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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Reuniting Hurricane Survivors
Aired September 12, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PHIL MCGRAW, GUEST HOST (voice-over): Tonight, reuniting the living, recovering the dead, restoring a sense of security. How do you hold it together after a life-shattering storm; all that and much, much more next on LARRY KING LIVE?
MCGRAW: Well, hello. You're not looking at Larry King tonight. It is Dr. Phil McGraw. I'm filling in for Larry. He will be back on Wednesday when he will be having an exclusive interview with Michael Brown, who resigned today as the head of FEMA.
He has been replaced at least in an acting capacity with Mr. Paulson, who apparently has three decades of experience in fire and disaster recovery, so we'll be watching to see what happens there.
Tonight, we're going to be talking about Katrina. We're going to be talking about the aftermath. We're going to be talking about what happens now as this city fights to come back alive. But yet today we have discovered another levee that is in danger. Apparently, the levee on the London Canal is in danger.
My first guest tonight I would like to welcome is Ernie Allen. Ernie is president and CEO of the National Center for Missing And Exploited Children, Ernie welcome to the show.
ERNIE ALLEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: Thank you, Phil.
MCGRAW: So, tell me what you guys are facing in the aftermath of Katrina at this point.
ALLEN: Phil, it's a massive problem. The Justice Department asked us to create a special national missing persons Web site for Katrina victims. Since last Monday, we've handled 14,000 calls, have intake now 2,200 reports of missing children or dislocated children and while we've recovered 466 of them that leaves 1,700 kids unaccounted for.
MCGRAW: OK. Were these children that became separated from their families at the time of the disaster or have they been lost in the shelter system? Do we know if they're alive or dead? I mean what do we know about it? ALLEN: We really don't. We're learning about them one story at a time. We've seen many of these children who were separated from their parents in the exodus from New Orleans. Lots of these parents said "Save my children first" and put them into the scarce seats on the boats and helicopters and are just trying to catch up.
MCGRAW: All right, now when you say that you have -- tell me again how many you have located or have been registered with you at this point?
ALLEN: Twenty-two hundred.
MCGRAW: And how do people do that? I mean are these mothers and fathers from shelters, extended family members that contact you, register through the Red Cross? How does someone do that?
ALLEN: Well, all of these people are calling the special toll- free hotline we've set up and most of them are parents who are saying "I can't find my child." We've also gone into the shelters. We have a team of people on the ground, who have worked with social services agencies to identify children who are by themselves in the shelters, so it's a real combination.
MCGRAW: If you see a child registered on your Web site does that mean that they're just out there lost and alone? What I found, as you may know, I've spent time at the Astrodome. I've spent time with the evacuees in Dallas. Some are at Reunion Center. Some are at the convention center. And, there's a lack of information out there. I found that wives went one way on a bus. Husbands went to North Texas on a bus. Is it possible that one parent or the other has the child but they've just not been able to connect?
ALLEN: Well, we think there are a number of these cases where family members or neighbors or friends may have the child and haven't connected. We also think that there is some number of these where the child didn't survive. We hope it's a very small number. So, we agree with you. We think ultimately this is a test of information, of networking and sharing information.
MCGRAW: One of the things that I've been concerned about is I've talked to different agencies involved in the aftermath of Katrina, including the community mental health organizations that deal with the psychological issues is that this glut of people that are all of a sudden in need of agency services is going to overload the system in certain areas to the point that you can't handle everything that's coming in and you can't keep up your regular mission, your regular activity with the influx of, as you say, 2,200 people. How are you handling that?
ALLEN: Well, one of the things we did when the Justice Department asked us to do it is we decided not to use our regular missing children's hotline because we have an obligation to other searching parents that we not dilute or divert the resources that we're using to find their children.
So, we created a separate hotline manned by retired law enforcement volunteers so we're trying to do the best we can not to diminish the other resources available.
