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New England Double Murder Mystery; Randy McCloy Begins Rehabilitation; Oprah Book Club Scandal Fallout?

Aired January 27, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's been a fascinating hour, Larry. We are going to pick up where you left off.
The murder mystery that has shaken all of New England has now become an international investigation. This is a photograph of Rachel Entwistle and her nine-month-old baby girl, Lillian Rose. Some time between last Thursday and Saturday morning, they were shot to death, both of them, their bodies found under blankets in a bed in their Massachusetts home. It's hard to imagine.

Immediately, detectives wanted to talk to the husband. There was one problem. He was on the other side of the Atlantic. This morning, police from Massachusetts boarded a plane for London to pay the mystery man whose family was massacred a visit.


COOPER (voice-over): The hunt for Neil Entwistle came to a close today, when he walked into the U.S. Embassy in London. He was there to answer questions about the death of his wife and nine-month-old daughter in Massachusetts a week ago.

MARTHA COAKLEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Obviously, we have a high level of interest in him.

COOPER: Twenty-seven-year-old Rachel Entwistle was murdered, shot in the couple's rented home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, on Sunday. Cradled in her arms, her 9-month-old daughter, Lillian Rose. She had been shot to death as well. Neil was nowhere to be found.

The murders themselves were puzzling, the motive, a mystery. Police were called to the home after family and friends said they were invited for dinner on Saturday night. The mother and baby were found in the bedroom on Sunday, lying peacefully wrapped in a blanket. Police say they thought they might have been died from carbon monoxide poisoning, until medical examiners found the bullet holes.

COAKLEY: We do not believe this was random. There was no sign of a forced entry or any sign of burglary.

COOPER: Prosecutors say they believe the murders happened some time between Thursday night and Saturday. They know Neil Entwistle left the country on Friday.

And, as their search for him began, information about the couple started to surface. They met at university in Neil's native country, England. Rachel was spending her junior year abroad. After they married, she worked as a teacher. Neil was a computer programmer. After Lillian Rose was born, they moved to Massachusetts.

Rachel stayed at home with the baby, while Neil was looking for work. Prosecutors claim he was also running a get-rich-quick Internet porn scheme. And a business they both ran on eBay was shut down when customers complained, their goods weren't before delivered.

Some posted notes on the site, calling Rachel a thieving liar. Soon after Rachel and Lillian Rose were found, prosecutors learned that Neil had gone home to England to his parents in Nottinghamshire. And the cause has become a cause celebre across the pond, creating fodder for headlines and leading TV newscasts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the surface, they appeared to be living the perfect American dream.

COOPER: The couple's personal Web site, once used to share family photos and stories about little Lillian, was now flooded with messages for Neil, telling him to turn himself in.

One reads, "To run like this does nothing but reinforce the impression of your guilt."

U.S. investigators headed overseas. Working with Scotland Yard, they got Neil Entwistle to come in for questioning. Massachusetts prosecutors say, while they're not calling him a suspect, they will be happy to finally have the chance to find out what he knows.

COAKLEY: We're involved in pursuing him as a person of interest. It's helpful that we have found him and that we are in touch with him.


COOPER: Well, we tried to reach Neil Entwistle, but efforts to contact him and his family have been unsuccessful.

Chris Biondi is a reporter for "The Boston Herald." He has been covering this story from the beginning. He joins me tonight me tonight from Boston. And, in Long Island, New York, Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic scientist, joins me as well.

Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.

Chris, the timeline on this is key.

Do police know when these two were killed?

CHRIS BIONDI, "THE BOSTON HERALD": Well, what police are telling is, it's some time between Thursday night, late Thursday night, early Friday morning, and some time Saturday.

COOPER: But their bodies were discovered Sunday around 6:00 or so, correct?

BIONDI: Yes. Yes. Police discovered the bodies in the bedroom Sunday evening.

COOPER: Now, Lawrence, they weren't found until Sunday evening. Does it make getting the time of death much more difficult?

BIONDI: Well, the time of death was established shortly after the autopsy.

COOPER: I -- I -- I'm sorry. The time of death, though -- I mean, the time of death has not been established; is that correct?

BIONDI: Well, a range, between some time early Friday morning and some time Saturday.


Lawrence, how difficult is it to ascertain the exact time of death? Because that is going to be key in this case.

DR. LARRY KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: Well, actually, the time of death is -- is very easy to establish, depending upon the -- how quickly after death the analysis is done.

When several days go by, then there is at best a wide range.

COOPER: Well, that...

KOBILINSKY: You can't...

COOPER: Because that's what we're talking about. Their bodies were found Sunday around 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. And if they -- you know, it could be any time between Friday or Saturday. How -- is that too long?

