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Floods Threaten Parts of U.S.; Girl Kidnapped in California; New Malaria Vaccine Tested; Florida Teen Dies after Being Tasered by Police

Aired August 9, 2013 - 07:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: But, as you know, it's the top of the hour which means it's time for the top news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One to three more inches tonight. If we get that much more rain, we're going to have a pretty serious event.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: State of emergency. Huge areas of the Midwest and south submerged. Deadly flooding forcing residents to the roof. Rescue operations late into the night. Where the storms are headed next?

BOLDUAN: Desperate plea from the father and grandparents of the 16- year-old abducted in California as police say her kidnaper may be more dangerous than ever. He could be carrying explosives.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Adding pressure. TV star, Leah Remini left scientology. Now, she has filed a missing person's report for the wife of the church's leader. So, where is she?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: What you need to know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taken our heart and soul, taken my only child. Please, let Hannah go.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning, everybody. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Friday, August 9th, seven o'clock in the east. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan. We're here with news anchor, Michaela Pereira.

Coming up this hour an 18-year-old graffiti artist dies after police used a taser on him. His family says they moved to the U.S. from Colombia to avoid violence. Now they're grieving over their son's death. This morning his parents want answers. CUOMO: We're going to take to you this story unfolding in Pennsylvania. many are living in fear of their police chief, you're looking at him right now. He was suspended. The official reason misuse of property. That's how they described him firing the weapons there. The videos, profanity laced, funs blazing, a lot of threats and taunts. He says it's about his constitutional rights. He's going to be here live and tell us what's going on.

BOLDUAN: And a mystery, a 50-year-old mystery unfolding in Chicago. A baby was kidnapped in 1964, returned to his parents after he was found abandoned. Now a new DNA test shows he's not actually their biological child. The question is who is he? How did this happen? We get to hear from him, coming up. Very profound story.

CUOMO: Wild story.

BOLDUAN: First up raging floods in 12 states across the U.S., disrupting millions in the Midwest and southeast. No letup in sight. Missouri getting the worst of it. George Howell is live in Missouri where more storms are forecast this morning, not what they need to be hearing, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning. This time yesterday where I'm standing right now the water was well above my head. You can see the devastation and power of Mother Nature from the storms the other night. And right now all eyes are the Turkey creek which is typically quiet. I'm sure you can hear it now. Officials worry that with more rainfall it could come up again.


HOWELL: Evacuations and rescues continued in Missouri, where flash flooding has claimed two lives, the most vulnerable, children and the elderly. The currents were so strong that it forced this construction crane up onto an already saturated landing. In Tennessee, it was a devastating scene, with people helpless on rooftops. In Davidson County dozens had to be rescued, including this young girl.

And just take a look at this building in Nashville. It literally broke in half under the pressure of a nearby overflowing creek. On the highway cars were left drifting in the current.

And then this firefighting scene, two firefighters tethered with a rope carefully carrying a five-week-old baby through a river of waist high water. It's part of a drenching storm system that's gripping at least a dozen states. In Benton County, Arkansas, officials put out an emergency disaster declaration after thunderstorms dumped ten inches of rain. One resident had to pile her belongings onto a bed as water rushed through her home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were in the kitchen, and the glass started falling off the walls, and the fridge flipped backwards and busted.

HOWELL: In Pickens County, Georgia, water rescue teams geared up jumping into what used to be a tiny six inch creek to rescue a man with his two dogs. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: I don't know if you can hear that creek but with this live shot you can see certainly the force of this river at this point with more water coming down. And I want you to understand that in this particular community it was evacuated. Everyone got out safely, that's the good news. There was one family that stayed overnight just to make sure looting was not a problem. But with more rain in the forecast people here are worried about what could come next.

