Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Massive Manhunt For Escaped Pa Killer Enters 12th Day; Kim Jong-Un Appears To Be Headed To Russia To Meet With Putin; Villages In Morocco's Atlas Mountains Hardest-Hit By Earthquake. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired September 11, 2023 - 11:00   ET




SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: A clean shave, a stolen van, and a murderer still on the run. The massive manhunt for a convicted killer in Pennsylvania enters day 12. Where he realistically could be right now?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: A staggering loss of life in Morocco after the strongest earthquake there in more than 120 years. Rescuers racing to find survivors in the rubble.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: And a face to face that would have the eyes of the world watching. Kim Jong-un possibly on his way right now to meet with Vladimir Putin, what this could mean for Russia and also importantly, for Ukraine. I'm Kate Bolduan with John Berman and Sara Sidner. This is CNN News Central.

SIDNER: All right, we go now to Pennsylvania and some pretty dramatic developments in the search for the escaped convicted killer who stayed a step ahead of those who are chasing him, all of the authorities. Danelo Cavalcante was seen at least two times on Friday. By Saturday evening, he had stolen a delivery van from a dairy. According to authorities, he tried to make contact with at least two former acquaintances on one in East Pikeland Township and another in Phoenixville, where he was spotted on a ring camera.

On Sunday morning, police found the van he apparently abandoned after it ran out of gas. It was more than 20 miles from where authorities had been focusing their search efforts. In that time, he also changed his appearance. He shaved his beard and cut his hair and was wearing different clothing. CNN's Danny Freeman is joining us now from Chester County, Pennsylvania. A lot to unpack here. It looks like a very different person from the person who initially escaped from jail.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly looking like a very different person. And frankly, this was an incredibly busy weekend when it comes to this particular manhunt and this particular investigation. And frankly, it was also one where there were a number of major setbacks when it comes to bringing Cavalcante back into custody.

But really to understand why, you got to go back to Friday and Saturday, because just a few miles from where we are at the command post, that was where the bulk of the perimeter had been for the multiple days prior to this weekend. And think about it, this was the largest amount of law enforcement presence that we had seen on Friday going into Saturday.

Troopers were searching cars. They were searching trunks, all in that area. That was the environment that Cavalcante was able to escape. So here's more of what we learned yesterday. Basically on Sunday, the Pennsylvania State Police told us that Cavalcante was able to slip through that perimeter likely on Saturday. And then, as you mentioned, he was able to steal a van from a nearby dairy farm. And he was able to do that because the keys were left inside of that van.

He then drove 20 miles to the Phoenixville, Pennsylvania area to the north. And that's when he was caught on camera trying to enlist the help of an old associate of his. The associate did not ultimately help him, instead turned over ring camera footage of Cavalcante at his doorstep to the authorities. And that's where we saw this new image, clean shave and wearing a greenish or yellowish hoodie.

Then on Sunday morning, police actually discovered that van, but it was abandoned and Cavalcante was nowhere to be found. Sara, I want you to take a listen, though, to some sound that we have with a former roommate of Cavalcante. Listen how he describes his feeling as this manhunt continues.


FRANCO, FORMER ROOMMATE OF ESCAPED PENNSYLVANIA INMATE: I had no idea he could do something like this. He likes that he was someone super shy, like really quiet. He would drink his beers on the weekend, make barbecue and working a lot. Just for him to be caught, so I can sleep, I can go live my normal life. Everybody can feel safe again. And, yes, he has to pay for what he did.


FREEMAN: So there you go. Even in that case, still a lot of fear. Now, state police, of course, they say they wish that he had not gotten out of that perimeter. And they said that no perimeter is ever going to be 100 percent. But Sara, we're on day 12 of this manhunt right now. There have been multiple sightings across the entirety of Chester County and still no capture. We will have, we just learned, a press conference to get an update from Pennsylvania State Police coming up at 2 o'clock. Back to you.


