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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Slain Minister's Wife Faces Murder Charges; Search Continues for Missing Milwaukee Boys

Aired March 24, 2006 - 10:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Milwaukee police say they are following more than 100 leads today but there is still no sign of two boys who have been missing for five days now. Family members think someone snatched Quadrevion Henning and Purvis Parker -- you see them there -- while they were playing outside Sunday.
Members of the community gathered for a candlelight vigil last night. Here's some video of that. And police have used bloodhounds and a plane equipped with heat sensors to search for the boys. The reward for the safe return has grown to more than $23,000.

Well, one way to keep your kids safe is teach them how to recognize the tricks used by kidnappers and predators. This is very important.

Ken Wooden is a child safety expert and founder of Child Lures Prevention. He joins us now from Orlando.

Ken, we appreciate your time today on such an important matter.

You know, thousands of children are kidnapped every year. These two boys still missing in Milwaukee. Now, we don't know the circumstances. There are a lot of questions in that case. But for parents and children out there, what are some of the danger signs that they need to be aware of?

KENNETH WOODEN, CHILD LURES PREVENTION: Well, there are some basic lures that predators have been using for generations. The most dangerous lure is when they ask a child for directions, and that by doing that they get the child to come close to the car. And it's very easy to pull a child into a car. And believe me, that car becomes a cage and the driver is an animal.

NGUYEN: Ken, I'm going to have to stop you briefly because we do want to take you live to Milwaukee, where a news conference is under way right now with the police spokesperson, Anne Schwartz, to talk about the two missing boys there in Milwaukee.

Let's take a listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ANNE SCHWARTZ, MILWAUKEE POLICE SPOKESWOMAN: ... 628-3804. Obviously, we'll still take calls here at the department if we get any, but we're asking people if they could please use that number when they're calling in with their tips. Yesterday, we activated the emergency operation center at the Milwaukee Police Department. That allows everybody who is working on the search to be in the same place at the same time.

We still have the command post presence out in Lincoln Park -- in the Lincoln Creek area, and we're going to keep that there. We're there and the FBI's mobile command post is there. We still do need to have a presence and we need to be there in the area where the boys have disappeared in the neighborhood. So we're going to maintain that there, but as far as our command operations, that's going to be going from our emergency operation center.

We do not give out the location of that emergency operation center. A number of you may know where that is. We are asking you, please don't release that information to the public.

I could tell you that we're doing a re-canvass of homes in the immediate area where the boys disappeared. We are returning with more in-depth questions, additional questioning of people that we have already spoken with. This time we're pairing one Milwaukee Police Department detective with an FBI agent.

So we're -- they're out there working in pairs as a team. I'm here with Linda Kreig (ph), who is the assistant special agent in charge of the Milwaukee FBI. And we have been working together on this -- on this search since -- since the FBI had so graciously offered to help us in the beginning. And now they are a full partner in this investigation.

We are using a lot of their resources. Their mobile command post has resources, data crunching, a lot of information that we can crunch together, try to come up with some leads in this case.

The big question today, of course, what are the leads in the case? And we still do not have substantial leads in the case. We're still hoping for information from the public.

We had additional FBI personnel that arrived here yesterday. They are continuing to help us in the canvas of the neighborhoods.

We're still getting a lot of people asking if they can volunteer. And we're asking the volunteers to kind of hold off right now. If we do need more volunteers to help us search any large areas, we'll let the media know, and then we're hoping that you guys can get the word out that we need more volunteers to help us when we get to that -- that place in the investigation -- in the search, again.

NGUYEN: Listening to Anne Schwartz with the Milwaukee Police Department talking about what they have learned so far in the search for two missing boys there. And as you just heard, there are no substantial leads in the case. Very disappointing news, but hopefully with canvassing more areas they will come up with some new information.

And they are also asking the public to call in. If you've seen these two boys, please contact them. Obviously, a desperate search is under way at this hour and has been since Sunday when they went missing.

Want to get back to our guest, Kenneth Wooden, the founder of Child Lures Prevention.

Kenneth, we were talking about what predators use, the tricks that they use to lure children in. And you were talking about one in particular dealing with information.

Can you help me find, you know, you know, the local store? Can you show me the way to this area? That's one trick that predators use.

WOODEN: Yes, and it's very lethal, because kids are very helping. And by the way, the prime age they go after are kids from 10 to 12. I think your viewers should know that.

NGUYEN: That's very important.

Another trick that they use -- and these tricks are very important to know not only by parents, but also by children -- is the affection lure.

Tell us about that one.

WOODEN: I'm sorry. I didn't hear that.

NGUYEN: The affection lure, when predators use affection to try to get children to come with them one way or the other.

WOODEN: Yes. Well, the affection lure is basically a seduction lure, where over a period of time they will seduce your child into having sex, and they keep it quiet for a very long time. Your viewers can end that lure in a second by showing children a bathing suit and letting children know this is their safety zone.

Nobody in the family, in the community should go beyond that bathing suit. If they do, it's against the law. You can teach your kids the concept of law by asking three questions.

You have rules at home. Do you have rules in your school, your church? What happens when you break the rules? We get punished.

Well, we have rules, and they're called laws. No one should go beyond the safety zone of that bathing suit.

NGUYEN: Well, another one, too, really kind of tugs at your heartstrings, but it's such a trick that it just really makes a lot of people mad. When you use a lost pet, a puppy, or something, "Can you please help me find my animal?" And kids fall for this. It's so easy to fall for that.

WOODEN: Yes. My god, it's so bad because it's been going on for generations. You need -- your viewers, moms and dads, grandparents, look your child in the eye like when you were growing up your parents said, "Look at me when I talk to you." Look at them in the eye and tell them there is no lost pet. If somebody wants you to look for a lost puppy, a kitty cat, whatever, get out of there and report that person to an adult. Because that is a very ageless, old, very effective dangerous lure.

NGUYEN: Yes. It's an old one but it's one that does indeed work, unfortunately.

And another one is the Internet. The Internet has become a very dangerous ground these days.

WOODEN: Oh, it is. And, you know, when I was interviewing thousands of predators -- that's how I got this information -- I said to them, "Do you ever target a kid?" And they said, "Of course."

How do you target a kid? Two ways. We go to a playground, we look for a loner. Or on the Internet they are alone.

And the way we lure them is by becoming their friend and we ask a very basic question. The question is, "How do your parents get along?" Now, I've been married for 48 years and I know...

NGUYEN: Why does that work?

WOODEN: Well, they use it as a crowbar to get between the child and the parents. And I want to make a point to your viewers.

I've been married 48 years. I know one thing about marriage. We all have our moments. And parents, you need to talk about those moments to your children.

Don't let some predator who is sneaking in your home via the Internet play upon that normal conflict which is in every family, every relationship. And for you kids that are watching, if a playmate is playing alone in the playground, go to him, become his friend, help him. Don't let him stick out like a sore thumb or a target for a predator.

NGUYEN: You know, we're talking about these lures because once a child takes this bait, shall we say, and gets into that car, the chances for survival drop dramatically, don't they?

WOODEN: Oh, it is. It's just awful.

Learn the lures -- by the way, get away from that car. Know it's a lure.

And very important, I tell this to parents all over this country and it is a major thing in our school program, Child Lures Prevention. Teach children to trust their instincts.

We call it a siren. If that siren goes off about a neighbor, a family member, somebody in the school, wherever, listen to your child. They have good instincts.

There was a serial killer in Wichita, Kansas, Dennis Rader. For 30 years he avoided the police, but the children in that community had a game. Whenever they saw Dennis Rader in his white van they played "Hide from Dennis." Those children knew he was lethal. Those kids knew for three generations that...

NGUYEN: So listen to your gut feeling is what you're telling us.

Let me ask you one last thing very quickly because your program is in the elementary and middle schools in Illinois, this Child Lures Prevention program. For people who aren't in that state, how do they get that information?

WOODEN: Well, thank god for Governor Blagojevich, who made our program available as a resource. And it's in every elementary school. It's in every middle school. And just go to your school. Go to your superintendent and say, let's get this program...

NGUYEN: Do you have a Web site that people can dial into, to log on to get that information?

WOODEN: Yes, we do have a Web site, www.childluresprevention.com. And it's all there. It's what Governor Blagojevich has done. And I hope other parents in this country will get their governors to do it, because not doing it is like sending our troops into combat without armor.

Our kids are being attacked by their own form of terrorists. Give them the armor. If predators are using the lures, we should be teaching them. And we can do it in our schools, and Governor Blagojevich is leading the way.

NGUYEN: Well, knowledge is power. Want to give that knowledge out to the folks watching.

If they are interested in this program, it's called Child Lures Prevention. Let me give you that Web site. It's www.childluresprevention.com.

Kenneth Wooden, we appreciate your time and your information today. Thank you.

WOODEN: My appreciation.

NGUYEN: Well, you dial 911, you expect someone to pick up the phone, pronto, 24/7. Don't count on it.

