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Teardrop Rapist Sought in L.A.; Manhunt for Utah Predator; Live Better Now; Salute to Troops

Aired June 28, 2012 - 19:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to bring in Jane Velez-Mitchell, and Jane, I`ve got to get your thoughts on what you think about this landmark decision today.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Well, I think it`s a good advance as far as it goes. For example, I did have breast cancer, which luckily I survived, and I`m fine. But I was freelancing at the time and did try to get on my own health insurance. And I was denied because I had that preexisting condition. So I`ve experienced first-hand how nerve-wracking that can be. And I think that`s absolutely wonderful that people who have these preexisting conditions will ultimately be able to get the kind of coverage that they need.

But I only think it`s a start. We really have to talk about health. And the U.S. government is creating a lot of the health problems that we have by subsidizing big agro, which is contributing to the obesity crisis, which is actually creating a lot of the preventable illnesses that Americans are suffering from. That, of course, is spiking our deficit, so we need to look at health and not just at fixing the problem once we`ve got it. Let`s prevent illness to begin with.

And we begin tonight with a massive manhunt that is happening right now in Southern California. Cops trying to find a man they call the "Teardrop Rapist." And they believe he has just attacked again. We`re going to have the very latest. And we`re taking your calls.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, a massive manhunt underway for the California man dubbed the Teardrop Rapist, who cops say just struck again. Investigators accuse this man with the unforgettable teardrop tattoo on his face of assaulting more than 35 young girls and women. Many of them raped and threatened with their lives.

Why can`t cops connect this perpetrator to his DNA? Are there more victims out there? I`m taking your calls.

And a Kentucky father under arrest after cops say he forgot his 2- year-old son in the backseat of his car. You`ll hear one woman`s frantic 911 call as she finds the toddler nearly two hours later still in the car as temperatures reached 100 degrees inside the vehicle. The 31-year-old father says it was all a terrible mistake. But how could this happen?

Plus, tragedy strikes a small Utah town as a beautiful 6-year-old girl is found dead, sexually assaulted, her body left in a canal. Cops made the gruesome discovery just half an hour after her mother reported her missing. With no sign of a break-in and no suspects, how will cops stop this killer who is still on the loose? And could the key be in a precise chain of events that cops are withholding? We`ll have the latest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s very violent and it happens very quickly. There`s a gun involved. There`s a knife involved. Some type of a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s called the Teardrop Rapist. Gone for seven years but now, he`s back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He goes out early morning hours. He picks someone that`s by themselves where there are no witnesses around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He could walk up to somebody, spark up a conversation, and the victim doesn`t feel threatened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police have linked him to attacks on 35 women. Most of them young. One of the most notorious predators in Los Angeles history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we`re dealing with are victims that range from 14 to 41 years of age.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This case was totally cold and then came back to life?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re starting from the beginning. We want to make sure we have everything to look at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re asking parents to ensure that their young teenage daughters are accompanied.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know if he`s smart or lucky about the areas he`s chosen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the serial rapist with a scary tattoo has reignited his reign of terror in Los Angeles. Tonight, a frantic manhunt is on for this twisted sicko. We`ve got to call him that, because that`s what he is.

Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

These are sketches of the man known only as the "Teardrop Rapist." He is called that because of distinguishing mark, a tattoo beneath one of his eyes in the shape of a teardrop. Possibly two teardrops. Take a good look at these sketches. His exact appearance still unknown.

He is accused of committing about 35 sexual assaults. How has he gotten away with so many? He`s been trolling Los Angeles streets since 1996, evading cops for more than 15 years.

However, in 2005 he suddenly stopped. Like many serial predators, this guy appears to have gone on hiatus, because then he came back with a vengeance. This past November, he reemerged from hiding and struck again. And now just a few days ago another terrifying attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a 29-year-old woman that was walking on her way to work. It was about 5:30 in the morning, and the individual came up behind her, produced a handgun. he took her into an alley. And he was in the process of assaulting her when someone drove into the alley and scared him off.



Los Angeles cops hunting through neighborhoods, passing out flyers today, hoping for any clue that might lead them to the Teardrop Rapist. There`s a $50,000 reward for information leading to his identity.

Have you seen this Teardrop Rapist? Have you seen somebody with a teardrop tattoo? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Or if you have a theory about this case, I want to hear from you.

