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Sheriff Says Balloon Saga a "Hoax"; Body Language Expert Discusses Heene Case; Colorado Human Services Get Involved in Heene Case; Obama Weighs his Options on Afghanistan Strategy; First Latino Supermodel Helps her Homeland; New Orleans Musician Joins the top-10 "CNN Heroes"

Aired October 18, 2009 - 18:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon.

Tonight, the latest on a story that grows stranger by the minute.


SHERIFF JIM ALDERDEN, LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO: As I said, this is, it has been determined that it's a hoax.


LEMON: Well, some of you said it was a hoax all along. Now it is confirmed, police say the hour-long balloon chase that aired on national television was a story fabricated by a man who wanted to be on a reality TV show.

A college homecoming turns violent and a star football player stabbed to death.

Also, a New Orleans musician who is using his craft to keep troubled children off the streets. We'll talk live with a CNN hero.

Hello, everyone, again. I'm Don Lemon here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

We start with breaking news tonight now out of Colorado. Everyone who believed the runaway balloon was a publicity stunt is vindicated. The sheriff of Larimer County today confirmed what many people suspected. The saga was an elaborate hoax.

The sheriff explained the alleged motive at a news conference earlier today.


ALDERDEN: What we know at this point and what the hoax is, is that this has been a planned event for at least two weeks. The plan was to launch this spacecraft in order to gain media publicity. The plan was, obviously, to create a situation where it appeared that Falcon was in the craft and that his life was in jeopardy in order to gain a lot of publicity. And with the ultimate goal of gaining some notoriety, and perhaps furthering their career by obtaining a contract to do a reality TV show. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. So you may not have seen it, but CNN aired it live and this news conference was one of the most unusual we have seen in a long time. In case you missed it live, we want you to stay with us. We'll replay large portions of the sheriff's remarks a little bit later on in our show. They are certainly worth hearing again.

Meantime, our Jim Spellman is covering the story from the -- in front of the Heenes home in Fort Collins, Colorado.

And as we understand, you have some new information for us. What do you have?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN ALL PLATFORM JOURNALIST: Well, you know, as the sheriff said, they're saying now that this is a hoax, a publicity stunt. What they're trying to do is put together charges they can bring to the district attorney and charges, the most serious of which is the charge of conspiracy.

And the sheriff told us today at the press conference, not only are the mom and dad involved in the conspiracy but they are looking at production companies and media outlets around the country, and they may send their sheriffs deputies out of state to interview some of these people and try to get to the bottom of really who was involved in this, what they call publicity stunt.

We've also learned just recently now that the Heene family has got an attorney down to Denver. They've been meeting with him today and they're trying to put together their plan and their response here as both sides are now -- well, have drawn their line in the sand. They say it's a publicity stunt. The Heenes are trying to put together their defense, Don.

LEMON: Here's what I want to ask you. The sheriff talked about how they figured this out. They took -- you got up in close with the balloon. I want you to explain what you saw because there are some questions about the weight, whether or not the little boy could fit in there. But tell us what you saw first before we talk about that, as you got up close to this balloon, Jim.

SPELLMAN: Yes. It was really fascinating. I mean, we all watched this on television and it looks like some sort of high-tech thing, so high up in the sky, flying so fast. And up close, it's aluminum foil and scotch tape and some thin wood planks holding this contraption together. The base is made out of cardboard, powered by three nine-volt batteries that were electrical taped together.

What the deputies did was fascinating, they took a bucket. They filled it with 37 pounds of sand. That's how much Falcon Heene weighs. They filled it with that and they put it in there. They got a scientist from the university here and they put it in there and they tried to replicate whether this could work at the dimensions and, you know, whether the gases would lift it.

And it was really unbelievable, though, just to look at this thing that has been the center of our attention for these last few days and see it. It's such a dinky. It's like something you would see on a Halloween sort of setup here in someone's yard. Not something that would be capable of flying so high and so far, Don.

LEMON: Yes. You know, the sheriff talks a little bit about what you said about how they figured out, you know, the weight and all of that as part of this whole thing -- this whole thing about figuring out whether it was a hoax. Listen to the sheriff, Jim, and then we'll talk about it.

OK. Apparently, the sheriff talked about how they put, I think it was cement or sand, Jim, and you can clarify, into the balloon, into this bucket or whatever it is, the same -- which was the same weight as Falcon and the bucket would support the weight, but then the balloon taking off and actually flying would not support that weight.

