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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Teenagers Missing for Years Found Alive in Ohio; Bombing Suspect's Friend Out on Bail; Funeral Home Can't Find Grave for Bombing Suspect
Aired May 6, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. We have breaking news tonight and breaking really just in the last few minutes. From Cleveland, where two women who went missing when they were just teenagers 10 years ago have reportedly been found alive.
We are trying to gather information about this, trying to find out exactly who these women were. We begin with news, as I said, it's just breaking, an officer assigned to the Air Force team that works to prevent sexual assaults is charged with sexually attacking a woman in Arlington, Virginia over the weekend. So we're going to try to get more about these two women who've just shown up. Again, literally, this has just occurred. It seems like it's going to be a big story, but we're trying to get more details.
So we're turning to this story right now. OK. Let's go to the local reporter in Cleveland, Jen -- I'm sorry, what is her last -- Jen Steer is her name.
Jen, bring us up to date. Exactly who are these two women who claim to be women who have been -- who disappeared some 10 years ago? What are you learning?
JEN STEER, NEWSNET5.COM: I'm sorry, I can't -- I can barely hear you right now.
COOPER: Jen, what's the story? What's happening?
STEER: Well, these two women, they were -- they went missing in two separate cases, only a year apart from each other, and they have just been found. Cleveland Police say that they are alive, they are talking, they appear to be OK, and there's actually a third woman who was found with them.
Witnesses are saying there were also several children in this house and a suspect is in custody.
COOPER: So, Jen, we have a picture of one of the women, her name is Amanda Berry. I don't know -- I assume this is a picture around the time she disappeared. How old were these women when they disappeared?
STEER: Yes. Berry disappeared in 2003. She was walking home from work. She worked at a Burger King, actually not too far from where she was just discovered. And it was right before her 17th birthday.
When it comes to Gina DeJesus, she's the other woman who was found, she was 14. She disappeared in April of 2004, when she was walking home from school.
Once again, really tight neighborhood here, just mere blocks away from each other in terms of this disappearance and just a year apart when it came to them being -- being essentially kidnapped.
COOPER: So Gina DeJesus, who you said disappeared in 2004, how old was she when she disappeared?
STEER: She was 14 years old.
COOPER: She was 14. So that was about a year after Amanda, who disappeared in 2003, who was 16, almost turning 17.
COOPER: How did they turn up? You said they turned up in a house where other people were also found and an arrest had been made. How were they discovered?
STEER: We spoke to a man who actually found them. He was walking by a house and saw a woman fighting to get out, and she yelled for help and he helped her break down the door and called 911. He said call 911, my name is Amanda Berry, and he knew -- he knew who she was, because posters are up all over the place with her photo and Gina's photo as well.
COOPER: So the families of these two women have never given up hope, that they've continued to have vigils all this time?
STEER: Yes. Year after year, there are vigils and Gina's mom, her name is Nancy Ruiz, she has always believed that her daughter was pulled into human trafficking. She has always thought that her daughter is alive and it turns out she was right.
COOPER: And do we know much about the person who has been arrested?
STEER: No information has been released. Cleveland Police say they'll do a press conference tomorrow morning since there is so much information they're still gathering, obviously, at the scene. They need to do interviews with both of the victims as well as whatever children were involved. We're hearing there were a lot of kids in the house.
COOPER: Jen, just -- if you could hold the phone with us, I want to bring in also into the conversation Ed Smart, obviously the father of Elizabeth Smart.
Ed, what do you make of what you're hearing? Because if this turns out to be true, I mean, this is an extraordinary -- an extraordinary case of two women in a close-knit neighborhood who apparently had been found very close to where they first disappeared. ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART: It's -- I mean, what a wonderful miracle. I can't imagine -- I mean, the families have got to be absolutely elated to see that these two girls are going to be returning home, that they're alive and hopefully OK. I think that it just goes to the importance of being alert and aware of your surroundings and doing something when you see that there's a potential problem. It's just absolutely wonderful, wonderful news.
COOPER: And Jen Steer, you said -- who was it who found -- who found one of these women?
STEER: It was just a neighbor walking by. He said he actually hasn't lived in the neighborhood very long, but a lot of the community groups in the area have always said they're close to home and somebody in this neighborhood knows something, and that turned out to be true.
COOPER: Ed, how often is that the case that it's somebody in a neighborhood or it's often close to home that the person is abducted by someone who lives in that neighborhood, or ends up being in that neighborhood still?
