Return to Transcripts main page


International Child Mystery Deepens; Nevada Middle School Shooting; "The Product Is Good"; France Condemns NSA Surveillance; Alleged Al Qaida Terrorist Hearing; Special Prosecutor In Teen Rape Case; U.S. Airways Flight Detained; Woman Falls Over Subway Tracks; Florida Prison Forgeries Not the First; CeeLo Green Pleads Not Guilty; Defending Obamacare

Aired October 22, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Could a mystery child discovered in Greece be American? Police suspect the girl was abducted by a gypsy couple. So now it's whose child is this? The parents of a Missouri girl, do you remember Baby Lisa, missing since 2011, they say this could be her and the FBI is getting involved.

Let's bring CNN's George Howell. He is in Kansas City with the very latest. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. Here in front of the family's home, you can see no lights are on. The family is still asleep. But we did confirm with their attorney that the FBI is now in contact with Greek officials about the possible connection between their missing daughter and this girl in Greece named Maria.


HOWELL (voice-over): This morning, there are new questions and perhaps new possibilities, could this young girl found in Greece actually be from Kansas City?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like she's OK.

HOWELL: The parents of Lisa Irwin, the missing Kansas City toddler who vanished from her bed after an apparent home invasion in 2011, they reached out to the FBI, who contacted Greek authorities because they believe this striking blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl found in this gypsy camp could be Lisa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no such thing as a tip too small.

HOWELL: The second anniversary of Lisa's disappearance was two weeks ago and a new photo was released of what she might look like today. Strikingly similar to the girl found in Greece called Maria.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I dream about her all the time. This is what I see in my dreams.

HOWELL: But some things don't add up. Lisa would be three years old. According to a spokesman from Smile of the Child, Maria is believed to be around five or six, but all possibilities must be ruled out. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They claim we never abducted this child.

HOWELL: The couple claiming to be Maria's parents were arrested on suspicion of abducting a minor. DNA results confirm they are not her biological mom and dad. But Greek authorities are getting calls from around the world, offering leads on the possible identity of the mystery girl. So far, they're taking about ten of those leads seriously including some cases from the U.S. one of them baby Lisa.


HOWELL: Certainly a ray of hope for this family and many others who are looking at this case in Greece. However, very important to point out, Kate, that according to the group, "Smiles of a Child," Maria is either five or six years according to dental records. Baby Lisa would be three next month.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: But as you point out, George, a ray of hope for this family. Clearly they'll figure this out soon. We'll follow up on this. Thank you so much, George.

Let's turn now to the deadly shooting at a Nevada middle school. A hero teacher lost his life trying to protect students from a classmate armed with a semiautomatic handgun. The teacher was shot and killed and two students were wounded before the young gunman took his own life.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is following all of the developments this morning. She's live in Sparks, Nevada. Good morning, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. It is another school shooting and another part of the country where people say things like this just don't happen.


ELAM (voice-over): Trying to make sense of a senseless killing. The small desert community of Sparks, Nevada came together in prayer last night, this after chaos and tragedy at a local middle school --

UNIDENTIFIED 911 OPERATOR: Active shooters Sparks Middle School. Teacher down on the playground. They have one victim in the cafeteria, one in the hall.

ELAM: Students were waiting for the morning bell to ring and then shots fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People started running and screaming. So I started running and then we heard another gunshot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A kid started getting mad and he pulls out a gun and shoots my friend.

ELAM: The shooter, a 13-year-old student allegedly using his parent's gun wounded two fellow students, one in the shoulder and the other in the abdomen. A teacher rushed to their aid. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He walked up to a teacher and says, "Back up." The teacher started backing up. He pulled the trigger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The teacher was trying to make him put it down, but he took another shot right then and there.

ELAM: A shot that killed 45-year-old Michael Landsberry, a popular eighth-grade teacher. He was a former Marine who served several tours in Afghanistan. He's now being called a hero.

GENO MARTINI, MAYOR OF SPARKS, NEVADA (via telephone): He was a very well-liked teacher by the students and other teachers. It's very unfortunate that someone like that that protected our country over there and came back alive, that his life had to be taken.

