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CNN NEWSROOM

SoCal Fights Wildfires; D.A. Describes Baby-Kidnapper

Aired March 11, 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)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It keeps jumping from hillside to hillside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Firefighters battling to save California homes from the spreading flames. Scared residents praying for the best. It's happening right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, there's not many happy stories. This is certainly one in Lubbock, Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: A Texas newborn snatched from her hospital bed, found 100 miles away. She's safe, but why did security fail her?

What did fishermen find floating in the water?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see something yellow about 100 yards away. And it moved every once and a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Nine days on death's door. This from the CNN NEWSROOM.

Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez here in B Control. We've got a lot of tape to show you. Just in to the NEWSROOM tonight, a southern California wildfire that continues to grow. Some 2000 plus acres now burned. The flames are threatening entire neighborhoods. And as a result, some 500 people have been evacuated from that area.

Police are now telling us that hundreds of more have been evacuated for the last company of hours. CNN's Thelma Gutierrez is joining us now live from Anaheim Hills, where she's been following the story since she's gotten there and has been sharing some pictures with us. What's the very latest as of now, Thelma?

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, I can tell you, Rick, that the good news is that the winds have died down and so have the temperatures. When we were here earlier, it was about 100 degrees out here. And that's the kind of break that firefighters out here were hoping for.

Now if we push into the ridge, you can see a dark plume of smoke behind us. Something is still burning back there. There's lots of dry brush. There's still lots of work to be done.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Sunday afternoon, flames raged through the tinder dry brush up the hillside, toward the homes in the Anaheim Hills, while police raced through the neighborhoods telling residents to get out.

BILL SNOW, RESIDENT: It was 12:30, 12:45. And they went door- to-door, Anaheim police.

GUTIERREZ: At that point, what did you grab?

B. SNOW: The dog and not too much else.

MARY SNOW, RESIDENT: My jewelry and some wedding pictures of my parents.

GUTIERREZ: Firefighters launched an aggressive air attack. One after another, helicopters dipped into the Walnut Canyon Reservoir nestled within the hills, conveniently close to the leading edge of the flames.

ALAN ORVIS, RESIDENT: Been doing a great job. At one time, they had four helicopters flying around. And frankly, they've been doing a marvelous job.

B. SNOW: With the rainfall that we've had, you know, this is probably a precursor to what we can expect through late spring and early summer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ: Now some of the concerns that the residents have out here is the dry brush. It has not rained out here possibly all winter long. Just a couple of -- just little rainfall.

But you can take a look. Just listen. This is the kind of tinder dry brush that they are dealing with out here. And this is the concern that some of the residents have. What is to come in the spring? And what is to come later this summer when those temperatures go up?

You can see some of the residents are standing right behind me. These are the people who live up in these neighborhoods, who are waiting to be able to go back home. And they have been watching all day, looking up on that ridge, Rick, making sure that those flames don't pick up and then race back down toward their homes.

SANCHEZ: Firefighters have been adamant that they don't want these people in those homes because they think it's extremely dangerous. And we've been looking at some of these pictures as they've been coming in, Thelma, throughout the evening. And you can literally see the fires backing up right into their backyards.

What kind of stories have they been telling you? I imagine that they've been very concerned that they'd lose their homes, although we hear tonight there's only been a couple damaged, but none destroyed, right?

GUTIERREZ: Yes, absolutely Rick. In fact, one of the things that we're hearing is that some of those folks woke up this morning. They saw the flames out their windows but they thought, well, it's still far away.

Then all of a sudden, the winds picked up. Before they knew it, the flames were in their backyards. They did not wait. Many of them did not wait to be evacuated. They simply gathered their belongings, their pictures, their pets, their children, got in their car, then raced back down the hill.

So far, Rick, two structures have been damaged, but no homes lost. And that is very good news right now.

SANCHEZ: That is great news. And it jives with the information that we've been getting as well. Thelma Gutierrez there, thanks so much for bringing us up to date.

As you just saw, firefighters are working tirelessly. They've called in more crews, you know, to try and deal with this. First, it was just a couple hundred. It's grown, we understand, to as many as 800 at last count.

Joining us now by phone is Captain Stephen Miller from the Orange County Fire Authority. We talked a little bit earlier. How have things developed since you and I last spoke, captain?

STEPHEN MILLER, ORANGE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY: Well, we actually can see the fire with our helicopter and it gets more accurate mapping through a GPS system.

So our acreage has now increased significantly after 2036 acres.

SANCHEZ: Wow.

