CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Freed Ohio Women Face Long Recovery; Cleveland Neighborhood's New Reality; Daughter Describes Life with Dad

Aired May 10, 2013 - 10:30   ET

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


JESSYCA MULLENBERG CHRISTIANSON, HOSTAGE SURVIVOR: Until now, so I just got a full-time job and did sports and kept myself busy so I didn't have to think about all the stuff that happened to me.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And you've also said as a victim, you felt you got a lot of the blame because you were not able to escape without help. What did people say to make you feel that way?

CHRISTIANSON: Unfortunately, it is going to happen. You know, I got it from, you know, the media, or my friends, people at school, high school. You know, they're going to tell you, you know, why didn't you run away? Why didn't you just call? Why didn't you say your name? Why didn't you get out of the car? You know, unless they're in that situation, you know, they don't know what it's like to be tied up, not being able to call your family or friends, you know.

Oliver changed the numbers on the phone so I couldn't call. I was stabbed the night before I was kidnapped, so I was afraid that he was going to kill me. And on the airport he had a knife to my back, so I couldn't just scream and get away.

COSTELLO: So what advice would you give to these three young women in Cleveland? Because I know you speak a lot to community groups and you talk about what happened to you in an effort to make people understand.

CHRISTIANSON: I just tell them to (INAUDIBLE), you know, just take it one day at a time. Don't get too overwhelmed. You know, they are the heroes. They made it through this whole ordeal of 10 years. That's a very long time. You know, and a lot to be said about how strong and courageous they are. And you know just try to stick to her teen and know that your family, friends and community or others support you.

COSTELLO: Well, in our eyes you are a hero, too, a courageous woman, and thank you so much for sharing your story this morning. I appreciate it.

Jessica Mullenberg Christianson, thanks so much.

A Cleveland neighborhood wakes up to a new reality. The site of one of Cleveland's most chilling crimes. We'll talk about the new face of Seymour Street just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: More of our special coverage of the Cleveland kidnapping case. The tight-knit neighborhood where the home those three women were held captive in for years is beginning to understand a new reality. That a horrible and brutal crime was happening right next door.

Zoraida Sambolin is in Cleveland, and Zoraida, you spent a lot of time in that neighborhood. So what's it like when you walk down the street?

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, I've got some dogs barking behind me. I just want to point that out right now because this just happened. We have police walking around again. Some sheriffs with some dogs two houses across the street. So I just wanted to make sure that you could get a shot of that and see that happening.

We haven't seen a lot of police activity here this morning. We just saw that there was a police car now parked at the end. Typically we're seeing them here right by where we are, but this is brand new. Not sure -- not sure what they're looking for, if anything at all, but we had not seen the dogs on that side of the street until now. So I just wanted to make sure that you got a shot of that.

In the meantime, you know, Carol, this community is attempting to recover. This has been a very complicated situation for the members of this community. You know, their streets are blocked off. They have to ask for permission to pass by. They have to show their I.D.'s when, you know, they try to get into their homes.

And if you recall also, Carol, it was just a year ago that police got that tip from somebody in jail that said that Amanda Berry's body was here and it was buried, and that was just on the other side of this block, and so this community has had to suffer a lot in the last couple of years, and so it's been very difficult for them.

One thing that they definitely do want, this community is full of a lot of Hispanics, a lot of blacks, a lot of Puerto Ricans, and what they want is for the world to now not define them by just one individual and one individual's actions.

We actually spoke this morning to Victor Perez. He's the chief assistant prosecutor. And when he was actually reading the charges, he made it a point to talk about this very specific thing. Let's listen to what he says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR PEREZ, CLEVELAND CHIEF ASSISTANCE PROSECUTOR: The Puerto Rican community is a hard-working community. It's a -- it's a community that has sacrificed a lot for our country, a lot of us have served in the military. Actually as far as 1899, a year just after Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States. The Puerto Rican community is everywhere.

Everywhere I go in the world I run into somebody from Puerto Rico. There's over three million people in Puerto Rico. There's over three million people in the United States, and we are more than just the acts of this individual committed for the last decade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: You know, Carol, everybody is walking around, and they're saying this man is a monster, but what they don't want is for everybody to think that the community is like that.

COSTELLO: Well, I also know that the neighbors are concerned, that police really haven't paid much attention to that neighbor or as much attention as they should have paid through the years. Do they think things will be different after that yellow crime scene tape comes down?

SAMBOLIN: I know. Well, you know what, some of that healing has started already. Some of the authorities -- some of the police had a meeting last night not too far from here actually at a church, and a lot of the community members did show up, and they were talking about that. You know, about the reports that we hear that, you know, when somebody calls from this community that the police ignore them or don't show up.

It's definitely not in a timely manner in their big concern here. And so they had an opportunity to talk it out, and they were there in order to assist the people in the community. They're very concerned about the number of children that are kidnapped here, so they address that very specifically.

