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Police Use Cell Phone to Find Murder Victim; Three Suspects Charged for Hiding Missing Girl; Hearings Held for Deputy National Security Adviser; More Details Emerge about TB Traveler

Aired June 7, 2007 - 13:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
ROB MARCIANO, CO-HOST: And I'm Rob Marciano. Don Lemon is on assignment.

Well, former neighbors call Edwin Roy Hall a nice, normal family man. But authorities say he's a thief.

PHILLIPS: He's allegedly the guy on surveillance video who tracked, attacked, kidnapped and killed Kelsey Smith of Kansas. The story is still breaking, and you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: Before we get to our top stories, we're on severe weather watch today. Jacqui Jeras in the severe weather center with the latest -- Jacqui.


MARCIANO: You will be busy, no doubt. Jacqui, we'll check in with you throughout the afternoon. Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Kelsey Smith. She lived more in 18 years than most people do with a great deal more time. Tearful words of a father who just learned his daughter had been killed.

A 26-year-old Kansas man is in custody now, this man, accused of Smith's kidnapping and murder. Edwin Roy Hall is his name. He's expected to go before a judge later this afternoon.

Police believe that Hall is the man caught on this Target surveillance tape, right before Kelsey Smith was attacked in the store's parking lot. They don't believe Hall knew the girl before that. The motive? Still a mystery.

MARCIANO: Well, Hall was arrested just hours after Smith's body was found, about 20 miles from where she was kidnapped. CNN's David Mattingly reports police found a high-tech trail of evidence.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She left behind a vivid electronic trail that raised hopes that Kelsey Smith would soon be found. But she was not found alive.

GREG SMITH, KELSEY SMITH'S FATHER: She could walk into a room of strangers and walk out with a roomful of friends.

MATTINGLY: The 18-year-old disappeared Saturday evening in Overland Park, Kansas. Cameras watched Smith walk into a store, make a purchase, then walk outside to her car.

Then, there was this poor quality image from a camera outside. Watch as this flurry figure approaches the young woman at her car. Police believe this is the very moment she was abducted.

But what happened next? Kelsey's cell phone held the clues.

DET. MATTHEW BREGEL, OVERLAND PARK POLICE: With the time frame that we have in here, it appears that the cell phone was traveling, so we are focusing here where it hit twice.

MATTINGLY: Investigators were able to trace a series of pings, the moments Kelsey's phone made contact with nearby towers. This happens whenever a cell phone sends or receives a call.

In all, there were five pings from Kelsey's phone, all of them from people trying to reach her. The first two, not far from the Target store, where she was apparently abducted. The last came 46 minutes after she was taken, about 20 miles away, near the large public park where searchers found her body.

The electronic trail of evidence in this case began with Kelsey Smith's last moments of freedom, and ended with the discovery of her body.

David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.


MARCIANO: We are learning more about the suspect today. He's scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon. We will hear from his lawyer after that court appearance this afternoon.

PHILLIPS: Now to Connecticut for a missing girl case with a very different ending. A 41-year-old man and two women are accused of holding a teenager in their house for almost a year.

Fifteen-year-old Danielle Erica Cramer was found yesterday by police in a small hidden room in a house in West Hartford.

CNN's Jim Acosta is there now to bring us up to date -- Jim.


Yes, a judge here in Connecticut just read -- read the charges formally to these three individuals who are being charged essentially with hiding this 15-year-old girl, Danielle Cramer, in their home.

The charge, as it was read in court, is unlawful restraint, but what that means is that this is not your classic case of abduction or kidnapping and that this girl was not pulled off the street and then hid in this home. According to investigators, she perhaps ran away from home and into the arms of these three suspects who then hid her in their home during repeated visits to the house by the police, which is why this case is shaping up as an unlawful restraint case.

The judge setting bail for all three of these folks: 41-year-old Adam Gault, 40-year-old Ann Murphy. That's his common law wife. And 26-year-old Kimberly Cray, a young woman living in the home. All three had their bail set somewhere between $750,000 and $1 million.

