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Somer`s Killer Says He Did It

Aired February 3, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Good evening. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from New York City.

Tears and fury in court as 7-year-old Somer Thompson`s killer comes face to face with her devastated, furious family. We have the unbelievably emotional video next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, finally. Judgment day for the man accused of murdering 7-year-old Somer Thompson, the adorable little girl kidnapped on her way home from school more than two years ago. Cops say this man took her, molested her, killed her, then dumped her body in a Georgia landfill. We`ll give you the very latest from inside court today.

Plus, missing Baby Lisa`s tight-lipped parents are finally talking about the desperate search for their daughter. Are they changing their story again? You`ll see their first public interview in months, right here.

Then, Leslie Carter, the singer of singing sensations Nick and Aaron, found dead with pill bottles scattered near her body. Is this another tragically over-medicated celebrity in America?

And it`s being called the worst wave of dolphin strandings in a decade. More than 80 of these beautiful creatures found dead on Cape Cod shores. What can we do to save them? We`ll tell you.



DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER: I love you. I just want you to come home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somer Thompson disappeared in October 2009 on her way home from school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A body has been found in the landfill in Folkston, Georgia. The body appears to be that of a small child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her body was found a couple days later in a Georgia landfill.

D. THOMPSON: Watch out. We`re coming. We`re going to get you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jarred Harrell faces 58 charges, including sexual assault and murder.

D. THOMPSON: She loved animals, and so she was upset. So she went there looking for that little dog so she could probably put her face up to the chain-link fence and let him lick her. And somehow he came out and maybe told her, "Hey, the dog is inside." I just don`t know. You know, that`s why I want to go to trial. I want to know what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s also charged with 55 counts of possession of child pornography and lewd molestation of a 3-year-old.

D. THOMPSON: It`s never going to make sense to me or anyone else, because we don`t think like -- like monsters do.

She has a twin that I get to look at every day to remind me that there was two. And now there`s one because of one person`s actions. And I hope that that one person pays for a long time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Diena Thompson, he will. Tonight the monster who snatched up 7-year-old Somer Thompson as she walked home from school, sexually assaulted her, murdered her, and then dumped her in the trash has admitted in open court that he did all of those things. And wait until you hear what Somer`s mother, twin brother and sister told that confessed murderer in court today.

This man, if you can call him a man, Jarred Harrell, pleaded guilty today to the kidnapping and murder of little Somer back in 2009. In exchange, this 26-year-old will serve six life sentences with no chance of parole.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you admit that on October 19, 2009, at 1152 Gano Avenue in Orange Park, Florida, you confined Somer Thompson against her will and sexually assaulted her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You also admit that you lewdly touched her in her private areas and strangled her?

HARRELL: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shortly after killing her, did you put her in a container and drive her to an area behind a business and put the container and her body in a commercial Dumpster?

HARRELL: Yes, sir.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In return for that plea, the death penalty was taken off the table. This is a case we have followed from the beginning. Harrell grabbed little Somer as she walked home from school. Somer`s body found in a Georgia landfall two days later, which infuriated Somer`s mother. Remember this?


THOMPSON: You didn`t take her from just me. You took her from my family. You took her from all of these people. And you don`t do this to a little baby and put my baby in the trash like she`s nothing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The worst part about all of this is it did not have to happen. Months earlier, Harrell`s roommates had reported him to the cops for having a slew of child porn on his computer. They handed cops the computer and said, "Do something."

There was even evidence that he`d molested a 3-year-old girl on that same computer. But cops took several months to investigate, and during that time Harrell kidnapped and killed little Somer. Today in court, Somer`s mom let her daughter`s killer have it.


D. THOMPSON: I think that you should look at me, the mother of the child that you strangled and raped and threw in the trash. But cowardly as always, you can keep your head buried.

Eight hundred and thirty-five days ago, you lured my baby into your lair with trickery and malice in your soul, all to commit unspeakable acts of your own selfish desires and flat-out evilness.

