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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Panic on Troubled Airliner Headed for Emergency Landing; Jeff Reardon's Cry for Help; Mother's Attempt to Save Lives of her Children During Fire; Looking into Sleep Disorders; Controversy over Shooting Death of New Orleans Man by Police; Dog's Reunion; Shocking Crimes from an Illinois Father

Aired December 28, 2005 - 20:00   ET

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


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Thanks for joining us tonight.
Shocking moments caught on video. You are about to see what it was really like aboard a troubled airliner heading for an emergency landing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS (voice-over): Panic on Flight 536.

LESLIE COMSTOCK, ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT 536 PASSENGER: Our ears (INAUDIBLE) pop (INAUDIBLE) the air. And it's painful. And then the oxygen masks just dropped.

COLLINS: What was it like inside the cabin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is one sight that you never want to see on a plane.

COLLINS: Five miles above the earth.

Jeff Reardon's sudden slide -- did this former million-dollar baseball star really hold up a jewelry store for 170 bucks? What could have driven him over the edge?

And the "Eye Opener" -- night terrors.

(SCREAMING)

COLLINS: Imagine being trapped in a terrifying nightmare...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the hell out of here.

COLLINS: ... and not being able to wake up.

BECKY SIENKO, MOTHER: It's so horrible. It's just blood- curdling scream, and she takes off.

COLLINS: What you need to know about a strange sleep disorder that terrifies millions.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: And we begin tonight with a rare look at the terror inside an airliner during an emergency.

Now, it's not so unusual these days to hear about airplanes in trouble, but we almost never get to see what's going on inside the plane. Just take a look at this video shot by a passenger aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 536, as it flew 26,000 feet over Washington state on Monday. You see the worried passengers trying to grasp the seriousness of the situation -- the oxygen masks dropping down, after the cabin suddenly lost pressure.

In just a moment, you will meet the man who took that video.

But, first, here's Kimberly Osias with more on what he and other passengers were thinking during their harrowing ordeal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEREMY HERMANNS, ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT 536 PASSENGER: You know, loud bang, and then a rapid decompression. It was extremely loud.

KIMBERLY OSIAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the pressure inside the Alaska Airlines jet plunged, oxygen masks fell. And passenger Jeremy Hermanns started snapping pictures with the camera on his cell phone. He says no one knew what was happening, and he says the scene inside was horrifying.

HERMANNS: A lot of panic. I mean, there was just fear in everybody's eyes because we didn't know what was going on.

OSIAS: Neither did the plane's crew, who Hermanns says performed admirably, nevertheless.

HERMANNS: They -- you know, they were walking up and down, you know, trying to help people put the masks on babies and elderly people who had twisted them.

OSIAS: The plane managed to return safely to Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport, where the problem was soon discovered, a 12-by-6-inch hole in the plane's side, between the front and middle cargo holds, about four feet below the passenger windows.

A ramp worker later came forward, saying his vehicle had bumped the plane earlier, an incident he failed to report immediately. Federal investigators say that bump dented the plane. In turn, that dent opened into a gash, as the jet gained altitude.

Both NTSB and the FAA are investigating the incident.

(on camera): Alaska Airlines is also investigating. It reported the incident to Seattle police as a possible hit and run, if you can believe that. The airline says it's reviewing safety procedures and protocol with ground crew, emphasizing the importance of immediately reporting any incident involving the planes.

Kimberly Osias, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Joining me now are two people who were on Flight 536. Damon Zwicker and Leslie Comstock were traveling together on the plane, and Damon is the one who took the video we showed you just a few minutes ago.

Glad to see the both of you. Thanks for being here, guys.

Damon, I want to start with you.

When did you realize that something was -- was terribly wrong on Flight 536?

DAMON ZWICKER, ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT 536 PASSENGER: There was a big bang on the plane.

And, then, what happened was, our ears started to pop a lot. And it was a definite change in what was happening. And there was a -- cold air started to come through on the vents up above. People started to reach up and turn the vents off. And I looked at Leslie. And I -- I just said, there seemed to be something wrong. Something's not right.

COLLINS: I -- I imagine that, you know, you were -- your mind was racing, trying to figure out what on earth was going on. What -- what was going through your mind?

ZWICKER: At that point, it was checking outside to look at the wings to see if there was anything wrong with the wings outside, checking to make sure Leslie was OK, because she was a little bit panicked, and, really, just making sure my seat belt was fastened and -- and kind of paying attention as to what was going on.

COLLINS:

And, Leslie, you know, you are shaking your head there, as we -- as he says you were a little bit panicked.

LESLIE COMSTOCK, ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT 536 PASSENGER: Oh, yes.

COLLINS: We see you in some of this video that Damon shot. Let's go ahead and take a look at that. And I'm going to ask you a couple questions on the back side here.