If you live in one Tennessee town, more than 27,000 calls to Chattanooga's 911 system were not answered in 2001. The trend continues into 2006. In a case just this week, a woman dialed 911 only to hear a constant ring on the other end of the lie. That's because three of four operators were on a break.

That's right. That lady eventually got the fire department to help her with her burning kitchen, but only after her nephew ran to the fire station to summon help.

Chattanooga says its 911 call center is short-staffed. Is that a good excuse? Well, John Cupp is a sheriff of Hamilton County, Tennessee, which includes Chattanooga. And he joins us on the phone.

We thank you for your time, Sheriff.

SHERIFF JOHN CUPP, HAMILTON COUNTY, TENNESSEE: Thank you, ma'am.

NGUYEN: Well, first of all, let's talk about these numbers between January and October 2005, 27 calls to 911 went unanswered. And this last month alone, February, 20 percent of the calls went unanswered.

What's going on? Are these people simply on break? And isn't there some kind of rule that so many dispatchers can't take a break at the same time?

CUPP: I'm sure there is a rule to that effect. As far as what happened, Chattanooga has been understaffed.

The chief says that he needs more people, and I believe that he does. And the chief just said the other day, in all honesty, that there was a breakdown in the persons taking off. All three should not have been off. And he is going to look into that. He's going to make -- take steps to correct that. And he is a good chief, and I believe that's exactly what he's going to do.

NGUYEN: Understaffed. Talk to me about how understaffed this department is.

CUPP: It depends on who you're talking to. Some people say they need another six positions. Some people say they need another 12 positions.

You always want to get as many as you possibly can. And I would say we're probably talking around maybe 10 to 12.

Now, that is not my department. So I am just basing this on what I hear from the various conversations.

NGUYEN: Six to 12 positions, but apparently in this one situation there were five people on staff, three to four of them were on break, and only one was taking a call. So several calls went unanswered. How do you explain that?

CUPP: Well, there were more people -- what you have, you have the call takers who take the calls in, route it to the dispatchers. There were dispatchers on call there. And the setup was such that the calls did not go over there.

The chief is going to take steps to make sure that what we call the call takers -- and that's who was missing, the four call takers, there was just -- that somebody will fill in those positions when somebody does have to go on a break or somebody -- it's regular lunchtime or they have to go to the restroom. And that can happen at any time. And so he is making provisions to use other people to fill in at the times they happen to be gone. NGUYEN: Should a dispatcher be held responsible in any way? I mean, who should be accountable, held accountable when these calls go unanswered? Because in many cases we're talking about people calling in because they're in a life-and-death situation.

CUPP: That's correct. Let me say something about some of these calls.

A lot of -- a lot of these calls that are unanswered are hang-up calls after the second ring. And probably what happens is 911's pre- programmed into the phone, you get up there in a hurry and you hit the button, and then you realize realize, oh, I didn't want that, and then they hang up. That accounts for a lot of the abandoned calls, as they're sometimes called, different things like that. When...

NGUYEN: But there's -- I agree with you there, and we understand that. But there are other situations when people's homes are on fire. This particular woman says her kitchen was on fire.

And then there's a man, a 70-year-old man in your county, in Hamilton County, Tennessee, he had a severed artery. He called 911. He told them the situation and the location and nobody showed up.

CUPP: What happened on that particular call -- Mr. Bram (ph) is the gentleman that you're talking about -- he is right on the Hamilton Count-Meigs County line. And when these cell towers pick these things up, they have originally routed it to the wrong place and it came back to the right place.

Now, that can happen on -- in areas out in the rural area, and he was in a rural area. Mr. Bram (ph) did get the help that he needed. I hated that it happened to him, and if that cell tower -- we're dealing with electronics and stuff that's almost too hard to understand sometimes.

NGUYEN: Yes, but we're also dealing with people on break and not answering calls when they come in.

CUPP: OK. The chief has said that he accepts full responsibility for that. And I can't say any more than that. They were not my people, but I think that he stepped up to the plate.

He said, look, we were wrong, and we're going to do something about it. And I don't think that situation -- that particular type of situation is going to happen again.

NGUYEN: Well, let me ask you this, then. You say the chief accepts full responsibility. Back to my question just a few minutes ago, should dispatchers be held accountable when they're not there to answer those phone calls and something goes very, very wrong?

CUPP: Well, if they have a legitimate reason to be away from their station, how can you hold them accountable? If they have -- don't have a reason to be away and something happens, yes, at that point they become accountable.

NGUYEN: So, should new rules be put in place in your county?

CUPP: This is not the county. This is the Chattanooga Police Department.

You see, in the 911 center, we have the Chattanooga Fire Department, the Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, which is mine, and we dispatch four different agencies. There's Hamilton County Emergency Service for fire and ambulance, there's the East Ridge Police Department. So there's not just one agency in there. This is a center.

NGUYEN: OK. But should new rules be put in place then?

CUPP: That will be up to Chief Parks (ph).

NGUYEN: All right.

CUPP: And I'm sure he'll change some protocols and be looking at this very carefully, because when he says, "I'm going to take care of it," I'm sure that means there's going to be a new rule that you cannot get away from there.

The supervisor has to know you're away. And sometimes over periods of time, things maybe become a little lax with all of us. And that's possibly what happened that day.

NGUYEN: Well, let's just hope that changes are put in place, because 27,000 calls to 911 between January and October that have gone unanswered just seems pretty much unacceptable.

CUPP: I agree with you 100 percent. We -- in our board meetings, the city is aware of this. They get a printout as to all the agencies every month of how many calls come in, how many are answered, what time it takes to answer them, how many are answered in two seconds, four seconds, one ring, two rings, three rings. That goes out all the time.

And as a result of that, the chief has put in his new budget, I think, now, possibly six additional positions. And in view of this, they might even increase that number.

NGUYEN: Well, let's hope so. Sheriff John Cupp of Hamilton County, we thank you for your time and your insight today.

CUPP: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

NGUYEN: And we are continuing to follow breaking news in the murder of a Tennessee pastor as well. Authorities say they will charge the pastor's wife with first degree murder. We'll have a live coverage of that news conference from Selmer, Tennessee, at the bottom of the hour. You'll want to stay tuned for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: I tell you what, it has been a busy Friday. It's only 11:20 East Coast time. Tony Harris joins us now from the newsroom with another developing story that we're following today -- Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: That's because you're rocking that air chair, Betty. That's why it's happening like this..

NGUYEN: I'm telling you. I don't know what's in the system today, but we're busy.

HARRIS: We're busy.

OK. Let's take you to Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- sorry, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where a probable cause hearing is under way right now for Mohammed Taheri-azar, an Iranian-born Muslim and a University of North Carolina graduate who allegedly -- you remember this -- drove an SUV through a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina in this area known as The Pit. And this happened two weeks ago.

Now, at the preliminary hearing, the probably cause hearing that's under way right now in an Orange County district court building, we're hearing from students who were on the scene that day in The Pit when this all happened. Police say Taheri-azar later identified himself and admitted to the crime in a 911 call saying that he wanted to punish the United States government for its actions around the world.

He has been charged with nine counts of attempted murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Now, after this hearing we're expecting to hear from Taheri-azar's family, and we will continue to monitor that situation and bring you the latest developments.

Betty, back to you on a very busy Friday morning.

NGUYEN: All right, Tony. Thank you. We'll stay on top of all of this.

Also, we are awaiting a news conference in about, oh, I don't know, eight minutes from now. It's supposed to be happening at 11:30 Eastern about the Tennessee pastor who was killed, found shot in the back in his home on Wednesday.

We're also going to be speaking with a member of his church about what has happened. The latest that we've learned today is that wife is not only a suspect, but she shortly will be charged with first degree murder.

So stay tuned for the latest on all of that happening at 11:30 Eastern. We will bring it to you live.

You're watching CNN LIVE TODAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: We are still waiting for that news conference to take place at 11:30 Eastern, about three minutes from now, out of Tennessee dealing with a pastor found shot to death in his home this week.

On the phone with us, though, is someone who knew this man, knew Matthew Winkler and his wife, as well. She is now facing charges, first degree murder charges in this case.

We have Pam Killingsworth on the phone, a member of the congregation, also an assistant principal at Selmer Elementary, where two of the Winkler children went to school.

Pam, we want to thank you for being with us.

Good morning to you.

PAM KILLINGSWORTH, CHURCH MEMBER: Good morning.

NGUYEN: Well, first of all, tell us about this family. All of this seems so shocking at this point because this was a young family, three kids, and this was the pastor in your community.

Did you know of any family problems?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, Betty, it was just -- it's just been such a total shock. They were the perfect family. Everywhere you've seen Matthew, you've usually seen Mary. She was by his side most of the time. At church, after the congregation would pass out leaving, she was right at the back door with him.

It's just -- it's just not real. It just -- in my heart I just can't believe this is happening.

