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Missing Girl at Home, Sex Offender Still on the Loose; Isiah Thomas Found Guilty of Sexual Harassment; Breast Cancer and Preventive Measures

Aired October 2, 2007 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Guns for hire in the fight for Iraq. Blackwater lives under the radar except today. The security contractor's top gun is out in the open on Capitol Hill. You'll hear some things about the war you never knew.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Unsportsman like conduct. New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas winds up on the losing end of a sexual harassment verdict, but won't have to pay. Madison Square Garden however, may have to dig really deep. Hello everyone, I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips, you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Should crack cocaine dealers get tougher sentences than people who sell the powder form? It's a hot button issue before the Supreme Court today and it's ripe with racial overtones. Right now, sentencing guidelines come down much harder on crack defendants. Opponents say that's not fair to African-Americans. CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena is at the Supreme Court. Kelli?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there Kyra. Well you know you were right, in real life application, race is very much a factor. But we didn't hear a discussion of race in this courtroom today. What we did hear is an argument from the government that says look, sentencing guidelines are necessary because when you have two people that are convicted of the same crime, you need some similarity in the way that those folks are treated. And that judges just can't ignore laws that have been set by Congress and dismiss them from the courtroom. Now, the law as it stands says that possession of one gram of crack cocaine is equal to possession of 100 grams of powdered cocaine. These were laws that were set up years ago by a sentencing commission, then adopted by congress. Well, a district judge who was confronted with that said well, this is ridiculous. I'm not going to pay attention to these guidelines and I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to sentence you the way that I see fit. That case has made it all the way up here to the Supreme Court Kyra. And basically the defendant's argument is look, there are lots of other mitigating factors that should be considered and that judges should be given as wide discretion as possible.

PHILLIPS: We'll be talking about this a lot more throughout the day. Kelli Arena, right there at the Supreme Court. Thanks Kelli.

ARENA: You're welcome.

LEMON: A 15-year-old Florida girl told her friends she's in love, but police say she is in danger. Happening right now an amber alert for Alyssa Frank believed to have been lured from her home by 46-year-old Bill Mitchell. Police call him a high risk sex offender who met the girl online.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: He met her on Myspace, subsequently he created a relationship with her. And she fell in love with him. Someone she had never seen. He lured her away and now he's got her. And we've got to have her back safely. She's in grave danger. She may not realize it yet. She's in grave danger. For Billy Mitch, let her go. Let her go safe.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And you can plainly hear the urgency in the sheriff's voice. If you have information call this number, its 863-533-0344, or 1-800-226-TIPS. We'll keep following this Florida amber alert in the NEWSROOM. The Polk County Sheriff holds another news briefing at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, CNN will bring that to you live.

New York Knicks' coach Isiah Thomas found liable in a sexual harassment suit. CNN's Allan Chernoff joins us now live from New York where the jury wrapped up four days of deliberations. What do you have Allen?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, another embarrassment for my New York Knicks. The coach of the Knicks Isiah Thomas, Madison Square Garden and the chairman of Madison Square Garden's parent company James Dolan, all found guilty of sexually harassing Anucha Browne Sanders, formerly the executive vice president of marketing for the New York Knicks. Sanders had charged that -- that she was subjected to verbal abuse, that she was called hoe, that Thomas used the "b" word towards her. Also she charged that Isiah Thomas had come on to her and tried to kiss her. Isiah Thomas had denied all of the charges but he appeared to have certainly hurt his chances in this case during a video deposition where he said that he did not find it as offensive for a black man to use the "b" word against a black woman as he did for a white woman. Again, he denied all of the charges. Let's have a listen now to a statement that he made just a little while ago after the verdict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISIAH THOMAS, N.Y. KNICKS COACH: I want to say it as loud as I possibly can. I'm innocent, very innocent and I did not do the things that she accused me in this courtroom of doing. I'm extremely disappointed that the jury did not see the facts in this case. We will appeal this, and I remain confident in the man that I am, what I stand for, and the family that I have. Thank you.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) CHERNOFF: Anucha Browne-Sanders was fired after complaining about Isiah Thomas' behavior. Madison Square Garden has also put out a statement. And MSG by the way said that she was fired for incompetence. Let's have a look at her statement at the MSG statement rather. We believe that the jury's decision was incorrect and plan to vigorously appeal the verdict. We look forward to presenting our argument to an appeals court and believe they will agree that no sexual harassment took place and MSG acted properly. The jury did find that Dolan and MSG will have to pay punitive damages and the jury is now trying to figure out exactly what that should be. The jury, though, is dead-locked on Isiah Thomas as to whether or not he should have to pay. And as a result he will not have to pay punitive damages. Don?

