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Mother Attempts Murder-Suicide by Driving into Ocean; Teen Sues Parents: Who`s at Fault?

Aired March 5, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Shock and outrage. Cops pull over a pregnant mother of three, who`s allegedly talking about demons. But then they let her go. A couple hours later, she drives her minivan loaded with her precious kids right into the ocean. And it`s all caught on tape.

Did toxic secrets or madness drive this mother to try and kill her three kids and herself?

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the mom took her vehicle and accelerated towards the water. She put her family and herself in danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The two in the back seat was crying, with their arms out, saying, "My mommy`s trying to kill us, please help."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this video. Strangers frantically try to rescue the kids, ages 3, 9 and 10, as the waves shoot water into the van. Strangers risking their own lives to drag this family out.

In a news conference just moments ago, cops said if it had taken just a few moments longer, everyone could have died. Cops say the 32-year-old mother has three young kids and is pregnant with a fourth child. That`s right.

Witnesses say these kids were crying and screaming for help, saying, "Our mommy wants to kill us!"


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via phone): She is on her lap fighting her for the steering wheel. And the two in the back seat was crying with their arms saying, "Our mommy`s trying to kill us, please help."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight we`re learning that just hours before this pregnant mother drove her van into the ocean, the mother`s family called police on her, saying they were worried because she had been talking about demons. That`s right, demons. You know what that means.

Cops interviewed her, and they decided she was neither homicidal nor suicidal, and they let her go. But now, of course, you could argue, based on this, she`s both homicidal and suicidal.

So how did they get it so wrong?

What do you think? Could cops have prevented this mom from allegedly trying to kill her own kids? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

My Lion`s Den panel is here, and they are ready to debate.

Wendy Murphy, they haven`t charged her with anything. They`re evaluating her. Should they charge her, and if so, with what?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, look, if she`s flying into space right now, because she was, let`s just say not all there when this happened, you can`t charge somebody who isn`t on this planet. They`re going to wait until she gets a little bit of a tune-up and then charge her.

And, you know, whatever her mental health issues are, my feeling is you charge first. You don`t indulge the obvious problem with this woman, that she does have severe mental health problems. even if this is an Andrea Yates case and we all at some point feel sympathy for her, you do that later.

Right now, what she did now is a crime. You want to send a strong message to the world, don`t do this. No matter how upset you are, no matter how many kids you have, no matter how much you don`t want to be a mama again, don`t you dare do this; you`re going to jail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now listen, Anahita Sedaghatfar, she had told cops earlier in the day that her ex-husband would find out where she was and hurt the kids. And she told the officers that she was going to her, quote, "safe place" and that she had worked something out with a domestic violence shelter.

Now, that says to me that she`s a mom who`s in a potential abuse situation, who`s trying to protect her kids. But then when I hear that she`s talking about demons, that tells me she`s cuckoo for cocoa puffs. And so are those two things both right, or was she making up the whole abuse? We don`t know.

ANAHITA SEDAGHATFAR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It could be a combination of both. You`re right. We don`t know.

But clearly, Jane, we know for sure that there is an issue of mental illness here. And how many of these stories have we covered here on your show? Women that kill -- or try to kill their own children.

And I just think we need to start having a frank discussion about mental illness in this country, Jane. We need to be able to identify and treat these individuals before tragedies like this take place. Before incidents like this take place. We need to remove the stigma associated with mental illness so that people aren`t afraid or embarrassed or ashamed to get help. In this case there could be something off with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think this is a question of ashamed to get help. Anybody who can drive their kids into the ocean is not going to be...

SEDAGHATFAR: She was hearing demons talking to her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... ashamed to get help. That`s ludicrous, Wendy Walsh. Wendy Walsh.

WALSH: Jane, it`s also about the money. Do you know so few people in America can afford mental health services? Do you know how expensive they are? And most insurance companies don`t even cover them. Or they cover such small amounts that nobody`s really getting the care they need.

This is the real talk we should be having, is that people need to have access to mental health services.

But I want to say one thing about something you said before, Jane. Was she being abused or was she crazy? Well, you know, abuse can make you crazy...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true.

WALSH: ... especially when you`re pregnant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true.

WALSH: Research shows that postpartum depression and pregnancy psychosis...

MURPHY: Oh, my goodness.

WALSH: ... are more common when the environment is dangerous.

