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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

Three Boys Found Dead In Trunk Of Car; Attack In Iraq Deadliest For Women In U.S. History

Aired June 25, 2005 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING begins right now.
A grim discovery as a family's worst fears are realized. Now the investigation into the deaths of the three boys in Camden begins.

From the CNN Center, this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING. It is June 25, 8:00 a.m. right here at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, and 7:00 a.m. in the nation's heartland.

And good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Betty Nguyen. We want to thank you for being with us.

We'll have a live report from New Jersey in just a moment.

But first, here's a look at what's now in the news.

In Aruba, an expert rescue team from Texas will take up the exhaustive search for Natalee Holloway.

Also, five suspects in the disappearance of the Alabama teen will appear in court today. We'll get a live update from Aruba in just four minutes.

Overnight, the results in Iran's presidential runoff are raising some eyebrows in the U.S. and from its allies. Tehran's hardline mayor, Mahmoud Akmarin Najad (ph), trounced his moderate rival, former president Ayatollah Hashimi Rafsanjani. White House officials called last week's original election unfair, since many candidates were barred from running.

Taiwan has reimposed a ban on imports from U.S. regarding the beef. This comes after tests confirm the second case of mad cow disease in the U.S. However, the Agriculture Department says the animal never entered the food chain, so the meat supply is safe.

And you can experience the power of CNN video on your computer. All you have to do is log on to cnn.com, click on the Video link, and browse for the video you want to see, whenever you want it.

HARRIS: And here are just a few of the reasons you'll want to stay with us this hour.

First in Iraq, a single attack creates the deadliest day for female troops since the war began. We'll have a live report.

Then, fears of the flu. A new vaccine could offer hope. And Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us all about it in "HOUSE CALL."

And the many views of Tom Cruise after a war of words in a celebrity interview. That's all it was, it was just a celebrity interview. Some say he's blown a fuse. What's your review?

NGUYEN: But first, we want to start with the desperate search for three missing boys in New Jersey that is over. But authorities in Camden don't know yet if it's a case of foul play or just a tragic accident.

CNN's Mary Snow joins us now live from Camden with the latest. This is not the news their parents wanted to hear, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Betty.

And this community is really gripped this morning by shock and sorrow, and now there is a search for answers. Last night around 7:00 p.m., David Agosto found the body of his son and two of his son's friends in the trunk of a car not far from where the boys disappeared on Wednesday.

It is not clear, police say, what led Agosto to that trunk. Camden's police chief also said last night that police had initially searched that car, and, he said, logs are being checked to determine which officers had been over this -- at the scene.

Now, over the past two days, there had been an extensive search for the boys. That search included divers, bloodhounds, volunteers. Police also checked the sex-offender registry in the community.

The boys, 11-year-old Anibel Cruz, 6-year-old Daniel Agosto, and 5-year-old Jesstin Pagan were last seen playing together late Wednesday afternoon just steps from where their bodies had been discovered.

As you mentioned, that police at this point do not know whether or not the boys died as a result of an accident or foul play. Autopsies are being conducted. Officials do say that different individuals are being interviewed.

Now, meantime, last night, family members were taken to police headquarters for what police describe as a debriefing and counseling. They pointed out that the family members were not considered suspects.

Now, early this morning, neighbors have been stopping by, leaving flowers, teddy bears, lighting candles in what is becoming a makeshift memorial to these little boys, this as the search for answers now begins, Betty.

NGUYEN: As you mention, a lot of questions. Hopefully this autopsy will -- or these autopsies will help determine exactly what happened. Mary Snow, thank you. HARRIS: And now to the case of a teenager still missing in Aruba. In a courtroom today, there'll be five suspects and two judges, one sitting on the bench, the other standing in front of it, all suspects in the case of Natalee Holloway, not seen in Aruba since May 30.

Our Chris Lawrence is in Palm Beach with more. Chris?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Tony, they're all expected to be in court today. And any of the judges who are hearing the cases of Paul van der Sloot, his son, Joran (ph), and these other three suspects, all those searchers are being brought in from another island, like Curacao, to make sure they are as impartial as possible.

They've been intensely interrogated, including the father, over the last day or so. And we're now hearing their stories are changing. Let's bring you up to date.

Natalee's friends last saw her leaving a bar about four weeks ago. She drove off with Joran van der Sloot and two brothers. Now they told police and everybody else that they all dropped off Natalee back here at the Holiday Inn. That story is changing. The Kalpoe (ph) brothers' mother says her son now tells her they dropped off Natalee and Joran at a beach down the road.