NGUYEN: I can tell this is just so upsetting to you and obviously so very upsetting to this community, a close-knit community. When you hear today the fact that Mary Winkler not only is a suspect, but that she could be facing first degree murder charges, that has got to be devastating to you.

KILLINGSWORTH: I just -- words cannot describe how we all feel about this. We -- it's just not comprehendible at the moment.

NGUYEN: What kind of a woman is Mary Winkler?

KILLINGSWORTH: She was -- she was, you would think, the perfect mother, the perfect wife. She brought her children to school every day. She volunteered in the school. I just -- words can't describe the two different personalities we're seeing here.

NGUYEN: And you saw no indication of any problems within this family?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, ma'am, none whatsoever.

NGUYEN: We're looking at a picture right now of a seemingly happy family. You see the Winklers there with their three children. You're the assistant principal at Selmer Elementary School, as well, where two of the Winkler girls went to school. Your thoughts have to be with them right now. KILLINGSWORTH: I have. I've been praying for them and I've made several calls this morning trying to find out where they are and make sure that they're going to be with family members soon, because this -- this is where the children need to be right now, with -- with close family members.

NGUYEN: Did they ever come to school with heavy hearts, with problems at home that they expressed while in a classroom?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, the children were -- they were happy. They were smart children. They were good children, well-behaved children, smiling, happy children. Even the baby was such a good baby. She never cried. Very content. She was in my nursery class at church, just very loving.

NGUYEN: It just doesn't seem to add up.

KILLINGSWORTH: No, it doesn't.

NGUYEN: Go ahead.

KILLINGSWORTH: There's two different pictures of this situation and it just doesn't make sense.

NGUYEN: Well, I know that you obviously have been speaking with other congregation members and just people within the community. What are you hearing? What are the rumblings there? Do they have any clue?

KILLINGSWORTH: Not a clue. Everybody is just totally shocked by what has happened.

NGUYEN: Take us back to Wednesday. Did you hear a word on Wednesday when Matthew Winkler's body was found in his home?

KILLINGSWORTH: Yes, yes, we were -- well, that particular day the girls had not come to school. They did not come to their music with me that late in the afternoon, went on to church thinking maybe one of them was sick. Usually Mary will call, didn't get a call, tried to call her on her cell, did not get her on her cell.

When we got to church the baby was not in class. I still think, you know, still thinking that one of them was sick. Then when my brother came to the door and said, the preacher is not here, we knew then -- my mother and I looked at each other, and we knew something bad had to have happened, and then some of the church members went to the house and they found his body.

NGUYEN: And we have learned too since that he was shot in the back, and so far from the information that we've been able to obtain, there was no sign of a forced entry. There was no burglary. Have you heard anything to that matter?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, ma'am, there was no forced entry. The people that went to check on the body, they had found a key that Matthew had had, and they got in and then that -- nothing, you know, nothing seemed amiss at that point until they got to the bedroom.

NGUYEN: And that day the children did not come to school. Now, is that something -- I mean, are they often absent?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, that was not normally -- when they were going to be gone like out of town, maybe I know a couple weeks before they had gone to see her sister in Nashville, who just had a new baby. They called and said the girls are going to be out. We're taking them out. That's what was so unusual. That usually did not happen. She always called if one or the other was going to be out, but usually neither one of the children were out at the same time.

NGUYEN: And the church congregation obviously is pulling together at this point. What are you doing? How are you helping others cope?

KILLINGSWORTH: Well, we've been -- the last two days, someone has been at the church just about all the time, just consoling each other and finding out as much information as we could about the situation, and what was going on and just basically being there for each other and talking about the past, and the good things that have happened .

NGUYEN: How are you going to remember Matthew Winkler?

KILLINGSWORTH: As a very charismatic preacher in the pulpit, very loving. He was loving with his family. He was very attentive to his wife and children.

NGUYEN: Have you spoken with any of his family members? I know that his father and his grandfather were also in the ministry.

KILLINGSWORTH: No, ma'am. His mom and father came down, but they had went back to their home in Huntington, and his grandfather passed away.

NGUYEN: And as for the children at your school, obviously they are learning about this news, and the fact that their classmates, the mother of their classmates, may be responsible for this murder, what kind of counseling, what kind of assistance are you providing them?

KILLINGSWORTH: We have counselors on staff, plus we've had numerous calls from outside people and churches to offer their counseling services any time we need them.

NGUYEN: And have you had a lot of members and students really seeking that help at this point?

KILLINGSWORTH: We've had a few, not a whole lot, but we've had a few.

NGUYEN: And how are you holding up, because I can hear it in your voice? I mean, this has really taken a toll on you.

KILLINGSWORTH: I'm talking with close friends and people. That's keeping me up and going. Now that the children are safe and we know that they're going to be OK, that's such a big relief. It's just now getting over the shock of what Mary has done, and Matthew will not be there anymore for us.

NGUYEN: Such a difficult situation. And knowing Mary, this has got to put you in just a predicament, because this is a woman that you respected, that was well loved in the community, and now being charged with such a crime.

KILLINGSWORTH: I still can't -- my mind cannot comprehend what she has done, because she just totally was not in every day life with her -- meeting her every week, with the girls coming to music, she was not -- to me, she was not this kind of person. This is a totally different person that we're seeing now.

NGUYEN: Well, Pam Killingsworth, I know it's been difficult speaking to us. But we do appreciate your information. It puts a person behind the name and behind this picture of Matthew Winkler, and behind the picture of the three beautiful children that are now caught in the middle of all of this.

We are waiting for this news conference, and hopefully we will learn more within the hour, but for the meantime, Pam Killingsworth, a member of the 4th Street Church of Christ, also the assistant principal of Selmer Elementary School, where two of the Winkler girls went to school. We so appreciate your time.

KILLINGSWORTH: Thank you.

NGUYEN: Thank you.

And as mentioned, as you see at the left-hand side of your screen, we are waiting for that news conference to take place within any minute now. It was supposed to start six minutes ago at 11:30 Eastern Time, and when it does, we will bring it to you live. I see one man stepping out right now, but not for sure if he will be the man speaking at the podium. Doesn't look like it at this point. But of course we're going to keep monitoring this.

And when it happens, we will bring it to you live, because we do want to hear more about the charges in this case and the information that investigators have learned so far.

So stay with CNN. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: We are still waiting to hear from the local authorities there in Tennessee into the investigation of a preacher murdered. He was found shot in the back inside his home on Wednesday in Selmer, Tennessee, and we want to learn more about who is being charged. The information that we've received, and CNN's Rick Sanchez reported this just a little bit earlier, that his wife, Mary Winkler, will be charged with first-degree murder in this case. We're going to continue to follow it and bring you the latest details just as soon as we get it, so you'll want to stay right here on CNN live today. There is other news, though, to tell you about as well. Former President Clinton stops in Philly, but not for cheesesteak. Oh, no. The man who led the country for eight years is trying to lead Americans to healthier eating habits. Clinton talks about struggles with his weight, and joined our Dr. Sanjay Gupta during a stop in his "Fit Nation" tour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Bill Clinton has been known for his boundless energy. Since leaving office he's traveled around the world, using his star power for initiatives on everything from HIV-AIDS to the rebuilding after Katrina and the tsunami. But now he's focusing on his biggest domestic campaign to date, winning the war against the growing obesity epidemic in this country.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're looking at people in their 30s losing their limbs, becoming blind. And for all the rest of us, we have a huge vested interest in this because we already spend about 50 percent more than any other country in the world on health care as a percent of our income.

GUPTA: Speaking to an audience of Philadelphia college students at a stop on CNN's "Fit Nation" tour, he says this Clinton Foundation campaign is driven by personal experience.

At 6'2, he's been the same height since college. But weight-wise the scales have swayed since he was a kid.

CLINTON: I was probably in the last generation of Americans where people widely thought a fat baby was a healthy baby. And I lived with my grandparents until I was 4 and they just stuffed me. And so I was -- I always battled my weight. When I was 13, I was 5'8" and weighed 185 pounds.

GUPTA: But he's come a long way since then. His political gains and losses getting just slightly more attention than the ones on his waistline.

CLINTON: That's the problem. It all looks good.

GUPTA: Over the years he's put on some pounds and shed a few here and there. Cameras following him on almost every jog and every doughnut pit stop along the way. His appetite even took center stage on "Saturday Night Live" in 1992.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": See, right now, we're sending food to Somalia. But it's not getting to the people who need it because it's being intercepted by warlords.

And it's not just us. It's other countries, too. Like your McNugget is relief from Great Britain to Somalia, intercepted by warlords.

GUPTA: From southern to fried to fast, we all knew about Bill Clinton's love of food.

CLINTON: I love French Fries. No non-Pennsylvanian has ever eaten more or enjoyed more cheese steaks than I have.

GUPTA: But in September of 2004, a lifetime of bad eating finally caught up with the former president. Chest pains, shortness of breath sent him to the hospital. It turns out he had more than 90 percent blockage in several of his blood vessels. Days later, he had quadruple bypass surgery.

