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Hakkens in Court Today; Teen Daughters Pull 3,000 Lb Tractor Off Dad; Boys Hook Great White Shark on Fishing Trip; A "Great" Invasion?; Magical Reunion

Aired April 11, 2013 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. Happening now in Tamap, Florida, the parents accused of abducting their two young sons and sailing off to Cuba, they're about to make their first court appearance since returning to the U.S..

BERMAN: Josh and Sharyn Hakken face a long litany of charges, including kidnapping, auto theft, child neglect. The boys, thankfully, are now back with their grandparents. CNN's Victor Blackwell is live outside the courtroom in Tampa.

And Victor, what's going to happen in the courtroom later today?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the procedures just started at 8:30 but this is for all of the people who have been arrested here in Hillsborough County for the last 24 to 36 hours, not just Joshua and Sharyn Hakken. So there's no telling in which order they will come, but today they will officially hear the charges. Those charges of child neglect and kidnapping and false imprisonment, and battery with burglary, read to them today.

Now, they will not physically be in the courtroom here in Hillsborough County. There's a system set up via closed circuit television in which they will be at the jail where they've been for the last 24 to 38 hours or so, and they will speak to the judge through that monitor. Now they have been isolated from general population. We're told by authorities here that that is customary when you have two suspects involved in such a high-profile case right at the height of interest in their case, John.

BERMAN: We have not seen the Hakken boys yet, but I understand we may get a glimpse of them later today.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we're expecting to see them at 11:00 Eastern. We're told by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office that they're planning to answer questions from the media on their front lawn, the front lawn of the home where allegedly these boys were kidnapped last Wednesday. The boys will be there, but we're told only their grandfather, Robert Hauser, is going to be answering questions. This will be the only opportunity to get answers to the questions of what happened over the last seven days.

BERMAN: All right, Victor Blackwell for us live this morning in Tampa, thanks so much.

As we said, there's a lot going on this morning. Zoraida Sambolin has the rest of the day's top stories.

ROMANS: Good morning.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Good morning to both of you.

Rescued at sea, the U.S. Coast Guard used a Jayhawk helicopter to save a stranded boater after his 31-foot vessel lost power Tuesday in the Gulf of Alaska. The rescue crew successfully hoisted the boater off the deck up to safety, but it wasn't easy. The helicopter pilot and his crew had to battle 30-mile-an-hour winds and eight to ten-foot waves in order to pull off that feat. That is incredible.

All right, Senator Rand Paul speaking at Howard University, the first Republican elected official to address the historically black school in decades. Back in 2010, Paul made some controversial comments about the Civil Rights Act. So let's hear those, then listen to Senator Paul clarify.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think it's a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant, but at the same time, I believe in private ownership.

I've never questioned the Civil Rights Act and never come out in opposition to the Civil Rights Act, nor have I ever introduced anything to alter the Civil Rights Act, so your characterization is incorrect.


SAMBOLIN: So Paul did get applause for his views on war and prison sentences for drug offenders, but he admitted winning African- Americans over to the GOP is an uphill battle.

Yale, Stanford, Duke, and other prestigious schools slammed by Uncle Sam. A federal agency says the schools didn't give more than 1,000 families who took part in a study of premature babies didn't give enough information about the risks. The Office for Human Research Protections says the study played a role in the deaths of some infants and the blindness of others. That study took place between 2004 and 2009. That just sounds outrageous.

All right, New York City tried last month to ban the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces. Remember that? But a judge blocked that move. Now comes a study from the University of California at San Diego which New York officials may not like to hear. It concludes that when serving sizes are restricted, consumers simply buy more of the smaller sized drinks. And a Bob Seger fan from -- who spent 5 1/2 years in a semi-comatose state is getting ready to meet her favorite rock star. 79-year-old Evie Hanon says for years she couldn't communicate with anybody until she bumped her head two years ago.


EVIE HANON, BOG SEGER FAN: My memory started coming back. Not all at once, just gradually, but they said when I woke up one morning, the first words out of my mouth was, "I want to go to a Bob Seger concert."



SAMBOLIN: I know. We're sitting here with our mouths open. All right, so the folks at Willow Brook Manor Nursing Home in Flint Township, Michigan, took Evie's words to heart and made arrangements for Evie to take a limousine to tomorrow night's concert at the Palace in Auburn Hills. She is hoping to thank Bob Seger in person.


