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Sting Nabs 26 Sexual Predators; Mother Shoots Self, Children; Pregnant Mom Found Dead after Answering Ad
Aired August 3, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL starts right now.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, a police sting set to catch sexual predators nets more than two dozen men who cops say thought they were on their way to meet a 13-year-old girl. Were all these men trolling for sex on the Internet? Underage sex? Can the police make these arrests stick?
VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, a massive child sex sting captures more than two dozen suspects from 19 to 69. Cops say the men believed they were meeting a 13-year-old girl at a Florida home. Police say many arrived with condoms. Why does this keep happening? We`ve got the unbelievable video.
Plus, growing questions tonight about the death of two young children and their mother as relatives prepare to lay them to rest. Cops originally thought the mother shot her kids and then herself as the dad was reading in another room. Now they`re saying it`s too early to say what happened. Are there toxic secrets behind this triple killing?
Then, how did a pregnant mother expected to give birth in just a few weeks end up dead in the backseat of her car? The 23-year-old`s family says she went missing after answering a Craigslist ad. What happened after that? And why did friends say she was at a crucial turning point in her life? We`ll investigate.
And yet another wild twist in the battle over Michael Jackson`s will. Katherine Jackson now claims she was duped into leaving Michael`s kids. Her shocking revelations here tonight.
Detectives posed as a child in various Internet chatrooms and eventually told the suspects where to show up. And show up they did. Deputies say they came looking for sex with a 13-year-old girl. Once inside, they didn`t stand a chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God! I can`t believe this is happening.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Tonight, an unbelievable sex sting caught on tape. Florida cops say 26, that`s right, more than two dozen men came to a house in order to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. But instead they met a house full of cops. We`re going to show you the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff`s office. Get on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don`t take me to jail!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God! I can`t believe this is happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say the sting, dubbed Operation Take Two, focused on finding men who solicited sex from children over the Internet. The detectives say they pretended to be a 13-year-old girl or her parents in online chatrooms.
Cops say when the suspects reached out to arrange to have sex with the girl, the police gave them a time and location to meet. All the men were charged with traveling to meet a minor, a second-degree felony. It carries up to 15 years in prison.
Straight out to Stacey Honowitz. You are supervisor of the sex crimes unit in Florida. That`s the state where this occurred. Will these arrests hold up in court?
STACEY HONOWITZ, SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Well, there really should be no reason that they wouldn`t hold up in court. I mean, the only thing that you`re going to get is you`re going to get a defense of, you know, that they were coerced into doing it. And it`s -- you know, bottom line is they didn`t have the predisposition to do it, it`s entrapment.
You know, these stings happen all the time, Jane. And the fact of the matter is I think people need to know what the punishments are after someone`s convicted or pleads to these charges. Because if people would see what kind of punishment these predators get, maybe we`d have less trolling on the Internet for young kids. I mean, it is an epidemic all over the country. We have loads of it down in Florida.
And quite frankly there is no way to stop these guys if they want to make contact with these kids. The only way to do it is to go under cover. And I`m not going to reveal what goes on, but they go undercover and they pose as a child. And that`s how these predators are caught.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the first time I hear of this story I say who are these people? Who are these men that cops say showed up to have sex with a 13-year-old girl? You can hear one of them crying and whimpering saying he`s sorry when cops arrest him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t go to jail. Please don`t take me to jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. These guys range in age from 19 to 69 years of age. Among those arrested a contractor, an Internet salesman, a chef, a carpet cleaner, a pizza delivery man, a wireless employee, a construction worker. Even a sergeant in the Air National Guard. Holly Hughes, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, these men are from all walks of life. It`s a cross section of the general male population. And that is what`s so absolutely frightening. I have to say what`s happening to men in America if indeed -- I don`t want to convict them -- they are alleged, but if what they are accused of is true, why are a cross section of American men trying to have sex with a 13-year-old girl?
