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Police Confirm Bodies are Missing Cousins
Aired December 6, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(MUSIC: "SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN")
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Breaking news tonight, in the investigation of two missing Iowa cousins, Evansdale police announcing just a few minutes a lot that they are confident the two bodies found yesterday are those of Lyric and Elizabeth.
Tonight we are hunting for a child killer as the town comes together to mourn. Who knew their way around that wooded area? Who had a motive to kill?
VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight who did this? Now that we know little Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were tragically abducted and murdered, who did this to the girls? A stranger or somebody they know and trusted? And did little Lyric`s parents` criminal pasts involving drugs have anything to do with it? New information tonight.
And a college hell week mystery. A 19-year-old Arizona State freshman disappears after being kicked out of a bar during fraternity pledging hell week. His family asks, "Why are we finding key pieces of evidence in his disappearance? Why aren`t the police doing more?" Tonight we`re talking live to the missing student`s twin brother.
Plus, "Teen Mom" stars Janelle Evans ties the knot with her boyfriend, but could they both be headed back to jail for their honeymoon? The controversial reality TV stars fighting back against accusations she`s hooked on heroin.
Meanwhile, who`s taking care of her baby boy? And what kind of a role model is this for America`s teens?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you talk about heart-breaking news, the mother of one of two girls missing since July says that the bodies of her daughter and niece have been found.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two young cousins go missing together in Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten-year-old Lyric, and her cousin 8-year-old Elizabeth. The grandmother was the last person to see them. She said they just left to ride their bikes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Law enforcement was notified by hunters that they had discovered two deceased bodies in a wooded area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of clues can they get from that crime scene? That will certainly lead investigators to the next step.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the search is on for suspects in their abduction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m praying for the family, both families. It`s heart-breaking.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The townspeople had hoped it wouldn`t be them. But police say it is.
An emotional candlelight vigil for two young victims of senseless violence, townspeople coming together. We`re going to show you the vigil as the people in this small town had literally joined together to pray that it wouldn`t be these angels, these two little girls that they had known since birth, that they`d grown up with.
And these people all gathering last night, hoping against hope, were disappointed as police announced, yes, they are confident it is them.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live. Tonight we`ve got breaking news. A short time ago police announced they are confident the two bodies found in Iowa yesterday are the remains of beautiful missing Iowa cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins. Listen to the announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time law enforcement is confident, based at the -- upon evidence at the scene and a preliminary investigation, that the bodies found yesterday are those of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins. However, the results of the autopsy have not been made available to law enforcement, and a positive forensic identification of the bodies has not been made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One thing police did not say at that news conference: who is responsible for this unthinkable act? Do they have a theory? Do they have suspects? Well, they`re certainly not telling us if they do.
We`re going to show you the emotional message posted by Elizabeth`s mom on her Facebook page in just a moment.
But first, how this nightmare began: July 13, 10-year-old Lyric Cook and 8-year-old Elizabeth Collins go on a bicycle ride and never come home. Police found the girls` bikes at a lake about two miles away, along with Elizabeth`s purse and a cell phone. No sign of the girls, however.
For a while, Lyric`s dad said he felt like he was being treated like a suspect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN MORRISSEY, FATHER OF LYRIC COOK: You tell them the truth and then they say, "You`re holding something back," and you`re not, what more do you have to talk about? You can 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But authorities have not called him a suspect. We`re going to give you crucial information about why he has been the focus of scrutiny tonight. What do you think happened? We`re taking your calls: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-2977.
Straight out to Jon Lieberman, investigative reporter. You`ve got new information tonight. What have you got?
JON LIEBERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, Jane. Well, first of all, thoughts and prayers go out to this family for this terrible loss. Police can`t say it, but this is a double murder investigation at this point.
I`ve been talking to police sources for the past 24 hours or so, and they stress to me that they have a lot of information, but the reason why they are not releasing much of it is because much it`s information that only the killer or killers would know, and they do not want to jeopardize the investigation.
That said, my sources tell me the following, which we can report: No. 1, bodies were not found, according to my sources, smack dab next to each other. They were found about 40 to 50 feet next to each other.