SMART: You know, I think it's -- the one thing that is very similar is the fact that, you know, children are usually found within a five-mile radius of where they were abducted. And it does go back to that point. It will be interesting to hear what happened as far as, you know, how they were held there, and who this person was, what connection he may have had to them, if there is one.
But I mean, what a fantastic story to have these two girls come back into their families' lives. I mean, it's got to be an answer to so many prayers and so much support to those families.
COOPER: And of course there will be so many questions about what it was that kept these two women there, whether they were locked up, whether over time -- well, we frankly don't know.
Ed, I mean, have we learned a lot from other cases about what happens to somebody?
SMART: I think the one thing that people really need to remember and understand is -- and one thing that seems to get blown out of proportion, fortunately in this case, you know, this young woman yelled and screamed and somebody came out and helped them, but in so many cases where it would seem like well, why didn't the child get away, why didn't the person get away, you know, it's almost as if they were handcuffed because of the pressure that's put upon them, if you don't do what I tell you to do, I'm going to, you know, not only kill you, but kill your family.
And, you know, certainly that was the controlling factor in Elizabeth's case and I believe it's such a controlling factor in whether it's sex trafficking, rape or molestation or abuse, that the controlling factor is, you know, you have some -- they try to make the victim feel like they have a responsibility to not tell anyone. We don't know what the case is, but I want everyone to remember this scenario of how they control their victim, because sometimes they talk well, they're being brainwashed, or it's the Stockholm syndrome.
And you know there are certainly similar factors but I think the strongest factor in there relates to not only their survival, but to their family's survival. And that's a key that is constantly used in controlling victims.
COOPER: Incredibly important points that you're making.
Jen, we're showing just live pictures from our affiliate WEWS of the neighborhood. I just want to continue to show those. This is a camera we don't have control over. But this is from an affiliate.
I'm assuming, Jen, what we're seeing is the house where these -- where these young women were found.
For those who are just joining us, Jen, if you could just kind of repeat and just kind of lay out the timeline of this. Do you know around what time this first young woman was discovered?
STEER: We just got information just within the last hour or so, so we're assuming that it happened pretty recently, you know, just this evening. These two women, they disappeared nine and 10 years ago and that they were just now found in a house in Cleveland, Ohio, not far from where they disappeared.
COOPER: And when you say not far, I mean, do you have an approximate sense?
STEER: Just a couple -- I would say several blocks.
COOPER: Wow. Several blocks. That's extraordinary. And as Ed Smart --
STEER: Yes. And there was an incident actually just last summer, they -- there was a break in the case of one of these women, an inmate said he knew where her body was buried. And it turns out that location where he swore her remains were just down the street from where she was found alive.
COOPER: Goodness. Now have police absolutely confirmed that the woman who says she's Amanda Berry is, in fact, Amanda Berry.
COOPER: And the woman who says she's Georgina DeJesus is in fact her?
STEER: Cleveland Police are saying this is Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. And there is another woman they found, Michelle Knight. So we're not that familiar with the circumstances of her disappearance.
COOPER: Is it known that she is somebody who disappeared, though?
COOPER: I mean, so this is extraordinary. So what we understand now, according to what you're saying. What we understand now, according to what you're saying Cleveland Police are saying, is that three women who disappeared, Amanda Berry, who disappeared when she was almost 17 years old in 2003, Georgina DeJesus, who disappeared when she was 14 in 2004, and this other woman, Michelle Knight, all found in the same location, at least in the case of Amanda and Georgina, a few blocks from where they were originally taken or where they were last seen. And theoretically, as far as we can tell, have been there for the last nine to 10 years.
STEER: Yes. That is exactly what is happening. And it's truly amazing, especially for those of us who have covered this case for a long time.
COOPER: You were aware of this case, you knew the case of these -- of these young women. Have you seen the vigils over the years?
STEER: Yes. I grew up with this case, actually. And now working in Cleveland Television, at News Channel 5, covering the vigils and writing year after year about their disappearance.
COOPER: And -- and again, we see a crowd of people there who have obviously gathered. I mean, this has just got to be stunning for this community, Jen.
Let's listen. You can actually hear it. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a line of one, two, three, four, five, six vehicles coming in, both Sheriff's Department and Cleveland Police, it looks like. Being greeted by applause by the people of this community. They want to celebrate something. They want to celebrate someone. And they will celebrate the police. Bringing Gina and Amanda home to their families.
