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Hillary Clinton Endorses Terry McAuliffe In Virginia Gubernatorial Race; Two Prisoners Escaped From Florida Jail; Obama Nominates Jeh Johnson For Head Of Homeland Security;

Aired October 19, 2013 - 14:30   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, NEWS ANCHOR FOR CNN, Hello, everyone, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome to the CNN News Room. We're following a couple of mysteries topping the news today. We begin with an international search for the identity of a little girl. She was discovered in Greece with a man and woman who claimed to be her parents, but the couple was part of the Roma or gypsy community outside Athens, and police were suspicious that they would have a blonde-haired, blue-eyed child.

DNA testing revealed that the girl is not related to either of the parents or the people alleging to be parents. So now, authorities are trying to figure out who this child really is. Finding the girl's family could be a big challenge for investigators.

CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes is joining me to talk more about that.

So, give me some idea how they go about this. I mean, A, the little girl is in the custody of a child advocacy group. And they did the DNA testing, not matching those people who are claiming to be the child's parents. Is it going to be as simple as reaching out to parents who have reported their child missing or their child missing somewhere like 2009, I understand is when they believed this child may have come into the custody of those in Greece?


Well, in this case, if that's true that she went missing four years ago and she's 4-year-old, then being only an infant at the time probably only the parents would realize recognized some of the family characteristics, the shape of her nose, her ears, her chin, things like that. But really, other than the parents, very few people would be able to recognize the child.

What they'll be trying to do in this case is try and examine all of the reports, which are tens and thousands worldwide but then focusing mainly in Europe of reports of children that went missing at that age three or four years ago or all during the last four years. If a parent comes forward or if a law enforcement agency recalling the report of a child going missing comes forward, then they'll locate the parents and try to take DNA samples from them, compare them to the DNA samples to the Greek authorities have take.

WHITFIELD: Clearly, this seems like, you know, a needle in a haystack. This just seems like such a difficult task trying to locate this child's biological family.

FUENTES: It will a difficult task, especially if, and this is the real concern, the mother of that child sold her on purpose or gave her up on purpose because either she didn't want the child or couldn't afford it or, you know, any number of reasons. But if the mother purposefully gave it up and is not going to come forward even if she knows that's her child, then there's going to be very little the authorities can do.

As I said, you know, there are many organized crime groups throughout the world, particularly in Europe and Eastern Europe, that specialize in abducting people of all ages and there's a market to sell little babies as an unofficial or black market adoption service, in some cases to sell these kids to be al little slaves, to be beggars on the street or grow up to be house servants or factory workers or sex slaves, any number of things. So, this is a worldwide problem. When I ran the organized crime problem with the FBI in the late '90s, early 2000s, we had a number of issues with Interpol and other police agencies around the world to deal with human trafficking which was very prolific worldwide.

WHITFIELD: So, presumably a lot of questioning will be carried out with the two people who claimed to be the parents and then DNA testing showed that they are not the parents because maybe they do have information that may be the tip of the iceberg for any kind of crime spree that you mentioned.

Tom Fuentes, thank you so much from Washington. Appreciate it.

FUENTES: You are welcome.

WHITFIELD: All right. Also here in the U.S., an investigation of a very different sort. The parents of a missing autistic teen are desperately asking for help to find a teen who ran out of his school on October 4th and he hasn't been seen since. Police and volunteers have pulled out all stops to find him. Well today, they are looking for him in a rail yard. Apparently he has a real fascination with trains. And for the first time they are using cadaver dogs as well in their overall search.

Just moments ago, the families of two escaped killers spoke out. Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins walked away from a Florida prison with forged documents. They are still on the loose. And officials are offering $10,000 reward each for their arrest. They have been free for a while now but authorities only learned of their escape this week.

Nick Valencia is joining me live now from Carrabelle, Florida.

So Nick, what more was said in that press conference?


At a press conference that wrapped up a little while ago in the Orlando area, we heard from both families of escaped convicts that are on the loose right now. They pleaded to each individual to turn themselves in. We first heard from the mother of Charles Walker, Lillie Danzy who said on October 8th Charles Walker showed up in the hometown, he took a bus there, and that she made no attempt to conceal his whereabouts, even went to a church service which he attended publicly in the open. Take a listen to what she had to tell her son, pleading with him to turn himself in.


LILLIE DANZY, CHARLES WALKER'S MOTHER: We love you. We believe in you. We just want you to surrender yourself to someone who you trust who will bring you back in safely. We don't want any harm to come to you. I know you are a man of faith. You have a strong family bond and strong family values and I know who you are. You know who you are. And I just want you home safely, son. Please come home.


VALENCIA: We also heard from a man who was described as the father figure of Joseph Jenkins. Now, he is the escaped inmate that got out just a little bit earlier on September 27th. They said he was picked up here at the Franklin correctional institution. They brought him clothes. They drove him home, took him to his grandmother's house, took him to his mother's house and then took him back to their house. They said he had a birthday on October 1st and they threw him a party, Fred, but he didn't show up to that. That's presumably the last time that they saw him. We also heard from the sheriff deputies who say that they have reason to believe that both men are still in the state of Florida, perhaps even more specifically in the orange county area -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: And so Nick, are authorities saying anything about whether the two may be together? I mean, they were released on separate dates but is there a belief that they may be -- whether it be in Florida or beyond, you know, together?

