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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Alabama Hostage Crisis Ends; "American Sniper" Killed at Texas Shooting Range; Deadly Tour Bus Crash; Menendez Answers Prostitution Questions; Super Bowl Outage; The King's New Face; Boeing Wants FAA to Allow Dreamliner Test Flights

Aired February 5, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A dramatic rescue, FBI agents storm an armed kidnaper's bunker, his five-year-old hostage safe and sound this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: All of those smears are absolutely false.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Fighting back. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez answers to allegations of partying with prostitutes. It is a CNN exclusive.

ROMANS: And solving the Super Bowl blackout. This morning, at least we know who's not to blame. It wasn't Beyonce. We can assure you.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START this morning. I'm Christine Romans. John Berman is going to join us a little later on "STARTING POINT".

SAMBOLIN: Nice to have you with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Tuesday, February 5th. It is just about 6:00 a.m. in the East, so let's get started here this morning.

Up first, a five-year-old boy held captive for six days in an underground bunker in Alabama will spend his sixth birthday tomorrow with his family, we are very happy to report. Little Ethan's kidnapper is dead. Sixty-five-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes killed yesterday in the FBI raid that free that little boy.

Victor Blackwell is live from Midland City, Alabama this morning. And Victor, what do we know about the raid and why law enforcement decided that it was time to rush in?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alabama governor, Robert Bentley, said from the beginning when this started that he had the right people in place, that we had to be patient. Everyone who was waiting for this to end quickly, that they would do it when the time was right. They determined that time was yesterday when first they saw Jimmy Lee Dykes, the man who was holding Ethan with a weapon. They also say that the day leading up to that discovery of the weapon and the raid that negotiations had broken down. Their relationship had deteriorated so they determined that was the time to go in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Ethan is safe. This is a photograph of the 5-year-old being taken to the hospital after being held hostage for nearly a week in an underground bunker in Midland City, Alabama.

STEVE RICHARDSON, SPECIAL AGENT, FBI ALABAMA OFFICE: He is doing fine. He is laughing, joking, playing, eating, the things that you would expect a normal 5 to 6-year-old young man to do. He is very brave. He is very lucky, and the success story is that he is out safe and doing great.

BLACKWELL: The dramatic end came after officers saw 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes holding a weapon. They felt they could not hold off any longer.

RICHARDSON: At this point, FBI feared the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child.

BLACKWELL: Dykes was killed during the operation. A witness in the area describes what he heard.

BRYON MARTIN, NEIGHBOR: I heard a big boom and then I heard I believe I heard rifle shots.

BLACKWELL (on camera): How loud of a boom? I mean, very loud?

MARTIN: Yes. It literally made me jump off the ground. It scared me that bad.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Authorities are still working on the crime scene. The investigation is expected to continue for several days. According to a psychiatrist, the next several days will be critical for Ethan.

DR. CHARLES SOPHY, PSYCHIATRIST: The tendency is going to be to swarm around him to get information both to help him and to understand what went down, down under that ground. But the bottom line is, right now, these next few days are critical for this boy to bond with his family, to feel safe and feel protected.

BLACKWELL: But for now, authorities and a community are grateful to have Ethan safe.

SHERIFF WALLY OLSON, DALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: A very special child. He's been through a lot. He's endured a lot. By the grace of God, you know, he's -- he's OK and that was the mission of every man and woman on this compound.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLACKWELL: And, you know, there has been a vigil in this community every night since this standoff began. The vigil that was planned for tonight has now been changed to a celebration for this community that Ethan is at home.

SAMBOLIN: We are very, very happy to learn that. Victor, we know that bunker was four feet down, and a lot of the details of this kept very close to the vest by police officers. How did they know that Dykes had a gun?

BLACKWELL: Yes and that was the question that we pose to the authorities here. We're told that they were loaned some really high- tech equipment from the U.S. military and there were members of the military on site although they were in technical support to be able to detect what was happening inside the bunker.

It's typically used to find homemade bombs during war scenes and in war zones. So some very high-tech equipment here, some very skilled people who did what they said they would do from the very beginning, bring that child home safely -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sure we're going to learn a lot of more details in the days ahead. Victor Blackwell, thank you. We appreciate it.

