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Snowstorm Threatens Northeast; George Zimmerman Free On Bail; Zimmerman Leaves Jail; Snowstorm Threatens Northeast; New Search for Etan Patz

Aired April 23, 2012 - 06:00   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A very good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. We are bringing you the news from A to Z. It's 6:00 a.m. in the east so let's get started here. Travel nightmares.

BANFIELD: Are they ever.

SAMBOLIN: And lots of blackout warnings as well. Downpours, heavy winds, we get a little bit of everything and up to a foot and a half of heavy wet snow expected in parts of the northeast. The power could be out for days in some towns where it's going and where it could cause the most damage.

BANFIELD: Breaking overnight, George Zimmerman is now free on bail. Take a look at the pictures. He walked out of jail just after midnight carrying a bag of his belongings. This is the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin and he's no longer behind bars as he awaits his second-degree murder trial.

SAMBOLIN: Wal-Mart caught in a huge multimillion dollar foreign bribery scandal accused of buying its way into Mexico and blowing past its competition with years of payoffs.

BANFIELD: And a little bitty boy reeling in a great big beast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, shark boy. Keep him up. Keep him up.

BANFIELD: How do you like that day? All right, shark boy. A 9 year old, nice big wide brim hat how big game fishing and reels in an epic, epic catch.

SAMBOLIN: All right, it's a minute past the hour here. First, winter finally showing up in late April again from the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia all of the way to Western New York.

There's snow in the forecast today, wet, heavy snow. Take a look at fresh video from DuBois, Pennsylvania about 100 miles north east of Pittsburgh.

My goodness, fresh snow in late April falling, but not sticking, well, kind of sticking right now on the sidewalks. In Boston, driving rain, howling winds right now, a recipe for massive power outages up and down the east coast, the kind that can actually last for days, folks.

Rob Marciano is tracking the storm from the weather center right now. But first, we go to Brian Todd right in the heart of the storm in DuBois, Pennsylvania. Is it or is it not sticking? What's going on? We see is it snow or is it rain or a mixture?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's pretty heavy snow, Zoraida. It's been snowing pretty heavily, heavy wet snow since about mid evening last night. The problem is the temperatures hovered around 33 degrees so it hasn't started sticking yet, but it is just starting to accumulate here.

We're right near Interstate 80, a major east/west artery for truck traffic. They are concerned that some of the truck routes may be disrupted. The Pennsylvania turnpike is an hour and a half south of here. We drove through this last night when this mess started to come down and they are worried about truck routes.

We just saw several snowplows go through here. What's interesting about that is local authorities tell us that they've had to reattach some of the plows and spreaders to these trucks. They had taken them off for the springtime not anticipating this of course.

So you can see back here it's starting to accumulate near the roads, but here in the real concern. Our photo journalist, Kulio Abdul and I are going to take a walk here right past these railroad tracks. Excuse me here, a little stumble.

But take a look up here with the foliage on the trees. Most of the foliage around here is in full bloom. Kulio is going to show some of the foliage there and it's starting to accumulate on trees now.

That's the real concern here with the trees just getting packed with heavy snow, the trees starting to collapse onto power lines and that's when the power lines go down and then you have a real mess on your hands.

That's the real concern here as you start to see this accumulate on the railroad tracks and colder places that have not been treated around here, Zoraida so as you can see now, very heavy, wet snow, pretty consistent.

The latest I've heard from our weather center is maybe 4 to 8 inches in this area here, but it's going to accumulate much more in areas maybe just east and north of here -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: It's also a little slippery? I'm just giving you a hard time there.

TODD: It is a little slippery around here. You have to be careful.

SAMBOLIN: Listen, how unusual is it for this time of year for them to get this type of weather?

TODD: Well, what we were told by the National Weather Service is after April 15th, the record around this area is maybe about four inches, not more than four inches.

This has the potential to be very historic for April 23rd, really unheard of here. That could double the amount by the time the day is over.

SAMBOLIN: Brian, I am sending a hat in your direction as well.

TODD: I could use it. Thanks a lot.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Brian Todd, live for us in DuBois, Pennsylvania. We appreciate it. So let's get to meteorologist, Rob Marciano in the CNN Weather center. Nice and toasty warm. Where is this storm going to do most of the damage, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right where he is, a little farther to the south and farther to the north. Right along that spine of the western slopes of the Appalachians there. A huge storm and it is affecting people in different ways. There's a warm side and there's a cold side to this storm.

