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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Security Level Raised At U.S. Military Bases; Nine Deputies Fired In Student's Death; Millions Moms March Against Police Brutality; Charged Officers Want Prosecutor Removed; Legal Fight to Release Garner Evidence; Child Smuggled Inside Suitcase: Mothers Demand Answers Over Missing Babies. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired May 9, 2015 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Ebola, the virus living in the eye of an American doctor. Ian Crozier (ph) contracted the virus in Sierra Leone last year. He was treated in Atlanta and declared virus free in his blood system.
But Ebola caused him a lot of pain in the eye and turned his eye from blue to green. Doctors have treated him and they say there's no chance of spreading the disease because his tears have been tested and they're negative.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Interesting.
BLACKWELL: All right, stay with us because we have a lot going on this morning.
KOSIK: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts now.
ISIS making advances online, threats of terror on American soil putting military bases around the country on increased security.
BLACKWELL: Plus new this morning, nine deputies fired in Georgia over the death of a college student restrained in an isolation cell. So, what comes next in this case?
KOSIK: And a lot of things are caught on x-ray machines at airports, including this, look at this. Why a young boy packed inside a pink suitcase almost got smuggled into Spain.
BLACKWELL: It's hard to understand the desperation there when you see that picture.
KOSIK: It really is. Good morning, everyone. I'm Alison Kosik in for Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Always good to be with you this morning and let's talk about this big developing story. Security measures at military bases around the country are tight after the threat level, the security level increased to forced protection bravo.
This increased vigilance is not because of any specific, imminent threat from ISIS, but because the military is concerned about several recent home-grown terror incidents.
Let's bring in CNN national correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty. So, bravo, what does it mean?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Victor. Well, about this increase in the security level to bravo, that potentially indicates there could be a threat. Again, it was not a credible and specific threat.
But U.S. officials say it just felt that in general it felt as if the temperature had gone up a few degrees. And that was based on a few concerns that all put together really contributed to making this decision.
First, that attack on Sunday in Texas. Highlighting the threat from ISIS supporters and also the fact that some personal information. Names and addresses of about 100 military personnel were posted online by is affiliated accounts last month.
The concern, of course, is that ISIS is reaching out over social media and trying to recruit people inside the U.S. to target uniform military law enforcement officials.
The FBI director has warned that there could potentially be hundreds, maybe even thousands of ISIS followers online inside the U.S. Here's what the new Attorney General Loretta Lynch said about ISIS recruitment tactics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It really is an expansion of how the internet has been used, frankly, for several years now both in recruitment and radicalization of young people to join terrorist groups.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: The FBI has ramped up its monitoring of ISIS followers inside the U.S. that's after the discovery that one of the gunmen in Sunday's attack in Texas had direct encryption communication with an ISIS recruiter -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: So, Sunlen, what will we see if people visiting these bases will see or notice anything?
SERFATY: Well, the main point that beefed up security is going to be in a surprise and random nature to add to the already security protocols. So, we might not know exactly what will be put in place but we believe that those added security procedures will be there.
But likely this will come in the form, Victor, of 100 percent I.D. checks of people coming on to the bases while double checking all vehicles leaving and going into these bases.
We do know that the FBI director and the homeland security secretary, they also held a conference call late last night with law enforcement officials on the local and state level asking them to beef up their own security. Back to you.
BLACKWELL: Yes, the unpredictability will be a great tool here. Sunlen Serfaty at the White House for us, thanks.
KOSIK: Let's bring in CNN military analyst, Major General James "Spider" Marks. Good morning, General.
MAJ. GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good morning. How are you guys?
KOSIK: Doing well. Something I am thinking about. Why go ahead and raise this threat level if there is no specific threat that they can tell?
MARKS: Well, it's really an abundance of caution on the part of the military. But what you really see is this is what I would call the military is going through a reset. We have the evidence that there is increased activity on the part of ISIS.
We've seen a number of incidents that have taken place in the United States most recently. And so DOD, Department of Defense came back and said, you know, let's reset our procedures and make sure we have our act together before it's too late.
That's in essence what you see right here and the notion of random access measures and protocols.
