Skip to main content
U.S. Edition


Return to Transcripts main page


Hurricane Katrina Survivor Learns Mother's Fate; Criminal Parents; Oprah-Endorsed Book Under Fire Again; Black Market Fertility Drugs; Infertility Center Fails To Notify Some Couples It Stole Eggs And Embryos A Decade Ago; Father Under Arrest After Son Shoots Child At Day Care Center In Maryland

Aired January 24, 2006 - 22:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone.
There are questions that cry out for answers. And, tonight, nearly five months after Katrina, a woman is dealing with the answer to hers: What happened to my mom?


ANNOUNCER: She last saw her mother near the Superdome being carried away on a stretcher. Every day since, she has been haunted by the same question.

DENISE HERBERT, DAUGHTER OF MISSING HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIM: Everybody in America got a mom, but where is mine? That's what I want to know today. Where is my mother?

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, 360 finally gets some answers.

Breaking the law to fulfill your dream -- couples illegally buying fertility drugs because prices are sky high. And health insurance just doesn't cover them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are passing drugs back and forth through window.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, just how far some childless couples will go.

And new allegations.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": The underlying message of redemption still resonates with me.


ANNOUNCER: The Oprah Book Club best-seller under fire again -- what really happened to James Frey at rehab?


ANNOUNCER: From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, feeling in for Anderson, John King.

KING: We begin with a simple notion: Knowing is better than not knowing, even when the truth hurts.

Last night, on the program, we heard a woman pleading to learn what happened to her mother in the chaos following Hurricane Katrina. She understood knowing might hurt, but wanted that answer just the same. She got one today.

Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Denise Herbert's mother has been missing since two days after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf. We met Denise Saturday in Atlanta.


TUCHMAN: When Louisiana's governor talked to hurricane victims who had moved to Georgia. Denise could not contain her anger about the lack of government help in finding her 82-year-old mother.

DENISE HERBERT, DAUGHTER OF MISSING HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIM: I'm very angry. Because guess what? Everybody in America got a mom, but where is mine? That's what I want to know today. Where is my mother?

And I'm angry with the world! And they can parade around here and talk about Mardi Gras and what they want to do with New Orleans, but what about these 3,000-and-some people missing? And one of them is my mama. I'm sick of these people! I really am sick of these people.

TUCHMAN: After our story aired, this California man called us. David Lipin is the commander of a Department of Homeland Security disaster medical assistance team that treated the injured in New Orleans.

DAVID LIPIN, DISASTER MEDICAL ASSISTANCE COMMISSIONER: I recognized a photograph of the person you showed on your story.

TUCHMAN: Lipin says he treated Ethel Herbert on a highway overpass near the Superdome in the midst of the flooding and chaos. By chance, this picture was taken of her by a photographer on that overpass. The picture was included in a book on the disaster.

Lipin said he would tell us what happened to the 82-year-old, after he told Ethel Herbert's six children. So, on this afternoon, we were at the house where Denise Herbert and her daughter are staying as they tensely waited for the call, hoping for good news, but knowing it was unlikely.

HERBERT: It's going to be all right. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn't deserve this.

HERBERT: It's going to be all right. God is with us. I know he is.

TUCHMAN: And then the call came.

HERBERT: What you need to tell me, David? I can take it. Tell me.

TUCHMAN: The 82-year-old is very ill and unable to speak well on the roadway. Her family begged David Lipin for medical help.

LIPIN: We began to assess her. We didn't get very far, because some snipers opened up and started shooting at us while we were stopped there. So, that sort of interrupted everything that we really wanted to do.

TUCHMAN: The woman was in grave condition, unresponsive. She had to be quickly thrown into a military vehicle and driven through floodwater. The time wasted and the bumpy ride may have ensured her fate before she was loaded on a helicopter.

LIPIN: It was quite amazing that she was still alive, and I ended up telling the family that, you know, I don't know where she went, because we didn't have any communication with the helicopters after they took off, but I expect that she probably didn't survive very long after she got on that helicopter.

TUCHMAN: And, on the phone, David Lipin told the family he is virtually certain she died.

HERBERT: She didn't make it. Oh, my God. She didn't make it.

TUCHMAN: Now, in addition to learning about her mother from David Lipin, CNN has been told by the morgue in Saint Gabriel, Louisiana, there is a 90 percent certainty that one of the unidentified bodies there is that of Ethel Herbert.