MCGRAW: Well, as I'm sure you know, in the south and I'm from the south, you probably couldn't tell, but certainly in Louisiana, I think it has one of the best extended family systems of any part of the country I've ever encountered aunts, uncles, grandparents, great- grandparents who stay involved with the nuclear family.
Are some of these children going to family members and maybe there's not -- because I know there are massive phone outages throughout Louisiana is there going to be good news on a lot of these kids?
ALLEN: I think there's going to be good news on most of these kids and what we've seen across the southeast is incredible response by social services agencies. We've worked particularly close with social services agencies in Louisiana and Texas and the work those people are doing is heroic.
MCGRAW: Well, I want to talk about how many orphans are in the system. I want to talk about foster care and what's going to happen there and we'll do that right after the break, more when we come back.
MCGRAW: Dr. Phil here filling in for Larry King tonight. He'll be back Wednesday, exclusive interview with Mike Brown, Michael Brown that just resigned from FEMA today.
With me tonight I've got a number of guests. Chief Eddie Compass, New Orleans Police Chief; Mark Malcolm, chief coroner from Pulaski County in Arkansas that's helping with recovering the dead in New Orleans since last week; Robert Jensen, President and CEO of Kenyon International, a disaster management company; and, James Bernazzani, an FBI special agent in charge in New Orleans.
We will be talking to our panel here in just a bit. But first, Anderson Cooper are you there?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Dr. Phil, I'm here.
MCGRAW: It's good to see you. We talked just this weekend down there and you are in Algiers, is that right?
COOPER: I am just across the river from New Orleans looking at the skyline of New Orleans right now.
MCGRAW: Great, so what can you tell us about what's happened on site down there today?
COOPER: Well, there was a report a few moments ago about a levee break and we just want to clarify there has not been a levee break. George Nelson just made a statement from the state Department of Transportation and Development, said that those reports were erroneous. Someone on the scene had made them.
Basically what happened the London Street Canal there was an increase in water pressure. That water they were actually pumping water out. The water came over the levee so it appeared to some people that the levee had broken. It, in fact, has not so the state wanted to make that very clear not to make any more people worried.
The water levels have gone down. New Orleans is about 40 percent covered right now. Dr. Phil, I think when we talked just on Friday it was about 50 percent but now it's down to 40 percent, so that is certainly some good news.
A lot more work to be done, the gruesome work of recovering our neighbors, your countrymen who have died likely in their homes. Recovering those bodies continues right now. The death toll relatively minor about 512, anticipate that to grow significantly as you know as this water level rises and more and more people are found -- Dr. Phil.
MCGRAW: All right, Anderson, what can you tell us about the president's visit today?
COOPER: He made a visit. He spent the night actually on a ship, the USS Iwo Jima, which is behind me and it was his first time really an up close look at the devastation in New Orleans. He toured around downtown new Orleans looking at some of the destroyed buildings, some of the debris which is, as you know, Dr. Phil, still littering the streets here.
A lot of questions about FEMA, about the FEMA director who resigned today, President Bush kind of passing answering a lot of those questions. He said it's up to Congress to investigate what went wrong and he wants to see it.
He said, you know, it's very easy to play the blame game right now but he's going to be waiting for Congress to look at all, you know, all branches of government state, local and federal trying to figure out where the problems lay -- Dr. Phil.
MCGRAW: How did people on the ground in New Orleans respond to President Bush when he was there today?
COOPER: You know I think it's always exciting for people to see the president, you know, but there is a lot of anger and a lot of frustration and a lot of questions people have about not just the federal government response but about the state government response and the local government response.
We're hearing a lot from politicians saying, look, now is not the time to point fingers and ask questions. I think some people here, you know, would respond well when is the time because the world is watching right now and, you know, this is the time some would argue to ask those questions and actually get answers when people are paying attention.
