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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

"I Never Forgot You"; FBI To Interview Suspects; Escape From Captivity; Hero Neighbor Speaks Out; Reunited!; Southwest Airlines Flight Diverted; Container Ship Hits Control Tower; Body Politics; Sanford's Spectacular Comeback

Aired May 8, 2013 - 06:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- the suspected Boston marathon bombers has been taken, but with no one willing to accept the body for burial, the uncle of Tsarnaev is asking the government to help find a solution. Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START everyone. I'm John Berman in New York.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. I'm live in Cleveland, Ohio. A lot going on here so let's get started. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east now and we have shocking new information that's coming to light after three women were found alive in a Cleveland home a decade after vanishing without a trace.

We still don't know what kind of living hell three women endured during a decade in captivity inside the home right behind me on Seymour Avenue. FBI agents have been combing through the house on Cleveland's west side ever since Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michele Knight's dramatic escape on Monday.

They're not revealing what they found inside the home yet. So today for the first time, FBI agents will interview kidnapping suspect Pedro, Onil, and Ariel Castro. The brothers could also be criminally charged today. And Amanda Berry whose desperate 911 call brought an end to this incredible nightmare getting the chance to reconnect by telephone with her grandmother and other family members who live in Tennessee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA BERRY: Hello.

FERN GENTRY, AMANDA BERRY'S GRANDMOTHER: Amanda.

BERRY: Yes, Grandma.

GENTRY: How are you?

BERRY: I'm fine.

GENTRY: I'm glad to have you back. I thought you were gone.

BERRY: Nope, I'm here.

GENTRY: We're happy down here for you. BERRY: Thank you so much. I wish to be back.

GENTRY: The little girl is your baby?

BERRY: Yes, she's my daughter, born at Christmas.

GENTRY: I thought about you all this time. I never forgot you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: My goodness, that is so wonderful to watch, some happiness there, now to the latest on the kidnapping investigation. A lot of questions this morning about what went on inside Ariel Castro's home for the last 10 years.

Martin Savidge is live from the County Justice Center where the Castro brothers are being held. What are you finding out, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Zoraida. Yes, you know, I've been warned by authorities. I grew up in this town so I know a lot of police here and they've been saying, look, we're still gathering the information. But when it comes out, as it comes out it is going to be really pretty horrifying stuff so they're bracing people for that.

But still knowing and hearing about that reunion, great stuff so the investigation. It's focused on two fronts, really. On the suspects themselves, the three brothers that are being held behind me here and investigators as you point out both federal and local, talking to them today, and then the house. That also is key.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Investigators scour the home on Seymour Avenue, searching for evidence in this house of horrors. Throughout the day and late into the night, FBI agents meticulously search, removing the front door, searching the crawl space, carting away a red pickup and a jeep. At one point, bringing in a cadaver dog. It's not known what, if anything, the dog found, the FBI taking the lead in the search.

DETECTIVE JENNIFER CIACCIA, CLEVELAND P.O.: This is just the tip of the iceberg. This investigation will take a very long time.

SAVIDGE: The three suspects, 52-year-old Ariel Castro, his brothers Pedro and Onil, behind bars. They'll face more interrogation today. Authorities have 48 hours to file charges and that window closes later tonight. In the neighborhood, residents are still celebrating the jubilance tempered with shock and disbelief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unreal.

TITO DEJESUS, FRIEND OF ARIEL CASTRO: And I know who lived there and they brought cameras to his house it was like I turned white. My wife told me, what's wrong, are you OK? I was like, I was dumbfounded.

SAVIDGE: Away from the cameras, Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michele Knight, the three women who endured a decade of captivity trying to piece their shattered lives back together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a miracle. A very, very large miracle and we're all excited.

SAVIDGE: And in Tennessee, Amanda Berry's grandmother got a very important phone call from the granddaughter she hasn't seen in years.

BERRY: Hello?

GENTRY: Amanda.

BERRY: Yes, Grandma.

GENTRY: How are you?

SAVIDGE: A giant step in trying to close the door on this house of horrors.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: I just love that phone call, very moving to hear that. And again getting back to this, you know, the investigators are saying in the coming days it's going to be really troubling stuff that comes out. The focus should always be remembering. These were three of them, miracles that occurred -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Now you're absolutely right. When you get back to that phone call, that grandmother who is going to be reunited with her granddaughter also has a great granddaughter now. So that's a bit of good news for her, also. All right, so the family and friends of the suspects are beginning to talk. So what more have we learned about the Castro brothers?

