Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

New Details Revealed About Oregon Tragedy; House Wraps Up Mark Foley Investigation; Wesley Snipes Arrested

Aired December 8, 2006 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
New developments and new details in the James Kim tragedy -- tonight, for the first time, we will see the spot the Kim family was stuck in. And we will hear, for the first time, why it never should have happened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Tragic turn, new evidence -- the road was closed, but the gate was open -- how vandalism may have cost the Kim family a loving husband and father.

Surviving the elements.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's what really gets hypothermia to set in. That's water, a creek. And I almost walked into it.

ANNOUNCER: What Rick Sanchez learned from a night in the woods -- what you need to know that could save your life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew that the Republican leadership had them. Lots and lots of people had them. And no one did anything about it.

ANNOUNCER: He's talking about the e-mails that shocked voters and brought down a congressman. The blogger who touched off the Foley page sex scandal, he's only talking to us.

And think you have got tax troubles?

WESLEY SNIPES, ACTOR: I look forward to clearing my name and resolving this issue posthaste.

ANNOUNCER: Wesley Snipes busted, accused of trying to bilk you and me and the IRS out of millions of dollars.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Want to welcome our viewers here in America and watching around the world right now on CNN International.

We begin with new developments in a story that has already gripped the country and much of the world, perhaps because it could happen to any of us. James Kim, his wife and two daughters take a wrong turn, then get stranded on a cold and desolate road, stuck for some nine days. Desperate, James Kim finally sets out alone. He dies trying to get help for his family.

Tonight, for the first time, an exclusive look at the site where the Kims were stranded, and new evidence that appears to show that none of this ever should have happened at all.

CNN's Drew Griffin has the exclusive report you won't see anywhere else. He joins us from the intersection where the tragedy began.

Drew, what are you learning?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, so many things went wrong on this trip, but the -- the worst thing that we found out today was, the Kims came to a fork in the road 15 miles into this Rogue wilderness area, a fork in the road, go left, go right.

The right way to go was left. The wrong way was right. It is the road they took. And, on that road, Anderson, was a gate, just like this, from the Bureau of Land Management. It was supposed to be shut, shut and locked, since November 1. But vandals had broken the lock, and the gate was open. That allowed them to continue on this very, very dangerous, desolate path, deep into the Rogue wilderness.

For miles and miles, they trudged into this road. They are looking into the fact that vandals cut the lock. In fact, I have a piece of that broken lock that we found actually at that gate high up on the mountain today. But it allowed them to go deeper and deeper into this mistaken direction, into a dead end, a nowhere zone, down this narrow gauge, 20 or so miles deeper into these woods.

And, today, we got to look firsthand at where they tried to camp out, wait for rescue, live, and start a fire. It was chilling for the sheriff's deputy who brought us there today. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN JAMES, BLACK BAR RANCH OWNER: Just found another couple of articles in the ditch there. This is from a -- a place in San Francisco. It said on here somewhere Lighthouse in San Francisco, California.

So, I have got to believe this is an article of theirs, like a hospitality kit, with a little bit of coffee, instant coffee, in there. There was a box with a candle sitting next to it. I can only guess that maybe it was something they sell at their curio shop they have.

And, then, we found these business cards. Their custom plate on their Saab said "DOESF." And I -- and I believe this maybe is what they had for a business card, because this is from Haight Street in San Francisco, which -- and the Web site address is DOESF.com.

Come on, guys. Don't leave your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all over the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) place.

GRIFFIN: What are you checking for now?

SERGEANT JOEL HELLER, JOSEPHINE COUNTY, OREGON, SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I'm just, you know, looking at what's left.

Found the lug nuts from his wheels, found jars of baby formula, which -- or baby food, which we know that the Kim family had with them, got diapers, all sorts of other stuff that you -- would be associated with the -- with the baby. Just...

GRIFFIN: What does it make you think? How do you feel when you see this?

HELLER: These people are desperate. They got into -- got the vehicle to a place where it's relatively wide.

GRIFFIN: You know, I was just thinking about that, though, Sheriff. I mean, if you -- if you look at -- this is a wide spot in this road.

HELLER: Yes.

GRIFFIN: But, if you look up, for an air search to see you...

HELLER: Yes. There's not -- there's not a lot of, you know -- yes, I mean...

GRIFFIN: You would have to be right on top of them.

HELLER: Pretty much.

GRIFFIN: Did they have any other choice?

HELLER: You know, I don't know how much fuel they had when they got here. And that certainly had to enter into their thinking.

You know, if -- we know that they had some fuel left, because they were running their engine at night to stay warm. I don't know exactly how much they had at that point. They may have said, we don't have enough gas to get back. So, this is it.

GRIFFIN: Maybe not to get back, but...

HELLER: But get to a better place?

GRIFFIN: But at least to get closer to back.

HELLER: Yes. Yes.

Well, you know, and -- you know, I don't know what the road conditions were at the time. You know, but, you know, he made a decision. He had gotten them to this point, which is relatively wide, you know, so...

GRIFFIN: Where are we?

