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FBI Searching Suspect's Ohio Home; Three Women Missing Nine Plus Years Found Alive; Three Brothers Arrested In Ohio Case

Aired May 7, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the latest on the miracle escape of three women in Ohio. We're going to tell you what we're just learning about the men who allegedly abducted them, a sergeant in the middle of the investigation joining us.

Plus, what we know about the three women. There are so many questions about them. Lost for more than a decade, how they ended up in this nightmare?

And investigators are currently exploring the house that the three were held in. And we're going to tell you what the inside of that house actually looks like tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, inside the house of horrors. The FBI began searching the home and the property of 52-year-old Ariel Castro today as investigators tried to determine how three women were allegedly held captive there for almost a decade, each of them living there unnoticed to neighbors, just miles from where they disappeared.

We're going to take a closer look at this neighborhood later in the show and give you a real sense of what it's like there. Michelle knight went missing in August of 2002. At the time she was 20 or 21 years old. Amanda Berry disappeared then in April 2003 when she was 16. And Gina Dejesus vanished in April 2004 at the age of 14.

All three reuniting with families tonight after their dramatic rescue unfolded yesterday. Coming up, we're going to talk to one of those family members, who saw her niece for the first time in nine years. Meanwhile, investigators are focusing on the owner of the home where the women were found.


STEVE ANTHONY, FBI SPECIAL AGENT-IN-CHARGE: At this point, I can confirm that we have no indications, any of the neighbors, bystanders, witnesses, or anyone else has ever called regarding any information regarding activity that occurred at that house on Seymour Avenue.


BURNETT: Which raises many questions like how did the women live in this home for nearly 10 years without being noticed by anybody? One thing you can tell from that neighborhood, the houses are very close together. The people spend a lot time out on their porches and barbecuing, as neighbors have told us.

So did the women ever try to escape before yesterday? What were their living conditions like? And how did the suspected kidnappers keep the women from escaping? We're going to be digging into each of these questions throughout the hour tonight.

But first, more on the three suspects under arrest, 52-year-old Ariel Castro and his two brothers, which is where the story gets if possible even more bizarre, that there's three people involved and they're brothers, 50-year-old Onil Castro and 54-year-old Pedro Castro.

Brian Todd is OUTFRONT in Cleveland tonight. And Brian, I know you've been speaking to a lot of people in the neighborhood where the women were found and what did you find?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, you're getting varied accounts from neighbors across this neighborhood that a lot of them did not see any red flags. But then you know, you get the odd account that one of them at one point saw a naked woman walking in the back yard who was told to get inside or get down.

You saw one neighbor who -- we talked to one neighbor who saw a child at one point somewhere around the house. What we're told by CNN's Martin Savidge getting this information that FBI officials telling him that an FBI child victim specialist has been brought in. That person is interviewing all three women who were held as well as the 6-year-old child of Amanda Berry.

Now, what we also have, Erin, is an account from a neighbor across the street here as we see the FBI and other specialists over here on the scene of Ariel Castro's house. A neighbor across the street named Alta Gracia Tejeda. She was the one who received Amanda Berry on her porch when Amanda Berry broke free of this house and came across the street to call 911. Here's Alta Gracia Tejeda's account of her encounter with Amanda Berry on her porch.


ANNA TEJEDA, AMANDA BERRY'S NEIGHBOR (through translator): I was going to go inside, but then the police car arrived and when she saw it she went down there and asked them to help her. She told them there were no more people inside the house. That's when they broke down the door.

TODD: Can you tell us what Amanda Berry was like when she came here? Was she screaming? What was she dressed like? How did she speak?

TEJEDA (through translator): She was very nervous and crying a lot. My little girls came crying saying mommy, mommy, mommy, daddy, daddy, daddy, they were inconsolable.


TODD: And right after that, Amanda Berry called 911 on Alta Gracia Tejeda's phone and that 911 call is extraordinary. Amanda Berry basically telling the 911 dispatcher hurry up and get the police here before he gets home. She knew that her window of escape was very, very short, Erin, she needed to capitalize on it.

BURNETT: Right. And of course, there are so many questions as to why now, whether she had tried before or if she didn't why. What at this point do we know about the suspects, Brian? I know that there were a couple of red flags, but there also was a failure to connect the dots, as there would be in a case like this. There were dots to be connected but they weren't, right?

TODD: There were dots to be connected, but you know, they were probably sporadic enough, Erin, that the neighbors just didn't put it together in one kind of coherent pattern of behavior. Because again, most of the neighbors we spoke to said, you know, that Ariel Castro seemed like a normal guy, that he would converse, normally say hello, things like that.

