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Suspected Bomber's Burial Still Unclear; Fast-moving Wildfire Threatens Homes in Ventura County; Extra Security at Kentucky Derby; Actress, Soda Suffer Brand Woes

Aired May 4, 2013 - 09:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, I'm Randi Kaye in Boston. It is 9 o'clock on the East Coast, 6:00 am out West. Thanks so much for starting your morning with us.


KAYE: Now to the Boston bombings: the death certificate confirms the violent final moments of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's life.


KAYE (voice-over): The owner of the funeral home handling the suspected bomber's burial read the document to CNN and it shows Tsarnaev died from gunshot wounds of torso and extremities and blunt trauma to head and torso.

He died during a shoot-out and then, police say, his brother ran him over before escaping.

Tamerlan's body is now in a Worcester Funeral Parlor outside Boston. Several newspapers report that four cemeteries have refused to take the suspected bomber. The "New York Daily News" says they're in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Let's check in now with CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti who is joining me this morning here in Boston.

So there's been a lot of controversy about the burial --


KAYE: -- of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. What is his family saying about this?

CANDIOTTI: You know, we know that the family is now in charge at least on the Tsarnaev side with trying to make funeral arrangements. The only thing they're telling us is this, we don't know when this is going to happen, but they are protesting themselves burying him right now. They want their own independent autopsy. They don't trust the medical examiner's office and they want their own results.

So there's that to consider. However, some people in the area don't want him buried at all in Boston or in this community, although others do disagree. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send him back to Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's too sad for words. It's too sad. He shouldn't be here. He should never have come. If he had never come it would have been -- none of this would have happened. He had every advantage he could have here. He shouldn't be buried here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really care where he's buried. To me he's dead already. How much more can you punish him? I just, to me, it's too petty.


KAYE: And there's even controversy about a funeral service at his own mosque.

CANDIOTTI: That's right, both Tamerlan and his younger brother attended a mosque here in the Boston area and the imam tells us that he does not want to preside over any funeral services if they're asked to hold them there, that instead it would have to be a layperson or perhaps he is suggesting their own family member should have a private service because he said that, you know, what happened here at the marathon is just so terrible. They don't want anyone to be left with the impression that they condone the violence here in any way, shape or form.

KAYE: And the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth also back in the news. That's where the younger Tsarnaev went. What -- bring us up to date on that.

CANDIOTTI: Well, yesterday there was a search in the area of the campus, investigators fanning out there. What we understand from our sources is that there were some people, some leads they were checking out that thought they heard loud explosions, you know, in the recent past and they wanted to check that out. We don't know whether they came up with anything but we know that the search ended yesterday.


CANDIOTTI: Again its conclusion we don't know.

KAYE: Right. Just curious, though.

CANDIOTTI: Exactly. And so they might have been testing something there, whether they found him -- they just wanted to follow all the leads through to the end.

KAYE: All right. Makes sense, Susan. Thank you very much. We'll check back with you later on.

The funeral director now handling Tsarnaev's burial says that he will help to pay the cost if the family needs it.

And joining me next hour when I speak live with the man himself, Peter Stefan, to find out just how difficult that task. That's at 10:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

In Southern California right now, hundreds of firefighters are trying to gain ground against a fast moving wildfire. Thousands of acres have gone up in smoke in Ventura County and thousands of homes are under threat.

Let's find out more about when rain could give firefighters a helping hand. CNN meteorologist Alexandra Steele is tracking the weather for us.

Alexandra, good morning. So is there going to be enough rainfall, do you think, to really help at all?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, it might be negligible in scope in terms of the amount of rain but the biggest changes and certainly the good news, really we've seen a switch in the wind direction so those hot dry strong offshore winds have now been replaced by much cooler onshore winds. So the wind coming off the ocean, bringing in the moisture, temperatures dropped precipitously from 93 yesterday to the 70s and then to the 60s. And we are going to see some light showers come in so anything is beneficial.

The bad news, the showers only will be light and also the other bad news those thundershowers we could see could have some lightning with them which may even start a fire with this tinder brown dry vegetation and also kind of a change in the wind direction.

So today and tomorrow, 70s and 60s, certainly temperature is down, that is the good news, the humidity is up. There's Monday's chance for rain, so overall, really, the conditions have certainly improved.

