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Mom Tosses Newborn Out 2nd Story Window; 4-Year-Old Goes Missing From Dad`s SUV; Father Accused of Injecting Heroin to 4-year-old Son; Missing Special Child
Aired October 10, 2013 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VINNIE POLITAN, GUEST HOST: Breaking news tonight. To East St. Louis, Illinois. She secretly gives birth in the bathroom, wraps her infant boy in a towel, then allegedly throws the newborn from the second floor window. Her next stop not the hospital, not the police station, she allegedly goes out on a date.
And to Oakland, California, 21-month-old Daphne Webb left with grandma in a Ford SUV while her father heads into a store. He comes back and Daphne`s gone, kidnapped from her carseat. But the family reportedly says they haven`t seen the baby girl for two weeks before she`s reported missing.
Doctors and nurses at a Seattle ER do everything to save a patient overdosed on heroin. There`s just one problem, the patient is only 4 years old. Cops say his own father, angry over a divorce, injects the little boy in the neck with a deadly heroin cocktail.
Stunning surveillance video shows a teen boy with autism who cannot verbally communicate leaving his school completely unnoticed. Tonight, the frantic search for missing Avante (ph).
Good evening. I`m Vinnie Politan from HLN`s "AFTER DARK," in for Nancy Grace. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
First we go to east St. Louis, Illinois. A 23-year-old mother secretly gives birth in a bathroom, then cops say, she throws the infant boy out of the window, then heads out on a date.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The 23-year-old woman gave birth to a baby boy in a bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She threw the baby out of the window, second floor window.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then left the house as if nothing had happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She left and she went on a date.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The woman hours late complained of pain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The East St. Louis police arrived on the scene and found the infant wrapped in a towel, lying in weeds and brush along the side of a vacant house next door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to her, the baby wasn`t breathing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Criminal charges still have not been filed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLITAN: So no criminal charges filed, yet this mom is heading out on a date after allegedly throwing her baby out the window?
Let me go to investigative reporter Brett Larson. Brett, let`s start with this mom.
BRETT LARSON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Right.
POLITAN: And what do we know about her? And who`s she going on a date with?
LARSON: Yes. We know little bit about her in that she`s -- you know, she`s living in this house. She apparently gives birth to this baby in the same house. People in the house may or may not have been aware of whether or not she was giving the baby -- or...
POLITAN: Well, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!
POLITAN: There`s people in the house. I mean, is this...
LARSON: There are people in the house.
POLITAN: Is this the world`s largest -- is this a mansion? Is she giving birth in Oprah`s house? How do people not know someone`s giving birth inside this home?
LARSON: Very valid question, how do you not know that someone is upstairs giving birth to a baby in her bathroom that`s off of her bedroom? And after doing so, she tosses it out the window -- no one seems to notices that -- and then heads out on a date with someone she`s dating or going out with, only to come back and then complain that she`s in pain, more than likely from giving birth to the baby.
POLITAN: Wow! Wow. Dr. Bill Manion, medical examiner, is with us. And one thing that we heard here, Bill, was that the cause of death undetermined here. How much -- are you going to be able to figure out if this was a stillbirth, if the child died of some sort of natural causes through childbirth itself, versus being tossed from a second floor window?
DR. BILL MANION, NEW JERSEY MEDICAL EXAMINER (via telephone): Well, yes, I think with the pathology (INAUDIBLE) if -- if -- if the baby breathed, then air would come into the lungs, and in fact, the lungs will float when we put them in formalin. That`s the first test that we run.
If the lungs -- if the lungs sink in fluid, it implies that the baby was stillborn, the baby never took a breath, and therefore has amniotic fluid in its lungs, and so the lungs will sink in the fluid.
We look for other things, like was there any hemorrhaging? There are small hemorrhages called tardieu spots -- T-A-R-D-I-E-U -- which we can see on the surface of the heart and lungs. And generally, we`ll try to see if the baby has bled in any way. That would indicate life.
POLITAN: Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst, author of "Dealbreakers," post- partum depression -- is that something that can occur instantaneously right after childbirth, or is there something else going on here?
