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College Student Disappears While Biking Home

Aired May 22, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from Los Angeles.

A beautiful college student disappears while biking home at 2 in the morning. Her father says police were too slow to respond and gave a possible kidnapper a head start. We`re going to talk to police and get their response and the very latest. We`re exploring the secret surrounding the disappearance of Mickey Shunick. We want to help find her. We are joined exclusively by her mother and her sister next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, cops amping up the search for a college co-ed who vanished in the dead of night. Police say the 21-year- old disappeared while riding her bike home. Authorities exploring all leads tonight, but did they get a slow start, giving a possible kidnapper a two-day head start? I`ll talk exclusively to Mickey Shunick`s family tonight.

Plus, an arrest in the disappearance of beautiful Sierra LaMar. Police lock up a man they believe kidnapped and murdered the California teen. Why did cops monitor the suspect for nearly two months before bringing him in? And where is the victim? Was this a random stranger abduction? We`re taking your calls.

And fireworks erupt in an Atlanta courtroom. Pop superstar Usher caught in a custody battle over his two young sons that`s so bitter it has the singer sobbing on the stand. We`ll take you inside court.

Plus, our continuing adventure to slimness. I`ll show you exercises you can do while you`re plopped on the couch watching our show. These moves will get you looking sexy and slim for summer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been over 40 hours since Mickey Shunick was last seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re searching areas such as drainage canals again for the slightest clue as to where Mickey could be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just want her back and want her safe. We want our friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She left here at this house around 2 in the morning and was on her way home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We started calling around to all of her friends, and she was supposed to have been home, and no one had heard from her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no indication, by the way, that foul play was involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s such a wide area. It`s very wide scope for us to look at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something is clearly unusual with the circumstances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve exhausted every possible place she could be or any reasonable explanation for her missing, and there isn`t one.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A beautiful college student vanishes into thin air. Tonight the family, understandably frantic and raising questions about the investigation.

Michaela Shunick, known as Mickey to her family, was at a friend`s house Friday night. She left late at about 2 in the morning and decided to bike home. It was a four-mile bicycle ride, and it was the last anyone saw of her. She somehow vanished during that journey home.

This happened in Lafayette, Louisiana, where Mickey grew up. She`s an anthropology major at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and she rode her bike all the time.

That morning, Saturday morning, Mickey`s family gathered for her brother`s high school graduation, but Mickey didn`t show up. Her family immediately began to search for her, knowing Mickey would never intentionally skip her brother`s graduation.

Now Tuesday night and still no sign of this beautiful young woman. Tonight the FBI is involved as hundreds of volunteers scour the area for any trace of Mickey, her family and friends understandably distraught.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think you realize what a special person this is. And how many people she has touched and what you`ve done.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police now asking local businesses for video surveillance of Mickey to see if they can spot her on her ride home Friday night into Saturday morning.

But Mickey`s father told a local newspaper, quote, "None of the video cameras got checked over the weekend, because the managers weren`t in and waited two days to check the video cameras. If somebody has abducted her and taken her on the interstate or something, they got a two-day head start."

You can imagine the heartbreak and worry these parents are going through.

What are the secrets behind this case that could lead to Mickey Shunick? Have you seen this beautiful young woman? Call me: 1-877-JVM- SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Joining me exclusively tonight, my very special guest: Mickey`s mother, Nancy, and Mickey`s sister, Charlie.

Mrs. Rowe, Nancy Rowe, thank you so much for being here. And I know that this is extraordinarily difficult for your family, for you. We want to get your daughter`s face out there in the hopes of jogging someone`s memory.

First of all, Mrs. Rowe, what would you like to say? What do you want to get out to the public tonight, ma`am?

NANCY ROWE, MOTHER: This is a beautiful young girl, smart, funny, personable, sunny. Everyone loves her. We have -- people have been offering rewards. One of her student`s dad started with $10,000. Her students love her. She teaches jumping at an equestrian stable.

