it`s been more than two weeks. Still no word about Morgan. We have got to help this family, and I`ve got to tell you that the best way we can do that is by putting her face out there and perhaps jogging somebody`s memory.

If you have any information or questions about Morgan, call me right now, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

We`re going to talk to Morgan`s father, Ruben, in a second. But first, straight out to investigative reporter Joe Gomez with KTRH Radio.

Joe, we know there was a probable sighting. First, let`s talk about the car. There was a silver car. The grandmother saw her possibly being pushed into the silver car. Then there was another sighting at an office. Tell us what you know.

JOE GOMEZ, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, KTRH RADIO: That`s right, Jane. Very disturbing details here. Apparently, grandmother reportedly saw Morgan getting pushed into some sort of silver vehicle. And when grandmother tried to follow the car, she just got lost. Couldn`t pursue it any further.

Then we also have unconfirmed sightings Morgan was spotted at a hotel, perhaps at a convenience store. Again, these are unconfirmed sightings.

But Jane, this search has grown desperate. Every day that Morgan is missing, the chances that she comes home safe and sound grow slimmer and slimmer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to bring in Ruben Hernandez. This is very hard on you, we certainly saw. That has to be very hard on your mother-in-law. She was in charge of Morgan and your two young sons when Morgan vanished. Let`s listen to what you told us last week.


HERNANDEZ: My mother-in-law got with the police that were there. They tried to search for her, as far as I know, and just no word since then.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s -- the big issue here is cell phone clues. Police have said they have a few leads from phone numbers from a cell phone that was used by Morgan. That`s great news. But we understand Morgan had another phone when she vanished.

So Ruben, what phone did she have when she vanished? And why are we getting some calls from another phone?

HERNANDEZ (via phone): What she had was her grandma`s phone. She had a little cell phone that she used if she went somewhere. She could roll her house phone over to it, and that`s what she had on her. And that was the only cell phone that she had at that time. That was in case she ever got separated.

Unfortunately, my daughter did, and the phone was turned off, last pinged at that spot.

Now, we`ve gone through Discovery Green. We`ve posted flyers. We have found out that the flyers have been taken down, and they won`t give us an answer why. We also have asked for footage, anything in the park, and they`re telling us they do not have any cameras in that park at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, that`s surprising to me. No cameras in that huge Discovery Green Park?

BROOKS: I`m very surprised too, Jane, because it`s right in the middle of downtown Houston. There`s an ice skating rink there. You`d think they`d have it up there at least for liability reasons. And a lot of office buildings around there. I don`t understand why there`s no surveillance video at all myself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Coming up we`re going to hear the chilling tapes of the captain of that cruise ship in Italy. You won`t believe it!

But first, we`re going to get deeper into Morgan`s disappearance.



HERNANDEZ: My cousin Angie, my uncle Frank, they`re helping. Sorry. They`re passing out flyers. They started another Web page for her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ruben Hernandez, you were very emotional on our show last week, and certainly no one blames you. We want to help.

Your daughter is 14. We`re going to show more pictures of her right now as we speak, because that`s what`s important. To get her face out there.

Fourteen is an age where, my gosh, it`s puberty, and sometimes kids become rebellious. I`m just asking to clear things up and to eliminate possibilities. Did she have a boyfriend? Is there any chance that this silver car she was seen getting into, that she got into voluntarily, or did it look like she was being pushed in?

HERNANDEZ: My mom said it looked like she was being pushed in. She does not have a boyfriend. She`s 14, we`re pretty strict on that kind of stuff. A kid that`s 14 I don`t believe should have a boyfriend yet. That`s my opinion. My parents didn`t raise me like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess what I`m asking is, is there any chance she might have fled on her own?

HERNANDEZ: No, ma`am, I don`t believe so, not at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about these flyers being taken down? That`s kind of disturbing. Who`s taking them down?

HERNANDEZ: I don`t know. It`s very aggravating, I know that. We have a lot of people putting a lot of hard work into putting those at. A lot of my family went out yesterday and put out flyers. They printed off a couple thousand and spread them all out over Houston. And my cousin was telling me, we`re putting them up here and my wife was saying, we just put those up the other day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excuse me, is that at Discovery Green, that park specifically they`re being taken down or various places?

HERNANDEZ: Yes, there was no more left at Discovery Green. And a couple of the surrounding buildings, didn`t give me a name for sure which one. But if it was their kid, I bet you they wouldn`t have taken them down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. If anybody`s watching from that area, do not take those stickers down. This is not like, hey, I`m going to teach you how to play guitar. This is a missing child that needs to be found. Let`s go to the phone lines. Maria, New York, your question or thought, Maria? Oh, we can`t hear Maria.

