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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Earthquake Strikes Southern California; Republican Senator Under Federal Indictment
Aired July 29, 2008 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, everybody, breaking news, an arrest in the murder of Fort Bragg soldier Megan Touma, in custody, another soldier, Edgar Patino, accused of murdering Special Touma, who was seven months pregnant, her body discovered in a motel room last month. We are working the story for you tonight. We're going to bring you more on how this all went down a little bit later in the program.
Also tonight, the Southern California quake, the largest to hit the area since 1994, not the big one, but big enough to do damage and shake people to the core. We are on the seen, with aftershocks still coming.
And then a powerful Republican U.S. senator under indictment, charged with taking high-dollar gifts from a high-powered tycoon and lying about it to the feds.
And, later, Anderson swimming with the sharks, working with researchers trying to unravel the many mysteries of one of nature's least understood animals and discover their true place on a "Planet in Peril."
We begin, though, with people and buildings in peril on a planet in motion. Californias -- Californians get hit with thousands of earthquakes a year. Most, they never feel, but not this one. It was the worst in nearly 15 years. It struck just before noon, centered about 29 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, a 5.4 quake, far weaker than the killer of 1994, but strong enough to be felt as far away as San Diego and Las Vegas, or on the soundstage where cameras were rolling as they taped one of those judge shows. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE JUDITH SHEINDLIN, "JUDGE JUDY": OK. Well, he got your credit card -- your bank card somehow and he got your pin number somehow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Good video, no fatalities, fortunately, there, or anywhere else to report to you tonight, but plenty shaken houses, buildings, pipes and people.
And, for the very latest, CNN's Ted Rowlands is in Pomona, California. Ted, obviously, there was some damage there.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a little bit, Campbell.
This is the back off this building here. You can see the brick facade just completely came down here from the very top area of this building. Obviously, there's not a lot of brick in California. And today proves the reason why there's not a lot of brick, because, of course, it does not hold up very well in an earthquake.
We talked to a gentleman who said he was talking through this alley at this time and felt the earthquake and got out of the way. There was no injures here and very few injuries to report across Southern California.
Some great video, though, to show you, from across Southern California. In stores across the region, things fell off of shelves. In homes, plates, glasses fell out of shelves, a lot of rattled nerves as well, as people rode this one out.
We had some I-Reporters, too, send in some fantastic material and a swimming pool in Laguna Niguel, which is Southern California as well, in the Orange County area. You see the pool swashing back and forth. Now, that was the situation for a lot of pool owners today. A lot of people felt this at work. They got out of their areas at work and checked on their homes.
At LAX, everything was fine, except for there was some damage in the actual terminal. A pipe burst. Water came out in the United area of the terminal. They lost their ground radar, too, at LAX, but they kept moving forward because the ground radar wasn't necessary to continue operations.
So, bottom line here, for a few hours, Campbell, people first reacted, then held their breath, and nothing really came up in terms of significant damage or any significant injuries. We had some minor ones. This was a warning shot, though. And a lot of Southern Californians tonight are reevaluating their earthquake plan, anticipating the big one -- Campbell.
BROWN: They should be. Well, Ted Rowlands -- appreciate it, Ted. Thanks.
People in California have been told for years that a catastrophic earthquake, the big one, they call it, could strike at any time. And that is the theory, at least.
But look at what scientists are saying in tonight's "Raw Data." According to a U.S. Geological Survey report issued in April, there is nearly a 50 percent chance a major earthquake measuring 7.5 or greater will hit the state within the next 30 years. And for a quake with just 6.7 magnitude or greater, according to the report, there's a 99 percent likelihood of that happening in the same time period.
We turn now to Washington and the kind of story that begs for a transition about seismic events. Look elsewhere, though. But safe to say Senator Ted Stevens is part of the beltway bedrock. The Alaska Republican has his office longer than any Republican in Senate history.
He may also be headed to prison. Today, the Justice Department issued seven indictments with his name on them. They allege he lied to the feds about a quarter of a million dollars in gifts and services from a fat cat contractor. You may already know the senator for his pride in pork, including that bridge to nowhere.
360's Joe Johns has been "Keeping Them Honest" for a long time. And he's joining us now with the details -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, this has been one of the most closely watched federal investigations in the country, and this indictment has been brewing for a long time. But, when it hit today, it was still a surprise.
JOHNS (voice-over): Brawling and combative, Ted Stevens is now the longest serving Republican in the U.S. Senate, once lionized as -- quote -- "the Alaskan of the century," an honor for all he's done to build up his home state.
But now, with his reelection on the line, the Justice Department and a federal grand jury have called him out for the fight of his life. The case of the United States of America against Theodore Stevens charges that the senator essentially lied for years and years about gifts and services he got from an Alaskan oil services company called VECO.
