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Father Speaks out about Missing Palmyra Woman

Aired August 21, 2012 - 19:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m so glad Augusta is opening its doors and changing perspectives.



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Police track down two men, who may have been the last people to see a missing 21-year-old woman. Kortne Stouffer vanished three weeks ago after two male friends brought her home from a bar. Do these two young men hold the key to solving this terrible mystery and finding Kortne. I`m going to talk to Kortne`s father live next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, the mystery deepens in the search for a beautiful missing woman. Investigators interrogate two men. One of them claims he went home with Kortne Stouffer, but when he woke up in the morning, she was gone. But cops had gone to the house that very night on a noise complaint and knocked on the door, and nobody answered. Tonight we`ll talk to the missing woman`s dad, who says it doesn`t add up.

And now it`s the widow`s turn. She made a scene in court when her alleged lover was tried and convicted for gunning down her husband outside their son`s day care. But prosecutors say Andrea Sneiderman conspired with her former boss to get her husband out of the way and cash in on his $2 million life insurance policy. Will convicted killer Hemy Neuman take the stand to testify against his purported ex-lover? We`re taking your calls.

Plus, Rosie O`Donnell speaks out about the heart attack that almost killed her. Now the comedian says she`s finally thinking about what she eats for the very first time in her life. Why did Rosie have to almost die for the light bulb to go off? We`ll talk to a "Biggest Loser" who lost 120 pounds.

SCOTT STOUFFER, KORTNE`S FATHER: I hope that nobody has to go through this. This was -- it`s unexplainable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Family and friends gathered at the Palmyra fire station to search for Kortne, who has been missing for 10 days. But no sign of Kortne.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven`t been able to sleep a lot lately. Just not knowing where she is.

S. STOUFFER: I`d like to keep hope. I`d like to hope that we find nothing today is really what I hope to find.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Volunteers search a field close to Kortne`s apartment where she was last seen.

S. STOUFFER: If you`re a father, I hope this hits you. I want her back. Help us get her. Help us get to her. Help bring her home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kortne`s gone. Kortne`s gone.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

The mystery of a beautiful young woman`s disappearance leads police to two young men who may have been the last to see her out and about. Can they shed light on what happened to 21-year-old Kortne Stouffer? Her father is my very special guest tonight.

Kortne vanished around somewhere around 4 in the morning on July 29. It was a Sunday, very early. Kortne had spent a Saturday night at a bar in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She rode home with two male friends who have been questioned by police repeatedly, although they`re not being called suspects or even persons of interest whatsoever. Investigators searched the car that belongs to one of the friends. Police also searched the home of that young man`s father, and he is saying that his son has absolutely nothing to hide.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My son has spoken to the officers four or five days in a row. I know that kid Cody, and I know my son. And I have been around them enough -- let me say something different. You would see something different, I`m saying a smoking pattern, an eating pattern. If they had anything in this, you would see something different.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police say neither of the men they`ve questioned is a suspect in this case. I want to emphasize that. But one of them says he slept at Kortne`s apartment the very night she vanished. He claims he woke up and she was gone, vanished. And so he just left and went home, even though there was a dog -- Kortne`s dog -- inside the apartment.

Kortne`s dad questioned this guy himself in person for about 45 minutes. Does he buy his story? Well, we have Kortne`s father with us tonight, Scott Stouffer, out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Scott, thank you for joining us. I know that these weeks have been absolute hell. We want to stay on top of this story to help you find your precious beautiful daughter.

Now, you talked to the young man who spent the night, he says, at your daughter`s apartment the very night that she disappeared. You talked to him for 45 minutes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us what struck you about that conversation.

S. STOUFFER: Well, I really just wanted to hear it from, you know, his words. I never had a chance to meet Cody to that point. And I really wanted to hear from his side exactly what -- what went on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, did you buy it?