SAVIDGE: I look forward now from talking with family members I talked extensively with the uncle. He describes two of the brothers have problems with alcohol, drinking, growing up, and then on top of that a third brother had issues of domestic spousal abuse. So clearly that is not good. Neighbors talk about problems that they have heard within the family of these three brothers and what's gone on in the home. You're getting a troubled group of brothers that are being depicted by both family and friends.

SAMBOLIN: I know that some of the neighbors have also shared some stories, some things that they saw, and that they feel that police really never dealt with. What can you tell us about that?

SAVIDGE: And there's resentment on that, too, Zoraida, because they feel that their neighborhood in particular, being the fact that it's run down and maybe not the best, that they feel authorities just don't take them seriously there. But neighbors have reported incidents in case -- one case where a woman was seen allegedly naked in the backyard and another case where a woman was seen apparently in the attic.

She appeared to be handcuffed and holding a child and pleading for help. The neighbors say they reported these instances, police did show up, they knocked on the door, when they didn't get any response, they simply left.

SAMBOLIN: You know, Martin, yesterday I talked to Michele Knight's brother Freddy, and he was really angry. Because he says, you know, here she was living just blocks from where we are for so many years, and the police department never found her. So there is a lot of anger and resentment as you mentioned.

I know that you're going to be talking about that dispatch phone call. They've actually released a statement now about how they handle that so we're looking forward to that in our next half an hour. Martin Savidge reporting live. Thank you.

And Cleveland dishwasher, Charles Ramsey, is being hailed as a hero for his role in rescuing three women, and that little girl, who had been held captive for years. He's also become a viral video star for his very colorful description of everything that happened.

In an exclusive interview, Ramsey tells CNN's Anderson Cooper that he has had a hard time getting much sleep since he freed Amanda Berry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What does it feel like to have been living next to this for a year?

CHARLES RAMSEY, HELPED FREE MISSING WOMEN: See, that's why now I'm having trouble sleeping. See, up until yesterday, the only thing that kept me from losing sleep was the lack of money. You hear what I'm saying? So now that that's going on. And I could have done this last year, not this hero stuff, just do the right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: And we will hear much more of what Charles Ramsey had to say to Anderson Cooper that is coming up at the bottom of the hour.

And we'll also have much more from Anderson Cooper's exclusive interview with Charles Ramsey -- I'm sorry, I just told you that. That's coming up at the bottom of the hour for you. Michele knight was 21 years old back in August of 2002 when she was reported missing.

As I mentioned I had the chance to sit down with members of Knight's family to get their reaction to the news that she had been found alive. Her brother, Freddy Knight, says when he heard Michele was found, he rushed to the hospital where they were finally reunited. Freddy says he didn't know what had happened to Michele.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not know my sister was kidnapped. I did not know that.

SAMBOLIN: How did you not know she was kidnapped?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom never tells me anything and my mom -- my mother doesn't tell me anything. She wouldn't tell me who my dad was. When I asked, I'm going to help my sister out as much as she can when she gets out of the hospital, I want to help her. I'm going to show her places that she doesn't remember, you know, relearn how to use a computer. I'm going to show her how to do that and stuff like that. Take her places, you know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: We're going to hear more of my interview with Michele Knight's family that's coming up also for you in the next hour on "STARTING POINT." I have to tell you, John, when I sat with this family I was stunned to hear that a lot of them had no idea that she had been kidnapped.

And they actually refute some of the reports when the mother said that she went around the neighborhood, canvassing the neighborhood and putting up all of these posters, they say yes, that for a week afterwards she went around through the neighborhood, but that she never put any posters in any of the neighborhoods. They had a lot to say. So I'm looking forward to sharing that with you.

BERMAN: All right, thanks, Zoraida. As you say, it's kind of a puzzling development right there.

Other news this morning, new this morning, a Southwest Airlines flight diverted overnight because of several unruly passengers on board. The flight took off from Orlando, Florida, and was headed to Providence, Rhode Island, but late last night it diverted to Charleston International Airport. Three passengers, we are told, were disruptive, unruly and failed to follow instructions from the flight crew. They are now in FBI custody. The plane did go on to land in Providence without any problems.

Also new this morning, at least three people killed when a container ship ran the control tower in northern port city of Genoa, Italy. Seven people are reported missing right now. Rescue crews on the scene searching the water for these people. There is fear that some may be trapped inside the elevator of the control tower. That tower, it is huge, standing 160 feet tall, and it was really just destroyed by the impact. You can see it leaning over right there. No word on what caused the ship to crash.

We're also following new developments in the Boston marathon bombings this morning. No solution yet to the problem of what to do with the remains of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Protesters continue to demonstrate outside the funeral home where that body has been taken. Tsarnaev's uncle is even asking the government to help find a solution to this mess.