MCGRAW: All right, Anderson, thanks so much and just to clarify further then earlier reports that there might be a breach or a leak in another levee seem to be just a change in water pressure, so at this point nothing confirmed on that and there appears not to be a leak in the levee concerning the London Canal.
Chief Compass are you there?
CHIEF EDDIE COMPASS, NEW ORLEANS POLICE: Yes, sir.
MCGRAW: All right, it's good to see you again. You and I just talked recently. How are things down there today any change you can report?
COMPASS: I'll tell you sir it's a great day today. We have those cruise ships in. We have the officers boarded on one cruise ship already. We're about to load the second one up. I mean, Dr. Phil, if you could have saw the faces on those police officers it brought tears to your eyes. They were so happy they finally have a place to call home after a long wait in the streets and believe you me it is nothing but euphoria on the police department right now.
MCGRAW: Well, that's great to hear. Now, you have approximately half of the existing police force has been rotating out for some R&R is that true?
COMPASS: Exactly, sir. We have about 1,350 officers and we've rotated almost the entire department now and we're almost at the point where we're starting on that second rotation.
MCGRAW: All right and there was a shakeup today in FEMA obviously with the resignation of the FEMA head, any impact on you guys or what you're doing down there?
COMPASS: Sir, I'm basically dealing with the law enforcement aspect of it and my counterparts in law enforcement are the military and I'm dealing with Admiral Allen from the federal side and the state and local federal agencies and we have a great relationship.
We have our communications system up and running. We have equipment coming in. As the land dries out we're occupying it with police officers and military personnel. There are about 250 people that we've arrested so far. We have a jail in place. We're getting vehicles in. We have our computers up. We're getting our reporting system in place. I mean we're starting to look like a police department again.
MCGRAW: All right, so things are getting better and I understand that today you're allowing business owners, if they have the proper credentials, to come back in and assess the damage and recover some records, is that true?
COMPASS: Well, Sherry Lander (ph) of the mayor's office is coordinating that, sir, and I don't have all the information on that part of the operation but tomorrow I'm going to ask her about it and I think that was one of the things that they were trying to put in place.
MCGRAW: All right, have you moved to one of the ships where you can get some sleep? COMPASS: Yes, sir I have, believe you me. I'm looking forward to it. As a matter of fact, I have my bags in the car. This is going to be the first time I'm going to really get a good night's sleep since I've been here and I'm finally going to give that cot up outside my office and I'm definitely looking forward to it.
MCGRAW: Chief, tell us what role your officers are going to have in the recovery of those that have lost their lives in Katrina. We know that there are still bodies in the neighborhoods. Are the police officers going to be directly involved in this recovery effort?
COMPASS: The demort unit is handling that and that's the officers of Terry Ebbert our homeland security director, so we're going to have a role but Colonel Ebbert is going to define the role for us in detail and he's the person that's going to handle that aspect of the operation.
MCGRAW: All right, Mark Malcolm, chief coroner from Pulaski County in Arkansas, you're going to be involved in this recovery effort, true?
Yes, Dr. Phil, we've been on the ground now making the recovery for about a week. We've had teams all over the city of New Orleans. We had a team at St. Bernard Parish for the last several days, including the days during the time that we were trying to make the recoveries from the St. Regis Nursing Home up there. So, we're here and we'll be here for the foreseeable future.
MCGRAW: Well, this is a long and grim task. I mean how many people do you have on the ground there and do you have any way at this point of estimating how involved this process is going to be?
MALCOLM: We have a significant number. I'll tell you the truth I don't know the exact number. We have a significant number of people on the ground. We put out six teams today in different areas around New Orleans and we were in St. Bernard's Parish again today and it is -- there is a grim factor to it. There's no doubt about that.
It's not only a mentally taxing task but it's also physically affective on all of us. You know it's hot here. You're from the south. I am too. It's a -- you know it's summertime in the south and so it's hot out there on everybody every day and you're in all of your protective gear.
