Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; 911 Calls Released From Deadly Nevada School Shooting; Mystery Girl Taken From Roma Home in Greece Raises Hopes In Missing Child Cases Including "Baby Lisa"

Aired October 22, 2013 - 20:00   ET



Tonight breaking news, a 360 exclusive, if you're wondering why you can't get the affordable health insurance promised in the Affordable Care Act, stay tuned.

I just got done seeking answers from the woman in charge. She addresses her critics who want her to resign and you're only going to see it here.

And later, a little girl front in Greece. Is she also the little girl lost in Kansas City?

And this --


DISPATCHER: 911 Emergency.

CALLER: There's an -- there's an armed gunman at Sparks Middle School.


GUPTA: There was also a hero in that school outside Reno, who ran toward the gunfire, not away, to help kids escape. His story just now being told.

First up tonight, though, an exclusive chance to ask the question so many Americans want answers to. Chiefly, what on earth is wrong with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and should the person in charge of the whole thing lose her job because of it?

By next spring every American is supposed to have health insurance, most will get it through their employers, many through Medicaid but millions will buy coverage on their own. In states like California, New York, Kentucky and 11 others, they've set up their own marketplaces so people can shop for it and those Web sites are doing all right. And 36 other states, though, people have to use the federal site, And it is an ungodly mess.

New polling bears this out. CBS News asks this. How is the signup going? Twelve percent say it's going well, just 12 percent. Nearly half say it's not. And even though you can't sign up by phone, not just online, trouble with the Web site is reflecting badly on the health care act itself.

In a new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll 55 percent say problems with the Web site are a sign of broader problems.

Now remember, this is President Obama's signature accomplishment. He battled to pass it. He fought to defend it. He campaigned to preserve it and he withstood a government shutdown aimed at destroying it. And today the White House promised what they are calling a technology surge to fix it.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today named a management troubleshooter to head up the efforts. Critics, though, say she's the problem, accusing her of bundling the rollout and not having answers to some very basic accountability questions.

Well, tonight she speaks to those critics. It's a 360 exclusive and here is part one.


GUPTA: The president has broadly outlined a lot of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in his speech yesterday. I want to talk about this Web site and ask specifically what is wrong with it.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Well, I think what we know is that we had an enormous volume and the volume both caused some issues to show up and exposed some additional issues. People can't get through it as quickly as possible. We can't get the volume through, although people are getting through every day. So we're not at all satisfied with the workings of the Web site. We want it to be smooth and easy and let consumers compare plans and choose a plan that's good for themselves and their family. And that's what I'm focused on.

GUPTA: Is this -- so this was a volume problem?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think volume was extremely high, which is good news. We've had nearly 20 million people visit the Web site in the first three weeks. And that shows, I think, the pent-up interest that people have in affordable, available health coverage.

But I would say volume caused some problems, but it also exposed some additional problems. And so we're working hard to make sure that people can go on the site, find the plans they want, make good decisions for themselves and their families.

GUPTA: You know, according to congressional investigators, just weeks before the launch, about two-thirds of insurers had some concerns, specific concerns, that the Web site would not be ready. Just days before the launch, a test was conducted and the Web site crashed with just a few hundred users at that time.

How was the decision made to still go forward? SEBELIUS: Well, Sanjay, there are people in this country who have waited decades for affordable health coverage for themselves and their families. I see them all over the country. You probably saw them on your recent bus tour, people who are so eager for this to happen. And what's clear is we have a product. The product really works. We have created a market where there wasn't a market.

People have competitive private plans at affordable prices. They have the advantage, if they don't have employer paying a share of their coverage, they are going to have some tax help paying a share of their coverage. So waiting is not really an option. People can sign up on the Web site, at the call center, in person.

We have people signing up each and every day. We just want to make sure that the Web site works smoothly for everybody.

GUPTA: How -- what degree of confidence did you have on October 1st, when you woke up, that things were going to go smoothly?

SEBELIUS: Well, I was optimistic that things would go smoothly. I felt that, you know, the day had finally come I've done this work now for three and a half years, implementing this historic law. We've already gotten millions of people affordable coverage, young adults, parents with children with pre-existing conditions who had no options before now have lots of options.

We're going to make sure that people actually can take advantage of this. And what's the good news is that, although, as the president said yesterday, the shopping cart may not be working quite well, the products are on the shelves. We have created a market. We're early in the first quarter in football terms. We have a six-month open enrollment period and I am confident that millions of Americans, at the end of open enrollment, March 31st, will have affordable coverage for the first time in their lives.