CALLER: I`m sorry. I`m sorry. Here I am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your question or thought, Maria?

CALLER: I just want to say that I feel horrible for Morgan`s parents. And you know, it`s terrible that nowadays, we have to keep our children under our thumbs in order to keep them safe. Because there`s very, very sick people out there.

And I think it`s also sad that we have to worry about their rights and not the rights of our children, the missing children, and the missing children`s family or the deceased children and their family. I just think it`s terrible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you 100 percent.

Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, authorities are treating this as a missing person`s case. Look, we`ve done enough of these stories, Mike. She`s a beautiful young girl. She`s 14. There`s sickos out there. To me, this has all the markings of potential foul play. Should authorities take a more aggressive tack? What do you say?

BROOKS: Well, depending on what kind of evidence they have, they`re saying right now that there`s no signs of foul play. But the longer she`s missing, you know, it goes to the fact that there could be foul play. I was just wondering what the police are telling Ruben to this point?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Joe Gomez, we`ve got five seconds. You`re there. What -- do you think cops are doing enough?

GOMEZ: Well, with I think they`re very tight-lipped about a lot of things, Jane, but the community here is outraged. People want to find Morgan Hernandez safe and sound.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paula Deen has announced that she has Type 2 diabetes. The Food Network...



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paula Deen has announced that she has Type 2 diabetes. The Food Network star`s well-known for using extra butter and cheese in a lot of her recipes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she`s known for those recipes that are loaded with fat and sugar. Here`s the thing, she`s kept this a secret from her fans for about three years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is the Bible writer when it comes to southern cuisine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take responsibility for yourself. Give it a little thought and stick to what you know. Maybe it is bad for you, but I don`t go around eating or serving unwashed (EXPLETIVE DELETED) of wildebeest.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Hey, she`s popular. I`m sure you`ve watched her. She`s the queen of southern cooking, Paula Deen. But she`s been keeping a secret from you. The woman made famous for adding extra butter and extra fat and extra sugar to her dishes announced today on the "Today" show that she now has Type 2 diabetes.


PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: I came home, I told my children, I told my husband. I said, "I`m going to keep this close to my chest for the time being," because I had to figure things out in my own head. I had to give time to think about it, talk with my doctor.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: For three years? Yes, here`s the thing. Paula found out about her diabetes three long years ago. Yet she continued to offer her viewers the same very fat-laden diet that likely contributed to her adult onset diabetes. Without revealing to you, you the viewer, that she had developed this very serious disease.

Now, here is Paula talking about her signature ingredient on her popular Food Network show.


DEEN: Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. Butter. A stick of butter. Butter. Butter. Mm, creamy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, some critics say the only reason why Paula decided to finally come clean about her diagnosis was because she landed a profitable endorsement deal with a drug company to push a diabetes drug. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we should mention you`re a paid spokesman or a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk.

DEEN: Absolutely. I have been compensated, just as you are, for your work. Yes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. She`s good with the one-liners. Paula Deen, one of the most popular celebrity chefs out there. Again, you may watch her show. But I ask you the question tonight and I want to hear from you. By keeping this battle a secret, did Paula Deen lose the trust of her fans?

Call me on this, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. I want to hear all sorts of opinions. 1-877-586-7297.

Now, straight out to noted nutritionist, Dr. Melina Jampolis. First off, Doctor, please explain to our viewers in simple people terms how eating fat-laden food can contribute to Type 2 or adult onset diabetes?

DR. MELINA JAMPOLIS, NUTRITIONIST: Absolutely. Well, first of all, the most obvious way that they contribute is by increasing weight gain. And weight gain is very highly associated with Type 2 diabetes. But in addition, the specific foods that she recommends, like bacon and butter are actually pro-inflammatory. They cause inflammation throughout the body, which can also increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes.

So it`s really like a two-pronged attack. The weight and the inflammation, and you`re really setting yourself up to suffer from this disease.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Paula is famous for a slew of southern treats that, as you just heard, are laden with butter and bacon and all sorts of fat-laden items. For example, one of her banner items is a sandwich called the Lady`s Brunch Burger. And check this out; she`s promoted on it the Food Network.


DEEN: My friend Kim and I are fixing up a burger that`s over the top, even for me. It`s the Lady`s Brunch Burger.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. This monstrosity, I`m going to call it that, because let`s face it -- it`s got 1,162 calories and 64 grams of fat. That`s 99 percent of the daily value an adult needs, in one sandwich. So my big issue, do we as a nation need to cut the fat?