[08:05:08] What that means is there will be enhanced difficulty getting on to these military installations. There will be 100 percent identification check and then there will be periodic checks of vehicles under the hood and in the trunk.
So, it just keeps an honest man honest if they're trying to get on these different installations.
KOSIK: And you know, there are some experts out there saying that ISIS is really trying this psychological warfare, these tactics to put pressure on the west. Do you agree with that?
MARKS: Sure, this is like a bunch of body punches in boxing. They're coming after our kidneys. None of these are knockout blows. This is the notion of death of 1,000 cuts. They get us worried and leaning forward and you can't lean forward for too long and until you fall forward.
So, it's a matter of resetting, maintaining a level of vigilance that can be sustained and it really creates a new normal in terms of how we conducted business, not only in our military installations, but in our communities.
Because when you have military installations, you have great connections with the communities that are outside the gates, as we say. Those connections are critical, connections in the law enforcement, connections with community leaders, connections with intelligence agencies, as well. So, that has to be maintained.
KOSIK: All right, General Marks, thanks for that.
MARKS: Sure, thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right, now to some new developments in a story that CNN has been following very closely. Let's go to Savannah, Georgia, where nine deputies have been fired in connection with the death of a college student. And this is coming after an internal investigation in the department, also a probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
KOSIK: A spokeswoman for the Chatom County Sheriff's Department says this, says that Matthew (inaudible) was found dead in an isolation cell on New Year's Day. And his family says he was put in the restraining chair, handcuffed and tased.
He had been taken into custody after allegedly hitting his girlfriend at a gas station. His family said he was having a bipolar episode and they allege that police knew that.
A police report also says that the girlfriend gave pills to police for Matthew's disorder. Now, the district attorney is reviewing the case and is going to be deciding whether or not to file criminal charges.
BLACKWELL: Mark O'Mara is the attorney for this young man's family. He is also a CNN legal analyst. Good to have you back, Mark.
MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALSYT: Good morning, Victor. How are you doing?
BLACKWELL: We're doing very well. Before we get to the meat of our conversation, I've heard some reporters say, can you confirm for us the correct pronunciation so we get it right?
O'MARA: The Nigerian terminology is different.
BLACKWELL: So that's what we'll go with and I thank you for that. This investigation has been going on for some time now. Two officers were on paid leave and now nine have been fired. Why do you expect this is happening now?
O'MARA: Well, my frustration is why is it only happening now? This is 127 days since Matthew died in their custody. And for 127 days, nine of them were still on the job, still doing whatever they were doing wrong. And I'm frustrated that it took this long to have any type of semblance.
I think now maybe the case because of our efforts is getting some attention. Why would it take so long for the district attorney to look at this case when we use Baltimore as an example and some people complain didn't take enough time, 11 days and she got this case figured out?
We are way too long into this. There are 12 families who now know what happened. Every family of those officers who are now fired, they know what happened that night. Why is the one family who deserves it most, the Ajibade family still in the dark and it's intentional and it's horrific to do that to this family.
BLACKWELL: Mark, what is the family's response to these firings?
O'MARA: Well, we're glad that finally some movement is happening. Finally somebody is being held responsible for Matthew's death. We just want to know how it happened and, most importantly, why it happened.
BLACKWELL: So, there are in addition to the announcement of these firings, the chief there, the sheriff rather in Chatom County announced several charges that are coming, new booking procedures to ensure immediate notification to on-site medical personnel when a person with medication arrives for the booking process.
New security procedures at the jail to audit the use of tasers, the cell extraction and removal team will be renewed and refocused and disciplined and a clear written policy of when tasers may not be used.
If all of these had been implemented or enforced when Matthew Ajibade had the encounter with police, do you believe he would still be alive?
[08:10:06] O'MARA: No question that they should have kept Matthew alive. You're not supposed to die in police custody when you have bipolar disorder. They are supposed trained on how to handle an individual. This is not something made up from after the fact.
They knew from the very moment they got on scene because they were told he was suffering from bipolar and they were given the medication. We have to hold our law enforcement to a high standard of professionalism and they cannot tase somebody in a restraining chair and get away with it.
BLACKWELL: All right, Mark O'Mara with us from Orlando. Mark, thank so much.
O'MARA: Great to be here.