GUPTA: This whole process, and obviously, this is being, you know, one of the biggest domestic policy initiatives of this administration, there were changes being made, it sounded like, to the Web site pretty close to the end. One of the changes that you've probably been getting questions about is this idea that there was a feature to basically create it so people had to sign up or actually register before being able to see plans.

One of the concerns was that they would not be able to comparison shop or it might hide actual premium prices.

Is that true?

SEBELIUS: Well, I don't know what you're referring to. I do know that we have two options. There is the so-called learn site of, where people can actually find out about insurance. What we know is a lot of people don't know a lot about insurance, they don't know how to balance that in their monthly budgets. There also is a way to pull up information about your state, what's available, what the plans look like. What you can't find out on that side of the plan, you can use a calculator, but you can't really find out what tax subsidy you and your family might be eligible for.

The other side is the enroll side and -- at and you can go on and at that point, your tax subsidy can be figured in in a very individualized basis. And what we know is that the large majority of uninsured eligible Americans are eligible for some financial help buying that coverage, lowering their premium costs.

GUPTA: And did you try signing on the site yourself?

SEBELIUS: I have created an account on the site. I have not tried signing up, because I have insurance.

GUPTA: You have insurance. Did you find it challenging? Was that -- what did you think of it?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think there certainly are some challenges. It could be smoother. It could be easier to access. And that's really what we're working on.

GUPTA: Did you let people --

SEBELIUS: I mean, nobody says the site is working the way we want it to. Certainly, the president acknowledged that yesterday. No one could be more frustrated than I am, and the president, that this isn't smooth.

People are signing up every day. People have available coverage. And no one, I think it's important to say, Sanjay, is losing coverage now. The earliest the plans start is January 1st. If you sign up by the 15th of December, you will have coverage on day one. So people are frustrated with a Web site, but the product is there. The prices are good. It will not sell out and the prices won't change.

GUPTA: The president did say that he was angry about this. I mean do you know when he first knew that there was a problem?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think it became clear fairly early on. The first couple of days, that --

GUPTA: So not before that, though? Not before October 1st?

SEBELIUS: No, sir.

GUPTA: There was no concern at that point here in the White House or at HHS?

SEBELIUS: I think that we talked about having -- testing, going forward. And if we had an ideal situation and could have built the product in, you know, a five-year period of time, we probably would have taken five years. But we didn't have five years. And certainly Americans who rely on health coverage didn't have five years for us to wait. We wanted to make sure we made good on this final implementation of the law. And, again, people can sign up. The call center is open for business. We've had 1,100,000 calls. We've had 19 million people visit the Web site, 500,000 accounts created. And people are shopping every day. So people are signing up and there's help in neighborhoods around the country, that people can have a one-on-one visit with a trained navigator and figure out how to sign up. So people are able to sign up.

GUPTA: How -- how many people have signed up?


GUPTA: And up until now she hasn't had answered that particular question. So will she this time? She what she says. That's next.


GUPTA: More now on the breaking news. My exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

You know a moment ago I asked the secretary a question we frankly have not gotten a good answer to. Take a look.


GUPTA: How many people have signed up?

SEBELIUS: We'll be doing what we've done with every other program, Medicare Part D. We've done it with CHIP. We will give monthly enrollment figures. We've said that since the beginning. But what we can tell you is that we have 500,000 plus accounts right now with people who have established that or are in the process of shopping for affordable coverage.

GUPTA: It seems like an important thing to know, I imagine, especially given all the problems with the site. I mean how well is it working? Can you say right now how well is working? We know there's problems, but what can you say about it?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think what we can tell you is that thousands of people have signed up. We know that people are getting through every day. It is not where we need it to be. It isn't as smooth as we want it to be for the volume of people who want this product.

The good news is, we have a product. We have a market. We have competitive plans, affordable prices. And no one will ever be locked out of the insurance market again with a pre-existing health condition. And that's really great news to millions of Americans.

GUPTA: But there's a lot of frustration, obviously, in the country. And no one probably knows this better than you and the president. Did you ever talk about resigning to the president?

SEBELIUS: What I talked about is doing the job that I came here to do. This is the most important work I've ever done in my life, delivering on an historic act, making sure that we have health security for the millions of Americans. This law was passed three and a half years ago. I've been working day in and day out to implement this law.

