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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Ethics of Face Transplant Surgery; Bodies of Two Murdered New Hampshire Children Finally Found?; The Brutal Sport of Cage Fighting
Aired December 2, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. Appreciate your being with us.
Tonight, the worldwide controversy over a medical breakthrough -- should anyone be allowed to get a face transplant?
ZAHN (voice-over): A new face -- it's the first time we have ever seen her. Her transplant this week made history. But should her doctors have ever done it in the first place?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have the possibility to improve our patient, that's what we can do.
ZAHN: Just hours ago, a possible break in a baffling mystery -- have these children been found at last?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been two crosses discovered at the scene that were created with sticks and duct tape.
ZAHN: Their father killed them and hid their bodies. Will their mother's long and desperate search end on this snowy highway?
Cage rage -- battered, bloody and way beyond boxing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An organized street fight, that's what I would call it.
ZAHN: Jaw-dropping pictures you thought you would never see. Is cage fighting a sport or just a sadistic sideshow?
ZAHN: Tonight, the controversy continues to grow over one of the most remarkable stories we have been following all week long. I'm talking about the partial face transplant done last Sunday in France. The recipient is a 38-year-old mother of two who was mauled by her dog.
Well, today, some new details emerged, as doctors faced the media for the first time and answered some pointed questions about the ethics of their decision to even try a transplant before trying conventional plastic surgery.
Here's Paula Hancocks. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the woman who has made medical history. Protecting her identity, she walked into hospital with horrific facial injuries from a dog attack.
When she eventually walks out of the hospital, she may not recognize herself, because half of her face will be new, taken from the face in this box, the face of a brain-dead donor, whose family gave consent for it to be used by someone else. Most of this patient's nose, lips and chin were missing. Surgeons spent 15 hours carefully reconnecting muscles, veins, arteries and nerves to her face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are doctors. We had a patient with a very severe disfigurement related to this dog bite. As doctors, if you have the possibility to improve our patient, that is what we can do.
HANCOCKS: The doctors say her first word when she woke up, "Merci" -- "Thank you."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an emotional and psychological breakthrough for society. And the patient who has undergone it, the donor's family, and the surgeons, are to be applauded -- be applauded for their bravery in, you know, going into the unknown.
HANCOCKS: This is the kind of story that should offer significant hope. But there are significant risks.
What if her body rejects the new face and it has to be removed? The consequences are unknown, as are the side effects of taking tablets to prevent this rejection for the rest of her life. There's no doubt history has been made, but it could take years before we know for sure if it's a success.
There is also the huge ethical question of whether a face transplant should be allowed for a non-life-saving operation. They say your face is the mirror to your mind, but this 38-year-old will now have to deal with the psychological trauma of not even seeing her own face in the mirror.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, London.
ZAHN: Joining me now, two people who know what it's like to live with disfigurement every day of their lives. David Roche was born with a facial tumor, which has been treated surgically and with radiation. But he has actually made a career out of his condition as a comedian and public speaker -- and Autumn Burton, who was burned in a high school chemistry class accident and is now on the board of Phoenix Society, a nationwide support group for people recovering from burns.
Great to have both of you with us tonight.
AUTUMN BURTON, BOARD MEMBER, PHOENIX SOCIETY: Thank you.
ZAHN: Autumn, I would like to start with you this evening. When you heard about this procedure being done in France, what was your reaction?
BURTON: The decision to have this surgery, it really depends on the individual's personal -- personal experience and recovery. Me, personally, I would not go with -- go ahead and do it.
ZAHN: Is -- is -- would part of your reluctance be the fact that you have been subjected to some 18 surgeries so far?
What is -- the reason why I wouldn't go ahead with it is because I know, when I walk in, I'm slowly looking like the old me, whereas in, if I were to get this surgery, I don't look like the donor, nor do I look like me prior to burn. So, I know when I go in and am getting surgeries, I'm slowly looking like the old me.
ZAHN: David, if you had...
ZAHN: If you had the opportunity to be a candidate for this surgery, would you consider it?
DAVID ROCHE, COMEDIAN: Who are you asking, Paula?
ROCHE: If you caught me on a really bad day, I might think, oh, I'm tired of this. I would like to try something else -- but, mostly, mostly, a definite no.
I -- I give presentations to middle school kids with my wife. It's called "Love at Second Sight," about our relationship. And I'm often asked by the kids, 12-year-olds, if you could have a special operation, would you change your face? And I say, well, what do you think? And they all go, no.
