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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Boy Rescued from Kidnapper by FBI: Interview with Kidnapping Victim; Controversy Continues over Super Bowl Blackout
Aired February 5, 2013 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brooke Baldwin. Fancy meeting you here and you. Soledad is off this morning.
Our STARTING POINT: this dramatic rescue. This morning, new details about how feds saved this five-year-old boy, turns six tomorrow, held hostage in this bunker for just about a week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the grace of God, you know, he's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Then don't blame Beyonce. The NFL commissioner tells fans it is not the singer's fault that the lights went out during the Super Bowl. But this morning, do we know anymore about who is to blame?
BALDWIN: Plus, one of our favorite stories of the morning. One of histories biggest mysteries gets a face lift. After the bones of England's King Richard III are finally found, brand new images this morning of what he really looked like. We will actually talk to the woman who started this whole thing, spearheaded the campaign to find him.
BERMAN: And he looks pretty good, right?
BALDWIN: Pretty good, you know?
BERMAN: And Chris Christie sits down and snacks with David Letterman. How the New Jersey governor reacts when asked about all those weight jokes.
BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE) ahead for you this morning. Alicia Kozakiewicz, she is a kidnapping survivor who now helps other victims. Also up this morning, Stacy Head, the New Orleans City council president will be talking about that blackout. Plus Nevada senator Dean Heller, Dr. Helen Fisher with Match.com unveiling new numbers on singles in America, Berman. No offense, Mrs. Berman. Just kidding. And comedian and author Heather McDonald.
BERMAN: We haven't even started and I'm in trouble. It's Tuesday, February 5th. And STARTING POINT begins right now. And our starting point this morning, new details behind the six-day ordeal for a five-year-old boy held captive in an underground bunker in Alabama. Little Ethan back is now back in the arms of his family this morning.
And his abductor, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes is dead, killed yesterday in the FBI raid that freed that little boy. Authorities say they used secret cameras to watch Dykes, noticed he was acting erratically and that time may had been running out. Victor Blackwell is live for us this morning in Midland City, Alabama this morning. What a relief for this family. Victor, good morning.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brooke. Yes, not only for the family, but for the entire community. People across the country, even in other countries, were following this story, and commenting and praying that they were hoping Ethan would be able to come home soon.
Two reasons why this happened when it did. First, we're told that communications with Jimmy Lee Dykes broke down in the day leading up to the raid, and probably the more important reason, they saw he had a gun and he had to go in when they did to save Ethan.
BLACKWELL: Ethan is safe. This is a photograph of the five-year-old being taken to a 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's laughing, joking, playing, eating, the things that you would expect a normal five to six-year-old young man to do. He's very brave. He's 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 agents, fearing 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.
BYRON MARTIN, NEIGHBOR: I heard a big boom, and then I heard -- I believe I heard rifle shots.
BLACKWELL: How loud of a boom? Very loud?
MARTIN: Oh, yes, literally made me jump off the ground. It scared me that bad.
BLACKWELL: Authorities are still working on the crime scene, and the investigation is expected to continue for several days. According to a psychiatrist, the next few days will be critical for Ethan. DR. CHARLES SOPHY, PSYCHIATRIST: The tendency will 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 right now these next few days are critical with this boy to bond with his family and feel safe and protected.
BLACKWELL: But for now, a family and community are grateful to have Ethan safe.
SHERIFF WALLY OLSON, DALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: He's a very special child. He's been through a lot. He's endured a lot, and by the grace of god, you know, he is OK. And that was the mission of every man and woman on this compound.
BLACKWELL: His family tells us that Ethan was kept at the hospital overnight to be checked out to be sure he's physically fine, of course happy to see his family, happy to be with his mom. What ranks up there? Having his favorite toy dinosaur back. Every night, there's been a vigil in this community praying he would come out. Tonight's vigil is to celebrate he's home. Tomorrow, everyone will celebrate his sixth birthday.
BALDWIN: What a birthday. Victor Blackwell, thank you so much for us in Alabama.
BERMAN: In a few minutes, we'll hear from the Dale County sheriff, Wally Olson, whose officers aided in the dramatic rescue.
BALDWIN: We want to bring in Alicia Kozakiewicz, who has some idea what little Ethan went through. Alicia survived a terrifying abduction when she was 13. Now she's 24. She runs the Alicia Project, an advocacy group.
