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Mom-to-Be Killed, Baby Stolen; Boy, 8, Patted Down at Airport; Little Boy Visits River Memorial to Family

Aired April 15, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, it`s like something out of a horror movie. Cops say a 33-year-old woman murdered a pregnant woman a month from delivery and then stole her baby from inside her womb. What was this woman`s demented thinking, and what happened to the innocent infant?

Also, it happened again: another little kid given a full-body security pat-down in an airport. This time, an 8-year-old boy on his way to his dream trip to Disneyland. I`ll talk one on one with this child`s furious mother, and the little boy himself is going to tell us about this traumatic experience.

And restaurant serving booze to toddlers twice in two week, margaritas and sangria? Margaritas and sangria are not made for kids. I`ll talk with both mothers about how these shocking mistakes keep happening and who is responsible.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got out and, you know, in his own mind that he would have be able to have time to save them. But unfortunately, it was too late.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A mom drove herself and her four kids into the Hudson River, killing all but her heroic 10-year-old son, who managed to climb out. Now the little boy goes back to visit his family`s watery grave. I`ll show you the emotional video.

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want people to know that Jamie was a very bright, optimistic, young lady. She had a bright future ahead of her. She was robbed of motherhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now because of this heinous crime, our son is going to have to grow up without a mother.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight that is right out of a horror movie. Cops say a baby is stolen, ripped right from his mother`s womb. That beautiful, young mom to be, almost 8 months pregnant, is murdered and left in the woods just off a Kentucky highway.

The grim discovery came after this woman, 33-year-old Kathy Coy, walked into a hospital, carrying a newborn baby boy, and she claimed the baby was hers. But it didn`t add up. Officials just didn`t buy it. They immediately called the cops.

The cops charged Kathy Coy with kidnapping and murdering a pregnant woman. Her alleged victim, 21-year-old Jamie Stice, was due to give birth May 24. Her son, who she planned to name Isaiah, miraculously survived.

Cops won`t say how they think this suspect removed the baby from the mother`s womb. Here is the mother. Look at that beautiful girl, dead tonight. In fact, they won`t even confirm that the baby belonged to Jamie until the DNA comes back. That`s why the suspect is going to be arraigned, i.e. formally charged, next week.

Jamie`s family says the last time they saw her, she was going to buy baby clothes with her alleged murderer. Jamie`s mother says the two met through a mutual friend and they were also friends on Facebook. And the suspect had been hanging around her daughter a whole lot in the past three weeks, pretending to be not only pregnant herself, like oh, two pregnant ladies together, but also pretending to be a caregiver from an organization that distributes diapers and bibs. So oh, I`m somebody coming bearing gifts.

Meantime, a neighbor of the suspect says she chatted with Kathy Coy last week and had absolutely no reason to be suspicious of her. Listen to this.


DARLA MUELLER, NEIGHBOR WHO CHATTED WITH SUSPECT: This is very shocking. She has been telling everyone that she was pregnant, and we had no reason not to believe otherwise. And I baby sit. I have children around here constantly. And this is just real scary.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That same neighbor also says Kathy Coy had blond hair when she last saw her. But take a look at this mug shot. Do you see any blonde hair? No. This woman has now suddenly dyed her hair black. Hmm.

Very bizarre, twisted stuff here. HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, this is one of the sickest cases. When I read this story this morning, I really almost got ill.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I want to go back and read it again, because I said, you must be kidding me. But apparently, Wednesday afternoon, Jane, this woman, Kathy Coy, walked into a Bowling Green medical center with this baby.

The hospital staff said, "Something`s not right here." They called Kentucky state police and said that they had a suspicious birth. The police came out, interviewed Coy, and as part of their investigation, led them to a wooded area not that far away, where they found the body of 21- year-old Miss Stice.

