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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Deadly Virus; Suspicious Letter Sent to White House; U.S. Mom Jailed in Mexico
Aired May 30, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Susan Hendricks. Anderson will be back in a moment.
But, first, we want to tell you about breaking news in Oklahoma. A tornado has touched down in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. Tornado warnings and watches have been in effect all evening through much of the Southern Plains and also Mid-Mississippi River Valley.
CNN's Chad Myers and Tom Sater are going to join me.
Chad is on the phone now.
You're storm chasing, Chad, in Oklahoma. You have been there for a day now. What have you seen and what are you seeing now?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, although usually storms do die off in the evening hours, the storms tonight seem to have still held a lot of punch.
We just rolled through Pauls Valley, moved straight through a hail core, with an awful lot of hail, at least marble-sized hail, probably up to nickel-sized. But up in Broken Arrow, a large and extremely dangerous tornado on the ground near Oneta moving toward the east, that's over the Muskogee Turnpike, over the Creek Turnpike and then to the east, so not toward the city of Tulsa, but to the east of Tulsa, through the eastern suburbs and then out toward the east of that area into a much less-populated area.
But this is a large and extremely dangerous tornado on the ground right now that has moved through Broken Arrow, at least parts of that suburb, and has now moved over the turnpike, Muskogee Turnpike, and point east.
HENDRICKS: And, Chad, I understand you used to work in that area. From your perspective, how bad is this and how close to you -- are you to that tornado?
MYERS: You know, we are still at least -- even if we started right now, we would be at least two hours away from this area, as we're still south of Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma is a very big state. It takes a long time. We almost even -- leave Oklahoma yesterday and traveled 480 miles chasing other tornadoes across the state. And so that area will eventually move into a much less populated area. This is a large tornado on the ground. Probably the storm chasers have a good look at it right now. The National Weather Service knows where it is.
If you are in this area, if you're east of Broken Arrow, you need to be taking cover right now. This is an extremely dangerous situation from you, inside your home., away from windows, in a closet, something small, a stateroom, if you have one, or certainly a basement, if you do.
Few people in Oklahoma do have basements, but there are a few up in the Tulsa area. So, certainly some of the older homes will have those basements. That's where you want to be right now. Tulsa, you're in the clear. The storm is east of you and moving away, but this is for Broken Arrow, Oneta, and points east.
HENDRICKS: All right, Chad, stand by here.
HENDRICKS: And, Chad, the last few weeks, as you know, they have seemed relentless with the number of strength of tornadoes. Has it been more intense when you look at Moore and you see what happened there and the two schools that were leveled? Has this been worse than you have seen in the past, Chad?
MYERS: Susan, typically, in a year, we get 1,000 tornadoes; 999 of them are not F-5s, EF-5s.
But one sometimes, would be. Most of the times, we get one or two per year of an EF-5. And they're out in farmland, rangeland. No one hears of them. We get pictures on TV and we show them. But what happened this time, with this EF-4 and eventually through the EF-5 damage in Moore, was that it moved through a populated area.
We always know that populated areas are just as likely to pick up tornado damage as the isolated areas away from the city. But if you look at a Google map, there are just more isolated, farmland, rangeland areas, not as big of cities. If you look at Google Earth, I would say 99 percent of Oklahoma is not a city.
But when you move a very large tornado into a populated area, you are going to get damaged. And, yes, this was an unusual season for stuff like this to happen in the city. Now, Moore was hit three times by F-4s or greater. We had a '99 storm, a 2003 storm, and now the 2013 storm. All of those produced F-4 damage or as this one the case F-5 damage, about 200 miles per hour.
If it's F-the 5 number, that means the entire house is gone. All that's left is foundation or the slab that's on the ground. All the wood, all the insides, refrigerator moved away from the house. It's completely gone. They happened moved through a city yet. That doesn't happen often, but it happens once in a while. Towns do get in the way.
HENDRICKS: Yes, we saw the aftermath of that. We're looking at live tower cam pictures from KJRH.
Chad Myers, I know you're storm chasing. Please stay safe down there. Thanks so much, Tom Sater as well. Appreciate that.