Straight out to Commander Andrew Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Commander, so happy to have you with us tonight. Give us the very latest on this most recent attack and the DNA. Apparently you`ve matched the same DNA to many of these attacks.

COMMANDER ANDREW SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes. The last attack was June 15th of this year when he attempted to sexually assault a young woman kind of in the mid, south of downtown area. And we have a total of now 11 DNA matches on this particular individual.

Now, the thing we have is matches between the different cases. What we don`t have is the match that`s going to identify this guy. He has not been in input into the nationwide database.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where the Teardrop Rapist is not striking is in the more glamour sections of greater Los Angeles. I mean, for example, he`s not striking in Beverly Hills or Malibu or West Hollywood or Pacific Palisades or Brentwood. He`s hitting the south L.A. area. So this is a ways away from the glitz and glamour that we normally associate with southern California.

And these women have often been targeted while waiting at bus stops in the early morning hours between 5:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, these are women who are hard-working. They`re on their way to school. They`re on their way to a job. They`re taking the bus. They`re just trying to survive. And this sicko approaches them when they`re alone using a friendly manner, and then pulls a gun or a knife and takes them to a second location where he rapes them.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean, the good news is, if there is good news in this, he`s got a narrow enough -- a specific enough M.O. that he should be relatively easy to identify. If he has this kind of plan of attack, then we know how to look for him better.

The other thing about his tag, you know, this teardrop, it may not be a real tattoo. It might just be something he puts on with marker or some kind of temporary tag, if you will, to leave a signature at the scene. Again, the sign of a kind of guy who`s looking for attention, maybe. Wants to be known as the guy who`s getting away with this.

Those are things that, as strange as this might sound, could make it easier to find him because he isn`t as random as some rapists and attackers have been.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that raises an interesting question. Why do these sketches look so different? Check these out. Some people -- in some of these sketches he`s thin. In others he has a mustache, a hoody. Sometimes the tear drop is on the left eye; sometimes it`s under the right eye. And so you`ve got to wonder why these discrepancies. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When someone is involved in a situation like this where it`s very violent and it happens very quickly -- there`s a gun involved, there`s a knife involved, some type of a weapon -- every person focuses on something different.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to Miguel Marquez, CNN reporter who`s been all over this story. Here`s the thing about a tattoo. Unless, in fact, as Wendy Murphy suggested, it`s some kind of Magic Marker that he wipes on or a henna tattoo, you`ve got a tattoo under your eye, it`s like being seven foot tall. There`s only so many people who have that. It`s very identifiable. Somebody`s got to know somebody with a tattoo like this. And that person or persons need to call police.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The problem for a lot of these victims, though, it sounds like, is that he may have a tattoo, but he also may have a gun or a knife, and you`re going to be focusing a lot more on that.

These are, from every indication I have, very, very quick assaults, lasting no more than 10 to 15 minutes, if even that. Moves them very quickly into an area.

He may be -- it does sound in some of these cases as though he may have sort of cased the area, watched the person for a day or two so he knew their pattern of behavior, and then moved in very quickly. You know, did the assault, and then moved off. It`s a pretty frightening prospect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand that he operates in the same general area of south L.A., that whole area south L.A., southeast, southwest, but it`s the south of Los Angeles.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he knows the area, obviously, really well, Miguel, but he never hits the same exact bus stop twice. So he`s very savvy in how he`s going through this one hunting ground.

MARQUEZ: Yes. But this is what struck me. You look at that map and you look at that area, it`s a very wide-ranging area. It`s a huge area of Los Angeles. It is central Los Angeles but it goes from about Melrose all the way down to Los Angeles County. Three of these cases were in Los Angeles County, as well. There might be another one they`ve discovered some other cases.

But it`s a huge number of cases. It`s a huge area that he`s hitting. The one thing that really struck out to me -- stuck out to me is that the bus stops and the bus lines and the places that he may hit, he may be taking these buses. He seems to know the buses.


MARQUEZ: The other thing that really is frightening about every -- each one of these cases is that he strikes up a conversation with somebody, and they feel like they know him. They felt -- they felt like he was just their neighbor. They felt like he was someone very normal to them and were then completely taken by surprise and completely freaked out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go out to the phone lines. Sue, Ohio, your question or thought, Sue.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: I bet the police have already thought of this, but don`t they usually get a tattoo in jail? Like teardrops? And also, he`s been off the radar for seven years, so I wonder if he was in and out of jail maybe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s an excellent question. Commander Smith, this hiatus is so perplexing. Could it be that he was stuck behind bars?