Now, today, Jane, the coroner says Stice had -- had, excuse me, multiple homicidal sharp force injuries. Now, they won`t say much more about any of the injuries or how the child survived. But she now is charged with murder and kidnapping.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, wait a second, Mike. Are you telling me that when you talk about sharp force injuries...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I almost don`t want to say this. But are you saying that this child may have very well been cut out of this woman`s body?

BROOKS: The coroner -- the coroner will not elaborate any more on the injuries. But you can kind of read into this. When he says -- he calls it multiple homicidal sharp force injuries. That`s what it seems like.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Imagine. Imagine the scene. It boggles my mind.

Every time I have seen the worst crime that I can possibly handle and I go home just in a daze, wondering what is going on with the human race, something proceeds to shock me even more.

A neighbor of the suspect said that she was running around pretending to be pregnant, and nobody had any reason to doubt her story about being pregnant. Because this suspect, apparently, acted like a real mommy-to-be. Listen to this.


MUELLER: We had a yard sale, and she actually came over and purchased baby items. She actually told me that someone gave her a baby bed and purchased a baby bumper for that baby bed.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, here`s what is really scary, Dr. Judy Kuriansky. On the suspect`s Facebook page, she claims to already have two children. Since she`s obviously a major league lunatic, I don`t know if she does have two children, but wouldn`t the normal motive for doing these kind of unbelievably mind-bogglingly vicious things be that "Oh, I could never have children, and I wanted a child of my own"?

DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: That definitely sounds like something that would be practical, but actually, sometimes these women who do this, because there have been other cases, do have other children. They feel unfulfilled. They feel empty. Some of it, at times is a cultural thing that you must, for a woman, you must be pregnant.

But clearly, this -- these women are con artists, because they take a long time in planning this. They cozy up to the women. They pretend that they`re a nurse. They pretend that they`re a friend, as we see in this case, and it is very heinous. They are psychopathic murderers, too, as you can tell now. The coroner hasn`t said how they do this, but I`ll tell you from other cases they use box cutters. This is horrific. I`m sorry to say this. They use knifes. They use scissors, sometimes, to perform caesareans to take that baby out. And so they are vicious murderers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Now, this is not, as you just heard from Dr. Judy, the first horrific case we`ve heard about where a woman murders or allegedly murders a mother to be and steals the baby from the womb. But of course, we are all asking how could anybody even comprehend the idea of this, much less carrying it out?

Here`s my big issue. Are these women insane or are they just evil? There is such a thing as evil in this world.

Let`s check out these old cases. Veronica Deramous pleaded guilty to first-degree assault after she kidnapped a pregnant homeless woman and used box cutters to cut out the homeless woman`s baby, right out of her stomach.

Likewise, Peggy Jo Conner hit a woman with a baseball bat, kidnapped her, and tried to cut the unborn baby from the victim`s womb as she pleaded guilty, as well. In both of these cases, we are happy to say the mothers and the child survived.

But in this case, Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney, the mother was found murdered in the woods off a road in Kentucky. What, when this woman is formally arraigned on Tuesday, is she likely to face in terms of formal charges?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No question it would be first-degree murder. But here`s the question, Jane. There`s no question that, based on the facts, it looks like she was involved, but what we`re missing right now is any forensics that ties her to the body. We`re missing eyewitnesses. We`re missing any statements. In fact, her statement was, as bizarre as it might be, that someone gave her the child.

The question is, what ties her to the actual homicide? Right now, legally -- we`re not talking about common sense or what people might infer. But legally, there would not be enough to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. There`s certainly going to be more that we`re going to hear about and it`s probably enough to prosecute or charge her -- charge her with murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at that face. Look at that face right there.

EIGLARSH: That face doesn`t do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The baby`s father is devastated, obviously, about the murder of the mother of his child. He spoke about his son. Listen to what he had to say.


JAMES REYNOLDS, CHILD`S FATHER: When he first got there, he was not too good of a shape, but the great people there were able to nurse him back, and he`s doing pretty good right now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can`t imagine how this father`s ever going to, one day when the child is older, discuss how he came into this world in the process of the act, it would seem, of murder.