MURPHY: OK, but so what?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, we`ve got a very special guest with us. Hold on one second. We`ve got Sheriff Ben Johnson, from the Volusia County Sheriff in Florida talking to us this evening.

Thank you, Sheriff. Now can you describe this hellish situation? I mean, it`s caught on camera. So we`re seeing some of it. But the thing that struck me as the most chilling, is that witnesses say the mom somehow manages to slip out. And as she`s walking to shore, she doesn`t tell anybody, oh, her youngest, the 3-year-old, is still trapped in the van.

The kids -- her other kids are the ones who are saying, "No, no, there`s a baby still in there. There`s a baby still in there." The kids are the heroes in this story, Sheriff.

BEN JOHNSON, SHERIFF, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA (via phone): Yes. And the Volusia County Beach Patrol was there, and they rescued the children. And the mother had not said anything.

And at this time, we have her in custody. She is in, at the moment, psychiatric custody. But we`re evaluating, because we`re going to see, are there criminal charges? Is this some medical issue? Is this a crisis issue, mental crisis? We`re going to get to the bottom of it. We`re working with the state attorney`s office, and we`ll determine whether charges should be made against this woman, or how we`re going to handle it. But we`re definitely investigating it.

And our goal is, is to protect the children and the future. They were lucky yesterday. But to protect the children. And also, protect her in the future.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. And Sheriff, you know, it`s easy to second-guess, but that`s, of course, what we do, because we`re media. But we have the utmost respect for what you guys do.

And it`s easy for us to sit here and say, "Well, you should have done this. You should have done this." How do we know? We`re not there.

But Mark Starling, reporter/anchor, News 96.5 out of Orlando, they did stop her earlier in the day, because her relatives had called the cops and said, "Hey, she`s talking about demons. She`s got three kids. We think she`s a danger."

So they pull her over. They talk to her. What does she tell them about this ex-husband and domestic abuse and a safe house? Tell us about that, Mark.

MARK STARLING, REPORTER/ANCHOR, NEWS 96.5 ORLANDO (via phone): You know, Jane, there`s been so many details that have come out today, and it`s like we`re having a hard time kind of confirming actually, you know, what is what. We`ve heard stories about the demons. We`ve heard stories about the domestic abuse. You know, and nothing we`ve seen to be able to get real true clarification on, aside from the fact that this woman did absolutely nothing to try to help her kids get out of that van, while she drove them into the water.

You know, I was doing some research earlier today, and looking back at another case, ironically with somebody else from South Carolina, Susan Smith, you know, the same situation. She drove her kids in a van, and unfortunately, she was actually successful in killing her kids.

You know, I really think it`s going to come down to a serious mental evaluation. Florida`s Baker Act is 72 hours. So they`ll have her for at least 72 hours during this Baker Act period. You know, hopefully, they can come to -- come to a decision as far as what to do. Obviously, those kids don`t need to go back into her custody anytime soon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, my understanding, Sheriff, is that the kids, when they are released, are going to be released to a relative. And just because this woman has got severe problems, doesn`t mean her relatives aren`t great people. They obviously cared enough to call. And call 911. So I think that speaks in their favor.

But what can you tell us about this original moment where the cops talked to her, the officers talked to her earlier in the day, and she reportedly said something about she`s afraid her ex-husband would find her and hurt her and the kids. She told the officers she was going to her safe place and that she`d worked out with a domestic violence shelter some kind of situation.

JOHNSON: She was stopped earlier in the day by another agency, not our agency.


JOHNSON: And I`ve read reports, and also discussed this with the chief of that agency, and at that time, in the Baker Act, they have to show that they`re a danger to themselves or someone else. And she didn`t show that.

The officers, there were several officers present, and they quizzed her. She had the right answers. They could tell she was in some mental distress, but she did not meet the criteria, the legal criteria to take her into custody.

She said she was going to a shelter. Would not tell them where it was, because she was afraid of anybody getting to her -- ex-husband, or ex -- whatever. And have him come show up.

But she did not meet legal criteria to take her into custody at that time. Unfortunately, several hours later she did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I understand.

JOHNSON: The children at that time -- the children -- the children showed no sign of distress at that time either.

And they were looking at this. They had sent extra officers to the scene. They talked to the family. There was just nowhere they could go at that time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you for explaining that, Sheriff.