SPELLMAN: Right. I mean, it was still a little confusing, because they didn't actually test it. I mean, the thing has been -- holes poked in it and they don't test it. So it was still unclear to me even after several questions were asked and seeing and talking to one of the deputies that did the experiment whether it would -- whether it would fly or not, but, the -- I mean, holding that amount of weight. But I really found even more interesting whether it could support his weight, even that this contraption could fly. I mean, it was -- it's such a -- it was such a bizarre thing to see up close, Don.

LEMON: Yes. Yes. It's crude, or elemental, as they would say.

Hey, Jim, thank you very much for that. We really appreciate it. Obviously, it could fly, because we watched it fly for hours live on national television. We appreciate it again, Jim Spellman.

The balloon saga might fascinate many people around the country, but not everyone is thrilled by the nonstop coverage. Affiliate KUSA spoke with a mother whose daughter was a classmate of Falcon Heene.


KIMBERLY HICKS, DAUGHTER WAS CLASSMATE OF FALCON HEENE: I hugged this woman. I was there after the press conference, you know, like, she seemed like genuinely frightened, you know, and relieved that her son had been found. And then watching the news today, and hearing it's a hoax, like everyone is angry over that. Everyone is angry.


LEMON: I'm sure every parent can understand, and even a neighbor, if your kids play with someone and, you know, you think everyone, is just like a normal neighbor, and all of a sudden that happens. You would be quite surprised and disappointed.

And, again, Richard Heene and his wife have not been arrested -- not yet -- and the sheriff says, expect a long list of charges, including three felonies: conspiracy to commit a crime, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and attempting to influence a public servant. Now, the most serious charges each carry a maximum six-year prison term and half a million dollar fine.

The Heenes will probably also be charged with filing a false report, which is a misdemeanor. And the sheriff says the couple's three boys were in on the suspected hoax, but they probably won't face charges because they are so young.

You know, the media played a crucial role in the balloon saga, both in the initial coverage and the subsequent investigation. Sheriff Alderden says he took advantage of the fact to push the investigation forward, and today offered an explanation and also an apology.


ALDERDEN: I personally have to say, I feel very bad and I think we came up and pumped against the line of misleading the media, and that is something I really take to heart that we don't do and I hope I didn't cross that line. I certainly know I bumped up against it by perhaps overstating our assurance or our belief that there was nothing behind this. We certainly were skeptical. And I know I pretty much emphatically stated that we weren't. If there was any manipulation of the media, it would be that, and for that I apologize.


LEMON: OK. So, the media played a big role in this. Also, you hear the sheriff's department saying that they sort of used the media a little bit. They weren't quite as transparent with the media as he might -- he would have liked, but he says they had to do it.

So, the media's role. Howard Kurtz hosts CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES." He puts the media under the microscope every week. We're going to talk with him next hour about whether TV networks, including CNN, in their eagerness to cover sensational breaking news, dropped their journalistic guard on this story.

So did Richard Heene's body language offer any clues as to whether he was lying?


ALDERDEN: It wasn't until the Larry King show where the family was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer that we had the first aha moment.


LEMON: My conversation with a body language expert still ahead.

Plus, a tough decision for the president. Should he send more American troops to Afghanistan? If so, when?

Talk to us about all the stories we're putting on the air. A lot of you are talking about the balloon boy, saying, "Don, I told you so." We want to know what you think. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or, that's how you can be heard.


LEMON: Pakistan is waging war on the al Qaeda safe haven along the Afghan border. But who has the upper hand in the South Waziristan? Well, that depends on whom you ask.

Civilians are flooding out of the battleground where the Pakistani army says it killed 60 militants so far this weekend while six soldiers have died. Quite a different story from a Taliban spokesman, who says militants are inflicting big casualties, claiming the rebels would hold the land to their, quote, "last drop of blood."

In Afghanistan today, a U.S. service member was killed by an improvised explosive device in the southern part of the country. Seven hundred and ninety U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

Well, this morning on the Sunday talk shows, the president's looming decision on sending potential thousands -- potentially thousands more troops to Afghanistan was a major topic.

And our Elaine Quijano is at the White House -- Elaine?


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Don, as the Obama administration grapples with a monumental decision on Afghanistan, the president is taking more time to weigh his options.

(voice-over): While tens of thousands of U.S. troops battle in Afghanistan, President Obama's chief of staff said on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JOHN KING," there's a question above and beyond just adding more forces.

RAHM EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Do you have a credible Afghan partner for this process that can provide the security and the type of services that the Afghan people need?

QUIJANO: That credibility question looms large, especially after the United Nations said Afghanistan's August 20th presidential election was marred by widespread fraud. Even now, it's not clear when a winner might be officially declared.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country when we don't even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we're working with.

QUIJANO: But with the Taliban tightening its grip in parts of Afghanistan, waiting and debating the pros and cons could come at a heavy price for the U.S.