And Anita van der Sloot, Joran's mother, says, he now telling her, Yes, I did spend time at that beach with Natalee, but then I left her alone because she wanted to stay.

Now, as all that plays out behind closed doors, you've got plenty of people still out there searching for exactly what happened to Natalee. A volunteer team from Texas, an advance team arrived a couple days ago, they hit the ground running. The full team arrived just last night.

And later this morning, they will be coming out with search dogs, master divers, sonar equipment, trying to find any evidence at all that may have been missed the first time around, Tony.

HARRIS: CNN's Chris Lawrence. Chris, we appreciate it. Thank you.

NGUYEN: An attack Thursday on a U.S. convoy in Iraq may be the deadliest day for American women in uniform since World War II. At least four U.S. troops were killed in a suicidal ambush. Three of them were women.

Want to get more now from CNN's Ed Henry at the Pentagon. Good morning, Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Betty.

That's right. What's new this morning is, the Pentagon has confirmed the identity of one of the female Marines that you mentioned was killed in this attack. She is Lance Corporal Holly Sheret (ph), just 21 years old, from Cranston, Rhode Island. Back in May, Sheret was profiled on the Marines' official Web site. They said she was serving as a mail clerk, and she spoke of the joy of bringing letters from home to her colleagues in the Marines serving there in Iraq.

She also had a dream of getting out, coming home next year, and serving in the U.S. Postal Service here in the United States. Obviously that dream now cut short, and this incident is highlighting the difficulty of keeping female troops out of the line of fire in Iraq. As you know, current Pentagon policy prevents women from serving in combat units like infantry and special forces. But given the strength of the insurgency in Iraq, it's hard to keep women out of the front lines, as we saw in this convoy attack Thursday evening.

Sources here say many of the Marines either killed or wounded in this incident are part of the unit called the Lioness Team. That's an all-female unit that searches female Iraqi civilians at checkpoints near Fallujah. The idea is to try to make sure there is respect and sensitivity for Muslim traditions for the female Iraqi civilians that are being searched.

And overall, Betty, women make up about 8 percent of the United States military population in Iraq. That's why this deadly incident is certainly raising some new questions exactly about how difficult it is to keep women out of the front lines in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, Betty.

NGUYEN: CNN's Ed Henry at the Pentagon. Thank you for that.

And we do want to tell you, this just in from the Defense Department, saying that -- or at least naming another Marine who died in that suicide bombing that Ed was just talking about. Corporal Carlos Penetta (ph), 23 years old, from Los Angeles, California, is the name.

We'll continue to keep you updated.

HARRIS: Well, Thursday's attack comes at a time when Americans have been debating the role of women in combat zones. (INAUDIBLE) "USA Today" Gallup poll last month, 54 percent of those polled said they oppose female combat troops, while 44 percent said they favored it. Women make up 8 percent of the U.S. military population currently in Iraq, where the front lines are less defined than in previous wars due to the insurgency.

And that brings us to our e-mail question, Should women in the military be on the front lines? E-mail us now at weekends@cnn.com, and we'll read your responses throughout the morning.

NGUYEN: Now to security watch, where we update you on the week's major developments on the war on terror every Saturday morning.

The Transportation Security Administration said this week it had used private companies to collect and store personal information on airline passengers. It was done during a test of the new passenger screening program called Secure Flight. The government said the data collected did not compromise passenger privacy. Experts told Congress Tuesday there are several problems with the methods used to detect nuclear materials at the nation's ports. Among them, dozens of daily false alarms from radiation monitors. The security manager for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the Jersey port sees about 150 false alarms each day, more than 10 times the number originally expected.

And arms experts recently surveyed say there's as much as a 70 percent chance a weapon of mass destruction will be used in an attack somewhere in the world in the next 10 years. Most of the experts polled believed one or two new countries will acquire nuclear weapons in the next five years.

You want to stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE), it seems to be a risky business. (INAUDIBLE), risky business.

NGUYEN: Ah, we're talking about Tom Cruise?

HARRIS: Yes, just sit down and do a little interview with...

NGUYEN: How did I know?

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: ... Tom Cruise. You could end up as collateral...

NGUYEN: Oh, here we go.

HARRIS: ... damage.

Yes, "War of the Worlds" promotional tour becomes a war of words as he makes the morning show rounds. We'll take a closer look.

NGUYEN: And good morning to the Windy City, as the sun still coming up there. We'll -- we understand you're going to see a little bit of the wet weather today. But you know what? Rob's coming up, and he will have all the details on that, and the forecast for the rest of the nation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: And checking our top stories, three missing boys are found dead in the trunk of a car in New Jersey. The father of one of the boys made the grim discovery last night. Camden authorities say they don't know whether the deaths are a criminal act or a tragic accident.

