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Shutdown Showdown Day 9; Interview with Representative Steve King; More Arrests in Motorcycle Mayhem

Aired October 9, 2013 - 20:00   ET


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

Good evening everyone.

Tonight, why the White House and lawmakers were shocked, shocked families of fallen soldiers aren't getting death benefits should not be surprised -- to everyone who pushed or let the country slipped into a government shutdown, had ample warning at their disposal on the record. Tonight, we're keeping them honest.

Also tonight, breaking news, another arrest in the biker attack and growing questions about the police officers who were there including one who's accused of taking part.

And later, allegations of a cover-up in a young man's death. Our exclusive reporting on allegations that this was no accident, and a shocking revelation on the second autopsy of this young man that could blow the case wide open.

We begin, though, tonight, keeping them honest -- with one incredibly heart-wrenching consequence of the government shutdown, something that is tormenting people who are already hurting almost beyond words. Families of fallen soldiers not getting death benefits.

Today a private charity agreed to step in and help but the inside story is all the public servants who are howling with outrage and surprised over it had at least two specific warnings about it. They had every reason to know this was going to happen, the warnings were on the record.

Today Defense Secretary Hagel went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to observe the return of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Under ordinary circumstances, their families would be there at the taxpayer's expense, the cost defrayed by $100,000 in military death benefits, money so they can come to Dover to bring their loved one back home or to a military cemetery to pay for the funeral. But also because it's the least a grateful country can do for those who've given their lives to protect us all.

When the shutdown began those payments stopped. When the stories of suffering began our officials and elected representatives began lining up to voice their outrage.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed.


SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Appalling. Frightening.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think it's disgraceful.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president was very disturbed.


REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: We will not stand for this outrage.



COOPER: Well, some of those voices belong to lawmakers who opposed the moves that led to a government shutdown, some, though, are from people who put us on the path we're on.

"Keeping Them Honest," though, they were warned specifically this exact thing was going to happen. Today House Speaker Boehner spokesman told us, quote, "Our staff did not receive any communication from the Department of Defense on this topic until after we had passed our bill to fix it."

"Keeping Them Honest", though, Speaker Boehner and for that matter any lawmaker could have known. On September 27th the Pentagon sent a memo to the House Armed Services Committee on who gets hurt in a shutdown. One item reading, quote, "We won't be able to pay some bills during shutdown." The very first subhead, quote, "For deaths that occur during the shutdown, no death benefits can be paid to any family members until the shutdown ends." On that same day the Pentagon's comptroller briefed reporters.


ROBERT HALE, PENTAGON COMPTROLLER: We would also be required to do some other bad things to our people. Just some examples, we couldn't immediately pay death gratuities to those who die on active duty during the lapse.


COOPER: Out there faced before shutdown, anyone who is angry now, well, shouldn't be all that surprised. Meantime, as a private charity steps in to fill the gap, lawmakers wanting to vent their outrage can always go through these doors and blow off some steam at the congressional gym. That's because shutdown or not, while hundreds of thousands of Americans are furloughed as non-essential, keeping that gym up and running has been deemed essential. It remains open. There were other developments today on ending this mess. Dana Bash joins us now with that.

So I understand there's a rare phenomenon that was actually happening on the hill. Actual bipartisan talks. What do you know?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are bipartisan talks but I don't want to burst your bubble and -- make you think that this is actually going on down Pennsylvania Avenue or any -- in any official way. Washington is still broken.

Don't worry Anderson. Nothing has changed. But in all seriousness, there are lots of discussions that have been going on for days, sort of on the Senate floor, off the Senate floor, on the House floor, off the House floor. But to be clear, these are informal discussions that are going on amongst -- you know, some of the likely suspects that do sometimes come up with deals that ultimately see fruition.

Senator McCain on the Republican side, Senator Susan Collins on the Republican side, people like that. But for the most part, as one senior Democratic source said to me, people are -- have a lot of time on their hands right now because there is nothing else to do and everybody wants to be the one that wants to save the republic.

COOPER: Paul Ryan did put forward some ideas in an op-ed. How seriously is that being taken?

BASH: You know, the truth is, as you like to say on this show, "Keeping Them Honest," probably not so much in the short-term. Because what Paul Ryan said in his op-ed were a lot of things that we have heard from Republicans for awhile, the idea of tax reform, the idea of entitlement reform and more, but that is not something that anybody really in the Republican leadership thinks that they can achieve in the short term which is really what we're talking about here.

