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Investigating Father's Other Life Online; President Asks for Emergency Border Funding; Kayden Kinckle Walks With Prosthetics

Aired July 9, 2014 - 06:30   ET




We're learning more about the Georgia father accused of leaving his toddler to die in a hot SUV, and his other life that he was living online. Justin Ross Harris allegedly went by R.J. on a personal networking site. He met a woman on that site who police say he was messaging as his son was dying in the car.

Meantime, Harris' wife Leanna visited him in jail Tuesday. Prosecutors say text messages that he sent her show that she knew he was cheating on her.

Nick Valencia joins us from the CNN Center in Atlanta with the very latest.

I mean, it does make you shake your head. But does it all mean, Nick?


We are learning more about Justin Ross Harris' social media footprint and what police have called his alternate lifestyle.


VALENCIA (voice-over): Bizarre new details continuing to unfold in the investigation into the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris. Police say his father, Justin Ross Harris, used a messaging site to sext woman on a day his son died in a hot SUV outside his office building.

And on the flirting Web site and smartphone app Scout under the name R.J. are three profile photo, all appear to be Harris. The profile creator writing: "Just looking to talk. Message me. I'm harmless." And then, eight months ago, "Yes, I'm married."

DETECTIVE PHIL STODDARD, COBB COUNTY POLICE: Evidence has shown us right now that he's got a whole second life that he's living with alternate personalities and alternate personas.

VALENCIA: While his son sat strapped in a car seat in the sweltering Atlanta heat for seven hours, investigators say Harris sent lewd text messages and explicit photos to multiple women, one of whom was underage.

STODDARD: He was having up to six different conversations with different women.

VALENCIA: Police, meanwhile, are combing through Harris' electronic footprints, like the internet searches on his work computer that included visited a web page devoted to exploring a child-free lifestyle, as well as a search for how to survive in prison.

REPORTER: How is Ross doing?

VALENCIA: Despite allegations of infidelity, his wife Leanna Harris was seen leaving the Cobb County jail Tuesday, where her husband is in custody. While inside for over 30 minutes, it's unclear whether she was able to meet with him face for face during the visit.


VALENCIA: Now, Harris' attorney has repeatedly objected in court the sexting allegations, calling them irrelevant. The defense maintains that the child's death was a tragic mistake -- Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: At the end of the day, that's the thing to remember -- a 22-month-old baby has died. So, we'll be watching with you. Nick, thanks so much for that.

Six-thirty-four in the East. Let's take a look at more your headlines now.

The Northeast is cleaning up after deadly storms left at least five people dead. One child was killed. Eight others were injured by falling trees at a Maryland campsite. Tornadoes were reported in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Storm winds destroyed several buildings meanwhile in Upstate New York. Downed power lines left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

You got to look at this. A Colorado man was taking video of a passing thunderstorm when lightning struck. Chad Greenly caught it on camera as he was knocked down. He said he was paralyzed for a few minutes. He is OK apart from some scrapes, but he says his ears are still ringing from the incident. The storm knocked out power to more than 11,000 people across the Denver area.

Iran is increasing its involvement in the crisis in Iraq. "The New York Times" says it's sending in three attack planes that could be deployed against is militants. The Russian-made aircraft, the latest step Iran has taken to help Iraqi forces battle Sunni extremists, as Iraqi politicians struggle to form a new government. This as CNN has learned more than 50 unidentified bodies were found in the predominantly Shiite town of Alexandria today. Details are unclear, but we will update as more becomes available to us.

And ESPN the magazine's sixth body issue hitting stands this Friday, features six revealing covers, 22 athletes in all posing in, well, only thing they have. Look, they are scant, they are nude. The covers featured tennis star Venus Williams, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, snowboarder Jamie Anderson and NBA star Serge Ibaka. One of the best names in the NBA.

It's this cover though of Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder that's getting the most attention. I love it, (INAUDIBLE). Prince Fielder who comes in at 275 pounds says he wanted to show that being big doesn't mean you can't be athletic. I say preach, it brother.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I think he looks great and I think ESPN is on to something.

PEREIRA: I feel like there's a but.

BERMAN: Take naked pictures of athletes. Take naked pictures of really good athletes and you'll sell magazines here.


BOLDUAN: I think this has already been used. Take naked pictures and pretend like they are wearing bathing suits on "Sports Illustrated" images and you'll see magazines.


BOLDUAN: That is not the message?

PEREIRA: I think it's fascinating. They use their bodies as the instruments and the finest specimens we can imagine. It's not porn like see it.

BERMAN: I'll take a much closer look.

PEREIRA: And get back to me.

BERMAN: I'll get back to you on that.

PEREIRA: I think it's genius.