In Thailand, a wreath laying. A British forensic team marks the sixth-month anniversary of the deadly tsunami that struck Asia. Seventy-two British victims have been identified among the thousands killed.

Elsewhere in Asia, after two weeks of flooding across China, 31 more people are found dead. Authorities say 567 people have died. Roads and rail lines are cut in a southern province, and more than 2 million people have been evacuated. (INAUDIBLE).

NGUYEN: Too much rain in China.

But you look at the temperatures today, it seems like some folks might want a little rain.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE).

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: (INAUDIBLE), you know, the -- it's part of the reason to rain, but they just had a horrible foresting practice over here. They've clear-cut so many forests...

HARRIS: Oh, (INAUDIBLE)...

MARCIANO: ... you know.

NGUYEN: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) station.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE).

MARCIANO: A lot of (INAUDIBLE) rivers get filled up with sediment. Anyway, so that's one solution.

(LAUGHTER)

(WEATHER FORECAST)

MARCIANO: Stay cool out there.

NGUYEN: Yes, enjoy it right now.

MARCIANO: Head to the lake, might want to head to the beach across the Eastern seaboard as well. Not a bad call there.

What are we talking about now?

HARRIS: Cooler than Cruise has been lately. He's been a little (INAUDIBLE)...

NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE).

MARCIANO: You know, they're registered...

(CROSSTALK)

MARCIANO: ... those guys are registered at Target.

NGUYEN: They are not.

MARCIANO: Yes, (INAUDIBLE)...

HARRIS: Are they really?

MARCIANO: Nothing but cuckoo clocks. (LAUGHTER)

NGUYEN: Rob.

MARCIANO: Pick one of those up and (INAUDIBLE).

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: So here's the deal.

MARCIANO: What do you have? Are we going to show that interview?

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS: Here we go.

NGUYEN: This is the good stuff, guys.

HARRIS: We're basically going to sort of peruse the reviews on Tom Cruise lately. He's got a new film coming out, "War of the Worlds"...

NGUYEN: Right.

HARRIS: ... and he's got a hot romance, all aflame.

MARCIANO: (INAUDIBLE).

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE).

NGUYEN: All (INAUDIBLE) two months?

HARRIS: Yes. Yes, and now he's -- you're right...

NGUYEN: Just saying.

HARRIS: ... a little hot under the collar...

NGUYEN: I'm just saying.

HARRIS: for whatever reason here.

NGUYEN: OK.

So, others say he's doing what he's paid to do. And that is, of course, like you mentioned, (INAUDIBLE)...

HARRIS: Yes.

NGUYEN: ... commercial cues. So what's the general review, though? Well, our Anderson Cooper has this preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM CRUISE: Incredible. (CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tom Cruise has always seemed, well, controlled, smooth with the media, maybe a little scripted.

CRUISE: I love Spielberg.

I love Spielberg.

COOPER: Friday on the "Today" show, however, the script got thrown out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY," NBC)

CRUISE: Matt, I'm asking you a question. Do you know...

MATT LAUER, HOST: I understand there's abuse of all of these things.

CRUISE: No, you see, here's the problem. You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: What was supposed to be an interview promoting Cruise's new film, "War of the Worlds," turned into a war of words over his Scientology beliefs and psychiatry. Case you were wondering, Scientologists don't exactly approve of psychotropic drugs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY," NBC)

CRUISE: Do you know what Alderol is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: They even got into Cruise's recent comments criticizing Brooke Shields for saying antidepressants helped her deal with postpartum depression.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY," NBC)

CRUISE: The thing that I'm saying about Brooke is that there's misinformation, OK, and she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A theme began to emerge. Matt LAUER and Brooke Shields don't know the history of psychiatry, Tom Cruise does. But we don't want to sound glib.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY," NBC)

LAUER: But aren't there examples where it works? CRUISE: Matt, Matt, Matt, you don't even -- you're glib.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And focus, and focus.

COOPER: Is Tom coming unglued? Maybe the grueling promotional tour is getting to him. After all, in 10 days he's flown from Tokyo to Berlin to Paris and Marseilles, Madrid, London, then New York. Maybe he should have taken something for jet lag. But we know how he feels about drugs.

CRUISE: You're a jerk.

COOPER: Or maybe getting squirted with water at the London premiere was the last straw.

Which brings us to last night, and the movie's premiere in New York. A goon squad kept a close eye on the crowds.