COMSTOCK: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMSTOCK: Are you recording this?

ZWICKER: Yes. It wasn't fun, huh?

COMSTOCK: The oxygen masks just dropped. Scary.

ZWICKER: Very scary. Not a fun thing. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: I'm able to see, Leslie, on one of our monitors here, as she watches this. And you are still shaking your head. I mean, how scared were you? What did you think was going on?

COMSTOCK: Oh, gosh. I -- I honestly thought it was going to be the end, you know?

I mean, you just don't know what to think when there's a loud crash, and, all of a sudden, the oxygen masks drop. And nobody is saying anything. And the, you know, flight crew is running up and down the aisles to help people. And...

COLLINS: Was the captain able to tell you anything at all?

COMSTOCK: He didn't get on to talk to us until I think he had stabilized the plane at a lower altitude.

Once the -- we got down, he told us it was OK to take off our masks and that we were returning to Seattle. So, that -- that's what all the footage is from. I think, beforehand, we were a little too nervous to get the camera out.

(LAUGHTER)

COLLINS: Boy, I'm sure.

And, you know, Leslie, I think I have read a couple different places that you have seen pretty much every air emergency that exists. You like all those television shows that show that, right?

COMSTOCK: I do. I don't know what it is.

I think maybe it's part of that thing where, if you watch it, then fate won't take you. I don't know. But I have always been very intrigued by airplanes and airplane disasters. I don't know why. It's weird.

(LAUGHTER)

COLLINS: Yes. Maybe you won't be so much anymore.

Damon, I understand you were pretty upset when you found out that this accident was due to a hole that one of the ramp workers may have put in the airplane. Of course, the investigation is still going on. But how did you feel when you learned that this was done possibly by a ramp worker?

ZWICKER: I think more disappointed than anything else. If somebody rams a truck into a plane, you hope they come forward and say something. I mean, that's really the big concern.

And knowing now, I think -- we didn't find out until yesterday at about 7:00 what had happened, and that the dent had actually caused the plane to -- to rip open a hole in the fuselage. I mean, that was really the big thing. And it's just disappointment that the guy didn't come forward and say something at the time.

COLLINS: Yes. Yes, not at the time. He has since done so.

But I also know that the two of you got on a plane again about two-and-a-half-hours later. So, I guess congratulations on doing that. And, again, we are really happy that you are safe.

And thanks for being with us tonight, Leslie Comstock, Damon Zwicker. Thanks again, guys.

COMSTOCK: Thank you.

ZWICKER: Thanks for having us.

COLLINS: So, what are the ultimate dangers of a depressurized airline cabin? How much time do you have to get safely on the ground?

Greg Feith is a former senior accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board. He is joining me now from Washington.

So, Greg, when we talk about depressurization, tell us exactly what that means and how it happened in this case. I mean, it seems like this system held up until about 26,000 feet. Then, that was pretty much all it could bear.

GREGORY FEITH, FORMER SENIOR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: You have to think of the airplane like a balloon.

It starts to expand. It pressurizes as the airplane goes up, so that we can breathe without an oxygen mask. But when you rip a hole in that pressure vessel, of course, the air leaks out and it tries to equalize with the outside pressure. When that happens, of course, the cold air, especially at 26,000 feet, which is really cold, starts to equalize in the cabin.

And you don't have the same amount of air to breathe as you would at sea level. And, so, the oxygen masks drop. And it's a critical situation in the 20s. It's an even more critical situation in the 30,000- and 40,000-foot altitudes.

COLLINS: So, what is the standard operating -- standard operating procedure, then, for decompression? It -- it is a pretty controllable event, is it not?

FEITH: It is.

All flight crews are trained, in the event of a rapid decompression, or even an explosive decompression, to immediately maintain control of the airplane and descend. Now, the oxygen masks will drop in the passenger cabin at about 10,000 feet, as the cabin altitude starts to come through 10,000 feet. The flight crew have what they call quick-donning oxygen masks.

That is, once that -- that pressurization is sensed, and they are losing cabin pressure, they immediately put on their oxygen masks, they maintain control of the airplane. And they want to descend as soon as possible to a lower altitude, stabilize the airplane, and then take whatever corrective actions are necessary, or divert.

COLLINS: So, how much time do you have, then, to get down before you start feeling, I guess, the effects of hypoxia?

FEITH: If the folks -- let's say the passengers didn't get on oxygen immediately. At 25,000 feet, they are going to probably have a time of useful consciousness, depending on physical condition, if they are a smoker or not, anywhere from one to three minutes, depending on physical condition. If you take that up into the 30,000-foot altitudes and especially the 40,000-foot altitudes, now you are talking just a matter of seconds.

