Return to Transcripts main page
STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
The Investigation in Cleveland Continues; Exclusive Pictures of Castro's Backyard; Angie Gregg, Daughter of Ariel Castro, Speaks to CNN; Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Buried; Boston Police Grilled in House Hearing
Aired May 10, 2013 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is Friday, may 10th, and a special edition of STARTING POINT begins right now.
We are learning horrifying new details this morning about the abuse and torture three women were forced to endure for a decade, inside this home right behind me on Cleveland's west side. And the daughter of Ariel Castro, the suspect who lived in this house of horrors, is speaking exclusively to CNN about her father's arrest and the charges that he is facing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGIE GREGG, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: It was like everything crashed down. I just wanted to melt into the floor. I just wanted to die. I have no problem cutting him out of my life. I have no problem doing that. I never want to see him again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: More of our exclusive interview with Angie Gregg in a moment from now.
First, at Castro's arraignment yesterday prosecutors described his home as a private prison and a torture chamber. He is being held on $8 million bond this morning charged with kidnapping and rape. And, an aggravated murder charge could be next for Castro's alleged killing of his victims' fetuses. This morning we're also getting an exclusive first look at the backyard of Ariel Castro's home, as well as a glimpse into his very dark past. Let's go live to Pamela Brown. She is outside the home of freed kidnap victim Gina DeJesus. Good morning to you, Pam.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Zoraida. The women in this case still recovering, healing from their ordeal. This as we're learning from sources that Ariel Castro has confessed to at least some of his actions over the past decade to authorities during interrogations.
BROWN: These exclusive pictures obtained by CNN give us the first glimpse into Ariel Castro's backyard. Though much of it is obscured by tarps you can see junk strewn all around and this eerie image of a white cross spotted by a neighbor. At his first court appearance, Castro looked despondent repeatedly looking down and seemingly making eye contact with no one.
TIMOTHY J. MCGINTY, CUYAHOGA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We evaluate whether to seek charges eligible for the death penalty.
BROWN: Following his arraignment, Cuyahoga county prosecutor Tim McGinty made it clear additional charges could be added. Castro already faces four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
MCGINTY: For each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders, and each act of aggravated murder.
BROWN: An initial police incident report says one of the women, Michele Knight, became pregnant at least five times during her captivity, and that each time Castro starved her and punched her repeatedly in the stomach until she miscarried. For reasons still unknown, Amanda Berry was able to give birth to her baby, and Castro forced Knight to deliver it, according to the report. When the child stopped breathing, Knight gave the baby CPR.
As investigators sift through at least 200 pieces of evidence taken out of this house of horrors, one in particular is getting attention. Details of a note written by Castro in 2004 have surfaced. According to law enforcement sources Castro wrote about being abused by a family member, in an attempt to justify his own horrid actions.
According to WOIO reporter Scott Taylor, Castro says, quote, "I am a sexual predator." He reportedly writes about picking up three women, saying they are here against their will because they made the mistake of getting in the car with a total stranger. Sources say Castro has been cooperating with investigators, and has confessed to some of his actions. Ariel Castro's daughter Arlene gave an emotional interview to ABC news.
ARLENE CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUTHER: I would like to say, I'm absolutely so, so sorry. I really want to see you, Gina. And I want you to meet my kids. I'm so sorry for everything.
BROWN: Back live here at the home of Gina DeJesus where she is staying. Right now you see police officers, looks like they're switching shifts. They've been here monitoring the home 24/7 to ensure that this family has privacy. We see the black tarp there. That's where Gina DeJesus -- it's there to give her privacy so she can go in her backyard without anyone looking in on her. We're learning that Amanda Berry, she's also still recovering, dealing with her family and Michele Knight still in the hospital recovering. It's clear that these women still have a long way to go to readjust to this new reality, to readjust to having freedom.
SAMBOLIN: Pamela, investigators are testing Castro's DNA right now to see if it may be linked to other crimes or missing persons cases. How soon could we see the results of that test? BROWN: Well, according to the Ohio attorney general, Zoraida, we're learning that there has been a rush put on these test results. There was a DNA sample taken from Castro yesterday, and now he could be getting those results today. Normally it takes 20 days but special resources are being allocated so that those results can be rushed. Officials then run those results through a database and see if that DNA is linked to any other previous crimes or missing person cases in the past.
