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Campus Shooting; Newborn Stolen; Found In Bunker Alive; Kennedy-Lawford Dies; Deadly Weekend; Detainee Showdown; Pope's Apology

Aired September 18, 2006 - 07:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Miles O'Brien.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Carol Costello, in today for Soledad.

There's a police manhunt underway in Pittsburgh this morning. Police looking for the suspect in the shootings of five Duquesne University basketball players. One of the players is in critical condition. AMERICAN MORNING's Alina Cho live in Pittsburgh on the Duquesne campus with more.

Hello, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Miles. Good morning to you.

In response to this shooting, Duquesne University officials have stepped up security here on campus. Students are just waking up now and many are still understandably still shaken by what's happened.


CHO, (voice over): Police say the five Duquesne basketball players had just left an on-campus dance early Sunday morning around 2:00 a.m. Not long after that, there was apparently a verbal exchange with a man who is not believed to be a student. Shots were fired and the suspect is still at large.

CHARLES DOUGHERTY, DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Other members of the basketball team, other members of our student body performed as a team, in some cases heroically, pulling people out of the line of fire, getting them assistance, rendering first aid and making sure they got the medical care they needed as quickly as possible.

CHO: The university president says the community is still in shock because the Duquesne campus is known as a safe place.

DOUGHERTY: We're sad because our students have been injured. Other students have witnessed the injuries. Families are concerned. Parents are concerned. We are a community of faith, and so our first instinct, our first response, is prayer for those who have been wounded. Prayer for their families.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHO: The most critically injured player is a cousin of former Houston Rockets star, Hakeem Olajuwon. Many of his teammates attended a prayer service here on campus last night. This is a Catholic university. And the university is offering crisis counseling to anyone who needs it.

Miles, something to note. This is the first shooting here on campus in Duquesne University's 128-year history.

O'BRIEN: Alina, what do we know about how this all got started? How did the fight begin?

CHO: Well, we're just learning now, according to the Associates Press, Miles, that this fight, according to some students, may have been over a woman. Police apparently are not confirming or denying this news just yet, nor are they talking about whether they have identified the suspect or where he lives. But safe to say that the search is on this morning for the suspect who is still at large.

O'BRIEN: Alina Cho on the campus of Duquesne. Thank you.


COSTELLO: Another huge search underway in St. Louis this morning. They're looking for this little girl, 10-day-old Abigale Lynn Woods. The suspect slashed her mother's throat and then took off with the baby. CNN's Jonathan Freed joins us live now from Union, Missouri, to tell us more.

Good morning.


I can tell you that that search is expected to pick up again today after weather, some rain yesterday, had slowed it down a bit.


FREED, (voice over): Police, the FBI, members of the Missouri National Guard and community volunteers are all trying to find any clue to the whereabouts of little Abigale Lynn Woods. The baby was just a week old when her mother was attacked on Friday and Abby was snatched from her home in rural Londell, Missouri, about an hour southwest of St. Louis. Police say the mother, 21-year-old Stephanie Ochsenbine, was stabbed with a knife and had her throat slashed by a woman who knocked on her door.

SHERIFF GARY TOELKE, FRANKLIN COUNTY, MISSOURI: She asked to use the phone. And she came in and attempted to make a call, but apparently their long distance service wasn't working. And then I think she asked to use the bathroom, but -- and then at one point she told her she was there to take the child. And that's when there was an altercation inside the house.

FREED: The mother was unconscious for a short while and then managed to walk 300 yards to her nearest neighbor's house for help. The baby's father was at work at the time. Police issued an Amber Alert. The infant weighs barely six pounds and was wearing a pink dress with a flowered collar. She has a birthmark between her eyes.

Family members are pleading for the child's return.

RAYLENE OCHSENBINE, ABIGALE'S GRANDMOTHER: We just want her to give her to a church so we can get her or a hospital so we can get her. Just give her back. My daughter is torn apart. The whole family is torn apart. It just hurts.

FREED: The suspect is a white female between 30 and 40 years old, about 5'8" and weighs around 200 pounds. She had dark hair pulled under a baseball cap.


FREED: Now, Carol, there is some encouraging news to report. Over the weekend, the mother was released from the hospital and is home and being cared for by her family. And investigators say, Carol, that they did find a knife on the property nearby to the family's home. No word yet on where the forensics have gone on that, but they at least confirm that they found a knife.


