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Sheriff: Vicky White "Basically Masterminded" Jail Escape; Second Set of Remains Found in Lake Mead as Water Level Plunges; Finland & Sweden Could be on Verge of Asking to Join NATO; U.N. General Assembly Elects Czech Republic to Replace Russia on Human Rights Council; Reporters Fighting for the Truth Despite Kremlin Crackdown; White House: FDA Working to Address Infant Formula Shortage. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 13:30   ET





RICK SINGLETON, SHERIFF, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, AL, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: You know, and then finding out that she took him out willingly and trying to determine, well, was she threatened in some way or coerced to do that? Because it just didn't sound like the Vicky we knew.

Then finding out that she was basically the mastermind behind the whole plan. You know, it just -- and then finding out she lost her life, it's just been a roller coaster.


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: That is the latest from the sheriff in Lauderdale County, Alabama, on the dramatic and deadly conclusion to an 11-day manhunt for inmate, Casey White, and Vicky White, the corrections official who helped him escape.

Police tracked down the two fugitives in Evansville, Indiana. Police say they received a tip, which led to a police chase. It all ended when law enforcement crashed into the couple's getaway car flipping it over.

Authorities believe Vicky White then shot herself in the car. She later died. Casey White is now back behind bars.

And CNN correspondent, Omar Jimenez, is in Evansville, Indiana.

That's four and a half hours or so from the Alabama jail where this began. And, Omar, the sheriff there just had a press conference, I understand. What did we hear?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. Well, bottom line, the sheriff in Indiana said these two had a faulty plan, and they failed.

He also said that if their task force hadn't rammed the vehicle that Casey White was in, that White apparently told investigators he planned to get into a shootout with officers.

And at that point was when the sheriff showed us reporters what was recovered from the vehicle. Multiple firearms, weapons, including a rifle.

There was also $29,000 recovered that the sheriff believes may have stemmed from Vicky White's recent home purchase. Also multiple wigs found that was used as part of their strategy on the run.

This, of course, spanned multiple states, multiple vehicles. But the crucial sighting came last week in Evansville, Indiana, when the Ford pickup truck that they were seen associated with was spotted at a gas station and showed them transferred to a black Cadillac.

So officers knew they had to look out for that. That Cadillac was spotted at a motel less than a mile from here. And it was after officers saw them get into that vehicle that that short chase ensued.

We stopped by the motel and spoke to the manager about what he saw yesterday.


PAUL SHAH, MOTEL OWNER: The Cadillac is parked outside. That car, we do not know who that belongs to.

But the room they were looking for, that was in some local guy's name. You know? And so that local guy was staying here. So we do not know these people are visiting that local guy or don't know. We do not know. OK? But they were not officially guests of the hotel.


JIMENEZ: Now we pressed the sheriff on that latter point, and the sheriff said they believe Casey White tried to get a hotel room at first, couldn't because they didn't get an I.D. And so they asked someone else to get them the room for two weeks.

But the sheriff also said no one else is under investigation at this point. And at this point, so far, they consider this case solved -- Ana?

CABRERA: Omar Jimenez, it was quite a dramatic week and a half. Thank you.

We are following another disturbing discovery at Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir. Authorities have found a second set of human remains.


You may recall, less than a week ago, a body was discovered in a barrel. What's even more disturbing is that police say it's more likely more bodies will surface as water levels at this lake drop to historic lows.

CNN national correspondent, Nick Watt, joins us live from Lake Mead, Nevada.

Nick, authorities say the first set of remains were likely from a homicide victim. What more can you tell us about this and the latest discovery?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely. So this body in a barrel, Ana, that was discovered nine days ago, just by a boat slipway just around the corner from where we are now, the body in the barrel, it is now a homicide investigation, Las Vegas police tell us.

Why? Because that decomposed body, there was a gunshot wound. That is why it's a homicide investigation.

They don't have a lot to go on. They are dating it to the late '70s, early '80s based on the clothing the corpse is wearing, which they traced to lines -- shoes and clothing, I should say, that they traced to lines sold in Kmart back in the mid to late 1970s.