SAMBOLIN: High volume of work being done by them. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
And the daughter closest to Ariel Castro is very angry that that is. She is shattered. She's speaking out exclusively to CNN. Angie Gregg says she never saw signs of that horror that was allegedly unfolding inside her father's house and she wants the world to know her family doesn't have monster in their blood.
Laurie Segall is joining us live with an interview that you can only see exclusively right here on CNN. The details of this just amazing, and just, you know, so heartbroken this girl.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, she talked to me and you could see the pain in her eyes. She said," I was very close with him." And we should emphasize that she was very, very close with her father. And she described him -- you said it before. He bought her a puppy. She was at his home just months ago and he was cooking her dinner and playing music. Listen to this moment, she tells me about when she found out. Listen to this.
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 ten years --
SEGALL: This is part of a letter that 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'm disgusted.
SEGALL: You've learned that your father wasn't the guy you thought he was.
SEGALL: What is that like?
GREGG: It's -- 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, okay, 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 looked. 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 time's 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 was behind those doors, how do you -- how do you cope with that?
GREGG: I mean, 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 -- another person who's lied and deceived and manipulated people, and I could never forgive him. I could never forgive him. If you were to ask me this last week I would have told you he's the best dad and the best grandpa.
SEGALL: Now Angie realizes Ariel Castro may have fathered a daughter with one of the women he allegedly held captive. Meaning she may have a sister.
GREGG: 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. And he said, no, that's -- that's not my child, that's my girlfriend's child by somebody else.
SEGALL: Angie says she was always close with her father but she said she witnessed abuse in their home.
GREGG: He was pretty jealous. He was always saying that my mom was, you know, messing with certain neighbors, things like that. And I've seen -- I've seen him basically stomp on her like she was a man. Like, he's beat her pretty bad several times.
SEGALL: Her mother passed away from cancer-related complications in 2012.
GREGG: I've lost my mother, now I've lost a father. But I don't -- I don't cry for him.
SEGALL: If you had a message for him, what would it be?
GREGG: All this time, why? Why -- 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: What message do you have for these women and their families?
GREGG: I feel so much -- so much sorrow that you had to endure this. I'm glad that you're back home with your family, finally, because they never stopped thinking about you. They never stopped, they never forgot you. Right now these girls need to heal.
SEGALL: Do you feel that you're going to need to heal, too?
GREGG: I'll be fine. I wasn't submitted to the horror that they were.
SEGALL: In a day you lost -- you lost the man that raised you. That must be hard.
GREGG: He's nothing but a memory anymore. He can never be daddy again.
SEGALL: And yesterday a tough day for Angie, too. She sat down and she actually told her -- her son, she has two sons, and she told them what their grandfather had done and she said there were tears. She said one is young enough that he doesn't really understand what's happened. But she's done with him. She said this is it. You know, she said a week ago, had we spoken, you know, he was the best grandpa in the world, and now she said, he's dead to her.
SAMBOLIN: You know what struck me is how composed she is. This must have been incredibly difficult to talk about.
SEGALL: Incredibly difficult. And she didn't immediately talk. She took a couple days, and she wanted to compose herself. She actually, you saw her reading those thoughts off those pieces of paper because she said I want my voice out there and I want it heard. And there were a couple moments where she would pause and take a long pause and say I'm pretty nervous doing this but I think for her this was a process and she felt a responsibility to these women, and to the public in general.
SAMBOLIN: I know that she said, you know, he's dead to me. At the end of the day she still has a lot of questions if she could ask, do you think -- did she mention, did she say I'm going to have to pursue this at some point maybe in the future because of all of these questions that she has? This man that she thought he was versus who he is?
SEGALL: She said her one feeling right now, she's disgusted. And I said, we were looking at photos of her and her father with his arms around her as a child, and she, you know, she got quiet and she just said, I had so much love for him. Which was very, very powerful. But when we sat down, I said, you know, do you want to talk to him, is there anything you would say, she doesn't -- she's done with him. She said, you know, I am so angry and disgusted by this she doesn't want anything to do with him anymore.
SAMBOLIN: And what about the families? Does she say she's going to reach out to them and try to reconnect with them?
SEGALL: I mean, she's -- she's understanding that she could potentially have a sister from this. And you know, she said right now she wants them to heal. Would she like that eventually? Yes. She said it would really, if this is her sister, this is something that in the future she says when the time is right she would love to do. But she said right now she knows that there's a long healing process ahead, and I guess the tough thing to really for her to really wrap her head around is the fact that this is all at the hands of her father.
