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Bone Fragment Found Near Phillip Garrido's Home; Southern California Fire Still not Completely Contained; A Look at Bernie Madoff's Beach Pad; Highway Safety Group Endorses Texting Ban While Driving
Aired September 1, 2009 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING. It's Tuesday, September 1st. Glad you're with us this morning. I'm Kiran Chetry.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning to you. I'm John Roberts. We're following a lot of top stories this morning. We'll be breaking them down for you in the next 15 minutes, including an urgent search for clues today. Police now scouring the property of the man accused of holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years. They're looking for a link to several cold case crimes and they've just found something. It's raising some eyebrows. We're going to have a live report, straight ahead.
CHETRY: Also developing this morning, the unstoppable wildfire that is tearing through the mountains north of Los Angeles. New pictures in from overnight show that this fire is nowhere near under control right now. More homes are threatened and air quality approaching dangerous levels. We have our Rob Marciano live on the fire lines with the latest details.
ROBERTS: And it's the video that everyone is talking about this morning. Some says that it shows that Michael Jackson is alive, that he actually hopped out of the coroner's van. Conspiracy theorists are going wild. We'll show you the tape and tell you where it came from.
CHETRY: We begin, though, with new questions in the case of Jaycee Dugard, the California girl kidnapped and held captive in a backyard for 18 years. This morning, she remains in a secret location. She's with her mother as well as her children while police scour the property of her alleged abductor, Phillip Garrido.
They want to know, the police, if he's connected to a string of cold case kidnappings and murders. This morning, there's a new twist. A small bone fragment found on the property next door. Ed Lavandera is live in Antioch, California, this morning. And what are you hearing about this latest potential discovery?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's an eerie discovery. Late yesterday, authorities here announced that they had wrapped up their search, at least for the time being, of Phillip Garrido's property. They've put up a big chain link fence around it. They say the property had to be condemned, no longer a place where anyone could live.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The shadow of suspicion surrounding Phillip Garrido. Investigators are already looking into whether Garrido carried out a series of murders in the 1990s. The victims were found near his workplace.
Now, authorities are also asking if Garrido could be the culprit in the disappearance of two other young girls. One of the victims is 9-year-old Michaela Garecht, who disappeared in 1988. Her mother says investigators are comparing notes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been asked a few questions, but -- regarding evidence, along the lines of what kind of clothing Michaela was wearing.
LAVANDERA: Investigators say Garecht's disappearance is somewhat similar to Jaycee Dugard's capture. Both girls resembled each other, a similar car was used in the abduction, and the sketch of the suspect looks like Garrido. Garrett's mother says the news makes her hopeful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jaycee's mother just got up and went to work one morning like every other day and in the middle of the day, she received a phone call that changed everything. And I believe that that can happen for us also.
LAVANDERA: Investigators searching the crime scene around Garrido's home dug up a small bone fragment in the next door neighbor's backyard. It's significant because authorities say Garrido had access to the property.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're taking that bone back for further examination. We don't know if it's human or animal and we're going to take it back for further testing.
LAVANDERA: While the spotlight has focused on Phillip Garrido, much less is known about his wife. Nancy Garrido appeared to cry in court last Friday. She's been described as brainwashed. Sheyvonne (ph) Molino who knew the family simply describes her as strange.
SHEYVONNE (ph) MOLINO, KNOWS NANCY GARRIDO: My personal opinion, she's crazier than he is.
LAVANDERA: Phillip and Nancy married in 1981. He was an inmate in the 11th Ward federal prison. She was a visitor coming to a see a relative. They were married by the prison chaplain in the visitation room.
California health officials tell CNN Nancy Garrido was a certified nurse assistant from 1989 to 1995, but it's not clear where she worked. Neighbors say she often left the house wearing scrubs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was kind of quiet. She stayed to herself, but she would talk to me. She would come in, just, oh, how you doing, oh, OK. You know, she was just -- she was kind of quiet and stay in the background. Whatever he said, she said "yes." You know, we'll look at her and she would say, yes. You know, she'd frown but she was, you know, she seemed nice. She seemed like she was harmless too.
LAVANDERA: But, Kiran, you know, there remains some unanswered questions about Nancy Garrido's behavior during a four-month stretch back in 1993. It was two years after Jaycee Dugard had gone missing. Phillip Garrido had been sent back to prison on a parole violation. So the question is, how did Nancy Garrido control Jaycee Dugard during that time when, presumably, she was left alone with her.
CHETRY: Yes, right. There was a few months span in time where he was not around, because he was back, as you said, in prison.
All right. A lot of unanswered questions still this morning. Ed Lavandera following all the new developments for us, thank you.