KOBILINSKY: That's -- that's correct.

No, I -- I think that's probably correct. Liver mortis, rigor mortis, and other signs have all dissipated, so, at that point, you have to use other characteristics.

COOPER: Could...

KOBILINSKY: How much food digestion and that sort of thing.

COOPER: Chris, how many times was this house searched by police and by family members and friends, until Sunday evening, when they were actually found?

BIONDI: Well, friends actually arrived at the house Saturday for a planned gathering, a social gathering.

At the same time friends arrived, the mother called police. She was concerned because she had not been able to contact Rachel since Thursday. Police then went to the house for a well-being check, a routine check. They got into the house -- and this was revealed today -- searched the house, called out, anyone home? They actually poked their heads into the bedroom and didn't find anything suspicious. And that was what the officer reported in the police log.

COOPER: And that was the very bed that they were ultimately found in, correct?

BIONDI: Yes. Yes, it was.

COOPER: So, either -- they either weren't in that bed, or they were there, but they were just covered up, and police didn't check carefully. Is that correct?

BIONDI: Well, police -- what was reported today by the district attorney was that the police just poked their head into the room, thought the bed was just unmade.

COOPER: All right. Let's listen to what the district attorney, Martha Coakley's description of how Rachel and Lillian were found.


COAKLEY: They were both in the bed. They were obviously close together, if you can imagine the positioning, because the baby was in front of the mother. So, again, when they were discovered, they appeared to be in bed and somewhat in natural position. They did not appear to be victims of violence at that time.


COOPER: Lawrence, when you hear that, and you hear that they were covered up in a blanket -- there was a report that, really, there wasn't much blood. How can that possibly be, not much blood, if -- I mean, she was shot. The -- the lethal shot was to the head. She was shot in the torso. This poor little baby was shot in -- in -- in the stomach.


Well, it does raise certain questions. There are more questions to this case than answers. And I wonder if they were actually shot in that site. When you shoot somebody, there's back-spatter. There's blood. It -- it pours down as a result of gravity.

I think we need to know exactly -- we need to look at photographs. We need to see the autopsy reports. It's not that common to find victims of gunshot without some amount of blood and blood spatter.

COOPER: And how hard is it to find bullet holes? Because I understand, the police, when they first found the bodies, they thought it was carbon monoxide deaths, because they didn't see any bullet holes. And -- and, when they finally did discover a bullet hole, it was the torso bullet. They didn't notice, apparently, the bullet -- the shot to the head until the autopsy.

KOBILINSKY: Well, it's a small-caliber weapon. And depending upon where the shot was, it could have -- the skin trauma could have been covered with hair. And it's not always easy to see this. I mean, trained people, during an autopsy, are going to find it, but police at the scene may overlook that kind of thing.

COOPER: And...

KOBILINSKY: As for carbon monoxide, it's quite easy to make that determination. Clearly, that was not the reason of death.

COOPER: And, Chris, what is known about these two's business online? It said that Neil had sort -- some sort of an online porn get-rich-quick scheme.

BIONDI: Well, the first link was discovered through their family Web site, through checking registrations, e-mail addresses, and tied to a -- sales of software licenses and what you could describe as pyramid schemes, get-rich-quick schemes on eBay, selling packages of memberships to would-be millionaires.

COOPER: So, it was sort of like how to create your own porn site and get rich?

BIONDI: The -- the eBay sales did not, although they teased, using photos of scantily clad women, in some cases, that were not associated with porn, as far as we could tell. They were software licensing and memberships to some sort of clubs, where, if you invest a small amount, under $100, you will soon be making thousands.

COOPER: There's so many -- as Lawrence said, so many questions still to be answered. I mean, when were these tickets bought for this flight that he took?

The BMW, where was it found? Did he just drive it to the airport to get out of town? Did he leave -- I mean, it's just -- it -- I have that question.

Chris, at this point, do we know, the BMW, where it was found?

BIONDI: It was found at Logan Airport.

COOPER: So, it seems very suspicious that a guy would drive, leave his car at the airport, leave his wife and baby, if they were still alive, leave them without a car at their home.

BIONDI: Well, the autopsy determined time of death, again, was some time between early Friday morning and some time Saturday. And the DA has said that Neil Entwistle began traveling some time Friday, late Friday.

COOPER: All right.

Chris Biondi, been on the case from the beginning, we will check in with you later on. Thanks.

And Lawrence Kobilinsky, good talking to you. Thanks for your expertise.


COOPER: In West Virginia, it's been a remarkable week for Randy McCloy, the sole survivor of the Sago Mine tragedy.