REGGIE LANDSBERRY, BROTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM (via telephone): He loved teaching at Sparks Middle School. He loved the kids. He loved coaching them. He loved teaching them. He was just a good-all-around individual.

ELAM: Students are pouring out their grief on social media. "I had the chills when I heard that Mr. Landsberry died. Having him for math was the best. It's too hard to even believe. No teacher will take his place. Nothing is going to be the same anymore. You are a hero and you will always be missed at Sparks Middle School." As for the student suspect, police say he took his own life with that gun.

AMAYA NEWTON, STUDENT, WITNESSED SHOOTING: I knew the person with the gun. He was really a nice kid. He would make you smile when you're having a bad day. I saw him getting bullied a couple times. I think he took out his bullying on it.

ELAM: But it's still unclear if that drove this child to resort to violence and whether or not he was targeting the students or the beloved math teacher who survived war only to die in what should have been the safe haven of an American middle school.


ELAM: And police are saying that everything happened within 3 minutes and that they were here on campus in that amount of time and everything was done. We can also tell you that school is canceled for the rest of the week and counseling is available for these children who saw this happen on the playground of their middle school just before class was supposed to start -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Stephanie, thank you for the reporting this morning. We are going to move on now to the president and his efforts to reassure the public that the Obamacare web site will be fixed. He did acknowledge there are serious technical issues affecting online enrollment, but the question now is, were there red flags that something was wrong before the web site even launched?

CNN's Jim Acosta is live in Washington with the latest. Jim, what do we know about this? JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Chris, what we know right now is that administration officials are being hush hush about who is being brought in to fix the health care web site and how long it will take. But there is one thing that the White House will acknowledge this morning and that is they've got a big problem.


ACOSTA (voice-over): The way administration officials describe it, the so-called tech surge to fix the Obamacare web site sounds like a top secret mission with an all-star team of I.T. specialists parachuting in from across the country.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Nobody's madder than me about the fact that the web site isn't working as well as it should, which means it's going to get fixed.

ACOSTA: One question is whether warning signs were missed. "The Washington Post" reports the site crashed just days before it was launched during a simulation test involving hundreds of users. Despite a Pew Research poll finding only a small minority of Americans say the Obama exchanges are working well. White House officials don't want to delay the mandate requiring Americans to have insurance.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're way still early in the process. So you're talking about a February 15th and a March 31st deadline. It is October 21st today. So let's be clear about that.

ACOSTA: Until the site is fixed, frustrated consumers are being urged to call a toll-free number to shop for insurance. That's an option administration officials don't like because it could be a big turnoff to younger, healthier buyers who do everything online and are critical to Obamacare's success.

Last week, "Consumer Reports" warned that the glitches are too much to absorb, stay away from for at least another month. The site has since posted an update saying the website's problems do not negate the law's benefits.

OBAMA: To free families from --

ACOSTA: Even the president's speech aimed at re-assuring Americans about Obamacare had a hiccup when a supporter standing behind him, Karmel Allison nearly fainted.

OBAMA: I got you. You're OK. This happens when I talk too long.

ACOSTA: A diabetic nearly her entire life, Allison later told CNN's Piers Morgan, she's a big Obamacare backer because it will always cover her pre-existing conditions.

KARMEL ALLISON, OBAMACARE BACKER: I've been lucky enough to be covered because I was covered before I was diagnosed, but have never been able to switch coverage and lived with the fear --

(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: The next fireworks over Obamacare are likely to happen on Thursday when executives from some of the contractors that worked on healthcare website are scheduled to testify up on Capitol Hill. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius won't be at that hearing. Officials from the department are indicating she will testify next week -- Kate and Chris.

BOLDUAN: All right, Jim, a lot of news coming out on this and all the problems they're facing day by day. I guess we're following up with you. Thank you so much. All right, let's get straight over to Michaela for more of the headlines this morning.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. Good morning to you. Making news early this morning, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with his French counterpart over alleged NSA surveillance in the country.

The French government calling the reports that the U.S. agency intercepted more than 70 million phone calls over a 30-day period totally unacceptable. President Obama and French President Francois Hollande spoke Monday night about the matter. The two presidents agreeing that French and American intelligence services will cooperate on investigating this report.