Meantime, Phillip Garrido served time in federal prison, as we know, for kidnapping and raping a woman back in 1976. Well, now that victim, Katherine Callaway Hall is speaking out. She spoke to Larry King about her reaction when she first heard about the Jaycee Dugard case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": How did you find out that the man who went to prison for this kidnapping raped you -- how did you put the two together?
KATHERINE CALLAWAY HALL, VICTIM OF PHILLIP GARRIDO: I actually heard it on CNN. I was coming downstairs to feed my dog and it was on the television and I happened to walk in front of the television and heard the name.
KING: All you needed was a name?
HALL: All I needed was a name.
KING: What went through you?
HALL: I screamed. I started screaming, oh, my God, oh, my God, it's him. He's the one who kidnapped me.
KING: Did you live in fear of him all these years?
HALL: Oh, absolutely.
CHETRY: Well, Hall says she thought about Phillip Garrido every day since he attacked her.
ROBERTS: We're also following developing news outside Los Angeles. Massive wildfires on the move threatening new homes and new communities. Thousands of firefighters now on the job, but you can see from these new pictures overnight that the flames are still a serious match. Also a problem, the lack of wind. It's allowing thick smoke to pile up over Los Angeles making the air hazardous to breathe in some spots, even forcing several schools to close.
Our Rob Marciano is live in Tujunga, California. And, Rob, any relief in sight today? Any change in the weather in the forecast?
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The only thing -- the only kind of solace these residents and firefighters have today is that temperatures may be a few degrees cooler. But other than that, it's still going to be dry. It's still going to be hot (ph) by a few degrees. I mean, instead of being 105, it may be 97 or 98. So still extreme fire conditions here and firefighters are going to have their hands full.
And what they're trying to do, as you can imagine, is trying to prevent future scenes like this. Just up the big Tujunga Canyon, this stretch of homes completely burned out by this inferno that made its way up here. Up and down this canyon, homes just completely destroyed. There were a couple, though, that managed to be saved and we caught up with some residents that actually stayed behind to help fight back the flames.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So here we are in the Tujunga Canyon watching this fire go through, trying to protect the building. And here's a picture of it coming up probably through one of the closest spots of the property, that could catch a building. So I'm going to tape it just so you guys can see how fast this thing progresses.
MARCIANO (voice-over): In just minutes, Michael Sarkissian is surrounded by flames. The fire reaching for the sky with thick clouds of smoke and ash swirling around him.
MIKE SARKISSIAN, RESIDENT: This ridge was really bad. There were fire tornadoes going up into the sky.
MARCIANO: Fire crews planned to use this space as a safety zone, but had to beat back the encroaching inferno.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Provided a cool where Mike's trailer was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, geez. Can you believe it didn't go any further?
SARKISSIAN: That's unbelievable. That's unbelievable.
And as you can see, it didn't really get into the middle of the valley. It climbed the sides out.
MARCIANO: Michael rents a room from race car driver Bob Faieta, who was racing in Canada during the height of the fire.
BOB FAIETA, HOME OWNER: It got me up here when I came to the gate and saw the shop standing. The house is right here. The dogs were fine. It was just unbelievable. Unbelievable feeling. Better than winning any race, I'll tell you that. MARCIANO: His neighbors weren't so lucky. Nearly all the homes up canyon (INAUDIBLE) flats burned to the ground, smoldering rubble as all that is left a similar scene down canyon where the smoke lingers eerily in the air, while the fire continues its devastating path across the Angeles forest towards even more populated areas.
MARCIANO: One hundred five thousand acres burned. The only sort of good news that we're hearing from incident commanders is that while the rate at which this is expanding seems to have slowed just a little bit. But at the same token, what they saw in the last 36 hours has been unprecedented. Fifty-three structures confirmed destroyed. There's probably a lot more than that and there are a lot of scenes like this up the big Tujunga Canyon.
They have to cut 75 miles of fire line to surround this thing. Still, only five percent contained and they're saying it's going to probably take two weeks before they get this thing contained. And there are still communities down the south side, the northeast side, and the southwest side that are threatened by this fire, John. And it is still an uphill battle, as you can imagine, and eerily close to L.A.
Air quality is horrible, obviously here in the fire, but across the entire areas of Southern California, Los Angeles specifically. We need some wind to blow this out, but you don't want too much, because then it fans the flames. It's always a catch-22 in these situations. Back to you.
ROBERTS: Difficult to get just enough. Rob Marciano this morning at Tujunga. Rob, thanks so much for that.
CHETRY: It's eight minutes past the hour right now. Also new this morning, a top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is recommending a change in strategy and it could be paving the way for more American troops in that nation. In a report to the president, General Stanley McChrystal calls the situation in Afghanistan serious, but still says that success can be achieved.