TUCHMAN: Now, officials at the morgue say they are conducting DNA testing and expect positive identification within 10 days. There are still 118 bodies in that morgue that have not been identified. Perhaps, with this news, the number is 117 -- John.

KING: Tough time for the family, Gary, but perhaps a beginning step toward closure. Thank you very much, Gary Tuchman.

And the question now, could any or all of the chaos that swallowed up Ethel Herbert have been prevented? It's a question in two parts. How well did authorities act on the disaster, and when did they know it almost certainly would be a disaster?

Tonight, documents made public by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security help answer the when part. And, here again, the truth may hurt -- this time, the White House.

More from CNN's Jeanne Meserve.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The power and the destruction of Hurricane Katrina should not have been a surprise. The warnings came early.

On August 28, two days before the storm, a Department of Homeland Security analysis predicted a Category 4 storm would likely lead to severe flooding and/or levee breaching, leaving the New Orleans metro area submerged for weeks or months. This, the document said, was a conservative estimate.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Among the offices receiving that memo was the White House Situation Room, which received it at 1:47 a.m. on Monday, August 29, several hours before Katrina made landfall. What happened to that report?

MESERVE: And why did the president say this three days after the storm?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.

MESERVE: The White House says the president was talking about the period immediately after Katrina, when it was thought New Orleans had dodged a bullet.

There had been other warnings. In July of 2004, a planning exercise called Hurricane Pam predicted that a Category 4 hurricane would top New Orleans' levees, destroy 600,000 buildings, and kill 60,000 people. Two days before Katrina came ashore, a FEMA PowerPoint demonstration said Katrina would be worse.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Pam became Katrina. The simulation beam reality, and optimism became the awful truth. We were not prepared.

MESERVE: In fact, a document written a month before Katrina and just released said evacuation planning was only 10 percent complete. "If you think soup lines in the Depression were long," said one official, "wait until you see the lines at transportation collection points."

Senator Lieberman says he wants more information about who knew what and when and isn't getting it.

LIEBERMAN: The Department of Homeland Security has engaged in a strategy of slow-walking our investigation, in the hope that we would run out of time.

MESERVE (on camera): But DHS says it has provided 300,000 pages of documents and 60 witnesses and calls its cooperation unprecedented. The administration expects to issue its own study soon on what lessons it learned from its response to Katrina.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


KING: From documents now to home videotape -- a graphic picture of what happened to those who stayed to face Katrina and reaction to the news today that the federal government had a good idea of how bad it might be.

Here's CNN's Susan Roesgen.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Leroy Thomas aimed his video camera out his window on August 29, there was a lot of wind, but not much water, not right away. Yet, the water in the street didn't go down, as it always had before. It kept rising. Soon, Thomas would find out what higher-ups in Washington had known at least two days earlier: Hurricane Katrina was going to be a catastrophe.

LEROY THOMAS, HURRICANE KATRINA SURVIVOR: The worst of it is when my front door broke and the water actually came into my home. I thought I was going to drown.

ROESGEN: Thomas heard the evacuation warnings from New Orleans' mayor and the National Weather Service, but he says they sounded just like many evacuation orders from many past hurricanes.

THOMAS: I have heard that before, but I guess I was looking for that one sign that would have let me really know that this was going to be bad that I didn't get.

ROESGEN: President Bush did warn people to move to safe ground and follow local officials' instructions (AUDIO GAP) or that thousands might die, so Thomas says he didn't realize the danger.

THOMAS: The water was to my knee, but, when the water stopped, the water was here.

ROESGEN: Without that, Thomas, like others, say they were left to face the nightmare on their own. Thomas says he had nowhere left to go but up to the roof, through the stairs up into the attic.

When his video camera got waterlogged, he grabbed his still camera and continued to document the water's rise up the attic stairs. Eventually, he wound up alone in a boat for two days, without water, food or power, and then herded into a shelter with tens of thousands of others, exactly the dire predictions in the Homeland Security report.

THOMAS: Going through the storm was bad. It was the aftermath that was more frightening and more degrading, not being able to eat, not being able to do basic needs, brush your teeth, wash your face, sleeping on the interstate. I don't want nobody to go through what I have been through -- nobody.

ROESGEN: Thomas says the federal government's failure to warn residents of the storm's predicted aftermath cost him and many others their homes and some even their lives.

THOMAS: That if you knew this information, you knew this was going to happen, you are telling me -- I'm a citizen of this country -- you don't care about my welfare. I'm expendable. Apology will be fine, but apology ain't putting my life back together.