And so you have to keep everybody hydrated and fed and try to get them cooling time but there's also, you know, the time is important. We need to be on the ground. We need to be making the recoveries. It's time to do that and we're making a significant number of recoveries each day.
MCGRAW: I was actually in the neighborhoods over the weekend and I saw a number of bodies in the water and washed up on dry ground that I can only assume have been there for almost two weeks now. What effect does the subtropical climate have on the ability to do the identification so you can notify family members? Does it affect DNA and fingerprints and all the other things that you use to identify a body?
MALCOLM: I mean the decomposition process obviously causes a great deal of changes in the body and in this heat and in the water and kind of the toxic situation of the water I'm sure that that worsens. DNA is still available, always available even with the state of decomposition that we're seeing now. Fingerprints become a little iffy after the exposure and the petrification if it goes on but the DNA is still there and they'll be -- the identifications will be made.
MCGRAW: You're basically there working under the direction of the Kenyon International, which is a disaster management company, is that true?
MALCOLM: Yes, sir it is.
MCGRAW: So, you're coordinating efforts with all of those.
Robert Jensen, what do you see as your biggest challenge right now?
ROBERT JENSEN, KENYON INTERNATIONAL: Well, Dr. Phil, there's a lot of challenges. The biggest challenge right now is just getting the right information and making sure that information is shared. Mass fatalities aren't easy. They are long processes.
It's being able to communicate that information so families know that activity is actually taking place, their loved ones are being treated with dignity and respect and just managing and working and coordinating with all the different agencies that play such a key role.
There's a lot of local officials who have been here. They've had a lot of damage to the area and they've worked so hard and so it's coordinating some of those efforts to make sure that everyone...
MCGRAW: Sorry to interrupt you. I'm going to take a break.
But I want to come back and ask you if you can talk to us some about the time line and what all of you expect over say the next 30, 60, 90 days. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recover effort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCGRAW: Dr. Phil here filling in for Larry King tonight.
My panel we have Chief Eddie Compass, New Orleans Police Chief; Mark Malcolm, corner that's helping everyone on the ground with the body recovery; Robert Jensen, president and CEO of Kenyon International and Ernie Allen, the president and CEO that's dealing with all of the missing children reports numbering as may as 2,200.
Robert Jensen, if I could pick back up with you as a disaster management team what do you see here? How does this compare to the other disasters we've seen like the tsunami? What kind of time line are you looking at here?
JENSEN: Well, Dr. Phil, we had teams in the tsunami and were there probably on the 27th or 28th of December. All disasters are bad. They all have different elements but this one is pretty bad.
I've driven through downtown New Orleans. There's a lot of damage, a lot of destruction and it's sad to see because it is going to take some time to recover. I think that it is important for families and we hope that they remember that everyone is working but it is a process that is going to take some time.
MCGRAW: Now you are engaged by FEMA, correct?
JENSEN: We're under contract to work here, yes.
MCGRAW: OK. Any impact of a change at the top as far as your mission and what resources you have to do what you need to do?
JENSEN: No, our guys are on the ground. They're coordinating. We're working with the state officials and the local officials. That's who our level of coordination and cooperation is with. It doesn't impact the job down here.
MCGRAW: All right, good. Chief Compass, at this point how are you doing with regard to the criminal element that could put these rescuers, these recovery personnel in danger? I know that there has still been some of the hardcore criminal element still roaming in the city. How is it coming in terms of eliminating those threats to your first line responders?
COMPASS: Well, it's going really well. I've been out on a couple of nights and the SWAT teams are handling those type of calls for service. We send our guys out on their routine patrols and it's really pitch dark. I mean, Dr. Phil, it's black out there and when we have a call for service that involves a situation whereas you need specialists, we bring Captain Jeff Wynn (ph) in, our SWAT specialist and we have SWAT teams from all over the country that's in.