ALICIA KOZAKIEWICZ: Good morning.
BALDWIN: In a sense, big difference, you were 13. He is five, going on six tomorrow. But that being said, take me back to the moment that help had arrived, you were safe?
KOZAKIEWICZ: The FBI had busted in, and they were screaming "We have guns!" At the time I didn't know they were the FBI. I thought they were more people coming to hurt me. I never assumed rescue would come. I didn't know and realize that I was being rescued until one of them turned around and I saw FBI on the back of their jackets. And I questioned, is this real? Am I actually being rescued? Is this a dream? And it took until I was home with my parents to feel that.
BERMAN: And what were you most afraid of? Was it the captor or the idea that there would be a botched rescue, people come in guns blazing?
KOZAKIEWICZ: I didn't think it would be a botched rescue. I assumed it was people that he had sent to hurt me. I was 13 years old. I didn't think this would be FBI. When they came in and I heard "clear, clear, clear," it didn't click then. I really didn't think that. I had kind of accepted the fact that this was the day that I decided I was going to do whatever I could do to get out of there. He hinted to me that he was going to kill me that day. So I decided I was going to do whatever I was going to do to get out therefore, and I was probably going to die.
BALDWIN: It is impossible obviously to get inside the mind of this five-year-old or even the parents, and I won't even pretend we can. For you, in those precious hours and days once you realized you were OK. What was that like? Adjusting back to life?
KOZAKIEWICZ: It's so hard. You have to try to keep things normal. That's what we have to do for this little boy. Keep certain things as normal as possible.
BALDWIN: Like what?
KOZAKIEWICZ: Things like just basic routines he had done before, his favorite games, his favorite movies, favorite food, just trying to keep an anchor in the before, and not equate this with him, this happened to him, it's not who he is.
BERMAN: That's a good point. How do you keep this from defining him? He is six tomorrow, and he has already had what will be the worst moment of his life happen. So how do you keep this from being a defining moment?
KOZAKIEWICZ: It depends on what we do on television and the media, it depends on what people do around him to help make him heal. If people judge him as this happened to him, or you think about this happening to him all the time, or talk to him about it and ask him questions constantly and center his life on it, how can he move forward? And really, we have to let him heal. Every situation is different. My situation is certainly different from his. And each situation is unique. We have to give him a chance to heal.
BERMAN: And have you an organization that helps.
BALDWIN: The Alicia Project.
KOZAKIEWICZ: Yes, we go and speak to schools. I go and make sure that the same thing doesn't happen to other children.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Will there be a day, maybe hours go by, and the first thing he thinks of won't be his abduction?
KOZAKIEWICZ: Certainly. We find room. We have to make room for tragedies that happen in our lives and try to get back to where we were before, and there are days that I don't think about it and I'm sure he will have those too.
BALDWIN: Alicia Kozakiewic, thank you so much, brave, brave 24-year- old.
And now Christine Romans with the rest of the days stories. ROMANS: Police in Texas say the man accused of killing America's most deadly sniper confessed to his sister, saying he "traded his soul for a new truck." Eddie Ray Routh is accused of killing ex-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range. Kyle was known for being the most deadly sniper in American history with 150 confirmed kills in Iraq.
A renewed presidential effort for immigration reform and some form of gun control today, President Obama meeting today with key immigration groups, progressive groups and labor groups, then a dozen CEOs. The goal? To get a bipartisan immigration reform deal done and on gun control. The president says consensus is building.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Lasting change also requires Congress to do its part and to do it soon, not to wait. The good news is that we're starting to see a consensus emerge about the action Congress needs to take.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: In about 25 minutes we'll talk immigration and gun control with Republican senator and bipartisan advocate Dean Heller of Nevada.
New this morning, we can now be -- I guess face to face with the lost British king, Richard III. A team of scientists have created this model of what the controversial British monarch probably looked like when he died in battle in the 15th century. This mockup is based on the skull remained found at a dig 90 miles northwest of London. Just yesterday archaeologists confirmed this skeleton is that indeed of the long lost king, famously the subject of Shakespeare's "Richard III." We're talking to a woman behind the search in the next hour. Fascinating stuff.