Alleged Al Qaida terrorist due back in court today, Abu Anas Al-Libi was captured in a daring U.S. commando raid in Libya earlier this month. He is accused of playing a major role in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Al-Libi is being tried in a federal court, a decision back Monday by the top U.S. war crimes prosecutor. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.

Special prosecutor is now looking into a teen rape case dropped a year ago in Missouri. Daisy Coleman was just 14 when she says a popular football player sexually assaulted her. The local prosecutor dropped the case saying that Daisy and her family stopped cooperating. The family denies that. Later today, the online hacking group, "Anonymous" has planned a rally in support of Daisy.

An investigation under way into a plane that was detained at Charlotte's Airport Monday, crew members found a suspicious note on the U.S. Airways Flight right after takeoff from Buffalo, New York. The aircraft was checked. It was cleared and returned to the terminal with all passengers on board. Authorities say there was no threat to public safety.

Check out this surveillance video, a woman walks right off a subway platform in Boston and on to the tracks. Officials say the 31-year- old woman was down there for a minute or so before bystanders managed to pull her up to safety. The woman told police she had fallen asleep on a bench and may have been sleepwalking when she fell on to the tracks. Miraculously she only suffered an injury to her arm. How frightening to witness, to experience of all things.

BOLDUAN: The poor thing. That's not the way you want to wake up.

PEREIRA: Thank goodness there were other people at that subway stop. CUOMO: Silver lining, you know, too often we do stories about how nobody steps up. People jumping in, checking up the tracks, as long as you can do it safely that's the silver lining there. Of course, we hope she is OK.

A check of the weather, Indra Petersons, dressed in colorful fashion this morning though not fall colors.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I can still stay cheery, right. What's fall, browns, yellows.

CUOMO: Sienna. This is purple by the way.

PETERSONS: We both have purple.

PEREIRA: Team work, guys.

CUOMO: Green, purple, all there.

PETERSONS: Want to take you, guys, out to Chicago this morning. It looks pretty nice right now. Keep in mind they are under a freeze warning. Current temperature 32 degrees and rain and even some snow is expected to move in later today. You can take a look at the map. We have an Alberta Clipper that is kind of making its way through the region. Yes, they'll be feeling the chill.

And they are not the only ones. You can actually see this front kind of making its way through the country right now to Ohio Valley and try to spread into the mid-Atlantic and northeast. That's actually not even going to be the big story. Not really the rain, these systems are pretty dry. It's that big temperature change.

We have this kind of pattern here where all the cold air is spreading out into the northeast. So the jet stream really diving down and bringing that cold air east today where it is so easy to see. Look at the current temperature difference, Philly right now, 53, New York, comfortable, right now 57 degrees.

Look just on the other side of this cold front. We are talking about temperatures a good 20 degrees cooler. That is what is headed our way. Notice the highs today. Chicago, yes, right now you're freezing. You're not going to warm up that much. You're only expecting a high of 41 degrees. That is almost 20 degrees below normal even for you, Cincinnati, 55 as your high today. It looks like Green bay, your high today only about 48 degrees.

So yes, we are going to see that shift to the east today. Today is the big day. We start to see the drop as we go in through tomorrow. New York City today 66. By tomorrow, you are going to drop down with 10 degrees below normal down about 54. Boston, you're going down to 51 almost 20 degrees cooler as we go into tomorrow.

So everyone is going to feel the change and it's not just going to be the cold air. We're going to add rain in there for you as well, but not much, just about an inch. Overall, I think it will feel like fall by tomorrow. Right now we've been lucky. BOLDUAN: I keep wearing my coat and say I don't need this thing.

PETERSONS: I have yet to bring it out. That's impressive for me.

BOLDUAN: That's very impressive. Thank you, Indra.

All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, two convicted killers who forged their way out of prison are back behind bars in Florida this morning. But the case exposed something much larger and potentially more dangerous. The details just ahead.

CUOMO: Plus singer, CeeLo Green facing the music in court on a serious drug charge, we're going to tell you his response.


CUOMO: So two escaped Florida killers are back behind bars this morning. What made this a story in part is that they escaped using forged release documents and walked right out of prison.