The warm side is pretty impressive as well. Satellite signature showing you just how big this thing is. It's not moving very quickly either. So it will be with us for a good day and a half.

Here's radar imagery rain on the east side and backside where we see snow western parts of New York and finger lakes back through Somerset, Pennsylvania, to the south and east of Pittsburgh getting a decent amount of snow right now.

Upstate New York, but you go east of Syracuse and Binghamton and mostly in the form of rain and spotty rain at that. We're getting a little bit of a dry slot that's moving up from the south.

But four to eight inches is what we expect right around where Brian Todd is. There will be pockets of 8 to 16 inches especially up in higher elevations.

As you mentioned, the big story with this is not so much how much accumulates on the roads although there will be some slick shots, how much of that weighs down the trees with that foliage on them to take out power lines.

The only big storm we had this season was the same deal in the fall. Temperatures around the freezing mark in the snow zone. So that's the key there. Temperatures in Boston, check this out, latest observations 55. Here's a live tower cam for you. A little bit drizzly and a little bit foggy. It's windy.

Gusty winds out of the south right now, but temperatures are in mid to upper 50s across parts of Boston. You'll see similar temperatures like that across the New York City area. There will be some flooding across parts of upstate New York and northern New England.

But for the most part the rain is over across the I-95, a little bit of gusty winds and maybe some coastal flooding across Long Island. Can you believe that?

Temperatures almost 60 degrees in Boston right now. Gives you an idea -- one side of the storm certainly remembers it's spring. The backside is still holding onto winter.

SAMBOLIN: It's just insane. We are very glad that we have you there watching it all for us. Thank you.

MARCIANO: Happy to be here.

BANFIELD: It's now 7 minutes past 6:00 on the east coast. Out of jail straight into hiding. George Zimmerman accused of murdering Trayvon Martin was released overnight from a Sanford, Florida, jailhouse after posting bond.

But just where he is headed remains quite a secret. The location is a closely guarded secret for his own safety. His release comes after last Friday's bond hearing where he issued a surprise apology to Trayvon Martin's parents for killing their son.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not.


BANFIELD: CNN's Martin Savidge is live in Sanford, Florida. We looked at those pictures, Martin, as he was being released late into the night last night. Was anyone able to determine where he was going when he left that jailhouse with one paper bag in hand and got into that white waiting car?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. We don't know. I mean, the state of Florida clearly must know because part of the deal for him getting out on bond was that he had to be electronically tethered by an ankle bracelet that would give a GPS signal.

So presumably the state of Florida knows exactly where George Zimmerman is at this time, but otherwise no one else is supposed to know except beyond his defense attorney. We were all wondering of course once bond was granted on Friday by the judge, exactly when he would be set free.

His attorney said it would take a couple days to work out the finances and also to work out the technical details, but apparently, it now appears they had things more ready than we might have been led to believe because instead of say, midweek, which was one suggestion.

When he would be released, it was a little after midnight last night when we saw him briefly comes out the door there that is the intake area. Get into a white BMW and disappear. That's the last we've seen of George until any potential future court dates.

His arraignment will be coming up. He does not necessarily have to be present for that. So we're not really sure of the next time we'll see him from now on.

BANFIELD: So, Martin, here's a question for you. I know that because of the safety issues prior to him turning himself in. He was apparently out of state and there has been this issue of potentially going out of state again.

Do we have any idea where his attorney is at this juncture in terms of requesting that he be able to wait out the trial outside of the state of Florida?

SAVIDGE: Right, well, we don't really know -- you know, I have asked a number of people is it essential that he remain close to his attorney for the purpose of bringing about the defense.

Other attorneys have spoken to say, no, it's not essential. He doesn't have to be right there in the attorney's office. It's presumed that probably say for the first 24 hours, he will meet with his attorney to get the story down as to what exactly happened.

He could go out of state. If he needs to communicate with his attorney, he could pick up a telephone. They could Skype if they had to and so it's not essential that he has to be nearby.

It's not expected that he would take an airplane, financial reasons and other reasons. You have to check in. People would know your destination. So where he's gone, we don't know?

Has he really left the state? He doesn't have to, but he does have the ability to if he wishes.