SMITH: You know, it`s a possibility that he was in jail. But in 2009 we started testing every felony inmate for DNA. So if he was in jail after 2009, we`d have that in the database, and we`d have already matched up this guy.

So it was a possibility he went in in 2005 for a while. It`s a possibility he left the country or he went to another state or went someplace else.

Or maybe he got married and just went underground for a little while and didn`t do this for a while.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know if he`s smart or if he`s lucky about the areas he`s chosen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then he blends in. He blends into the community. So much that he could walk up to somebody, spark up a conversation and the victim doesn`t feel threatened until the weapon is seen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who is the teardrop tattoo rapist? We are trying to find out. A manhunt across Los Angeles tonight.

Steve Moore, former FBI agent, I want to talk about the hiatus. Because my recollection is that let`s just take a look at another species of criminals, serial killers. This is a serial rapist, but serial killers often go on hiatus. The BTK serial killer went on hiatus. And just looking it up here on my iPhone, the Grim Sleeper serial killer -- that was also based in Los Angeles -- he went on a hiatus. And so there`s a significance to that. What do you make of it?

STEVE MOORE, FORMER FBI AGENT: It`s like the commander said. He may have been in another state. I`m thinking that he`s not going to go five years without attacking unless he`s somewhere else, unless he can`t attack. That`s my read on the thing. So I would guess he was somewhere in another state. I would look for the prisons -- at the prisons there. But don`t necessarily look for a facial tattoo of tears.


MOORE: It -- I think it could be, as your other guest pointed out, that this could be something he puts on his face. You see in some of the witnesses, they say it`s on the right, some of them it`s on the left, some have two tears, some of them have one. It could be something he puts on before he attacks.

I`m not saying that that`s the case, but it`s something that LAPD is having to work through. And they`re thinking the same things, I`m sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Because one explanation is people are terrorized, women are terrorized when they`re being sexually assaulted. They`re going to remember -- they can remember the teardrop tattoo, but they`re not going to remember which side.

The other alternative is this teardrop is something, it`s sort of like a signature that he puts on, as you just heard, when he`s going to go out and commit one of these heinous crimes.

Miguel Marquez, CNN reporter who`s been all over this, what is the significance of a teardrop tattoo in terms of gang activity?

MARQUEZ: It suggests that they`ve committed a crime, oftentimes murder or some sort of heinous crime that they then earn the right to put a tattoo on their face. But it`s -- you know, it`s not very clear.

And looking into this case, I tend to think that it may be something that he`s doing to obfuscate who he is and to -- knowing that people will focus on something like that. And perhaps he did it once and realized that it worked and he`s just done it again and again.

But it could be gang-related. But if it is, it`s very likely he`d have a record of some sorts. And they`d probably be able to track him a little easier.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Commander Smith, what about the possibility that this person is in some kind of gang and that this is a gang initiation?

The only thing that strikes me is that he`s 40 to 55 years old, according to at least one description, which is a little bit old for a gang initiation.

SMITH: Yes, it is getting a little bit old for a gang initiation. But of course, that`s something our detectives look at.

We also have a database of all the tattoos of people we`ve come across. So naturally our detectives have gone through that database and looked for anybody with a pair of tattoos under one of their eyes or a single tattoo and they tried to match the descriptions and tried to match the suspect that way. And right now we came up with a dead end.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go to the phone lines. Pat, Washington, your question or thought about this mystery -- Pat.

CALLER: Hello, miss Jane, how are you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi. I`m doing good. Thank you.

CALLER: My question is out of all these 35 assaults, have they not found any DNA evidence whatsoever?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. Our understanding is that they found at least, I think, in the neighborhood of a dozen DNA matches, right, commander? But they have -- those are -- they have to match it to somebody with a name and a face is the problem.

SMITH: That`s correct. That`s exactly correct. We matched the two people -- for instance the two people on the photograph you`re showing now, the first two. They don`t look very similar, but their DNA was identical. So it`s the same guy.

What we don`t have is a match in the database of any of these individuals of the DNA. So we got 11 -- 11 DNA matches, but it doesn`t match to anybody whose name and face is in our database.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s what gets me. Commander, do you know if there are surveillance videos on buses?