And Christopher Chestnut, attorney out of Atlanta, what is the criteria? Because we know people who are mentally ill can act very lucid one minute, and of course, the children are going to protect their mommy. That`s the heartbreaking thing that kicks me in the stomach, is that these kids, you know, they love their mom, probably, even though their mom apparently tried to kill them.

But what is the criteria for having somebody on an involuntary hold? How crazy do they have to be?

CHRISTOPHER CHESTNUT, ATTORNEY: Well, Jane, I think it`s subjective. I think it depends on the law enforcement agency and the moment.

I`m a native of Florida and know -- and have seen many a times when there was not probable cause for an arrest, but an officer arrests a suspect, or non-suspect, for that matter, for resisting without arrest. And in Florida, that is known throughout by citizens as a means of arresting someone who really doesn`t deserve to be arrested.

In this instance, you know, not to second-guess law enforcement, but there were certainly alternatives there, because they exercise it when they so choose.

But that being said, there was not legal criteria, I don`t think, to Baker Act her at the time of her being stopped on the side of the road. But certainly, if the cops wanted to have detained her, they do it all the time to people who do -- who are a lot less threat to themselves or others.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, like I said, it`s easy to second-guess. But we don`t know what we would have done in the same situation. People who are mad can act very, very sane.

And I`ve had situations where, as a reporter out in the field, I`ve said, "Somebody`s bothering me," and then the second the police come, they act like, nope, they`re not bothering anybody. Then the second the police leave, they start bothering you again. So I know how that is.

Up next, a high school senior has taken her parents to court. She`s suing them. She wants cold hard cash, and lots of it, to live on her own. She wants them to pay for her college, her transportation, what she owes at her high school. Is she just one big giant spoiled brat? A wild story up next, that every parent and kid should hear.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After Canning was suspended from private school for missing class, her parents say they had to lay down some rules. First, get rid of the boyfriend, something she refused to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn`t care what her best interest was. They were more interested in saving their $6,000 and making their point.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sued by your child, it`s -- I`m dumbfounded. So is my wife. So are my other daughters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the first time that high-school senior Rachel Canning had laid eyes on her parents in more than four months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever, in your experience, seen a young adult, child, show such gross disrespect for a parent?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re the ones who raised this child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know Rachel was -- is A, a good kid; B, an incredibly rebellious teen. And she`s getting some terrible information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Whether you guys see it or not, I am trying to change."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In "the Lion`s Den" tonight, the family lawsuit heard round the world.

An 18-year-old honor student who has not lived at home for four months drags her mom and dad into court, suing them, demanding cold, hard cash.

Rachel Canning, right there, that little girl, says she suffered verbal and physical abuse, was forced out of her home, and now she wants Mom and Dad to pay up. She`s suing her parents for -- are you sitting down? -- private high school tuition, college tuition, living expenses, transportation, and legal fees.

Today a judge ruled against her on those last two, a weekly allowance and legal fees.

Things started going downhill last fall. Rachel was suspended from school for truancy. Her parents took her car and phone away, and they told her, "You can`t see your boyfriend anymore." Her parents say that infuriated Rachel, and she ran away from home.

Mom and Dad literally sobbing in court today, crying, seeing their daughter for the first time since she moved out.

Rachel has been living with her best friend`s family. The friend`s father is a lawyer. He sat right next to Rachel in court. And a lot of people are wondering, well, how much influence is he putting on this young woman?

The judge tried to get Rachel and her parents to work things out without the court`s involvement, but he had to admit intense family dysfunction. For example, a profanity-laced voicemail Rachel left for her mother.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever, in your experience, seen a young adult, child, show such gross disrespect for a parent?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re the ones who raised this child. This is the language that they`re using in their household.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, so you`re going to blame the parents, because this is the language they were using in the household?

Lion`s Den, are you ready to debate? I`m going to start it off with Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, "And Justice for Some." Is this girl a brat, or does she have a point?

MURPHY: Oh, this case...

CHESTNUT: To say the least.

MURPHY: This case kills me. Because I can feel it on both sides. I have kids in this age group. I`ve been there. I`ve had my kids, because they have two parent -- two lawyers for parents, "I`m going to call social services. I`m going to file a lawsuit against you."

I mean, an empowered kid is a dangerous thing, especially in the teenage years. But if this kid is being abused, you don`t want to force a child to live in abuse...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excuse me, Wendy Murphy.

WALSH: Hold on. Abuse?