SEN. JUDD GREGG (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Our purpose in being there is to, basically, eliminate people who are threatening us, and that's al Qaeda and the support that the al Qaeda gets from the Taliban. And if the general on the ground says he needs the troops and if we're going to have troops in that country, we should give the general what he needs.

QUIJANO: The general is top commander, General Stanley McChrystal, who made a rare public push this month for more U.S. troops in Afghanistan now.

GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, CMDR., U.S. FORCE AFGHANISTAN: We need to reverse the current trends and time does matter. Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome.

QUIJANO (on camera): Still, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says more meetings on Afghanistan strategy are set to take place over the next couple of weeks, before the president announces his decision -- Don?


LEMON: All right, Elaine, thank you very much.

President Obama has a lot on his agenda here at home this week. I want to bring in our deputy political director, Mr. Paul Steinhauser. He joins us from Washington.

Hello, Paul.


LEMON: The president is back on the campaign trail this week, not for himself, but really for fellow Democrats. So, what's going on here, Paul?

STEINHAUSER: Well, you know, the president is not on the ballot this November. You've got two states holding gubernatorial contests, New Jersey and Virginia. But even though he's not on the ballot, Don, he's got a lot on the line. Both of these states, the Democrats hold these seats.

And these states and these races are about local candidates, local issues, but a lot of people also see this, Don, as the first real referendum on this White House, on how Barack Obama is doing and the Democrats would like to control and keep control of these seats, and the Republicans would like to steal them way and say they have the momentum going to next year's election.

So, yes, the president on Wednesday is going to be in New Jersey with Governor Corzine, who's facing a very tough re-election, and then the following week, he's going to Virginia to help the Democratic candidate there. They want to keep control of these seats, Don.

LEMON: But, usually, I think the president usually -- presidents, I should say -- usually go out to stump for candidates when they're, I guess, in good standing. So, is this business as usual for the president to get so political and become involved in these issues?

STEINHAUSER: Yes and no. And the president, according to polls, he's still pretty popular in New Jersey, a little less so in Virginia. But still, a majority of people give him the thumbs up. So, he can definitely benefit these two candidates as they try to hang on in these races.

But, you know, this president, it's traditional. Presidents are not only leaders of the country, they are leaders of their own party. So, yes, they are political. But, remember, Barack Obama did promise to kind of campaign and try to get above the bipartisanship or become a bipartisan president and get away from the partisanship. So, there may be some critique of what he's doing, Don.

LEMON: Deputy political director Paul Steinhauser -- Paul, thank you very much.


LEMON: And we want to get back to our breaking news that we have been telling you about out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Apparently, the sheriff there is saying, it is a hoax. It is a hoax.

I want to bring in now our senior legal analyst, Mr. Jeffrey Toobin, to talk about the charges that Mr. Heene -- Richard Heene -- is facing.

Facing very some serious legal trouble, here, Jeff. Conspiracy -- I'm going to read them -- I'm going to read them off to you, just so we have it. A long list of charges, including three felonies, Jeffrey, conspiracy to commit a crime, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and attempting to influence a public servant.

How serious is that? Maximum six years in prison.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST (via telephone): Well, I think for a fundamentally not serious event, this is a set of serious charges. I doubt that if he's convicted, he's going to wind up going to prison for six years or for probably very long at all. But I think the sheriff, as well as the many -- much of the American and worldwide public feels kind of abused by what this guy did. So, there is going to be more than the usual attention to this case.

LEMON: Abused and duped. I mean, a lot of people -- I've been getting messages from people saying, "I spent a lot of time, when I thought that kid was in the balloon, I cried all day, I couldn't tear my eyes off of it." You know, what person wouldn't feel for someone like that? That doesn't really play into, you know, the court system, though, does it?

TOOBIN: Well, in a way, it does. The, you know, effects on the society is one factor that judges take into consideration when they -- when they sentence.

Now, let's start by saying that he hasn't been convicted of anything either. And it may be somewhat difficult to prove this if he did not confess his role, because the chief witness in this case, if there is a case, if it does go to trial, presumably would be his 6- year-old son. Now, can a 6-year-old even testify? Would the prosecutors try to put young Falcon on the stand? I -- that's a hard question.

So, let's not convict the senior reality star before he's actually had a trial. But, you know, we'll see. I mean, if he is convicted, I bet he will wind up with some prison time.

LEMON: So, here's what's interesting as well. And I think this is where my heart goes. And you know, maybe he will be proven, you know, not guilty. But we'll see.