CUOMO: All right, George, thank you for that. That is the concern and the question. Let's get an answer, head over to meteorologist Indra Petersons. What do we know what comes next for the folks?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Unfortunately where George is standing they have a flash flood warning, even a flash flood watch, as rainfall rates of two inches are in the forecast, rain in the forecast all the way through the weekend.

Take a look at the rain totals they've seen over the past 36 hours, they've seen day after day of similar rainfall amounts. There you go today currently seeing a six hour loop still dealing with the training thunderstorms, thunderstorms that are pretty much stationary right along this front that just won't go anymore. We'll take a look at it. You can see that stationary front, that's the portion of it in the northeast.

We're also talking about rain, notice it's not stationary. This will kick through faster than we thought so heavy rain expected in the northeast today, but by Saturday and Sunday it should look a lot better. Rainfall totals in the northeast one to two inches around New York and D.C. But unfortunately we take it further down the south with the stationary front, there's places that might not seem a lot but upriver, downstream, we're talking about one to two inches per hour doesn't matter. Everyone is getting affected.

BOLDUAN: Indra, thanks very much.

Let's get back to the desperate search in California, new video this morning of the missing girl, Hannah Anderson singing with a friend.




BOLDUAN: Happy, young 16-year-old girl, and police are desperately looking for the teen and the man who is suspected of kidnapping her and killing her mother. Police say James DiMaggio may be carrying explosives and may even have rigged his own car. In a CNN exclusive the missing children's grandparents are speaking out this morning. CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in San Diego with that. Good morning, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there. This is just a great, lovely, ordinary family in extraordinary circumstances. They want to grieve for their dead but trying to stay positive for that 16- year-old Hannah they believe is still out there and still alive. Every single one of these tips now, there have been hundreds of them, every single one represents hope to them.


MARQUEZ: This morning more sightings more concern about the fate of 16-year old Hannah Anderson in the hands of her alleged abductor James DiMaggio. Dozens of sighting of the dark blue Nissan Versa outside California, Amber alerts now lighting up much of the western U.S. from Mexico to the Canadian border. At this Seattle emergency call center, nine out of ten calls related to Hannah Anderson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's obviously a very high priority for us.

MARQUEZ: Investigators now say DiMaggio may have built his own explosives, ditched his car wiring it to explode, urging extreme caution.

JAN CALDWELL: We want to put out for civilian and officer safety, if you see this car, do not approach it, but call law enforcement.

MARQUEZ: This as the human toll is taking its effect. Speaking exclusively to CNN, Sara and Ralph Britt, mother and stepfather grandparents to Christina Anderson, and grandparents to Hannah Anderson, make a desperate plea.



SARA BRITT: She needs to be home.

MARQUEZ: They believe with 100 percent certainty Hannah is alive. They hold out hope eight-year-old Ethan E is alive as well, but they fear the worst.

SARA BRITT: Little E is just the best little guy you could imagine, Mr. Fisherman, and Hannah is our honey bunny.

MARQUEZ: Now the Brits holding on to each other wearing "Pray for Hannah" t-shirts are preparing for one funeral, possibly two.

SARA BRITT: You never plan to bury your child, and you never plan to bury your grandchildren, if that's what it comes to. It's something you can't comprehend or cope with.

MARQUEZ: For not all of their emotions and energy devoted to the hope that Hannah, their granddaughter, is alive and they will soon be reunited.


MARQUEZ: The family also says they believe Mr. DiMaggio begged Christina Anderson to come out there for the weekend, bring the kids, bring the dog up for one last weekend because the house was being foreclosed on, more evidence, they believe, that this is something he planned for all along. And they are hoping and praying that one tip comes in that leads them to Hannah's safe return. Chris?

CUOMO: Miguel, thank you for the reporting. Right now it's all about tips and clues and the desperate attempt to find Hannah, and that means finding James DiMaggio. With us this morning is a longtime friend of James DiMaggio, Andrew Spanswick. Thank you for being here. You're joining us from the west coast. I know it's very early out there and I appreciate the effort. Let's start with this. When is the last time you heard from DiMaggio?