ROMANS: All right, the man suspected of murdering ex-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, at a Texas gun range. That man is now on suicide watch in a county jail.

Police say the 25-year-old Eddie Ray Routh, an Iraq war veteran, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He had been taken to a mental hospital twice over the past five months after he threatened to kill his family and himself. Kyle was known for being the most deadly sniper in American history with 160 confirmed kills in Iraq.

SAMBOLIN: The owner of a tour bus involved in a deadly crash in Southern California had a shoddy safety record. Federal records show buses operated by the company, which is called Gabaras Magicas (ph) failed more than a third of its inspections. This was over the last two years.

Seven people died in that Sunday night crash and dozens more were injured as well. Investigators were combing through what they are calling "gruesome wreckage", say a problem with the brakes may have led to the crash in the Southern California mountain.

ROMANS: Mexican authorities say last week's explosion that jolted the skyscraper that's home to the Pemex office complex in Mexico City. That explosion was caused by a gas build up explosion in a neighboring basement tilt. Thirty five people killed and injured more than 100 there in Mexico City. No traces of explosives were found at the blast site.

SAMBOLIN: Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez finally answers to shocking allegations that he tried to solicit prostitutes during trips to the Dominican Republic. He spoke exclusively with CNN's chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. Menendez called the allegations smears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Can you just answer the allegation that has been out there that you --

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: The smears, the smears that right- wing blogs have been pushing since the election and that is totally instantiated? It's amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a web site can drive that type of story into the mainstream.

But that's what they have done successfully. No one can find them. No one has ever met them. No one ever talked to them. The smears are absolutely false, and that's the bottom line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Well, listen to this. In an interview with Univision yesterday, a woman accused of being one of the prostitutes said she never met Menendez or worked as a prostitute.

ROMANS: A renewed presidential push for immigration reform. President Obama will meet with key immigration groups, progressive groups, and labor groups. He will follow that way meeting with CEOs? The goal of all of these is to discuss how to get a bipartisan immigration reform deal done and to see how that all fits into his economic agenda.

SAMBOLIN: So what exactly caused the Super Bowl blackout? The NFL and Super Dome officials are still trying to figure all of that out. The lights blew early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, as you probably know, delaying the game for more than half an hour.

One thing both agree on, the power outage was not related to Beyonce's halftime show. CNN's John Zarrella is following all of the developments for us. He is live in New Orleans. So what do you know?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Zoraida. Well, you know, we know, as you pointed out that it wasn't Beyonce. We also have been told -- officials here saying it probably was not related to some upgrades they have recently did to the feeder system coming into the stadium.

And they say it didn't have anything to do with any overload of the system inside the stadium. So at this point, it's still a power puzzle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The night the lights went out at the Super Bowl is a story about, well, a few things, what went right, everyone remaining calm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never met so many people so hospitable.

ZARRELLA: What happened? CBS video from inside the stadium control room shows the Super Dome's "uh-oh" moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lost lights. All right, we're going to manual override.

ZARRELLA: And then there is that head-scratching still unanswered question, what went wrong. Here's what we know, kind of. SMG, the company that owns and operates the Super Dome says the problem originated outside the stadium.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Truth is the interruption of service did not occur from inside the building. We did not receive the power from the Entergy from the substation.

ZARRELLA: Entergy, the utility company tweeted Sunday night that service to the stadium had not been interrupted. A spokesman said later --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The system worked the way it was supposed to work.

ZARRELLA: But in a statement to CNN Monday, Entergy says that until investigation is complete, any statements on possible causes of the outage are just speculation. There was speculation that Beyonce's power packed halftime show pulled too much power.

SMG says, no. Quote, "The halftime show was running on 100 percent generated power, which means it was not on our power grid at all." While we are still in the dark over what happened, pardon the pun, we do know this.

The delay lasted 34 minutes. The lights came back on and the Baltimore Ravens won, and a record 164 million people had more to talk about than just the final store.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA: Now we understand that the city council's utility committee is going to hold an emergency meeting this morning here and they are promising to open, at least what we're being told, their own investigation into this problem, which really was the only kind of bad black eye that this city suffered through what otherwise was an incredible event.