So, I -- I trust that opinion. Twelve-year-olds, they are very vulnerable. They're -- it's appearance and acceptability to them.
ZAHN: Sure. And...
ROCHE: And they would never let me do it.
ZAHN: They are often -- often wiser than those of us that are much older than them.
But -- but, David, you said, you know, every now and then, you will have a bad day. What has it been like to be subjected to the leers and the stares sometimes of the general public?
ROCHE: Leers is a bit strong, Paula.
The difficult thing is always the first 10 minutes. Every time I go out the door, there are the double-takes. There are the -- the slack-jawed stares in the airports and malls. It's such a constant, incessant reminder that I'm strange. And, on my bad days, it's a reminder that maybe I'm a monster.
ZAHN: Well, no one looks at you that way certainly today.
Autumn, you were a teenager when you had your accident.
ZAHN: And, obviously, this had a dramatic impact on your life.
ZAHN: And I know that you have dug down very deeply and found a great deal of positive in what you have had to confront.
What helped my recovery is the Phoenix Society. Getting involved with them, I mean, let me go on. I mean, at first, it was a big struggle, but I -- I went back to school. I graduated. I went to college and got a degree and now working in my field. But if I did not have the Phoenix Society or my family and friends supporting me, I would not be where I am today.
BURTON: And I think a lot of people don't know about the Phoenix Society, that there are other alternatives.
And I'm comfortable now, even though, I mean, some people that are facially disfigured think, oh, go -- let's go do this surgery, but not kind of thinking the pros and cons. So, it is a personal decision, whether they want to do it or not. And I'm not against anybody that wants to, but, me personally, I believe you have to love yourself within and be comfortable to go out every day, because we do.
We go out every day and people look and stare at us. But if you have that confidence and you have got that support behind you, nothing matters.
ZAHN: Well, David Roche and Autumn Burton, we really appreciate your candor tonight. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.
BURTON: Thank you.
ROCHE: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: Coming up next, we're going to shift our focus quite a bit. Can you actually look at someone and tell if they are lying to you? You might be surprised at what you should look for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. PAUL EKMAN, PSYCHOLOGIST: The face is a very subtle system. It can show us emotions a person is trying to conceal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Well, you better hope he's right. He's training border guards how to spot terrorists.
And, a little bit later on, are these actually tears of blood? Some people think it's an absolute miracle. But is there a natural explanation?
ZAHN: If you are planning to travel any time this holiday season, we have got some new information for you on the "Security Watch" tonight, just in time for Christmas.
The Transportation Security Administration is actually loosening some of the rules on what you can take on airliners. Starting December 22, short scissors and other small tools will once again be allowed.
The TSA says the change will give screeners more time for random checks and to look for explosives. And who knows. Airport security lines might even get shorter.
Now, spotting weapons in bags is one way to catch potential terrorists. Another may surprise you. Could you spot a liar just by his or her facial expressions? Probably not. But, right now, federal agents are being trained to do just that.
Here's Homeland Security correspondent Jeanne Meserve.
EKMAN: Fear, anger, contempt and sadness, if we only had an Olympic event for facial muscle movement, I could send a great team.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: (voice- over): But Paul Ekman does not make faces for sport. He studies them for science, mapping very rapid movements of the eyes, mouth, brows, chin, forehead and cheeks.
EKMAN: The face is a very subtle system. It can show emotions a person is trying to conceal. It can show us emotions the person isn't even aware of having. It can show us when the emotion is first beginning. MESERVE: Ekman, who, appropriately enough, collects masks, says studying faces is a valuable tool for unmasking terrorists. He says someone trained to read barely-detectable facial expressions, along with gestures and speech, can detect deception 95 percent of the time.
EKMAN: It's hard for me to think of anyone in Homeland Security, other than the bureaucrats, who shouldn't get this, anyone who is doing front-line work.
MESERVE: In fact, Customs and Border Protection has put about 700 agents through three days of specialized training to recognize the unintentional signals people make when they lie.
(on camera): Has this proven its usefulness yet?
JAY AHERN, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Yes, it has. Yes, it has. We have actually had several instances that have been sent in by our officers in the field who have actually denied individuals of significant concern.
MESERVE (voice-over): Though Customs and Border Protection is keeping the specifics of its program under wraps, Ekman shows us his training materials used by U.S. Embassy personnel, military and law enforcement, and teaches me how to detect the split-second facial movements which can signal a lie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lip corner does go up.
