Return to Transcripts main page


Mom of 3 Vanishes

Aired January 24, 2012 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: We`re digging up the secrets behind the stories you want to know about.

(voice-over) Tonight, new surveillance video surfaces in the frantic hunt for a beautiful missing mother of three in Florida. News reports claim this man told cops Lacey vanished after they did drugs in the woods. I`ll talk live to Lacey`s grandma, her best friend, and the father of her three kids about her secret life of drug abuse and how meth tore her family apart. Where is Lacey?

Also, it`s every American`s worst nightmare. What happens if your kids get sick and you don`t have money to pay the medical bills? Now a 3- year-old boy with cancer is literally painting to raise money for his life- saving treatment. Tonight, I`ll talk to this heroic boy himself and his desperate mother.

Plus, Hollywood bombshell. Halle Berry claims her ex is dangerous to their little girl. But now her equally gorgeous ex says this is all just a ploy to keep him away from his precious daughter. We`ll expose the secrets behind this bitter battle.

(on camera) What do you think about this Hollywood he said/she said? I`m taking your calls. We`re finding out the truth now.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A mother of three vanishes in the woods. And now, as her desperate friends and family search for Lacey, they are compelled to reveal her darkest secret.

Cops say Lacey was last seen on this surveillance footage with this man at a convenience store in Florida. Will this surveillance footage be the key to finding Lacey? What lured her into the woods?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve got to find Lacey. We`ve got these girls that are asking questions now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of them`s got a birthday --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of them`s got a birthday, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lacey, if you`re out there, we love you. We want you to come home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pure hell. That`s what a family in Florida is going through as they desperately search for a beautiful missing mother of three.

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

Twenty-five-year-old Lacey Buenfil last seen Christmas day. Her little girls, only 1, 3, and 5 years of age, don`t even know what might have happened to their mother. that she`s missing and could be in terrible danger tonight.

Take a look at the surveillance video. It shows Lacey with a man at a convenience store in Altoona, Florida, right before she vanished. Cops say the man is Terry McDowell, who has -- wow, here it is -- a long rap sheet. A history of drug-related arrests, 41 pages in his rap sheet, which is literally hot off the presses. I just got it moments ago. We`re going to talk about it more in a second.

Cops say McDowell told them that he and Lacey drove to the Ocala National Forest to do drugs and that his truck got stuck, so Lacey headed out on foot for help. She has not been seen since.

Then the family got a big break. Listen to this.


CYNDEE FOX, MOTHER OF LACEY`S EX-BOYFRIEND: Last weekend when we were searching, we actually found Lacey`s wallet, which was a big, big thing for all of us. She was a good girl. She was not a drifter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So now, unfortunately, the trail has gone cold. Where could Lacey be? She is barely 5`1", just 90 pounds. So frail, so skinny, just a little thing. What happened to her in that gigantic forest? Let`s help find this young woman tonight. Let`s help bring her home to her three kids. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

We are very honored to have tonight Lacey`s grandmother, Carol Babcock.

Carol, if I may call you that, we know this is a difficult time for you, and our hearts go out to you. We want to be helpful. We`re putting up your granddaughter`s picture in the hope of finding her. And that`s the best thing that we can do right now is show everybody in Florida and around the country her photo.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You and Lacey were incredibly close because you raised Lacey. Tell us about Lacey before she vanished. Were there any signs at all that she was in any trouble?

Carol, can you hear me?

BABCOCK: Hello? Yes?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi, Carol. Tell me about Lacey. Yes, ma`am. Tell me about Lacey. Were there any signs that she`ll...

BABCOCK: You`ll have to talk a little louder. I can`t hear you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Were there any signs that Lacey was in trouble? What can you tell us about your granddaughter?

BABCOCK: What can I tell you about our granddaughter?


BABCOCK: Any signs that she was in trouble? Well, yes. There were signs, and we tried very hard to, you know, work with her to get off the drugs. We even had an ex-parte in Marion County for the police to pick her up so we could put her in rehab, but they didn`t get her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, gosh, I`m so sorry. Tell us more. So did -- was she using meth, methamphetamine? That`s what we`ve heard.