On Wednesday, three weeks after he was pulled unconscious from deep below the ground, the 26-year-old miner emerged from a coma. Yesterday, he left the hospital, where he came so close to death, to begin the hard work of regaining his life. His doctors talked exclusively to us today about where Randy has been and where they hope he can go.

Here CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what it looks like inside Randy McCloy's new home, Mountainview Regional Rehabilitation Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia. For the next few months, at least, McCloy will live in a 20-by-30-foot room, with a bed for his wife, Anna, and a view of the courtyard.

DR. RUSSELL BIUNDO, HEALTHSOUTH MOUNTAINVIEW REGIONAL REHABILITATION HOSPITAL: He has shown some head control. Some trunk control, he's shown. He's able to move his left arm. They will help him in terms of even comb his hair, be able to stimulate him, in terms of being able to recount and redo the functional things that we do every day. We get up. We brush our teeth. We comb our hair, and things like that.

KAYE: Dr. Russell Biundo will oversee McCloy's care at Mountainview, care that will focus on the brain.

BIUNDO: This is all about rehabilitating the brain. You have to keep in mind that there's no division between the brain and the body. They're all connected. So, the way you make the brain better is by treat the whole person.

KAYE: The blast at Sago Mine January 2 injured what doctors call the white matter of McCloy's brain. Those are the connectors of the brain. The latest test shows he has full function of his left arm, but, most of the time, his brain behaves like someone who is asleep. McCloy's neurologist, Dr. Julian Bailes, believes the injury is reversible with rehabilitation.

DR. JULIAN BAILES, CHIEF OF NEUROSURGERY, WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY: They're perhaps like an orchestra that is -- a lot of musicians are playing, but they're not all connected. They're not on the same page. They're playing out of the sync. And without that -- that conductor ability of the white matter to pull of all these instruments together, there is no beautiful music.

KAYE: Which brings us back to Dr. Biundo. He will take on the role of conductor and try to get McCloy's neurological orchestra functioning in the right key. (on camera): What can rehabilitation do for Randy McCloy that this acute medical care wasn't able to do?

BIUNDO: The concept is to be able to force him to be able to do things, force him to be able to be uncomfortable, force him to be able to try to articulate, stimulate him constantly with speech, language. Randy, are you OK? Randy, can you show me one finger? Randy, can you move this arm?

KAYE (voice-over): McCloy isn't responding to commands verbally, but with visual cues, especially to his wife, Anna. She and his two children are at his side daily.

BAILES: His wife, Anna, well, say, if she goes up and asks him to -- to kiss, he will turn to her or either pull her or pucker for you. And I said, you know, I didn't get him to do that. He wouldn't do it for me. If I asked him to kiss, he definitely wouldn't pucker. So, that's appropriate. That's a good sign.

KAYE: McCloy family spokeswoman Aly Goodwin Gregg says Anna McCloy often sees her husband's improvements first.

ALY GOODWIN GREGG, MCCLOY FAMILY SPOKESWOMAN: You know, they're childhood sweethearts. And I don't think that -- as Dr. Bailes said, you can never underestimate their emotional connection. And she says his name, and he lights up.

KAYE: Over the next few months, McCloy's nervous system will be bombarded. Therapists will work to regenerate parts of his brain and teach others to take on new functions. Exposure to cold water and gentle touching, doctors hope, will stimulate McCloy's vision, and force him to use his balance.

(on camera): What kinds of things will he be using?

BIUNDO: Our focus is primarily human, human touch, human exchange, human contact. That is the most powerful tool we have. In terms of using modalities, such as exercise equipment and balls, those later on become more important. Right now, what we try to do is, we want to make contact with him. We want to be able to touch his spirit, his soul.

KAYE: In the same way McCloy's spirit and soul has united the community still praying for him.


KAYE: And the community continues to wrap its arms around the McCloy family.

Anna McCloy has been living here in Morgantown and will continue to do so, Anderson. That is because the rehab hospital is just down the hill from the hospital where he has been staying, and that's where we're standing tonight. So, she will continue to be in this area. I'm told that, everywhere she goes, she gets support from the community members. She receives cards and gives and letters. Of course, she's trying to stay focused on her husband. That's her main concern these days, but she's still getting dozens of letters and e-mails, Anderson, every day.

COOPER: All right. Randi Kaye, thanks.

Randy McCloy is making medical history. No one else is known to have survived such a long exposure to carbon monoxide.

Earlier, I talk to CNN's senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon himself, about what may lie ahead for Randy McCloy.


So, Sanjay, how long should we expect him to be in rehab?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I -- I think, initially, probably at least six to eight weeks of acute sort of inpatient rehab, where they are going to be doing all the therapies that Randi was just talking about.