MESERVE: After an hour of practice, a test. Ekman shows me a videotape of a man expressing an opinion about capital punishment. My job is to figure out if he is telling the truth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have a cold-blooded killer, the odds are that he's getting ready to kill somebody else, then, yes, I mean, it's just better to end his life before he ends other people's lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EKMAN: OK. Lie or telling the truth?
MESERVE (on camera): I will say he's lying.
He made so many mistakes. I mean, he's one of the worst liars we have ever seen.
MESERVE (voice-over): His words gave one big clue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally couldn't partake in that decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EKMAN: But you shouldn't be saying that if you are arguing in favor of capital punishment. So, he's giving himself away in the words them -- themselves right at the start.
MESERVE: Repeated shrugs, unusually long hesitations, a soft voice were among the other tipoffs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has to be done. I mean...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EKMAN: "Has to be done," and he shakes his head no. So, he's using a gesture to contradict what he says verbally.
MESERVE: Politicians are among those who Ekman has studied.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EKMAN: Oh, I knew he was lying with that, because he used distancing language. When you say something like "that woman," rather than Monica Lewinsky, you are distancing yourself.
MESERVE: If Clinton was a bad liar, Ekman says other presidents were good.
(on camera): Who has been our best liar as president?
EKMAN: John F. Kennedy, spectacularly good liar.
MESERVE (voice-over): But Ekman's work is not just for parlor games.
Since 9/11, the U.S. has made an extraordinary investment in cameras, sensors and other technologies to protect borders, airports, critical infrastructure. But Ekman says, until there is a machine that can read minds, reading faces may be the most effective security tool of all.
Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Oakland, California.
ZAHN: So, now that we know a little bit about reading people's faces, how about reading this statue's face? Do you see a miracle in her eyes or a hoax? In a little bit, I will ask an expert if there's a natural explanation for those tears.
Right now, it's time for Erica Hill at 16 minutes past the hour to update the hour's other top stories.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Nice to see you tonight.
HILL: A roadside bomb in Iraq killing 10 U.S. Marines, this is the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Iraq in four months. Now, the military says it happened yesterday during a nighttime patrol near Fallujah. Eleven troops were wounded. Another soldier was killed yesterday in Ramadi.
Now, meantime, the U.S. asserts it is making progress. In large- scale moves against insurgents, such as the current Operation Shank, the military says Marines and Iraqi soldiers today found materials to make bombs during raids in Ramadi.
The man coordinating the U.S. intelligence gathering says the nation is safer today than before September 11. John Negroponte was appointed by President Bush as director of national intelligence. In his first TV interview, he told CNN the government is doing a better job of bringing foreign, domestic and military intelligence together.
New Orleans may see its elections for mayor and city council put off from February until next fall. Louisiana officials recommend Governor Kathleen Blanco delay the vote until the next scheduled state election. Hurricane Katrina flooded voting machines, destroyed some polling places. And voters, of course, at this point, are scattered across the country.
Paula, so, that would make it a little difficult as well.
ZAHN: Lots of obstacles there.
Erica Hill, thanks so much.
Tonight, it looks like we're on the verge of a breakthrough in a baffling murder case. Is a mother's long search for her children finally over?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not going down the road yet that this is definitely it, because it just sets yourself up for disappointment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: We're going to tell you what's just happened that may solve that mystery.
And, a little bit later on, a doctor who, more than once, has faced allegations of molesting his patients -- so, why is he still allowed to practice?
ZAHN: Chilly night in Manhattan tonight. And, tonight, we bring you a story about a sickening breach of doctor-patient trust that will probably outrage you. How can a physician with a record of sexual abuse complaints going back to the '70s and a conviction just three years ago still be allowed to practice? Among those who want to know are women who say they were his victims.
Ted Rowlands has been working on this story. Here are the details.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In February of 2000, Yvette Chambers (ph) went to see Dr. Laurence Reich for a gynecological exam at a clinic near Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Immediately, there was something wrong.
ROWLANDS: chambers said she was in the exam room with her feet in the stirrups, Reich the only other person in the room.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are naked from your waist down, and your legs are spread. And you feel extremely vulnerable.
ROWLANDS: Chambers (ph) says she became concerned with the way he was touch her and the things he was talking about, including her sex life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was questioning myself as to why I felt so uncomfortable, because it's a doctor. He's a doctor.
