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CNN NEWSROOM

Criminal Probe Opened In Texas Blast; DNA Shows Suspect Fathered Child; Suspect's Daughter Says He Is Evil; Story Of Survival Under Collapsed Factory; White House Briefing This Hour

Aired May 10, 2013 - 13:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: New questions for the Obama administration about how it handled the attack on Benghazi. We're waiting on a White House briefing to get some answers.

Plus, the exclusive interview with alleged Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro's daughter. Headline, she says her father is dead to her and that her family does not have monster in their blood.

And trapped beneath rubble for 16 days, a miracle in Bangladesh as a woman is found alive. Find out how she survived.

This is CNN NEWSROOM. I am Chris Cuomo here in New York. We're going to begin with a major development in the deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in west Texas. Authorities have handled the location as a crime scene from the beginning and now, new word, they are launching a criminal investigation into last month's blast. Remember, 14 people lost their lives as flames ripped through the facility. Nearly 200 others were hurt. The explosion was so powerful it devastated homes and businesses across the community. Literally registered as an earthquake.

We have our Alina Machado covering this story. She joins us now live from Atlanta. What do we know about this investigation at this point?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, what we know is that Texas authorities say they are now conducting a criminal investigation into the blast. The explosion, as you mentioned, killed more than a dozen people. Most of them were first responders who had rushed to the scene after receiving a report of a fire at the plant. Investigators seem to have been focused on figuring out what sparked the fire that eventually led to the blast.

Earlier this week, we learned that they were able to rule out natural causes. And the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety released a statement just a little while ago saying that they want to make sure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered. This is, of course, a major development in this investigation, and we hope to learn more details in the coming days -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. And just to be clear, Alina, is this one of those situations where just as they treated it as a crime scene from the beginning, they're investigating to see if there's something to investigate or do we believe at this point they have reason to believe this may have been intentional?

MACHADO: Well, authorities are very tight-lipped about what it was that has changed -- has caused this change, has caused them now to launch a criminal probe, but those are, of course, details, Chris, that we hope to learn.

CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much. We appreciate that, Alina. We're going to be following this situation. And remember, you can go to CNN.com/impact for more information on how to help the families of the blast down there.

All right, let's go to Cleveland now. Ariel Castro already charged with kidnapping and rape. He could be facing aggravated murder charges as well for his victims' miscarriages. That's just one development we're following in the case. The other one has to do with DNA testing.

Let's bring in Susan Candiotti, she's there in Cleveland. Susan, thanks for being with us. What do we know about this DNA? Who's is it and what is it tracking?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very important development, Chris. Hello from Cleveland. We've learned from the attorney general from the state of Ohio that the preliminary DNA tests have come in. And not surprisingly, as we expected, they do show that Ariel Castro is the father of Amanda Berry's six-year-old child. We had expected that he would be the father. This is what Amanda Berry has been saying all along but now there is the forensic evidence to prove it. They conduct a test on the DNA. Those tests coming in today.

They're also telling us, authorities here in Ohio, that at this time there is no DNA match between Ariel Castro and any still open cases in the state of Ohio, any unsolved crimes. However, they are also putting his DNA into the national database, it's called CODIS. The FBI maintains that DNA coming in from all over the country and they are checking to see whether he matches up anyone in that database. So, that's the latest from here.

And, Chris, if I might add as well, I'm in front of Gina DeJesus' home right now. And within the hour, one of her aunts came outside and pulled in all those beautiful balloons that we've been seeing for the last several days, moving them away from the front of the house and in the street. And you can see that blue tarp over my shoulder. They've set that up as well so that Gina if she wants to come outside can maintain her privacy -- Chris.

CUOMO: That's very difficult. There's so much media there. This family's trying to heal at the same time. Delicate balance of course. Let me get your -- let me get your take on one more thing, Susan, before I let you go. Aggravated murder charge in this case because of the miscarriages, what is the legal thinking through there?

CANDIOTTI: You know, that's going to be very interesting and you yourself would know that more than anyone. An interesting legal prospect here. The prosecutor is saying that he might file aggravated murder charges because of what Michele Knight has told them. In the police statement that CNN obtained, she describes that at least on five occasions she was pregnant and that she miscarried each time. But here is why. She said that each time that Ariel Castro starved her -- starved her for at least two weeks and then went onto punch her repeatedly in the stomach each time she said she became pregnant. So, it is on that basis that the prosecutor is considering filing those charges.