CRUISE: I can't restrain myself.

I try to restrain myself, but I can't.

COOPER: Or maybe the giddiness of a new love finally sent him over the edge. Or maybe it was just Matt Lauer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY," NBC)

CRUISE: You should be a little bit more responsible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: But the weekend's here. Tom, take a breath, not a chill pill. You're due to face the media at another premier in L.A. on Monday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NGUYEN: Wow.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE) it wasn't Matt Lauer. Let's, let's, let's.

MARCIANO: Well, listen, if he had done the interview...

HARRIS: Yes.

MARCIANO: ... with you guys, you would have been a lot more respectful...

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE).

MARCIANO: ... less glib. And maybe he wouldn't have harassed you so much.

(LAUGHTER) NGUYEN: It makes me want to see the whole thing in its entirety, just to, you know...

HARRIS: Well...

MARCIANO: And that would (INAUDIBLE)...

NGUYEN: ... fill in the blanks.

MARCIANO: ... drive our viewers to another network. We wouldn't want that.

HARRIS: Well...

(LAUGHTER)

MARCIANO: I think you can get more on the Web site (INAUDIBLE)...

NGUYEN: Yes, and it's free on the Web site, by the way, that's cnn.com (INAUDIBLE).

MARCIANO: That's right.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE)...

NGUYEN: (INAUDIBLE)...

HARRIS: ... it wasn't Matt. He's just, he's doing his job. He's asking questions. And Tom got a little tort. OK.

MARCIANO: He's not beating up Tom, that's, he's probably wants a raise.

(LAUGHTER)

NGUYEN: All right. (INAUDIBLE) move on.

HARRIS: That's still to come.

NGUYEN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE) mystery in a blue drape. Justice is once again revealed. As always, we're keeping you abreast.

NGUYEN: That's ahead.

HARRIS: Goings-on in Washington.

NGUYEN: Yes.

And the legendary evangelist tells his flock to come one, come all, and they respond by the thousands. HARRIS: But first, al Qaeda CNN extra. "Reader's Digest" has compiled its first-ever list of America's cleanest big cities. The top three, Portland, Oregon, San Jose, California, and Buffalo, New York. The rankings were based on things like air and water pollution, toxic emissions, and the number of sanitation workers per capita. At the very bottom of the list, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Chicago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NGUYEN: Other news across America now.

A standing ovation for the Reverend Billy Graham in New York. About 60,000 heeded his call to a three-day revival. This is likely to be Graham's last crusade in the U.S. Illness has left him frail and weakened his once-powerful voice.

In Arizona, residents begin to return after a windblown wildfire chased them from their homes. The blaze has grown to more than 60,000 acres, but turned away from an upscale community northeast of Phoenix. Many did return to find their homes intact. You know they're thankful of that. Others, though, found piles of ashes with only chimneys still standing.

And the Spirit of Justice is revealed. Yes, once again, in Washington, you'll see what we're talking about. Look there in the background. You may recall...

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE).

NGUYEN: ... the bare-breast statue was covered in drapes about four years ago. Well, aides deny it was ordered by former attorney general John Ashcroft. His successor, Alberto Gonzales, had those drapes removed.

HARRIS: That brings us to our -- that doesn't bring us to our...

NGUYEN: No, it doesn't.

HARRIS: ... e-mail question.

(LAUGHTER)

NGUYEN: No, not at all.

HARRIS: (INAUDIBLE) that was terrible.

Official Pentagon policy is that women do not serve in combat units, but in Iraq and Afghanistan, anywhere can be the front lines. Our question for you this morning, Should women in the military be on the front lines?

And we've got one e-mail from Caitlin we can share with you. We've got enough time for this one from East Lansing. And she writes, "The undeniable fact is that the primary reason for keeping women off of the front lines is to keep headlines like the ones you're leading with today from turning America's tender hearts against war. If a woman soldier -- women soldiers are given different kinds of assignments than men on any basis other than ability, the men will never respect the women as their equals. If a woman signs up to serve her country, and is capable of doing any sort of service, it should be open to her."

And we want to thank you for your responses, and encourage you to send more along this morning at weekends@cnn.com. And we'll be reading your responses throughout the morning.

NGUYEN: Coming up at the top of the hour, another case of mad cow disease has been identified right here in the U.S. And the economic fallout has already begun.

We have those detail in just 30 minutes.

HARRIS: But first, "HOUSE CALL" has a medical news checkup. Dr. Sanjay Gupta updates us on flu pandemic fears, as well as the future of some of our most popular painkillers.

We'll see you at the top of the hour.

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