But I have to tell you, on the flip side of that, a lot of the community members praised the police department for their swift actions in handling this particular case. So it's going to take some time, but it does look like at least the dialogue has begun.

COSTELLO: Yes. That's a good first step. Zoraida Sambolin, in Cleveland, thanks so much.

We're hearing more from the kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro. Actually we're hearing more from one of his daughters, and she has no doubt that he's guilty. In fact Angie Gregg says he is dead to me. More of her exclusive interview next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Now more of our special coverage out of Ohio. And a CNN exclusive. For Ariel Castro's family, it is impossible to understand how their son, father, and grandfather could do such a horrible thing. For Castro's daughter Angie, there is no -- she sold Laurie Segall he is dead to me.

Laurie is in Cleveland, and, Laurie, it's still so difficult to believe Castro's family didn't notice anything in 10 years.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right and it's -- it's a tough reality. So it's really grapple within. Obviously there are unanswered questions. Angie was very, very to their father, they spend a lot of times here at this home on Seymour Avenue. She was here a couple of months ago. They were having dinner, they were listening to music, and she is beginning to piece together the puzzles but she -- those puzzles she has unanswered questions. I spoke to her. Listen to what she had to say, carol.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANGIE GREGG, DAUGHTER OF KIDNAPPING SUSPECT: I do take comfort in knowing that these girls are going to be with their families, and they have a lot of good people, you know, giving them support on their side, and, you know, one day -- one day they'll have a normal life again. I mean, it's going to take some time, but they're going to have a normal life.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Your life is never going to be the same. Do you feel like you've lost a father?

GREGG: I've lost my mother. Now I've lost a father. But I don't -- I don't cry for him. I don't cry for him.

SEGALL: If you could say anything to Ariel, if you had a message for him, what would it be?

GREGG: All this time -- all this time why? Like, why -- I don't -- I don't even know what to say. Why after all this time? Why did you do it in the first place? Why did you take these girls, and why did you never leave, and why did you never -- why did you never feel guilty enough to let them go?

SEGALL: Your family is attached to this stigma. What is the message that you want to tell people that they might not understand?

GREGG: That my father's actions are not a reflection of everyone in the family. They're definitely not a reflection of myself or my children. We don't have monster in our blood.

SEGALL: You look at your dad and now you -- you would call a monster?

GREGG: Yes. Yes. There will be no visits. There will be no phone calls. He is dead to me.

SEGALL: In a day you lost -- you've lost the man that raised you. That must be hard.

GREGG: He is nothing but a memory anymore. He can never be daddy again.

SEGALL: But for so long he was daddy to you. You called him daddy. You wrote on his Facebook wall, I love you, daddy. How do you grapple with it?

GREGG: It's hard, but I have no sympathy for the man. I have no sympathy. He was just another person who has lied and deceived and manipulated people, and I could never forgive him. The Ariel that I knew that if you would have asked me this last week, I would have told you he is the best dad and the best grandpa, and he was very kind and loving, and he did for me and he did for his grandchildren. I just wouldn't -- would I have never saw this coming ever until I saw it with my own eyeballs.

SEGALL: When people talk about the 6-year-old that they're saying could have been a child that he had with one of these women who he was holding captive, did you ever see any signs of a 6-year-old there? Did you ever see him with her?

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 was that? You know? He said this is my girlfriend's child.

I said, dad, that girl looks like Emily. Emily is my younger sister. He said, no, that's not my child. This is my girlfriend's child by somebody else. I said, Dad, if you're not sure, you need to get a paternity test, and he changed the subject again. Then I told him, Dad, if there's one of us floating around out there, if I have another sister, then I would like to know about it so I can be in her life, and he changed the subject, and I just never brought it back up. I figured at the most he had an illegitimate child out there, you know, and I would find out eventually, so I never really put much more thought to it.

SEGALL: Looking back now and knowing that this could, in fact, have been the child of a woman that he held captive for years and years, how do you feel when you think about that?

GREGG: I never would have thought that when I first saw the picture of Amanda in the hospital bed with the little girl on TV, I knew that was her because I never forgot that face. She looks so much like him and my sister, it's surreal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SEGALL: And Carol, you know, Angie says she feels a connection, the idea that she could potentially have a sister. It's a lot to focus on, but I asked her, would you want to see this little girl, and she said, you know, absolutely, but she knows that there's going to be a lot of time and a lot of healing involved with this, and she might never want to see her, but she says she feels a connection. Carol.

COSTELLO: I know she also told you that she visited her father in that house of horror many times, and the basement was always locked up. In fact, the basement was always locked even from when she was a little girl, ask actually lived in that home. Was she never curious to know what was inside?