After that, he will probably get up to three months of rehab probably at home, sort of an outpatient thing. That's if everything goes well, he doesn't develop any infections or any other setbacks there, Anderson.

COOPER: And -- and doctors said his bodily functions are all normal, and they're focusing, really, on -- on the brain. They talked about some of the scans that they had done. Can you explain the results?


I mean, his youth has really helped him out here, which is why the rest of his bodily functions are probably OK now. A couple of things to keep in mind. He had an EEG scan. EEG basically measures brain activity. What we're hearing is that it was better than before. He has more brain activity. This -- this is a very important sign, he's had this much recovery this quickly.

Also, the MRI scan, Anderson, this is a really detailed brain scan, looking specifically at the damage that might have been done by the carbon monoxide. It looks like he has had some white matter changes, as Randi mentioned. Those are the connective areas of the brain. Those could recover. Those are more likely to recover than some areas -- other areas of the brain. So, that's a positive sign as well.

COOPER: And, then, long term, what kind of -- I mean, what are we looking for?

GUPTA: You -- you know, that -- that's the hard part to sort of figure out, Anderson. A couple rules of thumb that neurosurgeons put together. One is that, the quicker the recovery initially, the better the recovery is going to be sort of longer term. And, again, we are talking about three weeks here. And he's had some pretty good recovery already. So, the -- it's sort of a good sign for him.

But there are some things that are specific to carbon monoxide poisoning which he might still develop or -- or persist, speech problems. He could develop tremors, almost like parkinsonian-type tremors. He could have cognitive impairments, just difficulty in thinking, or both short- and long-term memory problems as well.

Those are all things associated with carbon monoxide. Hard to say at this point. It will be at least a few more weeks until we have a better sense of how he is going to do -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, we will keep our fingers crossed.

Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, "A Million Little Pieces," the best-seller, has become "A Million Little Pieces," the scandal -- more tonight on the so-called memoir that now seems mostly to be dishonest. How much can James Frey's readers believe, if anything? One of the characters from the book calls in.

And a literal smokescreen, a fire set by a woman to distract authorities from what she's really doing -- an unbelievable crime caught on tape -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Coming up, the impact made by Oprah after she took on James Frey over the lies in his book, "A Million Little Pieces."

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

Hey, Erica.


We start out with some discouraging numbers for President Bush in a new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, with a majority of Americans saying they're more likely to vote in November's congressional election for someone who opposes the president. Fifty-eight percent of those polled consider the president's second term a failure. Fewer people consider Mr. Bush to be honest and trustworthy than they did a year ago.

Two FEMA temporary workers arrested in New Orleans today for allegedly soliciting and accepting bribes. According to Justice Department officials, the men allegedly demanded $20,000 from a businessman who was seeking a catering contract they were in a position to authorize.

A heartbreaking night in the town of Lake Butler, Florida, where mourners hold a candlelight vigil for seven children killed this week in a fiery crash, and also for their grandfather, who suffered a fatal heart attack, after learning of the accident. Five of Barbara and Terry Mann's adopted children and two of their nieces were killed on Wednesday, when their car, stopped behind a school bus, was slammed into by a tractor trailer.

And there were honors today in Clearwater, Florida, for several Coast Guard members who performed a heroic airborne rescue just 10 miles from Hurricane Katrina's eye. Distinguished Flying Crosses were added to four crew members who braved 40-foot seas and 85-knot winds to save three people on a fishing boat.

Pretty miraculous.

COOPER: It sure is. Erica, thanks.

Still to come, how have book sales have been affected by Oprah Winfrey's televised takedown of author James Frey? It is rocking the publishing world. We will show you the numbers.

Also, the man who says he was there in rehab with James Frey, I talk to him ahead. Just one catch: He is a convicted felon accused of lying to the feds. You will hear for yourself what he has to say.

First, take a listen to James Frey on "LARRY KING," before Oprah took him apart.


JAMES FREY, AUTHOR, "A MILLION LITTLE PIECES": To be honest, I still stand by the book as -- as being the essential truth of my life. I will stand by that idea until -- until the day I die.



COOPER: Whatever you think of James Frey, whether or not you believe a single page of his memoir, here's a fact. Just two days ago, "A Million Little Pieces" was number six in sales on Amazon. Yesterday, when Oprah tore him apart in that stunning hour of television, it jumped to number five. Today, it's number four.

It turns out Oprah can sell books, even when she is kicking you out of the book club. And here is another fact.

She can do that and more, as CNN's Mary Snow found out.





MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One day after Oprah Winfrey confronted author James Frey, and he admitted he lied in his memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," industry watchers say the fallout has sent a shudder through the spine of the publishing industry.

