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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Why Wasn`t Amber Alert Called for Alicia Moore?

Aired November 8, 2012 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, a horrifying mystery unfolding in a north Texas town outside Dallas as a missing girl is found dead inside a storage locker. Her family is very upset, saying police would not declare an Amber Alert in the case of this missing child for three long days. Why not? What happened to 16-year-old Alicia Moore? We`re investigating next.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, anger and frustration in an East Texas town. Who kidnapped and murdered 16-year-old Alicia Moore after she got off her school bus? Her body discovered in a storage box on a rural road. Why did it take days for local police to issue an alert that she was missing?

And now a 14-year-old neighbor says somebody tried to grab her when she got off the school bus. Is there a serial predator on the loose? We`re investigating. And we`re taking your calls.

And she`s one of TV`s hottest child stars, playing Alex Dunphy on ABC`s hit show, "Modern Family." But now this actress, Ariel Winter, has her own very serious family drama. She`s been taken from her mother`s home, as her mom faces allegations of child abuse. We`ll talk to a former child star about family dynamics when the kid is the star.

And ten days and two storms later, parts of the East Coast look like a war zone. And many people who live there are now refugees at the end of their emotional rope. What they`re going through tonight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, evil secrets in one Texas town outside Dallas. A precious child is found dead inside, of all things, a storage trunk left on the side of the road.

Sixteen-year-old Alicia Moore vanished after getting off her school bus last Friday steps from her home. Just disappeared. But police would not issue an Amber Alert until Monday. Why not?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live tonight with this investigation.

Residents of Greenville, which is just about an hour northeast of Dallas, Texas, are outraged that nobody in authority would officially look for this precious child, Alicia, when she didn`t come home from school on Friday.

Alicia`s family says she got off the school bus less than a block from her home and just disappeared. She was missing all weekend. But KTVT reports police did not issue a photo of Alicia to the public until Monday late afternoon. Some reports say it was 8 p.m. at night. We`re talking three days after this child went missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the news was given, Mom passed out, Grandma passed out, you know, what you would expect in a situation like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The news they`re talking about is that this beautiful young girl was found in a storage locker dead. Her remains.

Cops say they didn`t have enough information to issue an alert and that they didn`t really know that she hadn`t left on her own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Law enforcement has to be able to say or must have determined that there was an actual abduction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it would appear police couldn`t have been more wrong.

Call me: what do you think? Should cops have issued an Amber Alert immediately? 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Could that have saved this young girl`s life? 1-877-586-7297.

We`re going to talk to Alicia`s aunt in a little bit about her niece`s horrifying murder. But first, straight out to investigative journalist Ed Miller. Ed, what do you know about this case tonight?

ED MILLER, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, first thing is that people need to know that police treat the disappearance of a 16-year-old child very differently than the disappearance of an 8-year-old. And I know from being in police departments all across the country that immediate -- the first immediate response is, is, oh, she`s 16. She ran away with her boyfriend, or she met some guy or picked up some guy. So immediately that`s what police think.

So, again, you have to put it in your head that there`s a huge disappearance between -- difference in the way police treat the disappearance of a teenage girl. A girl in particular, because automatically there is a thought that she went voluntarily.

Now, in this particular case what is really puzzling and where police may -- I want to say may -- have dropped the ball, is the fact that the child had a laptop computer issued by the school with a detecting device inside it and if they would have called the school to find out that she was in school that day and there was videotape of her on the bus getting off the bus, they could have looked for her with that detection device in her laptop. So that is one very, very big clue that they may have dropped the ball on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And by the time that they did call the district the next day according to published reports, the district checked the school-issued iPad and determined that it had been deactivated. Now, if they had immediately called, maybe that iPad would have led them right to her location.

Construction workers tragically found Alicia`s body in a storage trunk next to a remote road. And this is just something that has stunned friends and family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why? Don`t know why. She was quiet. A home body. Didn`t bother no one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, police revealed this surveillance photo that shows Alicia getting off the bus on Friday. Take a look at it. This is the last image of this child quite possibly, probably, moments before she was abducted. That is absolutely chilling.

