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Bon Jovi`s Daughter Accused of Heroin Overdose

Aired November 15, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight the daughter of one of the most famous men in the world -- in the music world -- is accused of a heroin overdose. The use of this drug by high school and college-age kids is one of America`s dirtiest, deadliest little secrets. And we`re uncovering it right here tonight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight rock legend Jon Bon Jovi`s beautiful daughter reportedly almost dies from an alleged heroin overdose in her college dorm room. It`s the dirty little secret tearing apart thousands of American families. Is heroin the newest national craze among up-and-coming college students? We`ll talk to former heroin addicts about how you can get looked after just one try of this dangerous, powerful drug.

And this "Modern Family" star`s own family drama escalates. Fourteen- year-old Ariel Winter at the center of charges and counter charges. Is her mom overbearing and abusive as Ariel`s sister claims? Or is mom just getting blowback for breaking up Ariel`s dating plans?

And the "Swamp Brothers" stars indicted for allegedly trafficking in exotic snakes. We`ve got all the details. And we`ll talk to a woman who`s under cover right now, investigating the black market for exotic animals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jon Bon Jovi`s daughter was apparently arrested after a suspected heroin overdose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are allegations that 19-year-old Stephanie Rose Bon Jovi was found unresponsive in her dorm room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers say they found heroin and marijuana in her room, and a male student was arrested, as well.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, potentially deadly secrets within the family of one of our country`s most legendary rockers. A young woman believed to be the daughter of rock star Jon Bon Jovi nearly died of a heroin overdose.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

Police say Stephanie Bon Jovi, a student at Hamilton College in upstate New York, was raced to the hospital after being found unresponsive in her dorm room. TMZ reporting tonight that cops claim they found small quantities of heroin in the dorm room along with marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Stephanie is reportedly the daughter of rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi famous for songs like this, from YouTube.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stephanie Bon Jovi was arrested, but just a little while ago, the charges were dropped. The district attorney says New York law says you cannot prosecute somebody who`s overdosing. Stephanie is out of the hospital and is OK tonight, reportedly.

As a recovering alcoholic myself, I just want to say I really hope she can put this behind her and get clean and sober.

But if these claims are true, she is not alone. A growing chorus of voices warns America is in the throes of a new heroin crisis that is targeting up-and-coming college-age students from the middle class all around the country.

Here`s actress Aisha Taylor, weighing in on CBS News, "The Talk."


AISHA TAYLOR, ACTRESS: To know that addiction strikes every family, doesn`t care if you`re rich or poor; famous, unknown. It strikes everybody. And everybody has their struggles.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why is heroin in particular such a huge problem now? Especially among high school and college students, many from the suburbs, the middle class? Well, it`s very easy to get, and it`s getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper.

Tonight, this is what every parent needs to listen to. And every student, for that matter. The signs to look for. And just how pervasive the heroin problem is in our country. We`re going to get into it now.

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS if you`ve got a story or question; 1-877-586- 7297.

Straight out to TMZ news manager Mike Walters. Mike, what are you hearing tonight?

MIKE WALTERS, TMZ NEWS MANAGER: Well, Jane, like you said, the most interesting part of this story is the charges being dropped against young Stephanie Bon Jovi. And the reason, like you said: a New York state law in which people are encouraged to bring or call and take their friends to the hospital or call emergency services because their friends or whoever they`re around is overdosing on drugs.

And it depends on how much they find. Because it`s such a small amount that was found on Stephanie and the person she was with, they are now going to not prosecute either one of them.

Now, the interesting thing like you said, Jane, is that she was only 19 years old. Such a very young girl. And people were speaking to tell us she didn`t really have a drug problem. This isn`t one of those party girls that`s, you know, partying, doing other drugs, drinking a lot. This was somebody that was very smart in an Ivy League type school.

And all of the sudden, they get that call every parent doesn`t want to hear, which is their daughter overdosed on heroin and is in the hospital and arrested for possession.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this seems to be the hallmark of this latest heroin crisis. That it`s not the bad kids who are sophisticated and who are known for being out there on the club scene or the party scene.