SAMBOLIN: And then also, while awaiting trial, there are a couple conditions he has to meet while he stays out on bond. You mentioned the ankle bracelet. Is there anything else?

SAVIDGE: He's under a curfew that means from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. he can't go out of where he's staying. Not allowed to drink alcohol. Not allowed to have a firearm. Not allowed to have any contact with Trayvon Martin's family.

Not allowed to have any contact with any potential witnesses. By the way, speaking of Trayvon Martin's family, you know, we have not heard anything from them ever since the bond hearing and they left there and they were quite angry.

But there was a notice they published that was put into the newspaper, the "Miami Herald" over the weekend. I'll just read you part of that. It says the parents wish to express their heartfelt appreciation for all your words of encouragement and your peaceful rally support.

The millions who signed petitions, poems, paintings, music video, tributes, monetary gifts to our defense fund and all of the other acts of kindness shown to them during their difficult time.

That is the only thing we have heard from Trayvon Martin's family. So they have been unusually quiet throughout all of this. We'll see if there's another statement coming out now that Zimmerman is out.

BANFIELD: Just quickly, speaking of being quiet, he didn't say anything to reporters as he left the jail, did he? Did he mention anything? Did anyone yell questions at him?

SAVIDGE: No. It was extremely quiet. The sheriff's deputies here sort of blocked off the parking lot here. We knew something was up. They came over and checked the credentials of the photographers staking this out 24 hours a day, but nothing was said, nothing was shouted.

BANFIELD: All right, Martin Savidge for us live in Sanford, Florida. Keep us posted if you see anything happen this morning or if there are any other developments.


BANFIELD: Coming up at 6:30 Eastern Time as well, we'll also get reaction to George Zimmerman's release from Darryl Parks, an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family.

SAMBOLIN: It's 12 minutes past the hour. Ahead on EARLY START, after the fall of the trial, a jury to decide whether John Edwards used funny money to hide his honey and violate campaign finance laws. Seriously, I don't write it.

BANFIELD: And also the young man on the sea could be a brand new story. Hemmingway, eat your heart out. This 9 year old is battling a shark while the dad records the whole adventure. You're going to find out more about this kiddo and what he reeled in. It's the big one. You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Good morning, New York City -- specifically over at Columbus Circle. It is now 54 degrees. We got some a.m. showers.

We put a call into Rob Marciano in Atlanta. He says it's going to be windy and drier later, 55 degrees for you.

BANFIELD: And I called them just to complain.

SAMBOLIN: This isn't bad, Ashleigh. It could be snowing and dreadful, 30 degrees.

BANFIELD: I just came from Florida.

Actually, I'm not -- I'm happy to be back. It's thrilling to be back at 6:16 in the morning. I love waking up at 1:30 a.m.

On the East Coast, if you're waking up, we got your top stories making news for you this morning. We were just talking about heavy rains and huge winds. Brace for it, folks. Over a foot of snow also expected in some parts of the Northeast today, winter storm warnings.

Yes, it is April. You're not sleeping and having a nightmare. We're having winter watches and warnings from the Appalachians in West Virginia all of the way to western New York. And a lot of cities could be without power for a couple of days, too. So, it is serious.

SAMBOLIN: Under the cover of darkness, George Zimmerman was freed on bail overnight from a Sanford, Florida, jail. He's awaiting trial on second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. That's him exiting there.

He will wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and have a court ordered curfew as well. Zimmerman's location is being kept secret due to concerns for his safety.

BANFIELD: So, that's one criminal case.

Here's another one for you. Opening statements beginning today in the trial of a man accused of killing the family of singer and actress Jennifer Hudson.

Hudson is expected to testify against defendant William Balfour. Balfour is the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson's sister. He's accused of shooting her mom, her brother, and her nephew in a jealous rage. Balfour has pleaded not guilty.

SAMBOLIN: "The San Francisco Chronicle" is reporting that a newly released memo from utility company PG&E reveals a history of problems at the San Bruno pipeline. That pipeline exploded back in 2010, killing eight people.

The memo written back in 1989 reveals a previous leak at that pipeline. The same type of leak experts say caused the 2010 explosion. A federal law requires tests on pipelines with a history of these types of failures. And inspectors say a test at the San Bruno pipeline would have revealed the problems.