MILLER: We do have a 10 percent containment. That may not sound like a lot, but our main containment areas are up against the home. So right now, the good news is we have no immediate threats to homes at this time.

Obviously, the weather conditions are changing here dramatically to cool off. No winds, so we're going to use that to our advantage.

SANCHEZ: But those winds can pick up just like they stopped, right? And that's the problem.

MILLER: They absolutely can. And we're monitoring that, you know, throughout this event. And we'll be out here for the long term.

But the good news is that gives us a chance right now to get the fire more contained. We have about eight miles of open lines still, but they're in areas that wouldn't be threatening any homes. But of course, we want to get this thing knocked out as best we can so there won't be additional flare-ups.

SANCHEZ: All right, let's talk about the fire. Because from about 5:00 this afternoon Eastern Time on, we were watching this fire as it was really getting right up against some of those homes. In fact, in some cases, it jumped the yard. It was coming into the backyard. How has that situation developed? Have they been able to develop a buffer or a fire line to stop that fire encroaching on those homes?

MILLER: Yes, well, most of those homes are in newer developments where we have fuel modification zones. And the homes are hardened.

Ironically enough, the two homes that we have damaged at this point, both had wood shaped roofs, close to the non combustible roofs that all the other homes in the neighborhood had. So that was a significant factor. Otherwise, we probably wouldn't be reporting those homes as damaged.

And at this point, we have two out buildings that -- one destroyed and one damaged that probably were like some sort of a crawl. We haven't identified the exact buildings yet.

SANCHEZ: So the fire's still going on, but you're feeling a little bit better about it right now than you were earlier, but that's because the winds have died down a little bit?

MILLER: Exactly. And at this point, we can't say that no homes are immediately threatened. So that's a good sign.

And as the evening goes on, we'll be more aggressive with getting in here where we have cooler temperatures and less erratic winds.

SANCHEZ: Well, you guys are doing a heck of a job, captain. We thank you for your effort. We thank you for coming on and explaining to our viewers exactly what's going on.

We're going to stay on top of this. We're going to be joining other officials as they bring us the very latest from that fire area there in Anaheim Hills.

And police, by the way, have been going door to door tonight to try and warn some of the hundreds of people that get out of the danger zone. So here's what we should do for you at this point. If you've got any questions about the evacuation, call the number that we're putting up on the screen there.

It's 714-288-3760. 714-288-3760. That's the number to call, yes, there it is. 288-3760. That's the number to get any information.

And we ask you, because police have asked us, don't make phone calls if you don't live that that area because the last thing they want to do is tie up those lines. All right, let's go to Jacqui Jeras now. She's standing by with the very latest on these conditions that have really fueled this fire, which is I guess what? A, the wind, and, B, the dry conditions that exist earlier in the season you mentioned earlier than we usually get, right?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, absolutely. This is more of the rainy season as opposed to the fire weather season that we heard earlier from one of the fire departments talking about there almost is no fire season in California because all of it is fire season basically. You can get this anytime of the year.

Now weather conditions have been improving in terms of the winds. The winds have calmed down a little bit. They're still coming in north-northeasterly. So it's still the warmer, drier winds, but we're looking at the wind speeds right now near the fire site. Four miles per hour out of the Northeast, gusts at 11. So that's not too shabby when we're talking about 30, 40 mile per hour winds earlier this evening.

Now the temperatures still very warm. 90 degrees in Corona, where a second fire, by the way, did spark this afternoon. Fullerton has a record high of 97 degrees. Anahiem, 95. So record heat contributing to the conditions and helping to dry things out.

Relative humidity was down to critical levels and still is in the single digits for percentage. And we consider around 30, 35 percent to be what we call critical.

You can see the temperatures still remain very warm right now. The sun is getting ready to go down, but we have a blocking pattern in place across the southwest. The jet stream way up here. So all the moisture is going into the Pacific Northwest. And everything staying dry.

So red flag warnings still issued through tomorrow at 7:00. And those could be extended throughout the week, as we're anticipating the dry weather to continue.

Our I-reporters have been doing a great job of getting us some pictures and bringing those to you.

First one we want to show, this one is from John Little from Anaheim. He lives near the Disney area. And he could see this all the way at his house. Took this picture about 3:00 this afternoon out of his bedroom window. He could see just the tips of the flames that he said.

Also, we've got two other pictures both from the same guy. This is from Justin Dignam. And he did a great job today. Did some live phoners with us. He lives in Anaheim Hills, about a quarter of a mile from the fire.