S. STOUFFER: That`s a tough question. You know, I want to believe him. I want to see that my daughter`s brought home. I want to try and not have someone else brought into this that isn`t a guilty party. I want to say I`d like to believe him, but it`s difficult.

And I asked him the same question, you know, because he, as well, has family members and said, "What if I was the last person that was with one of your family members, and that was the last time you ever saw them, what would you think of me?"

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a lot of questions I`d like to ask this young man. Police have questioned these two young men that Kortne rode home from the bar with. And they searched the car.

Now, here`s the thing that absolutely gets me. The police, OK, have questioned both of these men extensively. Well, one of the guys, the guy whose father has spoken out, he says that he was dropped off at his home at 2 in the morning before Kortne and the second guy went to Kortne`s house. OK. So that`s about two hours before Kortne vanished.

The other guy then says he spent the night at Kortne`s apartment, woke up, and she was gone so he left.

Here`s what I don`t get. And I`m going to take this out to Jon Lieberman, HLN contributor. The cops show up twice at Kortne`s apartment that night. The first is a noise complaint. And it`s apparently over her barking dog.

Then they come back. They talked to Kortne. Then they come back a little while later because they hear banging. They hear banging coming from Kortne`s apartment. But they get to her apartment, and nobody is there.

Now, if this young man slept over that night, how is it possible that when police go to the apartment the second time, nobody answers the door? If he slept over, he should have been there and should have been able to answer the door.

JON LIEBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, absolutely. I mean, he should have been able to answer the door. And look, hindsight`s always 20/20, but police should have made contact with somebody on that second visit to the house.

Make no mistake about it, Jane, this is a major development in this case as police try and put together a firm timeline of exactly who was with her that night, who was last with her. And they`re trying to either corroborate or contradict their statements with other information that they know.

And let`s be very frank, Jane: they are not persons of interests, they are not suspects, but we understand they are cooperating, which means there`s no reason for police to call them suspects or persons of interest because they are cooperating. And by coming out and calling them that, that will make them clam up and lawyer up.

But police do believe each of these men has valuable information. That`s why they`ve now executed two search warrants with these men and the cars.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, again, we`ve tried to reach them. We haven`t been able to. They`re invited on our show any time.

Police responded to two 911 calls at Kortne`s apartment around the time she vanished. Let`s analyze this. The first 911 call, 3:12 in the morning. Somebody reporting Kortne and the dog barking and the neighbors arguing. Officers arrive. Three minutes later, they leave at 3:49.

Then at 4:12 in the morning, less than half an hour later, a second 911 call, a neighbor`s complaining about stomping and banging coming from Kortne`s apartment. A police officer shows up, knocks on the door, gets no response, and leaves.

Now, I want to go back to Scott, the father of this beautiful missing 21-year-old woman. You talked to the young man who`s there. Did he offer an explanation for the banging that was heard from the apartment where he was supposedly at? And did he explain why he didn`t answer the door when police knocked on it?

S. STOUFFER: Well, the explanation I got for the banging is that Kortne was so angered about the altercation with the neighbors. And as far as the police officer coming back the second time, the young man told me he`s a very hard sleeper.

And my question to the Palmyra Police Department and the officer in question that showed up is that, if he came back to his daughter`s apartment for an altercation that night and he broke it up, and he watched his daughter go into her apartment with someone else and then he got a call back roughly 20 minutes later to the same apartment and he`s not getting an answer and he knows his daughter`s in the apartment, is he content with just walking away? I mean, I sure wouldn`t be. Especially knowing that there was banging and loud noise.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: T.J. Ward, private investigator. Just analyzing this, do you buy the explanation this young man gave to the father that, well, the cops were called a second time, because this young lady was still angry about the argument that she had with the neighbor? Does that presume that she was somehow banging and kicking on furniture? I mean, does a young woman of her size and shape create that kind of noise by being upset over an argument that there`s that kind of banging?