I want to go to Paula Deen`s polar opposite, and happens to be my dear friend, Rory Freedman, author of the wild best seller, the wildly popular best seller, "Skinny Bitch", and we`re going to show you that book cover, because I think it was on the best seller list for -- how long was it on the best seller list for, Rory?

RORY FREEDMAN, AUTHOR, "SKINNY BITCH": Hi, Jane, I think about three years, and I have to say, I`m so happy to be here. I don`t know if I`m Paula`s polar opposite, because I love food as much as she does. And I like indulgent food as much as she does, but I have found as a vegan, I get to enjoy all those same kinds of food, but just the vegan version of them. And as a vegan now, I have a lower likelihood of diabetes, including also cancer, obesity, stroke -- all the nation`s top killers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say that I think this is an opportunity. It`s an opportunity for to us to learn from Paula`s experience and avoid the same fate. And that doesn`t mean we can`t be fans of Paula Deen. It doesn`t mean we don`t love her personality.

She`s a pistol, she`s a hoot. She`s great television. I love a lot of things about her. But I think we can learn from it. Viewers at home and myself -- if we don`t learn from somebody else`s experience, then we`re sort of doomed to repeat it.

I want to go to the phone lines. And guess what, we`ve got Paula, but this Paula`s from New York. Paula, your question or thought? Hey, Paula?

PAULA, NEW YORK (via telephone): Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, hey, how you doing? What`s your question or thought?

PAULA: I`m doing ok.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good. Your question or thought, my dear.

PAULA: I think Paula Deen is getting a bad rap. I didn`t know I had diabetes either, and I got it, and I`m not overweight or anything. And I got Type 2 diabetes. But in our days, we used to have bacon and eggs, it was good for you. We didn`t understand all this nutrition stuff like this. And we enjoyed our food, never thought anything of it.

If she found out three years ago and she is researching it and stuff like this, and now she knows what it`s all about. She`s educated and I really feel like just listen to her and don`t --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, my dear, I understand that you admire her. A lot of people admire her.

But here`s my take. Paula Deen, in my humble opinion, you had a moral obligation. Come here a second. Let me talk to you and your fans.

Paula Deen, you should have shared with your viewers the news of your diabetes diagnosis in a much more timely fashion than waiting for three years. Why? Because your fans, the people that you supposedly care about, need the truth -- we need the facts.

Just tonight new obesity statistics have come out and I`ve got to tell you, people, they`re frightening. About 70 percent of us adult Americans are overweight. One in three of us are obese. And here`s right from the medical encyclopedia, most people with Type 2 -- or it`s also known as adult onset diabetes, or overweight -- increased fat makes it harder for your body to use insulin the correct way.

Now, I want to go to the Food Network, because I think they bear some responsibility here. After all, you wouldn`t know about Paula Deen. She was running a restaurant until the Food Network embraced her. The Food Network saying, "As part of Food Network`s family, our only concern is for Paula`s health. We will continue to support Paula as she confronts this new challenge, taking her lead on what future episodes will offer her fans."

Mark Serrano, president, Pro-Active Communications; I think the Food Network is making a mistake here. They`re saying their only concern is for Paula health. What about the health of their viewers? Does the Food Network have any concern for the health of their viewers?

MARK SERRANO, PRESIDENT, PRO-ACTIVE COMMUNICATIONS: Well, I think the Food Network does and I think Paula Deen does. I think she`s demonstrated it through her programs by talking about moderation. The hypocrisy police have been enforced today online, Jane, and they`ve been trying to plaster Paula Deen as a hypocrite and as a poster child for unhealthy living.

The truth is I think she`s a poster child for personal responsibility; for enjoying life, you know, within moderation; and also for free enterprise.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second -- are you her publicist?

SERRANO: No, I`m not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re saying to me that hiding the diagnosis of diabetes for three years while continuing to encourage people to eat the way very likely she contracted diabetes is her being a poster child for what? What did you say? A poster child for what?

SERRANO: Personal responsibility. She`s preached moderation all along.



SERRANO: Absolutely. She`s no more responsible for people getting diabetes than she would be me eating these doughnuts tonight. It`s about consumer choice and personal responsibility, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I wrote a book called "Addict Nation", maybe you can find that one and put that one up. "Addict Nation" is about the fact that when you`re an addict, you have no choice. In other words, I`m a recovering alcoholic. I had no choice -- I was a zombie to alcohol. I could say I`m not going to drink tonight and I`d be drinking by the end of the night.

I also became addicted to sugar. That`s why I don`t eat processed sugar because I had no choice when it came to sugar. I couldn`t stop eating it. So I gave up all sugar, because I couldn`t stop eating it.