And look at those flames racing much closer to those homes. And there you can see one of the airplanes, I believe, trying to get the flame retardant and trying to get that out. So Rick, overall, things are looking a little better at this hour, but we do think tomorrow morning, those winds are going to be picking up. So hopefully, they can make some progress tonight.

SANCHEZ: Hey, thanks so much, Jacqui, for bringing us up to date and letting us know what's been going on with this thing. We'll check back with you in just a little bit.

By the way, we've got some pictures coming in here that we're going to want to share with you. I think they're right behind me right here. See, Air Force One, it's just landed right there in Guatemala City. And that is the president of the United States, President George Bush, arriving in Guatemala city where he's going to have more talks.

He's been having these talks with leaders throughout Latin America now for the past four days. This is one of his last stops before finally heading home.

He's been on the air throughout the night after leaving Colombia. And we understand that some of the reporters are monitoring this here.

Let's just leave that picture for a while. We'll come back to it in a little bit. Hold on. What is this? These are shots from the same area there. There's Secret Service, obviously, if the president of the United States is arriving in the country.

Guatemala's an interesting country when you look at it historically, what the problems that they've had with their civil war in the past. Problems that have, for the most part, have been, well, described as quelled, although there still have been some internal problems.

The president will be meeting with the president and members of his cabinet this evening. And we understand that he might make some comments. If he does, let's see real quick if we can just for a minute. I don't want to prolong this too much, but if he's going to go to some microphones and speak, if he is, we'll take it. If not, we'll move on. We'll come back to it a little bit later. And we'll continue to follow this story as the president tours Latin America.

By the way, we stay on top of what has been a trend in Latin America because we've obviously followed the politics of this. But there have been violent protests in just about every country that President Bush has visited so far in his tour of Latin America.

It's no different in Bogota, Colombia. Take a look at these protesters. These are protestors not far from where Mr. Bush spent six hours today meeting with officials.

CNN's Karl Penhaul was right there among them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've been running street battles in downtown Bogota throughout much of the day between demonstrators protesting the visit by President George Bush and Colombian riot police.

In the morning, protesters began burning American flags. And then things turned ugly as they began to lob rocks and even pulled up metal barricades and charged into riot police lines with the barricades.

So far, according to the metropolitan police spokesmen, at least 35 demonstrators have been arrested. Two demonstrators have been injured. And one riot policeman has also been injured according to the latest figures.

Initially, about 1500 demonstrators were there. You might say not much for a city of 7 million people. That's the size of Bogota. But nevertheless, these protests were some of the most violent that I've seen in many years here in Bogota.

(voice-over): After riot police moved in, along with water cannons, the main group diminished and a hard core of protesters moved into side streets. And they continued to fight running battles with police. Also, police on motorcycles and riot gear moved into the crowds firing tear gas again and again.

(on camera): And what we can see now is a group of protesters just a very small nucleus of protesters, sandwiched there between the line of riot police here and two water cannon.

And then behind, which you can't see, is a group of motorcycle riot police. They're standing there ready to fire tear gas at this small group because what one police officer said to me, one police officer said to me, is that they are now tired of this demonstration. They're tired of the violent attitude of the demonstrators. And they say they are ready to break this demonstration up and send everybody home.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Bogota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Wow. And Karl's really done everything he can to try and bring us that story over the last couple of days. In a couple of cases actually got mixed up with some of the protesters.

These protests, no doubt, have overshadowed the business at hand for the president. Ed Henry picks up our coverage with that angle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president with the First Lady were visiting. And then they went inside. President Bush, President Urebe for more than two hours of policy time trying to hash through this hefty agenda.

One of the biggest items, of course, is the fact that you now have Democrats running Congress back in the United States. And they're raising questions about a trade deal that the president - the two presidents have worked out, and also about a proposal for about another $4 billion in U.S. aid to Colombia.

Democrats raising concern saying they may block that because of these allegations that allies of President Urebe have been involved in drug trafficking and other crimes. That was a big topic at a press conference today. President Bush getting some questions about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I appreciate the president's determination to bring human rights violators to justice. He is strong in that determination. It's going to be very important for members of our United States Congress to see that determination. And I believe, if given a fair chance, President Urebe can make the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Once again, we're following the president. In fact, he arrived just a little while ago. That's the monitor that we're seeing right there. The president should be stepping out with Alfonso Cabrero, who's the president of Guatemala.

He's going to meet with the president and the First Lady as well. Let's hold on and see if we see the president stepping out. It's always important when the man who represents our country is in another country speaking with some of the leaders there. It's always another - it's always difficult to tell exactly when he's going to come out, for reasons that Secret Service only knows. They sometimes change the schedule to make sure that everything is on time to see if the president comes out.