BANFIELD: The army is canceling a big old concert, a Ted Nugent concert. This after some pretty controversial marks that Nugent made about President Obama. That rocker was scheduled to be the opening act at Ft. Knox in Kentucky, but commanders said no way to the show after Nugent said he'd be, quote, "dead or in jail if Obama was re- elected." The Motor City mad man made the comments at a National Rifle Association convention.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, shark boy. Keep him up. Keep him up.


SAMBOLIN: Keep him up, keep him up. A 9-year-old shark hunter is up to his old tricks. Look at him there. The boy named Hunter Stevens caught a nice blacktip shark while fishing with his dad off the beach in Galveston, Texas, on Sunday. It is his first of the season. But he's already caught several of the man eaters on other fishing trips.

For an expanded look at all of our top stories, head to our blog

BANFIELD: It is now 19 minutes past 6:00 on the East Coast.

And just a few short years ago, John Edwards hoped to be living in the White House today. But now, he's trying to stay out of the big house. That former senator is facing up to 30 years in prison when he goes on trial this morning in North Carolina.

It's a case that has it all, folks -- power, money, sex, intrigue. It could be a fictional novel, but it's not.

Edwards is accused of having used over $900,000 in campaign contributions and not using them legally. All of it allegedly to hide an affair with videographer Rielle Hunter and the daughter that he fathered with her. Their relationship taking place while John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, was fighting an agonizing and losing battle with cancer.

According to the pre-trial brief, one of the arguments the defense team says it's going to make is that it wasn't Edwards who was using the campaign contribution money but instead was his personal aide, Andrew Young. Edwards' lawyer says Young used the contributions to help build his $1.3 million dream home.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty 20 minutes past the hour.

Ahead on EARLY START: a bribery scandal rocking Wal-Mart. How the giant retailer may have broken laws in the United States to grow its business in Mexico.


IRA GLASS, RADIO HOST: You don't see a lot of people lining up to reinvent radio.

JAD ABUMRAD, RADIOLAB HOST: There's few things about my job that are intuitive to me. The one that really is intuitive is just working with sounds.

GLASS: He invented a new way to think about the oldest broadcast media.

ABUMRAD: When (INAUDIBLE) like the genius thing, it's totally (INAUDIBLE).

ROBERT KRULWICH, RADIO HOST: He's certainly like the Gershwin of journalism or something. I don't know. It's just a very amazing thing.

ABUMRAD: I mean, it think the sound is something like when you're on the edge of a dream.

KRULWICH: If they want to call that genius, I think that they should.



BANFIELD: Twenty-four minutes now past 6:00 in the morning. We're minding your business for you this morning.

U.S. markets closing mix on Friday, with the Dow and the S&P a little bit higher. The tech heavy NASDAQ down just a wee bit. You can take a look at your arrows.

This week, the focus is going to be on three things: Europe, the U.S. recovery and more corporate earnings. Most notably, Apple reporting its first quarter results tomorrow.

SAMBOLIN: And Wal-Mart could be in trouble over allegations it violated international bribery laws in Mexico with bribes amounting to $24 million. "The New York Times" first reported the story over the weekend. The bribes were allegedly for speeding up store construction at its subsidiary in Mexico to expand quicker and squash competition. Wal-Mart says it is investigating the claims. CNN has not independently confirmed "The Times" report.

BANFIELD: The economic recovery is still gaining its footing here in the U.S. but there are small niches in the economy that just might surprise you.

A new report from IBIS World Tracking, the top 10 fastest growing industries include -- ready -- self-tanning products. I like that. Pilates and yoga studios. Hot sauce.

SAMBOLIN: I thought that one was interesting.

BANFIELD: Hot sauce.

SAMBOLIN: My brother-in-law makes a mean hot sauce. I'll tell him about this.

BANFIELD: Yes. Well, he's in the right business; 3D printers and online eyeglasses and contact lens -- good businesses to be in.

The list includes other businesses you might as well like generic pharmaceuticals, solar panel, social networking games, green and sustainable construction, and for-profit universities.

We're going to tweet out a link to the CNN Money story so that you can see the whole darn list. It's worthwhile while we are looking for jobs.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is indeed.

And news this morning, AAA says the national average for gallon of gas --


SAMBOLIN: Three dollars and eighty-six cents a gallon. That's down half a cent from the day before. That is a week straight of declines. You're welcome.