Now, what kind of forensic evidence might still exist at this time? Unlikely. But he would have her strong eyewitness testimony and possibly the testimony of the two other women in this case -- Chris.

CUOMO: Those are excellent points, Susan. That's why I wanted you to talk me through what the prosecution's theory on this because it is going to be something difficult to prove. However, you also pointed at what the connecting thought here could be. Ariel Castro has been talking, saying things, he may admit to and then obviously the charge sticks just because of that. But that's -- those are some interesting developments there. Thank you very much, Susan, for joining us here.

Another development in this case. Ariel Castro's daughter has a question for him, how could you? In an exclusive interview with CNN, Angie Gregg says she is horrified that her father allegedly kidnapped, raped and beat three women.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANGIE GREGG: My husband and I are in complete disbelief that the friendly, caring, doting man I knew as my daddy was, in fact, the most evil, vile, demonic criminal that I have met or heard of. Over the past 10 years --

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is part of a letter Angie Gregg wrote after learning her father was allegedly behind the brutal kidnappings in Cleveland, Ohio. Now, she's speaking out.

GREGG: And to go to the vigils, to show these girls the footage of their parents' pleas for their return, to rape, starve and beat innocent human beings? I am disgusted.

SEGALL: You have learned that your father wasn't the guy you thought he was.

GREGG: No.

SEGALL: What is that like?

GREGG: It's like a horror movie. It's like watching a bad movie.

SEGALL: Only you're in it.

GREGG: It's -- only we're in it. We're, you know, the main characters. And I never suspected anything was going on. But the more I sit and dwell on it, I think of things that make a whole lot of sense now. SEGALL: You look back and you say, OK, you can piece together -- you're beginning to piece together a puzzle. Where were the signs?

GREGG: Well, he never wanted to leave the house more than a day at a time. He was adamant in the fact that he wanted to leave home early morning and he had to be back by evening.

SEGALL: Were there certain areas in the home that were just off limits?

GREGG: Ever since my mom lived in that house, the basement was always kept locked. I've never been upstairs in the house. And I never had reason to be. I asked him if I could see my room for old times' sake and he says, oh, honey, there's so much junk up there, you don't want to go up there.

SEGALL: When you think about, you know, what might have been, what was behind those doors, how do you -- how do you cope with that?

GREGG: It all makes sense now. Now I know. It's hard, but I have -- I have no sympathy for the man. I have no sympathy. He was just another person who's lied and deceived and manipulated people. And I could never forgive him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: That's CNN's Laurie Segall that got the exclusive interview with Ariel Castro's daughter. Let's bring her in now. Laurie, such an important voice to add to the mix here because of the pressure on this family. Let me ask you, in talking to her, what was Ariel Castro's reputation within that family? And, you know, she kept saying to you, it makes sense. The hints, the clues, now make sense. How was he known there by the rest of them?

SEGALL: You know, I think it's important to say that Angie had a different -- Angie had essentially a different relationship than many of her other sisters. She said that, you know, other -- many of her other sisters didn't want to go and visit that home. But, Chris, when we actually spoke with her, she said, I've been to this home. I've been to this home many times. You can see it right behind me. She was there just a couple months ago. She was having some -- she was having dinner.

So, you know, she says now she can see those signs, but she wasn't able to see them before. But now she knows when the music was turned up very loud, when he took a long time to come to the door, you know, that this might have been why. And she's beginning to really kind of piece it together -- Chris.

CUOMO: Now, Laurie, how's the family being treated by the community? It's such an obviously precarious situation to be related to the man who is tied to all of this terrible behavior. What did she tell you?

SEGALL: It's -- this is a tough one, right? I mean, she took a long time to come forward with this. You see, she wrote all of her statements down on paper, because she just said, you know, I want my voice to be heard. But this is a tight-knit community. You walk -- she walked around the block with me. People are out and about. There's an ice cream truck going down the street. And there are children roaming around everywhere.

So, this is a horrific incident that happened here but she said people are supportive. There are balloons on the mailbox, on her mailbox, you know, representing these young women so she's getting support. But, I think, for her, she's got to wrap her head around this. She had to sit down with her sons just last night and -- because she's a mother herself. And she had to say, this is what your grandfather did and I need to tell you. There were tears. Her youngest child didn't quite understand and she's happy for that. But this is a horrific reality that she's now really -- it's just now sinking in -- Chris.