SAMBOLIN: Christine and I were actually talking that if it had been Beyonce's fault, we would have been OK with that. Time for another question for you, are there going to be some looming after effects here when perhaps they want to host future Super Bowls?

ZARRELLA: You know, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has already said no, it's not going to be an issue and we know that New Orleans is interested in the 2018 Super Bowl. But I have to tell you that one recent Super Bowl in Miami. It absolutely poured rain, deluges for the entire game.

So now they are going back and want to put at least a partial roof over that stadium in order to entice the NFL to bring perhaps the 50th Anniversary Super Bowl game back to Miami. So any time in there is a problem during a Super Bowl, the host city always has to try to do something to entice the NFL to come back. We have to wait and see.

SAMBOLIN: I'm sure they will find who is responsible and they will fix it. John Zarrella live for us. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: All right, new this morning. The same scientist who just solved the mystery of Britain's lost King Richard III mystery making new revelations just moments ago. We're going to live in London next.

SAMBOLIN: And why police say a 6-year-old had the nerve -- the nerve -- to steal the family's car.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. New this morning, a team of scientist unveiling the face of long lost British King Richard. He is probably the most controversial British monarch and the last English king said to have died in battle in the recent history of the 15th Century.

This mock up is based on the skull remains found at the dig site 90 miles northwest of London. Just yesterday, archaeologists confirmed that a 500-year-old skeleton is indeed that of the long lost king. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JO APPLEBY, LEICASTER UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: The skeleton has a number of unusual features, its slender build, the scoliosis, and the battle- related trauma. All of these are highly consistent with the information we have about Richard III in life and about the circumstances of his death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: You know, Erin McLaughlin joins us now from London. Erin, he's one of those -- I mean, Shakespeare wrote of him. He was feared and derided and history may not have been very kind to him at all. What does this discovery of Richard III mean?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine. Well, historians really think that this is an opportunity to rewrite history. These findings are the culmination of months of detailed analysis, including DNA testing, radio carbon testing, environmental sampling and not only tell us beyond any sort of reasonable doubt that this was, in fact, Richard III.

But they begin to paint a picture as to who this man was. We know he was 32 years old when he died. He was suffering from severe scoliosis or curvature of the spine. He died at the battle of Bosworth we now know due to blunt trauma at the back of his head.

His naked body strewn they think over a horse, brought to a grave that was very shallow and hastily dug and thrown in there without sort of shroud or coffin.

Now, Richardians or Richard III enthusiasts hope that this findings will help paint a different picture of a very different Richard III, one that challenges Shakespeare's portrayal of him as a vile and evil monster, Christine.

ROMANS: You go visit the Tower of London, I mean, you hear about how this man who took his nephews who may be rivals for the throne and killed these little boys and all -- you hear just these terrible, grim stories of him. Historians now say, of course, will at that time, he was a medieval man in a medieval time when these were the kinds of things that dukes and princes and kings were doing to each other. So, it's all very gruesome.

But I also understand that scientists have now created sort of this full reconstruction of his head, based on the skull evidence that they found at the site. So, what does Richard III look like?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Christine, I guess you could say this morning I came face to face with Richard III. Scientists have used 3D printing techniques to create a model of what he actually looked like. I had a chance to chat with one of the scientists who was in charge of painting his face.

Let's take a listen to what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: How accurate is this portrayal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very difficult to tell. We had to use both the references from the skull and references from contemporary portraits.

MCLAUGHLIN: But the facial construction of the face itself is pretty accurate because it's based on the skull.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. The sculpture is very accurate in terms of reconstruction.

MCLAUGHLIN: And how does this compare to portraits from that time period?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personally, I see some resemblance, but you have to take into account that the portraits themselves were painted after the death of Richard III. So, it's not absolutely clear whether or not they were 100 percent accurate either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: So some more clues, Christine, as to what this king looked like that walked the Earth over 500 years ago.