SIDNER: Danny Freeman, as you said, this is still a major manhunt underway after the 12th day looking for this convicted murderer. I appreciate your time, Danny, and your reporting. John?

BERMAN: All right, with us now, John Miller, CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst. And again, we will hear from law enforcement at 2:00 p.m., John. I think one of the questions they will face is how do he get through? How is he staying a step ahead of you? JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, I mean, let's be realistic about what a perimeter is. You've got farmland. You've got woodlands behind big houses separated by great distances. He's exploited that. But there is no solid line of cops in a giant square. I mean, they're covering roads, they're looking at edges. But slipping that perimeter is a game of patience for him.

He's doing what we expect him to do. He's a fugitive who's on the run, literally for his life. They're doing what they can do with the resources they have.

BOLDUAN: So now we've got a fugitive, you know, a clean shaven fugitive who's been able to change his clothes, get cleaned up, steal a car, dump a car. He's been in houses of people. He's gone to the homes of work associates is how they're described. What does this add up to? You say this is how you would expect him to act, but how can law enforcement use this to just nail this guy finally?

MILLER: That's a really interesting question because the game we're used to playing there is in a relatively urban, suburban environment. The streets are in grids, the people are out everywhere. People are looking at social media. They're calling in tips in real time. This is a very different environment. The game changer for him was stealing the truck because it allowed him to get distance. In fact, it allowed him to get distance until it ran out of gas.


MILLER: So he hasn't run out of gas. The second game changer for him is going to be find a friend, which is he went to the homes of two associates, apparently didn't connect. But we don't know what we don't know. Why did he go to Phoenixville? It's where he's from. It's where he has family. It's where he has work associates. It's where he had people that he knew before he went to jail.

If he can connect with a person, that means the potential for more clothes, another appearance change maybe, hair color, a cell phone, a different vehicle. That's where opportunity is. So right now, the focus of the U.S. Marshals is going to be less on that box that he got out of and more on who exists in his universe that he would reach to.

BERMAN: Well, my question was, why not go to his work associates before he does? I mean, shouldn't they be reaching out to everyone he knew?

MILLER: Let's not make assumptions. That's what they do. They try to reach out to associates and family, and they try to explain. Right now, if we capture him, he goes to jail. But right now, if we capture him and you're on the other end of that, you're going with him. So that's been made plain. So we don't know whether somebody's helping him or not helping him.

But without getting too far into it, there are technical things that they are doing. There are other things that they are doing to monitor his world and try to shrink it. It's a game he's playing against them. And the stakes are higher for him. BOLDUAN: Yes. And the longer he's out, the more dangerously you have to assume that he's going to get, because the more desperate he can become to stay free. It's good to see you.

MILLER: I mean, that's going to be the problem, Kate. If somebody comes between him and freedom, right now, he's just running. But if somebody comes between him, that's going to be a telling moment.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

MILLER: Thanks. Sara?

SIDNER: Right. Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited North Korea's Kim Jong-un to Russia for a possible face to face visit. And we're told Kim is already on his way, making the long journey in an armored train. But we don't know where, when, or even why they might meet. But U.S. officials warn it could be to cut a deal that could put more weapons into the hands of Russian fighters in Ukraine. The visit will be Kim's first foreign trip since the pandemic.

CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is joining us now. Can you give us some sense of what the implications here as this war drags on there in Ukraine? And we know that Russia has been limited on things like ammunition.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The implications in the war in Ukraine are that it can go longer, that Putin will potentially have the wherewithal to keep holding the possible and anticipated and in effect, right now, Ukrainian counteroffensive. Look, what holds the Ukrainians back are mines on the battlefield, but also the heavy artillery shelling that Russia puts down on them. It can be devastating if they bring fire in relatively accurately.

And what Kim Jong-un, in essence, offers Putin is the ammunition that Putin doesn't have in his armor, doesn't have in his stocks, can't even having some of his munitions factories running 24/7 get to the battlefront. The other part of this puzzle, of course, is what does Kim Jong-un specifically get.


