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Are Found Bodies Missing Cousins?

Aired December 5, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: And tonight we have breaking news out of Iowa as two bodies are found. Did a hunter discover the remains of missing young cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins? We`re uncovering the secrets behind this breaking news story live right now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, breaking news in the case of those two Iowa cousins who went off on a bike ride and never came home. After months of hearing from their desperate relatives, a massive break in the case. Cops announce two bodies have just been found by a hunter in the woods. Have they found the remains of little Elizabeth and Lyric? And if so, who did the unthinkable?

And you`ll hear the gut-wrenching 911 call made as a woman lay dying. The caller is the mother of the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, who executed his girlfriend before killing himself. The football star`s mom hysterically begs the dying girlfriend to hang on till paramedics arrive. We`ll talk to one of Jovan`s former teammates and the estranged wife of another troubled sports star.

And is there a custody battle over a baby elephant?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lord, we ask you that guide us in the right directions and that wherever these two girls are we know that you`re already with them. And we just pray, Lord, that they are found and they are brought back to their families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two young cousins go missing together in Iowa.

NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: Speaking of Lyric and 8-year-old Elizabeth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her grandmother is the last person to see them. She says they just left to ride their bikes.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Still there is no sign of what happened to them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m trying to stay positive and, you know, pray and hope that God just returns them to us safely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pray God brings them home safe to us. Whatever`s taken place that they still come home alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news. Just moments ago police announced hunters found two bodies in Iowa and that they believe they might be the remains of beautiful missing Iowa cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins. Listen to this from a news conference held just minutes ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today at approximately 12:45 p.m., law enforcement was notified by hunters that they had discovered two deceased bodies in a wooded area. The Cook and Collins family have been notified of this discovery. The bodies are being transported to the state medical examiner`s office in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for a positive identification.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This nightmare began July 13, when 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins asked their grandmother if they could go on a bike ride. The girls headed out and never came back.

After only an hour their grandmother said she knew something was very wrong. Police started searching for the girls that same afternoon. By about 4 in the afternoon, they had found their bikes at a lake two miles away, along with Elizabeth`s purse and a cell phone, but there was no sign of the girls themselves. Their aunt doesn`t understand.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s very baffling to understand how someone got off with a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old at the same time, because it`s as though they disappeared into thin air in broad daylight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops are still looking for any tips that could tell them about what happened to these two little girls. What do you think about this very upsetting discovery? We`re taking your calls. There`s the number on your screen.

Straight out to our producer, Selin Darkalstanian. You spoke with a family member just moments ago. What can you tell us, Selin?

SELIN DARKALSTANIAN, HLN PRODUCER: I spoke to the grandma, Wilma, who was actually baby-sitting the kids the day that they went missing, and she was obviously very distraught. She was very upset. She said she was headed out the door to go to church, because all of the family`s gathering at church tonight to comfort each other and to meet over there. That`s kind of a gathering place for the family now.

I also called Tammy, who has been on our show several times, who even called us a few weeks ago and asked us to do an update on the girls. But Tammy was too distraught to talk. I spoke to another family member.

So obviously, Jane, this is a family who, you know, was holding out hope and thinking that these girls might be alive and might be found alive, and today we hear the sad news.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Jon Lieberman, you`ve got some breaking news for us?

JON LIEBERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, Jane, working the phones here and the BlackBerries.

What we know is that both families of the missing girls were called to police headquarters. They actually met face to face with police to find out about this.

Our sources are confirming that the bodies were found in Bremer County. That`s B-R-E-M-E-R. Which is a county that borders Blackhawk County, where they went missing. I believe it`s about ten miles to the north it borders. They were found in a heavily wooded area. Apparently, there are a lot of wooded areas in Bremer.

And police are pursuing what my source says are very solid leads, including looking at sex offenders, registered sex offenders in that county, and also looking at people linked to the meth trade. It`s all happening very fast now that they found the bodies. But unfortunately, they do believe that these -- the bodies are of these two beautiful little girls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And certainly, they have to transport these bodies to the medical examiner`s office. Excuse me. For positive identification. But the children disappeared in July. They`re 8 and 10. So they know how tall they are.