COLLINS: Yes. And it also seems like maybe we should take a minute to talk about contract workers here. I know that Alaska Airlines hired an outside company for ramp services.

What are the implications of an airline contracting out ground work like this?

FEITH: One of the big things, Heidi, is that, with contract services, of course, that saves an airline money, because they can lease these -- basically, these folks, and get them at a cheaper rate, than if they employed them themselves.

One of the things that I have seen over the years in -- in doing accident investigation is, of course, contract maintenance. We saw that with the ValuJet accident in Miami, with contract services with SabreTech. There's always the concern about training, the lack of training, the lack of standardization, and, of course, the economics.

Who is going to oversee them and who is going to ensure that the folks that are working out on the ramp to either load baggage, fuel the airplane, maintain the airplane, have been trained properly, and then retrained or are maintained in an oversight by the management of the airline?

COLLINS: OK.

FEITH: Because, again, they are working as the airline.

COLLINS: All right.

Greg Feith, nice to see you, as always. Thanks a lot.

FEITH: Thank you, Heidi.

COLLINS: Next, how could someone who was at the top of his profession, a millionaire, go so far downhill as to stand accused of penny-ante robbery?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. CHARLES RAISON, EMORY UNIVERSITY: It might be that he was on something that radically raised the dose of the antidepressant. I mean, something like that is a possibility. But we know, again, that in -- in -- in certain episodes, people will be on an antidepressant, and it will just seem to induce a manic episode.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Could what happened to a star athlete also happen to you?

That story is coming up.

And, later, would you call the cops on your own father? What if you thought he was a bank robber?

Also, should this dog belong to the woman who helped rescue her after a hurricane or to the original owner who tracked them down?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Now the mystery this week surrounding a former million- dollar star athlete, a man who had it all.

Jeff Reardon lived every American boy's dream. He made it to the Major Leagues and to the World Series. But that was years ago. And, this week, he was arrested for armed robbery. So, what happened?

Christopher King has some answers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTOPHER KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A quiet and focused bear of a man, Jeff Reardon was a force to be reckoned with. He spent 16 years as one of history's best relief pitchers, a Major League legend who made more than $11 million during his career.

Since 1994, Reardon had been enjoying retirement, living beside a golf course, and raising money for charities. And then a sequence of events shattered his life.

MAJOR ROBERT ARTOLE, PALM BEACH GARDEN, FLORIDA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: We took him into custody. Did not resist. Everything was no incident at all.

KING: Monday, Reardon, while out at a Palm Beach Garden mall, robbed a jewelry store of about $175. The motive, none -- the alleged reason, a cocktail of prescription drugs.

MITCHELL BEERS, ATTORNEY FOR JEFF REARDON: He went over to the police and told them: I'm on medications. I didn't know what I was doing. I believe I may have robbed somewhere, and was very upset and very concerned.

KING: Specifically, Reardon claims, that five different types of antidepressants, coupled with drugs for a recent angioplasty, led him to -- quote -- "flip out."

Dr. Charles Raison of Emory agrees that mixing medications could touch off such bizarre episodes.

DR. CHARLES RAISON, EMORY UNIVERSITY: It might be that he was on something that radically raised the dose of the antidepressant. I mean, something like that is a possibility. But we know, again, that in -- in -- in certain episodes, people will be on an antidepressant, and it will just seem to induce a manic episode.

KING: But those closest to the soft-spoken and once hard- throwing Reardon say chemicals may not have been the only thing at work here. Grief has overwhelmed Reardon's life since 2004. That's when his son Shane died from a drug overdose.

BEERS: He really put a lot of time and effort and a lot of himself into helping his son Shane overcome some of Shane's problems. And the death of Shane was a total shock to him.

KING: A Web site with letters from friends and family tell the story of a man who continues to suffer the loss of his son.

November 26, 2005:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Dear Shaner I, miss you more than ever. Can't stop thinking of you. Love you, dad."

KING: June 20, 2005.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "As time goes by, it seems to get harder without you. But we are trying our best."

KING: A dozen postings echo the same thought.

March 29, 2005:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "It was so hard going on the roller coaster without you next to us, knowing how much you love them. When we got to the top, I looked up and was reaching for you there in heaven."

KING: February 14, 2005:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Things are still really tough without you, without us. We are all trying to cope with things the best we can."

KING: Coping, a way of life that seems to have broken down this past Monday. For now, Reardon is out on bail, charged with one count of armed robbery. His lawyer says they will fight the charges, laying the blame on a toxic mix of too many different chemicals, a mind- numbing mix and a man already beaten down by a life-numbing loss.

Christopher King, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: And one more thing: Jeff Reardon will be arraigned on January 27.

Still to come tonight, a mother's desperate measures to save her children from a house fire -- where did she find the courage?