Somer was an innocent child. Before you took her life, you took her dignity, her virginity, and then you took her life. After all that, you then treated my child like trash.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a moment you`ll hear more from that woman I consider my hero.

I`ll say it again. None of this had to happen. So will this guilty plea bring closure to Somer`s mom? Is there such a thing as closure when a crime is this horrific?

Straight out to reporter Leslie Coursey with WAWS. You were in court today. The victims` impact statements from Somer`s family. So powerful. What was the mood? Take us inside that courtroom.

LESLIE COURSEY, REPORTER, WAWS: I`ve got to tell you, I`ve covered a lot of cases. And this is by far the most emotional case I have ever covered before.

If you think about it, it is a mother`s worst nightmare. A 7-year-old girl walking home from school, kidnapped, raped, murdered, her body thrown in a Dumpster. That`s exactly what happened to Jarred -- to Somer Thompson, and that is exactly what Jarred Harrell pleaded guilty to today.

Now in exchange for his guilty plea, the state did not seek the death penalty, but the judge did make it clear Jarred Harrell will die in prison. He was given six life sentences, and he waived every single right to appeal.

I can tell you, the most emotional part of -- of today were the victims` impact statements, when Diena Thompson got up on the stand. She asked him to look at her, and when he did not, she called him a coward. Somer`s twin brother called Jarred Harrell a coward. He is 9 years old and knows that this man is a coward. He said that today`s sentence gave him a little bit of peace today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Leslie, very quickly, what was the reaction of the murderer?

COURSEY: You know, he did not say much in court today. The only thing he did say was a series of "yes, sirs" and "no, sirs," when the judge was asking him if he understood the charges against him. He did not look up.

But I can tell you Diena Thompson sat in that courtroom and, as soon as he walked in, her eyes did not leave that man. She stared him down the entire time. She is one of the strongest people I`ve ever met.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Somer`s mother, Diena -- just referred to her there - - thinks there would be a better way to sentence the man who viciously murdered her precious 7-year-old daughter. Listen.


D. THOMPSON: There is no way a human could or would commit those acts. You chose to commit those acts on an innocent child. Children are not armed. Children are not dangerous, and children are not toys.

Your punishment absolutely does not fit your crime. Your fate should be left solely to the discretion of the injured parties.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: One mother who knows exactly what Diena Thompson is going through is Carrie McGonigle. Her precious daughter, Amber, was kidnapped and murdered by convicted sex offender John Gardner. Gardner also pleaded guilty to the murders of Amber and Chelsea King.

Carrie, thank you for joining us today. Again, my heart always goes out to you. And you are also one of my heroes for how you`ve handled this incomprehensible event in your life.

Speaking of the fact that this guy pleaded guilty and the killer of your daughter also pleaded guilty, does it spare the family the pain of a gruesome trial? Or does it rob the family of a chance to process the horror?

CARRIE MCGONIGLE, MOTHER OF AMBER: I think it spares -- spares the family of a trial, but I think it was Diena who wanted -- she wants to know how -- what happened to her daughter. You know, she wants to know. You know, I think that she should have that chance to find out what happened, what happened in Somer`s last hours and how did he lure her and everything. I mean, that`s what gave me the most comfort, is knowing Amber`s last hours.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you got that -- how did you get that, given that the killer of your daughter also pleaded guilty?

MCGONIGLE: I insisted on meeting with him before the victim impact statement. I went down to the sheriffs and kept on bugging. So I mean, I think there`s ways in Florida even that you can -- you can go to the prisons and, you know, the mom has a right to know what happened to her daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. What an incredibly courageous thing for you to do, to go face to face with this guy, John Gardner, who killed your daughter, and demand that he tell you the details. Would you suggest that Diena Thompson do the same with the killer of Somer?

MCGONIGLE: If she wants -- if she wants the answers. She`s a very strong woman. And -- and I think it was her, wasn`t it, that said that she wanted -- you know, she wanted to go to trial?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she said that this was definitely not enough. I know she`s an advocate of the death penalty, and she felt that this life in prison was not enough. So...