He's going to be meeting with both the president, I understand, and some of the members of his cabinet as well as we follow this story. And as you've seen in some of the stories that we've been following throughout the night, there have been many protests in many countries.

Don't know at this point if the same situation's going to be developing in Guatemala City as well, but we'll be monitoring it.

Let's do this. Let's go ahead and take a break. If the president comes out, we'll have that tape for you.

Meanwhile, we're also going to be watching this story, monitoring what's go on in southern California. This isn't far, just southeast of Los Angeles, of course, these fires. And the reason we've really amped up our coverage on this throughout the evening is when we noticed this.

See that? Look at the fires, look at the homes. Look at the proximity. Look how close that is. And that's why we've been following this story and talking to residents and talking to officials and talking to our correspondents as well.

And also, we've got reporters and photographers in the area that we still need to get to. So stay with us, because we're going to be checking with them in just a little bit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My grandma called me this morning, said he found my daddy alive. I was just so happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: How does a day of fishing turn into nine days of survival, training, surrounded by nothing but snakes and alligators? That's an amazing story. And it's coming up next.

And we're now learning more about the woman who allegedly took a baby from the maternity ward. We've got some answers. And we're going to have it. And we told you we'd have the president of the United States. There he is. The president and the First Lady. It's been a long trip. You wonder if they start to get tired, making their way down from Air Force One, being met by the guard, the presidential guard there in Guatemala City.

We'll have more on that story as well. We'll share it with you. Stay with us. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. And we are coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. We're in B Control. And this is what we are doing for you. We're making sure we keep tabs on what's going on in southern California, because these fires have been getting real close to these homes.

They have now about 800 firefighters that have been called to the scene. Reinforcements, some forestry officials as well. 500 people have been -- I should say people in 500 homes have been evacuated. That's more than 500 people obviously enough.

And we just learned moments ago that as many as 2,000 acres have now burned as a result of this fire. So it's certainly one to keep an eye on. And that's exactly what we're going to be doing for you by checking in with some of our correspondents and talking to some of the residents out there.

Now let's go to Louisiana. People in Louisiana are also talking about a battle against nature. What a story of survival this one is.

It comes to us from St. Charles Parish. Let me set this one up for you. Back in March, about March 1st, Billy Adams decides that he's going to take his flat bottom boat right into the Bayou. That's when the trouble started.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Billy Adams loves living on the water so much because he can go fishing every chance he gets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got to live his dream. That was his dream to live on the water.

SANCHEZ: On this trip, though, something goes terribly wrong. Rough weather sends his boat off course. She runs aground, gets stuck in the mud.

After five days, he tries to swim for help. Clinging to a gas can, he's got nothing to eat. Nothing to drink. And just swamp water to keep him alive. A week passes, and still he's lost in the Bayou. Then Saturday, day nine, new hope. Fishermen spot something in the water.

CHUCK KOBER, FISHERMAN: We got out there, we're fishing, and we see something yellow about a hundred yard away. And it moved every once and a while. And out pops this guy. And he said, oh my, God! Thank you all. Y'all saved my life.

SANCHEZ: Against all odds, Billy Adams is rescued. He's weak, he's dehydrated, but he's alive. His family is overjoyed.

MICHELE ADAMS, BOATER'S SISTER: Completely ecstatic. I mean, words can't even describe, you know, they've gone from tears to smiles to tears. It's just been complete jubilation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: We should tell you that Billy Adams was taken to a hospital to treat bites, rashes, and obviously severe dehydration. But doctors say he's going to make a full recovery and have a heck of a story to tell to boot.

We developed this newscast for you tonight with this. We're going to be bringing you something straight from the mouths of babes. What's the struggle like for kids in New Orleans? Well, we gave them camcorders and asked them to tell us about it. Boy, do they.

And we're also watching those wildfires in southern California. There are the pictures. More pictures coming in. As we get them, we're going to share them with you, as well as conversations from residents out there.

And this outrageous video. 101-year-old woman mugged as she's going to church. Really beat up by this thug. We're going to have the very latest on the investigation.

You know him from TV's "Law and Order" as well as movies like "The Hunt for Red October". Is this actor about to become the next presidential candidate? You're in the NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: And welcome back to B Control. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Some interesting news on presidential politics - who's in, who's out, and who's on the move. Here we go. Democrat Hillary Clinton made the rounds in New Hampshire this weekend. The granite state is home to the nation's very first party primary. Republican John McCain spent the day in North Carolina. That's the back yard of another presidential hopeful, Democrat John Edwards.