The second key point is the theory right now is that this was the dump site. That they are looking for the primary murder scene. In other words, where the bodies were found is not where these two little girls were killed.
In addition, I am told...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on. Let`s stop you right there. You`re saying the location where the bodies were found is, according to your police sources, not where the girls were killed, correct?
LIEBERMAN: That is correct. Police are looking for the primary murder scene.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to stop for a second to go to Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst. How would authorities be able to deduce, looking at -- and you`re seeing some of the wooded areas. The girls were found about 25 miles north from where the lake where they disappeared in this wooded area, which is sort of a county park. And now we`re hearing from our sources that they were not killed there. How would cops be able to deduce that from looking around the crime scene?
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they`re not finding certain evidence that should be there because they know -- they probably have a pretty good idea of how the girls died, or at least they most likely do, Jane. But they`re -- things they`re seeing there that wouldn`t -- that aren`t there, that would be there if they had been killed right there in that specific area.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, see, our sources are telling us more than we`re gaining from authorities.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because authorities at the news conference said they`re not releasing the exact location of where the bodies have been found in order to preserve the crime scene. Let`s listen to what they said minutes ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are processing that at this time. I don`t need to tell you I don`t want that area to get compromised. Preservation of that scene is paramount, and so I`m not going to release that at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so, the bodies were found in the Seven Bridges wildlife area about 25 miles north or about a 30-minute drive from where they went missing.
So, Lyric and Elizabeth were last seen at their grandma`s house. They got on their bikes. There`s actually surveillance footage, if we can pull that up, of them riding their bikes. They were -- they left their grandmother`s house at about 12:15. They were spotted between 12:30 and 1 here. You can see those bikes going by. That`s the last image of these precious children before they died. Look at that.
They go to this lake where their bikes are found. Now maybe they were abducted before they got to the lake, but the bikes were found at the lake.
And now, it turns out that about 25 miles north of that lake, where their bikes were found, you have the bodies turn up.
But, Rita Cosby, investigative journalist, we`re now hearing from Jon Lieberman that authorities, according to his police sources, don`t believe they were killed there. They were killed somewhere else and moved to that location. What do you make of in terms of finding out who was responsible?
RITA COSBY, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, I think authorities have a lot of information in this case, and Jane, I keep going back to the fact that, early on, authorities said that the family has not been as cooperative as they`d like.
The other thing -- and I think this is one of the most significant things in this case, Jane -- the father. This is the father of -- this is of Lyric Cook, Daniel Morris. He was working on a plea deal with authorities. They were prosecuting him for domestic assault and also meth and other drug charges. He backed out of that plea deal a day before his daughter goes missing.
I don`t believe in a lot of coincidences in cases. You and I have covered a lot of cases through the years. I think that it`s very significant.
When you make a plea deal, you`re giving up information. You could be giving up information on maybe, what, another drug dealer? Another methamphetamine dealer, somebody in this chain of events? And maybe somebody found out he was about to rat them out and could be tied to this, whether he`s aware of it. Maybe he wasn`t even aware that somebody was playing this role and was getting this information.
I think there`s still a lot of unanswered questions, and I think authorities have a lot more in this case than they`re tipping us off with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. The idea that he backed out of a plea deal the day before these girls go missing.
And, again, as you said, you give something up. Well, maybe he got cold feet and backed out of giving something up, but somebody else didn`t get the message that he backed out of giving something up. It could have been a communications problem.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go out to Jim Spellman, CNN correspondent, who`s been all over this from the very beginning.
Obviously, police aren`t saying that the father is a suspect. We do not want to, in any way imply that, but we can say that he has been the focus of scrutiny, that he himself said that he felt like he was treated like a suspect because of his criminal history and his arrests for alleged methamphetamine involvement as well as domestic violence. What do you know about that, Jim?
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was really strange, Jane, because Misty Morrissey, the mother of Lyric, came to me in the early days of this investigation and said, "Jim, I want to tell you about the problems we have." And they told me about drug use, methamphetamine, about the plea bargain that was going on. They said, "Please, do whatever you can to report this. Get this out there now. It`s going to come out, so we can focus on the kids."
