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Tornado Warnings, Watches across Southern Plains; Toxic Letters Target Obama, Bloomberg; Cold War Ricin Assassination; Mom Speaking Out from Mexican Jail; Deadly New Virus Spreads

Aired May 30, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, thanks very much.

Good evening, everyone. Tonight, another threatening letter, this one sent to President Obama, is being tested for ricin. Officials say it looks and sounds a lot like the ones mailed to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and is gun control group. The latest from the investigation.

Plus we've all seen the incredible picture, that newborn baby boy found alive inside a toilet pipe. His mother says it was all an accident. Chinese Police say they believe her. We have new details tonight on what she has told them and where the baby is now.

We begin, though, with breaking news. Tornado warnings and watches are in effect right now through much of the southern plains and mid-Mississippi River Valley. There are reports of tornadoes north of Oklahoma City, one touched down near the town of Cushing. There's also reports of tornadoes in Arkansas as well west of Little Rock.

Now earlier today, nine people were injured in Arkansas because of severe weather. Flooding was a big problem in southeastern Kansas.

CNN's Chad Myers and Tom Sater are tracking it all, they join me now.

So, Chad, you're storm chasing in Oklahoma. There has been a lot of extreme weather today. What's the latest there?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Actually, there are probably more chasers today than I have ever seen before because we knew that this was going to be a very big day, but over my shoulder, the rainbow appears as the storm moves away and the sun comes out, as we begin the sunset.

Let me take you over here, show you all these storm chasers. All these storm chasers. Some of them just want to see the tornadoes but others are here to help the National Weather Service put out the warnings in time, and there were plenty of warnings today. There was hail, there was wind damage. No real big tornadoes and we really got lucky, I believe, Anderson.

I can't really believe that the storm that we were on near Chickasha, Oklahoma, didn't put a tornado down very close to Moore and Norman. The storm did not develop, it kind of got in its own way, it turned to the right and into its own cold air.

Never want to do that. We want these things if you want them to, to die to get right down there, die in its own cold air and it killed itself. It was a beautiful thing because the people of Moore and Norman obviously don't need any more weather at all.

It will be another day, though, tomorrow where we will see more tornadoes, we believe, here in the plains. The setup hasn't changed from really from yesterday. There was tornadoes on Tuesday, tornadoes Wednesday, we'll have more today and then again tonight, and some of these storms tonight still, Anderson, could be after dark.

Those are the hard ones. You're probably asleep, not many chasers out at night because it's dangerous to chase at night and sometimes those warnings are a little bit slow. You may not hear the sirens. Make sure your NOAA weather radio is on tonight, for sure, in the plains.

COOPER: Yes, those pictures from Grady and Purcell are just incredibly ominous, the dark clouds over the sky.

Give us -- Tom, give us a bird's eye view of where Chad is and the other areas of concern right now.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, as Chad mentioned, Anderson, I mean, it's the same setup today and will be tomorrow, and he's in Oklahoma, he's in really the right spot, where in the last several hours most of the activity has been occurring.

Let me show you, though, from a wide view the tornado watches, where they had wind damage across Wisconsin last night all the way back now still west of Dallas and the Ft. Worth area, but the main concern really has seemed to be in Oklahoma into Arkansas, where we now have a confirmed tornado on the ground just northwest of Tulsa. It's in Cherokee County and Mays County.

But you could see where Chad is. He's just down to the south of us here, around the sulfur area, in this cell, but he's been floating in this general area where he -- as he mentioned there has been some several cells. This is the one of concern now as we watch the tornado warnings in effect. We've got a wall cloud developed with this. Again, it's Cherokee County, that's northwest of Tulsa.

We've had numerous tornadoes, preliminary recount, Anderson, is about 12. But if you go back to Monday, we've had 14 on Monday, we had 29 on Tuesday, 26 on Wednesday, and again tonight, and of course, the week hasn't even come to an end, as Chad mentioned.


COOPER: So, Chad, I mean --

SATER: So again we're going to be watching this. COOPER: Yes. Chad, has the number and strength of tornadoes we're seeing lately has been more intense than other years, other tornado seasons?

MYERS: We just got a very late start, Anderson, because up to about two weeks ago, we had 250 tornadoes on the ground. In a time period, our spring, that we should have had 500 tornadoes on the ground already. So that was the tornado drought that we call it because it was a very cool spring.