I want to go to our producer, Josie Cruz, who has just gotten off the phone with authorities. We`ve been calling them all day long. Called them at least three times. Didn`t get any calls back.

Then there was this breaking news report. And I`ll let you explain it, because apparently there`s something wrong with this breaking news report, according to authorities. Josie, explain if you will. I know you just got off the phone with police.

JOSIE CRUZ, HLN PRODUCER: Jane, yes. I just got off the phone with police just moments ago. And they told me that there have been no arrests made. There was an actual report by a station out of Dallas that said two people were charged in the connection of Alicia`s death. But that was not the case.

At this point they have no suspects, no persons of interest. But they are begging the public to come forward with any kind of tips, any kind of leads because at this point they have nothing to go on. They are really urging everyone who saw Alicia that day, who may have saw something suspicious the following days to give them a call. They`re begging for any kind of leads that they can at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s very bizarre that there was a published report in a major news organization saying that there were two arrests. And police are saying, no, that`s wrong.

This is a vigil that was held by the people in the community very upset that an Amber Alert wasn`t issued immediately. Affiliate KTVT reports that, despite the pleas of Alicia`s family, police would not issue an Amber Alert. Here is the Greenville police chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the time when we were contemplating this throughout the weekend, Monday, even up until now, we cannot say for certain that Alicia was abducted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marc Klaas, Klaas Kids Foundation, you are one of my heroes. You`re a child advocate coming to us out of Santa Barbara. I don`t understand this approach. I understand that there is a lot of different criteria. Different towns, different cities use different criteria for Amber Alert. Some people want a vehicle description.

But here`s what bugs me about the police behavior in this case. The body was found on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the police chief holds a news conference where he says, "Even up until now, we cannot for certain say Alicia was abducted," end quote.

Marc, her body was found in a storage locker. What is he talking about?

MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION (via phone): Well, but I beg to differ with your first guest. I think the police absolutely dropped the ball. That`s very much an old-school approach, Jane, to say that, well, she`s 16 years old, so she must have run away.

You know, we`re looking at a case in Morgan Hill, California, right now of a 15-year-old girl who disappeared on the way to school. And it took the police about 30 minutes to figure out that this was not a runaway, that they needed to take this seriously. That there was no history to prove that this girl had done anything more than become the victim of a crime. And they jumped on the ball.

But for this police chief -- and I`m a huge supporter of law enforcement. For this police chief to say after they had found her body in a trunk that they still don`t know if it was an abduction makes no sense to me on any level at all.

Police should be able to issue local Amber Alerts so that they can get the word out to the immediate public so that they know what`s going on and can be on the lookout for the child. That`s what the Amber Alert is about. It`s not about fulfilling really strict criteria.

Unfortunately, it`s morphed into something like that. And the result is, is that the kids that need it the most are the kids that qualify the least.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely right, Marc. I agree with you 100 percent. And the argument is, well, the Amber Alert can be overused.

I`ve been on freeways for decades. I think I`ve seen maybe two Amber Alerts in my entire life. It`s not overused.

We`re very delighted to have with us tonight Jessica Byrd. And first of all, my condolences for the loss of your niece in this horrific manner. My heart goes out to you and your family. I can`t imagine anything more incomprehensible than learning that your precious niece has been murdered in this fashion.

Jessica Byrd, cops said, well, they thought that she might have run away in the past. What is the family`s reaction to their refusal to issue this Amber Alert?

Are you there, Jessica?

JESSICA BYRD, ALICIA`S AUNT (via phone): Yes, ma`am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Your reaction to the refusal of police to issue the Amber Alert right away.

BYRD: Yes, ma`am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your reaction, ma`am. Could you -- could you tell us what your reaction was to how the police handled this case?

BYRD: Very frustrating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How so?

BYRD: It is just very frustrating. You -- you`re supposed -- they`re supposed to be there to serve and protect us, but call them at night, and they don`t really help you until Monday. I think, if they would have stepped in early, this probably wouldn`t have happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And presumably, you`re suggesting that, if they had immediately -- because there is a picture, and we`ll show it again of her - - a snapshot of her getting off the school bus moments before she was abducted. And again -- there it is -- she was less than a block, she was steps from her home. What do you think happened to her, Jessica?

