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Victim's Mom Knows Kidnapping Suspect; Former Captive Recalls '95 Ordeal; Voice From The Rubble" "I'm Alive"; Man: I Saw Gina DeJesus Abduction
Aired May 10, 2013 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And let me just ask you this. This is my final question. Because having been here for a couple of days, there's been a lot of criticism toward Cleveland Police, right, that they hadn't followed up on leads, that there were phone calls that were made. They say they've checked the databases. They haven't seen these calls. Has the family responded about that at all?
LYDIA ESPARRA, WEEKEND ANCHOR, WOIO: We've talked about that in past when I covered the stories. You know, initially when the story broke, you always think somebody ran away, so they assumed Gina ran away on her own. But it was the family that had kept telling the police, no, no, no.
Now, as I was doing my own investigation, they have followed up on different leads. I mean, every time, there was a dig going on, they followed up. If they saw a sighting, they followed up.
So initially maybe it was a little slow to the uptake, but then Nancy was so persistent, Nancy and Felix, there was no way, no way the FBI or Cleveland would forget. I mean, she was calling the FBI on a daily basis. So I can't really respond to that from my observation. Slow in the beginning, and Nancy kept it alive.
BALDWIN: Just curious if the family had addressed it. Lydia Esparra, thank you so much, weekend anchor, WOIO here in Cleveland. We wish, of course, the DeJesus family very well in these exciting days moving forward and happy mom's day too, to Mrs. DeJesus.
Coming up, she was kidnapped in 1995 and rescued and after she returned to her old life, she began feeling guilty. Why this woman says people made her feel like it was her fault she remained hostage. Her advice to the three women who were just rescued from this house of horrors here on Seymour Avenue as our special coverage continues live in Cleveland.
BALDWIN: Welcome back to Cleveland. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, all face a long and potentially difficult readjustment after many, many years of brutal captivity here in this home on Seymour Avenue.
And Jessyca Mullenberg Christianson knows something about that. She was only 13 years of age when she was abducted, back in 1995, and she was held captive and sexually assaulted for three months by a man she knew and trusted. She says people should be careful not to judge how much a victim can do about their situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSYCA MULLENBERG CHRISTIANSON, KIDNAPPING SUSPECT: 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. Oliver changed the numbers on the phone so I couldn't call. I was stabbed before I was kidnapped so I was afraid he was going to kill me. And on the airport, he had a knife to my back, so I couldn't just scream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: As for the difficult road ahead for these three young women here in Cleveland, here is Jessyca's advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANSON: Just take it one day at a time. Don't get too overwhelmed. They are the heroes. They made it through the whole ordeal of 10 years. That's a very long time, you know? And that's a lot to be said about how strong and courageous they are, and, you know, just try to stick to a routine and know that your family and friends and community are there to support you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Now 27, Jessyca was abducted by a man who had been her riding coach and promised to help her get published. She required surgery after the rescue because of the severe beatings that she received while in captivity.
Now this, Ariel Castro's daughter called him loving and kind, a great grandfather. Now she says he's dead to her. In this exclusive interview, CNN's Laurie Segall speaks with Angie Gregg. The two scoured through family photos that now take on a much darker meaning now that this father, grandfather, has been arrested for allegedly enslaving three women and a child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGIE GREGG, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: Never saw a dark side. He adored me and the kids.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see in this photo, he adores your son. Is it tough looking at this photo now knowing what was also happening?
GREGG: It is. It is. Because I don't know how somebody so loving can be a demon at the flick of a switch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: It an incredible interview conducted by Laurie Segall here in Cleveland. So stay tuned because we'll share much more of this conversation that Laurie had with the daughter of Ariel Castro. That's coming up next hour.
Coming up next, though, the stunning images, 16 days, 16 after this factory collapsed, a woman here pulled from the rubble alive. How did she survive? We'll take you there.
BALDWIN: Back here to our special coverage in Cleveland. We'll return to this investigation here on this Friday in just a moment. But first, this is a stunning story here, one of the world's largest cities ground to a halt today to witness a glimmer of hope in the midst of absolute disaster.