They -- Misty told me that she was polygraphed two times. They did for a period of time stop talking to police, but it was only for a few days.
I actually think they were fairly receptive to being interviewed by the police, but they felt like they were being harassed and they took a little break from it, and they came back.
Hard to know what any of that means, but I can tell you, Jane, never before in my career has someone came to me and said, "Listen, here`s all of this stuff that we`re mixed up in. Please report on it as soon as you can." But there was no doubt that the family was the focus of the investigation, at least for a while.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Jim, to add to that, you`re taking a look at this video that we have of Lyric`s mom and dad talking to us when their child went missing along with their child`s cousin. We found out that they had been separated for years. And they sort of presented this united front, but we also had read published reports that, after that years of living separated, they had just decided to file for divorce. Right around the time before these -- their daughter and the cousin disappeared. We`re going to analyze that and take your calls on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re praying for the family, both families. It`s heart-breaking. Just pray for the Morrisseys and the Cooks as a whole and that we get some answers, that the family gets answers about their little girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a heart-breaking story and our condolences to the family. We feel like we have grown to know these -- know these two little girls, been talking about them and doing stories on them since July when they vanished. And it`s heart-breaking to have to say that police are confident that their bodies have been found in a wildlife area, about 25 miles north of where their bikes were found.
Let`s go out to the phone lines. Lisa, Wisconsin, your question or thought, Lisa?
CALLER: Hi, Jane.
CALLER: I was just wondering if there was any molestation sexually or physically on the girls?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we don`t have the answer to those questions. And I could certainly tell you that, while the parents of Lyric -- obviously there`s two sets of parents here. And one set of parents seems to be absolutely squeaky clean in terms of their histories. But they don`t have anything to do with molestation or anything of that nature. So we want to clear that up.
And we say this, of course, not to embarrass anybody, because it`s part of the investigation. It`s why we`re mentioning it.
Missing Lyric`s mother and father each have criminal records. Lyric`s mom, Misty Cook, was released from a halfway house just a few months ago. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute meth, as well as illegal drug use.
And her estranged husband, Dan Morrissey, has been convicted of burglary and theft. He was arrested last year on conspiracy to manufacture meth and possession of meth with intent to deliver. He`s also facing a domestic assault charge.
And Lyric`s mom, Misty, says their history with drugs is the reason cops questioned them so thoroughly. Let`s listen to Misty for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MISTY COOK, MOTHER OF LYRIC: In my opinion, they`re probably focused on my family or Dan and I because we do have criminal history. That`s the only thing that I can think of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Mike Brooks, people can have criminal history, and that doesn`t mean anything.
However, the world of methamphetamine manufacturing is a very, very dangerous world, and it can attract extremely dangerous people.
So you have this odd, could be coincidence that this man you`re looking at here, the father of Lyric, reportedly backed out of a plea deal the day before these girls disappeared. What do you make of that?
BROOKS: Well, you know, it`s interesting. When we were playing the interview with Dan Morrissey, and he was saying, "They`re looking at me like a suspect," they think he`s holding back.
Usually, Jane, when you go into an interview with somebody, and you want to go down a certain road, you ask questions that you most likely already know the answers to. And it sounds to me they weren`t getting the answers that they thought they should be getting from this guy, and that`s the reason they wanted to play hardball with him.
Did it have something to do with this plea deal? There`s a good possibility. Did it also have something to do with maybe his friends and associates? That also probably had something to do with it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then you add the odd, again, possible coincidence, that after years of living separated, Lyric`s mom and dad also just decided to get divorced right before the girls disappeared, according to published reports.
We`re going to take your calls, and we`ve got new information from our investigator, Jon Lieberman, on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That poor woman has lost two nieces, according to police, who are confident now that the bodies found yesterday in that secluded wildlife area are those of young Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins, two cousins who disappeared, ages 8 and 10.
Elizabeth`s mother wrote this on her Facebook page after the heart- breaking discovery: "We knew when our girls went missing that would be two outcomes. Unfortunately, this is not the one we wanted. Our girls are dancing up with our savior."
Jon Lieberman, you`ve got new information. Tell us.
LIEBERMAN: Yes. It`s heart-breaking when you read that quote from the family.