We're talking about tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff, especially labor costs when Stevens renovated his house near Anchorage eight years ago, but that's not all.
MATTHEW FRIEDRICH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: The indictment also alleges that Senator Stevens received other gifts from VECO and its CEO, including household goods, furniture, a new Viking gas range, a tool storage cabinet, and an automobile exchange in which Senator Stevens received a new vehicle worth far more than what he provided in exchange.
JOHNS: Prosecutors say Stevens was supposed to report any gifts valued at over $260 and generally reimburse the donor. Failure to do so is pretty much against the law. Prosecutors say Stevens didn't do it.
Interestingly, the indictment also claims VECO was getting assistance on its lucrative projects in Pakistan and Russia, for example, and yet the government does not claim that Stevens took a bribe.
FRIEDRICH: At the same time that Senator Stevens was receiving these things of value, over that same time period, he was also being solicited by VECO to do certain things which he or his staff on occasion did. JOHNS: Still, the charges stun the Senate.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: It's a sad day for him, us. But, you know, I believe in the American system of justice that he's presumed innocent.
JOHNS: Following Senate rules, Stevens said he was temporarily stepping aside from his powerful positions on Capitol Hill committees, and he said in a statement -- quote -- "The impact of these charges on my family disturbs me greatly. I am innocent of these charges, and I intend to prove that."
What's puzzling is that, after an investigation lasting months, if not years, this powerful man would wind up getting indicted for something like making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms. But congressional watchdogs say it looks like the prosecutors were trying to take the cleanest shot possible at a Capitol Hill icon.
STEVE ELLIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: They said that, all right, you're supposed to disclose everything that you received of value. And he didn't do it year after year after year.
JOHNS: There had been some speculation for months that Stevens assumed he was going to be indicted. But one of his closest friends on the Hill, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, told CNN today that said Stevens was surprised and had not anticipated this -- Campbell.
BROWN: Up next, Joe Johns will have more on this story. The feds say Ted Stevens is only the tip of the Alaska corruption iceberg. We are going to show you sleazy lawmakers caught on tape with their hands out and talk about the legal and political implications with Joe, Jeff Toobin, Roland Martin, and Ed Rollins.
And then later, we uncover a possible new plan of attack on Barack Obama, guilt by association with other Democrats.
And new details of how police identified and caught their suspect in the killing of Army Specialist Megan Touma, who was seven months pregnant -- all that and more when 360 continues.
BROWN: Senator Ted Stevens maintaining his innocence, but under indictment on charges of not disclosing hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and services from Alaska oil executive Bill Allen.
Last year, Allen pleaded guilty to making nearly $250,000 in illegal payments to an Alaska State lawmaker who later turned out to Ben Stevens, Ted Stevens' son. Allen is also linked to a number of other lawmakers. We're going to talk about this now.
Back with me, Joe Johns. And joining me here in New York, Jeffrey Toobin. In addition to being our senior legal analyst, he's also a former U.S. attorney.
And, Jeff, Stevens indicted for allegedly lying about accepting bribes, but not for actually taking bribes. So, how serious are those charges?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Just ask Martha Stewart. She went to jail for the same kind of thing.
BROWN: All right. Good point.
TOOBIN: You know, it's not the crime. It's the cover-up. It's a lot easier for prosecutors simply to prove that he took this money and didn't disclose it on his form, rather than he took the money in return for his senatorial actions. That would be bribery, harder to prove. It's a more serious crime, but so are making -- so is making false statements.
BROWN: Joe, you said a moment ago that one senator said that Stevens was surprised by the indictment, that the media knew before he did. You have been covering this story, I know, for years. Could he have really been surprised, shocked by this?
JOHNS: Well, it's certainly possible.
This thing has dragged on and on and on. And over the months, a lot of people were wondering what the feds really had and whether they were ever going to bring a case at all. And there's also the issue, of course, of this being an election year. Stevens is up for reelection.
So, some questions as to whether the prosecutors were actually going to bring a case in the middle of an election for Mr. Stevens. It creates a -- some questions that they have to answer. But what they say at the Justice Department is, look, we bring the case as soon as we have the evidence.
And that's what they say they did today, Campbell.
BROWN: So, Jeff, is he going to get jail time?
TOOBIN: If he's convicted on all these counts, I think there is some chance he will get a short jail sentence. He's 84 years old. Not a lot of 84-year-olds are sent to prison.
There's certainly a possibility there's some sort of plea bargain for no jail time. I think a substantial sentence is out of the question. And even a small jail sentence, I think the chances are pretty remote.
BROWN: Joe touched on the politics of this. But this is a crucial seat for Republicans. Could they talk him out of running for reelection to try to put somebody else in there?