(LAUGHTER)

GRIFFIN: Seriously, where? I mean...

HELLER: We're about five or six miles from the Black Bar Lodge, probably 17, 18 miles off of Bear Camp Road. So, you know, if -- but, if you don't know where you are, then, you don't know where you are. You know, just -- you know, you're lost.

GRIFFIN: And, even if you walked out of here, which he did, and knew the way, that is one hell of a -- hell of a hike.

HELLER: Yes, it is.

GRIFFIN: If you stayed on the road.

HELLER: Correct.

GRIFFIN: You get off the road here, I would say, in about 100 yards, you wouldn't know where you were.

HELLER: Yes, easy. You know, it's -- you know, it's very easy to get disoriented in -- in this terrain.

And, if you were to get plopped down here, that road looks like that road, which looks like that road. If you aren't familiar with this, you don't know how you got here, you're not going to have a real good idea of how to get out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Drew, the -- the ground -- there's no snow on the ground. Were -- were they actually stuck in the mud, or were -- did they just decide to -- to stop there?

GRIFFIN: Anderson, the elevation goes up and down on these roads. So, while at -- the particular spot didn't have snow today, all the way on the road in, we were going in and out of snow, in and out of ice.

And at -- at many times -- in fact, one of rescuers, the first rescuer who tried to get out there was on a snowmobile last Friday, and was actually going through huge drifts, and then came to bare spots, where his snowmobile could go no further.

So, it's -- it's up-and down terrain. You're in and out of snow. I really don't know why they stopped at this particular spot, other than, Anderson, when we got there, you come to this fork in the road, and there's three intersections.

Each one looks the same. There's no sign. There's nothing. So, you're there. You don't know -- you don't -- you're paralyzed. You don't know which way to go. And I'm standing there with a guy who knows what's going on.

COOPER: So, they...

GRIFFIN: I can't imagine what they felt like...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: They did have -- they did have some gas in their vehicle, you're saying?

GRIFFIN: There was gas in the vehicle.

And Mrs. Kim said, apparently, they ran it at night, and kept warm. The other thing they did was, they took all four tires off of their car, put them in a pile, and burned them, burned them so hot that it melted the aluminum on the hubcaps, or the wheels of these tires.

Now, did they do that before they ran out of gas, after they ran out of gas? Is that the reason they couldn't finally drive out, because they no longer had tires? We just don't know yet because we haven't been able to ask Mrs. Kim.

COOPER: And, as you point out, I mean, that space in the road is very wide, which is very possible why they decided to stop there, thinking people could see them, a helicopter could see them. But, as you point out, unless the helicopter is directly overhead, the -- the trees provide too much cover. You can't see what's on the ground.

GRIFFIN: Exactly. Your -- your window to the -- to the air, your window to the rescue, is so limited. You can't see it from any side.

So, unless there's a smoke column going up that somebody could see above the trees, you really have little chance, other than a pilot is flying over, at that moment, looks down and sees you.

COOPER: And you were talking to the -- the -- the police official there. You're just about six miles away from -- from a lodge, but I guess, unless you know exactly what direction to go in, and -- and have a compass, it's -- it's hard to get there.

GRIFFIN: And, Anderson, it's -- it's such a foreign language up here when we talk about a lodge.

This -- this lodge is a summer lodge, and it's on the river. And I -- I rafted the Rogue River just last summer. The main transportation through the Rogue wilderness area is by raft coming down that river. And, so, when you go to these lodges that are open only in the summer, you raft in or you hike in. These roads back here are basically service roads and timber roads.

They're not, "Let's go drive to the Black Bar Lodge" roads and unload the kids. That's not how the guests arrive. The guests arrive by raft or by hiking. And these lodges are all closed. The only thing that would be the entrance to the Black Bar Lodge is a dirt road with a gate across it. There's no sign there. So, they would have no idea. Even though it sounds -- five or six miles close to the lodge, there's really nothing at the lodge. There's no way to know you're even close to this lodge.

So, they used that as a reference point, but -- but, really, they were no closer to civilization, being close to that lodge, than -- than anywhere else in this wilderness area.

COOPER: You know, Drew, you look at those pictures of James Kim, you look at those pictures of his family, and you try to imagine what was going through his mind when he was making that trek.

He -- he ended up just about a mile away from actually where he started. Do they -- do they think he tried to go back, or do they think he -- he got lost? Or was it just because he was going down a mountain, he -- that's why he ended up the mile?

GRIFFIN: He was lost.

He -- he started out going back on the road that he came in on. And, at one point today, Anderson, we -- we think we found a little baby toy that he hung on a road sign. We don't know for sure, but who else had a baby toy up here, right?

But they think he then veered off the road, and actually trekked around for maybe eight miles or so, rambling, then started to go down into the terrain, figuring, in his mind, that, maybe if I go down to the river, down to the watershed, somehow, that will be my way out.

That is where they found him. But he was doing these circuitous routes because he was simply lost. You have no reference to the sky, to the sun, anything. You -- it's -- it's -- it's hard to explain how remote this area is, but it is truly nowhere, nowhere. And even people who know the area can get lost in here.