MCGONIGLE: I don`t think it`s enough either. I mean, I would have liked to have seen John Gardner die, but it wasn`t our -- it wasn`t my choice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it was absolutely heartbreaking when Somer`s sister and her twin brother, the surviving twin, spoke in court today, addressing their sister`s murderer. Listen to this.


ABIGAIL THOMPSON, AMBER`S SISTER: I don`t even know how you can live with yourself. You don`t even know how bad you hurt my family. I hope you suffer just like me and my family did. I can`t even explain to you how much me and my friends and my family and everybody I know and everybody my family knows, how much they hate you.

You`re not even a human being. Your name is not Jarred Harrell. Your name is monster.

SAMUEL THOMPSON, SOMER`S TWIN BROTHER: We know you did this. We have the evidence. She trusted you, but you had to do what you did. And look where it got you. And now you`re going to jail!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Wow. Wow. What an amazingly brave little boy.

I want to go to Wendy Walsh, psychologist. That just hit me in the heart to see that little boy who`s lost his twin sister stand up and confront this -- this killer. What is -- what happens to these kids psychologically for the rest of their lives?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, obviously, this is one of the biggest childhood traumas that anyone can experience. But what this family is doing in court, Jane, is they`re actually having an act of catharsis. They`re able to express their anger. They`re able to show their words (ph). They`re able to see justice, some form of justice -- they may not agree with it -- taking place. And this is actually a piece of their healing process.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he`s just amazing to be able to read that -- that brave, brave little man right there. We`re just getting started. An we`re going to take your calls on the other side of the break later.

Where is Baby Lisa? Her parents finally talking, and they claim they`re not going to stop looking for their precious daughter. You won`t believe it.

But first, Somer Thompson`s devastated family faces off against the little girl`s killer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a monster, and you should be treated so. Do you know where they put monsters? They go to big-boy prison, and I hope the prison system will show you a real good time like you did Somer.




D. THOMPSON: Since we`ve given the opportunity to let my baby, my twin daughter, Somer, live, you chose to take my baby`s breath and life from her. This will be the last breath that I waste or use on you. As with the last breath, I would like to tell this honorable court that it is now time to take out the trash. May God have mercy on your sorry, sorry soul.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable drama in court today. Jarred Harrell, 26-year-old, pleads guilty to the kidnapping, rape and murder of precious 7-year-old Somer Thompson and faces his [SIC] furious, devastated family in court.

Holly Hughes, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, why did prosecutors make the deal to avoid trial, to take the death penalty off the table? They had a very strong case. Why not try this sicko?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There`s a couple reasons, Jane. But the most important is when he pleads guilty, it`s done. He waives his right to appeal. He doesn`t get any do-overs. This is not going to drag on for the next 20 or 30 years.

And the problem with death penalty cases is you can challenge them at every stage. You keep going higher and higher all the way to the Supreme Court. So they can continue to appeal for 20 years and, God forbid some court along the way find an error 20 years from now, they`re not going to be able to retry him, and he could walk out of prison.

So the biggest benefit is it`s a done deal. He will never be able to victimize another little girl again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let`s go to the phone lines now. Michelle Bart, who is a child advocate, your question or thought, Michelle?

CALLER: Thanks for having me, Jane. My question, I respect Holly Hughes` position. But as we saw in Jaycee Dugard`s situation, sometimes predators get out of jail. Diena is my hero, as well, but I don`t feel that this fits the crime.

And I would have to second that, when are we going to have the prosecutors stop feeling as if they`re being held hostage by criminals in order -- in order to bring justice?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say -- let me go further than that. Police did have an opportunity to get this man off the streets months before little Somer was taken by him, raped and murdered.

His roommates turned him in for having child porn. They handed cops a computer filled with a slew of child pornography.

Here is Harrell pleading guilty to molesting a 3-year-old girl and then videotaping it, all of that on the computer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You took a child under the age of 12 years and you lewdly touched her in her private genital area and directed and took videos and pictures of her as stated in the information?

