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Girl Sexually Assaulted on Videotape found Safe; Dying for Change: Myanmar Violence; Crime Fighting Tool: DNA Testing

Aired September 28, 2007 - 23:00   ET


SHERIFF TONY DEMEO, NYE COUNTY, NEVADA: And like I said before, on behalf of the Nye County community, the Nye County Sheriff's Office and I can't speak for Dave, but I know the D.A.'s office as well -- on behalf of the Nye County D.A.'s Office, we do appreciate the investment that the media has had in our community and in this case in order for us to bring -- to identify this young girl, to make sure that she's safe, she is alive and well because that's one of the concerns people had. They were making that -- once they found out what her name was that she would somehow be discarded, that she's alive and well, that the family members, the family is very supportive of this young girl. We believe that with the family support and as much as less intrusion in their life as possible, unless they decide to disclose any type of information, that we respect their privacy and we respect anonymity.
And it's tough for me to say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from -- from Brooklyn. But let me just say that we -- we -- we're looking now. The person that should be up on that screen is not this young victim, but should be Chester Arthur Stiles.

This individual which we believe at this time may not be -- that does not -- may not be in this jurisdiction and that that's the person that this nation should be looking for. And any information that you have, contact your local law enforcement agency, contact the Nye County Sheriff's Office.

Because basically or not, believe it or not, we -- we will get this individual. Nye County Sheriff's Office, any law enforcement entity will be relentless in -- in tracking this person down and bringing him to the criminal justice system.


DEMEO: And I'm going to give this to Detective Boruchowitz from Nye County Sheriff's Office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us a timeline.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. What happened when you realized you had the girl?


Basically, first of all, just real quick, I'd remark off the sheriff, I take absolutely no credit for this investigation. Full credit falls upon your viewers. And like we've said all along, thank you. Thank you for the coverage and your continued patience with us.

Basically this evening we received numerous tips once we aired the suspect's photo, as well as the victim's name.

And using several of those tips from the media, we were able to coordinate our efforts and actually verify a lot of the information that was coming in very quickly to actually identify exactly where this victim was and exactly who she was.

I'm going to remind you, obviously, before you ask any questions because I know what's coming, this is an ongoing police investigation. This is a victim of a sexual assault. And, thus, the information we can release to you is extremely limited, reference information.

I understand that because of this investigation and the way it's gone that the media has been thoroughly involved and information has been forthcoming and I assure you, I will tell you anything I can and anything else I can't. On behalf...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Stiles in fact her dad?

BORUCHOWITZ: Hang on. Stiles is definitely not her father.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is she connected to the family? How is Stiles connected to the family?

BORUCHOWITZ: Stiles is connected to the family on a several- tier-friend connection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This happened in the Allen household in Las Vegas. Talked to Stephanie Allen's friend. She said that she recognized the sheets.

BORUCHOWITZ: I can't discuss that. Obviously, that's going to be directly correlated to the ongoing police investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us the timeline. When did you get the final tip? When did you -- give us the timeline as to what happened.

BORUCHOWITZ: The final tip was approximately two hours before we notified you of the press conference. To be honest with you, I didn't have a watch. I couldn't tell you what time it was.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it due to the press or the family last name?

BORUCHOWITZ: The tip was -- it's not one tip. OK, we got numerous tips and these tips allowed us to identify exactly where she was, who she was and exactly the situation that was going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you give us a little narrative then of how this kind of unfolded? BORUCHOWITZ: Tips were coming in by the hundreds. Immediately after the last press conference, they were being screened for obviously specific things we wanted in reference to this investigation. Those specific leads were handed directly to the detective's division for immediate follow-up.

In a matter of approximately a half hour period of time enough tips came into our office that we were immediately able to link together.

A phone call was made to the victim's family and immediately identified where we could go.

We responded immediately, located the victim and notified you guys.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the family aware of all this? Was the family watching their daughter?

BORUCHOWITZ: Absolutely not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is the girl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They had no clue any of this was happening?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did the girl react when you found her?

BORUCHOWITZ: How did the girl react when we found her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When she was found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all saw what she looks like from the photos. We all saw her eyes, her face, we talked about that. What did she look like when you met her? What were her eyes and her face?

BORUCHOWITZ: She looks like a very happy 7-year-old girl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does the mother not know this is going on?


BORUCHOWITZ: The mother has not watched the news. She received a phone call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did she not know that this was happening to her daughter?

BORUCHOWITZ: That -- that's obviously going to be investigated. And during the investigation that obviously will come forth. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did she tell you about this, the attack?

BORUCHOWITZ: Absolutely nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does she remember it?

BORUCHOWITZ: We can't discuss that. That's the ongoing investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the family still related to Stiles or friends with him at all?


BORUCHOWITZ: I would highly doubt that after this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the last time she saw Stiles, the little girl, when is the last time she saw him?

BORUCHOWITZ: I can't discuss that either.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did he have access to her? Because the -- the suggestion was made that there must have been a familiarity and obviously she must have been left in his care because he did not seem on the tape as if he was hurried or as if he was unfamiliar with her. How did he have access to her? And what kind of access? Was he a care giver in essence?