BABCOCK: I cannot tell what you`re saying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was she using methamphetamine?

BABCOCK: Yes. That`s only been in the last, say, six months. Her whole life came to an end when she lost her job. She was so -- she so wanted to become a nurse. She had her CNA. She wanted to become a nurse, and somehow she got mixed up with the wrong people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, speaking of the wrong people, I don`t know that he has anything whatsoever to do with her disappearance, but the man she was last seen with, Terry McDowell, we just got his rap sheet. It`s 41 pages long.

Now, police say that McDowell told them that he and Lacey drove to the Ocala National Forest to, quote "do drugs." We even have a photo of the truck that they were in.

Again, HLN is looking up McDowell`s history, and we came upon this just huge history of drug arrests involving meth.

This is the truck that supposedly got stuck in the sand, in the forest while they were doing drugs, purportedly. And Lacey goes off to seek help.

Malynda Downing, you are Lacey`s best friend. You are godmother to Lacey`s children. When Carol was speaking -- and everybody here wants to find her, so we`re all -- everybody`s heart`s in the right place that`s on this panel. She`s trying to tell what her experience is. You were shaking your head about how and when she got into drugs. Tell me.

MALYNDA DOWNING, LACEY`S BEST FRIEND: Lacey, she was very vulnerable at the point in time when she was introduced to it -- it was at first coke, cocaine. She had just separated from the father of her kids, and they had been together for ten years, madly in love with each other. During the summer, her mom had also passed away, which she wasn`t close to her mom. But the fact that what died was ever getting a chance of being close to her.

Her job she lost because of the drugs. Her drug test came back positive whenever they sent her to do the drug test.

It started with coke. Within a matter of two or three weeks, that line of coke turned to a line of meth. And it consumed her, it really did.

But even through all of that, she went to stay with her grandparents for 30 days. She really needed intense counseling and intense N.A. meetings. She needed help. And they did the best they could in keeping her there and, you know, helping her.

But she went back and stayed at the same house where she knew a guy that was cooking three doors down from her. And she knew 15 other people in the trailer area that did meth.


DOWNING: And she could not escape it. All these people know each other.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy, who -- we`re looking at a photo of him now. When you say cooking, that means cooking meth. Cooking it up.

DOWNING: Yes, ma`am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re looking at the surveillance video and the still shot, because I think it tells us a lot about Lacey and this man that she was with. Let`s take a look at the surveillance video again. It was recorded on the morning of December 27, the very day Lacey disappeared.

Now, at this point she doesn`t look like she`s in any duress. She`s smiling, and so is he. They appear -- somebody`s analyzed this. And they appear to be buying toilet paper, something to drink, maybe Gatorade, sandwiches, maybe supplies for a trip to the woods.

I want to bring in Korey Singletary, the father of Lacey`s three children. And I know this is very tough for you, Korey. But I know you`re speaking to us tonight because you want to find the mother of your children. And I know you haven`t told these three children, who are ages 5, 3, and 1, what may have happened to their mom or that she`s missing. So we want to help find her.

But do you know this character, this man that she was last seen with, who police are calling a person of interest because he was the last person seen with her, although they say he is cooperating? Do you know him, Korey?

KOREY SINGLETARY, FATHER OF LACEY`S CHILDREN (via phone): Personally, I do not. A lot of these people we just came into contact with since she came up missing. We`ve talked to a lot of people that do know him personally. And you know, if he`s -- he`s not a good man.

A lot of things have gone down; a lot of stories have been told. He`s told three or four different stories up until this became a missing persons came. You know what I mean? And then he`s pretty well stuck to it since then.

I do not know him. I just -- I mean, this has just really turned into a bad situation here now. We`re going on 30 days now of her being gone. And the facts are, you know, this man admitted to going into the woods with her. He came out, and she never did. And that`s what the facts are.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can hear the emotion in your voice. You`re taking care of your three kids who are -- this is their mom, and she`s missing. And I know you haven`t told these kids. That`s got to be devastating for you, Korey, to have to maintain that. How are you doing it?