PETER OSNOS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS PUBLISHING: I think, yes, there's definitely a shudder, but it is both a shudder in a sense of, OK, now, the -- you know, the number has been called now, and -- and let's see what we can do to make it better.

SNOW: While Frey admitted he fabricated parts of his memoir about a struggle with addiction, the publisher of the book admitted no one checked the facts. Publisher Nan Talese said editors relied on Frey's account.


NAN TALESE, PUBLISHER: As an editor, do you ask someone, are you really as bad as you are?



TALESE: ... someone, or...



WINFREY: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, you do.



SNOW: Industry watchers say it's not likely that publishers will hire fact-checkers, but they will make changes.

SARA NELSON, EDITOR, "PUBLISHERS WEEKLY": I think that publishers are going to be reevaluating what they're doing. They will change the way -- whether or not they put disclaimers on books and that kind of thing.

SNOW: And repercussions already are being felt.

Frey's current publisher, Riverhead Books, which published "My Friend Leonard," the sequel to "A Million Little Pieces," plans to reevaluate his future contracts, saying -- quote -- "The ground has shifted. It's under discussion." And Doubleday and Anchor Books, publishers of "A Million Little Pieces," plan to add a note from the author and publisher in future printings of that book. In the future, observers say, publishers will need to label books for what they are, recollections or reality. And, they say, Oprah Winfrey has a big impact.

NELSON: She is the holy grail of publishing. I mean, she -- every publisher wants Oprah to put -- to -- to pick her -- their books, and put them on the air, and make them best-sellers.

SNOW (on camera): In the meantime, the question, will "A Million Little Pieces," which currently tops the non-fiction paperback best- sellers list, be categorized differently? We placed calls to "The New York Times" and to the book's publisher. We still don't know yet whether it will be switched over to the fiction category.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, I can tell you, we just noticed that the Brooklyn Public Library here in New York has now listed it as fiction.

Now the man who has come forward to vouch for Mr. Frey, Alan Green. The former Louisiana state judge claims to be the basis for the character Miles in the book. He himself is no stranger to controversy. Mr. Green faces up to 20 years in federal prison for lying in connection with an alleged scheme to let felony suspects out on low bail, this in exchange for kickbacks from the bonding company.

According to federal prosecutors, one defendant went on to repeatedly rape a victim while out on bond. The other admitted to raping his mentally retarded neighbor. That's the background.

Here's the interview. We spoke by phone earlier tonight.


COOPER: You say you're the character Miles in the book, the judge who is back in rehab for his second stint, whose life is falling apart. When you read it, did you immediately recognize yourself, because you didn't even know James Frey was -- was writing a book?

ALAN GREEN, TREATED IN SAME FACILITY AT JAMES FREY: James contacted me and asked for my permission to use -- to bring me up in the book as a character.

He told me that he was writing a book that was going to be based upon his experiences at Hazelden, and that he had changed my name. And, instead of playing the saxophone, he had me playing a clarinet. And instead of being a state district court judge, I was a federal court of appeals judge.

COOPER: A central character in the book, of course, is Lilly. She's addicted to crack in the book. It's James Frey's love interest. Now, Frey has admitted that he lied about how she committed suicide. GREEN: I heard that.

COOPER: There's been a lot of questions about whether or not Lilly actually even existed and actually had a relationship with Frey. You say there was a Lilly at this treatment center, correct?

GREEN: I remember a young lady who was called Lilly there. In fact, she was one of only a couple whose names I recall.

COOPER: To your knowledge, James Frey had a relationship with her?

GREEN: I never discussed any relationships with James that he might have had with any of the young ladies there.

There were young men there, single young men who were in their early 20s, maybe mid-20s, who tended to run around and have these meetings that were prohibited with a lot of the younger women there.


COOPER: So, you say it was possible to have clandestine meetings between sexes? Because the sexes in this clinic are -- are separated. Men live separately from women.

GREEN: It was not only possible. It actually did happen.

COOPER: In the book, there's a scene where -- where you wake up James in the middle of the night, because Lilly is knocking on the window by your bed, and that he actually climbs over you to go -- to go out with Lilly. Do you have any -- do you remember that?

GREEN: I don't recall that.

COOPER: Does that sound like something that could have happened?

GREEN: It's possible. It could have happened. But I don't recall if it did.

COOPER: I just want to get your reaction to some specific quotes in "A Million Little Pieces." Frey quotes Miles, your character, as saying: "Soon enough, I was drinking all day and all night. I started keeping a bottle of bourbon under my bench. I would put it in a glass and drink it during court proceedings. I pretended it was water and consumed it like it was water."

Did you say that?

GREEN: No, that never happened. And, to be quite honest with you, I -- I never drank on the job.

