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Paranoid Parents Kidnap Kids?

Aired September 27, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, it`s like something straight out of a horror movie. An unbelievable kidnapping case. Parents, both well- respected successful engineers, accused of suddenly kidnapping their own young sons and sailing with them in a boat to Cuba. Was this couple spiraling into madness?

Good evening, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. Thanks for joining me.


PATRICIA HAUSER, GRANDMOTHER OF KIDNAPPED BOYS: My son-in-law kidnapped my two -- my two grandchildren.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joshua and Sharon Hakken, waking up in a Florida jail facing state charges of kidnapping and child neglect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state received information that they were actually in Cuba.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see a boy playing on the top deck.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I saw Joshua Hakken get out of the boat. He asked me who I was. I said, "An American reporter." He confirmed who he was and then immediately got back in the boat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can easily see it, that she was taken advantage of. I know that her overall goal is just to get her kids back. She`s blaming herself for putting her kids through what they went through; putting herself through what she went through; her family, what they went through.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, stunning new video of the couple whispering and hugging inside the jail holding cell. But could there now be a rift between these two because of a new lover?

Cops say Sharyn and Joshua Hakken believe the government was trying to use mind control on them and poison their food. And the only way to save their family, including their 2- and 4-year-old sons, was to escape the United States by taking a sailboat on the high seas to Cuba.

The catch? They had already lost custody of their two young boys. So they had to kidnap the two kids from their own grandparents. They tied Grandma up, and she frantically called 911.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?

HAUSER: Yes, my -- my son-in-law kidnapped my two -- my two grandchildren. They`ve been in my -- state custody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happened behind closed doors that made these parents -- and look at this guy`s eyes -- both highly-trained engineers with a seemingly picture-perfect family, allegedly snap?

We have a fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel tonight, including the attorney for the mother of the two little boys as well as TV and radio host Michael Billy.

But first, we`ve got to start with the psychotherapist, Tiffanie Davis-Henry.

Dr. Tiff, how the heck do two seemingly normal successful engineers, homeowners, well-liked by their neighbors, who appear to dote on their kids, allegedly, all of a sudden both go crazy together?

DR. TIFFANIE DAVIS-HENRY, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, it`s not uncommon for people to have a separate life or a life that no one else knows about. And remember, they complained of -- or at least he did, paranoia. Which when you`re paranoid, Jane, you don`t tell anybody what`s going on upstairs. So paranoia, in and of itself, kind of makes people retreat and pull back and not expose all the things that are going on with them, except for that one person that you trust. And it seems like they were leaning kind of on each other with whatever paranoid delusions they had.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this whole saga, and it is so wild. If you put it in a movie, people would say, "Oh, that`s too crazy," but it erupted last year.

Cops were suddenly called to a Louisiana hotel. And they say this family of four -- those two with the kids -- holed up inside a hotel room surrounded by drugs and guns and that these two, Joshua and Sharyn, were rambling. And here are some quotes about completing their ultimate journey and saying they were traveling across the country to take a journey to the Armageddon. That sounds bizarre.

After that, they were arrested. The boys were put temporarily in foster care. And guess what? The dad, Joshua, tries and fails to kidnap his sons from the foster family at gunpoint, allegedly, and then the boys are moved to their maternal grandparents` home. They`ve tried to provide a normal life for the two boys. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just take one step at a time. Our focus has been on getting those boys. Now our focus is making sure that they -- they can go forward and they can lead a normal life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But then the dad, Joshua, allegedly kidnaps the boys from the maternal grandparents. And that`s when they all get in a boat and go to Cuba where they were caught.

All right. Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Listen, we`ve got an extraordinary guest tonight. We`ve got the attorney for the woman, the mother, Sharyn Hakken -- Hakken.

Bryant Camareno, thank you for joining us. Let`s go back to the beginning and try to solve this. These are two seemingly successful engineers: homeowners, middle class, no history of crime, no criminal record. Why do the cops decide to burst into this hotel, where they happen to be staying in Louisiana with their kids and discover them acting crazy, allegedly?