SINGLETARY: I`m -- I know that it`s going to have to be done. I mean, I just -- the truth is, I don`t even know -- I have no idea what`s happened. And I would like to know a lot more before I bring them into it. I just -- I mean, these are three little girls, and their mama was their world. And I just -- I mean, I`m really baffled with myself on how I`m supposed to approach the situation. Do you know what I mean?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so sorry. Well, we`ve got some experts here who might be able to help you with that. Certainly no easy answers. But hang in there.

Stay on the phone, everyone. Everyone`s on the phone. We have the extended family on the phone. We`re just getting started. We want to bring Lacey home.

And we`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, later on, a 3-year-old cancer patient. Unbelievable hero. What a little fighter. I`m going to talk to him live tonight. You won`t believe what he`s doing to help his mom and dad pay the mounting, mounting, mounting medical bills. Unbelievable.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hate the fact that he has to go through so much pain. But he`s strong, and he shows me how to be strong.




FOX: Last weekend when we were searching, we actually found Lacey`s wallet, which was a big, big thing for all of us. She was a good girl. She was not a drifter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is Lacey, mother of three? These three kids don`t even know that their mom is missing. It`s a desperate situation.

Let`s track Lacey`s movements after she left the convenience store. We`re talking about December 27, two days after Christmas. The store in Altoona, Florida, just north of Orlando in central Florida. Her companion, a man who has a huge rap sheet, 41 pages, told cops they drove north into the Ocala National Forest to, quote, "do drugs."

Guess what? This forest is 383,000 acres, more than 600 lakes, densely wooded. Miraculously, they managed to find a wallet in those woods.

I want to go to Cyndee Fox, the paternal grandmother of the three children of this missing woman.

Thank you for joining us, Cyndee. I know you`re frantic as are -- everyone in the family is.

FOX (via phone): Yes, ma`am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where did they find this wallet, and does it make sense that the wallet was where it was, given the story that her male companion gave, that she left to find help after his truck got stuck?

FOX: Exactly. One of the members of our search party, the second weekend that we had gone out, one of the members of the search party had decided to go door to door in a community called Big Tree. It`s -- it`s called Big Tree community there in the Altoona area. I`m sorry, the Matilla (ph) area.

And she had knocked on the door, and a girl answered the door and said, when she was showing her a flyer of Lacey, she told her she had something for her. And she went and got Lacey`s wallet and handed it to her and told her it had Lacey`s Medicaid card in it.

Well, we were searching down at what they call Big Bass Lake. And while we`re searching around, this lady is with us. I know she`s a searcher, but she wasn`t with our party. There was about 15 of us down there.

And she walked up to me, and she shook my hand and said, "Hi, I`m Nikki (ph)."

And I said, "Hi, I`m Cyndee Fox."

And she wouldn`t let go of my hand. And she said, "I have something for you." And she just kept staring in my eyes. And I kept staring back at hers. And she let go of my hand, and she rubbed her head and the back of her neck. She said, "I have Lacey`s Medicaid cards in a pouch."

And I said, "You have her Medicaid card -- how did you get her Medicaid cards?"

And she told me that this lady had given her a pouch. Well, once we got the pouch, it is not just a pouch; it`s Lacey`s wallet. It had her debit card in it, her Medicaid cards in it. It had pictures that her children had colored for her on Christmas day folded up and put in this wallet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But where was exactly the wallet? Does this make -- do you believe the story that they were doing drugs in the woods and that his truck got stuck and that she went for help? Does it make sense, given where the wallet was found?

FOX: No, no. What doesn`t make sense to me -- I don`t care if they`re stuck in the woods, I don`t care if they`re stuck in sand or they`re stuck in mud and muck. I know Lacey Marie would never, ever walk out of those woods by herself. And I have been told by many, many, many people that know this man that he would never let somebody walk out of those woods.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let me say this -- Terry McDowell, we have tried to reach him. We have not been able to. We`ve made a very good effort. If he`s watching and he wants to come on our show and explain to us or his attorney or his family, we want to get all sides of the story. So please, you are invited on this show.

Now, again, the problem that Lacey, the missing woman, was experiencing was a meth addiction, one of the most addictive, if not the most addictive drug out there.