And we just want our child -- we want our child back. We have so far over $20,000 in a reward fund, no questions asked. Somebody took her. Somebody knows where she is, and we want her returned alive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we pray that that happens. Tell us about -- tell us about -- tell us about Mickey. Tell us about her.

ROWE: She`s just an adorable little girl. She`s a tiny, tiny cute girl, curly, blond hair. She`s funny. She loves animals. She always has. She`s social. She -- she goes to school. She goes to work and she goes around the same friends that she`s had her whole life.

Nobody knew, nobody was -- this was not a stalking. I think it -- I think she was abducted by a stranger who saw an opportunity and took her. And we want to -- we want to give that person money and get our daughter back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand, and I can feel the anguish in your voice. And we want to be helpful here. If there is a person out there who has this beautiful young woman, let her go. Move on, please. We`re begging you.

ROWE: No one could look at her and want to hurt her. She`s -- she`s just a sweet, beautiful girl. She`s -- there`s -- there`s nothing mean or evil or -- she has no dark side. She`s just -- she`s just wonderful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mickey`s family and friends have put a video on YouTube detailing their search. Watch this important clip from it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any information. It`s a black and gold Schwinn bike with gold, silver -- excuse me, gold handle bars. It hasn`t been spotted to our knowledge, and nothing like this has been spotted.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This -- you looked at a near-replica of the bike that Mickey was riding when she disappeared.

Charlie Shunick, you`re Mickey`s sister. Tell us about this event that she was at, at a friend`s house. Was it a party? Does she have a boyfriend? Is there any possibility that her disappearance was somehow linked to the place she was at before she left?

CHARLIE SHUNICK, MICKEY`S SISTER: I don`t think so. No. She -- she went out to see a couple of bands play at this local bar called Atmosphere. Then her and her friend went ahead and came back to his place, which we`re located at now.

They went and got Taco Bell in his car through a drive through, came back. They ate. And as far as he knew, she was -- she got on her bike and said she was going back to our house for my brother`s graduation.

Yes, they`ve been friends since, I mean, as long as I can remember, you know, so we know that he has absolutely nothing to do with it. She hasn`t been seeing anyone lately. She hasn`t even had a crush on anyone in the past, like, five or six months. I mean, we definitely don`t think it`s a boyfriend or anything like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody wants to know what happened to this beautiful young woman after she left her friend`s house Friday night. Now, listen to this one friend explain the direction she took to get home. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She left here at this house around 2 in the morning and was on her way home on Nero (ph) off of Ambassador and never made it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now let`s take a look supposedly at the route that she would have taken. There`s her friend`s house. There`s her home. It`s a pretty straight shot along West Congress Street. So this is my burning question. What happened to Mickey along this route?

Let`s tell you about West Congress Street. It`s the easiest, the straight shot between her friend`s house and her home. It`s -- is it well lit?

We want to throw this out to Jim Hummel, reporter, KATC. You`re in the area. We did some digging and found out there were some convenience stores that might have been open at 2 in the morning. There was a Taco Bell, and there was also a Shell station.

Tell us about this strip, this street, Jim, and what she might have encountered along that street.

JIM HUMMEL, REPORTER, KATC (via phone): West Congress Street is one of the more busier thoroughfares in Lafayette, about Johnson Street. It is a straight shot from where she disappeared to her home.

But my understanding is that may not be the route that she went. She may have tried to actually avoid it, because it is so busy. And there are a number of neighborhoods along the way that are kind of off of Congress Street that she would be able to go through intermittently and then get back onto the main road.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to bring in Chief Jim Craft with the Lafayette Police Department. You are the police chief there, sir.

