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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Pit Bulls Under Fire; Strange World of Body Dysmorphic Disorder; 15-Year-Old Arrested in Tennessee High School Shooting Death
Aired November 8, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us.
Tonight, pit bulls under fire after another rampage -- are they a clear and present danger to you and your family?
ZAHN (voice-over): Pit bull attack, it's happened again -- adults and children savagely mauled, neighbors terrified.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have always been a little scared of him.
ZAHN: Is it time to band the breed some people love...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any dog can be vicious.
ZAHN: ... and some people hate?
Fading away -- the long and mysterious death of a young wife, killed with an unlikely weapon.
MARTHA COAKLEY, MIDDLESEX, MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This particular substance, when mixed with Gatorade, will be basically undetectable.
ZAHN: Why didn't anyone recognize what was happening?
And the monster in the mirror -- an incredibly strange affliction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sitting here right now looking at you, and you are beautiful.
ZAHN: Why do these people think they look so ugly?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely deformed, just extremely unattractive.
ZAHN: The strange world of body dysmorphic disorder.
ZAHN: We start tonight with this story. A popular radio talk show host in Jefferson City, Missouri, is sitting in jail tonight. It is a good bet he won't be on the air tomorrow or any time soon. James Keown was arrested shortly after he signed on yesterday, the climax of a long bizarre mystery, a mystery that allegedly involves murder and a most unusual murder weapon.
As Dan Lothian reports, prosecutors say the victim was killed with poisoned Gatorade.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): James and Julie Keown moved from Kansas City to this apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts, in January of 2004, so he could attend Harvard Business School.
But, by May, Julie Keown was stick with nausea and diarrhea. She was disoriented and developed a rash. She went to a doctor and, on another occasion, to a hospital emergency room. But nobody could figure out what was wrong. Sometimes, her symptoms were better. Other times, they were worse.
(on camera): On September 4, 2004, Julie Keown was brought back here to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where she slipped into a coma. That's when doctors discovered what was really wrong with her. Her body contained a high dose of ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in antifreeze. But it was too late. Julie Keown died a few days later.
(voice-over): Yesterday, Massachusetts authorities announced that James Keown has been indicted on a charge of first-degree murder. The district attorney says, a long investigation indicates that his wife was slowly poisoned by having antifreeze mixed in with her Gatorade.
COAKLEY: Ethylene glycol is a fairly thick, syrupy, sweet- tasting substance. It will induce initially conditions that approximate someone who is under the influence of alcohol, but, when mixed with this liquid, would both be undetectable to taste, by and large, would also be absorbed into the system pretty quickly because of the high sugar content.
LOTHIAN: Authorities say their year-long investigation also shows that the couple had no money at the time of Julie's death, but that she was covered by a quarter-of-a-million-dollar life insurance policy. They discovered something else as well.
COAKLEY: Investigators also learned that defendant, contrary to the belief of his wife and others, was not enrolled at the Harvard Business School, but he had merely enrolled at the Harvard extension school in a particular course involving the Internet, for which he had received a failing grade.
LOTHIAN: James Keown moved back to Missouri, but hasn't collected the life insurance money because of the ongoing investigation. He was hosting a radio talk show called the "Party Line" when police arrested him during a commercial break. Dan Lothian, CNN, Waltham, Massachusetts.
ZAHN: Attorney Adam Kretowicz has represented James Keown since shortly after Julie's death last year.
He joins me now from Boston.
So, sir, we have just heard in that piece some of what the DA is laying out in this case, that your client poisoned his wife over an eight-month period, that they didn't have any money when she died, but she had a quarter-of-a-million-dollar insurance policy, and that your client lied to his wife about the whole reason they were moving to Massachusetts in the first place. How do you plan to defend him?
ADAM KRETOWICZ, ATTORNEY FOR JAMES KEOWN: Well, taking each one of those at a time, first of all, they had money when they moved to Massachusetts. They weren't broke. He absolutely had no involvement in her death.
As a matter of fact, he grieved for the first 12 months that I was meeting with him, talking to him about it. It was difficult to -- he had difficulty even talking about it. In terms of moving to Massachusetts to plan this death and to kill her this way, absolutely wrong.
ZAHN: Mr. Kretowicz, if...
KRETOWICZ: This is a type of case that...
ZAHN: Let me ask you this.