COSTELLO: A couple of questions. It seems like the mother didn't know the suspect. So how did the suspect know that she had a newborn baby. I know they had one of those signs that new parents put on their homes. But it's a very rural area. So how did this woman know about this newborn?

FREED: That's right. There was one of those signs that people will proudly put out on their front lawn when an event like this happens in your family. Aside from that, it is not clear how this woman would have known.

COSTELLO: Jonathan Freed reporting live from Union, Missouri, this morning. If you have any information on this very bizarre and tragic case, police want you to call them at 888-265-8639.

The suspect in the kidnapping of a 14-year-old South Carolina girl is in jail this morning facing felony charges. He allegedly held the teenager for 10 days in an underground bunker. She was rescued after she managed to send a text message to her mother. CNN's Drew Griffin is live in Camden, South Carolina, to tell us more.

Hello, Drew.


A really bizarre story, but this one with a much happier ending. A 14-year-old girl, Elizabeth Shoaf, according to the sheriff, did as much to rescue herself as the police did. She was snatched walking home from school from a school bus stop on September 6th, held in this underground bunker unbeknownst to everyone just about a miles from her house. Being held by a man already wanted for sexual assault of a young girl.

And it was then on the 10 day, he fell asleep, she grabbed a cell phone and sent a text message to her mother. Her mother learning just then that her daughter, Elizabeth, was alive and they were able to find her. Take a listen to what her mother told me last night.


MADELINE SHOAF, ELIZABETH SHOAF'S MOTHER: I seen that it said one message received. I didn't know who it was. What I did was look at the text and I ran straight to him and told him "it's Elizabeth." Nobody else has my cell phone number except for my friends and names would have popped up. We called the police.


GRIFFIN: And the police were able to determine that that phone call came from a suspect they had been looking for on another charge. His name is Vinson Filyaw. He woke up, saw Elizabeth with that cell phone, asked what she was doing. She said she was just playing, but he two and two together and began to run. He was picked up early Sunday morning here in rural South Carolina on foot in camouflage with a pellet gun. Elizabeth home. She's doing much better now, Carol. And Vinson Filyaw is inside this detention center in Camden, South Carolina, awaiting his next appearance in court.

COSTELLO: Drew Griffin reporting live for us from South Carolina this morning. Thanks.

Coming up at the half hour, we'll be joined by Elizabeth's parents and her aunt.

O'BRIEN: That fresh spinach recall is growing more and more and the concerns are growing about deadly E. Coli bacteria. The government now saying spring mix bagged lettuce, under the brand names Farmers Market, Hy Vee and Fresh and Easy should be thrown out immediately. The E. Coli outbreak is now effecting people in 19 states. About 109 people have gotten sick. The numbers are expected to go up when state health departments open up after the weekend. Fifty-five people remain in the hospital, 16 with a form of kidney failure. It has nothing to do with that weather, obviously, there. The outbreak is being blamed for one death in Wisconsin.

Now let's show you the severe weather. Severe weather across the Midwest over the weekend. We wanted to show you some pictures of that tornado -- there you go -- in South Dakota. It formed in Minnehaha County near Colton. And there were no reports of any real damage. Just outside Minneapolis this morning, people in Rogers, Minnesota, still cleaning up from a deadly tornado there. The twister swept through town Saturday night, damaging hundreds of homes. A 10-year- old girl died when the house she was in collapsed.

Rob Marciano in for Chad Myers today.

Hello, Rob.


O'BRIEN: Happening in America this morning.

In Wichita, Kansas, today, BTK killer Dennis Rader could decide if he'll pursue an appeal to his conviction. Rader pleaded guilty to killing 10 people between 1974 and 1991. The lawyer responsible for reviewing the appeal is to meet with Rader today.

Astronauts on board the space shuttle Atlantis wrapping up a busy mission to install some solar arrays at the space station. The shuttle undocked yesterday. The robotic arm on the shuttle is now inspecting the heat shield for damage. Atlantis is scheduled for a Florida landing early Wednesday.

Overnight, the first-ever female space tourist blasted off into space. Iranian-American Anousheh Ansari on Sary (ph), aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. She paid about $20 million for that seat. There she is on the left. She will spend most of her 10 day mission at the International Space Station.

COSTELLO: A final farewell in Austin, Texas, today to former Texas Governor Ann Richards. Senator Hillary Clinton and columnist Liz Smith among the speakers at her funeral. Richards died last week after a battle with cancer. She was 73.