HARRELL: Yes, sir.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, why didn`t they act on that computer immediately?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s a great question, Jane. I don`t have all the facts, and neither do you. And we`re always quick to look back and say why didn`t they do this, why didn`t they do that?

The general rule is that law enforcement, they do want to zealously prosecute, and so do prosecutors. There might have been some challenge with the case.

To look back today and say that this is a miscarriage of justice that he`s getting life without the possibility of parole, I don`t think it`s a positive thing to say. I`m glad that that`s what`s going to happen.

The only other thing would have been death which would have taken, I don`t know, 26, 27 years, if we`re lucky, to finally execute him. This brings the family closure. It costs five times less. It`s a good resolution, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The -- the only other thing would have been to avoid her being murdered in the first place...

EIGLARSH: Of course.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... if they`d arrested him on having porn on his computer. They said they had to forensically process it. All you had to do was turn on the computer to see the porn there.

All right. Don`t miss our viral video of the week. One minute away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You voted. Here`s your viral video winner of the week.






D. THOMPSON: I`m sure you think someone else made you this way. I`m sure you were raped, tortured, and killed as a child. Oh, wait. No, that didn`t happen, because you`re still sitting here and were able to do and take anyone and anything that you wanted to because you wanted to.

I would never wish this on my worst enemy but you, my monster, I would make a special exception for.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s rewind quickly and remember the horror when Somer first disappeared.


D. THOMPSON: To everybody who has come out to look for my baby, thank you. If anybody can help me find her and just bring her home to me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is no way we can appreciate or even begin to comprehend the hell that these mothers have been through, but Carrie, Carrie McGonigle, your man was murdered by another man who also had a history of attacking girls that sort of fell through the cracks until the murder of your precious daughter. What is this mother going through? What is Diena Thompson going through right now?

MCGONIGLE: She`s been living since 2009 in a hell. You know, a parents` worst nightmare. My heart bleeds when I listen to her victim impact statement. It brings me back to mine and it`s just -- my heart goes out to her. And you never have full closure. There`s nothing that`s going to bring back your baby.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If -- if you were to choose in this situation, whether prosecutors should have taken a plea deal that would have given him life in prison or gone to trial and risked the chance that maybe he wouldn`t be convicted but, with death penalty on the table, what would you say?

MCGONIGLE: I think I would have gone with the death penalty. I would have -- I think they had enough evidence. We don`t, like -- we don`t know all of the details, but I think they had enough evidence on him, that I would have gone with the death penalty. I would want to see him an eye for an eye. It should have been the family`s decision, I feel, that, you know, they make that choice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mark Eiglarsh, that`s my question. Do prosecutors consult with the family? Are they allowed to vote on this decision or not?

EIGLARSH: Yes. Every good prosecutor meets with the victims and gets the feedback. Victims don`t control, next of kins don`t control. Prosecutors make the decision with the family`s feedback. But prosecutors are trained. They know. Sometimes their victims say, "You need to go to trial. I don`t care what you want."

But ultimately it`s the people of the state of Florida versus Joe Defendant and not necessarily the victim. So it`s up to prosecutors to make the right decision on behalf of the people of the state of Florida.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, the defendant looks so different. We have a before and after. But he`s so emotionless. What do you make of him briefly?

WALSH: Well, you know, I have not had any time to assess this guy and who knows what his mental deficiencies are. Assuming that he`s well enough, certainly, to stand trial, we can assume that he`s checked out, that at some point he has just completely disengaged himself from the process, because you know, he`s being attacked with words by this family, justifiably so. So it`s hard to say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s wooden, and he`s numb. And he seems completely shut down.

Up next, the desperate search for Baby Lisa. We are going to hear finally from her parents next.



DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TALK SHOW HOST: You did not mention that you had been drinking.

DEBORAH BRADLEY, MOTHER OF BABY LISA: No, because it has absolutely nothing to do with her being missing.

JEREMY IRWIN, FATHER OF BABY LISA: There`s also a lot of people that are out there and don`t have a lot of information and make ridiculous accusations.

BRADLEY: There are people making outright lies.

