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A Case Of Excessive Force?; Flooding in Several States Examined; New Look at a 50-Year-Old Kidnapping Case

Aired August 9, 2013 - 05:30   ET


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Deadly floods from the Midwest to the Southeast. Severe storms leading to dramatic rescues and devastating damage. Is there any relief in sight?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A chilling Facebook confession. A man accused of killing his wife and posting the scene for his Facebook friends to see.

SAMBOLIN: A stolen baby reunited with a family 50 years ago, except it wasn't his family. And he wasn't the stolen baby. What he's saying now about his quest for the truth.

BERMAN: Incredible story, that one, too.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us this morning. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

BERMAN: So, in much of the Midwest this morning -- it is water, water everywhere, way too much of it. Days of rain are sending rivers cascading over their banks. And in some places, they're starting to measure the rainfall in feet, not inches.


BERMAN (voice-over): In Tennessee, much of the Nashville area is just a mess. Look at that. Flash flooding washed out roads leaving cars and trucks just frozen in place. Water up to the windows there. More than seven inches of rain fell in Tennessee. Davidson County, that happened in just six hours.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): And firefighters in that city had to rescue dozens of people. Take a look at this picture, folks. They were trapped inside by the rising waters, and this was one of the most dramatic rescues. They brought a five-week-old baby from a flooded out home to safety, thankfully.

BERMAN: All right. This is Arkansas here I'm about to show you. That is a golf course, if you can believe it, under water after some ten inches of rain fell. That happened in Bethen (ph) County in the northwest part of the state. More than three dozen roads and bridges had to be closed. Just look how fast, how furious this is. Serious stuff.


DUSTIE MEADS, BELLA VISTA, ARKANSAS RESIDENT: Normally, you have a thunderstorm and you have a boom here and a boom there. This was boom after boom after boom. Fearful booms. The kind that make you go --


SAMBOLIN: In Missouri, authorities continue their search for a 23- year-old mother swept away in a car with her four-year-old son. This is in the town of Waynesville. Jessica and Elijah Lee (ph) were caught up in a flash flood Tuesday. His body has been found. The car was also found. His mother presumed to have drown.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here they come. Oh my God! Here they come.



BERMAN: That's the sound of joy, nice to hear in Hollister, Missouri, south of the Springfield as a family is rescued from the rising waters there. That's nice to see. Upwards of six inches of rain fell in that part of the state. A woman was killed not far away when a creek washed over the highway and swept her car just straight away.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): It just seems to happen so fast, right? Indra Petersons is here tracking the severe weather for us today. Is there any relief in sight from all this crazy flooding?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, it's so hard to say. At this point in time, no, we're still dealing with the stationary front which really means, it is stationary. It is in place. It is not going anywhere. Let's talk about some of these rain totals we've already seen. This is just the last 36 hours. Keep in mind, they've been seen day after day of rain like this.

Branson, Missouri eight inches, Madison, Tennessee, about 7.30 inches. But I just want to talk about just the rain totals themselves. It's how fast that rain is coming down. Rainfall rates of two inches per hour on grounds that are already completely saturated. So, we just showed you that. That was just 36 hours. Take a look this morning again.

There you go. Oklahoma, now you're going through Arkansas, even southern portions of Missouri today looking for even more rain in the area. What I want you to watch, though, is the difference. This is the stationary front. You can see kind of that southern portion. Now, keep your eye on the area that's blue. That's the cold front that's actually going to kick through faster.

So, for the northeast, you'll see that system move pretty quickly through the overnight hours. That's good news. Saturday no longer looking for the rain. But of course, we have to get through the heavy rainfall, first. Notice how it stays stationary here on the bottom portion of this frontal boundary here. So, there you go in the northeast. Still heavy rain, because we could see heavy rainfall rates and heavy thunderstorms.

Two to four inches of rain still possible. And then we go on the back end of this, we're talking about maybe one to two inches in D.C. and New York, the southern portion, though, unfortunately, not going anywhere, staying even as we head into the weekend. And with that, more flooding, obviously. There's no room for this rain to go anywhere at this point.

BERMAN: All right. What a mess, Indra. Thanks a lot.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

Thirty-three minutes past the hour. A Florida man is in custody this morning. Police in Miami say Derek Medina (ph) told them he shot his wife to death, and then, apparently, posted a picture of her dead body on Facebook. We want to warn you here taht this picture is graphic. We have blurred the image of Jennifer Alfonzo's body.

She's collapsed there on the floor. Medina told his Facebook friends they'll hear about him in the news. CNN affiliate, WSVN, spoke with Medina's father.