You remember what it was like three weeks ago in New York. It feel like -- felt like it was never going to warm up. Finally it did. When that warm-up occurred, the moisture came in from the Gulf of Mexico, the cold and the dry air comes in from the west, from the mountains and also from Canada. And all of a sudden you have tornado season and the past two weeks have made up for that tornado drought over the earlier part of the season.

COOPER: Yes. It certainly has. Chad, appreciate it. Tom, as well.

Now to new developments tonight on a story that we told you about last night, the ricin tainted letters that were sent to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his gun control group. In the last 24 hours, another suspicious later has been intercepted, this one addressed to President Obama. Officials say there are similarities between all three letters.

Our Deborah Feyerick joins me now with the latest.

So what do we know?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we're learning that sources are telling us that in fact the letters were postmarked from the same place, specifically Shreveport, Louisiana. And we know that at least two, the one that was sent to the mayor and his gun control group, both were written by the same person and contained the same threat.

The writer says, quote, "You will have to kill my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will be shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right and I will exercise that right until the day I die."

And then, Anderson, the person goes one step farther, referring to the ricin tainted envelopes and saying, "What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got planned for you." So clearly the Joint Terrorism Task Force is taking this extremely seriously -- Anderson.

COOPER: And obviously, ricin can be deadly if it's inhaled or ingested. Now one of the targets, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is Bloomberg's group, I understand he personally opened the letter. What do we -- how is he doing?

FEYERICK: Yes, that's exactly right. Well, Mark Glaze, he is good, he's not commenting on what happened because it's under investigation, but he went into work on Sunday, decided to take his mail outdoors, was opening his stack there, and when he opened this one between the warning and clearly the substance that he saw inside that envelope, he knew something was wrong so he walked away, filed a police report, but the -- he was -- he was at risk because he came into contact with it, though President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg never were because it was opened at a mail facility that's off-site -- Anderson.

COOPER: Right. An official keeps saying traces of ricin. What exactly does that mean?

FEYERICK: Well, you know, what it suggests is that this ricin, the tainted ricin, was not weaponized. That would be instantly lethal. But the substance in these -- in these envelopes was an orange-ish pink color and also oily. And the source tells us that, you know, for example, if you crush these castor beans which is where you get ricin, you're going to get a certain trace amounts.

And when they say trace amount, it is substantially different in terms of its toxicity and its danger than, for example, a weaponized ricin.

COOPER: All right. The investigation goes on. Deb Feyerick, thanks.

Ricin is obviously one of the deadliest toxins known to man. Less than a pinpoint can kill a person at 36 to 48 hours if it's ingested. Using it as a weapon, though, is not easy as it may sound. Now since the 9/11 attacks there have been six attempted ricin attacks in the U.S. No one was injured or killed. Most of the cases remain unsolved.

That said, it has been used successfully as a weapon. One of the most infamous examples dates back actually to the Cold War. Now the murder weapon wasn't a tainted letter, though. It was more along the lines of James Bond. It's a fascinating tale.

Gary Tuchman tells it.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Georgi Markov was a beloved influential novelist and playwright in his native country of Bulgaria but he defected to the United Kingdom in 1969 when communist authorities started to censor him and ban his plays.

In September 1978, Markov walked across the Waterloo Bridge over the River Thames. After he got to this bus stop he felt a sharp pain in his right thigh and later said he remembered seeing a man next to him fumbling with an umbrella. What Markov did not know is that he had just been victimized in a James Bond-like Cold War plot.

The umbrella was actually a poisonous gadget that shot out this tiny platinum ball, a ball containing the deadly poison ricin. In this documentary, "The Umbrella Assassin," which aired on PBS, the emergency room doctor who treated him tells what happened when Markov came in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I first saw him, he was fully conscious. He was feverish but he was also pointing to an area on his right thigh which he said was swollen and painful, and indicating that this was the area in which he'd been shot, stabbed or something had happened to him.

TUCHMAN: Four days later, Markov was dead. His widow Annabel also appeared in the documentary.

ANNABEL MARKOV, WIFE: He told me that he'd been jabbed with an umbrella tip. It was almost as if he didn't want to believe it himself, and I don't think he wanted to frighten me with it. But he showed me the mark that the umbrella had made.

TUCHMAN: This document allegedly shows the former Bulgarian leader paid $50,000 to have Markov killed. Other Bulgarian communist officials and Soviet KGB officials were implicated but no individual has ever been charged with the murder.

In the documentary, Markov talked about government plots against him and defecting from Bulgaria.

GEORGI MARKOV, WRITER: I don't want to say that I am, let's say, braver or more honest than other people. Perhaps if I were more honest, I should have been there, because if you're honest you should stay there and fight the battle there, not being here.