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, I mean, in this case, I wouldn`t say post-partum depression, I would say post-partum psychosis.
But that is not the first thing I would evaluate for in this case. Murderous mom, as is typical with most mothers who kill their newborns, was not connected to the baby when the baby was in her tummy. In fact, this mother was so disconnected from the baby, she didn`t want an abortion, she didn`t plan for an adoptive parent, she didn`t plan to give it away to a safe baby haven. She just wanted this baby gone.
And in fact, the research on these kinds of moms tell us that these moms want to get rid of the baby so badly that they actually deny the fact that they`re pregnant. They don`t even know that there`s a thing -- I mean, they think of it as a thing growing inside of them. So when they finally give birth, it`s like something foreign came out of them, and they are desperate to get rid of it.
The sad truth is, Vinnie, this murderous mom was more connected to her date than she was to her own baby. However, the fact that she tossed the baby out of a window wrapped in a blanket tells me there were mental health problems. But I think those mental health problems led her to deny the pregnancy, rather than leading to some kind of a post-partum psychosis which made her homicidal.
POLITAN: Marc Klaas, president and founder of Klaas Kids Foundation, some of the troubling facts in this case, though, are she`s not -- she`s not 100 percent truthful, seemingly, from the outside, some level of a cover-up. And for me, that tells me some level consciousness of guilt. She knows what she`s doing.
MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: And remember, Vinnie, she had a swelling belly for nine months, an increasingly swelling belly. She knew that she was pregnant.
This is just -- this is an atrocious act for this woman to have committed. As Bethany said, there were many options open to her. She failed to taken any of them, and as a result, a little baby is dead. And unfortunately, this woman is going to have to go to prison for many years.
POLITAN: Loni Coombs, former LA County prosecutor, no charges yet in this case. What are we waiting for here, do you think?
LONI COOMBS, FMR. LA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Well, Vinnie, it`s crucial to know whether the baby was dead, stillborn, or whether it died from being thrown out the window because if the baby was stillborn, to be very crassly succinct, you can`t kill a dead body. So if the baby was already dead, the fact that she still threw it out the window, she can`t be charged with murder or manslaughter because the baby was already dead. So they`re waiting to find out the toxicology report, the autopsy to find out what did the baby actually die of.
If it was alive when she threw it out the window, she could be looking at murder or manslaughter charges. If it was already passed at that point, if it was stillborn, she could still be filed on for concealing a birth, failing to report a death or improperly disposing of a body. But those are obviously much lesser charges than the murder or manslaughter charges.
POLITAN: Mike Gottlieb, criminal defense attorney, let`s talk about the date for just a moment here. How do you -- if she ever gets charged in this case, how do you explain that to a jury?
MIKE GOTTLIEB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I`m going to defer to the doctor that we just heard from. It sounds like this was a woman who was operating under an active psychosis at the time. She has no attachment to the baby. She`s living in sort of a fantasy world. It sounds like a classic case of insanity, somebody who doesn`t appreciate the consequences of their actions, somebody who doesn`t know right from wrong.
I mean, you simply wouldn`t go out on a date. It doesn`t make sense. It`s illogical, it`s insane to go on a date immediately after giving birth, whether the baby`s alive or dead. It just doesn`t make sense. And I think the doctor`s right, this was a woman acting under an active psychosis.
POLITAN: Brett Larson, investigative reporter, what was she telling people? What was she telling investigators? Did she have a story? Did she have an explanation? Was she covering up the fact that she threw the baby, allegedly, out of the window from the second floor?
LARSON: We do not think that she was even trying to cover this up. When the ambulance came to get her after her date, when she was complaining of pain, she allegedly told the paramedics that she had thrown the baby out. The date also informed them that she had thrown the baby out, just tossed it there in the weeds.
And then the police came -- several hours after they took her away, the police came and did find the baby wrapped in a towel just tossed out like garbage in the weeds.
POLITAN: All right, Loni, if you had a chance to question this woman, what -- where would you go to try to figure out exactly what happened here?