ROESGEN: This is Leroy Thomas's home tonight. You can see that he has gutted it and he expects to rebuild it.

But the most important part of this house, John, is still those stairs leading up to the attic. More than 300,000 people in New Orleans were forced out by the hurricane, many forced out and up, through their attics, and then on to their roofs, where they were later rescued.

Some people did evacuate, of course, but many more are like Leroy Thomas. They simply feel, John, that they did not get enough warning from either local, state or federal officials of how bad this hurricane was going to be.

KING: And, Susan, share a bit more on that. Obviously, the documents the source of great controversy at that hearing in Washington today. Are they getting play in the media down there?

ROESGEN: Oh, you bet, on the front page of today's paper. And this comes at a time, John, when so many people here are trying to make a leap of faith to decide whether or not they want to come back and rebuild. And, here, they're thinking that maybe the federal government has not done enough and didn't do enough, even before the hurricane.

KING: More anger at the government.

Susan Roesgen in New Orleans tonight -- thank you very much, Susan.

And much more ahead from New Orleans and beyond, but, first, a look at some other stories we're following at this moment.

In Florida, a last-minute stay of execution by the Supreme Court. Clarence Hill had been scheduled to put to death by lethal injection at 6:00 p.m. Eastern for the 1992 killing of a police officer. But Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily stayed the death sentence, after Hill's lawyers argued their client was mentally retarded and that the method of execution violated the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishments.

The Senate Judiciary Committee today gave its support to Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, though not unanimously, not by a long shot.

All 10 Republican members voted in favor of Judge Alito. The panel's eight Democrats opposed him -- a full vote by the Senate is expected next week.

The head of a European investigation into alleged CIA secret prisons in Europe said today the evidence does indicate the U.S. was outsourcing torture and that it's highly likely European governments knew about it. The report also said there is no formal evidence so far of clandestine detention centers in Rumania or Poland, as alleged by the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

And, in Maryland, police have charged the father of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot a 7-year-old girl in a day care center this morning. The gun was in the boy's backpack when it went off, wounding the girl in one of her arms. The boy took the gun from a closet in his house -- more on the shooting later on 360.

Back to Louisiana -- when hurricane survivors needed food and water, the Red Cross sent shipments of fortune cookies. How do you help people with that?

Coming up, problems in a bogged-down relief, some you wouldn't even think of. And what is the Red Cross doing to make sure it doesn't happen again?

Plus, a controversial memoir endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, its author says most of it is true. Is it really? New controversy about the pages of "A Million Little Pieces" -- when 360 continues.


KING: The American Red Cross said it had never experienced anything quite like its relief effort immediately after Hurricane Katrina, the largest in its 125-year history.

Within a week-and-a-half's time, the Red Cross set up some 470 shelters and evacuation centers in 12 states, housing more than 135,000 people. Relief efforts continue. And, in all, the Red Cross has received more than $2 billion in gifts and pledges. But it has also received quite a bit of criticism from those who say the money and relief have been mismanaged.

Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest."


KING (voice-over): It is part cooking, part assembly line, chili and boiled potatoes for 20,000, no short order, all handed off for delivery to the world's most recognizable disaster relief agency, the Red Cross, still on the ground in New Orleans, and still very much under fire five months after Katrina.

This is the last Red Cross staging area here, still bustling with a clear sense of urgency. Yet, Pat Keena knows the response to what is his 30th disaster in 12 years has raised scathing questions about the organization's priorities and effectiveness.

PAT KEENA, AMERICAN RED CROSS: We do drop the ball. We're a large organization, and that happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALES: In the morning, in the morning, in the morning comes the sun.

KING: The volunteers share a remarkable enthusiasm. And those with Red Cross horror stories, like Bruce Efferson of Slidell's First Baptist Church, are quick to separate the eager foot soldiers from a bureaucracy he says slowed critical emergency assistance.

BRUCE EFFERSON, SLIDELL FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: Layer upon layer upon layer, no communication -- and everybody thought they were really somebody.

KING: Among Efferson's complaints, the Red Cross wouldn't come to the church immediately after Katrina, because, it said, the hurricane had left the area too dusty.

Twice, he says, Red Cross managers complained about mosquitoes and threatened to close the only emergency kitchen for miles, not to mention pallets of jalapeno peppers and other food shipments he found less than helpful at a time he was feeding 15,000 people a day.

