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Police Obtain New Information About Princess Diana's Death; UPS Cargo Crash Still Under Investigation; Hannah Anderson Talking Through Social Media; Uprising In Egypt Continues; Children In Central Oklahoma Traumatized By Tornado

Aired August 17, 2013 - 18:00   ET


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. It's so nice to have you along with us on this Saturday. I'm Pamela Brown, filling in for Don Lemon.

Scotland Yard is keeping tight lipped about a stunning new allegation, and it goes right to the mystery surrounding the 1997 deaths of Princess Diana and her then-boyfriend, Dodi al Fayed, a mystery that appeared to be solved.

We spoke with Atika Shubert last hour about that report.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Scotland Yard is not saying a lot. Basically, what they have said is that they have new information and they are now reviewing it for its credibility and relevance.

Now, what we are understanding about the source of the information from the British Press Association is that apparently it comes from the parents-in-law of a former British soldier.

Now, what's interesting, also, is that the Sunday, "People" also has an article they've just now published and they say that this came basically out of the court-martial of a British soldier recently, and that the parents-in-law of a soldier that was not named in the trial, basically, said that he had told their daughter that the military forces had somehow covered up the death of Princess Diana. This is according to the "Sunday People" magazine here.

So, this is apparently is the source of all this and what police are now doing is looking into these reports to see whether or not these reports are in fact credible. Hopefully, we will have some details when the police come out with more information on this.

BROWN: Mark Saunders is a royal biographer and the author of books such as "Diana and the paparazzi," "Diana's secret London" and "Diana in focus." He joins me by phone from Windsor, England.

Mark, thanks for joining us. I want to get straight to it. What are your thoughts on this report and this stunning allegation?

MARK SAUNDERS, ROYAL CORRESPONDENT, WINDSOR EXPRESS (via phone): Well (INAUDIBLE), to be honest with you, two factors I find particularly worrying. The first is the source and as you mentioned from the Sunday newspaper. Now, the Sunday paper people have very, very good contacts and both within the royal family and within the military. And they don't normally run things like this unless they really know what they're doing.

And secondly, of course, there is the rich history, long history of the collegian between the military and secret intelligence service in this country. As you say, we are -- it is still sketchy. Still not entirely sure what the facts are. But it does seem worrying and we are anxious now to hear what Scotland yard has to say about it.

BROWN: All right. We heard Scotland yard saying they are scoping the information trying to see if it is credible. But have we heard rumors like this before of the possibility that Diana was actually murdered?

SAUNDERS: Not necessarily. I mean, what we have had before, I have always said we have had a lot of nonsense coming from people and it's in their interest to come into the -- to know whether the Princess Diana have been murdered since the vast majority is the allegations that came out, the inquest, they were simply defied cops. And that they would just dismissed as utter rubbish because (INAUDIBLE), I mean, it was simply unbelievable and actually completely wrong what they were suggesting.

But this is somewhat different. The original source that you said was from a court-martial and extending past. And I understand the special investigation branch of the military police were the people who passed on in some form of dossier to Scotland yard. So it seems to be, a little bit I can tell you it seems to be more serious. But it certainly does seem to be of great concern to a lot of people, both Scotland yard hasn't said anything. But we are told that some of it will be coming from them. Some sort of statement will come out.

BROWN: Of course, Mark, an inquest was concluded back in 2008 blaming it on the gross negligence of the following cars and the driver of that Mercedes. How extensive do you think the inquest was? Could they have missed something?

SAUNDERS: Oh, no. I mean, I was involved in some way. I mean, other than the peripheral really. I mean, everybody who had anything to do with Diana in the last ten years was spoken to. And it really was a massive investigation because it was in the interest of everybody, the palace, the government, the media, everybody wanted that inquest to be as deep as it possibly could be and because we wanted the truth basically.

And I think that we had the truth. They barely quote "unlawful commit (ph)." You have a driver who was intoxicated, drink and drugs. You had people not wearing seat belts. You had the pursuit by the papparazzi. All of those factors are the facts they are the facts, the fact they happened.