Los Angeles this year alone beginning in January to now has seen only 1.9 inches of rain. Conversely, St. Louis, two inches of rain in only two days. We're talking about flooding problems and incredibly robust system. Record snow in three states here from Maine. Also all the way from Minneapolis down and also record cold temperatures with this system and Arkansas, look at this white on the map.

The northwestern Arkansas, snow for the first time since records began in 1819, as Arkansas had snow in May so historic in nature, no question about it, a lot of rain, of course if you're watching the derby, 60s today and a sloppy track, we're going to see, Randi, because a lot of rain coming in. It's just moving in right now to Louisville and it will stay there all day.

KAYE: All right, Alexandra Steele, thank you very much for the update.

Meanwhile CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Newbury Park, California, for us this morning.

Stephanie, so what is the latest on the situation with the fire? How much of it is actually contained at this point?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Randi, that's one thing that everyone has been looking for information on. And so far the last update we have gotten from officials came last night, and they said 28,000 acres were burned and that it was 20 percent contained.

Now we should be getting an update now that day has finally made its way here to the West Coast. But if you look behind me, you can see that there are some fires that are burning. But those are controlled fires. They're burning those to make sure that they don't come closer to residential areas like this fire has done in the last couple of days.

So they want to control, make sure that this area burns out. This is a trail right behind me and they want to make sure that it burns out and doesn't threaten these homes that are here, Randi.

KAYE: Yes. And the fire erupted on Thursday. It certainly has made a -- made up a lot of ground pretty fast, hasn't it?

ELAM: Yes, it raced out of the gates on Thursday. It actually burned up 6500 acres in just five hours on Thursday and it ran over these hills and all the way to the Pacific Ocean yesterday. We actually saw the embers burning down the hillside and then jumping across the Pacific Coast Highway and then running out of real estate because the Pacific Ocean was there.

So a very fast moving fire. It did come closer to some homes but unbelievable while there was a little bit of damage, I think, on 15 homes, no homes were destroyed with this fire and there's another big fire in Riverside County, east of here. Only one home was destroyed. So firefighters have really been on the attack -- Randi.

KAYE: And what about evacuations? There are evacuations in order in Friday in Ventura County. Is that still a mandatory evacuation now?

ELAM: Right. There were 4,000 people that were told to evacuate and part of the issue they were concerned about were winds. But as you just heard, those winds are very much calm now so people are waiting to hear. I do see that some people are back in their -- their homes. Also I can tell you that where we're staying the hotel was booked up with people who had been pushed out of their homes because of the fire.

I noticed last night there were a lot less foot traffic there. A lot more people going back home because they feel like it's safe now -- Randi.

KAYE: Stephanie Elam, thank you very much. Stay safe out there as well.

Today is the Kentucky derby. We want to show you some live aerials of Churchill Downs from our affiliate WAVE. Take a look there. We're expecting big crowds and of course lots of media coverage. And in the wake of the Boston bombings we're also seeing extra security, plenty of it.

CNN's Pamela Brown is taking a closer look at the precautions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kentucky derby weekend is usually all about the big hats and the mint juleps. And of course the horse races. But nearly three weeks after this sporting event ended in tragedy, folks here are thinking about more than just waging their bets.

(On camera): Is what happened in Boston on your mind today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Definitely is on my mind, just more of the fact that it's such a large crowd and you just never know how people's intentions are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, me and my buddy we're coming from Chicago. And we're both talking today about how -- are you scared at all about it? And obviously it was on the forefront of his and forefront of my mind coming in today.

BROWN (voice-over): Security has been tight at the derby since 9/11 but now officials are cracking down even more.

KEVIN FLANERY, PRESIDENT, CHURCHILL DOWNS: The first thing you do after an event like that is you just get everybody back together and you say what's the plan, do we need to make any adjustments.

BROWN: Among those adjustments a ban on coolers, cans, even large purses which came as a surprise to some. One hundred additional officers from federal, state and local agencies were brought in to conduct more thorough searches on the estimated 150,000 spectators pouring into Churchill Downs. Most racing fans are taking the increased safety measures in stride.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was happy to hear that they had increased security. It means, you know, less makeup and goodies we can bring in, but it's -- you know, it's worth it to just be more comfortable and to know that we're going to look after each other today.