HUGHES: Jane, pedophilia doesn`t know any boundaries. Again, all economic classes. It just goes across.
I think what we`re seeing here is it`s so much more prevalent since the advent of the Internet. You know, men before might have had these thoughts like, oh, you know, what would it be like to be with a young girl, but now with the advent of the Internet, they can sit in the privacy of their own home. They`re not trolling in a public park. They`re not risking getting caught. And they have that false sense of security. They think there`s anonymity behind that.
But let me tell you something, the cops not only effectuated these arrests and got the sting, but they`ve executed search warrants. They`ve got these guys` hard drives and IP addresses. And they know everything that they have looked at.
So it`s not just going to be, oh, you trapped me, you tricked me into talking to a 13-year-old. It`s going to be all the other evidence, all the pornographic material that may also be found on their hard drives.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Lieberman, HLN contributor, investigative journalist, what strikes me is Internet porn. I`ve researched it. It`s horrifying to me. But you can find very graphic Internet porn involving young children on the Internet. Do you think that may be creating a taste for underage sex amongst men?
JON LIEBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. It`s part of it. You`re talking about a multi-billion-dollar industry of just teen porn. That`s one segment of the overall teen -- of the overall porn industry online is this teen porn. You take that and you couple it with the fact that these guys are predators, they`re recidivists.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alleged. These people are accused. Let`s -- you`re looking at actual faces here. I don`t want to show the faces. I want to show the video that doesn`t have the faces because these people are accused. Let`s not convict them.
LIEBERMAN: I don`t mean just these people, but I mean convicted sex offenders are recidivists. They don`t stop. They keep going over and over and over. And I can guarantee you in many of these cases here that we`re seeing this isn`t the first time that these guys have met an underage girl online.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, stings like this have been going on for years. You remember the hit show from NBC "To Catch a Predator." Who could forget it? Let`s check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "TO CATCH A PREDATOR." New information tonight in the most controversial investigation we`ve ever done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Some of the men featured on the show claimed entrapment, and one even committed suicide after being on the show.
So I want to go back to Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor, because I think that obviously a lot of these men are going to hire attorneys. And they`re going to try to claim entrapment. How is that going to work?
HONOWITZ: Well, of course. I mean any kind of case -- when this kind of case gets into court, that`s the first defense. What entrapment is basically is saying that you forced me into the kind of behavior that you`re now seeing.
Now, you`re going to see in most of these cases that these chats are going on between the undercover officer and the alleged predator. And you`ll be able to see via the conversation that they had a predisposition to commit this crime. That`s what the argument`s going to be. That you were able to tell from your conversation that the officer did not force you to travel to go meet this person. You wanted to do it. You got online. You continued the conversation. You asked to see things sexually. You wanted pictures of my genitalia. All these things. That`s standard, what we see in a lot of these cases.
So they can make that argument all they want. Doesn`t mean it`s going to fly in court.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, a lot of these men did not come empty-handed. In fact, cops say most brought condoms.
But the list of items some men brought doesn`t stop there. Some brought porn video, a teddy lingerie, beer, pot. Somebody even brought a gun and another brought a box cutter.
T.J. Ward, private investigator, former police officer, are these items that they brought with them going to be part of the case?
T.J. WARD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Yes, it will. Every bit of it. Along with all the evidence on the computers the prosecutor was telling you. Every bit will be able to be used. They`ll lay the foundation in court from the very start when they got on the computer and started all the conversations. All that will be evidence to lay the foundation for this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Holly Hughes, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, in my book "Addict Nation" I devote a whole chapter to Internet porn. And I honestly believe that Internet porn is an addiction. And addiction is progressive. And if somebody gets hooked on underage porn on the Internet, the next step is for them to seek it out in real life.
