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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Girl Sexually Assaulted on Videotape Found Safe; Violence in Myanmar Continues; DNA Loopholes
Aired September 28, 2007 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have got breaking news to tell you about in a case that horrified the nation: a little girl tonight found alive and safe with relatives. Her name, we know, is Madison.
We know that now. We're not showing you her face tonight because of what we know she's been through. For days, she was a mystery girl, for weeks, shown being abused on videotape. Millions saw the pictures, and someone came through. Authorities in Nye County, Nevada, about an hour outside Las Vegas, made the announcement a short time ago.
They also said they're seeking this man, Chester Arthur Stiles. Take a look at his face. He's wanted on a separate charge of sex with a minor. If you have seen him, contact authorities.
Another man, Darren Tuck, gave police this tape back on the 8th. He is in custody on suspicion of promoting child pornography. The Nye County Sheriff's Office has a news conference scheduled for any time within this hour. We will bring you that.
CNN's Kara Finnstrom is there.
Kara, what are authorities saying about this little girl's condition tonight?
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're saying that she's safe. And we're still waiting for the detectives to get back here and hold this press conference. They have got a lot of the answers to the questions that we all want to ask.
But, really, Anderson, this is the best possible ending that we could have hoped for to the story. The little girl has been found. We're told she is safe and she was not with her attacker. We're told she was with her mother, and she remains in that mother's custody tonight.
Now, despite this incredibly good news, there are a lot of troubling questions that remain as to how this child remained in this horrific abusive environment. Detectives say that, you know, tape that they saw was unlike anything they had seen. And they also say that the child's reaction to the repeated rapes on this tape suggest to them, because she had little or no emotion, that she had been abused many times before.
So, there will be a lot of questions that they will be asking in the days ahead. And now, really, they say, much of their effort will focus to this suspect and to finding him and to getting all of their efforts to find -- into finding the relationship between these two, any possible relationship, and to finding where he might be.
COOPER: Do we know how she was found, how Madison was found?
FINNSTROM: Well, initially, they released her picture, and that stirred up a lot of responses and a lot of leads.
When they released her name, the sheriff says he believes initial reports that he got back is that it was the actual mother of this little girl who called in and said she believed that they were talking about her daughter.
So, detectives went out to the home, and they say that there was a birthmark that they could see in this videotape, and they were actually able to positively identify Madison.
COOPER: I want to put up the picture of this guy again, Chester Arthur Stiles. Chester Arthur Stiles, that's his full now. He's now considered a suspect in this case.
The sheriff said that he's not related to the girl. Are they saying how that he may know her or what the connection is, or -- or what the connection may be between him and this other guy, Darren Tuck, who turned the tape over?
FINNSTROM: They aren't.
The only thing the sheriff has confirmed to us is that he's not her father. But he says there is some type of relationship, he understands. There's bad cell phone coverage in this part, because -- part of the country -- because we're in desert area. And, so, even the sheriff himself was having trouble getting back information from his deputies.
He said all he could ascertain from the messages that he got was that there is some type of relationship, and he hoped to have more information for us at this press conference.
COOPER: OK. We're going to wait for that press conference. We will bring it to you and get you all the details.
Kara, appreciate the reporting. We will check back in with you.
On to now what's happening in Burma, the country known as Myanmar, one of the most brutal and corrupt dictatorships on the planet. You probably don't know much about it. And the reason is, the country is virtually cut off.
Tonight, anywhere from nine to several hundred people have died -- we simply don't know -- killed by troops bent on suppressing pro- democracy rallies and now hermetically sealing off the country from the rest of the world. Phone lines have been cut off. Cell phone reception is spotty, at best, Internet access unplugged, foreign media barred, or, as it happened -- or, as happened yesterday, shot dead in the streets. Monasteries there have been ransacked. Monks, who had been leading the marches, have been murdered. It was quieter today than it has been in days, but not a good kind of quiet.
COOPER (voice-over): These are some of the only pictures to come today out of Burma, which is called Myanmar by its government, the flow of information all but cut off by the military crackdown. The pictures shows only small groups of protesters taking to the streets of the country's largest city, a stark contrast to the last two days, when thousands of monks marched peacefully and defiantly, in the face of the country's heavily armed military, and a sure sign that police and soldiers are taking back the streets and beating back demonstrators seeking democracy.
JOHN SANDLIN, BURMESE EXILE: Now they shoot the people and they shoot the monks. What the hell is this? I don't know what should I do. I can't even sleep last night. I really worry about my friends, my brother. It's all of my relatives.
COOPER: But the pictures of bloody violence and death have already made their way around the world -- here, the chilling image of a Japanese journalist shot through the heart as he covered the story.
The sight of the quiet and courageous monks marching in Yangon and the country's second largest city, Mandalay, inspired the opposition to come out in force. The monks are revered by the Buddhists, who make up 80 percent to 90 percent of the country's population.
They are the junta's worst enemy, their most powerful weapon, nonviolence. Today, they're locked inside their monasteries, imprisoned behind gates and barbed wires, watched over by soldiers.
Gone, too, the opposition's main access to the outside world, the Internet, used to send both blogs and pictures of soldiers turning their weapons on the country's citizens, used also to ask the world for help. Today, the government pulled the plug, cutting off Internet connections inside the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To those activists who really want to separate out the information, those people, they're really incredible. They know that they will be arrested or they will be killed if -- if the authorities find out.