OK. We`re efforting that police chief, because we do have A LOT OF questions to ask, and Pat Brown, criminal profiler, what do you make of it this far?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Of course, the biggest thing here is where is the bicycle? Somebody`s got to hide that. So whether they pushed her off the road with like a van and then pulled her in the van and took the bicycle with them. Or she went to one of these back ways, and somebody came out and got in her way and took her off the bicycle and then pulled the bike into their own yard or their own garage. That`s the good question. But clearly, the bicycle`s got to be around someplace. And my guess is that`s where she is; she`s with that bicycle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We have also some information about the cell phone. Her cell phone has been switched off since Saturday morning. And so we would like to know, were police able to trace any of the pings which could give us an indication of where she went.

We`re just getting started. We`ve got a whole bunch of experts as well as the family of this beautiful missing Mickey Shunick we`re talking to exclusively. More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just want her back. We want her safe. We want our friend.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is Mickey Shunick? And she is a beautiful young woman. She has turned 21 during the time of her disappearance. She disappeared Friday night into Saturday morning. It`s now Tuesday evening, still no sign of her.

Straight out to the chief, the Lafayette police chief, Jim Craft.

Now, chief, I understand that authorities, they say they`re treating this as a missing persons case. But clearly, I think it smacks of foul play. The family says it smacks of foul play. A beautiful young woman doesn`t just choose to vanish by biking into the dead of night.

JIM CRAFT, POLICE CHIEF, LAFAYETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT (via phone): Well, we -- it`s been filed as a missing persons case. And we haven`t ruled out that foul play may be involved. We certainly hope not. We certainly hope that she will be found safe, alive and safe.

But it doesn`t change our approach as to how we investigate the case, whether foul play is involved or not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This happened in a major metropolitan area. The Lafayette police say -- and you speaking for them, obviously, chief, that she`s -- it`s -- you haven`t been able to find her. My question is let`s listen to this sound bite and ask if you have any clues on the other side. Let`s listen first.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the difficult tasks is, because of where she left in the Saint (ph) Street area to the destination where we believe she was traveling to, is such a large area, and it`s a very wide scope for us to look at. So we`re canvassing and checking a lot of different businesses for video.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So I understand you`re now checking businesses for video. I have to say, Chief, that Mickey`s father has been somewhat critical, saying that he felt police waited too long to get started. He said, quote, "None of the video cameras got checked over the weekend, because the managers weren`t in and waited two days to check the video cameras. If somebody has abducted her and taken her on the interstate or something, they got a two-day head start."

Chief, I want to give you a chance to -- to respond to that.

CRAFT: Well, the timeline of events is that she was reported missing some 16 hours after she most likely disappeared. When she was reported missing, we followed our standard protocol.

You know, there`s a myth that you have to wait 24 hours. That`s not true. She was immediately entered into the national database as a missing person.

Patrol officers were given her description and a description of her bicycle and began conducting searches on -- that was done throughout Saturday night.

On Sunday morning we called out an investigative team to begin looking for her and checking businesses. And for the businesses that were open we were able to -- to look at video.

So there`s a lot of misinformation with people, you know, having bits and pieces of information being put out there. But, you know, we have a timeline of events. And the department has responded with -- I guess right now, for a city our size, we`re only a department of about 260 officers.


CRAFT: We probably have 40 officers working full time on this investigation. We`ve called in surrounding agencies...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Chief. Stand by for one second.

Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, what do you make of it?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I have no reason to believe that he`s not doing everything he can. The question is, could they devote more resources from elsewhere. Could more people come in? They`ve got 40 officers working on this; maybe it takes 80.

The fact that they didn`t look at the video on a Sunday. I don`t know. I think they did the best they could at their level of awareness, by going around the businesses that were open. And then the next day, a look at the businesses that were open.

Obviously, the family is not going to be thrilled unless their daughter is found, and quite frankly, they`re entitled to feel that way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They are, absolutely, and I have to say what is wrong with this country when a woman, a young woman can`t ride a bike after dark without essentially risking her life? There`s something wrong with that. It`s a culture of fear, and a climate of fear. And we need to look at that. That is a big-picture issue that we need to look at.