ZAHN: If your client didn't kill his wife, who is it that -- who could have gotten so close to her that he or she would have had access to her Gatorade supply to spike with poison? Who could have done that?
KRETOWICZ: First of all, this is an ongoing investigation. The investigation has produced results that say she had some of this poison in her bloodstream. Is this the cause of death? If this is the cause of death, we also plan to fight this vigorously in the court, rather than in the newspapers.
ZAHN: All right. But, if this was found in her bloodstream, it would indicate that someone had poisoned her. So, who, other than her husband, was close to her? Who would have been around her who would have had that kind of access to her home?
KRETOWICZ: In most cases where husbands and wives are murdered, usually, the husband or the wife or ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends are the first suspects.
When you ask me who would have been closest to her, I can't answer that question, because we haven't finished our investigation. There are possibilities. She could have poisoned herself. She could -- she was an ICU nurse. And she could have been poisoned by someone else.
ZAHN: Well, the district attorney thinks that's absolutely absurd, because they are arguing this happened over an eight-month period.
KRETOWICZ: The district attorney has argued this case through the media, which surprises me somewhat and disappoints me somewhat, because, as you say, it sounds absurd. And, if you read an article, you might think it's absurd.
At the same time, we plan to fight this and have our day in court, where it belongs.
ZAHN: We appreciate your joining us tonight. Adam Kretowicz, appreciate your dropping by.
KRETOWICZ: Thank you.
ZAHN: Now on to the developments in our breaking story tonight, that rampage at a high school in Tennessee. At this moment, as we speak, a community is in shock and a 15-year-old boy is in custody, suspected of opening fire on a principal and two assistant principals, killing the assistant principal.
It happened in the town of Jacksboro, near Knoxville. Authorities say the boy slipped a gun under a napkin and opened fire around 2:00 p.m. local time at Campbell County Comprehensive High School.
For the very latest tonight, let's go straight to David Mattingly, who is, at this moment, outside the high school in Jacksboro.
I know you have had a chance to talk with law enforcement officials. What are they telling you, David?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, you see all the flashing blue lights behind me, as this small town tragedy continues to unfold.
Authorities are continuing their investigation into the night, looking for any new details that might come up. What we can tell you -- and it's what they have been able to piece together so far -- is that this happened, if not in, then near the office area of the school. A 15-year-old student opened fire on three administrators. We can't show you the face or identify the suspect at this time, because he's a minor and not yet charged with this crime.
But we can tell you that an assistant principal was killed. Another assistant principal was wounded, as well as the principal of the school.
Some good news to tell you: Their conditions are reported to be improving at this hour at a hospital in Knoxville, where they are being treated for their gunshot wounds. According to law enforcement that we have talked to just in the short time that we have been here, it was a confusing scene, that the -- it happened so quickly. People who saw it happen are coming up with conflicting reports, that the administrators may have tried to get the gun away from him and the -- the young man may have injured himself with a gunshot wound to the hand.
But they haven't confirmed all of that yet. In fact, the county sheriff plans to go to Knoxville tonight to talk to the two surviving victims to try and get some more details about this.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are here tonight. Again, the biggest question about any kind of shooting like this is why. And no one at this point is willing to even go on the record with a guess as to why this truly happened here at this school. There's about 1,300 students. As soon as it happened, shortly after 2:00, the school immediately went into lockdown.
When the authorities arrived here, the young man had been subdued by teachers and was in quietly -- sitting quietly in a room. And, at this point, he is in a detention facility for juveniles. But, right now, no charges have been filed. And, as you can see behind me, what the light is telling you in the darkness here, so much still has to be learned about this crime -- Paula.
ZAHN: So, David, have you learned much about this young suspect and what kind of a kid he was?
MATTINGLY: The sheriff tells me that he was a very slight young man, someone who was who easily -- who would have been easily subdued if he had not been carrying a firearm. That's about all we can tell you about him at this time.
The investigators themselves are still talking, wanting to know more about what was going through his mind and what led to this. But, at this point, this town is in shock, a small town trying to come to grips with why something like this happened right here in their own backyard -- Paula.
ZAHN: David Mattingly, thanks so much for the update.
I want to share with our audience some information that I have just learned from a phone call that we made shortly before we went on the air. And a friend of the suspect basically described this young man as -- as someone who was troubled, someone who had just come back to school after being in reform school for a while -- so many unanswered questions tonight.
But we do have a man with us now we think who can answer some of these, Sheriff Ron McClellan, who joins us now to talk a little bit more about what this young man's motive might have been.