Now, the investigation is taking a surprising turn uncovering a shadowing underground network, most of us never knew existed.

CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Tallahassee, Florida, with that.

Good morning, Nick.


Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins are not cooperating with authorities but even still in the days since their arrest, Florida law enforcement officials say they discovered this kind of fraud is not isolated to the two escaped murders.


VALENCIA (voice-over): Days after two convicted murders were mistakenly released from prison, new revelations about how they obtained forged documents to set them free.

JERRY BAILEY, COMMISSIONER, FLORIDA DEPT. OF LAW ENFORCEMENT: We have a confidential source that advised us there was a cottage industry, if you will, where an individual was able to construct these documents for $8,000.

VALENCIA: In an exclusive interview with CNN, Florida's police commissioner said that a total of seven inmates have tried schemes like this since 2009, five of them from the same prison where Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins escaped.

(on camera): Are you looking at this perhaps being an inside job?

BAILEY: That is a consideration that it was -- that they had help inside either the prison or inside the clerk of the court's office.

VALENCIA: State officials had been investigating the issue for about a year, and had warned prosecutors about the schemes over the summer. The inmates presented documents with the fake signatures of a judge and assistant state attorney hoping to secure their release.

Now, new procedures are in place to prevent this from happening again. Prison officials will now be required to check with the judge to ensure the release order is legitimate.

BAILEY: Obviously, they recognize holes in our system. That wasn't the Department of Law Enforcement, but holes have been recognized and they're doing a very good job of patching those holes through a series of confirmations before an action like this is taken.

VALENCIA: A manhunt led cops to the capture of Walker and Jenkins at this motel. Investigators are now looking for those who helped the killers, even testing DNA on the forged documents. The suspects are pinpointed. We do not have the arrest warrants for them as we speak.


VALENCIA: A press conference from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is scheduled for later this afternoon where officials are expected to announce that this case is moving quickly -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It sure is, especially because it's such an embarrassment for state officials at this point.

All right. Nick, thank you so much for that.

Music star and "The Voice" judge Cee Lo Green pleading not guilty to a drug charge. He's accused of slipping ecstasy into a woman's drink. But prosecutors say there was not enough evidence to charge him with sexual assault.

Entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner is here following the developments.

Very serious charges he's facing.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, most people know him as a coach or mentor on "The Voice", like you were talking about. But he's also a five-time Grammy-winning artist, part of the hip hop group Goodie Mob and half of Gnarls Barkley.

Now, Cee Lo walked into court yesterday with a calm exterior and holding hands with a woman, then he faced the judge.


TURNER (voice-over): A few hours before "The Voice" hit airwaves Monday night, one of its celebrity coaches appeared before a real-life judge in a Los Angeles courtroom on a felony charge.

JUDGE: Your preliminary hearing would be within 30 calendar days of November 20th.

TURNER: CeeLo Green pleaded not guilty to one felony count ever furnishing a controlled substance to a 33-year-old female last year. The woman claims the 38-year-old Grammy-winning R&B singer slipped her ecstasy as they dined in a downtown L.A. restaurant and then took advantage of her in her hotel room.

Prosecutors declined to charge CeeLo with rape of an intoxicated person, citing insufficient evidence, a move that seemed encouraging to the entertainer as he walked into the courthouse Monday.

REPORTER: Are you still scared though?

CEELO GREEN, SINGER: I don't know.

TURNER: Cee Lo's attorney, Blair Berk, issued a statement saying, "Mr. Green encouraged a full and complete investigation of those claims and he was confident that he would be cleared of having any wrongful intent and it would be established that any relations were consensual."

But as "The Voice" enters the battle round for its contestants, Cee Lo still faces a battle for his freedom. He faces up to four years in prison. If convicted on the drug charge, he faces up to four years in prison. For now, he's free on $30,000 bail.


TURNER: And again, Cee Lo entered a not guilty plea yesterday. He will be back in court on November 20th. There's been no immediate word from NBC, though, about his future on "The Voice" in light of this case.

The show was on last night. Cee Lo was on the show, but the show was tape months ago. The live show don't begin for a few weeks.

BOLDUAN: It seems like right now, he's got something more important to worry about than the show.

TURNER: Indeed he does.