A couple of things that we know. I`m told by police sources that they were able to make an eyeball identification, meaning looking at the bodies and knowing in their heads that it was these two girls, very, very quickly. I`m told is that it didn`t appear that the bodies had been out exposed to the elements for the four or five months since they went missing. That`s No. 1.
I`m also told that there was some articles of clothing belonging to these two girls found at that scene, as well. And also we did some researching, and there are 18 registered sex offenders within ten miles of this 125-acre camping area. So that is something that law enforcement is looking at, as well.
But really what they`re focusing on is, and there`s the graphic, is the timeline. They need to figure out what happened when and how long these girls had been out in that park.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Rita Cosby, investigative journalist, I got chills when Jon just said that these bodies had been kept somewhere, and then when they were put there in this wildlife park, they were easily identifiable. I mean, it`s horrifying to think that they were kept in some -- it implies that they were possibly kept in some kind of refrigeration or something that preserved them.
COSBY: Or were they kept alive all this time, held hostage? We`ve covered these stories where young boys or somebody, where they`re taken. The question is were there any ransom calls?
The other thing I`ve always found very significant about this case, Jane. These kids, both the kids, they went missing at Myer`s Lake. It`s a very popular recreation area. They were headed towards that area. That`s where the bikes are found. I -- you know, it`s baffling to me that nobody in that area saw something, which makes me think these people are fairly professional. Somebody with a criminal record like a sex offender or somebody tied to drugs.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And remember, the police were looking for a mystery kayaker or a boater on that lake who they felt may have seen something significant. And last we heard, they never found them.
Nancy Grace has the story of a married high-school teacher and a mother of three, caught on video having sex with a group of her teenage students. Her husband stands by her side and even says she`s the victim. Nancy at the top of the hour, 8 p.m. Eastern on HLN.
And on the other side, we`re going to talk about a mysterious disappearance of a young man, Arizona State University student. It was hell week, and now nobody can find him. His twin brother joins us live, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been four days. He hasn`t talked to us. We don`t know where he is. He has no means of communication. No -- no money with him. No one knows where or -- where he went.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want him back, want him back to talk to him again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a family desperate for answers, as the mystery deepens over what happened to 19-year-old college freshman Jack Culolias.
Jack vanished Friday night after he was reportedly asked to leave the Cadillac Ranch, a bar in Tempe, Arizona. Apparently, he was using a fake I.D. and having too much to drink. We`ve all been 19. So that`s that. He was there to celebrate the start of initiation week also known as hell week with a group of fellow fraternity pledges.
Jack was last seen at 11 p.m. on Friday night. But he wasn`t reported missing until his mother called campus police late Sunday afternoon. And on Tuesday, it was his own mother who found a key piece of evidence. She joins us in a moment. But first, we are very delighted and honored to have with us the missing young man`s twin brother Alex who joins us from an area where he has gone to search. I don`t know exactly where you are, but it`s probably in the Tempe area, I would think, because you are searching for your brother. And first of all, my heart goes out to you. I know that this has got to be a hellish experience and unfortunately it`s been hell week in more ways than one.
ALEX CULOLIAS, BROTHER OF JACK CULOLIAS: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- what do you think happened to your brother? He`s asked to leave the bar. Listen, we have all been 19. I drank under aged when I was 19. It`s something that happens. I`m not condoning it, but it happens. It`s very common.
He has a little too much, he`s asked to leave the bar. What do you think happened to him?
CULOLIAS: I think he stumbled out and maybe he was taken or he just decided that he wanted to leave and he didn`t want to do this "hell week" this week. But right now we`re just trying to do all we can to find him and help bring him home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is there any way you could lead in a little bit? Because I want to see -- you are the identical twin to --
CULOLIAS: Identical twin, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- to the missing young man. So unfortunately, it`s a little dark, but I wish we had just a little bit more light. Ask one of those folks who are sitting around you, maybe they could turn the light on a little bit more light on you, if you have a flashlight app or something. Because we want to see, there we go, we want to see what you look like, specifically to help find your brother.
Jack, was last seen at this Cadillac Ranch in Tempe, and there is a shoe, that was discovered. Do you see that shoe right there? That shoe was discovered, not by the police. That shoe was discovered by the missing young man`s mom.
