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Cleveland Women Missing 10 Years, Now Rescued; Five Killed in Deadly Limo Fire; Investigators Making Progress on Leila Fowler Case; Sanford: Redemption or Rejection?; Arias Trial Awaiting Verdict

Aired May 7, 2013 - 05:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Three women missing for a decade found alive, and three brothers behind bars in connection to the case.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hunt for a killer. Police stepping up the search in the death of an 8-year-old California girl.

SAMBOLIN: And we're hearing for first time from the limo driver in the crash that killed five women in California over the weekend, while one survivor says he did not do enough to help.

ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. John Berman is off today. It Tuesday, May 7th. A lot going on.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SAMBOLIN: We are following breaking news from Cleveland. Three women missing for a decade and presumed dead found alive. Three brothers suspected of kidnapping them and holding them captive are behind bars this morning.

Amanda Berry was one of the victims who vanished in three separate incidents between 2002 and 2004. It was her breathless 911 call that ended their long ordeal.


AMANDA BERRY, MISSING FOR 10 YEARS: 911, help me, I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years and I'm here, I'm free now.


SAMBOLIN: CNN's Martin Savidge has more from Cleveland.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michele Knight disappeared when she was 19. That was 2002. Amanda Berry disappeared the day before her 17th birthday. That was 2003. Gina DeJesus disappeared when she was 14. That was 2004. Then, Monday evening, a decade-long nightmare ended when Amanda Berry made an emotional 911 call to police.

911 OPERATOR: 911.

BERRY: 911. Help me, I'm Amanda Berry.

911 OPERATOR: Do you need police, fire or ambulance?

BERRY: I need police.

911 OPERATOR: 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.

SAVIDGE: She made that call after she was able to look out of the house where they were being held and flag down a neighbor.

CHARLES RAMSEY, NEIGHBOR: Heard screaming. Eating at McDonald's, I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of the house. So, I go on the porch. I go on the porch and she says, "Help me get out, I've been here a long time."

So, you know, I figured it was a violence dispute. So, I open the door, we can't get in that day because how the door it is, it's so much that a body can't fit through, only your hands. So, we kick the bottom and she comes out with a little girl and she says, "Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry."

REPORTER: Did you know who that was when she said?

RAMSEY: When she told me it didn't register, until I got the calling 911. And I'm like, "I'm calling 911 for Amanda Berry?" I thought this girl was dead, know what I mean?

And she got on the phone and she said, yes, this is me. The girl Amanda told the police, I ain't just the only one, it's some more girls up in that house.

So, they go on up there, 30, 40 deep. When they came out, was just astonishing.

SAVIDGE: Police moved in, swarming the house, rescuing the women. They arrested a 52-year-old former school bus driver who lives there, Ariel Castro. They also arrested his two brothers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They made some statements to the responding officers that gave us enough probable cause to affect an arrest.

SAVIDGE: The rescued women were taken to a nearby hospital and checked out. A photo of a beaming Amanda Berry and her sister appeared on Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Currently, they're safe. We're in the process of evaluating their medical needs. They appear to be in fair condition at the moment.

This is really good because this isn't the ending we usually hear to these stories. So we're very happy.

SAVIDGE: That sense of happiness and relief shared by police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a great -- it's a great day.

SAVIDGE: And the people of Cleveland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an unbelievable day.


SAMBOLIN: Incredible but a lot of questions. That was Martin Savidge reporting for us. And we're going to get new details from the Cleveland Police Department of Public Safety this morning. We're going to bring you that press conference live at 9:00 a.m. eastern time.

ROMANS: So, a kidnapping case like this often stirs up disturbing memories for other high-profile kidnapping victims.

CNN's Kyung Lah has that part of the story.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is the angelic face of abducted children who survived hell on earth, Elizabeth Smart. Unwavering, determined, after Brian Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison for abducting and raping her for nine months.

ELIZABETH SMART, KIDNAPPED AS A CHILD: I would once again just like to express my gratitude to everyone that ever prayed for me, that ever searched for me, that ever put in time thinking about me, that made an effort to help bring me home.

LAH: Coming home has happened before in the worst of child abduction cases.

SHAWN HORNBECK, KIDNAPPED AS A CHILD: When I was 11 years old, I was riding my bike near my home when I was kidnapped by a stranger.

LAH: Shawn Hornbeck lost his childhood. The kidnapper: Michael Devlin, in Missouri.

HORNBECK: I was held captive for 4 1/2 years.

LAH: When Devlin abducted another boy, Ben Ownby, there was a critical break as police tracked Devlin to his apartment and found both boys. Hornbeck has since launched his own missing children foundation.