MURPHY: Say it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Her mom called her fat.

MURPHY: That`s the allegation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her mom called her fat. OK? That`s abuse?

MURPHY: No, the allegation is physical abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, threats of physical abuse. But anyway...

SEDAGHATFAR: OK, so Jane, clearly...

CHESTNUT: Jane, this is a mockery of our justice system.


WALSH: Jane...


WALSH: ... clearly, there is some family dysfunction here. However, this -- the parents, in cutting off her tuition, did not do it to hurt her. They did it to try to get her back in the fold.

In other words, "Hey, if you`re not going to school, then we won`t pay for school." This was the only tool they felt they had at their disposal.

And by the way, this girl`s 18. She`s an adult at this point, Jane.

SEDAGHATFAR: That`s crazy.

WALSH: So why is she trying to sue for college tuition? Do you know how many kids in America whose parents can`t afford college?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anahita, take it away.

SEDAGHATFAR: Jane, this is not about college tuition at all. OK? This girl is screaming out for attention. She`s screaming out for help.

And ultimately, when you bring a child into this world, Jane, you raise them through the good and through the bad. OK?

Every teenager doesn`t listen to their parents. You always have boyfriends that Mom and Dad don`t approve of. And you don`t always do your chores. But you don`t punish your child by taking away their ability to get a college education. Especially in this case where her parents...

MURPHY: Excuse me. If somebody --

SEDAGHATFAR: ... actually set aside a college fund for her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did somebody pop LSD into my mug?


WALSH: ... kids in America can`t afford to go to college.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. There`s no guarantee. There`s no constitutional right for your parents to pay for college.

SEDAGHATFAR: But that`s not true. Actually, that`s not true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s 18 years old.

SEDAGHATFAR: There`s a law in New Jersey. There is a...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, wait, you`re suggesting -- hold on, hold on.

CHESTNUT: This is a battle of means. Do you know how many parents don`t -- can`t afford to send their kids to college?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just Christopher. Christopher, go ahead.

MURPHY: Just in the same way we say...

CHESTNUT: This is a mockery of our civil justice system. I`m a plaintiff lawyer, and we always have to conquer bias based on frivolous lawsuits. This is a frivolous lawsuit. This -- there are legitimate people who have legitimate injuries, who need access to the civil justice system, and this makes a mockery of it. They is absurd. They should sanction the attorneys, and they should fine the child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, please.

MURPHY: Look, the judge did not...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. Look, guys, you`ve all got to stop for a second. We`ve got to do one at a time, please. One at a time. Now Wendy Walsh -- Wendy Murphy, finish what you have to say. Then we`ll let Anahita talk. Go ahead.


MURPHY: My point is very simple. That this isn`t frivolous. You can sue -- when you`re 18 years old, you can sue your parents if they`re beating the hell out of you or sexually abusing you, you can them. And...

CHESTNUT: But that`s not the circumstance here.

MURPHY: ... in this state, if they are responsible for you and they have this money put aside for your college education, you can sue to make sure they don`t then take it away.

CHESTNUT: It`s their money.

SEDAGHATFAR: That`s not true.


MURPHY: You`re complaining about the abuse. We don`t know the answer to the question yet. If it is frivolous, this kid should be punished. If she is being abused, then let her use the courts for justice.

CHESTNUT: No, you call the cops. Call the police.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, hold on a second.

MURPHY: You can sue, too. She`s 18.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say that in court documents, this is the abuse that she mentioned. That her mom called her fat and porky and said her dad threatened to beat her.

Now, the New Jersey Child Protection Agency investigated her claims. They interviewed Rachel and her sisters, their parents and said Rachel`s abuse claims were unfounded. Unfounded.

MURPHY: Only the emotional. Only the emotional. Not the physical.

SEDAGHATFAR: Jane, this case is not about abuse. You guys are all missing the point. If I may respond. She`s not suing her parents for abuse. She is using a statute in New Jersey that says. if you`re 18 years old, you can sue your parents. You can sue to have the court declare that you`re not automatically emancipated at the age of 18.

So the court`s going to look at various factors. They`re going to look at how much she needs the money, how much she needs the help, whether the parents can provide her with the support that she`s requesting. So to say that this is frivolous is nonsense. The judge would have tossed it out. So there is a legal basis.

CHESTNUT: Hold on a second. OK. First of all, you know what? It`s stories like this that make me very happy I don`t have children, honestly, because this is a nightmare. Rachel`s attorney...