This woman across the street who let Amanda Berry use her phone said that she didn't see anything extraordinary about him, that he would say hello and he seemed normal. But a couple of small things that neighbors put together are interesting.

You know, the one neighbor who spoke to us earlier today said that whenever he would talk to Ariel Castro in front of his house Castro would seem to try to draw him away from the house. Castro would walk away from the house as if to kind of just take him in another direction so he wouldn't spend too much time observing things at the house.

And of course now, that neighbor says, well, he can put it together, that maybe he was trying to hide something so again, dots to be connected, but probably just not consistent enough to form a pattern.

BURNETT: Brian Todd, thank you very much, reporting from the scene tonight. I want to bring in Sergeant Sammy Morris now, with the Cleveland Police Department joining me on the phone. Sergeant Morris, thank you very much for taking the time tonight. We understand the three suspects in this case are going to be interviewed tomorrow. What more can you tell us about them at this time?

SGT. SAMMY MORRIS, CLEVELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Currently, the three suspects, we know that they're brothers, and we had them in the division, Central Prison Unit, awaiting an interview and charges. Right now they're facing rape and kidnapping charges.

BURNETT: And is there a reason, sir, that they haven't -- those charges haven't been filed yet or they haven't been interviewed, or would that be standard?

MORRIS: Well, that's normal because the investigators are still on scene. This is -- this investigation is going to take a while. They're going through the house. They're combing through the house, gathering more information so, when they do consult the prosecutors they want to have as much information and probable cause as possible to get these guys charged.

BURNETT: The FBI obviously have been searching the house. Have they found significant information at this time?

MORRIS: Again, yes, we're working with the FBI and also our county sheriffs, and they've been combing the house and they've been compiling information and evidence, and along with the interviews of the young ladies and the suspects. They'll take all that information to the prosecutor and ask for charges.

BURNETT: And they found things in the house that would indicate the women were being held there, correct?

MORRIS: I don't really want to go too much into the actual investigation, but there are things that link the women to the house, yes.

BURNETT: Now, let me ask you this question, Sergeant Morris. These three women have allegedly been helped captives for 10 years. There have been reports that the police went to this house on one other occasion at least in 2004 for an unrelated reason, leaving a child on a school bus by Ariel Castro, of course, who was at the time a school bus driver. At the time police knocked on the door, according to reports, no one answered so, they didn't go in. Is this something that could have been caught before?

MORRIS: It could have been caught before? This is one incident and the Cleveland divisional police along with I believe Children and Family Services went to that location for -- again, for the kid that was left on the bus. He wasn't charged with that crime.

BURNETT: And there would be no reason to look back now and say my gosh, had we connected these dots -- I mean, I know hindsight's always 20-20, but is there that feeling now that had we connected this with this, the sighting of the naked woman, that we could have gotten this earlier?

MORRIS: OK. You didn't mention the naked woman. We have no calls for a naked woman at that address. We have no calls for someone being in the backyard naked. I know there are a few rumors that are floating around out there, but there are no calls for those incidents.

BURNETT: OK. So that was false. All right, there was one other thing I wanted to ask you, and I know you obviously have to be careful about what you're able to tell us about the evidence, which I completely understand at this time, but there are some very disturbing reports out there today, Sergeant Morris. And I'm hoping you might be able to say -- at least debunk if it's not true, some reporting that the women were being held in cages. Is there any truth to that at this point that you can verify?

MORRIS: Again, they're interviewing the women today. The only way we would have gotten information like that, had it come from them. It's an open investigation, and we can't really comment on it. But we interviewed them today, and that information has been floating out there for, what, the last day or so or even before we even interviewed them.

BURNETT: Right. I understand what you're saying. So it didn't come from the interview. Is there any other evidence? I mean, there have been, you know, reports of they thought another missing woman might have been connected to this. Obviously, these three women are the ones so far. Do you have any feeling at this point that there could be other women linked to this case?

MORRIS: We're working this investigation and we're going to work it all the way through. And wherever it leads us we'll continue to follow whatever trails are there.

BURNETT: And Sergeant Morris, final question. The chief of police, Michael McGrath, has said the young child found in the house is believed to be Amanda Berry's child. Can you tell us any more about that child, her name and any sense of who her father might be?

MORRIS: We wouldn't release that information. At this time, again, it's an open investigation and that information could possibly be part of that investigation. So we would -- we wouldn't release that.

BURNETT: All right, well, Sergeant, thank you very much. We appreciate your time. I know there's only so much you can answer right now, but thank you very much for answering whatever you could. Obviously, it's going to be crucial as the interviews from the women come in and tomorrow the interviews with the three suspects in this horrific case.