TUCHMAN: Markov was 49 when he died, a victim of ricin and the Cold War.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Such an incredible story. You can follow me on Twitter tonight @Andersoncooper. We'll try to tweet throughout this hour.

Up next, a key piece of evidence presented in court. A videotape that could prove the innocence of an Arizona mother who's been jailed in Mexico accused of smuggling drugs.

Rafael Romo was in court. He'll tell us what he saw on that video and why it may clear her. We'll also have more of his exclusive jailhouse interview with her.


YANIRA MALDONADO, ACCUSED OF DRUG SMUGGLING IN MEXICO: I'm not a criminal. I'm just here by mistake because people are not doing their work. This is not right. I need to be back with my family. I need to be out of here. I need help.



COOPER: Well, tonight, the clock is ticking for an Arizona mother locked in a Mexican jail. Accused of smuggling 12 pounds of marijuana on a bus. Under Mexican law, by tomorrow evening, the federal judge handling the case against Yanira Maldonado must formally charge her or let her go.

Maldonado and her husband Gary were returning home last week from a funeral in Mexico when she was arrested. Now in an exclusive interview with CNN from jail, she insists she is innocent.


MALDONADO: It's a lie, what they're saying. We came from Phoenix to Los Mochis. We got a phone call from my brother saying that my aunt passed away and we were on the way to a church activity when that happened. So when we come back, I told my husband I need to go. I grew up with my aunt and my grandma, so I felt that I needed to be there with them in this time of sorrow and I'm very honest person.

And I work hard and, you know, I never have like a lot of money but I'm a decent person and I always bring whatever, you know, I earn to the home. I never associate with people who does drugs or deals with that or any illicit.

I used to tell people come to Mexico, it's not true what they're saying. I go every year to visit my family to (INAUDIBLE). I come, I drive myself, nothing happens. It's good. I've been telling people, say, no, you're crazy, you're this, you're that, and look what's happening to me now. I cannot say that anymore.


COOPER: Key piece of evidence was presented today in court. A videotape which showed Maldonado and her husband actually boarding the bus.

Rafael Romo was in the courtroom, he saw the video. He joins us now tonight from Nogales, Arizona.

And so you were one of the few journalists who actually saw the security video from the checkpoint. What does it -- what does it show?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Anderson, this was probably the most important and dramatic day for the defense. The video shows the Maldonados, both Gary and Yanira, boarding a bus. They're only carrying two blankets, two bottles of water and a purse. And the defense is saying that it is impossible that they would have been able to hide more than 12 pounds of marijuana and go unnoticed.

So from the -- from the defense -- from the defense perspective, this is the nail in the coffin. They say, the defense attorney, I spoke with him today and he says the prosecution's case is crumbling and he says he's 100 percent sure that the judge is going to rule in their favor tomorrow.

COOPER: And you spoke to Gary, the husband, outside the courthouse, and you asked him, I know, if he regrets the last-minute trip the couple made. What did he tell you?

ROMO: Well, I spoke with Gary and I asked him a question based on the conversation, the interview that I had with Yanira a day -- the day before. She was telling me that as a couple, they made the decision to travel by bus into Mexico because they thought it would be safer to do so. But today, the husband, Gary, said that that was probably a mistake and that's something that he regrets.


GARY MALDONADO, HUSBAND: I just regret the decision coming here, looking back. It was to visit family and go to a funeral so I was going to go and support our family on this side. That's why I decided to go but I didn't want to take the vehicle because we found out about the funeral late at night. And I was like we're too tired to drive our own vehicle and I've already done the bus trip once, and I felt comfortable that the bus company would get us there safe and back.


COOPER: So she's going to learn her fate by tomorrow night, correct?

ROMO: That's correct. By law, the federal judge in charge of the case has until tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. to issue a ruling and she really only has two options. She either has to charge her with trafficking or she has to let her go. So a lot can happen in the next 24 hours and the family told me that they feel cautiously optimistic that freedom is near -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. You never know what's going to happen in a foreign court. We'll continue to follow it. Rafael Romo, appreciate it. For more on the story you can go to

Just ahead, what you need to know about a new virus that the World Health Organization is now calling its greatest concern.

Also ahead, a murder that's really unthinkable. Hard to wrap your head around. A 16-year-old girl whose closest friends are actually charged with killing her. Why they say they killed her is stunning. One has pleaded guilty. We'll talk about that ahead.