HUGHES: Absolutely. It`s whatever is in front of your face. And, again, we talk about the anonymity. You`re sitting in the privacy of your own home. And you`re looking at this stuff. And so you think nobody is seeing you. And when you spend hours and hours and hours subjecting yourself to these things, yes, you want more. You seek it out. It is an addiction, Jane.
And just like any addiction, you know, if you`re an alcoholic, you`re not going to go sit down in a bar and watch everybody around you drink and not be tempted to act on that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, Jon Lieberman, in my book "Addict Nation," I talk about how addiction is progressive and how we live in an addictogenic society. You can see more porn on the Internet in one weekend than you could doing it in real time for a year. Are we creating a nation of male porn addicts?
LIEBERMAN: Well, the short answer is yes. And here`s the scarier part. Thousands of members of law enforcement are working on cases just like this every day across the world. And they`ll tell you and they`ve told me they haven`t even scratched the surface. There is -- these guys just keep coming back and back and back. Not these particular guys, but the sex offenders come back and back and back. There`s no shortage here. And police have only just scratched the surface of the issue.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is one of the reasons why when we cover disappearances of children -- and I`m not relating to these people whatsoever, but as I conclude here on this story, when we cover disappearances of children, you see sometimes a map with registered sex offenders all over the place. And that`s because of this situation.
Again, we`re not convicting these men. They`ve just been arrested. They`re going to have their day in court.
Up next, an astounding, well, was it a murder-suicide?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say around 11 Monday morning Mitch called 911 and said he heard a gunshot in his house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we`re all shocked and devastated. And it`s -- that`s the best way to put it right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He called back moments later to tell police his wife was dead and there had been a murder-suicide.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s very sad, you know, what happened. But it happens in all neighborhoods, unfortunately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say the husband had been reading inside the home when he heard the first shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, fast-breaking, late-breaking news as police just make some major announcements. They`re trying to determine what happened inside a house where a mother and two young children were found shot to death tragically. Police now say they believe it was, in fact, a case of murder-suicide.
Now, 42-year-old Catherine Murch and her two children, 10-year-old Mitchell and 8-year-old Mary Claire, were found shot to death inside their two-story home just outside St. Louis, Missouri, earlier this week.
The husband and father of the victims, 44-year-old Mitch Murch, told cops he was reading downstairs when he heard the shots, that he ran to the front door thinking the shots were coming from outside. But then found his wife dead in the kitchen, his son dead in another room, and his daughter dead upstairs.
Cops now tell us -- this is the new information -- the mother bought a gun two days before the shootings and did numerous Google searches on homicides and killing and that she has a history of mental illness.
Investigative reporter Jon Lieberman, what can you tell us about this breaking news? Break it down for us.
LIEBERMAN: Yes. Glendale police have just laid it out for us. It is definitely, in their opinion, a murder-suicide.
As you mentioned, the mother, it is believed, bought a gun two days before the shooting. She had been Googling homicides and killing.
Mitch Murch, the husband, has now been cleared in this case, according to police. Again, they are confirming that this is a murder-suicide. Things have been getting very difficult for the family over the past couple of weeks. And the mother has a history of mental illness.
So again, at this point the breaking news from Glendale police is they are officially -- it`s so tragic, they`re officially ruling this a murder- suicide.
And Mitch, the husband, who you`ll remember, called 911 and tried to do CPR, he has been cleared in this case. His story added up to police as well as all of this other corroborating information.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Yes. And you remember we told you, we reported on this story right after it happened. Cops say Mitch Murch, the dad, the husband, called 911 at 10:57 a.m. to report the initial shooting and then called back to say it was a murder-suicide. His wife and kids were all found in separate rooms. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitch Murch called police twice. The first time hearing gunshots. The second time saying that his wife, Catherine, had shot the two kids, then turned the gun on herself.
Now, you bring up the point of what rooms they were in. And that`s a very interesting part of this. One of the kids was upstairs. The second of the kids was in a side room downstairs. She was found in the kitchen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Holly Hughes, criminal defense attorney, it would appear now that the husband has been cleared, even though everybody thought it was quite odd. A lot of people thought it was odd that he would be in the house. But it happens. And now we`re finding out the mother had a history of mental illness.