KOSIK: We're following some breaking news this morning. Former Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak could be a free man as early as today. That's at least according to state media.
A Cairo court of appeals has upheld a three-year sentence against Mubarak on corruption charges. But it also credited him for the time he already served. Mubarak has also been slapped with a multi-million dollar fine for embezzlement.
More than 70 mothers are searching for answers. They believe their babies were stolen from them decades ago at this St. Louis Hospital and now the city is vowing to help. We'll talk live with one mother, who found her daughter and another who hasn't given up hope of a reunion.
Plus, the Million Moms march in D.C. is about to start. We talk to the mother who organized it and what they believe, what she believes, actually, the federal government needs to do.
KOSIK: The Texas panhandle getting drenched this morning, severe thunderstorms across the region there.
BLACKWELL: It's part of the dangerous weather that could hit as many as 20 million people this weekend including the threat of tornadoes across the central plains. Ivan Cabrera is here with details. I mean, this is a huge system and it goes on and on.
IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It goes on and on. Seventh day and we continue and even tomorrow I think we'll still be under the gun for severe weather. Look at this thunderstorm activity at this hour already across the panhandle and just to the west of Dallas.
That is not the severe threat we are talking about. That will be later this afternoon and later this evening as we get things heated up in the atmosphere. We got this upper level low that will provide us the spin that we need to get thunderstorms rotating.
We do not want that, but that is exactly what will happen later on. Of course, the warm, moist air coming up from the south and cool, dry air from the north. Everything you need for tornadoes to form today is in place in the atmosphere.
In fact, not just for tornadoes, but long track tornados and some strong ones. We have to watch this very closely, anywhere from San Antonio through Dallas and I-35 corridor heading out towards Wichita and Eastern Colorado, as well.
If you hear thunder today, get indoors. If your power is not out get the TV on and make sure you're not under a tornado warning. In fact those sirens are going to be going off in a lot of communities later today.
Here is the clock as we take you into motion as we head between 4:00 and 7:00, thunderstorms that are beginning to pop here and those are the ones that will be severe. Thunderstorms in Denver and then snow tomorrow, one to three inches, this is the kind of clash of air masses we're talking about here.
This is why we have severe weather this time of year. Summer trying to come in and in between the battleground, and that's what's going to be going on later on today.
Look at the snowfall here anywhere from eight to ten to as much as 24 inches of snowfall and that is unbelievable in the next few days. Leave you with a quick update on Ana, still 60-mile-per-hour winds and not the most impressive-looking tropical storm.
But the threat will be for boating or beaches and rip currents and very heavy rainfall along with some gusty winds in the next 24 hours making landfall through the early part of Sunday morning. A lot to cover, we'll have it for you all day -- Guys.
KOSIK: Ivan Cabrera, a lot going on today.
BLACKWELL: Too much. Thank you, Ivan.
Attorneys for the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray are now calling for the prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, to step down immediately. Tell you what is in that new motion filed just last night.
BLACKWELL: The recent deaths of African-American males and you know the names Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and most recently Freddie Gray in Baltimore. They have a large group of women marching in Washington today in what they're calling the million moms march.
Many of these mothers say that their child was killed or injured at the hands of police. This is going to start around 11:00. The march to the U.S. capital where they'll demand the federal government change laws across the nation so that police departments abide by the same rules and regulations.
Now, the event is organized by Maria Hamilton. Her son was killed by a Milwaukee police officer last year. The officer was not charged, but was fired from the department for not following the rules in the moments leading up to the shooting.
We have with us this morning Maria Hamilton and her son, Nate. And it's good to have both of you to talk about this this morning. Ms. Hamilton, I want is to start first by just expressing our condolences for the loss of your son and asking about the reason you organized this march today.
MARIA HAMILTON, MOTHERS FOR JUSTICE UNITED: Well, I organized this march. The federal government came in and picked up the case in December. We have a lot of moms in Milwaukee who ask the head prosecutor not to investigate their case because he wasn't sure he could actually win the case.
And there's priority. They haven't had opportunity to grieve. I'm here in Washington to ask the DOJ to actually do a practice and policy investigation into the department so we can get some justice finally in Milwaukee.