Sheriff, thank you so much for joining us.
Do you have any idea what would have made this young man snap? RON MCCLELLAN, CAMPBELL COUNTY, TENNESSEE, SHERIFF: Not at this time.
Again, the detective division and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has an extensive investigation ongoing as we speak. We have no motive at this time on what might have caused this person to do this.
ZAHN: Sheriff, are you able to confirm for us tonight that the shooting happened after this young man was confronted by school officials? They -- they found him armed?
MCCLELLAN: I can't confirm that. I -- I have yet to meet with the detectives.
I am getting ready to here shortly. I have had people tell me that he was brought to the office. I don't know if that's correct yet or not. All I know is that this young man pulled his revolver in an office area and shot three of the school teachers at the school, one fatally.
And, is there any more information on how he might have gotten this gun into school in the first place? One report suggested that he had it hidden under a napkin.
MCCLELLAN: I haven't heard that. No doubt that the individual had the gun concealed. But we haven't had any concrete evidence how long he had the gun on him, or how he got it into the school or where he had it hid.
ZAHN: And just before we went on the air, we were talking with a young man who knows the suspect quite well. And he said, this is a troubled young kid who actually had just spent some time in a reform school and had just come back to this Campbell County School. Can you confirm that for us tonight?
MCCLELLAN: I -- I don't know that personally. I -- I don't know the young man. I know most of the children in the county, but I'm not familiar with this individual at all. But I'm sure there's going to be an extensive background check on this young -- young man. And I'm sure we will know something here shortly.
ZAHN: Well, we know you're a very busy man. Thank you for joining us tonight, Sheriff Ron McClellan. Good luck to you with your investigation.
And still ahead, we will talk to a student who knows the suspect and has some ideas of what might have gone wrong earlier today.
We will be right back.
ZAHN: Still to come tonight, men and women who look perfectly normal and attractive, so why do they see themselves as monsters?
Right now, it's time for Erica Hill at Headline News to update the hour's top stories.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Good to see you.
We start off with another intelligence bombshell, this time coming from Capitol Hill. Senate Republican leaders want to know just who leaked classified information about secret prisons overseas where terror suspects are held by the CIA. Those reports surfaced in "The Washington Post." The CIA has taken the first step, asking the Justice Department to investigate. But Mississippi Republican Senator Trent Lott has suggested his colleagues may be to blame.
Cities across France under a state of emergency tonight, after nearly two weeks of rioting across the country from teenagers from many of France's poorest immigrant families -- the French prime minister calls the riots the republic's moment of truth.
Back stateside, the Kansas school bird -- board, that is -- has voted for new teaching standards that challenge the scientific theory of evolution. The standards say science should not be limited to natural explanations of how the world works.
And a State Department report puts Saudi Arabia on a list of countries that do not allow freedom of religion -- that coming just days before a visit to Saudi Arabia by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Paula.
And those are the headlines at this hour -- back over to you.
ZAHN: See you a little bit later on in the hour, Erica. Thanks.
Be honest. When you look at yourself in a mirror, do you like what you see? Coming up, some people who are sure they look absolutely monstrous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just really so unattractive that, like, people are going make a comment about you and that you don't even really deserve to be out in public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Please stay with us for a bizarre disorder that causes some people to lock themselves away, even though they look perfectly fine to the rest of us.
And, then, a little bit later, are some dogs simply too vicious to be kept around people? Coming up, a new outrage in what many people see as the case against pit bulls.
ZAHN: We're staying with the developing story tonight in Tennessee, where a 15-year-old boy is suspected of killing an assistant principal at his high school and wounding two other administrators. The boy is in custody tonight. And the community of Jacksboro is in an absolute state of shock.
So, what do we know tonight about the suspect and the school?
Joining me now, Ethan Riggs, who used to attend the school and was close to the assistant principal who was killed -- also with us tonight, Nathan Lawson, a student who was at the school when the shooting happened today.
Good to have both of you with us.
So, Nathan, describe to us what you heard and what you saw today.
NATHAN LAWSON, STUDENT: Well, I was in my fourth-period class.
And we had a sub. And he left. And then our -- the classroom teacher next door come and got us and was sitting with us and told us that we were in a lockdown. And then he was trying to tell us that everything was OK and everything. And he didn't know what was going on. And then we went over to his room. And he got a phone call. And then he told us what happened.