He's made a complete recovery since then and says he's feeling healthier than ever. No longer tipping the scales, Clinton is now 30 pounds lighter than when he was at his heaviest. And now he's trying to get the rest of the country to learn from his life.

CLINTON: I always maintained a fair level of fitness, but my weight fluctuated too much and the things that I ate contributed to my heart disease. I needed to do something about this for myself, but I needed to do something about it for the country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Sleep deprivation, sleep disorder, whatever the reasons, Americans are not getting enough z's. That's the focus of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's primetime special. You'll want to tune in this Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

I'll put up a live picture of this news conference that we're waiting to hear from local authorities there in Selmer, Tennessee. That is where a local preacher was found shot to death in his home on Wednesday. And now it appears his wife is not only the suspect, but will shortly face charges of first-degree murder. The sheriff has just stepped out, or the police chief, has just stepped out and given us word that this news conference will take place in about 10 minutes from now, so we are standing by and we'll bring it to you live when it happens. Stay tuned for more CNN LIVE TODAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

NGUYEN: Another live look there in Selmer, Tennessee. To the right of your screen, you see a picture of what seems to be a happy family. Well, now Matthew Winkler, in that picture, has been found dead in his home, shot in the back. His wife, seen also in the picture, is a suspect and will face first degree murder charges.

We're hoping to learn a lot more surrounding the circumstances of that shooting, exactly what happened and why it happened. And when that news conference gets under way within just minutes -- we've been waiting for it since 11:30, but as you know, these things are often very fluid. When it happens, we will bring it to you live so you want to stay tuned for that.

In other news today, an Ohio woman says she is alive because of one very attentive store clerk. The woman says a man forced her into a van and made her drive around. Lucky for her, they stopped at a convenience store where she is a regular. Now, the woman mouthed the words "help me" and the store clerk called the cops. The police tracked down the van within 30 minutes and arrested the suspect. That is one lucky lady.

Two train wrecks, two very different outcomes. On the left -- take a look at this video. A train equipped with traditional equipment crumbles on impact and leaves the tracks. On the right, a locomotive fitted with new impact-absorbing devices. Now, that train, as you can see, stays upright and largely undamaged. Inside, the new technology includes redesigned tables, padded seats and more features to absorb impact and prevent derailing. You can see there with that dummy. Now, the new measures still require federal approval. They are expected to show up in about 100 commuter trains within a few years.

Well, you were supposed to hear it coming down, but you can definitely see it coming down. No trumpets, just explosives. And the walls did come crumbling down. It may be the biggest implosion on record. About three hours ago in Kannapolis, North Carolina, a former textile plant, covering over a million square feet -- this is a huge building -- was taken down, turned into dust. A $1 billion biotech complex will take its place. One more time. Just -- these are always just fascinating to watch. It would be nicer to hear it, but, gee, you can imagine the sound there. Look at all the smoke coming up from that implosion. Quite a sight.

Much more coming up right here on CNN LIVE TODAY. As mentioned all morning long, we are still waiting for that news conference, as we learn more information about the shooting death of a preacher in Tennessee. When that news conference happens, we will take it live right here on CNN and it should happen momentarily. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: We are still following the case of a preacher found murdered in Tennessee. A news conference will be happening any minute now to give us more information on exactly what has happened and who is involved, but here's what we can tell you. Thirty-one-year-old Matthew Winkler was found shot in the back in his home on Wednesday. You see him there in this picture with his family. His wife, also in that picture, is considered the shooter in this case at this point. We understand that Mary Winkler has agreed to return to Tennessee to face charges.

Now, this is according to the Associated Press. She was found, if you remember, on Thursday in Orange Beach, Alabama, and she has agreed to return to Tennessee to face first degree murder charges in this case. So we are hoping to learn much more about the circumstances that led to that shooting when this news conference takes place in just minutes from now.

But in the meantime, let's learn a little bit more about the community involved here. This was a close-knit community, a small community, in which Matthew Winkler was a pastor of a very popular church there. We spoke with Pam Killingsworth, who was a member of the church. She's also the assistant principal of the school that two of the Winkler girls attended. And here's what she has to say about the community reaction to this shocking killing.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

KILLINGSWORTH: It's just been such a total shock. They were the perfect family. Everywhere you've seen Matthew, you've usually seen Mary. She was by his side most of the time. At church, after the congregation would pass out leaving, she was right at the back door with him.

It's just -- it's -- it's just not real. It just -- in my heart, I just can't believe this is happening.

NGUYEN: I can tell this is just so upsetting to you and obviously so very upsetting to this community, a close-knit community. When you hear today the fact that Mary Winkler, not only is a suspect, but that she could be facing first degree murder charges, that has got to be devastating to you?

KILLINGSWORTH: I just -- words cannot describe how we all feel about this. We -- it's just not comprehendible at the moment.

NGUYEN: What kind of a woman is Mary Winkler?

KILLINGSWORTH: She was -- you would think -- the perfect mother, the perfect wife. She brought her children to school every day. She volunteered in the school. I just -- words can't describe the two different personalities we're seeing here.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

NGUYEN: It is just a difficult situation all the way around. Right now, we normally turn it over to international news and YOUR WORLD TODAY, but we're not going to do that today. We're going to stay on top of this story and we're going to continue to bring you live coverage as we await that news coverage out of Tennessee to get more information on the circumstances surrounding this shooting and the murder of Matthew Winkler.

Want to go live to Tennessee and CNN's Rick Sanchez, who has been covering this story. He's been in the community, spoken to many folks there and learned a lot about what has happened so far.

Rick, tell us what you know.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, really, it's -- as you mentioned, Betty, it has a bit to do with a wait right. And I think the wait has more to do with the paperwork than anything else.

Let me just give you some of the headlines and the procedure, how it works, as far as a charge is concerned. They're serving her, but she's in Alabama, so that makes things somewhat difficult. She will be served in Alabama. After she's served in Alabama, the paperwork has to come back here to Selmer, Tennessee. Then they're going to be walking it over to the court, and then they'll officially be able to come out and talk to us and say that she has officially been charged with first degree murder. So that's obviously a very important part of the question.

And that's the mayor, by the way, of Selmer, who's out from time to time to talk to us. Really not so much related to the case itself. But the bottom line is, we learned this morning, after talking with TBI officials that, indeed, she was, in their opinion, involved in the crime. After doing several interviews with her, after serving several search warrants, as well, they decided that they would charge her with first degree murder. And that's really what they're in the process of nailing down right now.

There's one other part here that really is important, as well, and that's the whole extradition issue. Will she be facing -- here in Tennessee? Will she waive extradition and return to Tennessee, which is a question that's somewhat unanswered at this point. Preliminary indications are that she may be waiving the extradition, which means she probably would come back here at some point. Exactly when at this point, we don't know, Betty.

NGUYEN: Well, here's what we know so far, Rick. According to The Associated Press, the wife, Mary Winkler, has agreed to return to Tennessee to face charges. And just...

SANCHEZ: Yes.

NGUYEN: ... as we're waiting for this news conference and waiting to get more information on exactly why this happened, what caused it, let's reset the stage for the viewers who are just now joining us on exactly what happened.

SANCHEZ: We have to go back to this last Wednesday. And, you know, Wednesday is a very important night. It's, you know, midweek services for this particular congregation. And they were all waiting for their minister, their preacher to arrive.

They minister didn't arrive. So they wondered perhaps he was caught in traffic. He had been doing some business in another town not far.

So they waited and eventually figured that maybe it was just something normal. Until later that night they became more curious, decided to go over to his home, which is what they call a parsonage, because essentially it's owned by the church itself.

They went down there, they knocked on the door, they waited. Nobody came to the door. Because they owned the building, they had a key. They used the key, they went inside, they walked into the bedroom, and there they found him, according to police, shot in the back. Several shots, we understand.

Don't know what kind of weapon. Hope to be able to find out.

It was at that point that they contacted authorities. And, of course, authorities immediately wanted to talk to the family, wanted to talk to the mother, wanted to see if they knew anything, or perhaps even break the news to them. Instead, they couldn't find them. Nowhere to be found.

Also missing was their 2006 Sienna Toyota van. So beautiful little girls, 1-year-old, 6-year-old, 8-year-old, gone. The mother's gone. They can't find them, and they have a minister who is deceased.

They continued to work the investigation until late last night, when they finally were able to find her. And when they found her, they started questioning her. And it was this morning that they were able to nail down the fact that she has given them enough information.

Notice they're not calling it a confession -- but given them enough information. Combined with the information they got from her -- she was interviewed by the FBI, interviewed by local authorities in Alabama, also interviewed by TBI here -- that they were able to garner enough information to actually be able to charge her, which apparently they've done or they're in the process of completing at this point.

Of course, the big issue is the children. And, you know, that's a thing that a lot of people here have been wondering.

NGUYEN: Yes.

SANCHEZ: You know, what did they see, what condition are they in? Apparently, they're fine. They're in the custody of Alabama Children's Services.