And the analysis is that he's going to want because Putin is on his back foot on this war, potentially facing losses on the battlefield, that Putin isn't in a good position to strike a great deal for him and is potentially going to give away some deadly military secrets about how to build and operate nuclear powered submarines, potentially about how to help Kim Jong-un put satellites, military satellites, in the sky, in orbit above the Earth.

These are all the sort of unintended consequences of the war in Ukraine. But their effects down the road in the years to come can be very real. And to say that this makes the war longer in Ukraine, part of that also means that the Western resolve, the supporters of Ukraine are going to need to remain united and resolved to follow through and keep supporting Ukraine. SIDNER: Yes. And we're looking at pictures from 2019 when the two met in Vladivostok. We will see if that's exactly where this happens again and watch to see what the outcome is. Nic Robertson, thank you so much. Appreciate you reporting. John?

BERMAN: All right, rescue efforts underway. Nearly 2,500 dead after a devastating earthquake, and that toll is expected to rise.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy facing what could be his biggest test yet, one that some conservatives are predicting that he might not survive.

New Mexico suspends some gun laws after tragic deaths. And now the state faces new legal challenges.



BOLDUAN: This just into CNN. State media is now reporting in Morocco that the Moroccan military has now reached the epicenter of the earthquake disaster. And it has been days to get as high up in the Atlas Mountains, a very difficult place to reach. What we're showing you here is also where you can see just some of the destruction. Mountains of concrete covering streets in parts of Morocco this morning. Country's strongest earthquake in 120 years that hit late Friday night.

Here's a map to show you the destruction and how far it reached the 6.8 magnitude quake. The purple area that you see, that's the epicenter we're talking about in the Atlas Mountains. Areas marked with the yellow there though, they also felt very strong quakes and shakes just to show how far out this disaster is reaching. Nearly 2,500 people are reported to be dead so far. And nearly that very same number are reported injured.

Rescuers are hitting the outer limits of that initial 72-hour time frame that's always discussed when it's most likely for survivors to be found amongst the rubble. Joining us now to talk about efforts to bring aid and assistance all along the way is Ozan Agbas, he's with Doctors Without Borders. And Ozan, you have a team from your group on the ground in Morocco. They've been there I believe since Saturday. Talk to me about how many people you have on the ground now and what it looks like.

OZAN AGBAS, LEADING DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS RESPONSE IN MOROCCO: Hi Kate, thanks for the work. We've got more than four teams right now on the ground indeed since Saturday night and they are covering different areas, trying to assess the humanitarian needs, the most acute needs that people might have now in the aftermath of the earthquake.

It is a difficult terrain, as you just mentioned, particularly the epicenter of the earthquake is in the mountainous area and that makes it harder logistically, physically for the teams to reach the communities in those villages. However, we also know from the reports that those are the most affected areas. BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And have you -- how are they describing what they are seeing? The -- I don't know the injuries that they're seeing, the level of destruction of infrastructure that they're seeing so far?

AGBAS: Well, we have different observations in different parts in Marrakesh. The situation in terms of the damage of infrastructure or the buildings is relatively better than those villages that I was just referring to. We see in Marrakesh City, most of the buildings are still standing or with, let's say, minor damages, and shops and market is open to enable people to access basic goods and also services.

However, as we drive from those cities towards the rural areas in the countryside, the scenery changes dramatically. What we see there is collapsed buildings, almost the entire villages, in some occasions destroyed health facilities, destroyed water pipelines and some other infrastructure items.

And this is quite difficult to observe and to experience for the people there. We know this also from some other experiences. Just six months ago when the earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria, our teams were also on the ground. And we know how difficult to go through this, experience this as a victim, but also how difficult it is for the frontline responders, healthcare workers, the search and rescue stuff, and aid workers. So we're aiming to understand the needs at best, while acknowledging that this is also not an easy task for our teams and also the other people on the ground who are doing their best to support people.