The new plan focuses more on protecting Afghan civilians then engaging Taliban insurgents, according to parts of it that were released. General McChrystal's report follows a sharp rise in violence in Afghanistan. Forty-seven Americans killed in August makes it the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops in that country.
ROBERTS: Massachusetts lawmakers will hold a public hearing next week on September the 9th to debate a change in state law that would allow the governor to name an interim replacement for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. It's a wish that Kennedy himself and his family made known before he died. Governor Deval Patrick has scheduled a special election to fill Kennedy's seat. That will take place on January the 19th.
CHETRY: All right. Well, not sure if you've seen or not, but it's making its rounds on the Internet. The newest viral video that seems to show, at least some conspiracy theorists say, Michael Jackson getting out, alive from the coroner's van, then quickly ushered through a door, as you see there.
Well, they are convinced it's him. This morning, though, while we are learning it is just a hoax, apparently staged by a German television station to see just how quickly rumors can spread online. And in that case, of course, something involving Michael Jackson, probably took hold even faster and then if that was indeed Michael.
ROBERTS: They would seem to be proving their point there.
CHETRY: Yes, I guess so.
ROBERTS: Yes. So now that Phillip Garrido is behind bars linked with the abduction of Jaycee Dugard, other people are coming forward to say, hey, I know that man. I think that he might be involved with a case in which my child disappeared. We'll talk to a woman whose child was taken in November of 1988. Why she thinks Phillip Garrido may be involved. That coming right up.
It's 10 1/2 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. We are following new developments in the investigation of Phillip Garrido, the man accused of abducting and raping Jaycee Dugard over an 18-year period. Authorities are now looking into a possible connection between Garrido and at least two other kidnapping cases. One involves Michaela Garecht who disappeared back in 1988 when she was just 9 years old. Her mother Sharon Murch joins us now from Berkeley, California.
Sharon, thanks for being with us. I know it's awfully early there in California. If I could, let me ask, what was your reaction last week when you heard that Jaycee Dugard had been found alive?
SHARON MURCH, MOTHER OF MICHAELA GARECHT: It was absolutely elation. My husband told me at 5:00 in the morning, he woke me up and told me he heard it on the news. And I leaped up yelling, oh, my God. I was, of course, joyful for Jaycee herself, but my first thought was, please, God, let Michaela have been with her.
ROBERTS: So you thought that perhaps they might have been together? Why would you think that the two of them might have been together?
MURCH: Well, there have been a lot of similarities between the cases over the years. The method of kidnapping was the same. They were both dragged into cars. The description of the cars was very similar. The girls looked very much like each other.
There have been points in the past where the investigations have crossed with the same suspects. So -- and Jaycee was found very close to home here.
MURCH: So it was just my hope that Michaela would be there with her.
ROBERTS: Michaela was kidnapped in November of 1988. It wasn't long after Phillip Garrido was released from jail. What were the circumstances of her disappearance?
MURCH: She went with her friend to the neighborhood market on a Saturday morning. They rode scooters up there, and when they went inside, they left the scooters outside the door. When they came out, one of the scooters was not where they've left it, and Michaela spotted it in a parking lot next to a car and went to get it. And when she bent over to pick up the scooter, a man jumped out of the car, grabbed her from behind, threw her into the car and took off with her.
ROBERTS: Oh, my God, I could not imagine going through something like that. Now you say that the description of the cars were similar. They were similar I guess makes and models, similar shaped cars. Different colors, though?
MURCH: Yes. The car that Michaela was kidnapped in was described as tannish or possibly with primary on it. The one that was taken out of the yard was gray. But according to the eyewitness to Michaela's kidnapping, the one taken out of the yard looks like the one she remembers Michaela being kidnapped from.
ROBERTS: Now, Sharon, you say that there were similarities between the circumstances of the kidnapping, the timing, et cetera. But you had reason to believe that Michaela might have been held in Garrido's backyard. What led you to believe that?
MURCH: Oh, I understand that a few years ago, one of the neighbors called in and said that there were girls being kept in the backyard and she didn't -- she said that there were a number of girls that came and went, but that there was a core group of five. So Jaycee and her daughters make up three.
She described them as being two younger children, possibly 4, one possibly 11, one maybe 15, and one maybe 25. And I know that 11 and 15 are the age of Jaycee's daughters now, but they were younger at that time. And Jaycee herself, according to her mother, looks very young, doesn't look much older than she did when she was kidnapped at age 11. So my hope was that one of the younger girls was Jaycee's daughter. The 11-year-old was Jaycee's daughter, perhaps the 15-year- old was Jaycee, and maybe the 25-year-old could have been Michaela.