CNN's Paula Newton is live in Boston this morning. Good morning, Paula.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning, John. We could learn in the next few hours that there is a solution to this. The funeral home did tell us that they do expect this to be resolved soon. It's unclear yet, though, about whether the preferred solution for people in this city, the fact that Tamerlan Tsarnaev's remains be sent back to Russia, is a possibility.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NEWTON (voice-over): The body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev is still at this funeral home. His resting place has been so contentious. Worcester police are now trying to broker a way out, meeting with the funeral director and Tsarnaev's uncle. But it's clear, there is no simple solution in sight.

SERGEANT KERRY HAZELHURST, WORCESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT: I don't think he's going to specifically target Massachusetts. I think he's just trying to reach out to anybody or anywhere.

NEWTON: The mayor of Boston vows Tsarnaev won't be buried in his city.

MAYOR THOMAS MENINO, BOSTON: It's not dignified to put him in Boston. He's not from Boston. He's from someplace else and he needs to go back to his homeland.

NEWTON: Ruslan Tsarni, Tsarnaev's uncle knows his family would like his nephew's remains returned to Russia. It's unclear if Russia would accept his body for burial. And the bizarre set of circumstances involving Tsarnaev's remains has been hurtful to some.

The family of Brittany Loring says they are trying to put the whole thing out of their minds, concentrating instead on their sister and daughter, a bombing victim trying to recover from leg injuries, and a skull fracture. For Brittany, a difficult road ahead, rehabilitation, how to pay for medical bills, they say that's where the attention should be, on the victims.

ALYSSA LORING, SISTER OF BOSTON VICTIM: To hear that people are trying to block his remains from being buried, I have mixed feelings about it. I try not to think about it, though, because it's not -- it's not anything that my energy is going to help.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: You can imagine how much this very absurd situation is hurting the victims and their families, just having to talk about it. John, we did try and reach out to the parents of Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Russia. So far they have been unresponsive, but they are on the record telling us that they do want his remains sent back there for burial -- John.

BERMAN: Paula, on the bright side of this story, the "One Fund in Boston" has raised simply an enormous amount of money for the victims and their families of this tragedy and we're getting word now on how that money may be distributed?

NEWTON: Yes. You know, that fund is still $28 million and counting. We have a big concert here sold out in minutes that will go May 30th, that will raise a lot more money. John, the problem is, you know, we were in a town hall meeting the last couple of days, just behind me at the Boston Library, Ken Feinberg who is the man trying to put together who gets what, when, he called it rough justice, John.

I mean, when you're in those town hall meetings you're hearing, look, we will put this amount of money towards people who lost one limb, people who lost two limbs. There are a lot of questions about how this money will be disbursed. I can tell you from speaking to the victims and their family they want everyone included in the compensation, and that seems to be their bottom line.

BERMAN: It is a difficult conversation to have, nonetheless. Paula Newton live in Boston for us this morning. Thanks so much, Paula.

It's 13 minutes after the hour. House Republicans say they have new evidence of a cover-up in the deadly attack in Benghazi and they are going to reveal that evidence in a hearing later this morning. They say three whistleblowers plan to discuss what they believe were security failures at the compound during the attack. Democrats say the revelation will be one-sided. They say they haven't been allowed to talk to one of the witnesses.

Also, a stunning political resurrection, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford comes back from the political abyss. The story of his big win coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

His reputation was badly tarnished by an affair and his disappearance to South America. But this morning, Mark Sanford is waking up to the results of a spectacular political comeback. The former South Carolina governor is now headed back to Congress.

Our national political correspondent Jim Acosta breaks down his big win.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Some guy came up to me the other day and he said, you look a lot like Lazarus.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once left for dead in the political wilderness, Mark Sanford blazed a comeback trail that will take him all the way to Washington.

SANFORD: I just want to acknowledge a -- a God not just of second chances, but third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eight chances, because that is the reality of our shared humanity.

ACOSTA: Sanford captured a vacant South Carolina congressional seat by a decisive margin, overcoming a scandal that nearly destroyed his political career. The extramarital affair with a mistress from Argentina that he once falsely claimed was the hike on the Appalachian Trail may finally be behind them.

(on camera): Was this redemption? SANFORD: You know, I think we're always on a search for redemption. And I think this is certainly a great political redemption. We'll see where things go from here. It's less about that than there is about the second chance to make an impact in Washington, D.C., where I think impact is desperately needed.

ACOSTA: If Sanford's life has at times seemed like a trashy romance novel, this latest chapter has been a really page-turner. For some voters, all was forgiven.

KAREN DAVIS, VOTER: Ye who is without sin cast the first stone.

ACOSTA: Others not so much.

(on camera): Are you tired of him?

