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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Missing Women Found Alive; Interview with John Walsh on Three Missing Women Found in Cleveland; Chris Christie's Weight Loss Surgery; Shark!!!; One on One With Amanda Knox

Aired May 7, 2013 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. Our STARTING POINT today, breaking news we're following -- three women found alive after a decade of captivity. Their incredible escape and the frantic 911 call that saved their lives.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAP VICTIM: Help me, I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years. I'm here, I'm free now.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROMANS: We're going to talk with family members and neighbors who are shocked, shocked, over this discovery.

SAMBOLIN: And new this morning, Chris Christie's secret weight loss surgery. Is he getting in shape for a presidential pace?

ROMANS: Amanda Knox opening up about the prospect of facing a retrial in Italy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA KNOX, FACING MURDER RETRIAL IN ITALY: I'm afraid to go back there. I don't want to go back into prison.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Chris Cuomo joins us with a look at that gripping interview.

SAMBOLIN: And we told you about the teen surfer who survived a shark attack with a smile on his face. He's going to join us live to talk about those heart-pounding moments.

It is Tuesday, May 7th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news. SAMBOLIN: We begin with breaking news. Three women kidnapped about a decade ago, presumed dead, found alive in a Cleveland neighborhood, not far from where they were abducted. And three brothers suspected of kidnapping them and holding them captive are all behind bars this morning.

ROMANS: Amanda Berry is one of the victims who disappeared in three separate incidents between 2002 and 2004. She was 16 at the time. She was one day away from celebrating her 17th birthday.

It was her desperate 911 call that brought this decade-long nightmare to an end.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BERRY: Help me, I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped and I've been missing for 10 years. I'm here, I'm free now.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROMANS: Martin Savidge, live from Cleveland this morning.

The last time anyone saw Amanda Berry, Martin, she was finishing her shift at Burger King in 2003 and then she was calling 911 and liberating the other women in that house. Tell us what happened.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes. I mean, it's just astounding how this all came down.

As you pointed out, Amanda had been missing for so long now, a decade. There have been vigils in the town and they have been searching if for years. But as time wore on, you know how these stories go. Many began to believe that there really wouldn't be any resolution.

Yesterday, though, the dramatic turn of events, she escapes from the house directly behind us with the help of others in the neighborhood. And then it was her getting free that allowed her to rescue the two other women in the house.

Here's how it all went down.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (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.

911 OPERATOR: OK. What's your address?

(AUDIO DELETED)

BERRY: I can't hear you.

(AUDIO DELETED)

911 OPERATOR: Stay there with those neighbors. Talk to the police when they get there.

BERRY: OK.

911 OPERATOR: Talk to the police when they get there.

BERRY: OK.

Hello?

911 OPERATOR: Yes, talk to the police when they get there.

BERRY: OK. Are they on there way now?

911 OPERATOR: We're going to send them as soon as we get a car open.

BERRY: I need them now before he gets back.

911 OPERATOR: We're sending them, OK?

BERRY: OK. I mean --

911 OPERATOR: Who is the guy who went out?

BERRY: His name (AUDIO DELETED)

911 OPERATOR: How old is he?

BERRY: He's like 52.

911 OPERATOR: All right.

BERRY: I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years.

911 OPERATOR: I got that here.

Who was his name again?

(AUDIO DELETED) BERRY: And Hispanic.

911 OPERATOR: What's he wearing?

BERRY: I don't know because he's not here right now.

911 OPERATOR: When he left, what was he wearing?

BERRY: (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: The police are on the way. Talk to them when they get there.

BERRY: OK.

911 OPERATOR: I told you they were on the way. Talk to them when they get there.

BERRY: OK.

911 OPERATOR: Thank you.

BERRY: Bye.

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: I heard her screaming. I'm eating my 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 to call 911. And I'm like, "I'm calling 911 for Amanda Berry?" I thought this girl was dead, you 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, it 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. DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE DEPT: 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.

DR. GERALD MALONEY, METRO HEALTH DEPARTMETN MEDICAL CENTER: 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.

TOMBA: It's a great -- it's a great day.

SAVIDGE: And the people of Cleveland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an unbelievable day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: As that euphoria continues to kind of subside now, the questions come to the forefront of the investigation. Many neighbors say on several instances, they called authorities to the home over the years reporting suspicious activity. In fact, saying there was a girl they had seen and they told authorities it could be related to a missing person. Police apparently responded to the neighbor and say they never took it too seriously.

And then there's this. A neighbor said one of those little children you heard coming from inside the house, one of the suspects used to walk her around the neighborhood. When people would say, who is this? He would say, oh, that is the daughter of my girlfriend.