The much more likely scenario if there is any option right now is what you and I talked about last night, which is that six-week stopgap debt ceiling increase, and that is the time that they're going to have to negotiate. It's unclear how much they can get done that Paul Ryan and others are suggesting. Big picture and big changes in entitlements and so forth in that small window.

COOPER: And there was a meeting between House Democrats and the president earlier this evening. You've got some news from a lawmaker who attended. What came out of it?

BASH: That's right. A Democratic lawmaker I spoke with said that the president was more firm in his commitment to having that temporary six-week increase in the debt ceiling than he has at all in public. He certainly has signaled it in public but he was much more clear in private and the reason he said that he would be willing to do this if Republicans agreed is because -- this is a quote -- if that's what Boehner needs to climb out of the tree he's stuck in, that that's something we should look at. So the fact that the president is signaling this to House Democrats could be yet another sign that this is where the exit strategy is going, in fact this Democratic lawmaker I spoke with said that's exactly how he came out of the meeting feeling. However, as we said, there is no direct conversations so we're not sure how far this can get. But House Republicans, Anderson, the leadership and key committee chairmen are going to go to the White House tomorrow.

The White House invited the entire House Republican caucus, the leadership said no, we're not going to do that. We're just going to -- bring people who we think can actually have the negotiations the Republicans have been demanding.

COOPER: All right. Dana, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa has been one of the headliners in the government shutdown and now on the debt ceiling. Just the other day he told "NEW DAY's" Chris Cuomo that talk of the default if the country doesn't raise the debt ceiling is, in his words, "demagoguery."

Congressman King joins us now.

Thanks for being with us, Congressman. I appreciate it.

Thanks for having me on, Anderson. I appreciate it.

COOPER: So the idea of a possible, maybe glimmer of a solution to the stalemate, a clean funding bill, short-term debt limit increase, if a framework for reforms are in place. Is that something you would at all support?

KING: You know, at this point I don't think so. I would look at all of it. I would read it through and see what we might have if we're making progress, and if we're making progress, commensurate with any length of time that one might extend the debt ceiling. I'm not one that said I'll never vote to raise the debt ceiling but I think it should be comparable to the issues we have.

And one of the problems we have right now is this risk of, and I've been warning against it for about a week, conflating the issues with this partial shutdown that we have. Needing a CR to get -- to keep the government going, or get the government going again, that compared to the debt ceiling. When those two things, if they come together, we won't be able to define the difference between the two because already they're conflating this dialogue.

I want to separate them and I want to resolve this issue with the CR and I think there is not an emergency on the debt ceiling. We are spending less than 10 percent of our revenue to service our debt and this alarm about default is just false.

COOPER: The plan that Paul Ryan wrote about really made no mention, defunding or delaying Obamacare. To you, is that a completely -- does that make it just a non-starter? KING: Well, I don't want to say non-starter because he's talking about the debt ceiling versus the CR or if he's conflated the two, and I couldn't sorts them out. One of the two. But this CR has been about Obamacare and shutting off the funding to implement it or enforce Obamacare and I wrote that language way back in February of 2011.

I am invested in it deeply and I think it's important that we hold the line and yet if we cannot actually contemplate the idea that we would go on forever and not increase the debt ceiling. So let's make sure that conditions are right for each one of them. For me if the entitlement reforms are strong enough, I will take a good look at it.

Better yet, if we bring a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution through the House and the Senate, and send it to the states where 38 would have to ratify, that would be something that would cause me to take a real good look at a debt ceiling because that's where the problem is.

This Congress doesn't have the discipline to get into a -- to balance the budget and start to pay down our national debt. A balanced budget amendment would bring that discipline. That's what the president fears. If he opposes a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution, I realize he doesn't get to vote on it. But if he opposes it and says I won't negotiate with you under any circumstance like that, he's saying I never want to see the federal government compelled to live within its means. And I think that's an untenable position.

COOPER: Try to answer this for me because I've asked this to a couple of people and I haven't quite got an answer that -- or got any answer to that that I can understand. Republicans, you know, are saying there is no point in bringing this up for a clean CR, for a vote on this in the House, that it wouldn't pass. Democrats are continuing to call for that, just bring this up for a vote, bring it up for a vote. It's going to pass. It's going to pass. There's Republicans who would support it as well as obviously a lot of Democrats.

Why not -- from your standpoint, why not, if you feel confident that it would not pass, why not bring it up for a vote, for a clean vote, and let it fail and that way you take away the strategic argument from the Democrats?

KING: Well, I wouldn't -- I wouldn't argue that a CR, as they describe it is clean, and I don't think it's clean at all, that it wouldn't pass. It's just we said this --

COOPER: So you think it might pass.