COOMBS: Well, you know, there`s a lot of questions to go through on this. I mean, this woman, whether it`s psychosis or whether it`s just this really heightened sense of self-entitlement, and I don`t care and lack of empathy -- she`s 23 years old. She says that she thought the baby wasn`t breathing at the time she threw him over the balcony. And yet she doesn`t tell anybody.
She goes back into a bathroom, supposedly, in this house with people around and gives birth to the baby. She`s going to know that is a baby. That is a human being there. She doesn`t go tell anybody. She doesn`t ask for help. She doesn`t say, Let`s call the doctor. She doesn`t say, Let`s call the police, or what do I do now that I have this baby, even if she thinks it`s dead. Instead, she wraps it in a towel, which is interesting, so there`s some sense of protecting the baby in that way, and then throws it over the balcony.
I mean, she could have put it on the bed, hid it in the closet. I mean, I would go through all of these questions about, Why did you do this? Why did you do that? And really pull from her what she was thinking and what kind of intent was really going on in her head.
She didn`t seem to have a problem talking about it later to the paramedics, which was also very strange. But maybe she was thinking more about herself because at that point, she was experiencing distress. They were coming to help her. And they probably said, you know, What`s happened to you? And so she`s, like, Well, you know, I did give birth, you know, a couple hours ago, so maybe you should take that into account when you`re helping me.
POLITAN: Brett, is there anything more to this? I mean, is this a woman that`s got issues with drugs?
POLITAN: Do you know anything about the toxicology here? I mean, seems that there`s got to be something else going on here.
LARSON: Police have said she definitely has some sort of mental problems and she does have a history of drug abuse, which may well be playing into this craze (ph) to just toss a baby out instead of getting help for it.
And she brought -- you just brought up an interesting point. She has the wherewithal to get an ambulance and seek help, medical help for herself, but in giving birth to this baby, whether or not it was alive when it was born, doesn`t have the thought to say, Well, maybe I should get help for this baby that I just gave birth to.
POLITAN: Coming up next, the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a 21-month-old baby girl. Her father says she`s kidnapped from his SUV, but the family reportedly says they haven`t seen baby Daphne for weeks.
POLITAN: We go to Oakland, California, 21-month-old Daphne Webb left with grandma in a Ford SUV while her father heads into a store. He comes back, and little Daphne is gone, kidnapped from her carseat. But the family reportedly says they haven`t seen the baby girl for two weeks before she`s reported missing. So where is baby Daphne?
Let`s bring in Sergeant James Gantt from the homicide division, Oakland Police Department, in charge of this investigation. Sergeant, let`s begin with this. What`s the latest?
SGT. JAMES GANTT, OAKLAND POLICE (via telephone): We are still actively searching for Daphne Webb. It`s still a missing persons case at this time, as well as a parallel homicide investigation. So we have two components to the investigation.
POLITAN: So with two components, are there two different teams that are actively involved in the investigation?
GANTT: Yes, sir.
POLITAN: And have there been leads?
GANTT: I`m not going to say that there`s been too many leads. We`ve been getting information here, but it`s very sporadic at this time, yes.
POLITAN: All right, Henry K. Lee, reporter, "San Francisco Chronicle," author of "Presumed Dead," a true life murder mystery. Henry, great to see you again. The story here, right? Dad goes into the store, left with grandma, but grandma -- she`s suffering medically, right?
HENRY K. LEE, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": That`s right. She suffers from dementia. So the father of Daphne Webb, John Webb, says that when he returned from the store from getting a drink, little Daphne was gone. The child seat was slightly moved. And there`s been no trace of her since. Today would have been her 2nd birthday.
POLITAN: That`s right, that`s today. Henry, how about this, though. Weren`t there people in the area who say they saw a woman with a little girl?
LEE: That`s right. There were unconfirmed reports of that sighting, Vinnie. But in that part of town, obviously, there`s a lot of children, a lot of young women. That lead has not panned out as far as being specifically viable.
POLITAN: All right, let`s bring in a family member. Roslyn Robinson is the missing girl`s great aunt. Roslyn, thanks so much for joining us. And obviously, all of us here and all the viewers are hoping for a happy outcome here.
What does the family think right now? What do you think happened here, Roslyn?