I can`t say anything but I urge everybody to watch.

To me it`s just nonsense. It`s just picking my words apart. When he came in the bedroom that morning and woke me up and said all of the lights are on in the house it was a total exaggeration.

Here`s a thing with that that nobody knows. Nobody takes a baby to hurt her. She`s coming home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Baby Lisa`s parents speak out for the first time in months. But their frustrating answers only raise more questions. We want to know the most important question. What happened to their missing infant daughter?

Good evening everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell back with you in New York City.

How did they choose to break their silence? By going on national TV to talk to Dr. Phil and it was there that Baby Lisa`s mom admitted she didn`t tell the truth about what happened the night her daughter disappeared. Listen to this from CBS Television.


MCGRAW: Jeremy comes home at 4:00 a.m. And all of the lights are on. Obviously whoever took the baby wouldn`t go through the hassle of turning the lights on. Were you just wrong about that? Was Jeremy wrong?

BRADLEY: When he came into the morning that bedroom that morning and woke me up and said all the lights are on in the house. It was a total exaggeration.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A total exaggeration. What other secrets is this woman hiding? Did she lie to the cops, to the media, perhaps even to herself? Why should we believe anything she says about her daughter?

And ever since her Dr. Phil taping, she`s been keeping quiet. Listen to this.


BRADLEY: I can`t say anything but I urge everybody to watch. There will be new pictures of her up and I`m really excited about it. It`s going to reach -- I think I heard 7.5 million viewers. So, and maybe it will even double. We are so excited about it. We cannot wait for her face to be all over TV again and reach different people.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does it sound like she`s just a little too excited to be on television? Straight out to Ron Rugen, a private investigator on the ground in Kansas City, Missouri. Ron, do people in their community believe them particularly the mom, Deborah Bradley, who of course had, infamously now, at least five glasses of wine from a box of wine that she purchased earlier in the evening on the night that her daughter disappeared.

RON RUGEN, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: No, Jane. The masses do not believe Deborah Bradley. That`s not to say that it`s universal. It is split but not down the middle. A lot of folks have trouble believing her story.

And now they have trouble with the fact that she`s on Dr. Phil talking about her baby being gone as opposed to going down to the police department and talking to them about her baby being gone. Dr. Phil is not a place to go on if you want to find baby who you think has been abducted. All Dr. Phil is going to do in a soft, sanitized environment is show the baby`s face out there and it`s very doubtful that that baby has been abducted.

If you want to help find the baby, talk about clues and other things that may help find your baby, you go to the PD.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. I`m a big fan of Dr. Phil`s. I`ve been on his show talking about my book "I want". And I thought he was very fair and I think he asks good, hard questions and I think he can get that answers.

But you don`t do that instead of sitting down with the cops and telling them everything you know and answering any question the cops want. You do that in concert with opening your heart and your soul up to the cops.

Baby Lisa`s mom Deborah Bradley has been repeatedly criticized for not allowing police to interview her and her husband together, apart, this way, that way, any way the cops want. Listen to her explain why she chose to talk to Dr. Phil instead.


BRADLEY: Because I want her face out there. I want everybody to see her and there`s a lot of people on that watch Dr. Phil that either don`t watch the news or don`t have cable and weren`t able to see Megyn Kelly`s interview and all the other, you know, channels and stuff like that so that`s why it`s really important.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, just today Deborah Bradley and her husband did reportedly speak to police. This is a major development. This is something that cops say they`ve been wanting for a long time. Their attorney was also present and here`s what police said. "Detectives did not learn anything significant but are hopeful there will be more meetings in the future."

Mark Eiglarsh, everybody wants to know if they`re suspects because authorities say they`re not suspects but the mother has said she expects to be arrested. She`s the one who keeps sort of pointing the finger at herself which I find rather bizarre.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: With all due respect to law enforcement, they don`t have to label somebody to be considered a suspect. You are right away in situations like that since statistically most of the time when there`s a child abduction, it involves someone close to the child, you`re immediately a suspect unless they can eliminate you as one. And that coupled with allegedly failing a polygraph and police breathing down her neck, she absolutely should consider herself a suspect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Watch this scene from Dr. Phil where Baby Lisa`s mom seems to position herself as the victim here.