So clearly, this is -- it would appear. We never want to assume. That`s the first rule of journalism. It would appear, given that they contacted the family members, that they made some kind of visual identification that would seem to bolster the idea that this may be these girls. And now they`re waiting for positive identification.

Meanwhile, in terms of who is responsible for this unthinkable act, now, Lyric`s father, Dan Morrissey, had said repeatedly and in public that police made him feel like he was a suspect. Even though no one was ever officially named a suspect in this case. Let`s listen to the father.


DAN MORRISSEY, LYRIC COOK`S FATHER: You tell them the truth, and they say you`re holding something back. And you`re not. What more do you have to talk about? You know. We go over and over and over it. You know. So I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did it make you feel like a suspect?

MORRISSEY: It made me feel like, yes, they were looking at me like a suspect.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst. The father says -- he was separated, by the way, from the mother at this time. Something we didn`t initially know. That he was at his mother`s house with a young child, a boy from his wife, and that he has an alibi in that sense and that he raced to the scene as soon as he found that his child was missing along with her cousin. What do you make of that?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via phone): Well, you know, the estranged parents, Misty and Dan, who we just saw, Jane, you know, they were under a lot of scrutiny because of their criminal past. And what law enforcement saw was his lack of cooperation.

Which that says to me -- you always want to look at the people who are closest to the victims. And in this particular case you start -- where do you start? You start with the parents. OK. Were they (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- where were they when this happened?

And then if you start asking questions and they`re not the answers or the law enforcement thinks that maybe they`re being a little deceptive, then you sometimes what you call you`ve got to play a little bit of hardball. And sometimes a lot of the parents don`t like that.

But you want to make sure that the people closest to them are just -- you know, they are cleared before you move on with your investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we say this not to embarrass anybody, but it`s part of the investigation. It`s a fact. We`ve got to just lay out the facts.

Missing Lyric`s mom and father each have pretty serious criminal records. Lyric`s mom, Misty Cook, was released from a halfway house just months before the kids disappeared. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine as well as illegal drug use.

Now her estranged husband, Dan Morrissey -- you heard from him a second ago -- he`s been convicted of burglary and theft. He was arrested last year on conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of meth with intent to deliver.

And this is what`s also significant, Tanya Acker, attorney. He was also facing a domestic assault charge involving the mother of the missing child. You see them there. When we first interviewed them, we didn`t know that they were estranged at the time. And it sort of came out.

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: You know what`s interesting, Jane, about the father`s reaction to all of this.

You know, look, I can appreciate how uncomfortable it is to be confronted by aggressive law enforcement. I`ve never been there myself, but I can get that that`s uncomfortable for anybody. But it`s not about him. It`s not about how he doesn`t like the questioning.

As you pointed out, these cases normally start, an investigation always starts with the person closest to the child. And if my child had gone missing, then you know, look, I may not like an aggressive, assertive questioner, but I`m going to want to go with that. It`s not about being offended because you think that law enforcement are taking too tough a tack.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And as I was reading, again, there are no suspects in this case. You are looking at a vigil that has been held. There`s been numerous vigils held for these precious children. My heart goes out to the family.

It is awkward, I`ll have to say, as a journalist. We`re dealing with a tragic set of circumstances. Nobody wants to be here reciting unflattering details of two people who have lost a child. But we have to lay out the facts. That`s our responsibility as journalists.

So I want to go to Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist. Here`s what disturbs me. When we found out this breaking news, I pulled out my file, and I was reading it. The day before they disappeared the court had set a September date for the father in connection with the drug charge that alleges police found items used to make methamphetamine in his home back in December.

And he also had a pending domestic assault charge stemming from an August incident where he allegedly assaulted Misty. One of his alleged accomplices in one of the drug cases, in a pretrial conference the very day of the disappearance. Now, this could all be wild coincidence...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... but obviously, cops have got to check this out.

LUDWIG: No, and they have to do their job, and clearly, when you`re dealing with parents who have a criminal past, it raises suspicion, right? Normally so. Because you had parents who have crossed over lines that they shouldn`t cross.


LUDWIG: Right. Well, drugs...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When I say drugs, I always say -- and I say this as a recovering alcoholic. Is that the most incomprehensible things that are ever done are done generally not stone cold sober. They`re done in the context...