BORUCHOWITZ: As far as we can tell, he was not a caregiver.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So how did he -- how was he -- how did he have access to her?

DEMEO: May I answer that question?

Understand this is that this investigation -- this part of the investigation dealing with the victim and dealing with the -- the case, that's now being turned over -- that is metro's investigation. And those are questions that metro will probably be investigating.

You know, we're going to give you as much information on this, but remember one thing is that now this investigation belongs to another jurisdiction.

This case, this crime occurred in Clark County. And those detectives there will be looking -- will be looking at -- at how this occurred and the situation involved in it.

We ascertain right now from the information we got is that the mother -- and correct me if I'm wrong on this, detective, the mother was not aware of this.

BORUCHOWITZ: Correct. DEMEO: And -- and what had brought this to -- to her attention was the name, was the name of the victim. And I think the name of the suspect...


DEMEO: All correlation.

OK. I'll give this to Detective Boruchowitz.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... relationship between Stiles and Tuck?


BORUCHOWITZ: At this point that has not been identified. I assure you that will be part of the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe he's still in Las Vegas?



BORUCHOWITZ: I have no way to believe that. All I can tell you is wherever he is, he needs to be found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Darren Tuck failed the polygraph test. So he's obviously a liar. Did he film this? Did he have anything to do with this?

BORUCHOWITZ: As far as we know right now, he has -- we have no direct correlation to say that he filmed it. I also have no direct correlation to say he did not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know who...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the mother know who Stiles is?

BORUCHOWITZ: I -- that's part of the ongoing investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know the other incident on the tape occurred in Nye County?

BORUCHOWITZ: Because it was reported to us in Nye County.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the mother know who Stiles is?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David, what charges would you recommend against Mr. Stiles?

BORUCHOWITZ: That's -- that's not my responsibility, thank goodness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. District Attorney, could you -- could you answer that...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or first, how did the tape get to Nye County?

BORUCHOWITZ: That's still undetermined and still under investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The little girl lives with the father too or just with the mother?

BORUCHOWITZ: We're not going to discuss her family, OK? What I can tell you is this -- this little girl's family has asked us to let you as the press and to let the nation that's been watching know that they are extremely grateful that this was brought to their attention through these means.

I know that at some point she may consider speaking to the press. OK? She's asked, obviously, that people not hunt her down and assures you that she's appreciative.

And in reality, much of the investigation is still under investigation. And, thus, we really cannot release a lot of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) How old was the girl when the tape was made?

BORUCHOWITZ: She's seven now and it was four years ago.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detective, I -- maybe I'm a little dense, but I have trouble understanding how it is that this could have been going on with a 3-year-old and the parents wouldn't know it, they wouldn't see any signs of the sexual assault or anything of that.

BORUCHOWITZ: Those are obvious questions that will come forth during the investigation and that will be metro's responsibility to follow up on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the family been cleared totally of this?

BORUCHOWITZ: That -- that's going to be up to metro to handle that in terms of that investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's still not clear on how the mom knows Stiles. What did she say -- what was the relationship?


BORUCHOWITZ: I understand it's not clear to you guys and I wish I could help you with that. Unfortunately, that is a direct part of the investigation that's going to be crucial to metro. We can't release anything about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the best way to describe his relationship with the family?

BORUCHOWITZ: Like -- like I said in the beginning, he's a several tier-away family friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will Nye County sheriffs be handling the other incident on the tape?

BORUCHOWITZ: Absolutely. We'll continue to investigate that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he know the girl through Stephanie Allen?

BORUCHOWITZ: I'm not going to comment on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me make sure -- what do you mean several tiers away? So he didn't have a direct relationship with anyone in the family?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A friend of a friend? Is that what you're trying to say?

BORUCHOWITZ: In all honesty, we can't comment on the direct relationship between him and the girl. This is an ongoing investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simply a family friend.

BORUCHOWITZ: That would be simply put.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About how long did the abuse -- I mean, how long did it last? I mean, months?

BORUCHOWITZ: That is obviously still undetermined and that obviously is the focus of the ongoing investigation to determine how long this went on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she was three years old at the time?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mother was completely unaware that this abuse was going on. Are we to assume then that the child has not received any psychological and physical care for this abuse? Is she going to...




BORUCHOWITZ: I would have no -- no knowledge of any care she's received. But the assumption would be if the mother didn't know, she couldn't obviously provide care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you put her in contact with people now?

BORUCHOWITZ: She's been put in contact with the necessary people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detective, on the -- on the Tuck -- on the Darren Tuck question...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff mentioned a probation violation. Would you amplify -- tell us more about that?

BORUCHOWITZ: He's currently on probation because he's...



BORUCHOWITZ: Do you know?


BORUCHOWITZ: Sheriff probably...


DEMEO: OK. I apologize. From the probation, he's on parole for a child support violation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What jurisdiction...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your biggest fears...


DEMEO: I don't know. That would be a question (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but I know that he's in -- he -- he failed to pay child support. There was a -- he went to court. He had certain obligations to -- for him to meet under that release condition. He had failed to meet those conditions. Part of that failure to meet criteria was involvement in this particular case.