And even though the attorneys for these three individuals are just getting to know their clients' cases, one of the attorneys came out after this initial appearance in court this morning and sort of laid out part of what will be the defense in this case, talking about how these three individuals were essentially, according to this lawyer, hiding this girl, protecting this girl, from her family, where they say this young girl was being abused.


MICHAEL GEORGETTI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is not a case of kidnapping. What you're going to find is this is a case of individuals trying to protect a young girl from being sexually assaulted and physically assaulted.



GEORGETTI: By individuals that I'd rather not discuss at this point.


GEORGETTI: I'd rather not discuss that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone in the house?

GEORGETTI: By -- no, by individuals in the home where she originally resided.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it true that she was living under an assumed name?

GEORGETTI: She was free to come and go at all times. She had a cell phone. She was given a cell phone, and she had complete use of the cell phone, and she went to school.


ACOSTA: And these three individuals are scheduled to be back in court at -- here in Connecticut on June 21. And then later this afternoon, police are scheduled to have another press conference, and they're expected to explain a little bit more about this case.

It's kind of an interesting case in how this has developed over the last 24 hours. When the first headlines came out, everybody thought this was almost sort of a "Silence of the Lambs" type case and that this girl, they thought, was being kept in captivity under the stairs.

According to what investigators are saying and now the defense lawyers for these three individuals, is that was not necessarily the case, that she was not being held in captivity. But perhaps, according to the police and to the attorneys representing these three defendants, that, in fact, she was being protected or hidden in the home from family members.

As to whether or not this is a lawful hiding of this young girl, we'll find out as the case develops -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, Jim, where is she now? Is she back with her parents?

ACOSTA: Apparently, she's in state protective custody, as is another young man that was living in the home, a 16-year-old who is apparently the son of that second suspect in this case, Ann Murphy, the 40-year-old. That 16-year-old son of Ann Murphy is also in state protective custody at this hour.

PHILLIPS: All right. Jim Acosta, we'll follow up. Thanks.

MARCIANO: Well, he's a respected general with lots of experience. Now, nominated for a few job advising President Bush on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But Lieutenant General Douglas Lute expressed his own concerns about the mission in Iraq at his confirmation hearing today.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, joins us live with more.

Barbara, what did you learn today?


You know, General Lute is a very respected general, very well known in the Pentagon and across the U.S. Army. He's been around for many years in top positions.

Today, his confirmation hearings as deputy national security adviser, very candid. He said that he a lot of questions himself about whether the new Iraqi government really could step up to the plate.

But really the central focus of this hearing is why this new job being created at the White House, deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan? Because after all, Steve Hadley is the president's national security adviser.

General Lute was repeatedly asked how he will interact with Mr. Hadley, who is the top security adviser to the president. At first, General Lute said that, basically, he would be coordinating with Mr. Hadley, but then he clarified that a little bit. He came back and had this answer.


LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR NOMINEE: Steve Hadley remains, in all of his capacities, the national security adviser. So he's responsible for national security affairs across the global spectrum. His role is not diminished by this appointment or this -- this designed position.

If confirmed, I'll join him as a teammate. And I'll augment him by providing him and the president 24/7 dedicated coverage of policy execution and policy development for Iraq and Afghanistan.


STARR: You know, it sounds like a lot of bureaucracy, Rob, but listen to those words: join him as a teammate. In the hallways of the Pentagon and in Washington, you know, power depends on where you sit on that org chart, and General Lute clearly was laying out his position, that he will be the president's top security adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan.

So it will remain to be seen how he really fits into the overall White House structure, into the administration. Not to say the least, General Petraeus in Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and General Pace, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. An awful lot of chiefs now having their hand in Iraq policy -- Rob.

MARCIANO: A lot of cooks in the kitchen. That's for sure. We certainly hope it all works out. Thanks. Barbara Starr from the Pentagon. Thanks, Barbara.

STARR: Sure.

PHILLIPS: Well, a tape has come to light in the war of words between health officials and TB patient Andrew Speaker.

Speaking last night on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE", Speaker said that doctors and authorities told him he wasn't a public health risk before he flew to Europe last month for his wedding and honeymoon.