VALENCIA: Yes. Well, that's a great question. That's a question that was posed to the sheriff's department at that press conference and they said that's part of their investigation whether or not these two men worked in conjunction or it was independent, forged documents that got them out. We do know that the common denominator is that they were both here at the correctional institution behind me. We don't know what the relationship is beyond that. That's part of the very complicated investigation.

This is a very embarrassing moment for all agencies involved, including the Florida department of corrections, which you know, we talked to. We asked them why they allowed something like this to happen, why they allowed this order to go through. They said they don't have the legal stature to push back against the court systems. And as far as they were concern, those were officials documents, those forged documents made to look official and they were asking for the release of these two inmates -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia. Thanks so much. Keep us abreast of any new developments.

VALENCIA: You bet.

WHITFIELD: So the search for the two escapees in Florida is just one of the stories Don Lemon will be looking at in a special called "making the case" tonight at 8:00 eastern time. Don and a group of legal analysts will breakdown the top crime stories of the week.

There has been another arrest in that biker attack on that SUV in New York last month. Police say Kaleek Douglas was part of the group that chased down the SUV and then beat the driver whose wife and toddler were in the car. Several others have been arrested including an off duty officer who drove with the bikers.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton now on the campaign trail, not for herself but for someone else. Who is that person? And is this a warm up for a race to 2016? We'll go live to Falls church, Virginia, straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: All right.

Look closely in this live shot here, folks clapping. The lady in red well, that's former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. She's campaigning on behalf of a man who's at the podium there, who is Terry McAuliffe. He's running for governor. And that it is the first campaign stop her, Hillary Clinton since leaving the state department, but campaigning on behalf of Terry McAuliffe and she will be taking to the stage there momentarily. And speaking, of course, we'll take some of her comments or at least listen to some of them.

Meantime, keeping a close watch on this in Falls church, Virginia is our own Peter Hamby.

And so, Peter, while this event really is about Terry McAuliffe and his run for governor, a lot of attention is being focused on Hillary Clinton. It's difficult, you know, for that not to be the case. This is kind of difficult, then, for Terry, isn't it, McAuliffe?

PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, it's actually, you know, he's not going to get a lot of attention today but Hillary Clinton is going to get a ton of media coverage this weekend and throughout the week. This is good for Terry McAuliffe's campaign against Republican Ken Cuccinelli because Terry has much money than Cuccinelli does. It keeps him off TV. Even though he had Mike Huckabee has something for him in a different part of the state, Hillary Clinton is just a superstar.

So, Terry McAuliffe is playing one of his biggest cars. We could probably expect to see Bill Clinton campaigning here in Virginia in the coming weeks to sort of maintain McAuliffe's solid but very sturdy lead that he's had in this race in the last few weeks in this race, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK. And we haven't heard from Hillary Clinton yet. Surely, she will be speaking on behalf and for Terry McAuliffe, a long-time friend, formerly, you know, leaving the democratic national party as well.

But you know, you can't help but noticed, she looks very refreshed. She has a new haircut there as well. And you know, you can see a number of people there who are applauding and speaking to her while she took to the podium there. So there's a lot of excitement surrounding the appearance of Hillary Clinton, regardless of what she actually says.

HAMBY: That's right. I mean, every single thing she says and does today will be scrutinized. That is the case with all of her public appearances. She just arrived here a few minutes ago before taking the stage in a secret service entourage.

Look, she had given a number of public appearances as this year since leaving the state department. But this is her first political appearance in public. So we're going to be looking for clues, you know, as to how she might have changed, you know, on the stump since she was last on the campaign trail in 2008 when she unsuccessfully ran for president, Fred. So, we are going to be watching closely for that.

WHITFIELD: All right, indeed. Thanks so much, Peter Hamby there in Falls Church, Virginia.

Of course, Terry McAuliffe there at the podium talking to his supporters there.

We're going to take a short break. And When Hillary Clinton takes to the podium, we are going to actually allow you to hear some of what she says because she, too, is a woman of the hour on the potential campaign trail. So we're going to take a short break for now in the NEWSROOM and then we'll be right back.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE AS VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: By accepting the federal expansion of Medicaid --


WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. We're watching live pictures right now out of Falls Church, Virginia. And that's Terry McAuliffe who is running for governor of Virginia. But alongside him, a very recognizable face there in red, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. She's not there, as far as we know, to announce that she's joining in any sort of race. But instead, she's there to endorse her long-time friend, Terry McAuliffe. And we understand that she will be taking to the podium. We're going to try to monitor her remarks and maybe try to read between any lines if she says anything about her political aspirations perhaps. We'll keep a close watch out of False Church, Virginia.

All right, meantime, the shutdown, maybe in the president's rear-view mirror, the government shutdown, but the next big fight the White House may be facing is getting his nominees for the Homeland Security confirmed by U.S. Senate.