If you don`t think meth`s a problem, think again. There`s a meth bust every day. One today -- today there was a huge meth bust at the Atlantic Airport, more than 35 pounds of meth arriving with baggage from Mexico. And it could have been an inside job, says the DEA. It`s an epidemic.

I want to go to Howard Samuels, founder and CEO of the Hills Treatment Center. You`re a recovering addict and an expert in this. Twelve million Americans, 5 percent of all Americans, have used meth. What kind of an epidemic has this Lacey, who is now missing, gotten swept up in?

HOWARD SAMUELS, CEO, HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Oh, Jane. I mean, this is probably one of the most dangerous drugs known to mankind. I mean, it is -- let me tell you what`s in it. Battery acid, ether, chloroform, lithium that is from camera batteries, Sudafed. It is such a poison, toxic drug that is created in meth labs all across the country.

And the side effects are just horrific. I mean, you know, you -- you smoke this drug, you snort this drug. And you start to be paranoid. You start to hallucinate. You start to see bugs that you think that are on you. You`ll take a picker and you`ll pick your face. You`ll scar your face...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second, because I know that this is very sensitive. Malynda Downing, you`re Lacey`s best friend. First of all, Lacey`s beautiful. She`s beautiful. She didn`t have those -- those marks or meth mouth or meth face. But why are you emotional right now?

DOWNING: Just him describing what she`s putting in her body, it tears at me because I know Lacey. And her mom was a drug addict, and that was the one thing Lacey grew up not wanting to become. And when he`s describing it, I know -- I know she did the one thing in her life she didn`t want to do. And it hurts because there`s another chance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my parents think I`m sleeping at your house. Yes, I`m just jumping in the shower. OK, bye. Oh... (SCREAMING)

Don`t do it. Don`t do meth.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is an ad showing what the effects of methamphetamines, meth, is and how it destroys a person. Tonight we are looking for Lacey Buenfil, a 25-year-old mother of three. There she is. A beautiful, beautiful, young woman who is missing tonight. And we are hunting for her. There`s the surveillance footage, the last time we can see her on camera. And she`s disappeared.

But is drugs a part of this, and is that perhaps one reason why this story hasn`t been out there, even though she disappeared December 27?

I have to go back to Korey Singleton [SIC]. You`re the father of Lacey`s three children. And you have not told those three children, ages 5, 3, and 1, that their mother is missing. Was her drug use a factor in your breakup?

SINGLETARY: Initially no. Lacey and I spent 12 -- I say 12. We spent ten years together, from the time we were 16 on. Over time we -- we grew apart.

Drugs were definitely not a part of us splitting up. Lacey has always been a great person. Has never had a drug problem. That`s why I was so upset by the initial printouts from the sheriff`s office and from everything that was said about her. They said that she was a drug addict and a drifter. That if -- you know, if people were looking for her, that she wouldn`t come out anyways. So that put a halt on the search for 10 or 12 days, you know what I mean? And that`s just not the case.

In the past few months, Lacey had developed a problem, and she knew that she had. She wanted help with her problem. She knew that she couldn`t control it. She got people that totally took advantage of her. And I -- I mean, I haven`t even had a lot of chances to talk about this. I mean, this upsets me pretty bad. I just -- I don`t know. I don`t even know what to say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Korey, I know. And I can tell you`re a good guy who`s doing the best you can for your three children, 5, 3, and 1.

Lisa Bloom with the Bloom Firm, you`ve covered so many cases that involve family dysfunction. And what Korey said upset me. That because she`s a drug addict...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... this wasn`t taken as seriously, according to him, as it could have been if she didn`t have that history.

BLOOM: I mean, let`s be clear. Everybody in this country has a right to personal safety. Right? They have a right to not be bothered, touched, harmed, or attacked, or whatever might have happened to her. We hope none of that happened to her, but obviously, it`s very possible at this point.

And everybody deserves to have their case investigated by law enforcement if they`re missing. Even if they`re a drug addict. Even if they`re a prostitute, or engaged in some profession that others might not approve of. It`s appalling to me that the police may have waited eight or ten or 12 days to investigate this.