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

JAYCEE DUGARD, KIDNAPPED AS A CHILD: Hi. This is Jaycee Dugard. LAH: You know her by this picture. Jaycee Dugard kidnapped at age 11, held for 18 years by Philip 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.

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

TERRY PROBYN, MOTHER OF JAYCEE DUGARD: 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 are moving ahead after living lives once frozen in fear.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


SAMBOLIN: It is 34 minutes past the hour. It may take weeks before we know what caused a fire in a limousine that killed a bride to be and five women at her bachelorette party. This morning, we're hearing from one of the four women who survived.

And Nelia Arellano says limo driver did little to help her dying friends.


NELIA ARELLANO, SURVIVOR OF LIMO FIRE: He didn't want to listen. I told you, there is a smoke, and then a fire came out. I said there's already a fire. Stop the car, stop the car. Then he get out from the car. He just opened the door, that's all he did. I even asked him, help me, help me, because -- I bring out my head from the compartment, help me. So, I just squeezed myself over there and slide myself. Please open the door, open the door. He didn't do anything.


SAMBOLIN: We are also hearing from the limo driver. He escaped the flames unharmed and says watching the vehicle burn with the women inside was a nightmare. Here's Dan Simon with his side of the story.


ORVILLE "RICKY" BROWN, LIMO DRIVER: In this situation, you always -- you always would feel that you could do more. You know, you could have done more. I don't know. You know, it's just -- everything happened so fast.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Visibly tired and distraught, limo driver Orville Brown tries to explain the tragic circumstances behind the fire that killed five of his passengers Saturday night. He had a total of nine women in the vehicle, including 31-year-old Neriza Fojas. She was to travel to her native Philippines next month to be married. And the group, all nurses, had come together for a bachelorette party.

BROWN: One of the ladies knocked on the partition and she said, smoke. And I figured that she was asking if she could smoke a cigarette.

SIMON: But then Brown begins to smell the smoke and hears a frantic call from the women. He stops his car in the middle of the San Mateo- Hayward Bridge.

BROWN: As soon as I pulled over, one of the ladies hops through the partition. I unlock the door, open the door. The lady hops through the partition. And at that time, there's two cars, one in front of us, I believe, one in back of us. And these guys are trying to help.

SIMON: Within seconds, he says, the entire car had burst into flames. Brown could only guess what had caused the fire.

BROWN: I'm really not sure. I know it wasn't gas-related. And the car didn't blow up. It just engulfed in flames. I smelled carpet. I smelled wiring. I smelled plastic. I mean, to me, in my opinion, it probably was electrical.

SIMON: Investigators say it will take several days to determine the cause. Meanwhile, the county coroner said this about the victims who were unable to get out.

ROBERT FOUCRAULT, SAN MATEO COUNTY CORONER: One could say that they were getting away from the fire, and that's why they were in the front, towards the partition. And, you could also probably say that they were trying to get out as well.

SIMON: Brown says he doesn't know what he could have done differently. He had this message to the victims' families.

BROWN: I'm sorry personally. And my heart goes out to you. I feel for you. I wish there was something that I could tell you because I know you guys are -- are grieving as well as I am.

SIMON (on-camera): Now, Brown had only been a limousine driver for two months, but prior to that, he says he drove commercial vehicles and also airport shuttle buses. We should also point out that this particular limousine was authorized to carry eight or fewer passengers. Of course, we now know that it had nine. But authorities haven't said whether or not it plays any significance into their investigation.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Mateo, California.

ROMANS: Investigators say they're making progress in the stabbing death of eight-year-old Leila Fowler. On Monday, FBI blood-sniffing dogs arrived from Washington and searched the girl's home in Valley Springs, California. The local sheriff's department also reaching out to the community for help.


SGT. CHRIS HEWITT, CALVERA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: We started a re- canvassing effort. And that effort was to, hopefully, develop new witnesses or to refresh people's memories on what they may or may not have seen last Saturday.


ROMANS: Police hope that new evidence analysis in the Department of Justice crime lab will help lead them to Leila's killer.

SAMBOLIN: The investigation into the cause of the deadly plant explosion in West, Texas will take longer than originally thought. It was supposed to be completed by the end of May, but it may take until mid-June, they say. So far, firefighters have ruled out four potential causes for that blast, including weather and natural causes. The explosion killed 14 people, damaged dozens of structures, in that very small town.

ROMANS: Coming up on EARLY START, a crucial election day in South Carolina today. This was a nail-biter, folks. Will Mark Sanford win political redemption? Details next.