COOPER: Well, tonight, there's growing concern over a new virus that global health officials are scrambling to try to learn more about. It's a new type of Corona virus. And the first cases has started showing up last year in the Middle East. It is now spreading. Today, a spokesman at the World Health Organization told CNN the number of cases has risen to at least 50. That's of they know about. And of those 50, 30 have died. And on its face, it's a high mortality rate. This week the director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, used some pretty alarming language. She said, and I quote, "The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself. The novel coronavirus is a threat to the entire world."

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now.

Sanjay, I keep hearing this virus referred to as SARS-like which obviously is a scary thought. What exactly is it? I mean, do we know?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This type of virus called a coronavirus, there's all sorts of different viruses in the family. This is one is known as Middle Eastern respiratory virus. So it's got a -- it's got a specific name to it and it's in the same family as SARS but also in the same family as the common cold.

We know it's much more serious than the common cold, but it doesn't appear to be spreading the way that SARS did. If people can remember specifically what was happening. It also really does appear to be linked to the Middle East.

COOPER: But it can be transmitted person to person because that's worrying?

GUPTA: Yes. Right. And SARS was easily transmitted from person to person. The common cold can be easily transmitted. This can be transmitted, but not easily. And that's a very important point. I mean, it is that thing that doctors are going to be paying the closest attention to, does this become more easily transmissible.

COOPER: But is it spread through, you know, somebody coughing and somebody picking up a spore or something? I mean, how is it actually spread? Is it known?

GUPTA: Yes. So this is a particular virus and they don't know for sure. You know, when you talk about airborne transmission, for example, someone coughing and then someone else inhaling some of those viral particles, that's the most common way, but they're not 100 percent sure on this. And that's I think a little bit of what you're hearing from the WHO. They need to figure out more about this novel virus. They just simply don't know enough about it.

COOPER: Right. At least 30 people have died already so it's got a high fatality rate. Do they have any idea how to actually treat it?

GUPTA: There is no particular treatment because, you know, there's not an antiviral given how new this is and there's not a vaccine.

Now let me say something important about this number of 30 people who've died. What you really want to know in terms of figuring out the fatality rate is how many people are really infected. They know about 50 people showed up to the hospital, so does that mean 30 out of 50 people, or are there many, many more people out in the community who just had mild illness, they never really got sick, and as a result, they never went to the doctor, to the hospital, and it may be 30 out of a much larger number in terms of that fatality.

COOPER: I find these viruses just so fascinating, how they pop up in a certain geographic region for sometimes reasons that we can't figure out initially. I know the World Health Organization has alerted people to the threat of it. They haven't issued any travel advisories. Is there something travelers can do to protect themselves from it?

GUPTA: I think the basics do apply but let me just say, you know, you and I have traveled around the world looking specifically at the origin of some of these diseases with Nathan Wolf, who is a hunter of pathogens. But sometimes they can just suddenly make a jump from animals to humans. We're not entirely sure why.

And they think this may be coming from bats, for example. They haven't confirmed that but that's often what happens, and why those sudden jumps occur, you know, is a little bit of a mystery. But it's a very good point.

I think, you know, as far as protecting yourself, if you've traveled to the Middle East, you come back, you have a cold that's not getting better, getting worse, in fact, you probably need to get that checked out. If you come in contact with people who have that kind of illness. But then again, just, you know, the simple washing of the hands, being very conscious about not touching 100 times -- couple of hundred times a day your hands to your mouth and to your eyes, those things do make a difference here.

COOPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

All right. Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, one of the suspects in the hijacking death of a British soldier, hacking, that is, is charged with murder in a London court. The 22-year-old man is one of at least eight people accused in that case.

In a Brazilian courtroom, outrage from victim's families after a decision to grant bail to the four defendants facing trial for a deadly nightclub fire. 242 people were killed last January in a botched pyrotechnic show.

In California, a not guilty plea from a Disneyland employee accused in those dry ice bomb explosions at the park. Christian Barnes is facing felony possession of a destructive device. Mickey's Toontown was shut down for two hours Tuesday while authorities investigated that incident.

And a team searching for Amelia Earhart's plane believe they may be closer to solving the mystery of her disappearance nearly 40 years ago. The remains of the Electra may have been spotted off an island in the Southwest Pacific in a grainy sonar image. That's according to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery which is hoping to raise money to investigate -- Anderson. COOPER: We'll be close when they found it. Susan, thanks very much.