So Alex, tell me why that upsets you. You have expressed some displeasure at how the investigation`s been handled and the fact that your mother found this key piece of evidence, why is this a key piece of evidence?
CULOLIAS: Well, it`s a shoe that looked like my brother`s shoe that I even put my foot next to it and it was the exact same size. And I know he wears that type of shoe and he was wearing those pair of shoes that night. And it`s just mind-boggling that the police would not go into the ravine and start looking and we had to go in there and look.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jack was last seen at the Cadillac Ranch in Tempe, Arizona. That bar is located in the Tempe Marketplace, just blocks from a large body of water.
Take a look at this, we have got a Google map for you. Searchers have been looking -- there`s the Cadillac Ranch and as we follow it, you can see that near there there`s a river, it`s kind of a lake, but it`s a river, it`s a salt river. So there`s been a search in the salt river, the Tempe town lake area since Tuesday when Jack`s mom found that shoe.
So we want to go out to Natalie Brand, a reporter for KTVK, out of Phoenix. What do you know about this search for Jack in this immediate area, the search of this river, that is so close -- some say maybe a block or two from this bar where he was 86`d?
NATALIE BRAND, KTVK REPORTER: So close, Jane, just walking distance right across the parking lot from the restaurant and I can tell you this is a completely different scene from just 24 hours ago when search teams, dive crews, special equipment was brought in here. They were canvassing this entire area. And today we learned the search in this area at Salt River has been called off because according to police dive teams say they feel confident that there is nothing in the water.
But, again, this shoe discovered by Jack`s own mother was found on an embankment, not far from the water here and that`s what prompted the search. But now police say they have to go in a different direction. They are still interviewing frat brothers, friends, anyone with Jack that night who may know where he went after as we believe, he was escorted out of Cadillac Ranch by a bouncer.
Frat brothers have been telling us all along that they did not see him leave and they`re very concerned that they were not notified that he was leaving. We have not been able to get a comment on camera from the restaurant, other than they are complying with this investigation. But we don`t know if the bouncer escorted him out alone, if people were near him.
Police say, though, a lot of different stories that they`re still trying to verify and the family has expressed great concern over the number of conflicting stories. There`s still a lot of information that needs to be pieced together, a lot of unanswered questions.
Police have now pleaded to the public to go online to Tempe police and submit tips anonymously because they believe that there are people out there who may have information that has not yet been shared that could help them lead them to find where Jack is. And police also tell me that they are still in the process of trying to get a hold of people with critical information although they won`t specify on who those people might will -- Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you for that excellent report.
Alex, I want to go back to you, you`re the twin brother. Now, I understand that your twin brother had expressed to his mom that he was nervous about pledging. Oh, there we go, we get to see you, much better, much better. So the person we`re looking for looks exactly, exactly like that. They are identical twins.
CULOLIAS: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That your identical twin had expressed nervousness about hell week, about pledging that he was afraid that he might have to do some crazy things. Tell us about that.
CULOLIAS: We -- I have talked to my brother before about the humorous things he has had to do while pledging. There was numerous hazing, he went on a retreat with all of these pledge brothers and they kept him out in the cold or they waited until he puked, stuff like that, he was just scared that all of this was going to culminate in this week.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, are you concerned that maybe something happened after he left the bar? Like in other words, I heard a report that he walked off alone, I have heard another report, conflicting, that he might have taken a taxi. Then you hear from a reporter saying well maybe other people followed him out.
CULOLIAS: Yes. There`s just way too many stories; we tried to piece it together, but there`s way too many conflicting stories. And we just want to know, like, actually the truth; what actually happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to bring in Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, famed forensic scientist. Dr. Kobilinsky, if this man, 19 years old, strapping, but not overweight, just very well proportioned, falls into this river, how far could the river drag him?
DR. LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST (via telephone): Well obviously, you know, there`s going to be some current, but I would think that he would still, the body would be -- if there is a body, a body would be found in the general area, most likely not too far from where the tennis shoe was found. But I think we have to go back and start from the beginning. Do we have a confirmation that that was actually the shoe? It is the critical piece of evidence, the only one that exists. And it really needs to be determined with confidence that that is the shoe.