This particular new wave of heroin addiction -- and "Newsday" wrote a fascinating article about a year ago called "The Heroin Highway," saying, for example, in New York, this is a national problem. Long Island Expressway is now called the heroin highway. And that middle-class families, kids from good homes, in college, from the suburbs, are the main buyers who are buying this stuff.

I want to go to a man who wants to remain anonymous. But he tells us, he had a family member who is addicted to heroin. Has a family member. And wants to tell his story, because he feels this is a national crisis.

I`ll call you John, not your real name. But John, tell us what happened to your family member.


My nephew at 18 years old started experimenting with pills, and it soon escalated to heroin usage. He had a friend that offered him some heroin, which he smoked. He couldn`t get high enough, so he started snorting and ultimately started shooting it up.

He`s an educated kid. He is a high school graduate. He was attending college in Nassau County and comes from an upper middle class family on Long Island.

And we found that this -- this is a huge problem, not only in the tri- state area but also, throughout America. And the reason is because heroin is so cheap. It`s $5 a gram cheaper than marijuana. And it is also the most highly addictive substance on the planet, so once they do it, they get hooked.

And he got so hooked, he started -- he used his parents` PIN number on their bank account. He emptied out their bank account. He did whatever he could. He stole his mother`s jewelry and pawned it, and it ultimately became -- it tore the family apart.

And he ultimately went into rehab. And after two days, because he was over 18 years old, he left and he relapsed. And he`s been in and out of rehab several times.

And the other issue is that, once they do go into rehab, these kids, the insurance companies will not pay for their recovery. So after a few days, he was thrown out of rehab citing that he was cured.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me -- let me just -- I want to thank you, John, for your honesty and ask you to stand by. Don`t hang up.

There`s so many facets to this problem. We`ll get to the insurance in a little bit. But here`s the big issue. Heroin is monumentally addictive.

You can ask actor Michael Douglas. His son, Cameron Douglas, has been in and out of prison because of heroin addiction. This is a story we covered on this show. Cameron Douglas currently serving a five-year sentence for possessing and distributing drugs. He`s been in and out of rehab repeatedly. Nothing seems to work.

I want to go to Howard Samuels, founder and CEO of the Hills Treatment Center, recovering addict. You did heroin. That was your drug, among others. But what -- why is heroin -- apparently, these kids get hooked. They`re at a party. Somebody gives them something that happens to be laced with heroin. And the next thing you know, they get one taste of it, and they`re off to the races.

HOWARD SAMUELS, FOUNDER/CEO, HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Well, Jane, I started shooting heroin at 16 years old, and I come from an affluent family myself. And the thing about heroin is that, for me, I was very angry and very dark. And heroin has been throughout this country a major issue for many, many years.

And, you know, once do heroin on a daily basis three or four or five days in a row, you become immediately addicted to it. And the feeling of heroin makes you so euphoric. It makes feel so good, the high is so wonderful that you immediately want to do it more. And that`s the difference.

But it becomes Pandora`s box, Jane. Because the dark side is, once you get addicted, you can`t stop, and you will go to any lengths to get your drug. And that`s what we see with all these kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A quick question. Many, many drugs -- Ecstasy, crystal meth. I`ve heard crystal meth is the hardest to quit. What is it -- what is the high with heroin that gets these kids, middle-class suburban kids going to college, who are -- I know of one case, extraordinary student, brilliant, and who experienced this.

How is it that this particular high captures them, compared to, let`s say, a crystal meth?

SAMUELS: Well, it`s very interesting. I mean, you know, crystal meth, you become very anxious, you become very animated, you become very high.

With heroin, it`s a downer. You end up nodding out, you end up being relaxed. It really cuts the edge. It makes you feel really euphoric. It`s a different type of drug. And for a certain type of person, it`s a very attractive, you know, component to check out with.


SAMUELS: Once you get addicted to it -- go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I got your point.

Now, on the other side, we`re going to give you the warning signs. If you`re a parent and you`re, oh, my gosh, we`re going to give you the warning signs to look for. Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stephanie Bon Jovi believed to be -- reportedly the daughter of Jon Bon Jovi, 19 years old. According to published reports, allegedly almost overdosed on heroin.