COOPER: What began as a protest against high fuel prices grew when the monks joined the march. But this isolated nation has a history of human rights abuses, evidence one scientific research group says, by satellite photos showing the disappearance of villages and increase in the number of military camps.
The government claims soldiers were forced to fire on demonstrators who would not obey orders, and they say they feared a replay of what they call riots of 1988, which were pro-democracy demonstrations where more than 3,000 protesters died. But these demonstrations have also been deadly. The government says nine people have died, but few believe the number is that low.
GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm afraid that we believe that the loss of life in Burma is far greater than has been reported so far.
COOPER: Outside of Burma, refugees who fled the brutal military regime held their own protests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We showed them we are very angry. We are behind our monks. We're going to go on. We're going to fight for them. We're going to fight.
COOPER: And world leaders, from the White House to the U.N., called on the country's military to stop the violence. But there is little hope that the country's isolated and oppressive leaders will listen.
COOPER: Also, today, Burmese inside and outside the country were buzzing with reports of some kind of mutiny within the military ranks. So far, there is no independent confirmation of that.
As we mentioned, it's something of a no-go zone for reporters.
Earlier tonight, I spoke with CNN's Dan Rivers, who is monitoring developments from Bangkok, Thailand.
COOPER: So, Dan, government authorities in Burma restricted the movements of the U.N. World Food Program, hindering their efforts to feed about half-a-million people. That's about 25 percent of the nation is below the poverty line. How bad could the situation get there?
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I think it could get really bad, if aid is impeded. This is a country which heavily relies on aid to feed its people.
As you say, when we were there a few months ago, driving around, you could really see just how poor this country is in the -- in the back streets of Yangon, as well as out in the countryside. People are in a pretty desperate state, after 45 years living under a brutal military dictatorship.
COOPER: The group Reporters Without Borders ranks Burma 164th out of 168 countries with the most repressed media in the world. They seem pretty much able to kind of shut off the outside world right now.
RIVERS: Yes, I mean, this government administration there doesn't seem to care about world opinion at all. It doesn't seem to care even when its closest ally, China, is urging restraint. And you have got to realize how bad things get if China is urging restraint, hardly a paragon of democracy or, you know, belief in Buddhist ideals, with their track record in Tibet.
So, this is a military junta which feels that it -- there is a risk of it losing control completely. And, if it doesn't crack down, in the same way it did in 1988, it fears it could lose power completely. So, they are showing absolutely no quarter to the people. Bullets, live bullets, are being shot into the crowds every day for the past couple of days.
The death toll, at the moment, we simply don't know. But the impression we get from talking to people inside Myanmar at the moment is that -- that it is climbing steadily. There are some people that we have heard from that have talked about rows of bodies being lined up on the streets and people praying next to them. That gives you some impression of just how bad things are getting there.
COOPER: Dan Rivers, appreciate the reporting.
Thank you, Dan.
COOPER: Deeper now, we're joined by Derek Mitchell, formerly an Asia specialist at the Pentagon and currently with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
As we know, this is nothing new to Burma. There were deadly demonstrations there in 1988. Three thousand people were murdered there. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for years now, no matter how many world leaders have called for her release.
How is it that Burma has remained so isolated from the rest of the world?
DEREK MITCHELL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PROGRAM SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, they're not entirely isolated. They have opened themselves up to investment from places like China, and India, and Japan, and some of the Southeast Asian states. And that has helped fuel -- feed the elite, so, the -- the military can -- can feed some of the political elites, keep them satisfied, and simply oppress the rest of the country.
COOPER: So, President Bush has asked China to try to intervene, to find some sort of peaceful solution. Does China have that kind of influence on the Burmese government?
MITCHELL: They can't deliver the junta in any political way. The junta themselves has to come to some kind of conclusion that it's better for them to -- to reach out to the world or to reform than it is to stay in place.
They have -- there's no reason they should believe that. They have all the weapons of power, all the levers of power. They're getting the -- the international resources from investment.
COOPER: Is there any reason to believe that the junta, that there may be some sort of mutiny? I mean, there were lots of reports of that today. It that just wishful thinking?
MITCHELL: Yes, there's always these reports that -- that flow through. And there is never really any truth to them. That's -- that is wishful thinking. I hope that is true. That's probably the best hope for Burma, is that there is -- there are some elements within the junta that say, this isn't the right way to go. We can't be shooting monks in the streets.
COOPER: It's -- it's just so horrific to -- you know, you see these pictures and you know the situation is worse than the pictures even show.
COOPER: And there's a sense that you can't do anything about it. The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions. Will that have any effect?
MITCHELL: The sanctions will not. Unilateral sanctions certainly will not by the United States.
We have had really tough sanctions on them for about 10 years. Sanctions have not entirely worked, but I think they have been necessary to show solidarity with the democratic opposition in Burma, who have called for these kinds of sanctions. But we need a much more broad outreach, a more multinational outreach, bringing in the Chinese, the Indians, the Southeast Asians and the Japanese.
There are some things that we do agree on. I mean, these nations don't want an unstable regime on their -- on their border. There are health problems, HIV/AIDS. There are drug problems that cross borders. There are refugee problems. There are some things we can agree on. And, as long as Burma can play one against the other, they get their way. They get the resources and they get to stay in power.
COOPER: The U.N. special envoy set to arrive in the country tomorrow -- President Bush has asked that he be allowed to meet with anyone, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
Is there any chance the government is going to comply with that request?