ROSLYN ROBINSON, GREAT AUNT (via telephone): Thank you for having -- having me on the show. I appreciate that. The family -- I mean, it`s kind of -- it`s a hard pill to swallow. You know, like you were saying, Daphne`s been missing now for 90 days today. And she turned 2 today, as well.
The way that the father describes what happened and what took place, in my opinion -- and I`m just speaking for me -- it doesn`t add up. It sounds suspicious to me. He was the last person to have seen her, to have been with her.
And I`m here now at the location where she was reported missing, and you know, to have someone walk up and snatch a baby out of a car with an adult present, whether she has a medical history or not, you`re still her an adult, unless you knew her, you wouldn`t know that, you know, something was wrong.
For someone to snatch a baby out of a car at this particular location in broad daylight, it just -- it doesn`t make sense to me. So the whole story sounds suspicious to me.
POLITAN: Roslyn, have you spoken with Daphne`s dad?
ROBINSON: No. I don`t -- I don`t -- I didn`t have a relationship with Anthony prior to this, and so I didn`t -- no, I haven`t spoken to him.
POLITAN: Sergeant, how about from your perspective? Is Daphne`s dad cooperating in this investigation?
GANTT: I really don`t want to get into that at this time, sir, because it`s still an open investigation, and I don`t want to jeopardize the investigation.
POLITAN: Absolutely understand that. Marc Klaas, from your perspective here -- I mean, the hopes are is that this child was abducted because that would provide an opportunity (INAUDIBLE) that Daphne`s alive. What are your thoughts?
KLAAS: Well, I think that the story is all too convenient. He managed to park someplace where there should be no surveillance cameras, so everything is dependent upon what he says. I believe that Daphne`s father deserves a lot more scrutiny.
POLITAN: Mike Gottlieb, defense attorney, he is not suspect at this moment. What would you advise him, though, if he came to you and said, Listen, my child is missing? He should cooperate fully, right? He`s not a suspect.
GOTTLIEB: Well, you know, it`s always -- it -- of course, he`s not a suspect, but it`s always difficult to cooperate with the police when you might become a suspect. And nobody knows what`s going to happen to him.
So you know, I`m always of the -- I always feel that we should give the best advice, and the best advice is keep quiet, assert your 5th Amendment privilege, your right to remain silent. Cooperate with the police but to a point because there`s going to come a point in time where somebody`s going to want to twist and turn your story, just as we heard that he parked in a convenient place where there was no cameras. Well, how do we know that he knew that there was a convenient place with no cameras?
So I think it`s very difficult. You want to be cooperative, but to a point, you want to keep your mouth shut.
POLITAN: When we come back, more on the mystery kidnapping of 21-month-old Daphne Webb.
POLITAN: We`re talking about the mystery of missing 21-month-old Daphne Webb. Was the baby girl really kidnapped from her dad`s car in broad daylight? Look at that little girl, so cute, so beautiful, but missing tonight.
Henry K. Lee from "The San Francisco Chronicle," we are talking a lot about Dad. We talked about grandma. But how about Daphne`s mother? Where was she, and what do we know about her?
LEE: Well, Kiana (ph) is the mother of Daphne, and she is not a suspect in this case. She has appeared publicly with Marc Klaas and others at vigils and at functions in support of finding her daughter. She was -- had suffered from some drug rehab issues, but the family of Kiana is saying, you know, that is not the focus of our efforts right now. We want to find out where Daphne is.
POLITAN: Roslyn Robinson, Daphne`s great aunt, the search -- is the family frustrated in where we are now? Does the family think that a search could lead to a happy ending, a reunion, where Daphne is reunited with her mom and reunited with her dad and her family?
ROBINSON: The family has -- well, the family hasn`t done a search, but the Oakland Police Department did do a search back in September. The family has been -- we passed out flyers immediately after Daphne was reported missing. We passed out flyers in the area that she was reported missing. We passed out flyers in the area where her parents reside in Oakland.
So yes, we are -- there is hope of bringing Daphne home and having a reunion with her. So I mean, the problem is, you don`t know where to search at this point. We`ve marched (ph) the grounds in Oakland, downtown Oakland, East Oakland, Oakland Hills. You know, we`re kind of at a loss as to what to do next or where to go or who to turn to.