LEMON: All right, CNN's Allan Chernoff, thank you for that report.

PHILLIPS: They are hired guns but critics say they're loose canons. Blackwater USA and other private security contractors in Iraq under fire on Capitol Hill right now. Blackwater specifically in the wake of a highly disputed shooting last month that Iraqi leaders say killed innocent civilians. Blackwater says it was responding to an attack. Lawmakers are being asked not to talk about the particulars because the FBI has opened a criminal probe. But the case has sparked new tensions, putting the lawmakers on the attack and Blackwater's CEO on the defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. HENRY WAXMAN, (D) OVERSIGHT & REFORM COMM: One senior U.S. military official said, "Blackwater's actions are creating resentment among Iraqis that quote, may be worse than Abu Ghraib" end quote. If these observations are true, they mean that our reliance on a private military contractor is backfiring.

ERIK PRINCE, BLACKWATER CHAIRMAN & CEO: An incident occurs typically when our men fear for their life. They're not able to extract themselves from the situation, they have to use sufficient defensive fire to get off the X, to get off that place where the bad guys have tried to kill Americans that day.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Plenty of questions about Blackwater and other private security contractors. But one things for sure, the U.S. military needs them. Let's get straight to the Pentagon and CNN's Barbara Starr. I think that need though being questioned a lot, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well it is Kyra. You know there are thousands of security contractors in Iraq working for several dozen companies providing this service, guarding VIPs, Iraqi government officials, reconstruction sites, all of that. The work could not be done in Iraq without them. That is very clear. But what this whole incident really highlights is that people know very little about this both secretive and violent world in which the security contractors operate. This hearing now, Eric Prince, the head of Blackwater, testifying for some three hours right now, on Capitol Hill, shedding new light on it. But still, with the FBI as you say, opening the criminal investigation, into the September 16th shooting incident, very little being said about that incident in particular. The Iraqi government says Blackwater guards opened fire without provocation, killing civilians, Backwater's position is they came under attack and fired in self defense. Though there appears to be acknowledgement civilians were killed in all of that. What Mr. Prince is doing for the last several hours now, is really trying to defend the tactics that these security contractors use. As you heard in that sound bite, their job, not to be in combat but to move out of the way of trouble as fast as possible. He used an example just a short time ago. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIK PRINCE, BLACKWATER CHAIRMAN & CEO: This is what happens when our guys are not able to prevent a suicide car bomb. This blew up three Blackwater personnel and one state department security officer up in Mosul. It tossed a 9,000 pound armored suburban 50 feet into the side of a building followed by a whole bunch of small arms fire from the rooftops. A very serious ambush, killed four Americans that fast.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: You know, so this is just another demonstration, Kyra, again, of the violence in which they operate. But make no mistake congress is asking a lot of very tough questions, one of the real themes that's emerging from all of this is, is it cost effective to use these private firms? Would the U.S. be better off simply having the U.S. military do the work? Lots of questions still to be answered

PHILLIPS: Also, too, the law with regard to the law and operating under the law and these tactics that you mentioned under the law. It's still a gray area because you have Iraqi Law, you have U.S. law, there are military guidelines and laws. S the question is, too, how are these security companies supposed to operate under certain laws? Which ones do you pick?

STARR: Right. You know that is a fundamental question that so many congressmen are asking right now. What's the accountability when something goes wrong, civilians get killed or security personnel misbehave, what is their accountability? Let's take that step by step. Under the current way the laws are organized they are not held accountable under Iraqi law. They are not held accountable under U.S. military law because they are civilians of course. So what happens is, any wrongdoing or any allegations are referred to the U.S. Justice Department and again, the FBI, for further investigation, and possible criminal prosecution. One of the issues is now, with all of this, is that enough, is there some other way that all of this should be organized. Kyra?

PHILLIPS: All right. Barbara Starr live from the Pentagon. Appreciate it.

LEMON: A peaceful push for Democracy, a violent push back from a repressive regime. Some Buddhist monks are fleeing Myanmar's military.

PHILLIPS: Plus, it's the cancer many women fear most. But how much do you really know about breast cancer? A specialist answers your e-mail questions.

LEMON: And offspring sprung. A judge says Britney Spears' kids are better off without her, at least for now. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: October is breast cancer awareness month. The American Cancer Society is encouraging all women 40 and older to get mammograms. But many women with family histories are not waiting, they are having preventive mastectomies to head off what they fear would be inevitable. We're going to actually speak to someone who did just that later in the NEWSROOM. Also we're going to talk with Doctor Otis Frawley of the American Cancer Society. If you have questions about breast cancer and hereditary, e-mail us right now at cnnnewsroom@cnn.com. We're going to read some of your questions right here on the air.