EFFERSON: We ended up with 25 cases of fortune cookies. It was real humorous today. It wasn't at all humorous then, you know, because I'm trying to think, how can I make a meal for people out of 25 cases of fortune cookies?

KING: So many complaints that several congressional committees are conducting investigations. Among the issues, why spending on hurricane appears to fall well below the more than $2 billion raised.

Why so much management turmoil? The Red Cross has had four chief executive in six years. And why is the Red Cross still seeking Katrina contributions, even though it stopped taking applications for emergency hurricane assistance back in December?

The Red Cross says more than 90 cents of every dollar it raises goes directly to disaster victims. Where it focuses that help is another pressing question. Bishop C. Garnett Henning, who oversees 270 AME churches in Mississippi and Louisiana, is among the African- American leaders who say Red Cross resources often appeared in white communities well before theirs.

BISHOP C. GARNETT HENNING, AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH: They don't have enough people employed with them who look like the people they're trying to serve.

KING (on camera): Well, that's a color issue.

HENNING: Yes. Well, it's -- yes, it's a color issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm pleased to see so many folks to come out and listen to what we have to say. KING (voice-over): Red Cross insists it gets the message. This presentation in Birmingham last week was the first time the organization has sent representatives to a major AME Church convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Loy Ward (ph) from New Orleans, Louisiana. What I hope to gain from this here is, try to be prepared for the next one.

KING: What the Red Cross hopes to gain is an acknowledgement it is trying harder. Smyther Fallen was recently hired away from the NAACP to coordinate African-American outreach.

SMYTHER FALLEN, RED CROSS: We're in the learning phase, so that we can address concerns, so we can learn from mistakes, and so we can do better next time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is 1120 ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy that, 1120. Have a great day out there.

KING: Jorge Valejo (ph) says some Red Cross drivers in New Orleans have been cussed and harassed in African-American neighborhoods that believe help was too slow in coming. His route nowadays takes him past some of the worst destruction and into the city's Bywater section.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, guys. Are we hungry?

KING: There is water, snacks and a few hundred hot lunches.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.

KING: Perhaps a down payment on repairing a tattered image, but even smiles like these won't end the scrutiny of Red Cross management, fund-raising, and a Katrina response many say took too long to reach those who most needed help.


KING: And much more on this in the days and weeks ahead, as the Red Cross begins to answer the scores of questions raised by those congressional committees.

Are some more of those "Million Little Pieces" suspect? New questions about James Frey's book in a moment.

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we are following tonight.

Hey, Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Good to see you again.

Under pressure from a federal judge, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco today set an April 22 date for New Orleans' elections, which were postponed after Hurricane Katrina scattered the city's residents and destroyed hundreds of voting precincts. Residents will be voting for mayor, city council, sheriff and tax assessors.

Four people were killed today in the crash of a twin-engine Cessna 560 at an airport north of San Diego, California. The flight, which originated in Idaho, skidded off the end of a runway and hit a shack that held the airport's instrument landing system equipment. No one on the ground was hurt.

The NASA figures are in -- last year, the warmest ever recorded of the surface of the Earth. That's according to analysis by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. All five of the hottest years since modern record-keeping began occurred within just the last decade -- in descending order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Meantime, on the other end of the scale, snow and ice closed the roads to the summit of the Mauna Kea, the tallest volcano on the island of Hawaii -- yes, snow in Hawaii. An unusual storm over the weekend prompted officials to close the popular tourist destination for the first time this winter. A blanket of snow forced everyone to evacuate, including park rangers.

Not what you expect. You're thinking, sun, sand, surf.

KING: I just put the snowboard in the shed. I might need to break it out.

HILL: I think you might need to -- that and, you know, the surfboard, too, just in case.

KING: One danger at a time.


KING: Thanks, Erica.

Desperate people do desperate things -- and if a couple's desperation is to have a child, coming up, the story of the nightmare to which some have resorted in order to make a dream come true.

Plus, James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" has inspired many readers. We will hear from one reader, a psychologist, who wasn't inspired. He was infuriated.

Across America and around the world, this is 360.


KING: Turning now to the subject of James Frey, the Oprah- anointed best-selling author of the memoir "A Million Little Pieces," whose book has been revealed to be less than completely factual. He himself allowed on "LARRY KING LIVE" nearly two weeks ago that a few of his pages, the ones about his prison experience, might have been a bit embellished. But he defended the bulk of his work this way.


