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Abducted Teen Saves Herself
Aired September 13, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: One twenty-one (ph) hours, that`s how much time passed between the moment when teenager Melissa Duran was snatched from right in front of the home until the moment she was rescued. Police launched a massive search for her, but in the end Melissa saved her own life by using things she learned on a TV show.
Then, Dan Avery was overcome with rage when he found out his son 24- year-old Justin had purchased a drug called bath salts. So dad went into the shop where Justin got the drugs, took a bat to the place, and now dad is facing jail time.
Would you go to jail to protect your kids?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: All right. First, we`re going to talk about a kidnapped teenager who had the sense, the presence of mind to leave clues for her rescuers. I`m here with 17-year-old Melissa Duran and former police detective Steve Kardian.
Melissa, first out to you. Now, let`s get through the story. I think people are going to be shocked when they hear it. You were in front of your family home -- this was just two weeks ago, I lead to believe, or something like that, very recently. And tell us what happened.
MELISSA DURAN, MISSING FOR 21 HOURS: Basically it was a normal day, woke up, got ready for school. I start school at 8:00. I was ready by around 7:00.
And so I heard a doorbell and I walked over to the door and I saw a man standing there and he wasn`t -- he didn`t look suspicious. He didn`t have a mask on or anything. So I opened the door and I noticed that he was standing really close to the doorway.
About three seconds later he threw sand into my eyes. So that kind of just, like, totally just blinded me and kind of caught me off guard. And then he just pulled me down from my neck and started pulling me and dragging me. And at that point I thought we were getting robbed or something. And another man --
PINSKY: Melissa, may I ask you, did other people witness this? I understand your little brother saw this, were there neighbors around? Who was -- where were you folks?
DURAN: Yes. Well, my dad was at work. And my mom was upstairs getting the kids ready for school.
PINSKY: Did she hear you screaming? Were she come running down stairs? Set the scene for us. Who saw this go down and what`d they hear?
DURAN: Well, my mom and my little brother and little sister heard everything. And they ran downstairs, but one of the guys ran into the house with his hand behind his back as if he had a gun or some kind of weapon and said not to come any closer, not to call the cops or they were going to kill me. So after he ran out, my mom tried to go run after me, but that`s when the car had already like drove away.
PINSKY: So now here you`re abducted.
The worst thing as possible has happened, Steven. She`s gotten into the car, right? Which I understand is the first order of business, don`t get in the car.
STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE: Yes. Your primary concern, Dr. Drew is you don`t want to be taken from the primary to secondary crime scene, point A to point B, because it`s unforgiving.
PINSKY: So, the first thing for us to learn about this is, the take home for the people at home for any of us with kids who think to ourselves this couldn`t happen to me --
PINSKY: That`s silly to think that way. That`s how I think, Steven. In fact, this -- I think my kid will become a drug addict before becoming abducted. The reality is they could become abducted as likely as any other awful thing happening.
KARDIAN: They could. Fight, kick, scream, if he tells you not to yell, yell. If he tells you not to run, run. If he tells you not to fight, fight. Do everything opposite. He`s relying on a compliant fear factor that you will comply with his wishes to fear.
PINSKY: And, Melissa, that`s basically what happened. You end up in the car. But you`re telling us our story in a very dispassionate way and you look very beautiful and composed this evening, but I could just imagine what`s going on on the inside. This happened just a couple weeks ago. You must have some awful memories about this, right?
DURAN: Yes, definitely.
PINSKY: You say that with a lovely smile, which I can only imagine covers what? What are you feeling?
DURAN: No, not really.
PINSKY: OK. We`re here with you tonight. So you`re good, you`re safe. You don`t have to revivify. Do you sort of flashbacks of the experience, those kinds of things?
DURAN: I get flashbacks. I see what happened in my head all over again.
PINSKY: That`s called a flashback. Those must be very distressing.
PINSKY: Is anybody helping you through this? Is anybody working with you to make sure this doesn`t become an ongoing problem?
DURAN: Yes, we`ve been looking at some counseling and therapy treatments.
PINSKY: All right. Good. I`m going to have Gail Saltz, psychiatrist going to come out here a few minutes. We`ll talk more about that.
So, you`ve got abducted. What happened when took you to -- what`d you call it? Point two, point secondary.
KARDIAN: The secondary crime scene or point B.
PINSKY: All right. Once you got to point B, what happened?
DURAN: They just immediately tied my hands up and my feet up and left me into a room for a good, I`d say about 30 minutes, before they came in and had me make my first phone call to my mom. They had me call her and tell her that I was OK but they better not call the cops or they were going to kill me. That they knew if the cops were to be called because they had cameras outside of my house and had people watching my parents` every move.