I mean, this is a young mother. This is a human being. She has the same right to not be a victim of crime as everybody else in this country.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, we`re putting in a focus on this methamphetamine epidemic that is sweeping the country because this beautiful young woman, who up until she got caught up in it, was an anti- drug crusader and vowed that she would never take drugs. Has now become the latest statistic.

We are not giving up. On the other side of the break, we`re taking your calls. What do you think should be done to find this missing mom?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A mother of three vanishes in the woods, and now as her desperate friends and family search for Lacey, they are compelled to reveal her darkest secret. Cops say Lacey was last seen on this surveillance footage with this man at a convenience store in Florida. Will this surveillance footage be the key to finding Lacey? What lured her into the woods?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just got to find Lacey. We`ve got these girls that are asking questions now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One`s got a birthday --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One`s got a birthday, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lacey, if you`re out there, we love you. And we want you to come home.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, breaking news out of central Florida in the desperate search for a missing mother of three who hasn`t been seen since Christmas. We`re talking about Lacey Buenfil. She was caught on surveillance video at a convenience store the day she vanished. She is with a man with a long drug history.

And we now have Lacey`s best friend talking about when Lacey started using drugs. Listen to this.


MALYNDA DOWNING, MISSING WOMAN`S BEST FRIEND: It started with coke. Within a matter of two, three weeks, that line of coke turned to a line of meth. And it consumed her, it really did.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And we`re going to go straight out to that friend, Malynda Downing. You are the godmother to Lacey`s three children. I know you have her best interests at hearing.

We are hearing from the father of the three children. That police, according to him, really put the brakes on this because she was a meth user -- is a meth user. And they thought she might be drifting. A couple of questions for you: do you know this guy that she was with who has this long history of drug use? This guy that one paper described as her live-in boyfriend, this Terry McDowell? Do you know him?

DOWNING: I don`t know him. I know she was living with him. But she was also what we found out living with 20 other people out there, too. She was bouncing from place to place out there. From what I know is her first boyfriend, Charlie Williams, she met him and then she started meeting all these other people through him. And everybody that -- I guess all these people that do meth, they all know each other. So somehow she met him and I don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to be very careful. You mentioned a name. I have no idea who that person is. I have no idea what that person`s history is --

DOWNING: Oh, I`m sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I just need to say this. Anybody who`s involved in the story including the person you just mentioned, if they want to come on our show -- I have no independent confirmation of anything. We`re trying to find a missing woman. So we`re not trying to do a wide sweep and paint everybody with the same broad brush.

I want to go to the phones because we have a woman, Sylvia. And I believe -- what -- she`s from Missouri. And you apparently used to be hooked on meth. Tell us about that, Sylvia. Sylvia, are you there?

SYLVIA, MISSOURI (via telephone): Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, tell us about your meth addiction.

SYLVIA: Well, I was on meth for nine years in Missouri. And it was real prevalent. And I was an IV user. And it was horrible. And when I see that girl there, it looked like me. So what I`m thinking, what I see of her, I`m just praying -- she was drove into the woods. But I`m just praying maybe she got high and wandered off. But what I understand, she`s been gone since December 27. So I don`t know --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you`re suggesting that, what, that maybe she just went off to get what?

SYLVIA: Excuse me?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I think you`re suggesting that maybe she just went off to get high. And this is the problem is that authorities --

SYLVIA: No, no.


SYLVIA: No, what I`m saying is that she was taken into the woods with that man that she was doing the meth with. And --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Allegedly, yes.

SYLVIA: That`s happened to me and then all of a sudden, I distanced myself from the people that I did that with. And then I was in a total different location with them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, ok. I think I understand what you`re saying, Sylvia. And I hope you`re sober. I don`t know if you are, but I do hope that you`ve kicked it. It`s very hard to kick.

Here`s how hard it is to kick. A woman caught in a meth lab fire who was severely -- and I mean severely disfigured -- cannot quit using meth. Take a look at this. This is unbelievable. Heather Rayburn was burned in a fire in 2006. She`s been arrested five times on meth-related charges. And four of those arrests came after she melted her face off because of meth cooking.