SAMBOLIN: Laurie Segall we really appreciate that perspective that you can only see here and you know just so it's heartbreaking isn't it? It must have been tough.
SEGALL: Really heartbreaking.
SAMBOLIN: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. The city of Cleveland is celebrating. And they're celebrating the safe return of the three women who escaped from captivity. This is called a victory vigil. Have you ever heard of this? It was held in a local park. I am so glad to be able to share this. Participants released balloons into the air as part of the event which was organized by a local radio station actually several of them, and the domestic violence center.
Several meetings were held in the neighborhood last night where residents voiced their complaints about crime. One gathering was hosted by a group called Imperial Women, which is named after 11 female victims of a strangler found back in 2009. They claim that police paid little attention when girls or women of color are missing. We're going to take a -- a John this is just an incredible story and we're going to continue to follow it because that is what everybody in this community is talking about.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN BREAKING NEWS.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We do have breaking news for you right now. Nothing short of miraculous. After being trapped in the rubble for 17 days, 17 days, a woman has been found alive inside a collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh. Just incredible video of her being pulled out of the rubble there. The second in command of the rescue operation told CNN about the amazing discovery. The survivor there, just look at that, apparently called out, I'm alive, please rescue me. This sent workers scrambling, they apparently used a hand saw, drilling equipment, welding gear to get her out.
You're looking again at that picture from just a short while ago of this woman being pulled from the rubble 17 days after that horrific building collapse there. And this news, rare bright spot coming just as authorities there confirming that the death toll in that collapse has passed 1,000 people -- 1,039 people now confirmed dead from the April 24th collapse. It is the deadliest industrial disaster in that country's history.
Again the news this morning, a woman pulled from the rubble alive, 17 days after that collapse. We'll bring you more as we get it.
Meanwhile, happening right now in lower Manhattan, the final piece of One World Trade Center is being put in place. You're looking at a live picture of a glorious morning in New York right now. Here's some different perspective on it. The last sections of the spire were brought to the top of the building last week. When completed One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the western hemisphere at 1776 feet.
High speed, high risk, and now deadly. The death of an Olympic gold medal winning sailor raising questions about the safety of high speed yacht racing. Thirty-six-year-old Andrew Simpson, who you see right there on the right of the picture, was killed when his yacht crashed in San Francisco Bay trapping him underneath, underwater, for about ten minutes. Here's Dan Simon.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At their the highest speeds these 72 feet catamarans look as if they're almost flying. In the right conditions they can reach speeds of 45 miles an hour. That's why a capsize can turn deadly.
It happened Thursday afternoon in the San Francisco Bay. A boat operated by the Artemis racing team went end over end, hurling its team of 12 sailors into the water. The crew representing Sweden had been practicing for this summer's America's Cup. Andrew Simpson, an Olympic gold medalist and well-known figure in the sailing world, died after being trapped underneath the vessel. A desperate scene unfolded on the shore as paramedics tried to save his life.
PAUL CAYARD, CEO, ARTEMIS RACING: It's shocking, it's an experience to go through and we have a lot to deal with in the next few days in terms of assuring everybody's well-being.
SIMON: Winds Thursday were strong on the bay but not abnormal. It's one of the reasons San Francisco Bay is considered a sailor's nirvana and why the America's cup is being held here this summer.
JOANNE HAYES-WHITE, CHIEF SAN FRANCISCO DIRE DEPARTMENT: It's a tragic day. This is someone that's very well-known and well-regarded as an expert racer. And everyone worked really hard to not have this outcome. These are always difficult things to report. And our hearts go out to family and members of the racing team from the Artemis.
SIMON: It wasn't the first mishap involving one of these yachts. Last fall team Oracle from the United States capsized its $8 million boat in a nearby part of the bay. But no one was seriously injured in the accident. The team had another close call in 2011 when a smaller catamaran pitch-pulled, sending sailors flying through the air.
These boats are all harnessing new technology allowing them to travel faster than ever before. It's not immediately clear what caused the Artemis boat to capsize, but with one of the sport's star sailors dead and other high-profile incidents, the debate is growing whether these boats, engineering marvels they may be, are too dangerous for competition. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
BERMAN: And our thanks to Dan for that story. Ahead on STARTING POINT, Boston police claiming the FBI never told them they were looking into marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Is our intelligence system failing?