BOLDUAN: Go get them, Prince.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the raging debate over what to do about the immigration crisis at the southwest border. This as President Obama and Texas Governor Rick Perry are set to meet. Our political panel hashes it out.

BERMAN: And an adorable 2-year-old boy with heart to spare. You will not want to miss the toddler's reaction when he gets the hang of his new prosthetics. Wonderful.

PEREIRA: This is so beautiful.

BOLDUAN: I got it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BOLDUAN: President Obama touching down in Texas today where he will meet with Texas Governor Rick Perry to discuss the immigration crisis that they're facing down there. This after the White House asked Congress for nearly $4 billion in emergency funding to deal with tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children that have come across the border seeking refuge in the United States. But many in Congress, they're not necessarily sold yet. They don't -- many think -- that this doesn't solve the problem. It doesn't get to the heart of the issue.

Joining us to discuss is CNN political commentator Paul Begala. He's also Democratic strategist and the senior adviser for Priorities USA Action. Also joining us CNN En Espanol contributor Dan Restrepo, a former top adviser for President Obama on Latin American affairs.

Good morning, gentlemen.



BOLDUAN: So, Dan, I want to start with you, because Paul -- when we were talking yesterday, Paul said he does think that because it's become quite a question on this trip and become kind of a political question, should the president go to the border, Paul said yesterday he should. He said 90 percent of life is just showing up, even if it's just a photo-op.

Would you advise the president that he should go to the border? Does it seem tone deaf if he doesn't?

RESTREPO: I'm not sure if it's tone deaf if he doesn't. I mean, as Paul well knows, a president showing up can be awfully disruptive and, sure, you get a photo, but right now, I think what we need at the border is folks who can help take care of these kids. We need the resources that the administration has asked for.

And I think the administration, they are going to take a lot of heat today for having the president not go to the border, to go to Dallas and to go to Austin, but I think at the end of the day his showing up to the border today would be more disruptive and would play into the politics of all of this, at a time when we actually need people working the problem and not the politics.

BERMAN: Paul, the president is asking for something now. He's asking for $3.8 billion to help battle this issue right now, 1.8 billion of that will go to the DHS for the care of the children. Other money goes to immigration judges and the like. Do you think this proposal, do you think this will make a difference?

BEGALA: Well, it will make a difference but it won't solve the problem. It will help.

I mean, we have a humanitarian crisis. We have thousands of children coming to our country volcano crossed a very dangerous journey. Most of them brought by coyotes who really have very often, frankly, abuse these kids.

So, yes, of course, we have to take care of the children. We're Americans.

But the roots of the problems, I was listening to your interview earlier with Juan Carlos, the roots are not American, U.S. It's not our law that President Bush signed into law and it's not that President Obama has allowed some young people to stay.


BEGALA: It's in Central America, there's violence.

BOLDUAN: That feeds into what we hear the criticism coming from Republicans. You're asking for $4 billion, is this -- you're just throwing good money after a problem if this isn't going to fix it?

BEGALA: Well, it's like -- OK. The bishop of El Paso, Mark Seitz, uses an example, who's an expert on this. He's been down there to the region. He's example of a building on fire. The building is on fire.

That's why the kids are jumping out. It's very dangerous thing to jump out of a building. Normally, you wouldn't want your children to jump out of a building, but when the building is on fire that's what will happen.

Well, this $3.8 billion if I can extend the bishop's metaphor is a fire hose. Put out fire, still have to rebuild the building but that's the Central American's program. I mean, the problem is in Guatemala, in Honduras and El Salvador, and that's narco terrorist gangs taking over towns and villages and even cities. That's not something that President Obama can fix or Congress can fix.

BERMAN: Dan, you know, this isn't just a political issue. It's obviously an issue on so many different levels. But there are political implications here and you hear people like Paul and many people refer to it strictly as a humanitarian crisis. But is there also a border security crisis here? Does security need to be improved on the border?

RESTREPO: This is one of the fascinating things about this. These kids want to get caught. This isn't a question. They are turning themselves into the first border patrol officer they can find because it's at the end of a very long and very dangerous journey, as Paul just said. We have more resources deployed to the southwest border of the United States than we've ever had before. This is a question, as Paul was just saying, these are three of the five most dangerous countries in the world that these kids are leaving from. Honduras is the murder capital of the world today. It's a -- and there's a huge economic problem in northern Central America. This isn't a question of border security. This isn't a question of enforcement resources at the border. You need more resources to help manage the problem, but those are resources to have more effective and care for these kids. A more effective immigration court that can deal with cases on a faster basis. So there is a resource question here, but this is not a boots on the ground problem by any stretch of the imagination. Again, these kids are turning themselves in as fast as they can once they get to the United States because they are at the end of a very dangerous trip and they want to be in a safer place.

