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Could Body Found in Field be Jessica Ridgeway?; Fitness Studio Sex Ring?

Aired October 11, 2012 - 19:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, HLN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us on "EVENING EXPRESS." We`ll be back here tomorrow night. A bit of a wild ride today.


PHILLIPS: And Ryan Smith will be back soon from his honeymoon. JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL starts right now.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, a gruesome discovery in the middle of a Colorado field. Could it have anything to do with the search for missing fifth grader Jessica Ridgeway? What police found and the two words they used to describe it, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, cops make a shocking and gruesome discovery in the desperate search for missing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. Could a body found in a field just miles from where the young student vanished be little Jessica? Cops remain tight-lipped as they continue their hunt for a possible predator. And is there a connection to the ominous sightings of suspicious vehicles in the area? We`re investigating. And I`m taking your calls.

Then, the famous celebrity-packed town of Kennebunkport, Maine, rocked by scandal as cops arrest a Zumba instructor, claiming the 21-year-old ran a prostitution ring from her fitness studio and secretly videotaped the sexcapades. She claims she`s innocent, but was she living a secret double life? And how will this upscale town react when the list of her local customers is released? Will families be shattered?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This afternoon a body was discovered near the Patridge Park open space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re still waiting for police to identify a body they found last night just miles from where 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was last seen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Twitter Jessica Ridgeway is the most popular story that`s being pushed.

JEREMIAH BRYANT, JESSICA`S FATHER: By far the worst thing I`ve ever been through. Still is. I just want to find my daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t imagine what she must be going through. I just thank the lord that I have my children and I pray that she will get hers returned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have any information, doesn`t matter how insignificant you may think it is, call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope we find her safe.

SARAH RIDGEWAY, JESSICA`S MOTHER: I watch her walk out the door. And I shut the door. And that`s the last time I saw her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news and a gruesome new mystery in the disappearance of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.

Police discovered a body while searching for Jessica. But 24 hours later they have still not released a positive I.D.

Good evening. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

The body was found in the middle of a field in Arvada, Colorado, yesterday about six miles away from Jessica`s home where she vanished walking to school. And today, police announced why it`s taking them so long to release the victim`s identity. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We appreciate the media recognizing that from the helicopter you have footage of the body which would show the public that it`s not intact. This is extending the length of time it`s taking for the investigation to positively identify who that body is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not intact. I shudder to think what that means. Of course, the question on everybody`s mind, and I say this with great regret, could it be Jessica Ridgeway?

The fifth grader vanished on Friday walking to school. I cannot imagine what Jessica`s parents are going through right now. The not knowing. Here`s Jessica`s mom talking about how she felt when she found out her precious daughter was missing.


S. RIDGEWAY: You don`t hear anything. And then you get the pit in your stomach that you don`t want any -- any parent -- any parent to -- to ever experience in their whole entire life when you`ve been told your child`s been taken.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Since this unidentified body was found in Arvada, Colorado, we should mention that`s the very same city where two little girls told police a man in a white van followed them to school just the day before Jessica vanished. And that same van was reportedly seen in Jessica`s neighborhood the very day Jessica disappeared.

Cops still looking for tips, because no matter what we find out about that body in the field, one thing is for sure tonight. There is a child abductor, a predator on the loose. We need to catch him.

Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, with your questions or thoughts. 1-877-586- 7297.

Straight out to Don Champion, reporter KMGH. Don, what do you know about this body in the field? How far exactly is it from where Jessica vanished? What`s the latest?

DON CHAMPION, REPORTER, WMGH: Jane, I can tell you that the body was found about six miles away from where Jessica lives. We do know investigators are still in the process of trying to identify it.

We also saw investigators out there at the scene for much of the day today. It`s pretty much a very isolated area where a lot of old coal mines are located. There are some homes in that area, but it`s very off the beaten path, if you will.

The police did continue their searches in that area today and also in open spaces around where Jessica`s house is. It`s clear right now that investigators are still needing help from the public in this case. As I speak the FBI is here holding a press conference right now going over things that people can look up -- look for in a possible suspect in this case.