Again, we don't know the relationship of the two young children in the home. Just more questions that need to be answered -- Christine and Zoraida.

ROMANS: That's really something. Especially since police have been digging in past years not very far from there looking for the body of Amanda Berry, but not looking for the alive Amanda Berry when there were tips from the public. Is that right?

SAVIDGE: Right. And, just a case in point, I know a lot of the officers here. One of them told me, he said, you know, for years, I would go on the searches to try to find Amanda. He would also say and he drove down this street almost daily because there was a store he without visit nearby, never knowing she was on this street in the house behind.

SAMBOLIN: All the details emerging are incredible. Nice to have you there, Martin Savidge. Thank you. So, let's talk about this with John Walsh. He's a former host of "America's Most Wanted" and an advocate for missing children. His own son Adam was abducted and murdered back in 1981.

We were having a great dialogue earlier and I just want to pick up on that. These girls have been missing for nearly a decade or more. You said it's important to remember these girls couldn't have necessarily run away.

Tell us why it's so hard for kidnapped children to run and what might motivate them to overcome these fears like this woman did 10 years later.

JOHN WALSH, FORMER HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, first of all, as you and I were talking about, over the years and 31 years since Adam was murdered and I have worked with police and caught 1,200 guys on "America's Most Wanted". Many guys like these creeps.

You know, if you're an older girl, if you're 17 --16, 17, 18 and one of women was 20 years old, police many, many times will assume because the vast majority of women that go missing at that age sort of run away, leave their lives. So the cases go off track, off the rails in the beginning and there isn't the intensive search and there isn't intensive media scrutiny that there is in a case like Adam, like my son.

And so, probably, these guys became very emboldened by saying, hey, we got one woman. Fine, we'll do what we want with her. We'll play with her. Then they go out cruising and it becomes a game for 'em. I have profiled many of these guys. Let's see if we can get another girl.

OK. They get another girl. Let's see -- well, the family, they allege this guy knew the DeJesus family and they knew this little girl Gina and they grabbed her. So, now, they've got their play toys, they've got their play things, locked up in this house and the three of them can watch them continually, do it in shifts, have their harem of sex slaves in that house and come back and forth and terrorize them.

And as we were talking about it, Amanda had to have a moment, just a moment where she said this little girl, her daughter, very similar to Jaycee Dugard probably created because of a sexual assault or a rape.

She said, I'm going to go for it. I'm going to go for it. He may kill me. He may kill those other women, but I've got a tiny window. I want to get out of here with my daughter. I want to get out of here alive.

And, of course, then, Charles was there. Charles was there.

And I can only think if Charles had done what lots of Americans do, I don't want to get involved, I don't want to get sued and kept walking, those women might have been in there for 10 more years.

ROMANS: You know, I just point, we have these three suspects who have been arrested. We're going to find out in about 50 minutes from law enforcement in Cleveland just what exactly they think the relationship of these three are. Who may have been -- was it one abductor, was it all three? Did the two brothers know about it? Not do enough? We're going to find about that.

But Ariel Castro, the one brother, the 52-year-old, is the one that Amanda Berry said had taken her.

Now, your -- you know, this reminds me of the Jaycee Dugard story quite a bit. I mean, Jaycee Dugard was snatched by a car screaming and never seen from again. And then she was living at this man's house.

You're going to be with Jaycee Dugard tonight. Tell me a little bit about -- of the similarities between the cases and what we can learn about the next process, the healing for these women because of the Jaycee Dugard story.

WALSH: Well, there's tremendous parallels there. You know, in Jaycee Dugard's case, neighbors called repeatedly and said we had seen, you know, activity in the backyard.

And that guy, Philip Garrido, was a level three sex offender. He was a seriously demented sociopathic sex offender who had kidnapped a woman and kept her, beat her almost to death and kept her in a storage unit and he got out on parole.

So, if I was the sheriff in the town and the sheriff admitted it repeatedly, we should have gone in, we should have gone in his backyard. Now, Philip Garrido violated his parole and probation and went away for an entire month while his psychopath wife kept Jaycee Dugard and those two little girls that were created assaults on Jaycee in the backyard.

So, you've got a similar situation here. You've got three missing women. You've got a child created by assault, by a sexual assault probably and you've got neighbors calling up.

And I go, why don't you go in? You have every right. Go in, go in, get a search warrant, go in, ask. And they went inside Phillip's house twice. But not the provision officer, not any of the sheriffs that went to the house went to the backyard to save Jaycee Dugard.

So, you know, there's a lot to be learned from this case. Take these calls seriously. Be a little more aggressive.