BYRD: I think either somebody lured her or she met with somebody that she knew, and they probably threatened her to leave.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to take a short break. But on the other side of the break, I do want to ask you about this false report of two arrests, without mentioning names. There were a lot of details. And they alleged that there was some kind of previous history involving Alicia`s mother`s complaining to police about some kind of sexual assault. We want to debunk this if it`s not true but examine it if it is.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel personally that they really kind of dropped the ball here. I looked at the criteria. And I believe she may have met that criteria. The family just wasn`t taken seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alicia was last seen Friday, November 2, getting off her school bus at about 3:30 in the afternoon. Police did not issue an Amber Alert with her photo until Monday, Monday evening. Alicia`s body was found Tuesday.

We called the Greenville police three times. And we only heard back after we called them about this strange report that they`re saying is just not true, that there was an arrest involving two men.

Now, as part of this story that the police debunked, there was a report that Alicia`s mother had filed a criminal complaint over the summer saying that a man -- we don`t want to name any names, Jessica -- had sexually assaulted her daughter.

So, Jessica Byrd, you`re the aunt of this victim who died -- who was murdered, who was put in a storage trunk. Is there any kind of suspicious back story where something happened, there was somebody who maybe had it out for this little girl?

BYRD: Not that I`m aware of.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK.

BYRD: She`s a homebody. All she does is home, school, and that`s it. No extracurricular activity. She`s always around us, her family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she ever run away in the past?

BYRD: No. And that`s what a police officer must have misunderstood when the report got done. But I spoke to authorities that Sunday night to let him know straight that, hey, she never did this before.

And it`s a shame how they`ve been treating this from the beginning. And now they want to do something, and now she`s dead. I`m getting very frustrated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can understand your frustration. You`ve lost your niece to murder.

Vinny Parco, private investigator -- famed private investigator, what do you make of this case; the storage locker in which this child was found 40 miles away from where she vanished getting off her school bus?

VINNY PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, just first of all, they should check for forensics, obviously, for any DNA and any other evidence they might find.

But what I find troubling about this is that, if there was a situation where someone filed a complaint against this man or men, what was the connection between them and this girl? How was this man involved with this young girl? And how come the mother filed a complaint, not the girl?

And maybe that`s why the police did not want to proceed on this. Maybe they just felt it was something interfamily.

But being -- given the fact that she never ran away before, that they did have a prior complaint from an individual that might have sexually abused her, that would be their -- their catalyst to do something. And, you know, as a former law enforcement, I`m shocked that these police didn`t do their job. I think they dropped the ball.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, two out of three say they dropped the ball. On the other side, a criminal defense attorney, what does he think? Stay there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the news was given, Mom passed out, Grandma passed out. You know, kind of what you would expect in a situation like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alicia Moore`s body -- she`s 16 years old -- was found stuffed inside a storage locker 40 miles from home. Her family, the entire community upset that she didn`t qualify for an Amber Alert.

We did a poll: Do you believe there should be fewer restrictions on issuing Amber Alerts? Eighty-five percent of everybody who responded -- now it`s 86 -- say, yes, loosen up those restrictions.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Tiffany, Missouri, your question or thought, Tiffany.

Tiffany? You there?

Well, let me say this. This is a very important issue, this whole issue of who qualifies for an Amber Alert. This reminds me of another case that didn`t qualify. Fourteen-year-old Amber DuBois, she vanished in 2009 on her way to school. Was it because she was 14, runaway age, as they say?

Amber`s case got only some major attention after another young woman, Chelsea King, was murdered in the same area, and it turned out both were murdered by the same man, John Gardner. There he is.

So after Amber`s death, her family made a publish push -- came on this show, as well -- to please loosen up those restrictions and allow anyone to qualify for an Amber Alert in terms of children in those crucial hours, because Gregory Gianforcaro, criminal defense attorney, it`s -- it`s a game where it`s a race against time. Every second that passes increases the likelihood that some tragedy like this is going to be the outcome.