So it`s very clear that investigators are still needing some tips coming in to them. So far, at last check, more than 600 tips have been phoned in to investigators.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Don, let`s talk about where the backpack was found. I believe we have a map that we`ve put together. We`ve got little Jessica going to school. And six miles away in a neighboring town, you see this unidentified body found. And then there was the backpack that was found just a couple of days after Jessica disappeared. Give us a sense of what does that tell us where -- where they were found?

CHAMPION: Well, quite frankly, I`ve spoken to some people who say it suggests that this man or the perpetrator, whoever did this, knows this area very well.

You talk about that neighborhood in Superior, which is about six miles away from Jessica`s house. That neighborhood is once again kind of isolated. And the location of where that backpack was found, you sort of have to know your way around that neighborhood. It`s not like it`s directly off of a highway, if you will.

And then you think about where the body -- where this body was found yesterday. Once again, not directly off of a highway in any way. So a very isolated area. So some people are suggesting that this possibly could mean that this person who did this knows this area very well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, somebody who understands what this family is going through is one of my heroes, Diena Thompson. Her precious, beautiful 7-year-old daughter Somer vanished while walking home from school in 2009. She was with her siblings and simply ran ahead. Her body was found two days later in a landfill. And this neighborhood man, Jerrod Harrell, pleaded guilty to her murder. He was a guy who lived in the neighborhood and lured Somer into his house with a puppy.

Diena, again, you`re my hero. You`ve turned this hell into a foundation for your daughter -- in your daughter`s name to help other girls and stop these kinds of nightmares and horrific abductions. What are your thoughts as you listen to our reporter say, hey, the way this is coming together it appears that maybe this sicko is in the area, somebody from the area?

DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER THOMPSON (via phone): I mean, obviously it wouldn`t surprise me at all, considering our monster lived half a mile away from us. And lived there for several weeks after he murdered Somer. They usually are around the place. I think they watch. And if she had the same routine, then he would know that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, then, Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor, supervisor, sex crime unit, they need to find out anybody in this area who has a white van. Not to say that for sure the white van`s involved, but my gosh, that`s certainly a good lead. And isn`t there a way to find out every single person who has a white van in that region?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, certainly everybody`s registered. Their vehicle has to be registered unless they decide not to. But they can check that. And you`re right, I mean, if there`s been sightings of a white van -- and obviously there were, because there were calls into the police department -- this is a major lead for them to go off of.

And right now we really don`t know what the investigation entails. But you can bet that that is part of it. And that`s probably a huge factor in it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to the phone lines. Lori, British Columbia, your question or thought -- Lori.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Nice to talk to you. This is just an absolute sad state of affairs. And I think the whole thing is what parents are going to have to do with your children, whether they`re 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, if somebody grabs you, you tell your child you`ve got to yell, you`ve got to kick, you`ve got to scream and you better yell. Because chances are that scum bag is going to drop you. And I think wasn`t it a few months ago that it happened in Wal-Mart that somebody grabbed a kid and the kid yelled and he dropped him.


CALLER: And also, too, you know, if you put this child in a van or whatever and this guy takes them to a secondary place, it`s game over.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Absolutely. You`ve made some good points, Lori. And I want to say this, Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist. Vans are the vehicle of choice for abductors. We know that. The reason being once somebody gets in a van, there`s generally no windows. And they can be contained in that van, as opposed to a regular vehicle. That`s what`s so scary.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, what really horrifies me about this is that there were warning signs. If in fact this white van is connected, kids said, hey. Two girls told cops a man in a white van followed them the day before Jessica went missing. I mean, we`ve got to -- we`ve got to have a rapid response when kids say this from now on.

LUDWIG: You know, I think sometimes when you tell the police something like that, they say we need more information. We need more details. And they sometimes don`t follow up until something horrendous happens. And that`s unfortunate. And I`m not exactly sure why that is.

But I`ve seen other situations where the police have been contacted, and they say "We can`t do anything. We need more details, more information. We don`t have any other reports yet."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s complicated. Quickly, Don Champion, I know that the parents got a letter three weeks before Jessica disappeared about a sicko in a dark blue sedan trying to lure kids with candy. But did they also get the warning about this white van?