BRYANT CAMARENO, ATTORNEY FOR SHARYN HAKKEN (via phone): Well, first of all, I wanted to thank you for having me on the show. And you`re correct: I do represent Mrs. Hakken, and she has a master`s degree in engineering, a wonderful mother, wonderful wife.

And what prompted this all was that she had a blackout in Louisiana. She was involuntarily placed in a mental hospital. And so for about a week there, she was not knowing what was going on with her son, had no -- her sons. Had no idea what had happened to them. And then when she was released from the hospital is when she discovered that they had been placed in foster care.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, OK, we just got a statement for the attorney for the dad. This guy with the wild eyes and the beard. OK. Josh Hakken.

He said they were happily married, successful, professional engineers with absolutely no criminal record or history with the Department of Children Services when -- and this is from the attorney -- on a family road trip they spend the night in Louisiana. Quote, "When they woke up in the morning, Sharyn was in a mental hospital, Joshua was in jail, and the two little boys had been taken out of state. All of this over an allegation of personal use of marijuana. The only justification upon which the government took these children from their loving, caring parents was solely the misdemeanor possession of marijuana."

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Anna Young, criminal defense attorney, so the dad is trying to make it seem like they`re not crazy, they`re not hallucinating, they`re not acting in a bizarre fashion. They were smoking pot, and somehow the cops end up taking the kids away. Do you buy it?

ANNA YOUNG, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, let me just say this. First of all, I`ve been handling drug cases as a former prosecutor and as a defense attorney. Smoking pot does not cause this kind of reaction. Smoking pot alone will not cause this bizarre behavior.

I mean, if anyone is questioning whether they were mentally ill at the time, just look at a photo of their mug shots, and I think that would eliminate all doubt.

OK. What we`re talking about are so many bizarre statements. I mean, I know that Sharyn Hakken was saying that she was a ninja in the witness protection agent -- or witness protection program and that he had to beat her to beat out evil spirits.

I mean, at this point, Jane, I`m questioning whether -- not only whether were they were legally sane or insane at the time but their mental competence to stand trial. It`s just bizarre. It could be a movie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So this is not a case, in your opinion, of some parents smoking a little weed and getting a case of the munchies that this is far more serious.

According to court documents cops found in the Hakken`s home, the couple was paranoid. They thought the government was, quote, "using mind control initiatives." They also thought the government was hacking their commute -- computers, drugging their food and launching microwave radiation weapon attacks against them.

OK. With that, we must go back into the Lion`s Den. Michael Billy, you know, this is an era of surveillance. And there is so much debate and controversy and allegations surrounding government surveillance programs, how much snooping Uncle Sam is really doing on us, vis-a-vis all sorts of smart phones, computers, et cetera.

Do you think these controversies are actually working their way into hallucinations and paranoid fixations?

MICHAEL BILLY, TV AND RADIO HOST: You know, it`s made it`s way to water cooler discussions and what people talk around the coffee table. But by no means is the average person going to the extent and prolonged experience that these -- that this couple has gone through. I mean, smoking weed does not do something like this.

If it were to be a drug, it would have to be some heavy-grade narcotic to cause this type of break in somebody`s system. Look, and I speak as somebody who has used drugs and had a history of mental illness. I`ve been in rehabilitation several times. And this case looks to me like somebody who is experiencing an incredible bout of mental illness that hasn`t really been addressed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Brian Claypool, criminal defense attorney, can they mount, do you think, a successful defense saying, "Look, we`re good parents. We have no criminal record. Family Services has never been called. We`re engineers. We`re on a trip to Louisiana. Yes, we had some pot, but -- and weapons. But I mean, look, how many people walk around with weapons in this country, and look how many people smoke pot?"

Do you think they could, perhaps, launch a successful defense saying they weren`t doing anything really out of the ordinary and their kids were taken from them without warrant?

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, absolutely. I mean, this is -- they`re paranoid because they think the government came in and took their kids without any probable cause.

I actually have a case out here in California against Orange County Child Protective Services where a child was taken. And I got so many e- mails after that from people across the country where they`re telling me, "Hey, CPS services has taken my child. They don`t have evidence."

And I found out that, in some states, there`s a financial incentive for CPS to take children and place them into foster care. They get more federal funding. So I can see these parents...