GREGORY GIANFORCARO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. I mean, to basically err on the side of caution, not just as an attorney, but I happen to be the father of a 9-year-old girl. And you owe it not just to the victim`s family or the potential victim`s family, but you owe it to all those in the area to basically say, "Hey, listen, there`s a predator out there, or there`s potentially a predator out there."

As a father, under these circumstances, if it turns out to be nothing and I`m warned and it turns out to be nothing, I can deal with that. But what I don`t want is I don`t want my child to be abused after the fact, not having known that this could have been prevented if an Amber Alert had been brought out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Let`s give each side 30 seconds. Ed Miller, you think police handled it appropriately. Your point.

MILLER: I don`t think so, no. I said they may have dropped the ball.

But you know there`s a whole other thing very quickly. They don`t actually have to come out and say there`s an Amber Alert. They can say, you know, there`s a family in Greenville that`s very upset tonight. They`re worried about their teenage daughter. Alicia Moore never came home from school today, and they just want to make sure she`s OK. You say, you`re not insinuating, even, that she was kidnapped. You`re just saying she disappeared.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But she was kidnapped, it would appear. I`m going to give Vinny the last word.

PARCO: She was definitely kidnapped. Why would they -- why would they put her in a storage box? Because they didn`t want anybody to find the body. And this could be related to the previous sexual complaint where this other person might have asked some of his friends to take care of this matter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I thought of that, too. But again, these two reported arrests turn out that`s not true, according to police. And look at this precious child.

PARCO: No. The arrests aren`t true, but the fact remains there was a prior incident with this girl and an older man that might have some bearing on why this is -- why happened to her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We think. And it`s a theory that we definitely hope that police will at least pursue.

Thank you, fantastic panel. And, again, my deepest condolences to the family of Alicia Moore.

On the other side, we`re talking "Modern Family."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

A.J. HAMMER, HLN ANCHOR: It`s really just such a disturbing story, because of course, we all love watching 14-year-old Ariel Winter play Alex Dunphy on "Modern Family."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was dumb.

ARIEL WINTER, ACTRESS: I know. Right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The actress stars in ABC`s hit sitcom "Modern Family." Well, she`s taken away from her mom now because of abuse allegations.

HAMMER: Winter`s mother being accused of abusing the actress physically and emotionally to the point where, yes, a judge had to step in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, explosive court documents -- I`m holding them right here in my hand -- packed with some really disturbing allegations of child abuse in Hollywood. These court documents claim that child star Ariel Winter from the No. 1 TV show "Modern Family" suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her own mom.

Fourteen-year-old Ariel plays the brainiac middle child, Alex Dunphy, on that very, very popular ABC show. Watch this "Modern Family" clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINTER: I know, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I have to do get 50 signatures, show up, make my case. Gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m so proud of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all are. We love when Mom gets on a project. Because usually the minute any of us walks in the door, she gives us something to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, a judge has awarded temporary guardianship of the teen to her older sister Shanelle Gray. The official hearing is set for, well, less than two weeks from now. So we`ll see what happens then. But in these court documents Shanelle makes some really horrifying allegations that Ariel quote, "has been the victim of ongoing physical abuse." We`re talking slapping, hitting, pushing and emotional abuse. Vile name calling, personal insults about weight and attempts to sexualize the minor and deprive this girl of food.

But Ariel`s mom, Chrisoula Workman and her brother both say, completely bogus; that there`s nothing to these claims. Who`s telling the truth? What do you think about these charges. Give me a call, 1-877-JVM- SAYS.

Straight out to Naughty but Nice Rob from Huff Po -- Rob Shuter, do you think there`s any truth to these disturbing claims? I mean depriving of food, sexualization? Huh?

ROB SHUTER, HUFFINGTON POST: Yes, I mean the claims are quite shocking. I mean everybody in Hollywood that I`ve spoken to are outraged about these claims. This show is terribly popular. It is a huge hit. And everybody is talking about these allegations at the moment.

We don`t know if the allegations are true are not yet. However, we do know they are serious enough, Jane, that a judge has stepped in and removed her from the home. That is a very, very telling sign, I think.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And in the court filing Ariel`s sister and now temporary guardian also asks for estate guardianship.

