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Woman Survives 16 Days Under Rubble; DNA Shows Suspect Fathered Child; Mutilated Woman Gets Reconstructive Surgery

Aired May 10, 2013 - 12:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

We just could not believe it today when the news broke that a woman was found alive beneath that pile of rubble, the collapsed building in Bangladesh. That's the same building 16 days ago it collapsed.

MALVEAUX: It's amazing. I mean it's absolutely amazing.

HOLMES: Unbelievable.

MALVEAUX: This is an incredible story. Rescuers, they actually stopped looking for survivors more than a week ago or so. Somehow this woman stays alive. We've got Dr. Sanjay Gupta here to talk about how that's even possible. But first we want to go to CNN Sumnima Udas. She is in New Delhi today.

And, this is amazing. Tell us how this happened.

SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, after days and days of just really recovering or pulling out dead, decomposed bodies, rescue workers were really not expecting to find anyone alive. Again, this is the 17th day. But as they we're going through the rubble of one of the lower floors, they heard someone, a woman crying out for help. She was saying "please rescue me. I am alive. I am alive." This was just about a few hours ago, about five hours ago. So the rescue workers started to dig through trying to pull her out. Took them about an hour or so. There was a huge crowd that had gathered just to see this whole scene, or this whole miracle, if you will, unfold.

HOLMES: And, Sumnima, you know, we've been hearing from one of the rescue workers who was there when this woman was found. And you can imagine the emotion. Have a listen.


MOHAMMAD RUBEL RANA, RESCUER (through translator): When I was cutting iron rods, suddenly I found a silver colored stick just moving from a hole. And I looked through and I saw someone calling, "please save me." Instantly, I called the army and firefighters and said, please, look, I heard a sound. Then they saw her and confirmed that there was a woman. Later they started working and rescued her and sent her to the hospital.


HOLMES: Just amazing. You know, I'm curious now that this bright spark has happened, that somebody has been found, all of that heavy machinery, are they likely to put that on hold and continue to look rather than recover?

UDAS: Well, they really have been moving quite cautiously all along. I mean, they have been trying - they have been in the recovery phase, if you will, for the past 11 days or so, but they haven't found survivor for the past 11 days. But they have been moving cautiously. And even this time they were saying that the bulldozers were really on hold. And as soon as they found or they heard this woman's cry, they've really still are treading as cautiously as possible.

And this news is really overwhelming a lot of people in Bangladesh right now because they've gone through a lot, not just because of that building collapse which killed thousands of people, but also there's been protests on the street, there was another fire in a garment factory just on Wednesday. So this news is really being celebrated in Bangladesh in a country that's really gone through a lot recently.

HOLMES: Yes, really been under a pal (ph). And the death toll now officially, of course, over 1,000 as well.

Sumnima, thank you so much. Sumnima Udas there in New Delhi.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, we've got our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta here to weigh in on all of this.

We understand from what happened with this woman, she was able to be in a room that had partially collapsed but was also sustainable as well and she was able to get some access to food and water? How did she survive?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean it's -- in an air pocket. I mean that's obviously the most crucial thing because air, as you know, you're talking about a very short amount of time. So if you have some sort of air pocket with some sort of communication to an area that's outside, that helps a lot, obviously. We hear stories like this. That's crucial.

Having some access to water must have happened here. I mean, you know, you're talking about this many days. A few days, perhaps, someone might be able to survive without water. We hear stories about them pouring water into some of the area of the rubble. There was a fire that had broken out. They had put out a fire with hoses. That may have helped as well. It was also raining. So these are all things that you take into consideration.

You suspect that she may have had some access to food, but she may have been able to survive without that. There have been case reports of people actually being able to survive even a couple of weeks without this. We're talking about 16 days here. So that's possible, although she was still crying out. I just heard that in the report. She was still able to voice enough to actually say "save me," which is somewhat surprising because even that requires a fair amount of energy.

HOLMES: There have been reports - I was talking to a journalist on CNN International earlier who said there had been reports that she was able to access some other workers handbags and get a little bit of food that way and some water that way. So she probably did have some food. But in the absence of that, how long can you last?