Now to a late new development in the investigation of the those threatening letter sent to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. According to a source familiar with the investigation, law enforcement is questioning a person in Texas about those letters.
Two that were sent to Mayor Bloomberg and his gun control group tested positive for risen. Then, in the last 24 hours, another suspicious letter was intercepted. That one was addressed to President Obama.
Deborah Feyerick joins me now with the latest.
Deb, authorities are questioning a man in relation to those letters. What can you tell us?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what we're learning right now, and that is they are interviewing a man who lives about 100 miles from Shreveport, Louisiana, which is where all three letters were postmarked from. We're not naming the town, but we know it was about a hundred miles from the border. So, it would have been easy for a person to simply make the drive and postmark those letters.
We are told that he is being interviewed right now, Susan.
HENDRICKS: And so, Deb, this later letter to President Obama, there is a link, is that true, between that and the two others delivered to Mayor Bloomberg and his gun control group? What more can you tell us in terms of if they're related or not?
FEYERICK: Well, Susan, sources are telling us that all three letters were postmarked from the same place, Shreveport, Louisiana.
We know that at least two of them, the one sent to the mayor, but also his gun control group, were written by the same person because they contained the same language, the same threat. The writer says -- quote -- "You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get 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."
Well, then the person actually goes one step farther, and referring to the ricin-tainted envelopes, he says: "What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I have got planned for you."
So, clearly, the joint terrorism task force is taking this extremely seriously, not only because there was the presence, traces of ricin, but also because now there's an additional threat on top of that.
HENDRICKS: And, Deb, Ricin of course can be deadly if it's inhaled or ingested. They are taking this seriously.
One of the targets, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, personally opened a letter. What do we know about his condition now? FEYERICK: Well, what we're being told is Mark Glaze, he is OK. He came into work on Sunday and he was outdoors, fortunately, opening a stack of mail.
And between the warning and the substance, he knew that something was wrong and so he walked away. The fact that this was not a sort of small space and that it was not enclosed, that may have helped in terms of any dissemination. He's not commenting, clearly, because this is an ongoing investigation.
But as for President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg, they were never in any danger because their mail is opened away at an off-site facility.
HENDRICKS: And also officials keep saying traces of ricin. We hear that. What does that exactly mean in terms of how much they're actually finding?
FEYERICK: Well, what it really means is that it does not appear that this ricin was weaponized, which is when it becomes completely lethal. It would instantly lethal.
The substance in the envelop was described as sort of an orangish-pink color and oily. And a source says that, for example, if you crush the castor beans, the things that you -- that ricin comes from, what you would get is you would get traces of ricin along with the beans, the material from the beans.
So, therefore, it just looks like it wasn't as lethal simply because it wasn't actually weaponized. It was just contained in the plant from which it comes.
HENDRICKS: Deb, thanks so much for the latest on that breaking news.
Stay with us. We will be right back.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: 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.
Now, 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YANIRA MALDONADO, JAILED IN MEXICO: 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 a 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 have 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A 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.
So you were one of the few journalists who actually saw the security video from the checkpoint. What does it show?
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR 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 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 I had with Yanira 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARY MALDONADO, HUSBAND OF YANIRA MALDONADO: I just regret the decision coming here and going back. But 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 had already done a bus trip once. And I felt comfortable that the bus company would get us there safe and back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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 her 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: You never know what's going to happen in a foreign court. We will continue to follow it. Rafael Romo, appreciate it.
For more on the story, go to CNN.com.
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 will 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 coronavirus.
And the first cases 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 ricin to at least 50. That's of they know about. And of those 50, 30 have died.
Now, 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 is obviously a scary thought. What exactly is it? I mean, do we know?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This type of virus called a coronavirus, there's all sorts of different viruses in the family.
This one is known as Middle Eastern Respiratory virus. So, it's got a specific name to it and it's in the same family as SARS, but also 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 again 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. And 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 somebody coughing and somebody picking up a spore or something? 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: 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 -- this number of 30 people who have 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 or 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 and I have traveled around the world looking specifically at the origin of some of these diseases with Nathan Wolfe, 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, as far as protecting yourself, if you have 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 have come in contact with people who have that kind of illness.