TOOBIN: It's a very dicey situation, because he's already entered in the Republican primary, which he was the overwhelming favorite to win, which is next month, some question under Alaska law whether he even can withdraw at this point.
The Republicans are trying to stem losses this term.
TOOBIN: He was already behind in the polls to Mark Begich, the Democratic candidate. So, I think the Republicans are in big trouble here, if Stevens runs, or even if he doesn't.
BROWN: All right, Jeff Toobin.
And Joe has got more now for us on the scope of corruption alleged and admitted in Alaska. He went digging for sleaze. And you're about to now see the mother lode.
JOHNS (voice-over): Grainy videotape of a bribe going down in a hotel in remote Juneau, Alaska. You are watching undercover video of an FBI sting on some Alaska state legislators nicknamed the Corrupt Bastards Club.
Pulling the strings here is a powerful Alaska oil man, Bill Allen. At the time, he was CEO of VECO, an oil field services company. Allen was willing to pay to get some legislation that would favor his company. In his hotel suite, powerful Alaska politicians were taking their seats one by one, often sharing a drink and promising to do what it takes to make the oil man happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will get her done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you will do it. I'm serious about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care. I will get her done. I will get her done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will sell my soul to the devil.
JOHNS: Seven players in Alaska business and politics have been indicted so far in the federal corruption investigation, but the biggest fish of all in the VECO case, Senator Ted Stevens, got his indictment today.
Eight years ago, in 2000, Stevens did a big renovation on this place, his home near Anchorage. It's in disrepair now, but we're told, years ago, Stevens put in a new basement, lifted the whole structure up, and added a new first floor. By some estimates, it doubled the value of the house.
Remember this guy, Bill Allen? Well, prosecutors say he's cooperating with them now. And those prosecutors say Allen's company basically paid for the labor and some nice extras. Total value? More than a quarter million dollars.
MATTHEW FRIEDRICH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: VECO contractors and employees performed a significant potion of these renovations. For example, VECO and its employees and contractors are alleged to have provided architectural designs for the renovation, assisted in lifting up the residence and installing a new first floor, installed electrical, plumbing, framing, heating, and flooring materials.
JOHNS: You get the picture. Stevens has long argued he did nothing wrong.
SEN. TED STEVENS (R), ALASKA: I will tell you we paid every bill that was given to us. Every bill that was presented to us has been paid personally with our own money. And that's all there is to it.
JOHNS: This is arguably the lowest point in a monumental career. Stevens is one of a handful of politicians who built Alaska, thanks in large part to billions of dollars of federal earmarks, including money for those infamous wildly expensive bridges to nowhere that launched a nationwide debate over how Congress doles out millions in pet projects.
And many believe today's indictment, whatever the outcome, could signal the end of an era.
ELLIS: We're starting to see the end of this go-go era of earmarking and that every round of indictments and hopefully convictions in some cases really creates greater pressure. The public creates greater demand that there needs to be more accountability. And they're even sicker of the system.
JOHNS: In some ways, Alaska has become the poster child of public corruption, regardless of what happens to Senator Ted Stevens. But all of the indictments in this case have sent a message, that, no matter how far you are from Washington, or how powerful, the feds are always watching.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: So, corruption, alleged corruption, and Senator Stevens up for reelection with the Democrats trying to get a veto-proof majority in the Senate, high stakes and ample fodder for our "Strategy Session" tonight with Roland Martin and Ed Rollins. That is next.
And, later, more on our breaking story, an arrest in the murder of pregnant Fort Bragg soldier Megan Touma.
That's tonight on 360.
BROWN: We have been talking about Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history and the most powerful lawmaker indicted in recent memory. More now on the political dimensions and implications of all this.
Joining us now for a "Strategy Session," CNN political analyst, radio talk show host, columnist and oh, so much more, Roland Martin.
BROWN: Also, CNN senior political contributor and a Republican strategist Ed Rollins with me as well.
And, Ed, I know you -- you're friends with Stevens.
ED ROLLINS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I have known Ted for 35 years. I have always known him to be a man of integrity. And I'm very saddened by all this.
BROWN: I bet you are. The conservative "National Review Online" is calling for him to step down.
Let me just read you what the editors write, saying -- quote -- "Even if he committed no crime, the facts that have emerged over the course of the federal investigation into his personal finances are damning enough on their own."
Do you think he would step aside before the primary in Alaska?
ROLLINS: He's a very tough guy. And I think, to a certain extent, he's going to fight it out to the bitter end. Whether he steps down or not, it's going to be very hard for him to get reelected. Obviously, I think he wins the primary. And that may be the best thing for the Republican Party, because then he can step aside, where, today, he can't, and a relatively weak candidate would win the nomination if he wasn't there.