ROWLANDS: After the exam, Chambers (ph) says Reich watched her get dressed and then asked her out.
(on camera): He offered to take you to lunch?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Offered to take me to lunch.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): Chambers (ph) saved a piece of paper with personal phone numbers, which she says Reich gave her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At that point, I realized, eww. Eww. I have just been molested. I have just been violated.
ROWLANDS: Five months before Chambers (ph) saw Reich, this woman, who doesn't want us to use her name, says she had a very similar experience when she went to get a prescription for birth control.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are in a precarious situation, with your feet in stirrups, and this doctor examining you. You -- you -- you are pretty vulnerable right there. And, so, when you are feeling like something is not right, and -- and you are in that position, you -- there's really no option for you to escape at that point. ROWLANDS: This woman, like Chambers (ph), says Reich made her feel uncomfortable while touching her. Then, she says, he asked questions about her sex life and, eventually, for her home telephone number.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just knew, in my gut, that something was wrong. I -- I was scared.
ROWLANDS: Both women filed complaints and found out they were not alone. In documents on file with the California Osteopathic Medical Board, Reich is accused of outrageous behavior by a number of women, dating back to the late 1970s.
One woman says that Reich was touching her genitals during an exam and asked her if it -- quote -- "felt good" and then kissed her. Another claims Reich was sexually excited during an exam and told her she needed to -- quote -- "lubricate herself" through self stimulation, so that he could properly diagnose an infection.
Another woman says Reich asked her to -- quote -- "manipulate" herself in front of him. And, then, after the exam, she says Reich asked her to demonstrate an oral sex technique on his thumb.
In 1982, Laurence Reich had his license suspend for 180 days. When he resumed practice, part of Reich's punishment was that, for 10 years, another person had to be in the exam room while he worked. In August of 2002, because of the new allegations and his history, Reich was arrested for sexual misconduct.
MAUREEN GREEN, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It had factual challenges. It had legal challenges, but I certainly would have tried the case.
ROWLANDS: Maureen Green was the prosecutor on the case. She says her goal was to get Reich to stop practicing. So, she agreed to a deal. The doctor would plead no contest and avoid a possible prison sentence. She thought that would speed up the process of pulling his license.
GREEN: Why should someone like that continue to practice?
ROWLANDS (on camera): But, three years later, the Osteopathic Medical Board has done nothing about Dr. Reich's license. He's still practicing medicine. He's also the medical director at a clinic in this Beverly Hills building.
(voice-over): We found Reich by calling one of those numbers given to Chambers (ph). When we went to see him, he appeared to be at his office, but his staff claimed he wasn't there.
Dozens of phone calls to Reich and his lawyer have not been returned. So why, three years after he pleaded no contest, has nothing been done?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's bring the... ROWLANDS: It's up to the state Osteopathic Medical Board to suspend or pull a license. The board was in public session yesterday in Sacramento. After the meeting, we asked them about the Reich case.
DR. TRACEY NORTON, MEMBER, OSTEOPATHIC MEDICAL BOARD OF CALIFORNIA: I don't think I can comment on it, because it is still in process.
ROWLANDS (on camera): Any feelings about him still practicing three years after the criminal case?
DR. MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, PRESIDENT, OSTEOPATHIC MEDICAL BOARD OF CALIFORNIA: I -- I have no opinion on that, because, if I did, I couldn't judge the case later on.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): For three years, Reich's lawyer has been trying to negotiate a settlement with the board. According to a source close to the case, two deals have been brought to the board, but were both rejected because, the board thought, they were too lenient.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the system is absolutely broken.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they would have acted immediately on my complaint in February, that -- what happened to Yvette (ph) and probably a number of other women in between there would not have happened.
ROWLANDS: The board, which regulates osteopathic doctors, not medical doctors, could pull Reich's license without negotiating. But it hasn't.
(on camera): Would you want your daughter to see this doctor during this process?
LINDA BERGMANN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OSTEOPATHIC MEDICAL BOARD OF CALIFORNIA: I can't comment on that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state board needs to be completely revamped. And this kind of thing should never happen again.
GREEN: I understand the victims' frustration. I'm concerned. He's treating patients. I'm concerned.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): Reich is free to treat patients until a decision is made by the board. A hearing on his case is not scheduled until February.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.