PINSKY: What did they want from your parents?
PINSKY: OK. And these guys haven`t been convicted of anything, so these are allegations still that we`re talking here this evening. What was it you did that you learned from television that helped people find you?
DURAN: I learned to kind of just leave clues. When I was into the car, I left a sandal. And when I was in the room, I left my bracelet there just in case they were to move me to a different location. They would somehow be able to track me. So, yes.
PINSKY: That`s amazing. It`s amazing you were able to have that presence of mind in the midst of this -- what has to have been an overwhelming experience.
DURAN: Yes, definitely.
PINSKY: That`s not the usual 17-year-old to have those kind of prescient thoughts.
PINSKY: Leaving my sandals behind, I`m going to drop a bracelet here. I think she even used her phone. They were able to track her phone ultimately.
KARDIAN: Her phone was on. A phone call was received on her phone. That`s when her abductors took her phone away from her, but very composed. She`s a brave young lady. She did everything possibly that she could have done right.
PINSKY: What happened in the rescue, Melissa? How`d they finally find you?
KARDIAN: I`d say it was about, like, one in the morning. I heard the cops outside they put their speaker on and they were like Henderson police, we have a warrant. We know you`re in there. Come out.
And they were just doing that for about 20 to 30 minutes. And then for what seemed like a long time, it was just silence. I didn`t hear any movements in the apartments or anything outside. And then finally I heard a big boom at the door. And there was SWAT and they were yelling SWAT, Melissa, Melissa. And they broke into the bedroom where I was at. They came and picked me up, asked me if I was all right and got me out of there as soon as possible.
PINSKY: It`s remarkable.
KARDIAN: An amazing story.
PINSKY: What do parents take away?
KARDIAN: Well, it usually doesn`t end like this, Dr. Drew. Be diligent. Your home is your castle. We all have the good gift of intuition. We need to listen to that and act upon it. Most often we don`t.
There are a lot of measures we could take securing your home. Not answering the door. Even if they say that they know your parent, have a blueprint of something to do in the event of anything happens bad, something that you can go to.
PINSKY: I mean, this is like literally if this was in a script in a film, they`d say tone it down. This is too over the top. This couldn`t happen in reality.
The other thing I`m taking away from this, again, as I`m contemplating not family, not my kid is being a foolish way to think about thinks -- phones which we worry kids are doing too much stuff on and spending their time on social media, and games. Phones is what ultimately saved her life. Maybe phones are not such a liability after all.
KARDIAN: No. Phones are in today`s day and age, we leave an electronic footprint everywhere we go. Fortunately, her abductors that law enforcement was able to track. And that was one of the critical elements that saved her.
PINSKY: So, use your phone if you get in trouble, like call anybody, call 911.
KARDIAN: Use your phone. Make sure you have your GPS on. Make sure you have your local police department and 911 dialed in automatically.
PINSKY: All right. I`m going to -- Steve`s going to stay. I`m going to get to calls.
Later on, I`ve got a father who attacked the guy who sold his kids bath salts. Would you risk going to jail to protect your child?
We`re also taking calls. Again, calls, 855-373-7395. After this break, I want to get you guys input on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN DURAN, MELISSA`S BROTHER: I was going to go and try to hit one of the guys. But one of the guys he reached to his back as if he got a gun and said, don`t come closer. Don`t call police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Poor kids, that was Melissa`s 11-year-old brother who witnessed Melissa from being abducted from right of their family home. Fortunately, because of her amazing presence of mind, she was found 21 hours later.
Joining me now to discuss, psychiatrist Gail Saltz.
Gail, I want you to talk to us. Here`s my concern. I don`t want to revivify this for her -- I don`t want to make things worst worse.
GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Right.
PINSKY: On the other hand, I want to hear more about what she`s feeling and what she needs to do about those feelings.
SALTZ: Right. I think, Melissa, the question is really are you having trouble sleeping? Of course you`re going to have thoughts about this, but are they bothering you? Do you find it hard to engage in life right now in a way that you don`t feel removed? You don`t feel kind of numb and just weird?
DURAN: I actually don`t feel much of a difference. I`m still able to sleep just as I have before. It hasn`t really affected me emotionally yet or anything.
PINSKY: Is it just -- Melissa, do you feel it`s a delay, it`s going to affect you?
SALTZ: I don`t think Melissa can really -- I want to say this. What you did was amazingly strong. And there are people who are just really resilient and not everybody who undergoes a terrible trauma necessarily needs treatment.