ROBERTS: Last week after Jaycee was found, we talked to Carl Probyn, her stepfather, who told me that, you know, a long time ago, they lost any hope that she would ever be found alive. How do you keep hope alive that one day Michaela might just come home?
MURCH: I haven't always been able to maintain hope. About a year after she was kidnapped, I lost hope and it was lost for a long time. Then just a few years ago, the hope was just resurrected. And even before this came up, I have been thinking that perhaps Michaela would be coming home alive.
MURCH: A week before Michaela was kidnapped, she woke up at 5:00 in the morning and sat down at the coffee table and wrote a poem about people behind the doors of steel, an amazing poem for a 9-year-old. And when I got up, she showed it to me and she told me that she had written it about people who had been kidnapped and were being held captive.
ROBERTS: Oh, my goodness.
MURCH: And a week later, she was kidnapped. And It seems to me, has always seemed to me like it must be some sort of a prophesy or premonition. And I keep hearing the words that she said. It's about people who were kidnapped and are being held captive, not people who were kidnapped and were killed.
ROBERTS: Right. Well, our prayers are with you that, in fact, it is the former and not the latter, that she was kidnapped and being held captive.
Sharon Murch, the mother of Michaela Garecht, thanks so much for being with us this morning and sharing our story. Our hearts are with you. No question about that. We certainly hope that there is a positive end to your case as well. Thank you.
MURCH: Thank you.
CHETRY: Eighteen and a half minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It's 21 minutes past the hour right now. Christine Romans is here "Minding Your Business" this morning.
You have an inside look at Bernie Madoff's beach house.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
CHETRY: It's going to be sold on the auction block hopefully to pay back some of his victims.
ROMANS: This is on Long Island, Montauk, way out on the end of Long Island. The government is seizing and cataloging and packing up and getting ready to auction off the properties and the goods of Bernie Madoff. And I want you to take a look at this house. This is his -- this is a look inside the beach house of Bernie Madoff in Montauk.
ROLAND UBALDO, SUPERVISORY DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: What we have here is a four-bedroom, three-bathhouse. The living room, the kitchen, and the master bedroom all own a view of the ocean. From the master bedroom, it leads out to a porch over here with an amazing view. Left to right, nothing but ocean shoreline.
The market value is $7 million, and that's what we're looking for. What we gain from the sale of this house is going directly to restitution for the victims. All the personal property will go to an auctioneer and be auctioned off. And I'm talking about from chinaware to silverware to the rocking chair that Ruth Madoff may have sat on while reading a book, watching the waves roll in to the desk that Bernard Madoff used here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Smallish bedrooms, Formica countertops, Formica. It is not lavish by any stretch of imagination. Very understated, four bedrooms that are pretty small. It's assessed I think at $3.3 million, but the government thinks they can get far more than that. Why? Well, it's built within 150 feet of the beach. You can't do that anymore. You can't build a new house that close to the beach. The views are pretty stunning.
CHETRY: This is funny to see a U.S. marshal walking through it like a real estate agent. Oh, from left to right, beautiful ocean view.
ROMANS: I know. It's true and they've got more property to do. They have the east side penthouse. They've got a lot of her, you know, furs and the like that they're going to be auctioning off.
All this, of course, will be divided up among 13,000 victims. So if they do get their $7 million, on average, that's about 500 bucks per victim, if they were to get what they wanted. But it is a look inside of this place. This place that the marshals said that his family went to frequently. It's the kind of place that one of my colleagues said it's the kind of place you can imagine walking in with sandy feet. You know, it's not like some big, lavish kind of thing.
So meantime, I wanted to also update you on the charities. Charities are a little nervous right now, because it looks as though the trustee may be asking some of them who took out more money than they put in to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. They may have to pay into the restitution fund to divide up all that money.
Some charities did take out more money than they ever, ever put in and there's a little bit of nervousness about in the bankruptcy process, what that means. If people will have to cough up a check to be divided among the other victims.
ROBERTS: That's an interesting twist.
ROMANS: It sure is, isn't it?
ROBERTS: It's always interesting when you talk about Bernie Madoff in the morning.
ROMANS: Oh, yes, and it keeps going. Oh, gosh, we'll be talking about this for another year, I'm sure.
ROBERTS: Christine Romans "Minding Your Business" this morning. Christine, thanks so much.
So we're just talking a moment ago with Sharon Murch, her terrible story about her daughter, Michaela, who was kidnapped. Brings us back around to Phillip Garrido.
He was a sex offender. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison, but released after 11. Why was he freed? That's a question we're asking this morning.
Twenty-four and a half minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: Twenty-seven minutes past the hour. Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.