Jon Bon Jovi`s kids have lived in the shadow of their famous dad since they were born. Here`s Bon Jovi`s 1986 hit, "Wanted: Dead or Alive," one of my favorites, from YouTube.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back in a 2007 interview, Bon Jovi said he did the drug thing very young but he wised up. He`s been married to his childhood sweetheart for 23 years. They have four kids. He`s considered one of the most clean-cut and family-oriented rockers around. I`m telling you, this can happen to any family.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Kimberly in Wisconsin, your question or thought, Kimberly. Kimberly.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your question or thought, Kimberly?

CALLER: Hi. Hi, Jane, how are you?


CALLER: That`s good. Listen, I live in a little small town in Wisconsin. And just about three weeks ago one of my high school sons (ph), he`s 16, she passed away off a heroin overdose. And coincidentally, her boyfriend gave her the heroin and I guess she died from a lethal dosage. But she was brain dead for three days prior to them pulling the plug. They decided to pull the plug.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim, that`s a terrible story and my heart goes out to that family.

Jamison Monroe, you are a person who deals -- an addiction specialist who deals with kids, young people, as the founder and CEO of the Newport Academy. Is this a new epidemic, sort of revisited? The reappearance of heroin? And why is it targeting these middle-class kids?

JAMISON MONROE, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes, Jane, there is definitely a resurgence of heroin. And the reason is it`s actually a domino effect.

As you know, the No. 1 cause of death among teenagers and young adults in our country today is prescription drug overdoses. Most namely, opioids or OxyContin, oxycodone, Vicodin, things like, which are essentially heroin in pill form. And the thing is, is that those types of pills cost a lot of money: $20, $40 a pill. And as was said earlier, heroin costs about 5 bucks a gram.

So what you`re seeing is kids are starting to experiment with prescription pills and then finding that heroin is far less expensive and learning that they`re essentially doing the same thing and then switching over to heroin. And that`s what we`re seeing.

We see it at Newport Academy every day. About 10 percent of our admissions are for heroin use. So we`re definitely seeing it down in Orange County, California. Right now, I`m in Chicago. I spent time in the very wealthy suburbs of the North Shore of Chicago. They`re having basically a kid die about every month up there in some of the private and public schools.

I`m pleased to see that we`re giving this some media attention. Because it does show that heroin, which used to be something that homeless people did in the gutter, is now being thrust upon these middle and upper class teenagers in the suburbs of America.

And kids that essentially have everything going for them on the surface are turning and using heroin and overdosing and, unfortunately, dying. So I hope we can use this opportunity as a big educational tool to let everybody know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jamison, that`s why we`re talking about it tonight. I was aware of this. And we`ve been gathering information on it. And then, when this story broke, with this 19-year-old, reportedly Jon Bon Jovi`s daughter, we certainly hope that she recovers and gets clean. But it is an opportunity to focus.

Joey Jackson, why wasn`t she prosecuted?

JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY: Well, you know what, Jane? A couple things.

The first thing is kudos to you for having the courage to talk about it. I think you save lives when you do it, and it needs to be done more often.

As to the issue of prosecution, it`s simple. What happened is, is that in 2007, you had 27,000 people nationally who died of drug overdoses, and a lot of them could have been prevented. But people who were dying themselves would not call for fear of prosecution. And those who were with them would not call for fear that they would be prosecuted. So as a result what happened, Jane, is the New York state legislature with bipartisan support -- there`s no Republican addict, there`s no the Democratic addict. Just an addict or people who have drug issues. They got together and said what can we do?

And for people who had small doses of drugs on them, they said, "You know what? If you`re a user and you`re suffering from an addict or you`re someone who calls to get that addict attention and support, even if you use, you`re not going to be prosecuted." That`s what happened here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hope, though, they can say, "Get treatment."

More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reports tonight that Jon Bon Jovi`s daughter, who is a 19-year-old co-ed at a very prestigious college, almost overdosed on heroin, was unresponsive and unconscious and had to be raced to the hospital.

You know, a famous mom whose son has had his share of drug problems had this emotional response to that news about Stephanie, Stephanie Bon Jovi, on CBS`s "The Talk."