GUPTA: You know, it's -- I think we keep redefining that event, you know, after having covered some of these disasters. But I was down in Haiti, you know, a couple of years ago now, three years ago, and Evan Muncie (ph) was a gentleman who presumably had survived for 30 days after, you know, being in the rubble there. I got a chance to talk to his family. And they say the same sort of things, Michael. They say he may have had some access to food, there may have been some water that trickled down. I don't think anybody could survive without it.

What is also interesting is the body -- she's 20 years old. The body can be very good at sort of preserving itself, even going into something known as starvation ketosis. Basically what that means is you're starting to use muscle and other sources of proteins within your own body to feed yourself. And it's a tough thing to think about, but that's what the body does to sort of stay alive.

It is important for her now because you can't just start feeding somebody who's been in a situation like this. You have to sort of slowly reintroduce food, slowly reintroduce a lot of things that she was missing.

MALVEAUX: Yes. What kind of condition do you think she's in now?

GUPTA: You know, I know Evan Muncie, in that period of time, lost 30 pounds, you know, and a pretty thin guy already. So my guess is she's extremely weak. I hear that she's been trying to lift her head off of the table. The cognition is I think what's so -- a little bit surprising. And, again, she was -- had enough gumption to be able to say "please save me." She seemed to have some awareness of what had happened, where she was, things like that. So I think, you know, it all looks very favorable.

But they have to - but the road to recovery's slow. It's not just a question of giving a few square meals to. This is a -- she's in critical condition by all definition.


MALVEAUX: All right.

HOLMES: An extraordinary strong.

MALVEAUX: Amazing.

GUPTA: It's a great story and I'm happy to hear that, actually.

MALVEAUX: It's just incredible. HOLMES: A little ray of sunshine. Yes, good to see you, Sanjay.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Thank you, Sanjay. Appreciate it.

GUPTA: You too.

HOLMES: Thanks for that.

MALVEAUX: Of course you don't want to miss "Appointment" with Sanjay this weekend. He's going to have the very latest on the incredible rescue that happened in Bangladesh, the three young women also freed from captivity in Cleveland, plus Chris Christie's, his weight loss surgery. That is Saturday at 4:00 p.m., Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

HOLMES: Must-watch TV.

All right, well, he is already charged with kidnapping and rape, now he could be facing aggravated murder for his victims' miscarriages.

MALVEAUX: Prosecutors, they are pushing for more charges against Ariel Castro. He's accused of holding three women captive in his home for a decade. The lead prosecutor says that Castro operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of the city.

HOLMES: Yes, Susan Candiotti, you're in Cleveland there. Before we get to the possibility of additional charges, I understand you have some new information on Ariel Castro, the DNA test. They pushed that along. What have you got?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Hi, Michael and Suzanne. Within the hour we have learned that, and this probably not surprising information, but a preliminary DNA match has been made and determined that Ariel Castro, the suspect in this case, is indeed believed to be the father of the six-year-old child of Amanda Berry, little Jocelyn (ph), six years old. They've been conducting DNA tests since yesterday, quickly working around the clock. They got these results and have determined that, in fact, Ariel Castro is the father of Amanda Berry's six-year-old child. So this is information that moves it along.

However, we've also learned that they took that same DNA in Ohio's computerized system and did not find any matches between Ariel Castro and any open cases in the state of Ohio. However, they are still running checks against the federal database that has been maintained by the FBI.


MALVEAUX: And so tell us about the possibility, I understand, of an aggravated murder charge against Castro. I think that is probably surrounding some of the accusations about him beating one of the young women and causing her to miscarry.

CANDIOTTI: That's right. And this charge -- if in fact the prosecutor decides to charge him with aggravated murder, could be controversial. We'll have to see. But it involves, as you pointed out, the allegations that we have seen in the -- CNN obtained the initial police report in which one of the young women, Michele Knight, said that she became pregnant at least five times and that Ariel Castro, she charges in this report, starved her each time she became pregnant for up to two weeks. I mean this is horrifying. Even more so, she said that he punch her - would punch her in the stomach to try to prompt a miscarriage, in fact, each time. So it is under that -- under those conditions that the prosecutor is looking at the possibility of aggravated murder charges.