HANON: I'm learning how to stand up so I can hug him. And I want to hug him and give him a great big smooch.


SAMBOLIN: And he will probably give her a great big smooch right back.

ROMANS: That is my favorite story of the week. I love it. Way to go, Evie. Best of luck to you.

BERMAN: All right, thanks Zoraida. Thirty-five minutes after the hour right now and these are feats of strength that even Frank Costanza couldn't imagine. A little Seinfeld reference right there. Two girls versus a 1 1/2 ton tractor; that's 1,500 pounds per girl, if you're scoring at home.

ROMANS: Fourteen-year-old Haylee and 15-year-old Hannah were about to head out and walk their dog when they heard the sound no daughter wants to hear, the scream of their father yelling, "Save me." And amazingly, that's what they did, lifting a 3,000 pound tractor off their father's chest and saving his life.

Haylee and Hannah are here now, along with their dad, Jeff. We're so glad, Dad, that you're OK and that your daughters were there to hear your scream. So Jeff, first tell me, how did you end up under the tractor?

JEFF SMITH, DAUGHTERS PULLED 3,000 LB. TRACTOR OFF HIS CHEST: Well, I was pulling stuff (ph) out in my garden area and my foot slipped off the clutch of the tractor, and before I knew it, it had walked over backwards and landed on top of me. BERMAN: Before I ask questions of the superheroes sitting to your side, you're underneath the tractor right now, how do you think it's going to get off of you?

SMITH: At that point, I didn't think it was. I didn't know if that was it or not.

ROMANS: Were you pinned or were you being crushed by the tractor?

SMITH: I was being crushed by the tractor.

BERMAN: All right, then Haylee, Hannah, you hear your father screaming. You see what's happening. What's going through your head?

HANNAH SMITH, LIFTED 3,000 LB TRACTOR OFF DAD: I was scared. I didn't know what to do honestly at that point.

HAYLEE SMITH, LIFTED 3,000 LB TRACTOR OFF DAD: I was -- I was scared. When I saw him, I just was like, kind of like swallowing my breath and I stopped breathing, because it was scary. It's this adrenaline rush.

ROMANS: How did you get the tractor off him? Did you push it? Did you do it together? Did you talk about it? Tell us about the moment when you just started trying to move it.

HANNAH SMITH: We kind of just got in ready position and then we started counting to three and then on three, we both tried to lift it at the same time and seeing if that worked. And then we noticed that it lifted a little bit so then we finally got it up off his chest and then we pretty much just stopped at this point.

BERMAN: Like the idea --

HANNAH SMITH: And started digging out from under his arm.

BERMAN: -- of a ready position to lift a 3,000-pound tractor. What made you think you could lift that much?

HAYLEE SMITH: We didn't even think. It was just like do.

ROMANS: You didn't have a choice; your dad's under the tractor. Was he talking to you?

HAYLEE SMITH: Yes, he was like telling us to lift.

ROMANS: Unbelievable.

SAMBOLIN: I have a question. He looks like he's in really good shape there. No injuries? Did you sustain any injuries from this?

JEFF SMITH: Yes, I suffered a broken wrist and I have a bunch of marks on my upper arm area and I got some serious bruising on my chest, so it hurts quite a bit when I sneeze or cough or anything.

ROMANS: So Jeff, when the girls ask for a later curfew or to borrow the car keys, will you have to think twice about saying no? Do they have a couple of free passes in their back pocket?

JEFF SMITH: They might have something down the road, I'm not sure what it is yet, though.

BERMAN: I would go with something big, if I were you, considering they lifted a tractor off your chest. We're so happy for all of you. Congratulations to the girls, how amazing.

ROMANS: What a great story. Haylee, Hannah, and Jeff, thanks so much for joining us morning.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, imagine you're fishing, fighting, whatever it is, and you're tugging at the other end of the line, you feel a Great White Shark.

ROMANS: That's what happened to a group of teens. We're going to talk to them about this, their unbelievable catch. You're watching STARTING POINT.