WALSH: And I`m terrified. I have a teenager.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She goes to court, and Rachel`s attorney paints the parents as abnormal and extreme. Listen to what she told the judge.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Normal, healthy parents want to help their children. They want their children to go to college. They want their children to make -- to be independent and to be able to stand on their own two feet.

You may not get along wonderfully every single day you`re a teenager. That happens. That`s normal. That doesn`t mean that you abandon them and you say, "Guess what? You`re on your own."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what?

CHESTNUT: They`re opening a Pandora`s box with dynamite.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at these poor parents. These parents are crying.

CHESTNUT: This is a Pandora`s box with dynamite.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I mean...

CHESTNUT: You can`t go this far on the parents. You can`t -- what if...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.

CHESTNUT: What if they can`t afford this? What if they`re in mortgage foreclosure? What if they`re having financial distress? I mean, there`s no evidence yet to prove that the intent was punitive.


CHESTNUT: I mean, we`re just going way too far into their personal life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, go ahead. Yes.

MURPHY: The judge is going to have a hearing soon...

WALSH: Jane...

MURPHY: ... on that question. They apparently do have a fund for her. They`re holding it back.


MURPHY: ... in case they`re watching.

WALSH: Let me tell you this...

MURPHY: They will be living in a box by the river.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, go ahead.

MURPHY: I do not like this. This is not a fair -- not a healthy way to run a family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stop. Wendy Walsh.

WALSH: Jane, it`s Dr. Wendy here. Let me tell you one thing. If any parent -- think of all the kids watching right now whose parents in a million years could never afford to send them to college, the kids with straight "A" grades that want to go to college so badly. Do you think they have the right to go sue their parents? Of course they don`t.

So I don`t think it`s a right by any means to go to college, and there are lots of other ways to get money for this little girl. She`s 18, and I think she`s being influenced by this other family that she decided to shack up with because she was supposed to break up with her boyfriend.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. What is the influence of this other family she`s living with? Why are these adults so interested in her plight and her battle with her parents?

And the phone lines are on fire. We`re going to get to them on the other side. Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re being sued by our child. It`s -- it`s -- I`m dumbfounded.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Whether you guys see it or not, I am trying to change. I do miss you guys."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a college fund that`s available to her. There`s no doubt about that. But it`s the equivalent, like I said before, it`s the equivalent of going shopping at a high-end store and sending somebody the bill.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the tortured dad. Rachel, an honors student, a cheerleader with a wild sense of entitlement, who appears to think the world revolves around her. You know, it reminds me of one of those characters in "Mean Girls."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don`t I know you?

LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I`m new. I just moved here from Africa.


LOHAN: I used to be homeschooled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait? So you`ve actually never been to a real school before?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. Yes, see?

Blair, Texas, what have you got to say? Blair, Texas.

CALLER: Oh, my god, Jane. That girl is such a brat for doing this to her parents. I don`t care if she`s 18 years old. She should treat her parents with more respect than what she`s doing to them right now by suing them. This is ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you 100 percent. And I`ve got to ask, Wendy Walsh, psychologist, about this family that`s helping her.

She moved in with her best friend, and her best friend`s parents reportedly, one of them`s a lawyer, and he apparently was there at the hearing. And he`s helping her fund this legal battle. Why are these adults who are not related getting so involved?

WALSH: Yes. He`s paying for the legal fees. OK, let me explain the process of how a teenager leaves the nest. They leave the nest by making the nest very uncomfortable. That`s why teenagers are so rebellious and hard to live with. Eventually, they have to bounce out of the nest, right, into the world.

However, in certain families, like perhaps this family, this child was very sort of controlled, with authoritarian parents, and maybe at a certain point she had to rebel big-time in order to leave her nest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, this is the guy.

WALSH: And she did it by getting the bad-boy boyfriend. Yes. And let me say something else. She did it by getting the bad-boy boyfriend and then going to live with a friend.

But Jane, guess what? Note to parents out there whose kids date somebody they hate. The way you get them to break up with him is you invite the guy over a lot. Have him to family dinners, bring him on a family vacation, integrate him with the family, and all of a sudden he`s not a bad boy to them and they dump him because it`s not a rebellious thing.


WALSH: So anyway, I think she is being manipulated by this other family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. And I don`t know what`s in it for them.