MCGRAW: Do you remember, for example, you reported that the lights in the house were turned off. And you went to bed.

BRADLEY: Here`s the thing with that that nobody knows because I`m not going sit on TV until now when I`m being asked a specific question and rebuttal it because to me it`s just nonsense. It`s just picking my words apart.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: See, she`s accusing everybody of picking her words apart. Listen, Holly Hughes, former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, there`s an easy way to settle all this. Sit down and tell us what happened.

We know she went and got a box of wine that night. We know she came back. We know that a neighbor came over and they were drinking. And then things get fuzzy. With alcohol, things do get very fuzzy. She claims that she put the child to sleep at one hour. First I think she says 10:30 then she changes it to 6:40 p.m. Some people think that`s because well, she claimed that three cell phones were taken when they took the child and a call was made from one of those cell phones that was supposedly taken with the child at 8:30 p.m.

And that`s why some cynics are saying, oh, she revises when she put the child to sleep at 6:40 instead of later in the night so that she doesn`t have the phone on her at the time that phone call is made because potentially that phone call could be incriminating. What`s your take, Holly?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My take Jane, is that the way to get people to stop criticizing her and picking her apart is tell the truth, lady. You lied about when you last saw your child. There is a huge difference between 6:30 and 10:30, Jane, in the life of a missing child. If you told the cops that you saw her last at 10:30 that would have given somebody four hours to have driven how far away with your baby.

Then she says ridiculous things like I didn`t go out in the backyard and look around or call her name or look for clues because I was afraid of what I might find. She has created this mess herself. So now turning around and going on national TV and basically acting like some kind of superstar. You know, I`m going to be on TV. It`s so exciting.

No, it`s tragic. It is tragic that your little baby is missing and you are continually lying about what happened, when you last saw her.

My take is if you want to clear it all up, tell the truth. Sit down with the police. Take another polygraph. Open your home to a search. Whatever is necessary to bring that little girl home, if she`s still alive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that the police have searched the home. And I want to be fair here. We want to invite Baby Lisa`s parents on either separately or together or their attorney, any combination there. We would love to hear their story. We`d love to hear them explain to us what happened that night.

Now, in addition to Baby Lisa`s mom, we also got to hear from her dad, Jeremy Irwin. Watch this clip from Dr. Phil and then we`re going to analyze it.


MCGRAW: How is the community treating you two as a couple at this point? Are they supportive? Are they suspicious?

IRWIN: It`s a little bit of both. There is a lot of people that are coming forward and helping, supporting, et cetera. There`s also a lot of people that are out there and don`t have a lot of information and make ridiculous accusations.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ron Rugen, private investigator on the scene in Kansas City, do we separate the mother and father out? Remember, the dad was at work at the time that the child reportedly disappears. He comes home at 4:00 in the morning. He sees a window busted in. He runs around. He doesn`t see the child. He goes over to the neighbor`s house and there`s confusion about what happened there at the neighbor`s house, the house of the neighbor of the woman who was drinking with this woman earlier on in the evening. And it`s quite possible he has no idea what`s happened and simply on faith believes his wife.

RUGEN: It is possible. Jeremy was working at 40th and Main that night doing electrical work at a Starbucks and probably in the middle of the night that may be a 15-minute drive give or take from the home.

There`s also some other confusion there. That evening or earlier that day her next door neighbor, Samantha Brando, and her husband, James Brando, broke up and went to see a counselor. And twice I`m told that evening James somewhere a little after 5:00 and again after 10:30 whenever the party, quote-unquote, broke up, James texted his wife and talked to her.

I met James back in December. And I asked him earlier this week if we could maybe get together and visit again and he said, "I`ve said everything that I need to say".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, and my invitation goes out to them too. They are not in any way, shape or form considered suspects in this case. We`re going to stay on top of this story and check us out on Monday. The show getting an exciting new look.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got bread. Look at this. Look at all this bread man.