DEREK MEDINA SR., SUSPECT'S FATHER: He just said that his wife picked up a knife on him. They had a big fight and he shot her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your son came to your house?

MEDINA: He said "I need to go to the police. I need to turn myself in."


SAMBOLIN: Medina also posted a message on Facebook saying his wife was punching him and that he wasn't going to stand anymore abuse. Police found Alfonzo's 10-year-old daughter. She was unharmed, but all that time, she was at the scene.

BERMAN: That's just shocking.

The search continues this morning for a San Diego area man suspected of killing a friend and kidnapping her daughter. James Dimaggio (ph) has been on the run since Sunday when his burned down. A woman and child's body were found inside the house. No word yet if the child was the woman's eight-year-old son.

Her 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, is missing. And now, her grandparents tell our Miguel Marquez they want Hannah home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARA BRITT, ETHAN AND HANNAH'S GRANDMOTHER: This is our Hannah as we last saw her. This is how Hannah is going to be when we see her again, soon.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How is the family holding up?

BRITT: We're very --


BRITT: Very deeply committed family. And we're very strong. And, we know we'll get through this.


BERMAN: Authorities are warning Dimaggio may have abandoned his car and rigged it with explosives. They're following a police from across the west of United States looking for this man and also 16-year-old Hannah.

SAMBOLIN: Well, there's still no verdict in the racketeering trial of reputed Boston mob boss, James Whitey Bulger. Jurors are due back at the court house this morning to resume deliberations. Bulger stands accused of playing a role in 19 killings, plus extortion, money laundering, and distributing drugs. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in jail.

BERMAN: To Florida now where a family is in mourning today after their son was tasered by police and died. Here is Adriana Hauser.


ADRIANA HAUSER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Israel Hernandez's family is devastated. They left Columbia about six years ago hoping to live in a country that they consider safer than theirs. Now, one of their loved ones is dead, and the family is asking for justice.

ISRAEL HERNANDEZ, FATHER (through translator): I find the strength and my hope for justice. We are in a country that defends human rights. A country that sets an example and dares to ask other countries to use excessive force. That is my son's case, excessive force.

OFFIR HERNANDEZ, SISTER: He was an amazing artist. A very passionate person. Very passionate artist. And that it's unfair to end his life for something he loved.

HAUSER: According to a police report, 18-year-old Israel Hernandez was chased by officers around 5:00 a.m. Tuesday after he was seen spray painting graffiti on a private property. Police say he disobeyed commands to stop. And the agents used a taser on him. Shortly after, the report says the teens physical condition showed signs of stress. He was taken to a local hospital and was later pronounced dead.

police say they use of a taser gun should not be fatal. Israel's sister says that her brother was perfectly healthy, and his case proves that argument wrong.

OFFIR HERNANDEZ: It was very unnecessary, and they went beyond the point. I don't know what exactly happened. But if he died, they obviously went off the point.

HAUSER: Thiago Souza, a friend of Hernandez, says he was watching from a distance on the night of the incident. He describes the scene after his friend had been caught.

THIAGO SOUZA, FRIEND: They were congratulating each other and all that. They were all clapping over his body and they're giving high fives and laughing and all that. It was almost like they were proud of what they did.

HAUSER: We contacted the police for comment about Souza's account of what happened, but have not heard back yet. But Miami Beach police chief, Rey Martinez, told the "Miami Herald" that when the officers cornered Hernandez, the teen ran at them. He said the officers were forced to use the taser to avoid a physical incident.

Martinez went on to say, "This incident is an open and ongoing investigation. The city of Miami Beach would like to extend their condolences to the family of Israel Hernandez."

Adriana Hauser, CNN, Miami.


SAMBOLIN: Thirty-eight minutes past the hour. A potential major breakthrough in a fight against a deadly disease. Researchers say an experimental vaccine against malaria was effective in an early trial in people when given in high doses. But they cautioned it's not yet ready for widespread use and much more testing has to be done here.

Malaria infects 200 million people every year, killing about a million of them, mostly in the developing world.

BERMAN: 3.3 billion people in the world live in areas affected by malaria. So, any development --


BERMAN: Potentially huge. Saving hundreds of thousands of live.

All right. This is something you just have to see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go. Yes!

BERMAN (voice-over): That's actually a real live fish. A big fish, folks. How big? 920 pounds. It's a Bluefin tuna pulled in off of Cape Cod last week. Nine feet long. It took three hours to reel that sucker in. The friends on the boat, they took 15 to 20 minute shifts. You know, you have to rest if you're fighting against a fish that big. In the end, they got -- look at that. It looks like something, you know, out of like Discovery Channel. They got it on board. A beautiful fish for now. They sold it for $400,000. I imagine all --

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Poor fish.