When you saw, Jeffrey, and I think -- and I'm sure you've been paying attention to it, the little boy throwing up on morning television, national television, and one of the -- one of the charges here is conspiring or contributing to the delinquency of a minor. I mean, can you imagine what that little 6-year-old kid, under so much pressure and getting sick and throwing up on national television -- what is the exposure here for him legally, the father, which these children by exposing them to this? If he, you know, is, indeed, found guilty?

TOOBIN: Well, as you pointed out, these are felonies that carry potential prison sentences. But just, you know, putting aside the legal technicalities -- I mean, if this guy is guilty, think about what he did.


TOOBIN: He not only contrived this ridiculous stunt, but then the following morning, went on every television show that asked, along with his family, along with his young son, and subjected them to participating in this -- I don't know if you want to call it a cover- up or just a continuing conspiracy, but, you know, it's bad enough to do it in the first place. But then to subject your family to being part of it is really just perverse in the extreme.

LEMON: Yes. You know, it's amazing that, you know, they have names for, you know, when parents or mothers do bad things to their children, the Munchausen by proxy, whatever we saw Susan Smith and all that...

TOOBIN: Right.

LEMON: I wonder if they're going to come up with something that people who, you know, who want fame so much in the a reality TV show, and to be on television, in the public spotlight, that they will go to any measure. That seems like it's becoming a condition in our society here.

TOOBIN: That's true. And perhaps, his name will be the Kate and Jon syndrome.


TOOBIN: So, I don't -- I don't know if, you know, reality television obsession, you know?

LEMON: Yes. TOOBIN: Those who want to be on TV too much.


TOOBIN: I certainly think that any sort of psychological defense will probably fall on deaf ears here, considering, you know, how long this went on for. You know, the fact that it was -- you know, the chase that we all followed on live TV and then the continuing ridiculousness of these television interviews, it's going to be tough to claim any sort of insanity.

But, you know, I do think we -- it's important to keep it in perspective. You know, nobody died, fortunately. The kid is fine. With luck, he will have a good childhood and this will be a funny story he tells his buddies in high school. But I think the father is in for a lot more troubles than the son.

LEMON: Hey, Jeffrey, I'm going to let you go in a second, but I want to tell you. I'm going to look over this. We're getting information here that is from CNN that the family has hired an attorney, an attorney from Colorado who is currently representing Richard and Mayumi Heene. And it just goes on to talk about the pending investigation. We want to look over this because we have a statement from the attorney and then we'll get it on the air for you. But Jeffrey, again, they've hired an attorney. So, obviously serious charges.

Our Jeffrey Toobin who is our senior legal analyst weighing in, also new information, just a statement from the family's attorney -- thank you, Jeffrey. And we'll get more information from the attorney on to you in just a minute. Thanks again, Jeffrey.

In the meantime, it is a category five Pacific hurricane and it's headed towards Baja, California. Our meteorologist Karen Maginnis is tracking the powerful storm.

Plus, the story you're all talking about right now.


ALDERDEN: After the fact, we have since learned, as many of you have, that these people are actors. Not only have they appeared in several reality television shows and on YouTubes, we have since determined that, in fact, they met together, the way that they met, and established a relationship was in acting school.


LEMON: Yes, folks, it was a hoax, as we have been saying and you guys, a lot of you thought it was as well. Could body language have told us that earlier?

Plus, a statement from the Heene family's attorney just into CNN. We're going to have that for you after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: All right. We have been warning you about the really terrible weather on the east coast. Karen Maginnis was here yesterday and I were here yesterday, talking about this.

Karen, so, it's got a little bit of trouble, maybe a lot of trouble and then a commute tomorrow is probably going to be some problems as well.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I think at least, it's going to be sluggish. We've got problems in the northeast because of this area of low pressure that developed offshore yesterday, the Delmarva Peninsula. But now, it's moving fairly well off towards the northeast but still getting that throwback of moisture, back on shore.

The wind gusts have not been quite as high as we had originally anticipated, but nonetheless, Nantucket, I saw some of the wind gust there and they've definitely been high, 40 to 50, 55. But on the order of about 25 to close to 40 miles an hour have been some of the typical readings that we've seen.

Then this high pressure moves in and -- wow, with it is really going to feel like winter in some cases. We've got frost and freeze advisories all the way from southern New England into the Deep South. Don't be surprised if you see some very startling numbers going into tomorrow morning, as those temperatures are going to be really, really cool.

All right. Very impressive enhanced satellite imagery of what's happening with Hurricane Rick. Yesterday, at this hour, I think Rick made it up to 180 miles an hour, second strongest hurricane in the Pacific Basin on record. The other one, 1997, that was Hurricane Linda. Linda didn't affect anyone.