T.J. WARD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, you know, there was probably something going on in the apartment. And the police should have gone the extra step the same way the father said. If they had gone back to a second call at that location when there was a same, similar type call the first time, they should have gone further to investigate or try to make way or get a search warrant or try to get somehow to get entry in that apartment and see if, in fact, there was something going on or a crime scene for that.

But I agree with the father that something should have been done further with law enforcement. They shouldn`t have done that, because obviously something was going on in that apartment with all the noise.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have more questions. And we`ve got your calls on the other side.



WENDY STOUFFER, KORTNE`S MOTHER: Something happened to my daughter after 4 a.m. then that morning. And I called her and I texted her all day Sunday. Her brother tried to get a hold of her. We didn`t hear from her. And that is not like Kortne.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Missing woman`s mother devastated. This is a beautiful young woman, 21 years old, a hairdresser. Went out for a night of fun, went dancing in Pennsylvania. Two guys drove her home. One says he spent the night. And she has not been seen since.

Her apartment, her dog, her beautiful black Lab, the pet she loved inside the apartment. Her car is still there. Her cell phone is still there. But where is Kortne Stouffer?

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Lisa, Ontario, your question or thought, Lisa?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Again, thank you for supporting and helping out the missing and ill people.


CALLER: But my question tonight is, unfortunately, she disappeared without anyone knowing. Could it be that maybe an ex-boyfriend or ex-lover took her?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, my understanding, Levi Page, from speaking to the missing woman`s father who is here tonight is that, Scott, remind us of this. She has a boyfriend, but he has a firm alibi. He was out of town, correct?

S. STOUFFER: Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Levi Page, you`re a crime blogger and you`re very insightful. What do you make of the situation thus far?

LEVI PAGE, CRIME BLOGGER: Well, Jane, I think that the story from the boy that was with her that night may not be consistent with what people say about Kortne. People have described Kortne as very peaceful, that she was -- she`s been described as a hippie. And she would not be the type of person that would be banging and getting into loud altercations with her neighbor like this boy, Cody, says that she was.

So I want to ask her father, does he buy the story from that man, that she was getting into altercations with the neighbors? That doesn`t sound like her.


S. STOUFFER: Well, I believe there is a history between my daughter and her neighbors, that there was no love lost there. And Kortne was a vocal person, if she felt she was being taken advantage of. She was generally a very mild girl: loving, very artistic. But at the same time, you know, she would view her opinions very, very loudly. So, do I believe that there might have been an altercation? I do. But in my head, I can say this...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this question. I want to jump in because this is important. And it just occurred to me.

S. STOUFFER: Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, have they talked to this neighbor? What about this downstairs neighbor? I mean, you`re saying there`s no love lost. And we`re not mentioning this neighbor`s name. They`re not considered a suspect, a person of interest. But if -- was this the neighbor who called cops twice? Was it the same neighbor or was it a different neighbors who called cops?

S. STOUFFER: I believe it`s the same one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So there`s banging. There is an altercation. Is it possible, I mean, could that altercation have continued?

S. STOUFFER: It could have. It could possibly have -- it could possibly happen. I mean, I believe in my heart, knowing that everything that was left in my daughter`s apartment that night, I completely believe that Kortne went out of that apartment with someone that she believed she could trust. And then I think it went a different direction. And that`s what I kind of feel in my heart. Because there`s no way she would leave her purse, her car keys, her cigarettes, her cell phone, her dog. I mean, it just -- that`s not Kortne. And everyone that knows her agrees.


JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY: Jane, I know the mother has to know and the father has to know that everyone is hopeful for them and grieves with them and is concerned about this. I just hope that as part of this investigation the police will do a number of things.

No. 1, of course, the cell phone records will be looked at very closely and carefully in terms of phone calls, any text messaging that has been done back and forth prior to the incident to set up what has occurred, any Facebooking, anything like that. And her friends of course spoken to so that we can get answers in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Scott, I want to ask you this. Apparently, the surveillance video that cops are looking for may have been lost because you`re saying they took too much time to start looking for surveillance video in the area?