MITCHELL: It's hard to know. I doubt it severely.
You know, she is actually not under house arrest anymore. The latest word was, she was placed in a prison ironically called Insein prison and held there. So, I doubt that they would bring him there to meet with her. But we will see what they do.
COOPER: The -- the monks, why are they so important in all of this? MITCHELL: This is a very devout country, a very superstitious country as well. And, so, the Buddhist monks have always been sort of the moral core, the moral fiber of the nation.
And I think the -- the regime is afraid of the monks. The monks, during the colonial period, when the British colonized the place, they were at the forefront of the liberation movement. They were at the forefront in 1988. They are typically not political. But, when they do take to the streets, the leadership has to be concerned.
As well, frankly, they have to be concerned about their souls. I mean, the monks are -- some of the monks are saying they're not going to provide the kind of Buddhist homage to the leadership they need in order to get to the next life. So, things like that have -- have made a difference, but apparently not as much a difference as -- as necessary.
COOPER: The first story I ever told as a reporter was, I snuck into Burma and hooked up with some students who had been taking part in the '88 democracy demonstrations. It's sickening to see this happening again, and being crushed, just like it was in '88.
MITCHELL: The -- the -- yes.
COOPER: Derek, we -- go ahead.
Just one more thing. I think the key thing here is, the junta wants us to -- to not pay attention. They want to kick everyone out, no pictures, and then we will lose sight. When there are no pictures, we will move on to something else. The key is to keep a light shone on the Burma issue.
Aung San Suu Kyi, when I met with her 10 years ago, said, please, when these issues get off the news, we still have to shine a light on what is going on here.
COOPER: Well said.
Derek Mitchell, appreciate your -- your expertise. Thank you.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
COOPER: As we mentioned, the U.S. calls this volatile country Burma, not acknowledging its military government. Here's some additional "Raw Data."
Burma's constitution has been suspended since September 18, 1988, when the current junta took power. It is the second largest country in Southeast Asia, slightly smaller than the state of Texas. Eighty- nine percent of the population is Buddhist. Twenty-six percent in Burma live in poverty on less than a dollar a day.
Again, we're waiting for a press conference from authorities in Nevada on the little girl now safe with her family and a wanted alleged sex offender now being sought. We're going to cover that when it happens.
Also, keeping you safe from crime, as you will see, it's a question of identification. It's also a controversy.
COOPER (voice-over): We fingerprint suspects, so why not do fingerprinting one better, with DNA?
JAYANN SEPICH, MOTHER OF KATIE SEPICH: We have this incredible scientific tool, that it's the most powerful crime-solving tool that we have available, and we're not using it, you know, to its fullest potential?
COOPER: So, why aren't we? She says it could have caught her daughter's killer before others were hurt. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
Plus: Republicans never shrink from battle, right? Well...
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think this is a disgrace that they're not here.
BROWNBACK: I think it's a disgrace for our country. I think it's bad for our party.
COOPER: Running for president, but running from a debate involving a black audience. See who couldn't make it.
And who is Barack Obama's favorite Republican candidate? Answers in "Raw Politics" -- next.
COOPER: Updating our breaking story: a photo there of the little girl millions of people saw on a stomach-turning kiddie porn tape. Tonight, she's safe with her family. We're awaiting a news conference with more details. We are blurring her face in order to -- because of, frankly, what she has been through.
Also ahead, an eye-opening report. This is the man that police now are looking for. His name is Chester Stiles. If you have seen him, police want to hear from you. Again, we are awaiting a press conference. It could take place any moment now. We will bring that to you for all the new details. This is breaking news happening in this hour.
Also ahead tonight, an eye-opening report on DNA testing, a powerful tool. We all know that. It's helped solved some of the worst crimes. So, why aren't more criminals tested? Is the law actually getting in the way? The story is coming up.
But, first, we hit the presidential campaign trail.
Here's CNN's Tom Foreman with the "Raw Politics."
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Money, money, money. The latest round of fund-raising by the presidential contenders and pretenders is drawing to a close, so, let's go right to the "Raw Politics" roundup.
(voice-over): The Democrats remain way out front, with the Hill and the Obamarama each suspected of raking in $17 million to $20 million in the past three months. For the Republicans, Rudy is not talking numbers, but he's expected to be first, with Thompson and McCain showing progress.
The "Raw" read: Republicans better start cranking the cash, or they may run short in the general election.
Four top Republicans skipped a forum on minority issues at a historically black university in Baltimore, and now they're facing major criticism.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think this is a disgrace that they're not here.
BROWNBACK: I think it's a disgrace for our country. I think it's bad for our party.
FOREMAN: A side note: Barack Obama says he thinks Mike Huckabee is the most interesting of the Republicans. And, after that forum, Huckabee said he thinks Obama is pretty interesting, too.
Some quick hits: Hillary Clinton said she would like the government to give every baby born in America $5,000 for future education or housing costs. That's $20 billion a year -- no hint on how she would pay for it.
An effort by California Republicans to end the state's winner- take-all electoral voting system appears to be in flames over fund- raising issues.
And, in the park right across from the White House, five women marked this first full weekend of autumn by tearing off their shirts and singing peace songs. No kidding. The war protesters were part of a group called Breasts, Not Bombs.
(on camera): Looks chilly, but that's "Raw Politics" -- Anderson.
COOPER: Tom, thanks.