KING: I think it might pass. And -- but we have a constitutional obligation, we have constitutional authority to start the spending in the House, to start the taxation in the House, anything that generates revenue, and that's set up so that the House of Representatives as a quick reaction force to hold a president in check or a Senate that might be going off away from the interest of the people.

We have a full constitutional responsibility to do that and we should remember that Obamacare was passed on a purely partisan agenda on the narrowest of margins and I've often said that Thomas Jefferson once said that large initiatives should not be an advanced on slender majorities.

This was the slenderest of majorities and it was not just a slender majority, it was a purely partisan majority. The American people have rejected Obamacare. They have elected us to the House of Representatives to put an end to it. And this is the leverage point, this is where we need to make our stand, Anderson.

COOPER: But isn't it -- I mean, you're a big believer in the Constitution, obviously, as everybody is in this country or should be. I mean, that's what our constitutional calls for, a majority vote, the majority passed Obamacare, it was a slender majority as you say. You say it's very possible a majority in the House would pass a so-called clean CR. Isn't that constitutionally the way our system works?

KING: Remember, though, the Constitution also says that the speaker will be elected to be the speaker of the whole House and that the majority controls the House of Representatives. That's also the structure that we have for government and they determine the things that will be debated and the things that will be voted upon. And that always hasn't made me happy, either. I've had my frustrations with that system.

It is the system. But we're trying to bring out the will of the people and we should think also that even though we're into the, what, eighth or ninth day of this partial shutdown and there has been some really tough spots, especially seeing those caskets come off -- there at Dover, those are -- those are really tough things to see.

Even with all of that, however it's settled, the latest on the pressure cooker, the clamps are down, the pressure goes up, the temperature goes up every day and the American people will decide this. As they -- as they dialogue back and forth, they will call their members of Congress. They'll write their letters to the editor and in the end it'll be the American people that will sort out this.

But we should remember also, this is a constitutional issue. The president cannot be allowed to legislate by executive edict. And we are in the check and balance situation. It's about the institution. Is the institution going to hold its ground and actually be the legislative body? The president has changed Obamacare at least twice since the Supreme Court decided it was constitutional.

We can't let that go on, either, Anderson, otherwise the president has taken over the Article 1 powers of the Congress.

COOPER: Congressman King, I appreciate you being on tonight. Thank you.

KING: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Chief national correspondent John King joins us now, along with political analysts Gloria Borger and David Gergen.

So, David, you just heard Congressman King there, saying, he -- he thinks sort of the idea of this doomsday scenario about not raising the debt is made up or over stated.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, you got a little support today from Moody's which issued a report saying that basically they thought we could pay our debts even if we start going into default. We could pay our bond holders. But overwhelming sentiment from all the big banks, from the CEOs, from manufacturers, it's all -- from economists, from the international communities.

All, you don't want to go down that path. It's extraordinary dangerous. You've already put a gun to the president's head, now you put a gun to the country's head. It's playing Russian roulette and, you know, Congressman King can say whatever he wants but the vast majority of people who really understand this issue are warning seriously do not allow this country to go into default. It could have very, very calamitous consequences and throw a lot of people out of work.

COOPER: And, David, you do see signs of a real breakthrough here from what the president said yesterday about a short-term extension, and what Congressman Paul Ryan wrote in today's "Wall Street Journal." You think -- there is a possibility of traction there?

GERGEN: I do, Anderson. Beneath the rhetoric, which remains hot, we had two concessions now. The president has -- has made a concession by saying he's willing to take a short-term extension of the debt ceiling in order to let negotiations get started. That's a big concession and Republicans ought to grab it.

Paul Ryan has come along and said in such negotiations, we ought to be talking about entitlement reform and tax reform but as you noted he did not talk about health reform. In other words, he's not insisted that Obamacare demolition is -- would have to be part of that negotiation. That gives both sides a chance to have a six or eight- week pause.

And I talked to a major leader in the House Republican side who believes if they can get that pause, there would be enough votes among Republicans to work with Democrats to support it and get into -- get into a negotiation.

COOPER: John, had the House GOP leadership heading the White House tomorrow as Dana was talking about? Do you also see the possibility of some sort of a breakthrough?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think any time they get in the room, it's a good thing. They need to start talking. Now some will say it's talking, some will say it's negotiating. I'll leave that to them. I think the American people would like them to get in a room and figure this out.

I do think it's possible because I think the president understands, Anderson, like it or not, he can win politically in the short-term by blaming the Republicans but unless he helps Speaker Boehner out of this mess, his second-term agenda is just gone. Just gone. They need each other at least through the end of the midterm elections next time, and you'll find very few people who really think the Democrats can take the House back.