COOPER: I just want to play something James Frey said to Oprah just yesterday about whether or not he conned everybody. Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW") WINFREY: I feel that you conned us all. Do you?

FREY: I -- I don't feel like I conned you guys.

WINFREY: You don't?



FREY: Because I -- I still think the book is about drug addiction and alcoholism. And nobody's disputing that I was a drug addict and an alcoholic. And it's about the battle to overcome that.


COOPER: He kept, in the book, talking about the importance of truth and that -- you know, speaking his truth in -- in rehab. Isn't that an important thing, to -- to, you know, be true?

GREEN: When I left Hazelden, I took a little poster with me of a cartoon character riding on a skateboard. I guess it was a matter of self-expression. And it said on it, "To thine own self be true."

And I think that a person has been to be true to themselves first and foremost, if they're going to maintain any semblance of recovery.

COOPER: Have you been able to stay sober, sir?

GREEN: Yes. I've not had any problems whatsoever.

COOPER: Alan Green, appreciate you calling in. Thank you.

GREEN: You're very welcome.

COOPER: Another story we've been following. You might be able to help children. Police in Alabama say that some kids have been abducted and abused. This surveillance video is part of the investigation, so are the suspects in police custody. We'll have the latest on the crime, coming up.

And outrage in the Middle East. Some Palestinians today violently protesting the collapse of their ruling party, Fatah. Will an already unstable situation spiral out of control? From New York and around the world, this is 360.


COOPER: Well, in this next story, you may be able to help reunite an abducted child with her family. So have a pencil ready, because we're going to give you a phone number at the end.

It's a case that we have been following. It began when an observant, perceptive woman made an uncanny discovery. Totally by chance and hundreds of miles from home, she encountered a little girl, and instinctively she knew that a child was being abused. In fact, that was only the beginning of the story. CNN's David Mattingly investigates.


TRACI LEE DEAN, GOOD SAMARITAN: ... strange incident involving a child.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This scene in a gas station at Evergreen, Alabama, is what led Traci Lee Dean to call police. You can hear the concern in her voice in the worried 911 call.

DEAN: After a few minutes, I was like, "OK, why is this little girl wandering around by herself?" (INAUDIBLE) five minutes. And I said, "Does your mommy work here?" And she said, "No." And then this man was like, "Elizabeth, are you trying to find a new mommy?"

MATTINGLY: It was this little girl you see here in the surveillance video and her brief encounter with Dean that started this one woman's crusade and ended this one little girl's nightmare.

DEAN: I've seen that look before, that blank look, that there's something missing. I call it -- I consider it like they're missing love.

MATTINGLY: Police followed up on Dean's 911 call and went to the gas station.

SHERIFF TRACY HAWSEY, CONECUH COUNTY: The clerk said that she knew these people, that they frequent the store, that they come in a good bit, and that the older gentleman is the grandfather of the little girl.

MATTINGLY: Even though she was back home in Georgia, Traci took matters into her own hands. On a Web site for abducted children, she thought she had found a match. A 300-mile drive back to Evergreen put her back in that store looking at their surveillance tapes.

Police were brought in and visited the family at their trailer park, where they arrested the man who'd raised Traci Dean's suspicions. Jack Wiley is charged with sex crimes against the 3-year- old girl and a 17-year-old boy who lived with him. Wiley's companion, Gwyneth A. Caverner (ph), is charged with child abuse.

Both are now behind bars. The children are in protective custody. Neighbors in a trailer park where they lived for the past month or so are shaken.

ERICA FOSTER, NEIGHBOR: They just kept saying, "Well, if you ever need a baby-sitter, we can watch them."

MATTINGLY: Local authorities are canvassing the area and interviewing local children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got possibly some other kids in that area that had some contact with Mr. Wiley. MATTINGLY: The next step is a DNA test to determine the two children's real parents and a national search to find any other children this couple might have encountered.

David Mattingly, CNN, Evergreen, Alabama.


COOPER: Well, if you have any information about this case, about these two people, please call 1-800-THE-LOST. That's the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Operators there will alert police.

We've seen shoplifters before and arsonists, but never a shoplifting arsonist until now. Her alleged crime, well, it was all caught on tape.

Plus, the U.S. calls them terrorists. Now they're coming to power in the land bordering Israel. Who are the leaders of Hamas and why is it so scary to see these guys in charge? We'll take a look when 360 continues.


COOPER: Oh, oh, I just feel something. A New York woman was arraigned today on charges related to shoplifting and arson. Those two aren't usually together.

The crimes were all caught on tape. First, let's take a look at this surveillance tape. This is a woman named Savannah Johnson. See her, she's bending down there. She's got some clothing in her hand. And then she walks off.