Get yourself another helping of "Raw Politics" and the day's headlines with the 360 daily podcast. Log on to CNN.com/AC360podcast, or head to the iTunes store. You don't even need an iPod to watch it.
As we mentioned, an incredible story about DNA evidence is coming up.
But, first, Erica Hill joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, fire in the sky -- an engine on an American Airlines jet started burning on its way to Chicago, forcing the plane to turn around and rescue in Saint Louis, where it landed safely. Emergency crews immediately put out the flames. None of the more than 140 passengers or crew was hurt. The cause of that fire is under investigation.
Near Seattle, Washington, a woman who spent eight days trapped in her wrecked SUV at the bottom of a ravine is doing better. Doctors say Tanya Rider has severe injuries, but her brain function is normal and she can move her arms and legs. She was very dehydrated when found at the bottom of that steep ravine yesterday, more than a week after she disappeared.
And check this out. It's surveillance video showing a rather unusual bank heist in Homestead, Florida. Oh, yes, that's right, those thieves using a stolen backhoe to haul away a bank's ATM. And police believe the machine contained about $100,000. They found the backhoe and the machine, but they have not found the crook.
And the government, you may have heard, Anderson Cooper, has revealed a new citizenship test for immigrants...
COOPER: I did hear that.
HILL: ... wanting to become Americans.
So, we thought maybe we would get you in on the mix. Some of the tougher questions, of course, getting mixed reviews. The full test, 100 questions on it, not going to be administered until next year.
We have a little preview, though. So, you ready?
HILL: OK. This is the easy one for you.
HILL: Name one branch or part of the government.
COOPER: The executive branch.
HILL: Excellent. Excellent work.
Of course, you could have...
COOPER: That's it?
HILL: ... also said the president, and that would have been OK. COOPER: Oh, really?
HILL: Well, yes. It's -- it's kind of strange.
HILL: You can give any of six answers for that one...
COOPER: All right.
HILL: ... the branches or what they do.
OK. So, I got a tougher one for you now.
COOPER: All right.
HILL: The Federalist Papers, which were written in support of the passage of the U.S. Constitution, name one of the writers.
(ERICA HILL SINGS "JEOPARDY" THEME)
COOPER: Thomas Paine?
HILL: You want to try again? It's a Friday. I will give you another shot.
HILL: No pressure.
COOPER: Thomas Jefferson?
No. I know it's wrong.
HILL: Third time's a charm?
COOPER: What is it? I don't know. I'm not...
HILL: Well, actually, they were all signed "Publius," which I'm sure you remember. It's all coming back to you.
But James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay are believed to be the authors.
COOPER: Hmm. I...
COOPER: I should know that.
HILL: Well, you do now.
COOPER: I'm embarrassed.
HILL: So, it counts.
COOPER: I should just point out, though, I am a "Jeopardy" champion. Just throwing there out there.
HILL: Indeed, you are. I had forgotten about that when I...
COOPER: ... just throwing there out there.
HILL: ... started singing your theme song.
HILL: But, in fact, you win.
COOPER: I -- yes, that's right.
HILL: Hey, wanted to get you this next one.
"What Were They Thinking?"
HILL: What were they thinking going up against you on "Jeopardy"?
HILL: This one out of Tucson, Arizona. This is so messed up, I just have to say. A cancer patient says she was left alone in a C.T. scanner for hours. Apparently, a technician forgot about her. The poor woman had to crawl out of the device. When she got out, she realizes she's locked inside the clinic, calls her son. He tells her to call 911.
With the help of the police, she gets out. The clinic, by the way, says, oh, yeah, now we're going to revise our closing procedures...
HILL: ... to make sure this doesn't happen again.
May not be the only procedure they want to review.
HILL: Just a thought.
COOPER: Just FYI, note to self.
HILL: Yes, check...
COOPER: Review more than just that.
HILL: Check the C.T. scanner before you leave for the night and make sure you didn't leave a patient in there.
All right, let's check in with John Roberts now with what's coming up Monday on "AMERICAN MORNING."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Thanks, Anderson.
Monday, we bring you the most news in the morning, including the freshest numbers in the race for the White House. There's a deadline coming up this weekend to report new fund-raising numbers, but how carefully do the campaigns monitor who is giving them the cash? One magazine decided to test the campaigns, making donations using infamous names, John Mark Karr, Osama bin Laden. Which ones made it through?
Find out Monday on "AMERICAN MORNING," beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern -- Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, again, we're waiting to hear from authorities in Nevada on the missing girl seen on a video by millions around the country. We now, tonight, she's safe, but a suspect in her alleged abuse now is at large.
Also ahead: a young woman -- we're going to have more details on this story.
But also ahead tonight: a young murdered, and the killer leaves behind crucial DNA evidence. It should have been a powerful crime- solving tool, but, in this case and possibly many others, the law actually helped the killer remain on the lam. We will explain ahead.
We will be right back.
COOPER: You're looking at an empty podium.
We're anticipating a news conference here really at any moment, sheriffs and detectives who had been working on the case of this little girl, whose name we now know is Madison. We're not showing you her face any longer, because of what she has been through. She has been found today. They say she is safe. She is with her family.
We're trying to find out more details, though, of what happened to her, how all of this transpired. And police are still looking tonight for a suspect in the case, this man. His name is Chester Stiles. We anticipate learning more about him. He -- he -- authorities do not know where he is, at last word. And they're eager to hear from anyone who might have seen him or know anything about his whereabouts.