So they may not like each other, they may not trust each other, but they need each other at the moment.

One other point, though. The reason I'm a bit skeptical is the conversation you just had with Congressman King.

Paul Ryan was once a hero to the conservatives in the House because they thought he would get out there on the fiscal issues, he would demand the reforms, he would demand things even beyond what many established Republicans were calling for. But now you have Steve King saying, I'm not so sure. You had -- have Ted Cruz over at the Senate side saying, if it doesn't have Obamacare, I'm not for it.

So the reason I'm still skeptical is the Republicans haven't completely sorted out their own problems yet, let alone their questions with the president.

COOPER: And, Gloria, for House Republicans like Congressman King, I mean, they ran on defunding or getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, this is -- you know, this is their reason for being. They came out of Congress saying they are going to defund Obamacare, doesn't matter what the Supreme Court did. They believe it's bad for the economy. They believe it's bad for the country. And this was a strategy, by the way, not hatched by Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan is not part of this defunding Obamacare. It was -- it was hatched by what I call the hell-no caucus in -- among House Republicans, and they are the ones saying to John Boehner, you know, we don't want you to give in. So now you have this compromise you're talking about, a short-term extension perhaps, but what I hear Congressman King saying, which is so interesting to me is that maybe they could come up with some short-term compromise on the debt ceiling, because that's so dangerous, but in a way, still keep the government closed and not compromise on that and still tie Obamacare to that, so it's a little bit of have your cake and eat it, too.

COOPER: Yes, Gloria Borger, appreciate you being on. John King and David Gergen. Fascinating days.

Let us know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter at Andersoncooper.

Just ahead, the disturbing conclusion to our exclusive reporting on the death of a young man named Kendrick Johnson. The official report calls it an accident. New evidence points to foul play, though, and revelations about the treatment of his body are almost unspeakable.

And later, another exclusive, one of the survivors of that terrorist massacre in Kenya. The young woman in that unforgettable photo is talking about her ordeal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember her looking at me and saying, are we going to die? And that it was actually the first time when I was thinking to myself, I think we are and I told her I think we are going to.



COOPER: Welcome back. Breaking news tonight. A seventh arrest in the motorcycle mayhem story here in New York. This after a New York City police detective arraigned in criminal court accused of being part of a group of motorcyclist who pulled the driver of an SUV out of his vehicle, beating him on a Manhattan street.

The officer seen leaving court hurdled under a black hooded sweatshirt was charged with gang assault, assault and criminal mischief. The prosecutors say video from the scene shows the detective smashing the back window of the SUV. His defense attorney denies that, by the way. The undercover detective was off-duty while riding with fellow motorcyclists on that day.

Susan Candiotti joins us now with the latest.

So, Susan, the NYPD just announced another arrest, what do we know about it?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know very much other than this is another civilian biker and he is also charged with gang assault among other charges. We know that he's 31 years old. His name is James Cuney and he's from the New York area. But right now they still haven't released other details about him. But this makes seven people charged by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in the last 10 days -- Anderson.

COOPER: And the arraignment of the undercover police officer, what are some of the details of it?

CANDIOTTI: Yes, very interesting. We're learning more details about the charges, as you said, that he allegedly smashed the rear window of the SUV and also kicked it. However, the defense attorney is saying the prosecutors have it all wrong and in fact, he claimed that the video, well, as he put it, exonerate his client.

But I'm learning now more details about the questioning of that off-duty undercover detective. I am told that when he first came in, he was telling different stories. First, I am told he implied that he was working an undercover detail and that he didn't want to blow his cover, and then I'm told he allegedly said that I didn't really see the assault. Then investigators said that they found all kinds of video evidence that, in fact, he was an active player showing him allegedly smashing that rear window as well as kicking it.

COOPER: What are you learning about the other undercover police officer who is allegedly involved in this?

CANDIOTTI: You know, new details on that, too. I'm told that he was actually riding, he was also off-duty but riding with the undercover detective who, by the way, works intelligence for NYPD and that he did not appear, the second one, to be involved in the assault in any way but they're still looking for other officers who might be involved.

COOPER: And so they are -- and they are still looking for more people who they believed are involved.

CANDIOTTI: They are but their main focus I'm told now is on the other people who are civilian bikers who they believe played -- you know, were involved in the direct assault, the attack on that SUV driver, and they put out all kinds of pictures. They are still looking for many other people at this time.