BOLDUAN: Dan, I want to get a final thought on this. One thing that is also being brought up is this question of the 2008 law. This trafficking law, that put restrictions on the process of deporting young children that came over from central America. This has been met with a lot of skepticism and changing this law from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Do you think this is a root of this problem? Do you think Democrats can really buck the president if you ask him to change the law?

RESTREPO: No, the root of this problem is in Central America.

BOLDUAN: What about this law?

RESTREPO: There are a bunch of factors contributing. And dealing with this law is part of the management problem here, because one of the ways you stem this flow, and as harsh as this sounds, is making sure that the folks who don't have a right to be in the United States go back to their home countries as fast as possible. This law is part of this balance that we do as a country all the time between being a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, and finding that right balancing point and right now I think the administration is struggling to find the right balancing point when it comes to these kids and this law is part of the reason that they are having a challenge. That's why they want more flexibility, but at the same time the politics of this, within Democratic politics, is the reason they are not asking to repeal the 2008 law.

BERMAN: Alright, Dan Restrepo and Paul Begala, thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate it. This will be a discussion point all day and don't forget President Obama meets with governor Rick Perry later today. That will be very, very interesting.

BOLDUAN: Let's see where the political conversation and, really, the conversation of what can be done quickly in this media crisis and where it goes after today. It will be interesting to see. Thank you both very, very much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a big dose of inspiration coming from an adorable 2-year-old little boy. Watching him take his first steps on new prosthetics. Probably going to tear you up, as well as it should. We'll meet this amazing toddler and his mom coming up.




KAYDENKINCKLE: I got it. I got it.

BOLDUAN: This fills my heart with so much love, I can't even take it. In case you can't tell from that clip, that is a determined 2-year- old. Let me introduce you to Kayden Kinckle, that video of him taking his very first steps on his prosthetic legs. Kayden was born with a medical condition that caused his organs to be outside his abdomen. He's had two abdominal surgeries already and earlier this year he had his left leg and his right foot amputated because of a birth deformity. His mom Nikki put this video on Youtube to help raise money for her son's medical expenses. It has gone viral. Nikki Kinckle and her inspiring toddler Kayden. Hi, Kayden. Hi, Kayden. Kayden's not ready to talk with us, but they are here with us. I cannot tell you what a delight it is to meet you.

How are you doing?


BOLDUAN: How's baby boy doing?

NIKKI KINCKLE: He's doing great

BOLDUAN: Did he just wake up? He just woke up. I understand he's like who is this crazy lady talking to me.

So let's talk, did you have any idea that this would go viral?

NIKKI KINCKLE: No, not at all.

BOLDUAN: What was your hope in putting it online?

NIKKI KINCKLE: Just to encourage people, that was our hope. We wanted to see him just, you know be encouraged and know that, you know anything is possible. You trust God, you can do anything.

BOLDUAN: You're walking in faith, aren't you? Tell me about this story again because I understand you knew that there were some concerns while you were pregnant, that things weren't going on track exactly.


BOLDUAN: Tell me about that.

NIKKI KINCKLE: They said he had something called Omhalocele and that's when your liver, your bladder, your intestines are outside of the body.

BOLDUAN: How did you react?

NIKKI KINCKLE:I never heard of anything like that before. That was the first thing so it was overwhelming.


NIKKI KINCKLE: And I talked to my husband about it, and, you know, he had faith and said we're just going to trust God, so we continued with the pregnancy, watching it get bigger and everyone having doubts and really being discouraging and saying we would have a lot of issues.

BOLDUAN: But you never lost your faith. NIKKI KINCKLE: No, not at all.

BOLDUAN: So, when he came out he faced a lot of surgeries after he was born.

NIKKI KINCKLE: Yes, two abdominal surgeries.

BOLDUAN: Two abdominal surgeries. In terms of that prognosis, how is he? Is he eating healthy? He looks like a healthy young man

NIKKI KINCKLE: Everything is fine.

BOLDUAN: Then, tell us -- why the amputations, what happened?

NIKKI KINCKLE: He was missing one bone in his leg, and we -- the problem was we couldn't do any surgeries until everything was done with his stomach, so we had to wait a while and after that we found out his hips were fine and his spine was excellent.

BOLDUAN: Good. You're probably just saying thank you, God, for everything that was fine.

NIKKI KINCKLE: Yes, everything, everything.

So as he's progressing, everything healed and then we went in to chop and they told us about the prosthetics.

BOLDUAN: That must have made you so thrilled to give him some independence


BOLDUAN: And knowing that he's so young, if he can get used to the prosthetics now, by the time he's our age he'll be so well versed in them.