COOPER: And is there -- is there an investigation under way? Or -- I mean, obviously, it's over. Is there anything still to be learned? Are authorities, you know, still kind of searching, trying to track his path? Or are they pretty much done?

GRIFFIN: I think the -- the investigation could possibly lead to this gate incident, if -- if there were vandals, if they could be held somewhat responsible.

But, keep in mind, these are Bureau of Land Management gates. They're not designed, really, to keep, you know, people out and people safe. They're -- they're designed to keep the -- the land safe from the people. So, they're not there to say, don't come this way because it's dangerous. They are -- really slice it off to make sure nobody's building fires in there or taking timber that they shouldn't take.

But, as for the investigation into what has actually happened to the Kims, perhaps if Mrs. Kim wants to come forward and debrief the authorities step by step, so they can learn and teach other people what should or shouldn't have been done. Other than that, I don't know of any investigation that's going on -- Anderson. COOPER: Extraordinary images that you brought us there, Drew. Appreciate that.

We want to keep looking at them, as we bring in a firefighter, Luke Stone, who took part in the search for James Kim.

He joins us now.

Mr. Stone, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. And thanks for all you and all the other rescuers did.

How did you get involved in this search?

LUKE STONE, RURAL METRO FIRE DEPARTMENT: I'm part of the swift water rescue team here in Josephine County.

And we were called upon when the search began. And we used our swift water rescue skills and equipment to search for Mr. Kim.

COOPER: How long were you searching for him?

STONE: I was out here on Wednesday. And we started very early in the morning, and up until the point where they located Mr. Kim.

COOPER: How did this search compare to -- to others you have been involved with?

STONE: This is, by far, the most challenging search I have been a part of. The terrain up here is some of the most rugged in the -- in the Pacific Northwest. And it was just very difficult getting to certain locations and doing a thorough search.

COOPER: How -- what -- what kind of tools do you use in a search like this? I mean, obviously, I guess you're looking for tracks on the ground. What -- how do you find somebody?

STONE: Well, the best way is -- or most likely way is by helicopter or by air.

With searchers on the ground, though, they can definitely comb the area underneath the trees and underneath the canopy a lot better than by air. It does take a lot of specialized equipment, like you said. The team I was on, we had dry suits and very-cold-weather gear to be able to stay in this weather all day long.

COOPER: You're just seeing the pictures for the first time, as are we, of the actual site where the Kims were stuck. What -- what do you think, as you see -- as you look at these images?

STONE: It is almost breathtaking to see the -- to see what they went through to survive and to provide for the -- the family. It's just -- it's just really amazing, the -- burning the tires, seeing the rims, just all the -- all the steps they took to stay alive, and for the -- for the children.

COOPER: Well, Luke, appreciate, as I said, all you did and all -- all the other -- the -- a lot of good people, working really hard, around the clock, trying to -- trying to rescue these people. And I'm sure they appreciate it. And we appreciate you talking to us. Thanks very much, Luke.

James Kim is -- is one of about 700 Americans who die each year from hypothermia without shelter. The exposure can kill you within 72 hours. And it -- it can happen, of course, to anyone, any time. One minute, you're on the road. The next, you're off the map.

There are ways to survive.

CNN's Rick Sanchez has been showing how the last day or so. Since yesterday, he has been in the wilderness near Golden, Colorado, with tips that all of us need know.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): It's sundown in the Rockies. The allure of the mountains conceals the dangers, though, the high altitudes, the low temperatures, that become even more hazardous at night.

The park rangers who work these parts know that only too well.

DAN WEBBER, RANGER, GOLDEN GATE CANYON STATE PARK: If you go headed down a -- a road in the wrong direction, you may come across a road that's not plowed or -- or not maintained. It may not be well- traveled. It may not be an area that we would normally patrol.

SANCHEZ: It is very difficult to find your way when you're driving at night in the snow. Snowbanks tend to hide signs. So, you may be turning off into what you think is a shortcut or a side road, and that's where you end up getting stuck.

(voice-over): And it didn't take us long to experience it firsthand. Look at the front tires, how they spin on the ice, while the back tires dig into the snow.

Faced with that, the first instinct may be to find help. There must be someone somewhere who can help us. That's what we think. I set out to see how long I can last. I spot a trail in the woods.

(on camera): That's about as bad as it gets, if you think about it. That's what really gets hypothermia to set in. That's water, a creek. And I almost walked into it.

(voice-over): And that would have been serious, because, even if you stay bone-dry in freezing temperatures, experts say the average person will only survive for three hours. Three hours, that's it. After that, you're going to succumb to hypothermia by passing out, and then dying, just like that.

KEN BRINK, SURVIVAL EXPERT, COLORADO STATE PARKS: You fall asleep. Some people say it's a peaceful way to end your life, but, certainly, hypothermia is one of the biggest dangers we see in people that are recreating outdoors.

GRIFFIN: I continue my trek. It's getting later and colder.