So we've been very, very fortunate to have some of the best law enforcement people in the world here. And, I can tell you New Orleans probably is the safest place in the world right now because we have so many people's expertise.
You know law enforcement by its very nature is a dangerous job but when you have people who are well trained, which was proven during this entire incident, we did not lose one police officer in battle against the criminal element and that's because of the training that the law enforcement professionals in this encounter had. And when you look as the city dries out we're occupying more and more of the city and everything is coming along pretty well. MCGRAW: Well, I understand this is a multi-agency effort and James Bernazzani, you are the FBI special agent in charge there. What role do you and your folks have in controlling the criminal aspects of this and what role will you have going forward?
JAMES BERNAZZANI, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, NEW ORLEANS FBI OFFICE: Well, the role is multi-faceted but consistently we support the efforts of NOPD, LSP, the Louisiana State Police as well as DHS, the federal lead. There are differing roles and responsibilities for law enforcement and relative to the FBI it was our job to secure critical assets, some of which would have a negative impact to national security before they fell into the wrong hands.
We also have our tactical units, our SWAT units, to respond to specific requests for emergent responders who are receiving fire. We go in, neutralize the area and extract those individuals.
Our gang task forces are working very closely within NOPD and we've broken up the area into districts of responsibility and NOPD and the FBI have the second and sixth districts, which is basically the uptown area.
We are also putting together a joint operations center with NOPD because we have a lot of nobly intended law enforcement coming to town and we really don't know who is in town and what the capability is and our concern is that during the night, and it is very dark, we'll have one police department on patrol running into another and not realizing they're the good guys and unfortunately something bad could happen.
And, lastly, relative to the violent criminals in this city, four things have happened. One, they've drowned. Two, they're under arrest. Three, they're still in the city and will move forward as the water recedes. Or, four, they got relocated to other parts of the country during the exodus.
So, the New Orleans Police Department with the FBI and our law enforcement partners have put together an intelligence assessment that identifies all the major players prior to the storm and that assessment has been pushed out to all the 56 field offices in the United States with instructions to interface with state and local law enforcement and provide those assessments to them so they can have a baseline of knowledge to understand if they have inherited a criminal problem that once was in New Orleans and that's been very valuable so far.
MCGRAW: Absolutely. I appreciate it. We'll talk more about the aftermath of Katrina, what's happening on the ground when we come back.
MCGRAW: Dr. Phil, filling in for Larry King tonight. He'll be back Wednesday, exclusive interview with Michael Brown, resigned FEMA head, as of today. We're talking about the aftermath of Katrina. I want to go to Jeff Koinange. Jeff, are you there?
JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am, Dr. Phil. Go ahead.
MCGRAW: All right. Jeff, I'm particularly interested in talking about the 45 bodies that were discovered in New Orleans today in a hospital. What can you tell us about that?
KOINANGE: That's right, Dr. Phil. It was at Memorial Hospital. And the hospital spokeswoman, Melissa Walker, tells us that 45 bodies were recovered by rescuers late Sunday. Now, hospital officials say that by Friday before the storm, every living person had been removed from the hospital. So these 45 may or allegedly may have been dead people, and were just recovered by rescuers yesterday. This is too early to tell right now. Obviously there will be DNA testing in coming days. For now, all we know, 45 bodies recovered.
And again when we talk about the death count, Dr. Phil, people keep saying it's 512 total, 279 in the state of Louisiana. This is early days now. In the coming days and the coming weeks, once that water continues to recede, and the rescuers find more bodies, you can imagine in attics, in nursing homes, in schools, in hospitals, there will definitely be more bodies -- Dr. Phil.
MCGRAW: Well we have three hospitals up and running in New Orleans as I understand. I toured one of the facilities with a surgeon general over the weekend, with Dr. Berkeley, the public health officer down there. And, apparently, we have three hospitals up in New Orleans. They're accepting patients. They're -- they have available beds. Was this hospital just still under water and I'm not sure I understand what it means when you say, you know, we don't know whether they were deceased before the flood or not. I would think that that would be fairly easy to determine on autopsy, would it not, if they have water in their lungs or not?