David Letterman face to face with the butt of many of his jokes, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and he brought a tasty prop and a healthy dose of humor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, LATE NIGHT TV HOST: I have made a few jokes, not just one or two, intermittent. But --
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I didn't know this was going to be this long.
LETTERMAN: Now, wait a minute. Maybe you can do that sort of thing in your state, buddy.
CHRISTIE: I don't care if you're funny. From my perspective, the joke is funny, I laugh, even if it's about me. If it's not funny, I don't laugh. But I've never felt like it was anything that really bugged me all that much.
LETTERMAN: Now, what percentage of the jokes have you found funny?
CHRISTIE: About 40 percent, roughly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Can I just say, he's got good comic timing.
BERMAN: Great comic timing, and a great sport and smart to come on with the doughnut. You never know when you might get hungry, right?
ROMANS: There you go.
BERMAN: In just a few hours, the Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens will celebrate with a victory parade that rolls from Baltimore City Hall to M&T Bank Stadium.
The champs got home one day after winning the second Super Bowl title, 34-31, the win over the San Francisco 49ers. This morning both the NFL and the Superdome officials are still trying to figure out what the heck happened that caused the blackout 35 minutes in the third quarter. They have officially confirmed that Beyonce's halftime show did not do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I do not think this will have an impact on future Super Bowls in New Orleans. I fully expect we'll be back here for Super Bowls, and I hope that's the cause. I hope we will be back here. We want to be back here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: If it wasn't Beyonce, what then happened? We don't really know. John Zarrella is live for us in New Orleans this morning. Good morning, John.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John, Brooke. They don't know. It wasn't Beyonce. It wasn't a couple of other things either that they seem to have ruled out. We know that the city council's utility commission is going to hold an emergency meeting to launch its own investigation into the matter. That emergency meeting is going to be held Friday. And so at this point, what we still have is a power puzzle.
ZARRELLA: 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 never met so many people so hospitable.
ZARRELLA: What happened? Video from inside the stadium control room show the Super Bowl's uh-oh moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we lost lights. All right, we're going to the manual override.
ZARRELLA: And then the head scratching still unanswered question, what went wrong. Here is 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 in service it didn't occur inside the building. We couldn't receive it from the Entergy 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's supposed to work.
ZARRELLA: But in a statement to CNN Monday Entergy cautioned "Until the investigation is complete, any statements on possible causes are just speculation." There was speculation that Beyonce's halftime show pulled too much power. SMG said no, "The halftime show was running on 100 percent generated power, which means it was not on our power grid at all."
While we're 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 than to talk about than the final score.
ZARRELLA: Now, SMG and the power company, both say they don't believe it had anything to do with any overload inside the stadium. There was no overload of power inside the stadium, and some emergency work done on feeder lines bringing power into the stadium, they don't believe that any of those upgrades to those feeder systems had anything to do with the problem either. So right now, John, Brooke, it's still anybody's guess what happened.
BERMAN: Thanks, John. Something happened. We'll find out sooner or later. John Zarrella, it's dark right now, but the lights will come on at some point.
So when the lights did go out during the Super Bowl, did they go out on New Orleans's chances at landing another big event? The city council president Stacy Head is with us next.
BALDWIN: Also ahead this morning, are Americans more committed or are they going more on the friends with benefits relationship skew. Hmm? Match.com with an exclusive look at new numbers, new studies, fascinating stuff, dating in America, coming up this morning.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: It's 19 minutes past the hour here on Tuesday. Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I want to get back to this developing story we have been following for a week here. This little five-year-old boy named Ethan held captive for nearly a week in this bunker finally has been freed. The FBI raided the bunker, rescuing Ethan yesterday afternoon, and his captor was killed.
BERMAN: Joining us now is Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson. Thank you for joining us.
SHERIFF WALLY OLSON, DALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: Thank you.
BERMAN: Can you walk us through the distribution to launch the dramatic raid? What was the trigger that made authorities go in?
OLSON: The deterioration of the communication as far as the negotiations were, and we had to make a decision. We made it.
BALDWIN: When you talk about the deterioration of the situation, what were you all watching? What did you see?
OLSON: At this point in time, it's still actually a criminal investigation. I can't release a lot of information about all of that, but, you know, I would say that the circumstances around the negotiations and the communications deteriorated pretty quickly.