Again, we are going to bring you that press conference as soon as it begins.
In every state, suspects are routinely fingerprinted when they're arrested. Now, we all know that. We have seen it on TV. It's part of the drill, along with the mug shot.
But now there's growing pressure to add another step to the drill, mandatory DNA swabs for violent felony arrests. Two of the biggest voices in the debate are a husband and wife who say their daughter's killer remained at large for years, all because the law kept his DNA under the radar.
Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie Sepich was full of life, an energetic 22-year-old graduate student at New Mexico State University.
JAYANN SEPICH, MOTHER OF KATIE SEPICH: She always said that she liked to wake up every day expecting that something wonderful would happen.
KAYE: In August 2003, something terrible happened; 3:30 a.m., while walking home alone from a party, a man attacked Katie. He raped and murdered her, then set her body on fire at this dump site.
(on camera): Were there signs that she put up a fight?
SEPICH: Oh, absolutely. She fought very hard. She had a lot of skin and blood under her fingernails where she fought for her life.
KAYE: That skin and blood, the killer's DNA, was like a pot of gold.
SEPICH: I said, well, this man is such a bad man, he will probably get arrested for something else, and then they will take his DNA, and we will have a match, and we will know who killed Katie.
And that's when Captain Jones said, oh, no, that's not how it works. We can only take DNA upon conviction of certain felonies.
KAYE: It was simply against the law to take DNA upon arrest. So even if the man who killed Katie was arrested for another crime, unless he was convicted for that crime, his DNA would not be taken, would not be entered into the database, would not be compared to the sample under Katie's fingernails.
MRS. SEPICH: That's when I thought, this is crazy. You know, this is -- we have this incredible scientific tool that it's the most powerful crime-solving tool that we have available, and we're not using it?
KAYE: Outraged, the Sepich's helped draft state legislation that would allow DNA samples to be taken upon arrest for a violent felony.
DAVE SEPICH, FATHER: It would be a tremendous tool to stop people who become serial killers. After their first or second crime, we would know who they are. And we could stop them before they kill multiple times.
KAYE: Like Chester Turner of California. He was arrested in January 1987 for felony assault. But his DNA wasn't taken until he was convicted of rape 15 years later. That DNA was matched to 11 other rape and murder victims. If Turner had been DNA tested all those years ago, those women may still be alive.
MRS. SEPICH: All that it took to save those 11 women's lives was one swab of a cheek and having that placed in a database.
KAYE: Katie's law, which allows for a DNA sample to be taken immediately upon felony arrest passed in New Mexico and went on the books this year. Ten other states have passed similar laws. DNA expert, Chris Asplen.
CHRIS ASPLEN, DNA EXPERT: Virginia is a good example. They have over 364 identifications made just through arresting testing and over 60 of those cases were hits to sexual offenders.
KAYE: Critics say it would violate constitutional rights of suspects, whether they're guilty or innocent.
MARK ROTHSTEIN, DIRECTOR, BIOETHICS INSTITUTE, UNIV. OF LOUISVILLE: If you start lowering the standard to arrestees or people under suspicion, or people just off the street, then these people haven't done anything to warrant the government putting them into this database.
SEPICH: Once you truly understand that science, it's no more alarming. I would literally stand on a street corner and hand out my DNA profile as it exists in the database to anyone, to anyone because all it is 13 markers, 13 sets of numbers.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: But would the 13 markers belonging to Katie's killer ever make their way into that database and would her parents get their match and justice for their daughter? Their story continues after this break. We should also point out we are anticipating this press conference. Looks like they're setting up the podium right now in Nevada where we anticipate hearing more information about the little girl whose identity we now know. Her name is Madison. We're not showing you her face because of what she's been through. But authorities are still looking for Chester Stiles, a man they now call a suspect in this case, as well as in another case. All those details, we expect to get in this press conference happening momentarily. We will bring it to you, we'll be right back.
COOPER: Again, we're anticipating a press conference out of Nye County, Nevada from the Nye County Sheriff about the little girl whose identity we now know, Madison, this little girl who, for weeks, police have been searching for. She is safe tonight, that is the good news. She is with her family. Police are looking for a man they call a suspect in the case, Chester Stiles. That is his photograph. We anticipate hearing more from this press conference in several minutes. We will bring that to you as soon as we can.
Before the break we introduced you to a couple whose daughter was the victim of another horrible crime. She was raped, murdered and set on fire. The DNA found under her fingernails held all the clues, but because state law only allowed DNA testing of convicted criminals and suspects arrested for violent felonies, those crucial clues were leading nowhere. Randi Kaye picks up the search for a young woman's killer.
KAYE: Nearly 3 1/2 years after their daughter's rape and murder, Jayann and Dave Sepich got the call they've been waiting for.
MRS. SEPICH: I said, as I guess any parent would, are you sure? And he said oh, it's an absolute match, yes, we're sure.
KAYE: Gabriel Avila had been arrested for aggravated burglary and convicted in November, 2005. Because he was found guilty, he was required required by law to give a DNA sample. At the time, only convicted felons had their DNA taken. When Avila's sample was entered into the state's database, investigators got a hit. Avila's DNA matched the DNA found on Katie Sepich's body.
MR. SEPICH: It was such a relief to know that they had the person that murdered Katie.