Plus, if you are having terrifying nightmares, could it be the result of a little-known sleep disorder? We will get to those stories in just a bit.

But, right now, it's time for Erica Hill at Headline News to update the hour's top stories.

Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Thanks, Heidi.

Just a few hours ago, a judge settled the case of an accused Nazi U.S. officials have been trying to kick out of this country for nearly 30 years, John Demjanjuk, who is now 85 years old and is accused of having been a guard at a Nazi death camp during World War II. The U.S. once sent him to Israel, where he was tried and sentenced to death.

That conviction, though, was overturned, and he is still living in the Cleveland area. Now an immigration judge says he must be deported to his native Ukraine.

A big development today in the Enron scandal -- Richard Causey, the energy trading company's former chief accounting officer, pled guilty to securities fraud and is now expected to cooperate with prosecutors in the trial of Enron's top bosses. Because of today's plea deal, that trial has been put off now until the end of January.

And weather across Oklahoma and Texas giving firefighters the upper hand against dozens of grass fires there. As of tonight, the fires are blamed for at least four deaths.

And they have destroyed, Heidi, more than 75 homes -- some wild weather all across the country.

COLLINS: That's for sure.

All right, Erica Hill, thank you.

Next, her home was on fire. How did a mother find the nerve or the faith to drop her baby from a second-floor window during a raging fire?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILSHOWNDA WATKINS, MOTHER: I just hung her out. And when I heard the OK to drop her, I didn't even look. I didn't want to look. I just let go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: What happened next? Who caught the baby? Stay with us for the full story.

And, later, did you know there's a sleep disorder that causes nighttime terrors that are like nightmares on steroids? What can stop it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Well, it's the season of miracles. And we have got one for you right now. It's about a Los Angeles mother's desperate attempt to save the lives of her children during a raging house fire. But it's also about faith, hope and heroism.

Here's Kareen Wynter.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her baby's cry, music to this mother's ears. But it wasn't the little Tyrea's voice that woke her mother Tuesday morning. It was her grandmother's scream. Their home was on fire.

WILSHOWNDA WATKINS, MOTHER: I was crying. I was scared. I'm like, man, my baby is not going to make it out.

WYNTER: Other family members got out before the flames erupted. But Wilshownda Watkins, her 9-year-old brother, and her baby had just one escape route, a second-story window. That's when this mother made a desperate leap of faith. She dropped her 1-year-old baby from the second floor into the hands of a sheriff's deputy who had been flagged down for help.

WATKINS: I just hung her out. When I heard the OK to drop her, I didn't even look. I didn't want to look. I just let go.

WYNTER: Wilshownda says it was just weeks ago she watched as a mother, also faced with a life-or-death decision, dropped her infant from a burning building in New York.

WATKINS: I know what she went through, and I know exactly how she felt.

WYNTER: Wilshownda jumped next, but her brother Jermaine would not.

DEPUTY JEFFERY KIM, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I just told him, jump. Jump. I'm here. Jump. Jump. I'm here.

WYNTER: After frantic appeals from Deputy Jeff Kim, the boy finally made the leap.

KIM: I couldn't see anything, just smoke and flame. And then, at that time, he just came out from nowhere out of the smoke and just dropped into my arms.

WATKINS: As you can see, we -- everything is gone.

WYNTER: Wilshownda says they lost everything, their home, precious belongings, but she says this ordeal has brought her closer to loved ones.

WATKINS: And that should have people realizing family is everything, because one -- blink of an eye, they can be gone.

WYNTER: A life lesson even this 17-year-old isn't too young to learn.

Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: And there's this. Fire investigators say a Christmas tree may have sparked the fire. Wilshownda and her family say they will spend the rest of their holidays at a motel until they find a new home.

Well, a story like that could give you nightmares. But are your dreams ever as frightening as the ones this woman's daughter gets?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. SIENKO: It's so horrible, because she bolts up. She's just panic-stricken. And the scream is horrible. It's just blood-curdling scream. And she takes off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: What causes nightmares like that, and is there any way to avoid them? That's coming up next.

And, later, we have seen these pictures over and over, but do they tell the full story? Why couldn't all these cops take one man into custody without shooting him?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: If you have trouble sleeping, you are not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, three-quarters of Americans do.

But for at least 30 million Americans, the problem is literally terrifying. They suffer from a bizarre sleep behavior called night terror. And it can turn downright dangerous. Now you're going to meet a girl who barely survived one frightening night.

Her story is tonight's "Eye Opener."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS (voice-over): In the mysterious world of sleep, parasomnias are the drama queens of the night.

Doctors estimate these bizarre sleep behavior affect between 12 and 20 percent of Americans. And you won't believe what happens when the lights go out. Caught on tape here in this sleep lab video, sleepwalking, sleep eating, angry sleep talking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the hell out of here.