The idea that the military in some way murdered Diana, I think, is nonsense. I just don't believe that for a moment. What I think we might get out of this latest allegation is that there was some form of surveillance which was going on. But I still think it's madness to suggest that she was murdered or assassinated or anything like that. That is just not -- I just don't believe that for one moment.

BROWN: It is interesting that you have the involvement in the inquest and it is interesting to hear your perspective.

All right. Mark Saunders, thank you.

SAUNDERS: Thank you.

BROWN: Federal investigators are moving ahead with their investigation into the crash of the UPS cargo plane in Alabama. The pilot and copilot both died in Wednesday's crash in Birmingham. Last hour, an NTSB board member said investigators are working through the data on both the flight data and cockpit voice recorders. So far, all flight and engine data appear normal and the auto pilot was engaged until the last data was recorded. He said investigators will also examine the flight crew's background.


ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: As we do with any investigation, we are conducting a 72-hour history. We do this for all of our investigations. Go back for the previous three days and try and get a picture of the flight crew's mental and physical condition before the accident.


BROWN: Investigators have already said that there is no evidence of engine failure of fire on aboard the plane right before the crash.

Parts of the southeast getting lashed with more rain. This is what it looks like in Wilmington, North Carolina. Take a look here. Roads turning into rivers. Heavy rain is expected all weekend with flooding now a big concern.

And overnight, thousands of people are trying to get out of the way of a wall of flames there. Take a look here. This is the Beaver Creek wildfire raging near the Sun Valley resort in the town of Ketchum there. People have been told to grab their essentials, their packs, and leave now. About 600 firefighters are trying to get a handle on the fire, but so far it is still growing at this hour. When resident Robert Cole says he has never seen anything like this.


ROBERT COLE, RESIDENT: I have seen a lot of disasters in my lifetime like tornadoes down in Oklahoma where I have come from but never any fires that threatened my home like this.


COLE: I just hope like hell they're safe and I hope that they don't come down in the -- . You know, when I heard about the evacuation earlier, it kind of make me scared. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Making matters worse there, a red flag warning signaling high winds in effect for the area.

So, let's get straight to Tracey Weaver. She is with the Sawtooth National Forest and she joins us now from Twin Falls, Idaho.

Tracey, first off, what is the situation? Set the scene for us, if you would.

TRACEY WEAVER, SAWTOOTH LAND MANAGEMENT (via phone): Well, the situation is much like we saw yesterday when we saw nearly 30,000 acres of growth in this fire, explosive fire and behavior. Our weather conditions are the same as they were yesterday. Very dry. Very warm. Windy. Unstable atmosphere with dominated columns. And it is frightening to see. It is backing down off the ridges and then raising back up the side. Right along highway 75 where people -- it was very visible to people.

BROWN: Right. And you know, we just mentioned the red flag warning signaling high winds in the area. How is that factoring in for the firefighters battling the blaze right now?

WEAVER: Well, red flag warning and the hail which is an indicator of unstable air, very dry air, lead to the perfect fire storm basically. So, that we see that type of explosive growth that we saw yesterday. So, our crews are always safety first, but they are in there working hard, trying to keep the fire from getting into these communities and make it a good fight into the subdivision that the fire already entered.

BROWN: Yes. And we hope that people are heeding those warnings in the communities nearby to get out and evacuate.

Tracey, I just want to double check back with you. Last we heard there was only one home destroyed in the fire and it's already covered 98,000 acres. Can you add to that? Have any of the numbers changed?

WEAVER: No. We have not left any further structures at this time. The firefighters are making a valiant stand and have done good firefighting and the people have been cooperating, which is super important.

BROWN: OK. Tracy Weaver, thank you so much for that.

Well, more bloodshed in Egypt. Hundreds are dead with fighting now even taking place in the house of worship. And just ahead, the bizarre details coming now about the murder and kidnap case that made headlines last week. The kidnap victim and accused murder exchanging more than a dozen telephone calls before the murders. We will be right back.


BROWN: In Egypt today, troops and police crackdown on a place protesters have been using as a safe haven, a mosque in central Cairo.