Still to come, who are these three women? We have found a lot of information out today. We keep seeing pictures of Amanda Berry, but what about Gina Dejesus and what about Michelle Knight? What do we know about them? And what happens to them now?

And it's impossible to imagine what they are going through, but perhaps we can get some sense of it from those who have been kidnapped before, those who have been kidnapped for many, many years and ended with miraculous endings, a special report on that.

And then Chris Christie goes under the knife, which he said he did for his family, family and 2016?


BURNETT: Tonight investigators are learning a lot more about what actually happened inside that house and where three Ohio women were said to be held captive for more than a decade in some cases. The FBI says it has brought in a child victim specialist to meet with the three women.

And we're told at this point -- and these are important words just to use -- it's not a formal interrogation, but that the specialist is asking the victims to recall, quote-unquote "traumatic memories."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT (voice-over): One of the women being interviewed is Gina DeJesus. She vanished in 2004 at the age of 14. Her family says they never gave up hope they'd find her alive. Poppy Harlow is OUTFRONT with her story.


POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Believe, says Sandra Ruiz, the aunt of 23-year-old Gina DeJesus.

SANDRA RUIZ, GINA DEJESUS' AUNT: If you don't believe in miracles, I suggest you think again, because it does happen.

HARLOW (voice-over): A chance at life again after hell.

STEVE ANTHONY, FBI AGENT IN CHARGE: For Amanda's family, for Gina's family, for Michelle's family, prayers have finally been answered. The nightmare is over.

HARLOW (voice-over): Georgina DeJesus, known as Gina to family and friends, disappeared nine years ago on her walk home from school. She was just 14 years old. Gina's older brother, Ricardo, saw the news on television with their father.

RICARDO DEJESUS, GINA'S BROTHER: We was in disbelief. We cried. We were shaken. We were just happy. It's like a dream, but I'm joyful. Glad she's home. I'm glad it's over.

HARLOW (voice-over): Ricardo saw his sister for the first time in nine years at the hospital Monday night.

HARLOW: What did she like to do most?

RICARDO DEJESUS: She liked to dance a lot, crack jokes, be around with the family.

HARLOW (voice-over): He didn't speak to his sister about her ordeal. He just hugged her.

RICARDO DEJESUS: I was very excited. I was like I'm glad I'm able to see her. It was nine years, nine long years. And I was just happy I was able to sit there and hug her and say, yep, you're finally home.

HARLOW (voice-over): Gina's Aunt Sandra recounted the strength of all three girls who disappeared, who police say were found Monday night in the home of Ariel Castro.

RUIZ: Let me tell you, sisterhood, women, those girls, those women are so strong. It -- what we do out here, what we've done in 10 years is nothing compared to what those women have done.

HARLOW: Did you ever give up? Did you ever --

RICARDO DEJESUS: No, never. I would never give up. I always believe in God, I have faith in God. I knew she was coming home. HARLOW (voice-over): Tito DeJesus, who has the same last name as the family but does not believe he is related to them, played in a band with Ariel Castro and has known him for 20 years.

TITO DEJESUS, ARIEL CASTRO BANDMATE: He asked me one time, he said, hey, did they find your cousin yet? And I asked him, my cousin? And then I put two and two together. I said, Gina? I don't think she's my cousin. We might be related. I don't know. And I said no, they haven't found her yet, you know.


TITO DEJESUS: But that was pretty much it of the conversation.

HARLOW: But he asked you about Gina. When was this? Do you remember?

TITO DEJESUS: A few years back.

HARLOW (voice-over): A chilling question if Castro was holding Gina DeJesus in his home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently, we have three brothers that are under arrest, ages 50, 52, and 54. They're being held in the city jail.

HARLOW: Do you think that the police have the right people in custody?

RICARDO DEJESUS: That's one thing I cannot explain but I hope it is and then I'll be happy.

RUIZ: Neighborhood to neighborhood, we need to watch out for all kids. Really watch who your neighbor is because you'll never know.


BURNETT: Prophetic words now when you think about it.

Poppy, did Richard DeJesus, Gina's brother, talk at all about whether he knew Ariel Castro, the suspect at the center of this?

And obviously, it was a close community.

HARLOW: He did, Erin. And that's a very key question, because this is an incredibly tight-knit community, as you said. The homes are very close together. People know one another here very well.

I asked Ricardo, Gina's older brother, do you or did you know Ariel Castro at all? What he told me is, yes, I knew him, not that well, but I knew him long ago when we were younger.