COOPER: That's the sound from our affiliate WEWS.
Jen Steer from News Channel 5 who has -- I've said grew up with this case, grew up with this -- with this -- the story of these missing women.
Do we know, Jen, how old Michelle Knight is?
STEER: No. We're still working on getting some information about her.
COOPER: And it's not known where she disappeared from?
STEER: No. She hasn't been one of those cases that we've covered year after year. So the Berry's family and Gina DeJesus' family constantly hold vigils each year and have been very supportive of each other so this third name in the mix is not one that's familiar with us.
COOPER: And, Ed Smart, who's joining us on the phone, obviously father of Elizabeth Smart.
I mean, it's extraordinary, Ed, the perseverance of these families to keep -- to keep, you know, their daughters' plight alive, even though they didn't know the fate their daughters, what had happened to them, but for them to keep it up in the media. That's important, to keep that going, to keep the story out there, isn't it?
SMART: That is so important. I mean, it's been interesting over the years since Elizabeth was abducted to have a chance to talk to other parents, and you know, a lot of them have an indication or a feeling, premonition, whatever you would like to call it, as to whether, you know, their child is still out there or not.
And I am just so thrilled to hear that we've got two more -- three more miracles on our hands and I think it says something about the importance of being aware of your surroundings and being able to report things that don't seem right, especially in areas where, you know, there has been a child missing or, you know, somebody has been abducted.
COOPER: And WEWS' Jen Steer -- Jen, what happens now? Where -- you said the women are obviously, what, at a hospital?
STEER: Yes. They took them to Metro Health Medical Center, our area hospital, and like the scene you saw here in Cleveland with the cheering and the chanting, a similar group is now gathered outside of the hospital waiting for these women.
We're told that they're severely dehydrated, a little malnourished but overall, they are OK, they are alive and talking which is just amazing.
COOPER: And you said besides Michelle Knight and Amanda and --
COOPER: And Gina, who else was found in the house?
STEER: Well, the man who helped bust through the door and actually break Amanda Berry out, he said that she was holding hands with a 4- or 5-year-old child, and that there were other children they could see inside the house.
COOPER: Oh, my goodness.
STEER: So we have no idea who these children are, how long they have been there as well.
COOPER: Well, Jen Steer, obviously I know you're going to have a long night ahead of you reporting this out. It's the best possible story, such a great outcome for the families.
STEER: We've had several disappearance cases in Cleveland that have not ended as well. One being serial killer Anthony Sowell and that heightened the awareness of disappearances and missing persons cases in Cleveland. So this is a very positive and unbelievable outcome.
COOPER: Unbelievable indeed.
Jen Steer, appreciate it. We'll continue to check in with you.
Ed smart, as always, good to talk to you, particularly on a day where there's -- where there's good news in one of these cases.
Ed, thanks very much.
Follow me on Twitter, let me know what you think about this, @andersoncooper. As I said, this really, really just broke for us in the minute or two before we went on the air. We'll continue to follow it throughout the hour as we get more details.
Coming up, the dead Boston bombing suspect, no cemetery in the country seems to want to take his body. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, we're talking about. I'll speak with the funeral director who now has his body and has to figure out what to do. Plus we'll have the latest on the investigation.
And later, horrifying scene. A limousine fire killing five women at a bachelorette party in California, including the bride. Questions over how the fire started and why only four passengers and the driver made it out alive.
COOPER: Welcome back. We've got new developments tonight in the Boston bombing investigation and new details on the burial blockade for the dead suspect. No cemetery in Massachusetts or anywhere in the U.S. seemed willing to take the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
His mother has called the funeral home holding his body and said she'll take him but it's not that easy. In a moment I'm going to talk to the funeral director who is in charge of this, trying -- he's trying to figure out what to do. Protesters have gathered outside his business, west of Boston.
The question is, does the funeral director regret taking the alleged bomber's body? His response to that coming up.
I do want to give you the latest details on the investigation. Now authorities have been taking a close look at the computer they believe Tsarnaev shared with his widow, Katherine Russell. A law enforcement official telling CNN investigators believe he accessed bomb-making instructions on the computer by going to al Qaeda's online magazine, "Inspire." A lot of questions about where this leaves Tsarnaev's widow, Katherine Russell. Now the law enforcement official says investigators still want to learn anything she might know.
As for the surviving suspect, the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the three friends, Robel Phillipos, accused of helping him cover up his alleged crimes, appeared in court today and is no longer behind bars tonight.