And Senator Chuck Hagel, outspoken Republican war critic, could have an impact and soon. He is planning a major announcement tomorrow. Hmm, could be.

And then there's this. Remember Fred Thompson? He's the actor and the former Tennessee senator? Well, these days, he's the D.A. on the TV show "Law and Order." Thompson says he's now thinking about joining the Republican colleagues of his in a run for the White House as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED THOMPSON, FMR. TENNESSEE SENATOR: This is in now way any reflection on them. This is the decision, that's personal to me and one that I will make based on considerations other than who else is in the race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Well, it's getting crowded. You could stay with CNN for complete coverage of the 2008 presidential race. Of course, we are the best political team on television.

Coming up, huge relief tonight for one Texas family. Their newborn has returned to the hospital from where she was stolen. In just a bit, we're going to be talking with prosecutor about what this woman's going to be charged with.

Also, two elderly ladies with walkers targeted by a thug. New details on this case coming up.

And then, no rain and lots of dry brush and plenty of flames. The big story out in California. We'll bring it to you. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Here we go. Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. We're in B Control (ph). This is where we watch a lot of the videos that are coming in throughout the evening. And most of the videos that we've been focusing on tonight that have been coming in have been coming in through California. Pictures like this.

Now look at this. This is a neighborhood that's being affected by a huge fire. Of course, the trouble is that this fire, at one point, was right up in people's backyard. So police had to come in and tell people they had to leave. Not a question of if or why or would you like to, no, you will leave is what they were telling some people living in some 500 homes. I want to take you back there now for a moment because we want to give you an update on what's going on. People have been, I guess you might say, trying to outrun the flames. But let's check in with Anaheim City's spokesperson, John Nicoletti. He is joining us by phone now to really bring us up to date on what the situation is now.

We've kind of heard a little bit of good news. We talked to one of the captains in Orange County a little while ago and he said, John, that the winds had died down somewhat, true? Good news, right?

JOHN NICOLETTI, ANAHEIM CITY SPOKESMAN: Yes, very good news. Actually this has been -- this started off as a very, very windy day. And I can tell you right now that, by a lot of accounts, it is now much calmer. We appreciate that. And that was very good news for us.

SANCHEZ: What are you telling people that live there in Anaheim Hills as to whether or not they can go back or when they will be able to get back?

NICOLETTI: Well, the City of Anaheim, at this point, about 6:00 this evening out here on the West Coast, 9:00 on the East Coast, started allowing for voluntary evacuations or switching from mandatory to voluntary in some of the neighborhoods that were affected this morning and throughout the afternoon.

So we do have a couple of areas that are still around mandatory evacuation. The area that we're calling Hidden Ranch as well as the -- or Hidden Canyon, I should say as well as the Avenida de Santiago Street is still affected and will be under mandatory evacuations. But some of the homeowners, the good news is, is that if they'd like to, they can return to their homes.

SANCHEZ: But here is the deal, John. They get it, right? The problem here is these things can switch and go south just as easily as they went north late tonight, if you know what I mean.

NICOLETTI: Well, Rick, we actually saw that happen throughout the day. You know, the firefighters referred to this as being a very erratic fire throughout the day. We had high temperatures, low humidity and just gusty, gusty winds all day long. And we watched this fire crop up in a couple of different areas unexpectedly very, very quickly.

SANCHEZ: Hey, thanks so much, John Nicoletti. We thank you, my friend, for joining us tonight and bringing us up to date. I know you guys have been real busy. We appreciate you taking time out to talk to us.

Can you imagine, it's Sunday morning, suddenly you roll out of bed, you look out the window and see that. Look at that. Out your window. Well, that's exactly how it played out for Tiffany Gill. So she snapped this picture, called us, sent it to us so we could show it to you.

Now imagine what Tiffany and her neighbors have been going through throughout the day. Here's what she told me tonight as we were talking and the fire was raging.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIFFANY GILL: It was an early morning wake-up. It was all sirens and emergency vehicles coming up our street, and then not soon after, maybe around 8:00, the helicopters and airplanes started flying right overhead.

SANCHEZ: We see your picture there, we see an awful lot of smoke. Is your house -- you're shooting if from your house. So those other houses are, what, your neighbors?

GILL: They are actually down by where they are getting the water. There's a reservoir about two, three blocks down from me, and we went down there to see how -- you know, the evacuations -- if there were going to be any evacuations. And I'm actually about a mile from those homes, the ones that actually have been destroyed or damaged.

SANCHEZ: So the fire is still a little bit of a distance from you. Firefighters are doing what? What do you see them doing to try and create that buffer so that the fire doesn't affect your home as well?