STOUFFER: Yes. That was something that came to me. I mean, we were on it the first two days. We were going around looking at surveillance video. I viewed video from one of the local convenience stores myself. And we didn`t find anything. They did find some surveillance video from another local convenience store that had the gentleman that stayed overnight. And it kind of matched up with when he said he left and showed up at that convenience store.

But there are many other stores in that area that have -- that have, you know, video equipment that are viewing some of the main roads. I`m just -- I`m completely bewildered why it took 18 to 20 days to attempt to really dig in and find this video. And then come to find that the loops are looping over and some of it might not be recoverable. It`s incredibly disheartening. I believe at the same time they are working very hard at this. There`s a number of people in this case of people that grew up in our area with my family. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Scott, hold on one second, Scott. We`re going to continue more on the other side. Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My son has spoken to officers four or five days in a row. I know that kid Cody. And I know my son. And I have been around them enough -- I would see something different. You would see something different. I`m saying a smoking pattern, a eating pattern. You know what I`m saying? If they had anything in this, you would see something different.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the father of one of the two young men who was with Kortne the night she vanished and one -- the other young man, not the son of that person, but the other young man spent the night, he says, at Kortne`s home and says when he woke up she was gone. The question is do we believe that?

The search warrant lists kidnapping and unlawful restraint. Investigators are looking for hairs, fibers, blood, weapons, clothing, DNA, anything. But right now it`s a torturous mystery for her family.

Straight out to the phone lines. Kelly, Pennsylvania, your question or thought, Kelly?

CALLER: Yes, thank you for taking my call, Jane.


CALLER: I was wondering. I understand that there was a search warrant issued for her apartment. And I was wondering if they found anything with her computer, anything in the house that could tell something as to maybe where she was going or who might have been with her other than the gentleman that was sleeping at the apartment?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question. Jon Lieberman, investigative journalist, you`ve been digging into this. What have you learned?

LIEBERMAN: Yes. They have recovered a number of items from the house including a computer. They were looking for drug paraphernalia to see if anybody might have come over and brought drugs over and that may have contributed to whatever has happened. But, yes.

And understand this: police can`t release every bit of information they have, because conceivably this is only information known to a small group of people. So we know that police have items and have confiscated things that they haven`t released to the public for that very reason.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joey Jackson, what do you make of the fact that it took so long for police, according to the father of the missing woman, to go through these surveillance videos?

JACKSON: You know what, Jane? The father has an absolute point. You would think that that would be some place that the police would first look, that there would be an initial look and see what surveillance is out there that could shed light upon where she would have been, who she would have been with, the potential path she may have taken. So it`s problematic and troubling, particularly if, Jane, they cannot recover some of the surveillance based upon the time lapse in getting them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there was one surveillance video recovered that shows the one man who says he spent the night in a store texting Kortne. So I think that that at least aligns with his story and shows that either he`s doing it for the benefit of the surveillance cameras or he actually was texting Kortne and doesn`t know what happened to her.

Scott Stouffer, our hearts are with you. We want to find your daughter. We`re going to stay on top of this. Know that we are on your side.

And now this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened was, I don`t know nothing and I ain`t saying nothing so shhh. I`m on hush mode.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is this man talking about? Find out in our shocking video of the day next.



ANDREA SNEIDERMAN, ON TRIAL FOR HUSBAND`S MURDER: There was no affair. Who kills someone else`s husband?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That dead man`s wife has just been locked up behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times did you call Rusty?



SNEIDERMAN: Zero times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn`t you call Rusty?

SNEIDERMAN: Because they just told me something happened to Rusty. What are the chances he`s going to be answering his cell phone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hemy Neuman was as good a man as ever walked on the face of the earth until he met and became involved with Andrea Sneiderman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say the killer had been having a secret extramarital affair with Andrea.