SMITH: There are surveillance videos on buses. What this guy does, though, is he`ll take someone from a street, and he picks a residential- type street, a quieter street. And he`ll lead them back behind a house or behind a garage or behind a car or bush and then they`ll -- then he`ll commit his assault there.

And he`s very skittish. If he hears a car door slam, if he sees a light go on, hears someone`s voice, he`ll take off running. So that`s made him a little bit more difficult for us to catch, as well.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first composite we were able to obtain where the individual didn`t have something covering his hair. Which definitely gives him a different look. And as you can see, if you were to cover his head, he does resemble the other -- the other composites, as well.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Here`s what we know.

The Teardrop Rapist has committed 35 assaults approximately between 1996 and present day. He always attacks between 5 and 8 a.m. Forty to 55" years old, 5`2" to 5`6", so short and 130 to 170 pounds.

And he often attacks women while they`re waiting alone at bus stops in the Los Angeles south L.A. area. Cops say he appears familiar with the areas where he strikes. He never hits the same bus stop twice. So he is sort of bouncing around, eluding authorities, despite this massive manhunt.

And there`s a very real possibility that this tattoo is something he draws on, although I am saying if you know of somebody who has a teardrop tattoo under their eye and is not 12, call Los Angeles police right away.

Now, what I find interesting, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, and you know what? Let me put this out to Steve Moore, former FBI. The hour of the day, what does it say to you that this person is striking in 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.? Because that`s not your typical time to be doing this. Usually, I mean, at least the myth is that sexual predators strike at night.

MOORE: Well, I think that`s -- that`s his -- obviously his M.O. He may be more familiar with the area at that time. He may be a night worker. He may be getting off work at that time. He may be familiar with the police patterns in that area. Obviously this is up and down the I-10 -- or I-110 corridor. He may know that neighborhood well enough to where he thinks that it`s safe at those times of the morning. There`s all sorts of reasons he could be hitting there, but it`s going to revolve around his comfort level.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the Teardrop Rapist has been operating so long, there are so many unanswered questions about him. Watch this from "AC 360".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a good possibility that there are other rapes out there that just simply have never been reported. At the same time, there are possibilities that he has been arrested, incarcerated, that he`s relocated.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Phone lines. Alana, New York.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, how you doing?

CALLER: Good. I was wondering if while he was on break in L.A. and he took that break, were there, like, reported cases like this in other states or other areas, like, unsolved?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s an excellent question. I`ve got to go to Commander Andrew Smith. I mean, yes, maybe he moved his operation to another state. Did they have similar cases?

SMITH: That`s true. And that is a possibility.

However, if he would have left any kind of DNA evidence, we would be able to match that up with our series. And we`ve not been able to do that.

Now, in many of these cases he wasn`t able to complete his sexual assault and he just got scared and ran away and there was no DNA evidence. That could have happened in other states, as well. It is a possibility he went out of the country. We just don`t know right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re all over this case. We`ll bring you the latest. We want to catch this monster.

Make sure you join us tomorrow. It`s the big day in the George Zimmerman case. Will he be released on bail? The man who shot Trayvon Martin will go before a judge once again tomorrow. We`re all over it. And we will have complete coverage right here on this show beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. Pacific tomorrow.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need an ambulance. A child`s been left in a car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s the first thing that pops into your mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police can`t help but think of the worst-case scenario. A 911 call comes in of a child left in a car and on a day when it`s at least 85 degrees outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had left the child unattended. His face was real red.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His body was pretty red from the heat. And he was tired. He was distraught about the whole thing. I was just hoping that the kid was going to be all right and, you know, he`d be safe.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A father narrowly avoids tragedy and could now face very serious consequences for an incident that could have cost his son his life.

Just like many parents, Kenneth Robinson, 31 years old, I believe, put his little boy in the car first thing in the morning, planning to drop his son off at daycare before heading to work. But somewhere along the way he says he got distracted. Without thinking, he parked his car at work and went into the office.

The next thing he knew he was headed out of work to get lunch when it was discovered that he had forgotten his 2-year-old in the backseat of the car as the temperature inside rose to about 118 degrees.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need an ambulance at Patton-Chestnut and Binder ASAP. A child`s been left in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to see what you can find out for me. Is the child breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he breathing? Is he breathing? Yes, he`s breathing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The boy spent nearly two hours inside that sweltering car. Now, thankfully, this precious, precious little boy is OK tonight. But cops say if that child had been left just 30 minutes longer, he could have died.