As far as being a suspect for exhibiting pornography and being in possession of pornography, the state of Nevada takes those types of crimes and especially parole and probation -- I know the director Phil Giato (ph) -- and we're making -- and the A.G.'s office is taking sex crimes very seriously. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he being charged with a sex crime?

DEMEO: He's being charged. He -- we -- the D.A.'s office is going to charge them. That's their responsibility. We file the case with D.A.'s office and that's a question for Bob Becker to answer. We file charges at the D.A.'s office for these two charges. One being in possession of child pornography, a Class B felony, one to six?


DEMEO: The other is exhibiting child pornography, which is a Class A felony, which is ten to life.

So Mr. Tuck -- and not only that, but we are also forwarding a case to the federal agencies as well for them to look at this to see if they want to pursue any federal prosecution against Mr. Tuck.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) file now that he has failed the polygraph? And if so, will (UNINTELLIGIBLE)


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We have been listening to a press conference.

Tony Demeo, the Nye County sheriff, as well as a detective on the case. The case of a little girl Madison. We now know her name. That's all we really know really of her identity. She is 7 years old now. In this tape, which you see, she was said to be 3 years. It was taken four years ago. The mother apparently recognized the furniture in this tape.

The mother apparently recognized the furniture in this tape. The mother herself did not see the weeks of media coverage on this, did not see these pictures.

When the name of the girl was released just yesterday, as well as the suspect's name, that name was released today, that led police to an address.

When they went to the address, they found the little girl with her mother, the mother apparently unaware of what her daughter had allegedly been through, what her daughter had been through that we all saw or that the police saw on this tape.

There are -- they did not really specify how Chester Arthur Stiles, a man who is now a suspect in this case, a man who is wanted by police -- there you see his picture. They say that he was related several layers away from the girl, a friend of a friend kind of relationship. They weren't exactly specifying how he knew the family or knew the little girl or how it was possible that this man had access to the little girl without the mother's knowledge when this girl was just three years of age.

The police detective said that this little girl Madison now looks like a very happy 7-year-old girl.

What exactly has gone on, a lot of the details still unknown at this point.

We're going to take a short break and bring you the other news happening today.

Continued crackdowns in Burma, blood still running in the streets. We'll take you there, next.


COOPER: The pictures tell the story. Turmoil in Burma.

Tonight, anywhere from nine to several hundred people have died -- we simply don't know -- killed by troops bent on suppressing pro- democracy rallies and now hermetically sealing off Burma from the rest of the world. Phone lines have been cut. Cell reception is spotty, Internet access unplugged, foreign media has been barred, or, as it happened yesterday, literally shot dead in the streets. Monasteries there have been ransacked. Monks, who have been leading the marches, have been murdered.

It was quieter today than it has been in days, but not a good kind of quiet.


COOPER (voice-over): These are some of the only pictures to come today out of Burma, which is called Myanmar by its government, the flow of information all but cut off by the military crackdown.

The pictures shows only small groups of protesters taking to the streets of the country's largest city, a stark contrast to the last two days, when thousands of monks marched peacefully yet defiantly, in the face of the country's heavily armed military. And a sure sign that police and soldiers are taking back the streets and beating back demonstrators seeking democracy.

JOHN SANDLIN, BURMESE EXILE: Now they shoot the people and they shoot the monks. What the hell is this? I don't know what should I do. I can't even sleep last night. I really worry about my friends, my brother. It's all of my relatives.

COOPER: But the pictures of bloody violence and death have already made their way around the world. Here, the chilling image of a Japanese journalist shot through the heart as he covered the story.

The sight of the quiet and courageous monks marching in Yangon and the country's second largest city, Mandalay, inspired the opposition to come out in force. The monks are revered by the Buddhists, who make up 80 percent to 90 percent of the country's population.

They are the junta's worst enemy, their most powerful weapon, nonviolence. Today, they're locked inside their monasteries, imprisoned behind gates and barbed wires, watched over by soldiers.

Gone, too, the opposition's main access to the outside world, the Internet, used to send both blogs and pictures of soldiers turning their weapons on the country's citizens, used also to ask the world for help. Today, the government pulled the plug, cutting off Internet connections inside the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To those activists who really want to separate out the information, those people, they're really incredible. They know that they will be arrested or they will be killed if -- if the authorities find out.

COOPER: What began as a protest against high fuel prices grew when the monks joined the march. But this isolated nation has a history of human rights abuses, evidence one scientific research group says, by satellite photos showing the disappearance of villages and increase in the number of military camps.

The government claims soldiers were forced to fire on demonstrators who would not obey orders, and they say they feared a replay of what they call riots of 1988, which were pro-democracy demonstrations where more than 3,000 protesters died.

But these demonstrations have also been deadly. The government says nine people have died, but few believe the number is that low.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm afraid that we believe that the loss of life in Burma is far greater than has been reported so far.

COOPER: Outside of Burma, refugees who fled the brutal military regime held their own protests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We showed them we are very angry. We are behind our monks. We're going to go on. We're going to fight for them. We're going to fight.