BERMAN: He fought a good fight.



SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Forty minutes past the hour. Coming up, a baby reunited with his family after being stolen from a hospital. This is what everyone's thought. Now, 50 years later, new questions raise, who is the boy this family raised as their own and where is their real child? That's coming up next.


BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. The FBI is re-launching an investigation into a notorious crime. Back in 1964, a woman posing as a nurse, kidnapped a newborn from a Chicago hospital. The newborn son of Chester and Dora Fronczak (ph). Then, a year later, a little boy was found abandoned in Newark, New Jersey.

Police thought the boy looked like the missing child. The Fronczaks adopted him and they raised him as their own. But now, now, DNA test showed that Paul Fronczak, he was not their son. It's something that he long suspected.


PAUL FRONCZAK, ALLEGEDLY KIDNAPPED AS BABY: I've been struggling with the fact that I want to know if the real Fronczak baby is still alive and what happened. I also want to find out who I am and why I was abandoned at a variety store in Newark, New Jersey back in 1965.


BERMAN: He says he wants to find the real Paul Fronczak, hopefully, alive and well. His parents support the effort. The kidnapper who took the newborn back in 1964 was never found, and the FBI says it is taking a fresh look at all the evidence.

SAMBOLIN: When you look at him with his mom and dad, you know, the people who adopted him and raised him, he looks nothing like them, but he said all along. He knew.

BERMAN: Can you imagine suspecting that your whole life?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. But at least he's doing something about it, and hopefully, he'll get some answers.

Forty-four minutes past the hour. Some big names on the list for the nation's biggest civilian honor. Oprah Winfrey, Loretta Lynn, and former President President Bill Clinton, all set to receive the presidential medal of freedom along with more than a dozen others, including pioneering female astronaut, Sally Ride, baseball hall of famer, Ernie Banks, and women's rights activist, Gloria Steinem.

The award honors individuals who've made a major contribution to this nation's security culture for world peace and will be handed out a little later this year.

BERMAN: Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks.


BERMAN: I think he's going to be on with Candy Crowley this week on "State of the Union."

SAMBOLIN: Very cool guy.

BERMAN: Very cool. All right. Let's take a look at what's coming up on "New Day." Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan join us now. What's up, guys?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Happy Friday, you guys.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are all over the manhunt in San Diego. That's the big story for us this morning. You've heard by now there was a kidnapping, a house was burned down, a mom lost her life, they believe a child was also inside. The man they say responsible, authorities, James Dimaggio (ph).

They now believe he may be caring explosives. We have the father of the missing 16-year-old they believe he kidnapped. You're looking at a picture of her there right now. And, we're also going to have the grandparents on who are just desperate for any types of answers. We're going to have that story for you this morning.

BOLDUAN: Yes. We're going to stay on it until the end, until there is some resolution. Hopefully, a happy ending there.

And we're also going to talk more about the small town in Pennsylvania whereas police chief. This video surfaced and there's been a lot to talk about this. This is the police chief in the town of Pennsylvania. We're going to get his side of the story, this morning, live.

He has been talking about guns. He has some choice words for what he was considering liberals who are wanting gun control to take his guns. We're going to have a lot to talk to about with him. We're going to get his side of story.

CUOMO: Gun laws make a lot of sportsmen and law enforcement people really upset. The question is, is he doing it the right way?

BOLDUAN: Some of the residents there are now saying they're afraid of him.

CUOMO: Right. So, he's coming on. He's going to get to speak his piece. He has his lawyer. So, that will be interesting to watch.

And, we're going to talk about the blackout that's going on in cable with Time Warner Cable, CBS. 3.5 million haven't had their shows for a week. Now, they're back at the bargaining table. We have Brian Stelter who is going to be anchoring "Reliable Sources" this weekend. He's here. He's got two new pieces of information to go through.

So, we'll have him on and figure out where that's at. I'm upset about that now, JB, because it affects me now. Ray Donovan, "Showtime," can't watch it.


BOLDUAN: Loves that show.

BERMAN: Cuomo needs his "guiding light." There are a lot of shows --


BERMAN: Is there a cake at "New Day" today also? Is there something else going on up there?

BOLDUAN: I don't know.

CUOMO: There's always cake, JB.

SAMBOLIN: Are you bringing it? That's the question.

BERMAN: It's a special day, I hear.


SAMBOLIN: Happy birthday.

BOLDUAN: Someone is having a birthday.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.