BOLDUAN: No kidding.

All right. Thanks so much, Nischelle.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, even the president is admitting the Obamacare Web site has been a mess and critics are circling the wagon. Details in our political gut check, ahead.

CUOMO: Plus, we have a new poll out this morning that will give you a good picture of how the country feels about the economy. You'll want to hear it.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, October 22nd.

Midterm elections are more than a year away if you're looking at the calendar. But new CNN polls showed just this morning both parties have a long way to go to regain popularity with voters.

CNN's chief national correspondent John King is here to take a look at these poll numbers.

The new poll numbers are out. Incumbents across the board are not very popular. Probably, it should not come as a surprise to many folks, especially after the shutdown. But it does appear that the shutdown hurt Republican incumbents more.

What are you seeing in the numbers?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's no question. Republicans are hurt more, usually by 10, 15, sometimes as many as 20 points, when people say, replace the Democrats or replace the Republicans, or Republicans get punished severely.

What do you see there? You see an opening for Democrats to defy history. I would say that with a huge caveat. A lot of these people saying replace all the Republicans are Democrats who live in Manhattan or live in San Francisco and are represented by Democrats in Congress.

However, if you look at the polling data, the Democrats do have an opportunity. They need to be near perfect. They need to do a great job at candidate recruitment. They need to keep raising money. And they need to hope the issues portfolio stays in their favor.

Midterm election, especially the sixth year, second term, midterm election, the president's party on average loses 19 seats.


KING: So, the odds still favor the Republicans believe it or not despite the last few weeks.


KING: But the Democrats have a chance.

BOLDUAN: When you lock at one of these poll numbers we have, the question was, most members of Congress deserve re-election. When you say only 25 percent said yes; 71 percent said no. That to me is pretty astonishing.

There's a breakdown between most Democrats and Republicans. But generally speaking, there's the other one, 25 and 71. That's astonishing.

KING: If you had watched what has happened in Washington, the whole last year, never mind the last few weeks of the shutdown, the whole last year, whether you're a Democrat or Republican or independent, what have they done that suits what you wanted them to do?

Whether it's deal with the economy, people are not in a great mood about the economy. I think the recovery is sort of stuck in second gear. Whether it's jobs, whether maybe you want immigration reform, maybe you don't. They haven't done anything. It's been a wasted year in Washington.

So, that's not a surprising number. People are disgusted with the Congress. They're disgusted with Washington in general. The question is, how does it play out a year from now?


KING: They're the kind of numbers that give you an opening for a wave election. But, again, the Democrats want a wave to take back the House. History says it should be a Republican year because it's the sixth year of a Democratic presidency.

It's fascinating right now. We can't answer that question.

BOLDUAN: Right, exactly. The calendar really is the thing that matters at this moment.

How is the president faring in all of this? I know we had poll numbers showing he was at 44 percent approval rating which is pretty static. But what are the major problems? Obamacare and how that's been handled, that seems to be a problem. Does that threaten his standing there?

KING: That's why the Republicans are optimistic, despite all the damage they have damage they have done to their brand. And they have done it to themselves, largely, is that -- you know, the shutdown is now in the rearview mirror. People don't like it, people are mad about it. You can see that in the polls. They are mad at the Republicans and they are taking it out on them right now.

The election is a year away. The president is at 44 percent in part because people, again, think the economy is too sluggish in part because of the glitches or hiccups, call them what you want be the problems with implementing Obamacare. That's in the front. That's in the windshield. We're going to see that over the next year.

So, the Republicans think as the health care plan is implemented, if the economy doesn't kick into a third gear, come next October, first week of November, that people willing more voting on the referendum on the president, which is usually the case in midterm elections. But who knows? The Democrats have an opening here. It's going to make it fascinating to watch it play out.

BOLDUAN: Republicans are beginning the strategy to keep Obamacare in the forefront. They know they've missed an opportunity when October 1st when the exchanges went live. The Web site went live. You have hearings that will be this week, hearings next week. They're going to want to get answers. They're going to play this out.

KING: They're going to play this out in Washington with their hearings. But I think the most important factor here is, can the administration a month from now, two months from now, and three months from now present a credible case that they learned from their mistakes.