SNEIDERMAN: It was unfathomable and unbelievable that it could be him. Someone that proposed to care about me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were there, you were there from the beginning. Am I wrong about you being there?

HEMY NEUMAN, CONVICTED OF MURDER: I did not pull the trigger on the gun that killed Rusty Sneiderman.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a courtroom battle erupts over whether this woman, the one you see right there, should be allowed back on the street. She is accused of murdering her own husband. And prosecutors say she has a history of intimidating witnesses and that she`ll do it again, the same way she did during her purported lover`s murder trial.

Andrea Sneiderman, charged with the unthinkable: orchestrating and conspiring and plotting to have her own husband, the father of her children, gunned down in front of a day care as her husband was dropping off their child. Unbelievable. Why? Cops say she was having an affair with her boss. Witnesses say they saw, well, the two of them bumping and grinding. She denied the affair. But she did cash in her husband`s $2 million life insurance policy right after he was gunned down. The judge said today she will get bail, but it will cost her. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to set bond for Mrs. Sneiderman in the amount of $500,000. $250,000 will be in cash. The other $250,000 can be either cash or property. She can have no contact, either direct or indirect, with any potential witness in this particular case.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even though she was granted bail, the judge was clearly concerned that she could be tampering with witnesses again. Do you think she should be let out of jail?

Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to reporter Craig Lucy in Atlanta; Craig, you`re right outside the jail where Andrea might be leaving any minute now. Well, what have you heard? Will she be getting out? And if she does, what are the restrictions that are going to be on her?

CRAIG LUCY, REPORTER: Well, I can tell you I just spoke with a sheriff here in Dekalb County and he told me about five minutes ago she will not be getting out of jail here tonight because the judge in this case has not received the bonding paperwork. He needs to sign that. And after he does it will still be a very long bonding process.

The Dekalb County spokesman told us he doesn`t know once the judge has that paperwork how long it will take because it depends on a number of factors. How many inmates are lined up to get out of jail before Andrea Sneiderman? It also depends on the bonding company that she uses. And she also needs to be outfitted with a GPS ankle monitor. And depending on which company is in charge of that, that could take hours.

I`ve covered the Casey Anthony case and when we were waiting outside the Orange County jail, it did take them about five hours to outfit her with one of those GPS ankle monitoring bracelets. So tomorrow we know that if she does post bail, she will be walking out of the Dekalb County jail here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But wait a second, it`s a lot of money. How much exactly? And where is she going to get that money? Do you have any idea?

LUCY: Yes. As we just heard this is a $500,000 bond. And she has to put up $250,000 of that in cash. And we did a report just a couple of weeks ago that shows she does have more than that in her bank account. So she`s very capable of posting this $250,000 in cash.

And then the rest as you heard the judge say can be in property. Her parents are very well off. They have different properties. And we were there exclusively, got some video of her when she was at the lake house when federal authorities and local authorities went to her home and took her out in handcuffs.

And when they did that there was not much emotion that she showed. She just had one arm behind her back. She was in cuffs. But today we saw a variety of emotions. She was excited. She was definitely excited when she received that bond, this $500,000 bond from the judge because today we didn`t know whether or not the judge was going to grant her that because the prosecution all along has been saying that she is a flight risk.

And now more than ever she has an incentive to be a flight risk because she`s facing these very serious charges of murder and malice murder along with perjury.


Now, another reason the cops didn`t want Andrea Sneiderman back on the street is because she has a history of intimidating witnesses. Remember, she`s going to be going on trial for murder. During the last trial, the trial of her purported lover, she was banned from the courthouse.

You might remember this, this bizarre hug Andrea gave one of the witnesses as she left the witness stand. After this embrace, well, it wasn`t so friendly. Andrea allegedly threatened the same witness -- a former friend of hers -- who testified against her. The lawyer for that witness testified today against her being released. Listen to this.