There is an island sitting out here, Sirocco (ph) Island, several hundred people live on that island. It's a territory of Mexico.

So this is still sitting at a category five right now. But this is what's going to happen -- we think it's going to continue moving more towards the west-northwest and eventually make that curve. Now, Cabo San Lucas is right down through that vicinity.

What's going to happen then? Well, here's some idea of what we anticipate in the next couple of days. We keep it at a category five for now. Our next update comes later on this evening, down to a category four.

Then we're looking at a two, fairly rapidly. Why? Because water temperature is much cooler here. And then Cabo, sitting right here, perhaps as it makes its way onshore, it could be a weak category two -- weak and category two don't go together typically. And then moving into the Baja region, perhaps as a category one, and then across the western edge of Mexico as a tropical storm system.

But nonetheless, this is kind of a hot vacation spot for folks. So, you can better believe, by about the next 48 to 72 hours, we'll be watching at and looking at this again. Back to you. LEMON: You took the words right out of my mouth. A lot of people are paying attention to you because a lot of people, "Hey, I'm going to go to Cabo, I'm going to, you know, Baja and Mexico," so, look out, be careful.

MAGINNIS: Yes, definitely.

LEMON: Check those vacation plans.

Thank you so much, Karen Maginnis.


LEMON: We'll check back in with you.


LEMON: So, we've been talking about this balloon story. A lot of you are saying, you know, we're sick of hearing about it. But it's really an amazing story. In addition to the human drama here on the runaway balloon, you simply have physics involved in it.


ALDERDEN: We also wanted to look closely at the construction of this device. Basically, it's a one-mill plastic tarps that were taped together and covered with aluminum foil.


LEMON: Crudely constructed, just one element of the sheriff's fascinating news conference that expose the runaway balloon as an elaborate hoax.


LEMON: All right. Some new information. I told you that we'd have the sheriff's -- the statement from the Heene family's attorney. Let's go right to the statement now. Because we know that they're facing some serious charges.

This is from the attorney in Ft. Collins. His name is David Lane, who is now representing the Heenes. He's a Denver attorney. Here's what he says right now. He says, "The Heenes are more than willing to voluntarily turn themselves in to face any charges which may be filed against them. I have sent law enforcement this message in an effort to avoid the public spectacle and humiliation of having the police publicly arrest two people who are presumed innocent, perhaps even in the presence of their children, when they are absolutely willing to turn themselves in and fully cooperate with law enforcement in this matter. Any public arrest will be deemed merely an effort by law enforcement to aggrandize themselves at the expense of the Heenes, who are prepared to turn themselves in upon request." And he says, because criminal charges may be pending, I have advised the family to not make any statements to anyone about this matter. So the Heenes will not be talking. Their attorney will be talking. If they do talk to anyone in the future, it will be through the attorney.

And it's very interesting that they're -- all of a sudden, they don't want to be in the public eye when they wanted to be in the public eye before, and any attempt to arrest them would be to aggrandize law enforcement agency. Interesting turn of events. Now, they don't want to be in front of the media.

Let's listen to the sheriff who talked about how they figured all of this out, how this story unraveled. He did that just a couple of hours ago in Colorado.


JIM ALDERDEN, SHERIFF, LARIMER COUNTY, COLORADO: It wasn't until the Larry King show, where the family was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer that we had the first "aha" moment, if you would. You all know what I'm talking about, when he was asking, "Why didn't you come down," and he said, I believe he said, "We did it for the show." If you look at the nonverbal responses as well as some of the verbal cues, not only from him, but from the family, from the children, their reaction, it became very clear to us, at that point, that they were lying. You know, we picked up on it. You picked up on it. At that point, we developed a strategy, where do we go from here? How do we get to the bottom of this? Clearly, the only way we were going to be able to bring this to a successful conclusion is if we got a confession.


LEMON: OK. So you were looking at the body language. We were. I think everyone live at the time said, hmm, there's something strange about this, something strange about this.

Our body language expert is Janine -- what's her name, Janine Driver. She spoke to us yesterday about today's -- that was before the bombshell revelation. She offered some very interesting comments and analysis of what she saw. Again, she worked for the ATF. She is very skilled at this.

Take a look at what she said again, just yesterday.



WOLF BLITZER, GUEST HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": And Falcon was really in the garage this whole time. I don't know if Falcon can hear me -- because I know at some point, he fell asleep in that garage, but he was hiding because you thought he was going to punish him for something that happened earlier in the day. Did he hear anything? Hear you screaming out, Falcon, Falcon?

RICHARD HEENE, FATHER OF FALCON HEENE: He's asking Falcon, did you hear us calling your name at any time? FALCON HEENE, MISSING BOY: Uh-huh.