KOINANGE: Indeed, but here's the deal. The water had gone so high, the hospital officials decided to close their hospital and possibly, according to them, they allegedly evacuated everyone who could have been evacuated. That's the way it stands right now, and the water level was high for many days up until this weekend, when it receded. So they're sticking to their story that every live person had been removed on the Friday before Katrina hit town, Dr. Phil.
MCGRAW: All right. Chief Compass, anything to add to this?
COMPASS: No, sir. He basically covered all points and all aspects of it, as far as I was briefed on it.
MCGRAW: All right. Mark Malcolm, have you been -- have these bodies been taken to the mobile morgues that you have set up at this point, and will autopsies be done on these patients in the near term to find out if they were just abandoned, still alive, or if they, in fact, had deceased?
MALCOLM: Well the autopsy portion of that, Dr. Phil, is the responsibility of the disaster mortuary teams. We did have a team that went in and made that recovery. That was our mission, was to complete that recovery. And we delivered those that we recovered to the St. Gabriel facility. And the autopsies will be done there. MCGRAW: Had anyone reported to any of you all that they had evacuated the hospital with 45 dead patients still there? Had it been told to your teams? Have any of you been told, by the way, we're leaving here and there are deceased patients left behind?
MALCOLM: You know that information wouldn't really have come to us. We weren't on the ground and in here until obviously after the hurricane occurred. So that's not really information that we would have gotten. Once we were given the information that the 45 bodies were there, we took a team, we went in, made the recovery and got them out. But we weren't really in a position to have that information in the beginning.
MCGRAW: So nobody told you ahead of time that they were there once you were on the ground, that that was somewhere you'd need to go to do a recovery process? If they knew the patients were there, wouldn't that be one of the first things they would direct you to do?
JENSEN: Dr. Phil, we have a list that we're working on. There are reported areas. And that's what we're clearing right now. That's why the operation has begun in areas like this. It's working that process to collect that information from all the various sources. I think it's important to remember, as people left, there was a lot of confusion, there was a lot of chaos. And so as that information is reported, and it is being reported, we have teams going to those various facilities, so we can recover these loved ones and get them back to their families.
MCGRAW: All right. Good. Now Chief Compass, just one last word from you. At this point, the city is 40 percent underwater by all estimates. Is the -- is there any search and rescue still going on in any grid-like fashion, or has this become a recovery effort?
COMPASS: Well, sir, we still have some boats going out, but it's not as extensive as it was in the past.
MCGRAW: So if you have boats still going out, I assume, I think I heard yesterday, that someone -- that there were a few people recovered that had been in there for 12 or 13 days that were found alive.
COMPASS: Yes, sir. That is correct. So, as I said, our efforts are still being put to save human life, and you know, we still following up on any information that we get. We still have boats out, but it's not to the large number that we had in the beginning. We've checked every grid in this city, sir, but, you know, we're still double checking and triple checking just to make sure, positively, absolutely sure that we did not leave one person behind that really needed to do leave and wanted to leave.
MCGRAW: All right. Well, Chief, thank you for your input. Mark Malcolm, Robert Jensen, James Bernazzani, we thank you for being with us. We'll be back after the break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MCGRAW: Dr. Phil in for Larry King tonight. We're talking about the aftermath of Katrina, and what the rebuilding and recovery process involves. I want to go to Greg Newman at the Houston Astrodome. Greg, are you there?
GREG NEWMAN, EVACUEE: Yes, how you doing, Dr. Phil?
MCGRAW: I'm doing well. Tell me, you are looking for family members still that you haven't been age to locate, true?
NEWMAN: That's correct.
MCGRAW: All right, tell me who you're looking for.