Up next, a heartbreaking story in West Virginia. A 16-year-old girl had dreams of becoming a lawyer was murdered. Now why she was killed and who was accused of doing it is shocking.

We're also in China for an update on the newborn boy rescued from the sewage pipe. He has no idea that he's captured the world's attention obviously.


COOPER: Welcome back. In crime and punishment tonight, a murder case in West Virginia that has stunned a community. The victim was a 16-year-old girl, full of dreams that any teenage girl has, but they were snuffed out in a crime depraved that defies logic. We will explore their actions in just a few moments with one of the top criminal profilers in the country. But first, Randi Kaye on the gruesome end to a beautiful young life.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Skylar Neese was a straight A student, a 10th grader at University High School in Star City, West Virginia. She loved spending time with her dog and played the flute in the band. Skylar's father says she had dreams of going to law school.

DAVE NEESE, SKYLAR NEESE'S FATHER: She wanted to be a lawyer and to hear her argue, she could have been a very good lawyer.

KAYE: But Skylar's story took a tragic turn July 6 last year when she disappeared.

NEESE: She got home at 10:00. She got home from work, came in and said I love you, mom, I love you, dad, and she went to her room and we never seen her again.

KAYE: Skylar's father realized the next day something was wrong when he found Skylar's bed empty.

(on camera): When she first disappeared, what did you think had happened?

NEESE: She had run away. If she had run away, she would have took her cell phone charger and hair curler and all the other stuff kids take. That's pure hell because you don't know where your baby is, you don't know what has happened.

KAYE (voice-over): An open window in Skylar's bedroom offered a clue.

NEESE: Here's the one she went out of that evening. She used that black stool over there and put it at the bottom of the window, left the window open about that much when she crawled out. KAYE (on camera): Investigators pulled the security camera video from Skylar's apartment building and saw her jumping into a car parked near her window. That seems to make sense, considering Skylar's best friend, a 16-year-old classmate, had told Skylar's father that she and another girl and Skylar had gone joyriding that night. Trouble is, that girl said they picked up Skylar around 11:00 p.m. the security camera video shows Skylar getting into the car much later than that, around 12:30 a.m.

(voice-over): That timeline only added to the intrigue. So for months, investigators tried to piece together clues, friends of Skylar's rallied together to comfort the family. They hung missing posters. There were hundreds of leads, but nothing panned out. Then in January, six months after Skylar disappeared, a stunning admission. The 16-year-old Rachel Shope, seen here in this picture from "The Examiner" smiling along with her friend, Skylar, admitted she killed her, but she said she did not do it alone.

(on camera): Rachel Shope told investigators she and another classmate who is 16 lured Skylar out of her bedroom that night and into their car. She said they then drove her here, to this spot in rural Pennsylvania, about 30 minutes away, and then just as they planned, the two girls attacked her, stabbing Skylar to death. Rachel Shope told investigators they were going to bury Skylar, but when they couldn't, they left her body here on the side of the road and covered it in branches.

(voice-over): The other girl's name hasn't been made public since she's charged as a juvenile, but Skylar's father says she is the same girl who told him she picked up his daughter for a joyride. Investigators searched that girl's car after Rachel Shope's confession and found Skylar's blood.

(on camera): What was your daughter's friendship like with these two girls? How close were they?

NEESE: Inseparable. They were together all the time especially the one that hasn't been named yet. She had just got back from vacation with her a week before this. She had been best friends with her since she was 8 years old. I mean, it's sick.

KAYE (voice-over): And remember those friends who helped and comforted the family? It's almost beyond comprehension, but Dave Neese says one of them was the unnamed alleged killer.

NEESE: She was finding out from us every week exactly what the cops knew because they were telling us what they knew, of course, we were telling her because we thought she was so upset and missed Skylar so much, and to find out she murdered her, it makes me sick.

KAYE: It's not just their behavior that's so troubling. Rachel Shope actually left for church camp the day after the murder. Her family issued a statement to Skylar's parents. It reads in part, "We are at a loss for words to comfort your pain. We were shocked to learn of our daughter's involvement in Skylar's death. We know her actions are unforgivable and inexcusable." So why did they do it? Why kill Skylar? The reason Rachel's given is simple and sickening.

NEESE: Because they didn't want to be friends with her anymore. Which is sick, you know, if you don't want to be friends with somebody, leave them alone, but don't murder them.

KAYE (on camera): What do you want to say to these two girls?

NEESE: Rot in hell. How's that. That's exactly what I want them to do. I want them to go through that pain and agony my daughter went through. I want them to have no life because Skylar doesn't have one.