BROWN: But one change had some women racing to the store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only thing was we had to shop for different purses this year. I heard the department store had a ruler on the counter. Every three women there was a ruler.


KAYE: CNN's Pamela Brown, a Kentucky native herself, joins us right now from Churchill Downs.

Pamela, good morning. So are things going pretty smoothly with the new security measures in place?

BROWN: Good morning to you, Randi. Yes, so far so good as far as that goes. We were here yesterday at the Oaks Race and there were more than 100,000 people here, but it seemed like things were going smoothly. You know you have to remember officials only had a few weeks to put these new measures into place and to get the word out to the public. And it seems like they did a pretty good job about that especially with the purse size limit.

A lot of the women we spoke to did have the smaller purses. They said they made last-minute trips to the department stores. So they did get the word out and it seemed like it helped at the security lines. The lines really weren't that backed up and that's because, according to some of the officials we spoke with, because they're not having to spend that extra time going through those big bags, going through coolers, things like that, but today is the big test, Randi, we're expecting 60,000 more people to pour into Churchill Downs for the derby so we'll see how it goes.

KAYE: All right. Pam Brown, thank you very much. We'll keep an eye on it as well.

Turning to entertainment headlines, Reese Witherspoon's arrest has gone from unfortunate to downright embarrassing. A conversation about repairing her image as well as other celebs with blunders of their own, that's coming next.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been a rough couple of weeks for some very famous people. Let's start with actress Reese Witherspoon. Just as she kicked off this apology tour for her drunken tirade against an Atlanta police officer the dash cam video of the episode goes viral.


REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: I'm a U.S. citizen and I'm allowed to stand on American --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, you're not allowed to do anything.


WITHERSPOON: And ask any question I want to ask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead. Come on.

WITHERSPOON: You better not arrest me.


WITHERSPOON: Are you kidding me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope. I told you.

WITHERSPOON: I'm an American citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told to get in that car and stay in there, didn't I?

WITHERSPOON: This is beyond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told you. WITHERSPOON: This is beyond.


BLACKWELL: Joining me now is branding consultant Joey Reiman.

Good to have you with us.


BLACKWELL: So Reese Witherspoon is said to be one of the good ones in Hollywood.


BLACKWELL: She's got this image. How badly does something like this hurt her?

REIMAN: I think it's going to help her.


REIMAN: We loved her in "Legally Blond."


REIMAN: Now we love her in legally blame. She's genuine. She stepped forward in a moral and ethical sense. And I think it's going to help her.

BLACKWELL: Now how does this apology tour help? Because she went on "Good Morning America" and she was really candid. I didn't know what I was saying.

REIMAN: Well, she -- my favorite line of hers was, you don't know who I am?


REIMAN: What she needs to do now is get in a squad car with some of these policemen and have the policemen say, you don't know who I am. Do you know who I am, and tell their story and have her support that. She perhaps might want to do the 200 hours that she didn't get of public service to show a meaningful action. She's got to come forth now and apologize but words are not deeds. Deeds are important.

BLACKWELL: She's got to do something.

REIMAN: She's got to do something.

BLACKWELL: All right. So let's talk about another brand. This week PepsiCo and the popular soda Mountain Dew, Pepsi is doing damage control over what's being called arguably the most racist commercial in history and I've intentionally not watched this commercial until this moment so we can talk about this. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's easy. Just point to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better not mess on the player.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's wearing the Dew right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stitches, gets bitches, boom.


BLACKWELL: Yes, that's -- yes, that is bad.

REIMAN: That's bad.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Paul Porter. He's the founder of He's the guy who says he blew the whistle on the Mountain Dew ad.

Paul, I hadn't seen that. What did you think when you first saw it?

PAUL PORTER, FOUNDER, RAPREHAB.COM: Well, you expect shock these days, and I was shocked and made a phone call and tried to get some things started.

BLACKWELL: I mean, why would a company think, Paul, that this would be a good way to sell soda, and that that wouldn't be offensive?

PORTER: Well, to their credit I have to say that they made a quick decision to get rid of it and to be honest we're playing it now and it was dead on Tuesday, so you know, I commend Pepsi for taking it off as quick as possible. I guess when you're so large, you can't catch everything, but everybody makes mistakes and luckily they got rid of this mistake.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Pepsi and possibly mistakes they announced cutting ties with wrapper Lil Wayne over his reference in one of his songs to slain civil rights icon Emmitt Till. Right move for PepsiCo?