KAYE: The family's joy was tainted with frustration. Turns out, Avila had been arrested on an aggravated burglary charges in November, 2003. Just 3 months after Katie's murder. Had state law allowed for DNA testing upon felony arrest as Katie's Law mandates now, Avila's DNA would have been taken upon arrest and matched to the skin and blood found under her fingernails. Instead, Avila was released on bond for the burglary charges and fled to Mexico. He was on the run for a year and a half.
MRS. KAYE: What haunts me is what had he done during those months? He had the opportunity to do irreparable damage to other young women. And, had his DNA been taken on that first arrest, he wouldn't have had that opportunity.
KAYE: Had Katie's law already been in place, it would have cost just $80 or so to sample Avila's DNA; instead of the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Katie's parents say, it cost taxpayers to find her killer. DNA expert, Chris Asplen.
ASPLEN: It's rare in the criminal justice system that action or inaction can so tangibly be counted in individuals' lives. If we arrest someone, we take their DNA at arrest; we can link them to other crimes and, therefore, get them off the streets sooner and longer than they would be otherwise.
KAYE: on what would have been Katie Sepich's 26th birthday, her killer confessed to raping and murdering her. Gabriel Avila is serving 69 years without any chance of parole.
MR. SEPICH: Dear heavenly father, thank you for all the wonderful gifts you've given us and all the blessings we have.
KAYE: Katie's parents, meanwhile, are continuing to lobby lawmakers around the country. They won't quit, they say, until all 50 states have passed some version of Katie's law. Allowing DNA testing upon on violent felony arrest.
KAYE: You were especially close to your daughter and I just want to know what you think she would think of your fight to have this law passed nationwide.
MR. SEPICH: I could see Katie and what Katie is going was "yeah," because she always did that when she was happy about something. I can just see her doing it.
KAYE: Her parents say she was a leader who believed in justice. In the end, it was the DNA she provided in death that caught her killer.
COOPER: Unbelievable. Did Katie's parents ever get to speak to the man who killed her?
KAYE: They did. Gabriel Avila requested a meeting with them. They went to see him in jail, he apologized and asked for their forgiveness. The one thing they wanted to know from him was did he act alone because they only found DNA belonging to him at the scene. He promised them that he did act alone.
COOPER: I've got more questions for Randi. I just want to point out to our viewers, you're seeing on the screen breaking news awaiting a news conference on a girl assaulted on tape. We are monitoring this. The news conference has not begun. We will bring it to you as soon as it does begin. We're told it may be a few more minutes. Again, this is the little girl, Madison, whose identity we learned today, who is safe. That is the good news. There is a suspect out there and police want people's help trying to find him, a man by the name of Chester Stiles. We anticipate a lot more details on this case, which has been watched literally around the world now for several weeks. Randi, there's still a lot of controversy around this topic of DNA though. If a suspect is cleared and they've taken a DNA sample, what happens to that DNA sample?
KAYE: Right now the law specifically states, and this is a big concern for the critics of this Katie's Law or similar laws that the other states have passed, the law specifically states right now that the DNA can be purged from the system. If somebody is cleared, they have to petition but then that sample is actually purged. There's no way the government or law enforcement can legally keep that in the database.
COOPER: Randi, fascinating story. Appreciate it. Thank you very much. We'll keep following-up.
Kara Finnstrom is joining us now from Nevada where she has been following this story as well as we're watching and waiting for the beginning of this press conference. Kara, bring us up to date on what we know now about this little girl, Madison.
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the good news, the incredibly good news out here is that she was found today and not only was she found alive and safe, but she was found with her mother and not with this attacker. So, this is the type of scenario the detectives were hoping for. However, they are still looking for the man they believe was her attacker. They have identified him now as Chester Arthur Stiles. This is a man that's already been wanted by the FBI and Las Vegas authorities on other unrelated charges to this case of sexual assault involving a 14-year-old minor. So, this is a man they're already looking for. Tonight their effort is going to really shift to try to find him. They're hoping to get out his picture to really get out a lot of information. Within the next few minutes, they're going to be holding a press conference. We're hoping to learn more about any relationship that Madison may have had with this man. Because one of the most disturbing things that detectives have said so far is that they believe Madison was entrusted to the care of this man from some of the things they've seen in the background of this videotape and they also believe that she had been abused before. So, a lot of questions and now that they have found the mother and this girl, they're hoping to start putting all this together.
COOPER: There are certainly going to be a lot of questions, I guess, about this girl's family. I mean, how was it that she was able to be in the care of this person? Maybe we'll hear some of that tonight. But it was actually, is it correct that it was her mother who contacted authorities?
FINNSTROM: That's correct. Well, that's the word we have from the sheriff himself. He believes it was the mother, but there was such a rush of communication that he said, well, it was the mother, but let's wait until the sheriff's deputies get back here and clue us in on the details of the story. Initially they just released her picture, then they released her name and it was after they released her name they got a flurry of phone calls and one, supposedly from the mother where detectives went out to the house and were able to identify her as the girl in this videotape.
COOPER: We should point out we're blurring her face. Previously the news media was showing her face. And, I'm told this press conference, we have a one-minute warning that's going to begin in a minute so we'll just continue covering this until then. Previously the media was showing her face because authorities wanted to find out who she was; wanted to find out if she was in fact safe. Now that we know who she is, now that we know that she is safe, we have been requested, and we are following that request by authorities, to blur her face just simply for her own protection for what she has been through for her own future. Do we know how old she is?