Joe Johns was in the court. He joins us now live from Boston.
So what can you tell us about this release?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, probably the most important thing you can say about Robel Phillipos is that he showed up here in the orange garb that you wear to jail. He had handcuffs, he had shackles and he left in street clothes.
He's still in a lot of trouble. The charge against him essentially is lying to federal investigators in a terrorism investigation. He could get eight years for that, Anderson, $250,000 fine. But tonight he's been released to his mother. He had to put up a $100,000 secured bond and he has to wear a monitoring ankle bracelet, and will have to be back here for a probable cause hearing later in the month. So it's not all resolved for him.
JOHNS: But he's out tonight, Anderson.
COOPER: And he's an American citizen. Then there are two Kazakhs students. They're still in custody. They have a May 14th court date. Are they going to have to go through the same process as he did?
JOHNS: Right. That's Diaz Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov. Those two have a bit of a different situation, Anderson, because even if they were to clear the hurdle and be able to make bombs, they're still not American citizens so they would have a lot of immigration issues and there's always that question of deportation. It's a lot different situation for them than the American citizen who is Robel.
COOPER: Right. And -- who's free tonight. Now you're going to have -- you also have some new information on some of the contents of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's computer and some of the Web sites he visited. What do you know?
JOHNS: Well, the important thing to say about that is we did know that someone in that household with Katherine Russell and Tamerlan Tsarnaev had access to these bomb-making materials on "Inspire" magazine. The information that CNN's Susan Candiotti has picked up is that officials now believe it was Tamerlan Tsarnaev who actually did the accessing of those materials.
That leaves open the question of what, if anything, Katherine Russell, the wife, might be charged with. Authorities haven't been able to answer that so far -- Anderson.
COOPER: OK. Joe, I appreciate the update.
I want to bring you up to date now on the burial dilemma. As I said, no cemetery in the U.S. apparently wants to become the final resting place for Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Could his body be shipped to Russia instead?
Well, joining me is Peter Stefan, the funeral director who is facing criticism for actually taking his body in the first place.
Mr. Stefan, thanks for being with us. Right now, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body, it's still at your funeral home, correct?
PETER STEFAN, FUNERAL HOME DIRECTOR: Yes, he is.
COOPER: And what's the situation there? You have people demonstrating outside still?
STEFAN: Well, they're demonstrating but they're not doing anything, they're not throwing rocks or calling names. They're yelling, send him to Moscow, we're trying to raise money to send him to Moscow.
COOPER: But that's not the problem. What's the problem?
STEFAN: Well, once we send him, I have to know that they're going to follow through and do something. And I don't know that because they don't have a contact that can tell me that. So if I ship a body to Africa or some place, I have somebody there that's telling me they're going to pick up the body and I know who it is.
COOPER: So because there's in funeral home in Russia or in Moscow or in Dagestan that you're in contact with, you can't just put a body on a plane without some sort of guarantee somebody's picking it up, correct?
COOPER: And I understand you recently spoke to Tamerlan Tsarnaev's mother. What did she tell you?
STEFAN: No more than what any mother would say regardless of what her son or sons did. She'd like to have him back.
COOPER: Have you ever seen a situation like this?
STEFAN: I have had some, but basically somebody who has maybe murdered a couple people in the city and some people feel the same way. But what's happening here is because they're Muslims and it was a terrorist attack, as they call it, which it was, this makes it a heck of a lot worse in the eyes of the public and the protesters feel they have to get out there and chant, send them to Russia, get rid of him, throw him in the ocean, throw him in the rubbish, whatever they're saying out there.
COOPER: So you're saying you don't -- if he wasn't Muslim, you don't think there would be this same issue?
STEFAN: Well, no, because Timothy McVeigh killed a lot more people than they did, and Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't as bad. You had Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy who killed more people but again, but again we don't consider them terrorists. McVeigh, we consider an American terrorist, but he's not an Islamic person. For some reason or other, that makes it worse. COOPER: The -- and under Islamic law, a body cannot be cremated because obviously cremation would solve this issue, could be -- an urn could be given to a family member but under Muslim rites, that's not acceptable, correct?
STEFAN: Not at all.
COOPER: So the city of Cambridge is saying that they don't want the body buried there. The governor is saying it's not a state or federal issue. And if the family can't find a place willing to bury it, what happens then? If it's not a guarantee that it's going to be sent to Russia? What are the options?