BROWN: You can see very chaotic situation there. Security forces kicked and fought their way inside the mosque and forced everybody out. Witnesses say police fired weapons at the mosque itself and it has been an especially explosive few days there in Egypt. More than 700 people are reported dead in street battles between the military and crowds of Egyptians who want their elected President Morsi back in office.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is here with me now in Cairo.

Things have obviously quieted down there. The curfew is in effect, Fred. But can we expect more street fighting in Cairo tomorrow, do you think?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly. I mean, one of the things that is expected to happen is a protest march expected by supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi that is going to take place. The Morsi supporters, in fact, have called from protest marches for every day of the coming week. So, judging by what's been going on in the past couple of days where as you have said since Wednesday there have been more than 700 people killed and that's by official accounts, the Muslim brotherhood for their part is saying the death toll is probably much higher. Yes, we do expect there will be additional clashes and most probably additional casualties.

And if you see what happened today where you had that standoff going on in that mosque you are absolutely right. That place was used as a safe haven for people. They were locked up in there for about 24 hours. Before that, it was being used as a field hospital during a demonstration that went on here on Friday. So, certainly right now, the atmosphere here in Cairo is very charged. It is very volatile. And both sides here in this conflict, in this crackdown, show no signs of backing down, Pamela.

BROWN: Yes, both sides digging in their heels trying to promote their own narratives. And I know reporters like yourself have a lot of obstacles to deal with there.

So, thank you so much for your hard work in reporting, Fred. We appreciate it.

Meantime we are learning bizarre new details about the kidnapping case of 16-year-old Hannah Anderson including letters from the teen found inside her captor's home. Details on that right after this break.


BROWN: Kidnapping survivor, Hannah Anderson, is trying to be strong, still healing exactly one week after FBI agents rescued her and killed her captor, a long-time family friend.

Bizarre new details are emerging about the case and suspect James DiMaggio. Records show Hannah and DiMaggio called each other 13 times before he allegedly killed Hannah's mother and brother and then kidnapped Hannah. San Diego authorities told the Los Angeles times that Hannah is a victim and was, quote, "not a willing participant."

Also, authorities seized letters from Hannah from DiMaggio's home along with a handcuff box, a DNA swab kit, used condoms and a wire used in setting fires. Hannah has mentioned her ordeal on numerous social media posts saying that she never told her parents about DiMaggio's crush on her because DiMaggio was her dad's best friend.

So, we are going to talk a little bit more about this. Joining us now psychologist, Wendy Walsh. She joins us from Los Angeles. And attorney Holly Hughes joins us from Atlanta.

Good to see you both again. Thanks for coming back to talk with us about this.

Wendy, I want to start with you. Let's get your reaction to the 13 calls Hannah and DiMaggio exchanged that we are learning about now and the letters from Hannah found in DiMaggio's home. What do you think about that?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: I'm actually not surprised. I have always had suspicions that the degree of his manipulation, his grooming, and indeed his abuse of this young girl may have started long before this incident and she may have been sort of in captured by his magic spell, if you will, because it's very easy to manipulate and dupe a young, young teenage girl like that.

BROWN: And obviously, we don't know what's in those letters yet, but certainly it raised some questions.

And I want to talk to you, Holly, from a legal perspective. We have seen Hannah posting on social media sites about her ordeal. Clearly, this has been an outlet for her. What do you think, though, from a legal perspective, is that wise?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well at this point, Pam, there is not going to be a trial. This defendant is dead. So, ordinarily what we lawyers would say, you know, as a prosecutor, which I was for many years, I wouldn't want them posting on social media websites because you don't want a clever defense attorney to try and impeach them later on. Well, when you went on facebook, you said it was two miles that you hiked and now you're saying in court it's four miles. So you're just a liar. And they would be able to cast doubt or do what we call impeach you with inconsistencies.

But since there will be no court proceeding and no trial, I think this is just her way of dealing. I mean, you know, when I was growing up, we didn't have social media like this. This is how children from the time that they have come out of the womb talk to each other. It's how they express their feelings. They're just going to go out there and post it.