And the way to do that is through DNA. And because Alex is an identical twin, his DNA is the same as Jack`s DNA. So an analysis of the DNA scraped from the shoe or the shoelaces, they can determine absolutely that it is or is not Jack`s shoe. That`s a critical piece because that`s where the search has to stem from.
And I agree, dive teams are essential and apparently they have done their work and come up with not much. But there`s probably a vast area that still needs to be thoroughly turned upside down. There`s got to be a thorough search.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Dr. Kobilinsky, I thank you for your wisdom as always. Great to hear from you.
Alex, did they take your DNA to try to match it up with the DNA on that shoe?
CULOLIAS: They did swab my cheek and they took my older brother`s and my mom`s DNA also. Just to give a reference too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alex, I`m so sorry you`re going through this. I know this has got to be just surreal in its hellishness. And I really want to stay on top of the story. Call us with any updates. We`re going to keep our viewers appraised as you search for your beloved brother. We hope you find him safe and sound.
On the other side of the break, we`re talking about "Teen Mom 2" star, in trouble, but also tying the knot. Why?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your "Viral Vid of the Day", around and around we go, where we stop nobody knows and, yes, there is a doggie who`s running this carousel. Just shows you that dogs love games and they`re pretty sophisticated when it comes to playing them. Yes, well done. Well done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From reality TV and tabloid fame to prison. Jenelle Evans has been a tabloid fixture for drug problems and multiple arrests.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Criminal charges have now made her more infamous. This young mother is accused of assault plus drug possession and breaking and entering in a separate incident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just has not been able to stay clean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight controversy swarms as MTV reality star Jenelle Evans ties the knot with her boyfriend of three months at a courthouse in North Carolina just hours after he was at the same courthouse reportedly facing charges. How convenient.
All of that however, taking a backseat to some new and very serious drug abuse claims. RadarOnline is claiming tonight that Jenelle was involuntarily committed into a mental health facility shortly after Thanksgiving. The teen mom star`s mother and sister according to RadarOnline claim that she was using heroin. Jenelle says nonsense; that she was in the hospital for some very valid medical reasons involving ovarian cyst and it was not drug related. So was this hospital stay for a legitimate medical procedure or is Jenelle hiding a darker more dangerous secret?
I want to hear from you. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Straight out to Alexis Tereszcuk from RadarOnline; Alexis, what is the latest with this troubled teen mom?
ALEXIS TERESZCUK, RADARONLINE: So as you said Jenelle actually went into the hospital. She had said that she had quite a lot of ovarian cysts and she needed surgery on them. She said she had eight of them. That is true, she was in the hospital.
But her mother and sister told us then that they had her involuntarily committed to an institution. They say that, you know, she was harmed -- she was going to be harming herself. They put her on a 72-hour hold and then she was allowed to check herself out.
Jenelle has absolutely denied this. She will not admit that this is why she was in the hospital. She, in fact, then she went to court this week with her fiance. His name is Courtland Rogers. They got married, quickie marriage in the magistrate`s office. But that was after actually he was in another courtroom and he was charged with a felony. So it`s been quite a week for Jenelle.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Now, 20-year-old Jenelle already has a staggering five arrests on her record. Remember, she`s a star because of "Teen Mom", "Teen Mom". She also has a little baby boy who her mother reportedly takes care of. We know she has had problems with drugs, at least according to the show. Take a look at this clip from "Teen Mom 2".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The probation officer came here and I asked her why you went to jail. And she said you had two violations on that drug test.
JENELLE EVANS, "TEEN MOM 2": You`re always blaming it on me, always.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what I think? I think that you`re going to be 20 in December and you`re acting like a 12-year-old. You`re on probation. You`re supposed to follow the rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We tried to reach Jenelle, her mother, her sister, nobody was talking but they`re all invited on our show. Jenelle has been arrested for breaking and entering and drug possession. She`s been involved in fights. She`s made threats. She was arrested for alleged stalking. She`s violated her probation and failed drug tests. And she even recently confessed to her attorney that she would rather serve time in jail than stay on probation because she can`t stop smoking marijuana on her own.