PINSKY: Yes, that`s what I was thinking.
SALTZ: So, it really depends on what you find goes on. You know, people -- don`t let people tell you, you have to have treatment, you must be traumatized, because if you find you`re functioning OK and slowly as you move away from this you feel all right, you don`t have to.
PINSKY: I still believe people at home want to give Melissa a big hug and a parade at the same time.
SALTZ: Well, actually, how about Melissa ask you to give some lessons to girls out there who might not find it as easy to keep their head as you did.
PINSKY: Let`s take some calls. Andrea in Texas -- Andrea.
ANDREA, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Yes, hi, Dr. Drew. Real quickly, what I wanted to let you know is years ago I was kidnapped and abducted by a masked man. I was driven out to the county lines of the north Texas, raped repeatedly, left for dead on the side of a road.
However, had I chosen to fight my attacker and done with the detective said, I agreed with him on some aspects. I befriended my attacker. I actually ended up telling him let`s go have a beer together. Let`s do this. And I became friends with him, and I`m not saying he`s a pen pal, but he got five years in prison and that`s how I survived.
I realized very quickly that saying I had AIDS or please don`t kill me and fighting and kicking and screaming, that was not going to work. And he was driving at a high rate of speed.
PINSKY: OK, hold on there. Let`s see what Steve says about this.
KARDIAN: The FBI reports that 95 percent of the time, if you fight back, if you resist your attacker, that you`ll walk away with little to no injury. In your case, you did the right thing. It`s called the Stockholm syndrome. You engaged and developed a relationship with him. And you`re here to talk about it. That`s the amazing thing.
PINSKY: I`m not sure, Gail, everyone can do that.
SALTZ: I actually think not everyone, again, that`s a matter of keeping your head and using your intuition to assess the situation. You know, I can`t get away so I`m going to try psychologically to basically manipulate my attacker, which isn`t exactly same thing as Stockholm syndrome because you don`t believe you`re aligning with the person, which is what happens, we wonder why girls who`ve been kidnapped don`t run away, because they feel attached to the person after awhile. That`s Stockholm.
But this was a real manipulation, which was smart, in the circumstance you can no longer get away.
PINSKY: Let`s go to Debbie in Colorado. Debbie? Debbie, out there, Debbie in Colorado?
DEBBIE, CALLER FROM COLORADO: Hi. Thanks, Dr. Drew.
I think the expert, Dr. Kardian, I`m sorry if I don`t get it right. He`s absolutely right. I believe women should fight back. Chances are the guy`s going to kill you whether you`re a younger, beautiful woman or older woman, you have to fight back.
And to Miss Duran, God bless you. You are resilient. Especially for your age. I wish you all the best. Thank you.
DURAN: Thank you.
PINSKY: Yes, Melissa, you really are rather remarkable. I`ve got to tell you. We`re going to take a quick commercial break here. But again, it`s -- I want to hug her, I want to like hold her and make her OK, even though she doesn`t need it. I know she doesn`t need it.
SALTZ: That`s what`s actually really exciting. She`s a good inspiration.
PINSKY: And we`ve always made it clear that if she does need help, she`ll get it.
All right. We`re going to keep more going about keeping kids safe. And later on, I have a question for you guys, which is: would you risk jail or other kind of consequences if you went to protect your kids? Two parents who did just that.
Calls for your questions and comments, 855-373-7395.
Be right back.
PINSKY: All right. We`re discussing an abduction, Melissa Duran was taken from her home and had the presence of mind -- there she is -- to leave a trail of evidence -- not evidence. What would you call it? Clues. Clues.
PINSKY: Trail of clues. Exactly.
Let`s show a picture of Melissa again. Melissa is only 17 years old. Melissa, we`re going to talk about things that families can do to protect their children.
But just a tip of the hat to you, my dear. Just amazing how you had that presence of mind, how well put together you seem today. And just thank you for sharing your story with us. It`s just remarkable.
DURAN: No problem. Thank you.
PINSKY: OK. So, Steve, what are the technological things available for us that we can take home today or try to reach out for today to protect our kids?
KARDIAN: You know, we have a number of things. But before I go further, I have to say to Melissa. I`m a father, I`m a 30-year veteran. I`ve lectured to thousands of people your age group.
You`re amazing. You did everything correct. Your composure, the way you tell the story. It`s absolutely beautiful.
DURAN: Thank you.
KARDIAN: We have a number of things to keep our kids safe. In this case it was someone who worked for her father. Online background checks are an amazing thing to do.
Have a plan. If someone comes in to your house --
PINSKY: Stop, I`m going to make sure we hear that. So if you`re going to have an employee, check them out. Bottom line.