And Patricia Kennedy-Lawford has died. She was the sister of Senator Edward Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy-Lawford was 82 years old. She died of complications from pneumonia.


COSTELLO, (voice over): She was the sixth child in a family of nine. The family's name, Kennedy. Patricia Kennedy-Lawford was always around politics, if not in it. She helped her big brother, John, make his way to the White House, a younger brother, Bobby, to the Senate. Her little brother Edward, now the senior senator from Massachusetts, said of her, "Pat is irreplaceable" and noted her great style, her love and support of the arts, her wit and generosity and a sense of wonder and joy she brought to the Kennedy family.

But it wasn't politics which drove this Kennedy, it was show business and the arts. Soon after graduating Rosemont College in Pennsylvania, she left for Hollywood. She fell in love with an actor, Peter Lawford. They married in 1954 and had four children before divorcing in the mid '60s. Then she moved back east to New York where she founded the National Committee for the Literary Arts.

The family said in a statement, "whether it was campaigning for her brothers or champing (ph) literacy and the arts, her purist gift was her beautiful heart."


COSTELLO: Patricia Kennedy-Lawford leaves behind her brother, Edward, her sisters Eunice Kennedy-Shriver and Jeanne Kennedy-Smith, four children and 10 grandchildren. O'BRIEN: Still to come, the pope says he's sorry, but the threats and the unrest continue. Find out why some Muslims are demanding what they call a real apology.

CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Cal Perry live in Baghdad, where sectarian violence and insurgent attacks continue to plague the country. I'll have more on both when AMERICAN MORNING continues.

O'BRIEN: And is Senator Barack Obama cooking up a run for the White House in 2008? Why some folks say it's a real possibility. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: The Associated Press is calling on the U.S. military to release a photo journalist held without charges. The military has held photographer Bilal Hussein for the past five months. The Pentagon says Hussein, an Iraqi national, has ties to insurgents. The AP says the military does not have concrete evidence against him.

Violence is spreading to the oil-rich northern section of Iraq. An especially bloody weekend in Kirkuk, on the border of Kurdish territory. CNN's Cal Perry live from Baghdad now.

Cal, that Kurdish country has been relatively calm. What's going on?

CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yesterday was an especially bad day in the city. In the people of less than three hours, four car bombs wreaking mass damage in the city. What we understand from police, at this point, at least 23 people were killed yesterday, some 66 others wounded. The targets ranged from security forces, to an NGO, to a busy downtown street.

Also overnight, more bodies discovered in and around the capital, bringing the total from the past week 198 bodies found strewn across the capital. Police saying they believe all are the victims of sectarian violence.


O'BRIEN: You mention all the violence in Baghdad. We heard about this report of a trench around the city of Baghdad. A city of seven million people, 81 square miles, about the size of Chicago. That seems, on the face of it at least, on first blush, impractical.

PERRY: Well, impractical and a very drastic move. Many people calling it a drastic move, but perhaps necessary due to the violence. We did get some clarification yesterday from Iraq's national security adviser. He said it would not be one long, continuous trench. He said it would be tied in with Baghdad's natural landmarks. Most notably the Tigres River, which runs directly though the city. Also, he said this is just one of many plans going forward to the security officers on the ground. They will make the determination which is the best plan moving forward.


O'BRIEN: Cal Perry in Baghdad, thank you very much.


COSTELLO: There may be some room for negotiation now over the treatment of terror suspects. Key Republicans who broke with the president over changing the rules may now be open to a compromise. That, while the president heads to the United Nations where he could face some tough questions on the suspect. CNN's Kathleen Koch has more for us this morning live from the White House.

What is it, Kathleen?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Carol.

Some new and possible developments coming over the weekend. That after a week of confrontation between the White House and top Senate Republicans.


KOCH, (voice over): When it comes to the secret CIA prison program for terrorists, President Bush has been adamant.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Congress passes a law that does not clarify the rules, if they do not do that, the program's not going forward.

KOCH: But top senators in his own party remain just as insistent that reinterpreting Article 3 of the Geneva Convention to define what CIA interrogators can and can't do could free all nations to do the same and endanger U.S. operatives.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Suppose the Iranians captured an American and they decided that they would modify the common Article 3 to suit their purposes.

KOCH: The White House is now voicing flexibility.

STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We need to find a way so that we can do this without changing or modifying what's called Common Article 3. That is what Senator McCain thinks is so important.