Thank you, fantastic panel. Again, absolutely boggles my mind what people are capable of.

Mother drives a minivan -- speaking of unbelievable acts, a mother drives a minivan into the river, killing herself and her three kids. And now the one son who survived through heroic action visits the watery grave. You`ll see the video next.

But, first, another kid gets a full-body pat-down at the airport. I`m going to talk to this little boy and his livid, furious outraged mother in an ISSUES primetime exclusive coming up.


DANIEL AMOS, TRAVELER: During these times, they have to do that because some people do use their children in a way that is horrible.



SPENCER SHEAHAN, PATTED DOWN BY TSA: I was confused. I did not know anything what they were going to do to me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little did that handsome young man know that his trip to Disneyland also included a full TSA body pat-down at the airport. Surprise: tonight the boy`s mother is outraged that her child was subjected to such an invasive search going through airport security.

And tonight, in an ISSUES primetime exclusive, Heather Sheahan and her very handsome 8-year-old son, Spencer, join us to tell us about their ordeal live in just a moment.

Spencer is the young man who had the captain`s shirt on there.

Spencer was singled out for a pat-down at the Portland airport. His mom was so appalled by this, she took out the camera and started taking some photos. Smart, fast thinking, mom. She says her mom was scared to death, that the little boy thought he was in big trouble. Look at the size of this guy, who`s patting him down. OK? That`s kind of scary right there. I mean, that`s a big guy coming at you with gloves and saying, "I`m going to pat you down."

He thought maybe, "Oh, my gosh, I might not be going to Disneyland. I`m in trouble." That wasn`t the worst of it. Listen to this.


HEATHER SHEAHAN, SPENCER`S MOM: They went up his leg into that area, down the next leg, up here, felt all over.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Spencer joins the likes of this little girl who got the same treatment at the New Orleans airport very recently. Her parents were so outraged they took some video and posted it on YouTube. Look at this, patting down her little bottom.

It`s safe to say, both children were traumatized by these body searches. And their parents say it`s too much. There should be a different set of rules for kids. What do you think?

Straight out to Heather Sheahan and like I said, her very handsome, dashing son Spencer.

Heather, I want to start with you. Describe what happened. You`re going through airport security. You`re on the way to Disneyland. You`re excited; you`re happy. What happened?

H. SHEAHAN: Well, we were going through, and everything was going just fine. It was normal. And I had already gone through. And next thing you know, it was Spencer`s turn to go, and he came through, and it was a beep that sounded. It wasn`t like a beep that he had metal on him. It was more like a beep that I had never heard before.

And the next thing you know, the TSA official took him by his shoulders and pushed him into this glass room and said that he was randomly chosen for additional screening.

This glass room had three walls in it. I was separated from him, and I was trying to reassure him because he was near tears. He was almost crying and looking at me, like, "Are they going to let me on the plane? What`s going on?"

And I said, "Honey, it`s OK. Just try and stay calm."

And then he was brought out to be searched, and the gentleman, the TSA official, put on his rubber gloves and started the pat-down, almost like a criminal -- like a police officer would frisk a criminal. He was very nice, but -- and doing his job, but there`s got to be a better way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I mean, there -- it would seem that that could be very, very frightening to a youngster, especially this whole idea of "Am I in trouble?"

So I want to ask you Spencer, when this big man came up to you and started putting on -- had his gloves and started patting you down, what were you thinking? What did you think was going on, Spencer?

S. SHEAHAN: I was thinking that he was going to check, like, something like my pockets and shoes, so right then I had a feeling that I don`t think I`m quite going to be on a plane. I felt like I`m in trouble or am I -- this is funny. I think, because I know this, because they`re go to check my pockets but it turns out, that was all wrong. He actually did a pat-down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now do you know what a pat-down is and why they do it?

S. SHEAHAN: Yes. Because you might have metal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What, honey?

S. SHEAHAN: Because they might -- you might have metal. You might be carrying metal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Metal. Yes. Very good. Very good.