And at the end of the day, it's about people like Evelyn Hernandez, who I was with in Miami, a single mom, has no affordable coverage in her workplace, is terrified every day that something is going to happen to her because if she gets hurt, no one is there to take care of her child. Evelyn finally has health security and millions of Evelyns like her. So that's where my focus is.

GUPTA: No, there's great stories like that. But again, there is a lot of frustration, as you know, Madame Secretary. I mean, if this persists, or even at this point now, would you consider resigning over this?

SEBELIUS: I think my job is to get this fully implemented and to get the Web site working right. And that's really what I'm focused on. That's -- I work at the pleasure of the president. He is singularly focused on making sure we deliver on this promise. That's what I'm committed to doing.

GUPTA: What has he said to you about this?

SEBELIUS: Let's get it done.

GUPTA: Has there been --

SEBELIUS: You heard him yesterday in the Rose Garden and, you know, he is the first to admit that the Web site doesn't work the way we need it to work. So that's one of the reasons, Sanjay, we have announced this tech surge and bringing in new eyes and ears.

Jeff Zients, who's a colleague and friend of mine from this administration, is coming in as a management consultant to the administrator of CMS, to make sure we look at the whole management system. We want to make sure that we have the best and the brightest in terms of tech folks. We have gathered them together and asked the contractors to bring their A team to the table, have asked the presidential innovation fellows to add some strength, because we just want to make sure we get all the right answers and do what is needed to be done as quickly as possible to open up the doors of this marketplace.

GUPTA: Jeff Zients brings a CEO background with him.

SEBELIUS: He does.

GUPTA: What about tech people? We hear the best and the brightest. Are there people or companies that we're going to recognize? Can you give us some names?

SEBELIUS: Well, right now, we've asked all of our contractors to look at their teams on the ground and bring in their absolute A team. And I am confident that that is happening every day. While we also, the presidential innovation fellows --

GUPTA: The contractors didn't do such a great job so far.

SEBELIUS: Well, I --

GUPTA: I mean did -- why didn't they bring their A team in in the first place?

SEBELIUS: I can't tell you --

GUPTA: Why are we saying in three weeks now bring your A team into this whole equation?

SEBELIUS: We have hoped that they had their A team on the table, but I -- I am talking to CEOs and urging them to make sure that we have the talent that they have available. I think all of them have folks who are assigned to a project.

We want new eyes and ears. We want to make sure that we get all the questions on the table, that we get all the answers and accelerator the fix as quickly as possible.

GUPTA: I know that open enrollment goes for six months, to the end of March.

SEBELIUS: It does.

GUPTA: But when will this be fixed?

SEBELIUS: Well, as quickly as we can get it fixed. I think I can tell you, it's improving every day, and more people are getting through. More people are having an easier time and we intend to stay at this until we open the doors wide open.

GUPTA: And do we deserve a specific date? I mean what -- what can we tell people? Because I mean there's a -- there's a little bit of a loss of confidence in this. So if you say as quickly as possible, that meant October 1st.

SEBELIUS: Well, what we can tell you is that it isn't where it needs to be. We are three weeks into a 26-week open enrollment period. People are enrolling every day. Not as many as we would like, not at the volume we would like, and we will keep working on it until it is working as efficiently as possible.

In the meantime, go to the Web site,, call the call center 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are individuals who can answer questions in 150 languages and actually help people enroll. Walk them through the enrollment that is available. And also navigators, the in-person trained assistants on the ground who can do the paper applications.

So we have a Web site, we have a call center where you can walk all the way through, get the product at the end of the day, and we have actual volunteers on the ground. So people have lots of options. And what we know, and these three weeks has demonstrated clearly, millions of Americans want this product. Millions of Americans have waited a very long time, and we want to make sure that they, at the end of the day, get the health security that they want and deserve.

GUPTA: Let me just ask a couple of more questions. I know our time is short, but the individual mandate. The concern is if there's this idea that people had a hard time signing up and they didn't get signed up for whatever reason on time, can they still be penalized? Can you penalize people if it was so cumbersome to get signed up in the first place?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think that the reality is that people, as I just said, can sign up any of three ways. And more are being able to do it every day --

GUPTA: Does that mean the Web site's not that important then?

SEBELIUS: It is a -- it is certainly a tool, and we think it can be an easy tool for people who are tech savvy and want to use a Web site. And we're determined that it be a lot easier than it is right now.

What I know, though, and -- is that lots of people, and people I talk to every day, are not tech savvy. Who want a live human being to sit and answer questions. Want to talk to someone over the phone, want to talk to their friends and neighbors about what health care providers in their network, and then go back and ask them questions.