HUGHES: It does happen, Jane. And this just goes to show you you can`t make a snap decision on these cases when you first hear a set of facts. You`ve got to get all the evidence. Because you know they swabbed everybody`s hands. So now they waited to see if the GSR results came back positive.
Then they went ahead, did the search warrant for the computers, took the computers out and found out she was the one Googling this information. And it`s such -- once again...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, hold on for one second, though. How do you know who`s Googling on a computer?
HUGHES: Well, if the police are releasing that she is the one conducting these searches, Jane, then they have found a way to verify it. Whether it was password protected or whether it was her work computer. They`re not going to release that info if they haven`t confirmed it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re just getting started. More breaking news on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just so unexpected. Also very tragic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a tragedy no matter where you live. And it`s unexpected here. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`d heard such glowing stories about this family. They seemed picture-perfect on the outside. College graduates. The husband employed, the mother is a registered nurse. She, however, according to authorities, has a history -- this woman who is now deceased, had a history of mental illness.
But T.J. Ward, private investigator, former police officer, what`s odd is that she seemed very involved. If people have a history of mental illness, they may be showing signs; they may be depressed. We`ve learned that this woman was not only a registered nurse, she was preparing for an ice cream social. She was on a committee. She was very involved in her children`s lives. She was going to events where they were swimming. She was arranging play dates. All of that, and yet she apparently had this history of mental illness.
WARD: Well, some people have two lives. And she may have had her own problems by herself. It would be real important in this case for law enforcement to go back and look and see and talk to individuals that she socializes with to see if there was some kind of change in her character and to see if something was going on with her.
Obviously, it`s a sad and tragic situation involving her children. If she`d just killed herself, it might have been a different story. But now she`s involved other -- other parts of the family. And I believe that this is -- this is very tragic.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor. Here`s one thing that popped out at me. Affiliate KSDK reported that another family whose kids were friends with the Murch children spoke to the family the morning of the shooting. The shooting happened at 10:57. And they had apparently spoken and said, "Hey, why was a planned sleepover with the kids canceled?"
And she said, "I`ll get back to you." According to this family, who was at a service, "I`ll get back to you in a few hours." And she never responded. What does that tell you?
HONOWITZ: Well, obviously it tells us that she was planning something. That she knew she was going to do this. And thankfully, you know -- it`s a tragic, horrible story, but thankfully, the other kids weren`t over there.
And you know what, Jane? It`s interesting. You`ve been covering these cases for so long. You know that outward behavior actually means nothing when you`re suffering from a mental illness. And that`s what you`re seeing here. Someone that was able to function on the outside and was struggling on the inside.
We see so many of these cases that end up tragically in a murder- suicide. And that`s why I think mental issues -- mental health issues need to be addressed seriously. Because we are seeing so many of these cases involved, you know, in our society today.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And it is a cautionary tale. You never know. Look at this family. Look at this house. It looks so perfect on the outside. And yet behind closed doors tragic, toxic secrets.
More on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mystery and sadness only deepen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 911 call saying something`s out of the ordinary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a field down off the road. Got real dark tinted windows.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inside the car a woman`s body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just weeks away from giving birth to a baby girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sources say Baldwin had responded to a Craigslist add for a cleaning job shortly before she was reported missing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t even imagine what they`re going through right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mother of two, weeks from having her third child.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was very outgoing. Very friendly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators call her death suspicious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Neighbors watched in disbelief as police carried out several large evidence bags.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just rips my heart out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A horrifying mystery in Ohio has left two young children without their mother. Twenty-three-year-old Deanna Ballman found dead in her car in a remote field on Wednesday.