JAMES FREY, AUTHOR, "A MILLION LITTLE PIECES": I went to treatment, you know? I went to -- to drug and alcohol treatment, which is what this book is all about. You know, that's what 422 of the 432 pages are about, going to a drug and alcohol treatment center to deal with addiction. And, you know, as I have said, and as I will continue to say, this is the true story of what I want through there.


KING: Though James Frey doesn't say so, those in the know have always assumed that the treatment center he describes in his book is in fact a very real place called Hazelden in rural Minnesota.

As for James Frey's assertion that "A Million Little Pieces" is the true story of what he went through, we're joined now live by -- from Minneapolis by Mic Hunter, a psychologist who worked at several treatment centers, including -- including Hazelden. To say the least, he challenges James Frey's account.

Mic, I want to start with a passage from the book. He says in this book that he had to get a root canal. And the dentist tells him, this is going to be incredibly painful. Because you're a currently a patient at a center, we can't give use any anesthesia, local or general, and, when we're done, we can't give you any painkillers.

Could that have happened? Would that be the standard practice at a treatment center?

MIC HUNTER, PSYCHOLOGIST: No, that is not a standard practice at all.

In fact, I have encouraged patients to take medication when they themselves were thinking that -- that they ought not to take it, for fear that it was a relapse. And we said that, you know, when you're -- when it's prescribed, it's not a relapse.

KING: Again...

HUNTER: So, that -- it didn't happen.

KING: Again, from the book, another quote from the book, this one describes how painful his detox was.

He says: "When I get to the toilet, I vomit. It's full of blood. It burns my stomach, my throat and my mouth. It keeps coming. I want it to stop, but it won't."

Is that a description of typical symptoms of withdrawal?


Everyone that goes to treatment is first on a medical unit. And they're given a physical. And if -- he also talks about vomiting parts of his stomach. And if he was throwing up internal organs, he wouldn't be in a treatment center. He would be in a hospital. The detoxification process, the nurses and the physicians give people medication, so that they -- their symptoms are reduced. And he's -- again, he's just exaggerating what withdrawal is like.

KING: As you know, one of the reasons this book was so successful is because it has this seal right here on the cover, selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club.

Here's what she said about all this an January 11, just as the controversy was unfolding.


WINFREY: The underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with me. And I know that it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book, and will continue to read this book.


KING: Now, Mic Hunter, you seem to contest her notion that there's an underlying message of redemption. What is it that worries you about this?

HUNTER: Well, basically, what she's saying is that, if they're moving lies, then it's OK for him to have done it. And I don't agree with that.

And he's certainly not the first drug addict to exaggerate his story. We hear that all the time. We call that junkie pride in treatment, where somebody will say, you know, I spilled more on my tie in one night of drinking than you drank in your whole career. So, the -- the difference here is that he has made it clear what treatment center this is, without naming it, and that's a world renowned treatment center.

And, so, if people think that these horrors take place in a place like Hazelden, they're not going to refer their loved ones to any treatment center that -- and that's the problem. We have 17 million alcoholics in this country, and one in 10 people are addicted to other drugs. It's hard enough to get them to go to treatment and to get their families to recommend that they get treatment.

And for him to create this -- this myth about how treatment is does a disservice to all these people.

KING: Well, do you believe that, or do you have any evidence that, because of this book, people are saying, oh, wait a minute, maybe I don't want to do that?

HUNTER: I have heard people say, if that's what it's like, I'm not interested in doing it. I'm not going to send a loved one to a place like that. And, you know, people need to get treatment to get better. It's a life-threatening illness. People die from suicide, homicide, AIDS, overdoses. And it's -- that's the reason that this matters to me, is because it's a life and death issue.

KING: Psychologist Mic Hunter, thank you for sharing your thoughts, your insights and your anger, I guess, at this continuing controversy. We'll continue to follow it. And we called James Frey's publisher and were sent this statement by Mr. Frey.

Quote, "I'm not acquainted with any of these people from my stay in treatment and it's quite possible different people have different experiences. There are situations that patients experience that staff know nothing about and which are deliberately kept from them. I can surely confirm that there were disputes between patients and no one remembers better than I do vomiting blood. I did have my nose reset during the course of my treatment and I did speak to attorneys while I was there."

Ever worry about what the world is coming to? A shooting incident today may indicate we're already there. At a day care center a boy brings in a gun and a girl gets shot, at a day care center. We'll have the details.

Plus, 360 steps into the black market in infertility drugs. Big money, great risk, huge stakes. But you won't hear about this on "Cops."