Experts are mixed on whether or not we've seen the peak for the year for gas prices already. It really depends on if tensions flare with Iran, which could push oil prices and therefore gas prices up again.

BANFIELD: I think our crew is sleepy this morning. We should have had a ding, ding, ding there or at least breaking news or something, you know? Is it now boring because they're going down?

SAMBOLIN: No, it's good news. Still good news. We're celebrating.

BANFIELD: I like it, too.

It's 26 minutes now past 6:00.

And coming up on EARLY START: new developments in the Trayvon Martin case. If you missed it while you were sleeping, this is what happened -- he walked out a free man. Well, free for now. That's called bail, folks.

Exactly where he's heading as he awaits a second-degree murder case is a mystery for his own safety.

As we go to break, we'll also take you to some live pictures from Atlanta as well. Stay with us.


SAMBOLIN: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

It is time to check stories that are making news this morning.

George Zimmerman is a free man. The man who shot Trayvon Martin is out on $150,000 bond. He's said to be in hiding but authorities know where he is obviously.

And 6-year-old Etan Patz has never been found, but that has not stopped investigators for trying to learn his fate for more than three decades. (AUDIO GAP) the case that put the missing child movement in the national spotlight.

Western Pennsylvania and other areas in the Northeast are bracing for a spring storm. The rarely seen late April blast of winter could drop as much as 10 times as much as now as the previous record for the date in some parts. The storm is already causing problem for air travelers even before those first flakes fell.

And a young man in Minnesota is hoping for a blizzard of job offers after advertising himself on a giant electronic billboard. Look at this, the laid off casino worker is betting that employers will like his bold move enough to hire him, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: That's a very bold move. And let's hope it works for him. Wow.

It is now 31 minutes past the hour. And a big story developing overnight, George Zimmerman walking out of jail. He was released just after midnight on $150,000 bond. Like it normally is, you are only required to put up a percentage of this, in this case 10 percent, $15,000.

He was granted that bond during a hearing on Friday when he also took to the stand and then gave a very unusual apology to the family of Trayvon Martin.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am and I did not know if he was armed or not.


BANFIELD: The family apparently through their attorney says that apology was, quote, "self-serving and insincere."

And joining me now, one of the attorneys for Trayvon Martin's family, Daryl Parks.

Mr. Parks, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us this morning.

Have you had a chance to talk to Trayvon Martin's family about this late breaking news overnight, George Zimmerman being released and leaving the jail cell?

DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: Yes. Yes, good morning, first of all.

Yes, we did have a chance to speak with them. They continue to be very devastated. They anticipated that this would happen. Through his lawyer, we thought it would be midweek but we learn now, he was able to do it over the weekend.

They -- this is tough for them. Think of the crusade they had to finally have Mr. Zimmerman arrested and now he walks free again among all of us. It is tough for them to see their son's killer walk free again, but they do understand that the court was bound by the Florida constitution, which does give a person a right to bail.

BANFIELD: And that's my next question, because the Martin family has been so stoic and very respectable in this process. And all they ask for is that the process is allowed to play out legally.

And this is part of the legal process. Bond is granted for those who are not considered a flight risk. Do they feel somehow that Mr. Zimmerman is a flight risk? And if so, why?

PARKS: Well, not necessarily a flight risk. But they do call attention to two incidents before the court at the bail hearing where you had the situation where he pretty much was defiant to authority, to the alcohol officer, the one incident at the university, as well as a domestic situation that occurred. So, that coupled with what happened to Trayvon and Trayvon was a complete stranger to Mr. Zimmerman.

So, any time you have a person who accounts as total stranger, commits violence against them is always of a real concern to anyone.

BANFIELD: And so, of course, I can't speak for the domestic violence issue, but I can speak to the other issue because those documents were made public and that officer that he was alleged to have assaulted was an undercover officer who didn't identify himself. And ultimately, those charges were dismissed, likely because some of those details.

The judge in this particular case talked about those two incidents and actually classified them as very insignificant.

So, again, I want to be very specific and very technical about this because it is a technical, legal process. When the judge himself says it's not significant, his legal background, he's not a threat to the community, and he's not a flight risk, he himself turned himself in before being arrested, can the family get beyond this at this point?