BILLY: Oh, come on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You don`t buy it, do you?

BILLY: I don`t buy it. I don`t buy it at all. How many of these cases resulted in a -- in somebody at gunpoint? They had so many other chances.

CLAYPOOL: Smoking pot? You`re going to steal somebody`s kids for smoking pot?

BILLY: The minute they took those children with a gun is the moment they lost the concept of how to keep their children safe. There`s so many other choices than bringing a gun into a household and holding somebody at gunpoint.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at his eyes.

CLAYPOOL: No prior criminal record.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at his eyes.

CLAYPOOL: They both have great jobs.

DAVIS-HENRY: I think the major question here is what came first, the chicken or the egg? Did they have delusions before they started using drugs or did they use drugs as a way to self-medicate the delusions? I think it`s a viable question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, we`re going to continue this debate. We`re just getting started.

There`s another twist. Does the mom have a lover? Another woman she met behind bars? On the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... back and say they were subjected to microwave radiation weapon attacks which caused hallucinations, strange behavior. They believe their children were headed for the same fate.




OPPMANN: As soon as we got there and started filming, I saw Josh Hakken get out of the boat. He asked me who I was. I said I was an American reporter. He confirmed who he was and then immediately got back in the boat.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are the parents in a jail holding cell, hugging each other. And they are whispering to each other and basically trying to figure out how they`re going to get out of this huge jam. They are charged with kidnapping and all sorts of other things.

But now we`re hearing there`s a possible rift between these two. No more a united front. There are now claims that Sharyn may be having an affair with another woman who was a fellow female inmate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s facing three punishable by lives right now. And she can still wake up every day and do her yoga and stay positive. We`ll definitely keep writing each other. I need her support, and she needs a friend right now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So again, there are claims that Sharyn wrote a long love letter to this woman and even proposed marriage.

I want to go back to Bryant Camareno. You`re the attorney for Sharyn, the mother. Is she having a love affair with a female inmate? And if so, is that creating a rift in this mother/father/parents defense team?

CAMARENO: Well, there`s no rift at this point. We`re still a joint defense. He has his lawyer, and I`m representing Sharyn.

I saw the letter when it was provided as part of discovery. Quite candidly, I didn`t see any relevance to it, and I still don`t. It`s a private matter. I`ve never discussed it with her. And if she is having one, more power to her, to the extent that she can have one while inside jail and she and the other person is on the outside.

But I think at this point, I see no relevance. It doesn`t have any bearing, at least in my opinion, to the case at hand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what about the allegations that the husband, Josh, the father of the two boys, beat Sharyn, your client, the mother of the two boys, quote, "to purge spirits from her body and bring her back to reality," end quote. Did he beat her?

CAMARENO: As far as I can tell, he did. As far as I can tell. Remember, Ms. Hakken did, in fact, black out. So as far as I`m concerned, she did have bruises to her body, her neck and to her eyes. As far as I`m concerned, she did.

Now, she is currently undergoing some evaluation by a court-ordered psychologist. And once that report`s in hand, then we`ll know better what significance that beating had on the case. But, yes, I do stand by the fact that he may have, in fact, beat her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So Tiffanie Davis-Henry, Dr. Tiff, do you think, first of all, it`s irrelevant that she may be having a love affair with a female inmate?

And what about this claim now that the attorney for Sharyn is saying, yes, the documents that claim that he beat her to purge spirits from her, that that`s true?

DAVIS-HENRY: Well, in terms of her triple-B, her boo behind bars, I don`t think that that has anything to do with what happened prior to her getting behind bars.

She fell in love, it looks like, allegedly. She fell in love with someone while she was behind bars. And what it seems like to me, honestly, Jane, is that she might have had some paranoid delusions. Those things might have been substance induced. And if she`s been behind bars without access to those materials, the marijuana or whatever...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I jump in here, Tiff -- Dr. Tiff, looking at these pictures. And I have to say this is just my take on it. He looks...

DAVIS-HENRY: I see exactly what you see.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: His eyes are scaring me. Her eyes don`t really scare me as much.

DAVIS-HENRY: Right. Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are your thoughts on that?