One other civilian biker was in court today. Clint Caldwell. We talked a bit about him last night. And he is charged with reaching into the window of the SUV's driver. However, his lawyer says didn't happen that way at all. That in fact he just asked the man to turn off his engine. That he just -- he accused him of rolling over those other bikers earlier on.

COOPER: Interesting. Susan Candiotti, I appreciate it.

We have also tonight breaking news from Florida where about 10 people stuck on a roller coaster at Universal Orlando. These are live pictures right there you're looking at. You can see it's obviously getting dark there. The Orlando Fire Department tells us that -- tells the station that the call came in just over an hour ago that the people were stuck.

That's really all the information we have right now but it does seem like they are stuck. There are folks it looks like on the ride outside the areas where they are stuck.

And Susan is there -- is also seeing these images.

Susan, this is the first I'm seeing of it. It clearly looks like there is a number of people on top of sort of the peak of that ride but dangerously, that ride seems stuck kind of in a vertical position.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it appears that way. They said that they were able to get the other people off the ride and that's the last kind of car in its place and it looks like the people are kind of leaning over and looking down but the good news is they are there and trying to get those people off the ride safely.

COOPER: All right. Susan, I know you have more on our "360 Bulletin."

HENDRICKS: I do. With the Obama administration, Anderson, today announcing that the United States is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars they're spending in military aid to Egypt. The State Department says it's a temporary measure until the U.S. sees credible progress towards free and fair elections. And the relationship with the Egyptian government will be maintained.

The USDA is demanding that the company implicated in a salmonella outbreak respond by tomorrow with how it will fix the problem. The chickens from Foster Farms plant has been linked to salmonella cases that made 278 people in 18 states sick.

And the owner of the Washington Redskins is defending his decision not to change the team's name despite criticism that it's offensive to Native Americans. In a letter to fans, Dan Snider says he respects those feelings but that after 81 years, the team's name holds memories of, quote, "where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come," so he says no change according to him.

COOPER: All right. Susan, thanks very much.

For more on the story, you can go to, of course.

Up next, more new revelations in the death of a Georgia teenager. Exclusive reporting on that.

Also my exclusive interview with the survivor of the Kenya mall massacre.


COOPER: The death of Kendrick Johnson, was it an accident or murder? Tonight we continue our reporting on this case trying to get at the truth of what happened to this young man.

He was a 17-year-old high school student in Georgia, an athlete whose body was found upside down, rolled up in a gym mat back in January. Investigators ruled the death a tragic accident that while reaching for his sneaker, they say, he got stuck in the rolled-up mat and suffocated.

As we reported last night a former FBI agent reviewed images from the scene of the death and told us he believes Kendrick was a victim of foul play. And here's why. Take a look again at some exclusive images that we showed yesterday. What appears to be multiple blood points, dripping down a wall in the gym, local investigators concluded it didn't belong to Kendrick and never tested to see whose blood it was.

An orange and black gym shoe found near Kendrick's body, the parents say didn't belong to their son, but it appears that there is blood on the shoes or at least some red markings. Investigators concluded the stains were something other than blood so the shoe was not collected as potential evidence.

And a sweat shirt found near the body, which may have blood on the cuff, but the lab report does not indicate it was tested, either. The former FBI agent told he was dumbfounded indicating that all this potential evidence should have been collected.

Kendrick's parents never believed the official conclusion about their son's death and hired a private pathologist to conduct a second autopsy. As Victor Blackwell reports now what that pathologist found is shocking.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the second time, Jacqueline Johnson cried next to her son, Kendrick's grave. The first time he was being lowered into the ground. This time he's being pulled out of it.

(on camera): Did you ever expect you would have to exhume his body?

JACQUELYN JOHNSON, MOTHER: No, I didn't expect to have to bury it.

BLACKWELL: In June, Kendrick's body was sent to Florida. The Johnsons hired Dr. Bill Anderson to conduct an independent second autopsy. In that autopsy, Anderson told the Johnsons he found evidence that Kendrick died as a result of a blow to the neck and not accidental asphyxia after slipping into a rolled mat at school as investigators in Georgia had said. But what Dr. Anderson did not find shocked them.

BILL ANDERSON, PATHOLOGIST: When we got the body for the second autopsy, the organs, the heart, lungs, liver, et cetera, were not with the body.

BLACKWELL (on camera): The brain?

ANDERSON: The brain, they were all absent.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Every organ from the top of Kendrick's head to his pelvis gone and his family had no idea.

KENNETH JOHNSON, FATHER: We have been let down again, and when we buried Kendrick, we thought we were burying Kendrick, not half of Kendrick.