LEMON: We're also going to talk about this, fight or flight. Hard choices from Myanmar's Buddhist monks as the military gets tough. That story is coming up right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We told you about a news conference involving a Florida girl, an amber alert. We're hearing now that it's going to happen in about 15 minutes, 1:30 eastern. Here's the back story. A 15-year-old Florida girl told her friends that she was in love but police say she was in danger. It's an amber alert for Alyssa Frank, she is believed to be lured from home by 46-year-old man, his name is Bill Mitchell. That's the man to the right of your screen there. Police say he is a high risk sex offender. They are going to hold a press conference at 1:30 eastern, in about 15 minutes. Here is the number to call if you have any information, 1-863-533-0344, or 1-800-226-tips. As soon as that press conference starts we'll bring it to you live right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Pleading for peace in Myanmar. United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari was finally able to sit down with the elusive leader of Myanmar's military police, senior general Than Shwe. No details have been released but the U.N. hopes to see the end of crackdowns on pro democracy protesters. And before leaving Myanmar, Gambari also had a second meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy activist who has long been under house arrest.

LEMON: But is talk enough? Not as far as the state department is concerned. Today on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING" undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns said that the U.N. needs to do more to end the crisis and so do the countries that border Myanmar also known as Burma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NICHOLAS BURNS, UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE: Hope China will use its influence and hope India will use its influence. What's happening in Burma is absolutely outrageous. You saw last week on the television thousands of monks who are marching peacefully in Rangoon and the other cities of Burma, a lot of them have been arrested, there are reports that some have been killed, major human rights abuses. The world just can't sit by and watch this happen. We have to take action against the Burmese government. We should be passing sanctions resolutions at the U.N. but the U.N. is failing to act right now. There has to be a large spotlight shown in the country.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The U.S. has imposed travel restrictions and economic sanctions against Myanmar's leaders and has frozen the assets of 14 senior members of the military regime.

PHILLIPS: Men of peace, versus military might. Myanmar's Buddhist monks are trying to stand up to a repressive regime. But how many are paying with their lives? CNN's John Vause is in neighboring Thailand with more on that brutal crackdown and a warning. His report does contain images you may find disturbing. We will bring you that report in just a moment.

LEMON: Meantime, we want to update you on that news conference we told you that is going to come out of Florida regarding a 15-year- old Florida girl. Her name is Alyssa Frank. There is an amber alert for her. We're awaiting a press conference to start at 1:30 eastern. About 12, 13 minutes from now. This is the man we're looking for to the right of your screen. 46-year-old Bill Mitchell. The phone number for you to call, we'll give it you real quick as we await this press conference. 1-863-533-0344 or 800-226-tips. Kyra?

PHILLIPS: Now that reporter from our John Vause.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These three Buddhist monks are now on the run, among the few who managed to cross the border into neighboring Thailand fleeing persecution by Myanmar's military. When I first started protesting I wasn't afraid, he says. But when the problems began I became scared and ran. They say many monks have been arrested and beaten. There are reports that hundreds have been killed. Sources inside Myanmar have told CNN many of the monasteries in Yangon are deserted. And then there is this. Disturbing video shot by a member of a network of dissident Myanmar journalists. It shows the body of a Buddhist monk found Sunday in a stream not far from where the pro democracy protests have taken place. This is not believed to be an isolated case. In a country where there are nearly as many monks as there are soldiers, the men of peace in the saffron robes may be paying a heavy price in this showdown with the military rulers of Myanmar. Judging from the limited images that have made their way out of Myanmar today, the protesters are for the most part gone, too. Terrified now to leave their homes. Sources we have contacted inside Myanmar say as many as 1,000 people have been arrested in the past 48 hours, the streets are now controlled by police and soldiers, witnesses tell CNN passersby are being stopped and searched for cameras and cell phones. Anything to keep the military government's actions from the eyes of the world. Myanmar's military has ruled this country for more than 40 years. Brutally putting down any challenge to its authority only this time the rest of the world witnessed the crackdown virtually in real time. As images and video were uploaded over the Internet and sent out to the world. The authorities have tried to sever that connection and it remains sporadic at best.

JOHN JACKSON, ACTIVIST: The determination is so there might be a lull, but once the troops are back in their barracks, once the Internet is up and running I think you'll see further protests.