Now the 31-year-old father is charged with wanton endangerment. And he is pleading not guilty.

Joining me now tonight, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, law professor and also most importantly, a mother of, I believe, five, right?

MURPHY: Yes. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is there any excuse for this? The police say this guy was mortified and remorseful and despondent and distressed. Is that a mitigating factor?

MURPHY: No. I mean, it`s heartbreaking because -- I could have cried just listening to that 911 call. I haven`t ever done that, but I have accidentally locked a child in the car while I was standing there and had to get the police to come and jimmy open the lock. And even that, I mean, I get re-traumatized and brought back to that memory every time I hear this story. And it`s not even -- it`s not even as fatal, potentially fatal.

Jane, I know that parents suffer terribly. And you and I don`t always agree on whether punishment and prosecution is the right way to deter bad behavior. But we`re talking about forgetful parents who aren`t intentional criminals. They`re not neglecting to feed their children or anything like that. They`re simply losing their memory; they`re losing their focus and a child could die.

I think it`s a great way to slap this guy`s memory into action and to remind all parents that even if you`re heartbroken that this happens, that doesn`t help the child if the child is dead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So your answer is he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, yes or no?

MURPHY: Absolutely. Absolutely with this caveat. With this caveat; I`m not sure he needs to be punished with incarceration. I think he would probably like to slit his own wrists right now. I mean prosecuting him is a really big step. And it`s an important step because it`s a public shaming. It`s a public punishment. It`s a message-sender to all parents.

And, believe me he doesn`t need to be reminded again. This guy will never do this again because he is self-punishing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he`ll never do it again. But this happens all the time.

MURPHY: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Actually, what`s really shocking here is that this is not uncommon. ABC News is reporting 33 children died of hypothermia in the U.S. just last year after being left in a car. Ok. Six have died this year. Half were forgotten by a caregiver.

In this incident in Kentucky, it was in the 80s outside. But inside the car it reportedly reached approximately 118 degrees.

Melanie Snare, host of "Atlanta Mom"; we know how hot it gets in Atlanta. I just don`t understand how you forget a child? I mean, I`ve been very forgetful of myself, I don`t have children myself, I have rescue dogs. It doesn`t occur to me to leave any living creature in a car and then just forget about them. I just don`t know how that can happen.

MELANIE SNARE, HOST, "ATLANTA MOM": I don`t either, Jane. I think it`s completely ridiculous. Distraction is one thing. But if your kids are with you, you are responsible for that child. That is your number one priority. And to say that, oh, sorry, I got distracted.

Number one, I forgot to go to the day care and number two, I totally forgot to get the kid out of the car? Like, hello, get off your cell phone or whatever it is that you`re doing. Whenever I`m getting out of my car, whether my kids are with me or nobody`s with me, I always look around the space that I`m leaving and I make sure I`m not leaving anything behind. Whether that`s my cell phone or camera or my kid, this is insane.

I mean it just -- it blows my mind that you could forget your kid. I think that he totally needs to be punished. I agree with the other guest. I think that it`s a heartbreaking story. And I`m sure that he feels horrible about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something, it could be a lot worse. Another father, Reginald McKinnon (ph) did approximately the same thing as Kenneth Robinson. But tragically his 17-month-old daughter, Payton, died after he took her to a doctor`s appointment and forgot her in the backseat of his car. Listen to what he says happened.


REGINALD MCKINNON, FATHER: My daughter`s daycare is just like a block from my work. So whatever occurred in my head, I had made that left turn too soon and proceeded on to work.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, I`m not cruel. I feel sorry for all of these dads. And it`s happened with moms and aunts, et cetera. This man -- not the guy you`re looking at -- but the man who just spoke in a sound bite -0 said he thought this kind of thing only happened to drug addicts and alcoholics, not him.

Dr. Cathleen London, you are a board certified family practice physician, explain -- most of our viewers know this -- but tell us for the record why it`s such a bad idea to leave a kid or any living creature like a companion animal in a hot car and go away.

DR. CATHLEEN LONDON, BOARD CERTIFIED PHYSICIAN: so, it doesn`t even have to be that hot actually, Jane. Some of these cases happened when it was only in the 70s outside. You have to understand that a car -- the temperature inside that car even if you crack the windows it didn`t make a difference. In about ten minutes it rises about 20 degrees. And by an hour can rise by about 50 degrees. So it gets very hot very quickly.