Recent studies have shown that texting and driving can be a dangerous, even deadly, mix. Seems like common sense but there were many that were against doing anything about it.
ROBERTS: Yes, there were. Now a highway safety group has done a 180 and joined the growing chorus for a nationwide ban on texting while driving. Our Jason Carroll is following that story, and he's here with us this morning.
Good morning, Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. The group that did that 180 is the Governors Highway Safety Association. They initially said, this is not the kind of thing we want to see, but the group also saying that initially they thought that texting bans would be hard to enforce. They now say police would be able to enforce it the same way they do with seatbelt laws and drunk driving. The group also says it's necessary to keep the roads safe.
CARROLL (voice-over): Some drivers call it fallout from life on the road in the digital age -- texting while driving. A graphic public service announcement produced in the UK widely seen on the web in the United States illustrates a violent end. This spot is part of the reason a group once opposed to new laws banning texting while driving has reversed its position.
VERNON BETKEY JR., CHAIRMAN, GOVERNORS HIGHWAY SAFETY ASSOCIATION: Well, we're certainly in favor of the ban and we're willing to support a texting ban.
CARROLL: Vernon Betkey Jr. is chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association, a national group representing state highway safety officials. In July, the group came out against laws banning texting while driving. Betkey saying new laws would be impossible to enforce, but Betkey did an about-face following a meeting with the group's members who had seen that PSA and some alarming studies.
BETKEY: I think that as a result of those discussions, the decision was made to readjust our policy.
CARROLL: Senators, including Charles Schumer, who have proposed a federal law requiring states to ban texting while driving, say the highway association's new stance could go a long way.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: We saw that this was so important to do, because it's so dangerous, that they took the leap. And it's going to give our legislation a major boost.
CARROLL: Another boost, recent studies like the one from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which found a truck driver's risk of crashing 23 times higher while text messaging. Another study, done by Professor David Strayer at the University of Utah found another disturbing result.
DAVID STRAYER, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH: Text messaging is a level of impairment that exceeds what we see with someone who is driving while they're drunk.
CARROLL (on camera): Exceeds it?
CARROLL (voice-over): Strayer's researchers found a driver with an alcohol level of 0.08, legally drunk in most states, is four times more likely to crash. Texting, that driver is eight times more likely. Currently, just 18 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving.
(on camera): So what's your prediction from this point?
SCHUMER: I think we can get a bill done within the next several months.
CARROLL: Next several months, we'll see. The Obama administration is planning to hold a summit on the issue of texting while driving as well as cell phone use next month. Betkey says members of his group will be attending, so it seems as if this idea of a federal ban seems to be gaining momentum. We'll have to see how it develops over the next few months.
ROBERTS: All right. Definitely dangerous to text while driving.
ROBERTS: I'm guilty of doing it in the past.
CARROLL: And I'm guilty here as well.
ROBERTS: Yes. Then don't do it anymore. And you definitely can't keep your eye on both things. CHETRY: No. And some -- and local municipalities, I mean, in my town, they'll pull you over for that.
CARROLL: Oh, they will.
CHETRY: Yes. Some in the local places, they do it.
CARROLL: And that's Jersey?
CHETRY: No, it's in New York. In Westchester County, they'll pull you over for texting. So, it's not good.
ROBERTS: Jason, thanks so much for that.
CARROLL: All right.
ROBERTS: Just about half past the hour now and checking our top stories this Tuesday morning. A fierce firefight underway right now in Southern California. Crews are attacking the flames from the ground and the sky. More than 50 homes have been lost. Thousands more are in harms way.
The so-called station fire near Los Angeles has doubled in size since Sunday, burning through 100,000 acres. Officials say it could take weeks to control. It is the largest of fires that are burning in the state.
CHETRY: Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley says he's still hopeful that a health care deal can be worked out in Congress, but then he doesn't think a government-run public insurance option will be part of any reform package. The White House has been pushing for that, as we've talked about, but Grassley is one of six lawmakers now negotiating a bipartisan compromise on health care. He tells the Associated Press that a final plan will be, quote, "less sweeping than expected."
ROBERTS: And the mayor of Englewood, New Jersey getting his wish, or at least part of it. A judge has put a stop to construction on the pool and driveway outside the mansion where Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was hoping to pitch a tent when he visits the United Nations this month. The mayor had wanted to stop all renovation at the building, claiming that much of the work violates city ordinances. Libyan officials say Gaddafi will not be staying in New Jersey.