According to the court document, quote "mother has control of minor`s Coogan account". That`s named after Jackie Coogan, the famous child actor who basically ended up poor because his parents took all his money from him. So they created laws in California to prevent parents from pillaging a child actor`s account. So essentially -- I want to go to Vikki Ziegler, family law attorney and pre-marital planner, could this be all about the money? Because in these court documents they specifically reference mother also has control of the minor`s Coogan accounts, which means moolah.

VIKKI ZIEGLER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Right. Right, Jane. We`re going to hear about money certainly on November 20th during the hearing. I`m hopeful this is not about money. This is really about the safety and welfare of Ariel Winter. It sounds as though these allegations are serious enough for this judge to take a serious look at it. They`re going to get an investigator who`s going to go interview the sister, Shanelle, potentially Ariel and the entire family and then maybe even get a medical practitioner to take a look and a psychiatrist to see what`s going on.

But at the end of the day right now Ariel and Shanelle do not have control of Ariel`s earnings, her money. So that`s going to be a big bone of contention during the hearing to determine who`s ultimately going to get custody of this minor. She`s only 14. And who`s going to control the money? Because we know she makes a lot of money, she makes more than me I`m sure at 14 years old. She`s on the top show. And you know what? It takes money to raise a child. So we`re going to hear about it. But, you know, very sad all around --serious family drama.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It takes money to raise a child. But the child shouldn`t be providing that money if she`s a child. That`s what parents are supposed to do when they decide to have a child.

Just last year Ariel went on "The Ellen Show". Here`s another twist. She talked about how her mom is careful and caring and watchful and accompanies her on all her dates even. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINTER: My mom accompanies me on all of my dates.

ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: Good.

WINTER: Basically if I want to go to the movies with somebody, my mom will go to dinner next door with the other parent so it`s -- it`s definitely a supervised date.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Now, here`s another wrinkle. She`s 14. She was 13 when that was shot. All of my dates? How many dates does she have when she`s 13?

I want to go to Cheryl Arutt, clinical psychologist -- but more to the point, former child actress. We`re going to show some of the magazine covers you graced as a child actress in a second as you talk about this.

Look. There is a stereotype of a stage mother. There you are. Wow, gorgeous then -- gorgeous now. But there is a stereotype of a stage mother or a momager; somebody who basically lives through their child and certainly benefits emotionally but also sometimes financially. And behind every stereotype -- we don`t like to judge, but they`re based on some truth, usually. I`m not talking about in this case but in general there is such a thing as a stage mother.

CHERYL ARUTT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: There is, Jane. There are people who grow up in the entertainment industry and are able to do it in a healthy way and keep a good head on their shoulders and be protected. And kids really need protection.

There are also some really nightmarish stage mothers. And I`ve certainly seen my share. I will not say who they are. But I`ve seen my share growing up for 20 years in that business. And I think that it`s important that when kids are successful professionally, they get a lot of praise for being troopers, for being professional, for being able to persevere and get the job done and be appropriate and be on even if they`re uncomfortable, even if they`re in pain, even if things aren`t going right.

And I imagine that things had to get pretty awful for Ariel to even be willing to risk and take the step of putting this out there. And I`m just glad we`re living in a time --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say this. I want to be very, very specific. This court document was filed by Ariel`s sister. We don`t know if Ariel was the one who supplied that information or those allegations. Ariel skyrocketed to fame by landing the role as the brainy middle child on "Modern Family". We`ve all seen it, but let`s take another look from the ABC comedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mom tells me "it`s Xmas in a text.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom canceled in a voice mail and told me she had a boyfriend in a newsletter. So join the team. Put some clothes on. We`re getting a tree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ariel`s mother says these claims are completely untrue, wrong. Telling news outlets no comment but adding the allegations of abuse are false. Rob Shuter, there is a back story here according to TMZ. This isn`t the first allegation involve in involving Chrisoula Workman, the mother. What do you know?