But right now we are solely focused on finding this beautiful young woman; finding what happened to her and giving this family so many answers that they desperately need. Hang on. More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the search for Mickey, but first we`re keeping an eye on what`s trending. Check it out.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something`s clearly unusual with the circumstances. Mickey doesn`t stay at other people`s houses. Mickey doesn`t have boyfriends. Mickey doesn`t have people that are mad at her. The usual suspects here aren`t really going on. She really would have just been going home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mickey Shunick disappeared riding home on her bike Friday night into Saturday morning from a friend`s house. This happened in Lafayette, Louisiana.

We want to go out to J. Wyndal Gordon, criminal defense attorney. Here`s the problem. They`ve got 40 officers searching the area. But this happened near an interstate. We live in an age of cars. She could be anywhere.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s true. They`re covering a whole lot of territory. But I agree with the other criminal defense attorney that the Lafayette Police Department up here are doing everything they can. And I understand the angst of the family trying to get their daughter home.

In fact, I feel -- I feel some kind of way about her being missing, especially that she missed her brother`s graduation. So, you know, everybody is touched by this, and my heart goes out to that family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh. I want to go back to the family, Nancy Rowe and Charlie Shunick, the mother and sister of this missing young woman.

Tell us about the cell phone. We understand that her cell phone has been switched off since Saturday morning. What do you know?

ROWE: I -- I got up in the morning and she wasn`t home. I was surprised, because she always calls if she`s going to stay at a friend`s house or not be home. She always calls.

So I called her, and it went right to voice mail. And I called her a few times during the day, and it went right to voice mail. And I texted her a few times. And of course, we were excited about the graduation, and there was a lot of activity and we went.

And then we got home and she still wasn`t home. So then I started calling around to all of her friends, and they called around. And I called the police and said, "What should I do?"

And he said, call some of her friends again, which we did. And then I called back, and I said it`s time to file a missing person`s report, because she`s missing. And nobody knows where she is, and so she`s -- there`s something -- something is wrong.

She`s a regular person with regular habits. She keeps a regular schedule. When she says she`ll be some place at a certain time, she is there at that time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have police told you anything about the pings? Because they can track pings from a cell phone.

ROWE: No. They`ve asked friends to stop trying to call her, because it`s interfering with their -- their equipment. But -- so far I don`t know that there`s anything. I don`t think they`re -- they would tell us very much. They want to find -- they want to find a conclusion before they let us go spreading around rumors. And -- and...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pat Brown -- I just want to bring in our criminal profiler, Pat Brown. What can authorities do to expand the scope of this search, given that it happened near an interstate?

BROWN: It makes it extremely difficult. But it`s probably not that she`s been necessarily pulled onto an interstate. Mostly we`re talking about somebody probably very local, since she was on local streets.

They really need to get out in the community and ask who do they know? Some psychopathic person who was out there at that time of night who had a place they could pull her into or pull the bicycle into. Then they have to check -- and I`m sure they`ve been checking shrubbery to make sure the bicycle isn`t just somewhere out there, lying about, which is also possible that they simply missed it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Mark, also, any change in behavior by a neighbor?

EIGLARSH: Sure, and let`s just hope, now that the family has this reward money there, that those who are motivated by money might come forward.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 21-year-old man`s been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a California teen. Sierra Lamar was last seen March 16. Authorities believe Antolin Garcia Torres kidnapped and killed Lamar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detectives took 21-year-old Antolin Garcia Torres to the county main jail where sources say officials plan to charge him with murder and kidnapping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t believe this happened to one of my best friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sierra disappeared on her way to school. Her cell phone, clothes and a purse have been recovered but nothing else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to bring Sierra home. We still need to find her. We`re looking for everyone to help us do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been so long. Like, every day we just wonder if she`s ok and turn up. Every day it gets harder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice served.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, breaking news in the search for beautiful cheerleader Sierra Lamar. Cops have now arrested this man, 21-year-old Antolin Garcia Torres, and charged him with kidnapping and murder in Sierra`s case.