GILL: They have closed off the streets that were basically at the top of a ridge down at the base of each side. So nobody's going out and in. If they are, you're obviously having to -- you know, they're having to check your ID.

SANCHEZ: Wow.

GILL: I guess they're going door-to-door across the way from us, to tell them to evacuate because they're actually the ones that are backed up against that brush.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Now let's switch gears and bring you a story that we're only too happy to tell. This is about that newborn, back in her mother's arms tonight. This story's far from over, though. Police believe that the woman in the surveillance footage that we've been showing you for the last 24 hours is 21-year-old Rayshaun Parson. She's in jail right now. She's in New Mexico, about 100 miles from where the incident took place.

And she's being called a suspect officially. Charges and an extradition hearing are probably next. And since the baby was taken across state lines, the FBI is involved as well, we learned tonight. To CNN's Keith Oppenheim now, reporting from where the story began, Lubbock, Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Saturday morning, at 1:00 a.m., Mychael Dawodu was just 3 days old. But just as her third day of life started, young Mychael became a kidnap victim.

LT. SCOTT HUDGENS, LUBBOCK, TEXAS, POLICE DEPT.: A female posing as a hospital employee went into the hospital room, told the family that they need to take the baby for some tests and then left the room. OPPENHEIM: Before the suspect was caught, she was caught on tape. Surveillance cameras at Covenant Medical Center captured what appears to be an African-American woman, in her 20s, walking in the hospital. There was tape of her before the abduction and later, leaving, wearing a puffy coat, and carrying a handbag.

Hospital officials said she was not an employee but posed as one, dressed in nurse's scrubs, taking advantage of the hospital open to the public.

GWEN STAFFORD, COVENANT MEDICAL CENTER: This individual was pretty sophisticated or at least knowledgeable of what happens in health care institutions.

OPPENHEIM: Lubbock Police got more than 200 tips. Then, at midnight Saturday, a caller said the suspect and baby Mychael were spotted about 100 miles away in Clovis, New Mexico.

HUDGENS: Clovis PD located the baby Mychael at a residence there in Clovis in the company of an adult female.

OPPENHEIM: Police would not release the suspect's name. But when CNN called the Curry County Detention Center in New Mexico about inmates who were recently booked, we were told 21-year-old Rayshaun Parson is being held as a fugitive of justice from Lubbock County, Texas, for kidnapping.

For the record, baby Mychael's ordeal lasted for 26 hours. She was jaundiced and needed medical attention.

(on camera): Tomorrow we get to meet the parents and the baby. Mychael and her mom and dad will appear in a news conference in this room. And we'll be able to catch a glimpse of the happy reunion for ourselves.

Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Lubbock, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Yes. And Keith, as he just mentioned, is going to be here covering it for us. And we are going to let you see it yourself. We're going to cover this here at CNN live. It's a family news conference, family reunion, so to speak, tomorrow at 11:30 Eastern right here for your viewing pleasure. That will be a good picture to see.

Well, let's go to somebody who knows a lot about this right now. Matt Chandler, he is the D.A.. He is handling this case for us. Matt, thanks so much for joining us. What can you tell us about this woman tonight?

MATT CHANDLER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CURRY COUNTY, N.M.: Well, Rayshaun Parson, 21 years of age, she's actually being held in the Curry County Detention Center right now on the charges of fugitive from justice. She's being held out of Texas actually for aggravated kidnapping charges. And because of the aggravated kidnapping charges, the state of New Mexico has filed a fugitive from Justice so that we can hold her and make sure that she's returned to Texas without any other opportunity to flee from law enforcement.

SANCHEZ: So your role really is more about extradition in this case, the actual charge that you think is going to stick is the one in Texas, not the one in New Mexico, right?

CHANDLER: Well, that's correct. Law enforcement from New Mexico area, got quite heavily involved at about midnight early this morning and continued the investigation, conducting search warrants, going into people's homes and looking for the baby to make sure that the baby Mychael was actually safe.

Now it's up for us at an extradition hearing tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., Mountain Standard Time, we will have a hearing to determine extradition.

SANCHEZ: Hey, Matt, you know, the whole country -- I mean, look, we all got kids, we're all thinking about stories like this. We couldn't help but think about this little baby. And we're trying to figure out why in the world someone would do something like this? Can you give us any sense of what the motive may be in this case or anything to give us a picture of what this woman was thinking about?