An audio recording played by Speaker's father seems to confirm that his son was informed he wasn't contagious. The patient spoke from the Denver hospital where he's still in isolation.


ANDREW SPEAKER, TB TRAVELER: No one ever told me it was necessary. No one ever gave me the impression that I was a threat to anyone. No one ever told me that anyone in my family was at risk.

This whole attitude of quarantine and isolation, the first time I heard about that was over a week into my honeymoon, long after they knew about my condition and about my treatment options and how severe my diagnosis was. LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": In that meeting, you insist you were told you were not contagious.

Now, let's hear part of the tape. It starts with your father asking about a stay at that Denver hospital. Listen.


TED SPEAKER, ANDREW SPEAKER'S FATHER: And where does he stay? Physically at the hospital?

A. SPEAKER: Like for three weeks am I just sitting in a hospital bed?

DR. ERIC BENNING, PHYSICIAN: Now that I don't know, but because of the fact that you actually are not contagious, there's no reason for you to be sequestered.


KING: Ted Speaker, you've already explained that you didn't give us the whole recording, because the rest of the part of it was medical information, right?

T. SPEAKER: That's right.

KING: Regarding your son. Did you tell the meeting that you were taping them?

T. SPEAKER: I did not.

KING: You did not. Why not?

T. SPEAKER: No. 1, I just didn't think about it.

KING: Well, as a trial lawyer, were you -- trial lawyer, were you going in suspicious? Were you like sort of protecting yourself and your client, your son?

T. SPEAKER: I wasn't going in suspicious, but I wanted to make sure that I could review it, and I know in my own mind what he's up to, what diagnosis they have, and what problems he's going to have, where he's going, to the Jewish National Hospital.

KING: In Denver.


PHILLIPS: Well, as you know by now, the case has exposed a number of gaps in federal health security. In just a moment, a trip to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

MARCIANO: A high-risk day issued by the storms prediction center, meaning it's going to get rough this afternoon. The Doppler is lighting up. Jacqui Jeras in the severe weather center, and we'll keep you updated, weather-wise, as we go along.

PHILLIPS: Also ahead, sacred ground versus the almighty dollar. A dispute disrupts over the Pennsylvania field that became famous on September 11, 2001.

MARCIANO: Plus, kids and cars. Do parents really consider all the risks?

PHILLIPS: We'll also have the skinny on a prison stint as abbreviated...

MARCIANO: Say it, say it.

PHILLIPS: Oh, boy.

MARCIANO: As her skirts.

PHILLIPS: Paris Hilton sprung after just three days in the big house. Poor thing. It must have been rough.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in Paris news.


MARCIANO: It is 16 minutes after the hour. Here are three of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A 26-year-old Kansas man goes before a judge next hour in the kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith. Smith, abducted Saturday from a Target parking lot, was found dead yesterday.

A motel fire in suburban Atlanta this morning killed five people and injured five more.

And after meeting at the G-8 summit in Germany, President Bush and Russia's President Putin say they'll look for common ground on the controversial U.S. missile defense plan.

Big severe weather day. We want to get back to Jacqui Jeras in the severe weather center with the latest -- Jacqui.


MARCIANO: Keep us posted. Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Well, first, it sounded like a shocking lead. Now an extremely odd coincidence. TB patient Andrew Speaker in isolation in Denver. His father-in-law, and you've probably heard, a TB expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Early on, the father-in-law denied any link between his work and his son-in-law's illness. But in an interview with CNN, Speaker's wife said much the same.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH SPEAKER, WIFE OF ANDREW SPEAKER: There is absolutely no chance that my father-in-law gave -- my father gave Drew this tuberculosis strain. He has routinely passed it. He has never had TB.

Further, he's a man of integrity. He -- the two most important things in his life are his family and the public health, and he would never jeopardize either of those two things.


PHILLIPS: CNN's Elizabeth Cohen dropped in on the CDC in connection with the TB story, of course. She's here now to tell us what you found out. You asked all the tough questions.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did, and we got some really interesting answers. CNN, we wanted to know how long did it take Air France to hand over that passenger manifest. Because we all know, once the CDC got wind of what happened, that Andrew Speaker was on a flight from Atlanta to Paris, the CDC asked for a list of passengers to contact them, telling them, "You ought to get tested for TB."