CUOMO: And that's an excellent point, Laurie. She's got kids herself that she's going to have to tell about this very difficult for the entire family to be connected to this man. Laurie Segall, thank you for adding that voice to the conversation. It's a great interview. And thanks for the reporting.

SEGALL: Thank you.

CUOMO: While no longer in captive, Gina DeJesus is understandably still dealing with a lot of anxiety and fear. Her mother told "ABC News," her daughter didn't want to sleep alone her first night home and so her family slept around her on an inflatable mattress in the living room. They add that Gina didn't want to sleep in a bedroom because she was confined to a bedroom in Castro's house. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY RUIZ: The one thing she just said, she says, mom, I don't want to stay in a room. So, I says, you don't have to anymore. So, that's part of the process, part of her healing and knowing that she now can do what she wants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said she doesn't want to stay in a room.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Gina DeJesus' mother told ABC, Castro initially kept Gina and the other two victims chained up in the basement of the basement. She says, later, he moved them to separate bedrooms. Now, the first woman to be abducted, Michele Knight, will be the last one to arrive home. She's still hospitalized. Officials aren't releasing any details about her treatment.

Michele was abducted in 2002 at the age of 21. Just 15 months later, her name was removed from the FBI's crime database. City officials say they'll release a statement later today explaining why that happened. The city, of course, has been criticized by some residents who say the police department doesn't do enough to find missing women. And that is going to be a pressing question for that community. What was done is a big part of this investigation here specifically, but also what was being done in that community in general. And there's two very opposing views there, at this point. We're tracking it.

The big question here obviously is who is Ariel Castro? How could anyone do what he is accused of doing? And what are the other secrets hidden in what they're calling the house of horrors?

Tonight, Pier Morgan -- Piers Morgan takes a look inside the mind of a monster. That'll be at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Piers Morgan.

Look ahead, here's what we're working on at this hour. An amazing story of survival. How could anyone survive 16 days under the debris of a collapsed factory? We will tell you that story.

And, a reminder, we are waiting for a White House briefing this hour which is expected to address new questions being raised about the attacks in Benghazi.

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CUOMO: Take a look at the most amazing image we've seen all day. A woman we're told 19 years old found alive in the rubble of a building that collapsed in Bangladesh. This is the building that fell down around her 16 days ago. More than 1,000 people were killed, rescuers weren't even looking for her anymore. They'd given up the search for survivors more than a week ago. So let's bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta here. Obviously our chief medical correspondent. Sanjay, this is an amazing story. From a medical standpoint, how do you live that long? What do we know about how she did it?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA. CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple things very important. As you might guess, Chris, first of all just looking at the basics, air, water, food. She was in an air pocket. That obviously was critical. And that air pocket probably may have even had some communication with air outside as well. We also know that as far as injuries go, she didn't have any significant injuries, broken bones, crushed limb, big gashes, all those things become important because it makes it more -- you need more energy to try and heal those wounds, becomes more difficult to survive in these sorts of extreme circumstances.

There was also some -- we're hearing now she was found in a pool of water, Chris. And probably your next question, that obviously is going to be very important for her to sustain herself. You can't live more than a few days without having some sort of water. We have heard stories of survival and other sorts of disasters, but those two things I think were the most crucial, Chris.

CUOMO: So the water becomes the critical component. Obviously we've both spent a lot of time in Haiti and after the earthquake in china where people were making it days that just seemed amazing how they could do it. So the critical factor winds up being water. What have you learned over these different disasters about what makes the difference between life and death?

GUPTA: You may remember, Chris, from Haiti there was a man who was actually pulled out of the rubble about 30 days --

CUOMO: Yes.

GUPTA: -- after the earthquake. Evan Muncie's his name. We ended up meeting with him and in fact talking to his family for a while. Yes, absolutely. Obviously no one's going to survive if they're trapped in a situation where they're simply not getting access to air. Water, there may have been water that came in for this woman through fire hoses, there was a fire in the area and also the pool of water.

With Evan Muncie he probably had some access to food. Chris, what happens in a situation where people are in this -- where they just don't have enough basic resources. As far as energy goes, the body will literally start to use muscle and other sources in the body for energy. It's called starvation ketosis. It's a tough thing to think about, but you're literally trying to find energy from different places in your body and using that as an energy source to survive. The body is pretty good at surviving these situations if it does that.