ZAHN: So, did you hear any shots fired or were you too far away from where the shootings happened?
LAWSON: I was too far away. I was up in the vocational hall, which is on the opposite side of the school.
And I couldn't hear anything, because the -- the way our classroom is, it's a classroom, then a classroom in the back of it. And I couldn't hear anything. So...
ZAHN: It must have been pretty scary. Was there a state of panic when the school was locked down?
LAWSON: Yes. There was a bunch of kids that was worried about what was going on and everything. I was kind of worried, because, last time we had a lockdown a bomb threat and everything. So, I don't know...
ZAHN: All right.
LAWSON: ... what to do.
ZAHN: Ethan, you no longer go to this school, but you know the suspect well. When you heard this news, what did you think?
ETHAN RIGGS, FORMER STUDENT: Well, I thought how could something like this happen. But I didn't know him on a very high level. I knew him back in elementary school. And he didn't -- back then, he didn't seem like the person that would do something like this.
RIGGS: But, you know...
ZAHN: ... he was a kid who, more recently, has gotten into some trouble, right?
ZAHN: What got him into trouble?
RIGGS: Drugs, mostly.
And we were -- just had a conversation with a sheriff, trying to talk about reports that he attended a reform school and had just come back to this school. Is that your understanding of what happened to this young man?
RIGGS: As far as I know, yes, but it's -- we are still in a lot of shock from it all.
ZAHN: Do you have any idea why he might target the assistant principal and the other two principals?
RIGGS: Not really, no. But I have heard that he's not -- he's disliked Gary Seale, one of the principals, for a while, because of some trouble he has been into. But, other than that, I really don't know.
ZAHN: And just a -- a final thought from you, Nathan.
You knew the assistant principal, Ken Bruce, who was killed?
ZAHN: What kind of man was he?
LAWSON: He was a nice guy.
If -- if you went to talk to him about any problems you had, he would -- he would be a person that would listen. And, like, if he could help you in any way, he would. Like, I have been in some trouble, a little bit of trouble this year, like D-hall and stuff. And I would have to do is go talk to him, and he would get me out of it. And, like, if he understands why I can't go or something, he would just reschedule it or whatever. He was a nice guy.
ZAHN: Well, we -- we are so sorry about what has happened at your school.
Nathan and Ethan, thank you for joining us tonight -- Ethan Riggs, Nathan Lawson.
Still to come, we have been work on a fascinating story about a very strange disorder that drives millions of perfectly normal looking people to lock themselves away for years at a time and even contemplate suicide. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ZAHN: Right now, three young children in two communities are recovering from pit bull attacks that nearly killed them. Pit bull attacks happen 300 times a year in the U.S. And these latest are bound to reignite the debate over laws banning pit bulls.
A 10-year-old boy in Denver was mauled by three dogs last Wednesday. And, then on Saturday, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were mauled in Gary, Illinois, outside of Chicago. That's Cary, in fact.
Jason Carroll has their terrifying story.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ed Lamarre said goodbye to his daughter Jourdan last Saturday afternoon, as she went to sell Girl Scout holiday gifts with her friend, Nick Foley. The next time he heard from his 10-year-old daughter, she was screaming in agonizing pain.
EDWARD LAMARRE, FATHER OF PIT BULL VICTIM: She ran home, hysterical, screaming, oh, my God. I just got attacked by three pit bulls.
CARROLL: Jourdan said the attack started when they got to a house around the corner owned by Scott Sword. He also owned three pit bulls.
LAMARRE: The way I -- my daughter explained it, that Nick knocked on the door and the dogs came out.
CARROLL (on camera): Just charged out?
LAMARRE: Charged out and just attacked my daughter.
CARROLL (voice-over): Jourdan barely escaped.
LAMARRE: There's this one wound above her back of her leg which was a large, gaping wound. And I just instinctively had her grab on to the sink, you know? I hugged and kissed her and grabbed the phone, grabbed the belt, put the -- the tourniquet on.
CARROLL: Meanwhile, Nick was still waiting for help on her front lawn a few doors away, as the three dogs savagely attacked him.
(on camera): Are you still hearing the screams at this point?
GERD GERDES, ATTACKED BY PIT BULL: Oh, yes. It was still going on.
CARROLL (voice-over): Gerd Gerdes rushed to help.
GERDES: So, yes, basically it happened right there in that front yard. CARROLL (on camera): Right here?