But then again, just the simple washing of the hands, being very conscious about not touching 100 times or a couple 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.
COOPER: Up next: a heartbreaking story in West Virginia. A 16- year-old girl who had dreams of becoming a lawyer was murdered. Why she was killed and who is accused of doing it is chilling. We will tell you the details ahead.
We're also in China for an update on the newborn boy rescued from that sewage pipe. He's captured the world's attention. And we will tell you where he is now and whether his mother's story holds up.
COOPER: Welcome back. In "Crime & 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 teenaged girl has, but they were snuffed out in a crime depraved that defies logic -- so depraved it 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 CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Skylar Neese was a straight-A student, a tenth 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 p.m. 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 hadn't run away. If she would have 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 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. Sixteen-year-old Rachel Shoaf, 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 Shoaf 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 Shoaf 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 Shoaf'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'd 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 would tell 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: And it's not just their behavior that's so troubling. Rachel Shoaf 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. 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 teenaged suspects?
KAYE: Anderson, 16-year-old Rachel Shoaf 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.
COOPER: 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."
What do you make of this case? How unusual is it that the accused killers, one of whom has pled guilty, are not just teenagers but teenaged girls?
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, RETIRED SENIOR 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, I mean, 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 really strongly suggests 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's 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 -- 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, I appreciate your expertise. Thanks.
Up next, we have 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: Got a 360 follow on a story that's really riveted people all over the world. A 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, they're 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's still an awful lot of questions about that.
They said the baby is out of the hospital now. The mother is said to be still being treated.
David McKenzie joins us now from China, where this took place. And 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.
Yes, still unanswered questions, but it seems like this might be a case of a frightened young girl who felt ashamed, Anderson.
COOPER: And you're actually at the place where they tried to cut the baby out of the pipe, correct?
MCKENZIE: 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, and then brought it onto 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: And do we have any idea what happens now? I mean, 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 are 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 have their privacy and they respect it.
Here in China, there is, as it is in other places, a shame attached with a single parent in this kind of situation and with these kind 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: And has this been getting a lot of coverage in China? I mean -- and 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. A hundred thousand children get abandoned every year here, according to state media. So this does happen, but people are a little bit jaded about it.
But also, Chinese 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 a "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, we want to update you on the breaking news. At the top of the hour, that tornado that touched down in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. Tom Sater is tracking the storm and joins me now with the latest -- Tom.
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, so far, Susan, we've got very good news, as we mentioned at the top of the hour. Here's Tulsa, the suburb, just of the southeast, Broken Arrow.
There were visual reports of power flashes and some transformers blowing. And now we can give you the information that we have multiple buildings with structural damage. The good news is this was an industrial park. If this tornado, which was one of the larger ones of the day, would have just touched down just one or even two miles sooner, it could have been disastrous. Broken Arrow's home to 100,000 people. On a larger scale, 15 tornadoes preliminary today. Nine injuries in the state of Arkansas. Two in Burton County, two victims struck by lightning in Montgomery County. A home is destroyed by a tornado, but no one was there.
They've been cleaning up with rescue reports of water rescues in the state of Kansas, in Coffeeville.
Most of Arkansas still under a tornado watch. Eastern Wisconsin, as well. They have been dropped from Illinois to Missouri. Still heavy rain damaging winds are possible there.
And we're going to do it again tomorrow. Still a slight risk of Oklahoma City. Little Rock, St. Louis, Chicago and Green Bay.
Susan, we had 14 tornadoes on Monday, 29 Tuesday, 26 Wednesday and preliminary reports of 15 again today, and we're going to do it again tomorrow. What a week.
HENDRICKS: Unbelievable, the month started out slow.
HENDRICKS: And, of course, it's caught up, amazing. Tom, thanks so much.
Here are some of the other stories we're following tonight. A fast-burning wild fire north of Santa Clarita, California. It has burned 400 acres so far and prompted mandatory evacuations. Officials are now routing power away from transmission lines that are near the blaze.
More than 300 firefighters are working to contain that fire.