ZAHN: Physicians are licensed and disciplined by individual state medical boards. So, if you want to find out if there are complaints against your doctor, that's exactly where you need to go. When we come back, what could be a dramatic breakthrough in a baffling mystery. Last summer, we met a woman who was searching a long highway, looking for where her ex-husband had left the bodies of her two young children. Tonight, she's waiting for word that her search may finally be over.
ZAHN: We have what could be a major break tonight in a story we've been following since the summer. You might remember that we followed a New Hampshire mother's emotional search for the bodies of her two murdered children. This summer, she appealed for help finding them because the suspected killer, their father, told police he had buried them somewhere in the Midwest. Well, today, two tiny bodies were found in Ohio. Here's Keith Oppenheim.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As snow fell in Hudson, Ohio, police uncovered a grave. The question, are the two bodies discovered here those of two murdered children, 14-year-old Sarah Gehring and her 11-year-old brother Phillip?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are together in the same -- what appears to be the same shallow grave.
OPPENHEIM: Investigators said the discovery was made by a woman who had been walking her dog.
JEFFREY STRELZIN, NH ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: My understanding is that her dog actually keyed in on this site, and she went up to it, took a look at it, and she started digging herself. And once she unearthed the garbage bag, she stopped.
OPPENHEIM: While the bodies have not yet been identified, the location closely matched details of a description police had been trying to pinpoint. Still, Teri Knight, the two children's mother, didn't want to make assumptions.
TERI KNIGHT, MOTHER OF MURDERED CHILDREN: I am not going down the road yet that this is definitely it, because it just sets yourself up for disappointment. So I'm just going to wait and take it one step at a time.
OPPENHEIM: In July of 2003, Sarah and Phillip Gehring were last seen with their father, Manuel, near their New Hampshire home. Bitter about a custody dispute, Gehring drove cross-country and was arrested in California a week later. He admitted to murdering his daughter and son, but on tapes made by the FBI gave a general description, not a precise location, of where he buried his victims.
MANUEL GEHRING: It looked like abandoned property. It was like a dumping area. There is a large building fairly close to it.
OPPENHEIM: Seven months later, Gehring hanged himself in a New Hampshire jail, but the details he gave were enough for his ex-wife, Teri, to do everything she could to find the bodies.
KNIGHT: I'm Teri Knight. And two years ago, my children, Sarah and Phillip Gehring -- I don't know if you remember the case -- they were murdered.
OPPENHEIM: Last summer, exactly two years after the crimes were committed, Knight spearheaded a drive to get volunteers throughout the Midwest to search for Sarah and Phillip.
KNIGHT: They don't deserve to be buried on the side of a road. I don't deserve to have them buried on the side of the road, and we need to find them and bring them home.
OPPENHEIM: It seemed like an impossible task. But Teri and her husband Jim were determined.
KNIGHT: I'm going to be successful in making sure that when I leave, someone else and many other people are going to be looking.
OPPENHEIM: Her efforts may have paid off. While the police didn't identify the person who found the bodies, they did say she was a volunteer searching for the Gehring children. If they are positively identified, then Teri Knight will be able to fulfill the one thing she could hope for, to give her children a decent burial.
Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Chicago.
ZAHN: Joining me now, New Hampshire's assistant attorney general, David Ruoff. Thank you so much for being with us tonight, sir. I know you've had a very busy day.
You've had a chance to talk with the mom, Teri Knight. What has been her reaction to this development?
DAVID RUOFF, NH ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, we've been in close contact with her throughout the course of the day. She's, like the rest of us, cautiously optimistic. She's a very strong woman. Very remarkable family. So she's saying her prayers just like the rest of us.
ZAHN: When you say she's cautiously optimistic, she has spent every waking hour since her children were murdered to try to find their bodies so that they some day could be buried. How much has her determination affected this case?
RUOFF: Well, I can tell you that her determination is the reason that we are here today. Her -- after Mr. Gehring committed suicide, it was her initiative, her energy, her effort that brought the search for her children to the national forefront and to the media. And it is as a result of that, that we see today that we have very promising signs that we have found her children.
ZAHN: I know it hasn't been easy for you, in spite of your extensive law enforcement work, to have to share some details with her from time to time. Sometimes false leads giving her false hope. Describe to us what kind of a rollercoaster ride she's been on.