We're not violating civil liberties. We're talking about the fact that three women were missing. If I was the sheriff or a cop there, I'd say, let me look in the backyard. Do I need a search warrant? If I do, I'm going to get a search warrant. But let me check this house here.

And I hope -- I talked to police sources last night. That's why they didn't have the press conference. They did a great job. They saddled up and they went and got the perp, the first guy. And then they got the brothers. What they were getting permission for warrants. What they were doing were finding these guys and getting a search warrant to get in the house.

And I'm sure they are going to tell us in about 45 minutes here that they're going to charge these guys with kidnapping. I hope illegal confinement, I hope sexual assault, I hope they throw the book at these guys.

And somewhere along the way, and we have to say alleged, we're politically correct and we know all about the trial attorneys. We have to say they are alleged of these crimes, but it bothered me all night. I kept saying to myself, how could this guy have kept these three women, fed them, kept them separate, intimidated them, scared them, made sure they never got out in the yard and contacted them? It makes a lot of sense if he had his brothers' help.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: It's breaks your heart, right, as a family member there.

I know that, John, you have been up all night long following this story for us. So, I want to give you a little good news. We just found out that all three women have been released from the hospital. And that they are back home with their families now. So, ending on that positive note.

And, of course, we're going to continue to follow this developing story. At the bottom of the hour, we'll talk with the uncle of the three suspects and we'll get new details from the Cleveland department of public safety this morning. We'll bring you the news conference that's happening live at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

ROMANS: We're so luck that John Walsh sort of sitting with us this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Incredible.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: All this information, thanks, John.

New this morning, we have learned that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had lap band surgery in February to lose weight. What's when doctors put a tube at the top of your stomach to make you feel fuller faster.

Christie told "The New York Post", quote, "I've struggled with this issue for 20 years, for me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them." He said losing weight has nothing to do with the possible run for the White House. Sources told "The Post" that Christie has already lost nearly 40 pounds. Sources telling CNN that, yes, that's about right.

SAMBOLIN: Good luck. And ahead on STARTING POINT, from nightmares to panic attacks, Amanda Knox opens up to our Chris Cuomo about facing a retrial for murder in Italy. He joins us live with a preview of the in-depth interview.

ROMANS: Plus, a teen surfer swims for his life after a shark bites down on his leg, ripping tendons. But he says he's more upset he missed the wave (ph).

SAMBOLIN: Can you believe this? I can't wait to talk to him.

ROMANS: We'll meet this incredible teenager, next.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, yes. Hear the music. Sixteen-year-old Michael Adler was surfing in Central Florida over the weekend when he felt a sharp pain on his left foot. The avid surfer initially thought it was something innocuous, but it turned out a shark bit him.

ROMANS: So, he paddled to shore as fast as he could. He was treated by a stranger who put a tourniquet around the wound with his surf board leash. A move the doctors say saved his foot. According to a surgeon, Adler had 20 separate punctures in his foot with some bites going all the way to the bone.

He also had four tendons repaired. Shark attack survivor, Michael Adler, joins us now from Florida. Hey, you know, it's so nice of you to come and tell us about this, because you know, being bit by a shark is basically one of everyone's worst fears. So, walk us through that day. What happened? You're riding a wave. You're off your board and then you got crunched.

MICHAEL ADLER, SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: Yes. I just kicked off on my last waves and as soon as I went to get on my board, I felt the shark just clamp down on my foot. And at that point, I got pretty scared. So, immediately, I put it above water and started paddling in.

SAMBOLIN: And when did you realize the severity of your injury?

ADLER: I mean, i looked back and I saw some blood as soon as it happened. So, I didn't think it was nothing bad because I still had all my toes and foot. So then, where I paddled it, I saw a pretty big gash, but I never really thought it was going to be that bad.

ROMANS: Did you know it was a shark right away?

ADLER: Yes. As soon as it did a little head shake when it had my the foot, I knew it was a shark.

ROMANS: So, is there a moment when you have to decide whether you pull your foot out or let the shark let go? I mean, what do you do when a shark has your foot? Do tell us.

ADLER: Yes. I pulled it out a little bit, but I'm pretty sure if it wanted to. It could keep my foot in there. So, I think it kind of let me go, too.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my gosh. All right. So, the doctors are saying that you were able to keep your foot because of a man on the beach. At the time, neither you or your friends knew who helped you. Has anyone come forward? Have you met this man to say thank you?

ADLER: No. I'm very grateful for the guy, but we tried tracking him down, but we couldn't find him. And, no one really knows who he was. But I know -- like, I asked him how he knew how to do all this stuff and he told me he was ex-military. So, obviously, he's seen stuff like this before.

SAMBOLIN: Boy, you are one lucky young man.

ROMANS: So, you're never getting in the water again? Is that right?