Howard Samuels, you`re an expert and in recovery. I have heard from people -- first of all, I`d like to know the difference between crystal meth and meth. I hear people referring to crystal, crystal meth. How do you use it? And is there any way one you`re caught in meth -- can you get addicted after one try? How do you use it, do you snort it? How do you do it?

HOWARD SAMUELS, FOUNDER/CEO, THE HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Well, you know, it`s interesting. Most of the people that I deal with smoke it, ok. But a lot of people -- some people shoot it, but that`s fairly rare. A lot of people snort it. But it is very addictive.

I mean, you know, you don`t get addicted on your first try. But if you`re doing it for a few weeks, you need it. It just -- it hits the brain in such a way that it actually starts rupturing the small brain vessels in your brain, and that`s part of what creates the need for it. It becomes a euphoric kind of feeling. And that`s why it`s so dangerous.

I mean you`ll do anything to get meth, anything. It makes heroin addiction look sort of tame, if you can really believe it. And that`s why this whole case is horrible because it also creates sexual impulsivity. It also creates violent behavior.

So when we`re talking about this tragic case, I mean my fears for this woman is just -- I`m really afraid that she has met a horrific ending because of meth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s not jump to that conclusion because we don`t know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I hope and pray that she`s alive somewhere, wherever she is. Sitting on a park bench, in a bar, and somebody sees her and calls. Call us, call the police, and say, I`ve seen this woman.

Reality TV is now catching up on America`s meth epidemic. Check out this clip from TruTV`s "Inside American Jails".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) got me for all she can get me for I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got pulled over on a basic traffic violation. And the officer found methamphetamines under the seat where he was sitting. He says it`s hers, she says it`s his.




Former police detective Steve Kardian, you were an investigator. How do cops figure out whether she`s drifting because she`s a meth addict or she met some horrible fate or she`s out there somewhere, perhaps kidnapped, God forbid?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE: Well, Jane, this is a drug that takes over your mind, your body, and your life. It`s very powerful. Your substance abuse expert was right on. The pictures you`ve been showing were right on. It is a problem. I don`t believe McDowell after he said that I went into the woods, we went into the woods to do drugs. I just don`t believe it.

If that is true, she`s going to go out of the woods and only go after a selective group of people. I`m really concerned that something real bad has happened to her. That she`s not out there drifting. I think that it was a controlled environment; that he controlled over her with this drug. And I think she`s in serious trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, Lisa Bloom?

LISA BLOOM, BLOOMFIRM.ORG: Can I just say quickly, what you`re doing is so important, raising consciousness about this drug. But let`s not put all of the focus on her behavior. It might have nothing to do with this case. She may have gone out there for some completely different reason. This is his story (AUDIO GAP) to do drugs. God knows what really happened.

So we`re relying on him; the guy with the 41-page rap sheet when we talk about that story. The focus should be on him -- on his cockamamie stories. Very similar to Joran Van Der Sloot saying he left Natalee Holloway on the beach by herself. You know, nobody believes that. And I don`t think anybody believes that here. Why would he stay with the truck, let her go wandering around in the woods by herself? That doesn`t make any sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s got to be a way to see whether there`s any sign of her. For example, I wonder if authorities went to the spot where he says that his truck got stuck to see if there`s any tire marks. I also wonder whether she took her cell phone. If I was leaving a location to go get help, I would take my cell phone.

So I want to go back to Cyndee Fox, the paternal grandmother of the three children who are missing their mother tonight. Have cops told you anything about their investigation? Cyndee?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Have cops told you anything about their investigation?

FOX: Very, very little they`ve told us about their investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, have they said -- have you found her cell phone?

FOX: No -- we have heard that they have -- that her cell phone, her purse, and her keys were found. Ok? I talked to somebody that actually pulled him out of the sand when he was stuck. And she told me that there was a pink purse that had dumped over in the floorboard, and all of the personal effects were all over the floorboard which is telling me that that was Lacey`s purse. It was a pink purse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re telling me that he was stuck in the sand then because you`re saying you talked to somebody who pulled his truck out of that sand, correct?

FOX: Exactly. Yes, ma`am.