Well, I`ve got to say, you have a wonderful and articulate son, and I think that he`s come through this with flying colors. But I could still see how he might be scared.

Did you want your mommy? When that man was patting you down, did you feel scared? Did you say, "I want my mommy?"

S. SHEAHAN: No, I felt a little frustrated, and I wanted my mom. But it tickled, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It tickled a little bit. How cute.

Now, let me ask you, Heather, were you kind of traumatized and saying, "I want to be with his son. I don`t want him to get -- this wall and separated from him. I want to be able to hold his hand or something"?

H. SHEAHAN: Yes. I was very concerned for him, especially when he was in the glass house, as you would call it, and then when they walked him out and I asked if I could take pictures, and the said I could.

But the most traumatizing part about it was when we walked away, he asked, "Mommy, do they think I`m a bad guy?"

And I`m said, "Oh, no, honey." I said, "You`re not a bad guy." And I told him, "You were just special, and they picked you to do that."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Great parenting. Great talking to you.

H. SHEAHAN: Thank you.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What he told me is that he was regretful that he couldn`t teach his two younger brothers to swim, because he had just learned how to swim last year, and he was going to teach them to swim. And he blamed it on himself for his two little brothers and especially his baby sister, because she was locked in the baby seat, and he couldn`t unbuckle her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the incredible story of the single surviving child in that horrific family death plunge. This story gets even more incredible.

Check out the cover of "The New York Post." It says "River Boy`s Smile." Ten-year-old Lashaun Armstrong, that brave young man who escaped death when his mother plowed the family minivan with herself and three of her children into the icy river is smiling, because Lashaun was the fourth child in that van, who actually escaped.

Now, after the horrific tragedy, Lashaun actually went down to the riverside memorial for his mother and his three deceased siblings, 5-year- old Landon, 2-year-old Lance, and baby sister, 11-month-old Lainaina. And he looks OK.

He looks OK, but who knows what`s going on inside his mind, and who knows what`s happening to his heart? Imagine, imagine being that young man who had to escape and went for help but was unable to save his mother and three siblings.

Meantime, what might have triggered his mother, 25-year-old Lashanda, to do the unthinkable: kill her own children and kill herself? Here she is seen in a photo from

Now we`re learning the father of the three dead children was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor when his 2-year-old son was found wandering the streets in the middle of February. All right.

Straight out to Dr. Judy Kuriansky. I want to get back to this brave little boy. Is it good for him, do you think, to have gone to the site where he got out of the water and, unfortunately, his mother and his three younger siblings died?

KURIANSKY: I know some people, Jane, would be shocked about that and say that that could be even re-traumatizing him, but in some cases -- you have to be very delicate about this clinically -- that it can be helpful, that it actually brings the person back into the experience to then be able to process some of it.

Now, we do have to remember: he`s a 10-year-old boy.

And to call him on the front page of the paper smiling, I agree with you tremendously, what`s going on in his heart and mind, I would worry about him tremendously as a psychologist from a developmental point of view. He knows how difficult this all was. He was -- barely can process it.

But he also -- I am so afraid of him when he grows up, for example, getting married and having his wife be pregnant and fearing what that would happen. Even as he grows up, feeling about women as he would, and being angry and depressed. I would put him on a major suicide watch here myself. I would for sure have him see a child psychologist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. This child needs help. And let me tell you, this child was heroic. Heroic and quick thinking, because he was going down in that minivan, and he decided, "I`m getting out, and I`m going to run for help." Unfortunately, he couldn`t do it in time.

Thank you, Dr. Judy. Crazy stuff.



JILL VAN HEEST, NIKOLAI`S MOTHER: How he would be so disorganized that alcoholic beverages could even get into a kid`s cup that you wouldn`t know the difference.

TAYLOR DILL-REESE, MOTHER: The doctor told us if he would have drank that whole glass, he could have died.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those are two outraged moms after their little boys were both served alcohol instead of juice at two big chain restaurants.