FINNSTROM: We don't, although the sheriff did say she appears to be older. We don't know how long ago this video was taken. They did feel it had been some time since 2003. We know she was about four or five or that's what authorities thought at the time this videotape was made. The sheriff said his initial feel from the detectives who had gone out and talked with this little girl and her mother was that she was older. So, this abuse may have taken part some time ago.
COOPER: And the strange story of the man who turned this tape in, what was his story? He's now in custody.
FINNSTROM: His name is Darren Tuck. He's a local man. He says he found this tape in the desert. Now, authorities have said for awhile now that there are a number of inconsistencies in his story. Today he was given a lie detector test and we had gotten earlier reports that he failed that test. They were also going to try and elaborate on that in the press conference coming up. But, he said that he found this tape in the desert, he changed his story a number of times then he said he had it for about five months. At least one other person reported him showing this videotape to him. So, at this point, Darren Tuck is also facing charges.
COOPER: Alright, Kara, let's listen in.
SHERIFF TONY DEMEO, NYE COUNTY, NEVADA: Good evening, we appreciate everything that the press has done in cooperation with our investigation and involvement of this crime. I just want to take some time to thank those involved in the investigation, that being our detectives, the other agencies that have assisted us, also the Nye County D.A.'s office. I also want to thank the people behind the scenes, the volunteers from the Volunteer Homeland Reserve Unit from our Sheriff's Auxiliary Unit, our volunteer reserve deputies and also our dispatchers who took the numerous, thousands of tips, screened them and assisted us in giving the tips to the detectives for follow- up. We received probably 4,000 or 5,000 tips. Quite a few e-mails on top of that, over 500. In addition to that, the detectives were assigned about 400 follow-ups on. We have a successful resolution to the identification of the female. We're requesting at this time that her picture be taken off the news media. She is safe. She's okay. The mother has cooperated with us. I'll let Detective Boruchowitz, who talked with the mother and saw the young child to address that. Mr. Stiles is now elevated from a person of interest to a suspect in this crime. I'll let Detective Boruchowitz speak on that behalf of that part of the investigation. At this time, Mr. Darren Tuck, my -- we just found information that he's on probation. The probation department is now looking for him for his probation violation. And Mr. Tuck will also be incarcerated on his probation violation in relation to the case that we have filed -- sent to the D.A.'s office for them to review that case and to file charges on behalf of the victim and on behalf of the state of Nevada. This was an investigation that within six days of the media taking hold of it, brought us a successful resolution where the victim is safe, she's alive. The timelines that we had established, even though we're not sure about some of them, we can tell you that the assault, that this videotape was done around the same time frame, which we had identified in some of the physical background and the dress that the victim was wearing at the time. We're very tired and understand it's very late for the media as well. I know it's 10:30 on the East Coast. We just wanted to make sure that we did not leave you hanging. The Nation took interest in this case, internationally they took interest in this case, we received tips from all over the world, including the United States of America, and we're very appreciative of that. One thing we must remember is that while this girl is safe from harm, and now in capable hands, that there's hundreds of thousands of kids that are suffering the same fate as -- and worse, than this victim has. And there are people out there that are committing these atrocious crimes against these young, innocent kids that are still out there and doing the predatory crimes. And we must find a way of stopping that and speaking on behalf of someone that, you know, from the Nye County Sheriff's Office, but I know law enforcement agencies all over the world are appalled by what we find in these crimes, crimes such as this, regardless of the age of the victim. I will answer your question now briefly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What brought you to the little girl?
DEMEO: The tips, the media. Actually and what it is -- understand, this has been a difficult investigation. We released information that we normally would not release when people are subjected to these types of crimes. We had the videotape for a while. I'll let Detective Boruchowitz discuss the timeframe with that before we sat down and made a conscious decision to say you know what? This is what we're going to have to release because we have nothing else. And then, looking at additional information, getting finally the clarification of the suspect, utilizing forensics to enhance the tape to look at the TV sets in the background, to look at the clothing and look at other aspects of it, and the only way you can get that information out is through the media. The only clear picture we had was that of the victim. We decided last night; I talked it over with Captain Beck, who is the area commander here. He discussed this with Lieutenant Howard, who is in charge of the detective bureau, I can make the decision, but I wanted to make sure everybody was on board with the decisions I make. So last night I made a decision that we're going to release the name of the victim because of the -- because it's a rare name and we had believed that maybe some people didn't recognize the photo, maybe this child has changed and gotten older. Not everybody watches TV, but names seem to resonate with people. We had hoped that once the name was out there is that someone says, hey, did you hear about Madison and so on, so forth like that. And remember, names are important. Remember that names are important, remember J.R., years ago who shot J.R., and all of a sudden everybody was asking that question. We believed the name was going to be the linkage between finding this girl and finding out her condition.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know you're tired, but tell us about the thrilling moment when you found out where she was.