BROWN: Roland, a recent NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows 75 percent disapprove of the job that Congress is doing. Now, are people going to see this as just the latest scandal from an unpopular Congress, or are they going to hold Republicans in particular responsible for it?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, frankly, it all depends upon how Democrats use this indictment against the Republicans.
I mean, keep in mind, they also have Congressman William Jefferson, who has his own troubles out of New Orleans.
BROWN: Yes, good point.
MARTIN: So, all this does is overall just simply give another bad eye to all of Congress. And, certainly, for the Republicans, going into another election -- keep in mind, 2006, Congressman Mark Foley, now this -- the last thing the GOP wanted was to see another one of their own having to face the music when it comes to court.
BROWN: And, to Roland's point, "Wall Street Journal" reporting that Democrats are targeting as many as 11 of 23 Senate seats now held by Republicans. Are we going to see this reverberate throughout the 2008 election cycle?
ROLLINS: Oh, this -- I don't know whether this particular one is going to reverberate, other than in Alaska.
But, certainly, Republicans are -- have a real uphill battle. There's three or four that are leaving the seats that are going to be very hard to hold. And I would not be surprised if Democrats picked up five or six seats.
BROWN: You know, and, Roland, Democrats, they have actually -- you sort of referenced this -- been pretty quiet about this. We heard from a couple who spoke out even in support of Stevens. Does that surprise you, or does this get to the issue of they have got their own people that they don't want pushed to the forefront and made an issue of?
MARTIN: Well, look, a lot of people have to understand that members of Congress are very chummy with each other. And, so, you don't necessarily want to step on one of your own, because you might be the target next. So, it's not surprising.
And, also, as Ed said, I mean, he's known him for 35 years. People have known this guy for so many years. And, so, it's not surprising you would hear Democrats speak positively about him. Now, again, when it comes to campaign strategists, that will be a whole different story.
But those in Congress, they don't really want to talk about their own, because they might be next.
BROWN: I know. I was going to say, Ed, in a sense, because of the views, we talked about the poll numbers about how people feel about Congress generally. They don't make these distinctions, Republicans are more corrupt, Democrats are more corrupt.
BROWN: They look at it -- it's almost all a wash, isn't it?
ROLLINS: And the Senate is a club, more so than even the House. And Ted has been a very significant leader in that club.
So, I think you will find a lot of Democrats very saddened by this. I don't think they're going to attack him, per se. They're going to let it run its legal course and see what happens. And I think most of them are fairly saddened by it, too.
Unfortunately, sometimes, you stay too long at the game. And Ted Stevens, 10 years ago, talked about -- eight years ago -- talked about leaving the Senate. And it probably would have been better if he had. It would be a terrible, terrible tragedy if the man who was one of the architects of Alaska and done more for Alaska than anybody gets defeated in a race and gets indicted and convicted.
BROWN: Well, some -- a lot less tolerance for, you know, these types of behaviors as there were in the old days, fair to stay?
ROLLINS: It's also -- it's also stupidity. This is a man who is chairman of the Appropriations Committee. If he wanted to be a crook, there would have been bags of money outside his office. All he had to do was say to lobbyists, I need help.
It's always this insignificant stuff, where they violate rules that they shouldn't violate. And that's clearly a pattern that's not very helpful.
MARTIN: And, of course, Campbell, it boils down to they get you on those small technical issues, as opposed to the really big crime. And that's what happens. You're not revealing information on your documents.
And, so, it points back to, whenever anybody, the regular guy, if you're under a deposition, if you raise that hand, you know what? Tell the truth, get it over with, because that's what they can always get you on.
BROWN: Yes, people, I think, getting frustrated and not willing to tolerate the little stuff, if you can call it that. I guess it's not little stuff, insignificant to voters.
ROLLINS: It's not. The law is the law. And, obviously, if he violated the law, he will pay a price. But, unfortunately, he will pay a price no matter what.
BROWN: All right, Ed Rollins, Roland Martin for us tonight, thanks, guys.
ROLLINS: Thank you very much.
MARTIN: Thank you.
BROWN: We have been talking about a senator who has never shy about spending your money on bridges, airports, and other construction projects.
That and our other top story, the earthquake, got us thinking about infrastructure. So, we are putting together a special program on it. Join me Friday night -- this at 8:00 Eastern time -- for a no- bias, no-bull look at our country's aging roads, bridges, levees, and the power grid.
In that special, I'm going to be talking exclusively with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And get this. A new report says his state has nearly 7,000 bridges at risk. We will talk to him about that.
There is new information tonight about the spot of skin on John McCain's cheek that was biopsied yesterday. His doctors have released a statement. We are going to have the details on that just ahead.