Well, it took five days for Air France to hand over that manifest. That's according to the CDC, which is pretty unhappy. They say that is way too long. It should not take five days to hand it over.

And when I asked at the CDC -- when I asked a representative from the airlines why did it take so long to hand over -- why does it take so long sometimes for these flight manifests to get handed over, isn't it easy?

And she said, no, it's actually hard to put together lists of passengers. She says, "When you think about how many flights there are every day, it would be impossible to simply spit out a list of passengers. These are very large and complex databases."

Now Kyra, you and I were talking before. When you check into a flight...

PHILLIPS: Everything is right there.

COHEN: ... everything is right there. You give them your name and you're there. And presumably every passenger's name is on there. And so I said, how could that be? You've got it in the computer.

And she kept giving the same answer. This is who works for the air transport association. She said it's just -- it's not that easy. We can't just hand it over. It's not there for us to hand over. It's difficult to compile the list.

We also talked to Air France, and they said that they're doing everything they can to cooperate with the CDC. That was their response.

PHILLIPS: So once CDC had the list, which took, what, five days?

COHEN: Five days to get.

PHILLIPS: Then how long did it take to contact all the passengers?

COHEN: Well, here's another thing. The list that they got had no phone numbers, had no addresses, didn't even have a state of residence. So if you'd been on the flight, it just would have said Kyra Phillips, seat 15-C. That's it.

So they then had to figure out over at the CDC how to get a hold of these people. So this is the video you're seeing right now. These are some maps that were up in the CDC emergency operations center, the flights that he took. They knew exactly what seats.

So they have all this high-tech stuff at the CDC, but when they had to get a hold of nearly 200 people where they just had names and that was it, you know what they did? They called 411. It was a very low-tech operation. And they even ended up Googling people's names. It took hours sometimes to find one person. Sometimes, Kyra, they called 20 or 30 people, 20 or 30 wrong people before they got the right person.

PHILLIPS: That's amazing. It just seems so backwards with all the technology that we have.

COHEN: But the airlines insist these -- the passenger lists are hard to compile.

PHILLIPS: All right. So going forward now, if there's a biothreat, how is the CDC going to operate from here on forward? What kind of changes are they going to make?

COHEN: Well, the CDC for years has been asking for legislation that would require airlines to hand over these manifests in 24 hours. They said 24 hours should be plenty of time for you to get your passenger list together and hand them over.

The airlines have fought this for years. They say that it is over burdensome and that it could invade the privacy of their passengers.

PHILLIPS: Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it.

COHEN: Thanks.

MARCIANO: When Flight 93 crashed here, to many it became sacred ground. But the man who owns it, he's not selling, NOT unless the price is right. Dollars versus sentiment. That story ahead, in the NEWSROOM.


MARCIANO: Well, a penny saved, a penny earned, right? It's true unless you're in a low-income family. Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange to explain this.

Susan, are you giving people an excuse to spend here?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, but to consider, you know, what's going on with their savings, with their meager savings, Rob.

We've all been told to save, save, save. Whether it's setting up a rainy day account, maxing out the 401(k), or opening up a Roth IRA, saving money can still cost you money.

According to this new study, for some low-income earners, the less you make, the more it will cost you. Take the example of a single parent earning $15,000 per year. If that person saves a dollar, it would cost him or her more than $2.50 in higher taxes and lost benefits, such as food stamps or healthcare benefits. For example, the person might no longer qualify for those valuable government benefits.

For someone making $250,000 per year, the cost of saving a dollar drops to 31 cents in added taxes -- Rob.

MARCIANO: So the more money you make, it's cheaper to save? Is that the conclusion? Explain a little bit more.

LISOVICZ: Yes, exactly. And it really -- it raises the question of our tax code, of government assistance programs.

Everyone, regardless of income level, needs to save for emergencies. That's a given. And to save for the future.

We spoke to the study's author this afternoon, and he says he just wants to show how policy impacts the ability of lower-income people to save. But he says neglecting to save is simply not an option. As you know, something like an illness, losing a job, can quickly turn into a disaster for a lot of folks.