I hit the mother lode, beginner`s look. I hit the mother lode. Look at this bread.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks like sliced bagels.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh. Sliced bagels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re very careful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to do something.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Join me on Monday and we`ve got a new look and I`m going to take you on a brand new adventure. That is Monday beginning at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. You won`t believe what I did. Dumpster diving.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready for the "House of Carters"?

AARON CARTER, SINGER: The last Leslie that I knew?


NICK CARTER, SINGER: She`s very emotionally deep.

AARON CARTER: I was running away from Leslie.

Our family life has always been special.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So sad as America`s addiction to prescription meds taking another life. Cops say aspiring singer and reality TV star Leslie Carter died of a probable prescription medication overdose. She`s the sister of teen heartthrobs, Nick and Aaron Carter.

You, of course, Nick from the boy band, the Backstreet Boys". Check this out from YouTube.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: A family grieving tonight. The coroner waiting on the toxicology results to come in before releasing the official cause of death. But cops say Leslie was found dead with multiple prescription med bottles next to her, including meds to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, a muscle relaxant and Xanax.

Straight out to Howard Samuels, founder and CEO of The Hills Treatment Center; addiction specialist -- how might those drugs be dangerous in combination, Howard?

HOWARD SAMUELS, FOUNDER/CEO, THE HILLS TREATMENT CENTER (via telephone): Well, Jane, in reality, if she had taken those drugs as prescribed, she wouldn`t be dead today. But the issue is that with the Xanax and the muscle relaxant if she had taken those and abused those medications, then that`s where the complication would have led to an overdose.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we know that in general, prescription drug abuse is a huge epidemic all over the Western world.

Leslie, an inspiring singer -- she even has a song on the "Shrek" movie soundtrack. Listen her hit, "Like Wild" (ph) from YouTube.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and Rachel Maresca, editor of, obviously she`s living in the shadow of siblings who are much more famous. In fact, her brother, former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, dedicated his song "Falling Down" to Leslie at his concert last night. Let`s listen and then analyze.


NICK CARTER: I`ve never done this before and I never thought I would ever have to but I would like to dedicate this song to my sister.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rachel, could living in the shadow of fame, have been a factor in all of this?

RACHEL MARESCA, EDITOR, CELEBBUZZ.COM: Definitely. And you know, we know that the Carter family has definitely had their struggles with addiction themselves as Nick and Aaron. And I think that, you know, living in their shadow is, you know, from their reality show as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her stepmom told cops Leslie had a history of mental illness. Let`s check out at a clip of her antics on the reality show "House of Carters" from YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leslie Carter, sister, aspiring singer, outsider.

NICK CARTER: She`s very emotionally deep.

LESLIE CARTER: I`m trying to like be a good family member.

When Nick`s trying to boss me around, it just doesn`t work.

AARON CARTER: The last Leslie that I knew --

LESLIE CARTER: I hate families. Families suck.

AARON CARTER: -- I was running away from Leslie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "House of Carters".


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, once again, Howard Samuels, we see people who have been involved in a reality show having trouble. I don`t think you could ever overestimate the stress of having your life exposed to the world.

SAMUELS: Well, Jane, I mean I agree. I mean they put their whole world, their whole life on to show the world exactly all their drama. And I must say, I mean, I think that the people who do reality shows, you know, they are looking for a spirituality that just is not healthy for them. I mean, there is no spirituality. There is no connection.

You know, this is what is so damaging as far as these reality shows are concerned. I mean what is that all about, Jane? I think it`s extremely unhealthy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is in essence sort of a deal with the devil. And it sounds good at first when everything`s going swimmingly but then when something goes south and you find your private life exposed, it`s not so good.

And again, I really don`t think, Howard, that people can -- they have to take into account the fact that she is a beautiful, aspiring singer who is living in the shadow of siblings who have achieved superstardom and that might have been very, very difficult for her. My heart goes out to her siblings and to her family.