ANDREW SPANSWICK, FRIEND OF JAMES DIMAGGIO: I actually heard indirectly from him through my best friend, Barry Robinson, and that was, I would say, probably about three or four weeks ago.

CUOMO: And what can you tell us about where his head and his heart were at that time?

SPANSWICK: Nothing unusual. It was pretty much the same as he normally is. There were some, I believe, messages on Facebook that were a little unusual. But you know, nobody really thought anything about it at the time. So there's nothing really clear from them that would indicate that any of this would have happened.

CUOMO: That's the big curiosity, right, how somebody does this. What's going on with them. Do you have any insight into who this man is and what he was about that could be a clue as to how he could do something like what is alleged?

SPANSWICK: Well, you know, what he's been claimed or allegedly done doesn't really match with what the person that I know, and I know that that sounds like something you hear often when somebody goes, has some sort of break or psychotic break and ends up doing something crazy or, in this case, you know, he's being allegedly accused of kidnapping and arson and murder. That doesn't match with the Jim that I know. And so just surprised as well as his sister and Barry are extremely puzzled by this. They don't believe the facts represented by the media believe what has led up to this and how Jim has acted in the past.

CUOMO: Do you have any reason not to believe these reports? You understand how much is at stake, right? A mother is gone, a child probably gone, a 16-year-old is missing. This is a horrible situation, all fingers pointing at him. Do you have any other explanation?

SPANSWICK: Yes, there is no good end to this story. It's already a huge tragedy, and I wouldn't want any of my comments to be taken out of context and thought of that I'm insincere in saying that I really care deeply for the people that have died and it's a horrible loss and this is a tragedy no matter what happens.

At the same point, it seems like, how can we make statements about Jim that are so extreme when they have no idea where he is in America. One minute he's going to Canada, then in Texas, then he is in Nevada, and now he's rigged his car with bombs. How would they know if they can't find him or the car? It seems to me there's like a desperate attempt by law enforcement to find him, which I'm happy for. I hope they find him and certainly hope they find the girl as well alive and in good health, and that --

CUOMO: Andrew, let me ask you, do you remember your friend ever talking to you about the Andersons, about this girl, about this family that he was so close to?

SPANSWICK: You know, I've had indirect conversations about it, and one of the things that Laura Robinson, his sister, had asked me to speak about on TV, as well as Barry, and even Barry's kids -- I was on CNN last night and they were, like, you know, thank you for speaking up a little bit about uncle Jim because he's actually their uncle, and they feel that he's sort of been taken out of context and that a lot of the things that are happening don't make sense to them.

This has shocked everybody. I know everybody stereotypically when somebody goes off the deep end it's the nice quiet guy nobody expects to do something like this but truly there's things that don't match up from what we know on our side from information that we've heard.

And I don't want to make it sides here. Obviously there's no good conclusion at the end of this no matter what happens. But we'd definitely like to see Jim come back as well, and we're hoping that the allegations against him are false and that hopefully that there's another side to the story.

CUOMO: It would be great if there were a better explanation but right now it is not looking that way, Mr. Spanswick but we appreciate your perspective. Thank you for joining us on NEW DAY. We appreciate it.

A little bit later on we'll talk with the children's father Brett Anderson, and his plea for people to help in this situation. He'll tell us how he's making it through and what's keeping him in the game right now.

BOLDUAN: To another story, big game changer potentially, a game changing announcement in the war on malaria. For the first time ever, scientists say a new vaccine has proven 100 percent effective in trials. More than 200 million people, just think of that number, more than 200 million people contract this mosquito-borne illness each year, hundreds of thousands die. That shows you just how important this breakthrough could be.

CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to talk more about this. This is big news, Sanjay, so talk about how big of an impact this would make.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is big news. If anyone's traveled to areas where malaria is endemic and has to take the pills, you'll understand in part why this is such big news, but also because obviously the numbers, nearly a million deaths and so many people at risk.