It's also important to note, Chris, that now for this woman they can't just give her a few square meals and start giving her water again and try and rectify what has happened. They have to start feeding her slowly. You'll see the images of her in the hospital with the IVs. This has to be a gradual process for her. As you mentioned, she's 19 years old. That certainly worked in her favor as well.

CUOMO: The body does what it does, but that X factor is the human spirit, right, Sanjay?

GUPTA: She was screaming please save me.

CUOMO: Will to survive.

GUPTA: Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: Amazing. Thank you so much for the perspective as always, doc. Everybody, don't miss your appointment with Sanjay this weekend. He'll have the very latest on this incredible rescue in Bangladesh, the three young women freed from captivity in Cleveland, plus Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, his weight loss surgery. When? Saturday 4:30 p.m., Sunday 7:30 a.m. eastern right here of course on CNN.

We've learned new information about where one of the Boston bombing suspects is buried. The older brother is buried in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, north of Richmond. The circumstances surrounding the burial arrangements aren't clear right now, but yesterday police in Worcester, Mass, revealed that someone had stepped forward to provide a grave site after weeks of controversy about where to bury this man.

And we have a programming note for you. We are waiting right now for a White House briefing, supposed to come this hour. Administration spokesman Jay Carney expected to address new questions about the Benghazi attack and how it was handled or potentially mishandled. Stay tuned for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: We are keeping an eye on the markets at this hour. The Dow's been heading down most of the day. Down 16.62 now. Still over 15,000. Huge mark, right? It keeps hitting new highs lately. So if you're one of these people involved with the stock market trying to figure out how to get in on the bull run, Christine Romans will explain in this week's "How To Speak Money."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You've been waiting for the right price to get into the stock market, financial planners say it's a dangerous strategy because you cannot time the market. If you knew the best times to buy stocks or individual security, well, if you knew the right time for sure you'd be on a yacht in the Caribbean right now, right? That's why they recommend something called dollar cost averaging. The safest way for regular investors to put money into the market is dollar cost averaging.

How does it work? If you have a 401(k), you're already doing this. You are already doing dollar cost averaging. You invest a fixed dollar amount on a regular basis to a mutual fund or a stock of your choice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAM STOVALL, CHIEF EQUITY STRATEGIST, S&P500 CAPITAL IQ: Who knows whether the market's going to go higher or lower over the coming months? So as a result what you're doing is you're sort of forcing yourself to buy at different intervals. And maybe you end up buying at lower prices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Let's use Google as an example. Say you started buying the stock last year. Every two weeks spending $100 every two weeks to buy the stock. You would have paid an average share price of $709 if you had done that. If you bought all of it earlier this month, you would have paid about $857 a share. That means dollar cost averaging instead of buying it all at once made a profit of 22 percent. That's $583. It helps you make your money work for you right away, and the bar of entry on dollar cost averaging is low. You don't need a lot of money to get started. You can contribute a fixed sum from every paycheck. The point is to remain committed to the investment for years. Do not let fluctuations and prices affect your buying strategy. As Wall Street rapper, Billy Shakes (ph) puts it.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BILLY SHAKES, RAPPER: The market goes up, the market goes down. You make your money when you dollar cost average.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROMANS: And that's "how to speak money." Back to you.

CUOMO: Little surprised Christine Romans just dropped a little rap like that. Nice way to end that money segment.

We're standing by here and we've been telling you that because critics want to know more about the Obama administration's handling of the Benghazi attack. We are expecting to hear from the administration shortly. We'll take a break now. We're waiting for that opportunity. We'll bring you live coverage when it happens. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Okay. Any minute now we expect some tough questions at the White House press briefing over the Benghazi attack and what the White House knew specifically. The attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi last September 11 killed four Americans including the Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Are you looking right now? Let's show you some live picture of the briefing room. Obviously this is proof we are monitoring the situation.

Republican criticism is mounting following a week of hearings that got very heated on this topic. Critics like House Speaker John Boehner are accusing the State Department of using fake talking points about how the attack went down to protect President Obama's re-election campaign. And he wants the State Department to release e-mails. Now, the initial report blamed the attack on demonstrators angry over an incendiary anti-Islam Youtube video. Current top diplomat in Libya, Gregory Hicks, testified on Tuesday. He said there was no demonstration. He said there was an early report that the attack was coordinated by Islamic terrorists. So information keeps coming out, people start debating it.

There's reporting from "The Weekly Standard" and ABC News that shows the administration did help edit the talking points about the Benghazi attack on 12 different occasions.