HEENE: You did?


HEENE: Why didn't you come out?

FALCON HEENE: You guys said that we did this for the show.

HEENE: Yeah.


HEENE: You didn't come out?



LEMON: Uh-oh. I mean, it is a little kid, but I actually saw that live, and he was like, what did that kids just say?

You're watching the body language, there, Janine, and hearing him, what do you think?

JANINE DRIVER, BODY LANGUAGE EXPERT: Well, the first thing is, the father takes this really deep breath. It's actually the only real, deep, exasperated breath that we see him take throughout the whole interview, through all the interviews he's done. Unfortunately, this is a breath that we often see when evidence is stacked up against a bad ground. My background, I'm a retired ATF federal law enforcement officer. I've trained the CIA, FBI, how to tell if people are lying, ATF. We see this in criminal prosecution and interviews with criminals when the evidence is stacked up in front of them. It's like, I'm busted. So that, in and of itself, was a big hot spot for me.

LEMON: But also, sometimes too, when you can't make heads or tails when I've gone, wait a minute.

DRIVER: Why not just say to your son, what do you mean by that? I'm the mother of a 4-year-old, I'd say, Angus, what you mean by that? You don't just say, yeah. If it doesn't make sense to the father, he should be asking additional questions. This is a huge hot spot.

For me, I think that there's definitely more going on with this family. I don't know if they were involved with the actual -- the parents were involved with the whole, you know, scam of it all. But maybe they wrote up a screen play or a screen show and the kids overheard them talking about it or got a hold of some notes.

LEMON: And this is advice that you would give when you were with, when you would advice the ATF, right?

DRIVER: Yeah. My big thing is this. You notice what's called hot spots. We notice tons of them. The mother, when she begins to speak, starts rubbing her leg non-stop. These are called manipulators, it's OK, I'll get through it, it's OK, I'll get through it. They increase in high moments of stress. Are they under stress? Absolutely. I would ask powerful questions here.



LEMON: That's Janine Driver, a body language expert, who joined us here on CNN yesterday and really sort of confirmed what the sheriff said today in his press conference.

So let's bring in Liz McDunna of the Colorado Department of Human Services. She is live on the telephone with us from Denver.

I would imagine that you have heard the charges in here. One of the charges includes contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Ms. McDunna. Explains to what that means in Colorado. What he faces for that, if he is, indeed, found guilty.

LIZ MCDUNNA, COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES: That would simply mean that the parents are creating an environment that would lead their children to behave in a manner that's inappropriate.

LEMON: If you are watching this, and as I said, if he is indeed found guilty, and you see the little boy on national television, and I would imagine he has been -- they're leading him there. He's been led to do this. If you see that, and then if you look at the little boy on national television, two of the morning shows, Ms. McDunna, he actually got sick on the morning shows and threw up.

Do we have that video?

OK. I want to play this. Let's play this. Just listen to this.


HEENE: One of the guys told me it was for some TV show. So that's what he was referring to.

Whoa! Should we take you to the bathroom or something?



LEMON: OK. So that kid, clearly, under a tremendous amount of stress, just from being involved in all of this, not to mention being on television and I imagine losing sleep and everyone paying attention to him. But then, again, if his dad made him do this, it's even more stress on top of that. What do you see? What do you think when you see that?

MCDUNNA: Well, child protection statutes in Colorado prohibit me from discussing any particular investigation of any particular family. What we look at, in any case where there's an allegation that the safety and well-being of children are threatened is, is there a pattern where a family is putting a child or children at risk? And those are the kind of things we are going to be examining together with law enforcement in terms of how this case goes forward.

LEMON: OK. I understand that you can't talk specifics. And this case is not even a -- I imagine if you're investigating it now. But imagine if that was any child in that sort of situation, would that raise a red flag for you?

MCDUNNA: Any situation that appears to be exploitation of a child by a parent would be a red flag to any human services agency.

LEMON: And looking at this video, video like this, and seeing the boy on national television, his comments, his reaction, will that factor into your investigation?

MCDUNNA: Any evidence will be taken into account in any investigation that is done. Again, I really don't want to account in any investigation that is done. Again, I really don't want to comment specifically on anything involving this case.

LEMON: OK. Ms. McDunna, what happens next for you? How do you proceed next? I don't mean specifically with this case, but what's the procedure here?

MCDUNNA: Well, Colorado is a state-supervised, county- administered system. And in any case, the law enforcement agency in the county where the alleged issue took place will work closely with the county Human Services Department to gather as much information as they need to determine what kind of actions, if any, they need to take.

LEMON: Liz McDunna, of the Colorado Department of Human Services, we appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

MCDUNNA: Thank you.