BLOOM: No young woman is going to leave her purse and cell phone in somebody`s car when she goes off to get help.


FOX: Right. Now, he said -- this is what we`ve heard is that he said she left with her purse -- I`m sorry. Her cell phone, her keys, and her phone is what she left with. Well, I know if you`re carrying a purse, you`re going to put those belongings in your purse and then you`re going to walk off. You`re not going to take those three items and leave the purse behind.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, that`s why when you have a drug problem, it takes everything --

FOX: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and raises a question about it because yes, normally if you`re sober and you`re thinking straight, you`re going to take your purse. But if you`re not, you might not. That`s the problem.

FOX: right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I speak as a recovering alcoholic with 16 years of sobriety, hopefully 17 if I make it to April 1.

FOX: Yea.

BLOOM: Hear, hear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. Unbelievable story. We`re going to stay all over this. We are not giving up on Lacey. We`re going to find her for the sake of those three kids especially.

Up next, I`m going to talk to a little boy fighting cancer. What an extraordinary little man. What a fighter. You will not believe what he has done to help his mom and dad pay bills that are mounting, mounting -- an avalanche of bills. And this little guy, wow, what a story.

We`re taking your calls on it, 1-877-586-7297. What do you want to ask this family? Next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you hear cancer, you have two choices. You either get bitter or you get better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To help defray the cost of his medical expenses, the Myricks are auctioning Liam`s work on Facebook.


I hate the fact that he has to go through so much pain, but he`s -- he`s strong, and he shows me how to be strong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a story every parent needs to hear; the story of an amazing little boy who has endured a nightmare and yet remains joyful enough to make creative paintings, hoping to help his struggling mom and dad pay the mounting medical bills. He`s only 3 years old but already this adorable little man has experienced pain that would cripple an adult.

One day Liam Myrick got a bad tummy ache so his parents took him to the hospital. Then they discovered Liam had a massive cancerous tumor in his belly in the advanced stages. He quickly ended up on life support. But little Liam is a fighter.

You`re going to meet him in a second. His dad, who served our country in the Coast Guard, and his mom are now in the battle of their lives to pay for all the medical bills. An accumulating mountain of debt as little Liam goes through bone marrow transplants and excruciating chemo.

This family deeply in debt has given up everything: jobs homes, cars - - all to save their kid. Unbelievably, their young daughter Natalie, now six, also got some say was unrelated cancer before anybody knew little Liam even had a problem. What are the chances in one family?

You can help them tonight.

Here now in a primetime exclusive, Shawna Myrick and her husband Greg, and their amazingly courageous son, 3-year-old Liam, my new hero. Take a look. He is wearing a mask because he has just -- we`ve been told -- been through a bone marrow transplant. But I also understand that he`s got a little baseball mitt on his hand. Can you show us, Shawna, the baseball mitt? Let`s see.

SHAWNA MYRICK, MOTHER OF LIAM: He won`t let it go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How wonderful. This young man is extraordinary. It touches my heart. You have been through so much emotionally and financially. Shawna, what has your family been through emotionally and financially? Give us -- tell us.

MYRICK: Emotionally, I would probably say we`ve been through more than most families go through ever. We literally -- we took him to the hospital, and he -- they said that, you know, he just had worms and needed to poop. And then we took him back to the emergency room the following morning because he just was in so much pain and was spiking a fever and we said there`s something wrong.

And we actually fought about it because he said, no, he`s fine. He`ll be fine. And I said, no, there`s something wrong. So we took him back. And then our worlds changed yet again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we do a lot of missing children`s cases on this show. People always want to help. But unfortunately, most of the time, they can do nothing. They`re helpless. In this case, there is something that the people who are watching can do. This struggling family has created a wonderful Facebook page called "Miracle Boy 4 a Cure" and it showcases little Liam`s artwork. They`re auctioning off this boy`s artwork to help cover their mounting, massive medical bills. So check it out.

Shawna, tell us about how and why Liam got to painting, and he`s good at it and how your bills have mounted; what are you facing in terms of debt?

MYRICK: How his painting started was when he was first diagnosed, his first diagnosis stay, if you will, was about, roughly about six weeks. And he was also intubated at that time.