POLITAN: Bethany Marshall, let me ask you something. A 4-year-old girl goes missing. What`s going through her mind if she was abducted by absolute strangers?
MARSHALL: Well, I mean, primarily, there`s going to be confusion. She has no way to make sense, in terms of what`s happening to her. I mean, her whole world has already been turned upside down. She`s been taken away from her mother. So what does that tell us? One attachment system has been destroyed, and now she`s with another, and then that`s been destroyed, too.
POLITAN: Coming up next, a 4-year-old little boy ends up in the ER, overdosed on heroin. The prime suspect, his own father.
POLITAN: A patient rushed to the ER, overdosed on heroin. There`s just one problem. The patient is only 4 years old. Cops say his own father, angry over a divorce, injects the little boy in the neck with a deadly heroin cocktail, that father now facing attempted first degree murder charges.
Let me go to Jill Ryan, news anchor for Newstalk 92.3 KTAR. Jill, give us more of the back story here because when I hear about a divorce -- and I know that in a courthouse, the most dangerous courtrooms are the ones where people are going through family issues, as opposed to the criminal courts.
And is this a case that this was a bitter divorce and Mom was going to move away with this child?
JILL RYAN, NEWS ANCHOR, NEWSTALK 92.3 KTAR: Well, it`s a situation where we know that the father, 37-year-old Eric Lehtinen had a history of drug addiction. He was described in court documents as being a drug dealer in addition to being an addict. So there was obviously some trouble there. We also know there was trouble on the home front and that the wife Saradia had actually written in the custody agreement that any visitation with the father, Eric, would include drug testing so that she knew her little boy was going to be safe.
POLITAN: So mom knew that dad had a history here. Now why did mom leave the child with dad knowing this history?
RYAN: Well, I think she was trying to protect. Everything that we`ve seen so far indicates she was trying to protect her son. She was actually living in San Francisco and was planning on relocating and, in fact, had a job interview in Seattle, so she left the little boy with her father - with his father overnight so that she could actually go to the job interview, and she had tried to reach them and wasn`t able to. And that`s when she actually went over to the house.
POLITAN: Joe Schrank, interventionist, founder of Rebound Brooklyn.
Joe, let me ask you. If someone is a drug addict and they have issues and perhaps they are using, and they`re taking care of their child, could they be under the influence of these drugs to such an extent that they don`t know what they`re doing in bringing harm to their own child or is that impossible in this situation and he knew what he was doing?
JOE SCHRANK, INTERVENTIONIST, FOUNDER OF REBOUND BROOKLYN: It`s unlikely that he didn`t know exactly what he was doing. I mean, heroin addiction is a very serious addiction. And it`s something that people are more than likely, people who are under the influence of heroin are nodding out. And so it seems like a fairly calculated act.
I would question the judgment of the mother. I mean, the idea of leaving your child, a 4-year-old child with somebody with any kind of history of heroin addiction when she doesn`t know his current state is irresponsible and she`s complicit in this.
POLITAN: Mike Gottlieb, I just want to go to you, and Mark, Loni and I are all going to listen very closely to what you have to say here. I mean, is -- do you see any defense for this man?
MIKE GOTTLIEB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, absolutely. We see cases like this all the time where individuals have -- you know, he`s probably got bipolar disorder, or a chronic depressive disorder, anxiety over perhaps losing his child. He`s clearly self-medicating with a cocktail of different drugs. I heard cadamine, cocaine, heroin, I don`t know how anyone could say this is a person who is in their right state of mind.
First of all, if he`s diagnosed with a major mental health disorder and he`s self-medicating, I`m suspect that he could -- there`s no way that he knows the difference between right and wrong, the nature and the consequences of his actions.
I do understand that it`s somewhat goal directed and that argues against insanity. But there`s just no way, given the nature of the family law case as you were saying, the high emotions, the depression, the longstanding drug history, I don`t think he was in his right frame of mind, absolutely not.