So here's the question. You saw the little boy there on television getting sick. You saw the whole thing, him on television being questioned, the balloon floating around for hours, the nation, people wondering, oh, my god, this is a little boy in this balloon? If he is, it's terrible. At one point, they thought he fell out. Reporting it minute by minute, not just CNN, everyone. So are TV networks, including our very own, too eager to cover this sort of sensational breaking news? How could you not if you see this or if you don't know the circumstances behind it? So was journalistic guard probably dropped here? Next hour, Howard Kurtz will talk to us. He's the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources." He's going to put the media under the microscope. And also the sheriff's department as well, because there were some very interesting comments from the sheriff about how they may have misled the media. His words, not mine.

Homecoming horror at the University of Connecticut. A football star stabbed to death after a big win. His campus, locked down. His team in despair as we learn the victim was about to be a dad.


LEMON: OK. So there is in no joy in this homecoming week at the University of Connecticut where a football star has been stabbed to death. Police say Jasper Howard, a Huskies cornerback, was attacked in a fight outside a school dance fresh off a win over Louisville. The 20-year-old father-to-be died earlier today. Another victim was hospitalized and released. The campus web site warns the killer is still out there.

But Howard's mother and teammates are stunned by the sudden heartbreak.


MOTHER OF JASPER HOWARD: He was a good kid. I never had no problems with him. All he wanted him to do was go to school and get an education. And he was doing what he asked him to do. I never had no problems with him, none.

DESI CULLEN, HUSKIES CO-CAPTAIN: This is so much harder -- you know, he -- before this morning, I looked at him as a teammate, as a friend, but ever since he set foot on this campus, he was our brother.


LEMON: Desi Cullen, a team co-captain, went on to say he'll make sure Howard's unborn child has over 100 uncles.

A sweat lodge retreat pushing people to their limits or pushing too far. A third person has died after participating in a two-hour ritual inside a cramped sauna-like dome in Arizona. 40-year-old Liz Newman passed away more than a week after she was hospitalized. Her family says she was otherwise healthy and now they're planning to sue over inappropriate safety measures at the event run by self-help expert, James Arthur Ray. Investigators say they are treating all three deaths as homicides and Ray is the focus of those probes.

Well, he looks like he is made for -- he made her famous, I should say, but she never forgot where she came from. She's part of our special preview of CNN's "Latino in America." Our Soledad O'Brien will show us how the first Latino supermodel is giving back.


LEMON: All right. Now we focus on our "Latino in America" series. Our Soledad O'Brien introduces tonight us to the first Latino supermodel who uses her fame to help others in her homeland. Take a look.

Hey, Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, HOST, "LATINO IN AMERICA": For years, Patricia Velasquez, the model, made her money with a gorgeous face. Now she's letting her heart lead the way. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Patricia Velasquez has come a long way. Possibly, the most recognizable Latina super model in the 1990s, she helped raise the profile of Latinas in America.

PATRICIA VELASQUEZ, LATINO SUPERMODEL & FOUNDER, WAYUU TAYA FOUNDATION: The fact that I was the first Latina super model, it put me in a place where I was able to raise the self-esteem of a lot of girls.

O'BRIEN: She never forgot where she came from.

VELASQUEZ: My mommy is Wayuu Indian. So we were very close to the Wayuu people.

O'BRIEN: The Wayuu Taya are indigenous people, some 300,000 who live in the dangerous border region between Columbia and Venezuela, a long way from the runways of New York and Milan. The children live without schools or running water until Patricia came back.

VELASQUEZ: I got together in New York with some of my friends and we said let's put an event together. We were able to raise some really good money. We put a water pump in the village that had no water. Then 2,800 people had water for $6,000, and we got really excited.

O'BRIEN: Patricia, along with a host of famous friends, raised more money and expanded her project. She created the Wayuu Taya Foundation and then built the roof center in Mara (ph), a building where volunteers work to meet many needs.

VELASQUEZ: We wanted to create one place, I think, identifies the Wayuu Taya Foundation. We thought, let's have a place where the kids can come. They get two meals a day. They get education, you know, since they're 2 years old. Then just let it keep growing.

O'BRIEN: As more donations came in, the center grew. They started reaching out to the Wayuu women, helping them craft, then sell their famous handbags.

VELASQUEZ: It takes a woman 20 days to make a bag, and they're called susus (ph). And every Saturday when they turn in their bags, they have to have a course on something, family planning, hygiene, nutrition. If they don't get the course, they don't get paid.

O'BRIEN: So the women have an incentive to return and continue learning.