CHAMPION: We know that that incident the day before Jessica disappeared that the principal of the school where those kids went actually left a voicemail message for several parents. But there was another incident, that one that you`re talking about three weeks before, we do know the school district here did send home a letter...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Don, I got to jump in. You`re saying that, in the incident three weeks before, where a guy in a dark sedan said, hey, come here kids with candy, that letter went out. But the day before, you`re saying that the principal talked to the kids in that school. But Jessica didn`t go to that school. Yes or no, Don?

CHAMPION: The kids involved in the incident before Jessica`s disappearance, no, they did not go to Jessica`s school. They went to another one, which was about eight miles away or so.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So in other words Jessica`s mom would not have known that this white van was trolling the neighborhood. That`s my point. This is a problem. There`s got to be a region-wide alert. Telling just the kids who go to that one school isn`t good enough.

More on the other side. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


S. RIDGEWAY: She`s going to meet her friend because it is snowing. And, you know, she -- her friend says, yes, I`m walking too. And I watch her walk out the door. And I shut the door. And that`s the last time I saw her. I want her to come walking back through that door. I need her to walk back through that door.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That poor mother wondering where is her precious daughter, 10-year-old Jessica.

Now, searching for Jessica, they have found a body that they are not identifying. And that body was found about six miles away from where Jessica vanished. Her backpack was found about 15 miles in the opposite direction. And, again, they cannot -- they are not identifying this body because the body is not intact. And I shudder to think what that means.

I`ve got to bring in Tom Shamshak, former police chief and private investigator. All of this sort of within a 15-mile radius, let`s say. It would appear since she disappeared Friday morning, they found the backpack late Saturday night around midnight. And now this discovery last night that this sicko whoever he is may have been in the area the whole time. And that just kills me.

TOM SHAMSHAK, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Jane, good evening. Yes, until there`s some scientific certainty, we won`t know definitively if this remains belongs to this case. But certainly the tragedy here is that everybody in the community was not fully aware of the presence of this what appears to be a predator out there trolling in the area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you this specifically. How do they identify this body if it`s not intact? Meaning obviously they can`t do a visual identification. And I don`t want to get into more detail. I think our viewers can do the math on that. What do they have to do, get DNA?

SHAMSHAK: Well, that`s one form. But I would say that the easiest remedy here is to get a hold of her dental records and then compare those records to the decedent`s skeletal remains.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But that -- I don`t know that that -- does that really make any sense? I mean, she disappeared last Friday. It`s been less than a week. When they say the body is not in tact -- well, Robi Ludwig.

LUDWIG: It`s not clear. I mean, in some cases there are pedophiles that are severely disturbed, and they dismember the body after they, you know, rape these children. So we don`t know what they`re talking about. We don`t know if the body`s in a decompensated state, which probably not, right? If this happened recently, that`s probably not the case.


LUDWIG: So we just don`t know what they mean when they use that terminology. We need more information.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. This search for Jessica, well, there`s no words to describe the toll that this is taking on her family. Her dad inconsolable a couple of days ago when he spoke out for the very first time. Listen to this.


BRYANT: This is by far the worst thing I`ve ever been through. Still is. I have nowhere to start, you know? I mean, I don`t -- I don`t know what to do. You know. I just want to find my daughter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, law enforcement has cleared both the father and the mother, who are separated, from any involvement in their daughter`s disappearance.

I want to go out to another one of my heroes, Erin Runnion, who`s joining me tonight from California. Your 5-year-old daughter, your precious Samantha, was abducted right from your front lawn by a man who asked her and her friend had they seen his little dog.

And now we`re hearing that three weeks prior to Jessica`s disappearance a man was trying to lure kids into a dark van -- sorry, dark sedan offering candy and that the day before she disappeared a man in a white van was trolling around and following little girls. Erin.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know there are no words, but just help us -- help us understand this horror.

RUNNION: Oh, my heart just goes out to this family. This has been the longest six days of their lives. And this is the worst part. The worst part is the not knowing. The imagining your baby screaming in terror and pain. That is the worst part.

So I pray that they will have definitive resolution very soon. I suspect that they`re already coming to terms with that very likely news. But all you can really do at this point is focus on honoring -- honoring Jessica.

And I said it ten years ago, how many children is it going to take before this nation puts child protection first? And I`m afraid it`s just going to keep happening until people take seriously the needs to empower children to be safe in this world and to get safety education into schools across this country and to educate parents on recognizing what predatory behavior looks like and how these crimes can be reduced.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Erin, you said it very well. More on the other side.