CARROLL (voice-over): Gerdes says the dogs owner, Scott Sword, had thrown himself on top of Nick to protect him, Sword's thumb nearly severed, his arm crushed by a bite. The dogs drag Gerdes into a ditch before he could help.
GERDES: But I remember seeing the dogs. You know, it's -- when I slid down, I was on my back. At first, they were at my legs. Petey (ph) came up to my head. I dove on him.
CARROLL (on camera): Petey (ph), again, one of the pit bulls.
CARROLL (voice-over): Gerdes escaped with severe bites to both his legs and his hand. The dogs broke off and attacked Nick Foley's father, who came to help his son.
LAMARRE: From my point of view, had a dog on a leg, an arm, or two on one leg, one on one arm. You know, and he was getting dragged down, pulled down. He was trying to stay up. And he was screaming.
CARROLL: The attacks didn't stop until police arrived and were able to corner the pit bulls and shoot them to death. In the end, two children were critically mauled, four adults badly hurt.
LAMARRE: This is the coat that she was wearing. This is what they -- the dogs -- one of the dogs tried to bite her on the back.
CARROLL: Jordan's father is angry and confused, confused as to why the unprovoked animals attacked, and angry the owner is not being severely punished.
LAMARRE: Well, if a person did this kind of damage to people, it would be a manslaughter, wouldn't it?
CARROLL: Investigators say they may never know why the dogs attacked. We tried repeatedly to speak with the dog's owner, Scott Sword (ph), but got no response. Authorities say Sword has no prior violation. All they can do is fine him a maximum $600 for violating a county ordinance of dogs running at large.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in a case like this, it strikes me as not being adequate.
CARROLL: But it's all they can do. For Lamarre, there is another worry. There are two more pit bulls from the same litter living at other homes on his block. He hopes this incident will convince those owners to get rid of their dogs.
LAMARRE: You know, they didn't see my daughter coming in screaming with, you know, holes in her leg, gaping holes and seeing the mother having to look at her son being torn apart laying in the yard naked because the dogs shredded, you know, all the clothes off her son. And he was laying there, you know, defenseless as no one could -- no one could get to him because the dogs were just -- I mean, it's horrific.
CARROLL: And it's something no one here will ever forget. Jason Carroll, CNN, Cary, Illinois.
ZAHN: And, of course, the battle lines are being drawn over whether pit bulls ought to be banned altogether.
Joining me now, two people on opposite sides of the debate: Cindy Cooke a legal adviser to the United Kennel Club, she says irresponsible owners, not any specific breed of dog, are the heart of the problem; and Sue Wilson Beffort, a state senator from New Mexico who tried and failed to get the state to ban the breed. Welcome to both of you.
Cindy, how can you defend a pit bull or the breed altogether when you see attack after attack like this, basically unprovoked?
CINDY COOKE, UNITED KENNEL CLUB: Well, what you call an unprovoked attack, first of all, dogs don't just wake up one morning and decide to attack people. You can bet there have been behavior problems from these dogs for a long time.
ZAHN: So whose fault is that?
COOKE: I'm sorry?
ZAHN: Whose fault is that?
COOKE: That's the owner's fault. Owners are responsible for their dogs. They're responsible for their dog's welfare, and they are responsible for the dog's behavior. I'm guessing every time he's -- that doorbell rings those dogs have come racing out, slammed up against the door, bark, bark, bark, bark, bark. And he has allowed that behavior, so they ...
ZAHN: All right. So, Sue, what about that? What responsibility should the owners bear for the behavior of these vicious dogs?
SUE WILSON BEFFORT, NEW MEXICO STATE SENATOR: Well, of course, most dogs jump and bark when the doorbell rings and it's just a very different reaction with this breed. The problem is that the breed is out of control. It was bred into existence many, many, many years ago for killing and fighting.
And now the backyard breeding, which is the breeding of not of thoroughbreds but just of pit bulls in general, is occurring and the inbreeding is something that's exasperating the problem, coupled with the fact and the little known issue that people really don't want to talk about and that is that pit bull fighting is an underworld occurrence in this country. People do not want to address that issue. You walk around and see drug dealers and other types of gangster looking types of people that have these dogs. And then lo and behold you buy dogs out of the back of a truck. You don't know where the dogs have come from, if they have come from inner bred types of species and what the issue is. The pounds are full of pit bulls that are not adoptable.
COOKE: So what you're saying is ...