LUDWIG: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... of some kind of self-medication. Drugs, alcohol.

LUDWIG: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sex addiction. There`s always something. I`m not saying that they have anything to do with it. But once you open that Pandora`s box.

LUDWIG: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Methamphetamine. You do not know where it can lead.

Jon Lieberman, you`ve got some new information just in?

LIEBERMAN: Yes. They`re talking about right now that the -- that the bodies were found about 30 minutes or so from where they went missing. Which begs the question, of course, how did the girls -- if this is indeed them, and law enforcement does believe it is, how did they get there? Because you`ll remember the bikes were found right around the lake. And my sources are saying that the bodies are found about 30 minutes away from that location.

So the question then is, of course, how were they transported to this location and where, in fact, if they were murdered, where in fact is the primary murder scene?


LIEBERMAN: Were they simply dumped at the scene that we`re talking about right now?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As one of the relatives said, how do you lure two girls? Because if you`re one individual trying to lure two girls, one could certainly run for help. Unless there`s a trusting relationship. But I`m not saying that for a fact. I`m just saying that that`s one possibility.

More on the other side.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MISTY COOK, MOTHER OF LYRIC COOK: In my opinion, they`re probably focusing on my family or Dan and I because we do have criminal history. That`s the only thing that I can think of.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is mother of one of the missing children, Lyric Cook, talking about how she felt that she was scrutinized and her estranged husband was scrutinized because they both have a criminal history.

Misty, the mother you just heard from, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison in July of 2003 for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.

In 2011 she violated the terms of her court-ordered supervision. She served an additional five months. And then she was released and sent to a halfway house. And she got out May 30, just about 15 days or 16 days before the girls disappeared.

So T.J. Ward, you`re a private investigator, former police officer. We understand that the cops did confiscate the family computers. They have not named any suspects. But obviously, if she`s in a halfway house and he`s facing charges and he has co-defendants, they have to look at people around this family that may have had a desire -- this is hypothetical. We`re not saying for sure. But may have had a desire to either exact revenge, seek payment, any number of things.

T.J. WARD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR (via phone): That`s correct, Jane. It`s sparked this investigation to look at the backgrounds and the past. And starting with the family, just like Mike Brooks said, you have to work your way out. And I know it`s sometimes hard on a family. But they`ll take the computers, they`ll look and see if there`s any drug-related things.

If there are drugs -- drugs related in this case with the parents and going out and whatever was discovered at the crime scene, the DNA, any association of anything that was found at the crime scene, the cause of death. All this is going to come into a factor for the police to start an investigation. And they may go back to the family again. And take their cell phone record, computers; all this is part of their criminal investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they`re going to hold another news conference tomorrow. We`ll bring you the latest on that tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon. So we`ll have exactly what they`re saying.

I have a feeling they know a lot more than they`re saying, and they`re just waiting for a positive identification, which they have to do through the medical examiner`s office. They`ll have that, hopefully, by tomorrow at 4 p.m. their time, and then we`re going to learn a lot more tomorrow. So come back tomorrow. We`ll bring you that.

Meantime, let`s go to the phone lines. Mary, Wisconsin. Your question or thought, Mary in Wisconsin.



CALLER: Oh, gosh. I can`t hear you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, ask your question, ma`am, if you would. That would be great. Or your thought.

CALLER: Yes. I`m here. I was calling because of the father`s past with drugs. And I was wondering could it have been somebody that was aggravated, maybe he owed them money and never paid off a bad debt. And they decided -- they seen the girls alone and took them. But because the one girl, the older girl belongs to the parents that were doing drugs, just absolutely took the other girl by -- you know, like took both of them. I mean...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think those are very good points that you`re making. And I`ve got to tell you, the cops were not shy about questioning this family, including making the family take polygraphs. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All family members on, you know, Misty`s side and the Collins side, Elizabeth`s parents, family members, everybody is willing to do a polygraph test. You know. We just want our girls home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Selin Darkalstanian, you`ve been speaking to the family for months now. They have always shot down any of this kind of suggestion that their criminal history might in some way connect to what happened.