If you're not saving, of course, you're spending. Warmer weather and early summer discounts helped sales of the nation's retailers to rebound modestly after what many would call a disastrous April.

But compared to last year's levels, things were still lackluster. Many retailers, particularly those that cater to lower income consumers, said higher gas prices are still having an effect. And we're looking at higher oil prices today. They were up nearly a buck earlier, coming just a little bit off that.


LISOVICZ: The next hour of NEWSROOM, not all gloom and doom for one U.S. automaker. I'll tell you which one is claiming some top prizes for quality. Rob and Kyra, we'll also certainly keep our eye on the markets.

Back to you.

MARCIANO: For sure. Thanks, Susan Lisovicz. We'll get back to you.

PHILLIPS: Well, you think, "I'll just be a minute," but it is never OK to leave your child alone in the car. Up next, a new report on the risks that parents take with kids in cars.


PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

MARCIANO: And I'm Rob Marciano. You can never be too careful when it comes to kids and cars, that's for sure, but many parents are falling down on the job.

PHILLIPS: Better buckle up for some bad news, the new study says too many moms and dads run too many risks. We're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: A high-risk day issued by the storms prediction center in Norman, Oklahoma. That's a pretty rare event. It means that things are going to get rough this afternoon. That is already starting to happen. Jacqui Jeras is live at the CNN severe weather with the latest. Jacqui.


We've had a couple of tornado warnings already. No damage from those at this time. But we do have a very high risk today and a PDS watch has been issued, what we call a particularly dangerous situation and that's from around the twin cities metro area on through northern parts of Wisconsin, down through much of eastern Iowa, including Des Moines and down towards the quad cities.

Things are popping, you can see this line here from about Kansas City down into southeastern parts of Minnesota. We're also starting to get a few reports of damage and this is in north central Iowa east of Mason City. The town of Osage is reporting some damage from winds and thunderstorms. Large tree branches are down and there you can see the severe thunderstorm warning has been issued across the area, includes you here and in Charles City.

So the severe thunderstorm warnings today, you really need to take these seriously. Just because it's not a tornado doesn't mean it's not going to cause damage. A tree could fall down on your home today and also could cause some big problems with branches and crossing roads and power lines down. So be aware of that, you need to take shelter and be inside your home. And we're also seeing a lot of lightning strikes with these storms as well.

South central, Iowa. Here's the town of Sheraton (ph. It's to the north of you and south of Indiana. This is for Marion, Warren and Lucas Counties. Doppler radar indicating a possible tornado there moving very rapidly out to the north and to the east.

This is a very powerful storm system and a very powerful low and it's creating an extreme winds, even outside of the thunderstorms and everywhere that you see yellow here on the map today, that's where we have wind advisories. From Dallas Fort Worth all the way up to the U.S.-Canadian border, that's causing some airport delays. You got more than an hour wait in Chicago now. A ground stop in effect in Minneapolis because of the strong winds.

Then we also have some winds causing problems down in Houston, though minor at only about 15-minute delays here. This is a high-risk day. That means we could see 20 or more tornadoes, two of which could be what we call severe tornadoes or a very large wind event and that's one of the big things that we're concerned about today, Rob, is that duratio (ph), as we call them or a large-scale wind event that can cause miles and miles of damage. So heed those warnings of the severe thunderstorms as well as the tornadoes today.

MARCIANO: You don't need a tornado to do damage. Those straight line winds can do it as well. All right, Jacqui. We'll check back with you, thanks.

PHILLIPS: Rob, do you know it's 5:00 somewhere.

MARCIANO: Come on. Let's hit it.

PHILLIPS: It's 5:00 somewhere in Germany. Exactly where? The G-8 summit. That's right, Tony Blair, Angela Merkel and the president of the United States.

MARCIANO: Oh, yeah, they are tipping it back.

PHILLIPS: Not sure if it's cocktail, its wine or soda pop that they are sipping there but it's serious. There's a little close up. Let's see it. It looks like the president like to drink a nice Stella (ph) beer maybe.