RUOFF: Well, I have been with this case since the very beginning, and I can tell you that there were some very difficult moments, very emotional moments during the course of the case. Of course, you know, telling the family about what we had discovered through the course of our investigation, examination of the interior of the van, what witnesses had told us, what they had seen, going through all the evidence, making sure that the mother of Phillip and Sarah knew exactly what had happened to them.
And that's very emotional. And she handled it -- she handled it very well. And then, of course, there was the suicide and the investigation that followed up after that. We kept her informed every step of the way, and she was always engaged -- very engaged in the case, and then really took it upon herself to make sure that the search for her children didn't die after Mr. Gehring did.
ZAHN: Very courageous woman. What kind of tip led to the discovery of these bodies?
RUOFF: I'm sorry, could you repeat the question?
ZAHN: What kind of tip broke this investigation through?
RUOFF: Well, over the course of the last year and a half, the FBI and Concord Police Department and the office of the attorney general has continued to receive numerous reports and inquiries and ideas from citizens that have reviewed the information that we've made public, the maps, the charts, the descriptors of the burial site, and it was literally as a result of that effort, and Teri Knight's ability to get out and communicate with people, that a private citizen, acting on her own, came across the burial site. It has all the characteristics of what we expected that it would have, and based on the information that we are receiving, even as late as tonight, we remain very optimistic that this will hopefully bring peace to Teri Knight.
ZAHN: Well, we will be waiting for confirmation one way or the other from you. David Ruoff, thank you so much, and good luck with the investigation.
Coming up next, a statue that is drawing crowds to a California church. Do you believe in miracles?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think curiosity, and I get choked up. I have that faith, and even if it isn't a true miracle, I've never seen a miracle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happens so often, as far as I know, that they don't even bother investigating it anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: The question tonight is, what caused those tears? Coming up, we'll ask someone who investigates these kinds of things for a rational explanation.
And a little bit later on, two men, a cage and absolutely raw violence. There is no doubt that this is a bloody sport.
ZAHN: Now we want to tell you about a mystery that has crowds flocking to a small Catholic church in Sacramento, California. The faithful say the statue of the Virgin Mary is actually shedding tears. Skeptics, as you might expect, aren't so sure.
Here's Rusty Dornin.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There are the curious ones, but mostly, they are the faithful. Answers are not necessarily what these pilgrims seek. Sometimes it's enough just to see for themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of think it's a miracle. And I told my class about it a little bit, and I think it's just fascinating.
DORNIN: The statue of the Virgin Mary at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church in Sacramento, California. At first glance you see only her cool white face. But a closer look at the left side reveals what resembled tears and some believe it's tears of blood.
They first appeared in early November, but were wiped away by the parish priest. Then parishioners here say they reappeared before mass on Sunday, November 20th.
Since then, hundreds have made the pilgrimage, even in the pouring rain, adding certainty for some.
We had a big rain and the tears are still there. And I thought, oh, that's interesting. Once again, it just gives us hope and faith. Who knows if it's a miracle.
DORNIN: A miracle or just some odd event or prank. Miracles do happen, says Father James Murphy. But in this case, the church is not planning to check.
(on-camera): The church is not going to investigate this?
FATHER JAMES MURPHY, SACRAMENTO ARCHDIOCESE: No.
MURPHY: Because the vast majority of them end up having eventually a natural explanation emerges and then it just wanes.
DORNIN: But wouldn't it be better to quickly decide that rather than to let people go on believing?
MURPHY: No, the church thinks a century is not tomorrow's news and the position always has been wait and see what happens.
DORNIN (voice over): But some Catholics question that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happens so often as far as I know that they don't even bother investigating it anymore. But I believe they should. It pays to see whether it's a hoax or not.
DORNIN: People watch and wait and for some, there is the hope the miracle they've been waiting for has arrived.
DORNIN: This is the third day we've been here and the crowds were the largest by far. But it was a bright and sunny day. The question is how long will people continue to come if no rational explanation is offered?
Well, with the holidays coming up, it looks like the crowds could continue--Paula.
ZAHN: Rusty Dornin, thanks so much.
And joining me now is someone who has investigated a lot of phenomenon like this. Joe Nickell is editor of a magazine called "The Skeptical Inquirer" that investigates claims of paranormal and miraculous phenomenon.
Good of you to join us sir.
So what do you think has caused these tears on this statue?
JOE NICKELL, EDITOR, THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER: Hi, Paula.
Well, I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is I'm pretty sure it's a fake. The good news is that probably the faithful won't believe me.