COOPER: It's such a disturbing story. What is next for these two teenage suspects?

KAYE: Anderson, 16-year-old Rachel Shope had been charged with first degree murder, but after leading authorities to Skylar's body in the woods, she cut a plea deal. She pled guilty earlier this month to second degree murder, but she still could get 40 years in prison, Anderson.

Now, the other girl, the other suspect who hasn't been named, she is still charged as a juvenile with first degree murder although a judge could charge her as an adult. We're waiting on that decision. There is no word that a plea deal is in the works for her -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's so sickening. Randi, appreciate it. We're joined now by Mary Ellen O'Toole, a retired senior profiler for the FBI and author of "Dangerous Instincts." I mean, what do you make of this case? I mean, how unusual is it that the accused killers, one of whom has pled guilty are not just teenagers but teenage girls?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, it is unusual. It's unusual because of their age. Certainly when you see this kind of violence, it's most often perpetrated by males. But also, what's so stunning is that this homicide is so cold and calculated and then you have these girls that have inserted themselves into the investigation, presumably to monitor what's going on and maybe also for the thrill of it. So all of those three things combined is really pretty unusual.

COOPER: Inserting themselves in the investigation and into the search with the family, consoling the family and stuff.

O'TOOLE: That's very manipulative behavior. It's very callous behavior. From my perspective, with my experience, it's really strongly suggesting individuals who have a profound lack of empathy for the victim's family and the victim and a lack of guilt for what they've done.

COOPER: Also, the reason these girls allegedly killed Skylar makes no sense, that they didn't want to be friends to her anymore. Do you buy that? O'TOOLE: I don't buy that. I surely don't buy that. I think eventually as time goes on, we'll find out more exactly their reasons behind it. Not that we'll ever hear it and say finally, OK, sure, that makes sense. But I think the reason will have something more to do with one of the girls, there's probably a leader and a follower. There has been some kind of humiliation or perceived put-down but something more than we just didn't want to be friends. No, I don't buy that at all.

COOPER: Something more than what they say, but nevertheless, insignificant and ridiculous.

O'TOOLE: Insignificance, minimal, ridiculous. It will never, ever measure up to being any type of justification for this act, never.

COOPER: Are there -- I mean, people who commit crimes like this, are there warning signs? I mean, clearly, parents watching this kind of thing are going to freak out about this kind of crime, about kids being capable of this.

O'TOOLE: Sure. Let me just again hallmark what really leaps out to me and there's a stunning lack of empathy for what supposedly was a best friend. There's a callousness there. Despite the fact that this community is so upset about their missing Skylar, these two young women are able to maintain this secret for almost a half a year.

So those kinds of behaviors didn't just happen at the time of the homicide. They pre-existed this homicide and I think there's one more thing as well. To handle your issues with someone in this way, in other words, you're mad, you're jealous, you're upset, but then to overreact to the point where murder is the option, that ability to overreact I think pre-existed these crimes as well.

COOPER: Mary Ellen O'Toole, appreciate your expertise. Thanks.

Up next, breaking news, we have live pictures here, a wildfire burning dangerously close to transmission lines in Southern California. We'll take you there.

Also ahead, the father of a friend of one of the Boston bombers shot and killed by an FBI agent is speaking out about his son's death in an exclusive interview. Why he says what he's heard about his son's death from the FBI and officials makes no sense.

Plus new information about the mother of the so-called miracle baby rescued from a sewer pipe in China and where the baby is tonight.


COOPER: Welcome back. We have more breaking news tonight. A wildfire is burning north of Santa Clarita, California, northwest of Los Angeles. You see the images there from our affiliate KCAL of the fires burning dangerously close to transmission lines, 20 acres have so far gone up in flames. There are no evacuations or injuries reported, but you can see how close they are to those lines. Large numbers of firefighters have reported to the scene to try to get the situation under control. We will continue to monitor that, obviously, and see if the fire spreads beyond where it is currently.

Now back to our other breaking news, the weather news, tornadoes in Oklahoma and Arkansas, part of a powerful storm system across much of the southern plains and mid-Mississippi River Valley. Tom Sater joins us now. You have new information about the damage the storm is doing across the plains.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Mainly, Anderson, it's been Oklahoma and Arkansas where we have had many reports, our Chad Myers heading up I-35 to this one near Ardmore, south of Oklahoma City, but authorities, Emergency Management personnel in Arkansas reporting nine injuries, two victims actually struck by lightning. No report how they're doing there.