I asked have you seen him or talked to him over the last 10 years, the time your sister has been gone, disappeared?

And he said no, he has not seen or talked to Ariel Castro during that time at all, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Poppy Harlow, thank you very much.

And as you can see, the balloons and the celebration at the DeJesus house behind where Poppy is, where the celebration of the whole community's been involved in it today.

And of course Gina is one of the three women here. Here's what we know about the other two women. And obviously, there's still a lot to be filled in here.

But Amanda Berry went missing on April 21st, 2003, the day before she turned 17. She reportedly accepted a ride home from a man from Burger King, and this is what happened.

She's now 27. Her family last heard from her that night. Berry's mom died in 2006, some say of a broken heart, from missing her daughter as she searched for Amanda. Police say it was Amanda Berry's cries for help yesterday and this 9-1-1 call that set into motion this entire rescue.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cleveland 9-1-1. What do you need?

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAP VICTIM: Hello, police, help me. I'm Amanda Berry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And what's going on there?

BERRY: I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years. And I'm here. I'm free now.


BURNETT: Berry was met by her older sister at the hospital following her escape.

This is the only picture that we have so far. She's the one in the center with the white tank top, pictured here with a 6-year-old girl that police believe is her daughter.

There are reports that there were other children, other pregnancies in this situation, but we've been unable to confirm that. None of them, obviously, resulted in more children.

Michelle Knight is the third woman found alive, nearly 11 years after she disappeared. She was the first, we understand, to have been in this situation, and the one we actually know the least about. We don't have pictures of her from before or after. We do know that she's 32 years old. Her family said she went missing at the age of 21m back in August of 2002. I mean, it is incredible that we do not have a picture of her. At the time Knight's family believed she left on her own accord after losing custody of her young son. Knight's mother has said she thought she saw her daughter several years ago at a mall with an older man, but when she called out the woman she thought was Knight didn't respond.

All three women have been released from the hospital and are said to be in good condition tonight, despite their years in captivity.

So the situation, how they were treated, fed, whether they were chained, we just don't know the answers to those questions, but we can tell you they all were in very solid condition in the hospital.

Still to come, it has now been called the house of horrors, what investigators actually are finding. They were in there today, in the house where the girls were held.

And what's next for the women rescued in Ohio? That one of the most daunting questions. Other rescued kidnap victims who have gone through hell tell us how they moved forward.



BURNETT: As the Cleveland victims reunite with their families, it's hard to imagine what they've endured. It's impossible to imagine what they've endured. So many of us look at this and say how could this happen?

But it has happened, not just to them but to others.

How will they rebuild their lives? Other rescued kidnapping victims who have found a path forward are offering advice to the three newly freed women. Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with their stories tonight.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is the angelic face of abducted children who survived hell on Earth, Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped from her own bed and repeatedly raped for nine months by Brian Mitchell, who was sentenced to life in prison.

Smart spoke directly to the abducted women in Cleveland.

ELIZABETH SMART, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: First of all, I want them to know that nothing that has happened to them will ever diminish their value and it should never hold them back from doing what they want to do.

They should still follow their dreams, follow the life that they wanted to have. They should still be able to have that. It's just incredible that they are walking away from this horrendous nightmare alive and safe today. LAH (voice-over): That's what Smart has done. In public, she's a spokeswoman for victims; in private, happily married. Coming home is rare, but it has happened.

SHAWN HORNBECK, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: When I was 11 years old, I was riding my bike near my home when I was kidnapped by a stranger.

LAH (voice-over): Shawn Hornbeck lost his childhood to kidnapper Michael Devlin in Missouri.

HORNBECK: I was held captive for 41/2 years.

LAH (voice-over): When Devlin abducted another boy, Ben Ownby, it was the critical break as police tracked Devlin to his apartment and found both boys.

Hornbeck has since launched his own missing children's foundation.

HORNBECK: Reach out. If you see something, say something. Reach out to someone.


LAH (voice-over): That's the same message from Jaycee Dugard. You know her from this picture when she was 11. That's when she was kidnapped, held for 18 years by Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, in Northern California.

Garrido fathered two children with his victim. Dugard lived as a prisoner in plain sight, until a local police officer's suspicions tracked her to a secret backyard compound. She is also a victims advocate.

DUGARD: If you see something that looks wrong or amiss, speak out. You might be wrong, but you might just save someone's life.

LAH (voice-over): In a statement about the Cleveland victims, Dugard says, "This isn't who they are. It is only what happened to them. The human spirit is incredibly resilient. More than ever this reaffirms we should never give up hope."