Now, she was scheduled to appear at a divorce hearing just hours ago in Colorado. Deanna was just weeks away from giving birth to a baby girl. Police call her death suspicious tonight. But they`ve stopped short of saying she was murdered.
Our affiliate, WBNS, is reporting at this hour that Deanna had responded to a Craigslist ad for a house cleaner when her mother reported her missing on Tuesday.
Now, on Wednesday police got a call from a man who spotted Deanna`s car.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a car out here just west of my house along a row of trees where there`s storm damage and some trees went down. It`s down in the field, down off the road. Got real dark tinted windows. I`m a little bit afraid to walk up to it. I think there`s people in it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So you want a deputy to check it out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it`s got out of state plates. I don`t know if it`s maybe stolen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at the odd position of that car.
Now, here`s a bizarre twist. The preliminary autopsy found no signs of trauma and listed Deanna`s cause of death as undetermined. So what in the world happened to her?
Just hours after Deanna`s body was found police descended on a house just a couple of miles away. They walked out with big bags of evidence and computers and a camera. But nobody has been arrested.
Deanna moved from -- to Ohio from Colorado just weeks ago. Her grandmother told reporters she was getting a divorce from an abusive husband. We have no independent confirmation of that, the abusive part. Our attempts to reach him and Deanna`s family have gone unanswered.
So I want to bring in investigative reporter Jon Leiberman. She`s found dead two days before a crucial divorce hearing but there`s also other odd coincidences. What do you make of it?
JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Well, here`s what you have to look at. The fact is that she was recently separated, she just moved almost all the way across the country. She`s only been in Ohio for two weeks. She was having financial problems, we understand. And that`s the reason why she was on Craigslist looking for work. I mean when a woman is nine months pregnant and looking for work as a cleaning person, you know they`re in desperate times.
So what`s going to happen now because the autopsy didn`t show any trauma they`re awaiting the toxicology. And really two scenarios: one was she poisoned somehow; or two, did she decide to overdose and take her own life because of all the stresses in her life? Those are the two scenarios that law enforcement are looking at right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I wonder, is it possible to kill somebody and show no signs of trauma other than poison them? Witnesses say on Tuesday, the very day that Deanna vanished, they saw a car similar to her Ford Taurus outside the home that police searched. That house is less than five miles from where Deanna`s body was found and about a mile from where her cell phone pinged off a tower.
Now, Holly Hughes, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, I imagine investigators are not only checking the phone records and examining the pings, but they`re scouring the car that you`re looking at for evidence because it is in a very, very bizarre place. Could that house possibly be connected to the Craigslist ad she was reportedly following up on? Wouldn`t her computer records reveal who she was going to meet regarding that ad?
HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s exactly right, Jane. Because what they`re going to do is trace back that IP address and see where it`s assigned to. They`re not going to get a search warrant unless they have probable cause. So they`ve gone in there, they`ve looked at her computer. They`ve seen who she was meeting.
And when they conducted a search on that house, they`re looking for any forensic-type of evidence. Fingerprints, was she there? One of the most important things we do in investigations is track the timeline. We want to know where she was from the time she was last seen until the time that her body was recovered. So that`s what they`re doing with this.
Can they place her in there? Are there hairs, fibers, trace evidence? Any kind of sweat DNA, any kind of touch DNA left on anything in that home?
So that`s what they`re waiting on. And they`re also -- Jon Leiberman nailed it. They`re waiting on tox results. If there`s no obvious trauma then she wasn`t strangled or we would see petechial hemorrhaging in the eye. We would see some outward appearance. So that`s why -- yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. What`s so bizarre about this is that there are so many sort of odd crucial moments in her life occurring at this time. For example, she was very pregnant; something like eight months pregnant. The leading cause of death for pregnant women in the United States is homicide. According to the Justice Department, about one-third of pregnant women who are murdered are killed by their intimate partner.