KOCH: And Republican senators who challenged the president now say they want to give him clear rules for U.S. interrogators.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I will give him all the tools that I know how to give him that are constitutional that will make us safe, but I don't want these tools to become clubs to be used against us.

KOCH: Rather than tweaking an international treaty, balking senators proposed to change U.S. law. McCain suggesting mending the War Crimes Act of 1996, which defines war crimes and the penalties for committing them. Still, some aren't convinced that would give CIA interrogators enough protection in a court of law.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R) TEXAS, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I do think it's going to take more than amending the War Crimes Act, because when the Department of Justice passes judgement on whether an interrogation technique is lawful or unlawful, they're going to look at the whole range of laws.

KOCH: Even if both sides are willing to compromise, a House committee has already passed its own version.


KOCH: The president today turns his attention to the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. The president will be leaving for New York City later this morning. He'll be meeting with a number of world leaders before addressing the General Assembly Tuesday morning. His focus is going to be building democracy in the Middle East. But, Carol, he's certainly going to get some tough questions from other world leaders who are displeased about the controversial CIA overseas prison program.

COSTELLO: I think you're right about that.

Kathleen Koch reporting live from the White House this morning.

An apology, personal and public, from Pope Benedict XVI. The pontiff Sunday said he was deeply sorry for offending Muslims in a speech last week where he quoted a 14th century emperor who referred to Islam as "evil and inhuman." The remarks have triggered Muslim anger around the world. But will the pope's apology bring it to an end? CNN's faith and values correspondent Delia Gallagher joins us now.

Before we get into it, let's put up the exact quote once again so we can try to understand why this has become such a big controversy. Violence in Somalia. Violence in the West Bank. Also violence in Iraq today.

This is what the pope said in his speech. He said, "the emperor comes to speak about the issue of Jihad, holy war. Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the fath he preached."

OK. I know what you told us Friday, that this was supposed to be sort of an intellectual study, an intellectual argument.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's an academic discourse. And, I mean, that's, obviously, only one small part of it. But it's a way for him to get into the whole discussion about violence and religion and what is the connection between the two. And he goes on to say that he thinks in Christianity there's a belief in a rational god who is not pleased by violence and he brings up the question, is that the same concept of god that is held in Islam.

COSTELLO: Did he realize that his words were going to cause this violence? I mean did he realize what impact they would have?

GALLAGHER: Well, I think that -- he said himself, you know, he was sort of surprised by this violence and I think he underestimated that it would raise this violence. And it's rather ironic because the whole point of his talk was, you know, let's see if we can have a rational discussion about religions and the cultural influences on those religions in order to really understand where does the violence spring from.

COSTELLO: In "The New York Times" this morning it was reported that the pope usually writes his own speeches, but that those close to him said, "maybe you shouldn't say this, Pope Benedict."

GALLAGHER: Well, that's difficult to say, I think, to Pope Benedict. He does write his own speeches and he sort of writes them and reads them and that's about it. He's use to that. You know, he's not really somebody who kind of has collaboration with lots of people saying, well why don't you add in a few lines yourself.

So I think if anybody did say something to him, he probably would have felt that it was more important to bring out what he would consider the truth of the matter. And especially at this time I think he feels that this is the right time when a lot of people would argue it's not the right time. But he might feel otherwise.

COSTELLO: And I know you told us on Friday that the Vatican gave this kind of convoluted apology. But Pope Benedict came out again. And what did he say this time?

GALLAGHER: Well, this time -- in fact, I think we have it here what he said. Let's listen.


POPE BENEDICT, (through translator): I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.


COSTELLO: So I have a question. If somebody from Iran said out today and said that really wasn't an apology. He wasn't exactly apologizing for what he said, but that it was misunderstood. And that's just not good enough.

GALLAGHER: Well, right. But, you know, he can't apologize for what he said if he really believes in what he said, can he? Because if he was going to apologize . . .

COSTELLO: But why apologize at all?

GALLAGHER: Well, because I think that he's saying he was sorry to see the sort of reaction that it elicited and probably next time he'll have to take that into consideration.

COSTELLO: So where will it go from here, you think?

GALLAGHER: Well, I think you'll see them scaling back just slightly on some of these talks and taking into consideration the fact that he is pope, he is on a world stage and he needs to be a little bit more careful about how these things will be perceived.

COSTELLO: And maybe his speeches will be, I don't know, somebody will look over them and say . . .

GALLAGHER: Censored?

COSTELLO: Yes, censored maybe.