Also, Barack Obama's meeting with House Democrats, to Republicans, it's ammunition for their new attack plan. We are going to look at the "Raw Politics" coming up.
BROWN: Twenty-four hours ago, Senator John McCain was facing a volley of questions about that bandage on his right cheek.
Tonight, he has the best possible answer. His doctors at the Mayo Clinic say the biopsy they ordered showed no signs of cancer, and no further treatment is necessary, very good news for Senator McCain.
While waiting for those biopsy results, McCain met with voters in Sparks, Nevada. His rival, Barack Obama, had meetings in Washington all day, including one with House Democrats late this afternoon.
For the McCain camp, that meeting was more ammunition for its latest attack plan.
And CNN's Dana Bash has the "Raw Politics."
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An optimistic show of Democratic unity...
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We had a wonderful discussion.
BASH: ... and an embrace that Republicans hope will breathe life into their new slogan.
REP. ADAM PUTNAM (R), FLORIDA: An Obama-Pelosi read trifecta that is the leader -- the leadership of the Democratic Party.
BASH: Republicans are now actively trying to drag Barack Obama down by linking him to less popular Democrats, leaders in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, issuing dire warnings.
PUTNAM: You will see a stifling new increase of taxes, both on families and on small businesses. And -- and there will be no one at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue with a veto stamp. That is Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, and all that that entails.
BASH: Tying a presidential candidate to an unpopular figure. Sound familiar? It should.
UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALES: Bush, McCain, more of the same.
BASH: Go to just about any John McCain campaign stop, and you hear this protest chant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALES: Bush, McCain, more of the same.
BASH: Linking McCain to President Bush is page one of the Democrats' campaign playbook. Obama recently warned 15 times in one speech that McCain equals Bush. SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can vote for John McCain, and see a continuation -- see a continuation of Bush economic policies.
BASH: That strategy is a no-brainer. A recent poll shows 69 percent of Americans disapprove of the job the president is doing. And Democrats who run Congress aren't doing much better. They have a 57 percent disapproval rating.
Ironically, in trying to link Obama to Reid and Pelosi, Republicans are following a model President Clinton used against their candidate, Bob Dole, in 1996.
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NARRATOR: But, if Dole wins and Gingrich runs Congress, there will be nobody there to stop them.
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BASH: But that worked, because Newt Gingrich was a well-known polarizing politician, just like President Bush is today. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, not so much.
AMY WALTER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": I don't think that attacking those figures is really going to help make the case for Republicans. President Bush is a huge weight on the shoulders of all Republican candidates up and down the ticket, in a way that a Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or Barack Obama just isn't.
BASH (on camera): But Republicans hope that, in a very tough year for them, it can only help to keep reminding voters that Democrats are holding up legislation they want and that, if Obama wins, Washington would almost surely be completely controlled by Democrats.
Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: Coming up next, breaking news: an arrest in the murder of a pregnant Ft. Bragg soldier.
Plus, an incredible story of survival. A baby pulled from the rubble of a tornado.
And swimming with Great White Sharks. Anderson up close with the ocean's deadliest predator. That's coming up.
BROWN: Army specialist Megan Touma, seven months pregnant when she was murdered, her decomposing body found in her motel room bathroom not far from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. That was June 21. Tonight, a break in the case.
360's Randi Kaye has been covering the story since the beginning. She's joining us now with the very latest -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, tonight I can tell you that police have arrested a suspect in this case in North Carolina at his home. He is 27-year-old Edgar Patino. We have a picture of him to show you. He apparently was Megan Touma's fiance.
The two had served together in Germany and then again were based together at Ft. Bragg just near Fayetteville, North Carolina.
What we've also confirmed is that Edgar Patino is married. Apparently, he and Megan Touma had been dating in Germany. That is where, according to friends, that he proposed to her and promised her that he would get a divorce. Friends also telling CNN tonight that, when she showed up at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, he was not happy and nor was he divorced.
Now Megan Touma, as you mentioned, was seven months pregnant. Her body was found June 21 in a Fayetteville hotel room. The "Do Not Disturb" sign had been on the door for several days of that room, but a maintenance man had gotten a report of a foul odor and found her badly decomposed body in the bathtub there.
There were signs of a possible struggle. The bed and the night stand and the lamp that was on it had been moved away from the wall.
We talked to the aunt at that time, and she told us that she was aware that Megan Touma had a boyfriend, though she wasn't sure if that boyfriend or fiance was the father of the child. And we have not been able to confirm that either tonight.
Friends told us that Megan Touma had a ring on her finger. She was excited about being pregnant, telling everyone that it was Edgar Patino's child, and looking forward to being married.