CHETRY: This morning, investigators in the Jaycee Dugard case are looking at a small bone fragment that they found next door to suspect Phillip Garrido's property. Garrido, as we've talked about, has been a registered sex offender. In the 1970s, spent 11 years of the 50-year federal sentence for kidnapping and rape, actually in prison, then was paroled. On Larry King's show last night, the victim in that case spoke about learning about Garrido's arrest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": What went through you? KATHERINE CALLAWAY HALL, GARRIDO RAPE VICTIM: I screamed. I started screaming, oh, my God, oh, my God. It's him. He's the one who kidnapped me.
KING: Did you live in fear of him all these years?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Joining me now is Andy Kahan, crime victims director for the city of Houston and also a former parole officer who supervised sex offenders, and Stephen Komie, a criminal defense attorney.
Thanks to both of you for being with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You bet.
CHETRY: Andy, I want to start with you regarding this situation where he was sentenced to -- Garrido, 50 years in a federal penitentiary because of that crime that we just heard from the victim about. And then paroled after just under 11.
You say that in this day and age, that wouldn't happen anymore?
ANDY KAHAN, CRIME VICTIMS DIRECTOR, CITY OF HOUSTON: No. In this day and age, in most states, you're going to have to do at least a minimum of half of your term without any good time credits before you can even see the light of day or saying hello to a parole board member.
But, Kiran, and what really gets me in this case is, obviously, he served about 20 percent of his sentence, and it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out if he served only one-third of his sentence, Jaycee Dugard doesn't end up in the predicament that she's in.
But in this particular case, his parole was violated. He was sent back to prison in 1993 and, apparently, Nevada officials, whom he was also on parole for, was absolutely clueless that he was behind bars. And if they had at least found out about this, his parole could have been revoked and none of this ever happens.
CHETRY: That is a confusion situation.
I mean, Steven, in that situation, shouldn't his full sentence have been kicked in?
STEPHEN KOMIE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you have to remember, we had a different scheme of sentencing in 1977. When he was sentenced in 1977, there was a parole board. Right now, a federal sentence doesn't have a parole board.
So people in the federal system, if he got 50 years, say he would have 600 months, he would only get 50 months off, he would do 550 months. So this would not be repeated in the federal system again. CHETRY: All right.
Andy, I want to ask you about this situation. A lot of people are asking when Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped, her parents or her stepfather at the time was able to give a very good description of both the car and apparently of one of the suspects, he claims it was the wife of Garrido -- Phillip Garrido.
But why wasn't he investigated, Phillip Garrido, as part of just a general sweep in the investigation of recently released paroled sex offenders in that area? It's the same car.
KAHAN: That's a redbox question I think every American is asking today. Obviously, Garrido shares implicitly in what he did in this particular case. But I think our criminal justice system also shares the responsibility of what happened with Jaycee.
And Garrido was a career, habitual, violent predator who kidnapped a woman, raped her repeatedly, and probably would have ended up dead if it wasn't for intervention by law enforcement. So he should have been on the radar scale, big time.
And another point that needs to be brought up is he was apparently on electronic monitoring.
Am I not correct?
CHETRY: Yes. He was on electronic monitoring, but if he's doing this all in the backyard, what does the electronic monitoring tell you? I mean, that's still his property, right?
KAHAN: Also, apparently he was allowed to come and go at will. I mean, he's on the campus of Berkeley. So what good is having a bracelet on him if it's not going to go off or you're basically allowed to travel from time and time and place?
CHETRY: Yes. Let me ask Stephen about that.
It seems that there were a lot of slippages here in that situation. You have the situation with deputies actually being called to his house, neighbors saying, I think he has kids in the backyard, I think he has tents back there, they never got past the front door.
Then you have the question about whether or not he's able to go anywhere on electronic surveillance, plus the fact that he's being visited by parole officers.
So what went wrong, Stephen?
KOMIE: Probably a failure of the economics of the criminal justice system. As he got repeatedly older in time, they stopped watching him as closely as they would have a younger man. And so his leash got longer and longer. And as the legislature cut back the funding from time to time, they had fewer probation or parole officers to watch him. We're seeing a countrywide problem right now with the funding for criminal justice out of the state legislature. So it's an economic issue as to what can legislature appropriate to do the function.
CHETRY: Right. And Andy...
KAHAN: This guy is a -- this guy is a high-risk offender. That should be priority number one.
CHETRY: That's what I want to ask you.
There's a study from the Justice Department itself saying that three in ten convicted sex offenders repeat their crimes upon release. They also say that number could be much higher because sex crimes go unreported.
So quickly to both of you, Andy first -- do you think that sex offenders can be rehabilitated and be sent back out into society?
KAHAN: Well, sexual offending is a behavioral disorder. There is no cure. And the reality is that we have a public safety health crisis in our country when one out of every three young girls and one out of every five young boys will be sexually abused in our lifetime. It's a national public safety health crisis.