Dugard's mother told Piers Morgan that joy and heartache follow a kidnapped child's return.

TERRY PROBYN, DUGARD'S MOTHER: Nothing is normal after something like this happens to you. And you have to accept that fact. And you have to move forward.

LAH: These survivors moving ahead after living lives once frozen in fear. Erin?

BURNETT: Thank you, Kyung.

And still to come, how do you hide three women and a child in the middle of a busy neighborhood where, by all accounts, the neighbors would hang out, have barbecues, and be on their porches? How do you hide them without anyone being suspicious?

Tom Foreman is going to look at the exact layout of that home and lay out how this could have been pulled off.

And up next, there's still no one who will take the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

And we're learning about the expected plea of James Holmes, the alleged shooter in the Aurora theater massacre, and how that's going to affect his trial tonight.



BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on reporting from the front lines.

And I want to begin with a federal law enforcement official who's telling CNN that the FBI Director Robert Mueller has traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian officials about the Boston bombing suspects. It's not clear whom Mueller met with, and the official didn't say whether there are new details on what Tamerlan Tsarnaev did during that crucial six-month visit to Dagestan in 2012.

The Colorado Muslim Society, meanwhile, tonight says it has not offered to provide burial services for the elder Tsarnaev brother despite reports that it had. The society calls Tsarnaev's alleged conduct abhorrent and contrary to its principles.

Attorneys for the Colorado movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes want to change their client's plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. The judge, though, says Holmes must show good cause to make the change. The court previously had entered a standard not guilty plea on Holmes' behalf.

Colorado criminal defense attorney Dan Racht (ph) believes the new plea will likely be accepted, though, at the end of the day and once that happens he says Holmes will undergo an evaluation by a state psychiatrist, which could be problematic for the defense since the state is prosecuting him. If convicted, Holmes faces the death penalty.

It has been 642 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, today for the first time in nearly three years, a monthly survey shows the majority of Americans believe home prices will rise over the next year. That's half the battle. Although -- well, we'll see if it really comes true. Home sales, though, are up 10 percent from a year ago.

And now, back to our top story tonight. The FBI searched the Cleveland home where three women who were missing for years were discovered yesterday. A cadaver dog was brought in as well to search the area around the home. And investigators removed the front door this afternoon and entered the house in protective suits.

The three women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, are believed to have been abducted between 2002 and 2004.

Three brothers, Ariel, Pedro, and Onil Castro, have been arrested and are awaiting charges. Now, they're slated to be interviewed tomorrow, likely by both federal and local law enforcement. As you heard, we just spoke to the sergeant in the Cleveland Police Department who told us earlier in the hour that there's nothing unusual in there having been a delay in charges filed. They would call this standard operating procedure at this point.

The question remains, though, how could something like this have happened and gone unnoticed for so long in a tight-knit community of houses that are very close where people spent a lot of time outside with each other?

Tom Foreman has been looking at the layout of the area, the specific house, and the neighborhood.

And, Tom, what do you know?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the geography of these kidnappings is just astonishing. As you notice there -- let's bring in the map and look at this. All three of these women disappeared around roughly the same period of time, 2003, and then in 2004 and then in 2005, all -- all in a row.

In a short period of time in an area that had a lot of businesses in it, a lot of homes, they vanished without a trace. And there was simply no sign of them for 10 years. And then this week what happens? All of a sudden, about three miles away, they reappear -- three miles from where they originally went away.

So what do we know about this house? Not a lot. The simple truth is many neighbors say it was so buttoned up tight all the time that there was not much of an indication that anybody even lived there, with a few notable exceptions.

For example, there was the occasion that people said they saw a woman peeking out of a window that's right in this part of the house over here. They saw it a few times. Then they say the window was closed over. Other than that, really no activity.

What do we know about the inside of the house? Well, that's kind of a mystery, too. We know that there is a living room right down here, a little dining room, a kitchen toward the back. We know there are four bedrooms.

We believe they're all on the second floor along with the only bathroom in the house. And remember, this is where that window was. They said they saw a woman looking out of.

But other than that the big question remains, Erin, how could this happen in such a small area and how could these women be held in this house in that busy neighborhood for so long with no one knowing they're there?

BURNETT: And, Tom, it makes me think of the horrific case, you know, in Austria where a father kept his daughter as a sex slave for 24 years in basically a dungeon that he'd built in the bottom of a house. You know, we've heard that the women in this case were possibly held in the basement. Is that something that adds up from what you understand?

FOREMAN: Well, it's something that a lot of people are talking about. The ground here, Erin, is very soft soil. It's very sandy soil. So, some construction people there told me they tend to build smaller basements because they can't support a whole lot more.