JAY ABT, ATTORNEY FOR SHAYNA CITRON: Andrea was waving her finger. And, to me, as you know someone witnessing and I perceived it to be very threatening. "We`re no longer friends. Our friendship is over. I understand why you did what you had to do, but now you`re going to have to live with what I`m going to do."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Basically that guy does not want Andrea Sneiderman out because he feels his client who testified against her, well, is nervous, Joey Jackson.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Listen, it`s a big development though that she`s even given bail. Why? Most clients who are facing murder charges are on remand Jane, that means they`re not going anywhere pending the resolution of their case.

Now, I`ll tell you this. In the event she tries to intimidate a witness, approach a witness, walk outside of a different geographical area, or flee the jurisdiction, that judge is going to have her back inside in a heartbeat.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And ding, ding, ding, her ankle bracelet will go off, off, off.

JACKSON: Oh, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One thing that`s immediately noticeable, is how -- look at this, Andrea Sneiderman`s appearance has changed since she was last in court. Take a look at the difference when she testified. We`re going to show it to you in a second. Her hair was down, right? She looks kind of like she`s going to go to a rock concert or something. All right.

Now, take a look at her today in court. She`s got her hair behind her -- tied behind her back. We`re going to show you that in a second. Not him. No, we`re going to show you her with her hair tied behind her. She looked very different. That`s her mug shot. But we`re going to actually show you her today in court.

And you know what it reminds me, as we`re getting ready, it reminds me of the Casey Anthony case. And really, Levi Page, remember Casey Anthony went through a whole complete transformation. There is Andrea Sneiderman today with the hair back in a bun and looking very prim and proper. What do you make of it, Levi Page? A makeover?

LEVI PAGE, CRIME BLOGGER: Well, you know Jane, we did see it in the Casey Anthony case; Casey Anthony at bars bumping and grinding with the other people in the bars while her daughter was missing. Then she showed up to court for us like a librarian. And that could be the same thing that we`re seeing here with Andrea Sneiderman.

And I think that the prosecution has a pretty strong case against her. I was surprised by the judge`s ruling because that woman that she had made a veiled threat to outside the courthouse according to that woman`s attorney who testified today, that woman had contradicted what Andrea had said. Andrea said that she did not know her husband was shot until she went to the Atlanta Medical Center to see his dead body. And that woman contradicted that and said I called you before you got there and told you your husband was shot. So if you listen to these witnesses, this attorney; this woman`s very conniving, very manipulative and I`m surprised by the judge`s ruling today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is a shocker. And obviously some defense team did a study somewhere that showed that defendants have a better chance if their hair is back in a bun. That`s the conclusion I`ve reached. We`ll have to see.

Now, it`s time for your "Shocking Video of the Day". Remember our friend who was on hush mode? Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know nothing and I haven`t saying nothing so shh -- I`m on hush mode.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, it turns out he was on hush mode because his buddy was arrested after leading police on a 100-mile-an-hour -- actually, it was 110-mile-an-hour car chase. Police chase in Alabama. Police say they smelled drugs in the car during a traffic stop. And that`s when the driver took off.

Take a look at this. No, it`s not Nascar. It`s a high speed chase. And thankfully they were able to stop that guy before he was -- look how fast he`s going. They caught him. They always do.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And here`s your "Viral Video of the Day". What do you get when you combine skateboarding with jagged rocks, trees and freezing cold water? Something called upstream wake boarding. It`s like skateboarding only about 1,000 times more dangerous. Don`t try this at home. But then again you probably don`t have a stream at home, hopefully.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely stunning news coming from Rosie O`Donnell. The actress and former talk show host, she is lucky to be alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rosie O`Donnell suffered a heart attack.