So we anticipated at the outset that everyone would never use the Web site. That needs to be part of the opportunity. The market is at the end of the day what it is. This isn't a Web site. It's about health care and about affordable plans.

GUPTA: So -- yes or no, is there any way that the individual mandate would be delayed?

SEBELIUS: Well, I don't think that that really is the question right now. The issue is, will people be able to sign up for affordable health care in the six months' open enrollment period? And I think the answer is absolutely yes.

If we are going to make sure that the law works, making insurance companies provide coverage to everyone without regard to preexisting conditions, you need everybody to come into the pool. You need to make sure that it's people who both have a preexisting condition and those who don't. So at the end of the day, we need people to sign up. And I think we've got a lot of ways that they can. The Web site needs to get better. That's a focus, and we will deliver on that.

GUPTA: The president's legacy is part of this whole issue as well. I mean, has it been tarnished by what has happened?

SEBELIUS: I think that what we need to do is see the enrollment figures at the end of March 2014. That's when open enrollment ends, and what I know from what we're seeing in not only states that are run by the federal Web site, but states around the country is that the interest issues that people are eager to have this affordable product. And the product is there. Insurance companies have to compete for one another for people's business for the first time. Janice Baker, who was with the president yesterday, was the first person to sign up from Delaware --

GUPTA: Took her a few days, she said.

SEBELIUS: She said she was frustrated a few days. The great news for Janice is she'll have coverage on day one, as will somebody like Janice who signs up on December 15th, have coverage day one. So we're going to keep focusing to make the Web site work better, but millions of Janices all over this country are going to save money. She's saving $150 a month. She has a lower deductible and she is thrilled with the notion that now as a small business owner, she doesn't have to worry that she's going to be priced out of the insurance market.

GUPTA: Well, I'm anxious to see how many more Janices there are out there --


SEBELIUS: You bet.

GUPTA: Looking forward to those numbers. Thank you, Madame Secretary.


GUPTA: Appreciate it.

SEBELIUS: Great to be with you.


GUPTA: We got much more now on the political dimension and one that's been this bare knuckle battle really all the way from Congress to the Supreme Court to the campaign trail to the shutdown.

You know, it was expected to be something of a victory lap from here on out. The hope was that by now the controversies would be fading and the benefits of accessible health care would finally be coming into view. Not yet. Not quite.

Here to talk about it, "New York Times" op-ed columnist Ross Douthat and Charles Blow.

Welcome, gentlemen, to the show. You know, you both heard that interview, and Charles, let me start with you.


GUPTA: I was really struck in this interview by something the secretary said, that the president didn't know, wasn't made aware of any problems despite the fact that 70 percent of insurers have concern, the test had failed. This is his biggest domestic policy achievement. That's what he touts. Why wouldn't he know, do you think, about this? BLOW: I mean, I don't know. I think there -- there's obviously some sort of management failure here. It should have been managed better. It was not managed as well as it could and you can't really necessarily hide inside the idea that it's big or it's complicated. You don't have to be a webmaster to be a task master. You just have to stay on top of people and make sure that things work.

That said, I mean, I'm just kind of blown away by how apoplectic people are about the freak out nature of this Web site not working on day one or week one or two or three weeks in. It is an Internet problem. America, you know, perfected the Internet. We will fix an Internet problem. I do not see the linkage between this -- this tech issue necessarily and policy issue.

I mean, we still -- I think the policy will roll out. This is the law of the land. You know, it -- related to any other factor of your life, if you buy a new car, if you go into the DMV website, it doesn't work and whatever, you may have to show up. The line may be out the door. It may take you longer. You may not be able to stay that day and may have come back the next day. You just have to get it registered. You have to buy into the system. That's the way it is.


GUPTA: This is -- there's some big expectations here, though, Charles. I hear you. And that makes sense but the expectations are quite high, one of the most tech savvy White Houses in history, obviously. This was -- you know, and people may have lost some confidence.

And Ross, I mean, a lot of Republicans are looking for some answers and accountability. When you hear the secretary -- do you feel like you're getting any of those answers?

ROSS DOUTHAT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I mean, and, obviously we're not getting answers because the administration doesn't have answers at this point. I think one of the things that's become clear from all the reporting on this including mine and Charles' own newspaper is that there is a real level of uncertainty even now in the administration about sort of how significant the problems really are and is -- whether this is something that will take two weeks to fix or two months to fix or will still be a problem the new year.