DAVIS-HENRY: Well, I see the same thing that you see. I certainly see someone who has kind of a fixed gaze which really, I think, puts -- takes a lot of us back. With her, her affect seems a little flat. But I would imagine that, you know, I wouldn`t smile for my mug shot either.

YOUNG: What about -- what about the possibility...


YOUNG: What about the possibility -- right, Jane. What about the possibility of Stockholm Syndrome? What if she was...


YOUNG: What about...


YOUNG: What if she`s in a situation where she was under coercion. That he battered her and that he abused her and that he basically brainwashed her into thinking, "Well, you know what? I have an attachment to my abuser, so therefore, I`m not going to go and defend myself. I`m going to do whatever he says."

I mean, that`s something that definitely should be taken into consideration. And I applaud Mr. Camareno for having her be evaluated, not just for purposes of mental illness, but also to see if she is a victim of battered wife syndrome or, you know, Stockholm Syndrome.

CAMARENO: That`s why I had that done. That`s correct.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And let`s face it? I don`t think statistically, what are the chances of two people going mentally ill at exactly the same time and exactly the same way?

YOUNG: Here`s how that could happen, Jane. Here`s how it could happen. Here`s how it could happen. If that marijuana they were smoking were laced with something.

BILLY: There you go. There you go.

YOUNG: You could see psychosis happening at the same time.


YOUNG: But the fact that he`s behind bars is really good. The fact that they`re behind bars...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. We`re going to be right back. We have still more. It`s still unfolding. Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deputies say Joshua Hakken broke into the Hauser`s` home in Tampa. Patricia Hauser called for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nine-one-one, what is your emergency.

HAUSER: My son-in-law just kidnapped my two -- my two grandchildren. They`ve been in my -- state custody.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Knowing how she sees the positive in everything. I can easily see it, that she was taken advantage of.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say the couple broke into Sharyn`s parents` house, tied up her mother, and kidnapped their two kids. And then they went to a private boat slip near St. Petersburg, Florida, and set off for Havana, Cuba, inside a little sailboat, a distance of about 300 miles.

By the time Sharyn`s mother could call 911, the family of four already on the high seas. Luckily, they were spotted by a popular boat dock in Cuba. In fact, our own CNN producer saw them.


OPPMANN: I see a boy playing on the top deck and a man with a large beard really kind of a hulky guy comes out. I say, "Hey, are you Josh?" And he says, yes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, they both face charges of kidnapping, child neglect, false imprisonment, burglary and interference with custody.

Michael Billy, what`s fascinating is, they`re both engineers. She stopped working in 2011 to take care of the kids. Then they started their own company. So they`re becoming more isolated.

And then I thought this was fascinating. A neighbor said that Sharyn had offered him marijuana or offered the neighbor marijuana in front of her kids. "They were smoking pot, and they offered me some, at least his wife did. And Josh was like, `Don`t do that`."

What do you make of it?

BILLY: People smoke weed these days. Let`s take this off the table. I think you`re dealing with mental illness.

And it seems from the case that we`re talking about here, Sharyn does have a shot in hell about getting reduced charges. I mean, she was abused according to her husband. She has marks on her. She -- it could have been a joint delusion here. But I`m more focused on Josh. Both of them completely irresponsible.

But the weed aspect of this? I`m sorry, I mean I can count a bunch of people that I`ve seen do this type of thing all the time. It doesn`t add to this type of behavior. It`s got to be mental illness. My focus is on Josh.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. I think that whoever said that if the pot is laced with something and perhaps it was a gateway drug, I don`t know. But I think the idea of just saying that pot is, oh, no big deal; nothing to see here. I don`t buy it.

Christine, North Carolina, your question or thought briefly.

CALLER: Hey, thanks, Jane, for taking my call. You know, I think there`s probably a lot more to the story, too, that we`re not hearing yet. But I think that both parents are not capable of watching these kids.

Everybody`s making a big deal the marijuana and it`s not a big deal. Well, it is when you`ve got kids around, and they`re watching you pass it out to people. And like you said, it can be laced with anything. And they could also be in some kind of cult. That`s why they`re hearing these different sounds and, you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We have to go to break. Great comments, Christine, North Carolina, friend of the show. We`re going to stay on top of this.