And children and small animals and animals lose that heat -- or their temperature rises in their body much faster than adults do. And once you get over 104 degrees as a body temperature, that gets -- that`s when you start seeing symptoms of hyperthermia, where they`ll be confused and agitated and other things.

And when you get to 107 degrees as your core body temperature, that`s when death happens and that`s because the organs shut down. Now, in 52 percent of the cases, you mentioned actually just how many deaths. It averages in America about 38 deaths per year from this. And in 52 percent of the time the child was forgotten.

I have never done that. I cannot imagine forgetting my children or my dog in the car. In 30 percent of the time though the kids have actually snuck into the car to play --


LONDON: -- so that`s another danger. In 17 percent of cases people intentionally left the children not realizing it was dangerous.


LONDON: There`s a lot of education that we need to get out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, today on ABC`s "Good Morning America" they showed video of a Massachusetts woman who was charged just this week with reckless endangerment for allegedly leaving her 5-month-old niece in a car while she went shopping. Prosecutors say the baby was covered in sweat when police got her out. And thankfully she survived.

So I would say the message is, if you see a kid sitting in a car and it`s not a cold day -- in other words, if it`s any kind of a day above whatever -- I don`t want to say, I`m not a doctor, but do something. Do something. Call 911. What`s the worst that could happen? That it`s a false alarm. But the alternative is unthinkable.

Christine, Kentucky, your question or thought, Christine?

CHRISTINE, KENTUCKY (via telephone): Jane, don`t act like it was this father`s fault that the child was left alone in the car because he was distracted by something. And the little boy, they got him out of the car quick, but the thing was is that the father`s being rolled over this. And I don`t think it`s right that the father`s being rolled over this because of this child being left in the car. It was just a simple accident.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what, I`m going to let Wendy Murphy take care of that one.

MURPHY: I don`t know how to verbally express the significant raising of my eyebrows I just did when she said that. The point is that life is at stake. And, yes, nobody is saying he intentionally wanted his child to die or become ill.

But that`s not the issue. The issue is should we send a very strong message to parents with bad memories so that they, oh, I don`t know, do something to get a better memory so the child doesn`t die? That`s the point. It`s about human life versus shaming a bad parent with a very serious slap on the wrist through criminal prosecution. That`s what you deserve. When you put your child at risk of serious injury or death, you should be prosecuted because death is really, really, really bad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, I got to say very, very quickly, you got to take a look at an app here that I have. And of course I -- I have to login. It`s a baby reminder. I don`t know if you can zoom in on that a little bit. But take a look at this. You can get this free app, download it, it`s a baby reminder. It will set off an alarm when you get out of a car within a certain timeframe so you cannot forget your baby or any other living creature. And it`s on our Web site, Check it out.

All right. Thank you, panel.

You have to take a look at this shocking video of the day. And we are talking about a vicious fight between two girls in Ganallis (ph), Louisiana captured on a cell phone camera and posted on YouTube. And the video shows one of the girls` mothers apparently allegedly standing there and encouraging her to fight. This is out of control.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight here`s your "Viral Video of the Day".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go for a ride, get the mail, feed the turtles, what are you doing? Are you ready? You want to go? Go for a ride? Do you want to get a cookie?

Oh my gosh, look at those heads. Are you ready to go? Do you get a cookie? Do you get to go get the mail? Going to go outside?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight cops put a quaint Utah community on high alert as they hunt for the monster who kidnapped, sexually assaulted and then murdered this adorable, beautiful, angelic 6-year-old girl.

Investigators say this terrible crime took place in West Jordan, only about 14 miles outside Salt Lake City, Utah. Cops say little Sierra Newbold`s body was found just about half an hour after her mother reported her missing. Cops say there was no sign of a break-in at the house.

Listen to this from ABC`s "Good Morning America".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And police have yet to identify any suspects after the brutal killing of a 6-year-old girl in Utah who disappeared from her bedroom. Sierra Newbold`s body was found in a canal near her home less than one hour after her mother reported her missing. She had been sexually assaulted --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say, quote, "There`s obviously a predator out there that is a monster that has murdered a child." Straight out to Sergeant Drew Sanders with the West Jordan Police Department; Sergeant thank you for joining us tonight on this really tragic gut-wrenching story. What`s the latest you can tell us? What have you learned? Have you been able to eliminate anybody as suspects? Do you have a suspect? Do you have a motive?