Now considering that Deanna was both pregnant and going through a divorce, obviously law enforcement has to question her ex. But, Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor, supervisor of the sex crimes unit -- she just moved to a different state. Her husband likely is not even in this state. The husband she`s divorcing is halfway across the country.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, you know there could be several scenarios. I mean, you know, maybe he`s in touch with somebody that knew where she was. They have to investigate everything.
He will be thoroughly investigated, going through a divorce, having another child. If he`s the father of the child, maybe there was an issue - - he knew he would have to support a third child. I mean there are so many different scenarios. Right now it really is just a mystery.
Until they investigate all of the computer stuff, all the evidence that`s been taken out, but everybody in that family will be questioned. And the ex-husband will be very, very high on that list. We`re waiting for tox results.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, again, there are no suspects. And for all we know, the husband may have been halfway across the country because she had just moved away from where she was married, which was Colorado, all the way to Ohio.
Now, according to our affiliate WBNS, Deanna had responded to a Craigslist ad for house cleaner on Tuesday, the very day she was reported missing -- again, a newly single mother of two about to give birth, very pregnant.
I understand she has to make money. She`s trying to make it on her own. She`s going through a divorce. But it doesn`t make any sense to me, Jon Leiberman, nine months pregnant. It would be bizarre, I would think, for a woman that pregnant to try to get a job as a house cleaner.
LEIBERMAN: Well, it is bizarre. But, again, it speaks to the financial problem. She`s trying to support her family. She`s in a new city. She`s trying to do everything she can to kind of get back to a normal life. And that`s why it`s going to be very interesting what these toxicology reports come back with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to stay on top of this story.
Now, time for our "Shocking Video of the Day": watch as a group of young men try to rob, allegedly, a jewelry store. But get this, cops say the tables turn as a quick-acting 65-year-old store owner shoots at the thieves and then they all fall over themselves trying to get out of the store. We`re very happy to report nothing was taken. Everybody walked away from this ok.
But check out the owner`s courageous little dog who was helping to protect this area. Where`s that little dog? I want to see the doggie.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s your "Viral Video of the Week". You picked everybody`s favorite. Playful goats video from Took a Leap Farm. They posted it in the hopes of getting a thousand views. At that point they said they`d make a donation to our friends over at Farm Sanctuary -- what a great organization that is. It`s gotten over a million hits.
Go to hlntv.com/Jane
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could Katherine Jackson have been duped into taking that trip to Arizona?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re getting a bit more detail from Michael`s mom in court documents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Katherine is once again the permanent guardian of his three children. A judge made that decision yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like it`s going to be a co-guardianship between Katherine Jackson and TJ Jackson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was rumored that she had been kidnapped by her children.
Here`s what she told ABC News regarding where she`s been.
KATHERINE JACKSON, MOTHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: I was still thinking about the children. And I still worry about them. But they`re fine.
JEN HEGER, RADARONLINE: Unequivocally this looks like a hostage video.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was this tweet from Michael Jackson`s son accusing the family of lying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is going on in the Jackson family?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is going on with the Jackson family?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the heck is going on here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What the heck indeed. Stunning new claims tonight by Michael Jackson`s mother, Katherine -- was she kidnapped by her own adult children and then forced to lie about it to the media? Katherine Jackson resurfaced after being missing for more than a week. And now she`s spilling all the details of her disappearance in new court documents we`ve obtained.
Katherine alleges she was misled by doctors and resort staff and possibly her own children. But that`s not what she said when surrounded by adult children last week, watch this from ABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: There are rumors going around about me that I`ve been kidnapped and held against my will. I`m here today to let everybody know that I`m fine and I`m here with my children and my children would never do a thing like that, holding me against my will. It`s very stupid for people to think that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But now she seems to be saying the exact opposite. We have the court documents. And they directly contradict those earlier statements that were made on camera. Katherine now says she thought she was going to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for one of her son`s concerts. Instead she found herself taken to Tucson, Arizona.