NIKKI KINCKLE: It's the only way of life he knows.

BOLDUAN: It's the only way of life he knows

NIKKI KINCKLE: He's going to be like everybody else.

When he has on pants, you're not even going to know.

BOLDUAN: Nobody's even going to know. And look at this little walker.

This walker, and it will grow with him, too, I see.


BOLDUAN: So they will be able to expand it as he grows because he's already two and he's a tall little fellow. Does he like walking on it?

NIKKI KINCKLE: Yes, he loves walking on it.

BOLDUAN: Do you think he'd try it right now?


BOLDUAN: Let's see because he just woke up, folks, I don't know.

In terms of his prognosis overall. Go ahead, you can move him down there. What are doctors saying? Is he out of the woods? He's just going to keep growing and be strong?


BOLDUAN: Tell me about his personality, he seems like a determined little fellow.

NIKKI KINCKLE: He is. He's determined like any other 2-year-old, he just wants to play, he loves basketball, to run around. He talks a lot. He's quiet right now.

BOLDUAN: Well, he just woke up. Fellow hasn't had his first cup of coffee.

Auntie Kate has to come over and say hi because she's about to have one of these little babies. You'll be the target. You stand over there. He really gets around well on this.


And the idea is that you're hoping that this will just become second nature to him? He'll start learning how to move more fluidly. How long has he had the walker now?

NIKKI KINCKLE: He's had the walker now for a few months, but the video I posted was the first time he ever wanted to do it by himself. He has an awesome physical therapist, Patty and Lynn, and I know they are going to be shocked.

BOLDUAN: They're going to be shocked. Look at him doing it by himself.

And he said the words I got it. I got it.


BOLDUAN: Because he knew what a success this was and what an achievement it was.

NIKKI KINCKLE: Yes, definitely.

BOLDUAN: You've been Working really hard at keeping positive during all of this. Where are you getting your source of support and strength?

NIKKI KINCKLE: From my family and my church family and just staying positive and praying. That's everything.

BOLDUAN: He's still looking at me like where am I going, mom?


BOLDUAN: Are you tired?

NIKKI KINCKLE: Turn around.

BOLDUAN: How many days a week is he seeing

I'll get back here, don't worry.

He wants to keep walking.

You've got all of this room.

How many days does he see the physical therapist a week?

NIKKI KINCKLE: Right now only one day.

BOLDUAN: Only one day.

And I know the expenses are starting to mount, aren't they? So this is why you posted on Youtube. You've got a GoFundMe.


BOLDUAN: Tell us a little bit about that.

How is that going so far?

NIKKI KINCKLE: Excellent now, before when I had it up, it was okay.

BOLDUAN: It was slow.

Your goal is to get about $50,000

NIKKI KINCKLE: Yes, and half of that right now is just going to past bills.

BOLDUAN: Past bills and not the future stuff because you've got a long road ahead of you. You really do.

I understand that right now the GoFundMe site has $27, 500 already raised, how about that. Isn't that a nice little boost?

NIKKI KINCKLE: Yes, it is.

BOLDUAN: I got it. Do you got it, Kayden?



NIKKI KINCKLE: Say I got it.

You got it?


NIKKI KINCKLE: You got it?

BOLDUAN: A man of few words but a whole lot of steps.

Your son is a great source of inspiration to all of us. We support you and we support Kayden. He wants to get up on the anchor desk. Look out. Look out, people.



BOLDUAN: Nikki, Kayden.

Come on over here.

Come on over here.

Thanks so much for joining us, you guys.


BOLDUAN: And we wish you well and we'll keep watching the story.

And cue the meltdown. Perfect timing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just wants to walk around the world.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

Let me walk more. Let me walk more

NIKKI KINCKLE: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Love him.

Absolutely beautiful.

Kayden, you can come over here and do the rest of the show with us if you want. Absolutely beautiful. Can sit on that all day. We are close to the top of the hour, though and we're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it. I love that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He really needs to go there and see this for himself and not just rely on advisers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats have called the illegal border crossings a crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to pay for the attacks that they are carrying out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds of innocents losing their lives as we speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the great world cup shocks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is absolutely beyond belief.


BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome back to NEW DAY. We're going to begin with tens of thousands of undocumented children in limbo as politicians and the government, they argue about how to handle the immigration influx at the southwest border. President Obama and Texas Governor Rick Perry, they are set to meet today in Dallas to discuss the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border. The president is also urging Congress to provide almost $4 billion in emergency aid to help address the issue. Not surprisingly though lawmakers on Capitol Hill deeply divided on that request and how to proceed. What to do about the problem. Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is joining us with