JESSICA RIDGEWAY, MISSING GIRL: Do you want to be on camera? That`s where the camera is. See? Look. That`s the camera.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the angel all of America`s looking for. And this unidentified body found six miles from where she disappeared. We`re waiting for news on who that -- who that is.

And we`ve still got this other story. Just about seven miles -- seven-hour drive from where Jessica vanished, there was the rape and abduction of an 11-year-old girl in Cody, Wyoming, right across the state line from Colorado. Again, that`s about seven or eight hours north of where Jessica disappeared.

Here`s what cops have to say about that in connection about this case.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not at a point to say they are or are not connected. Obviously the team here is in direct communication with those working that incident in Cody. We`re sharing information to try to identify any similarities in those things. But we`re not making a connection at this time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jennifer Morgan, reporter TTN Denver, what do we know about the Cody incident and its possible connection to Jessica`s disappearance?

JENNIFER MORGAN, REPORTER, TTN DENVER (via phone): Well, coming out today the man who actually picked up the little girl walking down the road after she was abducted is coming out and speaking about what had happened when he found her.

And, again, there`s no connection at the moment. They`re focusing more on somebody who may be in town here in Arvada/Westminister/Denver area. But they are -- the man did say that the little girl was sexually abused. And when she got to call her mom in the car, she said, "He broke my heart."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we`ve got a description of that man. Again, this is a man 55 to 60, white SUV. And he told a group of girls he was looking for a lost puppy. And that`s when the 11-year-old got into his truck.

The girl was reported missing a few hours later and then she was found walking alone down a street. She was sexually assaulted. Obviously, we`re not mentioning her identity. But thank God that she got away or was let go. In this case it`s very, very different.

Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, we don`t want to think about the unimaginable. But the fact obviously that they found a body within six miles of where this child disappeared.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Less than a week after she disappeared, raises the specter. And then, of course, the possibility of violence given the fact they say that this corpse is not intact. What is your understanding of pedophiles and violence?

LUDWIG: Well, pedophiles understand that people consider them disturbed. But they blame the child very often. They say the child is seducing them. And so when they actually engage in the sexual activity, they see the child as vile. And that`s sometimes what contributes to the violence and elimination. They want to eliminate the evidence that they were engaged in such disgusting behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And such sick, evil people that exist in the world.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And as Erin Runnion put it...

LUDWIG: And there`s no cure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But the cure is that nationally we wake up and create...

LUDWIG: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If I lose a FedEx package, I can find it in a minute. But a child goes missing and you can`t find that child for six days? That`s unconscionable. We have the technology to prevent this from ever happening again.

And in just a few minutes, Nancy Grace will have so much more on the Jessica Ridgeway case. That`s at 8 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A zumba instructor is accused of using her studio as a brothel filming sex sessions with a client list that reportedly includes local mayors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you have to say about the charges against you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark, anything you have to say about the case right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wright is charged with 106 counts for allegedly promoting and engaging prostitution and tax offenses. Prosecutors say he and Wright ran the prostitution operation together out of a zumba studio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I`ve said before, they don`t know what the hell they`re doing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a small exclusive New England town rocked by a huge sex scandal. Police say Alexis Wright, this stunning 29-year-old zumba instructor, was -- that`s the judge, actually. We`ll show you the -- where is the stunning 29-year-old zumba instructor? I don`t think that`s her. There she is -- was secretly living a double life as a madam of a prostitution ring, allegedly, that she ran out of her zumba studio, allegedly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you have to say about the charges against you?

WRIGHT: I have no comment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is the real zumba. We recorded this as a featured story. None of these women have anything to do with this case. This is in some other part of the country. We just wanted to give you an idea of what zumba looks like, ok?

Now, we got to ask a question like were there ever actual zumba classes going on at the time that this alleged prostitution ring run by this lady allegedly, was going on. Police became aware of the sex ring, they say, when neighbors complained that there were dozens of men entering and leaving the zumba studio. And sometimes they reported to police that they heard moaning and groaning inside.