KARDIAN: Yes. There`s many online services.
PINSKY: Got that. Number two.
KARDIAN: Yes, check them out. Make sure you know about their background. It puts you on notice.
Security cameras are great. A safe room in your home. Signal, somebody`s trying to break in, signal to run upstairs. A barricaded door that come with a j-bar, prevents the door from opening.
PINSKY: How about for teens themselves? The things that they can do, like in their social media contacts or their cell phones?
KARDIAN: Absolutely, absolutely. As a teen, what do we see for women of this age? They`re too young and trusting. Haven`t developed with the skills to deal with a predator.
So, have a plan. Think about everything that could go wrong in your life and develop a blueprint for it, something to go to. When the bad stuff happens, that`s not the time to create a plan.
PINSKY: I enrolled my daughter to one of those defense classes and felt empowered. I don`t think she would have as been as much of a buzz saw were she attacked if she now have the experience of actually practicing that.
Your daughters, too?
SALTZ: Yes, I have three daughters. In school --
PINSKY: Yes, it was in school. They`ve all done it?
SALTZ: They`ve all done it. They were wigged out by it, but in the moment of being panicked you can`t implement a plan or think about it. You might freeze. A fear response is to freeze.
PINSKY: This is important to point out. People who`ve had previous trauma are prone to freeze. Freeze is exactly the wrong thing to do.
SALTZ: Exactly. In a class they teach you over and over, so it becomes a little root. So when something happens you`re less likely to have the freeze response and more likely to do something.
PINSKY: Any cell phone location services or anything with Facebook or Twitter or anything can do for us?
KARDIAN: There`s a company out there that makes a variety of different GPS tracking devices that go into their backpack, into their watches, even their sneakers. I envision 10 years from now, we may have a device to implant to your child.
PINSKY: Should we be tracking our kids like that? But should we? What`s your advice?
KARDIAN: It`s a violation in a way, but it`s a safety factor.
PINSKY: Should we?
KARDIAN: I don`t think so.
PINSKY: OK. Let`s suppose I say yes. Or let`s put it this way. What is the level of denial that I`m maintaining if I say, no, I can never do that? It`s getting intrusive. Is there denial here I don`t acknowledge this can happen to my kids.
SALTZ: Here I am a psychiatrist, but I`m going to tell you a certain amount of denial is good. If we walked around every day all day thinking about how we could be kidnapped and raped and mugged and terrorized, our families and so on, we`d be incapacitated.
Many people have anxiety disorders, or even not a disorder, but they are anxious. You can really ruin the functioning of your life if you`re thinking like this every second. So you have to find that gray zone where you educate, you prepare, and then you step back and say you know this is unlikely to happen.
I mean, we`re listening to the story tonight because it`s amazing and rare. And the point is these things really are rare overall. So prepare, educate, and then I say use some denial or you cannot function in your life.
PINKSY: It`s so funny. I`m flipping back and forth between my anxiety disorder and my denial, because I`m wondering if I`m using my denial to protect my anxiety and then my judgment is up. I get your point. I get it. That a certain amount of --
SALTZ: We have to believe that we`re basically OK in the world.
PINSKY: We have to feel we`re safe. But when Steve would say, don`t be silly. Take action.
KARDIAN: Take actions. Less than one-half of 1 percent are your stereotypical Polly Klaas/Jessica Lunsford abductions. Again, a rare case --
PINSKY: Most of these people you know.
KARDIAN: Yes. Yes, sir.
PINSKY: OK, guys, thank you for the conversation.
Next up, an incredible furious father seeks revenge after his son`s overdose on bath salts. We`ll tell you about that drug. And now that dads faces jail time. And if he goes to jail, it could destroy his family both financially and socially. Tear them apart.
Would you break the law to protect your kid or your kids? Call us.
Be right back.
PINSKY: Dan Avery was overcome with rage when he found out his 24- year-old son Justin seen here on Syracuse.com had purchased a drug called bath salts, methylenedioxypyrovalerone, we call that. Dan went to the shop where Justin allegedly picked up the drugs and then he took a bat to the shop and broke the place apart.
And now Dan is facing jail time. He and his son join us from Upstate New York.
I also have criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Mark Eiglarsh.
Thank you, Mark, for joining us as always.
First out to Dan. Dan, you face felony charges of criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon. My understanding is your biggest worry is what`s going to happen to your family if you go to jail. Uh-oh, is he not hearing me out there? Is that what`s happening?
DAN AVERY, VANDALIZED SHOP HE SYS SOLD DRUGS TO SON: Yes.