Now, of course, even though they might lack physical evidence, certainly they would have eyewitnesses, at least Michele and possibly those two other women. So we'll see how that develops.

HOLMES: It raises a whole lot of legal questions there. Thanks so much, Susan. Susan Candiotti there in Cleveland.

MALVEAUX: That's just unbelievable, any (ph) of that story.

HOLMES: It would be a difficult, legal case to prove, wouldn't it?

MALVEAUX: Yes, it would be.

HOLMES: It opens up a whole can of worms. All right.

MALVEAUX: Ariel Castro's daughter says she's horrified by what he's accused of doing. She described him as the most evil, vile, demonic criminal that she has ever heard of. We've got an exclusive interview with Laurie Segall. Angie Gregg says little things she never really thought about suddenly are starting to make sense.


ANGIE GREGG, KIDNAPPING SUSPECT'S DAUGHTER: All these weird things that I've noticed over, you know, over the years, like about, you know, how he kept his house locked down so tight, certain areas. And, you know, how if we'd be out at my grandma's having dinner, he would disappear for - you know, for an hour or so and then come back and there would be no explanation where he went. Like it's -- everything's making sense now. It's all adding up. And I'm just - I'm disgusted. I'm horrified.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever see any signs of a six- year-old there?

GREGG: I never saw signs in the house. I never saw, you know, her with him. But about two months ago he picked me up, we spent the afternoon together. I just had some service on my car. And he showed me a picture that was in his cell phone randomly and he said, look at this cute little girl. It was a face shot. And I said she's cute, who is that, you know? And he said, this is my girlfriend's child. And I said, dad, that girl looks like Emily. Emily's my younger sister.


HOLMES: Well, Angie Gregg says she never wants to see her father again. She says, quote, "I have no sympathy for the man."

MALVEAUX: We have just learned new information now about where the Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is actually buried. There's a source that is close to the investigation that tells CNN Tsarnaev is buried in a Muslim cemetery, this is in Doswell, Virginia, just north of Richmond.

HOLMES: Yes, the circumstances surrounding the burial arrangements aren't clear right now, but yesterday police in Worcester, Massachusetts, revealed that someone had stepped forward to provide a grave site after weeks of controversy about where to bury him. For a while there, nobody wanted to take him.


And here's more of what we're working on for AROUND THE WORLD. Did police actually miss opportunities to check Castro's home over the years and years to rescue these women earlier? They flatly say no. We're going to talk to some people who feel differently about that.

HOLMES: And you remember Aesha. She is the young Afghan woman who came to America after the Taliban cut off her nose and ears. After multiple surgeries and intense counseling, she is still struggling with her past. We'll have the latest chapter in her story when we come back.


MALVEAUX: A young Afghan woman who was disfigured by her Taliban husband, refusing to let that horrifying attack impact the rest of her life.

HOLMES: Her name is Aesha. Her nose and ears were cut off. Why? Because she ran away after being treated brutally. This attack was revealed to the world, of course, on the cover of "Time" magazine back in 2010.

MALVEAUX: Well, three years later Aesha is now rebuilding her face, her life here in the United States.

Our own Christiane Amanpour has the remarkable story.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a work in progress, 22-year-old Aesha's face and her life, imperfect and incomplete.

But Aesha's nose became the world's business when her face graced the cover of "Time" magazine in 2010. Her nose and her ears were hacked off by her husband and her in-laws.

She'd been in a marriage borne out of Taliban justice. As so often happens to young women in Afghanistan, she was handed over when she was 12-years-old as blood money after her uncle was accused of murder.

Aesha says that her in-laws physically and verbally abused her for five years.

Too many Afghan women know this suffering. A recent poll ranked Afghanistan as the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman.

Aesha dared to run away from the abuse. She was caught, though, and imprisoned and then returned to her in-laws. And that's when they mutilated her face and left her for dead.