ZAHN: And what evidence would you base the fact that you believe this is a fake on?
NICKELL: Well, common sense says that if it's weeping, it should be weeping in a natural way and that to see it coming only from one eye and seeing that one of the rivulets is coming not from the tear duct, not from the corner of the eye, but from actually outside the eye and above it, so it's really not only obviously a hoax, it's not a very good one.
ZAHN: Is there any other explanation for it?
NICKELL: Well, there are, of course, always the possibility in any given case that there could be some natural explanation.
For example, sometimes the statue that has glass eyes, that's a wooden statue or plaster statue might have condensation, something like that, and be just a natural explanation. And, of course, whether it's a miracle or not is always debatable by the faithful. But science has never found a single case that's authentic, and I think the church is equally skeptical of all these cases.
ZAHN: So when you see these crowds show up, day after day, what would you tell them about what you think they are looking at. They do believe it's a miracle.
NICKELL: They do. They are working on faith rather than evidence. If they would look at the evidence, they would see that it's really not credible. We don't see a flowing.
And there are cases like this. You know, there have been statues that wept blood. That in Italy, for example, it turned out with a DNA test that the DNA matched that of the woman who owned the statue. So they are really bad news for most of these cases when they are investigated.
ZAHN: You just heard Rusty interviewing the, I believe it was the archbishop from the church there. Would you like to investigate this if given the chance?
NICKELL: Well, I think it's always good to investigate. One would look for a better case than this, where at least at face value looked more promising or looked more mysterious.
I find this really rather laughable at face value. But we always investigate cases when we're permitted, and I think we should neither foster belief nor suppress it but just investigate with a view toward solving it.
ZAHN: In the meantime, the crowds keep coming.
Joe Nickell, thank you for your time tonight, appreciate it.
NICKELL: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: And at 12 minutes before the hour, we're moving up on the start of "Larry King Live." Let's check in with him right now and find out who will be joining him tonight.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Paula.
We've got a good show tonight. Rick Warren is with us, the author of "The Purpose Driven Life," that book has been a phenomenal best seller. He's an extraordinary guy.
And then later in the show, Donald Trump joins with Alla Wartenberg, that's the girl who got kicked off his show last night. But she's a multi-millionaire to boot. It's unusual.
All that ahead following Paula Zahn.
ZAHN: We'll be watching, Larry. Tell the Donald I said hello.
KING: I will.
ZAHN: And just ahead tonight, we are going to show you something I think some of you will be probably pretty disturbed by. The brutal and bloody, what some are describing as new sport called cage fighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than anything, right now I'm just looking to get the crap kicked out of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Two men in a cage, raw violence, rowdy crowds. Critics say it's a formula for disaster.
ZAHN (voice-over): Thirteen-year-old Bethany Hamilton was just out to catch a wave on a beautiful Hawaiian morning, and ended up catching the attention of a nation after she was attacked by a shark. On October 31st, 2003, Bethany lost 70 percent of her blood, her left arm, and maybe her dream to surf professionally one day.
But Bethany went on to surf again, without fear, on a specially made board.
BETHANY HAMILTON: I'm there to have fun and not be scared, because it's pretty rare for someone to get attacked twice.
ZAHN: Only months after the shark attack, Bethany placed fifth in the National Scholastic Association Surfing Championships, and secured a spot on the U.S. national surfing team. She also won the 2004 ESPY Award from ESPN for best comeback athlete, and a special courage award at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards.
Bethany has just launched a perfume, Stoked, for girls, and a fragrance, Wired, for boys, and has written a book called "Soul Surfer" about her experience and her desire to motivate others.
HAMILTON: Encourage people, and let them know that they can do whatever they want if they just set their heart to it and just never give up. And just go out there and do it.
ZAHN: A movie based on the book begins filming this year.
ZAHN: And you can catch up on other newsmakers this Sunday when Larry King hosts a CNN anniversary special, "Then & Now," that airs at 8:00 p.m. this coming Sunday. I want you to watch our next story and see if you think what you are about to see should be allowed. It's called cage fighting, and fans say it's a legitimate sport. But critics say it's just an excuse for beer-stoked crowds to indulge in blood lust, and now some people want it banned altogether. Here's Sean Callebs.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The punches are real, the violence is raw. The fans are rowdy. This is the world of cage fighting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just, you know, kept going, kept going. I was tired as hell. My arm hurts.