Well, the New York Fire Department says that Savannah Johnson set fires in several clothing stores to distract workers as she allegedly walked away with stolen goods. The fire officials say that Johnson has admitted to the crimes that we're about to show you close-up in the video.

Now, she's no amateur at this sort of thing. She has previously been arrested 59 times throughout the entire country for shoplifting and other crimes.

Now, here's how exactly how it all worked out. First of all, here, these are the items in Savannah Johnson's hands. And as you'll see, she's about to bend down. She looks around. Right there, she's looking around. She bends down to place the items in a bag.

Now, this is just the remarkable moment. That is actually a flame that she has lit with a lighter. She's actually lit some clothing on fire that she's going to use to distract people. And soon you'll see how big the fire gets.

Now, she walks off. And right here -- it's a little hard to see -- but right there you can actually see the flame has begun to catch. The clothing is starting to catch on fire. And you'll see how big the fire gets shortly.

Meanwhile, she walks off. She looks around a little bit, but very casually she just strolls out. She's got the merchandise hidden in a bag. And this is what has happened now. The flames are very high. And this is all smoke, all throughout the store. The idea was that she would just walk out with all the other customers as people try to exit the store.

There are a lot of professional shoplifters out there costing retailers about $10 billion a year, which is a staggering figure. A lot of the thieves do not work alone. It is very, very organized, as CNN's Deborah Feyerick found out.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a look at this surveillance video from a suburban shopping mall. This is no ordinary shoplifter. Just watch. One, two, three pairs of shoes, all stolen in less than a minute.

Now watch this woman, different store, different day, same technique. While her partner acts as a lookout, she slips box after box of perfume into a bag.

Police call it "boosting," organized shoplifting carried out by trained gangs of professional thieves.

(on-screen): How much merchandise are we talking about at any one time, in an hour?

DET. DAVID HILL, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: In an hour, we have made an apprehension where we recovered $40,000 worth of merchandise.

FEYERICK: In a single hour?

HILL: In a single hour.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Maryland Detective David Hill heads the Montgomery County Police retail theft unit.

We met Detective Hill at a mall, but agreed not to mention which one. Stores are desperately afraid of drawing unwanted attention from gangs.

(on-screen): So one person's stealing, one person's doing surveillance? What are their roles?

HILL: You have collectors, packers, ones that take it to the car, others that are watching their backs to make sure they're not being followed by security.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Authorities say the gangs that have made the biggest dent are largely from Latin and South America.

This man, who we'll call Carlos, says it's not unusual for his gang to hit seven malls in one day. He asked that we disguise his voice and face, afraid of retribution by those who run the criminal enterprise.

"CARLOS," GANG MEMBER: They are very dangerous, because in their countries, they rob banks, they kidnap people, they're drug dealers. If you fail them or if you do something against them -- yes, these people are dangerous.

FEYERICK: Authorities don't know how many gangs there are or who runs them, yet police believe organized shoplifting has touched nearly every major retail chain in the country.

Joe Larocca is with the National Retail Federation, the group that represents many major store owners.

JOSEPH LAROCCA, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: They are targeting particular types of merchandise. They have an order list, and they're going out and stealing what's on their order list.

FEYERICK: You name it, police say they'll steal it: jeans, lingerie, iPods, baby formula, over-the-counter drugs. The demand is endless. Stolen merchandise then sold on-line or at discount shops that fuel a black market.

(on-screen): It looks like they've just been shopping in the mall.

(voice-over): Even with store clerks and shoppers around, it's surprisingly easy. Detective Hill showed us one of the tools the gangs use, boosting bags, ordinary shopping bags lined with foil to smuggle stolen merchandise out of a store.

(on-screen): This is regular aluminum foil?

HILL: Right.

FEYERICK: Regular aluminum foil? So somebody's put in a lot of work just to make this one bag.

HILL: Oh, yes.


HILL: And what that does is, when they walk out of the store with merchandise that has sensors on them, the alarms will not be activated.

FEYERICK (voice-over): The bag also boosts the thieves' efficiency.

(on-screen): So then I go over here. And I'm just kind of looking at these jeans. And then I can very easily just take it?

HILL: Just come over...

FEYERICK: You put it in the bag...

HILL: Drop it right in. FEYERICK: OK. And while you pick it up -- now, this is interesting -- so you pick it up, then you can effectively walk out...

HILL: I walk out, unless I want more, and they're usually -- they're going to want this full.

FEYERICK (voice-over): This video command center at a major department store invited us to see this recent hit by a shoplifting gang.

(on-screen): The woman in the white looked back at her colleague.