TAPPER: Ms. Hamilton, what is, I know there is a list of demands on your organization's website. You founded Mothers for Justice United. But what is your principle demand of the federal government of the department of justice?
HAMILTON: Hold these police officers accountable for killing our children. There's no accountability in none of these police departments.
BLACKWELL: Nate, let me come to you. All around the country, we've seen some cases similar to your brother's. We've seen Ferguson, Baltimore, North Charleston, and there are differences in all of them but in some ways similar. Have you reached out to these families?
NATE HAMILTON, BROTHER SHOT BY POLICE: My mom has been in contact with a couple of the families. Me, I've just been on the ground in Milwaukee, really trying to fight for other families who lost their family members. It's been real hard. Wisconsin is the number one segregated place. It's been like a battle since he's been killed.
But we have been steadfast and consistent with marching and rallying and with direct action. Every time we get a chance we're out there letting them know how we feel.
BLACKWELL: Nate, what should we expect to see today and how many people do you expect will attend?
NATE HAMILTON: You know, I'm hoping tens of thousands come out. Help support this cause. This is a cause that has swept the nation. Not by storm because these things have been happening, but right now it's just really hit a head where people really opening their eyes to the things that's happening.
And we see police officers get off with it. You know, it's racial profiling and it's discrimination and we need to make sure that these things stop. You know, my brother he died because someone at Starbucks racially profiled him and called the officer and the two officers came and approached him and said he was doing nothing wrong.
He shot him 14 times and he lost his job because of it. But the chief justified him in the shooting. So, there's something that's not right. We need to hold these officers accountable.
BLACKWELL: All right, Maria Hamilton, Nate, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. Again, this is the million moms march starting in Washington at 11:00 and, again, our condolences on the loss of Dontre.
KOSIK: Claims of conflict of interest in the Freddie Gray murder case, will prosecutor Marilyn Mosby be forced to step down? Details just ahead.
Plus, it's been called a scheme to steal newborns. More than 70 mothers are now demanding answers believing their children could be alive after being told that they died after birth. We'll talk to one mother reunited with her daughter and another who is still holding out hope.
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BLACKWELL: Bottom of the hour now -- so good to have you with us this morning. Let's check some of the stories developing right now.
KOSIK: A South Korean defense official tells CNN North Korea has fired three ship-to-ship missiles. This after state TV reported Kim Jong-Un oversaw a successful test firing of a new underwater ballistic missile. It's still unclear when and where that launch took place. News of the launches come just days after they the communist country threatened to open fire on any South Korean naval ships that enter disputed waters.
BLACKWELL: Former Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak will soon be a free man. He could be released from prison within hours. That's according to Egyptian state media. A Cairo court of appeals has upheld a three- year sentence against Mubarak on corruption charges, but they credit him for time served. Mubarak has also been slapped with a multi- million dollar fine for embezzlement.
KOSIK: Security conditions at U.S. military bases are still heightened after growing concerns over terror threats. The level Bravo is defined by the Pentagon as an increase and predictable threat of terrorism. The move comes in the aftermath of the shooting at a Texas cartoon contest featuring drawings of the Prophet Mohammed.
BLACKWELL: And be sure to watch Fareed Zakaria's special on ISIS called "BLINDSIDED". It airs Monday night at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
KOSIK: Attorneys for the Baltimore cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray want the cases' prosecutor to step down immediately. A new motion that was filed just last night object to Marilyn Mosby's continued involvement. It spells out five conflict of interests like her friendship with an attorney for the victim's family.
CNN's Sara Sidner is live in Baltimore with the latest. Good morning, Sara. What is Mosby saying about this? SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She hasn't said a word about it. And
she's been really that she is not going to discuss or try this case in the media. She said that several times. She's also made that statement.
She has said nothing about the latest allegations against her and her office. Those are now coming and we should expect this from the defense. Those who are defending the six officers who have been charged in the death of Freddie Gray while he was in police custody.
Some of those charges, some of those allegations in this motion, which is 109 pages, by the way -- it's quite a long read. They talk about different conflicts of interest. That's mostly what they're going after saying that her relationship for example with her husband who is a councilman who represents the district where Freddie Gray died. His constituents would have wanted to see charges, want to see this case go forward that way saying that we give him political gain. She, of course, being his wife stands to gain from that. That is one of the allegations.