MARCIANO: I thought he was on the wagon. I think that's maybe nonalcoholic.

PHILLIPS: Obviously, security, among others trailing close behind, making sure everything is OK as they chitchat. It's nice to see them in that sort of relaxed venue. But on a serious note, the biggest thing to come out of the G-8 summit right now, Bush and Vladimir Putin of course had a brush, working together on a missile defense system. They have been able to keep protesters at bay, not sipping beer with them that's for sure. Of course they are against globalization and the war in Iraq. Protesters always come around the G-8 summit but certainly a relaxed moment you see there with the head of Germany, former head of England and the head of the United States.

A bitter controversy over hollowed ground. On 9/11, the passengers of United flight 93 overpowered their hijackers. They brought down a jet headed for Washington. You may remember that it crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania and now the victims' families are fighting with the owner of that piece of land. CNN's Alina Cho picks up the story from Shanksville.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALINO CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The big question is how much is this land worth? It depends on who you ask. Some of the family members who lost loved ones on United flight 93 say the man who owns this land is trying to make a buck on what they call sacred ground. They call it blood money, but the land owner says he just wants what's fair.

Nearly six years later, they still come to this remote field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to see for themselves where United flight 93 crashed on that fateful day, a place where one day this memorial will be built. But nothing will happen until the land is sold.

PATRICK WHITE, COUSIN DIED ON FLIGHT 93: If there is a price for it, the down payment has been paid. Forty lives were given for this land.

CHO: Patrick White's cousin Joey Matthew (ph) was among the victims. He says the man who owns the land wants to profit to the tune of $10 million from what is now hallowed ground, a figure far above market value. The families say they offered to buy the land for more than a half million dollars, but were rejected by land owner Mike Svonavec.

MIKE SVONAVEC, FLIGHT 93 LAND OWNER: I can't afford to give it away. It's an asset of my corporation.

CHO: Svonavec says he never demanded $10 million and just wants to settle on a fair price. If anything, he says he's losing money. Three months ago, when Federal funding ran out for security, Svonavac says he began paying $10,000 a month for his own security guards. So this week, he set up a donation box which further angered the victims' families and the National Park Service which manages the temporary memorial and just yesterday, put a plastic bag over the box.

JOANNE HANLEY, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: We didn't feel it lent itself to the dignified setting and the solemn setting we were trying to convey to our visitors.

CHO: Family members, like Debbie Borza, who still wears her daughter's ashes around her neck call the donation box and Svonavac's desire to make money on the land offensive.

DEBBIE BORZA, DAUGHTER DIED ON FLIGHT 93: I don't think there is a dollar figure that would ever satisfy him.

CHO: Svonavac owns 273 acres in all, including the most critical piece of land, the four acre crash site. He has maintained from the very beginning that he will not accept money for the actual crash site. It's the surrounding land that's in dispute. And nothing will be done here until that land is sold. A $58 million memorial is planned with a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Alina Cho, Shanksville, Pennsylvania.


PHILLIPS: The president of the Families of Flight 93 say that they have made a fair offer. He spoke out on CNN's "American Morning."


ED ROOT, PRES., FAMILIES OF FLIGHT 93: What he said in the technical sense is true as far as the process goes, but the Park Service has already made one offer to me previously which he rejected. And the family organization has made what we consider to be a more than fair offer for his property and he rejected that also. He wouldn't even really talk to us about it.


PHILLIPS: Well, the land owner Mike Svonavec was also booked on "American Morning" but canceled. In a taped interview, he maintained that he just wants a fair price for his land.

MARCIANO: Two big blows to the administration-backed bid to seize control of the border with Mexico and to offer legal status to many illegal immigrants. Late last night, the Senate passed an amendment to the bill that would kill President Bush's guest worker program after just five years. That's a slap at the business base that wants a pool of inexpensive labor. This afternoon, a second blow right now, you are watching some live debate there from Senator Akaka on the Senate floor. This afternoon that effort is going forward to limit debate and that has failed by a wide margin. That means more amendments, more potential stress on the fragile coalition that's trying to get the compromised passed.