ROMANS: -- Logan Elliott, Tanner Elliott, are joining us this morning from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. So you hooked a big one. I guess, Harry, I'll ask you first. You hook a big one; how long before you realized this wasn't a sailfish on the end? This wasn't a tuna. This was something really special?

HARRY ANDRO, HOOKED A GREAT WHITE SHARK ON FISHING TRIP: Well, after about 30 minutes, the captain said this is for sure something that he's never caught before. And we were able to realize that it was pretty big and it took a while and after about an hour and a half, we were -- we were able to see it at the top and realize it's something incredible.

BERMAN: Once you realized it was a shark, was the inclination, oh, let's keep on reeling it in or what I would do, which his, I'm going to run as far as I possibly can?

ANDRO: Well, we wanted to see it. We were out there for fun, and we wanted to make sure we got a look of everything we had on the line. So we weren't scared yet, but after seeing it, it was quite frightening.

ROMANS: So Josh, I'm going to have you jump in here, because we can see it on the side of the boat, right. Looks like it's kind of laying there on the side of the boat. Must have been exhausted after four hours of battling it. What was it like to sit there in the fighting chair and strap in and try to bring this thing in?

JOSH SHAILER, HOOKED A GREAT WHITE SHARK ON FISHING TRIP: Oh it was hard. I mean, this is a big shark, I'll tell you that. I actually fell asleep afterwards, I was so exhausted. Took a nap on the boat.

ROMANS: Apparently so did the shark. We're told the shark did swim away. Tanner, the shark did swim away in the end? TANNER ELLIOTT, HOOKED A GREAT WHITE SHARK ON FISHING TRIP: Yes, ma'am. I think it was about as exhausted as we were. It came up and it just wanted to rest. I mean, it was definitely fine, but it was just as tired as we were.

BERMAN: Any advice to would-be shark hunters out there? I mean, what's the best way to get the shark?

TANNER ELLIOTT: I'm no shark expert. We were just at the right place at the right time, but I guess, you know, use a big bait and hope for the best.

BERMAN: Hope for the best with a Great White Shark. Always a good idea.

TANNER ELLIOTT: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

BERMAN: What did the captain say when they was going on?

TANNER ELLIOTT: He knew how rare it was actually to catch a Great White in this area, so we thought it was pretty cool, but he was -- he was freaking out, like, it was awesome for him. And we found out how rare it was when we got back on shore.

ROMANS: Hey, Logan, I don't know if I've heard from you yet, Logan, but I want to know what were you fishing for?

LOGAN ELLIOTT, HOOKED A GREAT WHITE SHARK ON FISHING TRIP: We were just actually out there because we were on the trip once again, but we weren't really expecting anything. Just going out there, trying to catch some big fish and caught a few sailfish, some mahi mahi. We weren't expecting anything after that but toward the end of the trip, we caught the Great White, and that just topped off the trip, made the experience one of the kind.

BERMAN: It topped off the trip. You catch some mahi mahi, some tuna and a 13-foot Great White Shark. Guys, congratulations. We're happy you made it through.

ROMANS: That's awesome. What a great fishing trip. Thanks, guys. You know sometimes when are you chumming on the back of the boat.

BERMAN: How often have you been chumming on the back of the boat?

ROMANS: I love it, but it gets so scary, because all of the fish got some stuff and you just think could there be a shark that's going to come right up and get my hand? So I'm always very nervous.

SAMBOLIN: And after this experience, I would say you should be. Right, you never know.

ROMANS: I know exactly.

All right, ahead on STARTING POINT, who knew Snow White had this kind of pull. The Disney Land character did her part to make a magical wish come true. That's next you're watching STARTING POINT. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Some top stories for you.

A U.S. Army Chaplain from the Korean War will be awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama today posthumously. Chaplain Emil Kapaun being cited for conspicuous gallantry. He went from being a priest in rural Kansas to a heroic prisoner of war in the Korean conflict. This is in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Well in less than two hours, Tiger Woods tees off at the Masters. It's been five years since Tiger's last victory in a major and all eyes will be on a young phenom from China his name -- he is 14 years old, I should say that first -- Guan Tianlang who will become the youngest player ever to compete in the 80 year history of this event. He's in 8th grade.

Miranda Kerr, the fallen angel from Victoria Secret did she get fired or not? "The New York Post" reporting that Kerr did not get a pink slip from the lingerie giant. Apparently Victoria expects her angels to spend three months per year selling the secret, but Kerr says she didn't have the time.