CHETRY: Stephen, do you think they can be rehabilitated?
KOMIE: Yes, because sex offenders include everyone from the college kid who takes a leak against a fence after a football game and gets charged with indecent exposure. So there are people who learn their lesson by being arrested and brought into court.
The problem is, what happens when you have the repeat offender, who is taking on strangers and assaulting strangers. They're the big problem.
CHETRY: Absolutely. All right. Stephen Komie and Andy Kahan, thanks to both of you for your points of view this morning.
KAHAN: You bet.
KOMIE: Thank you for having us.
ROBERTS: Three Americans still being detained in Iran after they were arrested by Iranian authorities hiking in the area of Kurdistan near the Iranian border.
What's their status? Even their family doesn't really know.
We'll speak with two members of their families, coming up.
It's 38 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. It has been one month now since American Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer were arrested for crossing into Iran while hiking on the country's border. Their families are desperate to get them back. I spoke to the mother and brother of two of those hikers, and asked them if they have any idea how their loved ones are doing right now.
NORA SHOURD, MOTHER OF SARAH SHOURD: Actually, we have no information. We have -- we know that they are being detained in Iran, OK?
Beyond that, we haven't heard anything from them. We're asking for consular access, which will give the Swiss access to them to go in and see them, make sure they're OK, and hopefully, we'll get a phone call at that point.
ROBERTS: Right. And, Alex, we should point out that there is no direct communication between the United States government, the State Department, and authorities in Iran. It's all being done through the Swiss embassy, in the same way that communications for Euna Lee and Laura Ling were done through the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang in North Korea. But as Nora said have appealed for consular access, allowed someone from the Swiss embassy to go see them there. The Swedes were allowed to see the two women who were held in North Korea.
Have you heard anything about that? Has Iran in any way communicated that it would be favorably disposed to such a visit?
ALEX FATTAL, BROTHER OF JOSH FATTAL: Well, under the Vienna conventions, timely access is what's stipulated and we imagine that that's coming very soon. But as we wait, it's just very difficult. One month, you know, each day feels like a month. It's a long time. You know, each hour, each day, to not know under what conditions Josh, Shane, and Sarah are being held, if they're doing OK. So we're very hopeful that we will get consular access. We would just like it to be soon.
Nora, a question that many people have when they talk about this particular incident is what the three of them were doing hiking in that area. It's a region that has been beset with war since 2003. There were always, you know, tensions across that border between Iraq and Iran. It's not the sort of place that people would automatically think, if you wanted to go for a hike, if you wanted to go sightseeing, that that's where you would go to.
So what were they doing there?
SHOURD: Well, you know, Sarah and Shane live in Damascus. They've lived there for a year. And Sarah had a break from her teaching job in Damascus. And even though it may seem, here, like it's not the most normal place to go, in the Middle East, it is a very normal place to go. If you lived in Damascus, it would be a place you would want to go for a vacation. It's a beautiful place, and Damascus is really hot this time of year, so -- and they're all hikers, they all love being outdoors. So, you know, Sarah had a week off. It's kind of normal.
ROBERTS: Shane Bauer, one of the three who has been taken into detention by Iranian authorities had reported some stories for New America media.
Are you confident that this was just a sightseeing trip, and that he wasn't out there on some sort of reporting mission?
SHOURD: Oh, yes, absolutely. Shane was not on assignment. He had no intention of going to Iran. He would never go to Iran. You know, he's not interested in reporting on Iran.
You know, wherever he goes, he is -- since he is a journalist, he'll have a camera, and if there's a picture to take, he'll take it, you know. But that was not what the trip was about. The trip was strictly a vacation, some time off.
ROBERTS: We mentioned the case of Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea. Has the way that their case progressed given you any sort of indication or hope for how things might go here?
SHOURD: Well, it does make us hopeful, of course. And part of, you know, part of what they did we're using as guidelines. You know, like bringing it out to the media, of course, and, you know, garnering as much public support as we can to keep it in everyone's hearts. That's our purpose.
ROBERTS: All right. And, Alex, you know, Laura and Euna had a very powerful advocate in former Vice President Al Gore. They work for his current television network. The former vice president, of course, still very close with former President Clinton who went to North Korea and picked them up.
Do you have a similar figure fighting for the release of Sarah, Josh, and Shane?
FATTAL: There are a lot of people who are advocating for Sarah, Josh, and Shane, whether it's members of Congress or other individuals and most importantly, like in the case of Laura and Euna, there's the State Department, which is really doing everything it can and acting with great professionalism. So we're hopeful that the result will be the same, and hopefully, the time period will be much shorter.