PHILLIPS: A warning from a presidential hopeful.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These quiet riots that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and death.


PHILLIPS: Barack Obama's blunt message and the fight for the black vote straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Would you leave your child alone in a car? You might be surprised how many parents do. I'm Brianna Keilar and I'll have a live report, coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.


MARCIANO: Most parents are well aware of the dangers cars and trucks pose to children, but a new survey finds parents can do even more to keep their kids safe. Our Brianna Keilar is standing by in Arlington, Virginia. Brianna, what did that study tell us today?

KEILAR: Rob, this was a study from the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety. And they found that the parents they surveyed really perceived the risks of leaving kids alone, either in or around cars, they perceived that risk to be rather low.

Get this, about 50 percent of the people surveyed said parents in their neighborhood let kids as young as three years old or up to seven years old play outside unsupervised and a smaller, but still very alarming number, about 5 percent say parents in their area leave kids as young as three years old, up to six years old alone in vehicles, vehicles like this one in a hot parking lot where maybe they are running into a store just to buy a couple of things really fast.

But experts say there were more than 200 child deaths per year in the U.S., either from people, say, backing out of their driveways and running into children or from leaving them in cars like this overheating. We kind of did a little somewhat unscientific experiment here. But just to give you a sense, it's now 104 degrees here in this car and it was 86 degrees and it only took about 15 minutes, Rob, to get this warm.

MARCIANO: That's a thermometer. That's science right there. I'm not going to knock you on that Brianna. So moms and dads are watching right now. What can they do to specifically to keep their kids safe?

KEILAR: It's really all about supervision and communication. That's what the experts say. For instance, if you are going to be backing out of your driveway, experts say, get out of your car, walk around the car, make sure your kids and the neighbor kids aren't around and tell your kids if they hear a car start, they should back away because there is a danger and also tell them that cars are not playgrounds. Not barring that, there are some safety features in cars that can help. This is called a pole to close window. If a child were to step or president on the button, the window's only going to go down. It's not going to go up.

And another really interesting feature, this is an automatically opening window. If a child were to have a limb in, it will automatically open. Now something else, of course Rob, we've seen so many very tragic stories where kids get trapped in trunks, either they suffocate or they overheat. This is a glow in the dark tab. If the trunk is closed, a child could pull on this and release themselves. But of course parents would have to tell their kids how to do it, and experts say the best safety feature really is parent supervision.

MARCIANO: They're thinking about just about everything Brianna. They have those fancy cameras for the high end vehicle behind the cars, but I think they help you park. But are they good to help find out if there is a child they may run over?

KEILAR: There's two things. There are those cameras and then there's also just cars that beep as you are backing out and some of them really do just help you park better. But cameras can be helpful. It's really the newer cars where you're going to find these cameras built in, you can actually buy these cameras and these monitors for yourself to add to your car. Of course that's going to run several hundred dollars by the time you get the monitor and the camera and you get that installed.

MARCIANO: Good advise. Brianna Keilar live for us in Arlington, Virginia. Thanks Brianna.

PHILLIPS: Well apparently, she's out of the clink because of an unspecified medical condition. But did Paris Hilton's celebrity possibly play the tiniest role in her unexpected release from prison? Talking about fame junkies, next, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Three days proved that all she could take. Paris Hilton was released from the L.A. County jail just a few hours ago, almost three weeks ahead of schedule. Why, you ask? Sheriff's deputies are being a little vague, but they do say medical considerations were a factor. The heiress is now under house arrest and will have to wear an ankle bracelet for 40 days. There are those who think the early release is a crime. Here is what the sheriff's department has to say about it.


STEVE WHITMORE, L.A. CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT: They make it aware that there may be a public opinion outcry, but does that override the decision? The decision must be rooted in what are we doing here? What is the content of our action?


PHILLIPS: Did that make sense? Of course, Paris doesn't own the market on celebs behaving badly. She just owns the latest headlines and if you (ph) know better than Jack Halpern. He wrote the book on fame junkies. Jake, Jake, Jake, just looking at this case, what is the obsession with a woman and I'm talking about Paris Hilton, who does absolutely nothing to make this a better world?

