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3 Americans Founds Dead at Same Dominican Republic Hotel; Trump Used the Royal Family to Gin Up Publicity for Properties; Officer Who Didn't Confront Parkland Gunman Arrested, Charged with Child Neglect. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired June 5, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:32:20] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Bizarre coincidence or crime? Three Americans die at the same resort in the Dominican Republic within days of one another.
This morning, Dominican authorities announced they are investigating the death of 41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner. The Pennsylvania woman who died in her hotel room on May 25. And then five days later, a Maryland couple was found dead in their room at the same hotel. All three checked into the hotel on the same day.
Martin Savidge is following the story.
Martin, tell us what you have learned about the investigation.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are so many things, Brianna, that just don't seem to add up properly. First and foremost, the deaths of three Americans.
So 41-year-old Miranda Schaup-Werner checks in with her husband to that resort -- it's known as the Bahia Principe Hotel -- on the 25th of May. They are celebrating a wedding anniversary. Everything goes great. They are getting ready for dinner.
That evening, she takes a drink from the mini bar and, suddenly, everything changes. She is in physical distress, acute pain, collapses to the ground calling her husband's name. He calls for paramedics. By the time they arrive, she is already dead.
On that same day at that same resort, another American couple shows up 63-year-old Nathaniel Holmes and 49-year-old Cynthia Ann Day. They are celebrating their engagement. Social media posts show they had a wonderful time. The day they are supposed to check out, they don't check out. Hotel staff check on them in their room, find them both dead.
The autopsy report on the couple says that they died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. In other words, they had water on the lungs. The autopsy done on the Schaup-Werner woman, she apparently didn't seem to have any strong indicator of death. There was no sign of violence. Toxicology reports will be key here. But right now, is it sinister or
just really a coincidence? We don't know.
KEILAR: Martin, we know you will continue to follow it.
Martin Savidge, thank you.
KEILAR: The president using the royals to cash in. New CNN reporting on Trump's tactics back in the '80s to drum up business.
[13:34:25] And the Parkland officer who stood outside while a gunman killed 17 students is now behind bars charged with child neglect. One parent saying he hopes the officer rots in prison.
KEILAR: President Trump has wrapped up his state visit to the U.K., which is a trip that included banquets, afternoon tea, and all of the trappings of royalty.
But before he was president, Trump tried to capitalize on the royals and their prestige to generate publicity for his properties.
CNN's "KFILE" has identified five instances where Trump planted stories or spread fake claims about the British royal family joining his properties. One of the most persistent was that Princess Diana was buying an apartment in Trump Tower.
Sally Bedell Smith is a CNN contributor. And she is the author of "Elizabeth the Queen."
This was something that the royal family had to contend with, these rumors. How did they deal with this?
SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they did. And 1981 was the first run. It was so preposterously false. They said that Prince Charles was planning on buying a $5 million apartment in Trump Tower that was then under construction.
[13:40:10] And that when Prince Charles visited New York in 1981, in June, that his officials from Buckingham Palace had met with the Trump people.
Totally false. First of all, all of Prince Charles' finances are controlled by something called the Duchy of Cornwall, which dates back to the 14th century.
Prince Charles' visit to New York that day was -- 24 hours he was besieged by Irish-American protesters. He was running around from pillar to post. All of his aides were totally focused on getting him from a benefit performance to the Forbes yacht.
There was no way in the world that anybody would have been even entertaining the idea of buying an apartment in New York. KEILAR: This obviously, it must be tempting for those looking to make
a quick buck to make money off of the royal family, whether small or large.
BEDELL SMITH: Yes.
KEILAR: How often does this happen, where someone is trying to profit off the royal family, and are there repercussions for it?
BEDELL SMITH: I don't think it happens very often. As the report pointed out today, there were four other instances. There were two times when they claim that Diana was going to buy an apartment. This was after she and Charles had separated. Again, she was supposedly going to buy a $5 million apartment in Trump Tower.
It's preposterous because she didn't have any control over money. That, again, was controlled by the Prince of Wales and a very sophisticated group of investors. They would never have let her buy an apartment then.
KEILAR: There are no repercussions?
BEDELL SMITH: In several instances. The sort of traditional way that the royal family has dealt with even the most ludicrous reports is they said no comment. In this case, they said this was utterly false.
The surprising thing to me was that the Associated Press and the "New York Times" fell for these stories without running them by Buckingham Palace first.
In 1994, Trump said that -- this was after Diana and Charles had separated. He said both Charles and Diana had separately decided to join his club at Mar-a-Lago.
Again, utterly ridiculous. And the Buckingham Palace source knocked it down pretty emphatic emphatically.
KEILAR: It's very interesting.
Sally Bedell Smith, thank you for being with us.
BEDELL SMITH: You're welcome.
KEILAR: The Parkland police officer who stood behind the wall as students were gunned down is now standing before a judge after being arrested for child neglect. Parents of those students are celebrating this arrest. I will talk to one of those parents, next.
[13:47:53] KEILAR: For more than a year, grieving parents from Parkland, Florida, have demanded the school resource officer responsible for protecting their kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School be held responsible for their deaths. And that day has finally come. Scot Peterson, the officer who was stationed at the high school, has been arrested. He has been charged with 11 counts of child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury.
Prosecutors say, despite having active-shooter training, Peterson stayed outside of the school and hid for 45 minutes while a gunman carried out a massacre inside, eventually killing 17 people.