SHARON OSBOURNE, CO-HOST, CBS`S "THE TALK": The thing is, I relate so much to it. If she wants any guidance from somebody who is around, a little bit older but somebody who is so wise and has worked the steps for years, is my son. Call him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love Sharon Osbourne. And Jack Osbourne reported drug addiction escalated after his mom was diagnosed with cancer, but he went into rehab. He`s now in recovery, and he turned it all around.

I want to go back to John. That`s not his real name. But he has courageously spoken out about a young male family member who got addicted to heroin.

John, is the shame factor one of the reasons why this is not a national story, aside from the fact that we`re about it tonight? That this is afflicting middle class families who, more than anything else, don`t want to be associated with heroin?

"JOHN": Yes, absolutely, Jane. It is embarrassing. It`s humiliating. It`s -- you know, people like a former -- previous guest of yours just stated. That it used to be, you know, the stigma of that. It was just like homeless people or low, lower income people on the streets shooting up. But that`s not the case at all.

I live in Los Angeles, and a very high-powered attorney friend of mine, his daughter and step-daughter are both heroin addicts, and they`re in their late teens.

They went to a party. They were given a joint. The joint was laced with some heroin. They smoked it. They got high. They thought, "Oh, this is a great high." And they became addicted. And they`ve been battling this for three years already. It is a huge, huge problem with a tremendous stigma attached.

But people will be surprised.


"JOHN": My nephew went to college while he was doing heroin and graduated with a 3.9 GPA while he was doing heroin.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Wow. Jamison Monroe, what can we do about this if people don`t want to talk about it because of the shame when they`re from the professional, suburban, middle class, whatever you want to it, comfortable income? Jamison?

MONROE: Yes, Jane. Well, I mean, what we can do is what you`re doing right here, is talking about it.

What I`m seeing in some wealthy suburb areas is that when -- unfortunately, it takes kids overdosing and dying. But I am seeing families and communities rally around these deaths. We`ve been part of panels and symposiums on heroin, on addiction, on what to look for. We haven`t covered that here yet.

But families need to know that heroin isn`t just shot with needles. It`s also smoked and snorted. So things to look for are some obvious drug signs, which would be lack of motivation, unusual hobbies, unusual drowsiness.

And the smoking side of things you`re going to want to look for tin- foil wrappers. You`re going to want to look for pens that have the ink removed out of them, because kids use those to inhale the smoke.

If your child is shooting heroin, they`re going to probably be wearing long sleeves to cover up the needle marks. But parents need to be educated and aware about what`s really going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Those are very good tips. Thank you, Jamison.

Thank you for my entire panel.

I`ve been hearing more and more of these stories from people I know. Just out there on the ether, in the ether. And I can tell you in every cell of my body I can feel that this is a national crisis. And we`re not going to stop talking about it here. We`re going to keep the focus on it.

And if you have a story and you want to talk about it, call us, and we`ll put you on, because we want to save lives. This is a killer, killer disease. Any parent who has a child, a precious child they`ve raised from infancy and they love more than life itself, to see them succumb to something this vile, it is hell. We`ve got to fight it.

Just minutes from now on "NANCY GRACE," a 9-year-old girl and her 7- year-old brother vanish without a trace after their grandparents died in a deadly house fire. What happened to this 9-year-old girl and her 7-year- old brother? Nancy at 8 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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: -- ABC`s hit sitcom "Modern Family". Well, she`s taken away from her mom now because of abuse allegations.

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight it is charge and counter- charge in a real life high stakes family drama as more disturbing allegations of abuse seep out. This is a war between 14-year-old "Modern Family" actress Ariel Winter and her mother. The young star of the ABC smash hit accusing her mom, Crystal Workman, of years of verbal and physical abuse. Ariel plays the brainiac middle child Alex Dunphy on the very, very popular "Modern Family".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have goose bumps.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I have to do is get 50 signatures, show up, make my case. It`s on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am so proud of you.


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.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A judge has ordered Ariel, seen here on, to be removed from her mother`s home and put under the guardianship of this woman, her older sister while the judge decides who will raise her ultimately -- hearing coming up. All this as Ariel`s mom now firing back furiously, big time, saying her teenage daughter is making this all up as revenge.