KING: The longing to have a newborn baby. The underworld of illicit drug deals. What could the two possibly have in common? How about a health issue so loaded many doctors won't even discuss it. And that's no wonder. There are implications you don't want to contemplate. Tonight, CNN's Randi Kaye takes us inside the world of fertility drug dealers in this exclusive report.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Phillipsburg, New Jersey, I'm in need of Ganal F (ph). I am self paying and don't have a lot of cash left. I need 475 IU. Please help me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Easton, Maryland, I have a 14-day supply of Luprotkit (ph) purchased in the U.S. and stored properly. Buyer pays shipping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met with them in a parking lot. And gave them the drugs and they gave me the money.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to the underground world of infertility. Web sites, chat rooms, conversations. Here couples desperate to have a baby barter and beg for unused infertility medications. For hundreds, sometimes thousands dollars less than they pay at the pharmacy. It is a dangerous and growing trend in a world where a single treatment can cost $12 to $15,000. And insurance coverage is hard to come by.

"STEPHANIE", BOUGHT INFERTILITY DRUGS ONLINE: This was a necessity for in vitro only. I mean, there's no other reason why I would want to buy drugs off the Internet.

KAYE (voice-over): This woman asked us not to use her real name, so we'll call her Stephanie. Stephanie and her husband, like more than six million other Americans are unable to have a baby. They chose in vitro fertilization, or IVF, in order to have their own child. But there was a problem.

STEPHANIE: IVF was not covered through my insurance at all. No drugs, no procedures, nothing.

KAYE: And there's no guarantee it will work. A couple has a one in five chance of having a baby after a cycle of IVF. In order to find affordable medications, Stephanie, like many others, turned to the Internet.

STEPHANIE: There is a network of people out there that are willing to help you that have leftover drugs that can sell them to you at a reduced cost. Because you have a prescription that your doctor gives you and it's just an alternative way of getting the prescription drugs.

CARMEN CATIZONE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BOARD OF PHARMACIES: Just because it's a fertility drug which people may think is reasonably safe doesn't make it any different than if they were trading cocaine or trading other products on the Internet. It's still illegal and it's still dangerous.

KAYE: Carmen Catizone is the executive director of the National Board of Pharmacies, which is designed to protect the public health in dealing with pharmaceuticals.

CATIZONE: They could be expired medications, they could have been tampered with, they could be medications that not only cause harm to the mom but could also cause harm to the fetus or the baby that could be born later.

KAYE: But that is a risk many people like this man feel they have to take.

"SCOTT", BOUGHT INFERTILITY DRUGS: If it makes you a criminal, then that's what it has made me.

CATIZONE: We'll call him Scott. He lives in one of 36 states where health insurers are not mandated by law to cover some part of infertility treatments. Without the mandate, neither his or (sic) his wife's insurance will cover the treatments. So just a few weeks ago he found himself in a parking lot of a K-Mart, exchanging an envelope of cash in an insulated cooler for a supply of drugs at a discounted price from a woman we will call Jennifer who had extra medications after IVF was no longer a viable option.


SCOTT: We laughed nervously. This was the K-Mart connection, you know. We're passing drugs back and forth through a window. JENNIFER: I didn't make any financial gain off of it. That wasn't my intention. I had medication leftover, so I just thought the best thing to do would be to maybe sell it to somebody else who could use it.

SCOTT: If the health insurance industry paid for the medications and the procedure, there would be absolutely no reason to have to do a deal through a car window.

KAYE: Susan Pisano is spokeswoman for the largest trade association for health plans. Pisano says the decision doesn't fall with the insurance plans directly but rather the employer.

(on camera): Has your group ever recommended that fertility treatments be covered?

SUSAN PISANO, AMERICAN HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS: We believe that the decision about what an employer can afford is an employer decision.

KAYE: So yes or no, has your group ever suggested or recommended that infertility treatments be covered.

PISANO: Our groups believe that whether it's covered by individual employers is that employer's decision.

KAYE: So no?

I don't know about you but I find it hard to believe that employers and insurance will cover things like Viagra, even abortions, so in other words, insurance will help pay for someone to have sex, they'll help pay for someone to actually get rid of a child, but they won't help pay for someone to have a child. That surprises me.

PISANO: What you have is employers cover a combination of things. They cover things where there's evidence that they work to achieve a good health outcome.

KAYE (voice-over): But for people like Jennifer, it's not about good evidence. It's about fulfilling a dream.