And being flat on your back and having a tube down your throat, you get atrophy, you lose all mobility. So Amy, his OT therapist, had taken him and trying to get him to move around and things like that. So that`s how he started to paint. And it just took off. And that`s the one thing he loves to do. And he`s been doing it nonstop. That`s the one thing he likes to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can help. How much are you in debt? I understand it`s something like $30,000?

MYRICK: Yes, we`ve got at least $30,000 right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to tell all the folks at home, buy one of these paintings. Boy, it`s so much better than going to a mall and buying something that has no meaning. You can help this family, this courageous, wonderful family and that handsome boy.



DEMI MOORE, ACTRESS: I am looking forward to an evening of good stories and good laughs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to give you the inside story.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got some huge breaking news, just in, literally. We just learned, TMZ is reporting right now that Demi Moore has been rushed to the hospital, reportedly according to TMZ, due to substance abuse. I have absolutely no independent confirmation of that.

Police do confirm that a 911 call was placed last night. Paramedics went to Demi`s home and swiftly raced her to the hospital. So what are the secrets behind Demi`s sudden hospitalization? Remember, it`s only been two months, approximately, since she announced she was divorcing Ashton Kutcher. Sources say this came after he admitted he had an affair with a much younger woman.

Demi`s rep telling us, minutes ago, quote, "Because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance, to treat her exhaustion and improve her overall health."

Straight out to Mike Walters from TMZ; Mike, I know you have broken this story. What have you learned about Demi`s hospitalization?

MIKE WALTERS, NEWS MANAGER, TMZ: Well, Jane, I can tell you that last night, Demi Moore was with a friend at her Hollywood Hills home here, and the friend called 911, because she felt that Demi needed help in an emergency situation. The city fire department here in Los Angeles arrived at 10:45 p.m. last night and assessed the situation and Demi for about a half hour and decided she needed to be hospitalized locally, and they took her right from her house to that facility.

I can also tell you that now that she`s been in the hospital overnight, they have decided to transport her to a long-term facility for substance abuse. I don`t know what the substance is. We`re still working on that part of the story, but I can tell you, it`s definitely substance, and that was the issue last night, that they`re going to try to get her help for.

And like you heard from the rep, you know, it`s good that she`s decided to get this help. For whatever reason, or whatever problem she has, she will be in this facility for some time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this is kind of an odd question, but there`s a little disconnect between what her rep is saying and what you are reporting. They`re insisting that she is seeking professional assistance to treat quote/unquote exhaustion and they added, improve her overall health. I mean, certainly people don`t get to the hospital to improve their overall health. Are you saying that exhaustion is sort of a euphemism? Is that essentially what you`re saying?

Well, I respect her reps very much, Jane, but you`ve been in the business a long time also, Jane. Exhaustion and dehydration are sometimes terms used by representatives of big celebrities to kind of say, listen, we don`t really want to say on the record that it`s alcohol or pills or hard, illicit drugs, but we will tell you that they have been hospitalized for exhaustion or dehydration.

I can tell you thought in my experience, they don`t hospitalize you for mild exhaustion and take you to a facility for that. But I can tell you definitely substance abuse from our very close sources to Demi and that she will be in this facility for some time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hang in, if you can. We have more after a break. But, boy, do we need a laugh break right now. Check it out.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pop culture expert, K Foxx, your reaction to TMZ reporting that Demi Moore has been hospitalized for substance abuse?

K. FOXX, POP CULTURE EXPERT: Yes, it`s just -- it doesn`t really surprise me, because she has not been looking the picture of health whatsoever. She`s been losing a lot of weight. Her friends have been very, very, very concerned about her. And it doesn`t surprise me at all, but it`s really sad. The divorce, the substance abuse; but I think what we all know what that`s code word for, just saying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you, it`s very sad; one of the most beautiful women ever in the world, so much to live for, a great actress. I pray that she gets the help she needs, if, indeed, she is suffering from substance abuse, as TMZ is reporting tonight.

We`re going to stay all over this story and bring you the very latest tomorrow with a panel from Hollywood. Watch us.