BERMAN: We understand there was a mockup of a bunker built to make practice this raid and sophisticated defense department military technology helping you monitor this perpetrator. How important was that technology, the level of preparedness to pulling that off successfully?
OLSON: Right now, we're not -- we're not at liberty to discuss the tactical operations or any of the actual operations of the incident, so, you know, I just can't give you a whole lot of details because, like I said, it's still actually an ongoing investigation. And we still have a lot of work to do here.
BALDWIN: Sheriff, how many years have you been sheriff in Dale County?
OLSON: I took office in 2007.
BALDWIN: OK, so a couple of years. I don't know if you are born and raised in Dale County. Has this kind of thing ever happened where you live, sir?
OLSON: Not to my knowledge. I have been with the sheriff's department so time before I was actually elected sheriff, and I have been sheriff now six years. So no, it's not something you see here in Dale County on a regular basis. We've had our trying times and our natural disasters, but this is -- this is something that -- something we never expected in our community.
BALDWIN: How is the family this morning? Have you been in touch with them? The mother, grandmother of this child? OLSON: My last contact with them, everything going good and they were -- they had a lot of catching up to do. Ethan, you know, he has a lot of catching up to do. He's a remarkable little fellow.
BERMAN: We are -- we are so happy for you and so happy for the family, Sheriff Wally Olson in Alabama. Thank you for joining us.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
BERMAN: So we showed you the new images of the face of King Richard III. Coming up, we'll hear from the folks who helped reconstruct his face when we go live to London.
BERMAN: We are trying to piece together more about what caused the Superdome to go dark during the Super Bowl. Entergy, the company that supplies the Superdome with electricity, and SMG, the management company, say that monitoring equipment in the electrical system sensed an abnormality and cut off power to part of the stadium.
BALDWIN: The game delayed for 34 minutes Sunday night. Some say it will hurt New Orleans' chances of getting another major sporting event. We want to go to Stacy Head, the president of the New Orleans City Council. Good morning to you. We have been reading and know what it wasn't. What was it?
STACY HEAD, PRESIDENT, NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL: It wasn't Beyonce. Glad to hear that. We don't know what it was, and hopefully we'll find that out in a few days. I hope that this doesn't become the focal point of this manly call weekend we had in New Orleans. It was an amazing, amazing weekend, and I don't know that anyone who experienced New Orleans' southern hospitality looks at anything other than that as a reason to come back to New Orleans, hopefully in 2018.
BERMAN: It was unprecedented and it was a very big deal. You mentioned 2018, when you would like to get the Super Bowl back. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said it shouldn't have an effect on New Orleans getting another Super Bowl. Let's take a listen.
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ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I do not think this will have an impact on future Super Bowls. I expect we'll be back for Super Bowls and I hope that's the cause. I hope that we'll be back here, we want to be back here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I know he says it won't affect it, but it hasn't help it, can it?
HEAD: Certainly every city will have some kind of glitch, and if you look at New Orleans, particularly since it was right in the middle of Mardi Gras, I don't think you can take away one mistake or one problem. You have to realize this was an unbelievable Super Bowl. We had unbelievable weather, hospitality. This was not a good thing. Certainly it was unfortunate. It was the kind of thing that can be remedied, and it's something that can be resolved and will never happen again.
BALDWIN: I am a huge New Orleans fan, I spent my New Year's Eve there, but people are making fun of New Orleans. This is from MetLife stadium. I hear you grousing. "Don't worry, next year at MetLife stadium, the lights will stay on, #Super Bowl XXXVIII." We will figure out what the heck happened. But once you figure that out, what happens then? Should heads roll on this?
HEAD: I think that depends what we learn happens or has happened. At the end of the day, New Orleanians, probably any other place in the country, we can laugh at tragedy, we realize live is much bigger than one unfortunate event. So I don't take any personal offense to the MetLife tweet. I think that was silly, maybe not necessary, but certainly not something that New Orleanians really have a problem with.
BERMAN: Stacy Head, we are as interested as you are in finding out what happened. Thank you for joining us this morning.
BALDWIN: Also this morning, Piers Morgan, did you know this, he goes shooting. Find out what happens when Piers pulls the trigger and talks guns with Ted Nugent. Let's just say fireworks.