STEFAN: Well, then I have -- I have another issue, number one. Muslims and Islamics are not embalmed and refrigeration can work to a point. I can then go to the Board of Health and say it's now becoming a public health issue and you have to do something and pass it on to them, if you don't, then I'll go to OSHA who also says you must protect the health of your employees.
So they can have it either way. I can go down the list if they want. Might take me a little time but I'll go down the list. In either case, somebody has to put their foot forward.
COOPER: Cemeteries are businesses, though, and many are probably concerned about other customers hearing that person is buried there and maybe deciding not to bury their loved ones in that cemetery.
STEFAN: Well, that could be true, but let's equate that to if there's an epidemic as we had during the days when the AIDS virus was very strong. Well, we don't want our loved ones buried there because someone who died of AIDS is buried there. It goes on and on and on. There has to be an acceptance. This is a burial. And people have to be buried. We can't decide who's going to be buried where because of this circumstance and that circumstance and how they died or what they died of or who buried them.
You have to bury a dead body, period. There's nothing else to discuss with it.
COOPER: Does it have to be publicly known where a body is buried?
STEFAN: No. Not at all. Cemeteries have to keep records of where you bury somebody. They have section numbers and grave numbers. They have a map of lots, who's buried there, who's buried here. You have to keep some sort of a record.
Now you could leave the grave unmarked, fine. No one's going to bother it, no one's going to be able to find it.
COOPER: It's possible some cemetery somewhere could accept his body, bury it but just not have a grave marker?
STEFAN: Well, you can eliminate the grave marker, but by the same token, the rules and regulations of cemeteries say that if you adhere to all these rules you're entitled to put a grave marker down. So you can't say to one family because your Uncle Freddy was a terrorist, he can't have a grave marker but everybody else can. Because the other guy's a murderer. He only murdered his cousin or his two cousins. This guy was a terrorist so your cousin could have a marker but this guy can't. It's not consistent.
COOPER: Did you think about all this before you agreed to accept this body? Were you concerned when you got the call about accepting this body?
STEFAN: No, not at all, because this is what I do. I've had this on many occasions and this is what I do, and we bury dead bodies. You take an oath to do this and I follow through. I don't pick and choose what's convenient. Many times I have families that don't have any money. If they don't have any money, I help them out where I can. I don't predicate it always on money and I don't predicate helping people out because they're either -- have to be perfect as far as a natural death or whatever.
I have buried many murderers, many child abusers, pedophiles and everything else. At this point, any sort of burial would do.
COOPER: Well, Peter Stefan, listen, I appreciate you talking to us. I know it's a complicated issue. And I appreciate you taking the time to try to sort it out for us. Thank you.
STEFAN: Well, thank you for inviting me.
COOPER: Well, up next, we have more on the breaking news that we told you about at the top of the program. Three missing women found after years. An extraordinary story out of Cleveland tonight. Just breaking now. Georgina DeJesus, Amanda Berry, another woman named Michelle Knight. Two of these women disappeared -- one of the women disappeared 10 years ago, Amanda Berry, at the age of 17. Georgina DeJesus disappeared in 2004 at the age of 14. Still trying to find out more information on when Michelle Knight first disappeared.
All three, according to officials in Cleveland, have been found alive, all in -- living in the same house in a neighborhood not far from where at least two of them, Amanda Berry and Georgina DeJesus, first disappeared from, according to local reporter Jen Steer, just blocks from where they were last seen alive. Nine and 10 years later after they first disappeared, they have now been found alive. They are all at the hospital, said to be dehydrated.
People in the neighborhood are stunned, overjoyed. There has been applause on the streets for police officers who authorities say have also found some small children living inside that house. Unclear who those children are. One suspect is in custody, a male. We're trying to find out more information about him. We'll have more on this story ahead.
Also, well, we'll bring you up to date as soon as we can. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of tonight's really extraordinary breaking news story out of Cleveland, an incredible story, three women who have been missing for years, in one case at least 10 years, have been found alive. A 52-year-old man is under arrest tonight according to police.
Jen Steer from WUWS joins us now on the phone. So Jen, just kind of walk us through the timeline of this. This all started breaking just a short time ago. You were saying a man in this neighborhood in Cleveland, a neighborhood that was familiar with at least two of these young women, because they disappeared nine and ten years ago, the case of Amanda Berry and Georgina De Jesus, a man saw a woman struggling trying to get out of a house. What happened?