Then, a simply wild police shoot-out caught on camera. How the suspect was able to surprise police, coming up. You're watching STARTING POINT.
BERMAN: Welcome back to starting point everyone. New developments in the Boston marathon bombings. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has finally been buried. Police are not saying where he was laid to rest. This as lawmakers in Washington are grilling law enforcement about the bombings. CNN's Paula Newton is live in Boston with more on the investigation. Good morning, Paula.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. There was that sense, definitely in Washington that it was disturbing, it was troubling. That there might have been some way that those Boston bombings could have been prevented.
NEWTON: For the first time, lawmakers in Washington got a crack at parsing details of the Boston bombings, and any intelligence failures, with Republican chairman Michael McCaul saying he feared the bombers succeeded because the system failed. Boston police commissioner Edward Davis testified the FBI did not tell him Russia had warned the U.S. of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the bombing suspects.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you'd had this information before the bombing, would you have done, your police force, and you, would you have done anything differently?
EDWARD DAVIS, BOSTON POLIC COMMISSIONER: That's very hard to say. We would certainly look at the information, we would certainly talk to the individual.
NEWTON: But in a statement released after the hearing on Thursday, the FBI said Boston police officers serving on a joint terrorism task force, had access to a database that detailed the investigation into Tsarnaev. As testimony unfolded in Washington, the drama at this funeral home, over. The body is gone, Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried in an undisclosed location.
SGT. KERRY HAZELHURST, WORCESTER POLICE: As a result of our public appeal for help, a courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased. His body is no longer in the city of Worcester and is now entombed.
NEWTON: : Tsarnaev's uncle Ruslan Tsarni confirms to CNN that he took his nephew's body out of state to be buried, and has not even told Tamerlan's parents where their son has been laid to rest. He also confirms that no second autopsy was ever performed.
The touchy issue about where to bury Tsarnaev unnerved many for different reasons. Those who felt he didn't deserve an American grave. Those who felt uncivilized to do anything else, but more than anything it diverted energy and emotion from victims and their families.
NEWTON: You know, and John, I want to give you an update. You know you remember the Richard family. This was the family that all suffered injuries and Martin Richard, 8 years old, died in the bombing. They released a statement yesterday saying that after 11 surgeries 7-year-old Jane can now finally be fitted with a prosthesis. I know you followed that story you were here. Can you imagine holding your daughter's hand through 11 surgeries in just 23 days.
BERMAN: No. And I can't imagine everything that family's been through. Such a hopeful thing that her surgery is finally complete and soon she'll be fitted for the prosthetic. Paula Newton in Boston, thank you so much for that story. Appreciate it.
Ahead on STARTING POINT, the suspect in the Cleveland kidnappings is talking to police, revealing more horrifying details about his alleged crime in what was going through his mind. We're going to talk to a former profiler about what kind of people are capable of these crimes.
Then, it was a brazen scheme to steal $45 million from all around the world. How these thieves pulled it off and were eventually caught, next. You're watching STARTING POINT.
SAMBOLIN: Prosecutors aren't mincing words. They say Ariel Castro ran a private prison and a torture chamber right inside this house on the west side of Cleveland for the last ten years. The man who lived here, 2207 Seymour Avenue, and allegedly held three women captive inside, made his first court appearance yesterday. He was arraigned on kidnapping and rape charges and prosecutors plan to pursue an additional aggravated murder charge for the killing of his victims' fetuses.
CNN also has obtained exclusive pictures of Ariel Castro's backyard. You can see junk littering the ground. And a white cross that was spotted by a neighbor. Let's go to Pamela Brown outside the home of the freed kidnap victim Gina DeJesus. Good morning, Pamela.
BROWN: Good morning to you, Zoraida. That's right. We're outside the home where Gina DeJesus has been staying with her family. She is still recovering and healing. You can see behind me, here, balloons cover the front yard of the home and then in the backyard, there's a blue tarp. That's so that Gina DeJesus can go in her backyard and feel, you know, hear the birds chirping, feel the wind, see the sun come out. These are things that are new to her that she hasn't experienced in ten years, according to family members. We spoke to her aunt last night. Anderson Cooper interviewed her and her aunt says that she is in good spirits but that she is still readjusting to this new reality.