BOLDUAN: Absolutely. I mean, one of our correspondents on the ground who's covered many war has described the damage that they're looking at as almost akin to what's left behind after an airstrike is kind of what they've seen and he says he sees in some of the hardest hit areas. What type of aid and help are your team seeing that is most needed right now? I mean, I'm sure it is across the board, of course, when entire villages have collapsed, but what do they think is going to be needed most?

AGBAS: Yes. One of the challenges with natural disasters, let's say that its impact is across the board. It affects everybody, it affects everybody severely. And we see the needs are concentrated in the most basic level water, sanitation, shelter. And we see this in Morocco as well now, especially in those villages, shelter is definitely coming up as one of the highest needs. People are sleeping outside.

And even though the weather conditions might be mild or more available in the cities, it is quite rough when it comes to the mountain villages, especially at night, it gets really cold. So that is one of the main concerns. Food is a concern. However, there's a tremendous effort put together by the civil society, the communities around this region, and they are providing some food to the victims.

However, we also see the needs around water, particularly safe, clean water, especially if the boreholes or wells are affected in the villages we see then people are cut off from water support or from water services that they would normally have.

And lastly, quite important and vital support is on the medical side. Now I have to reiterate that what we see on the ground is a great effort from the government of Morocco to provide those services. However, mental health remains as a gap and it will be a challenge to overcome.

BOLDUAN: Yes, we saw in the aftermath as well in Turkey and Syria after those earthquakes -- after the earthquake that you were just mentioning. Ozan, thank you so much for coming in and thank you for the continued work of Doctors Without Borders. Thank you. Sara?

SIDNER: Members of Congress have a job to do. Will they do it? The House is back in session on Capitol Hill tomorrow. On the agenda, trying to avoid a possible government shutdown yet again. What Speaker Kevin McCarthy has he plans to do, that's next.



BERMAN: It is a huge week for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy with a lot on the line, everything from a government shutdown to his very speakership. Now, as part of that, sources say, McCarthy is considering pushing a short term funding bill that includes aid for communities hit by natural disasters, but leaves out money for Ukraine. CNN's Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill with the very latest. The House comes back after six weeks. I bet Kevin McCarthy wishes he could have taken seven.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no plan yet to avert a government shutdown, John. And despite the fact that, yes, usually when you can't find a broader agreement on a one year spending bill, the fix is to work together with the Senate to pass something for a couple of weeks, just to give you a little extra negotiating room. But even that is going to be a huge lift for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. That's because he has some on his right flank who are arguing that they won't support a short term CR, including Chip Roy.

He is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, and we just spoke with him moments ago. He said that he does not support a short term CR because he wants to see broader changes to border security. He also wants to see significant cuts in spending and promises to do so in the future. So that is just giving you a sense of what Kevin McCarthy is facing when it comes to the broader spending fight that's happening on Capitol Hill.

This week, the House of Representatives is going to try to advance a defense spending bill that is just one of 12 appropriations bills with Republican support. But even that is going to be, again, a heavy lift because aides that I'm talking to say the votes aren't there yet. And there are going to have to be negotiations and conversations that happen with both members on his right flank and members who are running in swing districts to find a way forward on just passing that one small bill.

So that gives you a sense here, John, of the divides between the House and the Senate and even within the Republican Conference. John?

BERMAN: Yes. No, the Senate has been doing things in a bipartisan way, which in some ways only makes it harder on Kevin McCarthy with conservatives pushing him in the House. Lauren Fox, great to see you. Keep us posted. Sara?

SIDNER: All right, also at the top of Republicans' minds impeachment. Despite resistance from the party's moderates, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing growing calls to impeach President Joe Biden. Let us discuss all of this, John Avlon's already, starting with me this morning, and I love it. He is here.