COLLINS: Violently acting out dreams. For some people, sleep truly is a nightmare.

Fifteen-year-old Laura Sienko has been sleepwalking for as long as she can remember. But the last four years have been the worst -- spent in the throes of night terrors.

LAURA SIENKO, SLEEPWALKER: I see these people staring in at me, and they're coming to get me or something. In my dream, all the sudden, they had caught me, and it was my parents holding me back. It's scary. And I can't really differentiate what's real and what's not.

COLLINS (on camera): During a night terror, Laura is in a twilight zone, neither awake nor completely asleep, petrified by a terrible dream, yet conscious enough to act. Coupled with sleepwalking, it's a dangerous combination. Laura doesn't remember most of these episodes, but her parents, Becky and Mike, can't forget.

How does it impact you?

BECKY SIENKO, LAURA'S MOTHER: It's so horrible, because she bolts up. She's just panic-stricken. And the scream is horrible. It's just a blood-curdling scream, and she takes off.

MIKE SIENKO, LAURA'S FATHER: The terror and the speed and the strength. I've been on the ground holding her with one leg and she is dragging me.

COLLINS (voice-over): By day, Laura is a vibrant happy teenager. She's a high school sophomore who loves sports and spending time with her two sisters. But everything changes at night. Under the cover of darkness, something haunts Laura. One night two years ago, something terrified her so badly that she'd do anything to escape.

MIKE SIENKO: 2:15 in the morning, we're sound asleep and woke to just this blood-curdling scream. The next thing you see is Laura flying by the bed heading towards this door. I start immediately screaming to Laura, Laura, no, no. Because I saw her come by here. She flipped on the light. And her hands just kind of moved down on the door and she unbolted it, unlocked it and just flung the door open. And she continued on a path as fast as you could imagine right off here. And screaming the whole time. She never stopped.

COLLINS: Laura hit the ground 25 feet below, still asleep, still screaming amazingly after the fall still frantically on the move. At the time the Sienko home was under renovation. There was a deck but no railing, only wooden posts and sloping earth underneath.

LAURA SIENKO: When I landed, I landed right here against this. And I ran through these bushes and over these rocks and around the house. I collapsed like in this area.

COLLINS: Laura broke two vertebrae in her lower back and spent one week in the hospital, 10 weeks in a body cast, 18 weeks in a back brace. What causes her midnight madness? Doctors aren't sure, but they know sleep disorders run in families. Both Mike and Becky have a history of sleepwalking, so does Laura's identical twin, Meghan. And aside from genes other factors can play a role.

DR. CARLOS SCHENCK, PSYCHIATRIST, MINN. REGIONAL SLEEP DISORDERS CTR.: The most potent trigger of sleepwalking and night terrors for people who are susceptible is sleep deprivation. That is far and away the most potent trigger. Sleep deprivation, stress, medication, alcohol, irregular sleep schedule, all those can be aggravating or precipitating factors.

COLLINS: The altered state is worse than any nightmare you've ever had. And unlike a nightmare, a night terror doesn't have a vivid complex plot that keeps you paralyzed, just an overwhelming and primal sense of fear, usually striking in the first and deepest stage of sleep.

BECKY SIENKO: That picture will be in my mind forever of her leaping right here into the sky.

MIKE SIENKO: It is scary. I tell you what. It's not going to happen again.

COLLINS: Mike Sienko, won't let it happen again. Every night, this quiet Minnesota home turns into a fortress to keep Laura safe.

MIKE SIENKO: I put chairs in front of the doors, and I offset them. I double-check that the doors are all bolted. We moved the bench in front of this door on the balcony. It's a heavy bench. You know, even Laura's strength you're not going to move this out. And I hit the floor here in the doorway and that's where I go to sleep at night.

COLLINS: There for two years every night since the accident. Safeguarding Laura is a real family affair, pooch included. Taz lays watch on Laura's leg. The jingle of her collar serves as a warning bell if Laura tries to bolt. And Meghan has positioned her bed close to the door of the room they share.

MEGHAN SIENKO, LAURA'S SISTER: Unbelievably scary waking up to her screaming. It's my job to turn on the light and then she will wake up.

COLLINS: The Sienko's say their sleeplessness is worth it. There's been no repeat incident. Laura's bones have healed. And she has found the right specialist to diagnose and treat her problem. For now she takes anti-anxiety medicine each night, and will soon learn special exercises to get control over her body even self-hypnosis.

DR. LAUREL WILLIS, PEDIATRICIAN, MINN. REGIONAL SLEEP DISORDER CTR.: For Laura, we recommended that she utilize some biofeedback or meditative strategies to deepen her sleep and to sort of smooth out the sleep cycles so that she's not responding to whatever that trigger is.