Anybody involved in this case invited on our show any time. On the other side, she`s a popular principal. Accused -- Well, not really; they took it back -- of killing her husband?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A popular elementary school principal is accused of shooting and killing her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just -- it is out of character and very hard to believe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A school system, an entire community in shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To commit murder, what are the kids going to think?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question: Is it her and why if it is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I know, no complaints. Hard working.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As she was about to be formally charged, cops suddenly said, "Oops" and released her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news, a stunning new twist -- Yes, another one -- in that shocking murder mystery involving that highly respected, very popular elementary school principal.


Cops in California believe mother of three Jenae Chance, who was a very popular principal on leave right now brutally gunned down her husband of 17 years, dumping his body in a field, but they have not charged her. Tonight, we are learning that a gun, a pink towel and two handwritten notes were found inside her dead husband`s car. Is that key evidence to solving this case?

This very well-liked popular principal was arrested six days after farm workers discovered the body of her husband, Todd Chance, riddle with bullets in a fear near an almond orchard.

At the time, investigators say, hey, have evidence to prove that Jenae shot her husband twice in the chest and then ditched his car at an intersection, about 20 miles away from where the body was dumped.

But in a very strange twist, just hours before Jenae Chance was about to be formally charged, prosecutors suddenly said, "Whoops, never mind. Never mind, go on your merry way."

They let her go because they wanted to keep investigating, they said. Huh. Well, Chance, who is totally free but on paid administrative leave, at Fairview Elementary School did skip her husband`s funeral. Here`s a witness who claims -- claims, mind you -- she spotted her, Jenea Chance suspiciously dumping her husband`s car in the neighborhood that day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she parked the car and just left it. I figured it was a stolen vehicle. She never even looked back. She just got out and left.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to "The Lion`s Den". The big news is that "People" magazine reporting cops found notes along with the gun inside the car where they believe the husband was shot. So you hear notes, the first thought is well maybe suicide. But, of course -- and I`ll throw this out to Brian Claypool, criminal defense attorney -- people don`t riddle their own body with bullets and then dump themselves in a field and dispose of the car elsewhere. So I don`t think it could be suicide. What else could it mean?

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Jane, you`re right about that. But I`ve got news for you. It`s probably not Jenea Chance either and I`ll tell you why. She had DNA testing done. She had fingerprints taken from her. So you tell me how she drives the car out to the field, shoots her husband, writes up a couple of notes, puts the shell casings under the seat mat, puts the note in the trunk, drives the car back, gets out, walks home. And there`s none of her DNA in the car, none of the DNA on the body. You tell me that the cops have a problem with this case.


CLAYPOOL: You don`t have any forensic or physical evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and they could have a legal problem as in lawsuit. Because, remember, they have splattered her name all over in connection with this very vicious killing of her husband.


CLAYPOOL: Yes. And Jane I`m a civil rights lawyer and she needs to be hiring a civil rights lawyer for false arrest.

ANNA YUM, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely Jane, absolutely.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well guess what -- we`ve got her -- Go ahead Anna Yum.

YUM: She`s been saying the entire time that she adamantly defends herself. She`s innocent and her actions are corroborating what she`s saying. Brian is absolutely right. What kind of guilty person would subject themselves and say, "Ok, law enforcement, I`m going to give you my DNA swab. I`ll let you check for fingerprints knowing that a prosecution could be pending.

I mean this woman --


CLAYPOOL: A brilliant one. A brilliant one, that`s who.

YUM: No criminal history, right? And we still have students who have a --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That means nothing. No criminal history means nothing in terms of crimes of passion, you know.

YUM: Yes, but you think about --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because you don`t have like three crimes of passion. But let me say this, we`ve got the attorney for this woman on the phone. So let me set up her predicament and then we`re going to talk to her attorney to get the other side of the story or the full story.