PARKS: Well, let me say, my understanding was the officer did identify himself at some point and Mr. Zimmerman discounted that. Now, on issue as it relates to court's pronouncement, I am an officer of the court. And the court chose to interpret in the manner that it did, and that's the court's interpretation at this time. However, that doesn't stop anyone else from interpreting the facts as they are from coming to their own interpretation.

BANFIELD: And let's talk a little bit about what happened at the bond hearing. It was very unusual to hear that apology in court. And I know that through other attorneys that represent the Martin family alongside you, the family was not happy with this apology. They thought it was insincere and self-serving.

For his part, Mr. Zimmerman through his attorneys said that Trayvon Martin's mother had asked for these kinds questions to be answered and apparently rebuffed the request to do this in private. What did they want from Mr. Zimmerman? If they didn't want to meet in private to hear these words, why they were upset hearing it in a courtroom?

PARKS: Well, let's put it in perspective. I think to be clear here, Mr. O'Mara's office speak with Ms. Jackson's and she had told him that she wanted to defer with our clients, which she did.

BANFIELD: Ms. Jackson, we should clarify, this is one of the other attorneys in the case -- Ms. Jackson you're speaking of.

PARKS: Right.

BANFIELD: Attorney Jackson is actually a local at Orlando, and Mr. O'Mara knows her from that legal community. And so, when she called him, she wants to defer with us, our firm. And so, once we talked, we told him that at a certain point of time, it would be perfectly OK to have a private situation where we took care of that and it would be a private matter.

However, they decided they wanted to do it publicly. And I think that in a bond hearing, that's not a time for an apology. There's a special time for that later in the proceedings.

In this situation, the proper evidence from the stand would have been evidence related to any pretrial release from Mr. Zimmerman. And when he was put on the stand, evidence should have been presented to the court.

You notice that this was not presented to the judge. All evidence should have been presented to the judge. It was not. It was directed at our client. That is not proper in a pretrial release bail situation.

BANFIELD: Mr. Parks, just one last quick question. Is there anything that Mr. Zimmerman could say that would assuage how your clients, Trayvon Martin family feel about this?

PARKS: Well, I think in a proper time, I think when you think about what he said and he didn't apologize for shooting Trayvon. He apologized for the loss of their son. So, he's not apologetic for the actual action he did in this situation. That's one of the problems that we have in the situation.

BANFIELD: He still does have his defense. And I know you as a defense attorney can understand that and probably as an officer of the court respect it as well.

Daryl Parks, thanks very much. Good to talk to you. I look forward to our next chance.

PARKS: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Thank you so much.


SAMBOLIN: It is 37 minutes past the hour.

Talk about crazy weather. The leaves are turning and snow is falling in the Northeast with less than a week left in April. Snow is already falling in DuBois, Pennsylvania. A powerful nor'easter is targeting thousands this morning from West Virginia to western New York.

Rob Marciano has your travel forecast from the CNN weather center in Atlanta.

I keep on calling it kooky weather. Who's affected? It seems like almost everybody in some way, shape, or form.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's a big storm, Zoraida. Different people are getting affected differently. That's for sure. The east side of the storm is a warm one. We've seen temperature jumps of about 10 degrees across parts of eastern New England, including Rhode Island. The center of the low is pretty much right over New York City. It will be drifting up towards the north and west, and notice the white across parts of upstate western New York and western parts of Pennsylvania.

Temperatures here is right around the freezing mark. So, cold enough for snow. It's piling up in places like Cuyahoga County near Cornell getting seven inches of snow and some amounts similar to that across parts of western Pennsylvania.

Total accumulations up today could be four to eight inches outside of Pittsburgh and Buffalo, maybe up to or over a foot on some of the higher elevations, and some of the mountains there get up on and over to 3,000 feet. Winds will be gusty. And that's going to be the issue.

Some flooding across the northern parts of New England, but with those winds, even if you're not in the snow zone, you're going to see some travel delays. Philadelphia is already reporting delays because of some wind and rain there, 55-minute delays at this time. And winds can push all of the way down to the south fairly tranquil and warm out west.

That's a quick check on weather. It's 38 minutes after the hour. We'll see you, guys, in a bit.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thanks, Rob.

And ahead on EARLY START: investigators may be closing in on the mysterious disappearance that's baffled police for more than three decades. We have an update on the cold case of Etan Patz.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Forty-two minutes past the hour.