BROWN: Yes. And you know, there has ban lot of scrutiny on her for doing that but you have to think she is 16-years-old. She has been through a traumatic ordeal. And she's just trying to figure out how to cope, move forward, and she wants to feel like she is talking to people her own age, probably.

Wendy --

WALSH: Pamela, I actually, I have my own, I have a 15-year-old daughter and I asked her opinion. I said, would you be out on social media like a couple days after I died? And she said yes probably, because it's a way to have sort of know that people care about you is what she said. It's a way to stay connected with your friends. So, it is a kind of psychological support.

BROWN: Absolutely.

Let's talk about, Wendy, what happened before this tragedy. Hannah and DiMaggio went to Hollywood together we have learned. Her parents let a 16-year-old girl go to Hollywood with a 40-year-old man. Even though DiMaggio was considered the best friend of the dad, do you think the parents dropped the ball at all here?

WALSH: I don't want to blame the victims here. I just want to send a message to parents out in the world today. The most dangerous place for a child to live in America tends to be in a home with a non- biologically related male. Be careful who you expose your kids to.

BROWN: Yes. A lot of people have learned from this ordeal.

Thank you so much to both of you.

HUGHES: Thanks.

BROWN: And coming up, in just about ten minutes from now, a Special Report. Anderson Cooper's kidnapped the rescue of Hannah Anderson airs at 6:30 p.m. eastern time.

We are back right after this.


BROWN: Well, this past week, meant the party is over for lots of school kids across the country because it was back to school.

Our Nick Valencia reports on one town in central Oklahoma where just a few weeks ago nobody knew if anything would be left of the school to open.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are a lot of emotions when it is time to go back to school especially when part of that school isn't there anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See, you look this. That was destroyed. I don't know how we survived this.

VALENCIA: I first met Dylan Ellis nearly three months ago in the days immediately following the Ef-5 tornado that wrecked Moore, Oklahoma and left 24 people dead. The word hero got thrown around a lot during those days but Ellis, really, was nothing short of one.

DYLAN ELLIS, SURVIVED TORNADO STRIKE: I see her start to go up. I jump on her. Lay on her. And then grab on to the left bottom of these lockers that were inside the ground. And then, once it's over, I push her out of the way and then all of the debris starts to hit me.

VALENCIA: How did you think so fast? How did you know to do what you did?

ELLIS: I just thought of her as my family. What would I do if they started to go up? Didn't think. Just did it.

VALENCIA: Like most of the students who survived the tornado, Ellis had a lot of time over the summer to think about what happened.

Excited, nervous, anxious those are just some of the feelings he said he has had about starting 8th grade. And after everything that happened, he says he is just ready for things to be back to normal again.

ELLIS: Going to be a process to get back but it's going to eventually get the way it was before.

VALENCIA: This first grade teacher, Waynel Mayes wishes it was that easy. Her school, Briarwood Elementary, took a direct hit from the tornado. She laid on her students and even played music to them as debris rained down on them.

WAYNE MAYES, FIRST GRADE TEACHER: You hear the children that they don't want to go to school. The ones that I had last year, I saw them this summer and they would tell me I don't want to go to school Ms. Mayes. That breaks my heart because, you know, they kind of lost their innocence.

VALENCIA: And as she welcomes new students to their temporary buildings this year, she says the most difficult part for her will be making them feel that they're safe.

MAYES: A thunderstorm might scare me, but there is so much love in the world and that's what we are going to teach the children, too. That's the strength we have to draw on.

VALENCIA: The recovery and rebuilding in Moore, Oklahoma is not without criticism. While the schools that were damaged during the tornado are being rebuilt, they're being done without safe rooms or shelters. And like so many other states, in tornado alley, in Oklahoma, those safe rooms and shelters aren't required in schools.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


VALENCIA: I'm Pamela Brown at the Time Warner center in New York. It has been a pleasure filling in for Don Lemon. Thanks for being here with us.

Anderson Cooper's Special Report kidnapped the rescue of Hannah Anderson is next.