Delia Gallagher, thanks so much.

O'BRIEN: Coming up in the program, a city on edge. Random shootings threatened if a large ransom payment isn't made.

Plus, a trio of huge wildfires out west. We'll see if firefighters make any progress ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Well, Ford has its way forward, and Toyota is just going to drive right over them is basically the plan, right? That's sort of the plan, Andy Serwer.

ANDY SERWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, you could put it that way, I guess.

You know, one thing we were wondering yesterday and over the weekend and on Friday would -- how would Wall Street respond to Ford's big announcements on Friday? And I guess you'd have to say that they responded -- or Wall Street responded with some dismay because Ford stock fell nearly 12 percent. You know, this after all these big moves of layoffs and restructurings and the plan. Wall Street said, not enough, not the right moves. For instance, looking for sales of assets. That wasn't part of the plan. And especially new products. Where were they? I mean, wouldn't they want to focus on that. And also not really enough cutbacks.

O'BRIEN: And they took the dividend out on top of that.

SERWER: Yes, that's always going to make things.

Meanwhile, Ford's acknowledging that Toyota really looks to be the number two automakers in the North American market on a sort of permanent basis. Toyota had surpassed Ford on a few months. But now Ford's acknowledging that its market share is going to be 15 percent. That's a benchmark that Toyota says we're going to be exceeding. And so that looks to be a permanent change. Not a big surprise there.

O'BRIEN: They're after GM. They're going for GM.

SERWER: Yes. On a worldwide basis, they're after GM. That's right. The latest developments on the HP story. And this continues to get better and better, which surprises me. Because at some point you think this is going to run out of steam.

O'BRIEN: Or worse and worse depending on your perspective, right?

SERWER: Well, that's said as an outside observer.


SERWER: Now it turns out that HP had other targets that it pre- texted. Other targets in its investigation. Improper methods to access phone records. Two employees were the targets. And one of them was the PR spokesperson, Michael Moeller. I mean, that's great. So you have this guy that you put out front to represent the company, to talk to the media, to talk to shareholders and you're spying on him. What does that say?

Now Mr. Moeller still works at the company and said it speaks volumes that he's trusted, he's been cleared. He wasn't the leaker. I think I'd a kind of a tough time . . .

O'BRIEN: Has he issued a statement?

SERWER: Yes, he said that I wasn't the guy and that they apologized. Patty Dunn apologized to me and Mark Gert (ph) apologized to me. I'd have a tough time keeping that job.


SERWER: Wouldn't you? I mean . . .

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, a little green mail.

SERWER: We're probably being spied on right now.

O'BRIEN: Little green mail. You'd probably stay, you know.

SERWER: Yes, well, I don't know about that. We'll see.

O'BRIEN: All right.

Andy, what else you got coming up?

SERWER: Oh, coming up, we're going to be talking about YouTube and how it's making nice with a major record company. We'll be talking about that coming up.

O'BRIEN: OK. Thanks, Andy.

SERWER: Thanks.

COSTELLO: Top stories straight ahead. Two, including stepped up security at Duquesne after five students are shot. We'll have the latest on the search for a suspect. Plus, picking up the pieces in the Midwest. A deadly tornado sweeps through one small town. Stay with us.



COSTELLO: Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello, in today for Soledad.

O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Thanks for being with us on this Monday.

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Shoaf is safe and sound this morning, home in South Carolina after a 10-day kidnapping ordeal. Police say 36-year-old Vinson Filyaw kidnapped her while she was walking home from a school bus stop. Police say Filyaw kept her hidden in an elaborate underground bunker only about a mile from her home. With some quick thinking, she was able to get a message to her mother.

We're joined by Elizabeth's aunt, Geraldine Williams, and Captain David Thomley, among the first authorities to find her in that bunker.

Geraldine, I'd like to begin with you. When that text message came in, apparently she got a hold of this guy's cell phone, when that text message came in, what were people thinking? did they think it was a hoax, or did they think it was a real message from her?

GERALDINE WILLIAMS, NIECE HOME SAFE: We weren't sure. We just hoped it was her, and that the police could track the phone down and locate her.

O'BRIEN: And what did the message say, in essence?

WILLIAMS: Basically that she was in a hole somewhere where she could hear trucks close by to the house.

O'BRIEN: Captain, once you had that information, that text message, the thing to do is to figure out which cell tower that cell phone was near. Was it very difficult from that point to locate the bunker?