It's still not clear how she died. We do know from a search warrant that they did take a substance from the walls and some DNA samples. They believe they had found blood in the room. But those results aren't back yet.
Also at the time when her body was found, we spoke with her ex- husband, who was very angry about how the Army reacted and how the fact -- the fact that they never went looking for her, even though she was missing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED SAYED TOUMA, SPECIALIST TOUMA'S EX-HUSBAND: The Army knows that she stayed in that hotel, and then they didn't even bother to check on her to make sure that, you know, she was OK? Where is the cleaning people? I mean, where is maintenance? Where is the front desk? How come nobody checked on her?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Now, we've been able to confirm that Megan Touma may have been dead for more than a week before the Army ever reported her missing. She showed up on June 12 at Ft. Bragg, showed up for one roll call, and was never seen again.
Now, the rule is that if you are reported missing, you must be declared AWOL within 24 hours. Well, she was never declared AWOL because no one ever reported her missing -- Campbell.
BROWN: And Randi, I know you've covered a similar story to this, a story that had, you know, some similarity that involved a woman soldier also being killed.
KAYE: That's right. In fact, at Ft. Bragg, just earlier this month, another female soldier, Holley Wimunc, she was an Army second lieutenant. Her body was found burned inside her apartment, and her husband has been arrested and charged in this case.
And also, earlier this year, another case that got a lot of attention was the case of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach. She was based at Camp Lejeune. And her body, which was also badly burned, and the body of her unborn child, was found buried in the backyard of Cesar Laurean. He was a fellow Marine there at Camp Lejeune, and he was also charged in her murder -- Campbell.
BROWN: Randi Kaye for us tonight with all the details. Randi, appreciate it.
We are following several other stories tonight, and Gary Tuchman joining us now with a "360 Bulletin" -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, hello to you.
A wildfire near California's Yosemite National Park is causing heavy smoke and ash. At least 46 square miles have been destroyed, along with 25 homes. Up to 200 people living there have been forced out. The fire is only 15 percent contained.
The father of a 2-month-old boy who survived a tornado in New Hampshire says his stepmother gave her life to save his son. The woman shielded the infant when the house they were in collapsed Thursday. The father says the stepmother saved the most valuable possession he has left.
And L.A. police say "Indiana Jones" star Shia LaBeouf did not cause the accident that led to his DUI arrest Sunday. His truck flipped over, and he was hospitalized with minor injuries. Investigators now say the other driver ran a red light. So lots of bad stuff happening at that intersection.
BROWN: Yes. All right, Gary. You're with me tonight for the "Beat 360" photo.
Senator John McCain and the Dalai Lama at a news conference in Aspen, Colorado.
This is on Friday. Here's the caption from our staff winner, Kate: "The Dalai Lama really enjoyed his visit to Madame Tussaud's while in the U.S."
(SOUND EFFECT: groan)
BROWN: That was pretty good. All right. Think you can do better? Go to our new Web site. Our new Web site, AC360.com. Click on the "Beat 360" link. Send us your entry. We'll announce the winner at the end of the program. And the winner gets, as always, a "Beat 360" T-shirt.
Coming up next, deadly serious stuff. Some shockingly high figures about African-Americans with AIDS. We're going to look at some of the reasons why. 360's M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, we will look at those details with him.
Plus, Anderson's encounter with Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa. His "Planet in Peril" report is ahead.
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ANTHONY FAUCI, AIDS RESEARCHER: Washington, D.C., it is really the worst in the country. Five percent of the entire population is infected. That isn't even just the adult population. It's the entire population. That's entirely comparable to countries like Uganda and South Africa and places like that.
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BROWN: That was AIDS researcher Anthony Fauci, talking about the epidemic hiding in plain sight in the nation's capital, where more than 80 percent of HIV infections are among blacks. Eighty percent.
CNN's "Black in America" documentary reported on that story last week. And tonight, there is more: a new report by the Black AIDS Institute is filled with some equally alarming statistics.
Nationwide, nearly 600,000 black Americans are living with HIV. Thirty thousand become newly infected each year.
According to public opinion surveys, blacks regard AIDS as the country's most serious health threat. The numbers in the new report help explain why they also raised the question, is the U.S. doing enough to stop this epidemic waging here at home?
And 360 M.D., Dr. Sanjay Gupta joining me now.
And these are really staggering numbers, Sanjay. Break them down for us.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, some of them we've known before in terms of how many people are actually living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. About a million people.
But if you start to break that down, 19 percent Hispanic, 34 percent white, 47 percent black. That is a staggering number, considering that the African-American population in the United States is only around 13 percent. Now, you can also sort of break it down a little bit further. If you take that 47 percent number first of all and start to go into some various cities -- some of them Dr. Fauci already mentioned. You have 47 percent in the United States. If you look at HIV rates in Washington, D.C., all comers, 80 percent of them, are African- Americans.