Jennifer Gimenez, Clean Center facilitator, actress, recovering addict -- you`re from "Sober House". You know all about the intersection of drugs and reality television. My gosh, this one is a very busy intersection indeed.
JENNIFER GIMENEZ, CLEAN CENTER FACILITATOR: Yes, it is really busy. You know, it`s very sad and it`s very frustrating for me to see a girl that`s 20 years old constantly, constantly just thinking that she can keep breaking the law and wanting to go to jail to serve some time so she can continue to smoke marijuana is not the answer. She will either end up spending a long time in jail and not be able to smoke marijuana, or she`s going to die. This girl -- at 20 years old has been arrested five times -- is a severe case of an addict.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side. Why are we glorifying these troubled teens and perhaps encouraging other American teens who might be actually good kids not doing any of this stuff in the wrong direction?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for "Pet o` the Day". Send your pet pics to hlntv.com/Jane. Lyra and Kit-Kit, what a combo. Bosco Butters, you give me the flutters, Bosco Butters. I love your sweater. And Charlie is just like the closer you get, the better you look. Yes, Charlie. I`m talking about you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: According to RadarOnline, both Jenelle`s mom and sister are claiming that she is doing heroin although she flatly denies it and says "I was in the hospital for ovarian cyst treatment." Either way, by the way, she is invited, mom, sis, all of you invited. I`d love to ask you some questions.
Why is she still on the show "Teen Mom 2"? First of all, she`s 20. She`s not a teen. We asked our Facebook page and 81 percent of you said she should no longer be on "Teen Mom 2".
Let`s go out to the phone lines. Morella, North Carolina, your question or thought, Morella.
MORELLA, NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Hi, Jane.
MORELLA: Jenelle is my favorite of the team moms. I`ve watched every episode of celebrity addiction and I just wonder -- I get the impression from Dr. Drew on TV that he is working with these teens. She`s been in rehab once already. Supposedly she was diagnosed with bipolar.
When I watch the show, I don`t see anything about any kind of ongoing therapy. I see her meeting with her parole office but she obviously needs a lot of help. And it just breaks my heart because she is so young. She has her whole life ahead of her. She needs intense therapy. She needs court-ordered intervention in a rehab for at least six months to make a difference in her life.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, certainly Dr. Drew cannot talk about it because of patient/doctor confidentiality if he is working in that regard. I can`t confirm that. What I can tell you unequivocally is that Jenelle has a beautiful little boy, Jace (ph), who is not being raised by her, probably a good thing, being raised by her mom. Take a look at this from "Teen Mom 2".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here she is. He misses you.
Where have you been Jenelle? Did you go to the (inaudible) concert?
EVANS: It was good. It was a lot of fun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I haven`t seen you. Today is Thursday. And I haven`t seen you since last Saturday night.
EVANS: I got arrested and then you wouldn`t come pick me up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What kind of role model is this? Are we glorifying drugs and irresponsible behavior among teen moms? Why are there shows like this? Is this encouraging other teenage American girls to behave this way?
We`re going to ask our experts on the other side.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is "Teen Mom 2" glorifying really bad behavior? 30 seconds each starting with Jennifer.
GIMENEZ: I do think it is glorifying bad behavior. I feel very bad for Jenelle. I do wish her the best. I do hope that she becomes willing to want to get better because there`s a child at stake; not only her but a child and a family. She deserves to give herself a shot.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And meanwhile, don`t do what she`s doing if you`re a young person out there. Alexis Tereszcuk -- your thoughts?
TERESZCUK: I completely agree. I think the thing about this show is that little girls are learning this is not the lifestyle you want. You don`t want a baby in high school. You don`t want to be arrested five times and you actually don`t want to marry your boyfriend 15 minutes after he is charged with a felony.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but unfortunately, televising all this bad behavior does have, perhaps the unintended effect of glamorizing it. And let me tell you, I can tell you as a person in recovery from alcoholism, 17 years sober, 18 April 1st if I make it there -- God willing. It is not glamorous. It is incomprehensibly demoralizing and not fun.
Nancy Grace is next.