CHANDLER: It's obvious that Rayshaun wanted a child and she would go to desperate measures to get her hands on a child. But the actual motive is still under investigation. There's still quite a bit to do as this is a very new, fresh, case and the arrest was just made actually within the past couple of hours.

So, the motive is still trying to be cleared up. But Rayshaun was very desperate for a child and she actually went well over 100 miles to get that child.

SANCHEZ: But one thing I'm still curious about, and maybe you don't have the answer to this question, but I think a lot of people want to know, did she know the mother of this child or did she know anything about the family or was it random?

CHANDLER: through the preliminary investigation, the -- all signs are pointing to the fact that did not know the family and she did not know the fact that the family was giving birth. It was a pretty random trip to Lubbock, that there was a viewing of all of the different children that were actually in the hospital. And I believe she made up her intent at that time and the investigation shows that she went at quite a few costs to get her hand on baby Mychael.

SANCHEZ: Yes. I'd say. And quite a penalty that awaits her as well as a result. Matt Chandler, you're the D.A. out there. You've been kind enough to join us and share some really good information with us as well. Thank you, my friend, we appreciate it.

CHANDLER: Thank you very much. SANCHEZ: All right. Take a look at this picture now. It is plastered all over New York. And just about everybody in New York is talking about it. Well, you can imagine The New York Daily News and The New York Post, what they're saying. They are -- but police want more than a mug shot. They are desperate to catch this guy because of what he has done. In fact, some of them are saying it's personal. They say this guy roughed up two elderly women. There's one of them that we showed you yesterday. And then he rode off on, of all things, yes, real tough guy, right, a pink bicycle. Pink.

Here's what he's been doing and saying. Some of the people there in New York have been extremely upset about this. The victims are 101 and 85 years old. One of them says the mugger told her that he'd like to help old people just before he punched her and then pushed her to the floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOLANGE ELIZEE, 85-YEAR-OLD MUGGING VICTIM: I'm closing my door and he pushed me, closed the door. Began to beat me, my face, give me -- oh. And then he say, I get you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Obviously police in New York are hoping to catch him. If they do, we'll let you know right away and we'll update the story.

Then, they've survived a Category 5 hurricane but they are barely getting by now. Teenagers videotape their anything but daily routine in New Orleans. You are going to see some of their stories. It's amazing, through their eyes.

And then Jacqui Jeras, she's going to be monitoring the wildfires in Southern California. She's the one who has been telling us all day exactly what these conditions are and what they would cause. So we'll be checking with her. Also weather that may affect your Monday commute. We'll have it all, stay, we're in the CNN NEWSROOM, coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Yes. The raging wildfires. And that's why we have really amped up our coverage to bring you the very latest on these for the last four or five hours since we first heard that they were encroaching on some homes. Two thousand acres have now burned. Five hundred homes have had the residents evacuated from them. Eight hundred firefighters have been called out to the scene, many of them as reinforcements or relieved, some of the folks who have been out there working all day long.

So we've been monitoring this thing. And it really has been escalating throughout the night. Although there seems to be some good news on this one tonight. We've been talking to some of the officials out there and what they're telling us, Jacqui Jeras, is something you've been able to confirm, and we'll probably talk more about this, is that the winds are starting to dissipate somewhat, right? JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. They have, over the past couple of hours. So that's certainly some good news. You can see behind me, we're down to the single digits here. And the winds are gusting maybe 10, 11 miles per hour or so. So the winds have really dropped significantly. That's down from like 30 to 40 miles per hour, which was common to see gusts like that throughout much of the afternoon.

However, that said, well, we're expecting winds to stay calmer throughout the rest of the evening. And tonight we do think they're going to be picking back up again as we head into the morning hours for tomorrow and throughout the day.

So, 30, 40 mile per hour gusts will be very common. And the red flag warnings have been posted of course across the region once again. And there you can see the critical fire weather area, not just Orange County, but Los Angeles County, down towards Ventura County, will all be affected, even down towards the San Diego area.

(WEATHER REPORT)

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much, Jacqui. Appreciate it.

Well, you know, tonight, most school kids are packing their book bags, getting ready for the bus ride in the morning. However, this routine is anything but routine for some Hurricane Katrina survivors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are all of the houses of my neighbors, pre-Katrina. A lot of the people haven't come back yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: This is a day in the life of young Katrina survivors. It's their story, their words through their cameras. Ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. Eleven young Hurricane Katrina survives are documenting themselves. CNN gave them all video cameras. We wanted them to tell us their stories in their words through their eyes and their cameras. So they are going to show us their lives like that. And "AMERICAN MORNING's" Soledad O'Brien takes a look at three of the stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another day I'm out here waiting at the bus stop.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's so typical in so many ways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, bye, mom. O'BRIEN: But not far under the surface it's a struggle each and every day. Shantia Reneau's home in the Lower Ninth Ward was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. She now sleeps on the couch in a 300-square foot FEMA trailer.