Rory Freedman, we`re living in a culture where two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. The personal choice issue is a nice phrase. It`s a nice catchphrase, but really, when we`re being bombarded with images to eat things that are going to make us obese, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of images on a daily, weekly basis. Can we really just say, oh, it`s a personal choice?

JAMPOLIS: You know, I understand the outcry that is being directed towards Paula for not sharing her diagnosis. I also understand her desire for privacy. I`m not sure where her desire for privacy ends and where her desire for monetizing on that information now begins.

I`m uncomfortable with the fact that she`s being a paid spokesperson for some diabetic medicine. I`d much rather she used this opportunity to talk about how unhealthy food choices can contribute to disease, and that by switching to a vegetarian or plant-based diet, we can reduce the risk for diabetes. And that she, herself, can reduce -- can cure herself of diabetes, not need to take this medicine.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Rory, that`s right, it doesn`t have to be a fight. I hope that Paula uses this as an opportunity to turn her life around. She says she`s going to start promoting now healthier recipes.

Paula, I hope you do. And Food Network, I hope you start showing people how to make healthy fruits and vegetables and not just, you know.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dramatic new developments today in the cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy. After blasting holes in the capsized Costa Concordia, search divers found five more bodies and that raises the confirmed death toll to 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were helping the staff more than they were helping us. They weren`t in control. There were very few people that knew what was going on in our area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There wasn`t anyone to help you. I mean literally, the passengers were loading the lifeboats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had to go about four or five gates down before we found a lifeboat we could get into.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight from the tragic cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy. I don`t think we`ve ever seen anything like this. Rescue workers finding five more bodies in the wreckage. That brings the death toll to 11. As we speak, 23 people are still missing. And now the secrets of what happened behind the scenes are being revealed. Arguments between the captain and authorities just released on tape; we`re going to play those tapes for you. Officials had to order the captain more than ten times, ten times to get back on the ship he had abandoned to help the some 4,000 people still on board. You got to hear this. It got heated.


UNIDENTIFIED PORT AUTHORITY OFFICER: I understand. Listen, there are people who are coming down the stem ladder. You must take that ladder in the opposite direction. Get on board the ship and you tell me how many people are on board and what do they have. Clear? You tell me if there are children, women, people with special needs.

And you tell me how many there are in each category, is that clear?

Look Schettino, you might have been saved from the sea but I will make sure you go through a very rough time. I will make sure you go through a lot of trouble. Get on board, damn it.

FRANCESCO SCHETTINO, CAPTAIN, "COSTA CONCORDIA": I`m going because now there is the other motorboat that has stopped now.

UNIDENTIFIED PORT AUTHORITY OFFICER: You go on board. It is an order. You cannot make any other evaluations. You have declared abandoning ship. Now I`m in charge. You get on board. Is it clear?

SCHETTINO: Commandant.


SCHETTINO: I`m going.

UNIDENTIFIED PORT AUTHORITY OFFICER: Call me immediately when you get on board. Our rescue officer is there.

SCHETTINO: Where is your rescue officer?

UNIDENTIFIED PORT AUTHORITY OFFICER: My rescue officer is at the stem. Go.


UNIDENTIFIED PORT AUTHORITY OFFICER: There are already bodies, Schettino.

SCHETTINO: How many dead bodies are there?

UNIDENTIFIED PORT AUTHORITY OFFICER: I don`t know. I know of one. I`ve heard of one. You are the one to tell me how many there are. Christ.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh. And we`ve heard from survivors, the crew completely disorganized. They didn`t know what to do. In fact, there was mutiny by some of the crew members because this captain wasn`t telling them to do anything. And they decided to do something. Get on the boats. Help other people on the boats. In short, it was utter chaos.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were told to abandon the ship and from that moment on, it was just chaos.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Right now we`re going to go to Dan Rivers, CNN senior international correspondent in Giglio, Italy. As the shock wears off and reality sets in, is there outrage in Italy over this captain`s behavior?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It`s certainly pretty divisive, this whole issue. I mean some papers are really lambasting him for the way he is alleged to have behaved for the deviation from the course that he took. And then for apparently abandoning the ship before everyone was off.

But there is a kind of alternative version of events, which is being put out by his lawyer, which is basically this. That, ok, yes, the ship hit the rocks, but then, his lawyer is claiming that he was a hero in the way that he steered the ship as close as he could to shore, beaching it, giving everyone a better chance of getting off. And then his lawyer is claiming, basically, one of the reasons that he got off so he could better coordinate the rescue effort there.

So all these kind of facts are going to be played out in court if it comes to a court case. The prosecution claiming, basically, that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Let me tell you this. He`s got a lot better lawyer than he is a ship captain. This captain`s now facing manslaughter charges and he is blaming his charts. Listen to this.