So, a basement in a house like this may only be about 15 feet by 15 feet wide. It would also have a furnace in there and a water heater. So, really not much room down in there. Plain block walls and typically basements here almost always have some sort of leakage or seepage, so they're always damp and dank and miserable.

It would be a terrible place to be held captive. But it would also be a place where you could yell and yell and yell for help and likely no one would hear you -- Erin.

BURNETT: Tom Foreman, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT tonight, Casey Jordan, criminologist and, Dr. Charles Sophy, psychiatrist and the medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

OK. Good to have both of you.

Casey, let me start with you. As you saw Tom reporting, this house not in a physically isolated location, not a big house, lots of neighbors around.

How could something like this go for so long unnoticed? I mean, you see a face looking out of a window. You -- I mean, how?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: We all see faces looking out of the windows of our neighbors' home. Two reasons come to mind. Number one, it may not be physically isolated from other homes and neighbors, but it is socially isolated. Very often these neighborhoods have a culture which does not encourage calling the police or getting to know your neighbors.

We call --

BURNETT: Butting out. Stay out of it.

JORDAN: Yes. The siege mentality. You just mind your own business. You don't get involved in your neighbor's business.

And he did nothing. No loud music. No big parties. That would raise the ire of his neighbors whatsoever.

But the far more important issue is probably the psychology of the captives. Similar to Stockholm syndrome, where if they were repeatedly raped, abused, physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually, in the early days of their captivity, we know with Elizabeth Smart, she was hiding in plain sight. She was on the streets. In nine months, she had already succumbed to Stockholm syndrome.

When the absence of violence is then perceived as kindness on behalf of the captives, they won't yell or scream even if they see someone outside. It takes some sort of psychological break from that psychology --


JORDAN: -- to get someone like an Amanda Berry to pound on the door at the one moment she can.

BURNETT: So, Dr. Sophy, what do you think happened? Do you agree with what Casey's saying? For nearly a decade in these cases, these women did not come forward and it seems, and obviously at this point I can only say it seems, it seems as if these men came and went, so that there could have been other opportunities, but they did not seize them for some reason.

DR. CHARLES SOPHY, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPT. OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES: Right. I mean, I definitely agree with the fact that there's a power differential. And when these women are taken into captivity, their minds are broken down.

And let's remember, they're emotionally young and they're aged young. So 17 is really probably about 15 emotionally. They're looking to be parented. So they're going to allow themselves to submit eventually and then be able to be overtaken.

And so then you're in a mind frame where you almost think you're safe, you're being parented. I mean, one of the girls I think may have even delivered a baby in all of this.

BURNETT: Yes. That's our understanding at this time. We believe Amanda Berry, but we don't know.

And, of course, Casey, there's also a report there were other pregnancies.

JORDAN: Right.

BURNETT: Unconfirmed at this point, but they have been digging -- a big lack of clarity on that. But you know, this house wasn't off limits. So that's the thing.

I mean, it was a band mate of Ariel Castro. He was on a band, told CNN he'd been in the house. And he described it as a typical house. Here's how he described it.


TITO DE JESUS, ACQUAINTANCE OF ARIEL CASTRO: It was pretty tidy. I mean, it wasn't perfect perfect. But it wasn't dirty or anything. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Does it strike you as unusual that he would have been in the house?

JORDAN: No. This is -- of course. Because that's the mask of normalcy that allows captors and sometimes we see this even with serial killers who have bodies hidden in their house, the activity of normalcy.

The idea that you -- he actually asked his friend, Mr. DeJesus, has anyone found your cousin? Well, Gina DeJesus wasn't even his cousin, but just asking him that would throw any suspicion off. Oh, here's a man who's concerned about girls who went missing a long time ago.

You don't think a captive would ask that. But we call that a contra-indicator. It's intentionally set, intentionally planted so that you don't ever raise suspicion. He was very good at this.

BURNETT: It's just so bizarre that there could be people this sick. I think that's what has everyone so shocked who are watching this, and brothers.

Thanks to both of you.

And Congressional Republicans tonight are promising surprises at tomorrow's hearing on the September 11th Benghazi attacks. Another one of our top stories today. Of course, the ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed that night, along with three others in the terrorist attack.

The GOP-led House oversight committee is strategically releasing excerpts from key witnesses, including allegations that the U.S. military could have done more in the aftermath of the attacks. But Democrats have a very different view.

Dana Bash has been working her sources on this story all day on Capitol Hill.