ANDERSON: I'm not sure at this point who did not return the organs to the body, but I know when we got the body, the organs were not there.

BLACKWELL: So CNN contacted the two entities that had custody of Kendrick's body and access to his organs. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the first autopsy in January and Harrington Funeral Home, which the Johnson's chose to embalm and prepare Kendrick's body for burial days later.

A spokeswoman for the state tells CNN after its autopsy the organs were placed in Johnson's body, the body was closed then the body was released to the funeral home. State investigators say it's their normal practice, but what happened after his body arrived at the funeral home was anything but normal.

(on camera): What was in the place of the organs? JACQUELYN JOHNSON: Newspaper.

BLACKWELL: Newspaper?

(voice-over): Dr. Anderson showed me the pictures of Kendrick's body he had taken during the second autopsy.

(on camera): It's a Black Friday ad, JC Penney ad.

JACQUELYN JOHNSON: Stuffing newspaper in like he was a garbage can inside his body. It's unbelievable.

BLACKWELL: I would imagine that's a different kind of pain.


BLACKWELL: Why do you think that there would be newspaper stuffed in your child?

KENNETH JOHNSON: I never heard of that before, never.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Neither had the founder of a National Embalming Academy contacted by CNN who said it's not consistent with the standards of care in the industry nor had the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners who told CNN he's never heard of this practice.

(on camera): Why would the funeral home discard his organs and stuff him with newspaper?

KENNETH JOHNSON: The question is why did he tell us?

BLACKWELL: So what exactly did the Harrington Funeral Home do with Kendrick's organs and why was he stuffed with old newspaper? We went to their office to find out, but their response to us, no comment. However, in a letter to the Johnson's attorney, Harrington Funeral Home owner, Antonio Harrington, denies he received Kendrick's organs.

He writes in part, his internal organs were destroyed through natural process and hence forth were discarded before the body was sent back to Valdosta. It's another disappointing answer for parents determined to know what happened to their son before and now after his death. And they admit they are struggling.

JACQUELYN JOHNSON: Unbearable just about. The only thing that wakes you up in the morning is just to keep pushing.


COOPER: Victor Blackwell joins us now. I mean, this is unbelievable, newspaper inside this young man's body. I understand there is an investigation into where Kendrick Johnson's organs went and why? What do we know about it?

BLACKWELL: Anderson, we contacted the Georgia Secretary of State's Office because they issue licenses to funeral homes and wanted to check on the history of Harrington Funeral Home and when we told them why we were calling, they decided that they, too, wanted to know where are Kendrick Johnson's organs and wanted to know this practice of stuffing bodies with newspapers, something they never heard of either.

COOPER: How was the family's autopsy doctor able to determine the cause of death?

BLACKWELL: Yes. I asked him if the organs aren't there how can you determine how Kendrick died. Well, he says essentially blunt force trauma was not in the organs. It was in the right side jaw, which was actually noted as bruised during the paramedics report on the day he was found.

He dissected the jaw, which had not been dissected in the first autopsy found bleeding under the skin. He dissected the left side, as well, did not find the bleeding and he concluded that bruising, indicated also with the bleeding that there was blunt force trauma that Kendrick took that blow to the neck.

COOPER: Victor, one thing I hadn't noticed and actually a viewer who works in gyms noticed and tweeted me about this the other day was that it looks like all the mats are rolled really tightly except for the one that Kendrick was found in and that seems to have a large opening. I don't know if there is any significant to that or just a coincidence, but it was a viewer who pointed that out.

Victor, say there because there is so many unanswered questions in this case. I want to bring in senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. First of all, this idea of newspaper found in this young man, I mean, when his body was brought back up. Does the funeral home face legal liability for that?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Certainly, they have their license by the state, and as we heard, they -- there is going to be investigation. There is a potential, of course, for some sort of lawsuit by the family, but I mean, what the family really wants is to know how he died, and what makes this situation so frustrating, as well as tragic, is that the evidence is gone. The failure to collect evidence at the scene, you can't be corrected now.

COOPER: Can't even test multiple samples of blood drippings down --

TOOBIN: Blood on a wall. That's really shocking photograph. I mean, that's not the way most gyms look. If you have a dead body in a gym with blood streaming down the wall, you would think at least test it. But again, it's too late now, which makes figuring out what happened even more difficult.

COOPER: Or you would think somebody who works at the school, works at the gym or goes to that school would know, yes, that was that time my friend hit their head on the wall and that's where that blood is from. I mean, it seems odd thing not to at least even kind of inquire about. TOOBIN: The fact that the evidence in the scene where he was found is gone, the fact that the autopsy and the organs are gone, it makes reopening this investigation very difficult, even if some -- the U.S. attorney, some new investigator wanted to do it, it's hard to know what they would actually do.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, appreciate it. Victor Blackwell, I appreciate the reporting. Thanks.