POLITAN: All right. Marc, I`ll let you start off. And I don`t know how someone doesn`t know they are injecting their own child in the neck with heroin.
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Well, Vinnie, of course he knew what he was doing. This was classic revenge. She was leaving him. The divorce was going to be finalized. He was taking his vengeance out on her. He was using the child as a weapon against the woman who had scorned him and was leaving him. It`s as simple as that. He knew what he was doing.
POLITAN: Joe Schrank, is there a way to speak to an addict after the fact about an incident like this to understand what they knew and what was going on at that moment? Is there a way that you can tell or ascertain whether an addict has a recollection? And --
SCHRANK: Well, look -- addicts are notorious for not taking responsibility for anything. I mean, his story is going to be he was out of his mind, he was high on heroin, he didn`t know, so on and so forth. That will be -- look, anybody, any of us who work with addicts, most people in America know somebody with some kind of addictive impairment. They understand, you know, anything that starts with -- which is one of the things I read in the paper is that the mother knew that she -- that he had a history of addiction, but he told her that he was not using.
I mean, really? A heroin addict told you he wasn`t using and you just went ahead and thought that that was OK to let your kid go into that house? So he`s going to deny it. There`s no question about it. He`ll play the "I was out of my mind" card. There really isn`t any sort of way, if there were no eyewitnesses.
But the truth is, like that is a calculated thing. It isn`t -- he slipped on the needle. The guy cooked the heroin, he put it in the syringe and he injected somebody with it. And so there is an element of choice here to be sure. And there is an element of responsibility.
Also this also sounds like more than addiction. It sounds like some kind of psychosis. People -- heroin addicts don`t -- look, they don`t want to share their heroin with anybody, their 4-year-old or anybody else. So this was purely addictive act and he was just out of his mind, this seems much more calculating to me than that. So I don`t -- I wouldn`t buy anything that he says.
POLITAN: Loni Combs, how difficult is this going to be? Because you`ve got a criminal defendant who himself was under the influence, was overdosed on these drugs.
LONI COMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Right, but he made that choice. He was under the influence because he decided to take those drugs. I would love to take this case as a prosecutor. Look, as it was pointed out, he`s an addict. They`re very manipulative and expert liars. So anything that he says about this you cannot trust. This is not just a happenstance. It was on the day that the divorce was final, that he tried to stop. So there`s a reason and motive for it happening on this date.
And not only was he just shooting up anybody, it was his child, and a 4- year-old child. Anyone who has a 4-year-old or experience with a 4-year- old knows they`re not going to just sit there and get stuck with a needle. This child was probably screaming, crying. He had to forcefully not only shoot him in the neck but also in the buttocks several times before they both passed out, essentially.
So there`s clear intent behind it. It`s not just oh, you know what, I`m just going to shoot up whoever is around me. And there`s a reason for it to happen on the day it happened. So I think a jury is not going to have a problem seeing it`s a very intentional act by this person whether he happened to be high or not.
POLITAN: Loni, I agree. I think timing is everything in this case. And you talk about the divorce being finalized. That`s the day he chooses to do what he does, tells me a lot about what happened here.
When we come back, more on the father accused of injecting his 4-year-old son in the neck with heroin.
POLITAN: Welcome back. Cops say a father angry over his divorce wants to get back at his estranged wife, so he injects their 4-year-old son in the neck with heroin. It`s a miracle, the 4-year-old survives, but dad is facing attempted first-degree murder.
Jill Ryan is with us, news anchor from KTAR 92.3.
Jill, how about the scene? Because the mother discovered her child and her estranged husband OD`d. What was the scene that she describes seeing when she went to go find her child?
RYAN: So Saradia went -- she was actually trying to reach her ex, Eric, on the phone. And when he didn`t answer the phone, she actually drove over to get the son. And she walked into the bedroom when they didn`t answer the door. And she found the two sleeping. They had the blanket holed up to their neck and so she thought they were napping. And so she tried to wake the little boy up. He wasn`t responding and so she pulled the blanket down just a little bit and she saw a syringe sticking out of his neck. It had a dark tarry substance in it so she called 911.