PINSKY: OK. There we are. You hear me now?
DAN AVERY: Yes, I do.
PINSKY: I love Skype. Let me ask you this. Can you hear me?
DAN AVERY: Yes, I can.
PINSKY: OK. There we go. You walked in to this place where your son bought these products with a baseball bat. Two questions. And maybe you can`t answer, because of the legal situation, but did you intend to destroy the place or did you just want to scare the guy for what he had done? And what were you thinking as you did what you did?
DAN AVERY: I was just thinking that I didn`t want anybody else to go in that store and buy anything else that was going to hurt them like it did my son. I didn`t have no intentions of hurting anybody.
PINSKY: The connection here is pretty weak, I`m afraid. Mark, let me go out to you. Mark Eiglarsh, how would you defend a guy like this? I would want to defend him. I want to go to the mat for the guy. I don`t blame him for being upset like that. I understand, Mark, you can`t take the law into your own hands. How would you defend him?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I would go to the prosecutors and try to work this out. Ultimately, I think that I can find someone with a heart over there who understands what this father was thinking, but in no way are they going to just drop this. I mean, we can`t have a society where people go in and bust up shops or shoot the drug dealer, you know?
We just can`t do that. So, ultimately, I would say, here is an exemplary father who just did an isolated incident did something that, hopefully, he regrets. I don`t know if he does and then try to get the prosecutors to offer him diversion or probation.
PINSKY: Mark, how old are your kids now?
EIGLARSH: Ten, eight, and six.
PINSKY: Let`s say the ten-year-old in four years, somebody thinks it`s a great idea there`s this great new stuff called spice or, you know, something at a tobacco shop. (INAUDIBLE) my understanding as this most of it has been. You knocked and you know where she got or he got it and you`re not going to in and create a little hell for the guy?
EIGLARSH: No. First of all, thank you for that hypothetical. So, it`s nice to envision my kids using drugs when they`re only ten.
PINSKY: You`re welcome.
EIGLARSH: But secondly, well, this is why I meditate, you know? I had a lot of anger back in the day. And what I`ve learned is anger is merely fear turned outward. So, my first thought would be I`d want to kill someone, but then, I`d say, well, hold on one second. It`s thought, feeling, and manifestation.
My first thought is I need to kill somebody, you know? I need to hold someone responsible. Then I need to take a time-out and say I`m of no use to anyone if I`m stripped of my liberty or I`m facing jail time or I`m so preoccupied with my criminal case that I can`t help my son who`s clearly in need if he or she, if we`re talking about my daughter, is using bath salts in the way that my kid would be using them.
PINSKY: All right. Let`s take some calls. Gioia in New Jersey -- Gioia.
GIOIA, NEW JERSEY: Hi, Dr. Drew. How are you?
PINSKY: Gioia, I`m great. Thanks for calling.
GIOIA: I, first, want to thank you for trying to help son, Mike Starr (ph), get off the drugs. But I agree with the father. I would have taken a baseball bat to the whole store. I`ve been fighting to get my son clean for over a year. I`ve knocked down every door, went to every court. Everybody`s turned their back on me.
I finally got him in treatment, and he as of tomorrow, will be in a residential. If he shows up at my door and runs away, I will then call the police and drag him back.
PINSKY: That`s right.
GIOIA: I am done with --
PINSKY: That`s really a big deal that you have to do that.
GIOIA: My son has lost three friends to heroin in a week. And he`s 16 years old.
PINSKY: Oh, my gosh1 Oh, my goodness!
GIOIA: I`ve called the school and reported all the kids on Facebook that he`s friend with that are posting them doing heroin. I`m done.
PINSKY: I don`t blame you. And I`m sorry you`re going through that in your community. And I also commend you for hanging in to your son. Please go to Al-Anon. I`m preaching that all the time here. you`re not part of the solution --
PINSKY: -- Mark says amen. You`re not part of the solution, you`re part of the problem. Even doing as great as you are for him. Let me go back out to Justin. Now, your son, I`m blanking on his name right now -- your son`s name is, Justin? Justin is the son. I beg your pardon. Justin, I want to go to you. And so, Justin, how do you feel about these parents intervening on your behalf?
JUSTIN AVERY, HOSPITALIZED AFTER INHALING BATH SALTS: Well, it makes me feel good because there`s a lot of parents that care for the well being of their children and there`s also a lot of parents that don`t really care what happens to their kid. But the ones that do care, you know, should be reprimanded for that.
PINSKY: Justin, have you lost any friends to drugs or alcohol?
JUSTIN AVERY: Yes, I have.