SHUTER: This is really alarming that this story has now come out. Allegedly her sister, Shanelle, the lady that filed the documents that you`re holding, Jane, two decades ago she claims she was removed from the household because a very similar situation had occurred. So this was two decades ago the eldest daughter in the family says that she was taken out of that household.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the brother of Ariel is saying it`s not true. He`s siding with the mom. What a divided family.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your "Viral Video of the Day". Let`s see what this little fellow`s up to. Whoa. Oh, he doesn`t want to take a bath. Look at him hiding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to go for a walk?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now he says oh, yes, I`m up for that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want a bath?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ariel, can I --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ariel isn`t the first child star to have problems with family. Remember Macaulay Culkin separated himself from his parent before he hit 18. Here he is in "Home Alone", that hit from 20th Century Fox.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACAULAY CULKIN, ACTOR: I can`t seem to find my toothbrush so I`ll get one when I go out today. Other than that I`m in good shape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Family law attorney Vikki Ziegler, what is the Coogan act designed to do?

ZIEGLER: So basically it`s an account that is set up to protect a child`s money. Obviously in California the money, the earnings are the minors`. However they can`t control the money. So the court set up a system and a fiduciary responsibility between the parent and child to manage the money, manage the account. It`s also called the blocked account in other states.

So what you`re going to see happen here is these earnings about 15 percent of the gross earnings that comes directly into this account from Ariel Winter and most actors, most minors, you`re going to see them fight over this account because you cannot change access unless the court approves it. That`s how they`re going to be able to go in and touch the money and liquidate it and utilize it for expenses on behalf of Ariel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we were just looking at some old, old footage from the 1920s of Jackie Coogan, the famous child star, the Macaulay Culkin of his day. And his parents used up all his money and he was penniless. That`s why they passed this law.

Cheryl Arutt, your thoughts on the family dynamics when the child has the money, then doesn`t that inspire in a sense in some way, shape or form, the parent to try to regain control and be the most powerful?

ARUTT: It does turn the expected dynamics kind of upside down when the child is the breadwinner. And the mother -- one of the things that happens very often is that I think that the parents want to maintain control of the child either to protect that child or if there`s an abuse dynamic already, then there`s going to be -- this is an opportunity to have the child be the breadwinner. I`ve actually heard mothers say to kids going in an audition, if you don`t get this, this is going to happen or that`s going to happen. And what`s concerning me about what I`m hearing, there`s so much pressure in the business to -- especially for young women, to be thin and self-worth is so vulnerable at that age in adolescence. And I`m really concerned about her developing an eating disorder because of this kind of psychological breaking her down and making her feel not good about herself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s beautiful --

ARUTT: She`s so successful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she`s a beautiful young lady.

ARUTT: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We wish the best for her. Thank you fantastic panel.

Your "Shocking Video of the Day" just released. Stunning surveillance of an airline pilot crashing a passenger jet that he was trying to steal in Utah. It roared over speed bumps and clipped the side of the terminal and damaged 14 cars. Police say the man was wanted in Colorado, suspected of killing his girlfriend. After the crash he pulled out a gun and shot himself to death -- unbelievable.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for your "Pet o` the Day". Sunny -- just lounging having a good time, chilling. And Cherokee, Sunshine and Sassy making the scene. What a pack. Oh, my gosh, Tiffany. Tiffany, you`re stunning. And auto. Wow. Tough guy, but I like it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watching all my possessions and my family practically almost dying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is all I have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a double whammy here. We get hit with the storm on top of it that makes it that much colder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has been a week from hell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No words to explain or express the stress, the pain, the suffering.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a surreal nightmare. First Superstorm Sandy rips through the tri-state area -- New York, New Jersey, Connecticut -- now a storm just turning into a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people who are desperately waiting for power and supplies, hoping to start rebuilding their lives.

Power out in New York and New Jersey. It was about half a million or so yesterday. And then boom, this second wallop -- this second storm on top of Sandy. And 60,000 more people ended up without power. This as New York City`s Mayor Bloomberg announced gas rationing will start tomorrow in New York to cut down on those stupendously long lines to get to a gas pump.