POLITAN: Bethany Marshall, we have been talking about it here tonight. Our guess is dad is going to say he doesn`t remember anything, he was so out of it. He didn`t know what he did.
In questioning someone like this, in a session where you`re trying to figure out their mental state at the time, is there a way to figure out if this guys is lying? If he does really remember what he did?
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": I think, in this case, I would probably just assume that everything he says is a lie. And what I would assume is that he was contemplating murder suicide for quite some time. What we know (INAUDIBLE) homicide it sort of becomes like a compulsion where the person`s wish to murder another person waxes and wanes at an unconscious level for a long period of time. And all of a sudden, the intent spills over into a true act.
The symbolic significance of the day is what I would focus on. I mean, the fact is, the day that his wife finalized the divorce, which is an abandonment of him in his own mind, that will be a rejection and an abandonment, he strikes out and attempts to destroy probably the most precious thing in her life. And that is her little boy.
It`s as if he`s saying, you are going to take my life away from me, I`m going to take your little boy away from you. And I can`t imagine the malice involved in injecting this little boy in the neck and in the buttocks several times. Looking at the suffering, and then experiencing the nodding out together.
It`s so similar to the psychology of murder suicide. With murder suicide, usually you have a personality disordered male, usually depressed and a non-personality disordered female who is separating and individuating from the male and that process of the woman becoming more autonomous precipitates homicidal rage.
Only in this case, the homicidal intent got acted out towards the little boy instead of acted out towards the wife. Although as I was listening to the panel, it did occur to me that he may have had homicidal intent towards her, too. It will be interesting to see if they uncovered a plot to killer her or if he had made some attempt in the past via domestic violence. But if she was simply too strong for him, so he chose to pick on and victimize the little boy instead.
POLITAN: Jill, was there any history that we know about? Violence towards the estranged wife?
RYAN: A long history, actually, going back to about the start of 2005. Back then, Eric was actually hospitalized for attempting suicide. Cops went to his house and they found him. He had apparently tried to injure himself with some scissors. So they had him hospitalized and he committed he says was suicidal -- because he was coming down from a heroin addiction.
And then in 2012, there was a domestic dispute and also he had overdosed and he been hospitalized and treated for a drug overdose at that time as well. So there was a long history of drug and domestic disputes.
POLITAN: Joe Schrank, what do you think is driving what happened here? Is this a man whose angry about his divorce, wants to get back at his wife and uses the drugs as the delivery method to act out his plot or is it the drugs that is causing him to do what he did?
SCHRANK: It sounds like it`s some of both. It sounds like he`s definitely driven by malice and rage, for sure, at the situation. But a long history of heroin addiction specifically, that`s going to produce a lot of cognitive distortions with people. People don`t heal from heroin addiction. It takes a very long time before they are a person who is recognizable and able to keep the social contract.
The other thing about heroin addiction is that it`s something that people do in a very isolated way. They nod a lot. They are not -- they`re not typically aggressive. I don`t know -- you know, the idea of heroin addicts fighting is absurd. And so there`s something about this that also speaks to his psychiatric condition which may have been fanned. The heroin addiction is the fan o the flame of a psychiatric condition, it`s very difficult to know until people are in recovery for a long periods of time and then you can sort of see what the other sues may or may not be.
So, you know, first and foremost, this is a situation -- and again, I go back -- I go back to the mother. I just think, look, if you have a history of domestic violence, you know your ex is a drug dealer and a heroin addict, what are you doing sending the kid there for an overnight? It`s just irresponsible.
And I think that, you know, one of the things is people don`t get in the condition of this man alone. We are responsible as community members, we`re responsible as family members, we`re responsible as just everyone. Everyone in the country, we all have -- we see these things, we look the other way. And that kind of a dynamic produces these very sad effects.
We don`t do a very good job treating mental illness in the country. And so these kinds of incidents. they bubble up. And it`s very easy to demonize this guy. Well, he`s a horrible person and vengeful about his divorce and his heroin addiction. And may or may not be true, you know, whatever his motivation is but to me, I just -- I can`t get past the idea of sending this kid to go stay with his father.