ROSIE O`DONNELL, ACTRESS: That`s a very, very needed topic and it`s a hard thing for most people to understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She says ladies know the symptoms.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, actress and former talk show host Rosie O`Donnell opens up about the heart attack that almost killed her. Rosie said she helped a quote, "enormous woman" out of her car. And the physical effort that took triggered a heart attack. Hours later she took to her blog and wrote a poem describing her brush with death, what her doctor called a quote, widow maker". Rosie said quote, "A few hours later my body hurt, I had an ache in my chest, both my arms were sore, everything bruised. I became nauseous, my skin was clammy. I was very, very hot, I threw up."

Rosie survived a 99 percent blockage of her left artery. And you know what causes clogged arteries -- fat and cholesterol. In fact, clogged arteries is the number one killer of women four times more than breast cancer.

Straight out to my very special guest, Olivia Ward, season 11`s winner of "Biggest Loser" and you remember her winning. Watch this from NBC and then we`re going to talk to her.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s our new biggest loser.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Olivia, you battled fat and cholesterol and won. Why does it take something as serious as a heart attack for people to get the message? Rosie said for the first time in her life she`s now thinking about what she puts in her mouth in terms of food. Why did the light bulb go off only after that near death experience?

OLIVIA WARD, WINNER, "THE BIGGEST LOSER": I think so much of our culture has become that being overweight is the norm. And that`s why it is so important that we not only, you know, educate America, but educate America`s children that, you know, obesity, it`s not just about not being able to fit into your clothes.

I mean this woman could have died from just the daily choices that she was making about eating foods that are high in fat and not getting cardiovascular exercise.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s so simple. Ok. What can you do to prevent a heart attack? The clogged arteries, ok, are plaque in the arteries, plaque comes from fat and cholesterol. Ok. Fruits and vegetables have no cholesterol. They have no cholesterol. You cannot find cholesterol in fruits and vegetables. However, meat and dairy products have cholesterol. Ok.

So if you take a look at what`s clogging your arteries, Olivia Ward, the conclusion is obvious. If you eat more fruits and vegetables, all right, that have no cholesterol and obviously lower in fat, then you have less clogging of the arteries.

WARD: That`s right. It`s a winning combination. You know, fruits and vegetables these days are readily available. There are farmers markets out there. Help support your local community. Get those fruits and vegetables in. It will keep you full. It will keep you healthy. And then really consider getting that cardiovascular exercise in. It`s about a healthy heart, not just, again, about fitting into clothes but overall health.

Consult your doctor before you start an exercise program. But get those fruits and vegetables in. Let`s get some cardiovascular exercise in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, and Rosie should know about that. Remember she starred and showed off her baseball skills in "a League of Her Own", you can watch it from YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you mean --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them are going home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, how did you do that? Excuse me. Hey. Hey. You caught that. Hello.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You know, let me tell you, she was even tempted to join "Dancing with the Stars" to lose weight.

Listen, here`s the thing. There`s no crying in baseball. And you don`t need to cry over clogged arteries if you eat your fruits and veggies. It`s that simple. And they are delicious. It`s all I eat.

Olivia, thank you for joining us, you are an inspiration. You lost 120 pounds. Look at her. Look how great she looks. If she can do it, you can do it.

WARD: Absolutely. If I can do it, you can definitely do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rosie, I`m glad you`re still with us. We love her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Time for our "Pets of the Day". Check this out. Luna, you`re just gorgeous. And Bella, what a look -- I love it. I love that expression. And let`s see, Muggy. Muggy, it is kind of muggy out there. Bella, we love you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The day to day operations of this factory farm are so cruel and abusive that they would warrant felony-level prosecution if they treated dogs or cats in the way that they treat these farmed animals.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You may find the images disturbing but America wants to take a closer look at factory farms like the one seen in this file footage. And now critics are saying they`re not just cruel, they`re also bad for our communities, our lakes, our rivers, our streams. Nine billion with a b, farm animals are reportedly raised and killed for food in this country every year.

And now there is a growing number of Americans asking where does the waste from all those animals go? So with me to night, Gene Bauer, who is the president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary and author of the fantastic book "Farm Sanctuary: Changing hearts and minds about animals and food". You were recent down south Gene, looking into all of this. What did you find out?

