Friday, January 11, 2008
Behind the Scenes: Eric Volz
Program note: Watch Anderson's interview tonight at 10p ET

When I greeted Eric Volz and his family in the lobby of our CNN offices, it was hard for me to believe it was really Eric. I have been following his story and spending time with his family for 9 months, even traveling to Nicaragua where he was in prison, to talk to witnesses and try to get to the bottom of the murder for which he was convicted.

He was released last month after his conviction was overturned, and he came to New York for an interview with Anderson Cooper, which airs tonight on 360.

I have spent so much time thinking about Eric and his case, looking at photos of him and reading case information, that it was almost eerie for him to be standing in front of me, walking and talking, alive and free.

He was warm and friendly, even joking about how certain things -- like using a computer-- instantly came back to him after his year in jail. Other things are still jarring-- like the cold winter weather here. He talked with Anderson about the daily struggle in prison to stay alive, grieving for his ex-girlfriend (pictured here) while being charged with her murder, and why he still doesn't feel like a free man.

The ordeal that Eric has been through would be terrifying for anyone, but he seems to have emerged still vigorous, and determined to clear his name.






Editor's note: Read more on what Volz told Anderson on CNN.com






-- Brittany Harris, 360 Producer
Posted By CNN: 3:27 PM ET
  13 Comments
I am SO looking forward to this interview! I knew that Anderson would get first dibs! He is great at what he does!

I hope that Eric can move on from this and have a great life!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 3:48 PM ET
An experience like Mr. Volz had would probably scar me for the rest of my life. I find it admirable that he wants to go back to Nicaragua someday in spite of what happened to him.

Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Blogger Lilibeth : 4:00 PM ET
Eric Volz's release from prison was too long in coming. If I remember correctly, there were ten eyewitnesses who said that Eric couldn't have been the person who committed the murder. It's hard to imagine what he and his family went through while he was incarcerated but thank goodness that ordeal is now over.
Posted By Anonymous Fay, Vacaville, CA : 4:17 PM ET
Its encouraging that this story has a good ending so far. I feel for Eric, alone in a foreign country, in jail for something he didn't do, in grief for his girlfriend. I am glad he seems to be adapting back to normal life so quickly, but I do wonder in the dead of the night if the nightmare of what has happened to him still lingers.

Thanks for following through on this story and interviewing Eric after he was out. I like the way 360 follows through on stories and lets us know the endings.

Looking forward to the interview tonight and hearing Eric's story first hand.

Annie Kate
Birmingham aL
Posted By Blogger Annie Kate : 4:57 PM ET
Hi Brittany,

I was so happy to hear that Eric Volz was released and I'm glad to hear he's home safely.

I'm looking forward to Anderson's interview on tonight's program.

Mindy
Surprise, AZ
Posted By Blogger Mindy : 5:12 PM ET
Wow, I remember this case.

He was an hour away when she disappeared and still they took him into custody.

It doesn't pay to travel abroad it would seem. I have never left the county in my adult life; don't even own a passport because I wonder what will happen in these countries.

I bet he was so happy to finally see his family and be home safe.

It is sad that they blamed him just because he was dating her.
Posted By Anonymous Sabrina in Los Angeles : 5:17 PM ET
I really am shocked there is some kind of happy ending to this tradgy. I can wait to wacth tonight.
Posted By Anonymous tinyq : 5:38 PM ET
I am always fascinated by stories of Americans who have been locked up abroad. It's always a good lesson on human resilience and our ability to develop survival skills in difficult situations. Prisons in other countries are real life Hell Holes and it's always amazing to hear how someone survives in them. I trust Anderson to do a good interview and ask good questions. I can't wait to watch.
But I have to ask, are we going to see his story anytime soon on National Geographic's "Locked Up Abroad?" They do step by step reinactments to actually draw us into what American prisoners abroad experience, the foreign prison system, and most importantly, how they survive. Maybe CNN should consider a similar special, with Anderson as host of course.
Posted By Anonymous Valerie, Hillside, NJ : 6:10 PM ET
Tender and moving story of mother and son. I hope Eric's struggles are over, I'm looking forward to the follow up.

Peter, New York City
Posted By Blogger Peter : 6:15 PM ET
Eric is a fine example of a man who has chosen to not allow horrible life experiences to beat him down. He's chosen not to have bitterness and hatred for what he had to endure. I sense his gentleness, his peacefulness....a person with whom I could be friends, easily. I wish him well. I appreciate his spirit and energy.

Lewis
Portland, Oregon
www.spiritofsaintlewis.blogspot.com
Posted By Blogger Lewis : 6:25 PM ET
Good scoop on this story. I can't imagine how tramatic jail would be in Nicauragua. I have a foster child outside of Managua and I know how difficult it is for this family. So glad he is a free man. Perseverance does pay off. Stay safe Anderson and once again, good work.
Cindy Piece in Windsor, Ontario Canada
Posted By Anonymous Peaceful : 6:50 PM ET
It's good to know that justice does win out in the end. I cannot imagine being where he was grieving for his girlfriend and how difficult this whole situation must have been. I'm just glad his nightmare ended and he has a chance to begin again here in the States (as difficult as that is when one loses the person they love romantically). He deserves his happiness after what he has endured.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 7:20 PM ET
I am so amazaed that his mother finally got him home. I wonder what to do in such situation.
Nicaraguans don't have healthy judgement about Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Ratna, New York, NY : 7:45 PM ET
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A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.



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