PINSKY: OK. I mean, is that not a warning sign that your community needs a little bit of help?
JUSTIN AVERY: Yes.
PINSKY: OK. Are you taking care of yourself?
JUSTIN AVERY: Yes.
PINSKY: OK. Alyssa in Maryland, you got a comment for us?
ALYSSA, MARYLAND: Dr. Drew, it`s an honor to talk to you.
ALYSSA: And Mr. Mark. Anyways, my comment is, I disagree with this father. Instead of racking up legal fees as well as potential court fees and lawyer fees, he could have possibly went in with his child to teach him a lesson to go into the store, buy all the bath salts and take it in the bathroom and flush it down the toilet.
PINSKY: Alyssa, interesting point. Mark, you finish this up before we go to break. What do you say?
EIGLARSH: I don`t know about buying all the bath salts. I wouldn`t want to give them the business, but I can think of about a hundred other ways to turn this into a positive and not then have a father stripped of his liberty, spend money -- well, I don`t mind him spending money on legal fees, that`s how I put my kids to private school, but you know, it`s just not good.
How can he be there emotionally for his son? Again, the issue is why did his son do this and work with the legislators to get all the bath salts, you know, illegalized, and that`s what happened.
PINSKY: All right. Next, we`re going to talk to a mom who took justice into her own hands to protect her daughter. And she now can wind up in jail. The update in her situation and more of your calls and more of Mr. Eiglarsh after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBBIE PISCITELLA, ADMITTED TO CHOCKING DAUGHTER`S BULLY: Everything just happened so fast you know? I can`t really discus exactly what I did. I mean, it`s in the papers what I did, but you know, I reacted as a mother trying to protect her daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENNA PISCITELLA, HER MOTHER CHOCKED HER BULLY: He said that -- that I`m so fat and nasty that nobody would want to rape me and that I should go die and donate my body to science.
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: I hated watching my daughter -- you know, she was depressed. You know, he was saying these horrible things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That little girl is McKenna Piscitella and her mother, Debbie. When we did that interview, it just broke my heart. Ultimately though, Debbie was arrested after choking McKenna`s alleged bully in a Florida mall.
Today, Debbie is facing felony child abuse charges for that attack. Also joining us -- there she is -- also joining us again is Gail Saltz, psychiatrist. Debbie, let me just start with you first. A, what has happened with you and I just want to ask how McKenna is doing? Is she OK?
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: She`s doing fine, actually. She started school, her high school. And she`s actually focusing in on her extracurriculars.
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: She loves it. And the kid goes to another school, which we first thought that he was going to be going to that same school which he`s not going. Thank goodness.
PINSKY: OK. Now --
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: But she`s doing good now.
PINSKY: Bring us up to date with what the consequences have been for you for essentially taking the law into your own hands.
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: Well, so far, I haven`t really heard anything court wise. But as far as legal fees, it`s going to be very costly. Again, I`m not working. I`m going to school. My husband`s the only one working. He`s supporting the whole family. I do what I can to help him.
But, you know, when I went out to go try to find a job, just having to put, you know, that I have pending charges, felony charges and then having to explain, you know, what that is, then nobody wants to hire me.
PINSKY: Are Justin and Dan still with us on Skype? Are they still available out there? They left their connection. I was going to say, I think, Dan, Justin`s dad, is experiencing very much the same thing. Gail, a lot parents -- I know I`ve had fantasies about taking, you know, many -- even road rage kind of situations. We fantasize about doing things.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, NY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: When somebody hurts your child, your parental instinct, it`s primitive.
SALTZ: It`s very primitive.
PINSKY: And it`s consuming. It can take over.
SALTZ: All consuming, because you feel helpless to help your child, because it`s being done by somebody else.
PINSKY: You do, but Gail, sometimes, you feel helpless against your own emotions that fill you in response of that.
SALTZ: Well, that is what you need to work against, right? The idea is that you`re supposed to be the adult. And as painful and as emotional it is, you can help your child best if you can step back and use your analytic head to say what can I do to stop this child? I need to call the school. I need to call the parent of this child. I need to call law enforcement.
PINSKY: Debbie, you had done a lot of that. Let me go to some calls. Grace in Texas, what do you got?
GRACE, TEXAS: Yes. Hi, Dr. Drew. It`s really an honor to talk to you.
PINSKY: Pleasure, Grace.
GRACE: Whenever I was in school, I was bullied a lot. I know how my mom and how the daughter feels. , my mom would have handled it differently.
PINSKY: How old are you Grace?
PINSKY: How old are you now?