VAUSE: Over the weekend a U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari met with Myanmar's first prominent human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

(On camera): And Gambari now has met with the country's most senior ruling general to deliver the world's outrage. But Myanmar's generals have never listened before, it's not expected to be different this time. John Vause, CNN, Bangkok, Thailand.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: All right John. We want to tell you we're updating our viewers on this. We're awaiting a press conference to happen from Florida at the bottom of the hour on the whereabouts of the young lady you see on the left, they are looking for the young man on the right, or the man on the right. It is an amber alert. Press conference coming up at the bottom of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Uh-oh, look out Starbucks. The burger joints are coming. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange with the latest plan percolating, oh I get it now, at McDonald's. They are going to start serving better coffee, is that right?

SUSAN LISOVICZ: Yeah. And they can serve premium prices, right?

LEMON: And cheaper prices?

LISOVICZ: Well, I suppose cheaper than Starbucks perhaps.

LEMON: I know, do you go to Starbucks? Like I go in sometimes and it's like 6 bucks, what did I get?

LISOVICZ: A personal finance people will always tell you, when you try to cut back, you start with the small things.

LEMON: Like the coffee and yeah.

LISOVICZ: The (INAUDIBLE), the scented candles, the pillows. Any way, that's a whole another story. Specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos may soon be available at McDonald's. Coffee has already contributed to a surge in breakfast sales under the golden arches. Now there are reports saying specialty coffees will be available at all McDonald's Restaurants by the end of '08. According to crane Chicago business, the new drinks expected to add more than $1 billion a year to the fast food chain sales. McDonald's says no final decisions have been made about a launch date but it acknowledges it has been testing specialty coffees and the company tells CNN that so far it's encouraged by customers' response. You know where it's going Don.

LEMON: So now I have to speak French or Italian or whatever it is when I go to McDonald's now. Before I couldn't get my grandes and my large and my whatever. Ok.

LISOVICZ: Ok, I think you do just fine.

LEMON: All right. So, they are known for their French fries, oh McDonalds, and not their coffee. Most of us eat ketchup with fries. There is a transition there. There is some news on tomatoes. Saw it in the paper.

LISOVICZ: The perfect tomato. And Heinz which takes it tomatoes and ketchup very seriously says it's sowing the seeds for better ketchup quite literally. The company has been planting a new variety of tomato in California that it thinks is sweeter, thicker, and better yielding. It hopes the tomato which it claims is 10 percent sweeter will reduce its reliance on high fructose corn syrup by 3 percent. Why is that? Well, because the price of corn syrup has been sky rocketing because of all of the demand for ethanol. Corn syrup also the target of scorn for many health advocacy groups that don't think we should be eating so much.

LEMON: Hey Susan, see? I told you I read it. I have it right here. Can you get that Robert?

LISOVICZ: Yep, I see it.

LEMON: What does it say? Seeking sweet savings.

LISOVICZ: That's what it's all about.

LEMON: Did I tell you why I got rid of the tomatoes in my yard?

LISOVICZ: No you didn't.

LEMON: I had a little snake in there.

LISOVICZ: Well, maybe -- maybe it's just your average garden snake.

LEMON: I was picking tomatoes and then there was a snake in the garden and I took all of the tomatoes and cleared it out -- I freaked out. I'm really afraid of snakes. I'm sorry, they're telling me to wrap. We'll chat over the phone. How is the market doing today?

LISOVICZ: The market has given back a little bit of what it gave up yesterday. Dow industrials struggling after yesterday's historic gains of the blue chips, new high, the Dow gaining nearly 10 percent since August 16th, when it dipped below the 13,000 level. But hey, it's still above 14,000 despite we got worse housing news. Pending home sales in August fell worst than expected, 6.5 percent from the month before. This measures newly signed contracts to buy a home, the national association of realtors also says tightening lending standards are evident. 10 percent of sales fell through at the last minute. The Dow is down 69 points or half a percent. The NASDAQ is down just 5 points. So not too bad. In the next hour we'll talk about auto stocks which are moving forward even though auto sales are moving in the other direction. I'll break it all down for Don, such a renaissance man.

LEMON: Yeah, I'll call you. We'll talk about coffee and we'll talk about tomatoes and snakes and all that. Coffee talk later on. All right Susan, thank you.

PHILLIPS: In the battle against breast cancer some women aren't waiting to get the disease. They are taking the daunting step of having preventive surgery. We're going to hear from one straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM. And what questions do you have about breast cancer and heredity? E-mail us at cnnnewsroom@cnn.com. We'll read them right here.