There she says she found herself essentially trapped. She tells the court "My phone was taken away." She also says "My iPad was taken away." She then says "The telephone was not functioning. And there was no picture on the television in my room."
While this was happening her grand kids had no idea where their grandmother, Katherine, was. Her granddaughter, Paris, was furiously tweeting her frustration saying quote, "Nine days and counting. So help me god I will make whoever did this pay."
Those tweets led to a videotaped scuffle between Paris and her aunt, the famous pop star, Janet Jackson. Some observers wondered if Janet wanted to grab Paris` cell phone to stop her from tweeting those comments about how her grandmother was missing.
Straight out to Dylan Howard from Celeb Buzz; Dylan, give us the lowdown on this explosive court document. What does Katherine say happened?
DYLAN HOWARD, CELEB BUZZ: Well, at the same time that Katherine Jackson says that she was prevented from communicating with her family and seemingly taken against her will, there are questions about entirely what Katherine is saying. Because her attorney released a statement late yesterday saying that she has nothing against her children -- those same children who took her away from the Calabasas mansion where she looks after Michael Jackson`s three children. There are more questions than answers about this case. And it certainly does raise questions about the involvement of Janet Jackson and Jermaine Jackson, who like they have been throughout the course of this are silent on the claims that Katherine was taken away against her will.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people think this is all about money.
Rob Shuter, "Naughty but Nice", Huff Po, why would this be all about money? What does the challenge of the will by Janet, Randy and some of the other adult children have to do with this whole situation?
ROB SHUTER, "NAUGHTY BUT NICE", HUFFINGTON POST: It`s very confusing, here, Jane. Let me see if I can try to make sense of this. Shortly after Mrs. Jackson disappeared and went to Arizona, the family -- the brothers and the sisters -- filed a motion saying that the executors of this will, the people necessarily in charge of Michael`s many, many millions maybe even billions should be fired.
So it`s just too coincidental that the same time the lady in charge, Mrs. Katherine Jackson, went to Arizona, was taken or whatever she was doing there, the brothers and sisters decided they wanted to contest the will. Now, that ultimately is about money. So that`s why people are linking these two things together.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And obviously, Rob, briefly the inheritors of Michael Jackson`s massive estate are the kids and as well as Katherine. So it would seem to people it was a divide and conquer strategy. Get Katherine over here, get the kids over here, whoever controls the kids controls the money, right?
SHUTER: That`s absolutely right. Now, remember the brothers and sisters are not in this will. They were never in the will. So they`re not technically going to get this money. However, whoever controls the estate, they make some very, very big decisions. So even though they cannot technically get their hands on Michael`s money, they want more control on how this money is distributed. So I think that`s what`s going on there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s your "Pet of the Day" pics. Oh, Rosy. Listen, these animals are beautiful, wonderful, tiny. And Paris, Booker, all the companion animals of our viewers. Diesel. Send yours to hlntv.com/Jane. Rosy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Jackson, of course, from his iconic music video for "Thriller". His music and his estate -- that`s Sony Records by the way -- said to be worth billions down the line. But in his will, he only named his mother Katherine and his three children, Paris, Prince and Blanket.
Now Dylan Howard, editor-in-chief, Celeb Buzz, let`s talk about this mystery doctor who suddenly appeared in front of Katherine. What was his role?
HOWARD: Well, this is the great mystery of all this. He was a doctor who was introduced to her by the siblings, Michael Jackson`s siblings, but also someone who testified in Conrad Murray`s death trial -- Michael Jackson death trial against the man who was accused of murdering him, Dr. Conrad Murray.
What I can tell you Jane is if we know the motivation was money for the siblings to do this how were actually going to execute it? The suggestion being, according to sources I spoke to, that they want a conservatorship over the 82-year-old family matriarch.