SHERIFF LAURIE SMITH, SANTA CLARA COUNTY: Our investigation has led to the identification of Antolin Garcia-Torres as the person responsible for the kidnap and murder of Sierra Lamar.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The 15-year-old high school student vanished from her driveway March 16th while walking to the bus stop. Her mom had no idea she was missing until the school called that evening to report her absence.

Cops have had Garcia Torres under surveillance for almost two months now hoping they would lead them to Sierra. However they decided to arrest and charge him even thought they have not found the victim, Sierra. Sierra`s mother made a desperate plea for Garcia Torres to tell them if he hid her somewhere and end their family nightmare.


MARLENE LAMAR, MOTHER OF SIERRA LAMAR: I do have a plea to the perpetrator to please, please give the information that you have -- that you have to lead us to Sierra to help end this nightmare. I would like you to come forward and say where she is and end this nightmare for us as a family.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297.

Straight out to criminal profiler, Pat Brown, there is an old saying and I hate to use it, but it does explain the dilemma of law enforcement -- "no body, no case." We pray and hope by some miracle that this beautiful young woman is still alive, but police do not think so. That`s why they`ve arrested him on a murder charge, but they do not have a body. How do they deal with that?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I hear they have DNA, they might have a lot of other evidence. They`ve been watching this guy for a long time, so I don`t think they would have moved in on him unless they thought they had a strong enough case. And perhaps he is working to give them some information as to where she is so he can get -- hopefully a lighter sentence for himself.

But I don`t think he`s going to get much of that, but I certainly hope that helps the family at least know what happened to Sierra. I mean this sort of been -- the way it`s been going for a while now, but at least now they have the true facts of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops spent months investigating this case and actually linked Garcia-Torres, they say to Sierra with DNA found in her bag and also her DNA on his property. So they`ve got a match. There`s no reason for that to be because they didn`t know each other.

So let`s listen to this.


SMITH: It`s my belief this was purely random. It was an absolute stranger abduction. There`s no information that we have of any type that the two know each other and have had any contact. We believe this is the worst kind of a crime, a stranger abduction of a young girl.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Random crime, obviously the most terrifying because you cannot prepare for it or figure out a way to avoid it, so you`ve got to wonder, J. Wyndal Gordon, criminal defense attorney, if this DNA match is going to be enough.

Let`s pray that this family gets closure and that whatever happened to this beautiful young woman the family finds out and they can somehow at least know the truth, but if not, will the DNA and his DNA on her property and her DNA on his property, will that be enough?

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, we saw a case dealing with a lack of a body and another case that was out in California, it`s the (inaudible) that escapes me right now. When you don`t have a body, you don`t have a case because it`s hard. You don`t know the cause of death. Was it an accident? Was it a homicide? We don`t know what the cause of death is, so the DNA, I don`t think that would be enough unless the prosecutor can piece together -- the prosecutor`s office can piece together enough evidence to show that this was, in fact, a homicide, and I just don`t know how they`re going do it.

I think they acted with quick dispatch to get him off the street. I mean I have every reason to believe that the investigation is still ongoing and that they just wanted to get him off the street because he wasn`t leading them into any information that they would find helpful, but this thing will go on until the --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. This isn`t the first crime that this guy, this creep has been linked to.

Listen to this from the news conference.


SMITH: One was where a taser was involved but the victim managed to get away. Another one was where the victim had a knife that was being used against her and the other one was he was not able to get into the victim`s car. She locked it. Those have been recorded by the media and one of those we linked through evidence to our suspect.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I want to go out to Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney. You`re also a former prosecutor. I`m wondering given that they do not have the victim in this case, could they pile on all these charges connected to these other cases to encourage him confess and reveal what he did with Sierra? Could they offer to take, for example, the death penalty off the table?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolute, they can try. But this guy wasn`t an altar boy yesterday and then turned to be a murderer and a kidnapper. He`s been through the system. So he becomes very educated that the fish who kept his mouth shut doesn`t get caught. So he knows that the minute he starts talking the more he`s going to help their case which as Mr. Gordon correctly indicated earlier seems to be lacking proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Without a body -- they do allege that there are substances of hers found in his vehicle -- I don`t know what that would be. I guess the worst-case scenario is blood. But again, is that an accident? Does that show that she was intentionally murdered? I think that there is proof that he most likely did it. He probably did it, but I`m looking to see some more, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go out to the phone lines.