Prescription drug abuse is an absolute pandemic in this country.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back in a minute, but first you deserve a laugh break, don`t you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get a number 8 with large chili cheese tater tots?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what kind of drink?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get a Mello Yello with that, please?




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marine experts still don`t know why so many dolphins are dying on Cape Cod.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than a hundred dolphins have been found over the past few weeks, washing up sometimes ten at a time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are the theories? Why, why, why, why have more than a hundred dolphins stranded themselves on Cape Cod in the last month alone, on the coastline? Tragically, more than 80 of those dolphins have now died, rescuers frantically trying to rescue as many of the dolphins as they can as even more wash ashore.

In only a few weeks, more dolphins have become stranded on the beach than normally do in a year. What is causing this tragic trend?

Straight out to CNN reporter Mary Snow there on Cape Cod. Mary, what`s the latest theory?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Jane, yet again today another group of dolphins became stranded here along the coast of Cape Cod. We saw firsthand how marine biologists and volunteers raced into action to try and save them. They were able to save one of the dolphins, a pregnant dolphin. They were able to re-release into the ocean, lost a few others. But they are no closer to having any answers about why this is happening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to bring in Ric O`Barry, who is featured in the academy award winning documentary, "The Cove". He`s a marine mammal specialist and a dolphin advocate with the Earth Island Institute. Ric, what is your theory? What do you think is happening to these dolphins?

RIC O`BARRY, MARINE MAMMAL SPECIALIST (via telephone): Well, nobody knows for sure. You know, these have been going on for at least 2,000 years we know about. Aristotle wrote about it. But they`re increasing. And one thing we should be looking at and we`re not looking at -- I`m hoping Congress will look at -- is mercury contamination. We have poisoned the oceans. That`s a problem, and --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you, Ric. I agree that we have poisoned the oceans. We`re decimating the oceans with overfishing, with, wow, toxins that get released, underground sonar testing. And then, of course, there`s global warming and the extreme weather changes that occurs as a result of that.

The extreme weather, it`s really a misnomer. It`s climate change. And I understand, Mary, that it`s warmer in the water than it`s been.

SNOW: It is. And weather is certainly one of the factors that scientists here are looking at. They`re also looking into whether pollutants are at play.

One thing I can tell you, what they`ve told me, is that on the tests they have done so far and more than 80 of these dolphins have died here, they have said so far for the most part they found that the dolphins were mostly healthy although, you know, more tests are still being conducted at labs across the country.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I was told -- and I heard reports -- that the water`s warmer than usual. These are highly intelligent creatures, they`re also highly loyal. They travel in what you might call packs. I`m sure there`s a technical phrase. But they travel in groups so if one goes the others follow.

And I heard that they don`t have the perhaps barriers that the cold would create, maybe ice or something like that, that would keep them from coming to the shore. Does that make any sense, Ric O`Barry?

O`BARRY: Well, it does. But we need to be looking for mercury also. We don`t usually take mercury samples from dolphins when they strand. This comes from coal-fired plants and our oceans, the fish are becoming contaminated with mercury and we`re not checking for that. We can choose what we eat. Dolphins have no choice. They have to eat fish, and we are contaminating all of the fish in the ocean.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Solutions in a moment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about dolphins. Now, there are all sorts of controversies involving dolphins. This is a protest in Puerto Rico against a proposal to create a so-called dolphinarium. I know, Ric O`Barry you were down there recently in Puerto Rico because the people rallying against it are saying essentially that it`s cruel to keep these dolphins captive.

Dolphins are under attack everywhere around the world. Often there are many dolphins killed, correct, to get a few that end up in a dolphinarium. Now you have dolphins being decimated by a mystery illness in the ocean. Is there any hope for dolphins, Ric -- very briefly?

O`BARRY: We have to look at coal-fired plants. Coal-fired plants are polluting the ocean with mercury and methyl (INAUDIBLE). Dolphins eat a lot of fish. When these dolphins strand, they don`t check for mercury poisoning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to stop it.

Nancy next.