On top of hiding, prosecutors allege that Peterson encouraged others to stay away instead of helping defenseless kids and teachers.
The arrest warrant says Peterson told a safety monitor to quote, "get out," before radioing in an active shooter.
Meadow Pollack was one of the students who died during the shooting. She was just 18 years old.
Her father, Andrew, is joining us now.
Andrew, thanks for being with us.
ANDREW POLLACK, DAUGHTER KILLED DURING PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING: Thanks for having me on today.
KEILAR: You have been calling for this. You have sued Peterson for the wrongful death of your daughter. What is your reaction to this news? What emotions do you feel as you learn that this is happening?
POLLACK: Well, it's something that we have been working on for a while, you know, since my daughter was murdered. I wanted to learn the facts and who was responsible.
So from yesterday, I feel a little satisfied. But to be honest, my life has been turned around since my daughter has been murdered. And there's not much that brings me any joy in my life. That was a satisfying day.
And there are many more to come. There were multitudes of failures. There will be two more deputies that will be losing their jobs in Broward to come.
KEILAR: According to this report from the Investigation Commission, Peterson was in the position to engage the shooter, as you know. He willfully chose not to according to the investigation. There was no evidence that he attempted to investigate even. Even though he would have heard these gunshots. He hid near a stairwell.
Peterson has held that he was not negligent. He said he was actively trying to address the situation.
Here's what he said on the "Today Show" last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:50:11] SCOT PETERSON, FORMER RESOURCE OFFICER, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I never would have sat there and let my kids get slaughtered. Never. There was no time. Things went to fast.
SAMANTHA GUTHRIE, NBC HOST, "TODAY SHOW": Were you a coward.
GUTHRIE: That's what they called you, the Coward of Broward County.
PETERSON: I know. I never had a chance. I thought not even for a moment of being scared or a coward because I was just doing things the whole time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: What do you think of that defense from him.
POLLACK: Well, it makes me sick just listening to that guy's voice. But he was driven to the building by two of the monitors that day. And he was told that the shots were coming from the 1200 building. He's on the radio, at least three times on the radio telling everyone that shots are being fired from the 1200 building.
And you know what's also bad? Not only was he a coward, but he lied to the other first responders than came to the building. I developed relationships with some of the officers. And they are going to be affected for the rest of their lives from Peterson not allowing them to go into that building. They feel terrible.
KEILAR: It's highly unusual for someone in law enforcement to be arrested for something like this, for failing to save lives. Legal experts say that this may be a very tough case to win.
What do you say to critics who say that trying Peterson could have ramifications, that it could be other officers at risk of charges in the future?
POLLACK: Well, I look at it in a different way. This sets a precedence in the country. You know, Peterson is an embarrassment to any law enforcement officer, you know, in the country. He's an embarrassment.
But let's face it. Now every law enforcement agent in the country knows now that if they hear shots, they're going to go in the building.
Regardless, I really don't care much what happens to Peterson. He has to live with it for the rest of his life, not going into that building and saving those kids and my daughter, who was on the third floor.
But every officer now in the country knows, if they hear shots, they're going to go straight towards those shots. So that means a lot to me. And just that alone is going to save lives.
KEILAR: I want to ask you, while I have you here, because here we are more than a year after the shooting at Marjory Stone Douglas High School. When you look around the country, the country as a whole has really -- it's moved on. It's grown numb to school shootings, and not just this one, which actually captured so much attention for Americans.
So for you, as a parent, whose grief is still so fresh, you just said it, that you're satisfied this happening, but nothing brings you joy anymore. There's been something taken from you that can never be replaced.
As you watch society, writ large, move on like these loses don't matter, what do you want people to know?
POLLACK: I want them to know that this is an example of not pushing a political agenda and looking for accountability and facts. OK? We need to look at the facts of what goes into these shootings and may a change, OK?
So it wasn't for the politicians that run Florida, this never would have happened. They put together a commission, Senator Scott, who was then governor, he put together a commission and wanted to see what happened.
So in order to move forward and not have other mass shootings, we have to look at the facts. So the facts are now, any parents sending their kids to school should know you need more than one armed guard at a school if you want your kids safe.
We need to the diversionary programs. Every parent should know if they're diverting criminals out of the criminal justice system and putting them in schools with your child. OK?
There's lots of facts that go into it. And don't just look at agendas. Look at what is actually going to make your kids safer. And this led to accountability in Broward.
And because of Governor Ron DeSantis, he also put in a grand jury investigation into the school board of Broward to look at the other failures that went along in Broward. We're not done in Broward.
And none of this would have happened -- I want the listeners to know, and all the family in Broward, that if Governor Ron DeSantis wasn't elected, this wouldn't have taken place.
Ron DeSantis, after his election, the first month, removed Sheriff Israel from Broward County. OK? This led up to what happened today. The new sheriff participated in this investigation. He wanted accountability. And that's what led up to Peterson getting arrested yesterday.
KEILAR: Andrew Pollack, we really appreciate your perspective.
Thanks for joining us.
POLLACK: Thank you.
KEILAR: More on our breaking news. The Trump administration ending English classes, legal aid, and recreational programs for unaccompanied migrant children. [13:55:09] Plus, a teacher is on the verge of losing her job after what she tweeted to President Trump, thinking it was a private message.
[14:00:02] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Brooke Baldwin. And you're watching CNN. Thank you for joining me.
Soon, in Washington, D.C., Vice President Mike Pence will take part in a high-stakes meeting that could have an impact on the American consumers.