But somehow she survived and found her way to help. She was brought to a NATO military base where she was treated.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm good. How are you?

AESHA: Good.

AMANPOUR: And then she was moved to a woman's shelter in Kabul.

Nine months later her haunting image appeared, and now she was even more of a target for the Taliban, so she had to leave the country.

A U.S. foundation agreed to bring her to California for a new face and a chance at a new life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you in America? You're in America? Are you going to get your nose?

AMANPOUR: But because of the years of trauma she had endured, she was deemed not ready to take on the additional burden of massive and difficult surgeries.

And so she was moved across the country to New York where a team of women began to give her some counseling, some life skills, and the education she's never had starting with her ABCs.

ARIELA PERLMAN, TEACHER: This was our first project that we did together.

Sometimes we felt like we were with a 3-year-old, a 7-year-old, an 11- year-old, a 15-year-old, a 45-year-old, depending on what she was feeling at the moment and what she felt she needed to communicate.

SHIPHRA BAKHCHI, PSYCHOLOGIST: Her behavior could be erratic. She could be having fun, and, you know, wanting to be social and talkative one minute and then locking the door and throwing the covers over her head another minute, and her behavior was impulsive and very difficult at times.

AMANPOUR: Even though she made some progress in therapy, Aesha was still emotionally empty because what she needed, what she wanted most, was a family to call her own.

And soon she met an Afghan family from Maryland, Mati, his wife Jamila, and daughter Mina. Aesha won them over and persuaded them to take her in. And now, for the first time in her life, she was choosing her own path. And she seemed happy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says I like here because I am going to the school. I put my purse like this. When she's going to the playground, there's the swing and she loves to swing.

AMANPOUR: After seven months with this family, Aesha would have the first of many surgeries to start rebuilding her face.

AESHA: I'm OK. I'm happy. My surgery, I'm not scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm pretty sure once she gets all her surgery, she'll have a lot of guys drooling.

AMANPOUR: This is Aesha after that first surgery. She would look worse before better. And she had surgery after surgery after surgery.

Aesha still has more surgery to go. After doctors finish her nose, they'll begin to reconstruct her ears, but to live in the United States and to be independent, she needs at least to learn how to read and write.

As it stands, she's got the education level of a young child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So she stays at home. She does her jewelry. Then she watches movies or some series. This is her life now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's in her own world. She's going through these things, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We talked with her about that after this process, you have to come back to your real life. It will be not so easy.

AMANPOUR: On this swing, Aesha doesn't worry about her future. And she's soaring free right now. But how softly will she land?

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: Amazing story.

HOLMES: It is, isn't it?

You can hear more about Aesha's inspiring story of survival and recovery. Do log on What a tale.

We'll be right back.


MALVEAUX: Now turning to breaking news, this is on last month's deadly explosion. This was the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, you might recall.

Well, authorities are now launching a criminal investigation into that fire, into the blast. Fourteen people died as the flames ripped through that facility.

HOLMES: Yeah, quite a development there.

The explosion, you'll remember, was so powerful it damaged homes and businesses right across the community.

We are following all of the developments for you. We will bring you more details as they come to hand.

MALVEAUX: And when it comes to the Benghazi bombings, the attack there on the embassy, Republicans have made it clear that they're going to keep up the heat on the Obama administration.

Next hour, we're going to hear from the White House. And just ahead we're going to talk about what's at stake for everyone involved.


MALVEAUX: Of course, we're expecting tough questions -- this is the White House briefing room -- over the next hour or so this is all over the Benghazi attack and what the White House knew about this.

It is really still a very hot issue, the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi last September 11th killing four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

HOLMES: Yeah, Republican criticism has been mounting as you would be aware following a House hearing this week.

Critics like House speaker John Boehner accusing the State Department of using false talking points about how the attack went down in order to protect President Obama's re-election campaign. And he wants the State Department to release e-mails.


REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We learned that on September 12th, the day after the attacks and four days before Susan Rice's TV appearances, a senior State Department official e-mailed her superiors to relay that the Libyan ambassador -- she had told the ...