PORTER: It was a great move for them. Yesterday I was in tears. I'm a first-time uncle of twins, Alex and Porter, and I said maybe corporate America is changing and doing the right thing and a little more sensitive. And I think they made a great move and some of the images in the things that he said with Emmitt Till, it's unfortunate, it's just the -- you know, beverage company but maybe next the broadcasters and the record labels will do the same thing and start thinking about making changes in terms of content.

BLACKWELL: And Joey, isn't that important? When do you make the change, when you make the announcement, you've got to be quick on it and it doesn't hold that all publicity is good publicity.

REIMAN: No, actually all publicity is fabulous in the beginning but what happens afterwards determines the outcome. And what we've got here is someone trying to be edgy and went over the edge, this is marketing gone mad. And you know, the beverage company's customers are millennials. These are kids born from the '80s to the 2000s and they only want one thing, they want meaning.

They're born with B.S. meters so when they see something like this, they're just going to walk away from PepsiCo and that's where the real damage is done. What we need to do now is come up with mountain do's and mountain don'ts.


REIMAN: And this is clearly one of the mountain don'ts.

BLACKWELL: Paul, is this the end for this fallout for Lil Wayne? We also heard about Rick Ross and his loss of endorsement with Reebok. But is this going to be the end for him? And is it an example to other rappers?

PORTER: I think it's a great example. I think, you know, the market has changed in music, and we went from lyricists and hip-hop and rap to the lyrically challenged so I think people are going to start having to be concerned with some of the artists and the labels of the product that they deliver and what they say because it's going to affect them 24/7 in their whole lifestyle.

You know, branding is where all the money is these days so financially it hurts and I think other people are going to take notice and that's a real good thing.

BLACKWELL: All right. Paul Porter from, joining from us Orlando. Joey?

REIMAN: A big watch-out for marketers.


REIMAN: Tyler, the creator, said he created this in his head in five minutes. That's not the way we do marketing. Marketing has to be more meaningful. I'd go back to the roots of Mountain Dew, for instance. Back to the 1940s. It was created as a beverage mixer, something that create harmony, not bigotry.

BLACKWELL: Yes. All right, Joey Reiman, thank you so much.

REIMAN: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Check this out, that's the first ever manned solar airplane, solar airplane here. Soared into the history books this morning after a cross-country journey. Full story ahead.


KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. Randi Kaye here in Boston.

Every year more than 10,000 children are diagnosed with cancer. For some of these kids just getting to medical care can be tough. This week's CNN hero provides some crucial help. Meet Richard Nares.


RICHARD NARES, CNN HERO: It's paralyzing when you hear those words, your child has cancer. I know what those families are going through. It's extremely difficult. My son, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was such a horrifying time. We were fortunate we had rides to the hospital to bring Emilio. Many families don't have that support.

Good morning.

We found out were many of them were missing appointments.

My name is Richard Nares. No child should miss their cancer treatment due to lack of transportation.

Ready to go?


NARES: All right. We give over 2,000 rides a year. Our furthest cancer patient is 120 miles. Riding with Emilio plays an important part of their treatment. We get them here in a nice, clean environment and on time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We live here. Every day. Treatment. We want to fight. We're in this together. It's all I care right now, my daughter's life.

NARES: You're fighting for your child's life, nothing else matters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gets up in the morning and gives us a ride back. Their help is every step of the way.

NARES: Seventy percent of our families are Spanish-speaking. Having a bilingual staff is extremely important. I feel like it's my obligation to help them navigate the system.

Take good care of yourself.


NARES: From someone who's been there.


NARES: Even though he's passed away almost 13 years he's the main force at this. And I feel that I'm the right person to help.


KAYE: The widow of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev remains a central part of the terror investigation. Just ahead a live report from Rhode Island where she is staying with family.


KAYE: Take a look at this. That is the Solar Impulse, the first ever manned solar airplane. It can fly by day or night with nothing more than energy from the sun. How cool is that? It's making an historic trip across the country. It just completed the first part of a five- leg trip traveling from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

I'll see you back here at the top of the hour. Thanks for watching.