Jenea claims she left with her husband -- or actually, I guess, she claims that her husband left alone to attend a gun show that morning. Here`s what investigators say. They say Jenea was with her husband in the car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do believe she is the person who drove his vehicle to that neighborhood and left it in that neighborhood and then walked away from the vehicle.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So cops say the principal and her husband left their home at about 7:30 in the morning. Now farm workers at the field where the body was found say there was no body at 7:30 in the morning. Almost two hours later, at around 9:30, cops are called to the almond orchard about 25 minutes away from the couple`s home because they have discovered the body.

So there`s a narrow window. 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to drop the body there. Now, cops find a .38 caliber revolver inside the husband`s car, two spent shell casings and a witness who says she sees Jenea walking away from the car that is essentially the crime scene.

So I want to go to Kyle Humphrey, the attorney for Jenea Chance, the principal. How is she explaining her whereabouts during this narrow window of 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.? When first the farm workers don`t see the body there, then they see the body there, where was she if she wasn`t in the car with her husband as police claimed?

KYLE HUMPHREY, ATTORNEY FOR JENEA CHANCE (via telephone): She provided a statement to the police that she was at home. And she also provided information that her two children and Todd`s children were there although they were both sleeping. And that she had a delivery from Vaughn`s early in the morning, some time between 10:00 and 12:00.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So why do you think, Mr. Humphrey, that cops will go out on a limb and say she was in the car, that she drove off that morning with her husband because certainly that would seem to be very incriminating, there`s the body found in the almond orchard. It`s about a 25-minute drive from the home. And then you have this witness who claims she saw Jenea walking away from the car where it was dumped.

Why do you think police are going out on a limb and making those kinds of accusations?

HUMPHREY: Unfortunately, the way that our system works, even in training professionals in law enforcement, we train them to act on assumption. We train them to always suspect the family first. That may be true that it happens frequently, but if you start down that path, you`re not going to change. And once you accuse somebody, it`s very difficult to unaccuse and go after the actual perpetrator.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got to say, Michael Billy, first they say they`re going to arrest her, they arrest her, they say they`re going to charge her and then they say never mind, go on your merry way while we keep investigating you. Do you see lawsuit here if it turns out that this attorney`s correct? That she`s at home the entire time?

MICHAEL BILLY, TV AND RADIO HOST: Sure. You`re setting the grounds for a civil lawsuit. I mean I`ve covered cases that go both ways. Sometimes, you know, police law enforcement can do something like this because the best way to draw out a killer is a false sense of security that somebody else is being blamed for it. Even if it`s that person they really do believe did it. You use the time to surveil them and understand what their daily life is and see if there`s any odd behavior.

So it`s not over until it`s over, of course. But you know, with something like this, it does lay the ground work for a strong civil lawsuit.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Cops say it was Jenea Chance who drove the 2011 Mustang and dumped it miles from their house after shooting him twice and then dumping his body in the field.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really don`t know what the motive is at this point. Hopefully we`ll be able to determine what the motivation was for this murder. But we`re confident that there`s enough evidence to show that Leslie Chance is responsible for Mr. Chance`s shooting death.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Inside the car, cops say they found a .38 caliber revolver and two spent shell casings under a floor mat, a note and a pink towel under the driver`s seat and then another note in the trunk. Cops are not saying what was written on those notes, but they are evidence in the case.

So back out to "The Lion`s Den". Kyle Humphrey, you`re the attorney for Jenea Chance, this popular principals who says "I`m innocent. I didn`t do it." So who had reasons to kill her husband? Did he have enemies? Why was he according to her going to some kind of gun show?

HUMPHREY: Well, he did like to shoot. So it was no big deal for him to go to a gun show. That`s pretty popular out here. The real problem is that because we don`t know who would`ve wanted him injured or killed, nobody wants to entertain the reality that it was to be anything from a random carjacking to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the report covering the discovery of the .38, the affidavit for the search warrant even the police mentioned that they want to investigate the possibility of some type of carjacking. And, you know, that is as good as an explanation as we`ve been able to come up with so far for Todd being killed.


BILLY: Don`t you think it takes a lot more sophistication? Don`t you think it takes a lot more sophistication for someone who is doing a carjacking to leave behind any DNA evidence? I mean it seems like a bit more calculated than just a random carjacking where a body is found far, far away from the car.