COOPER: And world leaders, from the White House to the U.N., called on the country's military to stop the violence. But there is little hope that the country's isolated and oppressive leaders will listen.


COOPER (on camera): Also, today, Burmese inside and outside the country were buzzing with reports of some kind of mutiny within the military ranks. So far, however, there is no independent confirmation of that.

As we mentioned, it's something of a no-go zone for reporters.

Earlier tonight, I spoke with CNN's Dan Rivers, monitoring developments from nearby Bangkok, Thailand.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: So, Dan, government authorities in Burma restricted the movements of the U.N. World Food Program, hindering their efforts to feed about half-a-million people. That's about 25 percent of the nation is below the poverty line. How bad could the situation get there?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I think it could get really bad, if aid is impeded. This is a country which heavily relies on aid to feed its people.

As you say, when we were there a few months ago, driving around, you could really see just how poor this country is in the -- in the back streets of Yangon, as well as out in the countryside. People are in a pretty desperate state, after 45 years living under a brutal military dictatorship.

COOPER: The group Reporters Without Borders ranks Burma 164th out of 168 countries with the most repressed media in the world. They seem pretty much able to kind of shut off the outside world right now.

RIVERS: Yes, I mean, this government administration there doesn't seem to care about world opinion at all. It doesn't seem to care even when its closest ally, China, is urging restraint. And you have got to realize how bad things get if China is urging restraint, hardly a paragon of democracy or, you know, belief in Buddhist ideals, with their track record in Tibet.

So, this is a military junta which feels that it -- there is a risk of it losing control completely. And, if it doesn't crack down, in the same way it did in 1988, it fears it could lose power completely. So, they are showing absolutely no quarter to the people. Bullets, live bullets, are being shot into the crowds every day for the past couple of days.

The death toll, at the moment, we simply don't know. But the impression we get from talking to people inside Myanmar at the moment is that -- that it is climbing steadily. There are some people that we have heard from that have talked about rows of bodies being lined up on the streets and people praying next to them. That gives you some impression of just how bad things are getting there.

COOPER: Dan Rivers, appreciate the reporting.

Thank you, Dan.


COOPER: Digger deeper now, here's my interview with Derek Mitchell, formerly an Asia specialist at the Pentagon and currently with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: This is nothing new to Burma. There were deadly demonstrations there in 1988. Three thousand people were murdered there. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for years now, no matter how many world leaders have called for her release.

How is it that Burma has remained so isolated from the rest of the world?

DEREK MITCHELL, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, they're not entirely isolated. They have opened themselves up to investment from places like China, and India, and Japan, and some of the Southeast Asian states. And that has helped fuel -- feed the elite, so, the -- the military can -- can feed some of the political elites, keep them satisfied, and simply oppress the rest of the country.

COOPER: So, President Bush has asked China to try to intervene, to find some sort of peaceful solution. Does China have that kind of influence on the Burmese government?

MITCHELL: They can't deliver the junta in any political way. The junta themselves has to come to some kind of conclusion that it's better for them to -- to reach out to the world or to reform than it is to stay in place.

They have -- there's no reason why they should believe that. They have all the weapons of power, all the levers of power. They're getting the -- the international resources from investment.


COOPER: Is there any reason to believe that the junta, that there may be some sort of mutiny? I mean, there were lots of reports of that today. It that just wishful thinking?

MITCHELL: You know, there's always these reports that -- that flow through. And there is never really any truth to them. That's -- that is wishful thinking. I hope that is true. That's probably the best hope for Burma, is that there is -- there are some elements within the junta that say, this isn't the right way to go. We can't be shooting monks in the streets.

COOPER: It's -- it's just so horrific to -- you know, you see these pictures and you know the situation is worse than the pictures even show.


COOPER: And there's a sense that you can't do anything about it. The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions. Will that have any effect?

MITCHELL: The sanctions will not. Unilateral sanctions certainly will not by the United States.

We have had really tough sanctions on them for about 10 years. Sanctions have not entirely worked, but I think they have been necessary to show solidarity with the democratic opposition in Burma, who have called for these kinds of sanctions. But we need a much more broad outreach, a more multinational outreach, bringing in the Chinese, the Indians, the Southeast Asians and the Japanese.

There are some things that we do agree on. I mean, these nations don't want an unstable regime on their -- on their border. There are health problems, HIV/AIDS. There are drug problems that cross borders. There are refugee problems. There are some things we can agree on. And, as long as Burma can play one against the other, they get their way. They get the resources and they get to stay in power.

COOPER: The U.N. special envoy set to arrive in the country tomorrow -- President Bush has asked that he be allowed to meet with anyone, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Is there any chance the government is going to comply with that request?

MITCHELL: It's hard to know. I doubt it severely.

You know, she is actually not under house arrest anymore. The latest word was, she was placed in a prison ironically called Insein prison and held there. So, I doubt that they would bring him there to meet with her. But we will see what they do.

COOPER: The -- the monks, why are they so important in all of this?