We have information that family members of the deceased minister, Matthew Winkler, have been asking perhaps to get -- to be granted custody of the children. Don't know if that's happened yet, but that might be something that might be part of the process as well -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Rick, you bring up a very good point. What did the children see? Because we spoke with an assistant principal of their school who says on that day, Wednesday, the children didn't show up for school. They didn't show up for church.

And so that was very odd to them. And that begs the question, where were they at the time, if indeed their mother did pull the trigger and shoot their father?

SANCHEZ: That's a great question. You know, obviously, any one of us as parents, as reporters who often cover these thing, we immediately think of, you know, what would it be like for any children, perhaps our own children, in a situation like this. Let us only hope that the children were removed from whatever happened, when it happened, and to them this has just been one big confusing episode.

Obviously yesterday there was a lot of talk. I mean, remember, yesterday we were dealing with these two issues, A, that she was only a person of interest, not a suspect. That didn't change until we talked to authorities here later on that day.

The other big thing yesterday was the possibility that she had been abducted, that she had not gone of her own volition but was actually taken somewhere by somebody else who was perhaps involved with this crime.

Well, the fact that she was found alone in the van with the children, nobody else, obviously pretty much put an end to that speculation or that thought or that theory that some in this town, including some police officers, had shared with us. So that really changed the dynamics of this story.

Last night, when we talked to some of the folks in church, you could almost see in their expressions, after the police had gone in, the agents with TBI had gone in and announced to them -- they were all gathered there, crying, praying, solemn faces, and they stood before them and said, "We found Mary Winkler." And they explained how they found her, or that she had not been abducted and that she was fine and the children were fine.

You could see immediately in their faces that the reaction changed and now they themselves were somewhat perplexed and they were starting to wonder, perhaps, did Mary have something to do with this, which is what police set out to find out.

NGUYEN: Well, you also wonder, too, Rick, because she was found in Alabama. And no one's been able to connect the dots there. Why Alabama?

SANCHEZ: Yes, why did she -- well, we don't know. And there's no indication at this point that she either had family members there, was going there for a specific purpose or was driving with anybody else. As far as we know at this point, she ended up in Alabama after leaving this location and driving in that direction.

Obviously, when police do investigations like this, the first thing they do is they check the record, they check credit cards to see where they were used. They check phone logs, they check and see if her phone is even active.

Well, it wasn't -- that's not how they found her. Police say they found her because a patrolman saw the Amber Alert, called the police here in -- authorities here in Tennessee, and that's how they were a able to eventually find her in Alabama. As far down in Alabama as you can possibly go before, it seems to me, you know, before going, you know, into the Atlantic Ocean, I guess.

NGUYEN: Well, here's another thing, too. Within this investigation, within speaking with Mary Winkler, investigators have deemed that she could be the one here, and they're going to file charges, first-degree murder charges. No confession though.

Have you been able to determine from those sources that you've been speaking with as to why the shooting occurred? Has she led investigators to any information of that sort?

SANCHEZ: That's a -- that's a -- that's a tricky area to talk about. And, you know, there has been some intimation that she has given police a reason. Specifically what that reason is at this point, we don't know.

We're hoping that when some of the -- that's one of the aldermen here in town who has been coming out from time to time, not a police official. I look over my shoulder from time to time because there are two police officials here in Selmer who are going to be briefing us in just a bit, as soon as they get their paperwork done. And it looks like it's taking a little longer than they thought. But police officials so far saying that they've tried to nail that theory down but they weren't able to -- Betty.

NGUYEN: And as for the community, this not only is shocking to them, but they're trying to recoup. And speaking with a member of the church just a little bit earlier, it seems like their focus right now is on the children.

SANCHEZ: It has been. And even yesterday one of the biggest concerns here was, what happens to these children now, what did they see, what could they possibly have gone through?

Yesterday it was hard to get people in this town or even in the church to want to talk about the pastor other than to say he was a great man, a beloved pastor, and that he did a really great job. By the way, let me -- let me correct myself.

"Pastor" is a term that is used in some congregations as the leader of the church. This particular church also has got an infrastructure. The way it's set up, they have a board that helps the minister or preacher make a lot of decisions. So they prefer that we don't use the word "pastor" and we use the word "minister" or "preacher" instead.

NGUYEN: OK.

SANCHEZ: So even though most of us think immediately as the pastor of the church, because he is the head of the church there, they also have a board that helps him. So they prefer that we use the term "minister" or "preacher" just to be clear.

But yes, throughout the day yesterday when we talked to officials, folks at the church, they were much more comfortable talking about their concern for the children than they were about Mary. And, you know, they were really happy to learn last night that the children were OK and are now in the custody of Alabama Children's Services.

NGUYEN: But a lot of unanswered questions. And hopefully in this news conference that should be taking place at any moment now, Rick, we're going to get some answers to those questions. I know you'll be standing by. And so will we.

SANCHEZ: We will, yes.

NGUYEN: We'll be checking in with you very shortly on that when that happens.

Right now, though, we want to give you a little more insight into this family from people who knew them, who knew the Winklers, both Mary and Matthew, as well as the children.

I spoke just a little bit earlier with Pam Killingsworth. She is a member of the church where Matthew Winkler preached. She is also the assistant principal of the school where two of the Winkler girls attended. And here's what she had to say about this family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KILLINGSWORTH: It's just been such a total shock. They were the perfect family. Everywhere you've seen Matthew, you've usually seen Mary. She was by his side most of the time. At church, after the congregation would pass out leaving, she was right at the back door with him.

It's just -- it's just not real. It just -- in my heart I just can't believe this is happening.

NGUYEN: I can tell this is just so upsetting to you and obviously so very upsetting to this community, a close-knit community. When you hear today the fact that Mary Winkler not only is a suspect, but that she could be facing first degree murder charges, that has got to be devastating to you.

KILLINGSWORTH: I just -- words cannot describe how we all feel about this. We -- it's just not comprehendible at the moment.

NGUYEN: What kind of a woman is Mary Winkler?

KILLINGSWORTH: She was -- she was, you would think, the perfect mother, the perfect wife. She brought her children to school every day. She volunteered in the school. I just -- words can't describe the two different personalities we're seeing here.

NGUYEN: And you saw no indication of any problems within this family?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, ma'am, none whatsoever.

NGUYEN: We're looking at a picture right now of a seemingly happy family. You see the Winklers there with their three children. You're the assistant principal at Selmer Elementary School, as well, where two of the Winkler girls went to school. Your thoughts have to be with them right now.

KILLINGSWORTH: I have. I've been praying for them and I've made several calls this morning trying to find out where they are and make sure that they're going to be with family members soon, because this -- this is where the children need to be right now, with -- with close family members.

NGUYEN: Did they ever come to school with heavy hearts, with problems at home that they expressed while in a classroom?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, the children were -- they were -- they were happy, they were smart children. They were good children, well behaved children, smiling, happy children. Even the baby was such a good baby. She never cried, very content. She was in my nursery class at church. Just very loving.

NGUYEN: It just doesn't seem to add up.

KILLINGSWORTH: No, it doesn't. It's -- it's...

NGUYEN: Go ahead.

KILLINGSWORTH: There's two different pictures of this -- of this situation. And it just doesn't make sense.

NGUYEN: Well, I know that you obviously have been speaking with other congregation members and just people within the community. What are you hearing? What are the rumblings there? Do they have any clue?

KILLINGSWORTH: Not a clue. Everybody is just totally shocked by what has happened.

NGUYEN: Take us back to Wednesday. Did you hear word on Wednesday when Matthew Winkler's body was found in his home?

KILLINGSWORTH: Yes. Yes. We were.

Well, that particular day, the girls had not come to school. They did not come to their music with me late in the afternoon.

Went on to church thinking maybe one of them was sick. Usually Mary will call. Didn't get a call. Tried to call her on her cell, did not get her on her cell.

When we got to church, the baby was not in class. I still think -- you know, still thinking that one of them was sick.

Then when my brother came to the door and said, "The preacher's not here," we knew then. My mother and I looked at each other and we knew then something -- something bad had to have happened. And then some of the church members went to the house and they found his body.

NGUYEN: And we have learned, too, since that he was shot in the back. And so far from the information that we've been able to obtain, there was no sign of a forced entry, there was no burglary.

Have you heard anything to that matter?

KILLINGSWORTH: No, ma'am. There was no forced entry. The people that went to check on the body, they had found a key that Matthew had had, and they got in, and then that -- nothing -- you know, nothing seemed amiss at that point when they got in, until they got to the bedroom.

NGUYEN: And that day, the children did not come to school. Now, is that something that -- I mean, are they often absent or...

KILLINGSWORTH: No, that was not normal either. The -- when they were going to be gone, like out of town, maybe -- I know a couple of weeks before they had gone to see her sister in Nashville who had just had a new baby.

They called and said the girls are going to be out, we're taking them out. That's what was so unusual, that that usually did not happen. She always called if one or the other was going to be out. But usually neither one of if children were out at the same time.