(on camera): Now I have been walking for about an hour in the woods. And one of the things that strikes you is how still it is out here. You don't hear anything. It's almost eerie.

And you think you're going to be able to make good time, but, because of the terrain, you're walking uphill. You're walking downhill. It's rugged. And it's difficult. And, oftentimes, you end up walking around in circles, because you're so disoriented.

BRINK: Human beings generally don't have an ability to walk in a straight line.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Lesson learned: You never, ever give up your shelter, because of what experts call the rule of threes.

Here it is. You can survive up to three weeks without food, three days without water, but only three hours without shelter, if you're in freezing temperatures. I have survived for about an hour- and-a-half. Now it's time for a new strategy. And I will show you what it is in the next hour.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Golden, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, as I told you earlier, we are just getting these -- these images in for the first time. We're seeing them as you are seeing them, for the first time. We're actually just getting them in, in kind of drips and drabs, as they're being fed in over the satellite -- Drew Griffin exclusively going to the site where the -- where the Kims spent more than a week huddled in their car, burning tires.

We're going to see some of those burned tires coming up in a little bit. We are going to show you this footage, as I said, literally as we're getting it.

Survival strategies are just part of what's coming up in the next hour, the second hour of 360, as well -- in the 11:00 hour, a 360 special, "Against All Odds: Survivor Stories."

We are going to talk to everyday people, heroes who faced extraordinary challenges. You are going to hear how they made it out alive.

Also ahead tonight, in this next -- in this hour, the congressional page scandal -- what did the Republican leadership know about Mark Foley's inappropriate e-mails, and what did they do about it? Some answers from the House Ethics Committee today, and an exclusive interview with the whistle-blower who brought this all to light.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, Congressman Mark Foley is no longer a congressman, and Dennis Hastert is no longer the speaker of the House. The voters saw to that -- the notion of a congressman sending sexually charged e-mails to male pages being just one of several ethical lapses that people say influenced their vote.

And, as for the Foley affair in particular, what seemed to give it such political punch was the question of who in the House leadership knew, and what did they do about it?

Well, tonight, we have answers. According to the long-awaited report of the House Ethics Committee, no rules were broken, so no one gets so much as a reprimand.

But Republican leaders knew, and did precious little, they said. So, how come no one is getting punished?

Well, here is CNN's Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The committee found willful ignorance among Republican lawmakers and aides. It said, the weight of evidence shows, House Speaker Dennis Hastert was informed last spring about inappropriate Foley e-mails, rejecting Hastert's contention that he didn't remember being told.

But House investigators concluded, no one knew about sexually explicit instant messages, like this, where Foley asked a former page, "Do I make you horny?"

The incoming House speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, slammed the bipartisan report because it punishes no one, saying, "Members of Congress have a responsibility to protect their employees, especially young pages."

In fact, the report does tell tale after tale taken from sworn testimony of aides witnessing questionable Foley behavior with teenage pages.

"The subcommittee observed a disconcerting unwillingness to take responsibility for resolving issues regarding Representative Foley's conduct," the report said.

Former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl testified, he warned the head of the page board last year Foley was a -- quote -- "ticking time bomb." Trandahl said he had been concerned about Foley's behavior since 1995, when the Florida Republican came to Congress, even confronted him some 10 times.

"Here, you had a closeted gay guy who was putting himself in a situation of being one on one with young people," Trandahl said.

The report is especially tough on the House speaker's top aides for not taking action, despite being warned repeatedly, concluding that Hastert's chief of staff Scott Palmer was told about Foley's conduct three or four years ago.

Former Foley aide Kirk Fordham was a key witness who rang alarm bells.

KIRK FORDHAM, FORMER FOLEY AIDE: I'm not looking to gloat or, you know, you know, point fingers today. I think the report points out where the breakdowns occurred. I think there are some people that are going to look back and wish they had acted differently.

BASH: But it's not just the Republicans. The committee found that two Democratic leadership aides knew about the Foley e-mails and tried to peddle them to reporters over a year ago.

And, CNN is told, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, who led the charge to elect Democrats, was aware of the e-mails, too.

(on camera): Despite all the controversy this fall, nothing has been done to better protect teenage pages. The committee did make some vague recommendations, but it's unclear whether Democrats will make changes to the program either when they take over in January.

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, this all came to light, of course, when a young man set up a blog.

Tonight, Lane Hudson is speaking out, only here on 360. He joins us now from Washington.

Lane, thanks very much for being with us.

I want to read two passages from this -- this House report.

First: "In all, a pattern of conduct was exhibited among many individuals to remain willfully ignorant of the potential consequences of former Representative Foley's conduct with respect to pages. Almost no one followed up adequately on the limited actions they did take."

They also said today: "The failure to exhaust all reasonable efforts to call attention to potential misconduct involving a member and a House page is not really the exercise of poor judgment. It is a present danger to House pages and to the integrity of the institution of the House."

Those are powerful statements, and, yet, no one is going to get punished.

LANE HUDSON, BLOGGER: Yes, exactly, Anderson.