Meanwhile, speaking of mean girls, Lindsay Lohan, you will not believe what`s going on with her; but it involves Oprah, and it involves what I would call an on-camera intervention from the big "O." All right? You will not believe, and we`ll show you on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Like a slow-moving car crash, the whole world watched as Lindsay Lohan went from this freckle-faced pre-teen Disney star to a certified party girl with multiple arrests. And a slew of mug shots. Jailed for her behavior, she stood before a judge some 20 times. And took five separate trips to rehab.




LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: There`s nothing left in having a drink for me. I don`t want them following me to an A&A meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you ever feel like you`re a prisoner?

LOHAN: All the time.

People have this image of me that it is chaos. Good, good, good, good and then oh, time to sabotage.

Don`t put words in my mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has changed things every single day. Not following the rules that they agreed to. Not participating.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: This is exactly what everybody said was going to happen. And I believe differently.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, Oprah tells one of Hollywood`s biggest hot messes, Lindsay Lohan, "clean up your act. And cut the BS."

That`s right. The troubled starlet is stepping back into the spotlight, starring in her new reality series on OWN called "Lindsay", and it premieres this Sunday. These are brand-new, first-seen clips of Lindsay behind the scenes. It shows her struggles with sobriety and re-launching her totally destroyed career.

We all saw Lindsay spiral out control from the sweet, freckle-faced actress to DUIs, theft, probation violations. Look at all her mug shots. The rehab 27-year-old insists she is sobered out and ready to change her life.

But wait until you hear what her sober coach has to say. Watch Oprah confront Lindsay about her tantrums and her bad behavior saying, "Enough is enough, girl."


WINFREY: She needs to understand, this is your life. My truth is that I really do want you to win. I really do. If that isn`t what you want, I`m ok with that. You know, I will tell these guys to pack up and leave today.

LOHAN: No, it`s not that I`m ready to do that. I do want to.

WINFREY: You need to cut the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You really do.

LOHAN: I know that this is my last shot at doing what I love to do.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to E News correspondent Melanie Bromley. It sounds like they wanted to film a train wreck, but they had a hard time because she was such a mess, she wasn`t showing up to allow them to film the train wreck.

MELANIE BROMLEY, E NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I remember when Oprah kind of made the decision to do this show, that people kind of questioned whether she should do it. We didn`t really think that we were going to see the real Lindsay Lohan because in lots of interviews, she`s not really honest with herself.

I actually think that this shows that we`re going to get a lot more than we previously thought we were going to. I didn`t expect Oprah to be showing warts and all, you know, showing when Lindsay was late, didn`t turn up for filming, all of that stuff. And the fact that she is, for me, makes it seem like it`s going to be a much better documentary than what I originally thought.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s real. It`s real because they`ve got the producer saying, "Hey, we can`t get inside because she`s locked us out. We were supposed to film this morning. We`re not going to be able to film."

BROMLEY: Exactly and also seeing Lindsay saying, this is my last chance for a comeback. And talking like, honestly, we haven`t seen that, or at least when she`s said things like that in the past, they haven`t felt genuine in any way. But I will question whether showing all of this is in some exploiting Lindsay. I`m not sure that giving her the limelight like this is going to be good for her.

We`ll have to wait and see. But it is going to be an It will be an interesting viewing experience regardless.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, doing a reality show when you`re in early sobriety is probably not a good idea. You should be focusing on getting and staying sober, not what camera angles look good.

Lindsay`s been on a court and rehab merry-go-round for years, strolling in and out of court like it was a red carpet, checking into rehab more than six times. She insists she has stayed sober since her last court-ordered stint last summer. But listen to this show`s sober coach. Big question about that.


LOHAN: There`s nothing left in having a drink for me. What`s left in that feeling? Nothing. There`s no party that I haven`t gone to. There`s no person that I haven`t hung out with. There`s no situation that I haven`t been exposed to.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Rosie Noesi, radio personality, 92.3, her own sober coach does not give a clear answer when he`s asked, is Lindsay sober. We know she`s a chronic relapser. She`s been in and out of rehab at least six times, maybe more. That means somebody who can`t stay sober for very long. Why should we assume she`s changed now?