Up next, a 360 exclusive, an American who survived the Nairobi shopping mall attack describes how she managed to stay alive while bullets were flying around her and people around her were getting shot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just thought, OK, my next thing to do right now is pretend I'm dead. So I just laid and I made it a point to lay towards where the shooting was happening because I still wanted one, to have eyesight and vision in case I need to see what was happening and two, I didn't want to be shot in my back because I didn't want to be paralyzed if I needed to run.



COOPER: Tonight a 360 exclusive, an interview you'll only see here. A survivor of the deadly terror attack in Nairobi is speaking out about what she saw and how she managed to escape. Her story is remarkable. Sixty seven people first died during the four-day siege at the West Gate Shopping Mall. The first minutes of the attack were utter chaos.

Elaine Dang, a 26-year-old American ex-pat was hurt, but somehow managed to get out alive. How she did it is extraordinary. These pictures show her running from the building. She was judging a children's cooking competition when the al Shabaab militants stormed the mall.

I spoke to her along with her mom, Leeanne Dang and her sister, Mary Dang.


COOPER: Tell me about when you first realized something wrong was happening at the mall.

ELAINE DANG, SURVIVED KENYA MALL ATTACK: I was at the tent area of the children's cooking competition. I was with the judges and we just heard a lot of screaming and people running outside of the mall onto the rooftop because we were on the rooftop. I heard like just booms.

COOPER: What happened then? ELAINE DANG: One of the presenters from the cooking competition said it's a boom blast, everyone run to the corner of the parking lot. So I followed everyone, but then I heard more shooting and more booms and I had a feeling whatever this was, is not a simple bomb and there was people involved. So my instinct said, don't go with the crowd, moved away from the crowd because the crowd is the most vulnerable place. So I actually moved and hid at a silver kitchen counter that was there.

COOPER: And there were people hiding with you.

ELAINE DANG: Yes, so when I first ran to the first counter, I actually fell on top of a lady and then people fell on top of me. So our legs were sticking out and as we were here, I heard more shooting and the lady that I was on top of was shot so she screamed I've been shot and there started to be blood everywhere.

COOPER: What is going through your mind? Were you panicked? Were you thinking --

ELAINE DANG: Yes, my first instinct I was shaking and panicked, but then I thought like I need to focus and I need to assess the situation and figure out what I need to do and in my head I was thinking there needs to be an answer for this. So for me, this is not it. I need to keep thinking and find a way out. So I'm behind the counter. I want was actually around this time I see my friend and I see him get up and go like this. That's all I see. I don't see him go like this and walk away.

COOPER: He put his hands up.

ELAINE DANG: Yes, he put his hands up. So I was thinking, my goodness, if I surrender and apologize or do whatever, I could be free. So I was actually preparing myself to be the next one to surrender, and then another woman did it before me and I saw her do this and get up and then they -- and then she was shot.

COOPER: So they actually shot a woman whose hands were up who was surrendering.

ELAINE DANG: That's what I saw. I saw her being shot, yes.

COOPER: And then what?

ELAINE DANG: And then they shot into the crowd again, and they actually shot one of the gas canisters and that's when it blew up and that's when I remember incurring my injuries. I said OK, I've been shot but that's OK because I knew I was fine. I was still being able to run.

COOPER: Had you actually been shot or was that shrapnel?

ELAINE DANG: Later, we found out it was shrapnel. So I ran to the next kitchen counter, it was me and this couple and the husband of the couple had already been shot and was laying on the ground bleeding and the wife was against the counter and I joined them, and as they were shooting into the crowd again, they then she was next to be shot. So she started bleeding and then it was --

COOPER: So her husband was shot and then she got shot.

ELAINE DANG: And then I thought I was shot. I remember her looking at me and saying are we going to die? It was actually the first time when I was thinking to myself, I think we are and I told her, I think we are going to and I started --

COOPER: You said that to her?


COOPER: You really thought this was it?

ELAINE DANG: Yes, at this point it was kind of the weird thing where I was thinking, yes, I think I'm going to die and I have to prepare for it and I don't want to freak out or stress out about this. But at the same time I was thinking I can't die and my brother was the first person I thought of and my sister and mother and everyone else. I said this cannot be it.

COOPER: It's hard for you to hear this, isn't it?


COOPER: Did you see what was happening on TV? Did you know that she was there?