HUMPHREY: Well, yes, but it`s certainly not Jenea Chance. You have no witnesses in this case, you have no physical evidence and you have no forensic evidence and you have no motive. The police have admitted that, yet the police are out there saying we`re confident it`s her. That`s comical.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We got to leave it right there. I will say we`re going to stay on top of this case. I want to thank Mr. Humphrey for joining us. And it`s so great to be able to get the other side to this story. And we`re going to see what happens with this very popular principal.

On the other side, we are all together going to come to the rescue of this beautiful, beautiful creature. Puppy Doe was brutally murdered. And there is a hunt for the sadist who beat her and tortured her. And together we`re going to solve this case.

Stay right there, animal lovers. This segment`s for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t fathom anyone doing that. It`s unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can only think that someone who could do that to an animal can do it to a person and that`s scary.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Check out this melee outside the courthouse in Maine. An all-out brawl broke out after a judge granted a suspect a plea deal on a lesser charge of manslaughter. The fisticuffs were between the supporters of the defendant and supporters of the murder victim. Police are reviewing this footage right now to see if anybody should be charged with assault. Crazy.

We`ll be right back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, our "Animal Investigations Unit" is taking on the case of a dog just like you little Rico, but this dog was gruesomely beaten, nearly to death, this beautiful pit bull found near a playground in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was only one or two years old, but she weighed half of what she should`ve.

The vet who examined her says this wasn`t abuse this was torture. Listen.


DR. MARTHA SMITH-BLACKMORE, ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE: There was beating, beating, beating over and over again in the same area. And then some of the joints that are dislocated look as though they`ve been pulled apart. She wasn`t able to stand or walk. She had broken ribs. She had broken bones in her spine. She had crushed cheekbones. She had burns to her nose. She was stabbed in the eye.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This poor animal suffered more than 17 injuries during her short lifetime. A woman who claims she was the dog`s original owner said she was forced to give her up. She put her up for adoption on Craigslist. She claims that the woman she handed Puppy Doe over to seemed wonderful and sent her updates. Those updates stopped in July.

Now, authorities are on the hunt for the sadist who did this. They have few leads. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone who would go to that great length over a period of time to abuse an animal more than likely will do that again to another animal or, worse, to an individual.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If this horrifying story makes you angry, we`re also going to tell you how you can help prevent inhumane treatment of nine billion other animals. And they happen to be farm animals. We`ll tell you about that in one second.

Straight out to my very special guest Martha Smith-Blackmore of the Animal Rescue League of Boston. This Puppy Doe case is inspiring vigils; 37,000 likes on Facebook; and most importantly, a look at the problem with putting dogs up on social media and say, here, I can`t keep her anymore, you take her, right?

SMITH-BLACKMORE: It`s true. Everybody has been just absolutely horrified by what happened to this one dog.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. What`s happening in terms of I understand that law enforcement is taking this very seriously. And they are treating this like a crime case, which it is, and they are on the hunt for these suspects or suspect. Tell us.

SMITH-BLACKMORE: Absolutely. Absolutely. They`re taking this case extremely seriously. They`re following a number of leads and I have great hopes that this case is going to be solved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, it`s very sad to imagine our precious pets being tortured as horrifically as Puppy Doe was. But billions of animals are abused every day. Pigs have a higher IQ than dogs, but the Humane Society says they are routinely tortured on factory farms.

Martha Stewart just weighed in on factory farm abuse. She said, quote, "These animals have committed no crime yet they`re treated worse than even the most violent criminals would be treated. No prisoner in our state or country for that matter is kept in a cage so small he cannot turn around for months on end. This is torture," end quote.

So look at these pigs crammed into gestation crates so tiny they can never turn around. Now, the current farm bill contains -- the one that`s being proposed, something called the King Amendment.

Straight out to Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States; why do you want Americans to call their member of congress and their senator and say vote no on the King Amendment?