And that first quote that you just read I actually have right here in front of me. And I was going to quote it for you. But thanks for doing that. What we see here is the end result of 12 years of Republicans running the Ethics Committee. In 1994, when they were swept into a major majority in Congress, they came in promising to reform government, make it work better.

One of the first rule changes that they made was to make the Ethics Committee a partisan committee, run by Republicans, led by Republican staff.

And, over the past 12 years, the Ethics Committee has seen its reputation dwindle to almost nothing. And this very last report from the Republican-led Ethics Committee, it just caps it all off.

COOPER: You know, there -- there -- there are ethical lapses, though, on -- on both sides.

There does seem to be this culture in Washington, especially among people in power, of just kind of looking the other way. And it doesn't seem like that's going to change any time soon. I mean, this committee today has talked -- gave -- gave some recommendations about how to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen down the road.

Are you confident at all that anything is going to change?

HUDSON: Well, Anderson, I have talked a lot about the culture of Washington, and how not only did it allow Mark Foley's actions to continue beyond what they originally were. I mean, this is 12 years of -- of activity that seemed to escalate over time, because nothing was done.

The culture in Washington, it's also the same culture that caused the media not to cover it when the e-mails first surfaced over a year ago.

COOPER: Why -- why -- I mean, that's amazing. You brought this to "The L.A. Times," thinking that they would publish this. You -- you set up your blog, finally, because they wouldn't. Why didn't they? I mean, that surprises me.

HUDSON: Well, I set up the blog at the same time I started talking to "The L.A. Times," just as a backup plan, in case they didn't cover it.

In retrospect, it was exactly what needed to happen. You know, "The L.A. Times" was interested in running a story, but things just kept happening that prevented them from -- from doing it.

The first reporter I talked to was involved in a big project that prevented her from doing it. She set me up with another reporter. They were switching editors.

COOPER: So, it kind of fell through the cracks.

HUDSON: Yes, it fell through the cracks.

And my patience ran out. And I posted it on my blog that I had started a couple months before.

COOPER: And, because you did that, you lost your job at the Human Rights Campaign, because I guess you used some of their computers to do this.

Do you -- do you regret doing that?

HUDSON: Well, let me just say, I didn't set up my blog on the HRC computer.

COOPER: OK.

HUDSON: I checked my e-mail on my HRC computer, my personal e- mail.

And, you know, I wasn't aware of all the forensic tracing that can be done on computers. But, you know, I understand HRC's actions -- let me just say that -- because it put them in a very precarious political situation.

I don't regret doing this at all. It was the right thing to do. And...

COOPER: What are you doing now? I mean, you lost your job with HRC. What have you got doing -- what do you got going on now?

HUDSON: Well, I'm looking for a -- a real job, something to pay the rent.

But, in the meantime, I have started a new blog. It's called newsfortheleft.blogspot.com. And I blog there daily, you know, five or six posts a day. So, if anyone wants to know some good news for the left, they can go check that out.

COOPER: Well, Lane, I appreciate you joining us. And I'm sure a lot of people will be checking out your blog.

Thanks very much, Lane.

HUDSON: Cool. Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: All right.

Well, as we said a moment ago, some remarkable new images coming in from the site where the Kim family stayed alive, against all odds, and the fork in the road where this whole drama began -- more from the scene when 360 returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We want to return to our top story, the incredible new details of how James Kim and his family struggled to survive in the wilderness of Oregon. His wife and daughter, of course, made it out alive. Both his children made it out alive. He did not.

CNN's Drew Griffin has been given us some fascinating and heartbreaking information and video. He joins us again now from Rogue River.

Drew, this is really the first time that we have seen the actual spot where the Kim family was stuck for so long.

GRIFFIN: And what is incredible, it took us three hours to get in there from the town of Merlin, which is no metropolis, Anderson. And you go deeper, deeper into these woods, down this road, down this fork in the road where they made the wrong turn.

And then the road goes from pavement to broken pavement to gravel. And then mile after mile of dirt -- dirt road where the area is so narrow that the sides of our SUV are literally being brushed by -- by the growth here in the forest. And then you all of a sudden come onto the area where you see four burned tires.

John James, the owner of Black Bar Lodge, couldn't believe just how far these people had come without turning around.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN JAMES, BLACK BAR RANCH OWNER: Completely distraught. It's a -- it would be overwhelming.

GRIFFIN: I was just thinking, you know, of leaving your two children and your wife and walking -- I guess he headed back this way.

JAMES: Apparently. That must have been the hardest decision that man ever faced in his life to leave his wife and his two babies in an area where he knew was nothing and to travel that kind of distance on his own trying to save them. It's amazing.

I can't believe they were actually resourceful enough to even attempt to burn these tires. I mean, they took them off the car. Just think of the effort he put into to get his jack out of the vehicle, remove the wheels.

The car was parked over there. He brought the wheels over here so he didn't catch the car on fire. Somehow managed to get tires burning to try and send up enough of a signal, smoke signal, to maybe alert somebody from the air that he was here.

GRIFFIN: The car's obviously gone, but we can see where the debris is.