DARKALSTANIAN: That`s right. Tammy, the aunt, who is actually Lyric`s mom`s sister, has always defended Lyric`s dad and has defended the mom. I think the mom is a little bit fragile.

The late -- the last time we had Tammy on, she did tell us that Lyric`s mom was, you know, seeking therapy, and she wasn`t doing very well. And I think they were all trying to support her.

But from day one, this family has been behind the parents and has said they have not done anything wrong. So you know, who knows? We`re going to -- we`ll find out if anything comes out of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we`re not suggesting they did anything wrong. It`s very possible, certainly, that police will have to investigate and have probably undoubtedly already investigated whether their criminal backgrounds may have led to anyone who might be responsible.

More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve taught them, you know, if you`re approached and somebody actually grabs hold of you, drop your body to the ground, scream, kick, fight, gouge eyes, do whatever you have to do. Don`t let them get you to a vehicle. You know, I told the girls, you know, once you`re in a vehicle the chances decrease of your survival.

And so I have a feeling whoever approached them had some type of weapon, something that scared them very, very badly, that made them get into a vehicle.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the aunt and the mother of these two beautiful cousins, Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook Morrissey, age 10, who disappeared back in July. And two bodies have been found. They are not positively identifying the bodies. But according to what our sources are telling us, those bodies were found approximately half an hour away, half hour`s drive from where the little girls` bikes were found.

So the bodies were found in Bremer county, Iowa. The little girls disappeared in Evansdale, Iowa. You see it`s not far away. There`s a main thoroughfare that leads one to the other. And of course, we`re trying to figure out if, indeed, it is these girls. We should probably know by tomorrow positively one way or the other. But it seems like it is quite likely who is responsible.

So Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, you were making an important point.

LUDWIG: Yes. I was just saying that it would be really awful if these parents, given their past, unknowingly put these kids at risk. I mean, when you`re dealing with drugs, and if there`s money owed, and you don`t know who these people were hanging out with, maybe the kids were targeted in some way, maybe this was an accident. You really don`t know.

But you get that sense, because both parents had a criminal past, who were they hanging out with? What was going on in the group that they were a part of? And did that put these poor kids at risk?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and Tanya Acker, the girls disappear, and they`re last seen around 1 p.m. The bikes are found at 4. It`s a two-mile bike. So there`s a very narrow window -- let`s say between 2 and 4, 2 and 3. A very narrow window for two girls to disappear. What does that tell you?

ACKER: It`s a very narrow window. It suggests to me, and again, we don`t know, that someone had help. We don`t know whether or not these girls were drugged in some way -- and again, I`m not trying to implicate the parents. But this goes to exactly the point you just made, Robi, about how, with all of these unanswered questions, you`ve got to turn over every single stone.


ACKER: You may hurt some feelings in the process, but there are a lot of questions to answer here. And especially, you know, we`ve got such a narrow window of time. There are some piecing of the puzzle together that investigators can do if they keep asking the right questions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s not lump the parents together. Remember, they were estranged.

ACKER: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even though they presented a united front when the girls went missing and sat next to each other and spoke to us, not initially saying that they were estranged, but they were estranged and there was a domestic violence issue between them.

We`re going to have all of the results of the news conference and whatever the medical examiner has to say in our show here tomorrow night. So join us for the very latest on this tragic case.

Just minutes from now Nancy Grace has the story of a former high school valedictorian and so-called perfect son accused in the vicious murder of his mother. Will a jury believe his claim that he had nothing to do with her brutal death? Nancy, top of the hour, here on HLN.

And up next, we`re going to talk about this linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, and this horrific murder-suicide. We`ve got new 911 calls that are just in. Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher and the mother of his three-month-old daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is still breathing but barely. Please hurry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Belcher shot Perkins while their baby daughter was in the next room. You can hear the baby crying in the background on one of the tapes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What changed? What could have made Belcher snap and murder his girlfriend, then kill himself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought he was ok. I don`t know -- I can`t clarify that. I don`t know what was wrong with him. But it`s just -- it`s a tragedy in itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kasandra, stay with me. The ambulance is on the way. You hear me? You hear me?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the chilling, heartbreaking 911 call from just moments after a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker executed his beautiful girlfriend before dramatically driving over and killing himself in front of his coaches at the team`s practice facilities. Will they unlock the secrets to this unimaginable crime?