PAUL SHAPIRO, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: Jane, animal cruelty is always wrong whether the victim is a dog or a cat or a chicken or a pig. And in the meat industry, animal cruelty is rampant. Unfortunately, we now have an effort in the congress by Iowa Republican Steve King to wipe out state anti-cruelty laws, laws that are designed to prevent the type of abuses that we`re seeing on the screen right now. If anything, we need more laws to prevent animal cruelty, not fewer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We reached out to Representative King for comment. First of all, he called the Humane Society of the United States the vegan lobby. Hmm, that`s interesting. I`m a vegan and I have -- a lot of pride about that. He went on to say "In no way does my amendment affect state animal welfare laws. My amendment only says a single state cannot impose their state law on any other state."

Your response to that, Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States.

SHAPIRO: Jane, it`s simply hogwash. A wide array of organizations from the Humane Society of the United States to the Fraternal Order of Police to the National Sheriffs Association are saying enough is enough, this King Amendment has got to be killed. States have the right to protect animals from cruelty. The congress should kill the King Amendment and do it now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rico, we have to expand our circle of compassion to all animals. Most animals in America are farm animals, nine billion of them.

Stay right there. We`ll be back in a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It rips my heart out. I can`t fathom anyone having -- anyone doing that. It`s unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can only think that someone who could do that to an animal could do it to a person and that`s scary.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to

Lily -- you are a little silly but I love you, anyway. And Punky -- all right. You`re a little bit funky today but I think you`re fabulous. And Roo, you are just an angel. You are very much a beautiful animal. Lucy and Desi -- well, we`ve got little Rico right here. We should all get together.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would they do it? Defenseless -- just like a little kid. Whoever did it -- I don`t care whether it`s the owner or some our nut, put them in jail and throw the key away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the wake of Puppy Doe`s tragic death, there`s been so much support from the online community -- so many people expressing their love for Puppy Doe. There`s been controversy also about Craigslist pet adoption section. A petition to shut down that section has almost 40,000 signatures and essentially the complaint is Craigslist is anonymous and it`s a quote, "could be a go-to source for animal abusers looking for victims."

Craigslist responded claiming their pet adoption section has saved countless pets from euthanization, from being put down, from being killed. Martha Smith-Blackmore, what do you want to see happen?

SMITH-BLACKMORE: Well, it`s important that people always plan for their pets. You know, you never know when there`s going to be an unforeseen circumstance where you might have to give up an animal. So you ought to have a plan for what`s going to happen well before some kind of personal disaster arises. And that includes getting to know your local animal shelters, which ones have high-quality programs that you can rely on to do the right thing with your pet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t ever give your pet away to a stranger.

Paul Shapiro, expanding our circle of compassion to pigs, these pigs have a higher I.Q. than these little dogs right here. They`re sentient beings. If you did this to a dog it will be to be tortured. What do you want people to do specifically?

SHAPIRO: People should visit and find out how you can contact your member of Congress and urge him or her to kill this King Amendment. No animal deserves to be tortured whether a pig or a chicken or a dog or a cat.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One day we`ll look back on this and say, what were humans doing in the 21st century that billions, nine billion, farm animals treated like this, and there are so few protections. And so the Humane Society is saying, call your senator, call your representative, member of Congress, and say, no to the King Amendment.

Remember, we have to speak for these animals. They have no voice. And of all the animal, farm animals are the most voiceless. Imagine living like that your whole life never able to turn around. It`s obscene.

Together, I know, Americans are decent people. We care about animals. We`re going to make a change.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at this beautiful creature -- tortured. Tortured to the point where she had to be, I don`t like to say put down. I don`t like to say euthanasia. I like to say unfortunately she had to be killed, because she was just too, too brutalized.

Martha Smith-Blackmore, Americans are decent people. We love our animals. And yet you see something like this, and you say, oh, my gosh. What are people capable of? Do you see Americans expanding their circle of compassion to all animals? Is there a bigger lesson here?

I think that people have a -- I hope that people have a growing awareness that animals suffer and animals feel pain, and that it`s each are our responsibility to be the voices for those animals. And when we suspect an animal in our community may be suffering at the hands of a human being, or at the neglect of a human being, we need to speak out. We need to make the calls and make the call to action, to intervene on behalf of that animal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I say we need to speak for all animals. So this is an opportunity to speak out for Puppy Doe and for all of those animals who have no name.

Nancy is up next.