Tonight here on ISSUES, both mothers join me live. There they are to talk about how this could have happened and what they plan on doing about it. The parents of this little boy are suing Applebee`s because his apple juice turned out to be a margarita and the effects on the 15-month-old -- well, his parents say that was obvious.


DILL-REESE: He took (INAUDIBLE) and he kind of laid his head on the table and dosed off a little bit. Then he woke back up and got real happy and was saying bye to people and hi to people and he wouldn`t eat.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Then we heard about a Florida family who ordered orange juice for their 2-year-old but instead got a sangria cocktail. Now, they say the waiter actually came back to the table after realizing his mistake but it was too late. Little Nikolai had already drank most of the drink.

Both restaurant chains have announced major changes when it comes to serving drinks to kids. But come on, how did this happen in the first place?

Straight out to Jill Vanheest and Taylor Dill-Reese, thank you both moms for joining us.

Jill, let`s begin with you. Your little boy, you say, received sangria cocktail at an Olive Garden restaurant instead of orange juice. So, tell me what happened and how did you notice that there was a problem with this -- with your son`s drink?

VANHEEST: Well, he was actually -- he ordered the orange juice himself and we had been through our breadsticks, our salad. We`ve received our meals; we had eaten part of our meals when the waiter came over and said there`s been a mistake, grabbed the cup and kind of scurried away.

And when he came back, I told him, you know, I need to know what was in the cup in case he has some sort of reaction. The waiter said to me, "The manager will be right over. It was tropical sangria."

We come later to learn that tropical sangria, they mix orange juice with pineapple juice with white wine and that`s what ended up in his cup as opposed to the orange juice that he had ordered.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How old is your son and what did he begin doing, if anything, that might indicate that he was suffering from the effects of the wine in the drink?

VANHEEST: He will be three in July. He was just not behaving. He was not acting like himself. He was climbing in the highchair, out of the highchair, from my lap, my mom`s lap, wasn`t responding to any, you know, request to have him calm down, was just getting louder and louder.

And then when the manager came over and explained it a little bit more, exactly what was in there, then attempts to discipline him kind of had to stop because he clearly wasn`t aware of what he was doing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you take him to the doctor and what did any medical person, professional tell you about the situation?

VANHEEST: We did take him to the hospital. They tried several times to get an IV and get a blood draw from him. Finally the second nurse was able to get an IV and get a blood draw. Since we`re not quite sure what we`re going to do at this point, the attorney does have all of the medical records.

They hooked him up to an IV and -- where he took -- had about, I don`t know, half or three-quarters of the bag in the IV. And then they were -- after checking him some more, they released us to go home. He ended up with a lot of bruises from --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Olive Garden says basically they made a mistake, they are sorry. Can you accept that just as, oh, this is a mistake and walk away or not?

VANHEEST: They poisoned my child right in front of me. I don`t -- there aren`t really words for how distrustful that makes me feel. How angry I am just that their disorganization ever allowed this to ever happen. It`s extremely frustrating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what are you going to do about it?

VANHEEST: At this point I`m not really sure. I`m definitely -- I`ve lost all trust and all faith in them and I just -- my anger is still really frustrating. And I think part of the reason why I`m so frustrated with Olive Garden in particular and why I have no trust for them is because how quickly and how well Applebee`s seemed to respond to the situation that they had. So I guess I`m just frustrated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I just want to say that we`ve reached out and gotten statements from Olive Garden and Applebee`s and representatives from either of these restaurants are invited on our show any time to explain their side of the story more in depth. We want to be fair here.

Let`s go to the other case. One week ago today, Taylor Dill-Reese went to a Detroit Applebee`s with her fiancee and their 15-month-old son. They ordered apple juice for little Dominic but instead they got a margarita is what they say.

Listen to this.