Ariel`s mom said she ordered the teen to break up with her 18-year- old boyfriend after she caught the two of them in bed together. And that`s what she said sparked Ariel`s abuse allegations. What`s the secret reality of this mother/daughter relationship? Is Ariel`s mom really an overbearing, super-obsessed, abusive stage mom or is she a good mom laying down the law and dealing with a temperamental teen?

Straight out to Alexis Tereszcuk, entertainment editor, What is the latest in this?

ALEXIS TERESZCUK, ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR, RADARONLINE.COM: The latest is Jane, you know, I actually spoke with Ariel`s mom and she said to me that everything that she has said, all the claims that she`s made are from the heart. She said all she is trying to do is protect her daughter.

But this really pulls back the curtain on what child stars are subjected to. People that work with Ariel say she was starved. She didn`t have enough food. They had to sneak her food onset because her mother was denying her food because she wanted Ariel to stay skinny for a Hollywood lifestyle.

The little girl said that her mother had hit her but hit here in places where nobody would notice. On the arms, on the back because she knew that people would see it. The mom counters with "My child is a very good actress." It is a really -- a really heart breaking situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It absolutely is. And I`ve been looking over reams of documents, I`m telling you. By the time I finished reading this I could have a PhD in Ariel Winter.

What is so interesting, Randy Kessler, family law attorney, the mother after she was accused of this went out and got all these depositions and affidavits from people that see them and, so she`s got, I call it the "tinker tailor soldier spy" approach. She`s got the tailor saying, I never witnessed any bruises or any evidence. She`s got the eyebrow and waxing specialist who said I never saw any signs of physical abuse. She`s got the hair salon and says they`ve been our loyal clients for more than ten years. We`re very proud of the family and have never seen any form of abuse. On and on and on.

Is that effective or is that not really to the point?

RANDY KESSLER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, mom is on her game. She`s apparently got good legal advice, good legal counsel. These cases are very, very fact sensitive. You can see either side prevailing.

What the court did is what`s right. You first -- the first step is protect the child on a temporary basis when you don`t have enough time to develop a case. You protect the child and remove them from that possibility of harm.

There`s going to be another hearing. The evidence will be fleshed out. If mom is right she`s going to get child back. But the bottom line is we would prefer natural parents to raise their children. So, unless the evidence is clear that something bad had happened, mom will absolutely (ph) be back in charge. And who knows, maybe then Ariel will file for emancipation or try another avenue to get away from mom.

There are two steps -- legal rights and then, of course, the emotional hearing has to go on. Mom and daughter have to get into some sort of a therapeutic relationship and solve this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, up until recently it appeared everything was fine and dandy in Ariel`s home life. In fact last year on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show", Ariel talked about how her mom handled dates that she went on. Listen to this.


ARIEL WINTER, ACTRESS: My mom accompanies me on all my dates.


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


VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, why is she dating so much at her age? She is now 14. That was last year. So that`s one thing that I`m wondering. Bing.

Joey Jackson, criminal defense attorney, a lot of times these things, I like to say follow the money. Obviously, this young lady makes a lot of money. She is probably the bread winner in her home. But there`s something called -- and I think we have some old footage of it -- Jackie Coogan, the child star back in the `20s --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Jackie Coogan, this little guys was really the -- America loved Jackie Coogan. He was the most famous kid in the world at one time. But he found out when he grew up that he was broke because his parents had taken his money. So they passed something called the Coogan Law.

Tell us about that and why this might be about money.

JACKSON: Sure. What happens is everybody knows Uncle Fester, and who you`re referencing. That was silent movies from when he was a youngster. So Uncle Fester and the Addams Family, ultimately he grew up and he wanted to know where all his money was. He made about $3 million or $4 million then which if you translate it to 2012 dollars is about $35 million to $42 million. He asked his parents, where`s my money? They spent it.

As a result of that the Coogan`s Law that you referenced, Jane, is a law which basically says if you`re child actor. Some of your earnings up to 15 percent goes into a trust fund. So when you`re an adult, guess what Jane -- you have the money.

And here I think what you have certainly is a young beautiful girl who is growing up, maybe according to her mom, a bit too soon and you`re having mom pressure her in some respects to slow it down. And so I think this is normal. She is growing as an adult. And as you say, perhaps it is all about the money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Ariel`s mom says this all started when she caught her daughter in bed with an 18-year-old which would not be legal, I don`t think. Her mom filed a police report about the alleged incident. Ariel Winter`s supporters point out however that the report was filed after the mom already lost custody. Mom tells the "New York Daily News", "I stand by the police report."