And that's why, to answer Charles' question about the policy issue, the timing matters for the policy, and both supporters of the law and those of us who are -- shall we say somewhat more skeptical about it have always pointed out that one of the big risks here is precisely what you brought up with the secretary and what she herself brought up as well. That the way the law is designed, you have a system that only functions if you get large numbers of healthy, middle class people who aren't getting large subsides into the pool. And so, if you don't get those people into the pool and again, there is still time --


BLOW: Plenty of time.

DOUTHAT: The secretary is right to do that.

BLOW: There is plenty of time.

DOUTHAT: There is time. But if you don't get those people into the pool, then -- then the costs of the whole thing go up.

GUPTA: Right.

DOUTHAT: The costs of the subsides go up. The cost to people buying insurance goes up --


BLOW: But, Ross, wait, wait, wait, wait.

DOUTHAT: No, no, but -- go ahead. Yes.

BLOW: Ross, you talk about this as if this is like buying a house. This is not a two-week process. Once you get the kinks worked out in the Web site, it -- you know, maybe it takes a few hours on one day. This is not going to take somebody two or three weeks or a month in order to wade through this and figure out how to get enrolled. It will not take that long. So the only issue now is how quickly do you work out the --


DOUTHAT: But, Charles, this is -- right. But that --

BLOW: Who only want to sign up on the Web site who do not want to use any of the other avenues which do exist, which they can use, the people who only want to use the Web site, do not want to do sign up in any other way than by Web site can get on. And that is the only issue that we're talking about. So we conflate that and make that into this bigger issue and the fact that that make handicap or cripple the Affordable Health Care Act because young healthy people whose only fingers work out the Internet --

DOUTHAT: But Charles, this is a numbers game, right?

BLOW: That's right.

DOUTHAT: This is a numbers game.

BLOW: We all -- we did that.

DOUTHAT: The reason they set up -- the reason they've set up a -- you're absolutely right that, you know, people can enroll once the problems are fixed. People will be able to enroll --

BLOW: They can enroll today, actually.

DOUTHAT: -- any day or a few hours or whatever.

BLOW: They can enroll today, just not on the Internet. Not all of them on the Internet.

DOUTHAT: But the issue is you need to get -- I mean, I forget exactly what the target number is but you need something like seven million people enrolled and the hope is that you get that number enrolled in sort of a rush at the end and that sort of what happened in Massachusetts and maybe it can happen here. But the reason they set up -- they didn't set up this, you know, multi month open enrollment period just as a luxury.

They set it up because they were at least a little bit concerned about getting those absolute numbers. So even though you're right --

GUPTA: Charles --

DOUTHAT: As for an individual once its fixed you can get in. For the policy you need the kind of large numbers that --


BLOW: Yes, but those --

DOUTHAT: Six-month window to get in.

GUPTA: Charles, let me ask you something. I think the number is seven million, you are right about that.

But, Charles, another thing that really struck me was this idea, that again when you talk about such a big domestic policy achievement. You heard the secretary say that now, three weeks into this it's time to bring in the A team and it was this sort of this idea that they had concerns, they had problems, and now we're actually going to get serious about this.

Is that a problem, Charles? I mean, does this show a level of disengagement on this big issue, and does it create a loss of confidence among people who are sort of fence sitting on this in the first place?

BLOW: The first thing that I said tonight was I think there is a figure of management. You've got take your lumps of it. Anybody who assumes that, you know, that Sebelius or the White House even can get out of this without taking a few lumps is that we could have done this better and this is not what you want and that's what the president said yesterday, which is, this is -- you know, no one is more upset about it than he is.

I think that that's right. I think you have to assume that -- there is so many people cheering against the success of this law that they're going to make as much hate out of any failure that occurs, particularly an unforced error and that's what this is. That said, I do not believe that it is a long-standing injury. I do not believe that it injures the confidence of the people who really need to sign up for this and particularly the people who have preexisting condition and cannot and have not been able to get --

DOUTHAT: And that's precisely -- look, but that's precisely the point, Charles.

GUPTA: Real quick. Real quick, Ross. Real quick.

DOUTHAT: It doesn't influence the people who desperately need health insurance but for the system to work, it's the people who feel who might feel like they don't need it and are looking for a reason not to sign up. And that's the danger?

GUPTA: Who are helping pay for the system.


GUPTA: Look, stay tuned. We're going to be talking about this for some time to come.

Ross Douthat, Charles Blow, thank you for joining us.