MITCHELL: This is a very devout country, a very superstitious country as well. And, so, the Buddhist monks have always been sort of the moral core, the moral fiber of the nation.

And I think the -- the regime is afraid of the monks. The monks, during the colonial period, when the British colonized the place, they were at the forefront of the liberation movement. They were at the forefront in 1988. They are typically not political. But, when they do take to the streets, the leadership has to be concerned.

As well, frankly, they have to be concerned about their souls. I mean, the monks are -- some of the monks are saying they're not going to provide the kind of Buddhist homage to the leadership they need in order to get to the next life. So, things like that have -- have made a difference, but apparently not as much a difference as -- as necessary.

COOPER: The first story I ever told as a reporter was, I snuck into Burma and hooked up with some students who had been taking part in the '88 democracy demonstrations. It's sickening to see this happening again, and being crushed, just like it was in '88.

MITCHELL: The -- the -- yes.

COOPER: Derek, we -- go ahead.


Just one more thing. I think the key thing here is, the junta wants us to -- to not pay attention. They want to kick everyone out, no pictures, and then we will lose sight. When there are no pictures, we will move on to something else. The key is to keep a light shone on the Burma issue.

Aung San Suu Kyi, when I met with her 10 years ago, said, please, when these issues get off the news, we still have to shine a light on what is going on here.

COOPER: Well said.

Derek Mitchell, appreciate your -- your expertise. Thank you.


COOPER: As we mentioned, the U.S. still calls this volatile country Burma, not acknowledging its military government. Here's some additional "Raw Data."

Burma's constitution has been suspended since September 18, 1988, when the current junta took power. Burma is the second largest country in Southeast Asia, slightly smaller than Texas. Eighty-nine percent of the population is Buddhist. Twenty-six percent live in poverty on less than a dollar a day.

Up next tonight, keeping you safe from crime. As you'll see, it is a question of identification. It's also a controversy.


COOPER (voice-over): We fingerprint suspects, so why not do fingerprinting one better, with DNA?

JAYANN SEPICH, MOTHER OF KATIE SEPICH: We have this incredible scientific tool, that it's the most powerful crime-solving tool that we have available, and we're not using it, you know, to its fullest potential?

COOPER: So, why aren't we? She says it could have caught her daughter's killer before others were hurt. We're "Keeping them Honest."

Plus: Republicans never shrink from battle, right? Well...

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think this is a disgrace that they're not here.

I think it's a disgrace for our country. I think it's bad for our party.

COOPER: Running for president, but running from a debate involving a black audience. See who couldn't make it.

And who is Barack Obama's favorite Republican candidate? Answers in "Raw Politics" -- next.


COOPER (on camera): Just ahead, an eye-opening report on DNA testing. It's a powerful tool that's helped solve some of the worst crimes. We know that. The question is, why aren't more criminal suspects being tested? Is the law getting in the way? The story is coming up.

But, first, we hit the presidential campaign trail.

CNN's Tom Foreman has the "Raw Politics."


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Money, money, money. The latest round of fundraising by the presidential contenders and pretenders is drawing to a close, so, let's go right to the "Raw Politics" roundup.

(voice-over): The Democrats remain way out front, with the Hill and the Obamarama each suspected of raking in $17 million to $20 million in the past three months. For the Republicans, Rudy is not talking numbers, but he's expected to be first, with Thompson and McCain showing progress.

The "Raw" read: Republicans better start cranking the cash, or they may run short in the general election.

Four top Republicans skipped a forum on minority issues at a historically black university in Baltimore, and now they're facing major criticism.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think this is a disgrace that they're not here.

I think it's a disgrace for our country. I think it's bad for our party.

FOREMAN: A side note: Barack Obama says he thinks Mike Huckabee is the most interesting of the Republicans. And, after that forum, Huckabee said he thinks Obama is pretty interesting, too.

Some quick hits: Hillary Clinton said she would like the government to give every baby born in America $5,000 for future education or housing costs. That's $20 billion a year -- no hint on how she would pay for it.

An effort by California Republicans to end the state's winner- take-all electoral voting system appears to be in flames over fundraising issues.

And, in the park right across from the White House, five women marked this first full weekend of autumn by tearing off their shirts and singing peace songs. No kidding. The war protesters were part of a group called Breasts, Not Bombs.

(on camera): Looks chilly, but that's "Raw Politics" -- Anderson.


COOPER: All right. Get yourself another helping of "Raw Politics" and the day's headlines with the 360 daily podcast. Go to or the iTunes store. You don't even need an iPod.

Coming up, a young woman is murdered and the killer leaves behind crucial DNA evidence. Now, it should have been a powerful crime- solving tool, right? Well, in this case and possibly many others, the law actually helped the killer remain on the lam. find out why, ahead.


COOPER: In every state, suspects are routinely fingerprinted when they're arrested. It's part of the drill, along with the mug shots.

But now there's growing pressure to add another step to the drill, mandatory DNA swabs for violent felony arrests.

Two of the biggest voices in the debate are a husband and wife who say their daughter's killer remained at large for years, all because the law kept his DNA under the radar.

Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie Sepich was full of life, an energetic 22-year-old graduate student at New Mexico State University.

JAYANN SEPICH, MOTHER OF KATIE SEPICH: She always said that she liked to wake up every day expecting that something wonderful would happen.

KAYE: In August 2003, something terrible happened; 3:30 a.m., while walking home alone from a party, a man attacked Katie. He raped and murdered her, then set her body on fire at this dump site.

(on camera): Were there signs that she put up a fight?

J. SEPICH: Oh, absolutely. She fought very hard. She had a lot of skin and blood under her fingernails where she fought for her life.

KAYE: That skin and blood, the killer's DNA, was like a pot of gold.

J. SEPICH: I said, well, this man is such a bad man, he will probably get arrested for something else, and then they will take his DNA, and we will have a match, and we will know who killed Katie.

And that's when Captain Jones said, oh, no, that's not how it works. We can only take DNA upon conviction of certain felonies.

KAYE: It was simply against the law to take DNA upon arrest. So even if the man who killed Katie was arrested for another crime, unless he was convicted for that crime, his DNA would not be taken, would not be entered into the database, would not be compared to the sample under Katie's fingernails.

J. SEPICH: That's when I thought, this is crazy. You know, this is -- we have this incredible scientific tool that it's the most powerful crime-solving tool that we have available, and we're not using it?

KAYE: Outraged, the Sepich's helped draft state legislation that would allow DNA samples to be taken upon arrest for a violent felony.

DAVE SEPICH, FATHER OF KATIE SEPICH: It would be a tremendous tool to stop people who become serial killers. After their first or second crime, we would know who they are. And we could stop them before they kill multiple times.

KAYE: Like Chester Turner of California. He was arrested in January 1987 for felony assault. But his DNA wasn't taken until he was convicted of rape 15 years later. That DNA was matched to 11 other rape and murder victims. If Turner had been DNA tested all those years ago, those women may still be alive.

J. SEPICH: All that it took to save those 11 women's lives was one swab of a cheek and having that placed in a database.

KAYE: Katie's Law, which allows for a DNA sample to be taken immediately upon felony arrest passed in New Mexico and went on the books this year. Ten other states have passed similar laws.

DNA expert, Chris Asplen.

CHRIS ASPLEN, DNA EXPERT: Virginia is a good example. They have over 364 identifications made just through their arresting testing and over 60 of those cases were hits to sexual offenders.

KAYE: Critics say it would violate constitutional rights of suspects, whether they're guilty or innocent.

MARK ROTHSTEIN, DIRECTOR, BIOETHICS INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE: If you start lowering the standard to arrestees or people under suspicion, or people just off the street, then these people haven't done anything to warrant the government putting them into this database.

J. SEPICH: Once you truly understand that science, it's no more alarming. I would literally stand on a street corner and hand out my DNA profile as it exists in the database to anyone, to anyone. I would give it to anyone because all it is 13 markers, 13 sets of numbers.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Would the 13 markers belonging to Katie's killer ever make their way into that database and would her parents get their match and justice for their daughter? Their story continues right after the break.


COOPER: Before the break we introduced you to a couple whose daughter was the victim of a horrible crime. She was raped and murdered and then literally set on fire.

The DNA found under her fingernails held all the clues that investigators needed to find her killer, but because state law only allowed DNA testing of convicted criminals and not suspects arrested for violent felonies, those crucial clues were leading nowhere.

CNN's Randi Kaye picks up the story now with the search for a young woman's killer.


KAYE: Nearly 3-1/2 years after their daughter's rape and murder, Jayann and Dave Sepich got the call they've been waiting for.

J. SEPICH: I said, as I guess any parent would, are you sure? And he said oh, it's an absolute match, yes, we're sure.

KAYE: Gabriel Avila had been arrested for aggravated burglary and convicted in November 2005. Because he was found guilty, he was required by law to give a DNA sample. At the time, only convicted felons had their DNA taken.

When Avila's sample was entered into the state's database, investigators got a hit. Avila's DNA matched the DNA found on Katie Sepich's body.

D. SEPICH: It was such a relief to know that they had the person that murdered Katie.

KAYE (on camera): The family's joy was tainted with frustration. Turns out, Avila had been arrested on an aggravated burglary charges in November 2003. Just three months after Katie's murder. Had state law allowed for DNA testing upon felony arrest as Katie's Law mandates now, Avila's DNA would have been taken upon arrest and matched to the skin and blood found under her fingernails.

(voice-over): Instead, Avila was released on bond for the burglary charges and fled to Mexico. He was on the run for a year and a half.

J. SEPICH: What haunts me is what did he do during those 18 months? He had the opportunity during that time to do irreparable damage to other young women. And, had his DNA been taken upon that first arrest, he wouldn't have had that opportunity.

KAYE: Had Katie's Law already been in place, it would have cost just $80 or so to sample Avila's DNA, instead of the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Katie's parents say, it cost taxpayers to find her killer.

DNA expert, Chris Asplen.