ADLER: Of course, not. When I was sitting there, like, getting my foot intended to (ph), I could just see the perfect waves breaking, and I really wanted to go back in.

SAMBOLIN: How old are you?

ADLER: I'm 16.

SAMBOLIN: What is your mother saying about all of this?

ADLER: Well, when I called her -- when my friend called her, she wasn't that mad, because I just thought I needed a couple stitches. I didn't even think I was going to go to the hospital or anything.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: It's so nice to meet you.

SAMBOLIN: Oh my. Good luck to you.

ADLER: Nice to meet you, too.

SAMBOLIN: You look great and you've been smiling since the very beginning, so we wish you well. Enjoy --

ADLER: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: Enjoy the surf.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Ahead on STARTING POINT, Amanda Knox facing the reality she could go back to an Italian prison.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KNOX: I'm afraid to go back there. I don't want to go back to the prison. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: What she says when our Chris Cuomo asks if she'll go back for the retrial, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Get ready to see a side of Amanda Knox you have never seen before. Six years after the death of her then roommate in Italy, her legal troubles still are not over. But will she go back to Italy for her murder retrial? Our Chris Cuomo talked to her one-on-one and he's here with a preview of that interview.

We've been watching the previews all morning long. And I just -- you know, I want to know how you fell about her, in particular, because a lot of people say she's really cold and that's the way she comes across.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I think that she's put into a situation where she's forced to think about every word she says. Her behavior was construed against her very harshly early on. So, she's worried about being natural. What she says, what she wears, what she feels, what she doesn't feel. And, when you get into that cycle, it is not uncommon for someone to become very contrived in their behavior.

And I think you see that. One of the moments in the interview, ordinarily as we all know when you're interviewing somebody, you may not know at home (ph), but when someone pauses before an answer, we very often edit that out because we want to get to their answer. But the pause is very instructive with Amanda Knox because it's her process.

She has to think first. How do I want to come off, how do I want to be seen? I don't want to be seen as a killer again even though I'm just trying to be natural. So, it's difficult to be her in this situation.

SAMBOLIN: Do we have any previews of the interview for tonight?

CUOMO: We better.

SAMBOLIN: We better.

CUOMO: We better. Let's play some of the interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Will you go face the trial? Will you go back?

KNOX: I don't know yet. It's a really complicated question. I mean, I'm afraid to go back there. I don't want to go back into prison. I don't want them to, all of a sudden, do a court order when I'm there just respecting the court and going there and the prosecution asked that I'd be put in preventative detention again. I mean, I was there for four years.

CUOMO: Could you do more time?

KNOX: Could I do more time? If they --

CUOMO: Could you do it? Could you handle it?

KNOX: I'm having to handle things. I have not really been given a choice. And I think people sort of underestimate what that means and what effect that has had on me and my life. I have no choice but to face this. And I constantly ask myself, why? Why me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So, here's something important to understand. Why did we do this? OK? There was a big ABC special. I used to work at ABC. I understand how well they do it. It was a very well-laid out special. People have doubts. After that, there are new questions. There are old questions remaining, what Amanda Knox wanted and what we were happy to provide was an opportunity to deal with those.

This season just a retelling of the entire story. It's the inflection points that make people doubt her account. That make people believe she is guilty. So, it is a different dynamic this interview. It's much more of a pointed set of questions as to why people still don't believe her. She welcomed that opportunity and she did not shy from anything I asked.

ROMANS: There are quite a few points that people point to that say, look, we think she still looks kind of, you know, suspicious in this.

CUOMO: Not kind of. People are divided and that's being generous about it. You also have to ask your -- who cares? You know, the legal process is also now subject to everybody's public opinion when you know only little pieces of things. That's part of the reality of our culture right now. But, the case is big. She has -- this retrial is going to happen.

What does it mean for her? We don't know. But she wants to live the rest of her life and she's going to be in a place where a lot of people are open to judgment about her. So, we asked her the questions that we believe will help her get over this situation of at least having given her best case to the people who will judge her.

SAMBOLIN: We've been watching it all morning. And the snippets are really great. So, looking forward to kind of understanding a little bit better. Appreciate it. Thank you, Chris.

ROMANS: Thank you, Chris Cuomo. We're going to watch that special interview, "Amanda Knox: The Unanswered Questions" tonight, 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

SAMBOLIN: And ahead on STARTING POINT, we're following breaking news out of Ohio. The discovery of three missing women who were kidnapped for ten years. How did the suspects hide in plain sight?

ROMANS: Then, we'll hear from one of the survivors of that horrific limo fire that killed the bride-to-be and four of her friends. Her shocking accusations against the limo driver coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)