ROSIE NOESI, RADIO PERSONALITY: I feel like she`s fighting for her life. This is not for her career. So for Oprah to stand there and do what Dina Lohan has not done, to raise her standards, basically, and tell her, this is your life. She`s going to put a microscope -- we`re all going to be watching as well -- but Lindsay could actually see what she`s doing to herself firsthand. And that, my friends, is the most amazing thing for her right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Lindsay claims she`s ready to be, you know, a good player, responsible person. But in these never-before-seen clips of her reality show, the crew says, Lindsay locked us out of the apartment. We can`t shoot. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were supposed to be here at 12:30. And Lindsay is locked out of her apartment. We`ve been here for a couple hours. She`s not letting us upstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s changed things every single day, not following the rules that they agreed to, not participating. She wouldn`t commit to the shoot next week so they had to cancel it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I say do not mess with Oprah. The one person in America you shouldn`t mess with. But Wendy Walsh, beyond that, if she`s trying to rehab her career, and all they`re showing is how she`s irresponsible and she leaves dozens of people in a crew waiting for hours, isn`t that going to make every director in Hollywood say, I`m never going to use that person?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think all the Hollywood directors know how the game works. This is publicity for the show. If they told us it was a sweet love story where she just stayed sober the whole time and there was no concern about whether she would fall off the wagon, we wouldn`t watch. But if you have to send Oprah to the rescue, then you want to tune in to see what`s going on. I think people know that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I say getting a lecturing from Oprah is probably the most terrifying lecture you could possibly get. I don`t want one although I admire her a lot.

WALSH: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jess, Arizona -- Jess, Arizona, what have you got to say?

JESS, ARIZONA (via telephone): Hi. I`m sorry, what was the question?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you have to say? We want to hear from you. What do you have to say about La Lohan?

JESS: When I heard that Oprah was doing this show, there was actually kind of two things that crossed my mind. The first was, I feel a little bit like by giving Lindsay Lohan a show, she`s being rewarded for her behavior. It`s being exploited in the media like we`ve seen a lot of stars lately. And I don`t think Lindsay Lohan deserves to get all this air time. I think celebrities should be rewarded that aren`t doing these things.

My second thing is, I have to question Oprah`s motive a little bit when I think the correct thing to do for Lindsay is keep her far away from the spotlight, and she`s putting her back into it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re right. But Melanie Bromley, as for this particular show, what are your sources telling you about how this whole show is going down?

BROMLEY: Well, actually, you know, it`s a closely guarded secret. There were some reports at the end of last year, as far as Lindsay going out to nightclubs. We reported on it. But she has settled down, actually, in the past few months. There have been less sightings of her. But as far as what else the show is going to show on television, we`ve been asking that question. And there`s been very limited amount that we`ve been able to see. Obviously --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think it`s going to show her using possibly? Let`s say she`s sober, great, I applaud her. But let`s say she`s not and it`s a reality show, and it shows her in all her -- just real. Is it going to show her going out to clubs and staggering around the way we`ve seen so many times before in the past?

BROMLEY: I don`t think there`s any way it can`t show a little bit of that. If you remember we spoke to her on the red carpet a couple of months ago, and she talked about having a phone call in the middle of the night from Lindsay in London. That is the reality. That is Lindsay`s life. She`s somebody who`s very nocturnal and into, you know, is a late night owl as opposed to an early bird. It can`t not show a little bit of that because that`s just how Lindsay lives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, ok, those crews are going to be working a lot of OT, because they`re not going to go out shooting until 2:00 in the morning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got a lot more to tell you about.

Also, we`ve got some very sad breaking news. Huge development in the case of missing nursing student Holly Bobo. Yes, it appears that this young woman is officially considered deceased. And that they have arrested and charged somebody with her murder.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Might have been somebody close, somebody that kind of knew her routine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know there was a lunch pail, we know there was blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She knew that she was in fear of her life. So she was complying with his demands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that there are people that have some vital information pertaining to the disappearance of Holly Bobo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a coon hunt a week or so before she disappeared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Holly, I love you so much. Please, please try to get home to us.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After three years, the young Tennessee nursing student went missing, we have an arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh I think you can absolutely expect more charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are four of us in our family, and one of us is missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was an incident at a coon hunt a week or so before she disappeared.

MARK GWYN, TBI DIRECTOR: Decatur County grand jury handed down indictment of especially aggravated kidnapping, and first-degree felony murder on Zachary Ryan Adams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Holly, I love you so much. Please, please try to get home to us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, we were hoping against hope that nearly three years after she went missing -- we now know Holly Bobo is dead, officially. The beautiful 20-year-old Tennessee nursing student was last seen disappearing into the woods, dragged off by a man wearing camouflage. Now cops believe they have that man in custody.