CAPT. DAVID THOMLEY, KERSHAW CO. SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Not -- it put us in a location. The United States Marshal's Service did an excellent job with job which putting us in the close proximity through triangulation, using the cell tower. So it was -- it got easier after that.

O'BRIEN: It still wouldn't put you right to the point where that hole in the ground was. How did you know where to look and where to find that bunker?

THOMLEY: We had a general idea, so what we did Saturday morning was started a grid search, using 20 searchers from the sheriff's office. And during the process of conducting this grid search, our victim came out and started yelling for help and we were able to locate her at that point.

O'BRIEN: So she was able to hear you. And at the time, she thought that this bunker was booby-trapped and that's why she didn't come out on her own. But the suspect, Vinson Filyah, was he there at the time?

THOMLEY: He had left during the night, and actually stated to her that she could leave in the morning, that he left some time during the night. So we were unsure what sort of window we had and what -- just how far we were behind him when we started the search.

O'BRIEN: So he had more or less released her already?

THOMLEY: He had told her that she could leave in the morning, but not to leave until the morning. And as you can imagine, she was afraid, so she complied.

O'BRIEN: Was he a suspect all along, and what do we know about him?

THOMLEY: He was actually been listed in the Midland's (ph) most wanted for us since November or December of 2005 for a criminal sexual conduct case against his 12-year-old stepdaughter. He did not become a suspect until we were able to pinpoint the number that was used in the text message.

O'BRIEN: All right. And a final thought from you, captain, before we get back to Geraldine. You kind of kept a low profile on this one. You didn't do an Amber Alert. You didn't appeal to the media. Why not?

WILLIAMS: Well, we did appeal to the media. We used the media quite a bit. The Amber Alert was actually, as we were told, we do not issue amber alerts at the sheriff's office. It is actually issued through the state. And the state criteria for this case was not met. As we said in the beginning, this is a missing person. We do not have evidence of a runaway. We do not have evidence of an abduction. We maintained that she was missing, and we had few clues.

O'BRIEN: Geraldine, how is Elizabeth doing? How's the family doing? How do you feel about how this all ended?

WILLIAMS: We're happy that she's alive. She's doing as well as could be expected. Her mother's elated. She's just ecstatic that her daughter is finally home. But, you know, we're just happy that she's home and she's safe.

O'BRIEN: Just a final thought, the captain there was saying at first they thought it was missing persons, no evidence of an abduction -- do you think that might have delayed getting her home safely to you?

WILLIAMS: Well, we knew that she didn't -- we knew she didn't run away. We just hoped that, you know, somebody out there would have seen her or thing, but the Amber Alert, there needs to be some kind of change in that law that, you know, when a child is missing, they need to put an alert out there, period.

O'BRIEN: Geraldine Williams, Captain David Thomley, thank you both.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Carol?


COSTELLO: A CNN Security Watch now. It's been exactly five years since we were exposed to the very real threat of bioterrorism. It was anthrax sent through the mail. Five people died. That investigation is still open, but are we any safer?

For that we turn to CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve, who's live in Washington.

Good morning.


The consensus among experts is there has been progress, but nowhere near enough.


MESERVE (voice-over): D.C. firefighters test white powder to see if it is anthrax. This time it's a drill. But they do it for real two or three times a week. Improvements in testing technology allow them to identify this as flour. but A conclusive test for anthrax still takes 24 hours.

DEP. CHIEF LAWRENCE SCHULTZ, D.C. FIRE DEPT.: It's still not where we need to be, that will allow me to walk away from a scene and be able to give some definitive information to the people who may have been exposed.

MESERVE: From detection to response, critics say, there are holes, despite the $23 billion spent on biosecurity since 2001.

When a Department of Homeland Security system sensor system detected the bacterium toolerina (ph) during a protest on the Washington Mall last year, local authorities say they weren't told about it for a week. It turned out to be harmless. But critics say that lapse might indicate what the response to a real anthrax attack would be like.

TARA O'TOOLE, UNIV. OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER: I don't think it would roll out completely smoothly, and I think there'd be a lot of missing parts.

MESERVE: In 2001 anthrax was sent in the mail. The Postal Service has since installed detection systems that screen more than 100 million letters a day. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's reliable and it's very sensitive.

MESERVE: But large envelopes and packages are still unscreened. What if a lot of people were exposed to anthrax? Doctors are now better trained to recognize symptoms, but there is still no rapid test to confirm their diagnosis. Public health labs have improved and expanded, but experts say hospitals do not have the beds, equipment or staff to handle a large influx of patients.