Police and FBI investigators will be back at the scene in Lower Manhattan today trying to solve a 33-year-old mystery. Six-year-old Etan Patz vanished back in 1979 as he walked alone in his New York City neighborhood. His disappearance put a spotlight on the plight of missing children and his picture was the first of thousands to be put on milk cartons to help search for missing children.

And over the weekend, investigators may have made a major discovery. Police removed a chunk of wall from a basement in the boy's neighborhood with a stain of interest that may finally answer the question of what happened to him.

A short time ago on EARLY START, a crime scene investigator who was there told us what police are looking for.


DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: If we're looking for DNA, DNA is one of the most stable molecules and after 33 years, it should still be intact and we should still be able to use it for human identification.


SAMBOLIN: CNN's Deborah Feyerick is in Lower Manhattan at the scene and she joins us now with the very latest.

So, I guess the big question is how long will it take to test that piece of wall that they took out of there?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the wall has been sent to Quantico, Virginia, which is where the FBI testing laboratory is. And so, unclear just how long it will take. What investigators did over the weekend was they sprayed a particular chemical that triggered sort of an organic material.

They believe that organic material could potentially be blood. That's what they're really testing for now.

Zoraida, when we talk about this, this all happened within a two-block span. I mean, it's less than 100 yards from the boy's home to the basement, which is now being searched.

And we want to just take a look behind me. You can see a little bit of activity. They're not going to actually resume the search until about 8:00.

You can see the dumpster there. That's where a lot of the dirt and concrete is being taken out. It's being sifted. That's all going to be analyzed closely.

The FBI evidence team, they are looking at all to see whether there are any human remains. One of the reasons being that a cadaver dog did pick up a scent about a month ago and that's why they are just looking at this to see whether perhaps the boy could have been buried under what was a new concrete floor poured by the handyman just days after he went missing.

This is a handy man who apparently had befriended the child and gave him dollar for helping out around the workshop. Handyman's lawyer says he was never involved in this. He's cooperating fully.

Again, this is one of those leads that investigators just want to make sure is crossed of their list because at the time, they decided not to rip up that concrete floor. And Zoraida, if -- and it's a very, very big if -- if that child is found in the basement or remains of the child are found in the basement, it means that his parents have passed him thousands and thousands and thousands of times over the last 33 years since he disappeared. Zoraida?

SAMBOLIN: Deborah, have we heard at all from the family?

FEYERICK: No. They are being very quiet about this. The father, Stan Patz, he has been talking to investigators. But there's a note on the door that basically says no comment. They've had their hopes raised a lot in the past. They actually sued another man, sort of a homeless drifter but convicted pedophile. They thought he was -- sort of the person that may have hurt their son. That's why they sued him.

But the family has remained quiet. It's been a long road for them. They never really got out of the neighborhood. And I'm sure when you can see actually see the bus stop where little Etan Patz was walking that morning -- less than a block-and-a-half away. I mean, it was his first time and it just seemed safe back then. Zoraida?

SAMBOLIN: Yes, that pain never goes away, I would imagine. And I just wanted to correct something. As we headed into you, we talked about a crime scene investigator that we talked to earlier, and it was actually a DNA scientist, a forensic scientist. So, we apologize for that.

And -- thank you so much, Deborah, by the way. Forty-six minutes past the hour here.

BANFIELD: Soledad O'Brien joining us now with a look at what's ahead on STARTING. Hey, Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST, "STARTING POINT": Hey, ladies. Good morning.

Just as the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Arizona's controversial immigration law, there's a new and pretty disturbing videotape that surfaced showing an immigrant being Tasered over and over and over again by border patrol agents. The victim later died. We'll dig deeper this morning with an investigative journalist and also the woman who shot the video. You can hear him screaming in the background.

Also, unmanned drones not just for the U.S. military. Dozens of domestic law enforcement agencies have now been granted permission to deploy the aircraft. It's raising some privacy concerns. We'll talk about that.

And of course, if you can't watch the show this morning, you can always check out our live blog on our Web site at We'll see you right at the tarp -- top of the hour is what I'm trying to say!




BANFIELD: Fifty minutes past the hour, which means it's ten to 7:00 on the East Coast. Wake up, get out of bed! Get in the shower. But not before you hear our top stories.

A dangerous nor'easter is expected to dump a foot or more of snow today from western New York to West Virginia.