ASPLEN: It's rare in the criminal justice system that action or inaction can so tangibly be counted in individuals' lives. If we arrest someone, we take their DNA at arrest. We can link them to other crimes and, therefore, get them off the streets sooner and longer than they would be otherwise.

KAYE: On what would have been Katie Sepich's 26th birthday, her killer confessed to raping and murdering her. Gabriel Avila is serving 69 years without any chance of parole.

D. SEPICH: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the wonderful gifts you've given us and all the blessings that we have.

KAYE: Katie's parents, meanwhile, are continuing to lobby lawmakers around the country. They won't quit, they say, until all 50 states have passed some version of Katie's Law, allowing DNA testing upon on violent felony arrest.

KAYE (on camera): You were especially close to your daughter and I just want to know what you think she would think of your fight to have this law passed nationwide.

D. SEPICH: I could see Katie and what Katie is doing is go "yeah," because she always did that when she was happy about something. I can just see her doing it.

KAYE (voice-over): Her parents say she was a leader who believed in justice. In the end, it was the DNA she provided in death that caught her killer.


COOPER: Unbelievable. Did Katie's parents ever get to speak to the man who killed her?

KAYE (on camera): They did actually. It was a very unique situation. He actually invited them to come speak to them. He apologized to them. He said that he didn't mean to kill her, that he actually planned on taking her to the hospital that night.

And all they wanted to do was find out if he was indeed the only person there because it was only his DNA found at the scene, so they did ask him that and he said it was only him.

COOPER: So if a suspect is cleared, what happens to the DNA?

KAYE: Well, that's part of the controversy over this -- this law that's now spreading around the country. Critics wonder what would happen to that, the sample, because once it's in the database, if somebody's cleared, what happens to it. And the answer is, is that they have to petition to actually get their sample purged out of the database. But apparently the law specifically states that that is supposed to happen.

COOPER: And what's in the sample?

KAYE: It's really not much more than a fingerprint, the experts say. It's not any real personal information, like the color of your eyes or your hair or maybe even some diseases you might you. It's nothing that can harm you if it gets into the wrong hands. So it's like a fingerprint, just a lot more accurate.

COOPER: And would his have any impact on people wrongfully accused?

KAYE: Apparently so. The proponents certainly believe so. We've had about 200 who have been wrongfully convicted in this country. It's cost a lot of money in lawsuits to get them out.

And just in the case of that Chester Turner who you saw on the story, he had been convicted of raping and murdering 12 women, but he could've been in jail if he had been tested after the first one and those other 11 may be alive.

Well, it turns out somebody else was convicted in three of those murders and has already served 11 years and that person was innocent.

COOPER: Oh, their life destroyed.

Randi, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.

KAYE: Sure.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, they are called the Great Lakes, but maybe not for long. What is drying them up? A "Planet in Peril" is counting on answers, only on 360 tonight.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will set a long-term goal to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem. And by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it.


COOPER: President Bush made those remarks today at a conference on climate change. He also said preliminary data suggests that greenhouse emissions declined in the U.S. last year.

If the data hold up, it would be the first time in Bush's presidency that greenhouse emissions dropped.

Welcome news, certainly for a White House that's taken heat for its environmental policies. Meantime, global warming continues to leave its mark in combination with other sources. For the Great Lakes surrounding Michigan, that means record lows.

CNN's Miles O'Brien investigates.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Where has all the water gone? It's a question they're asking along the shores of the Great Lakes.

Av and Jeanine Crowe have been on Georgian Bay for 40 years.

(on camera): What did it used to be out here?

AV CROWE, GEORGIAN BAY HOMEOWNER: Right up to my neck. Standing right here, it could be right up to my neck.

O'BRIEN: Really?

A. CROWE: Yes.

O'BRIEN: And that was how long ago?

A. CROWE: Eight years.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Over at the Twin Bridges Marina where the water line is directly linked to the bottom line, there used to be enough water to dock 40 boats, but now owner Brian Ramler can barely handle 20.

BRIAN RAMLER, TWIN BRIDGES MARINA: If the prediction is for it to go down lower, I won't have these dock spaces for sure. I'll be a dry land marina that can look at the water.

O'BRIEN: He is getting plenty of business replacing or repairing trashed propellers. There is an environmental ripple effect as well.

(on camera): These cattails are unbelievable. I've never seen anything quite like it in my life. As beautiful as they are though, they're actually a sign that this wetland is in trouble. The cattails are really only supposed to be on the outer rim of a wetland area. Here, they stretch as far as the eye can see.

(voice-over): No open water, no lily pads, none of the habitat fish and birds need to thrive. So why is this happening? It very likely has something to do with global warming.

But there's also a very local factor at play.

MARY MUTER, GEORGIAN BAY ASSOCIATION: The drain hole is slowly getting bigger due to ongoing erosion, to shoreline alterations and our research had shown that it's increased the outflow and is contributing to the low water level conditions.

O'BRIEN: This is the drain hole where the water in Lake Huron flows into the St. Claire River.

I flew my plane here to see it for myself. It was last dredged for shipping 45 years ago. But ever since, the water has steadily carved out a deeper channel.