And now we`ve just gotten some new video as the players for the Kansas City Chiefs gather at a memorial service to say good-bye to their teammate. There they are, coming off the bus.

Cops say Jovan Belcher shot his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra multiple times after the couple got into a screaming match Saturday morning. Jovan`s mom was there and heard the gunshots. She calls 911. You can hear her begging Kasandra, the girlfriend, not to die on the 911 call. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is still breathe but barely. Please hurry. I don`t know how many times he shot her. They were arguing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok, she`s been shot?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Right now is she awake?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kasandra, stay with me. The ambulance is on its way. You hear me? You hear me? Kasandra. Hey. Stay with me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: After Jovan shot his girlfriend, sources say he kissed her and their three-month-old daughter before running away -- I`m going to get a psychotherapist to comment on that. You could even hear a child, a little infant, crying in the background of this 911 call. Listen. You`ll hear it.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is she bleeding from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t tell. In the back it looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. We don`t want -- go ahead. Where is your son at?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, please, just get the ambulance here, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re on the way. Where is your son at?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. They were arguing and he shot her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes, they were arguing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. What`s your son`s name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please just get the ambulance here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to get the baby.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say Jovan then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs stadium and dramatically shot himself in front of his coaches in the parking lot.

What`s the significance of that? What caused this athlete to crack?

Call me. 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to Mike Brusko, former teammate and friend of Jovan Belcher -- Mike, first of all, my condolences. I know this has got to be very difficult for you. I appreciate you coming on, trying to help us make sense of the senseless.

You knew Jovan. Does this seem unimaginable in terms of what you knew of this man and this incredibly violent behavior?

MIKE BRUSKO, FORMER TEAMMATE AND FRIEND OF JOVAN BELCHER (via telephone): Yes. Well, first off, I want to say thank you for the condolences. And I would be remiss in not sending my condolences and prayers to Jovan`s family, Kasandra Perkins` family, their baby, Zoe. Just -- it`s -- it`s unthinkable. It`s shocking. You find the news.

And when I first heard it and to this day when I think about it I`m numb. It`s not something that you ever imagine from anybody, you know, that being possible, anybody being capable of getting to that point, especially somebody that you knew so well, that you loved. And Jovan, you know, somebody who lived his life, the person that I knew, with a smile on his face at all times.

So it`s unthinkable. It`s inexplicable. And it`s just an incredible, incredible tragedy. And I think obviously there`s no denying that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You never saw him exhibit temper, or did you? Did he ever have a temper?

BRUSKO: Jovan had no more of a temper than any football player that I`d ever been around. He was -- he was able to flip the switch when he walked onto the football field as a good football player is capable of doing. When he was off the field, he was kind. He was loving. He had a humongous heart. And poured out all of his love to so many people that he cared about and that cared about him. This is -- you know, this is the person that I remember.

There`s no -- in no way, by no means am I trying to defend what happened on Saturday. There is no defending that. But it`s -- that`s the person that I knew. You know, there was -- he was a violent football player. But that`s what the game is, and that`s how, you know, ultimately he made it to where he did because he was able to flip that switch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, a lot of people, including Belcher`s own agent, said they`d never seen this man as a violent man. Listen to this.


JOE LINTA, JOVAN BELCHER`S AGENT: The how and the why is the craziness of this. There was nothing in my relationship with him that would indicate any troubling past, anything that troubled him, that would have caused him to commit such a heinous act as this. And we just -- we`ll never know, unfortunately.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: However, I have to say, again, it`s awkward, but we have to recite the facts here. Jovan Belcher`s name appears on at least three police reports from college, including allegedly punching a window over a girl. So that would seem to indicate that if you have three police reports from college including allegedly punching a window over a girl, that there might be an anger issue.

I want to go to Tanya Young-Williams. If anybody would know about alleged violent or out-of-control behavior by people who are in sports, it would be you, Tanya Young-Williams. You`re the estranged wife of Jason Williams, who of course, was involved in a very famous case where his limo driver was shot dead at the mansion, this huge mansion in New Jersey. And he eventually, your estranged husband, did time for lesser offenses.