NGUYEN: And the church congregation obviously is pulling together at this point. What are you doing? How are you helping others cope?

KILLINGSWORTH: Well, we've been -- the last two days, someone has been at the church just about all the time, just consoling each other and finding out as much information as we could about the situation and what was going on. And just basically being this for each other and talking about the past and the good things that have happened.

NGUYEN: How are you going to remember Matthew Winkler?

KILLINGSWORTH: As a very charismatic preacher in the pulpit, very loving. He was -- he was loving with his family, he was very attentive to his wife and children.

NGUYEN: Have you spoken with any of his family members? I know that his father and his grandfather were also in the ministry.

KILLINGSWORTH: No, ma'am. His mom and father came down, but they had went back to their home in Huntington. And his grandfather passed away.

NGUYEN: And as for the children at your school, obviously they are learning about this news and the fact that their classmates, the mother of their classmates may be responsible for this murder. What kind of counseling, what kind of assistance are you providing them?

KILLINGSWORTH: We have -- we have counselors on staff, plus we've had numerous calls from outside people and churches to offer their counseling services any time we need them.

NGUYEN: And have you had a lot of members and students really seeking that help at this point?

KILLINGSWORTH: We've had a few, not -- not -- not a whole lot. We've had a few.

NGUYEN: And how are you holding up? Because I can hear it in your voice. I mean, this has really taken a toll on you.

KILLINGSWORTH: I'm talking with close friends, and people just keeping me up and going. Just -- now that the children are safe and we know that they're going to be OK, that's such a big relief. It's just now getting over the shock of what Mary has done and Matthew will not be there anymore for us. NGUYEN: Such a difficult situation. And knowing Mary, this has got to put you in just a predicament because this is a woman that you respected, that was well loved in the community. And now being charged with such a crime.

KILLINGSWORTH: I still can't -- my mind cannot comprehend what she has done because she just totally was not in everyday life with her -- meeting with her every week, with the girls coming to music, she was not -- to me, she was not this kind of person. This is a totally different person that we're seeing now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: And you are listening to Pam Killingsworth, a member of the church where Matthew Winkler preached there in Tennessee. And as you can hear in her voice, this situation, this murder has taken her as well as many in the community and the church congregation by surprise. It's shocking and devastating all at the same time.

We are waiting, still, for that news conference to take place. It should be happening momentarily. We were told that it was going to happen at 11:30. Obviously, it has been delayed.

But we've seen a lot of activity near the doorway, so hopefully it will be taking place shortly, as we heard from CNN's Rick Sanchez just a little bit earlier. He said basically it's a matter of paperwork at this time. And once the paperwork is done, the authorities will step outside and reveal the information that they've been able to obtain.

But in the meantime, we're trying to learn a little bit more about the Winkler family. Trying to get an insight on who they are, who Matthew was, and not only how they affected the community, but possibly get some leads into what may have caused this.

We have on the phone, Jimmy Whittington. He is the former mayor of Selmer, Tennessee. He also knew Matthew Winkler.

And Mr. Whittington, I want to thank you for your time today. And I also want to know about the relationship that you had with Mr. Winkler. How did you know him?

JIMMY WHITTINGTON, ACQUAINTANCE OF SLAIN MINISTER: Well, he -- he was a minister in the community. We had formally had all ministers rotating as to opening the city board meetings with prayer. So I had met him when he first moved to Selmer under those circumstances.

Later, we were both involved in the Katrina relief. He and his church, I know, collected goods to send south. And he and I had several conversations during those days.

NGUYEN: What kind of a man was he? I mean, you talk about these -- these things that -- these great things that he did within the community serving as a preacher and helping with Katrina relief. What kind of a man was he? Especially in your dealings with him. WHITTINGTON: Very straightforward. Very open. Very honest. Everything I think you would like, that you would want your minister to be.

NGUYEN: And we're looking at a picture right now. He seemed to have the perfect family, a loving wife, three beautiful children. But something obviously went very wrong.

How shocked is this community? We heard it from Pam Killingsworth, a member of the church. She sounded like she was on the brink of tears. Are there many in this community who can't fathom what has happened?

WHITTINGTON: I doubt that there's anybody in the community that can fathom what happened. Small communities sometimes have a tendency to think these things happen elsewhere, and when it happens to you, it comes as a total shock.

NGUYEN: And when you heard the news of Mr. Winkler being shot in the back in his home, shot dead, did you think it was somebody else, an outsider, an intruder or a burglar? Someone -- definitely not a member of his own family?

WHITTINGTON: Actually, that was the first thought, yes, when I heard it.

NGUYEN: And -- go ahead.

WHITTINGTON: Well, you just go on from there. Things transpire. Different opinions come out. You find out a little bit more as you go along.

But I think that the past 24 hours the great concern has not been who did it but where is the mother and the children? And when they were found, I think there's a certain amount of relief that now exists that did not exist before. I know yesterday I was tied in knots just wondering where they were, what was happening with them. It's, to some degree, a relief knowing that the children are safe, that there's nothing further that has happened.

NGUYEN: Obviously, very difficult, very shocking.

Again, his wife, Mary Winkler, the prime suspect in this murder. She has agreed, according to The Associated Press, to be transferred from Alabama, where she was found, back to Tennessee to face charges. And we understand those charges will be first-degree murder charges.

We're going to hear more about that in this news conference, which should be happening shortly.

But Jimmy Whittington, we appreciate your time and your insight not only into the family, but into the community, a community where you served as mayor there for some time. Thank you so much, sir.

WHITTINGTON: Thank you. NGUYEN: And as you see there on the left-hand side of your screen, we are still waiting for this news conference to take place. A lot of paperwork going on right now, a lot of loose ends being tied up before officials step out and give the definitive word on what they know and exactly how things transpired.

We're hoping to learn a whole lot more about this family, and especially about Mary Winkler, who we understand at this point is not only the prime suspect, but is the person who will face charges in this case.

So you'll want to stay tuned for that. We're going to take a short break, but please know that should anything develop, should this news conference get under way, we will break in and bring you that live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: A lot of questions surrounding the death of a Tennessee preacher. Matthew Winkler was found shot to death in his home, in the back, no less, on Wednesday. And what we have learned -- here's what we know, that his wife who you see pictured in that family photo right there is the suspect in this case.

She was found in Alabama, and according to The Associated Press, has agreed to be transferred to Tennessee to face charges in this murder case. Charges that we have learned today will include first- degree murder.

So we are waiting on a news conference from local officials there in Tennessee to tell us exactly what has transpired, what information they know surrounding the circumstances of this shooting, and anything else that could lead to any answers to the many questions that have come up in this case of Matthew Winkler, a preacher, a man who truly was loved within his own community, found shot to death in his home on Wednesday.

So we're standing by live for that. And trust you me, when it happens we're going to bring it to you live.

In the meantime, we're following a number of other different developments. This one out of Los Angeles.

And CNN's Tony Harris is in the newsroom with the latest on that -- Tony.

HARRIS: Wow. Betty, while you're waiting for that news conference -- and we'll certainly get you there as soon as it begins -- I want to show you what's happening right now in Los Angeles. Take a look at this.

These are students at several Los Angeles area schools, including just a couple of the schools involved here, Huntington Park high school, Washington High School, and these are students who have walked out of class, have hit the bricks to protest immigration legislation that has already passed the House. And they're trying to influence the Senate debate on immigration reform that is set to begin next week.

Now, here's the thing, Betty. There was a larger, coordinated, organized demonstration where the organizers are expecting upwards of 500,000 people to participate. That is scheduled for tomorrow to oppose any crackdown on immigration, but obviously things are getting started a day early.

Next week, as I mentioned, a lot of action on immigration. It said it will take up immigration reform with at least four different proposals kicking around.

Clearly, one of the facts that these young people are responding to is the passage of what's called the Sensenbrenner Bill, his legislation that he sponsored on immigration reform that was passed in December. That bill makes entering the country illegal, and it makes it a felony and calls for a construction of 700 miles of security fencing along the U.S. and Mexico border.

President Bush, Betty, is going to Mexico next week to meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox to talk about immigration, of course. President Bush is asking for a couple of things.

First, a civil debate next week on the subject. And the president also wants immigration reform that includes a guest worker program for immigrants.

And then there is the question, Betty, of what to do with the more than 11 million people already in the United States illegally and if they will be given some kind of an opportunity to earn legal status. So here we are once again watching -- you know, for a moment there I wanted to say impromptu, but you can't have this many kids just sort of leave class without some sort of coordination and organization.

So we continue to watch this free-form demonstration as it unfolds in and around Los Angeles. So far, we can tell you that it is a nonviolent demonstration and it is all in opposition to strident, strict immigration reform.

We'll continue to watch it and bring you developments -- Betty.

NGUYEN: It's quite a sight. You can see there, too, that many of the students are carrying flags around their shoulders.