I want to take you to Bangladesh and workers here pulling bodies from the wreckage of this building. They either saw or heard movement and you see -- focus on the middle of the screen here. An hour later, they gingerly lifted this seamstress from beneath some heavy slab of rock. Here they are, carrying her away.
She is alive. She is apparently well after surviving 16 days trapped in that rubble. Sixteen days since that rickety nine-story sweatshop collapsed, killing more than 1,000 workers. The woman's name is Reshma and Britain's "Guardian" newspaper is reporting that she was on the second floor when the building fell shortly after the workday had begun. Look at that face.
A report from the scene said that the woman had no discernible injuries, may have been breathing through a pipe, so with me now, from New Delhi is Sumnima Udas. Sumnima, tell me anything you know about this woman. This story is absolutely amazing, her condition, the rescue, 16 days later.
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke. It really is an amazing story after days and days of just pulling out dead, decomposed bodies, rescue workers were not expecting to find anyone alive. Again, it has been -- this is the 17th day. For the past 10 days, no one has been pulled alive.
As they were going through the second floor, one of the lower floors, going through the rubble, they heard a feint cry for help, a woman saying I'm alive, I'm alive, please rescue me. And of course, we have been seeing the amazing pictures of them for an hour as they were trying to pull her out of that -- from that rubble and put her in an ambulance and take her to a nearby hospital.
Now, of course, as you've been saying, inside that hospital, she's been in a stable condition. She's even been talking to reporters there, talking about how she survived those past 16 days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UDAS: That's, of course, the rescue worker talking about how he first heard her, but when she was in the hospital, she also spoke to reporters then. She said she did not have anything to eat for the past 16 days. She only had two bottles of water with her and for the last two days she didn't even have a drop of water. She used the stick to show the rescue workers she was alive -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Just to think that she is speaking after 16 days, stuck there, speaking to reporters, it is an incredible story, but for every story such as this one, I know that there are still many bodies, I imagine, being pulled from this wreckage site.
UDAS: That's right. In fact, just today, more than 100 bodies were pulled from this building collapse site. So the death toll has now gone up to more than a thousand victims, 1,039 to be exact. More than 2,400 people have been pulled out alive, of course, in the past two weeks or so.
And, of course, many still remain unaccounted for. The government has also released -- they have just been inspecting some of the factories there, just closed down about two dozen factories already, garment factories, so the government is also acting. And they also arrested the building owner and several of the factory owners.
BALDWIN: Sumnima, thank you from New Delhi. Coming up next hour, we'll talk with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about exactly how someone can survive 16 days, 16 days. It is incredible. We'll talk to Sanjay next hour.
Back here in Cleveland, though, one question people are asking, could police have done more for these three kidnapped girls?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't seem to give any real true desire to the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That man says he saw Gina DeJesus the very day she was abducted here in Cleveland, but police he says didn't want to listen. His story next.
BALDWIN: What if -- that what if question is being asked a lot now in Cleveland because of possible missed opportunities to catch the kidnapper of three women years ago. In fact, one man says he saw Gina DeJesus, 14-year-old Gina DeJesus, on the day she disappeared. He says the police didn't take him very seriously. He talked to our own Gary Tuchman about the spot where he says that abduction happened.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eric Poindexter believes he could have helped Cleveland police end this kidnapping nightmare nine years ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brother and I were driving down the street on the day Gina DeJesus was abducted.
TUCHMAN: The street is West 105th, only a couple blocks away from the school Gina was walking home from the day she was kidnapped. Eric and his brother were driving when a car came up on their left in the turning lane.
(on camera): Then you saw a girl walking down the sidewalk on that side of the street.
ERIC POINDEXTER, SAYS HE CALLED IN TIP TO POLICE: Yes, right over there, right by that brick building.
TUCHMAN (on camera): What did you see this driver do after that?
POINDEXTER: Once we crossed Fidelity, this intersection, he swerved in front of us, almost hitting us, to get into where the "parking lane," quote/unquote, is, and as soon as we passed him up, he did a u- turn, didn't care if anybody was coming the other way or nothing, hit a u-turn right in front -- right in front of towards where the little girl was walking.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): In this week's police report about the case, authorities reveal that Gina has confirmed she was kidnapped at West 105th Street.