SHANTIA RENEAU, SENIOR, MCDONOUGH NO. 35 H.S.: We don't have a heater or hot water so we have to use little portable heaters now.

O'BRIEN: Until it's fixed, Shantia has to go next door to her grandmother's trailer to wash up. As for her grandmother's home in the Lower Nine, it's gone, and so are her hopes of returning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will be 100 years, it looks like, from now before they build the houses back in the Ninth Ward.

O'BRIEN: Deshawn Dabney is one of four people crammed into a two-room apartment.

DESHAWN DABNEY, SOPHOMORE, O. PERRY WALKER H.S.: This is the bed me and my grandmother share.

O'BRIEN: Each trip to school is a walk past damaged homes and a 30-minute bus ride.

DABNEY: These are all the houses that my neighbors pre-Katrina. A lot of the people haven't come back yet.

S. O'BRIEN: For Amanda Hill, a senior from St. Bernard Parish, money is the problem, day in and day out. Her grandmother, Dolores, is 66 years old and working at McDonald's.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wake up 3:00 in the morning to hear my grandma crying because she doesn't know if she's going to be able to have money to put milk in the refrigerator or have bread on the table. Now she is so far in debt and so stressed out, I can physically see what it's doing to her.

O'BRIEN: Amanda is a good student. She dreams of going to a four-year college, but can't afford it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot of things that I feel like I've worked so hard for, and I've gotten nowhere.

O'BRIEN: Amanda's mother died when Amanda was just 11. She says her father is out of the picture and she's terrified about her grandmother's health.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm scared that I'm going to lose her and she's all I have.

O'BRIEN: Almost every month she visits her mother's grave. There's been no money for a headstone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my mother's grave. She died seven years ago and we don't even have a name plate for her. All it is, is a square of cement that I write on with a Sharpie. O'BRIEN: Vicki Marie Hill, born July 26, 1971, died January 30, 2000.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love you, mom.

This is just a couple of things that I have to deal with. This is a day in my life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: And you can join Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien every weekday on "AMERICAN MORNING," it's 6:00 a.m. Eastern.

All right. Let's catch you up again on the big story of the night, and that is those wildfires that have been burning out there in Southern California. This is southeast of Los Angeles. As we know, there have been 200 acres that have been burned. The latest numbers are that 500 homes had to be evacuated.

You can see some of the firefighters dealing with this there. They basically have been going and getting the water and then putting it back up on top. All right. Here's that new video that we were expecting to get as well. This is coming to us from someone who works at a nature trail there. She's 25 years old, her name is Eve Brown. She said she went back to check on the nature trail where she worked. This is south of Soronto (ph) Road in Weir Canyon.

They went out to check on the nature trail when suddenly she realized that this fire was getting real close. In fact she writes to us that she was about 100 yards from the fire itself at the time. There you see parts of the nature trail. That's her brother who was also with her at the time as they were noticing that this fire was coming in on them.

This was shot several hours ago and they were able to bring it back to us. Then suddenly they looked up and they started seeing helicopters hovering above and that's when they realized that there was a real problem there, that they were going to be dealing with. And they were able to send this video to us and show it to us.

Now once again, let's bring you up to date before we let you go on what's going on in California. This is a story that we've been following for the last four or five hours. It began with what looked like a wildfire that they'd be able to get under control. But as you heard Jacqui Jeras talking earlier, the problem is those Santa Ana winds that suddenly picked up the flames and blew them through some of those canyons and actually had the fire that encroaching on some of the homes there in Anaheim Hills.

As a result, the police had to come in. They went door-to-door literally telling people that they had to evacuate. This is a mandatory evacuation, not a voluntary evacuation. The good news tonight is the winds seem to have died down somewhat and in some places they've changed that mandatory evacuation to a voluntary evacuation. So that's good. But we're going to keep tabs on it throughout the end of the night. Well, I'm Rick Sanchez. Before we go, we want to let you know that we've notice that more and more of you have been joining us here at 10:00 on weekends. You're watching, you're e-mailing, You're calling. And it's important for us let you know that, well, we appreciate it. You've had a lot of news over the last hour. And we're not done yet.

Up next, a Special Investigations Unit, "The Final Journey," an in-depth look at the bus crash in Atlanta that killed seven people, including members of that ball team. Thanks so much for being with us.

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