JAMES: And this is -- not knowing this area, which way would you have turned?

GRIFFIN: So he's come to another fork in the road here. Now he's stopped here. You have no idea -- there's no signs. John, there is nothing.

JAMES: There's nothing. This area is just not used except for by people that know the area. BLM individuals coming out to check on the trees that are -- the growth of the trees and such.

From what I could see of one aerial view I saw of the vehicle, it appeared that the car was facing this way. And so I don't know whether that indicates that they maybe made a mistake and went up that road and as they got that rise in elevation, maybe got into the snow again in the rise in elevation and then turned around and came back here.

The irony is this is the far end of County Line Road. Had they been able to travel this road and continue on it, it would have brought them back to the junction where they made their first mistake in their turn. It would have put them miles back from here, drop back onto this road again facing the correct direction. Had they simply gone up this road.

GRIFFIN: Why didn't they just turn back around?

JAMES: Speculation. I -- I...

GRIFFIN: What if -- I mean, let's say the car is moving around here. What if they come up this way? The snow is too deep. Then they come back here to this junction. Do you even remember which way is back at this point?

JAMES: That's actually possible that they got disoriented, you know. The only thing that would tell me he had a feel for where he had gone in orientation was that when he did decide to leave and hike, he did travel back the road to salvation. So...

GRIFFIN: I mean, he burns the tires. Nobody comes. Now he's out of tires.

JAMES: Yes.

GRIFFIN: His vehicle is not moving. And he thinks his only way to save his family is to leave his family.

JAMES: Yes. I can't imagine having to make that choice. That would -- I can't imagine having to make that choice.

This road would only go not very much further before it would quit. Maybe another mile or two. And there's actually a big slide across the road down there.

This road is actually a pretty good road. It actually gets somewhat better than this section we just traveled right back here.

GRIFFIN: But, again, that's up and that may have been snowy.

JAMES: It's likely, if they were in snow at this point, it would have progressively -- this rises up quite a bit higher than the road we even traveled in, so they would have gotten into quite a bit of snow.

Seeing the diapers there is difficult, knowing that there was a 7-month-old baby out here for nine days.

And, you know, definitely a heroine in the whole thing was the mother, being caring enough to nurse both her children, you know, which you know took energy away from her. And to make sure those little ones survived.

Quite a story.

There's even -- the only signage out here is a BLM road sign.

GRIFFIN: What the hell does that mean to anybody?

JAMES: It doesn't mean anything to anybody. If you had a BLM map, it would tell you where you were. But...

GRIFFIN: Yes, 921.

JAMES: That's just the designation of this road number here. There's another road sign right over there. I suspect probably it's the 34830 (ph) -- no. That's another spur road -- so...

You can look and see that they were here enough that, you know, they tried to do -- looks like they were trying to get away from the car. They actually tried to maintain some sort of sanitation and stuff.

GRIFFIN: Yes.

JAMES: They were getting...

GRIFFIN: This is -- I mean, it's a wide spot in the road, but if you look up, you're only dealing with this much sky. You'd literally have to fly over it.

JAMES: Yes. And apparently the private helicopter pilot that actually saw them said he tracked Mr. Kim's footprints in the snow to this location. And he said he had picked the footprints up back on this road and tracked the prints back out here to the vehicle.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Drew joins us now again live.

Drew, you see this stuff on a map. You see it on television. It looks one way. When you're actually there, it's completely different. What surprised you most?

GRIFFIN: Just how remote it was, Anderson. I knew the area from trips in the past, but how remote it was, how dark it must have been that night, how narrow that road was, and why they kept going. It just boggles the mind.

At any point they should have turned around, well before they got to the fork in the road. I just don't understand what was driving them forward in those conditions. I really cannot understand it.

COOPER: It is just a tragedy.

Drew, appreciate your hard work on this. Not an easy journey to make. And great camera work by Scott Douglas there and your whole team. So thank you very much. Our best to all of them. Stay with CNN for all the latest developments on the tragedy in Oregon. You can tell, we're bringing this to you as we get it. But it's all going to be put together into a special hour you can see Monday night at 8 p.m.

Coming up ahead in this hour on 360, actor Wesley Snipes, he's got a new role as a reality star, and the finale could land him in the big house for years. Details on that when 360 continues. The tax man.

And I don't know if you caught it, but I filled in for Regis today. You be the judge. How did I do? Well, we'll check it out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Wesley Snipes is a martial arts expert. He appeared in the Michael Jackson "Bad" video and has starred in dozens of films, which is, of course, a pretty good resume. And one more thing: he has just been indicted.

CNN's Randi Kaye explains why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If this were a movie, no doubt Wesley Snipes would decline the starring role. But this isn't Hollywood. This is Ocala, Florida, where Snipes is answering to federal tax fraud charges that could send him to prison.

WESLEY SNIPES, ACTOR: I look forward to vindicating myself. I look forward to clearing my name.

KAYE: Snipes came to Florida via private jet direct from Namibia, Africa, where he's filming his new movie due out next year. He was first charged in October with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million. The refunds date back ten years. He's also charged with six counts of failing to file income tax returns.