PINSKY: Eighteen. And when were you being bullied? How old were you?
GRACE: I was bullied eighth to around about eleventh grade.
PINSKY: And you think your mom would have handled it differently?
GRACE: She would have handled it very differently. Not chocking the child, but probably going to a teacher or probably going to principal, probably even talking to the mother.
PINSKY: Going to parents. Yes. But Debbie, you had tried all that, hadn`t you?
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: I had gone to the school. Like I said, she had been bullied previously. You know, I went to the SRO. I went to that`s the School Resource Officer. I`d gone to the school. They had things on video that happened to her before and they did nothing, because the schools do not want to get involved at all.
SALTZ: You know what, I`m really sympathetic to that. We have an epidemic, we have a major problem. Kids are killing themselves. I`m sure you`re watching these reports and that terrorizes you more. And you`re right. Many schools are not stepping up in doing what they need to do.
They`re not educating kids about bullying. They`re not giving parents someone to talk to to really intervene, and this has to change. And slowly, it is changing.
PINSKY: I don`t know. Maybe the schools, but the culture seems to be more bullying. Jacqueline in Texas -- Jacqueline. Jacqueline in Texas
JACQUELINE, TEXAS: Hello, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Go right ahead.
JACQUELINE: Hello, Dr. Drew. It`s a pleasure to talk to you.
PINSKY: Thanks, Jacqueline.
JACQUELINE: I just wanted to say quick about the situation. I agree with that, because I`m willing to go to jail to protect my kids. But on the other hand, about the lady and the bully thing, like me, personally, I wouldn`t have went to the length of hurting someone else`s child for the simple fact because I wouldn`t want no one to hurt mine.
And I probably would have like did something like cuss them out or something, but as far as actually putting my hands on them, I wouldn`t have went that far.
PINSKY: Mark Eiglarsh, that`s an interesting observation, isn`t it? Do unto others -- it`s the golden rule, really.
EIGLARSH: Absolutely. I`m not going to teach my kids that they act out in violence as a result of somebody acting out against them. The other thing is there`s a difference between defending your precious offspring, which I would do, versus committing an act of retaliation, because they`ve done them wrong.
EIGLARSH: That`s what both of these parents did. And both, I ask both of them how`s that working out for you now?
SALTZ: Right. I mean --
EIGLARSH: Both would say, it`s not the --
SALTZ: Exactly. You`d throw yourself in front of a moving train. You`d throw yourself in front of somebody who was literally attacking your child. Yes. You might do something to them, but a premeditated, I`m going to go in --
PINSKY: Well, that`s the baseball bat in the bath salts store.
SALTZ: It`s a period of time.
PINSKY: Yes. But I think Debbie just sort of overcome by her emotion when she saw this kid. Again, neither are OK. That`s really the bottom line. Even though we all would want to, let`s face it. We all would want to, right?
SALTZ: We`d all want to. And we all want to do lots of things, murder and mayhem, all those fantasies are normal.
PINSKY: Mark, for the record, mark, I don`t want to murder. Just for the record, Mark. This is Gail Saltz, Dr. Gail Salts. She may need your services some day.
SALTZ: I don`t believe him. I don`t believe him. He does, sometimes, want to do that. He just doesn`t do it.
PINSKY: I`ve got to take some calls, 3-855-373-7395. We`re going to keep this conversation going. Be right back.
PINSKY: All right. We`re talking about how far you would go to protect your kid and what those consequences might be. Debbie Piscitella, we sympathize with what you did, but my question to you, is would you do it again if you ran into that kid and felt the way you did?
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: OK. Well --
PINSKY: Without incriminating yourself. Mark Eiglarsh is listening. But if -- hypothetically again, Mark, just to appease you. Is it the kind of thing you would choose to do again or did you learn that this is not the way to go?
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: I`ve definitely learned that it`s not the way to go. It`s totally ruined everything. I mean, but the anger is still there, because he still hasn`t apologized. Nothing really on his end has been done.
PINSKY: Very frustrating.
DEBBIE PISCITELLA: You know, it`s very frustrating. Extremely frustrating.
PINSKY: Ron -- we`ll go to call, Debbie. Ron in New Jersey -- Ron.
RON, NEW JERSEY: Yes. How are you doing, Dr. Drew? Honor to talk to you.
PINSKY: Thank you, sir. Go ahead.
RON: OK. Yes. I agree 100 percent with the dad`s anger, because I`m a recovering addict. And I would go to any length it takes to get my son help.
PINSKY: It`s interesting.
RON: I do see his anger.
PINSKY: It`s interesting. You --
EIGLARSH: That is interesting.