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 claimed Todashev's killing makes no sense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDULBAKI TODASHEV, FATHER OF IBRAGIM TODASHEV (through translator): My son was definitely unarmed, because he never had a gun. He couldn't attack them or fight them. He couldn't do anything, because even two men could easily handle him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford insisted today that he will not resign. He is accused of smoking crack. Some reporters claim they have seen cell-phone video of Ford inhaling from a glass crack pipe. And tonight, there is a new national spelling bee champ. Thirteen-year-old Arvind Mahankali from Bayside Hills, New York, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Here was his winning moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARVIND MAHANKALI, SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE WINNER: Knaidel, K-N-A-I-D-E-L. Knaidel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: And the crowd erupts. In case you're wondering, knaidel is a German word for a type of dumpling. Good for him.
Well, the American Automotive Association is predicting very limited growth this summer in tourism and nothing like the big travel crowds a few years ago. The slowly recovering economy is being blamed for this.
But adding to the problem may be this. Many Americans can't leave their jobs for even a few days and others won't. Tom Foreman has this week's "American Journey."
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As beaches, resorts and theme parks race for the summer rush, they can count a quarter of all Americans out of the mix. That's how many receive no paid vacation in a study by the Center for Economic Policy Research. And the lower your wages, the less likely time off is in your plans, according to John Schmitt.
(on camera): Many Americans get vacations.
JOHN SCHMITT, ECONOMIST, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC POLICY RESEARCH: We do. But we get a lot less than everybody else. The average American gets less than the minimum required vacation in every other country we looked at.
FOREMAN (voice-over): They looked at places like Japan, with ten days, Germany with 24, and France with 30.
What's more, a study last year found more than half of Americans who do get vacation time don't use all of it, often for fear of appearing lazy or being laid off.
SCHMITT: I think what it is, is that we have a much higher level of job and security in this country than in the rest of the world.
FOREMAN: It has not always been this way. The growth of the car culture in the 1950s fueled the idea that regular folks, not just the rich, should get away from the grind now and then.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you feel if you were me?
FOREMAN: And for several decades, the family vacation was as American as, well, America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A vacation on a farm. Have you ever thought of this?
FOREMAN: Certainly, some believe the country's work ethic is precisely what made the economy great. And now would be the worst time for vacation fever to sweep in. But others?
(on camera): So are you going to take a vacation?
SCHMITT: I am going to take a few weeks off in July.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Others suggest rebuilding the economy might need to start with more folks recharging their batteries.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
HENDRICKS: Tom, thanks so much.
Stay with us. Anderson is up next with "The RidicuList."
COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And 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. And since then he's been at a primate sanctuary, and Darwin's owner has been desperate to get him back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YASMIN NAKHUDA, MONKEY'S FORMER OWNER: He's my son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We tried to get the monkey from IKEA, because I'm obsessed with that monkey. KATHY GRIFFIN, COMEDIAN: 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. But is that considered a big booking for this show?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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 said that she loves Darwin like a son, and he often slept in her bed. And at a protest several months ago -- oh, yes, they had a protest -- she talked about what she hoped to get from the legal battle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAKHUDA: 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."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Is that a bedazzled butterfly on her whatever it was she was wearing on her head?
Anyway, the people at the Storybook Farm Primate Sanctuary, where Darwin is living now, say he's doing very well, doesn't miss his mom at all and is, in fact, bonding with a baboon named Sweet Pea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Certainly we don't see any signs of him missing anyone. He's having fun. He is playing around. He has new things to do, and he's really taken a liking to Sweet Pea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Should a little monkey like that be hanging 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 of this. Where is Nancy Grace on this? Nancy, get on the case.
I'll admit we need to send CNN's Fredrik Pleitgen, who after all, got the exclusive access to Justin Bieber's monkey when it was confiscated in Germany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's now quarantined at this animal shelter in Munich. Mally seems a little shy when my giant fingers stroke his tiny head, but those taking care of him say he's doing just fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Shonen (ph) monkey. What do you want to say? It's in Germany.
Anyway, I've 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. And until then, we'll always have the memories: it was a cold day in an IKEA parking lot and one stylish little monkey.
OK, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.