Now, Alexis and her partner -- alleged partner in crime, 57-year-old Mark Strong, have pleaded not guilty to these charges. Strong says he just loaned Wright money and helped Alexis with some photos. We reached out to both of their attorneys -- did not get comment back. They are invited back any time.

Now, the town of Kennebunk is on pins and needles as Wright`s alleged client list could be revealed tomorrow. Reports say it`s more than 100 names long, possibly including some very prominent members of this community.

What do you think? Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to talk show host WGAN 560 AM, Ken Altshuler. Ken what will the release of these names do to this small town? What`s going on there in Maine?

KEN ALTSHULER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, WGAN 560 AM (via telephone): It is going to shock the town. Because as you said, Jane, there`s some very prominent names on this. Last we heard there`s six attorneys, a number of doctors, police officers, firemen. There is a town manager. There is an editor of a newspaper. There is an anchor for a TV show. And for some strange reason, Jane, there is a cattle rancher.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa. I, of course, focused on the anchor in a TV show -- oh, my gosh. I mean, that is -- that`s quite a list.

Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor, supervisor sex crimes unit out of Florida -- a hundred hours of video, they say.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. And more than 150 to 200 names on this alleged client list. First of all, some had argued that we shouldn`t release this. But apparently the judge said, no, I`m not going to seal it. So this is expected to hit this town tomorrow.

Now, I`ve always said that I think the Johns -- the customers, should be prosecuted if you`re going to lock up the alleged prostitutes. Could any criminal charges be filed against these individuals? And I assume that they`re mostly men, but first rule of journalism is never assume. So what say you, Stacey?

HONOWITZ: Well, listen, in cases like this when you have a prostitution ring -- and that`s basically what you have here when you have several clients, you know, the prosecutors usually don`t charge the Johns - - over 100 Johns -- because it`s typically a misdemeanor charge engaging in prostitution. When you have a case where you`re running a prostitution ring or living off the earnings of a prostitute, the stakes are much higher.

And that`s really the focus of this case is getting the people that are running it, that are engaging it, that are promoting it and living off the earnings. So you`re probably not going to see any cases against the Johns on its own.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, police say 150 to 200 names and 100 hours of videotape involving these alleged clients of this alleged prostitution ring. Doctors, lawyers, we heard just from Ken maybe a local news anchor. Everybody`s talking about this.

Here`s what one shopkeeper told our Dr. Drew.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, there`s just a lot of unknown. And I can tell you the people that come into my store, you know, there`s a lot of anticipation of, you know, what names may be on the list. But now they`re beginning to feel somewhat sad for what`s going to happen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Get this. Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, even the Kennebunk schools are bracing for the news. The district has told teachers to be on the lookout for kids teasing each other about their parents` names being on the list. What are these individuals who know they`re on the list going through right now?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: They`re panicking. They are worried. And who knows, maybe in some cases they`re being honest with their partner saying, "Listen, I want to come clean. I want to let you know so that you`re not going to be shocked." That`s probably the more rare situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me ask you this. How does 150 to 200 names end up in this small town? To me it sounds like one person would say to another, hey, there`s quite a good thing going on down at the zumba studio.

LUDWIG: In these small towns it`s like TMZ. It`s like they have nothing on TMZ. There`s gossip. There`s talking. Everybody knows everything. So it`s really hard to keep a secret. And then you have a secret combined with sex, combined with something that`s illegal -- that`s a powerful combination, hard to keep quiet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Crystal, Iowa, your question or thought, Crystal.

CRYSTAL, IOWA (via telephone): I would like to comment like --


CRYSTAL: -- there`s people going to the zumba place after hours, doesn`t that pull people in? I also have a question. Do you think they use the videotapes as a form of bribery for her clients?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent questions. Ken Altshuler, you`re there. First of all, yes, apparently the news broke about this because she was allegedly engaging in weird behavior like sending photos of herself or something like that but also people heard moaning and groaning.

Listen, I work late. I go and exercise at night. So somebody walking into a zumba class at night is not necessarily a shocker. But when it`s a parade of men -- what do you know about what happened? Again, these ladies are great Americans who are just working out getting in shape in another zumba class far, far away from where all this is happening. They`re just shaking their bad thing and having a good time. Ken.

ALTSHULER: The problem is, Jane, this was not at night. The men were driving up to the back of the zumba studio all during the day. They`d park. They`d go in for a half hour. They had their zumba lesson and they left after a half hour.