This in part was a joint project. The U.S. Navy is involved, significant interest from the military to protect people across their people across seas. And they also did a small study to start with just about three dozen people or so got vaccinated, so it is pretty small. As you mentioned, very, very effective, 100 percent effective if people got a series of five shots a month apart. So over five months they got five shots. It's not an easy vaccine, but there is a lot of excitement, as you say, Kate.

BOLDUAN: A lot of excitement but you hit it right there, it's given intravenously, so you have to get a vaccination. That doesn't make it sound like it's going to be very easy for just kind of the typical traveler at the moment. It's too early in the stage, right?

GUPTA: Yes. People are used to vaccines. They get a shot that goes under the skin or in the muscle. This is intravenous, in the vein, and, again, a series of shots over five months.

And you're right: also, because it is such early studies, Kate, if I had to project the future I would say this is still eight to 10 years away. They have got to get through several more studies. They've got to make sure they can replicate this.

So it will take a while but, again, if it's available, this is for people who are obviously at risk right now, which is billions of people, but also a lot of travelers who might take advantage.

BOLDUAN: Also you mentioned that the Navy is part of this, and that is also something to point out.

People don't often remember that many of our service members, they are in these areas and they have to take these anti-malarials all the time. And there are some pretty tough and potentially damaging side effects. This could be a game changer for our service members and I think that's an important thing to point out as well.

GUPTA: Absolutely. No, Malarium, which is one of the common medications -- and again, as you say, they have to take these medications when they go overseas. It is required. Malarium, there was just an FDA report saying it could cause some long-term neurological damage. So the pills and these medications right now don't come without their risks.

BOLDUAN: All right. Early stages of this but potentially great news.

Sanjay Gupta, great to see you, Doctor.

GUPTA: You, too.

CUOMO: A lot of news developing at this hour. Let's get over to Michaela, and you're going to start with this expanding threat, another consulate being closed.

PEREIRA: Yes, absolutely. Start with that breaking overnight, the State Department evacuates the U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, claiming there is a specific terror threat. Only emergency personnel are being allowed to remain behind. No one is exactly saying what kind of threat the consulate is facing, but a senior official tells CNN it was worthy of taking this action.

This morning Americans are being warned not to travel to Pakistan.

To California, the fast-moving Silver fire has now burned 14,000 acres in Southern California. The wildfire has destroyed 26 homes, one business so far. Evacuation orders are now in place for several communities near Palm Springs. About 1,400 firefighters working to contain those flames. They are reportedly at 20 percent containment.

It is sentencing day for a Bangladeshi man who plotted to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in New York with a 9,000-pound bomb. In a rambling typo-filled letter to his sentencing judge, 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Nafis blames his radicalization on a childhood stammering problem and a cheating girlfriend. He also claims to now love America, insisting that he has rejected radical Islam.

Usher Raymond and his ex-wife in court today fighting over custody of their two sons. Tamika Foster filed for an emergency hearing after their 5-year-old child nearly drowned Monday in a swimming pool. The singer's aunt called 9-1-1. Usher has custody of the boys, but his ex says that he's an absentee father who spends 85 percent of his time away from home.

Here's something you don't see every day, because it's not exactly smart or smart unless you are a pro.


PEREIRA (voice-over): These are longboarders, skating just ahead of a car; the guy who filmed it says they got up to 65 miles per hour as they flew down this mountain. We should note they are wearing their safety equipment. The road that they used as a course was closed off to other vehicles, obviously, out of safety concerns, which is pretty smart, but holy cow.

BOLDUAN: I mean, yes, they're wearing a helmet but I'd have them in bubble wrap --


CUOMO: (Inaudible) safety equipment.

BOLDUAN: -- some kind of vest.

CUOMO: All that will allow for is like an open casket wake if they fall down.