DOUTHAT: Thank you.

GUPTA: Appreciate it.

We have much more on the story as well at

Coming up, 911 calls just released from the deadly shooting on a middle school playground in Nevada. We're going to hear those calls. Also going to get the latest on the investigation.

Also ahead, the search for this little girl's real identity. The couple who allegedly abducted her in Greece call Maria. These pictures are now giving new hope to families of missing children. We want to talk with one of those families.


GUPTA: The town of Sparks, Nevada is trying to come to terms with the fact that a 12-year-old killed a teacher and wounded two students at his middle school before taking his own life. Well, tonight 911 recordings come out and a hero emerges. Stephanie Elam reports.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Newly released 911 tapes and eyewitness accounts paint a picture of what happened here at Sparks Middle School Monday morning when a student opened fire. The 12-year-old injured two students and killed a teacher before taking his own life.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Somebody brought a gun to school and shot a teacher.

UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: The teacher is down?


UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: OK. We'll get somebody out there right away. You're at Sparks Middle School?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Yes, they shot again.



UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Hi. This is Lea, school police, you guys have Sparks Middle?

UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: We do. And 911 ringing off the hook. We have a teacher down.

ELAM: The 13-year-old student Kyle Nucum recalls hearing a loud pop that he thought was a firecracker.

KYLE NUCUM, SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL SHOOTING EYEWITNESS: I turned around and see a teacher approach the gunman and then the gunman pointed the gun towards the teacher and he fires a shot at the teacher, and then everybody started screaming and running.

ELAM: That teacher, Mike Lansberry, a military man who served several tours in Afghanistan. Those in Washoe County are calling him a hero.

CHIEF MIKE MIERAS, WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE: During the incident after the first student was shot, Mr. Lansberry calmly walked towards the shooter, putting his hands up in a motion to try to stop the individual's actions. Mr. Lansberry was fatally shot in the chest. Mr. Lansberry's heroic actions by stepping towards the shooter allowed time for other students on that playground area to flee the area.

ELAM: A long-time friend and National Guard supervisor says the kids were always his first priority.

ROBERT GARRETT, SENIOR MASTER SERGEANT, NEVADA AIR NATIONAL GUARD: He was a soldier with us, but he was always a teacher. He just wanted to always be there for the kids. They loved him. He would tell us stories all the time about them and as a coach, too. I mean, he did all kinds of things. We knew that he was there to protect them.

ELAM: Officials have not released any information about the 12- year-old shooter. But they believed the weapon he used, a Ruger .9- millimeter semiautomatic handgun, came from his home. Middle school student, Amaya Newton, knew the gunman personally.

AMAYA NEWTON, SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL SHOOTING EYEWITNESS: He was really a nice kid. He would make you smile when you were having a bad day. If you were -- he would just ask you if he could bayou something and he was just really a nice kid. I saw him getting bullied a couple times and I think he took out his bullying on that.

ELAM: Police say they still don't know why the boy did what he did, but Kyle Nucum told CNN's Jake Tapper what he heard as he was running away from the scene.

NUCUM: He was yelling a bunch of things while we were running.

JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN'S "THE LEAD": What was he yelling?

NUCUM: He was yelling stuff like why are you laughing at me? Why are you doing this to me?


GUPTA: Sometime there is never satisfying answers to these questions. Stephanie Elam joins me now. Let me ask you something, Stephanie, at the parents of the young gunman, are they cooperating with police?

ELAM: Sanjay, police say they are cooperating completely and that they are grieving not only because they have lost their son, but because of what they have known now that their son has done. We also learn they have police protection with them in the event there is retaliation and they could also face charges if it's found out that there was any liability with this gun, once they find out exactly how the student got his hands on it, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Stephanie, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Just a head, a global mystery, who is this little girl and where are her real parents?


GUPTA: Tonight, two American parents have new hope. Hope that's tied to a photograph of a little girl known as Maria. Authorities in Greece suspect she was kidnapped. The mystery is this, who is Maria and where are her real parents? The Roma couple who were allegedly passing her off as their own daughter are in custody. But the case is playing into some old prejudices about Roma stealing children. Here's George Howell.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a simple but vexing question, who exactly is this little girl? Investigators found her when they were inspecting a camp of Romas, historically called gypsy where this couple lived with as many as 14 children. Authorities immediately became suspicious because the little blonde hair, blue eyed girl looked nothing like the man and woman claiming to be her parents.