Montgomery County, a home destroyed. Thankfully no one was there. Numerous water rescues after six and a half inches of rain and now the heavy rain moving through Missouri, Iowa, where they do not need it, but a little concerned about wind damage that could be heading towards the Chicago metro area.

One interesting note, 15 days ago, Anderson, we only had a total count of three tornadoes for all of the U.S. and now we're up to 218 and counting just 15 days later.

COOPER: That's amazing. It's gone from three to more than 200. That's incredible, Tom. All right, we'll continue to follow it.

We have a "360" follow now on a story that's really riveted people all over the world, the newborn baby boy in China who was rescued from that toilet pipe. Now the baby has been released from the hospital and is now with his maternal grandparents, we're told. His mother has not been charged with any crime. Police are calling it an accident.

They say she's 22 and single and was embarrassed to be pregnant. The story as it stands now is that the baby just slid out when she was on the toilet and she tried to get the baby out with a stick, and then flushed the toilet to clear away the blood. That's the story she's apparently told authorities.

Obviously, there is still an awful lot of questions about that. They said the baby is out of the hospital now. The mother is said to be being treated. David McKenzie joins us from China, where this took place. He joins me now live. So explain this, what is the latest on why the mom has not been charged?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the police are saying that they believe the mother's story, Anderson, that this was really just an awful mistake, according to police, even according to neighbors we spoke to in this alleyway near this apartment building where this all unfolded. The neighbors saying this could have been a lot to do with the shame that this mother felt.

They say that she was pregnant out of wedlock, broke up with her boyfriend around six months ago. She was young, confused, she was hiding that pregnancy from her parents and then when it all unfolded, she didn't quite know what to do. According to police and neighbors, she went to the landlady, they called the police. Still unanswered questions, but it seems like this might be a case of a frightened young girl who felt ashamed -- Anderson.

COOPER: And you are actually at the place where they tried to cut the baby out of the pipe, correct?

MCKENZIE: Well, that's right. And it's pretty extraordinary. This building behind me is where it all happened. The police and the firefighters went in there. They grabbed the sewage pipe, hacked it away then brought it on to the street over here where I'm standing. Someone was reaching in, trying to get at that child, wedged tightly inside that PVC pipe.

They couldn't get it here. They took it to the hospital and managed to pry it open with pliers and take it out. Pretty remarkable that this child, this newborn, afterbirth still attached, being stuck there for two hours, has made this recovery. But hospital officials assuring us that he made a full recovery and in line with policy to release him to the mother's parents.

COOPER: Do we have any idea what happens now? What happens, what's going to happen? Are they going to be reunited? Will she be allowed to keep the baby?

MCKENZIE: The mother now is in hospital according to authorities. They say that she will be able to keep the baby and if she's able to. The grandparents of the child right now taking care of it. A lot of this is a lot about the privacy of the parents and the grandparents, as it would be anywhere in the world, really, with this kind of story.

They've asked for the police that they respect their privacy. Here in China, as it is in other places, the shame attached with a single parent in this kind of situation and with these kinds of dramatic pictures that went across the world and here in China.

I think a lot of it plays into that shame and the fact that they don't want to tell their story further, even though this is a remarkable story of recovery and survival. It's also a story potentially of this confused young woman who felt she had very few options.

COOPER: Has this been getting a lot of coverage in China? If so, what's been kind of the reaction there?

MCKENZIE: Well, initially it didn't get a lot of coverage. I think one thing to bear in mind is that abandoned children happen quite often tragically here in China, 100,000 children get abandoned every year here according to state media. So this does happen, but people are a little bit jaded about it. People were touched by this extraordinary footage of this child being taken out.

I think for the same reasons that we found the story fascinating and uplifting in many ways. The Chinese felt as well. It's been getting coverage in state media and local media as well. A little bit of soul-searching as well about the taboos in China and what pushed this woman to take these steps.

COOPER: Yes. Still seems like a lot we don't know. David McKenzie, thank you very much. We may never know frankly.

There's a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks is back with the "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the FBI has just announced it is searching for a fifth ricin tainted letter. It was addressed to the CIA to a location in Mclean, Virginia that doesn't receive mail. CIA headquarters is located there. It was most likely postmarked in Spokane, Washington and is not related on the letter received by Mayor Bloomberg.

A U.S. official insists that Ibragim Todashev was armed with a long object during the fatal confrontation with an FBI agent. Todashev was being questioned about a triple murder in Boston and also his relationship with Boston marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Phil Black, his father claims Todashev's killing makes no sense.