But it`s the whole question of whether sports figures are out of control. And I believe that Jovan was heard saying something like, "You can`t talk to me like that," right before the gunshots rang out, Tanya. Is there a sense of entitlement, a sense of a god complex that if anybody restrains them in any manner of speaking -- let`s remember that it`s believed that Jovan was at another woman`s house and the reason they were having a fight is that Jovan was at another woman`s house hours before coming back to his -- the mother of his child, Tanya.

TANYA YOUNG WILLIAMS, FORMER WIFE OF JASON WILLIAMS (via telephone): Well, Jane, it`s just -- this is a situation for which I am angry. I`m past being sad but I am angry because of Jovan`s acts in the past. It`s without question that he had anger issues. And using that as motivation on the field is no excuse for using it in his personal life.

And there`s a bullying mentality because yes, he was the breadwinner, she was a smaller woman, and how dare she question him. Yes, there was a problem. He thought he was entitled to do and say whatever he wanted to her. But yet he took the most cowardly, selfish act possible and ended his life.

That`s not someone anyone should praise. I don`t care what he did on the football field, what he did for someone else and his charitable effort. What he did was selfish and cowardly; and because he thought he could get away with bullying this woman, he went to the greatest extreme of using a gun and taking her life and ruining the lives of dozens of other people that`s in their circle. And I am just angered that he would have a gun --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then kissing -- shooting a woman and kissing her as she dies. We`ll analyze that on the other side with our psychotherapist.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. We need a code one ambulance although we think he`s probably dead. Number 1 Arrowhead Drive. That`s practice field at the key stadium. It`s a self-inflicted shooting. It`s a done deal. We`ve got a player that shot himself.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: That player, Jovan Belcher. Unbelievable story. First he guns down, executes the mother of his child, with the infant crying in the background, kisses her on the forehead, then goes over to the team facilities and shoots himself in the head as his bosses, team executives, look on and try to stop him.

But Tanya Acker, he had a lot of problems. Tell us about those problems.

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: There were issues here, Jane. There were financial issues. There were relationship issues. He`d reportedly spent the night with another woman before he came home and had this altercation. And you know, the team had actually provided them counseling.

The team was trying to provide them help. Because it wasn`t -- it was no secret that there were problems here. There were fiscal problems. There were emotional problems. But you know what`s interesting is that --


ACKER: And this is not -- we`re talking about this case because it`s a professional athlete, and we`re talking about violence by these athletes. But most women in the country die at the hands of partners. That`s who`s killing most of the women in America and so, you know, domestic violence is not simply about famous athletes getting mad. It`s a problem that transcends that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I just want to say, our Facebook is exploding with comments that let`s talk about this woman. Of course -- the victim here, the ultimate victim is 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins. Our heart goes out to her family and this child left an orphan.

Dr. Robi Ludwig, to me the thing that creeped me out about this case is that after he shoots her he bends down purportedly, according to published reports, and kisses her while she`s dying.

LUDWIG: Yes. But this is what`s so hard for people to grasp when it comes to intimate partner homicide. The thought is if I`m killing you I hate you and I want you dead. But very often what happens, especially when there`s domestic violence, the person who is assaulting their partner wants to basically get rid of the part that they don`t love.

So it`s very possible there was a heated argument, maybe Kasandra said I`m going to leave you, I`m not putting up with this anymore. And he could have said something like, well, you can`t talk to me like that, and it`s at that moment, at being left, they go crazy. But they still love their partner. And that`s what sometimes can lead to the suicide as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Tanya Young-Williams, you`re also the spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. I think that there were foreshadowings here. He was actually hours earlier rustled up by cops because he was sleeping in his luxury vehicle outside the home of his girlfriend. Cops said, well, who`s your girlfriend? He called her and then went inside. We don`t know.

Obviously, an autopsy will reveal if there was drugs and alcohol in his system. But this is a situation when you look back, you see all the signs. Unfortunately, nobody can see them beforehand. We all have 20-20 vision after the fact. Are you there, Tanya? Well --

YOUNG-WILLIAMS: Yes, I`m here, Jane. I`m sorry. Our connection wasn`t good.