ROMANS: Good morning, New York City. Wow! It's 52 degrees and sunny. Zoraida, later, it's going to be 71 and sunny this afternoon.

SAMBOLIN: Isn't that fantastic, two days in a row, a perfect weather.

ROMANS: I love it.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

ROMANS: OK. We'll take it.

SAMBOLIN: All right. It is 43 minutes past the hour. This is the day Mark Sanford finds out if it will be redemption or rejection. The former South Carolina governor is in a very tight race for Congressional seat in Sanford's home state two years after leaving office in disgrace. CNN national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, caught up with the candidates in this high-stakes race.



JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mark Sanford has been to political hell and back after his extramarital affair became synonymous with the Appalachian trail, the former South Carolina governor knows redemption is in sight.

SANFORD: I don't know whether I win or I lose, but I'm at peace with sort of where I am of that larger notion of you go out, you try as best you can, and then, the final verdict is in the good Lord and the voters' hands.

ACOSTA: Locked in a tight race for an open Congressional seat, he argues voters are more interested in solutions than the salacious details of his Argentinean mistress-turned-fiancee who showed up at one campaign event or his legal battles with his ex-wife.

Do you think the voters are over it when it comes to your past?

SANFORD: I don't think the media will ever be over it. And to a degree goes with your job -- been about my personal failings are all well-chronicled. They're out there. People know about them.

ACOSTA: Sanford has tried to change the subject, warning his loss would be a victory for House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi.

Wasn't that kind of goofy to be out there debating a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi?



SANFORD: People got it. People got it. It was totally serious.

ACOSTA: Because of Sanford's baggage, his opponent, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, has a shot at winning this conservative district. The sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, she insists she'll be an independent voice in Washington.

ELIZABETH COLBERT-BUSCH, (D) S.C. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: No one tells me what to do except the people of South Carolina's first Congressional district.

ACOSTA: Colbert-Busch says that means she may vote against the president, even on Obamacare.

COLBERT-BUSCH: Well, it's problematic if we need to look at it. I mean, when we're looking at --

ACOSTA: Would you vote to repeal it?

COLBERT-BUSCH: We need to repair it.

ACOSTA: But when asked about a recent vote on gun control, she appeared to draw blank on the senators backing the measure.

Yes or no, would you have voted yes or no on Manchin-Toomey? On the background checks.

COLBERT-BUSCH: Oh, my goodness.

ACOSTA: -- the amendment that would have --

(CROSSTALK) COLBERT-BUSCH: OK. I am a defender of the Second Amendment, but we should expand background checks.

ACOSTA (on-camera): The newspaper here in Charleston endorsed Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, calling her the tonic for, quote, "Sanford fatigue." Just how tired the voters are, the former South Carolina governor will play out later today when the voters head to the polls.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Charleston, South Carolina.


ROMANS: All right. Next on EARLY START, Michael Jackson's face tattoos. and new information on how many drugs were in his system on the day he died. Vivid, vivid testimony in court coming up.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 49 minutes past the hour, and here are your top stories.

Three women missing for a decade have been found alive in a home in Cleveland. All of them vanished in separate incidents between 2002 and 2004. Three brothers are now in custody suspected of kidnapping and holding them prisoners.

ROMANS: Michael Jackson had a long list of prescription drugs in his system when he died, including several anti-anxiety medications, the numbing cream lidocaine, and enough of the anesthetic, propofol, for someone who had just had major surgery. So says a toxicologist with the L.A. County coroner's office.

He testified at the wrongful death civil trial brought by Jackson's mother against a concert promoter, AEG Live. Testimony also included details of the family's efforts to get Jackson to quit drugs. We also learned from the doctor who conducted the autopsy that Jackson had several face tattoos. His lips tattooed pink. His eyebrows tattooed black.

And he had a black tattoo along his hairline to apparently blend in better with the wigs he wore. He confirmed that Jackson had a skin pigmentation disease that had some areas of his skin appear light and others dark.

All right. Call it Arias trial obsession. We're waiting on the verdict from jurors right now in that trial.

SAMBOLIN: But after four months of testimony, people who become obsessed with the case are worried what they're going to do when it's all over. Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On verdict watch outside the courthouse in Phoenix along with the cameras and microphones, spectators obsessed what the Jodi Arias trial wait to hear from the jury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully a verdict soon. Hopefully, a good verdict.

ROWLANDS: Arias who's accused of planning the brutal murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, says she killed him in self-defense. Across the country, people have been watching every salacious moment of the trial like a television soap opera. Trelynda Kerr, a direct mail production manager in Washington, D.C. --

TRELYNDA KERR, ARIAS TRIAL WATCHER: I'm addicted. I get home and I immediately turn my TV on, I turn my computer on.