Dana, this is a huge story for the president, a huge story for the woman who may be running for president in 2016. And this is going to be a huge story tomorrow.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No question about it. You know, from the Republican point of view, from the get- go Republicans raised questions, Erin, as you know, about what went wrong before, during, and after the Benghazi attack.

And many said point blank that there was a cover-up. And they argue that many of the problems can be traced back to a political fear among Obama officials that if people thought al Qaeda was still a threat or even the cause of an attack, that that would step all over the president's campaign message that he crippled al Qaeda.

So, Republicans who will run this hearing tomorrow insist to me that at the end of the day after the hours of testimony that we expect from these whistleblower witnesses, the broader public will understand where they're coming, from see that the State Department has not made a credibility effort to hold people accountable and release information about what really happened.

Now, on the Democratic side, I talked to the top Democrat on the committee, who warned that what we're actually going to hear tomorrow is only one side of the story.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), RANKING MEMBER, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: I think tomorrow it's going to be a partisan display. And it pains me to say that.

You know, I tell the committee all the time, life is short. It really is. And I'm about finding solutions to problems. And we will go through five or six hours of a hearing, and the question is, is what will we end up with if we have not gotten the complete story?


BASH: Congressman Cummings says his problem with the witnesses tomorrow is they're going to be arguing everybody knew Benghazi was a terror attack from the start, that the military, at least assets were ready to go, could have helped, but were told not to go. But that those are opinions we're going to hear from the witnesses.

Now, the committee won't hear from others at the State Department and the Defense Department who actually disagree with those opinions, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Dana, thank you very much. It's going to be a crucial day.

And up next, Chris Christie -- you all know he's a favorite for the GOP nomination for president in 2016. We all know he likes to make jokes about his own weight and laughs at others making them. But will his drastic surgery to reduce his weight actually deliver him the White House?

And the National Institute of Health has offered the University of Alabama $400,000 for its underwear. Yes, that is our "Outtake" tonight.


BURNETT: Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie acknowledged that he underwent lap band surgery back in February to slim down. Here's the governor.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The decision that I made was that I tried a whole bunch of other things. They hadn't worked. This was an opportunity to try something different. And I'm doing it for my long-term health.


BURNETT: Christie says he did it for the sake of his wife and his children. Now, the governor has declined to say how much weight he has lost so far.

But here's a side by side of the governor. On the left Christie this afternoon ,we'll get a little shot lower so you can see him. On the right, Christie from November of last year. There have been reports that it has been 40 pounds so far.

OUTFRONT tonight, radio show host and comedian Stephanie Miller, Marc Ambinder, editor at large of "The Week" and contributing editor at "GQ". He's also had weight loss surgery. And Michael Medved, syndicated talk radio host.

OK. Great to have all of you with us. Appreciate it.

Stephanie, Chris Christie has said in the past his weight will not be an issue if he ran for president. And obviously he's making a point he did this for personal reasons. He's 50 years old and he wants to be around for his children. He's made that loud and clear.

But a lot of people have said this country would not elect a person -- an obese person as president. This has to help him for 2016, doesn't it?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I think so. You know, there was no television. There was no Erin Burnett in the days of William Taft, as you know.

BURNETT: Oh, I wish there were. I would have had such joy.

MILLER: I do too, Erin.

But my point is that I think to me it's not even just a weight issue, it's a health issue. I mean, he is morbidly obese, and I think that is a significant issue for -- you know, for anybody that wants to be president. So, I think this is -- first of all, a clear sign that he's running for president.

BURNETT: Interesting. A clear sign.

Michael, you know, the thing is, is that this is something -- the guy's never going to be skinny, OK? And, no matter the interview, Christie's weight always comes up. Let me just prove it to you.


CHRISTIE: I'll let all of your audience in on a little secret. I'm overweight. I struggled with my weight for the last 30 years on and off.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: So are you on a diet now?

CHRISTIE: Obviously not.

I'm trying to be healthier. I'm eating better. I've been working with a trainer on a regular basis and worked before we met today. And I'm trying.

I've had more diets and lost and gained back more weight in my lifetime than I care to count. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people who say that you couldn't be president because you're so heavy. What do you say to them?

CHRISTIE: That's ridiculous.


BURNETT: Michael, is this a liability for him? At this point, is it something that people can embrace and be inspired, hey, he's fought and now is really fighting?

MICHAEL MEDVED, SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, if he doesn't keep the weight off, take the weight off and keep it off, then it becomes a liability. But if he does, if he goes from being morbidly obese to being just overweight, he will be fine.