Tammy, Rhode Island; your question or thoughts, Tammy?

TAMMY, RHODE ISLAND (via telephone): Jane, I just thought I`d let you know how much I love the show. And I`m calling you to --


TAMMY: -- say my heart goes out to both of those girls and their families. I hope the second girl is found, but what I`m calling about is that people have to realize that it`s not 30 years ago or 40 yes years ago, you can`t be out there alone. You can`t go walking by yourself. You can`t go riding a bike at all. You have to be in pairs or with other people.

We have to watch out for each other because there`s a war on women and girls. And it`s just really a sad thing that the world`s turned to this. But my opinion is that you can`t do things alone like you used to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but -- well, you make some important points, but I have to point out that Sierra Lamar, this 15-year-old was simply walking from her front door to her nearby school bus stop. This wasn`t a girl running around all over town. She was walking from her front door to her school bus stop.

And that`s why I agree with you in the sense that there is something wrong with our culture that people, particularly females -- which I call the psychological burqa -- have to live in fear any time they walk anywhere alone. There`s something wrong and we need to do something about it.

Now, let`s examine who this character is -- Garcia-Torres, a stranger to Sierra, total stranger. Ok. But we`ve done some digging. Here`s what we found out about him -- his full name, Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21. Lives in San Martin, California; just a few miles away from Sierra; he works at a grocery store. And get this -- he`s married with a one and a half-year-old daughter and his wife is three months pregnant. Now, his sister says they have the wrong guy, quote, "It is not him. It feels like we`re in a movie right now, an unfair movie."

But the fact is if he is the man responsible, he essentially impregnated his wife and then went out and did this? How horrifying is that, Pat Brown?

BROWN: Well, there`s a lot of serial killers who have wives and we find them, sometimes they`ve been married 20 or 30 years and they have killed 10 women and they have wives. The problem is the wives don`t recognize that they`re married to a psychopath.

And let me say this, when they go, oh my God, I don`t know why they`re picking on my husband, or my father, or my brother -- it`s like, really? Do you think that he`s popped out of a crowd, the police just pop somebody out of the crowd and say let`s go after that guy. I mean there`s usually a heck of a lot of evidence for them to do that.

I mean worst excuse for Sierra`s DNA to be anywhere near this man or his DNA to be anywhere near her. Don`t tell me that they just met up and had a nice handshake and that`s it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, to that point, officers had been looking for a Red Volkswagen Jetta and he`s the owner of a Red Volkswagen Jetta that had been seen in the area.

Nancy Grace, top of the hour, what are you working on tonight, Nancy?

NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Jane, at this hour some family and sex offenders had been ruled out, but not the parents, Jane. Isabel`s own mother defending daddy as police now begging neighbors to be their eyes and ears. And tonight, has daddy lawyered up, Jane?



USHER, SINGER: I tried to talk some sense into her and she was, you know, screaming. You know, spitting (ph) and fighting and she hit me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said you`d (EXPLETIVE DELETED) get out of my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) life and you turned around and walked away. Did you not?

USHER: I absolutely did not say any such thing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Usher takes center stage, but not like we`re used to seeing him in videos like this one from YouTube and Jive records.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: I like his moves, at least his dance moves. This week the Grammy Award winner broke down in tears in court over claims he`s a bad father. He`s in a bitter custody battle over his two young sons with his ex, Tameka Foster.

Today the R&B star testified about their tumultuous relationship describing an altercation where his ex flew into a jealous rage when he drove to her house with his current girlfriend to drop off the kids. Not a good move, Usher.