And we keep watching this particular group in the front. But as it widens out, this is not just a handful of students. There's quite a...

HARRIS: Oh, no, no, no.

NGUYEN: ... lot of students involved in this walkout.

HARRIS: I can't tell you how many cities are involved, but, you know, our information that this is going on in several Los Angeles area schools. And like I said a moment ago, I mean, you know, this has to be something that is has been talked about, something that has been planned.

It is certainly attached to the larger demonstration tomorrow where, again, organizers are expecting upwards of 500,000 people to participate. So clearly this is something that's starting early and something that was clearly coordinated.

And I will tell you this, that police, you know, have been doing the best job they can of trying to keep this under control and try to cordon it off and corral it to some extent. You know, but there's been a couple moments that have been a bit dodgey with things thrown in the direction of police on motorcycles. But no real outbreak of violence that I have been able to witness in sort of watching the feed come in.

Don't know what this scene is at this gas station, convenience store, whatever is going on here.

NGUYEN: Maybe they're making a pit stop. I don't know.

HARRIS: And so we're mindful that this is a fluid situation right now. KTTV and all of the other CNN affiliates out in Los Angeles are following this. And so we're seeing several groups as they move through the streets.

That gives you a sense that this is kind of an en masse demonstration, very fluid, unfolding right before our eyes. And as you can see, police are doing the best they can.

NGUYEN: Yes, they're watching it. And, you know, you mentioned something, and I think it's worth stressing here. This is not the only area in which this is happening. Atlanta, also an alliance of Hispanic organizations have formed together to have a commercial boycott and a work stoppage. So this is something that is really resonating throughout the nation.

HARRIS: Well, immigration reform is going to be -- I tell you, the president has said over the last couple of days he really wants a civil debate on this, because he understands full well that this is a very heated debate. It's got his party at odds right now. And so yes, I mean, this is something that is going to be watched over the next couple of days. And when you throw into the mix these young people who are making their own stand on this right now. You know, there are a lot of elements in pot right now and, you know, there's the potential for this thing to boil over.

NGUYEN: And of course, we will be watching every step of the way. Tony Harris, thank you for keeping us on top of all of that.

HARRIS: Sure thing, Betty.

NGUYEN: We're also staying on top of that story out of Tennessee. You've heard a lot about it this morning, and it's for good reason. There have been a lot of developments in the case of a preacher found shot to death in his home on Wednesday. We have learned that his wife is the prime suspect. We're going to learn more about the charges and the circumstances surrounding that shooting when this news conference gets under way, and it should happen shortly. We've been watching a lot of the activity around that front door.

And as CNN's Rick Sanchez has been telling us, at this point, it is just a matter of paperwork. And as soon as the local officials get that done, they will step outside, speak to the media and hopefully answer a lot of our questions. So you want to stay tuned for all of that. And when it happens, we're going to bring it to you live. Stay with CNN LIVE TODAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: Let's take a look at this family photo, what seems to be a happy family, one that was beloved in the community. A situation has developed within that family, and we understand now that Matthew Winkler was found slot to death in his home. His wife is the prime suspect, and she has agreed to return from Alabama, where she was found on Thursday, back to Tennessee to face charges in this murder case. We're waiting on local officials to give us all the details surrounding the circumstances of this shooting, this murder. And when that happens, we'll bring it to you live. So stand by for that.

But in the meantime, we do have a lot of other news to tell you about today.

A sixth day of searching, but still no sign of two missing Milwaukee boys. In a news conference last hour, police said their detectives are pairing up with FBI agents to recanvass the search area. Family members think someone snatched Quadrevion Henning and Purvis Parker while they were playing outside on Sunday. There's a picture of the two at the bottom of the screen. But police say so far there is no evidence of a crime. And members of the community gathered for a candlelight vigil last night. The reward for the boys' safe return has grown to more than $23,000.

911 gets a half million calls a day around the country. More than a few aren't getting through the emergency workers. Some 27 calls, to be exact, to Chattanooga's 911 system were not answered in 2005. In a case just this week, a woman dialed 911 only to get a constant ring. That's because three of four operators were on a break. Yes, they were on a break. That lady eventually got the fire department to her burning kitchen, but only after her nephew ran to the fire station to summon help.

"Very, very scary." That is how some passengers describe a nighttime fire that raced through more than 100 rooms on the Star Princess cruiseliner, bound for Jamaica. A smoldering cigarette left on the balcony is the likely cause, but that is still under investigation. A 75-year-old man from Georgia collapsed on deck and died of an apparent heart attack, and 11 other passengers suffered smoke inhalation.

Dr. Philip Shields shared his own experience with CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DR. PHILIP SHIELDS, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: Looked out on the balcony. and about 50 yards from my cabin there were flames coming out of another cabin that was aft of the ship. And so I got my family up, my wife, my son, and started gathering things to get out of the room. And then they sounded the general alarm to go to -- they have drills where you go to stations on the ship.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

NGUYEN: At least two Star Princess tours have been canceled, leaving thousands of disappointed tourists looking for something else to do.

Well, we have new details on the 12 American tourists killed in that bus crash in Chile. Today their bodies are being flown back to the United States. Ten of the victims live in the same condominium complex in New Jersey. As some of their friends have said, they grew up together, grew old together, and on Wednesday, they died together. The victims were passengers on the celebrity cruise ship Millennium. They had booked their own excursion to a national park when their bus driver swerved to avoid an oncoming truck.

(WEATHER REPORT)

NGUYEN: Well, it looks like it's a sunny day in Selmer, Tennessee. That is the site of a news conference that should be taking place any moment now. We're going to bring you a live picture right there at the local police station.

What we're hoping to learn is a lot more about the death of Matthew Winkler. He was a preacher there, found shot to death in his home on Wednesday. And his wife is the prime suspect in this case. She faces first degree murder charges. We want to know a whole lot more about exactly what happened and why it happened. So you want to stay tuned for that news conference.

It's a very fluid situation. I know we've been telling you for some time now that this news conference was going to start. It was supposed to start at 11:30. Well it's now 12:39 Eastern, so it's been over an hour.

But this is a fluid situation. And as we learn from our reporter on the scene, correspondent Rick Sanchez, the local authorities are really, at this point, just tying up some paperwork. Once that paperwork is finished, we hope to hear from them on exactly what they know. So when that happens, we will bring it to you live here on CNN LIVE TODAY.

Thanks for your patience. And do stay with us for the latest on this story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: We want to take you live now to Selmer, Tennessee, where we' will be learning more about a preacher who was shot to death there. Let's take a listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: TBI, FBI, other investigative agencies.

We're prepared to make a statement in this case now. I'll turn this over to investigator Roger Rickman.

ROGER RICKMAN, SELMER, TENNESSEE POLICE: On March 22nd, 2006, the body of Matthew Winkler was found in his home in Selmer, Tennessee. Mr. Winkler had been shot. On March 23rd, 2006 the deceased's wife, Mary Cara (ph) Winkler, was apprehended by law enforcement officers in Orange Beach, Alabama.

According to agents of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Mary Winkler has confessed to the murder of her husband, Matthew Winkler, shooting him on March 22nd, 2006 leaving Selmer with their three daughters.

These warrants have been faxed down to the TBI and the West Tennessee Drug Task Force and Violent Crimes, who are down there right now, and we anticipate this warrant to be served within the next hour. And they're in the process now of getting her extradited back to Tennessee.

QUESTION: Did she tell you why she committed the murder?

RICKMAN: I haven't heard that.

QUESTION: What did she say? What did you garner from the interviews with her?

RICKMAN: I know nothing about the interviews. I don't know what was said down there.

QUESTION: What's going to happen to the children?

RICKMAN: One of the grandfathers is down there now and ready to take them and bring them back to Mountaineer (ph), County.

QUESTION: She agreed to waive extradition?

RICKMAN: I don't have that information.

QUESTION: What do we know about the murder weapon?

RICKMAN: I have no information on the murder weapon.

QUESTION: How was he found? How was he killed?

RICKMAN: That -- you all need to understand this investigation is still in the preliminary stages. There's a lot of information that we can't release right now, which could be detrimental to this investigation.

QUESTION: Do we know what the children saw or didn't see? A lot of people are very concerned about these children.

RICKMAN: To my knowledge, the children saw nothing. QUESTION: Why is that?

RICKMAN: That's what has been indicated to me.

QUESTION: I mean, I guess what I'm asking you, to amplify that, if you possibly can, were they not at home at the time? Were they in the car waiting for their mother? What do we know?

RICKMAN: I don't know.

QUESTION: You don't know.

QUESTION: Did she resist arrest or anything like that?

RICKMAN: No, sir.

I have no idea.

QUESTION: Can you all go through the process of what happens to her once she's back here?

RICKMAN: Once the waiver of extradition is complete, she will be brought back by the Mountaineer County Sheriff's Office, and I anticipate that to happen some time this weekend.

QUESTION: Where was he shot?

RICKMAN: I can't divulge that information right now.