First of all, he will be fine in terms of longevity. The recent studies all show that overweight people, not obese people, but overweight people, actually live longer than people who are supposedly the normal -- and that's good news for most Americans, who by the way, are much closer to what Chris Christie will be like after this process finishes than say regular extremely fashionable anchors on CNN.

BURNETT: Oh, my goodness.

MEDVED: No, no, you're just representative of America.

BURNETT: Look, I'm all for it.

But, Marc, let me ask you. I know you had the weight loss surgery. You've been through what Chris Christie is going through. He's talked about he never went a day where he didn't feel hunger until now.

But you think it's a fair question to ask whether or not he's too heavy to be president. You know, when this came up recently in a report, he got very angry when a doctor said that he could die because of his weight. He said he's the healthiest fat person you will ever meet. That was his response.

Is he right or is it a fair question?

MARC AMBINDER, ATLANTIC CONTRIBUTOR: It's a fair question in one sense, in the sense that it's an issue. It's a health issue.

As president of the United States, there are extraordinary stresses brought to bear on your job and obese people don't deal with stress the way that overweight people or normal weight people deal with stress. Something he himself has acknowledged. So, from that perspective in and of itself, a big obstacle has been removed. But I think the more insidious obstacle, the larger obstacle, is the stereotypes that would have been interlaced with his public image had he decided to run for president as a large, as a fat person. We stereotype fat people as lazy, as undisciplined, as unable to control themselves.

Look, even though most of us intellectually understand that obesity is a multi-faceted phenomenon, that it's a biological, social and psychological thing, operationally, we say -- well, if I can keep the weight off or I don't have to go on a diet, why couldn't he do it? That stereotype, that set of stereotypes is something that Christie unfortunately really need to address had he decided to run for president, if he's going to run for president.

This is a way of addressing it.

BURNETT: All right. Go ahead, Michael.

MEDVED: See, I disagree a little bit here, because I really do think that we have a problem right now as we view politicians as celebrities, that whole correspondents dinner illustrated that they're part of Hollywood.

And Chris Christie comes across like a normal guy. That's his biggest advantage. The fact that he has a few extra pounds on him, OK, more than a few, I think humanizes him and makes him relatable in a way that no other governor in the country is. MILLER: But, Michael, it's going to be hard for him to follow that Republican line about austerity, about tightening your belt, if he wasn't going to do something about this.

BURNETT: He did.

MILLER: By the way, I don't buy the "I'm doing it for my family." Every politician that says I'm quitting to spend more time with my family, I don't buy that either. No one wants to spend more time with their family.

BURNETT: On that note --

MEDVED: I can tell you based -- we disagree on that.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much to all three of you.

Every night, we take a look outside the top stories for something we call the OUTFRONT "Outtake". And tonight's story will be brief because it's about underwear.

The National Institute of Health has awarded the University of Alabama -- yes, the NIH, you taxpayers are paying for this -- $400,000 to the U of A in research grants to develop the personal automatic cigarette tracker.

This is a system that includes breathing and hand gesture sensors designed to detect and record when and how a person smokes. That will help researchers and you know what, probably insurers figure out when you're smoking.

At the moment, this system is designed to look like a vest but with the 400 grand in taxpayer money, they say they will offer it in a variety of styles and colors in underwear. Now, I'm not sure how I should feel about this product but one thing is for sure. When it comes to smoking underwear, I wonder when insurance companies are going to get a whiff of this.

I mean, this is joyful, because if they can figure what you've been drinking or smoking instead of what you check on your insurance box, I bet you what people pay in insurance would dramatically change. Soon they're going to have access to what you eat, too, and when you say you drink five drinks a week, they'll know if it's seven.

Keep in mind, we live in a country where you can buy this ultimate Bloody Mary for just five bucks at O'Davy's (ph) pub in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Yes. That's right. Five bucks. How the insurers will whack you for that one.

For years, some people have said, if you're living an unhealthy lifestyle, you should have to pay more for insurance. That will prove it. The smoking underwear might be the spark that argument needed.

The Dow hit a magical number today. And the essay is next.


BURNETT: Big day on Wall Street with the Dow closing above 15,000 for the first time ever. This year alone, the Dow up 14 percent and since the market low in March 2009, more than doubling, 129 percent higher, which brings us to tonight's number, 560 percent.

According to Paul Hickey at Bespoke Investments, that's how much American Express has surged since the low, the best stock in America. Disney, Home Depot, Caterpillar and Bank of America round out the top five. By the way, the worst, Hewlett-Packard pulling up the rear, down 20 percent. Sure hope it didn't dominate your portfolio.

Thanks for watching. "A.C. 360" starts now.