JAKE HALPERN, AUTHOR, "FAME JUNKIES": I think Paris Hilton is the iconic reality TV star of the moment and of maybe our generation and this is the latest and greatest installment in the drama, the ongoing drama of her life. In the same way that so many of us will be tuning in to watch "The Sopranos" and see what happens to Tony this Sunday, people will be watching this to see this kind of climactic finality of this year's adventures of Paris.

PHILLIPS: At least with the "Sopranos" you've got senses of humor and you have wit and you have good writing. You have a plot. I mean this is Paris Hilton. I mean are we just so pathetic and so lonely, that we have to live through people like Paris Hilton?

HALPERN: I think you used the word lonely and I think that's a great word to use because there's all this research that says Americans are more lonely than they have been in the past. They have fewer family dinners. They work in their cubicle and have their Dilbert-like existence and Paris and J. Lo and Tom and Katie and all these other celebrities we know on a first name basis, I think in some ways kind of fill that void and make us feel like we're connected to them.

PHILLIPS: Obviously, I'm not a big fan of this news story or this woman. But here we are doing a segment, we're talking about it. It's all over the news. It's clicked on, on Google. I mean everybody, so many people are talking about it. Are we just making this worse? Are we just making her more popular by talking about it and having her in the news headlines?

HALPERN: I think that's the problem. In some ways, it's impossible to critique anything involving celebrities because if you are trying to say something critical, it's arguably you are just adding to the roar of the machine. I think the important point to bear in mind is that we're thinking about what we're not paying attention to and we're paying attention to these stories. The real news stories, like what's going on in Iraq or genocide in Darfur. Sure, it's fine to watch what's going on with Paris, but when we watch it so much that we're shutting out everything else, I think that's your kind of -- when your warning light should come on.

PHILLIPS: So Jake, why doesn't someone like a Paris Hilton, who obviously, she's a beautiful girl. She's got lots of money. She has tremendous influence, why isn't she a humanitarian? Why doesn't she do things for the higher good?

HALPERN: I think it's like, I look at it as a spectrum with Bono and Mick Jagger. You've got Bono on the one hand who is transforming his fame into all of this good stuff and then you have Mick Jagger who just wants to get everything he can possibly get out of it for himself. And I think most celebrities fall somewhere on that spectrum and you would hope that maybe if it's even just a publicist calling on Paris and saying, you have to do something good now to improve your image, that she'll do something because it's really a shame to squander it just on the narcissism of celebrity.

PHILLIPS: You know what else is a shame? She had a DUI. She could have killed somebody and she's not even serving her whole sentence.

HALPERN: It's hard to imagine that if this had been a poor black or Hispanic kid coming from Compton, that they would be getting out of that for three days for home arrest.

PHILLIPS: Point well made, Jake Halpern, thanks for dissing with me.

HALPERN: My pleasure.

MARCIANO: Don't ever call me pathetic and lonely again, Kyra.

Talk about - here's your balance right there. Talk about getting taken for a ride, well, ahead in the NEWSROOM if you think this Michigan man was surprised, imagine the police who took the 911 calls from witnesses. Stay tuned.

First, as we go to break, let's take a look at the big board. They are selling them on Wall Street today. Market getting hit, down 1.57 at the moment. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news


MARCIANO: Michigan state police got an unusual phone call. The caller said quote, you're not going to believe this. There's a semi truck pushing a guy in a wheel chair on Red Arrow Highway. Believe it or not, it was true. A man was rolling his wheel chair past the front of a truck in a service station, when the handles of the wheel chair got stuck in the truck's grill. The truck driver pulled out without knowing the man was there and started down the highway at 50 miles an hour. Police finally stopped the truck about four miles down the road. Best of all, the man in the wheel chair was unhurt and apparently unfazed. He told police, quote, it was quite a ride. The next hour of the NEWSROOM starts right now.

Hello everybody. I'm Rob Marciano at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Don Lemon is on assignment in India.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. This allegedly is Edwin Roy Hall. Last Saturday, minutes before he allegedly kidnapped and killed a young Kansas woman named Kelsey Smith.


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