NEWMAN: Well I'm looking for my son Dematre Smith (ph). I haven't heard or seen my son going on three weeks, since the hurricane. And I would like to say that Dematre Smith (ph), if you see your dad on TV, that I'm OK, and I just want to hear from you and my contact number is 713-512-1639.
MCGRAW: OK. Say that again. 713?
MCGRAW: OK. 713-502-1639. Do you have any idea where he might be, who he might be with, any idea whatsoever?
NEWMAN: Well, I mean, he was living with his mother, and I haven't heard anything when I evacuated from offshore, from work, it was hard to get in contact, because the cell phone system was down, and we was located here in Houston. The rest of my kids, they're OK. I heard and spoke with them. And my last son, I haven't heard anything since the hurricane.
MCGRAW: All right. And have -- excuse me -- have you registered your son with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children?
NEWMAN: Yes, since I've been here at the Astrodome, I've been searching the computer every day, and I really haven't heard anything from him or his mother.
MCGRAW: Well, thank you so much. The number to contact Greg Newman, son, if you see your dad, 713-502-1639. Thank you, Greg.
NEWMAN: OK, thank you, Dr. Phil.
MCGRAW: I also have with me tonight that we spoke with earlier, Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We have Marketa Gautreau, and I'm going to mispronounce your name, Marketa, so you're going to have to help me with that, if you would.
MARKETA GAUTREAU, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMUNITY SERVICES, LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES: OK.
MCGRAW: And Mike Keller. MIKE KELLER, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: How are you doing, sir.
MCGRAW: Say it again, Marketa?
GAUTREAU: Marketa Gautreau.
MCGRAW: All right, great. And Mark Keller, you're Team Adam, you're a volunteer law enforcement, correct?
KELLER: That's correct, sir, 30 years police.
MCGRAW: All right, great. Now, Ernie, let me ask all three of you, but I'll start with you. At this point, one of the things as a psychologist that I worry about has to do with the fact that a lot of folks that might be stepping up to try and claim some of these children, to offer care and housing for these children could, in fact, be pedophiles. What is -- because we know those predators, when there is vulnerability like this, they're drawn to the situation. What's the screening process to keep that from happening?
ALLEN: Well, Dr. Phil, we're doing everything we can. This is a problem that happened in the aftermath of the tsunami. It happened in the Balkans. We have pounded on this with law enforcement officials. I know that social services agencies are being extra vigilant. We're trying to verify and validate, but it's a real concern.
MCGRAW: All right, Marketa, do you see problems with this on the ground? I know you're assistant secretary of community services. Do you guys have this kind of problem crop up?
GAUTREAU: Not yet. We've not seen anything like that so far. We're having remarkable results of being able to unify these children fairly quickly. Missing and Exploited Children has just done a fantastic job of being able to reunite these families as quickly as we get the children. And we've just not seen that in our shelters.
MCGRAW: I understand that you've been inundated with requests from people wanting to adopt or provide care for Katrina orphans, but in fact, you just don't have any that fall into that category?
GAUTREAU: No, thank God, we don't. We have really been able to keep our families together, and I think the big story in this whole saga is that our families stay together as they evacuated. We did have some children get displaced as we were rescuing them and getting them out of the city, but by and large, most of our families got out together.
MCGRAW: All right. Mike Keller, tell me as you're in the field working with people, looking for their children, what is the biggest challenge you have right now?
KELLER: Well, the biggest challenge we're facing at this particular time is that so many people have been displaced from all the various shelters, they're literally moving out of shelters faster than we can keep up with them. So now we have this large myriad of people spread across the country.
And then there are some communication issues that we've encountered, where we don't have contact with some of these shelters. And then there are shelters, which we've just found out today, because we have people that are literally going out to shelters, physically going out to shelters to look at them and see if there are children there, that we didn't know those shelters existed. And some of these shelters, these people are doing fabulous jobs at these churches, taking care of these people, but we didn't know -- we didn't know they were there.