JEN STEER, NEWSNETS.COM (via telephone): Yes. He said he saw a woman trying to get out of this house. She yelled at him for help, and he helped her break down the door. And while calling 911, he discovered that she was Amanda Berry, who has been missing for 10 years this April.
COOPER: And I understand you have some more information on who the man is that's been arrested.
STEER: Yes. We just got information from Cleveland police that the suspect in custody is a 52-year-old Hispanic male. He's under arrest for the incident, but they're not telling us any more details. There is a scheduled news conference coming up, though, in about an hour. Hopefully, we find some more information out then.
COOPER: Right. Obviously, we'll bring that news conference to everybody live about an hour from now. Jen, so as you said, you kind of grew up on these cases. Amanda Berry, you said she was 16, going on 17 when she disappeared in 2004. Did anybody see her being abducted or did she just simply vanish?
STEER: No. There was no information whether or not somebody saw her actually being abducted. She was walking home from work. She worked at the local Burger King, and she walked home on a regular basis. It was nothing unusual, but she never returned home.
COOPER: And her family has never given up hope. They always believed that she was alive.
STEER: Yes. Amanda Berry's family, actually her mother passed away in 2006 from heart failure and many have said she died of a broken heart. But her sister remains in the area and has worked alongside Gina De Jesus' mother who is constantly out in the media, putting up posters, holding rallies and vigils.
COOPER: Gina, Georgina De Jesus, whose missing poster we are showing right now. She was 14 when she disappeared in 2004. Do you know the circumstances around her disappearance, where she was?
STEER: Yes. She was actually just walking home from the middle school, and it was roughly in the same area where Amanda Berry disappeared, just one year earlier. COOPER: Have you learned any more about Michelle Knight? I have seen some reports saying that she may have disappeared at the age of 20, as much as 10 years ago or 11 years ago, but I haven't been able to confirm that.
STEER: Yes. We just know that she's been missing for some time. We're still trying to dig into her background. But it's not a case that's been -- that I can find in any of our system.
COOPER: Hold on. I want to bring in Paul Orlousky, from WOIO also joining us on the phone. Paul, this is just an extraordinary situation. Have you been in the neighborhood or have you seen the response of people there?
PAUL ORLOUSKY, WOIO REPORTER (via telephone): Absolutely, Anderson. I can tell you Michelle Knight disappeared in 1990 and --
COOPER: In 1990?
ORLOUSKY: In 1990.
ORLOUSKY: And we have confirmed that the person, the suspect, is named Ariel Castro. The most interesting thing we have confirmed is the fact that Castro was at one point a school driver, bus driver, for the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools. Whether or not any of these girls were students that he drove, we don't know.
I called up the school district to confirm that, but certainly the neighbors say they see the school bus parked at his house. The other thing the neighbors tell us that's very interesting is the fact that they saw children, one girl maybe 9 years old, not sure who she might be the daughter of, but one of the girls missing for some 10 years, very interesting that -- it brings up a lot of scenarios.
Obviously, they were being held against their will. The sheriff's department has search warrants and has returned to the area en masse and are searching the suspect's home at 2107 Sycamore as well as the homes nearby for any thread of evidence but in my career, 33 years here in Cleveland, just an amazing turn of events because usually these things end up with some sort of a dig, a grave, and here, a happy ending, albeit a very troubling one.
COOPER: I mean, it's just extraordinary. Paul, you said that Michelle Knight disappeared in 1990. Do you know how old she was when she disappeared?
ORLOUSKY: I apologize, Anderson. I misspoke, 2000 and she was --
COOPER: That was in 2000. She was what?
ORLOUSKY: In 2000. She was 20. I have so many numbers running through my head, yes, in 2000, and she was 20 years old. COOPER: OK, in 2000, she was 20 years old. So she would be now 33. Do we know, Paul, is it known how many children were inside this house? You said neighbors reported seeing one girl of about 9 years old. Were there more than one child in the house?
ORLOUSKY: Only one child came out when the women were I guess the right word is rescued because they certainly were being held against their will, all we're hearing, but there may have been other children coming and going, but one escaped.
A man named Charles who heard the screams and went up to the door, kind of helped break down the door, said there were three women and one child at least this afternoon about 6:00, I got the tip about 6:15 that this looked like it was the real deal.
When I first heard they were found, honestly, I assumed dead. Then my source said no, no, alive. I was home. Immediately I got dressed and came back downtown.