ZAHN: So Cindy, why don't you react to that? Basically sue says there's a couple of problems here. Do you recognize that this kind of inbreeding can create some extremely dangerous dogs? And someone needs to control that in some way.
COOKE: Inbreed and line breeding are tools for breeding. You can create wonderful dogs by very close breeding or you can create awful dogs. What the senator is saying is true. People who just casually throw dogs together or worse throw dogs with bad temperaments together to get dogs with bad temperaments will get that.
ZAHN: All right, so what do you do about that? How do you stop that?
COOKE: The pit bull breed is actually a young breed. It's about 150 years old. About half that time it was bred by professional dog fighters who shot a dog that bit a man. Pit bulls whose bit men in the early days of dog fighting were shot. They were bred strictly for dog aggression.
Now, you know, I will grant that it is possible that to some extent this dog has become fashionable in the criminal classes. But if you removed all the pit bulls in the world tomorrow, the criminal classes would find another big, scary looking dog and make that a weapon of choice.
BEFFORT: Sure. The problem ...
ZAHN: And then, Sue, that's the same point you're making. So if that's the case, then why have people been so resistant to going along with these proposed bans?
BEFFORT: Well, of course, the kennel groups have their own reasons. The problem that society is addressing is the danger that society is facing and what is particularly incredibly sad is that most of the cases that you hear about are little toddlers. That's what provoked my stand on the pit bulls when time after time these little, indefensible, little children were being attacked and mauled by these dangerous dogs. It is truly a breed that is out of control and it's tragic.
COOKE: It is the 30 ..
ZAHN: All right. You two are going to have to leave it there. The debate rages on.
COOKE: It's the 31th -- one more word -- 31st most popular breed in America.
BEFFORT: That may be true but ...
COOKE: So it's more popular than collies or dalmatians.
ZAHN: Sue, you're basically saying it shouldn't be. And I can only give you a couple seconds here to respond.
BEFFORT: And the problem is the mixed breed pit bulls look like the thoroughbred dogs. It's very difficult to tell the difference. And I find that the industry has a problem that they need to face. And I wish they would take it upon themselves address these dogs.
COOKE: It's not the -- it's not the kennel clubs or their dogs.
ZAHN: You've given us an excellent idea of why this is such a heated topic. Sue Wilson Beffort, thank you for your perspective, and Cindy Cooke, yours as well.
ZAHN: We're going to move on now. Still ahead tonight the painful disorder that affects millions of Americans and makes perfectly normal looking people convinced they are horribly ugly. And that ends up devastating their lives.
ZAHN: Right now there are millions of Americans struggling with a strange and devastating disorder. You might be surprised to know that even though they look perfectly normal, these people believe they are ugly. They look into the mirror and they think they see a monster staring back at them. And the consequences can absolutely shatter their lives.
Here's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like this sense of ugliness, not fitting in and being awkward looking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My face is hideous, like a troll under the bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took the mirrors down, I covered them up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely deformed, just extremely unattractive.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These four people are terrified by the monster in the mirror. Take the worst worry you've ever had about your appearance. Multiply it a hundred times, a thousand times.
As many as five million people in the United States, normal, even attractive, are crippled by this mental torment everyday.
A psychiatric illness called Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD.
Robin was diagnosed with the disorder in 2002.
ROBIN: You're just really so unattractive that people are going to make a comment about you. You don't even really deserve to be out in public.
COHEN: Kathy was diagnosed just two years ago.
KATHY: It's hair, teeth, eyebrows, obsession with my body itself. It's extreme to the point where it can almost overtake your life.
COHEN: Kathy and Robin are too ashamed to show their faces on television.
DR. KATHARINE PHILLIPS, AUTHOR: They are obsessed that there is something wrong with their appearance when to other people they look fine.
COHEN: Dr. Katharine Phillips, who wrote the book, The Broken Mirror, directs the Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Body Image program at Butler Hospital in Rhode Island.
PHILLIPS: Genetic makeup probably plays a role and increase a person's risk of getting BDD. Life events may play a role. For example, if you're teased a lot as you're growing up, or teased about your appearance specifically. Maybe that increases the risk of BDD. And our society's incessant focus on appearance may also play a role.
COHEN: The problem started when they were just children. Robin believes her obsession with the mirror and her flaws came from her father, who she describes as a perfectionist.
ROBIN: If there was one pimple on my face, then my whole day was ruined. It affects your social life, family, academics, health. It just affects whose you are.
COHEN: Kathy's obsession with her appearance started with the urge to be neat, clean, and well groomed.
KATHY: My showers, since I was a little girl, were like an hour and a half. And to this day, I still take about 30 minutes to brush my teeth. And I still take like an hour to an hour and a half to take a shower. So, I think it's always been there.
COHEN: Kathy says an abusive relationship with a high school boyfriend drove her into a deeper despair.
KATHY: I started to feel that my appearance was hideous and really became obsessed with my appearance and having to always look either perfect or obsessing about it. I've just never outgrown it.
COHEN: Kathy draws us a picture of what she sees when she looks in the mirror.
KATHY: This is the stringy hair that I have. This is the messed up eyebrows that I have. Long, narrow, thin face, big nose.
COHEN: It's that image that drives her to change her appearance.
KATHY: I've had one surgery, breast implants. I've had that done twice, because I wasn't happy with the first job. If I could have it done again, I would have it done again, I just can't afford it. I just feel like it's never right. My goal is to kind of be, Playboy bunny image. That's what I think the men want and that's what I feel like I want to look like.
COHEN: An impossible goal that sent Kathy into a deeper depression and her BDD spiraling out of control.
PHILLIPS: BDD is a very serious mental illness and we have found that a surprisingly high percentage of people with BDD have an alcohol or drug problem, about half.
COHEN: Kathy used illegal drugs to numb her pain and did not leave her room for five years.
KATHY: As low as can be. Depressed, out of my mind. Sleeping 18 hours a day, and then use drugs while I was awake. And then go back to sleep for 18 hours. It was a living hell.
ZAHN: So, is there a way out? Elizabeth Cohen will be right back with a woman who found the courage to confront her inner demons.
Some success stories, plus three important ways to tell the difference between BDD and normal concern about the way you look.
ZAHN: Before the break, Elizabeth Cohen introduced us to two women who look perfectly normal, but who think they are so hideous that they refuse to let us show you their faces.
They are among as many as five million American whose have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Now you'll hear and see two others struggling with this devastating illness.
Once again, here is medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.
COHEN: You've met Robin, you've met Kathy. Now, meet Taryn.
She is comfortable enough, just barely, to be seen on TV. But she still feels deformed.
COHEN: But I'm sitting here right now looking at you, and you're beautiful.
TARYN: It's -- thank you for saying so. I think that's one of the big aspects of BDD is that it is so hard to understand. I think many people that suffer from it are somewhat attractive. They truly are not deformed.
COHEN: When you were at your worst, what was your life like?
TARYN: I was unable to really do anything socially. Going into a restaurant was a terrifying experience. I'd have to actually stand outside and do some type of breathing exercise, or do something before I could even walk in. Once I was in, in the seat, I was so uncomfortable, I usually had to get up and leave.
COHEN: Dr. Katharine Phillips is a leading expert on Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
PHILLIPS: The three main ways that we differentiate BDD from normal appearance concern is the preoccupation, the emotional distress, and the interference in one's daily functioning.
This is what makes BDD different from a passing thought about, I don't like my hair today. It makes it different from normal appearance concerns. It makes it different from vanity.
COHEN: It's not only a women's disorder. Almost as many men suffer from BDD.
DOUG: My father didn't really establish any self-esteem in me.
COHEN: Growing up, Doug Terrell (ph) says he was verbally abused by his father. Told he was stupid.
DOUG: I had one good friend in high school. I never dated. And then when I got married, that's when basically, this kind of started.
COHEN: Under pressure from his wife, who wanted to have children while did he not, Doug developed the classic symptoms.
DOUG: I get all panicky and nervous and I try to tell myself, oh, Doug, it's not that bad. You know, you're not an elephant man or anything. And -- but I just start freaking out and my heart starts beating like crazy and I start crying and breaking down.
COHEN: Doug was so horrified by what he saw in his mirror he left the bathroom lights off, even shaved in the dark. It got so bad that Doug, like 80 percent of BDD sufferers, according to one recent study, thought of ending his life.
DOUG: I was going to hang myself on the pipes of the basement but I figure I'll screw that up and the whole pipe system would break and then I'll end up in the loony bin for the rest of my life.
TARYN: If somebody said to me this is it for you, tomorrow is your last day, I would have gladly closed my eyes, went to sleep and that would have been the end. I wouldn't have thought twice about it.