CALLEBS: And that comes from the winner. Three rounds, two men, few rules.
LEE LOHFF, CAGE FIGHTER: Let's face it. In these type of events, you're going to get people that just come here because they have a blood lust and they don't know a thing about it. They are the type of people who scream "kill him" on the side of the cage, like I'm going to kill somebody.
CALLEBS: Here in South Dakota, the home of the cage, Lee Lohff is a big fish in a small pond. Chris Christianson owns and operates the Cage, Incorporated, and he says Lohff is the deadliest fighter around.
CHRIS CHRISTIANSON, CAGE FIGHTER: He's a good athlete, and he's all about the showmanship of it. And some people detest it. He is as cocky as he is, but he can back that up.
CALLEBS: Lohff, an Army veteran, served two tours in Afghanistan. He began studying martial arts in the service, and he has racked up a record of 19-0, making him the local star. But he's also known as the cocky guy, the person a lot of fans want to see thrashed.
And that's what gets Lee Lohff motivated.
LOHFF: More than anything, right now I'm just looking to get the crap kicked out of me. So I'm ready to go on Saturday. But the more I sweat now, the less I'll bleed come Saturday.
CALLEBS: Almost anything goes in the cage. There are exceptions. No biting, no intentional spinal injuries. No head butts, or twisting fingers. But chokeholds, kicks and near bare knuckle punches are not only legal, but the way to win.
VERNON BROWN, SIOUX FALLS CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: A street fight, an organized street fight. That's what I would call it.
CALLEBS: Vernon Brown is a Sioux Falls city council member, and he's doing everything he can to get it banned here. BROWN: When those cage fighters get in the ring, they are connected to people that are in the crowd. Their friends, their family are there. That's just a bad mix with alcohol.
CALLEBS: City leaders worry that violence could spread to the stands.
(on camera): Hundreds of people will come here tonight to watch 15 different fights. But in many ways, this, the cage, is the star attraction. Nineteen and a half feet across, seven feet high, it pens the fighters in, creating an almost gladiator-like atmosphere.
(voice-over): Cage fighting is still legal in Sioux Falls, but the promoter admits bad press is hurting attendance. While some professional fighters duking it out on TV in a cage-like setting could make hundreds of thousands in prize money, the winners here might get $100 and the hope of something better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've heard it before. You know, why do you go in there and beat each other up? But once you educate the people, and they understand, this will be looked at a lot more as a sport than just getting in there and fighting.
CALLEBS: Many, like Zach Schroeder (ph), are experienced wrestlers. Others study martial arts. Fighters proudly boast this is a blue-collar sport, and say they thrive on the adrenaline of a one- on-one match. But critics, like Vernon Brown, won't even conceive this is even a sport.
BROWN: There's no group governing. This is not a sanctioned event.
CHRISTIANSON: It's not at all like street brawling.
CALLEBS: It sometimes comes pretty close. At the end of a beer- soaked night -- and by the way, the promoters don't get a cut of alcohol sales -- it's time for the marquee event featuring Lee Lohff. But no clash of titans tonight.
LOHFF: I had a setback. The guy I was supposed to fight apparently sprained his ankle in training.
CALLEBS: So John Wesley (ph) is rounded up as a last-minute replacement. It isn't pretty. Wesley (ph) has never trained, never fought, and really has no chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never been in a ring, not even until tonight, and they stick me with him.
CALLEBS (on camera): And how much do you get?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing. A couple of lumps on the head.
CALLEBS (voice-over): Wesley is so battered and dazed, he has to lean against the wall to speak to us. But he wants to do this again.
Lohff is all smiles.
LOHFF: I want to give them their money's worth. So I'm glad it went well.
CALLEBS: Lee Lohff gets less than $100 for the win. The sponsor is a little ticked that he gave Wesley (ph) such a beating. It might mean more bad publicity. But at the same time, he gave the fans what they came for -- the kind of entertainment that keeps cage rage going.
ZAHN: Sean Callebs reporting for us tonight. Cage fighting promoters hoping to broaden the sport's appeal are trying to develop a circuit that actually brings together cage fighters from all over the country.
That's it for all of us here tonight. We leave you with a picture, there is no debate whether this is a sport or not. Wollman skating rink at the heart of New York City, skating like crazy here, in actually pretty warm temperatures.
Thanks again for joining us tonight. Have a great weekend, everybody. Larry King starts now.
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