PEREIRA: (Inaudible) the road rash if you fall.

CUOMO: You got to make it clear to people that's about as dangerous as it gets.

My little Mario has got one of the longboards. The chance of going fast on that thing -- you have no brakes. They're amazing. These extreme athletes are amazing.


BOLDUAN: (Inaudible) Mario is watching right now --

CUOMO: Mario's smart. Mario -- you know, he's 7 years old but he surfs and he knows skateboarding and he knows what it's like to fall and unfortunately that's how you learn. These guys are amazing, but they are special and rare; they are not the rest of us.



BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, did police go too far when Tasering a teenager in Miami, who later died? We're going to hear from his family ahead.

CUOMO: Plus -- what a story -- a DNA test reopens the case of a kidnapped baby decades after the trail went ice cold. We are live with the details.




CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. A troubling story for you out of Miami.


CUOMO (voice-over): An 18-year old is chased down by cops for allegedly spray painting. When they catch up to him, they tase him and he collapses. Later on, he dies. Exactly why he dies, still a mystery, but this morning family and friends say none of this had to happen. CNN's Nick Valencia is live for us in the CNN Center.

Good morning, Nick.


Israel Hernandez wasn't just a skateboarder; he was an award-winning artist and sculptor. His parents said they moved their family from the United States -- from Colombia to the United States to get away from violence, but today they're mourning the loss of their teenaged son, who died after a run-in with the Miami Beach police.

THIAGO SOUZA, FRIEND OF ISRAEL HERNANDEZ: I seen my friend lay down on the floor and they were just high-fiving each other and laughing.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Outrage and concern from witnesses after an 18-year-old South Florida graffiti artist died after police used a Taser on him.

Caught by Miami Beach police spray painting graffiti on an abandoned building, the teen, Israel Hernandez, led cops on a foot chase. The decision was fatal.

Hernandez was eventually cornered by police: they say, in order to arrest him, he was Tased.

In a statement from the Miami Beach Police, Hernandez, quote, "displayed signs of medical duress after the Tasing." He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital about an hour later.

His family thinks the police handled it all wrong. They emigrated to the United States from Colombia to get away from the violence. And now Hernandez's family is expressing disappointment. His father says officers used excessive force.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know exactly what happened but if he died they obviously went off the point.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Friends say Hernandez was goofy, kindhearted and popular. Known locally for his artwork, his girlfriend told CNN Hernandez was a good kid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Israel was farthest thing from a thug. He ran because he was scared. You know, he's just a kid. He only weighs probably like 140 pounds. He was just a child in so many ways.

VALENCIA (voice-over): A person who friends say died doing what he loved to do.

Police have offered their condolences to the Hernandez family. They say an investigation is open and ongoing. Autopsy and toxicology tests are pending.


VALENCIA: The attorney for the Hernandez family has asked for an independent investigation. We put in a call to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which sometimes gets involved in cases like this. Right now they tell CNN they have no plans of investigating the incident.

And this morning "The Miami Herald" is reporting that the officer who Tased Hernandez is on paid administrative leave. CNN has been unable to independently confirm that report.

Chris and Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Nick. Nick Valencia, thanks so much. That's a tough one.

CUOMO: Got to get to the bottom of that, I mean, tasing is supposed to be less violent and less aggressive in force.


BOLDUAN: Like that -- like the weapon, if you will, because it's less lethal. CUOMO: Especially now, you know, especially in Florida, they want to make sure that the citizenry is in complete confidence of what the police are doing. So hopefully the investigation comes soon. We'll stay on that for you.

Time for a break though.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, cold case detectives in Chicago are now investigating the kidnapping of a newborn -- get this -- who disappeared in 1964. A DNA test has convinced police to take another look.

CUOMO: And then you heard about Leah Remini, the latest here. She's taking on Scientology, again. This time she's filing a missing persons report for whom? The wife of church leader David Miscavige. We have all the details for you ahead.