COOPER: Just unbelievable. We are anticipating, as Jen said, a press conference probably in 50 minutes or so. We will bring that to you live. Paul, you said you spoke to some neighbors and police are searching houses in the surrounding area. Do you have any knowledge, did any of the neighbors ever see these adult women, whether it was Michelle or Amanda or Georgina?
ORLOUSKY: Everybody I talked to said absolutely not. They never saw anything. The guy would be out in his backyard, the one neighbor said I barbecued with him. Never saw anything wrong. Claimed he was just an OK guy. So how they were held against their will is just -- I can't imagine.
COOPER: How big a house is this, Paul?
ORLOUSKY: I'm sorry?
COOPER: How big -- I don't know if you -- I assume you've seen the actual house. How big a house are we talking about?
ORLOUSKY: Your typical probably in 1930s colonial, typical front porch, two story with what appears to be an attic up top. It doesn't look like it's been subdivided. We are being held some distance away, maybe seven properties away. So I would guess four bedrooms, decent size house.
COOPER: It's extraordinary that you talked to a neighbor who said the neighbor barbecued with this suspect, but had no idea that there may have been three women, adult women, living inside the house.
ORLOUSKY: We have been searching. They never saw the child. They never saw the -- these three women, astounding.
COOPER: It's hard to know what to make of it at this point. Paul, what are you hearing from neighbors? We saw people applauding police. There's just got to be a tremendous sense of relief and questions and I can't even imagine. ORLOUSKY: Well, this has gotten to the point, Anderson, where the anniversaries were almost treated maybe more like funerals, keep hope alive. There was hope, yes, but a diminishing hope year by year by year as these memorials, again, Michelle we didn't know about, but for the other two girls, in a largely Hispanic area of Cleveland, but the hope was diminishing year by year by year but they were always top of mind.
They were still on phone poles, you would see posters, if you see anything, please call Cleveland police but nobody saw anything. They literally vanished on the days that they were abducted and haven't been seen since until today, when the one girl apparently, this fellow was going by, Charles, heard screaming, went to the porch.
And I don't know how the heck he got the door partly open without the abductor, the person under arrest, Arial Castro, didn't intervene, but he did, and they ran out and she identified herself. He called 911. At first, he didn't believe it as much as I didn't when I was home. I was kind of assuming, again, we are going to be at a dig, a grave site, and no. That's not the case. Certainly, it was confirmed by Cleveland police right now.
COOPER: Just extraordinary. Of course, the pictures we're showing people are pictures from prior to their disappearance. We do not have images of what they look like now. Paul, you're hearing from the hospital that they are dehydrated, correct?
ORLOUSKY: That's possible but they're not in terrible shape. The neighbors said they looked pretty good but he's not a doctor. They're going to do tests and this guy said they looked OK. He said he certainly doesn't know how to look for dehydration or anything like that. I'm sure there has to be some sort of --
COOPER: Paul, let me just ask you --
ORLOUSKY: They haven't been out in the sunlight for years and years and years.
COOPER: Let me ask you one more question. Do these homes, you may not know the answer to this and that's fine, do these homes have basements in this neighborhood or is it a crawl space or do most of them have basements?
ORLOUSKY: I would think -- hang on. Let me sneak around this one police car here. I see basement windows in at least two of the houses. Being the era they are, yes, it certainly appears so as well as attics.
COOPER: OK, again, that might not be significant at all, but I'm just trying to get a sense of how big a structure this is. Jen Steer from WUWS, I appreciate you reporting for us and Paul Orlousky from WOIO as well.
Angela Garcia is going to join us shortly after this break. Her aunt lives across the street from the house where the women were found. We'll try to find out more information ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Welcome back to our breaking news, extraordinary news, an incredible story from Cleveland, Ohio tonight. Three women who have been missing for years have been found alive. A 52-year-old man is under arrest, according to police, one of the women has reportedly been missing for 13 years.
That's according to a reporter from our affiliate, WOIO, who just -- who I just spoke to before the break. That woman's name is Michelle Knight. She reportedly went missing in 2000, when she was just 20 years old. The other two women is Amanda Berry, who went missing at the age of 16, almost 17, back in 2000 -- well, that was 10 years ago, I should say, in 2003, and Georgina De Jesus, who went missing at the age of 14 in 2004.
Again, those three women all found alive, living in the same house, not far from, disputed exactly how far from the area where they first disappeared. One reporter told me it was several blocks. I have also been told it was several miles, but in the general vicinity of the area that they all disappeared in.