SAMBOLIN: Looks pretty.

BANFIELD: Looks pretty but ain't fun to drive in, that's for sure. Some cities could see high winds and up to four inches of rain as well. And this is big. Power outages could be expected for a few days.

SAMBOLIN: George Zimmerman is free on bail this morning. The accused murderer of Trayvon Martin walked out of a Sanford, Florida jail - there he is. It happened around midnight. While awaiting trial, Zimmerman will have an electronic monitoring bracelet, a court- ordered curfew and can have no contact with Martin's family or any witnesses.

BANFIELD: Six counts of campaign finance violations and up to 30 years behind bars. Doesn't usually go with this picture, but that's what former senator John Edwards is facing as his trial begins as this trial begins morning in North Carolina. Prosecutors say he used over $900,000 in campaign contributions illegally to cover up an extramarital affair.

SAMBOLIN: A Minnesota man says if you want a big job, you got to think big. Bennett Olson lost his job in March and had received no response from prospective employers despite sending out hundreds of resumes, he says. So, the laid-off casino worker gambled on a $300 electronic billboard ad next to a highway in Minneapolis. That sounds really cheap, doesn't it? His smiling face and name flashed in front of drivers for eight seconds at a time over a course of 24 hours last week.


BENNETT OLSON, JOB SEEKER: I was just trying to think of ideas that set myself apart from other people and to get myself out there and maybe try to capture the attention of somebody.


SAMBOLIN: Three hundred bucks for 24 hours. No job offers yet, but a vice president of a laser tech company e-mailed Bennett that he wants to talk.

BANFIELD: Oh, yes, that $300 got him on CNN too. Either way, not so bad.

And scientists think they found the key to causing brain freeze. You know ice cream, Slurpies, all of the stuff that causes it. A new study says that brain freeze could have something to do with changes in the brain's blood flow. Researchers say the same changes could help explain types of headaches like migraines. People who suffer from migraines are more likely to actually get that condition we call brain freeze. SAMBOLIN: Oh, I don't suffer from migraines. And if I ate my ice cream too fast, I get brain freeze. Don't you?

BANFIELD: No, I don't get it with ice cream, but I can tell you a few -- I'm just going to say that usually in the morning when I make messups on the air, it's usually brain freeze. Cold coffee.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Still ahead, a prom queen's very sick joke ending up in jail after allegedly convincing her town, including her family, that she was dying. You're watching EARLY START.


SAMBOLIN: Fifty-seven minutes past the hour. Time to take a look at what's trending on the web. Police arresting a Texas porn queen - prom queen -


BANFIELD: Oh, let's do that again! Prom. Prom. Prom. Prom. Prom. Prom.

SAMBOLIN: Shame on me! Prom queen. For allegedly faking cancer and scamming people out of $17,000. Boy, what a slip. According to "The El Paso Times," 19-year-old Angie Gomez told her family, friends and fiance that she had six months to live -- this was back in 2011 after battling leukemia since childhood. She even set up her own charity foundation called Achieve the Dream. Gomez claimed the illness forced her to miss her senior prom so the high school held another one just for her. Someone called police complaining that she didn't seem to be sick and they investigated. She was put in jail with bond set at $50,000.

BANFIELD: Was that a brain freeze?

SAMBOLIN: Perhaps that was a brain freeze.

BANFIELD: OK. We have a good story for you here. The action at a drag racing competition in Tennessee anything but a drag. Take a look at the pictures. Drag racer takes off from the starting line. Uh-oh. Not good. Whoa. Cameraman. Oh, my gosh. Camaraman, get out of the way! Whoa, whoa, whoa! He got out of the way. It killed the camera, but it doesn't kill the cameraman. Thank God.

Female racer also escaping injury on this. Let's watch it again just so you can see what the camera person was having to watch. Probably thinking he was getting a great shot until - no, no, no, run for it.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, look at that.

BANFIELD: You know what's great? What's great is that the camera may have been destroyed but the tape wasn't. So, he's got some good stuff to show.

SAMBOLIN: I'm also glad to hear that the female drag racer was okay after this because that looks pretty harrowing. Imagine spinning around. She's probably going to want a copy of that for posterity. Sweet.

BANFIELD: So, that's the news. That's the EARLY START news, the news from A to Z. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. "STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN" starts now.

BANFIELD: Take care.