GENE BAUER, PRESIDENT, FARM SANCTUARY: That`s right. I went to North Carolina and visited with our friends with the Water Keeper Alliance who actually go around and sample water near these hog factories. And they were taking samples of this brown water. There are these sprayers that spray liquid manure in these communities. And you know, it gets -- it wafts into neighbor yards. They can`t go outside. There is flies, there`s stench. It destroys communities, destroys real communities. It`s horrible for neighbors. It`s horrible for animals.

These animals are treated like commodities. They`re put in these cages so they can`t turn around for their whole lives. It`s bad for animals, bad for people; it`s an industry that needs to be stopped.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is a former pig farmer that you talked to on your trip who also agrees with you that there is a problem here.


DON WEBB, FORMER PIG FARMER: I wasn`t being very good to those people. I got to thinking what right do I have to make money off the backs of people`s environment? What kind of man was I?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we reached out to the National Pork Producers Council. And they did not return our call by show time but they are invited on our show any time.

The Environmental Protection Agency has talked about this on their Web site. They say when improperly stored or used animal waste can pollute rivers and underground drinking supplies. The EPA tells us that a single dairy cow produces about 120 pounds of wet manure every single day. That`s a lot of waste in a day and that`s just one single animal.

Quickly, your thoughts on that?

BAUER: There are just too many animals being raised for slaughter, too much manure being produced. The land cannot absorb it. It is getting into the waterways and it`s destroying our environment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we need to look at this because we all live in this country.

More in a second.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you want to learn more about this very important issue, head over to my blog at You`re going to find information on factory farming and a link to Farm Sanctuary`s Web site.

Gene Bauer, the president of Farm Sanctuary, you went down there. Now, I want to go to a stat that we got from the Environmental Protection Agency that, once again, it`s pretty shocking. I didn`t know this. A single dairy cow produces about 120 pounds of wet mature every day. That`s a lot of manure. Where does it go?

BAUER: Well, these industrial animal factories store this manure in the open cesspools. And oftentimes it gets into ground water. It gets into surface water. In some cases they have so much that these cesspools won`t hold it and they will actually start spraying it out into the environment.

So there is too much manure. We need to move away from this industrial farming system toward -- you know, thankfully there are more farmer markets. There`s more healthful foods that`s being made available that does not come from these factory farms and people need to eat their veggies like you`re saying before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We were talking about Rosie O`Donnell. And she had a wakeup call -- a-ha moment after a heart attack.

But let me get back to the people who live in these communities. You talked to some of them. Are they happy about the industrial farming being in their neighborhood?

BAUER: No. It`s very sad. You know, a lot of times these are poor communities. And people, you know, are very concerned. They can`t even go out in their backyard. They can`t hang their clothes on the clothesline without them smelling. Their property values are depressed. They get sick from being in these sick environments. It`s something that very disturbing to see.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So why don`t the local politicians do something about it?

BAUER: Unfortunately you have big industries with big payrolls and they have invested in the political system for decades and they continue doing so. So a lot of these political representatives are representing industrial interests, not people`s interests. And that`s a huge problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I remember from years ago -- too many years even to tell you I was a local reporter down in a very small town. And quite often the landfill, the garbage dumps were put in areas where there were poor communities. And because they didn`t have the clout that some of the wealthier communities had. Is this kind of the same thing?

BAUER: It`s exactly the same thing. And you know, the industrial animal farming business has been investing in the political process for years in Washington, D.C. as well as in state capitals. They control many of the laws and policies that are adopted by lawmakers. And that makes it very hard for people in these rural communities who are trying to stop these factory farms.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But there is one area where people have a lot of power and that`s as consumers because at the end of the day, it`s a consumer decision. So as a consumer, think about where you want to put your money. And think about your health.

Nancy Grace is up next.