Jane Velez-Mitchell July 14, 2010
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a family desperate for answers in the mysterious disappearance of their beautiful daughter. Jenna Lord vanished from a New Jersey train station coming home from a party over the Fourth of July weekend. The 23-year-old`s family says Jenna tried to contact them from a stranger`s cell phone and hasn`t been heard from since. What happened to Jenna? I`ll talk to her devastated family.
Then, head-spinning developments in the case of missing Oregon boy Kyron Horman. Was his disappearance a carefully planned plot? That`s what her distraught mom believes. She is haunted by warning signs and believes Kyron`s step-mom, Terri, plotted his disappearance. Meantime, Kyron`s dad is taking Terri to court as a new search gets underway for the missing child.
Plus, just when you thought it couldn`t get any more obscene, yet another alleged Mel Gibson audiotape takes it to a whole new level. You`ll hear the latest in a dramatic series of vicious tirades. Tonight, do these tapes reveal a star who could be a danger to himself?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a young mom`s mysterious disappearance leaves her family screaming out for help. Have cops completely dropped the ball in this case?
Twenty-three-year-old Jenna Lord vanished from a New Jersey train station on July 5. Her mom says Jenna`s cell phone died, so a stranger let her borrow his cell phone. And that is the last anyone saw of this young woman. It seems she has dropped off the face of the earth. Was she a victim of foul play?
Jenna vanished in the Philly suburb of Camden, New Jersey. Camden is known for having one the highest crime rates in the entire country. And yet, when we here on ISSUES tried repeatedly all day long to ask Camden police where this case stands. Nobody called us back. We tried over and over again.
Jenna`s family says police are ignoring her case. Could that be because of her troubled history?
I am honored to welcome Jenna Lord`s mom, Desiree Caruso. And also joining us, the missing woman`s boyfriend, Ed Steele, and little Ed, the adorable 3-year-old son of the missing woman, with Ed. And also, her aunt Kimmy is on the phone.
First of all, I want to say, Ed if you could just make sure he doesn`t scratch the mike there, Ed. I know you`ve got -- you`ve got a lot on your hands there. We`ve got a little toddler. OK. All right. He doesn`t have to wear the hat.
ED STEELE, JENNA`S BOYFRIEND: All right. Go ahead.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, we feel for you. We here at ISSUES feel for you. We understand you`re going through a nightmare. And you`re living a nightmare right now. Thank God you have that little -- that little tyke there to keep you smiling, because I know otherwise you`d be - - you`d be weeping.
Desiree, tell us what you know about the last time your daughter was seen.
DESIREE CARUSO, MOTHER OF JENNA LORD: The last time she was seen, me and my sister and friend, she dropped her off at Ed`s house. She called me on July 5 from a guy named Eric`s phone. And I didn`t -- I didn`t answer the phone. I didn`t get the phone call. And that`s all really know. I don`t know nothing else.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there was a man, apparently, at the train station. Her cell phone died. This man named Eric at the train station let her use his cell phone. And that`s the phone that she used to call you early in the morning. You were asleep. You missed the call.
And then you later called this guy back, this Eric back. So what did he tell you? Apparently, he said something about your daughter was anxious and seemed confused?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about that.
CARUSO: When I called him back, he said that, you know, she looked -- she looked a little scared. And he took her -- she was at the train station. He got her a ticket. And they were waiting for the train. His train came a minute before -- a minute before her. So he got on his train. So I guess he figured that she would get on, you know, her train. But she never got home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Desiree, you acknowledge that your daughter, Jenna, has a history of drug use. Just last month Jenna was charged with aggravated assault, robbery, theft, reckless endangerment and making terroristic threats. She`s also faced charges of disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, harassment and drug possession.
STEELE: That was -- that was her sister.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But wait a second. But Desiree -- oh, OK. You say your daughter, Jenna, has been clean and sober for several months. Ed, you`re her boyfriend. You`re the father of her adorable child who`s running around that studio right now. Clarify all of this, because this is a breaking story. It`s just come in. We do the best we can. But tell us what you know. The last time you saw Jenna, the missing girl, your girlfriend, was she high or was she sober?
STEELE: She was sober. She called me on July 5, and she said she wanted to come home. And she went -- she got in the yellow pages and got a taxi and said she`ll call me right back when the taxi gets there. She never called back. Next thing you know, she was walking down the street up there and then she was at the train station, and that`s the last I heard of her, at the train station.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to talk to Kimmy for a second and give you a second to maybe get little Ed to quiet down a tad, because this is a very serious case, and we want to make sure that we get the information out there to the viewers.
Kimmy, are you on the phone, ma`am?
KIMMY MCARDLE, JENNA`S AUNT: I am.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We couldn`t get a call back from Camden police. And then when we called the police in this young woman, your niece`s hometown, we were abruptly told, well, if anybody has a tip, call 911, clink.
"The Philadelphia Daily News" had the same problem. They can`t figure out who`s handling the case. Camden P.D. pointed them to the local police station where you live, or where Jenna lives. And they said they weren`t handling it either. What response have you gotten from the police?
MCARDLE: Pretty much zilch. I had asked for a press release prior to -- this was about Friday. I did it Wednesday. And there was an officer that was nice enough to say, "I`m going to give it to whoever is in charge to do this for you." I get the call back two days later and I get, "I don`t want to hear anything more about this case, because it`s not in our jurisdiction. So give me the number to the news station that you want me to fax it to, and that will be the end of it." I thanked him for his time.
He also said, "You had me come out -- come out at 8 p.m. at night from the station to do this for you and leave my family."
And I got pretty bitter. And I said, "Well, you`re going home to your family. I`m searching for mine." So, yes, I was pretty ticked off about that.
So basically, anybody out there that needs help, come to our family, because we`re the ones doing all the investigating.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go back to Desiree Caruso, the missing woman`s mom. Do you feel that police are treating the case this way because your daughter has a history of drug use? Because if so, I`m a recovering alcoholic. OK, I`m sober 15 years, but what if this happened to me 20 years ago? I certainly don`t think that I wouldn`t count because I had that disease. What do you say, ma`am?
CARUSO: Yes, I believe that`s why they`re not investigating it, because they think she`s a junkie. I don`t care what she is. She`s still my daughter. She`s still a human being, and I want her home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think about this, Ed?
STEELE: She ain`t even on nothing. So first of all, all the stuff you just said about -- the guy said about her, the cops...
CARUSO: Bobby Adams. Chief Bobby Adams.
STEELE: Her sister got charged with all that. She didn`t get charged with none of that. She got into a fight, yes, she got in trouble. But she didn`t get charged with none of that. And she hasn`t been convicted of what she got in trouble for. I mean, it was just the fight.
STEELE: She hasn`t been charged with none of them things that guy said on there, all that stuff you just said, all them charges. She has not been charged with none of that. That was her sister`s charges.
STEELE: They got her confused.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so glad that you clarified that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is outrageous. Seriously. You guys are taxpayers, right?
CARUSO: Right. Yes.