COLLINS: Laura has missed out on some of the joy of being a teenager. Trips and sleep-overs at friend's house are simply impossible, too much danger, not enough protection. Doctors say there's a chance she'll outgrow her parasomnia. She's already coming to terms with battling and overcoming a life of bad dreams.

LAURA SIENKO: I think about it and I mean I really wish that I didn't have to deal with it. I wish -- I hope that some day it will be OK.

COLLINS: Heidi Collins, CNN, Duluth, Minnesota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: And one more thing we should tell you, from the National Sleep Foundation, the number of people reporting sleep problems has been going up steadily for the last six years.

Well, by now, I am sure you've seen those disturbing pictures of that deadly stand-off in New Orleans. So how is the city's police chief defending his officers? And is there something we don't see in these pictures.

Plus, the odyssey of a storm survivor. What happened to a dog that CNN's Miles O'Brien and his producer discovered while reporting on Hurricane Rita.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: The shooting death of a New Orleans man by police is still generating controversy tonight. More than a dozen officers confronted the man Monday in broad daylight and in the middle of a street, after he reportedly lunged at an officer with a knife. Today, the police superintendent defended his officer's actions during the confrontation, most of which was caught on videotape. Here's Sean Callebs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the time this camera began rolling, a number of New Orleans police officers, guns drawn, were trying to get 38-year-old Anthony Hayes to surrender peacefully.

This drama had started minutes before. Authorities say Hayes had assaulted an employee at a pharmacy. The situation gets worse when Hayes starts waving a knife. It's hard to tell from these pictures, but police say the knife was three inches long. Witnesses were stunned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The policemen in this situation, they're right. They save us, they help us and everything. We need to give them some time to protect the city, too.

CALLEBS: Area residents say Hayes was well known and by all appearances, he was mentally unstable but never violent. Video tape shows officers using pepper spray, but it apparently had little effect. Then, out of view of the camera, it ended. Three officers fired nine shots, killing Hayes. Warren Riley is the acting police superintendent. WARREN RILEY, POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: This officer's life was in danger and the police officers who actually fired protected this officer. That's what's being missed in this entire situation.

CALLEBS: Riley says Hayes lunged at one of the officers with his knife and that's when they unleashed a volley of shots.

(on camera): Hayes' life came to an end here, at the corner of St. Charles and Felicity. And the way he died immediately triggered controversy. People here wanted to know why so many officers for one man with a weapon and why not use a taser or shoot him with a nonlethal beanbag.

(voice over): New Orleans police officers don't have tasers and say there wasn't time or need to call the SWAT team to try to diffuse the situation.

This is the department's stinging from criticism since Hurricane Katrina. A well publicized beating in the French Quarter that led to the dismissal of two officers as well as allegation of looting and stealing cars from a dealership right after the storm.

RILEY: We're disappointed that everything we do will be looked at on a national level. They are focused on the police department because of some unfortunate incidents.

Defense Attorney Robert Jenkins, who happened to be passing by, saw much of the confrontation, but not the fatal shooting. He says police did what they should.

ROBERT JENKINS, WITNESS: They were yelling and screaming. Not just one, many of them, get down, drop the weapon. He just wouldn't do it.

CALLEBS: To be clear, Jenkins is not representing anyone in this case. He says, one person called and urged him to change his story and that clergy leaders had planned a demonstration until Jenkins spoke out.

JENKINS: I was not on the police side. I was just telling the truth about what I view. It's not so much that -- if I thought they had done something improper, I would be the first to say so.

CALLEBS: The officers involved have been temporarily reassigned, as is the case in any shooting. The acting commissioner says, no one is proud of what happened here, but says he's happy they aren't burying an officer. Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: Superintendent Riley added today that officers are trained to treat knife attacks as deadly force. Also, officers are not schooled in disarming suspects with knives using hand to hand combat.

Well, next, could you do what three men did when they recognized their father in some pictures of a bank robbery?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those pictures, I had no doubt that it was our father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went instantly cold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Coming up, what did they do, and could you do the same thing?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: "LARRY KING LIVE" coming up in a few minutes. Larry, hello to you. Who are you going to be talking with tonight?

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hi. I assume I'm there because I didn't hear you, Heidi. Such is the marvel of modern communications.

COLLINS: Yes, Larry, we're here.

KING: Based on that assumption, we're going to do a show on skeptics versus psychics. We'll have three psychics and two skeptics. It's uneven but maybe I'll be a skeptic too. It will be a lot of fun at the top of the hour with phone calls. Back to you, Heidi Collins. I hope you hear me.

COLLINS: Yes, we hear you. Do you hear me now?

KING: I hear you now.