So there you have it; mystery solved.

BERMAN: Exactly.

All right 52 minutes after the hour right now. And you know fairy tale endings not uncommon at Disney World. But this one really, you know, dwarfs them all.

ROMANS: A little girl missing her Marine dad sees her wish come true with a little help from Snow White. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When Show White has it by the hand and you're headed for the wishing well at Disney Land you better come up with a good wish.

JENNIFER LOVE BROWN: Alyssa Melissa's had a hard time with her father being gone. She's a daddy's girl.

MOOS: And with daddy gone for seven months to Afghanistan, no wonder the 4-year-old Alyssa Brown gave Snow white this wish.

ALYSSA BROWN: Daddy come home.

MOOS: Hide your eyes, don't peek.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm wishing, I'm wishing for the one I love --

MOOS: And while Alyssa was wishing, not peeking, who should appear.


MOOS: But the one she loved. We'll let Alyssa give you the play-by- play.

BROWN: I gave him a big hug.

MOOS: A hug she's happy to recreate sitting in their San Diego home.

(on camera): You know, Scott, I kept expecting to you pop out of the wishing well.

S. BROWN: That would have been a pretty cool trick, but we just kept it simple for this one.

MOOS: It was made simpler because the Browns had a friend of a friend who has a sister working in PR at Disney Land and she helped with the Marine Lieutenant's request. But when it was his 14-month-old son Liam's turn to greet daddy --

Liam looked scared of you.

S. BROWN: Well yes he was only seven months old when I left and he's only seen pictures of me and the daddy doll.

MOOS: That would be deployment daddy doll. With Lieutenant Brown's picture on it.

A. BROWN: I miss you, daddy.

MOOS: This was the day when Alyssa first laid eyes on her dad's stand in. Within a few hours of the reunion, Liam was getting used to his daddy, playing and cuddling.

(on camera): But there is a down side to going to washing well and making your kid's wish come true. Alyssa has already told her parents --

J. BROWN: My next wish is for a puppy. Wish for a puppy, no, we got a brother instead.

MOOS: Maybe that wishing well worked a little too well.

A. BROWN: Puppy.

J. BROWN: I don't think Snow White can bring a puppy.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

J. BROWN: Just daddy.

MOOS: New York.

J. BROWN: Good try, though.


BERMAN: That's just so wonderful.

ROMANS: That is too much. That is too much. BERMAN: You're a puddle.

ROMANS: You have to take it from here, Berman.

BERMAN: All right. STARTING POINT back in a moment.


ROMANS: So the super bowl of golf? What is it of golf?

BERMAN: You know, it's the first major of the year. It's the Masters. There's so much tradition down there. Thursday at the Masters -- everyone vying for the green jacket. And all eyes are on Tiger Woods. He has not won a major now in almost five years, but he's really been on a rampage on the course.

I mean he's won, you know, three tournaments already this year. He's back to the number ranking in the world. And Augusta National is a course that lines up so well for him. He is always in contention there, and a lot of people think that this year he really -- he's not just the guy to beat, he is the odds on favorite there.

Also, you have Phil Mickelson, also a guy who's won at Augusta three times already. He always plays well there.

ROMANS: And there is this 14-year-old, who you know, could potentially -- I love that. There he is.

Now, he can't drive as far, Berman, you say because he doesn't have the muscle mass.

BERMAN: I was going to say, the guys on the tour right now are driving ball a million and a half miles. And I'm not sure he's quite there yet. But as he grows and matures, he is sure --

SAMBOLIN: But the fact that he's there.

BERMAN: It's very impressive at 14.

SAMBOLIN: Unbelievable, yes.

ROMANS: Not even old enough to drive but old enough to drive.

BERMAN: A lot of people, of course, watching Rory McIlroy. It's always so exciting.

ROMANS: All right. That's it for STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Tomorrow on STARTING POINT, we're going to speak with former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner and host of the new show "The Moment". We're also going to talk to the co-creator of this amazing 3D pen, we talked to you about it yesterday. It's the 3- Doodler. His name is Max Bob and that thing is just plain cool.

ROMANS: All right. That's it for us. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.