ROMANS: Certainly an interesting discovery. Erin McLaughlin -- thanks so much, Erin.

SAMBOLIN: Some of details, though, that he was about 5'8", but because his scoliosis, that he didn't stand as tall. And that his features very feminine.

ROMANS: Slender, he was very slender.

SAMBOLIN: You can judge for yourself.

Seventeen minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on this morning's top stories.

After six days of captivity in an underground bunker, a 5-year-old Alabama boy is reunited with his family and favorite toy, it's a dinosaur. Ethan spent the night in the hospital after an FBI raid freed him. He turns six tomorrow. The child's abductor, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, was killed in that rescue operation.

ROMANS: Five firefighters injured after several floor collapsed and trapped them while they were battling a massive at a lumber warehouse. A local Baltimore station says they were rescued and taken to a trauma center. Fire crews stuck around overnight to knock down the hot spots there.

SAMBOLIN: A 6-year-old girl stealing her mother's BMW while mom was sleeping. Police in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, say she drove about a mile before witnesses say that things started to go bump in the daytime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMMIE HAWKINS, SAW 5 YEAR OLD BEHIND THE WHEEL: She rammed the white truck up there. The white truck hit the black truck and in the process of ramming it, she didn't know what to do, so her car came down the hill and hit a gray car behind her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The girl eventually crashed the car into a utility pole. Luckily, no one was hurt during her little adventure. Police say the girl wanted to see her father, who lives in a neighboring town.

ROMANS: Oh, boy. There's an awful lot there.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my gosh.

All right. Whether your company is cutting travel budgets or you're just looking to save money out of family vacation, a good place to start is with your rental car. Now, how to put the brakes on overpriced rentals in "Road Warriors".

ROMANS: And this is a growing problem. When you get your rental car bill, look closely. Chances are, you're going to find hidden fees tucked away, but you can minimize the hit in your wallet.

First, don't rent your car at the airport if you can help it. These rental locations have to pay what's called a concession recovery fee to the airport for their premium spot. They often just pass that concession recovery fee right on to you. One option is to take the complimentary hotel shuttle from the airport if available and then rent your car near your hotel. Also, play around with your rental dates. Weekends generally cheaper than weekdays, and the weekly rate may be less expensive than renting by the day for four or five days.

If you're going to drop off the car before your rental is up, watch out for the early return fee, uh-huh, charged by some companies. And bringing your own gadgets and skipping the extras can save money, too, especially on longer rentals. GPS unit, satellite radio, car seats -- car seats are the bane of my existence -- these are charged by the day.

If you use the car's electronic toll tag, you may be charged an extra fee per rental day, on top of the cost of the actual toll, even if you use it only once. To avoid the surcharge, stop the toll booth and pay cash instead.

And always remember, they're not renting car because they like you. They are renting because they will make money.

SAMBOLIN: Read the fine print, folks.

Boeing's troubled Dreamliner will back in the air soon but with no passengers. We're going to explain that, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans, minding your business.

Stock futures are up this morning. The Dow dropped below its 14,000 mark.

You know, look, it hit that milestone, but then, now, there are concerns about a banking scandal in Italy, some corruption allegations against the Spanish prime minister, and holding on to the level is a little difficult. But futures are up right now.

Massive lawsuit over the subprime mortgage mess. Standard & Poor's says the Justice Department plan to sue S&P over those -- remember those glowing ratings that S&P gave to the subprime investments in 2007? Oh, those subprime mortgage investments that were all flops. Well, S&P denied any wrongdoing and said a DOJ lawsuit would not have any merits, that they were just making the same assumptions the rest of the world was, that those were great investments and, of course, they weren't and almost took down the global economy.

Boeing hoping to get its Dreamliner off the ground again. The company has asked the FAA to allow begin test flights with the aircraft. Boeing says it wants to evaluate the performance of the plane's lithium batteries, thought to be involved in two electrical fires last month. All 50 Dreamliners have been grounded worldwide since those incidents.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty-five minutes past the hour. He is always outspoken. But some are wondering whether former presidential candidate Ron Paul crossed the line with a tweet over the death of a former Navy SEAL. The controversial story is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)