COLLINS: I thought you were being a psychic for a bit.

KING: No. You look lovely.

COLLINS: Thank you. We look forward to seeing the show. That's coming up in about 15 minutes. That's "LARRY KING LIVE." Psychics and skeptics tonight.

Meanwhile, tomorrow in a courtroom in Illinois, a 64-year-old man is scheduled to be sentenced for a string of bank robberies. He could spend the rest of his life in prison. What makes this case unusual is the man that's convicted was turned in by his own three sons.

Could you have done the same thing. You decide after seeing this report by Keith Oppenheim: "Outside the Law."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To most everyone in Lewistown, Illinois, population 2600, it seemed Bill Ginglen was living the good life with his wife, after bringing up a daughter and three sons.

(on camera): What kind of dad was he?

GARRETT GINGLEN, BANK ROBBER'S SON: He was a great father most of my life. When I was around him, especially as a younger person, he raised me right. He raised us all right.

OPPENHEIM: (voice over): But Garrett, Jared and Clay Ginglen have been facing a difficult truth. In the fire station where two of them are volunteers, Bill's Ginglen's sons told me that while they thought their father was working hard to earn a living, he had secretly become a bank robber.

JARED GINGLEN, BANK ROBBER'S SON: He hid it well. He did hide it very well. He didn't, in Lewistown, he was not that person.

OPPENHEIM: In Lewistown, Bill Ginglen was known as a former marine, a well-dressed businessman, an upstanding citizen. Then a few years ago, he started asking family members for money.

G. GINGLEN: You are obliged to help.

OPPENHEIM (on camera): But that makes you trapped, doesn't it?

G. GINGLEN: It does, very much.

J. GINGLEN: We were raised to believe that family comes first.

Above all things. So we wanted to help as much as we could.

OPPENHEIM: (voice over): What the brothers didn't know is as they were giving their father cash, police were looking for an older, well- dressed gentleman who had been walking into small town banks carrying a gun.

The robber hit seven banks in nine months. And got away with more than $56,000. In November, 2003, the spree began here in Kenney, Illinois.

OPPENHEIM: (on camera): During the investigation, the problem for police was the banks either didn't have camera surveillance at all or the systems weren't good enough to get a clear picture of the suspect. But after being hit once, the managers of this small bank did a smart thing. They upgraded to a digital video system to catch the robber if he were to ever come back. In July 2004, he did.

ROGER MASSEY, DEWILL COUNTY SHERIFF: We felt after the second robbery at the Kenney bank that we had such good video from their surveillance tapes that we could find someone from the public that could identify him.

So we quickly put up a Web site for our department and displayed about eight photographs of the suspected bank robber, as well as his car.

OPPENHEIM: (voice over): That someone from the public turned out to be the bank robber's son. Jared Ginglen is a police officer in Peoria, Illinois. He read about the Web site in a local paper. J. GINGLEN: As soon as I read that, I went home and looked at the web site. Sure enough, those pictures, I had no doubt that it was our father. Wearing a mask and a hat and sunglasses, but we could tell it was him.

OPPENHEIM:: He called his brothers to make sure there was no mistake.

G. GINGLEN: Panic hit me. I got physically sick. Instantly threw up. Started sweating. Just a violent panic reaction to what I'd seen. It was terrible.

CLAY GINGLEN, BANK ROBBER'S SON: I went instantly cold. When I told my boss that I was going to have to leave for the day she says I was pretty pale.

OPPENHEIM: The brother's felt like they had to take action immediately.

C. GINGLEN: We went to his house actually, thinking he'd be home. We were going to confront him about it.

C. GINGLEN: ... pretty pale.

OPPENHEIM: The brothers felt they had to take action immediately.

C. GINGLEN: We went to his house, actually, thinking he would be home, and we were going to confront him about it and turn him in, or have him turn himself in. He, however, was not home. So, that's when we decided that we had to call the authorities and put a stop to whatever he was up to.

OPPENHEIM: The sons would learn their father was up to much more than they ever imagined.

After the arrest, police recovered a detailed account of his double life from Bill Ginglen's computer. He was having an affair, hiring prostitutes, supporting an expensive crack cocaine habit. And he was desperate. He wrote: "The $500 that I spent on smoke during this visit was an incredibly stupid expenditure and evidence that I truly am in over my head. There is also the mortgages, the car rental, the utilities, the phone bill. What the hell am I going to do?"

C. GINGLEN: Very rarely, in -- in a crime, you get to look inside the mind of the person committing it. And with his journal, you could see everything he was thinking.

OPPENHEIM (on camera): Now, he's your father.