If you go to Jackson, Mississippi, 84 percent. This is hugely disparate, as you might imagine. But also, if you take it even one step further than that, you're 2 1/2 times more likely to die if you're an African-American with HIV, as compared to white. The numbers are higher and the likelihood of death is higher, as well.
BROWN: Now, we focus so much on the international side of this. How do these numbers compare to African countries that are getting a lot of attention right now?
GUPTA: That's actually fairly easy to sort of figure out, which is interesting because there's this plan, called the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR.
And they categorize a lot of these different countries. And what they find is that, if you look at -- across the entire United States and look at the black population overall as its own country, its actually smack dab in the middle of those countries who need AIDS relief the most.
We have more Africans living -- African-Americans living with HIV in the United States than Rwanda, Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana and a few other countries. So it is -- it is a real problem here. Fifteen billion dollars was given over five years for AIDS relief across the globe. Everyone says that was a good idea. The problem is that there wasn't enough attention in the United States.
BROWN: Now President Bush tomorrow authorizing, I think, if I got the number here right, $48 billion to help many of these African countries, foreign countries, over a five-year period. How do you justify that, given the numbers that we're seeing here at home?
GUPTA: Well, you know, I think if you still look at sub-Saharan Africa overall, you are going to see the vast majority of cases. There's roughly 33 million cases of HIV/AIDS around the world. About 70 percent of them are what you're looking at right here. Subsequently in Africa.
And in death rates around 75 percent, so this is a real problem. Keep in mind, you know, it's not just the AIDS rates. It is also malnutrition. It is tuberculosis. It is malaria, and those are bigger problems over there.
I had a chance to visit some of these clinics that you're looking at there and saw firsthand how patients without the access to care that they had here in the United States are going to be much worse off. So you know, it's justifiable. But again, I think what this report highlights is where is the attention at home?
BROWN: Right. Not about spending less there, necessarily, but trying to find more dollars to spend here.
GUPTA: Thanks a lot.
BROWN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us tonight, thanks.
Next on 360, tracking a man named Rockefeller and his missing daughter. The question tonight, did he actually do the kidnapping? The FBI thinks so and is leading a land and sea search to find both of them. New details on this strange story ahead.
And later, Anderson gets more incredible shots of his encounters with Great White Sharks. Our "Planet in Peril" investigation coming up.
BROWN: A few inches of metal. That is all that separates Anderson from a Great White Shark.
As we told you yesterday, he is off the coast of South Africa, working on the next "Planet in Peril" special. And the latest investigation is about the most feared predator in the ocean.
But they are also endangered and dying off at an alarming rate. Each year an estimated 70 to 100 million sharks are killed for food. To protect them, scientists have to first understand them.
Here's some of Anderson's report.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Early each morning, Alison Koch (ph), a Marine biologist, heads to the seas around Cape Town, hoping to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding Great White Sharks, the most feared predators of the sea.
(on camera) There's still a lot about sharks that we just don't know.
ALISON KOCH, MARINE BIOLOGIST: There's so much we don't know. And every day I spend out here I learn something new. And that's what really keeps it interesting.
COOPER (voice-over): She heads to a small island, homes to thousands of seals. The sees attract Great White Sharks.
(on camera) Early in the morning, it's the riskiest time for the seals. It's light enough for the sharks to be able to see the shadow of the seals moving. But it's still dark, so the seals can't actually see the sharks.
(voice-over) Alison turns off the motor and within minutes, we witness a remarkable spectacle.
KOCH: They're still coming in over there. COOPER: Great Whites leaping from the sea to capture the panicked seals. The water turns red with blood. Alison records each kill, noting the time, the location and as much about the shark as she can observe. Birds quickly move in, eating what the sharks leave behind.
While a shark circles our boat, a seal approaches. The shark makes its move, but the seal escapes and uses the boat as protection, hiding in its shadow to confuse the shark.
(on camera) There's a nine-foot shark circling the boat, and for some reason I'm the only one who seems concerned.
(voice-over) This seal is lucky. The shark passes underneath the boat several times and then leaves.
Great Whites are rarely seen for very long. That's why so little is known about them and why they're so feared. Alison hopes to change people's understanding of sharks.
She's tagging Great Whites with darts attached to transmitters. They can then track the sharks' movements around these waters for months.
I just aim it at the base of the dorsal fin.
COOPER: She uses a tuna head as bait to get sharks close to the boat.
(on camera) Three sharks right now are competing for this bait. But before Alison and her team can tag the shark, they have to get a clear photograph of its dorsal fin. That way they can identify it in the future. But to get a picture of the dorsal fin, the shark has to actually come out of the water.