DILL-REESE: The manager came up to me and he smelled it and he`s like, "I am so sorry, ma`am, I just don`t know what to do." And I`m like, "Well, you better do something because this is not apple juice and my son is 15 months old."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now Applebee`s apologized and has promised to change the way that they systematically serve drinks to children and how they do these things. But I understand, Taylor, that you are suing nonetheless. Why did you decide to file a lawsuit?

DILL-REESE: Mainly just so that they can be held accountable for what they did. And it`s just sad, the simple fact that this isn`t the first time that this has happened. And this isn`t the first time that they said they were going to change the way that they serve drinks.

I mean, why wait two, three kids later to change the way you serve drinks? What if my son was the one that died? Why would you wait until death to change drinks?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me get into one of the nuances here. Here`s the question. Did these incidents result in a measurable blood alcohol level in these children?

Now, in the case of the Detroit Applebee`s, the "Daily Tribune" reports that police tested the actual drink and found a blood alcohol level of .014. In comparison, the same test involving, let`s say, a shot of a 100-proof whiskey would be much higher, three times higher. So essentially, Taylor, Applebee`s is saying that that is trace elements, that that is not like having a real margarita. Do you accept that?

DILL-REESE: No because the bartender specifically told me that that was margarita that was in there. She didn`t say, well, we didn`t wash the container out all the way and there may be just a tad bit of margarita in there. She told me that the mix that was in my son`s cup was margarita; that the containers got switched up. There was no apple juice in there at all.

If you would have tasted it, it tasted like pure alcohol to me. I don`t drink, I`m only 18 --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you taste it?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And did it taste -- it tasted like alcoholic to you?

DILL-REESE: Yes. I mean, my fiancee didn`t have to tell me a word of what it was. All he said was this wasn`t apple juice. I tasted it and knew immediately it was alcohol. I`m only 18, you know. I don`t know -- I didn`t know it was margarita because obviously I don`t drink.

But when she told me that`s what it was, now that`s what (INAUDIBLE). She told me that the bartender from the night before must have gotten the containers switched up and he put margarita in this one that was labeled apple juice and she showed the container that was labeled apple juice. There was a frosted tall container looking like --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to bring in criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh into the mix here. What do you make of this lawsuit now? Applebee`s is saying they are changing their procedures and that it was essentially a trace element but you hear that the mom there disagrees and says that`s not good enough.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But what I read and I was curious to know how they would have tested it. Apparently the police allegedly used the hand-held alco-sensor device that they test DUI suspects with and allegedly put it in the cup to determine the alcoholic content, which is completely unreliable and no one would ever value that.

But where the lawsuit, I think might prevail is just the shock value of it. A mother, as she described, is watching her son have alcohol and that has a certain value.

Now, on the other side, you`re going to have experts who say the amount that he drank wouldn`t be harmful but it`s more the value of a parent having a child consume alcohol and there`s a certain dollar value to that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, we`ll have to see what happens. I think that obviously, for the mothers, it was extremely traumatizing to hear that their children may have consumed something like that.

EIGLARSH: Of course.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it put their mothers through a traumatic experience. I want to thank both of these mothers for coming on and sharing their stories. And please keep us posted. We want to stay on top of this one.

All right. Up next, a controversy over school lunches erupts. The battle of milk is next -- yes, milk. Every parent has to hear this.


JOHN SALLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: It`s funny, they put vegetarian food in front of them when they were hungry. Some of them booed, some of them ahh-ed But at the end of it, they all was fed well.




ROBIN QUIVERS, HOWARD STERN SHOW: The food industry has done a great job of confusing us as to what food is and what good food is compared to bad food.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, chocolate milk stirs up a controversy around the country. The debate is raging over whether schools should be passing out that sugary beverage to our kids. Some people argue chocolate, strawberry, any flavored milk is not the only way to get calcium and the added sugar in all that flavored milk is out of control, contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic that America is in the throes of right now.

But the National Dairy Council says in the school cafeteria "milk, whether white or flavored, plays a vital role in helping children meet needs for essential nutrients," end quote. Reports claim about three- quarters of the milk in school cafeterias is flavored, chocolate milk.