For nearly a month, Snipes' lawyers have been negotiating with the IRS to let him finish his movie before returning to the U.S. to enter a plea. But the government wanted the plea now.

BILLY MARTIN, WESLEY SNIPES' ATTORNEY: We believe the evidence in the case will show that he has been the victim of unscrupulous tax advice, and this trial helped to vindicate him.

KAYE: The actor is known for films like "White Men Can't Jump" and the "Blade" trilogy. The indictment says he had his taxes prepared by American Rights Litigators, accountants that had a history of filing false returns and taking 20 percent of refunds from its clients.

MARTIN: All we can say right now is Wesley Snipes is presumed innocent.

KAYE (on camera): Snipes was released after entering a not guilty plea and posting a $1 million bond. He is free to return to Namibia to finish his film but must be back in the U.S. by January 10. At that point, the actor will have to surrender his passport and stay in the U.S. If he's found guilty, Snipes could go to prison for up to 16 years.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So how likely is that, that he would be sentenced to 16 years or, frankly, any prison time at all? Joining me now is Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom.

What is going on with Wesley Snipes? I mean, not filing returns?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Well, from the looks of the indictment, he's fallen in with tax protestors, people who make legal arguments that you shouldn't have to pay taxes unless you're a foreigner, that the IRS has no authority over him. And apparently, for years and years, he's fallen in with these people.

Years ago he fired his regular financial advisor. And according to the indictment, he didn't file tax returns at all for six years, Anderson, from 1999 to 2004. I mean, that's just deranged when you're making millions of dollars.

COOPER: You would -- you would think, I mean, a guy who's making, I guess, millions of dollars from Hollywood movies...

BLOOM: Of course he is.

COOPER: ... would have access to the best attorneys, would have access to business managers and agents. You'd think someone would be looking out for his interests.

BLOOM: Yes, and apparently that's what he used to have. He fired that group approximately 1999, according to the indictment, and he fell in with this group that makes these legal arguments over and over again that they're not subject to the IRS' authority.

COOPER: In an e-mail to a columnist at the "Orlando Sentinel", he -- Wesley Snipes wrote this. I'm quoting it. "I'm the scapegoat, because there's more public interest in 'celebrities gone bad' than 'rich people being taken advantage of'."

Is it possible he has just been taken advantage of, that he's an innocent in all of this?

BLOOM: It's possible that he's innocent. We really haven't heard any facts on his side yet. But Anderson, any of us working stiffs who didn't file tax returns at all, year after year after year, and the IRS came after us and said, "What's going on? Why aren't you filing your returns?"

And we said, "We're just not going to do." They'd be coming after us, too. COOPER: How likely that he'd get, actually, 16 years?

BLOOM: That's the maximum sentence.

COOPER: How tough does the IRS get?

BLOOM: The IRS gets very tough. Remember, Leona Helmsley went to prison for tax fraud. I mean, it does happen. It happens to high- profile people. It happens to, you know, lower people, too.

That's the maximum. I assume he has no other criminal history. He probably wouldn't get that. But he certainly could be looking at time behind bars.

COOPER: As punishment or, I mean, if he made some sort of deal to pay back and pay...

BLOOM: You know, it depends. It depends on how tough the government wants to get. According to the indictment, they've been negotiating with him for years, and he's taken a very hard line for years, refusing to pay his taxes. So this looks willful.

COOPER: There was also a warrant issued for him back in October. He stayed in Namibia, I guess, to make this movie. Was that a good idea? Shouldn't he...

BLOOM: If doesn't look good to be in Namibia. On the other hand, apparently, they did work out a deal, and he came back peacefully and voluntarily surrendered. So I don't think that's going to hurt him.

COOPER: It's fascinating this kind of thing happens.

BLOOM: Yes, it is.

COOPER: Lisa Bloom, thank you. We'll keep following it.

Check this out. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Now, here are Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Yes. That's right. I did a little moonlighting this morning, filling in for Regis Philbin on "Live with Regis and Kelly". Although, really, frankly, can anyone fill in for Regis? I don't think so.

Shall I stick to my night job? We'll take a look when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE WHITMIRE, VOICE OF KERMIT THE FROG: You know, I'm really glad to see that it's you, Anderson. I thought Regis had finally gone gray. Hard to tell on the monitor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I didn't understand that joke. Anyway, that was Kermit the Frog having a laugh at my expense. I'm sure I'll figure it out by tomorrow morning. That happened this morning on "Live with Regis and Kelly". Kermit is actually taller than he looks on television.

I was sitting, of course, in for Regis Philbin. It was my fourth time co-hosting. The question is, am I improving at all? Well, you decide. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): This time around, things started off pretty well. The studio audience is always welcoming, and Kelly is great.

RIPA: You're here, and I'm excited about it.

COOPER (on camera): I'm very excited.

(voice-over) The first 15 minutes is still the toughest part. It's unscripted. But this time I brought props.

(on camera) This is me with Oscar the grouch.