(voice-over) It's a stunning sight to see: these massive muscular Great Whites lunging out of the water for the bait. Finally, after nearly a dozen sharks, they get a clear photo.
Now they need to lure the shark into exactly the right position so the transmitter can be shot into the base of the dorsal fin, where it won't do any permanent damage. Luckily, the shark lines up perfectly.
KOCH: Here we go, here we go. Keep it there, keep it there. Tagged! There we go. Woo-hoo.
COOPER: Working for an organization called Save Our Seas, Alison has tagged more than 70 Great Whites in the last five years and identified more than 300 individuals.
(on camera) In terms of today, what you saw out there today, how was today?
KOCH: I think it was incredible. It was really incredible.
COOPER: So today was a good day?
KOCH: Yes. It's a brilliant day
COOPER (voice-over): She's still a long way uncovering much of the mystery surrounding Great Whites: how they mate, where they give birth. But she hopes to learn as much as she can, and show people that Great Whites are more than just killing machines. They're a unique species, vital to the ocean's ecosystem, in need of understanding and protection.
Anderson Cooper, CNN, Cape Town.
BROWN: A reminder, don't miss our second installment of "Planet in Peril: Battle Lines," airing in December.
Coming up next, another animal encounter. Kangaroo pouncing on its zoo handlers. Some pretty scary moments there. This iReport is our "Shot of the Day." But first Gary Tuchman joins us again with the "360 Bulletin."
TUCHMAN: Hi, Campbell.
There's a new crew in the search for a 7-year-old missing girl who police say was abducted by her own father from Boston. Investigators say Clark Rockefeller may have taken his daughter to a 72-foot luxury yacht in New York and is now possibly sailing to Bermuda.
On Wall Street tonight, finally some good news. The Dow gained 266 points, reversing its sharp decline from yesterday. The S&P and NASDAQ also closed in positive territory. But the economy is being blamed for this wild story caught on tape.
Police say a Miami man stole a 40-foot long street light to recycle. Somehow, he tied it to the top of his minivan after he said he found it lying on the ground. The man said times are tough for him, and he just needed some extra cash.
What recycling facility would accept that?
BROWN: That was bold. I mean, it is. You've got to give him credit for that, at least.
OK. Our "Beat 360" winners, Gary. It's our daily challenge to viewers, a chance to show us our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the picture we post on our blog every day.
Tonight's picture shows John McCain meeting with the Dalai Lama in Aspen, Colorado. This was on Friday. Our staff winner tonight is Kate, and her caption: "The Dalai Lama really enjoyed his visit to Madame Tussaud's while in the U.S."
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KING: Campbell, if John McCain becomes the 44th president, we can expect to see him at Madam Tussaud's.
BROWN: That -- fair point, fair point.
Well, Gary, our viewer winner is Mike from Scranton, Pennsylvania. His caption: "Sorry, John, I would love to be VP, but the ticket of Lama/Obama sounds much better."
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BROWN: Mike, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way. That was good.
TUCHMAN: Are those new laughs I'm hearing in the background? Those are pretty...
HILL: Yes, yes.
All right. Well, you can check out all the entries we've received on our blog and play along tomorrow by going to our new Web site, AC360.com.
"The Shot" is next. The zoo can actually be a dangerous place. Just ask the woman being kicked by a kangaroo.
At the top of the hour, the big jolt. More on today's powerful earthquake in southern California when 360 continues.
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BROWN: Gary back with me now. Gary, let's take a look at "The Shot" tonight. This is -- tonight's offering from a CNN iReporter. And apparently, the shot over the weekend at the Atlanta Zoo.
As you can see, not everything went as planned in the kangaroo habitat there. The home video shows the animal attacking a handler, using its hind legs, forelimbs, the kangaroo pounced on her before jumping away. Scary moment, certainly an unusual one. Fortunately, the woman did not appear to be injured there.
TUCHMAN: Believe it or not, Campbell, Atlanta is a hot bed for kangaroos. About an hour north of Atlanta, there's a kangaroo habitat with 300 kangaroos -- more than 300.
TUCHMAN: It's -- yes. It's the most kangaroos outside of Australia right here in Georgia.
BROWN: Who knew? Gary, you're full of fun facts. OK, Gary Tuchman tonight. You can see the most recent shots on our new Web site, AC360.com. There you can also see other segments from the program, read the blog, check out the "Beat 360" picture. The new address again, AC360.com.
Coming up next, aftershocks and aftermath from today's major earthquake that shook even the unshakeable Judge Judy. We'll survey the damage and check on the cleanup efforts as Southern California dodges a bullet here.
Also, one of the most powerful men in Washington indicted. Late details on the case against Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. That's ahead on 360.