Whether or not they got that or will get that remains to be seen. But how did they orchestrate it? How did they get her out of the mansion, without the children knowing? They waited until her security detail -- those who are with here 24 hours a day, seven days a week left the home and then Katherine left; that according to my sources.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. But this doctor who advised her, the so- called purported doctor came to the house and advised, oh, I`m speaking on behalf of your personal physician, it`s really better for you to fly not drive to New Mexico. And then somehow she ends up being flown instead to Arizona.
I have to wonder Dylan, if this is not a real doctor, could somebody be facing criminal charges? And if he is a real doctor, could he be facing criminal charges?
HOWARD: There is no suggestion that there is a criminal investigation on the way in relation to this. But you`re right, Katherine Jackson`s attorney released a statement soon after she went missing and said that this doctor did in fact turn up, a doctor who has a dubious past, a man who has been disbarred from the Medical Association here in California.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a bizarre saga. Just when you think the Jackson saga can`t get any stranger, it does. And I`ll bet it isn`t over yet. More in a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem is that nobody knows that this is happening. There`s an impending slaughter of wolves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went here to make a difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t have that many wolves left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Animals lovers, this is a call to action you are hearing from me right now. Once again our tax dollars are being turned against innocent animals. This time the state of Wyoming could declare war on wolves. It`s asking the federal government to take the gray wolf off the endangered species list. Critics say that would allow unlimited trapping, shooting, gassing of wolves and wolf pups throughout most of the state of Wyoming.
And it`s not just -- look at this, look at this aerial shooting. Critics say they`re going to basically kill any wolf, any way they can`t.
Joining me now is EarthJustice attorney, Doug Honold -- he is fighting to protect these beautiful creatures. Why on earth would anyone want to go out and kill all these wolves? What`s in it for them?
DOUG HONOLD, EARTHJUSTICE ATTORNEY: It`s a political fix that the anti-wolf advocates have the ear of the state of Wyoming and the administration -- the federal government. It`s been a huge issue in the northern Rockies where we wiped out wolves historically. We`ve brought them back with a lot of effort. Without wolves, we had tremendous overgrazing Yellowstone and surrounding areas. The elk consumed the shrubs and grasses.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Doug, let me jump in here. I know why wolves belong on this planet, they`re God`s creatures, but who benefits from wiping them out? Some people say the ranchers. They want these wolves wiped off the face of the earth because it`s cheaper for them, they don`t have to put up fencing to protect their livestock. Is that essentially it?
HONOLD: The two forces that have been working against the wolves are ranchers who don`t want wolves and some hunters are against wolves because they kill elk occasionally.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So in other words they want to be able to kill the elk themselves? And they don`t want the wolves to get to them first. Is that what you`re telling me?
HONOLD: That`s right.
We reached out to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, they never called us back. We`re taxpayers. We`re journalists. We`re reaching out to a government agency. They didn`t call us back. That is the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
These wolves aren`t just majestic while dogs, they`re part of our ecosystem, they`re part of nature, they serve a purpose. And they could be wiped out in Wyoming. We need you to take action.
Doug, what kind of tactics will people be able to use to kill wolves and wolf pups if Wyoming allows open season on wolves?
HONOLD: If this proposal goes through in most of the state of Wyoming, it will be a war on wolves where they will be able to kill wolves by virtually any means you can imagine. Some of the things that have been talked about had been baiting dogs back in the wolf country so that wolves will come and then killing the wolves when they come in. And there also have been proposals to gas wolf puppies in their dens.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is wrong with people? By the way these traps they set up, they can get your dog. Ok. So there`s many reasons.
EarthJustice is the organization leading this campaign, I urge you to get involved. I urge you to reach out to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. Go to my blog hlntv.com/Jane -- hlntv.com/Jane and get involved. Go to EarthJustice.
These animals cannot speak for themselves. And imagine, if they pass this in Wyoming, call the governor, call the senators who represent Wyoming. These animals cannot speak for themselves. They`re about to declare war on wolves in Wyoming. Let`s stop it.