LEEANNE DANG: My older daughter, she told me I thought it's a dreaming, you know, I thought can't be. She told me her sister got shot. I said, my God, you know. I almost passed out. I say can't be happen to my daughter, you know. I say happen to her I don't think I can live. But I'm glad she's OK.

COOPER: She's very strong, very strong daughter.


COOPER: So you're sitting there with a woman whose been shot, her husband whose been shot, as well and you say to them that I think we may die?

ELAINE DANG: And then I just thought okay, my next thing to do right now is just pretend I'm dead. And so I just laid and I made it a point to lay towards where the shooting was happening because I still wanted one, to have eyesight and vision in case I need to see what was happening, and two, I didn't want to be shot in my back because I didn't want to be paralyzed if I needed to run.

COOPER: How did you get out?

ELAINE DANG: After some time, like 7 minutes or 10 minutes, I seen another man walk by and he passes me, I think he thinks I'm dead and I said what is going on? He said people are going down stairs. I see a Kenyan police officer and I see people going down the stairs and running out so I follow them. We go out to this lobby area and the doors open and I'm still very frightened to even run, you know, run out of the door, but then I see people running and I don't hear gunshots so I'm thinking this is safe. So I start going and running and that's when the lady in the picture that's been posted about me, her name was Henna. She approached me and said are you OK? She saw I was alone and had been hurt.

COOPER: When you see that photo taken of you now, what do you think?

ELAINE DANG: I go back and forth between was I really there or -- because when I talk about it, I talk about it like sometimes like I'm very removed from the situation, but when I see the photograph and other photos of the victims or people that I knew, that's what I realize I was there. So it actually puts me back, which I actually think at this point is a good thing, because I think removing myself too much this early is probably not healthy from my mind, but that's how I've been coping with it is to actually make it seem like it's removed from me.

COOPER: Would you want to go back?

ELAINE DANG: I do, definitely. I do want to go back. I don't know when but I do. I consider it my second home.

COOPER: So it hasn't changed the way you feel about Kenya?

ELAINE DANG: If anything, it increased the love I have for the country and the people, especially my close friends and co-workers.

COOPER: Nobody ever knows how they will respond when gunshots go off. Some people think they can handle it don't and some that think they wouldn't be able to handle it are completely able to. You now know how good you are in a crisis.

ELAINE DANG: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you for talking.

ELAINE DANG: Thank you for having us.


COOPER: Incredible story. Elaine's family has set up a web site to help raise money for her medical expenses because she still faces a number of expenses. The web site is elaine. You can see at the bottom of the screen and find a link to the site at

Up next, breaking news, a roller coaster stuck at the Universal Orlando. People are trapped on the ride. What is being done to get them off safely next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Quick update of the breaking news, hard to tell exactly through the darkness, it appears that rescuers have made it aboard the Hollywood rip ride rocket at the Universal in Orlando. A park spokesman telling us it suffered a technical glitch, the emergency brakes came on and everything worked as designed except not really work as designed when stuck that left a lot of people hanging. Most have been taken off the ride. A number though, about 10 remain stuck according to the spokesman, no one has been hurt. We're monitoring the situation.

There's also more happening as well. Susan is back with the 360 Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the first adult to face charges related to the teen rape case in Steubenville, Ohio pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. The 53-year-old school administrator is charged with tampering with evidence and three other counts, as well. Two high school football players were convicted of raping the 16-year-old girl. A grand jury is investigating whether others broke laws in connection to the case.

A 360 follow now, police are still trying to figure out how that 9-year-old boy slipped past airport security and hopped on a flight from Minnesota to Las Vegas. Today the boy's father described his son he's history of behavior problems and said he has asked police and social service officials for help in the past.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm tired of people saying he's a minor. There is nothing we can do. There is something somebody can do. I don't want to see my son hurt. I miss my son. I want my son home.


HENDRICKS: He obviously didn't want to be seen on camera there.

This dog earned a medal after finishing a marathon he crashed. He was on the lamb and slipped out of his leash the night before, his fourth escape. Not clear how he found the race. We're happy to report Boogey was reunited with his owners at a local shelter and has a microchip to go with the medal. He liked running.

COOPER: Glad you explained that he didn't want to be seen on camera. I thought that was a fashion statement of some sort.

HENDRICKS: I was like where is he?

COOPER: Is that his nose, is that his mouth?

HENDRICKS: I know, funny stuff.

COOPER: Susan, thanks very much. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We have a live chat online on We'll also be back one hour from now at 10:00 for our new panel discussion show "AC360 LATER." I hope you join us. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.