When the body was dumped, it would have been pretty much somewhere in the middle of Lake Mead. But as you mentioned, levels have fallen so far that what was once the middle of the lake is now the shoreline.

Mike, if you pan over, you can see just how far the water level has fallen. That change in color, the line, that is where the water level was and should be. And you see where the water level is now. It has fallen dramatically.

Now, you mentioned that other body that was found this past weekend, a skeleton, a human skeleton. Police right now tell us they are not treating that as suspicious.

And there are a lot of accidents on this lake. It is windy. It is deep. The water is cold. People do drown here. So that second skeleton not being treated as suspicious.

But as you mentioned, they say they are expecting more bodies to wash up, to be found here. Why? Because there's no end in sight to that mega drought that is making this lake slowly vanish -- Ana?

CABRERA: Well, that's creepy on a number of levels.

Nick Watt, thank you.

And this is now becoming a bigger problem for Vladimir Putin as he invades Ukraine. You can see there Finland is on the verge of asking to join NATO. Why this is bad news for the Kremlin.

And two Russian reporters appear to defy Moscow's fierce crackdown on journalists, telling the truth about the war. What happened next, coming up.



CABRERA: In what could be a historic move, Finland and Sweden could be on the verge of joining NATO as Russia's war in Ukraine rages on. A Finnish official says it's highly likely her country will apply for membership. Sweden will likely follow suit.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Helsinki for us.

Nic, you spent time on Finland's border with Russia. What did you hear from people about why they wanted to join NATO now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They've had an uneasy relationship with Russia for a long time.

One of the reasons, if you will, that Finland was never part of NATO but was still part of the European Union and very much militarily aligned with NATO.

But the reason it never joined was because it had this nonaligned status that came out of World War II, the battles with the Red Army, the fight with the Soviet Union.

And just in the same way the Soviet Union took over eastern bloc states of Europe, that was the threat hanging over Finland. And the way they got out of it was by being nonaligned.

Fast forward to the Iron Curtain coming down, the end of Communism, and all those east European nations join NATO. But Finland didn't.

But when Putin invaded Ukraine, that was the trigger for people here to really realize that that could be them next.

Finland has an 830-mile border with Russia. And when you go down to that border, all you see for most parts of it is a small wooden and wire fence about waist height.

That's not a safety guarantee, in and of itself. That's why the Finns are looking to NATO, for security and safety now.

CABRERA: That's interesting to hear about the fence, Nic.

We're also learning that the U.N. General Assembly has now elected the Czech Republic to replace Russia on the Human Rights Council. So explain why this gesture is so important.

ROBERTSON: Number one, it's a huge putdown. It was a huge putdown when Russia was thrown off the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, because Russia likes being on those international bodies. It gives it international stature. So to be thrown off is a real slap in the face.

For the Czech Republic, one of the European Union nations, one of the NATO nations that is, in essence, facing off against Russia in Ukraine, the Czech Republic has supplied hundreds of tanks, T-72 tanks to the Ukrainians to fight the Russians.


So Putin watches now the Czech Republic stepping up and taking their place, where he'd rather his representatives were. CABRERA: Nic Robertson, in Helsinki, thanks so much for your


In Russia, the Kremlin's crackdown on any negative news coverage of the war didn't stop two reporters from taking a stand.

They posted pieces on a pro-Kremlin Web site, filling it with messages like, "As Vladimir Putin lied about Russia's plans in Ukraine" and "Putin unleashed one of the deadliest wars of the twenty-first century." Just a couple quotes from this post.

CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter, is with us now.

It's pretty striking given what we know of is happening in Russia when it comes to the crackdown and flow of information.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": A shocking breach of the pro-Kremlin line. Because this was posted on a pro-Kremlin news Web site by two business editors.

There were over 30 articles that briefly appeared before taking them down. Thankfully, CNN and other outlets were able to read them before they were taken down.

And here are a few of the quotes from these two editors in Russia, saying, quote, "Putin is a paranoid dictator. Putin must go. He started a senseless war and is leading Russia into a ditch."

In the next line, you see them calling Putin a lying, saying, "Putin repeatedly lied about his plans for Russia in Ukraine, naming one goal at first, then a completely different one."