Another of the allegations is that the Mosby family is very close with the attorney who represents the Gray family. That he served as her personal attorney at some point. And so they say that's a conflict, as well.
Also that she may have some relationship with some of the potential witnesses in this case hand that her office went and investigated this case.
So, there are a lot of different things that are being alleged here in the motion. We should keep in mind, though, this should be no surprise. This is what normally happens when you have someone gets an attorney, the defendants get an attorney and she's going after them for other charges and this is how the legal system works -- right. There's allegations on both sides. They are asking that she step down.
We talked to her about a few of these allegations, namely the one about her husband -- that conflict and their relationship with the Gray attorney and knowing a lot of different people movers and shakers in this city who may have something to gain.
Here is how she responded to all of that when I asked her on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE CITY STATE'S ATTORNEY: There is no conflict of interest. I mean I'm going to prosecute. I'm the Baltimore city state attorney. My jurisdiction covers every district in Baltimore City. I have -- there are a number of crimes that take place in Baltimore City and, unfortunately, in the district that we live. Where is the conflict?
Would I have to take myself away from every case or crime that takes place in West Baltimore? That makes absolutely no sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[08:35:05] SIDNER: You heard it. She said there is absolutely no conflict. We also should make clear that it is not likely that she will actually be the person who tries the case. It will likely be some of her veteran prosecutors inside of the state's attorney office. That is pretty normal. That happens all around the country where the person who is the head of the office lets their veterans do their job.
But, certainly, this is an allegation. It is out there. They're going to have to be able to respond to this. We'll have to wait and see what happens. But we're seeing the beginning of the justice system turn -- Alison, Victor.
KOSIK: All right. Lots of twists and turns with this case, Sara, I'm sure you'll stay on top of it. Sara Sidner, live from Baltimore, thanks.
And there are things that you can do to help rebuild Baltimore. Go ahead and logon to CNN.com/impact for more.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about another case involving police that has sparked some really strong emotion. It's the death of Eric Garner. He died after New York police officers wrestled him to the ground while trying to arrest him. That was in July.
A Staten Island grand jury declined to indict an officer in Garner's death but now civil liberties group want an appeals court to release the grand jury records.
Donna Lieberman is the executive director the New York Civil Liberties Union which is requesting the release of these grand jury -- I guess testimony and all the documents. She joins us now. And we appreciate having you this morning.
You know, typically all of those files and you know this, are sealed. The records in the Ferguson case, the death of Michael Brown, those were released. But what are you hoping to gain by getting these records and why do you want it?
DONNA LIEBERMAN, NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION: You know, the entire world has seen the killing of Eric Garner at the hands of the New York Police Department. And I think millions of people are stunned that a grand jury could look at this case and not come back with a single criminal indictment for anything. And the grand jury proceeding has happened amid a shroud of secrecy and all that does is heighten suspicion, deepen suspicion.
BLACKWELL: But that's every grand jury, isn't it?
LIEBERMAN: It is but when a district attorney who relies on the police every day presents a case about wrongdoing by the police then the public has legitimate cause for suspicion. And we need to, there's a provision in our law that allows for the release of grand jury testimony when there's a need for it. When there's a compelling need. And boy, if ever there was a need to release what happened in that grand jury, this is the case. What went on there? What instructions did the prosecutor give to the grand jury? What crimes did he tell them to consider or was this a fix?
And we, we shouldn't have to speculate as to what happened. We're talking about whether our grand jury system needs to be reformed when it comes to dealing with police killings.
BLACKWELL: I hear you. Let me get in here and I don't want to cut you off, but I want to give you the opportunity to respond to something that a judge said in March. Decline or release the grand jury information. He said releasing them could potentially subject witnesses to intimidation, if they had to testify before a federal grand jury or a federal trial. What is your response to that?
LIEBERMAN: I think that, you know, that doesn't justify holding from the public the conduct of the district attorney in the case. What did he do? What did he tell the grand jury to consider? What did he tell the grand jury that the law was?