DEMEO: Well, it was a thrilling moment. It was thrilling, but it was fast paced. My detectives had notified me, I actually had the voice mail, and at the same time I was being queried by the press. I have to apologize to everybody involved. But I took those interviews that I was already programmed for and to answer these questions until I confirmed that with my detective that this was the person because we were going to go down there to follow-up on a lead. They were going to go down there and interview this girl who was possibly this girl. The name was the one that brought this to the attention of someone. I'll let Detective Boruchowitz discuss that, it's their investigation. And I was ecstatic. The first question I asked, is she okay, the second question is how the family because of the situation. And it turned out that everything is going to work out well. We believe that everything is going to work out well. And I had to go back and apologize because I wasn't really sure. I can't give any confirmation until I know for certain, I don't want to give any rumors. It's very tough for us to make sure everyone is notified at the same time. We respect the fact that the investment that the media had in this case, as much as us. Talking to the media, talking to the people involved in covering the story, it was heart wrenching for them as much as it was for us and for the Nation as well and for the tips we got outside of the United States of America as well. This brings to heart, you know, the fate and the plight of these young kids, but this girl, this girl is okay, you know, and we're going to work -- just so you know, let me qualify some information. The crime did not take place in Nye County. The crime took place in Las Vegas. We actually have a timeline, and I'll let Detective Boruchowitz explain that. Also I did notify the sheriff, Doug Gillespie, who's the sheriff of Clark County. We were working closely with his detective unit, very closely indeed. I just want to make sure that the Sheriff Doug Gillespie knew that the case would now be focusing within his jurisdiction. We are still looking at a case and we still have a case against Mr. Tuck. We're still going to continue exhausting every part of that investigation, see if there's any more culpability that Mr. Tuck has in relation to this video.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which state or city was she found in?
DEMEO: She was found in Las Vegas. And on behalf of the family -- if the family wants to make any type of a public disclosure, I would hope you would respect the family's wishes. At this time, the family wants to be left alone. Understandably so.
[ inaudible ].
DEMEO: No, the voyeur incident; part of that tape was made in Nye County because that incident took place in Nye County, the voyeur incident took place in Nye County. The other part of that video that we found horrendous, that occurred in Las Vegas. In fact, the mother actually recognized the furniture, recognized the TV, recognized certain parts of that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the family aware it was going on?
DEMEO: I'm going to let Detective Boruchowitz -- remember, I'm the sheriff. I was part of the investigation, but these people here were the foot soldiers that worked this investigation tirelessly with little to no sleep. Their families, very understanding about this because of that, but they should be the ones given the credit. The dispatchers did a fantastic job. My agency did a fantastic job. My detectives worked tirelessly on this. Every one of our law enforcement partners, every one of them, and they're so numerous to mention, even agencies outside of Nevada who followed up on leads for us, helped us tremendously. We could not have had a quick resolution to the disposition of this child and the rendering of making sure she's safe and now going after the person -- and I'm very -- restraining myself, going after this predator, this person that did this to this innocent girl and maybe done this to other people as well, for us to go out there now and apprehend him. In fact, we actually got tips from people within prison that gave us information where the possibility of this individual is. So let me say this to Mr. Stiles, Chester Arthur Stiles, turn yourself in to your local agency so that you can be arrested for the warrants that we have open for you so you can be further investigated for any culpability you have in this case. But understand this; the law enforcement not only has a long arm, but a long memory. He will not be forgotten by members of this agency or other law enforcement agencies until he is brought into custody and he can be properly served and be entered into the criminal justice system for prosecution. And if you have any other questions for me, I --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You looked literally all over the world for this little girl. Turns out she was practically right under your nose. Help us understand what it is that got out in the media that led you to her so close by.
DEMEO: The name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you explain how?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it wasn't a family member; a family member did not call in. Did the tip lead you to an address? Or the girl's family name?
DEMEO: Understand this. Let me let Detective Boruchowitz answer those questions because he lived this investigation, as well as other members of my detective bureau, my captain as well. He had the investment in this and I think that the credit of the conclusion of this investigation belongs to those people that were the foot soldiers that took the tips that went through these tips, the people in my agency that did the footwork. I support them, I make administrative decisions, I support them, what they did, and I was very confident, very confident that with your help, with the investment that we had for the Nye County Sheriff's Office and other agencies as well, along with the D.A.'s office, going to be charged with the pros prosecution in this case, we believed that once we released the name because of -- we tried to do other methods other than releasing the identity of this girl and the name. We tried to put the suspect out there. But, what it was was the name and the suspect's; it was the name of this young girl and the suspect's name that made the connection for us to be led to this address in Las Vegas, make contact with this family member and for us to talk to her. We believe, and I'll tell you this, that the mother was not aware of anything that went on with this young girl. It was very saddened for her to find this out. And my heart goes out to the family. My heart goes out to the mother. We will always keep this young girl in our mind, in our prayers for her to grow up with no scars whatsoever on this incident and for her to heal from the inside out. At this time, I'm going to give this to Detective Boruchowitz. Yes, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Darren Tuck been a resident of Pahrump or it's Darren Tuck's family [ inaudible ]. DEMEO: He's a resident of Pahrump, but like I said now, the probation department, who is also working with us closely because they have a case against Mr. Tuck, he actually violated probation with this. He was on probation for another crime.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Stiles ever been a resident Pahrump?
DEMEO: No, there is no connection. I'm sorry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stiles was a resident.
DEMEO: Yes, was a resident of Pahrump. Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you said was he arrested in Pahrump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any of the victims been a resident in Pahrump?
DEMEO: You know what, as far as when you look at the victims, we don't discuss victims. They're victims. Even if the victim was charged with serious crimes, they're victims. We try to keep these victims outside of any type identification as much as possible. Especially at this age.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that her real name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is Stiles connected to the family?
DEMEO: I will let Detective Boruchowitz answer that. Remember, this investigation was very fast paced, they lived this investigation, they can answer some of those questions with concrete; I do not want to give wrong information. I think that should come from the people directly involved with the investigation.
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