Chef and TV star of the ABC show "Jamie Oliver`s Food Revolution", he was in L.A. to try and take on childhood obesity. Check this out.


JAMIE OLIVER, CHEF: What I`m going to do right now is I`m going to pump this bus, this icon of trust full of one week`s added sugar just for flavored milk in the LAUSD. This is 100 percent real. This happens every day. This is only a week`s worth and this is actually classic to the whole of America. Guys, you think we`re done? We are done. We are done now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That`s going into our kids` bodies, all that sugar. Jamie says 57 tons of sugar in one week pumped into kids, not just in the L.A. school district but this is happening all over the country. And that is just the sugar they are getting from flavored milk alone.

Straight out to the renegade lunch lady, Ann Cooper, glad to see you there in your starched whites. Why are you so upset about schools serving chocolate milk?

ANN COOPER, RENEGADE LUNCH LADY: I mean, we just shouldn`t serve our kids that much sugar. Most chocolate milk has twice as much sugar as the same fat content as regular milk. There`s no reason with this obesity crisis to be force feeding our children sugar.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to bring in Dr. Neal Barnard, the national best-selling author of fantastic book "21-Day Weight Loss Kick Start". You`re an expert in combating obesity. Now, in your opinion, doctor, is this just about the sugar or the high fructose corn syrup in flavored milk? What about the milk itself? Is the milk itself helping or hurting our children?

DR. NEAL BARNARD, CLINICAL RESEARCHER AND HEALTH ADVOCATE: It`s hurting our kids. And the problems are that kids today are in the worst shape of any generation we`ve ever had. The risk of diabetes, the risk of obesity, the risk of high cholesterol and the heart disease it leads to, they are higher than it has ever been. And a big part of the reason is that schools, sometimes they are forced to -- they are feeding junk to kids. It`s as simple as that.

And it`s not just the sugar that`s in the milk. It`s the milk itself, the main nutrient in skim milk, believe it or not, even before you add anything to it, is sugar, lactose sugar. There is fat in it as well. The proteins, a lot of kids don`t react to it. Kids just don`t need it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what about that calcium argument? And the dairy council talks about that. We got a statement from the dairy council that essentially says that the nutrients that are of public health concern, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium are these essential nutrients found in milk.

BARNARD: Sure, there is a certain amount of calcium in milk but asphalt has calcium in it. There is calcium in so many food; that doesn`t mean you should be eating it. Green leafy vegetables have calcium, beans have calcium; you just don`t need calcium from milk. The vehicle for delivering that little bit of calcium has enough fat, enough calories, enough sugar, enough junk to really put kids at risk. There`s no reason for it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my take. Ok. I want to do full disclosure to my viewers. I`m a vegan. I do not drink cow`s milk and I have not in at least 15 years.

Now, I want you to meet my great niece, Nicole, she`s 13 1/2 and this young lady has never tasted cow`s milk in her entire life. She is as well a vegan, we have a lot of them in my family. And she`s very tall, very healthy, and doing very well in school. I think she`s living proof that this whole idea that a child, a human child, must have cow`s milk could be a selling tool that we critically need to question.

Now, the National Dairy Council says it`s difficult and expensive to replace the nutrients lost from decreased milk intake in school meals. We just talked about the calcium. But you just heard, Ann Cooper, Dr. Neal Barnard said there`s calcium in plenty of other things that we can get and we`re not suffering from some massive calcium deficiency nationally. So why push it in the milk all the time?

COOPER: Well, I absolutely agree. There is not a calcium crisis in America. There`s an obesity crisis in America. The reason we serve milk in school is because of the National Dairy Council. I mean it`s a lobbying effort.

As a lunch lady, I have to serve milk at every meal. I have to offer it to every kid. You know, and milk can be, I actually think that milk could be part of a healthy diet. But the idea that in schools we would be serving it to kids one, two, sometimes three times a day is --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on. We`re on the other side. We`re getting started.