VELASQUEZ: The Wayuu Taya Foundation is starting to walk on its own. The really, really good time, when we completely achieve a full sustainability of the foundation, and it doesn't really need me, only to be the sustainability of the foundation, then that's the time I'm going to say, OK, we made it.

O'BRIEN: The results she's seen give her hope. VELASQUEZ: The statistics say one kid is dying a day. Now the statistics don't say that anymore.

The most important thing is what it has done for our community. They have lost their hope, and now they have their hope back.

O'BRIEN: Hope for others from one of their own.


O'BRIEN: The foundation continues to expand. They now have a computer lab, which Patricia says is always busy. And they recently received a grant to create a computer program that will help them preserve the Wayuu dialect, which is one of a kind.

Don, back to you.

LEMON: Soledad, thank you very much.

We are just three days away from "Latino in America," a comprehensive look at how Latinos are changing America, reshaping politics, businesses, schools and churches and neighborhoods as well. "Latino in America" coming October 21st and 22nd at 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on CNN.

Next hour, another series in our series of Latino firsts. President Bush appointed Alberto Gonzales as the nation's first Hispanic attorney general, but he was forced to resign after some controversial acts. My complete interview with Alberto Gonzales airs in about an hour from now. You'll want to hear that.

Changing lives through music. He is helping kids get off New Orleans streets with free instruments and free music classes. Meet the amazing man behind this incredible story. He is a top-ten "CNN Hero," and he joins me in just a moment.

There he is.

We'll see you after the break.


LEMON: It's time to talk about heroes. A New Orleans musician has found a way to get potential troublemakers off the streets and into music, or I should say, kids who are in trouble. We shouldn't call them troublemakers. Derrick Tabb offers free tutoring in music and instrument education to more than 100 students in his Roots of Music Program. For his work, he was recently named one of our 2009 top-ten "CNN Heroes."

There he is, down in New Orleans, the place of the best music, the best food in the world, and some of the best people in the world. Just a good time there.

OK. Listen, thank you. I want to get your web site out there, just so people know. It's called the if they want to find out about you. The

OK. Let's talk to Derrick Tabb.

You did this -- well, first of all, congratulations. Let me get your reaction, and then I'll talk about why you did it. What was your reaction when you found out?

DERRICK TABB, CNN HERO & FOUNDER, THE ROOTS OF MUSTIC: Man, it was amazing, because, you know, to just be picked out of 9,000 people to make it to the top 25 is amazing and then to get picked in the top ten, woe. I was about to go home from the kids, and they called me up and let me know. I couldn't let nobody know that, so I had to walk up and down the street pace a little bit before he go crazy.

LEMON: I'm laughing, because, you know, you sound like my relatives who are from New Orleans. You all have that accent. It's really good to hear that. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I'm down home.

You did this -- well, you started in high school or junior high school. You lost your grandmother -- I think it was junior high school. And your band director showed interest in you because you started, you know, getting into some trouble, and then he helped you. and so now you want to help kids because of that.

TABB: Yes. Actually, I modeled this program after his program that he had at (INAUDIBLE) Bell (ph), and I had modeled it after him because he showed a special interest in me, and it showed me -- it gave me a special talent to where I, right now, travel around the world, and, you know, he want to give the same opportunity to kids.

LEMON: What happens with these kids? Do you see them change? Do you see that they become different people when they pick up these skills and they start showing interest in something like this?

TABB: Yeah, man. Right now I have 106 kids in the program, Over 400 on the waiting list. Right now, I have an 85 percent to 90 percent attendance rate. That means they really want to come and hang out at the Roots of Music. They don't want to be out there on the street, and, you know, they don't want to sit up and play the video games and all the rest of the stuff. They want to hang out with us.

LEMON: And they should. Listen, let me ask you, what do you want to do with this? What are you doing with this now that you have become a hero?

TABB: Oh, man. I would love to keep going forward and hopefully get the funding to take all 400 kids, if possible, you know, and just do whatever it takes to get these kids off the street, because New Orleans is now being known for violence. And I want to believe that -- I want to believe that every kid in the city of New Orleans is not trying to be in trouble. They really want to do something.

LEMON: Derrick Tabb, you are helping with that. Again, it's the Congratulations to you. Good luck when it comes to the big -- when it's time to announcer the heroes, OK, who's going to be the main one.

TABB: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

They're all heroes. They're all our main heroes. Who's going to win the hero of the year though? You can go to right now to vote for a CNN Hero who inspires you the most. And we plan to talk with all 10 of the heroes in the coming weeks before the voting closes for Hero of the Year.

Now, they will all be honored at an all-star tribute hosted by our very own Anderson Cooper Thanksgiving night, right here on CNN.

The next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.