As the charges were read during a news conference today the people in attendance screamed out in grief. Listen.


GWYN: The Decatur County grand jury handed down indictments of especially aggravated kidnapping and first-degree felony murder on Zachary Ryan Adams.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So horrifying. This 29-year-old, Zachary Adams, charged with especially aggravated assault and murder. Murder one. He was arrested last week for an unrelated assault after authorities searched his property in connection with this case.

We predicted on this show, just last night that more charges would be coming. This case got national attention because Holly was a popular member of her Tennessee community and also, because she`s the cousin of country singer Whitney Duncan.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We hear Holly`s mother noticed that this Zachary Adams character and some of his friends following Holly around at a raccoon hunt dinner just a week before she was kidnapped. Did he target her? Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe we can prove she was taken forcefully from her home without her consent. Based on the evidence that we have before us, we also feel that she was killed in the perpetration of that kidnapping. Thus we have a charge of felony murder.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the "Lion`s Den". Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, what does it mean when they say he`s accused of murder one, and especially aggravated kidnapping, meaning that she was killed in the process of this kidnapping? I just don`t even want to think about it. But please explain to us what they might be talking about.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, there are a number of categories under Tennessee law that fit that definition. It`s an unusual category, by the way. Most states don`t have that extra word, "especially".

But according to Tennessee law, that means that probably a deadly weapon was used. Serious bodily injury was involved, which I think we can infer from the fact that there was a murder. But also there`s a possible category that she was taken for ransom. We haven`t heard that yet. But those are some of the reasons that police charged especially aggravated kidnapping.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess I`m asking Christopher Chestnut, attorney out of Atlanta, God forbid and look how scary this guy looks. What we`ve heard is that he`s involved in drugs, he has a rap sheet, that he`s involved in meth which, you know, can make people do some of the most horrific things. Does the especially aggravated assault imply that maybe there was some sort of God forbid torture involved prior to the murder?

CHRISTOPHER CHESTNUT, ATTORNEY: Not necessarily or at least it doesn`t impose that burden on the prosecutor. But, you know, also they have first degree murder and first degree -- if they can prove that she was kidnapped and in dire consequent there too, under Tennessee law, you don`t have to prove intent to kill. So -- a good distinction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me cut to the chase. Why did they say "especially" aggravated assault? Why now just "aggravated assault?" That`s what I don`t understand.

CHESTNUT: I think it`s almost like an adjective. I think it just heightens it. It`s scribner (ph) -- it`s for the writer, because it doesn`t elevate the burden of proof for the prosecutor at all, so I don`t think it really has any meaning. It`s an aggravated kidnapping. "Especially" it doesn`t add anything to the charge at all. Just a definition of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hope you`re right. I hope it doesn`t mean that something even more heinous than we can imagine happened here. More on the other side.



GWYN: Decatur County grand jury handed down an indictment of especially aggravated kidnapping and first-degree felony murder on Zachary Ryan Adams.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You heard those screams of the people who loved Holly Bobo hearing officially for the first time the word "murder", which means that Holly Bobo is dead. Wendy Walsh, psychologist, the family wanted closure for so long, they wanted to know, but that`s not what they hoped would be the outcome.

WALSH: It`s not what they wanted to hear, of course, what no one wanted to hear. But Jane, sometimes this in itself can be to some degree a healing for them as they`re grieving, because now they know to stop looking and to start beginning the process of grieving and finding justice for their loss.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this guy, look at this guy. I mean with this smile --

WALSH: Terrifying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and this grin with the history of drugs and according to our sources, meth, which can turn people into monsters. It`s sickening.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Robin in Florida, what due to say, Robin?

ROBIN, FLORIDA (via telephone): I just have to say I appreciate you so much for bringing all this to light. I`ve watched this show forever and I`ve seen, you know, this case and that you bring all this to light now is really wonderful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we try to speak out in the war on women. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, 10 seconds. They have not found the body, to our knowledge. Is that going to hamper?

MURPHY: No, because if they are confident that they are charging him with murder, they found her parts in some way, shape or form, which is pretty awful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our heart goes out to the family of Holly Bobo. Our condolences. We are so sorry this is the outcome.

Nancy next.