SALLEY: It`s funny, they put vegetarian food in front of them when they were hungry. Some of them booed, some of them ahh-ed, but at the end of it, they all was fed well.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That`s my vegan buddy, NBA great John Salley, we`re back talking about the childhood obesity epidemic and this whole controversy over flavored milk, some kind of chocolate milk, strawberry milk, milk that they serve in schools that critics are saying hey, it`s contributed to the obesity conversation. And we`re actually expanding the conversation to -- what about milk in general?

Dr. Neal, here`s my thought and somebody told me this, I didn`t think this up myself. Cow`s milk was meant for cows. We`re the only species, we human beings that steal the mother`s milk from another species and drink it for ourselves. So what does cow`s milk do in terms of how it works on calves and how does that relate to human being?

BARNARD: Yes, well, I think that`s so important. The purpose of milk, if I can put it that way, is not for dunking cookies in it. The purpose of milk is to make a calf grow and so it contains not just calcium and protein at that but it contains hormones. It contains growth factors and it stimulates the production of more hormones and more growth factors in your body.

And you don`t need that, particularly in adulthood where there`s a lot of evidence that men who are drinking milk two or three times a day have more risk of prostate cancer. That`s because the growth in their body is of cancer cells. Now, that`s pretty frightening.

But if you`re looking at kids, kids are drinking milk. They get no advantage for their bones. Back in 2005 pediatrics, an -- article in pediatrics showed that kids who never drank milk have just as healthy bones as kids who do. But what they are getting is a lot of fat, a lot of sugar and a lot of health problems.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my big issue. We have an obesity plague in this country. Obesity is not just an epidemic anymore, it`s a plague. The amount of overweight children in this country is growing at an alarming rate. "Kids` Health" says one out of every three kids in America is overweight or obese.

So, I have to ask you, Ann Cooper, we`re talking about the sugar and now we`re hearing from Dr. Neal and other people say it, even though oh, it`s against that whole mantra about milk does a body good. I think it`s time to question and not just march in lock step and say why this constant drum beat that everybody has to drink milk when nature didn`t design it for human beings, it was designed for calves.

COOPER: Well, you know what; I don`t want to debate whether we should serve milk in schools or not because the U.S. --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why not? If it`s contributing to kids getting overweight maybe we need start thinking outside the box here.

BARNARD: If you serve chocolate milk it has 150, 200, 220 calories depending on the type. This is a big part of the obesity problem.

COOPER: I absolutely agree with that. I absolutely agree with that. We have to get the flavored milks out of school. If a child chooses flavored milk every day for the 180 days they are in school they will gain 2 1/2 or three pounds just from the added sugar in that chocolate. It`s crazy. We have to stop this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people say well, what`s the alternative? And obviously we all know there`s soy milk and there`s rice milk and there`s almond milk. But let`s also question the idea that we all have to be drinking this milky substance. Where did that come from? That`s a cultural invention.

I can wake up and have a green tea in the morning. I don`t necessarily have to have something with milk in it. I can have a piece of fruit. I don`t necessarily have to have something with a dairy product in it. So a lot of what we`re told we have to do is really cultural conditioning.

Final word in a moment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Change one thing about our school system starting with Ann Cooper, renegade lunch lady.

COOPER: The one thing I would change in our schools is getting ready of the processed food and, oh by the way, chocolate milk, soda and (INAUDIBLE) get it out of schools.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Neal Barnard.

BARNARD: I base the meals on the healthy foods, the grains, the beans, the vegetables and the fruits; the meats, the dairy products, that`s part of the problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you. That`s what I would do if I were in charge of the schools. I would make sure there would be a fruit plate in every single classroom when the kids get the munchies they could reach for a banana or an apple and eat some of this healthy food.

You know, some of these kids in the inner-city particularly don`t even know that these vegetables exist because they have choice of fast food or no food at all. Let`s get the healthy food, the greens into the school system.

This is a wake-up call, America. We need to change.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Nancy Grace next.