PANAGIOTIS PARDALIS, SMILE OF THE CHILD CHARITY: There was bad living conditions, poor high gene and so the girl was found in a state of neglect, both physically and psycho psychologically.

HOWELL: DNA test confirmed plain to see, the girl known only as Maria is not related to these two have who have since been charged with abduction. This video was released by the Roma community purportedly showing a younger Maria who was treated well by the couple who claimed she was given to them by a woman who couldn't care for her. The search for her identity is now a full blown international mystery.

Thousands of tips have poured in after authorities released her photo, one lead as far away as Kansas City. Lisa Erwin was just 11 months old when she disappeared from her home the middle of the night. The anniversary of Lisa's disappearance was just two weeks ago and a new photo was released of what she might look like today.

DEBORAH BRADLEY, LISA IRWIN'S MOTHER: I just want everybody to look at this picture and remember she is not a baby anymore. She's a toddler and there is no such thing as a tip too small.

HOWELL: Could Maria be Baby Lisa? Dental records suggest Maria is two or three years older, but still, the FBI is investigating and the family holds out hope.


GUPTA: George Howell does join us live now. It is an international mystery as you point out. So what happens next, George, to try to figure out if Maria could in fact be Baby Lisa?

HOWELL: Right, Sanjay. Well, you know, it comes down to a DNA test. Just a few minutes ago, I spoke with the family here. It's still unclear the timing of when that will happen, though, we do know that the FBI is in touch with Greek officials and trying to get answers with this. However, we've learned through Greek officials that the DNA of Maria does not match any of the DNA they have in the international database. So that's one thing and also from the State Department, we're hearing today they have no indication this could be an American citizen, Sanjay, though, they are not ruling out hope.

GUPTA: I imagine DNA evidence will be the crux of this but authorities honing in on another case of a child living with a Roma or gypsy family, but this one is in Ireland. What can you tell us about that?

HOWELL: Right. You know, we learned about that today. This happened Monday in Dublin, in a suburb there. We understand yet again another blonde girl, 7 years old, this time taken from another Roma family. At this point, we understand through our CNN affiliate TV 3 the family has not been arrested and we also understand they tried to provide birth certification, however, officials, they say that wasn't enough and Sanjay, they are pushing for yet, another DNA test to get some answers on this.

GUPTA: Right, right. Again that seems to be the key here. George Howell, thanks for that reporting. Again, I want to show you the age progressed image on the left showing what Lisa might look like today and you can see there is definitely a resemblance to Maria.

So earlier I spoke to Lisa's parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA: Deborah, when you first heard about this little girl, Maria, what was your reaction? I mean, did you immediately think this could be your daughter, Lisa?

BRADLEY: The question came into my mind but it wasn't until I came home Friday evening and I started comparing pictures of her and Lisa and doing comparison pictures and pictures of Lisa right before she was kidnapped compared to little Maria's picture and then that's when I started to think this really could be Lisa.

GUPTA: I just can't imagine what is going through your mind as you're doing this research. Jeremy, you looked at this age progression photo of your daughter next to that picture of Maria. Did you see a similarity? Do you think Maria looks like your daughter?

JEREMY IRWIN, LISA IRWIN'S FATHER: I think that there's an obvious similarity. I think that it's close enough to certainly fully investigate. I think that's what everybody is doing. Obviously we -- you know, we want answers and I'm sure everybody else does, too, and even if it's not Lisa, it -- you know, we'll still hopefully find where she belongs.

GUPTA: I understand the authorities are looking into this possibility that this little girl is your daughter. What are you hearing from the authorities, Deborah?

BRADLEY: Nothing as of right now except for that they have handed everything over to overseas FBI and that some missing person organizations in different countries in Europe have been in contact with us and they said they will push everything to the best of their ability on their end for Lisa.

GUPTA: You were questioned, as well, I should point out by police after your daughter went missing. You were questioned. What's the status of that investigation now?

BRADLEY: Right now our focus is, you know, not on the past or anything, that happened or what they originally thought. Our focus is finding, Lisa. Our search for Lisa and that's where it's going to stay.

GUPTA: As part of that search, Jeremy, Kansas City police say the number of leads specifically in your daughter's disappearance dropped to about one a week. Are you hopeful that this increase media attention could lead to more leads and more credible leads?