USHER: I got out of the driver side. Went around to the passenger side as I said yesterday and had to wedge myself in between the door. And Miss Foster -- I had to prevent her from acting out and I tried to talk some sense into her and she was screaming and spiting and fighting and she hit me. I said this is no way to act.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Usher and Tameka currently share custody of their two boys but now she wants full custody; he just wants more visitations. The couple divorced in 2009 after two years of marriage.

Dylan Howard, editor-in-chief of Buzz Media, we`re here also with a fan who`s a family law attorney. But let me start with you, what the heck is going on? What were the highlights or low lights in court?

DYLAN HOWARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BUZZ MEDIA: Well, this is "War of the Roses" stuff, Jane, there`s no doubt about that. The big focus of this court case has centered on Usher`s alleged drug use. In fact Tameka`s lawyers yesterday questioned him and he admitted under oath that he has indeed smoked pot but when asked when asked the question whether or not he`s been high under the influence while with those children, he really hedged his answers and she`s really questioning his capability and his fitness to be a father.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, does he have a reputation? Because I don`t really get that feeling that he does.

HOWARD: He doesn`t. No, he`s very clean cut. But the allegation is being made is that he`s more interested in being a partier and being a singer and living the high life and touring the world than being a father. After all, all he wants though is visitation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I mean that doesn`t sound like a lot.

Paulette Gharibian, I think I got that right, thank you for joining us here for the first time, family law attorney. I thought when you get divorced, it`s pretty much over. These people were divorced two years ago and they`re still fighting?

PAULETTE GHARIBIAN, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Yes, yes, yes. It`s going to keep going on until the kids are 18 years old. And unfortunately it doesn`t end until the kids reach the age of majority. So unless these people are able to get their -- put a lid on their emotions and really come to the table and resolve these cases and issues then they`re going to be back and forth and in and out of court for as long these kids are minority.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ll tell you if you want to provoke your ex- wife show up at her house with your current girlfriend in tow -- super bad idea. Now, he claimed, he left her in the car down the block -- not close enough. Dude, you should know better than this, right Dylan?

HOWARD: Well, he also claims that she was carrying food, threw the food on the ground and went after the ex-wife -- sorry, the new girlfriend. And incidentally she was -- the ex-wife was a stylist as well and the new girlfriend is now the stylist.

So there`s a little added incentive for her to get a little angry there. But just last week -- this case has been going on for weeks now -- just last week Tameka Foster actually admitted that she threatened Usher physically and she denied threatening to kill him but she did make an allegation that she said she would "F him up".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh my gosh. Well, I have to say, hell hath no fury like a stylist scorned especially if you used to be married to one and are now dating another.

But I think it`s all about the money. Paulette, what Tameka said is hey, you owe me $34,000 for nannies fees and you shut off my Saks Card which is probably really a bad move when you`re dealing with this woman.

GHARIBIAN: Of course, everything is all about money all the time isn`t it in all these (inaudible) cases. People fight over custody because time shares have an effect on what the child support obligations are going to be. These people are going to be fighting. They need to stop. They need to put a lid on the emotions. These kids have to have a future with two parents that can put a lid on these emotions. They need to stop.

This is a beautiful woman. You can get another pop star, just keep a lid on it, girlfriend. That`s my advice.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re keeping an eye with trending and we need a laugh break, bad.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our show is doing a nightly adventure to slimness, and I`ve been doing it myself now for two weeks, eight glasses of water a day, an apple a day, and then doing exercises with anything that you have right at the office.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last week we talked about eight glasses of water and an apple a day. I`ve been doing it. I yell out -- four -- every time I have a glass of water so I can keep track.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have been doing it every day and I continue to do it -- my adventure to slimness with you. I am eating my apples. I am drinking eight glasses of water. I actually had breakfast for the first time in about ten years today because that`s what Kathy Freston told me to do and I feel fabulous.

I`m making changes. We`re making changes together. Guess what, even Paula Deen who is famous for indulgent cooking is changing her ways. Listen to her on "The View" today.


BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Have you lost some --

PAULA DEEN, CELEBRITY CHEF: I`ve lost 30 pounds.

WALTERS: By eating differently?

DEEN: By eating in moderation. I allow myself one day a week to cook and eat whatever I would like.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she says she`s eating more veggies. Way to go, Paula. I`m proud of you. We can all make changes. If Paula can do it, I can do it.

I`m excited to have AZ Ferguson in here. He`s the co-author of "The Game on Diet", a great book. He`s a trainer to Fergie and Oprah`s chef Art Smith.

Look, we all spend a lot of time lounging or working like crazy, like at the office I`m always at my desk. What can I do in short bursts because this idea that we`re all going to go to the gym and spend four hours is not happening?

AZ FERGUSON, CO-AUTHOR, "THE GAME ON DIET": It`s not going to happen. You just have to get physically active so any opportunity that you have, even if you have a couple of minutes, you just have to get up and get about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Like do what?

FERGUSON: I mean you can -- just getting out of your chair for starters, if you get out of your chair then you can start to get some physical activity.


FERGUSON: Ok. So we`re going to go into some backward lunges. You`re going to come back with me. We go all down all the way.


FERGUSON: Oh, yes. Don`t split your pants. Come back up now and push then we`re going to punch forward. So a punch forward --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That I can do.

FERGUSON: Ok. So we`re going back again and then we`re coming up and punching forward. So the more that you do this and the longer that you do it, the higher the heart rate is going to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have to get down on your knee? Or should you just --

FERGUSON: No, no, no, you don`t want to go all the way down. You`re down --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Because once I`m down here, I`m not getting up. So just lower down and then up and then lower down and up.

FERGUSON: That`s it. And you push off your back foot and that`s going to work your hamstring. When you come up, push your hands forward, and go into the punch. Can you feel your heart rate starting to come up a little bit?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, yes, mostly because I`m next to you. No.

FERGUSON: This is live, Jane. That`s what I`ve been talking about all these years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Wait, wait. A little boxing -- a little boxing.

FERGUSON: Now, we`re into it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now we`re going to do it. I think the whole point is to have fun with it and it can`t be a chore. The one thing I`ve learned is any of this, if it`s a chore, if it`s deprivation, it isn`t going to work because deprivation and willpower creates stress. Stress creates cravings, so it`s a self-defeating mechanism.

FERGUSON: We want to enjoy ourselves as well. We want to have fun with our lives. So you have to do the activities that are really enjoyable. If you love dancing, go out and dance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I dance all the time. Come on, let`s do a little dance. Come on. No, wait.

FERGUSON: You`re trying to be the man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. Always. All right. We can`t. Control. Get it back together. Get it back together. But I do dance.

Honestly, in all seriousness, I go out dancing because actually it helps me stay sober. I`ve been 17 years sober.

FERGUSON: Good for you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I do it by having fun.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think that I can actually also get in shape by dancing.

FERGUSON: You can. One of the things that you`ll notice --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going out tonight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Congratulations to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, he broke that secret of pink slime, those beef straps treated with ammonia mixed with hamburger. He even featured pink slime on his ABC show. Now, supermarkets and schools across the country are banning that product.

The Harvard School Public Health has now given Oliver its Healthy Cup Award for raising public awareness about the foods we eat and childhood obesity. Oliver tells the "L.A. Times" the country is quote, "losing the war on obesity."

Americans consume -- get this -- 600 pounds of dairy products every year. Remember, dairy makes a little calf into a big cow. Even butter- loving Paula Deen has cut the dairy in her diet. As we told you she has dropped 30 pounds over the past few months, eating better. Thousand of varieties of fruits, veggies, nuts, grains out there to replace all those dairy products, meat products.

Kudos to Jamie Oliver and Paula Deen. And hasta la vista, pink slime.

We`re doing it together. It`s a fun adventure to slim.

Nancy Grace next.