You know, it would be interesting to know what the judge ruled in terms of visitation or custody because whether she was on a job interview or not, it`s just not appropriate to send children into that.
POLITAN: Well, the miracle of this whole story again is that 4-year-old boy did in fact survive. And our thoughts are with him tonight.
Coming up next, the search for a missing 14-year-old boy with autism spotted on surveillance video leaving his school.
POLITAN: Stunning surveillance video shows a teen boy with autism, who cannot verbally communicate, leaving his school completely unnoticed. Tonight the frantic search for missing Avonte. And there he is in the video. And we`ve got Avonte`s mother Vanessa joining us.
Vanessa Fontane -- Vanessa, thank you so much for joining us. And as well as your attorney David Perecman is with us as well. Attorney for the family.
Let me begin here with your state of mind tonight. It`s almost been a week since Avonte went missing. Where are your thoughts right now?
VANESSA FONTANE, MISSING BOY`S MOTHER: Well, I`m just thinking about where he`s at and hoping that we`ll find him soon.
POLITAN: He cannot communicate. And I know that`s such a concern of yours. Are there things, places that he would go to that are part of his routine that maybe, all right, this is where perhaps he may have headed when he left that school?
FONTANE: Well, he really doesn`t know the area well. Neither do I so I have no clue to where he`s at. You know, he cannot go to home from there because he`s usually riding a school bus that takes him home so I`m just, you know, mind-boggled to where he`s at this moment. I can`t even think maybe he`s taken the train. You know, I`m not sure. I`m just not sure where to look anymore. We looked all over.
POLITAN: If someone comes across him, what`s the best way to approach him. So -- because he`s unable to communicate. What`s the best way to approach him so he won`t be scared and won`t run away?
FONTANE: He doesn`t like touch. So don`t grab him. Talk gently to him. And say, you know, call his name. Say we`re going to help you. We`re going to get mom to you. You know, hold him there. Call the police. If he runs away, walk behind him. And still talk on the phone and call someone to say this is the kid.
You know, don`t let him out of your sight because that is, you know, the problem. People spot a kid. They say I see your son but they didn`t do anything and they call the next day or hours later and he`s gone.
POLITAN: So please keep him in your sight. Absolutely.
When we come back, we`ll have more on the search for 15-year-old Avonte and we`re also going to talk about how he went missing to begin with.
POLITAN: Today where is 14-year-old Avonte, the teen boy who has autism? Last seen on surveillance video leaving his school in the middle of the day.
If you see this young man, don`t touch him. Keep him in your sight and call authorities immediately. And don`t lose sight of him. His mom as well as his family`s attorney is with us.
David, let me ask you, David, how -- it`s mind boggling that he was allowed to just run away from the school. The school knew about the issues that he had, right?
DAVID PERECMAN, ATTORNEY FOR MISSING BOY`S FAMILY: Absolutely. He`s there with an IEP program, which is an individualized educational program. But he was in a school that was new for him. And it was a school that was not just for special needs children as he had been in the past. But he was -- instead he was in a school that had mainstream children as well as children with special needs.
And I get a feeling based upon what I know up to now that that had something to do with the fact that he got out because the SSA agent allowed him to leave school even though she confronted him and asked him where are y going? He said nothing. And she let him go and when asked by the family`s grandma, Avonte`s grandma, why did you do that? She said well, I thought he was just a regular kid.
POLITAN: Vanessa, how did they notify you? How did you find out what had happened to your son?
FONTANE: They gave me a phone call about an hour later afterwards saying my son was missing and to come to the school. That he`s somewhere in the school.
POLITAN: But he obviously wasn`t. And one of the employees, right, had opened the door for him?
FONTANE: Yes, she had let him go. She did not stop him.
POLITAN: All right. Can we put his picture up again? Do we have his picture? Let`s put it up one more time for the folks at home.
If you see Avonte again, he has autism. Does not like touch. If you see him, keep him in your sight and call authorities immediately so you can reunite Avonte with his mom, Vanessa.
Vanessa and David, thank you both so many.
FONTANE: Thank you.
PERECMAN: Thank you for getting the word out.
POLITAN: "DR. DREW" is coming up next.