MCGRAW: Well, thanks for your volunteer work. We'll be right back.
MCGRAW: Dr. Phil in tonight for LARRY KING LIVE. He'll be back Wednesday with Michael Brown, who resigned from FEMA today.
I want to go to Minneapolis and speak to Greg Lawrence. Greg, are you there?
GREG LAWRENCE, OFFERED HOME RENT-FREE FOR A YEAR TO STACEY & HAROLD BRUNO OF NEW ORLEANS: Yes, Dr. Phil.
MCGRAW: Now, Greg, I understand that you have reached out to this family that's with you there, Stacey and Harold Bruno and their five family members, and offered them a home to live in, rent-free, for a year. You're an awful long way from New Orleans. How did you guys hook up?
LAWRENCE: Well, I think it was a matter of fate. I purchased this home a month ago, with the intention of using it as investment property and renting it out. And then we spent about two weeks renovating the place. We finished the wood floors. We put new carpet in. My kids, Nick and Chris here, helped paint the exterior of the home from the ground up to five feet. And then I think that where the fate part comes in is that on the day that we finished this project, I drove home late at night just in time for the local news, and I turned on the news, and there's Stacey and Harold and Nicky and their children, talking about their journey to Minneapolis and how they -- they came four days in their car, seven of them in a car, and it was just an amazing story. It really touched our family.
MCGRAW: So Stacey and Harold, how do you feel about all of this?
STACEY BRUNO, EVACUEE: You know, it's great. You know, this couldn't come at a better time. You know, we were on the news, and it just so happened they saw the story and they helped us out. So we feel really great about this.
MCGRAW: So I know when you lose your home and you're displaced like this, everything seems to be in a whirlwind. How are the children doing?
BRUNO: They're fine. They're adjusting well. So, you know, we got them into school. So they're just asking questions about back home. So we're trying to keep them motivated.
MCGRAW: And you guys are holding up all right?
BRUNO: Yeah, we're holding up pretty well.
MCGRAW: Well, I think what Greg Lawrence has done has got to be an amazing gift and a surprise, and I just hope that all of y'all will continue to talk to each other about what's gone on. When children go through this kind of process, it can be really, really difficult for them, and you know, they see mom and dad and they know that's good, but I also know that it's good to make sure that they're sleeping well, talking to you about their feelings, and getting the support that they need. So I hope...
LAWRENCE: Dr. Phil?
MCGRAW: Yes, sir.
LAWRENCE: Can I interject one thing? I want to thank my wife, Janet, here by my side for all of her help as well. She coordinated all the schools, got the kids into the school. They didn't miss one day of school. So we owe her and all the people who helped, the bridging organization with the furniture, all of my friends and relatives in the community, a great thanks.
MCGRAW: Well I'll tell you what, Janet, we really do appreciate everything that you and Greg have done, and I know that the Brunos do as well. And I really want to encourage everyone to listen to listen to this story and know how great it is, that it feels good to reach out and do this sort of thing. And, Brunos, listen to your kids, listen to your kids, make sure you're tuned in to what they're doing.
And I hope everybody that has been through this understands that the American Psychological Association has a terrific disaster relief network, and the community mental health centers in Minneapolis and throughout the country, are standing ready to offer you any help, support and services they can. So God bless you, Greg and Janet Lawrence, and, Brunos, you might just find a new home up there in Minneapolis. We'll be right back after the break.
MCGRAW: I've been really glad to sit in for Larry tonight. I have a special show tomorrow, on my show, on Katrina aftermath. Tune in for that. A special with Aaron Brown and Anderson Cooper follows our show tonight. We close out with a duet from three-time Grammy winner, Sarah McLachlin and mega-selling record artist, Josh Groban. This performance took place this weekend at a fund raiser for the David Foster Foundation. That foundation helps families with children who need life saving organ transplants. And now Sarah McLachlin and Josh Groban singing "Angel."
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