CHETRY: And, again, we're going to have more on our blog, cnn.com/amfix, if you would like to see more of that interview.
Also, still ahead, we are following extreme weather. There is a huge hurricane approaching the Baja Peninsula. It's in the Pacific. There you see it. At times swelling up to potentially a category 5.
Our Rob Marciano is going to be telling us just how strong it's going to get and when it may hit land.
Forty-six minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: A pretty shot this morning of Atlanta, where it is 68 degrees, and it's going up to 77 for a high today. It's going to be partly cloudy in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, it's 49 minutes past the hour.
Jacqui Jeras is tracking something very big headed towards the Baja Peninsula. This is Hurricane Jimena, a category 4 to 5, right, as it stands now.
CHETRY: All right.
Thanks so much, Jacqui Jeras. We'll check in with you next hour as well to see how Jimena is coming along there.
Hey, General Stanley McChrystal who's in charge of all of the forces in Afghanistan is out with a new report about how the war in Afghanistan has to change if they want to win it.
Coming up in our next hour here on the Most News in the Morning, we're going to check in with the former general, a retired general at least who is very familiar with how to wage war. General Wesley Clark oversaw the war in Kosovo, and he will be joining us, coming up.
It's 51 1/2 minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: No one on the corner has got spider like us. No question.
Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning.
Whether it's a wedding party, partying down the aisle or a keyboard-playing cat, which by the way is a favorite among some people around here, viral videos certainly keep us entertained.
CHETRY: It's not really the cat playing the keyboard, by the way, we found that out.
Well, anyone with an Internet can cash in now on their 15 minutes of viral fame. Jeanne Moos shows us how YouTube could have you laughing all the way to the bank.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): If your kid is extra cute, telling mommy how he doesn't like you all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I love you, too, but I don't like you all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, thanks.
MOOS: Now, you can cash in on ad revenue. You could make a bundle if you shot, say, those otters holding hands. It used to be that YouTube only shared ad money with people like this.
MOOS: Fred constantly pumped out popular videos.
MOOS: He was sort of a semi-professional crazy content provider. Now, it's the turn of the one hit wonder -- those YouTube videos that come out of nowhere and become Internet sensations.
Remember David after the dentist, still loopy on anesthesia?
DAVID DEVORE, JR.: Is this real life?
DAVID DEVORE, SR. DAVID'S FATHER: Yes, this is real life.
MOOS: In the past, seven months, David's dad has made...
DEVORE, SR. (via telephone): A little over $25,000.
MOOS (on camera): Wow! Not bad, huh?
DEVORE, SR.: Not bad.
MOOS (voice-over): Money generated from ads for -- not surprisingly - dentists, though the ads for a dating service that signs senior men left us scratching our heads.
Several one hit wonders have been sharing ad revenue in the test phase, but now it's open to everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You caught him.
MOOS: Take this famous safari video. A baby buffalo gets caught by lions, chewed on by crocodiles...
MOOS: ...rescued when the buffalo heard returns and turns the table on the lions.
MOOS: The tourist who shot this, the one in the burgundy shirt, let a partner handle the video and didn't even know it was getting ad money until we told him David after the dentist.
(on camera): So his dad has made $25,000 off that video now.
DAVID BUDZINSKI, AMATEUR VIDEOGRAPHER (via telephone): You're kidding?
MOOS: I think you'd better talk to your partner.
BUDZINSKI: Yes. I think I should.
MOOS (voice-over): The folks at YouTube decide if your one hit wonder is doing wonderfully enough to merit ads, they send you this invite.
SHISHIR MEHROTRA, YOUTUBE ADVERTISING (via telephone): We're looking for overall viewership, so does -- does the video attracted a lot of viewers?
MOOS: Over 117 million views is definitely enough.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Oh, Johnny. Ouch. Johnny, that really hurts.
MOOS: Now, Lipitor is advertising alongside Charlie's finger bite.
DEVORE, SR. (via telephone): I -- I think it's great. I think it's really great.
MOOS (on camera): It sounds like your son.
MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHETRY: Poor little kid.
ROBERTS: Who knew there was money in that stuff?
CHETRY: I think we had a guest on one time, we talked about, you know, trying to figure the way how it happen, but as Jeanne said it was only open to a small group of people that were invited, but now it's open season.
ROBERTS: Something you didn't know about the Internet.
ROBERTS: My goodness.
Hey, Tom Ridge got a brand-new book out, it's called "The Test of Our Times." A little bit controversial because there's something he says in there about raising the terror alert level, or at least an attempt to raise the terror alert level back in 2004. We'll ask him about that coming up in our next hour here on the Most News in the Morning.
It's 57 1/2 minutes now after the hour.