YOUNG-WILLIAMS: You know, Jane, I guess the overall message here is that, you know, being the spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the problem is it`s about power and control. That`s what domestic violence is about. Whether you`re a professional athlete, whether you`re Charlie Sheen, whether you`re O.J. Simpson, or whether you`re the gentleman who works for the police department or -- it`s about control, and it`s about power.

And in that household he felt that he had to have complete control and complete power over everything and everyone. And what is so sick is that yes, they love their partner but they love them the way that they`re capable of loving. Not in the way that`s good for the partner. So it is a destructive, violent situation, and unfortunately, very often it ends in death.

But only these stories do we hear because it involves celebrities. But it happens every day across America`s canvas. And domestic violence needs to be spoken about more often on programs like yours so people know how they can get help and save their own lives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And if you`re a woman watching this, if you sense that there`s any commonality between this dynamic and your life story, get out. I always say, this is the last thing you should do, is announce to your husband or lover that you`re leaving. Get out and have a lawyer call while you`re in another state. More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for "Pet o` the Day". Send us your pet pics to Frazier, you are just adorable. Swayze and Bentley, wow you`re making the scene, I can tell. And Casey you are stunning and clean. Lady Sarah, you are royalty.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the fate of that baby elephant just born at the Oregon Zoo? A newspaper investigation found that the elephant is actually owned by a company that rents out elephants for movies and parties.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Animals unaware of the human drama over the baby`s future.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A baby elephant born in the Oregon Zoo last week and the calf has stirred up a huge controversy. There is the baby. Take a look at that little guy. Oh. 300-pounds of her. I guess it`s a her. The zoo has a contract with a for-profit work called "Have Trunk, Will Travel". Technically, they are reportedly the owners of this baby elephant.

There was an uproar when people thought the baby could be separated from its mom and taken to this group that rents elephants out for (inaudible) and corporate events. And now both the zoo and the group say this baby will be staying at the zoo with her mom.

But lost in all of that talk is the fact that we`re talking about who owns this elephant. Critics and animal rights advocates, and I count myself as an animal rights advocate, say we shouldn`t talk about ownership when it comes to animals. She shouldn`t be behind bars in a zoo or a traveling show at all. She belongs in the wild or a sanctuary that mimics the wild where she can run free and feel like she`s in the wild.

Straight out to Jan Creamer, president of the Animal Defenders International; what do you think is wrong with this situation and the way this beautiful elephant child has been born into this world?

JAN CREAMER, PRESIDENT, ANIMAL DEFENDERS INTERNATIONAL: What horrifies us, Jane, is that Gary and Kerry Johnson, the owners of "Have Trunk, Will Travel", who own the father of this baby, have been caught on video electric shocking their elephants to stun them and beating them with (inaudible).

But the point is although the zoo has said they need to keep this baby, the fact is that "Have Trunk, Will Travel" is the legal owner and they haven`t given up any ownership rights. So what happens a few years down the line when "Have Trunk, Will Travel" say to themselves some of our old elephants are getting a bit too old to work, why don`t we just collect one that we`ve left around in a zoo somewhere? What we want to see is "Have Trunk, Will Travel" actually give up, legally give up their rights to this baby.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, we`re going to get "Have Trunk, Will Travel`s" answer and everybody involved in this is invited on our show any time to discuss this very important issue. What I believe is the Social Justice Movement of the 21st century, animal advocacy, the first movement that cares about a species not its own.

More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Animal Defenders International released a video claiming that "Have Trunk, Will Travel" abused elephants. We`re going to call you that video in a second. Calls made to "Have Trunk, Will Travel" were not answered, but in an earlier response they said "We`re unwavering in our commitment to elephants. We stand our care and training methods. We`re proud of our contributions to elephant welfare and conservation and claim the videos were heavily edited and released six years earlier."

So what is your response to that, Jan Creamer, Animal Defenders International?

CREAMER: I would like to know what point of that video they think acceptable when they`re talking about (inaudible) --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You know what? We`re having trouble with your statement because of the sound. But I`ve got to tell you, I don`t think that animals should be treated this way. I don`t think animals should be commodities. I don`t think animals should be traded like widgets. These are feeling creatures. They deserve rights. Let`s get them some.

Nancy Grace next.