You know, so this is a she said/she said. Mom says, daughter says, sister says.

Alexis Tereszcuk, what are they saying on the set? Because I`ve heard at least from the attorney for the sister who has temporary custody of Ariel that mom was a quote/unquote alleged "terror on the set".

TERESZCUK: You`re absolutely right. The people on the set say that she was a nightmare. They were thinking about actually having her mom banned from the set. I don`t know how that would be, she`s the guardian of a 14-year-old and her guardian can`t even be where she works.

She was causing all sorts of trouble and everybody feels for Ariel. Everyone on the set is on her side. They said she is such a talented young girl. She is so professional. She works so hard. Her mom was doing everything she could to earn a lot of enemies on that set.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen. We all hope the best for Ariel and for the entire family. And it is not easy being a child star and so many of them grow up to have problems. So we hope that she is ok.

And we`re going to actually continue this conversation on the other side taking your calls. Give us a call.

Time for your "Shocking Video of the Day": just released dash cam video captured a frightening, frightening moment for one police officer in Wisconsin. Watch this as this cop stares down death as an oncoming car swerves just in time to narrowly miss running head on into his parked police cruiser.

Thank God everybody walked away from this incident. But after watching that video -- whoa, he nicks the car. You can imagine. Boom.

All right. More Ariel Winter on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s your "Viral Vid of the Day". Check out this little guy putting a new spin on a game of catch with his dog.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ariel claims she`s been the victim of slapping, hitting, pushing, vile name-calling by her mom; and that her mom had attempted to sexualize her and even made insulting comments about the teen`s weight and deprived her of food. Something the mother firmly denies and she has gone to town. I am holding just a huge set of court documents that she has filed in counteraction. Getting statements, sworn statements from hair dressers and tailors and people who wax -- everybody saying they haven`t seen any signs of abuse on this young lady.

Randy Kessler, family law attorney. It was Ariel`s older sister who set the ball in motion by filing the original papers saying I want temporary guardianship. This is tearing the family apart limb by limb.

KESSLER: It is. and you know, the problem is she is 14 and she`s famous and she`s powerful and she`s feeling her power. And you know, ask any 15 or 16-year-old or 17-year-old what they want to do. Tell them they have to go live with mom or dad and they`ll tell, I`m going to do what I want to do. And it is hard to say there`s a piece of paper that says you have to live with mom. The law may be one thing.

This is not a termination of parental rights case. This is not mom you have no relationship. It is a temporary guardianship. We`re saying there`s a problem. Let`s investigate. Let`s see if we can get it back on track.

And there are a lot of resources for these folks. They have money, they have therapists. They have to figure it out behind the scene. She has a long time career coming up. She doesn`t want to destroy it.

There is something wrong. They`re going to get it back on track. This is early enough. It is not a Lindsay Lohan situation. It is much calmer than that and I have hope for them. I think they`re going to resolve it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alexis, I want to give you the final word. We only have a couple of seconds. How much is this young lady worth and is this about the money?

TERESZCUK: She is worth about $500,000 -- half a million dollars. She has huge earning potential. A lot of it is definitely about the money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I always say when it come to Hollywood dramarama, follow the money.

On the other side, we`re going to talk about a show that you`ve probably seen. It`s a hit show involving snakes and it is a big problem tonight.

Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for your pet pics of the day, send them to us.

Molly, I love your hat. Is that what you`re wearing? A hat? And look at the little teddy bear with Honey. Oh. How cute. And Duchess is absolutely regal. Oh, Bucc. Look at him.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An exotic species that shouldn`t be anywhere near the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I said, when you find one, you often find more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 20 years ago, there were none out here. Now there are an estimated 30,000 -- flourishing and breeding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you see a snake, back away, walk away quietly. More times than not, a snake is not going to come after you, chase you, bite you. They really don`t want to have anything to do with you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight one of the stars of the reality show "Swamp Brothers" is slammed with charges. A Philadelphia grand jury accuses the star Robert Keszey and his business partner of wildlife trafficking. The two co-own a farm in one of Florida`s largest exotic reptile stores. And it has been made famous on this hit discovery channel show called "Swamp Brothers". Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Swamp brothers. Meet Robert. This is his swamp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where the hell is Steven?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robby runs the largest venomous snake farm in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nature farm has been around for 20 years. It is my life`s passion.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to be clear. Only one brother, the one you just saw in the hat is being charged. Federal prosecutors say Robert and his business partner not shown on the show took protected snakes from the wild in New York and Pennsylvania and transported them to Florida in 2007 and 2008 to sell at their farm in violation, allegedly, of federal wildlife laws.