SERGEANT DREW SANDERS, WEST JORDAN POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Well, right now our investigation is just continuing through its normal course. We are not really discussing anyone in the way of suspects or anything like that at this point. We have not identified a person of interest or named a suspect at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, little Sierra was found about a block from her house. So we`re going to show you a map right now. That would take absolutely no time to walk. Cops say they even have surveillance images from Sierra`s house that they hope will lead them to the suspect.

So, Steve Moore, former FBI agent, there`s apparently according to published reports no sign of a break-in to the house. Ok. The body is discovered in a canal just a block from her home only 30 minutes after her mother discovered she was not there. What thoughts occur to you with that?

STEVE MOORE, FORMER FBI AGENT: The thoughts that occur to me are that this is not likely one of those cases where the parents are going to be big suspects because usually when the parents are involved or something, the child is not found. This is somebody who took the child and did horrible things and left. That`s why the child was found so close by.

I think the fact that the police are calling this a predator out there -- they`re not going to say that if they`re not sure that it`s somebody outside the house. I think when they say they haven`t identified a person of interest or a suspect it doesn`t mean they don`t have one. It means they haven`t identified them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look, cops are still looking for everyone as a suspect. They haven`t eliminated anyone. But even though stranger abductions are rare, they do happen.

And I think we all remember the tragic case of little Jessica Lunsford, the girl known as the girl in the pink hat. Listen to her father, Mark Lunsford -- one of my heroes -- pleading for her return.


MARK LUNSFORD: I just ask you to please help me find my daughter and bring her home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It turned out Jessica`s neighbor, John Couey, a convicted sex offender broke into her room, kidnapped her and kept her hidden in the trailer right across the street as police searched the area even knocking at one point on that trailer door. And then he buried her alive with her teddy bear. It was one of the most horrific cases. It just kills me to even repeat those facts.

But, Wendy Murphy, do you see a parallel here to that kind of case? A stranger abduction?

MURPHY: Yes. And you know, I don`t usually say that on your show in these cases. Jane, we`ve had too many of these kinds of stories, girls disappearing from their beds in the middle of the night. I`m always primarily suspicious about the parents, drugs and all this stuff.

But this does seem a little bit different. I agree. And the good news is -- I know this is weird to call it good news -- but because the child was found so quickly and there was a sexual assault, there`s at least a chance that there will be forensic evidence. And I do think that there was code in the investigator`s description of "we don`t yet have a suspect to announce". I think they know what happened. And that`s a good thing for any other little kids in the area.

I`m sure the parents in that region are terrified. It`s unusual, but when it happens, this is pretty much what it looks like.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this also shares some commonality with another unsolved case. We all remember this one. Little missing Isabel Celis from Arizona; she was snatched from her bedroom. And her parents made desperate pleas to anyone who might have kidnapped her for ransom.


SERGIO CELIS, FATHER OF ISABEL CELIS: We are cooperating to the fullest extent with the investigation. We are increasing the reward. Just please, please to the person or persons who have Isabel, tell us your demands. Tell us what you want.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a little bit different because cops are still hunting for little Isabel Celis. And Utah police say that Sierra`s mom, brother and sister were home when she was reported missing, but her dad had already left for work.

So Sergeant Drew Sanders, in terms of DNA, have you gotten -- because as Wendy Murphy said, this angelic child`s body was recovered so quickly -- have you been able to get DNA given it was a sexual assault? Have you been able to see if there`s a match to that DNA?

SANDERS: Well, we have gathered evidence. Unfortunately, I can`t really discuss what that evidence is at this point in the investigation. But understandably DNA is something that takes a while just to analyze and to grow and get it into a condition where you can start making matches with it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think this is a stranger abduction?

SANDERS: I think I can`t comment on what I think at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, the only thing we know is that this beautiful -- look at this smiling face. It just makes me so heartsick to have to report that this little child is dead. Whatever happened to her, happened quickly; that`s the only thing that we can go to for any kind of solace that she`s in a better place right now we hope.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We asked you for fun pics and videos of you and your pets. We have some great one. Send us more,



VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re on a mission to live better.