LEMON: And Kyra we're also following a developing story, an amber alert out of Florida, that 15-year-old girl on the left is missing. They believe the 46-year-old man on the right may be responsible for that. Police in Florida will hold a press conference at 1:30 eastern, that's just a few minutes. Those numbers you can call if you have any information.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. A desperate search for two people who don't even belong together. One is a 15-year-old girl.

LEMON: The other, police say, is a sex offender more than three times her age. We're going to hear about it right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We're waiting for a press conference regarding that 15-year-old girl in Florida. Police officers and officials there are getting their acts together to come out to speak to the media.

In the meantime, we want to tell you about it. As we look at live pictures now, you can see them preparing at the podium there. Alyssa Frank is believed to have been lured from her home by 46-year- old Bill Mitchell. Police are calling him a high-risk sex offender who met the girl online. In the meantime, those phone numbers that you see up there on your screen, 1-863-533-0344, and 1-800-226-tips, those are numbers you can call if you have any information.

We're going to follow this press conference and bring you any developing news from it.

PHILLIPS: Well, alleged sexual predators on the run. They're out there, and police want your help to find them.

Here's another, James William Bell, a former Rhode Island gymnastics coach, currently a fugitive, accused of molesting young girls. Police say they looked into Bell's past and found that he'd been accused of inappropriate conduct at almost every coaching job that he's held. Bell is 53, and police say he may still be pursuing a coaching position somewhere. He was last seen in Providence, Rhode Island, but may also be in Oregon or Washington State.

And this is Jesus Armando Dominguez, a former California priest suspected of molesting young boys, including altar boys. He now faces 58 counts of molestation. Dominguez, 58 years old. He was last seen in Paris, California but may be In Mexico.

If you have any information on these cases, please call America's most wanted, 1-800-CRIME-TV -- 1-800-274-6388. You can also log on at www.AMW.com. Now we want to take you straight to Florida where we're getting more on that Amber Alert.

Let's listen in.

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: He's at-large. We don't know where he is. We know that he's dangerous. We know that he is a predator and a pedophile. We know that he lured this 15-year-old away after some period of possibly weeks of communication, as it's described to us.

Once again, we'll ferret out how long she's been communicating with him as the investigation goes on and report that to you. But we're relieved, we're relieved because she's alive, and because she's well.

However, other children are not safe, as long as our suspect is at large. We want him. We want him very badly and we want him in custody. That's why we still ask for the community to help us.

Look for this vehicle. Dial 911 on your cell phone. We'll immediately have law enforcement officers respond to the area and take him in custody.

I'll entertain questions that you have.

Certainly she's doing very well. The investigation is under way, and we won't release whether she was or was not battered, because that would be against the law and not in her best interests. But I can tell you that she is all right.

QUESTION: How did her parents react?

JUDD: Her parents are absolutely elated that she's alive and well, as you know you would be if you were her parent. Certainly there's a lot of investigation to go for us to move forward in this case.

But it's important for everyone to recognize that this juncture, this is what predators and pedophiles do best -- they groom the children. They have a lot of personality. They have charisma. They convince these very young girls, or boys, that this conduct's OK. And then children do something which normally they may not be predisposed to do.

We know from her parents' statements that Alyssa had never run away before. That's why her parents thought it suspicious and certainly frightening when they learned that she had disappeared from home.

Obviously he took her to Alabama -- he being the suspect -- and they came back to Defuniak Springs. He left her, I'm certain as we're piecing this together -- we've not had the opportunity to talk to her in detail. I'm certain he took her to Wal-Mart with the intention of leaving her. Otherwise, why would he separate and say come find me in five minutes. He looked for an area to dump her. And for that we're grateful. We're grateful he took her to a populated area.

But it doesn't lessen our desire to take William Joe Mitchell, known as Billy Mitchell, into custody. Quite frankly, we're thankful that he didn't kill her. That was our greatest fear. And as you know, as these events go on, the longer we are without finding the victim, the greater the chance that they 're a victim of a homicide. So truly, this is a blessing from God today that she's alive.

Certainly it's best not to try to take him into custody. It's reported to us that he does have a firearm. We know that he's dangerous. We know that he has a violent past. They need only to dial 911, keep a safe distance, watch the car, tell law enforcement officers where they are, where the suspect is, and let law enforcement officers who are trained and equipped to take him into custody.

QUESTION: You mentioned the fact that he wanted to dump her. Did he know there was an Amber Alert out for him?

JUDD: We don't know at this time what he knew. But for some reason, certainly I believe it's because of communication, either the Amber Alert and/or the communication that you created through your newspapers, televisions, radios, that it was getting hot. It was time for him to move on. I am just thankful that he took her to Wal-Mart, a populated area, and left her there.

QUESTION: Has Alyssa been able to talk with this?