ABDULBAKI TODASHEV, IBRAGIM TODASHEV'S FATHER (through translator): I think if five men questioned my son and they were all armed trained police officers, my son was definitely unarmed because he never had a gun. He couldn't attack or fight them. He couldn't do anything because two men could easily handle him. There were four or five of them all armed. He didn't pose any threat to them. But even if he threatened them with his fists, couldn't they shoot his leg? My son couldn't attack them. He's not crazy. I don't know how they could shoot him like that.


HENDRICKS: Well, the prosecutor in the Jodi Arias murder case said today he is confident an impartial jury can be found to decide her punishment. The AP is reporting he also said he is open to dropping the penalty phase and agreeing to a life sentence for Jodi Arias.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford insisted today that he will not resign. He's accused of smoking crack. Some reporters claim they have seen cell phone video of Ford inhaling from a glass crack pipe.

How about this? Grumpy the cat may be coming to a theatre near you. This cat is famous for looking like she's unhappy about everything. "Entertainment Weekly" says her movie character would have the ability to speak kind of like Garfield. Anderson, you know a little about Grumpy, right? COOPER: I did. I actually met Grumpy the cat. That's my Instagram picture. She's a very sweet cat. I think she's happy. She just frowns all the time. Certainly her owners are happy with the movie deal. Susan, thanks very much.

Coming up, a very important update on the Darwin, the Ikea monkey, a story I must admit I'm obsessed with. The "Ridiculist" is next.


COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist." Tonight, I am so pleased to report that the Canadian justice system is finally taking on a very important case. As far as I'm concerned, it's really the trial of the century. Ladies and gentlemen, today the Ikea monkey trial began in Ontario. You must remember the Ikea monkey. I know I simply cannot forget him.

Darwin was wandering around an Ikea parking lot back in December, wearing a diaper and a little shearling coat. Darwin was confiscated by Toronto Animal Services. It's illegal to keep monkeys as pets in Toronto. Since then he's been at a primate sanctuary and Darwin's owner has been desperate to get him back.




COOPER: Remember this happened in the beginning of December. She missed Christmas with her monkey son. Also New Year's Eve which is right around the time I fell in love with the Ikea monkey and wanted to get him on our New Year's special with Kathy Griffin.


COOPER: We tried to get the monkey from Ikea because I'm obsessed with that monkey.

KATHY GRIFFIN: You're obsessed with a monkey from Ikea?

COOPER: You must have seen the monkey that got loose in Ikea in the shearling coat.

GRIFFIN: Yes. I'm sorry. Is that considered a big booking for this show?


COOPER: Some people just don't get it. But look, how can you not love this little guy? Look at him. They brush their teeth together. There's also a video of her changing his diaper. It's a bit graphic. You can look it up on YouTube. I don't really want to show it to you. If you want to learn everything you always wanted to know about monkey poop but were afraid to ask. In court today, the owner says she loves Darwin like a son and he often slept in her bed. At a protest several months ago, yes, they had a protest, she talked about what she hoped to get from the legal battle.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hoping the judge looks at it and says you know what, give her back her monkey, it isn't right for you to confiscate her little baby.


COOPER: Is this a bedazzled butterfly on her whatever it was she was wearing on her head? Anyway, the people at the primate sanctuary where Darwin is living say he's doing very well, doesn't miss his mom at all and is in fact bonding with a baboon named Sweet Pea.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Certainly, we don't see any signs of him missing anyone. He is having fun, he is playing around, he has new things to do and he's really taken a liking to Sweet Pea.


COOPER: Should a little monkey like that be hanging around with a big baboon named Sweet Pea? Sounds like a prison film. Anyway, the trial over whether the Ikea monkey will get to go home is expected to last about four days and I think HLN should do wall-to-wall coverage on this. Where is Nancy Grace on this? Nancy, get on the case. Although maybe we need to send CNN's Frederick Pleitgen.


FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's now quarantined at this animal shelter in Munich. He seemed a little shy when my giant fingers stroke his tiny head but those taking care of him say he's doing just fine.


COOPER: I don't really know how to say monkey in German. Anyway, I got to be honest. I don't hope that woman gets her monkey back. I really don't think people should have monkeys as pets. I don't think it's right even though I would like to have a monkey as a pet. It's just not appropriate. Anyway, we'll be watching for a verdict. Until then, we'll always have the memories of the cold day in the Ikea parking lot and one stylish little monkey, Little Darwin.

That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, another edition of 360. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.