Straight out to CNN correspondent Deb Feyerick; you`re in Brooklyn by a beach where it is always colder and windier. What is going on there?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jane, it is really cold. We`re at Gerritsen Beach and just as (inaudible) everybody, Gerritsen Beach is just across the water from Breezy Point. Breezy Point is where all those homes burned down. That was considered Zone A. People told to evacuate. This was considered Zone B.

And witnesses we spoke to said they saw what appeared to be a mini tsunami -- a wave, a surge between 10 and 12 feet high just coming at them. The assistant fire chief out here saying essentially that they had to pull their rig out as fast as possible to try to save these people. And people were just jumping on board to try to get away from the wave. This is what these folks are dealing with. Back here you see an emergency relief center. This was not set up by any officials. This was set up by volunteers -- individuals in this community that are simply trying to save themselves and make the best of a very, very bad situation.

I`m joined right now by Barbara Ann Harper. And Barbara Ann, what has been the most difficult thing for you right now?

BARBARA ANN HARPER, VOLUNTEER ORGANIZER: The most difficult thing is the fact that I just feel that we were overlooked. That bothered me at first. I`m not really concentrating on what is bad. I`m looking at what is good right now. And it is everyone coming together.

FEYERICK: You used words like "abandoned", "hurt". Where are the officials? Where is FEMA?

HARPER: FEMA was to address apparently only structural damages and condemned certain homes. That`s all that they did. They didn`t provide food. That`s not their job. Red Cross doesn`t apparently supply food to this neighborhood. This is all come together by local restaurants. And community volunteers, church groups throughout Brooklyn, Marine Park (inaudible)

FEYERICK: What`s amazing is that you and another young man were actually preparing containers of soup and he is going into the neighborhood where there are elderly people effectively trapped in their homes --

HARPER: That is correct.

FEYERICK: And he is delivering the soup to them. Some of them cannot even come downstairs.

HARPER: They cannot because the stairs have fallen apart. The water was so high, waist deep. And they`re hoisting down plastic bags attached to a rope and then they`re placing food. We`ve taken a list of various residents of who cannot get out of their homes so that then we can provide food.

FEYERICK: So you`re trying to keep track of them.

All right. Well, Barbara Ann Harper, thank you so much.

And you know, Jane, that is one of the big problems is that there are people and it is so cold. The fact that they`re in these homes that really have so much water in the bottom; it is damp, it is cold, it is getting moldy. The question is how long can they really stay before they begin to suffer from exposure, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what she said made a lot of sense. That FEMA goes in and helps with things that really don`t apply to a lot of people who simply need food. I know the mayor of New York said they distributed something like a million and a half meals. But somehow it is not getting to some of these hard hit areas.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONI JONES JAMES: We need help here (inaudible). Especially in the town, we have shut-ins; we have people that cannot go to the bathroom. They can`t wash themselves. It is so emotional for me to be right here. But this is all I have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Imagine thousands and thousands of people stuck in these high rises where elderly people cannot walk downstairs and they`re in there without power and the toilets aren`t flushing and there are no lights. It is a disaster -- literally and figuratively.

Yesterday`s snowstorm just added insult to injury. People were stranded. For example, at New York City Penn Station when there is already so many things that need to be fixed. We`ve got some shots here of workers trying to get the subways up and running. A big portion of New Jersey Transit is still down. The list goes on and on.

Now, Deb Feyerick, the first storm obviously wreaked havoc. Then there was a plan and a time line for getting things back to normal. How much did the second storm, that nor`easter with the snow push back the time line?

FEYERICK: Well, you know, it is really unclear. Part of the reason, and it`s a great question, is that this was an 800-mile storm. Nobody understood just how big it would be. So getting people to all the hard hit areas has been the greatest challenge.

The snow that was dumped here, what it did is it made conditions for individuals that much worse. They became much colder; the elderly, not able to get out of their homes.

And so when this is going to be cleaned up, nobody can really say. But right now, everyone is kind of waiting for somebody to sweep in on a white horse. And well, the horse is a long time coming.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Deb, got leave it right there. Increasingly extreme and freaky weather -- we`ve got to just think about what is going on with our climate. It is scary.

Nancy Grace is up next.

END