JENNIFER: What the intention is about is honorable. It's about getting pregnant and being able to afford to get pregnant.

KAYE: But the drugs may cost couple it is more than cash.

CATIZONE: Unfortunately this trend won't stop and won't decrease until we see a major tragedy where somebody receives medications that are deadly or medications that cause significant harm.

KAYE: It was worth the risk to Stephanie. Using medication she bought on the Internet. Just last month she and her husband gave birth to a baby boy. That's priceless.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: And Randi Kaye joins us now. This is not only dangerous but clearly it's illegal. Has anyone been caught buying or selling the drugs? And if so, what would the punishment be?

KAYE: John, we haven't been able to find anybody who has actually been caught doing this. But if they were, it would be hefty fines and some jail time. Not only for buying these drugs but also for selling pharmaceuticals without a license. And it's important to remember here, also, not all of these drugs are being bought and sold in a K-Mart parking lot. A lot of them are being sold by mail. So that involves the U.S. Mail so these people could face federal charges on top of the state charges.

KING: As you detail in that exclusive report, a lot of these conversations in these transactions start on these Web sites. Is anyone monitoring those sites?

KAYE: From what we found it certainly doesn't appear that way. In doing the research for our story, we just simply typed in the world infertility and some of the common medications that are used for infertility treatments. And we found dozens of sites where people are openly buying and selling these medications.

We brought that information to the FDA and to the State Board of Pharmacies. They told us they were aware this was going on. They are not monitoring it. They told us that they don't expect any serious monitoring of these Web sites until somebody is seriously harmed by these drugs.

Sounds a lot like turning a blind eye. Randi Kaye, thank you very much. Fascinating report and for more information on this problem, log on to our Web site,

Now any time you dial with the issue of infertility. It's an emotional mine field with pitfalls. Like someone allegedly stealing your embryo. Suppose your embryo was mishandled or possibly stolen. We'll talk to a couple is wondering is a child of theirs out there somewhere.

Also, will daycare centers need to start installing gun detectors. A report on today's day care shooting incident. How did a little girl get shot by a little boy?

And a reminder, Dr. Sanjay Gupta wants to hear from you. Email him your medical questions and he will report on some of them. Log on to our Web site, and click on the e-mail link. 360 continues in a moment.


KING: It's an infertility scandal that was supposed to be history. Over a decade ago the University of California at Irvine Medical Center acknowledged some of its fertility doctors had done the unthinkable: stolen eggs and embryos.

The center pledged to inform women who had been victimized but now it has admitted it initially failed to notify at least 20 couples. Some never knew those long along fertilized embryos had become children borne to other women. Shirel Crawford joins us now from San Diego with her attorney, Ken Baldwin.

Shirel, take me through your story. And it sounds emotionally very painful. You try to have this treatment sometime ago. You've never been able to have a baby and now it turns out quite likely there is a child out there in the world who came from your fertilized eggs and you were never told about it.

SHIREL CRAWFORD, CLAIMS FROZEN EMBRYO STOLEN: Absolutely. We went and we had the -- went to the clinic to have the in vitro. They did an exploratory first. And from that's where I found that they took my eggs and then we had the procedure and it didn't work.

And then I just found out that when they went in to do my exploratory that they had inadvertently taken my eggs and gave them to somebody else. And they were fertilized in my husband's sperm and just found out that we have a son out there who is 17 years old.

KING: Let me ask Mr. Baldwin, quickly, sir. Shirel says she has a son out there 17 years old. What is the evidence? Is this believed to be or is this a known fact?

JOHN K. BALDWIN, ATTORNEY: We have evidence that supports that. It includes records that were kept by an employee of the doctors. And that evidence shows to whom Shirel's eggs were given and the number of eggs and the fact that a live birth resulted.

KING: We can see your name, Shirel, in those documents. Let me ask you this question. Do you want to meet this child, a teenager now, not a child. Do you want to meet this child and what other legal recourse are you seeking?

CRAWFORD: It's not my desire to interrupt a family that, you know, has this son. I have a daughter now, and I wouldn't want, you know, them coming and interfering in our lives. But I would like to see that our child has our medical history to their availability and as far as something that would come out of this, I would like to see that they are well and taken care of. And as far as the facility taking some responsibility, I would like for some type of possible college fund to be set up for my son to be taken care of. I would want for him what I would want for my own daughter.

KING: What about yourself? Do you want a financial or other settlement from the university for this?