PINSKY: Yes, it is. You as a recovering person and you know you have no control over your son`s illness you still would crash down on the circumstance.
SALTZ: You know what I think that is? I think that`s just what Mark said. It`s fear, because this guy knows how terrible it is, how dangerous it is, how potentially life ending. And I think it`s your fear really drives rage.
PINSKY: Go ahead, mark.
EIGLARSH: Let me say this. First of all, anger is one letter shy of danger. So, when you`re feeling that emotion, do what you do with your kids.
Take an adult time-out for a moment and realize that when you`re attacking someone, when you`re responding to them like I used to do in traffic, I am surrendering leadership of myself for about two miles until I can finally get up to the guy who cut me off in traffic and shoot a bird at him. And how`d that make me feel for the rest of the day? It`s not a good feeling.
SALTZ: Is this really helping your kid? Because if you go behind your bars, obviously, you can`t help your kid.
SALTZ: What`s really going to help your kid.
PINSKY: Got it. Be adult. We`re going to take a quick break again. We`re going to keep this conversation going. The phone number, 855-373- 7395. My guest stay with me. Be right back.
PINSKY: All right. We are talking about the lengths to which you would go or I would go or Dr. Gail Saltz or Mark Eiglarsh would go to protect your kids. A respond to their kids having been threatened or damaged in some way. I want to take more calls before we have to go out to break.
Joanne what do you got for us, Pennsylvania?
JOANNE, PENNSYLVANIA: OK. In the blink of an eye, I would do the same as the man did. I think it`s disgusting how these stores are selling this stuff. This is worse than LSD.
PINSKY: Yes, it`s very bad.
JOANNE: There were two men. I don`t know what states they were, but they were -- the one man was chewing a face off another man.
PINSKY: Well, it`s not clear that -- it`s not clear that had anything to do with bath salts, but I will tell you for sure bath salts does -- when I see extreme violence, I think about bath salts. Listen, it`s dangerous.
JOANNE: Some of them are smoking (inaudible) and things like that.
PINSKY: ell, the spice which is another chemical -- you`re absolutely correct. Kids are doing horrible things right now. We need to be aware of that, but that doesn`t necessarily justify us going out and taking the law into our own hands. I`m not sure.
SALTZ: We also need to try to hold these people responsible who are doing it.
PINSKY: Rather than making us the object of legal system.
SALTZ: Or just who`s selling it. You know, it`s everybody involved.
PINSKY: Well, now, it`s finally illegal. Keka in Connecticut -- Keka.
KEKA, CONNECTICUT: Hi, how are you?
PINSKY: We`re good. How are you?
KEKA: I`m well, thank you. Actually, I`m on the sides of both parents. As a parent, our job is to protect and defend our children. The administration and schools are not protecting our kids. (INAUDIBLE) our kids. The government`s not protecting our kids.
PINSKY: I`m going to stop you.
PINSKY: Mark, hold on a second. When I told (ph) Keka stop, something that was flying around in my head was the sense of frustration I have with our system to protect our kids and the frustration that people feel and I can sympathize with every single person.
I understand being an adult and everything you`re saying Gail is right. Mark, what do I do with that feeling that our system is not serving us the way I would like it to sometimes?
EIGLARSH: Well, I understand that thought that all these people having, but I completely disagree with Keka. The answer does not lie in having your liberty being stripped, perhaps, not being able to support the family.
PINSKY: I`m sorry, Mark, it`s not satisfying to me, because the system is the thing that I`m concerned with.
PINSKY: It`s concerning. It`s frustrating.
EIGLARSH: -- passing laws, getting the media on board, working with the schools, doing things --
PINSKY: You`re right. It`s very adult.
SALTZ: Plus, hold your kid responsible. How about parents stepping in and saying instead of just who`s going to protect my kid, you have to say hey, you can`t do this. I`m not going to let you have money. I`m not going to let you out of the house. I`m not going to let you have a cell phone.
PINSKY: Great place to stop. I`ve got to go out. Mark, thank you for joining us. And I apologize for the hypotheticals. Just saying.
EIGLARSH: No problem.
EIGLARSH: It`s all right. It`s OK. No fear, my brother. No fear.
PINSKY: Thank you also Gail for joining me as always.
Seventeen-year-old Melissa Duran from earlier in the show, I want to thank her. And again, hat`s off to her in her amazing ability and resiliency.
I go to Mark -- get in touch with Mark and go to SpeaktoMark.com, to Mr. Eiglarsh. Thank you all for watching. And thank you, of course, for calling. We`ll see you next time. Nancy Grace begins right now.