(on camera): After Eric and his brother saw the car make a u-turn and head towards the girl, they also made a u-turn, angry that they almost got hit by the driver and also concerned about the girl. But when they got to the spot where they had seen the girl, they no longer did. She was gone.
(voice-over): It wasn't long before reports surfaced about a missing girl named Gina DeJesus. So Eric and his brother say they immediately called the police to tell them what they saw.
POINDEXTER: She was wearing tight black pants and a puffy gray jacket.
TUCHMAN (on camera): What was the description of Gina DeJesus after she went missing?
POINDEXTER: There was a little girl, Puerto Rican girl with long curly black hair wearing black pants, tight black pants and a gray puffy jacket.
TUCHMAN: Same exact descriptions.
POINDEXTER: Same exact descriptions.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Eric says the authorities never seemed to think their information was credible.
POINDEXTER: It seemed like they was looking at us like we was just looking for attention or something like that.
TUCHMAN (on camera): The police.
POINDEXTER: Yes. They didn't seem to give any real true desire to the case, know what I'm saying? What we was telling them, they thought we were blowing smoke up their butts or something. I don't know.
TUCHMAN: Why do you think that is?
POINDEXTER: I have no clue.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): After the arrest of Ariel Castro, Eric and his brother say that is the face they saw behind the wheel that day. But theirs isn't the only story that if acted upon could have ended the terror allegedly brought by Ariel Castro.
In 2004, after Castro, who was a school bus driver, had allegedly kidnapped two girls and was about to kidnap Gina DeJesus, he left a child on his bus as he headed into the bus depot. I asked police why Castro wasn't more aggressively questioned about the incident.
DEPUTY CHIEF ED TOMBA, CLEVELAND POLICE: He was interviewed extensively relative to this complaint that we had. He was not a suspect in any other complaint. This was -- he was a bus driver who inadvertently, so he says, left a kid on a bus, went in for a lunch break, came back and then found the young man.
TUCHMAN: Castro was never prosecuted for that incident. A year later, Castro was accused in court documents of repeated abuse and domestic violence against his common law wife, Grimilda Figueroa. He was accused of everything from breaking her nose twice to dislocating her shoulders.
But the case was ultimately dismissed because of numerous delays caused by Castro not showing up and attorneys for both sides not showing up. Police strongly defend their work on this case, saying they have no records of any recent calls pertaining to Ariel Castro. They also tell us they have not been able to confirm if they have records of talking to Eric and his brother back when the kidnapping happened.
POINDEXTER: I now believe 100 percent in my heart that he was there to abduct that little girl. I believe that little girl was Gina DeJesus.
TUCHMAN: Police say they will continue to investigate if other calls have been made over the years. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Cleveland.
BALDWIN: Breaking news for you now here on CNN. The IRS apparently targeting the Tea Party. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Welcome back here. We're live in Cleveland, covering the rescue, the recovery of these three women held in captivity in that home for nearly a decade. Once again, as we have been here all week, you can see the activity behind me, the FBI back here on Seymour Avenue. So we'll have the latest on the investigation in just a moment.
But, first, some other items in the news today, beginning with Los Angeles, the Michael Jackson wrongful death lawsuit reveals new details about Jackson's behavior shortly after he died. The woman who served as Michael Jackson's makeup artist for some 27 years testified that he was talking to himself and shivering.
Karen Fay said that when she looked at the tour schedule, she didn't believe Jackson could pull it off. When she voiced her concerns to the show director, quote, "he kind of fluffed it off." That's what she says. Concert promoter AEG Live is being sued by Jackson's family over his death.
And One World Trade Center is now the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Look at this. This is amazing. A short time ago, construction crews there finished bolting a 408-foot spire into place. The Manhattan building is now 17,076 feet tall. Get it. Nod to the nation's independence. The spire will serve as a broadcast antenna.
Coming up here, we are learning that the IRS is apparently targeting the Tea Party and the IRS is responding. We'll get a live report from that -- from that for you in a couple of minutes.
Also here in Cleveland, we will talk a little bit more about the investigation, some new nuggets coming out today after these young women were freed here on Monday. New information today could he have someone -- could something have been happening more in this house? That's coming up.