SCHETTINO (through translator): I don`t know if it was detected or not, but on the nautical chart, it was marked just as water at some 100 to 150 meters from the rocks, and we were about 300 meters from the shore, more or less. We shouldn`t have had this contact.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Ryan, survivor on the Italian cruise ship, we`re happy you`ve survived it. A cook on board the ship says the captain ordered dinner half an hour after they crashed and seemed more concerned with dessert than what was happening.

`As somebody whose life was almost lost, you barely got out, does this show boating, for lack of a better word, drive you crazy? What is your reaction now that we`ve heard these tapes of this captain being ordered ten times to get back on this boat?

JOE RYAN, SURVIVOR: My emotions are just running high. I`m just kind of furious at this point, and angry and frustrated, because we waited an hour and a half after the initial crash into the rocks, with no details on anything. So if he was ordering dessert or doing those things, we didn`t know about it and nobody told us what to do. So, just really kind of feeling angry and frustrated at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is, I think, the worst captain -- we`ve had good captains. Remember Captain Sully, who miraculously landed his plane in the Hudson, saving so many lives? This is the worst captain I have heard or seen from.

On the other side of the break, we`re going to show you video from inside, perhaps the first time in human history that we`ve actually watched a ship go down.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s probably the first time we`ve ever seen anything like this caught on tape because we haven`t had a cruise ship disaster this big since the advent of the Smartphones that make everybody a potential camera person.

This is video obviously from inside the ship as it is sinking and listen to the panic and put yourself in the chaos because you can get a feeling of what it`s like to be there. Let`s listen a little bit more.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please remain calm. The situation`s under control.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look how people are packed in there. They are so packed that if there was any kind of stampede towards a boat, which I understood there were. One of the survivors told us he was fending other people off the boat with an oar. It must have felt like the Titanic. And, of course, everybody has seen that movie.

But let`s watch a clip again.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we just received new video of the ship right after it crashed. We`ll show you that as we talk to Mark Iannazzo, former cruise director, what were the key mistakes that this captain, if you can call him that, made?

MARK IANNAZZO, FORMER CRUISE DIRECTOR: Key mistakes, Jane. There was no emergency call. The crew was not informed. They didn`t go into action. I`m just shocked at listening to this. This is a tragedy that didn`t need to occur.

Hitting the rocks is one thing but after that all of this could have been avoided. It`s amazing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy getting into the boat and fleeing himself, abandoning ship, and then having to be ordered ten times back, have you ever heard of such cowardice?

IANNAZZO: No, no, I have never heard of anything like that. It will be interesting to hear a version of it. But to leave the vessel and to not have directed the crew to their stations, everybody has an assigned duty on the ship for safety. That`s one of the most important duties on a ship. But none of that was called. I`m just -- I`m God-smacked by it. It`s just a sad tragedy that really is unnecessary -- completely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve talked to people who say, I`m never going to take a cruise ever again. Has this impacted the cruise industry?

IANNAZZO: I think it`s a major thing. Ships hit rocks. They hit bottom. It`s not a big deal. It`s expensive but it happens. But this was peculiar. The only thing he did -- I have to say -- the only thing he did, the trajectory of that ship, from what I can see, in 15, 20 minutes they would have been out to sea, thousands of miles from shore. He circled back and came and let that thing just lay there. Thank God because it was at least close to the shore, within 500 feet, from what I understand. That`s something.

But they could have been out at sea. This would have been a huge catastrophe -- major.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The idea that they didn`t have a drill. Everything about this, it`s unbelievable.

Up next, Lindsay Lohan.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lindsay Lohan going into court today. Ken Baker from E! tell us what happened.

KEN BAKER, E! CHIEF NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, she basically had to show up for her monthly probation progress report hearing and it was a positive one. The judge basically said, you`re doing a great job and keep it up and this is going to continue until the end of March.

Now, she faces 150 days in jail if she doesn`t complete the terms of her probation every month which basically means she has to go down to the LA county morgue. She has to work at least 12 sessions every month. She has to go to counseling sessions, four of them each month. She`s finally doing that, Jane.

It was good news for her today. She didn`t have to go to jail, she didn`t get in trouble, and she seems to be on the right path.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I certainly hope so. I`ve certainly criticized Lindsay Lohan many the past but Ken, like you I`m sure, we`re all rooting for her.

Hollywood and America indeed loves a comeback story. And she`s in her mid-20s. If she gets it now, she can have a stellar career.

Ken Baker, thank you.

"NANCY GRACE" up next.