Part of this puzzle of how are we going to help Americans get healthy is to get rid of the fake food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a vegan now I have lower likelihood of diabetes including also cancer, obesity, stroke -- all the nation`s top killers.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re learning to live better, and a big part of it is eating right, of course. We`ve all been there out shopping and we think there`s a snack that looks great, but is it healthy? We know exactly what a banana or an apple is made of. What about all these crazy breakfast cereals and crackers and all these things that they say "natural"? We have no idea what that means.

I want to go to my dear friend and the author of the wildly popular, best-selling -- what some would call the most entertaining diet book out there because it`s not really a diet book. "Skinny Bitch" and the skinny bitch herself, Rory Freedman.

First we`ve got to show her working out, looking absolutely fantastic. There she is. She`s got these exercise videos. Look, the proof is in the pudding, people. Take her advice because she looks good.

All right. Rory great to see you. How do you avoid the bad food playing field as it were?

RORY FREEDMAN, AUTHOR, "SKINNY BITCH": If there`s one rule I`d say for sure read the ingredients and make the connection. Know what it is that you`re putting in your body and be aware of it.

For starters get rid of the soda. There`s nothing beneficial in soda, whether it`s diet soda or regular soda. These either got sugar or corn syrup or artificial sweeteners -- none of them are good for you. If you crowd the soda out and you bring the water in you`re doing yourself a big favor; and your body a big favor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look, I`ve known you for a while. You don`t seem to be like me, one of those addicts that always will find the bad thing. So how do you avoid the cravings? Because I think most people start out the day saying I`m just going to eat apples and mangoes and by the end of the day it`s dough nuts and some horrible like dairy-laden, 4,000 calorie monstrosity?

FREEDMAN: I think there`s a few things. First of all, you have to know yourself. If you know that you`re a sugar addict and you can`t use sugar responsibly, then you can`t use it at all. Some of us can have a little something sweet after lunch or a little something sweet after dinner, but for the most part we really have to know what it is we`re putting in our bodies all the time.

So if I do decide I want to have cookies or cake, then fine I`m going to eat cookies or case. But if I`m eating my breakfast cereal and there`s sugar in there, that`s a thumbs down. And we don`t need to do that to ourselves. Read the ingredients. What is it that you`re putting in your body?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I say don`t eat anything if you don`t know what those ingredients are. And stick to the health food store and eat fruits and veggies and nuts and grain. Keep it simple. Keep it real.

FREEDMAN: It`s true.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rory you are fabulous.

FREEDMAN: Fruit is a great sugar alternative.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re a skinny bitch.

FREEDMAN: Thank you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: HLN is committed to our nation`s military and their families. All month long we`re bringing you their stories of courage.

Air Force Tech Sergeant Israel Del Toro was burned over 80 percent of his body when his unit was ambushed in Afghanistan. He shared his story with HLN`s Robin Meade.


ISRAEL DEL TORO, AIR FORCE: Hello. My name is Tech Sergeant Israel Del Toro. I`m known as D.T. to my friends. I got injured in Afghanistan during an ambush with a scout team, and I received 80 percent third-degree burns all over my body.

ROBIN MEADE, HLN HOST: Can you describe to me -- tell me -- take me to the darkest time for you in your recovery.

DEL TORO: I had to see my face. They pulled the sheet off the mirror, and I saw myself and I broke down. Never in my life did I ever during my recovery wish I had died until that day.

And it wasn`t a vain thing. It wasn`t -- it was more that I had a 3- year-old son, and I thought to myself, holy crap, if I think I`m a monster, what`s my 3-year-old son going to think? No dad ever wants his child to be afraid of him. And I did.

I broke down for 30 minutes just wishing that I`d died. The first thing I did is get to my son. You know, I still had that (inaudible) I was like he`s going to be afraid. He`s going to run away from me.

My wife says to my son, "Hey, dad`s home." He comes running out and he stops. I`m like, oh, crap. Like he`s scared. And he says, "Papi," and I`m like yes? He comes up and gives me a big old hug. My wife is like, "Don`t hurt your dad." I`m like, "Shut up, woman. I just want to hold my boy."

MEADE: For our viewers who are civilian and maybe don`t have anybody in the military, is there something that you want them to know?

DEL TORO: I think the one thing that you don`t see in the civilian world that you see in the military is that camaraderie. That`s why I stayed in. Besides the (inaudible) I didn`t want to give those guys that planted that bomb the satisfaction that they ruined my military career.

I was like I want to get out and I want to get up. My dream is when I finally retire that I retire on my own terms.