(voice-over) Just in case things really went dry, I also brought a news scoop.

(on camera) Britney Spears, she made an announcement.

RIPA: And?

COOPER: She apologized.

RIPA: For?

COOPER: For showing her bits and pieces.

RIPA: Ohhh!

COOPER (voice-over): I was trying to be diplomatic with that word choice, but I can't begin to explain why I said this.

RIPA (on camera): I love that someone got the go-go dancer pregnant.

RIPA: Yes. Yes.

COOPER (voice-over): Did I really say that? Maybe it was something in the coffee.

The coffee mugs on the set actually gave me some trouble. Drinking while you're talking is harder than it looks. Watch my first attempt. About a minute into the show, I reach and pull back, mission scrubbed.

About five minutes later, I try again and get the mug all the way to my lips. But wait a sec. Not enough time. It's my turn to say something. Quick, put it down. Like I said, harder than it looks.

More than seven minutes into the show, I finally nailed it.

(on camera) It's going to be a long morning.

(voice-over) Actually, it went by pretty fast.

One thing I really wanted to get right this time was the kiss and hug, also much harder than it looks. Last time with Nicole Richie, I went in for a peck on the cheek, but then she started to reach out her hand. I went in for a brief kiss. How awkward was that?

This time with Diane Sawyer, it went much better.

(on camera) Please welcome Diane Sawyer.

(voice-over) A quick smooth hug and kiss, no hesitation. My handshake with Brian McKnight, also stumble free.

They say practice makes perfect. But it hasn't helped my laugh. This was me last time.

RIPA: Something like...

COOPER (on camera): (laughing)

(voice-over) What is that? It's like a laugh/snort/chortle. Sadly, not much better this time.

(on camera) (laughing)

RIPA: And then the next thing...

COOPER (voice-over): It's still as annoying as ever, which Kelly is kind enough to overlook.

I've always liked her, but we really bonded this time over a mutual fan and her unusual tattoos.

(on camera) So on one leg, she's got you and Regis?

RIPA: Yes.

COOPER: On the other leg, she's got me.

RIPA: To me the very interesting thing is what happens at night when it's cold and she cuddles up with herself and rubs her legs together?

COOPER: We make out. RIPA: Yes.

COOPER (voice-over): Kelly is the perfect co-host. She's smart. She's funny, really talented. And did I mention visionary?

RIPA: I think there should be an AC TV.

COOPER (on camera): Oh, yes? From your lips to God's ears.

RIPA: Anderson Cooper television. A 24-hour Anderson Cooper channel.

COOPER: We'll work on that.

(voice-over) In the meantime, I guess I can always work on my laugh.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Do I really laugh like that? It's so annoying. Is this how I laugh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not annoying at all.

COOPER: Sure. Of course. Yes. Thank you. All right.

Coming up, a lot more remarkable stories of survival. More than 300 people get out alive from a fiery plane crash. If it happened to you, would you know what to do? Information that might save your life. It's a special edition of 360 in our next hour, "Against the Odds: Survivor Stories". Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're going to have the "Shot of the Day" in a moment. Some exciting news about CNN's -- Headline News' Erica Hill. That's in a moment.

But first, Randi Kaye joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Randi.

KAYE: Hi, Anderson, lots of news on this Friday night.

At least 42 people are dead in Moscow after a fire at a rehabilitation hospital. A Russian news agency says more than 100 patients were evacuated from the burning facility tonight. The cause of the fire is unknown.

In Chicago, a gunman stormed into a law office, killing three people before being shot to death by police this afternoon. A fourth person was wounded and is now in stable condition. Police say after the shootings he grabbed a hostage. A SWAT officer then opened fire, killing the gunman. The hostage was not injured. The motive for the shooting is not known.

The E. coli outbreak that may be linked to Taco Bell restaurants is now being investigated in six states. At least 121 potential cases have been identified. On Wednesday, the fast food chain removed green onions from its restaurants after samples tested positive for E. coli.

And researchers are predicting 2007 will be an above average season for hurricanes. Forecasters say there is a 64 percent chance of at least one major hurricane coming ashore. 2006 was a near-normal season but fell far short of the predictions made by forecasters, which, of course, is good news for everyone -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, it was certainly very good news.

Randi, thanks.

Time now for our "Shot of the Day". Viewers may be wondering where is Erica Hill, our usual "360 Bulletin" anchor? Well, she's been gone lately. Some of you may already know Erica left us last month to have a baby. Well, here is our first look at her baby boy.

Erica and husband David welcomed Weston Robert November 25. Oh, he's just a smidgen of a thing!

Congratulations to the happy family. We look forward to Erica coming back to us soon. And mother and baby are doing great.

At the top of the hour, a special edition of 360, "Against All Odds: Survivor Stories". Aron Ralston, an avid hiker, did the unthinkable to survive. His incredible story of courage.

Plus, what if your car skidded off the road and plunged into a lake or river? We'll tell you what you need to know to survive. And what it takes to survive a plane crash. CNN's Gary Tuchman with an amazing show and tell, next on 360. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines