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Deadly Twisters Devastate Central Florida; Bizarre Mystery Decades in the Making
Aired February 3, 2007 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CALLER: My mom is gone!
911: OK, is your mom there?
CALLER: Just send an ambulance! I don't know where she is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Panic in the middle of the night. Twisters rip through homes, families separated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went through three hurricanes sitting right here. And I was scared, but nothing like this.
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SANCHEZ: Daylight shows destruction. Now relatives, friends, even inmates pitching in to help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the actual facial features. You can see the eyes. You can see a nose. You can see a slit for the mouth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Then, hidden secrets. A lost child mummified. Who is he? Is he related to the woman who found him? We'll search for answers.
And hello, again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez in the CNN NEWSROOM. We're going to be telling you tonight about that baby. And no one seems to know who he is.
But first, we we'll take to you Florida. 20 people dead, more than 1,000 homes damaged or destroyed by twisters. Listen to the screams in the middle of the night.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma'am, listen to me. Listen to me.
Did anybody get hurt?
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): An emotional roller coaster for so many. For this woman, despair...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mom's bed is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, is your mom there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just send an ambulance. I don't know where she is.
HOLMES: ... turned to hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you find her?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said they found her, but the whole house is gone so something might be wrong with her. HOLMES: The twister hit in the middle of the night, in some cases no warning sirens. Nearly everyone was caught by surprise.
Those on the road didn't see it coming.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911.
Where's your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'm in an 18 wheeler and it's been turned over by a tornado.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, I couldn't tell you.
HOLMES: On Interstate 4, nearly half a dozen tractor-trailers also overturned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, listen, we've got the calls and we're on the way. We're sending people as fast as possible, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
HOLMES: The first source of comfort in the midst of the chaos.
I'm T.J. Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SANCHEZ: Now this area north of Orlando that we've been talking about is officially a disaster area. And it's a disaster that's affecting people of all sorts and in many ways. We're going to show you a historic house that's been flattened. The owner gives us a lesson in what really matters. We're also going to be showing you the damage from every angle, including i-reports, photos sent in by many of you that really surprises us. We look at them.
And also, everyone, and we do mean everyone , is helping with this cleanup. Prison inmates, stripes and all, pressed into duty. We're going to tell you why.
Before that though, we want to be able to tell you what it's like to actually go through something like this by talking to those who actually did. Here is CNN's Susan Candiotti.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Rick. Yes, tonight, you know, there are many parts of Lake County that were untouched by the deadly path that tornadoes took that really pummeled parts of this landscape here.
But for those who were living directly in the path of destruction, well, many of those people tonight are feeling compassion from neighbors and sometimes from people they don't even know. Today, we spent time with a woman who is in a warm bed tonight because of the kindness of strangers.
CANDIOTTI: This is about all that's left standing. Your fridge?
KAY MILLER: My fridge. I just bought that six months ago.
CANDIOTTI: Oh, my goodness.
(voice-over): After a tornado flattened her mobile home, Kay Miller, like so many of her neighbors, wonders what's next?
MILLER: I couldn't push it all off. It wouldn't move.
CANDIOTTI: Something was on your arm and you couldn't...
MILLER: Something real heavy was on my arm.
CANDIOTTI: She picked herself up from under the rubble and stumbled over to her 86-year old neighbors house.
MILLER: I have to live somewhere.
CANDIOTTI: Enter Christine and Alan Littizzio. Christine's father also lives in the neighborhood. He was OK. Yet the couple decided to help Miller, a stranger.
CHRISTINE LITTIZZIO, HOMEOWNER: Anything I can do to help them. Anything. It just makes me cry inside. It really does.
CANDIOTTI: The Littizzios opened their home across town to both Miller and her elderly neighbor, Paul Moberly, who says he had nowhere else to turn.
PAUL MOBERLY, NEIGHBOR: They have been wonderful to me and bringing me here.
LITTIZZIO: My daughter actually slept here last night because Kay was sleeping in her room. And I'll show you where Paul was staying.
CANDIOTTI: Right here in their son's room. The Littizzios shrug off suggestions they're doing anything out of the ordinary.
ALAN LITTIZZIO, HOMEOWNER: We went through an ice storm in '98 when we had, you know, nine people staying in a little tiny house to keep warm. And it's what I would want someone to do for me. So I have no problem doing it for someone else.
CANDIOTTI: How long do you think they'll be staying?
A. LITTIZZIO: It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. As long as it takes for them to get back on their feet.
MILLER: This goodness is all inside of all you of us. I believe this. We all have goodness in us. No matter who we are.
CANDIOTTI: And tonight, help has sparked hope for Katherine Miller and so many others. And Rick, we're seeing it everywhere here in Lake County. Back to you.
SANCHEZ: Are there a lot of people just mingling around this area as so often happens the day after a devastation like this?
CANDIOTTI: There are, but I have to tell you, I've seen large numbers of people, unlike frankly in many other places, many people who are not from this area and those who are, who have come in here in droves to lend a helping hand for free donating their time.
SANCHEZ: Wow, Susan Candiotti, we'll be catching up with you just a little bit later.
And then there's that Lady Lake of Church of God. It's destroyed, according to officials. Gone, but they're still going to have Sunday service there, we understand. They're inviting all that will come together outside amid the ruins with them. The governor says that he's going to be there and we're going to be there, too.
In nearby Paisley, winds from the tornado reached 165 miles an hour. Now this is brand new video that we've been getting of devastation and what it left behind.
People who have seen the area call it pulverized and a moonscape. And the human toll, as you imagine, is stunning as well. At least 14 people died in two minutes when the tornadoes passed right through that specific area.
In Volusia County now, there's a dusk to dawn curfew to keep out looters and to keep people from sifting through the wreckage of all that is going on there, especially as it turns dark. Look at the damage here.
Here is Susan Roesgen with her reports.
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SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One hundred thirty-five years ago, Beth Thomas's great, great grandfather built this house by hand. Now Beth is carrying away what's left of it.
BETH THOMAS, TORNADO SURVIVOR: My mother was born in the bedroom right up there. And I think the bed's still in there. I'm not sure. We'll have to see. I mean the bed is there, but it may be crashed.
ROESGEN: The tornado flattened the second floor onto the first, flinging insulation into the trees like Spanish moss. Beth's 21-year- old son was in the house when the tornado hit.
(on camera): Let me show you how Beth's son got out early Friday morning. He was in what was a second floor bedroom -- right through there. Beth says, in her words, "god made a tent for him," a way for her son to crawl out.
THOMAS: This is just material things. I mean that's -- that's not what's important. What's important is my son is alive and that we're OK and God's taking care of us and, you know, what can't be replaced just can't be replaced. I mean this is just -- this is just stuff. And it's not that important in the scheme of things.
ROESGEN (voice-over): Beth's church is helping her haul away the debris. But she was ecstatic to find something she didn't expect to see.
THOMAS: And there are old letters and pictures in here.
ROESGEN: The family bible, almost as old as the house itself, a treasure the tornado didn't touch.
(on camera): And this was one of about 500 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed in Volusia County alone.
Susan Roesgen, CNN.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SANCHEZ: Now remember those prisoners that we showed you? They got a day off from being behind bars, but they also had to go to work. You can't miss them in those green and white stripes. Take a look at this. Marion County sent a group of inmates they consider low risk to the hard hit areas, trying to help some of the homeowners clean up at the request of some of the government officials there.
Time for some perspective on all of this. The buildings, they can be rebuilt. The cars, the possessions, they can be replaced. But 20 families tonight are incomplete, missing what money can really never buy. Here's CNN's Rusty Dornin.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Roger Gantner in last saw his grandmother Doris, she was reading the newspaper at the kitchen table. His grandparents lived at the family's plant nursery. All was lined up and ready for spring planting. Then the storm hit. He got a call his grandparents were missing.
ROGER GANTNER, JR., LOST GRANDPARENTS IN STORM: He says Roger don't come down here. And I said I have to find my grandparents. They're here -- somewhere out here.
DORNIN: When Gantner arrived, he was stunned. His grandparent's mobile home was scattered like matchsticks. Then he found his grandfather Albert alive.
GANTNER: It's in front of this porch here was where the house was. He got thrown from here. And the bed wasn't even here. It was right beside that couch.
DORNIN: His 89-year-old grandfather had been thrown 200 feet. He was still in his medical bed and barely conscious.
GANTNER: And we found him. There he was responding to me. I told him I was here. I said, hold on, pop. I'm going to get you out of here. Hold on just a second. And he -- I said can you hear me? He said, yes.
DORNIN: The ambulance came for his grandfather. And Gantner was desperate to find his grandmother. Not far from where he husband of 59 years was found was the lifeless body of Doris Gantner.
GANTNER: She was found where this tree is coming out right here. Those trusses as they make the turn, she was inside -- she was inside of the trusses.
DORNIN: His grandmother worried a lot, he said. Gantner said she was probably awake during the storm and nervous about the lightning. Now her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren pick out what few sentimental pieces are salvageable.
GANTNER: You can see all our stock here, all the way around, all the way up.
DORNIN: 50,000 plants, $260,000 worth of crops destroyed.
GANTNER: I don't know if you went through here with a bomb, it wouldn't make any difference than this. I honestly don't know. I've not seen nothing like this before. If it would make it worse, tell me how.
DORNIN: The only thing insured was the grandparent's mobile home. It took Roger Gantner, Senior 23 years to build his nursery business. And in less than 30 seconds, it was ready for the trash heap.
GANTNER: It's gone. And a lot worse if we will replace this, you know. But you can't replace your grandmother or your mother. And that's not the way she should have went. But God has other plans sometimes.
DORNIN: Hopes, dreams, and loves of a lifetime gone in a flash.
Rusty Dornin, CNN, Lady Lake, Florida.
SANCHEZ: There's a story that's attracting all kinds of attention on CNN.com. A story of a baby boy wrapped like a mummy, preserved in a suitcase.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finding the boy's cause of death may be tricky, relying more on family history than science.
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SANCHEZ: It's a bizarre mystery decades in the making. This is one of those that will make you go hmm.
Sirens scream through Baghdad. That's an everyday occurrence, right? This time, though, it's much worse than what most of us could even imagine, a truly massive explosion. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. This is the CNN NEWSROOM. This is where we get video in from all of over the world, all over the country. We've got a couple of them that we want to show.
And we're going to start in Milwaukee. This is where we understand a basketball game suddenly turned into a melee. The game was won by only one point. The team that lost suddenly went out on the field. So did the fans. Teenagers started fighting with police officers. Look at that, one fellow. He jumps out of the stands. Police officers had a real tough time. Ten people were arrested.
And as a result of this melee that you're looking at right here at Bradley High School, there's now a new rule. Only parents are going to be allowed into the stands to watch their kids play basketball. No more outsiders.
Let's take you somewhere else now. This is in Columbus, Ohio. You're about to see this set up. 18 years old, 19 years old. They're walking in and you know right away what they're trying to do. They're going to hold up this store. But little do they know that the man who is there has been held up before. And he knows how to react.
There he is. He's going after them with a gun. Chases them out. We'll show it to you again in slow motion as you see.
Now you have to understand that because this man was able to chase the guys away, and there you see the video again, police were able to catch them. Because as they ran away, they left some footsteps. And those footsteps, say police, led them to the perpetrators.
Let's take you someplace else now. This is in Sicily. It's in Italy. It's a story on international news that's been followed throughout the day.
Take a look at some of these pictures. A soccer game turned into a riot on the streets. As a result of this riot, they've decided now that they're canceling all of the rest of matches during this weekend. People getting extremely excited over something as simple as a soccer game. But then, again, it wouldn't be the first time that we've seen pictures like this coming out of Europe after a soccer game.
There's something else when we come back that we want to talk to you about. Because of these storms that we've been following in Florida, some of you have been showing us some of the pictures that you yourself have taken and shared with us like this one and so many others. We'll share those with you right here, as we come back in the CNN NEWSROOM, as we show you the feed room where we bring in video from all over the world.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez. Now to the story that we've been telling you about. Imagine finding a baby seemingly mummified. You find it in a storage space that belonged to your parents after they pass away. You'd have a lot of questions about this, right?
Well, so did we. Here's national correspondent Susan Candiotti with a CNN exclusive.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): It was January 1957. Eisenhower was president. Elvis was getting ready to enter the Army. Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart died. "The New York Daily News" cost a nickel and featured an actress' alleged affair and a plane crash.
It's almost shredded, fallen apart.
GENE SAPINO, DETECTIVE, DELRAY BEACH POLICE DEPT.: Correct. Correct, that's why.
CANDIOTTI: Because of decay.
CANDIOTTI: And now inside a now decaying newspaper from that very same day, a dark secret was apparently just beginning, a mystery police are trying to unravel.
The newspaper was dated January 9th, 1957. Fast forward 50 years to January 2007. Just last month. And this self-storage warehouse in Delray Beach, Florida. A woman was cleaning out her mother's storage bay. Her parents, both dead, had never mentioned their rented space. Among the old dusty chairs, rotary phones, and bicycles, these two suitcases. The larger holding the smaller one. It was decorated with decals from trips to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, New Jersey's Palisades Park, North Carolina.
Inside the suitcase, that disturbing secret.
And this is where the baby was found.
SAPINO: That's correct.
CANDIOTTI: A baby boy with light, curly hair, umbilical cord still attached, mummified, tightly wrapped inside this newspaper.
SAPINO: You can see the actual facial features. You can see eyes. You can see a nose. And you can see a slit for the mouth. You can actually make out that, and also portions of the fingers and toes.
CANDIOTTI: Try to imagine the woman's horror when she unwrapped the newspaper bundle. Police say she fell apart.
SAPINO: She dealt with the emotions of finding this. And the second emotion of it possibly being a relative of hers or a family member.
CANDIOTTI: Police found much more inside the larger suitcase, calling it a burial chamber, they also discovered religious items.
Is there a rosary inside here?
SAPINO: There's a rosary inside here.
CANDIOTTI: Really for a child.
CANDIOTTI: A tiny rosary inside a thimble sized silver container. And two religious cards -- one with a prayer, "if ye have as much faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible unto you."
Also intriguing police, this a black and white photograph of an unidentified little girl. What does it all mean?
SAPINO: If it was a simple abortion and they didn't want the child, why would they go through such extreme means, not only to create a religious gravesite for him, and actually maintain for so many years?
CANDIOTTI: But who is the remarkably preserved mystery child? And why were the remains hidden in a suitcase for more than 50 years?
SANCHEZ: So how are the experts going to be able to solve this case? Pure science? Well, coming up in just a couple of minutes, Susan concludes her investigation. And we also want to know what you think about this. So you can give us a call right now at 1-800-807- 2620. 1-800-807-2620. What happened here? It's really like a who done it. So we ask who done it. We'll play your calls during our last call segment. That'll be later the hour. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Florida senator says the tornado turned a part of his state into a moonscape, his word. Now here's the latest. 20 people killed all in northeast Lake County. That county and three others -- Volusia, Sumpter, and Seminole all declared federal disaster areas today by the president. 1,500 homes damaged or in some cases just wiped out.
And that's our own Jacqui Jeras. You're seeing her right there. She's got the forecast from Florida and elsewhere. We're going to check in with her in just a minute.
Now we've moved into the control room because we're starting to gather other news that we've been following throughout the country and throughout the world.
And we're going to start with this. The new bird flu. President Bush talking about Iraq and this staggering, horrific day of violence in Baghdad as well.
This Iraqi man is talking about how the roof caved in. It happened just moments after a powerful truck bomb exploded in a Shi'ite marketplace in Baghdad.
And this was much, much worse than the usual violence we see just about every day. It's another 120 people are dead. 242 others wounded. Another notch in Baghdad infamy.
This as President Bush was talking to House Democrats in a conference today. He says the U.S. commitment to Iraq is not open ended.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do know we agree on some things. And that is that the Maliki government is going to have to show strong leadership.
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SANCHEZ: H5N1, that is a deadly strain of bird flu and it's apparently surfaced at a turkey farm in Suffolk, England. Farmers found thousands of dead birds. Now the rest of the flock is being put down, as Britain reacts to its very first major bird flu outbreak. There is some promising news on this one, though.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA ZAMBON, DR., HEALTH PROTECTION AGENCY: The risk of it having got into the food chain is close to zero in this country. And there is no confirmed evidence of acquisition of bird flu through eating any form of affected meat so far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now this one here, this is an ugly scene and a winter driver's nightmare. Northbound and icy. Interstate 93. This is near Bo, New Hampshire. Major chain reaction crash. About 100 vehicles involved, including some school buses, by the way, smashed into each other or just skidded off the highway. One person was killed. Four went to a local hospital. As you might imagine, I-93 was jammed up all day long.
Taking you to St. Louis now. And that's where they were actually hoping for some snow and some ice today.
SANCHEZ: Countdown to chills. And boy, we mean chills. It wouldn't be a respectable polar plunge without the polar part, right? Keep the (INAUDIBLE) to yourselves. We've done the same. It's all for a good cause they say. More than 200 thick-skinned souls made the fourth annual polar bear plunge into Lake St. Louis, raising funds for Special Olympics. By the way, the high temp in St. Louis today, 25 degrees.
We're going to bring you the very latest, including what's going on with the weather. And the person we know who could do that, at least the best around here, is Jacqui Jeras. So let's take it over to you.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Rick, you know, that 25 degrees going into Lake St. Louis, that's nothing. That's kids' stuff compared to what they're seeing across parts of the outer Midwest and the Great Lakes.
SANCHEZ: It sounded like you were going to say that you have already done something like this in the past.
JERAS: I have not, though I've been tempted. I grew up in Minnesota, as you know. And we've got our own polar bear plunge there. And temperatures are usually below zero instead of 25. That would be warm to us. Right?
Well, when you add in the winds on top of the cold temperatures, it's really downright brutal. 30 degrees below zero in Minneapolis. And we've got wind chill readings down below freezing, almost all the way down to the Gulf Coast. So this is a big blast of arctic air here tonight. Very extreme.
Winnipeg, 54 degrees below zero now. Duluth, Minnesota, 34 below. Look at Chicago, 24 degrees below zero. That's the temperature your body is feeling.
So windchill advisories in effect all across in the blue area here. That's where we're expecting 20 to 40 degrees below windchills. And you get up into the Arrowhead in Minnesota, up into the UP of Michigan, 35 to 60 degrees below zero. That is too cold to be outside. You don't want to have any exposed skin at all. Stay in tonight. And across the Great Lakes, we're looking at about minus 5 to about minus 20 degrees.
Now temperatures tomorrow not even getting above the zero mark across much of Minnesota into the Dakotas and also into Wisconsin. That cold air blowing over the warmer lakes. They're not frozen yet. So as long as we've got open water, we've got the lake effect snows going on.
Along with the cold front that pushed down through there today, incredible pictures out of Lansing, Michigan. It was white out conditions here. Look at this. You can hardly even see the tree or the headlights of that car pulling on through. Numerous accidents. In fact, Michigan state police saying that they had between 30 and 50 accidents per hour calls coming in from them.
Now we're also, of course, keeping our eye on what's been going on across Florida and how the weather there is for the recovery. Some clouds there today and some showers and thundershowers.
The i-reports continue to come in. These are some aerial views. This is from Scott Wilson. He's from Stuart, Florida. He was up visiting a friend near Deland. He rented a plane and took some of these pictures. Absolutely incredible. You can see those homes that were demolished there.
Alex Woods from the Hontoon area in Hontoon Island, where we had some F-3 damage there. He took this picture inside of his neighbor's house. That's the bedroom there. And he said, ironically while the bedroom was completely damaged there, he said not even a dish broke in the kitchen.
And this picture from Jamie Spencer from Ocala, Florida. He took the pictures along county road 100 right there, along the back side of the village area. These were the truss boards. That's from the house that moved right through a palm tree.
Incredible in that area in the villages, the National Weather Service was out assessing the damage today. They rated this on the new EF scale, enhanced Fujita scale as a strong Category F-3 tornado. That would make winds between about 150 to 160 miles an hour to cause that much damage. That's going to knock down almost all the walls in your house, certainly the exterior ones and maybe a few interior as well. Rick?
SANCHEZ: As opposed to the old F-3, right? Because they've changed it now. The old F-3 would have been what, a weaker storm?
JERAS: Well, actually, the main difference between the two scales is that the wind speeds were actually overestimated a little bit. So we think that some lighter winds can cause more damage based on structural things, engineering things. Now as well, we've got a better idea of the wind speeds.
SANCHEZ: Yes, like a...
JERAS: That go along with the damage.
SANCHEZ: Like a truss board going through a palm tree, for example.
JERAS: Exactly. Maybe 150 miles per hour instead of 200 miles per hour.
SANCHEZ: Yes, point being this is a strong storm, Jacqui.
JERAS: There you go.
SANCHEZ: Thank you so much.
Well, some family secrets are meant to stay hidden. So when they're discovered, to say the least, shocking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She dealt with the emotions of finding this. And the second emotion of the possibility of it being a relative of the first or a family member.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: CNN has exclusive access to a case that's going to have you talking and asking a lot of questions. A baby wrapped in newspaper found decades after death. We brought in some experts to get more insight on this case. And we're going to be talking to them.
And also, we want you to call us with your reaction to the mystery. What do you think happened in this who done it? Call us now at 1-800-807-2620. That's 1-800-807-2620. We're going to be back in just a bit from the NEWSROOM.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez.
It's really a dark secret carefully tucked into a newspaper that was dated January 9th, 1957. The remains of a baby boy, measuring less than -- weighing less than a can of soda. A tiny skeleton could hold answers that many want revealed, especially the woman who found it in her now dead parents' storage space.
CNN's national correspondent Susan Candiotti has gotten exclusive access to the evidence in this mummified mystery.
KAREN DUARTE, FORENSIC EXAMINER: The bone sample is the humerus bone here. It's the big bone, top portion of the arm.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): The Palm Beach County, Florida medical examiners office has sent a bone sample to a lab in Texas, attempting a DNA match. Is the baby the brother of the woman who found him?
Do you feel that this is one of life's mysteries? This is a mystery and all of you are detectives trying to solve it?
ANTHONY FALSETTI, DR., UNIV. OF FLA. FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST: Sure. Yes. I mean, this is basically where all the theory and all we understand about human growth and development, it's where science hits the road.
CANDIOTTI: University of Florida forensic anthropologist Anthony Falsetti is examining the boy's remain to try to pinpoint his age and cause of death. He used skeletons donated to science to explain.
FALSETTI: Now this is an adult that has approximately 206 bones.
CANDIOTTI: He says a near term baby could have four times as many bones to X-ray, count, and examine. The umbilical cord may also hold clues.
FALSETTI: How it was cut and was it cut? And that will lead to more information about the circumstances surrounding the death, whether it was an attended birth or unattended. Did it occur in a hospital?
CANDIOTTI: Given the lack of organs, finding the boy's cause of death may be tricky, relying more on family history than science.
FALSETTI: They were obviously transported from, you know, one state down here to Florida. They were wrapped. They were inside one container and then another. This is -- these remains represent someone who was cared for, even after death.
CANDIOTTI: The New Jersey woman who found the baby's remains in the suitcase is helping police. She released a family statement asking the public to leave them alone.
It reads in part, "No earthly benefit can be gained from further scrutiny of this tragedy. This situation rests only in the hands of God...this one should be left to his understanding and wisdom."
Yet police and scientists are looking for answers in hopes of identifying the boy's remains before they are buried.
SANCHEZ: Susan joins you now. There was a photo found in the suitcase as well?
CANDIOTTI: That's right. The picture, a black and white photograph of a little girl. She appeared to be maybe eight or nine years old, perhaps a little bit younger. And police are intrigued by it, as we reported. They don't know who she is. They've asked relatives of the family. No one recognizes her, so again, this is another aspect of the mystery. Who is she?
SANCHEZ: Wouldn't you think that there'd be somebody who knew the mom or the dad who was a dear friend, a close neighbor, a family member? Is there anybody that they could reach, who they could ask, you know, some pretty personal but I imagine pertinent questions to about this case?
CANDIOTTI: Well, you would think -- and certainly they are. The police are talking to friends of the family, relatives of family. And so far, they're coming up dry.
You would think, Rick, wouldn't you, that if in fact -- now remember, they don't know yet, but if this is the baby of the mother who -- the woman who died in December...
CANDIOTTI: ...just last December, that it's pretty hard to keep something like that to yourself, that you might have told somebody about it.
Or if she was the one who was pregnant, that someone would remember her having been pregnant. But so far again, authorities are coming up dry in that department. So...
SANCHEZ: And when they...
CANDIOTTI: ...they're trying to figure out where to turn next.
SANCHEZ: And Susan, when they talk to the daughter, does she say anything about her parents that was interesting? I mean, you know, it's the reporters question, did they lead normal lives?
CANDIOTTI: Oh, yes, indeed. And at least as far what the police are telling us. The family says they're stumped by this.
Now remember, the woman that found it, if in fact, this is a relation of hers, she would have been about three years younger than in fact this baby if the baby had grown up, and in fact if it is her brother. We don't know this.
And so, she says she's as stumped as anybody about this. That is what the police have said that she told them.
And again, they don't know where to turn next. And they're trying to figure this out. And they hope that at the very least, they could get some hard evidence once they complete the DNA analysis to see whether in fact she is related to this baby.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Obviously, that's going to be key. Susan Candiotti, thank you so much. What a fascinating story. That's why, as you might say, we're all over it tonight. Thanks for filing that.
Forensic pathologist Joseph Burton knows all too well what it's going to take to unlock the hidden secrets of this case. He's handled one of the most notorious murder cases. It was handled in Atlanta. And we're going to be talking to him. An intriguing mystery known as Baby Tut.
Remember this one? Dr. Burton takes on the Delray baby case in five minutes. This case out of Delray Beach, Florida is unusual, to say the very least as we were talking to Susan about. But unbelievably, and as we did our research, we found more than one instance where someone kept a child's body hidden away for years.
A case in point, the town of Kikapoo, Illinois, yes, Kikapoo, Illinois, 2001, a man paid $1 for this turn at an estate sale. The trunk had been stashed in the attic of a house for years.
When the buyer opens it, he finds a mummified body of a baby with an umbilical cord still attached. Tough investigation begins. Who could it be? The witnesses were all related, but by 2001, many were dead. And those who were still alive weren't talking.
In the end, police couldn't prove a crime had been committed. That case, by the way, remains unsolved. And it's similar.
And then, there's more. What's being called the family heirloom, another mummy that's passed down from generation to generation. Plus, a forensic pathologist is going to be able to share his thoughts with us. And there he is, hidden secrets, a lost child continues right after the break.
SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. And we want to introduce you now to Dr. Joe Burton. Why? Because he's a pathologist and he's going to be sharing some information with us now.
Dr. Joe Burton, thanks so much for being with us. We thank you for being here.
JOSEPH BURTON, DR., FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: You're welcome, Rick.
SANCHEZ: You're looking at the case that we shared, or our reporter Susan Candiotti, shared with us. What -- your first inkling, your first question is what?
BURTON: That everyone's jumped to the conclusion that the newspaper date is the date -- the time when the baby died.
SANCHEZ: So you think that just because it's wrapped in a newspaper doesn't mean necessarily that that newspaper is dating when the baby was actually put there?
BURTON: Absolutely. I mean, people take and save newspapers and go in basements and find stacks of newspapers. So it's a place to start, but it could be a very misleading trail to go down to assume the date on that paper is coincidental with the date of this baby.
SANCHEZ: Well, you do this for a living. Tell us what you would be doing in this case?
BURTON: Well, I'd be doing what I know the police are doing. First of all, the medical examiners office in conjunction with the department of anatomy and anthropology are looking at the remains. They're trying to determine if there's something about the baby that will first of all, give you a cause of death, and give you some inclination as to how old this baby was.
SANCHEZ: Can you do that if the baby is indeed 50 years or has been there for 50 years? Would you still be able to find some of those things? Or would most of it be deteriorated by now?
BURTON: Well, they told us the organs are gone from the inside. So all we've got is a shell of a baby. But the baby has an umbilical cord. From the umbilical cord, using things like scanning electron microscopy, you can probably determine whether the cord was cut or whether it was torn.
SANCHEZ: And what would that tell you?
BURTON: Well, if it was cut, it means there was someone there at the time of delivery. And there was probably more than one person there. The mother could cut the cord herself. But the fact that it's cut would at least leave one to suspect she might have had some assistance with the birth of this child.
SANCHEZ: What is your hunch in a case like this?
BURTON: My hunch is that it was a natural death to a mother who wanted to have her baby. And that when the baby was born dead, which is what I'm thinking now, that she couldn't give it up. She wanted to have it with her.
She put all the nice things that she cared about, the rosary beads, the pictures, the poems in there with the baby, which are things that we find in caskets when we exhume bodies, that families have put in their caskets, things that would remind the dead person that someone loved and cared about them.
SANCHEZ: Is that why it's so ceremonial?
BURTON: Yes, I think so.
SANCHEZ: You think that's -- now you had an interesting case. It was also called the Baby Tut case?
BURTON: We -- from the medical examiners office called this mummified baby, Baby Tut.
SANCHEZ: Baby Tut. And that's because it looked mummified. And it was also a case very much like this.
BURTON: Very much.
SANCHEZ: What -- now did you break the case?
BURTON: Yes, 1987 in Dekalb County, Georgia. Person cleaning out a basement found a sack. And in the sack, they found something that they didn't know what it was.
Reported to medical examiners office. My investigator goes up there. I go up there. And it's obvious that it's some type of human remains. And it's very strange looking. It's chalky, gray. Has mold on it and has no odor to it, really.
And the first thing we see is the back. And you can't make it out as being a human. You turn it over and get some of the chalky, mummified material off. And it's obvious that it's a human. remains of a human.
Where do we start? It had a cleft lip and a cleft palate. So it's not a normal baby. It has a defect in the back of its head that it was born with. It couldn't live with this defect.
We tracked down who had the house. It was a dental student. Dental student worked at the university and was training there. And they had anatomical models that they kept at the university anatomy center. And they had in their records 30 years prior to this where someone had donated a baby with a cleft palate and a brain abnormality.
SANCHEZ: And that's how you were able to figure out what it was.
BURTON: Yes, sir.
SANCHEZ: It's a lot of detective work and a lot of common sense at the same time, but asking the right questions, isn't it?
BURTON: It's mostly detective work.
SANCHEZ: And everybody thinks pathologists are just sitting there all the time with experiments and looking into eyeglasses and stuff. It's actually very different, isn't it?
BURTON: Hospital pathologists do that. Forensic pathologists are out in the woods and in the creeks.
SANCHEZ: We thank you for being with us. You've shared a lot of information.
When we come back, we'll get a look at this from another perspective, because a lot of this has to do with history. So we're going to talk to Janet Golden. And she's an expert on medical history. What was that era like? What would women have done. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to the CNN NEWSROOM. This is definitely our theme tonight. Babies, the focus of bizarre, unsolved mysteries.
Here's one that they're still talking about. A New Hampshire -- a Concord family who for generations prized and treasured baby John. The well preserved remains of well, they're pretty sure he was a family member who died nearly a century ago.
Now the family guardian says the baby is a cherished inheritance. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES PEAVEY, INHERITED MUMMIFIED BABY: When people die in the family, you get land, you get money, you get gifts -- stocks and bonds. I get a corpse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Yes, he got a corpse.
The state now has custody of Baby John. Working on an identity and some type of cause of death.
How does this happen? Let's talk to somebody who knows. Janet Golden is a specialist in American social history. She's at Rutgers University. Congratulations, by the way, on the wonderful football season this year.
JANET GOLDEN, SPECIALIST, AMER. SOCIAL HISTORY: Thanks.
SANCHEZ: We're happy to have you here. This is an interesting story as we look at this, because we need to look at the time in which it took place. What, you'd say roughly, I guess we could go with the 1950s. Maybe early 1960s. Tell us about the era and what it tells you about what may have led to the cause of something like this.
GOLDEN: Well, I can see two possible scenarios, Rick. One, which your expert brought up earlier, is that this is the baby boom era. People loved babies. They cherished babies. And the death of a baby might be so traumatic that rather than part with it, it might be memorialized, kept with you, put in this trunk with other tokens and gifts of love.
SANCHEZ: What would it have been like for a woman in that era to get pregnant without being married?
GOLDEN: Well, that's the other scenario. For single women who were pregnant in the 1950s, it was a very difficult time. They were stigmatized. If they were in school, they had to leave school. If they were working, they often lost their jobs. Their families might feel ashamed.
And very often, young women were sent away to maternity homes out of state to give birth. And behind the walls of a maternity home, and then to give those babies up for adoption. So that the birth certificates would be rewritten with the name of the adoptive family and not be stamped illegitimate as they were back in the 1950s in many, many locales.
SANCHEZ: Wow, so that means a lot of women would probably hide out, have the baby, maybe not let anybody see them at the very end of their pregnancy. So it wouldn't be so obvious and then have the baby and either give it away. Or if the baby died, they'd -- could they do something like this and just hide it in a trunk?
GOLDEN: Well my sense is this would be a case if it was a young, single woman who had a baby. She might not have been able to get to a maternity care situation to be able to think about adoption.
She might have been hiding her pregnancy. And then, I can imagine giving birth do a baby. And if the baby was a still birth or a crib death, being afraid to come forward and talk to the authorities about the death. Or if it was a live birth, perhaps still being afraid to come forward and give it the proper care it needed. So...
SANCHEZ: And this is not theory. These are actual cases that you've studied, where this would happen. And it would happen more in the past than now.
GOLDEN: In the past, thousands and thousands of women in American history were sent away to maternity homes when they were single and pregnant. Or sometimes women would be sent to live with relatives. The relatives might adopt the baby.
In other cases, of course, the women had the babies with the support of their families, but it was highly stigmatized. So yes, I can imagine more women than today would be giving birth in secret and trying to find solutions to what they saw as a terrible, terrible social dilemma.
SANCHEZ: We're down to 15 seconds, but would it also have been easier to hide it back then because the authorities wouldn't have be looking and the doctors would have been maybe even cooperative?
GOLDEN: I would imagine the doctors would not be cooperative. They had to report those births, but perhaps the families would help a woman hide her pregnancy if they couldn't send her away.
SANCHEZ: So it was easier for someone to be able to get away with something like this.
GOLDEN: Possibly, yes.
SANCHEZ: That's great stuff. Janet Golden, a medical historian. And we thank you for joining us today and bringing that information. It's not every news story like this one that provides instant answers. And those that do, often -- well, they don't take much reporting, to be honest about it.
So we have dedicated a major portion of our newscast tonight to this investigation, because it could happen to any American family when we look in our past. And because we, like you, really want to know how something like this turns out. So we promise, when we know, you will know. Thanks for being with us.
By the way, you asked and you answered. Many of you called, giving us your theories about all of this. Here now, our last call.
CALLER: Hello, my name is Eric in Indianapolis. What I think happened is that the mother had -- must have gotten pregnant and maybe wanted to hide the pregnancy or you know may have been a young mother that was stigmatized back in the '50s.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CALLER: My name is Lars. And I'm from Atlanta, Georgia. I think somebody accidentally killed the baby and was trying to cover it up, so they put it in a suitcase and hid it so no one would find it.
CALLER: Hi, what I think happened is that an unmarried woman had a baby that died shortly after birth, because she didn't go anywhere to seek medical care. She tried to keep the pregnancy a secret.
CALLER: I think that picture is a twin. It's a picture of baby that died. It's -- the baby that died is the twin to that little girl. I think that picture was added seven years after the fetus died.
CALLER: What I think probably happened is that the mother had had a baby. It had died shortly after it was born. The little boy, she didn't want to give it up. And so she kept it. She wrapped it up and kept it.
CALLER: I think that the people there that didn't want the baby, so they killed it, mummified it, and they put it in the suitcase and put it in storage, thinking that no one would find it.
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