HILL: Yes. She gives the OK, the coast is clear.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Here's how it works. While her partner trails her, the woman in white picks up a black shirt. She holds it up to block the security camera, then loads her bag with perfume. She passes the perfume to a third woman who switches it to a different bag and walks out of the store.

HILL: Over 40 items of perfume were taken, and it was just under $3,000. Recovery was made.

FEYERICK (on-screen): Not bad for eight minutes' work.

HILL: Not bad at all.

FEYERICK (voice-over): These women were caught, but even when police do make arrests, most of these thefts are treated as misdemeanors. The criminals get no more than 30 days in prison.

Stephen Chaikin prosecutes organized crime in Montgomery County, Maryland.

STEPHEN CHAIKIN, PROSECUTOR: When they get into the court system, since they have multiple names and Social Security numbers, it's often hard to know who we're dealing with. And sometimes they bond out, they get out of jail, we never see them again.

FEYERICK: The other reason shoplifting has turned epidemic, because of their competitiveness, stores are notoriously secretive, sometimes even refusing to alert mall security or a store next door. That's now changing.

(on-screen): So basically, this database allows the stores to talk to each other.

LAROCCA: Absolutely.

FEYERICK (voice-over): Stores have joined together to create a national crime database. Retailers that are targeted can now post information, like the type of crime, where and how it was committed, and a description of the criminal.

LAROCCA: We need to be able to go after these individuals. We need to put them behind bars for their crimes. And we need to keep them out of our retail stores.

FEYERICK: Carlos, who was recently arrested and is now awaiting trial, says it's not so much the individual but the gang leaders.

"CARLOS": This people, I don't think they're going to stop.

FEYERICK: And even stores and police acknowledge it will take a very long time to bring organized shoplifting under control.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Maryland.


COOPER: Well, fires and violence in the streets after a stunning election. An unstable region unravels as militants are voted into power. Disturbing twists in America's push for democracy abroad. We'll look at the consequences and the militants now taking seats in the government.

And a reminder, Dr. Gupta wants to hear your medical questions. He'll report on some of them. Go to our Web site at Click on the e-mail link. 360 continues in a moment.


COOPER: Well, President Bush has called it a wake-up call to the old Palestinian leadership, but Wednesday's elections in the West Bank and Gaza also alarmed those pushing for liberty around the world. The rise to power of Hamas militants is a disturbing example of how democracy in the Middle East, the very democracy American troops are fighting and dying to protect, can have awful consequences.

Today, there were violent protests by members of the party that lost. In Gaza, gun-toting Fatah members rushed to the house of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of letting Hamas win, and demanding his resignation. Abbas wasn't home at the time. Mobs also tried to break into a government office to show their anger over the sobering fact that militants, viewed by most as terrorists, have taken over.

CNN's Tom Foreman now takes a look at the people in charge of Hamas.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The leadership of Hamas has always been secretive and with reason. The group's relentless, violent campaign against Israel has time and again led to Israeli assassinations of key Hamas figures. So now, with a big political win comes a question: Will Hamas leaders come forward to lead in public?

OCTAVIA NASR, SENIOR EDITOR ARAB AFFAIRS: You hear it on Arab media all the time. How are these people going to come out in the light and run a government? FOREMAN: Sheik Ahmed Yassim was the most visible Hamas leader, until the Israeli killed him about two years ago. One of the sheikh's close associates, Ismail Haniya, was at the top of the ballot for Hamas. And he is widely seen as the leader of this political coup.

He is described as pragmatic, somewhat less given to hard talk than the other top figure in the group these days, Khalid Mash'al. Middle East analysts say Mash'al, who lives in Syria, has strong ties to hard-liners in Iran, who, like Hamas, want Israel gone.

MARTIN INDYK, SABAN CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY: And they are not going to want to see any kind of moderation take place, so they're going to be pressing him to take a harder line. So I think he's the one that's got a real problem here.

FOREMAN: The top religious figure is Hamas is Sheikh Hassan Yusef. He is from a more moderate area, but asked what he'll do if Israel tries to expand its settlements...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight, you understand?

FOREMAN: And then there is Mohammed Daef (ph), the mastermind behind many suicide attacks on Israel. He is a hunted man and a hard- line hero to Miriam Farahat. She has sent three of her sons to fight and die against the Israelis. She was a Hamas candidate; now she's an elected official.

And her party line for Hamas leaders is clear: "We sacrifice our children," she says, "because our sense of sacred duty, the principles of Islam, are more important than our feelings."

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, we want to thank our international viewers for watching. Coming up, a special hour of 360. Gunfire, intimidation, murder and fear. We're not talking about Iraq. We're talking about one of the most violent neighborhoods in Los Angeles where gangs make life hell for everyone else. That's when 360 continues.



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