There was a parade of men. And this was discovered about a year ago when a blogger -- an anonymous blogger said that Alexis Wright is not the innocent woman she appears to be. This started the police investigation.

And also another very interesting point is that Alexis Wright had sold some of these videos on a pay per view porn site.


ALTSHULER: So these were public --



ALTSHULER: -- As of a year ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You`re saying -- this is a shocker. Do we have Tom Shamshak with us still?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, we do. Former police chief, private investigator, this is a shocker. This means that some of these guys are out there on the Internet if indeed they`re engaging in sex, which it sounds like 100 hours of videotape cops said they had. And they might not even know it, but these people could be on the Internet. Doctors, lawyers, mayors, TV hosts.

SHAMSHAK: It`s scandalous. And as somebody has said before, secrets can be toxic. And the salacious details are about to unravel here. And there will be plenty of fallout.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s what I want to know, we`re going to talk about this on the other side of the break. Police have this video. If it`s released as part of this investigation, public documents, just like the names are not being sealed, are the videos going to be available for everybody to look at?

Time for your "Shocking Video of the Day" -- we`ll answer that question on the other side. First, this woman in North Carolina got so frustrated with a faulty vending machine she decided to set it on fire. Watch. You can see her light a newspaper on fire and then shove it up inside the machine. Poof, there it all goes up in flames.

She later pleaded guilty and now faces two felony charges all because she lost a dollar. There is the wreckage.

You know we`ve all -- I`ve been frustrated. I have like tapped on these machines, give me my money back or give me my bag of peanuts or whatever. But to set it on fire -- oh, my gosh. Wow. You really must have been thirsty for that diet soda.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And your "Viral Video of the Day". Showing always how intelligent animals are. This fellow opens up his own doggie door. He says -- well, I`m going in there, but I want to get that tennis ball. There we go. He says I`m going to try to get the tennis ball. No. Let me go inside my little hut. Unbelievably smart.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you have to say about the charges against you?

WRIGHT: I have no comment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is zumba stunner, 29-year-old Alexis Wright, who is now accused in a prostitution scandal. This is a huge sex scandal in a very small exclusive town. This is Kennebunk in Maine. But it`s not to be confused with Kennebunkport but they are near each other. And of course, Kennebunkport is famous because former President George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush summered in the area, neighboring Kennebunkport. We want to stress that everybody involved says that none of the Bushes are in any way, shape or form involved in this scandal.

I got to go back to Ken Altshuler, you`re on the ground in Maine. There`s a missing piece to the puzzle here. You have 150 to 200 customers, Johns, whatever you want to call them. You`ve got this one woman. Is she -- I mean was there one woman? Or were there more than one woman? Where are the women?

ALTSHULER: No, this is the only alleged prostitute in the ring. Alexis Wright was the sole --


ALTSHULER: -- prostitute. She, of course, had what they describe as her pimp, alleged pimp, Mark Strong. And in fact, by the way there are also videotapes of the two of them having sex. But she was the only prostitute that was paid. In fact, she had a price list, Jane, that would describe what price she would charge for various activities.

We haven`t heard the details, but it was like a menu of activities for a certain amount of money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly. Robi Ludwig, I`m actually speechless right now. Give me ten seconds.

LUDWIG: I`m speechless too but this girl was busy. Wow. She just had a lot going on if it`s true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And if she was doing zumba on top of that. When did she sleep?

LUDWIG: She might have needed to do zumba in order to keep up with her other job. I mean I just --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

LUDWIG: Yes. That`s kind of striking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s very, very striking. Time for --

LUDWIG: But she -- she needed money. She needs lots of money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess. But you know what; it`s not funny. At the end of the day the very low self-esteem if indeed she was bedding all those men 100-150 and then secretly videotaping them, that`s the accusation.

All right. Time for some kooky video -- let`s get kooky video going.

This is Miranda Ferguson, she set the world`s record for hand springs after doing 35 in a row at a school`s football game this past week. Wow. Now, she doesn`t need any diet Red Bull. She just has that energy without any -- I can`t believe this. Oh, my God. It doesn`t end? It doesn`t end. Look at this. Look at this. Well done, young lady. Congratulations, Miranda.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for your "Pets of the Day". Send your pet pics to Sadie, you are fabulous. Willy Winky -- oh, wait --- Willy Winky, that`s his name. I love it. Peaches, you`re so soft and furry, fuzzy. Lexi -- Lexi is just very athletic. And Daisy`s just cool. Daisy is super cool.



DAN BRETON, KENNEBUNKPORT (SIC) STORE OWNER: You know, there`s just a lot of unknown. And I can tell you the people that come into my store, you know, there`s a lot of anticipation of what names may be on the list. But now they`re beginning to feel somewhat sad for what`s going to happen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: 29-year-old Alexis Wright accused -- there she is, a stunning young lady -- accused of running a prostitution ring and allegedly videotaping some of the Johns out of her zumba studio in Kennebunk, Maine.

And tomorrow they`re going to release the names and everybody is like terrified. The whole thing is just mind blowing because apparently she is the only female involved in this and the rest are clients.

Here`s our poll says 70 percent say release the names of the Johns.

Shirley, Georgia, thanks for your patience -- your question or thought Shirley. Shirley, are you here?

SHIRLEY, GEORGIA (via telephone): yes, I`m here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. What`s your question or thought, my dear?

SHIRLEY: Ok. My comment is seeing her on TV the way she`s looking, she doesn`t have no expression whatsoever. You can tell she`s guilty of something because she`s hiding it. And then, you know, it`s really a shame that the world is like that, you know. You think you`re going for a dance exercise and it`s something else.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, a couple of things. One, she`s accused. She`s pleaded not guilty. We want to give her, her day in court. Very quickly, Ken, were there actual zumba classes going on as well? I`m picturing the wives going to zumba by day and their husbands going to her by something else at night.

ALTSHULER: Jane, that`s actually pretty accurate description. There were zumba classes going on. It was a very popular class. There were many women who took it, and men. And she was considered a very good zumba instructor. So she was --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well wait, here`s what I don`t understand. Stacey Honowitz, there`s not enough time in the day.

HONOWITZ: She found it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, my gosh, if I think I`m like scrambling for time. Teaching zumba classes and then servicing allegedly what 150 men?

HONOWIT: She`s very active. What can I tell you? Like Robi said, the zumba is paying off for her evening activities.

Look, the bottom line is it`s a sex scandal. Everyone -- it`s going to be a media feeding frenzy. The town`s going ballistic trying to figure out who`s going to be there and some names of some very prominent people are going to come out and so they have to brace themselves for that.

As far as the videotape, the press is going to want videotapes and whether or not the judge decides to release them will be for a court hearing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this story is going to explode. We`re going to have the latest on it tomorrow. And can you imagine the arguments if let`s say a wife is going to this legitimate zumba class and finds out that her husband has been seeing the same person who`s teaching her on the side as a prostitute?

LUDWIG: And what often happens too is if you take a good workout class, you go home and tell your husband and like I took the best class, this instructor`s my favorite. I love her. Can you imagine if that happened? But that happens.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. This is really one of a kind. I got to tell you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This story -- and it`s just getting ready. This is going to explode tomorrow. We`re going to bring you the very latest. Who`s on the names? Who is on the list? That`s what I want to know. Who is on the list?

On the other side, we got a story about a raccoon you`ve got to see to believe.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a story of a rocky raccoon. And it`s an oh- my-gosh-moment caught on tape but don`t worry there`s a happy ending. Detroiters had quite a shock when they saw this little guy -- look at it. He`s on top of the utility pole and he`s got a jar stuck on his head.

This little raccoon, he can`t get it out himself. Two days went by this little fellow was still up there. And he was scared.

That`s when animal lover, good-hearted Americans from Detroit stepped in and they coaxed this little scared critter. And they were able to bring him down and remove that jar. It`s a very happy ending for this little guy who is now known as Mr. Raccoon.

And I think there is a picture, right, of him after it`s all taken off his head? They got it off his head.

The bigger lesson is to think about everything you throw away and to think that those helpless, voiceless creatures out there -- they can`t remove that garbage. So try to make sure you recycle properly. Put things in their proper place. Garbage can be deadly for animals, for children, for the helpless and voiceless.

Nancy`s next. Take care.