JUDD: Alyssa is now dealing with the Defuniak Police Department and FDLE. We have agents and detectives there. Therefore, we'll not be able to release further information about her communication right now. The most important thing is she was very forthcoming. She said yes, that she was Alyssa Frank, that she was all right, and that she didn't know where the suspect was because he had left her in the store.

QUESTION: You say the parents are on the way now.

JUDD: The parents will be on the way in a few minutes. They are preparing. They're exceptionally elated, maybe the only one that is more elated than me right now. QUESTION: Do you know if they had contact?

JUDD: I don't think they talked to her yet.

I don't know how long she'd been at the Wal-Mart. I presume not very long, because he took her there, said give me five minutes. They found her wandering around in the Wal-Mart. Once again, we don't have the details on the exact communication between her and Wal-Mart employees. We only know that Defuniak Springs was dispatched to a suspicious person. They arrived -- the police officer who had seen her photograph in north Florida, said he immediately recognized her, and she admitted that she was who she was.

QUESTION: Was she the suspicious person?

JUDD: She was the suspicious person.

PHILLIPS: Well, the good news is 15-year-old Alyssa Frank is home, she's alive, she is now safe.

The bad news is this man you see on the other part of your screen, police are calling him a high-risk sex offender, 46-year-old Bill Mitchell, still on the loose. Police say he's got a violent past. He's got a weapons. They fear he is armed and dangerous.

We do have a description of the car, as well. Here it is. Police need your help in finding that, in addition to -- even more importantly, 46-year-old Bill Mitchell.

You heard from the sheriff there, the Polk County sheriff Grady Judd, he is thankful that Bill Mitchell did not kill 15-year-old Alyssa Frank. He knows his past, that's why they want him. And he says it's a blessing that she is still alive.

Somehow, he caught on that police might have been getting close to him, so he dumped her off at a Wal-Mart, separated himself from her and disappeared. Now, he's on the loose. Police need your help in finding him. Here's his car.

Good news is Alyssa Frank, she's OK. Police still need your help in finding 46-year-old Bill Mitchell, high-risk sex offender on the loose at this point. We'll keep you updated.

LEMON: We're also following another developing story, this one broke just hours ago. Isiah Thomas, former NBA star and current coach of the New York Knicks, well, he's found liable in a sexual harassment suit. The plaintiff is a former Knicks executive who claims she was fired after complaining about Thomas' alleged verbal abuse and unwanted advances. Thomas says the jury got it wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISIAH THOMAS, N.Y. KNICKS COACH: I'm innocent, I'm very innocent, and I did not do the things that she accused me in this courtroom of doing. I'm extremely disappointed that the jury could not see the facts in this case. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Thomas says he'll appeal. In any event, he won't have to pay any damages. But the Knicks owner, Madison Square Garden, will.

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, in the battle against breast cancer, some women aren't waiting to get the disease. They're taking the daunting step of having preventative surgery. We're going to hear from one, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

And do you have questions about breast cancer? You can e-mail us right now, CNNnewsroom@cnn.com. We'll read them with Dr. Otis Brawley.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: There is new information now in that missing boat in Florida, the "Joe Cool," What exactly happened on that boat.

Let's go to Susan Candiotti with the late developments. What do you have, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don.

Well, the question remains: are those two men that were rescued from a life raft victims or suspected killers? For the first time on the record today, investigators are saying that they suspect these two men of murder. "They are under investigation for murder." The magistrate in this case asked the prosecutor, your theory is they killed the four crew members? And the prosecutor said, yes, your honor.

This happened during a bond hearing today for Kirby Archer and his 19-year-old traveling companion, Guillermo Zarabozo. Those two men were the ones you will recall that were rescued from a life raft about a week ago, a life raft that was found about 10 miles away from the abandoned charter fishing boat called the "Joe Cool."

Well, also today during a bond hearing for the two men, we learned tantalizing new details about what may have happened in truth aboard that boat. First of all, we are hearing from an agent working for the FBI and the Coast Guard that they found, what they describe as suspected blood found inside the cabin, whereas before Zarabozo allegedly told authorities that the four missing crew members were shot outside the cabin.

Also found inside the cabin, according to the federal agent, two bullet casings that are now being tested. Inside a backpack belonging to Zarabozo found aboard the life raft, they found a blow gun, darts, some knives, cell phones and some leather workout gloves with the fingers cut out.

Also, a federal agent revealed today they discovered that both men bought two magazine -- gun magazines from a local gun store back on September the 12th. And now, this is -- these are additional details I'm about to tell you, that Zarabozo allegedly told authorities when he was questioned that they were hijacked by three armed men, and additional information that will come out later.

Anyway, both men are being held without bond at this time. Back to you, Don.

LEMON: All right, CNN Susan Candiotti, thank you for that update, Susan.

And when we come back, we're going to talk about the battle against breast cancer. Some women who haven't been diagnosed with breast cancer are still taking drastic preventative measures. We're taking your e-mails and talking to a doctor when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Families, a true source of joy and support. But in families with a history of breast cancer, also a source of dilemma. Mother of two, Wendy Kretchmer had a preventative double mastectomy and hysterectomy without any diagnosis of cancer after testing positive for a mutation of the BRCA gene. The BRCA test lets women know that they're at higher risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers. Kretchmer's mom and aunt both tested positive, as well, and they've had the surgeries.

Wendy Kretchmer joins me now live from Los Angeles. Also, Dr. Otis Brawley with the American Cancer Society is here with me in Atlanta. We're going to actually answer some e-mail questions that you've sent in, and also, I wanted to -- doctor to respond to Wendy as well, when we talk about what she went through with -- what she did.

Wendy, kind of give me a little history here about how you decided to go forward and take this as an exam. You actually were inspired finally, not only with family history but by your best friend, right?

WENDY KRETCHMER, HAD PREVENTIVE SURGERY: Yes, my best friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And it was shocking to me because I was the one with the family history of breast and ovarian cancer. So, it was a wake-up call for me. I knew that there was a genetic test available and I decided to take it.

PHILLIPS: Now, how did you decide to take this? What kind of research did you do to find out about this test? What made you feel good -- I mean, this is a huge decision.

KRETCHMER: It is. I honestly didn't think that I would test positive. I just knew I had a family history that seemed -- I felt removed from, because I never knew my grandmother. She passed away from ovarian cancer before I knew her. And my aunt had breast cancer, but you know, she lives in New York and I just thought this would be something I'd check off my list of things to do. And I met with a genetic counselor in my local area.

PHILLIPS: And so, you get the test results back and you thought oh, my gosh, I could very well develop cancer. How did you move into the next level of actually having the surgeries? KRETCHMER: Well, the initial reaction was complete shock. But then, I must say that I truly looked at this as a blessing because I got a heads up on the fact that I had an 87 percent chance of getting breast cancer, so it was through a lot of research. I wanted to -- I met with lots of doctors, did a lot of Internet searching, found this wonderful support group, Force, online, and it was through a lot of research that I came to the decision that this was something that I had to do. I wanted to do -- I didn't want to leave any stone unturned, knowing my risk.

PHILLIPS: Wendy, stay with me. We're going to continue our discussion. We got a little bit of breaking news. We're going to get to Don real quickly with that.

LEMON: Absolutely, Kyra. We heard about Isiah Thomas being found liable in a sexual harassment case. Now, we're hearing about those punitive damages and how much they're going to cost.

T.J. Holmes working the details for us right in the news room. What do you have, T.J.?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: $11.6 million, that's the number we have here.

LEMON: Ooh.

HOLMES: That's the number -- that's the punitive damages that the Madison Square Garden folks, the executives, the organization's going to have to pay to this woman. That is the word we're just getting.

Of course, this was all kind of public relations wise bad for Isiah Thomas. They're finding that sure, he sexually harassed this woman and that the organization was liable as well. However, the jury ruled that he himself personally, Isiah Thomas, did not have to pay in this sexual harassment suit.

But Madison Square Garden, the group here in charge of the Knicks, the whole organization, and the top executives, the organization itself is going to have to pay $11.6 million in damages to this former executive who says she was sexually harassed, was subjected to all kinds of name calling and a locker room atmosphere in sneakers or an executive office in sneakers is what she described it as.

But $11.6 million. She was originally asking for $10 million in that lawsuit, but $11.6 is the number that has come out. You're seeing here the video earlier for Isiah Thomas, came out and made a statement, said he was disappointed and he would appeal. But still, I guess you could call this somewhat of a partial victory for him in that he did not have to personally pay any money, but now $11.6 million is the number that goes against the executives and the organization itself.

So, still a developing story here. No word on whether Madison Square Garden themselves, the organization is going to actually be appealing as well. But developing story, we're kind of getting some conclusions to it today. But, $11.6 million is the number we're getting, Don.

LEMON: All right, T.J., thank you very much.

And this just in. Our Allan Chernoff, I should say, as well, is working this story. Madison Square Garden, $6 million for hostile work environment, $2.6 million for retaliation, and then Cablevision will have to pay $3 million, and that's how that $11.6 million breaks down.

Again, our Allan Chernoff is working this for us, he's in New York. Allan, I understand you have an update for us.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, you know, this is far more than Browne Sanders was even asking for. You know, she sued for $10 million, so the jury being extremely generous here. And let's also consider that Anucha Browne Sanders had earned $260,000 a year in her role as the executive vice president for marketing with the New York Knicks. So, this a resounding victory.

But, let's also keep in mind that MSG and Dolan, they are planning to appeal all of it. Isiah Thomas also in his statement that you're seeing right there, he said that he intends to appeal this verdict.

This is really quite a victory, though, for Browne Sanders. These are not easy cases to win, and she has won very big here against the Knicks, Isiah Thomas and Jim Dolan, the head of Cablevision, parent of MSG.

LEMON: All right, Allan Chernoff working it for us there, T.J. Holmes working it, as well as all the resources here at CNN. Thank you both for those reports -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, stay tuned. Right after the break, we're going to talk more about the BRCA test and we're taking your e-mails with Dr. Otis Brawley. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: We're going to continue our discussion now on breast cancer. You heard Wendy Kretchmer's story, Wendy, you were telling us about this preventative double mastectomy and hysterectomy without any diagnosis of cancer.

The BRCA gene, the BRCA test, Dr. Otis Brawley, she's a brave woman.

DR. OTIS BRAWLEY, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Yes, very much so.

PHILLIPS: You deal with patients -- well, you're now head of the American Cancer Society. But as a doctor, and I know you still talk with your patients a lot, is this something that you have recommended for women? BRAWLEY: Yes, if you have someone who's very concerned about their risk of breast cancer, has an extensive family history of breast cancer, they actually really should see someone who is a certified counselor, genetic counselor, and then that genetic counselor and they will decide what their risk is. Actually, give them a number, what their lifetime risk, the risk over 10 years is, and then, they need to sit down and make a decision.

Now, this mastectomy actually lowers risk of getting breast cancer in these women. It does not lower to zero. So, some women may decide I want to -- I don't want to get the operation, I want to wait, maybe delay it several years. Some women may decide it's not for them at all. But this is a very difficult decision for a woman to make. And you know, you have to be very brave in order to look this in the eye and take care of it.

PHILLIPS: Wendy, would you go forward and say to other women, this is definitely the way to go? It saved my life?

KRETCHMER: Yes, it was absolutely the way to go for me. There's no question.

PHILLIPS: And Dr. Brawley, just listening to her story, we've already started to get a number of e-mails in. Wendy, you're truly an inspiration to a lot of people here and it's triggering a number of different questions.

This one coming in from a viewer, and I'm going to ask you, Dr. Brawley, to answer this. "About a month ago, I developed a raised- like rash with several individual spots on my left breast, with the largest splotch on the upper left quadrant. Could this be a sign of breast cancer?"

BRAWLEY: The answer is it could be a sign of breast cancer. I'd encourage that woman or any woman who's concerned about a breast to go see a physician rather quickly. This also could be benign rashes, poison ivy or even mastitis, which is an inflammation of the breast. But, it also could be inflammatory breast cancer. That lady needs to see a physician and needs to be evaluated.

PHILLIPS: Another question here from Maheer (ph). "My mother- in-law was recently diagnosed with Phase II breast cancer. My wife, who is 27 years of age, is also concerned. Isn't there an alternative to mammogram at an early age? I recently heard about sentinol (ph), breast scan, a safe and touchless computer-guided breast exam which has no irradiating light?

BRAWLEY: She has stage II breast cancer which is fortunate, it's fairly early stage, the prognosis is good. Right now, in terms of early detection which is actually our best defense against this disease, the best thing one can do is mammography for women over the age of 40. For women less than 40, breast self-examination or examination by a physician is even better, is really the only thing an individual can do.

These other tests have not been proven to be that effective for women in their 20s and 30s, so we recommend a clinical examination at least once a year, usually done in conjunction with a gynecologic visit. That's the best thing that someone in their 20s and 30s can do.

PHILLIPS: Wendy, you have two daughters, also a stepdaughter. Is this something that you're going to talk about with your girls? How are you moving forward as a mom of girls?

KRETCHMER: Yes, I'm pretty vocal about it. I mean, the girls hear me talk about it, and I have a 50 percent chance, or they have a 5- percent chance of inheriting the genetic mutation from me. So, it's something that I think about often, and they can't legally be tested until they're 18, and we'll address it when it gets there.

I can't think about it too much, because I'm hoping by the time they have to make the same sort of decisions I made that there is an answer for them, that there's a better option and that I really hope there's a cure.

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