I want to bring in Jennie Erin Smith, author of "Stolen World". And you`re an expert on reptile poaching. You`ve gone undercover to investigate black market trade for exotic animals. What do you make of these charges?

JENNIE ERIN SMITH, AUTHOR, "STOLEN WORLD": Well, it is interesting because these charges, they stem from an act that is actually several years old. The offenses they committed were in 2007 and 2008. And it is a federal law that was triggered because when you take an animal out of one state illegally and transport it to another state, yes, you do trigger federal law.

But you know, it is interesting because it seems a relatively small case. There are about 20 snakes in total involved in this case. And there would be fewer if one of the snakes involved didn`t give live birth to something like 15 offspring. So the actual number of snakes being --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this Jennie. Why does this matter? Are snakes important to the ecosystem? Is it a problem to take snakes out of the wild?

SMITH: Right. First of all, they`re protected under various laws. Timber rattle snakes which is one of the species that was important in this case, were nearly eradicated in some northern states. For years, they had bounties on them. And then in the 1970s and 1980s, conservationists began to understand that these bounties were killing off a species that of course has a role in the ecosystem.

And so that`s why they started to become protected under federal law. At the same time the number of snakes involved in this particular case is so small that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in for a second because I want to show you all parties involved are welcome on this show anytime. We reach out to everybody involved in a case and wanted to talk to them about the charges filed in the indictment. The only one to comment was Robert`s attorney who says his client is innocent and he will defend the case vigorously.

We only have a couple of seconds left. Jennie, some people don`t have a lot of respect for snakes. I say they`re nature`s creatures and they are sentient beings. They feel pain. They need to be treated with respect. And we need to acknowledge their place in the wild.

They`re not widgets that just could be picked up and moved and transported in boxes. What say you about the importance of respecting snakes in nature?

SMITH: Well, I mean I think everyone, including probably the plaintiffs in this case -- that`s not the plaintiffs. I`m sorry the defendants in this case would have to agree that snakes have a place in nature and that we don`t have to defend them saying that they do favors for human beings. They control vermin or whatever. That`s kind of an antiquated way of defending them. They`re there because they`re supposed to be there. They have a right to be there. And that`s why these laws exist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think it is important to look at. There are so many people really don`t regard them as animals worth caring about. But they are. They are here. They`re part of nature. They`re part of our ecosystem. And when these little creatures like snakes and bees don`t exist anymore, our entire ecosystem collapses. That`s what could happen down the road.

Look at the complete wiping out of the migratory bee population, it`s collapsed. It is creating a huge problem. We`re going to talk more about this on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s take a look at Robert Keszey in action on his farm as seen on the Discovery Channel show, "Swamp Brothers". Check it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grab it. Seriously. You`ve got the bite gloves. Grab it out here away from the rocks.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You take it very close. That`s a rattle snake, dude. He`s striking. Here, here. Ok, I can`t hold them. Can you get them?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the indictment Robert is accused of smuggling several species of snakes across state lines including eastern timber rattle snakes.

Only a couple of seconds. You know, Jennie, sometimes if you really love animals the best think you can do is to leave them alone if they`re in the wild, correct?

SMITH: Yes. That`s why there are laws reflecting that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leave them alone. Let them live their lives. We as human beings feel this necessity to interfere and put our stamp on everything. And unfortunately, more and more species are becoming extinct. There`s some kind of species extinction clock out there that every couple of seconds it seems like we`re losing another species.

And it is not man versus nature anymore. It is really, we`re both on the same side. If they go, and our ecosystem collapses, we`re going with them.

Nancy Grace is up next.