Let's check with Joe Johns of Washington who has a profile of Jay Johnson, a man President Obama wants in charge of keeping the homeland safe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Fred, he wasn't on everybody's short list of candidates for the job but probably should have been. Jeh Johnson has been front and center on some of the toughest national security issues. And now, he has been tapped to take on the enormous problem at the Homeland Security department.


JOHNS (voice-over): As the Pentagon top lawyer, Jeh Johnson played a key role in the reasoning for using U.S. drones over al-Qaeda overseas. Controversial because the targeted drone attacks have also killed innocent civilians. Johnson laid out his views in the speech last year at the Oxford Union.

JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY NOMINEE: How will this conflict end? It's an unconventional conflict against an unconventional enemy and will not end conventional terms.

JOHNS (voice-over): His role may be controversial to some on the left. At DHS, drones are used mainly as eyes in the sky.

DAVID OLIVE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL: The only way they use unmanned vehicles is for surveillance purposes and the rules are very different and they ought to be very different.

JOHNS (voice-over): An issue that Senator Rand Paul famously filibustered over. Johnson support for National Security Agency surveillance programs and his criticism of military detention of terror suspects could also come up. He's already being challenged as untested in some areas.

OLIVE: There are gaps in terms of immigration, first responders, the other parties of DHS, you know, the component operating parts.

JOHNS (voice-over): Congressional reaction to the nomination has been favorable on the left but Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn said he had grave concerns and questioned Johnson's management and law enforcement qualifications.

Rather than selecting someone who knows the unique dynamics of our southern border, President Obama has tapped one of his former New York fund-raisers.


JOHNS: And that could be a problem for Johnson too. The center for responsive politics label him a bundler in fundraising for President Obama, meaning he helped the president raise big money by calling on friends to help --Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much. Joe Johns in Washington.

All right, two committees in the Republican controlled House are demanding answers about the Obamacare enrollment websites. and state running sites have been riddled with glitches. Officials confirmed they are routinely taking down the federal website during the overnight hours to workout bugs.

Well, among other things, the problems may delay launch of the Spanish language version of the Web site.

A shark gets a little too close for comfort. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's checking me out. Oh, my God. Right under the board. Oh, my God. Look at that.


WHITFIELD: Oh, my God. She is aware where with all to be videotaping that? Are you kidding me? This is just one of many close encounters on the California coast this week.

More scary fish stories straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: All right, to Falls Church, Virginia right now, who is running for office here? It's actually the man to the right of your screen, Terry McAuliffe is running for governor of Virginia but he's introducing a good friend and perhaps one of the most popular political and nonpolitical figures out there, Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state. She is not running for herself but she's helping Terry McAuliffe in what is traditionally a red state of Virginia.

So, let's listen in to Hillary Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you. I am so happy to be here. So pleased, as I look out in the audience, to see a lot of familiar faces, but also to be here to enthusiastically endorse my friend, Terry McAuliffe, to be your next governor.


CLINTON: I thought hard about what I wanted to say to Virginians today. I've been out of politics for a few years now. And I've had a chance to think a lot about what makes our country so great, what kind of leadership is required to keep it great.

So I want to start by sharing a little bit with you about Terry and Dorothy, because Bill and I have been fortunate to call them our friends, our very close friends for many years now. We've been in so many different situations together. We have watched Terry and Dorothy build and raise a family with five extraordinary children. We've gotten to know those children -- Dory and Jack and Mary and Sally and Peter. We have vacationed with them. They have been in and out of our lives as long as they've been alive.

It says a lot about a person, about the values that they pass on to the next generation. Terry's family is both his first love and his greatest accomplishment. Nothing is more important, and that's just the kind of man he is. Now, it's also because he's married to an exceptional woman. She is a champion not only for her five children but for all children. And she will bring both passion and compassion back to Richmond.

And so you ask yourself when you come to a political event like this and you see people standing up on the stage, what really brought them to this point? Well, I've also known Terry's parents and his brothers and I've seen the values that he was raised with. He grew up in a middle class family. He was taught about the dignity of work and the importance of looking out for each other. He started his first business at the age of 14 because he knew he was going to have to put himself through school. He's lived those values. And boy does he love people.

You know, he's not one of these public personas that is great when the lights are on and then different when they are off. What you see is truly what he is all the time. And he cares deeply about not only what happens to his own family and friends but to everyone. He has maybe the biggest heart and the most open mind of anyone you'll ever meet.

Terry has always been there for me and I'm pleased to be here for him.


CLINTON: There are times when none of us can sit on the sidelines. And right now, here in Virginia, is one of those times. I don't have to tell you, I hope, that the whole country is watching this election, watching to see whether the voters of Virginia lead the way of turning from divisive politics, getting back to commonsense, and common ground.


CLINTON: Also watching to see if it's possible to move toward a new economy that works for everyone. And also provides good jobs with good benefits for everyone and where equal work really does mean equal pay for everyone.


CLINTON: The whole country is watching to see if the right women and girls will be respected.