Joining me now on the phone is Angela Garcia. Her aunt lives across the street from the house where the women were found. Angela, I appreciate you joining us. First of all, were you at the house today? Did you see what happened?
ANGELA GARCIA, AUNT LIVES ACROSS FROM HOUSE WHERE WOMEN WERE FOUND (via telephone): OK, no. I'm going to tell you what I've seen the days that I've been here.
GARCIA: Yesterday, we were outside, all the family was outside with the kids running bicycles and we saw him coming through his driveway and he waved hi. And that was it.
COOPER: Now, the man you're talking about, a local reporter told us his name is Ariel Castro. Is that the man you're talking about?
GARCIA: Yes. He didn't really talk too much to nobody, only the house next to his probably. They used to drink together, but from us, we never saw nothing suspicious. I'm right here with my aunt. The only problem is that she doesn't speak English. I'm translating for her.
COOPER: So your aunt never saw or you never saw any of these women. There has also been report a child was found, at least one child was found with these women. Did you ever or your aunt ever see her?
GARCIA: OK. What happened was one of her friends, his name is Angel. We live right across the street. His name is Angel saw when they were kicking at the door and when they had like a little hole, they screamed help, help, so he run out -- I mean, across the street and tried to help them get out. There are so many reports about people that don't even live around here, you know, that don't know nothing. They came running to this house with the baby. The baby was wearing how do you call, a wig? That's how you call? And they even had the wig with them down here, because they came over here to this house to use the phone to call 911.
COOPER: So one of these -- the three women came over to the house to use the phone?
GARCIA: No. The three women came running. They were crazy screaming help, call police, please help.
COOPER: And so they came to your house or your friend's house?
GARCIA: No, my house, right here.
COOPER: OK. So your aunt actually let these women into the house to call?
GARCIA: Yes, and use the phone. They called from here.
COOPER: What does your aunt say these women looked like? How did they seem to her?
GARCIA: Really bad. She is even crying because she said they looked so bad, you know, like they were, I don't know, suffering. They were desperate, crying, running. They were crazy. They were, you know, I don't have no words because she's sitting here next to me and she's crying.
COOPER: How old, they had one baby with them? Approximately, how old does your aunt think that baby was?
GARCIA: Give me one second. It's a little girl that she might be 3 years old.
COOPER: A 3 years old. A local reporter had said that one neighbor had once seen a girl that he estimated to be around 9 years old, but you didn't see anybody, there was nobody like that today?
GARCIA: The one that got out last is like 19 years old. Yes.
COOPER: So that's one of the women who got out. OK. Can you -- have you seen the missing posters for Amanda Berry and for Georgina De Jesus?
GARCIA: Never. Just pictures when they were in school. Yes, just pictures. You know, people now, teenagers who knew them from school, that's it. I never saw them across the street. We're always outside.
COOPER: That's incredible. Angela Garcia, I appreciate you talking to us and thank your aunt as well. Thank you very much.
Again, we are just trying to gather as much information as we can about this. I just want to quickly bring you up to date. Three women, a woman by the name of Amanda Berry, who disappeared at the age of 16 when she almost was 17, disappeared some ten years ago, ten years ago.
Another woman, Georgina De Jesus, disappeared at the age of 14 in 2004. And another woman, Michelle Knight, who according to a local reporter, Paul Orlousky, disappeared at the age of 20 in 2000. All have been found alive in a house in Cleveland. One suspect is in custody. We'll have more details ahead. We'll be right back.
COOPER: In addition to breaking news out of Cleveland we're following other stories tonight. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, California officials say it may be weeks before they determine why a stretch limousine burst into flames on Saturday while crossing San Francisco Bay, killing five of the nine women inside the car. They were celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of the women. The bride-to-be was among the dead.
Government officials say this dash cam video is legitimate. It shows a 747 cargo plane falling out of the sky and bursting into flames last week shortly after taking off from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. All seven people on board were killed.
Anderson, take a look at this photo. A man jumped on to the tracks in front of an oncoming Washington, D.C. Metro Train this afternoon. The operator saw the man and was able to stop the train in time. The man was not injured but was taken to a hospital for psychological evaluation. Thankful they were able to stop the train.
COOPER: Yes. Isha, thanks. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We'll be back one hour from now with all the latest on the case out of Cleveland of three missing women, all found alive in a house. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.