The Centers for Disease Control has stockpiled antibiotics for 41 million people.

DR. TANJAY POPOVIC, CDC: And those are extremely large numbers, and a massive improvement over what we have had several years ago.

MESERVE: Although there were almost two million doses of an old anthrax vaccine on hand, production of a new vaccine has been delayed, and critics say the country doesn't have a system for distributing any of those drugs if they're needed.


MESERVE: Though the nation is not completely ready to deal with another anthrax attack, experts say we are more prepared for anthrax than we are for almost any other biological agent -- Carol.

Jeanne Meserve live in Washington this morning. And be sure to stay with CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.


O'BRIEN: Senator Barack Obama, already rising star in the Democratic Party. But now some folks may think he may be setting his sights on the White House in 2008. We'll tell you why he's in Iowa.

Also E. coli in that bagged spinach. Is the outbreak about to grow bigger? We'll ask a top official from the government.

And nine months ago, we started the "New You Resolution." So how are our friends doing now? Dr. Sanjay Gupta will check in with them ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: Count them, 50 days until Election Day '06, and '08 is not far behind. That means '08 isn't far behind. It all begins in Iowa. That's where we find Dana Bash this morning in Des Moines.

Good morning.


You know, Senator Tom Harkin's steak fry is an annual event that always draws potential candidates for president, looking to meet Democratic activists. Now this year potential candidates for 2008 included Tom Vilsack, who is the governor of Iowa, and the former governor of Virginia, Mark Warner. But even they knew most in the 3,500-plus crow came to catch a glimpse of Senator Barack Obama, the new rising star in the Democratic Party.


BASH (voice-over): For hungry Democrats, a day to sample their new possibilities. The crushing crowd At this annual Iowa steak fry devouring Barack Obama. Rock star treatment for a 45-year-old senator in office just two years, 97 of 100 in Senate seniority.

A phenomenon not lost on the host, Senator Tom Harkin.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: I said we tried to get Bono to be here, but we couldn't, so we got the next biggest rock star i America, Barack Obama.

BASH: A trip to Iowa, home of the kickoff caucuses usually means you're dipping a toe in the presidential waters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope that you'll be running for president one of these times.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: I appreciate that.

BASH: Here there are T-shirts and petitions, begging him to run in '08. He doesn't say yes, but he doesn't say no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we recruit you to run for president?

OBAMA: Well, I don't know about that. But I'm here to make sure -- you can recruit me to make sure we get more Democrats in office in '06.

BASH: Obama has visited 25 states raising money for candidates this year. He urges Democrats to be tougher on national security, and scolds the Bush White House.

OBAMA: Tough talk doesn't make you tough, that alienating our allies isn't our strategy, that junking the Geneva Convention so that Colin Powell, and John McCain John warner have to stand up and say enough, that's not being tough on terrorism!


BASH: One thing they like is his definition of Democrat.

OBAMA: We don't want government to solve our problems, but what we do expect is that government can help. The government can make a difference in all of our lives.

O'BRIEN: Obama appears well aware celebrity guarantees crowds, but not necessarily lasting success.

OBAMA: When I look at sort of how I'm covered, there's a lot of emphasis on the celebrity and the sizzle. BASH: If he keeps coming back, there will be more questions about substance, from ethanol to Iraq to that senator named Clinton. But this was a day to say hello, flip a few steaks and just enjoy the sizzle.


BASH: Now speculation that Senator Obama us really thinking about running in 2008 spiked when he asked a veteran Democratic activist here to accompany him on his Iowa debut, someone who ran Al Gore's campaign here in the year 2000. But the senator in one breath shrugged it off, telling us, well, he's just a friend of his chief of staff. But in the next breath, he helped fueled the buzz. He said, why wouldn't you want someone to come and help you out in territory you've never been to before -- Carol.

COSTELLO: OK, so I wonder why Barack Obama is so popular, why he has so much sizzle. Was it because he was on "Oprah?" Is it his eloquent speaking style? What is it?

BASH: You know, that's a great question. Everybody who came up to him, or many people who came up to him, said we heard you at the 2004 convention. Remember he was a speaker in 2004 in Boston, the Democratic Convention, and they said, we fell in love with you then. That is certainly part of it. And if you listen to the way he spoke to the crowd. He spoke to them, even talking to some activists, people who have been here for 30 years, listening to many, many potential hopefuls and people who came through Iowa. They say he's speaking in a way that we just haven't heard in a long time, Carol. Even a Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, was in the crowd. He said, if he does decide to run in 2008, if I'm a Republican, I'm pretty worried.