HEIDI MCALLISTER FRANCIS, COLBERT BUSCH: I don't like him. I don't trust him.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But it wasn't enough to help Sanford's opponent, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert in this conservative district.

ELIZABETH COLBERT BUSCH (D), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I will continue to fight for all of you in South Carolina.

SANFORD: Thank you as well for being here. Appreciate it. Thank you.

ACOSTA: As for Sanford, his personal life is also on the mend. His mistress is now his fiancee, a chapter she's keeping private for now.

MARIA BELEN CHAPUR, MARK SANFORD'S FIANCEE: Thank you so much for everything. But it's his night. So I hope you understand.

ACOSTA (on camera): People are going to want to know, can we trust this guy? Is he going to let us down?

SANFORD: You asked that question before. You're coming back with the same question. I give you the same answer which is that -- that trust is ultimately earned.

ACOSTA: Sanford could be sworn in as early as this week, but Democrats are mocking his victory, with one top party operative saying he should be placed on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But it's Sanford who is getting the last laugh -- he won.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: And coming up at 7:30, we will speak live to the new congressman from South Carolina, Mark Sanford.

Other top stories we're following this morning, as things heat up in Michael Jackson's wrongful death trial, a stunning new court filing. Allegations of child sex abuse from a dancer/choreographer who defended Jackson during the pop star's 2005 molestation trial. Wade Robson, who is now 30, is asking a Los Angeles judge for permission to file a late claim against the dead singer's estate. The details of this allegation are sealed.

The judge in the trial of Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes says Holmes must now show good cause to change his not guilty plea. Yesterday, defense attorneys notified the court of plans to change Holmes plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. They'll get to make their case before the judge next Monday.

We're talking huge news in the world of English premier league football, which is soccer to those of us in America. After 26 years and 13 premiere league champions, Sir Alex Ferguson is stepping down as manager of Manchester United. Man U confirms the 71-year-old Ferguson will leave his post following the club's final match of the season on May 19th. This is huge news in sports.

The team kept it short and sweet, making the announcement on Twitter saying simply, "Sir Alex Ferguson retires. Thank you, Sir Alex."

And coming up, she has made billions with her bottom lifting and smoothing undergarments. Man, they work, let me tell you. Why the founder of Spanx now says she is giving away half her money.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. We are minding your business this morning.

So it is a number that investors have never seen at the closing bell until yesterday, 15,056. That is where the Dow closed Tuesday.

Christine Romans is here.

We're going to see more gains like this?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We could. I mean, futures are a little bit lower this morning. But you're going to see some jagged, didn't go straight up, didn't go straight down, it's always a little big jagged.

But I'm telling you, that psychological 15,000-mark, you know, it's psychologically significant. But you know, you look at the longer- term, this has been the swiftest start of the year since to the great bull market of 1999. So far this year, the Dow is up 14.9 percent. The NASDAQ up 12.5 percent. The S&P 500 up 14 percent. Those are great returns.

Many people, of course, say oh, yes the great bull market of 1999. Remember how that worked out. It was a big bubble that popped. A lot of folks telling me they don't feel bubbly yet. So, we'll continue to watch here.

Stocks are rising but the deficit is falling. Yes, the constant source of political bickering in Washington is plunging. The Congressional Budget Office says tax collections are up 16 percent from November to April.

Why? Because they're taking more money out of your paycheck. The payroll tax holiday ended and so you're putting more money into the government coffers.

Spending is down slightly, as well. Some of that is the sequester, those forced spending cuts.

Spending in some categories is up like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. So, no, John, that doesn't mean the end is over, the fight about money in the nation's capital.

Washington looking for money, this woman is giving her fortune away. That's right. Her bottom line, so to speak. Sara Blakeley is the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, thanks to Spanx. She invented it and has made a boatload of money off of making women feel slimmer.

She's giving half her money away in the join the giving pledge started three years ago by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when really, really rich people give a whole lot of their money back, putting it all together so they can really do good.

BERMAN: She's offering her support to a lot of causes, you might say.

What's the one thing we need to know about our money?

ROMANS: We're going to get mortgage rates in about half an hour and I'm going to be looking very closely to how low they can go. The Fed pumping money into the company, trying to keep rates low. It's been working.

Last week, the average 30-year fixed rate was 3.6 percent. That was the lowest rate since last year for that index. We'll see if it slipped a little bit more again and even if it didn't, it's still really excellent to refinance.

BERMAN: Wicked low.

All right.

ROMANS: Wicked low.

BERMAN: Christine Roman, thank you so much.

Ahead on EARLY START, he is being called a hero. We're going to have more of Anderson Cooper's exclusive interview with the neighbor who helped save those three women held captive in Cleveland. You will be amazed by what he has to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)