C. GINGLEN: Yes. And that made it 10 times worse.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): William Ginglen pleaded guilty to all charges, robbery and gun possession, and is now awaiting sentencing. He could spend the rest of his life in prison. His wife divorced him. His son Clay has spoken to him briefly on the phone, nothing substantial. Jared and Garrett don't want to speak to their father.

G. GINGLEN: I'm -- I'm still angry. I -- I just still feel angry. I kind of hope I get over that some day, but -- but, right now, I am just still angry.

OPPENHEIM: For all their anger and hurt, the brothers have no regrets about the toughest decision they ever made.

(on camera): Do you have doubts? Are there moments where you just sort of say, you know, did I do the right thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

OPPENHEIM: Because?

C. GINGLEN: Because we had no choice. I mean, to us, it was obvious.

(CROSSTALK)

G. GINGLEN: Right. And it's -- it's right and wrong. Very simple, really.

OPPENHEIM: Is he the one who taught you that?

G. GINGLEN: Yes, he is. He taught us.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): And that's the irony of Bill Ginglen: The man who taught his sons right from wrong would go wrong himself. His children would have to make sure his crimes did not go unpunished.

Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Lewistown, Illinois.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: And one more thing. The brothers say they hope their story will help others who may be forced to decide between family and justice.

Next, a dog story with two endings. Which one will you like better?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANA GARRETT, CNN PRODUCER: She just crawled up and pressed against me and was just so sweet. And I really just fell in love with her immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: What happened to the dog a CNN crew rescued after Hurricane Rita? Well, you might need King Solomon to figure out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: New Year's Eve is just around the corner. It's a time to remember old acquaintances. But you are about to see the story of one four-legged friend who won't soon be forgotten around here at CNN. Miles O'Brien takes us back to the first time he met a living symbol of hope after the year's worst disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It was the morning after Hurricane Rita. We had just weathered the storm at the police station when shortly after dawn we heard a whimper amid the wreckage of a storage shed.

(on camera): There we go. There he is. Oh. Don't let him go. Don't let him go.

He's OK. He's just scared and wet.

(voice over): It was a spontaneous moment which later provided some grist for Jon Stewart.

(on camera): And we'll make sure that the dog gets back to its rightful owner.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": This story has a happy ending. Miles O'Brien was adopted by a nice family in Baton Rouge.

O'BRIEN (voice over): The truth is, for producer Dana Garrett, it was love at first sight.

GARRETT: When she came out of that crate she was so forlorn looking. And she just crawled into my lap. And honestly, if she had had arms to hug me, she would have. She just crawled up and pressed against me and was just so sweet. And I really just fell in love with her immediately.

O'BRIEN: No tags, no phone number on the crate. And police said if the owner did not materialize soon the dog would be put to sleep.

GARRETT: Especially having rescued her, I just thought, you know, I can't let that happen.

O'BRIEN: A week passed. No one came forward. Dana and the dog left town together to Dana's home in New York. She named her Sunny. She made fast friends, canine and human alike. It was a happy ending. Or so it seemed.

MISTY MCCOURTNEY, RESCUED DOG'S OWNER: Hey, is my mom there?

O'BRIEN: Enter Misty McCourtney, the dog's rightful owner. The 17-year-old adopted the puppy when she was only 4 weeks old, named her Nevaeh. That's heaven spelled backwards.

MCCOURTNEY: We end up taking her home the first night we got her. She couldn't eat on her own, so we bottle-fed her.

O'BRIEN: Misty had been frantically trying to track the dog down. She finally got the story from police. And six weeks after we rescued the dog, Dana got the call she feared.

GARRETT: I knew at that point that I was so attached that I wasn't going to be able to just put her in a crate and put her on a plane and ship her back home.

O'BRIEN: So Dana drove her back 1,300 miles to Misty's new home with her dad in Nebraska.

Here she is.

MCCOURTNEY: Nevaeh, hi there, baby. Oh my god. Oh, you're getting me all dirty, but I don't care.

GARRETT: She saw Misty and she was happy. But then it kicked in, and you could see when she really realized who it was. And she got so excited and just started whimpering and scampering around. And it just made me feel so good that she recognized her and was really happy to see her.

MCCOURTNEY: I just feel really, really excited that she's here. And I want to thank you so much for bringing her back. I'm really happy you brought her back.

O'BRIEN: A bittersweet end to the tale of the pup-struck producer, the grateful owner and a well-loved pooch. Miles O'Brien, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: OK, and there's this. Just a thought. Maybe adopting an unwanted pet could make the new year a bit happier for both of you.

And tomorrow, a strange, little understood syndrome that makes teenagers literally sleep for days at a time and forces their parents to watch them around the clock. Why? Make sure they wake up, eat, drink and even use the bathroom. What causes this mysterious problem? We'll tackle that one tomorrow. But thanks for joining us tonight everybody. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.

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