ROWLANDS: Sheena Olson lives in Los Angeles and says she watches any way she can, even when she's at work.

SHEENA OLSON, ARIAS TRIAL WATCHER: Even when I'm on the phone -- I mean, good thing I can multi-task because I've over here doing important stuff, talking on the phone, but I'm also listening. I'm like, oh, wait, hold on a second, and I'm listening, because I'm like I know that's a good part. Oh, sorry, I had computer problems.

ROWLANDS: AP reporter, Brian Skoloff, saw the interest in the trial, so he co-wrote a book, "Killer Girlfriend: The Jody Arias Story."

BRIAN SKOLOFF, AUTHOR, "KILLER GIRLFRIEND": People have traveled from around the country, taken off from work to come here to be part of this, and what they say is that just watching it on TV wasn't enough. Watching it online wasn't enough. They wanted to see the jury's face. They wanted to see reaction in the courtroom. It's -- for better or worse, to these spectators, it's become like a daytime live soap opera for them.

OLSON: I don't know what I'm going to do when this is done. Probably, find another trial to watch.

ROWLANDS (on-camera): Jurors have now been deliberating for more than 7 1/2 hours without reaching their verdict. They will be back at it at 10 o'clock this morning.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix.


SAMBOLIN: Interesting dilemma.

All right. Fifty-two minutes past the hour. Coming up, imagine if your mistake led to millions. The lottery winner who hit the jackpot, thanks to a one-dollar oops. Stay tuned for that.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Trending this morning, she turned a $1 mistake into a $14 million lottery jackpot. Every week, Tuan Lee (ph), a single mother of four sons from Santa Ana, California, would go to her local CVS and buy $4 worth of Powerball tickets and a $1 super lotto plus ticket.

So, last week, instead of putting of $5 in machine, she mistakenly put in $6, got an extra super lotto plus ticket, which turned her into an instant millionaire. This never happens, right? She says she'll use the winnings to buy a house, travel, and visit her parents in Vietnam.

ROMANS: Good for her.


ROMANS: Also trending this morning, stars from the stage, screen and runway are lining at the Met Gala. Heidi Klum rocked the red carpet in Marchesa gown, Harry Winston Diamonds. Whohoo! (INAUDIBLE) and model, Gisele Bundchen also attended, wearing a little black dress and accessorizing with husband and New England Patriots QB, Tom Brady.

And look who made their red carpet debut, Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vaughn, hand-in-hand last night. The golfer and the skier took their relationship via Twitter and Facebook in March. And now, they take it to the red carpet.

SAMBOLIN: They look like a bride and groom.

All right. Well, it sure looked like a wedding, but it turns out that Honey Boo-Boo's parents may have walked down the aisle. Can you believe it, for money?

ROMANS: I'm shocked.

SAMBOLIN: The "Chicago Sun Times" reports that Mama June and long- time boyfriend, Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson were paid a six-figure bonus to hold Saturday's ceremony. According to the paper, Honey Boo- Boo's parents hadn't thought about getting married until show producers told them it would get them some big ratings and through the couple a little extra cash as well.

New episodes of their show, "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo," are set to air in July.

ROMANS: -- top CNN trends, head to

SAMBOLIN: And Honey Boo-Boo's parents getting hitched, the president's commencement speech, and Lindsay, well, just being Lindsay. Cute, the late-night laughs.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Lindsay Lohan told Piers Morgan in an interview the other night she's only done cocaine four times in her life. And to her credit, it was under her parents' supervision. So, I think that's very good.


LENO: She also told Piers Morgan she's never taken heroin or LSD. She's taken jewelry. Yes, but never heroin or LSD. (LAUGHTER)

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": President Obama spoke at Ohio state's graduation and told their students that it's their responsibility to make the world a better place, which got awkward when they were like, wait, isn't that literally your responsibility?


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Mama June and Sugar Bear met in an online chat room nine years ago.


KIMMEL: And they made love so sweet it gave us a Honey Boo-Boo.


KIMMEL: And now, at long last, they've been joined in holy matrimony. And I'll be honest when Mama June cut the macaroni and cheese cake --


KIMMEL: I cried like a terrible baby.


KIMMEL: The bride wore this.


KIMMEL: From the Ted Nugent collection.


KIMMEL: This is why the groom isn't allowed to see the bride before the wedding.



SAMBOLIN: Low blow.

ROMANS: EARLY START continues right now.