COHEN: Four lives destroyed by a debilitating disorder.
DOUG: I didn't lose my virginity until I was 21.
TARYN: I mean, I missed out on going to my prom.
ROBIN: I lost the sense of who I even was.
KATHY: I'm still struggling to tell myself that I'm OK.
TARYN: It takes a lot from you.
COHEN (on camera): And even now sitting here, do you worry about what you look like?
TARYN: It's always there. Whether it's in the back of my mind or the forefront, it is something that is always there, I think.
COHEN (voice-over): There is no cure for BDD. Taryn, Doug, Robin and Kathy still have days when they can't look in the mirror. But medications and therapy have helped them go to work, to school, have friends and lead lives that will never be anything close to normal.
(on camera): Did you ever think you'd be able to take a walk through Central Park?
TARYN: Not Central Park. I mean, definitely not a park so big with so many people. That was something -- no I definitely don't think I thought that would have been possible considering where I came from but it does go to show you that this does get better. It's not a life sentence. It doesn't have to be.
ZAHN: And that was Elizabeth Cohen reporting.
Joining me now is a cognitive behavioral therapist who treats two of the people we met in Elizabeth's report. Arie Winograd is with UCLA's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Intensive Treatment Program. Good to see you, Arie. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
ARIE WINOGRAD, BEHAVIORAL THERAPIST: Hi, Paula. Thank you.
ZAHN: So, I guess what I still find staggering is to look at the picture that Kathy drew of herself, and how she pictures herself. And she sees herself overweight. She is not; she is rail thin. She draws a huge nose, which she does not have, so how do you deal with that in cognitive therapy? How do you change her perception of herself?
WINOGRAD: Well, yes, I agree with you. There's nothing wrong whatsoever with how Kathy looks.
ZAHN: She's beautiful.
WINOGRAD: She is a very attractive woman. But in the process of cognitive behavioral therapy, unlike some traditional therapies where they try to start working with the inside out, with behavioral therapy, we are trying to change the, neurobiological, neurobiochemical pathways by changing behavior and the brain will follow. So with behavioral therapy, specifically exposure and response prevention, we're having the BDD patients acclimate or what we call habituate to the very intense feelings of anxiety and shame that they experience. And through this process -- and it's a gradual process, I want to emphasize, the brain starts to adapt to these intensive really tormenting feelings and thoughts.
ZAHN: And is there a simple way of helping us all understand how someone could be attractive and yet when they see themselves in the mirror, if they can work up enough courage to do that, they see someone entirely different than the reflection?
WINOGRAD: Yes, this is a severe, severe psychiatric disorder. I don't think that people who don't have BDD can really understand this. But, you know, that's why I'm here talking today to really convey that this is not vanity. This is not a Los Angeles disorder. This is a true psychiatric disorder that probably one percent of the population of the world suffers from.
ZAHN: Arie Winograd, thank you so much for your help tonight.
WINOGRAD: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: And we're going to switch gears now for some important stories about your money and the economy. For that let's turn to Erica Hill who has the Headline News "Business Break."
ZAHN: As we speak, investigators are trying to piece together the story of what led to today's deadly shooting at an east Tennessee high school. David Mattingly joins me with the very latest next.
ZAHN: We're going to go back briefly to our lead story tonight, the deadly shooting in a high school in Jacksboro, Tennessee, where a 15-year-old boy is in custody. Police think he shot and killed an assistant principal and wounded two other administrators.
David Mattingly is at the school in Jacksboro tonight. He has had the opportunity to talk to law enforcement officials, students and parents. What can you tell us about the victims tonight?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, as this -- as the hours go by tonight, this tragedy continues to grow sadder and sadder. The more we learn about assistant principal Ken Bruce, we find that he was very well known and very well liked in this community. The students describe him as someone who is very approachable, very compassionate, very well liked in this school as well.
They also say that he was the kind of teacher who would give you lunch money if you forgot to bring your own. He was gunned down today by that student wielding a handgun. His two colleagues seriously wounded in that were Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce. Tonight, they are both in a Knoxville hospital and reportedly improving but though still in serious condition, Paula.
ZAHN: David Mattingly, appreciate the update. Thanks so much. And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Once again, a 15- year-old boy is in custody for that deadly shooting at the Tennessee high school. More on that story tonight at 10:00 p.m., but in the meantime, time to say hello to "LARRY KING LIVE." His show starts right now.
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