SEGALL: It's a good question. When she was younger, she said she would pick the lock, but this is in the early 1990's, and she went down there, and she was snooping around, and there was a fish tank. She thought that was a little bit weird. She kind of lost that curiosity throughout the years. She just kind of accepted it. When she was younger, she did have that curiosity, and now those pieces are piecing together, and these clues and the idea that her father would take a long time to come to the door or the fact that he would play this music really loud. Now it's unfortunately all making sense to her. Carol.

COSTELLO: Laurie Segall, thank you so much reporting live from Cleveland this morning. We'll be back with much more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Checking our top stories 592 minutes past the hour. Charges have now been unsealed against eight people accused of taking part in a crime ring aim at banks across the globe. Federal prosecutors say the defendants withdrew close to $3 million by using fraudulent debit cards at ATMs across New York City. Authorities say additional members of the crime ring were able to steal, get this, $42 million from banks worldwide.

A tragedy during training for America's Cup on the San Francisco Bay, and the incident is raising concern that the 72-foot catamarans may be too dangerous for the race. Double Olympic medalist, Andrew Simpson died after the boat he was on capsized. Simpson was trapped underneath the boat. He tried to save him, but could not. All the other members of Sweden's Artemis racing team are okay, though.

A new census report shows that for the first time in U.S. history, more African-Americans voted in a presidential election than white Americans. Sixty-six percent of eligible blacks voted last year. Only 64 percent of whites turned out to vote.

The United States has seen fewer tornadoes in the past year than at any time since 1954. That's according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory. And 2013, at least so far, is one of the calmest years on record. "USA Today" reports the twisters are blamed for three deaths this year. That compares with 543 people killed by tornadoes in the first five months of 2011.

Let's end this newscast on something good that will bring a good smile to at least 50 of the population. I'm talking about Kate Upton. She has come a long way from bikini modeling. She's making her mark on high fashion as the new cover girl of "Vogue" magazine. here's Alina Cho.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESOPNDENT: This mesmerizing video of Kate Upton dancing in a tiny red bikini went instantly viral on Youtube. The dance is called cat daddy.

KATE UPTON, SUPERMODEL: Cat daddy? Oh, yes. Well, you know, apparently I can dance. I didn't know right away, but everyone seems to like it.

CHO: Try 16 million views and counting. These days Upton just 20 years old is everywhere. Shooting a movie with Cameron Diaz. On the red carpet at the Met Ball. Beloved by top designers.

MICHAEL KORS, FASHION DESIGNER: I love a sexy, curvy girl. The stick figures are not for me.

CHO: How did this curvy one-time bikini model become fashion's new it girl.

UPTON: I think I'm really lucky, and, you know, I never saw it coming.

CHO: Upton, the great granddaughter of one of the founders of Whirlpool grew up in Melbourne, Florida.

UPTON: I did want to be a bikini model because I lived in bikinis because I lived in Florida.

CHO: It didn't take long -- Upton was discovered in her teens. Soon "Sports Illustrated" came calling. One cover. Then two. TV commercials for the Super Bowl, like this one for Mercedes Benz.

UPTON: You missed a spot.

CHO: And this provocative ad for Carl's Junior. But it's one thing to get noticed by the masses and entirely another to be embraced by the sometimes prickly world of high fashion. Somehow Kate Upton has managed to do both. Here's your first look at the super model on the June cover of American "Vogue" out nationwide on May 21st.

What makes her cross over into high fashion?

ANNA WINTOUR, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, VOGUE: Well, I think that Kate is a very accessible model. She reminds me of the old days of Cindy Crawford or Stephanie Seymour. I think that she has that American girl next door quality.

CHO: Does this show that curvy girls can make it too?

UPTON: I mean, I really feel like being healthy and loving your life is important. If that means you're curvy, then that's what it means. I'm excited that it's being accepted.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Oh, Alina Cho. Curvy girls have always been able to make it.

CHO: You know, it's hard to argue with a face and a body like that, Carol, but I do think that one thing that bears repeating is that Kate Upton has really managed to do something that is rarely done, which is move from the pages of "Sports Illustrated" to the pages of "Vogue." That just doesn't happen in fashion. It rarely does, as a matter of fact. As her agent told me, don't underestimate the power and the drive of Kate Upton, and as "Vogue" says, right now she is the hottest supermodel on planet Earth.

COSTELLO: I actually like how you described her dance. It was mesmerizing.

CHO: It was. Men and women. You just can't not watch that.

COSTELLO: You know, it's really funny, there's always rumors that she was dating the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander. I sat down and talked with Justin Verlander and before the interview he said t, you're not going to ask me about Kate Upton, are you?

CHO: That's all anybody wants to know.

COSTELLO: I agreed not to ask him, but I wanted to know, frankly, but he did not want to talk about it. I enjoyed that story a lot. Thank you so much.

Thank you for joining us today. I'm Carol Costello. CNN NEWSROOM continues after a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. We are starting with that incredible story out of Ohio, and what is developing right now. Just moments ago, we learned new information about that little girl.