How many witnesses were they? What was the testimony? We don't need names. We need evidence. And if we don't have hard evidence, then we're left with a public conversation about grand jury reform, a public conversation about law enforcement tactics that's based on suspicion, not all the facts. And good policy comes from facts, not suspicion.
And I think if we're going to understand the reality of this broken windows policing, which is really the type of police behavior that led to his killing, then we need to know what happens in this case. And right now, it's shrouded in secrecy.
This is about transparency: the public's right to know and the public's quest for justice. We have questions. Do black lives really matter in Staten Island? Well, if they do, let's see.
BLACKWELL: All right. Donna Lieberman with the New York Civil Liberties Union -- thank you so much for joining us this morning.
LIEBERMAN: Thanks for having me.
KOSIK: A child bundled up into a suitcase being smuggled across international borders. It's the image that shocked security guards and the world.
[08:40:01] We're going to have the story, next.
KOSIK: It's an image that shocked border security guards. An x-ray showing an eight-year-old boy tucked into a suitcase as a woman attempted to smuggle him through security from Morocco into Spain. Rafael Romo has the heartbreaking story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police are still not sure how long the young boy spent tucked into the pink, medium-sized polyester suitcase pressed against a few personal belongings. The boy was bundled tightly in a fetal position inside the suitcase.
According to the Spanish civil guard, he is eight years old and is a native of Ivory Coast in Africa. A spokesman for the Spanish civil guard says the border guards became suspicious when a 21-year-old woman, a Moroccan national, showed signs of nervousness. She attempted to cross the border into Spain from Morocco wheeling the suitcase down the street.
The woman was arrested at the border. A man who is apparently the boy's father was also arrested a few hours after the boy was found. Meanwhile, the boy has been placed in the custody of Spanish authorities pending confirmation that the man arrested is, indeed, his father and also pending legal action.
[08:45:00] Reacting to the case the Spanish civil guard spokesman said, "We are perplexed about the desperate things people do to get smuggled or smuggle their children into the country."
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
BLACKWELL: You've got to watch this. Just turn for a moment to the screen. A mother reunites with her daughter. And it's reigniting hope for dozens of women who believe their babies may have been stolen from a St. Louis hospital.
We'll speak with one mother who had that joyous reunion -- you'll see in a moment and another who's hoping for one in the future.
Stay with us.
BLACKWELL: All right. It's time now for a story that we have been following for weeks here at CNN: St. Louis mothers who believe that their babies were stolen from them decades ago at the now shuttered St. Louis hospital. New this morning our CNN affiliate KMOX is reporting that more than 70, 7-0, 70 women have reached out to the governor saying they believe their babies may have been stolen.
And now Mayor Francis Slay's office is vowing to get them answers. And those pleas, you have to watch this, those pleas for help were all sparked by this woman -- Zella Jackson Price. This is this reunion with her daughter, Melanie, nearly 50 years after she was told that this girl then was dead.
Zella Jackson Price is with us live this morning along with Brenda Stewart. They believe -- Brenda Stewart at least believes her baby may have been stolen from that St. Louis hospital, as well. Ladies -- good to have you this morning.
ZELLA JACKSON PRICE, REUNITED WITH DAUGHTER: Good morning.
F1: Good morning.
[08:50:00] BLACKWELL: Miss Jackson-Price, I want to start with you. What did that moment feel like?
JACKSON-PRICE: Well, let me start with 4:00 in the morning. On my phone, on my smart phone and let you know I'm 76 and I just got this smart phone last year. And I had to really learn how to work this smart phone so I didn't do messages and texts and all I did was pictures and babies and flowers.
BLACKWELL: You got a text from someone?
JACKSON-PRICE: Yes. I got a 4:00 a.m. text from my granddaughter from Oregon and the message read, "My name is Mahisca May Jackson and my mother's name is Melanie Diane and my mother believes that you are her mother." And I said straight up, I said, "Baby, what makes you think that I'm her mother and you're my granddaughter?"
She said, "My mother was born in St. Louis at Homer G. Phillips Hospital November 25th, 1965. Does that ring a bell with you?" I said "I had a baby on that date, but my baby passed." And she said "My mother believes you are her mother."