One study shows 2.5 billion gallons of water is going down the drain every day now. But this may not be the biggest culprit.

I flew north to Lake Superior where many believe the record-low water is part of a much bigger problem.

RALPH WILCOX, FISHERMAN: None of this grass was here. That was all water last year.

O'BRIEN: Ralph Wilcox is a fifth generation Lake Superior fisherman.

(on camera): Is it possible this is just part of a natural cycle and it's going to come back?

WILCOX: Nope, I bet you it's not.

O'BRIEN: Why not?

WILCOX: Because I've been here 65 years now, and it's not -- this is not natural. It's too low. It went too quick.

O'BRIEN: He's still hauling in some amazing white fish. These beauties will be on a Manhattan restaurant table in 48 hours. But it's getting harder all the time. Ralph's wife of 46 years, Shirley, runs the restaurant here.

Why do you think they're so low? What do you think is happening?

SHIRLEY WILCOX, WILCOX'S FISH HOUSE: Well, the global warming, I think. I think it's changing. We don't have the weather -- you know, especially our winters are changing. We don't have the ice coverage on the lakes that we always have had.

O'BRIEN: The ice keeps the water from evaporating, and there's much less of it these days. And a long drought here has reduced rainfall and the snow pack which feeds the lakes with waters in the spring.

But the folks who keep the freighters moving on the lakes, the Army Corps of Engineers are not convinced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the jury is still out on that. There's a lot of research still being done in terms of what climate change really means and if this is in the normal range of variability we've seen before or not.

OBRIEN: The Corps has commissioned a five-year study. But many people say now is the time to take action. They worry by the time the research is done, the Great Lakes may not be worthy of their name.

Miles O'Brien, CNN, Sioux St. Marie, Michigan.


COOPER: A reminder that our four-hour "Planet in Peril" documentary airs in October 23 and 24. It's CNN's first documentary ever shot in high-def. We traveled around the world to document the effects of global warming and other threats to the planet. It's going to be pretty cool. Check it out.

Still ahead on the program, shots fired in a high school. Hostages taken, even a SWAT team called in. Erica Hill will tell us what happened next in a few moments.

Plus, a makeover for that bathroom where Senator Larry Craig got arrested. Call it a guard against the wide stance. Oh yes, the story when 360 continues.


COOPER: Coming up, the shot of the day, what is this guy doing? Well, we'll try to explain that ahead.

But first, Erica Hill joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Erica.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, tense moments today in a high school in Oroville, California, where a student took several people hostage at gunpoint in the band room for nearly two hours. At one point that student fired his gun into the air. No one was hit. The SWAT team was called in and took that student into custody without incident.

Bristol-Myers Squib and a former subsidiary have agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle federal and state investigations into their drug marketing and pricing practices. Among the charges here, illegally promoting a drug that wasn't approved by the FDA. Prosecutors say they have no evidence anyone was harmed by the drug company's actions.

And a laptop computer stolen with unencrypted person information -- unencrypted. And 800,000 people who applied for jobs at GAP, Old Navy and Banana Republic. We're talking Social Security numbers as well as other identifying information there. GAP says so far no reported instances of identity theft of fraud related to that stolen laptop.

At the Minneapolis airport, oh, it was only a matter of time. The infamous men's room turned tourist destination where Senator Larry Craig was arrested, getting a little bit of a makeover. New stall dividers are being put in that go nearly all the way to the floor, making it less inviting to make sexual advances. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, but has denied seeking sex in that restroom. He's now waiting to hear whether a judge will throw out the guilty plea. COOPER: All right, Erica, time for the shot of the day. The 2008 Guinness Book of World Records is out. Here's from the brave or the crazy people in it -- you decide.

Check out this guy. German Martin Lockeye (ph). He's setting a Guinness world record for running through the most panes of safety glass. Didn't even know that's a category. Check this out though. The first two he gets through pretty easily. Boom. It's the third one -- oiy.

HILL: Ow, ooh.


HILL: Good thing he's got a helmet on.

COOPER: Exactly. Exactly. He ended up smashing ten panes of safety glass in one minute.

HILL: Wow. That is impressive.

COOPER: I -- I -- is it? I -- you know, I don't know.

HILL: I don't know. But hey, if you're looking for a record to break next year, maybe that's the one.

COOPER: All right, on to snakes. This is kind of gross. This guy managed to put the most rattlesnakes in his mouth. You'll have to read the book to find out exactly how many.

HILL: Wait -- he's actually holding them in his mouth?


HILL: That's just wrong.

COOPER: And then here's the fastest office with the desk on wheels going up to 87 miles per hour on a rack track. Yes.

Who knew that these were all categories? But they are.

HILL: I think that we could make one up and get in there. Because if we were the first ones to do it, then we would set the record.

COOPER: That's probably true.

HILL: So think of something great.

COOPER: All right.

HILL: OK? And we'll try next year.

COOPER: All right. Next year.

HILL: That's your job. COOPER: All right.

If you have a shot idea or you want to break a record, tell us about it at

And that, as they say at 360 for this Friday, have a great weekend.

For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is next. Here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up.

I'll see you Monday night.