IRWIN: Yes, I mean, we -- that's what we hope for every time we try to get Lisa's picture on TV. We just -- we still need everybody's help. We still need quality tips, and we do feel that everybody's doing a really great job at keeping their eyes open. The worldwide response directly to us from complete strangers has been a blessing for Lisa so --

BRADLEY: It's really showing we're not alone. We're not alone in our search for Lisa. There have been -- everything from her comments on her website at to her e-mail and Facebook page from so many people from all around the world and it's -- we're in awe at the amount of compassion and care and the fact that there are so many people that are looking for her right along with us.

GUPTA: Look at those pictures and you just can't take your eyes off her. I wish you both to be strong. I know this is a tough period. Deborah Bradley, Jeremy Irwin, thanks so much for joining us.

IRWIN: Thank you.

BRADLEY: Thank you.

GUPTA: Coming up, a young girl who says she was raped at 14 and then essentially run out of town. That case is now getting a second look. We'll get the details next.


GUPTA: In crime and punishment tonight, a special prosecutor has been appointed in a controversial case in Maryville, Missouri. Now a vigil is being held tonight in the town for the alleged victim. Many of them strangers coming out now in support her, a young girl named Daisy. She was just 14 when she said she was raped by then 17-year- old Matthew Barnett.

The original prosecutor dropped changes. Daisy and her mother said that's because the alleged rapist is well-connected and the townspeople basically ran them out of the area. Now the case is being revisited. Kyung Lah reports.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The national media descending on Maryville, first physical gathering for protesters after social media driven by online activist group, "Anonymous" under the #justicefordaisy.

COURTNEY COLE, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: This is a grass roots effort and there have been people throughout the entire nation that had been working to try to find some kind of solution and some way to help and that makes a difference.

LAH: Protesters are energized now that this teen rape case is being reopened. National pressure led to the appointment of a special prosecutor who promised local politics and connections would play no part in the new investigation.

JEAN PETERS BAKER, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Our review of this case will be without fear and without favor.

LAH: Keywords for Daisy Coleman, just 14 years old when she and a 13-year-old friend say they were raped by two high schoolboys after a night of drinking.

SHERIFF DARREN WHITE, NODEWAY COUNTY, MISSOURI: Yes, there was, I believe, a crime that occurred. LAH: Sheriff Darren White arrested the accused boys, but local prosecutor, Robert Rice, dropped the charges. Why? He said Daisy and her mother refused to testify in court. Coleman say that's a lie. They believe the real reason charges were dropped, one of the accused, Matt Barnett, his grandfather is a state representative.

(on camera): Special prosecutor announced, what is your reaction?

WHITE: I think it's great. I think this may be the one thing that gets the truth out.

LAH: After it does, this Missouri town of 12,000 will begin the tough job of asking itself the tough questions.

GREG MCDANIEL, MARYVILLE CITY MANAGER: After this process is complete and media attention dies down we'll have to work together as a community to increase awareness in the community about events and how young people treat each other.


GUPTA: Kyung Lah joins me now from Maryville, Missouri. That's an amazing story, Kyung. You were at the vigil tonight, members of Daisy's family also there. They have been run out of town essentially. What is the reaction to how the community is now responding to this?

LAH: I was standing next to Daisy's cousin and her grandfather and her grandmother and they were simply overwhelmed people that drove from five, six hours other states who didn't even know them started to chant justice for Daisy, holding up, waving daisies in the air. They started to cry because they said having complete strangers fill this town square and support them they say is a level of satisfaction they just thought they could never feel.

GUPTA: Kyung Lah, thanks so much for bringing that to us. Appreciate it.

Up next, dramatic testimony today in the murder trial of the Utah doctor accused of killing his wife so he could be with his mistress.


GUPTA: There is a lot more happening tonight. Gary Tuchman is here with a 360 Bulletin -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Sanjay. First responders testified today at the trial of a Utah doctor accused of murdering his wife by drugging her and drowning her in the bathtub. A former police detective described Martin Macneill's behavior as hysterical but not suspicious. The prosecutors alleged that Macneill killed his wife to be with his mistress.

The family of a Georgia found dead in a rolled up wrestling mat is asking a judge to approve a coroner's inquest into his death. They believe Kendrick Johnson was the victim of foul play, not an accident as investigators ruled.

In Florida, the two mistakenly released convicted murderers are back in the Orange County jail. Joseph Jenkins and Charles walker were recaptured Saturday night. Bogus court papers led to their release. State officials say they know five other times congress forged documents to shave time off sentences, unbelievable.

GUPTA: Gary, thanks so much. We need some happier news, Gary, maybe you can work on that. Unfortunately, we don't have time for that tonight. That does it for us. See you again about an hour. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.