So to make a long story short, she asked me would I be willing to do a DNA. I said, yes, I'll be willing. And so as we were waiting on the results the other kids, my grandson, Sam, said if the results are negative, will you still be our grandma? They started calling me grandma right away. I said, "Yes, I'll still be your grandma". And the results came in 99.997.
Plus, also, during this time she said, you could see her on my page so she friended me and I saw her on my page. We had friended each other.
BLACKWELL: Did you recognize the resemblance?
JACKSON-PRICE: Yes, I did.
BLACKWELL: You recognized the resemblance?
JACKSON-PRICE: Yes, I did.
BLACKWELL: Let me come to you. What is your story and why do you believe this hospital or from this hospital your baby was stolen?
BRENDA STEWART, BELIEVES BABY WAS TAKEN IN 1964: Ok. Well on June 24th, 1964, I had a baby girl, also at Homer G. Phillips Hospital. And in the procedure of having this baby the things that they were doing was just, just wasn't -- didn't seem right. After I delivered the baby they held the baby up and let me see her and then they took the baby over to the table and they suctioned her out. After they suctioned her they put her in a blanket and they took her out of the room.
So, I'm asking -- I like to see my baby. And no one said anything to me. And then I said it again in a rougher voice. I want to see my baby. And someone said to me, your baby's dead. And I thought, well how could my baby be dead and I heard her cry.
BLACKWELL: Did they give you a death certificate?
STEWART: No. I didn't get a death certificate or a birth certificate.
BLACKWELL: Miss Jackson-Price. We know that there is now this pledge, this vow from the mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay to get you answers. After so long and now that you have your daughter, what does that mean for you to have at least that pledge from the mayor?
JACKSON-PRICE: I'm feeling some closure coming and, also, some answers are probably going to be revealed. And I'm glad that I am a voice for other women that this has happened to because if I hadn't been found by my daughter, this would still be laying dormant, you know, covered up. I am just so glad that I have a live child.
Some of these mothers' children might or might not be found. My children found me. So, look for your parents if you're foster or adopted children. Look for them.
BLACKWELL: You think about the number, 70 women now coming forward saying that they believe that maybe their babies were stolen. Have you heard, Miss Stewart, from the governor?
STEWART: No, I haven't. I haven't heard from city officials -- none of them. No, I haven't.
BLACKWELL: Tell me, what action do you want to be taken officially? The mayor says that he's vowing to get answers. But what would you like them specifically to do for these women, for yourself and the other women.
JACKSON-PRICE: Well, first of all, answers and to find out what happened. Were there babies being trafficked because there were a lot of black mothers, especially black women that were not child bearing, could not bear children but there were no adoption agencies back then for these women and I believe these babies came to these women through that source.
[08:55:07] And they seem to have chose young mothers, single mothers and they made a choice look like you don't need this mother. You need this baby. There were a lot of young mothers that seem to have lost their babies, thought they were dead.
You know, when you're a doctor or a nurse, we hold that profession in such high esteem so when you give us an answer, we believe it. And, of course, nowadays, everybody asks for second opinions and what have you, I want to see it. You know Missouri -- show me.
BLACKWELL: Miss Jackson -- let me get in here just real quickly. We only have 30 seconds left. I just want to know, how has being reunited with your daughter and now these grandchildren changed your life? JACKSON-PRICE: Yes, it has. My life changed on February 20th at 4:00
a.m. I've seen her, I've held her, I've hugged her and, you know, every mother knows their child's fragrance. To smell her -- this is me. And I've enjoyed it. She'll be moving back here in St. Louis in June. She looks like me.
BLACKWELL: She looks like you. We've seen the video.
JACKSON-PRICE: Yes, she does. Yes, she does.
BLACKWELL: We're so happy that you have been reunited with your daughter now, these grandchildren. Miss Zella Jackson-Price.
BLACKWELL: And Miss Brenda Stewart, we also hope answers for you and the 70 women we're told now who have come forward.
Thank you so much for speaking with us on NEW DAY.
JACKSON-PRICE: Thank you.
KOSIK: Wow, amazing story. My favorite, this Mother's Day weekend.
All right. That's it for us. We're going to see you back here at 10:00 Eastern in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Don't go anywhere "SMERCONISH" starts right after this quick break.