And here's a third quote, saying, "Putin and his circle are doomed to face a tribunal after the end of the war.

More than 30 articles. You have to wonder were the editors writing the articles waiting for a chance to somehow get them online, or is there something for complicated going on? We don't know. CNN has not been able to reach these two editors for comment.

CABRERA: And I read they had kind of posted, like, this is going to be deleted immediately. Take your screen shot. Don't give up. Don't accept the status quo.

Which comes around to this follow-up question, which is, do the people there in Russia want the truth? Do they really know what the truth is? Any indication that it is breaking through?

STELTER: If you're in Moscow or other cities, and you really want to get to Western outlets or any non-Russia state media-controlled outlet, you can do it if you work at it.

The use of a virtual private network, a VPN, has exploded in Russia in recent months. But that comes with risks as well. Of course, there are grave risks from speaking out, spreading the kinds of claims that we saw in the messages.

It does make some of the debates in the U.S. feel a little smaller because at least we can have the debates freely.

CABRERA: Such a great point. We kind of take that for granted, that First Amendment.

Thank you so much, Brian Stelter.

STELTER: Thanks.

CABRERA: Bare shelves in a building health crisis. The baby formula shortage gets even worse. The White House says it is scrambling to fix it. We have the latest.



CABRERA: A nationwide shortage of infant formula has a lot of parents panicking and manufacturers scrambling to respond.

The White House say the FDA is working around the clock to try the ease the shortage. But parents who rely on formula to feed their babies are understandably worried.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately, for me, I can't breast-feed my kids. I depend a lot on formula or else my kid can't eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would think it wouldn't be a problem to be able to feed your baby but now it's really scary.


CABRERA: Manufacturers say they are producing at full capacity and making as much formula as they can, but it is still not enough to meet the current demand.

CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is joining us.

Elizabeth, this is so stressful for parents who are desperate, who want to make sure their babies are fed. Why are we here, still? What's causing this shortage?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's causing this shortage, Ana, is that a major manufacturing plant, Abbott Nutrition, located in Michigan, there's an investigation into whether there's a link to some children getting bacterial infections.

And so while they're doing that investigation, that plant is not up and operating. And when you combine that with some of the supply chain issues that we have had because of the pandemic, well, that is leading to these shortages. Let's take a look at what these numbers are telling us. In April, 31

percent -- that was the baby formula out of stock rate, 31 percent out of stock on grocery shelves. In May, that jumped to 40 percent. That is a huge jump in just a matter of weeks.

And the result is that some stores are telling parents, hey, even if you can find what you want, which many parents cannot, but even if you can, we're going to limit what you're allowed to buy.

So, for example, CVS and Walgreens say you can have three products and that's it. Target says when you go online you can only buy four products at a time. Although they do say that you can buy whatever you need or want when you're in their store.

But, Ana, this is a real problem because, I don't know if you remember this from when your children were little, if they took formula, kids often get used to a particular brand.

And when you try to switch them, you can have a screeching, very, very unhappy child on your hands because it makes their bellies hurt.

And so we've been talking to parents who are just stuck in these very difficult situations with very unhappy babies.

CABRERA: And if you don't have the formula, what do you do? What should parents do?

COHEN: You know what? There's not a whole lot that you can do. We basically have two suggestions for you.

The first one -- we can't emphasize this enough -- the FDA, the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, do not make your own formula.

Formula, like breast milk, needs to have a very, very specific balance of iron and vitamins and minerals. And you cannot make that in your own kitchen. Don't do that.


What you can do is you can go to They have a zip code locator.

The parents we have been talking to say they feel it doesn't work very well. The locator says a product exists at a store near them but then they're disappointed it's not there. But it's worth trying.

CABRERA: We want our parents to know we're going to stay on top of this and try to bring them as many answers as we can. We know this is such a huge, huge problem.

And I appreciate you joining. Thank you, Elizabeth Cohen.

That does it for us today. Thank you for being with us. I'll be back tomorrow, same time, same place. Until then, join me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.

The news continues after a quick break.