QUESTION: What was found in the van?

RICKMAN: I can't divulge that information either.

QUESTION: We learned that there were several search warrants filed. There were several search warrants that took place either last night or into the morning. Can you tell us anything about what was found, or what was...

RICKMAN: In Alabama?

QUESTION: Either in Alabama or here?

RICKMAN: I don't have that information.

I have not heard that either.

QUESTION: But why was she pulled over last night? Was it speeding?

RICKMAN: It was due to the Amber Alert.

QUESTION: Do you know the process of what happens to the children regarding where they'll finally end up? Do the parents get involved?

RICKMAN: There is a grandparent, I understand, that is down there right now. They're having to go through the legal proceedings for Alabama for him to get custody to be able to bring them back to Tennessee.

QUESTION: When you say a grandparent, you're talking about one of the parents of the deceased minister?

RICKMAN: Exactly.

QUESTION: And they're in Alabama?

RICKMAN: That's my understanding. They're there now.

QUESTION: But you don't know if they've been granted custody yet?

RICKMAN: No, sir.

Yes.

QUESTION: Do you know what time?

RICKMAN: I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1:30.

RICKMAN: 1:30, I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Is there anything that you can share with us that would give people any sense of why something like this took place?

RICKMAN: Well, like I said, this is still in the preliminary investigation. And You know, a lot of the stuff I can't divulge right now, I'm sorry.

QUESTION: But certainly you got it from your conversations with her. So she has stated why she may have done this?

RICKMAN: Her exact conversation, I do not know what she said exactly.

QUESTION: Our understanding is she has waived extradition. When do you expect to bring her back, and what's the process when she gets back? Where will she go?

RICKMAN: She'll be brought back sometime this weekend, she'll be brought to the Mountaineer County Criminal Justice Center, and she will have an arraignment one day next week.

QUESTION: Do you know when?

RICKMAN: I don't know.

QUESTION: But what is it, in Tennessee when you say you're charging her with first-degree murder, what does that entail? What does that say to us? I know it's different in some states. Was there a plan on her part, for example? RICKMAN: First-degree murder is premeditated.

QUESTION: So she premeditated this in the opinion of law enforcement here?

RICKMAN: That's not the charge. The charge is first-degree murder. And that's really all I need to elaborate on that right now.

QUESTION: Is there anything about the crime scene itself? Anything about the scene, anything that you saw there as you've investigated this, that leads you to believe that this is a crime of passion of any form?

RICKMAN: No, sir.

QUESTION: Who conducted the interviews down in Alabama?

RICKMAN: Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the West Tennessee Drug Task Force and Violent Crimes.

QUESTION: Were you guys part of that investigation at all?

RICKMAN: No, sir.

QUESTION: What's the FBI's role?

RICKMAN: TBI.

QUESTION: The FBI, what was their role? I know they were going along...

RICKMAN: They were just here assisting.

QUESTION: Forensics?

RICKMAN: No. The TBI did all the forensics. They were just here for moral support and to help us to do anything that we needed.

QUESTION: They were in Alabama as well?

RICKMAN: No. TBI was in Alabama with the (INAUDIBLE) Task Force.

QUESTION: What is her state of mind right now? What can you tell us about her when you interviewed her? Is she OK?

RICKMAN: I haven't interviewed her.

QUESTION: Well, what have you learned from your colleagues?

RICKMAN: They haven't said anything about her state of mind.

QUESTION: Is she cooperative?

RICKMAN: Apparently she was very cooperative.

QUESTION: Answered all the questions?

To my knowledge, they don't have no idea what has happened to their father.

And that's all we have. Thank you.

QUESTION: Have there been any problems in the marriage?

RICKMAN: No, no, ma'am.

This will be the last news conference that we have.

NGUYEN: And there you have it. You've been listening to Roger Rickman, an investigator in this case. A lot of questions directed at him, a lot of them, obviously, unanswered because the investigation is still ongoing.

But I think something that is very important that we learned a little bit earlier that the wife in this case, Mary Winkler, is the prime suspect. She will face first-degree murder charges. But earlier it was unclear if she actually confessed to the crime. Well, according to Mr. Rickman, there was a confession.

And let's bring in CNN's Rick Sanchez who is there, and you heard him directly of those questions to Mr. Rickman. This is something that was not only confirmed today, but it leads us into some new insight as to possibly what may have happened, although, Rick, the investigator says the crime scene doesn't appear to be indicating that this was a crime of passion, which is very interesting.

SANCHEZ: Yes, I think they're being real tight-lipped at this point. You know, it's really a multiagency investigation. As you heard him say, you know, the FBI is here for moral support, but we've been watching the FBI's role in this, and they've been helping the TBI, helping the locals as well. So there really are, at this point, to use the expression, a lot of chiefs involved in this, and they're real careful what they release here, vis-a-vis what they're going to be saying in Alabama, for example.

But it does seem clear at this point, and just to take off on the point you had made moments ago, Betty, earlier we had learned that it was through their interviews with Mary Winkler that they were able to charge her.

And police officials earlier told us we're not going to use to word confession, but it might be used later on in the news conference, which kind of gave us a hint, if you will, that they probably had been able to get a confession from her. And now, as you hear from Mr. Rickman, they have confirmed indeed that she has confessed to the crime.

There's still, though, a lot of unanswered questions about, you know, why she did it. And we learned as well -- and I think this is important, ad it kind of alleviates in the minds of a lot of people here who have been very concerned, what role did the children play in this? What did they see? He just told us -- and you heard it for yourself -- that the children were not present, were not there when this alleged crime took place, which, you know, is the kind of thing that you're almost, as a reporter, as a father, happy to hear because this is the kind of thing that would certainly have -- as bad as it is right now, you can imagine what kind of affect that would have on the children.

And we're learning now as well that, as we reported earlier, it may be just a matter of time before the parents of the deceased minister actually are granted custody of these children -- Betty.

NGUYEN: Yes, the grandfather is working those legal proceedings right now to get custody, according to Mr. Rickman. Another thing that he said, just very quickly, Rick, that was of importance, that the children right now have no idea what happened to their father. So as that news is spread and once they get it, obviously, it's going to have a devastating effect.

And we're gathering all this information. It is just coming into CNN, and we're going to try to sort all of it out, what little we were able to gain from that news conference. As you know, an investigation is still underway, so they're going to be very tight lipped on what they can release to the media. But rest assured that we'll continue to follow this and bring you the latest information just as soon as it's available to us.

Also there is a situation out in California that we want to tell you about. That's coming up right after this break. You're going to have to stay tuned for that. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: Want to get you an update on a story that we reported a little bit earlier, a suspicious package in a car in California. We were told it was all clear, but CNN's Tony Harris has been working this story, and we've learned some more information.

HARRIS: Yes, you remember, Betty, that was that package that was found in El Monte, California. Police checked it out. It turns out police did, in fact, find a homemade bomb on the back seat of that hatchback there. L.A. County Sheriff's Sergeant Don Manumaleuna is on the line with us. So Sergeant, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

SGT. DON MANUMALEUNA, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF: Oh, any time.

HARRIS: Well, I have to ask you, Sergeant, can you describe the device that you eventually found?

MANUMALEUNA: The device was an improvised explosive device that was found in the rear seat of the hatchback. Our arson explosives detail determined that it was an explosive device. They rendered it safe on the scene, and they have taken the device to an undisclosed location for detonation.

HARRIS: And my understanding is that it has been detonated, defused safely, is that correct?

MANUMALEUNA: That is correct.

HARRIS: OK, for folks who are just joining us, take us back to the start of this whole episode. My understanding is that it started with a traffic stop at about 5:00 a.m. local time.

MANUMALEUNA: Yes, it occurred at 5:00 this morning on Rosemead (ph) Boulevard in the city of South El Monte. One of our deputies observed a vehicle that had ran a red light. And they made a traffic stop of the vehicle to cite it. When they contacted the driver, they observed a package in the rear seat that they believed to be suspicious.

So they pulled the driver out and they contacted our bomb squad, who came out. So they did an investigation and found that it was indeed an improvised explosive device. And they rendered it safe. And they took the device to an undisclosed location so that it could be detonated safely.

HARRIS: Sergeant, has the all-clear -- we understand there was a limited evacuation of the area. Has the all-clear been sounded?

MANUMALEUNA: Yes, the Rosemead Boulevard has been reopened to traffic, and no one has been injured, thankfully.

HARRIS: Sergeant, thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

MANUMALEUNA: Any time.

HARRIS: OK. And, Betty, that's it. The bomb found in the back seat, defused safely. And the all-clear has been sounded.

NGUYEN: Important information there. We were watching that for quite some time. Thank you for that update.

HARRIS: Sure thing.

NGUYEN: You're going to hear much more of the Tennessee story about the preacher there who was shot to death, the wife the prime suspect facing first degree murder charges.

You want to stay with CNN because LIVE FROM with Kyra Phillips will delve into that and many more news stories of the day, so stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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