COSTELLO: I know. He was almost Clinton-esque. He was touching people's arms, and of course he was kissing babies. We saw that.

Dana Bash reporting live from Iowa this morning, thanks.

BASH: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: A little piece of news coming into us right now. NASA is reporting out of Houston and mission control that there is a condition of light smoke on the International Space Station, and the crew onboard is donning some protective gear as a precaution, the three-person crew. As you know, the Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station yesterday, and it is in the process of making its way home, conducting right now a late test of the heat shield to ensure it is safe for re-entry. But we're being told through mission control that there is some sort of light smoke in the International Space Station, and the crew, the crew of three, is donning protective gear. We'll get some more details. As we get them, we'll bring them to you.

Up next on the program, Andy, "Minding Your Business" -- Andy.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Miles, YouTube makes peace with a big record company. And a major technology company has a promotion that involves free cups of coffee. Uh-oh.

We've seen this before, haven't we?


O'BRIEN: It didn't work out so well.

SERWER: No. It can be problematic. We'll explore that.

O'BRIEN: All right. Hopefully they'll run this one better. Thanks for that.

Also ahead on the program, remembering Patricia Kennedy Lawford. Her family name synonymous with American politics, of course. But it was the arts that drove her life. Her legacy ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Updating you on that story we just told you about on reports of perhaps smoke on the International Space Station. We're told by folks at the newsroom at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, that it's more akin to a bad smell onboard the international space station.

The three-member crew, Jeff Williams, Thomas Rider (ph) and Pavlov Pintagratoff (ph), apparently as a protective measure have donned some protective gear that would be used in the event of a fire. But at this point it would be way premature to say there's anything relating to a fire. But some sort of unusual odor on the International Space Station on this, the day after the Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the space station. It's making its way home, undergoing right now a check of the heat shield one last time before re-entry.

On the line with us now is NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries to give us the latest.

Kelly, what do we know?

KELLY HUMPHRIES, NASA SPOKESMAN: Hi, Miles. I'm sorry. I'm having a little trouble hearing you.

Right now what we know is that the situation is stable. The crew was asked to put on some protective gear, some goggles, and some gloves, and they're in the process of cleaning the atmosphere. There was no smoke. There was some initial reports it was smoke. It turns out it was some sort of vapor, and the team is working its way through its emergency procedures, but it is calming down.

O'BRIEN: All right, Kelly, assuming you can hear me, how did it all begin? What did they smell or see? Or what happened?

HUMPHRIES: As I said, the initial report was of smoke. But we've been listing -- and it appears maybe that wasn't it. What they also reported was an odor that was not normal, and so that's when the team on the ground and also the smoke alarms went off. And that's when the team on the ground decided it was time to go to the emergency procedures.

O'BRIEN: And just to remind people, there is a Soyuz spacecraft attached to the International Space Station at all times. Are they making their way to suiting up and getting in there?

HUMPHRIES: No. They are, at this point, calming everything down, they are stepping through their recovery procedures, making sure that they have all the right equipment turned on to begin scrubbing the atmosphere, looking at whatever they might need to do to clean up whatever spill. There was some liquid that was noticed. And it's inconclusive, but it might be potassium hydroxide, which is a minor toxicity level.

O'BRIEN: So were they conducting some sort of experiment or operation at the time when this liquid apparently spilled?

HUMPHRIES: So at the time that I left the control center, Miles, they were in the process of working on activating the electron oxygen- generation machine, and they had noticed bubbles in one of the fluid lines that supplies the water that is used to split into hydrogen and oxygen molecules, and that was the last I heard.

O'BRIEN: Kelly Humphries on the line with us from Houston. Thanks for the update. Once again, just to summarize, apparently a bad smell noticed by the three-person crew of the International Space Station. Jeff Williams, Thomas Rider (ph) Pavlov Pintagratoff (ph) told by mission control in Houston to don protective gear just in case, and they're now working through the process of scrubbing the air on the International Space Station. But initial reports of smoke and fire are now being discounted. It appears it was maybe some sort of liquid smell which would have caused that -- that spill might have caused that unusual smell. We'll obviously be tracking it for you. Back with more in a moment.



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