CUOMO: Very old.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back. Fifty minutes past the hour. What a comeback story this is. Just one year after being exonerated of a rape charge that cost him 10 years of his life, Brian Banks made his NFL debut.

BERMAN: Great story. Andy Scholes joins us now with more in the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys. Well, last night's game had been a long time coming for Atlanta Falcons linebacker, Brian Banks. He was once one of the biggest high school football stars in the country, but in 2002, he was convicted of rape and he spent more than five years in prison. Banks' accuser finally came forward last year and admitted that Banks didn't rape her. He was exonerated and ever since he's been trying to resurrect his football career. He signed with the Falcons in the off season, and last night made his NFL debut recording a tackle (ph) in the fourth quarter.

Before the game, Banks tweeted, "Game day. Never thought this day would come. And if it all ended here tonight, mom, I did it."

Well, Tiger Woods hopes to end his major drought this weekend at the PGA Championship. He had plenty of work to do. Tiger digging himself a bit of a hole yesterday shooting one over. He's six shots back of the lead. Phil Mickelson is looking to win back-to-back majors for the first time in his career. He's had this as bad of a day as Tiger. He's also six shots back. Adam Scott and Jim Furyk have the share of the lead heading into today's second round.

Well, Red Sox and Royals last night, Big Papi taking a picture with the baby before the game. Oops, he realizes he needs to get on the line for the anthem, so takes the baby with him. They hanged out for the entire anthem and then Big Papi returned the baby after a couple more pictures. And John, I know what you're thinking.

SAMBOLIN: He wasn't crying or anything. Look at that.


BERMAN: Big Papi is awesome.

SAMBOLIN: Big Papi is awesome.

BERMAN: Big Papi is awesome.


BERMAN: There is nothing that that man can't do. He can hit home runs and care for your children.


BERMAN: Andy Scholes, thank you so much. Appreciate it, my friend.

SAMBOLIN: We'll be right back.


SAMBOLIN: And finally from us this morning, holy hairdo.

BERMAN: Holy hairdo, batman.


SAMBOLIN: Jeanne Moos takes a look at the controversy taking the music world by storm.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not since Michelle Obama sprouted bangs as a hair style caused so many to flip out. Beyonce before and Beyonce after.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did she do?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. She looks horrible on that one. She looks like a boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's always gorgeous.

MOOS: Put out an all points fortune (ph), issue an amber alert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where has Beyonce's long voluminous looks gone?

MOOS: Some folks didn't even recognize her.





MOOS: Now, Beyonce will find out what it's like to walk a mile and Miley Cyrus' hairdo. The news raised existential hair questions. Did Beyonce actually have hair to cut? After all, she's known for wearing wigs and weaves, so her short haircut was dubbed weavepocalypse. A poster on Jezebel declared it's unbelievable.

But despite all the weaves, Beyonce's long-time stylist told "People" magazine, she had great, thick, long hair. Everyone wondered if Beyonce's hair getting tangled in a fan during a concer last month pushed her over the edge. But she managed to sing right through that and she managed to sing in short hair when she played Etta James in "Cadillac Record."


MOOS: Men, in particular, seem blindsided by the short hair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't have that same-sexy appeal.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: Get out of here. Too short. Women should have long hair.

MOOS: Colors too (ph) said she colored Beyonce's hair after it was cut told "USA Today" the deed was done at a salon in Brooklyn after Beyonce had a moment in a tribute to her former hair. (INAUDIBLE) assembled 25 hair raising gifts which she flipped her mane and tossed it, lifted it, whipped it around, and let it flow. Beyonce's hair has split the nation, 49 percent said love it, 51 percent said leave it. These kids change their minds. Beyonce with long hair or short hair?

(CHANTING) Long hair.

MOOS: Two minutes later, thumbs up or thumbs down on the new hair?


MOOS: No more Beyonce on hands and knees flinging her hair. We are a nation parted by Beyonce's hair.

Jeanne MOOS, CNN.

You know her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- with Jay-Z. Beyonce? Wow!

MOOS: New York.


SAMBOLIN: What do you think, Berman?

BERMAN: What do I think? I think she's perfect. However, she wants to be. It's what's inside that counts, right? Isn't that what I was supposed to say?

SAMBOLIN: That's not what he was saying off camera.


BERMAN: It's what's inside that counts. Have a great weekend. That's all for EARLY START. Time for "NEW DAY."


BERMAN: Chris, Kate, guys, it's all yours. I'll say it. If you don't want to say it. Chris, Kate, it's all yours. Take it away, guys.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: We'll take it. Thanks, guys. Happy Friday. We'll see you in a bit.