CRAWFORD: That's a really hard question. There's been a lot that's went on with me, and I think that they do need to -- I think that they have a responsibility, yes, to compensate me for the loss of my son and for the years that I missed.

KING: Do you think that your son should be told about you and you say you don't want to inject yourself. Do you think your son should be told, somebody should be required to tell him that you exist and give him the option of reaching out to you? CRAWFORD: I don't know that it's a requirement that he should be told. Perhaps when he is old enough and if he would like to know, if it wouldn't be heartbreaking to the woman, to the birth mother, I have -- of course, I would love if it's something that he would like, I would love to meet him. I'm sure my husband would love to meet him as well. We tried for years to have children.

KING: Shirel Crawford, quite an emotional story. We thank you for your time and you're in our thoughts and prayers. Mr. Baldwin, thank you for your participation as well. Thank you very much.

And we called UC Irvine to get their side of the story. Byron Beam (ph), the attorney for the university said they wanted to accommodate us by giving us a statement but they just had no one to write one up.

Still to come, a Dr. Sanjay Gupta special, killer flu, a breath away. What's being done to protect you from this deadly virus.

But first, gunfire erupts at a day care center in Maryland. A little girl is shot. A little boy taken into custody. How did he get a hold of a gun? This is 360.


KING: Tonight a Maryland father is under arrest after his young son brought a gun into the day care center. The weapon was a .38 caliber snub nose revolver. It was loaded. And soon the sounds of children playing were replaced by sirens and screams. CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The shooting happened at a suburban day care center north of Washington, DC. A 7- year-old girl who had been dropped off early to wait for the start of school was hit in the arm by a single bullet.

LUCILLE BAUER, PIO, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: And eight-year-old boy was in possession of a handgun. And a seven-year-old girl had been shot in the arm.

LORETTA FAVRET, PRINCIPAL, CHRISTA MCAULIFFE ELEMENTARY: As the school staff it didn't totally surprise us that a kid in this neighborhood a home in this neighborhood, might have, yes. The fact that it was in the hands of a child, I think it's a little surprising.

FEYERICK: Loretta Favret is principal of Christa McAuliffe Elementary School next door to the day care center. The little girl who was shot attends the second grade there.

FAVRET: She's a very popular kid. It's not unusual to see her with a brig r big group around her in the cafeteria or in the halls. She's very friendly and personable to kids and adults.

FEYERICK: The little boy who was also waiting at the day care center attends a different elementary school. At least one mom raced to check on her kids.

(on camera): What was that mother's reaction that her children were at the day care when the shooting took place? She must have been terrified.

FAVRET: Yes, and she just wanted to see her children.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Six children were at the For Kids We Care facility when the gun fired.

CMDR. EVIE CAHALEN, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: The children were calm. When I went in they were watching a television program. The day care provider there did an excellent job of keeping the children safe and secure and calm.

FEYERICK: The state agency which monitors day care centers says the facility has no violations. And parents who have sent their kids there say, until now, it's always been a safe place.

KARUN WILLIAMS, NEIGHBOR: My daughter actually used to go there. It was a really good day care. You know, I never had a problem over there.

FEYERICK: The boy whose name is not being released was questioned and taken into custody. His father was arrested. Police say he has a criminal record. Now they're trying to figure out why he had the gun and why it was so easy to fall into the hands of his son.

(on camera): The little girl is in good condition. Her father says he hopes to bring her home as early as Wednesday. As for the boy's father, he's been slapped with three charges, illegally having a firearm, leaving it lying around, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. As or that little boy, he's also facing charges. Police won't say what they are because he is only eight. Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Germantown, Maryland.


KING: Unbelievable. An eight-year-old boy facing charges. Gun loose in the house.

I want to thank our international viewers for watching. Coming up next, special hour of 360 devoted to the pandemic that may yet be, bird flu. If it is beginning to mutate, what can be done. Or is humankind, just a sitting duck, when 360 continues.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): She started coughing.

GUPTA (voice-over): Agus and Rini Dina (ph) were high school sweethearts. Married 14 years. They ran a small business together, working from home. But Rini cough was the beginning of the end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): On the third I took her to an internal specialist. There wasn't any change. On the morning of the 6th, she fainted.

GUPTA: Four days later she was dead of a killer flu known as H5N1, normally a bird disease. Since late 2003 it's infected more than 120 people, killing about half of them. If the virus stays that deadly and starts spreading easily from person to person, we're in trouble.


CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines