CNN CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT
Three Young Brothers Left to Die?; Passenger Train Slams Into Truck
Aired January 5, 2003 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening. I'm Connie Chung.
Tonight: They found two young brothers abused and alone in a darkened basement. But the most horrific discovery was yet to come.
ANNOUNCER: Urban horror: three children locked in a basement for weeks. One never survived.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is very sad. It's babies involved here.
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ANNOUNCER: How could it have happened?
A passenger train slams into a truck and derails.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the sudden, we started going through flames.
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ANNOUNCER: In the midst of the chaos, a survivor's story.
The colonel is feeling the heat: why the concern for chickens is causing an uproar in the henhouse.
First this, now this, and even this: TV's prime-time mating games, network-ratings grabbers, big-time moneymakers. Then why isn't everyone happy about them?
And who will be our "Person of the Day"?
This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York: Connie Chung.
CHUNG: Good evening.
Tonight: an awful tragedy that unfolded behind closed doors in a darkened basement, where no one could hear a child's cry. New Jersey police are hunting for Sherry Murphy, a 41-year-old go-go dancer, after her cousin's two sons, 7 and 5 years old, were found starving in her basement and the 7-year-old's twin was found dead in a storage bin.
CNN's Jamie Colby has the story.
JAMIE COLBY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three young brothers anxiously awaiting the release of their mother from jail and entrusted in the care of a relative were themselves locked up in a basement that police are describing as a virtual dungeon. Tonight, police confirmed one brother, 7-year-old Faheem Williams, is dead.
SHARPE JAMES, MAYOR OF NEWARK: The room was a nightmare: feces, you name it, what have you, vomiting, all of the ills that you'd want to think of two boys, age 7 and 5, having been locked in a room without any care or any treatment.
COLBY: One of the boys found notified police his twin brother had been missing for weeks, leading to the gruesome discovery of Faheem's badly decomposed body in the basement. The two remaining brothers are in serious condition at a New Jersey hospital, suffering from burns and malnutrition.
Police are looking for Sherry Murphy, their mother's cousin, who was caring for the boys. She now faces an arrest warrant. Neighbors say they never saw the boys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never saw any kids walking through those stairs, like I said, no kids at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ask anybody in this neighborhood, they'll tell you the same thing. Nobody's ever seen these kids, you know? I think the first time we seen the kids was when they took them out.
COLBY: Police have questioned the boys' mother. She is in a New York City hospital after being hit by a car on her way to see her boys.
JAMES: She stated to us in the hospital she was unable to locate her cousin, she was unable to find her children, and she's been searching for them.
COLBY: The case is under scrutiny since New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services was granted supervision of the boys last March, but allegedly failed to ever visit them or monitor their case, despite reports they'd previously been abused.
GOV. JAMES MCGREEVEY, NEW JERSEY: This is reprehensible. That report today was disgusting. I mean, it read as if we're part of some Third World debacle.
JAMES: This is an American tragedy. We, here in the city of Newark, have often said it is easy to make a child. The real question is, can you take care of a child? COLBY (on camera): Both Governor McGreevey and Mayor James visited the boys tonight, bringing them toys, even providing hugs. The governor is calling for a complete overhaul of a system that so clearly let these boys down.
Jamie Colby, CNN, Newark, New Jersey.
CHUNG: Newark Mayor Sharpe James described for reporters the awful moment when police responded to the call of the two abused boys and saw the conditions they were living in.
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SHARPE JAMES, MAYOR OF NEWARK: He entered that room, as heretofore stated, and found the two children in that room in terrible state. The room was a nightmare: feces, you name it, what have you, vomiting, all of the ills that you'd want to think of two boys, age 7 and 5, having been locked in a room without any care or any treatment.
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CHUNG: Mayor James joins us now from Newark with the latest.
Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us.
JAMES: My pleasure.
CHUNG: Mayor James, how are the boys tonight?
JAMES: Well, it's too worlds.
I think they've found a safe haven. They've received so much love, so much care. They've been eating all day, eating jelly straight. And tonight, they wanted to play games and toys. He said, "Bring some more cars tomorrow, Mayor." So, two boys have found safe haven in the hospital.
But, unfortunately for the twin brother, Faheem, we can't bring him back. And what we thought was child endangerment, after many interviews tonight, especially with the daughters of Sherry Murphy, we believe we've changed that charge not from child endangerment, but we are now investigating a homicide. And all of Newark's police are out looking for Ms. Sherry Murphy.
In fact, we were two minutes behind her. And we will not stop tonight until we apprehend her.
CHUNG: All right, just to review one more time, the mother of these boys apparently went to jail last March. And she placed her boys in the care of her cousin. That's Sherry Murphy. Now, Sherry Murphy is the person that you're trying to find, correct?
JAMES: That is correct.
CHUNG: And you're saying that she will not only be charged with child endangerment, but it will likely be murder?
JAMES: We are now investigating a homicide. We believe that it's not about endangerment and we are not even sure whether the crime occurred at the location we are now investigating.
So, much evidence is being gathered at this time. But it's a real tragedy. And the only person who can fill in the missing questions right now is Ms. Sherry Murphy. And that's why we have this full alert to locate her.
CHUNG: Now, you said that Sherry Murphy's daughters -- she does have some daughters -- were able to tell you some information. What did you learn?
JAMES: Well, No. 1., even talking to the young man at the hospital, Raheem, age 7, he could not tell me about any school he's been in attendance. But they have not been living at that address for any length of period that we could really ascertain.
I think the neighbors are correct. They've stated over and over again they do not recall seeing children going in and out. So, it could be a case where children were moved from one locked condition to another. That's what the investigation is finding out now: why no public record of these children having been seen at 188 Parker Street. So, there's a real mystery unfolding here.
CHUNG: You actually met with the little boys, didn't you, age 7 and 5, those two young men. What did they tell you? Did they talk to you?
JAMES: They're in love now with everyone. I mean, you have to imagine two boys starved, neglected, left locked in a room together. They are happy to be out. He wants to walk the halls. He wants to eat. They want toys. They want to talk. They want to watch TV. They want to do what my sons did when they were 5 and 7.
And that's the tragedy: two boys abused. They've suffered through everything. Through it all, they're two wonderful, talented young boys who want love, who want care. And they're still hungry.
JAMES: You can't give them enough food. I never saw a boy eat jelly with a teaspoon. And then, after finishing that, he stuck his finger in it and ate the rest of the jelly. So, they are two bubbling boys who have been abused. But, through it, they've lived.
And now it's up to us to care for them and to unravel who is responsible for the death of the 7-year-old? Who is responsible for the burns on these young kids? Who is responsible for the abuse and neglect of two human beings who did not ask to come in the world, but now we have a responsibility to care for them?
CHUNG: Now, Mayor James, the mother apparently got out of prison in August.
JAMES: August. August.
CHUNG: Yes. And she went looking for her boys and was looking for her cousin, Sherry Murphy, but wasn't able to find them.
Do you believe her story? And, also, tell us how she is, because, apparently, when she did learn that her children were in the hospital, she went there immediately, but was in an accident and was herself placed in a hospital.
JAMES: Well, it's a double tragedy, because she learned from an aunt. An aunt called her and said, DYFS is now looking for you because your children are at the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey.
She was using public transportation to try to reach Newark, reach the hospital when she was hit. And I believe -- and I've said all day -- seriously ill -- that it has been alleged -- and I say this allegedly -- she'll never walk again. So here's a mother, with all her problems, trying to catch up to her children, trying to get her family together, may never walk again.
CHUNG: Now, I think the burning question is, how could this happen? And I think you know that family services was aware of this family. And when the mother went to jail, family services actually had that case on file. Why was the case closed? Isn't this gross negligence?
JAMES: I've heard that all day, but I'm not going to accuse anyone.
We know that the case was closed at a time when the mother went to jail in March and did not come out until August. But that's for the authorities to investigate and look at. Right now, I just want to hug two boys, try to keep them well, give them strength, give them some love. And then all the other investigations will continue.
Probably, there is a lot of blame. But even if we go beyond DYFS, no one can take the place of the parents or those who are entrusted to care for our children. So, right now, Sherry Murphy and Ms. Melinda Williams, they too have to answer for the condition of these wonderful boys, who are alive. And then we have to find out and unravel the tragedy of Faheem, who is no longer with us. What a tragedy.
CHUNG: You are so right, Mayor James. So, we'll be looking for answers from the mother, from the mother's cousin, and from the Department of Youth and Family Services.
Thank you, Mayor James, for being with us.
JAMES: My pleasure.
CHUNG: A very different mystery lies behind another death across the country tonight. Why did a motorist drive his truck past working signals and crossing gates in front of a 450-ton commuter train traveling an estimated 50 miles an hour? The Burbank commuter train tore the pickup trick in two, killing the driver. The impact derailed the entire train, hurling passenger cars onto their sides. The collision, just 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles, came at 9:30 Pacific time, after the train was no longer packed with rush hour commuters.
Still, dozens of commuters were injured, a handful of them seriously. One of the luckier passengers was Ryan Schatz, who joins us now from Los Angeles. And Burbank's fire chief, Mike Davis, joins us from the accident scene.
Thank you so much for being with us, both of you.
When you arrived on the scene, Chief Davis, I know you ran into a retired firefighter who was an eyewitness. What did he tell you happened?
CHIEF MIKE DAVIS, BURBANK FIRE DEPARTMENT: Well, the retired fire captain from the Burbank Fire Department indicated that he had been sitting on a road that parallels the railroad tracks, stopped at a traffic signal, when he observed the pickup truck enter the intersection and attempt to turn left across the railroad tracks.
And he said -- faster than he could imagine, he said he heard the lights. And he saw the gates were down. The lights were blinking. And the air horns from the train, from the Metrolink train, were sounding. And he said, almost in an instant, the pickup truck entered the intersection and was struck by the train.
At that point in time, he proceeded down the tracks, where the train had come to a stop, and attempted to effect some rescue.
CHUNG: So, Chief Davis, according to the eyewitness, the warning signals were indeed working?
DAVIS: That's correct.
CHUNG: And did the driver enter the track area simultaneously as the warning signs went off?
DAVIS: Well, I can't answer that question specifically. I think that probably bears a little more investigation. But my understanding was that he had gone around the blocking device that had come down to block the intersection.
CHUNG: Oh, I see. I see.
Ryan Schatz, where were you in the train when the crash occurred and what were you doing?
RYAN SCHATZ, SURVIVED TRAIN DERAILMENT: I was sitting in the second car from the front. And I was reading a book as we heard the horn go off. And the next thing I know, there's a big jolt and just sort of jostling around. And we're off the rails and I'm on my side of the car.
CHUNG: Could you see what happened as you looked out the window?
SCHATZ: The only thing I saw was a ball of flame going right by us out the window to my right.
CHUNG: Did you know what happened?
SCHATZ: Not right away. It just happened so fast.
I knew, once it started, the big jolt and the ball of flame went by it, I knew it just wasn't good.
CHUNG: The car was on its side, so how were you able to get out?
SCHATZ: We actually climbed forward to the front of the car and some people helped us out through the front.
CHUNG: Were you injured?
SCHATZ: I bruised my back pretty good and just pretty much in shock right now.
CHUNG: Was there a lot of panic?
SCHATZ: Actually, things were pretty calm on the scene. There was some screaming and yelling. But other passengers were helping each other out and making sure it was OK. And the paramedics did a great job of organizing and getting people treatment.
CHUNG: Chief Davis, there were a lot of good samaritans and firefighters there to help, weren't there?
DAVIS: I'm sorry?
CHUNG: Chief Davis, there were a lot of good samaritans and firefighters there to help the people out, weren't there?
DAVIS: That's correct.
I don't know and don't have the names of any of the other good samaritans that were on the scene. But we know the three off-duty and retired firefighters who were there at the time. And I'm sure there were some other people there at the time also who didn't stick around to leave us their names, unfortunately.
CHUNG: All right, Chief Davis and Ryan Schatz, thank you so much for being with us.
SCHATZ: Thank you.
DAVIS: Thank you.
CHUNG: Next: They asked him to confirm the birth of the first human clone in history. Did you hear his surprise announcement today?
Stay with us.
ANNOUNCER: Next: Police search the marina where Laci Peterson's husband says he was fishing.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm not going to talk about Scott Peterson or specifically that investigation.
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ANNOUNCER: Will his alibi for the time his pregnant wife disappeared hold up?
CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT will be right back.
CHUNG: That bizarre cloning story just continues.
Freelance science journalist Michael Guillen had been expected to assess the claim that the clone was legitimate. But, today, Guillen released a statement saying -- quote -- "This morning, I suspended the independent review process designed to determine whether or not a cloned human baby has been born. The team of scientists has had no access to the alleged family and therefore cannot verify firsthand the claim that a human baby has been cloned. In other words, it's still entirely possible Clonaid's announcement is part of an elaborate hoax intended to bring publicity to the Raelian movement."
Joining us now from Lexington, Kentucky, is Panos Zavos, director of the Andrology Institute of America. Zavos, who works with infertile couples, claims his team will clone a human in the near future.
Thank you, sir, for being with us.
I saw you kind of smiling when you heard me read Michael Guillen's statement. Do you think it's a hoax?
DR. PANOS ZAVOS, DIRECTOR, ANDROLOGY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA: Well, Connie, I think that it's been a drama over the last 10 days. And we've been able to see nothing at all. It's a twist after another.
And the unfortunate thing is that a man that you and I know quite well, Michael Guillen, showed up at the podium when Boisselier announced the birth of the first baby. And he decided to undertake full responsibility for proving to the world that this baby indeed was born. We haven't seen a shred of evidence at all.
CHUNG: Basically -- so, as far as you're concerned, you don't believe it. You think it's a hoax.
ZAVOS: It's hard to believe when we don't see any evidence at all.
CHUNG: All right.
Now, you, of course, are working with several infertile couples on this very issue of cloning. Have you had any success yet?
ZAVOS: Well, even if we'd had some success tonight, I wouldn't even talk about it, Connie, because, simply, the environment is so dusty and so polluted right now, I don't think that it would make any sense for us to make any announcement.
We are proceeding very heftily, very decisively. We are quite determined to do this, but nothing compared to what the Raelians are talking about. We conceive children every day via traditional IVF technologies and other things. And, therefore, we've been in this business for 24 years. So, this is nothing new for us.
CHUNG: Yes, but why do you say it would be different from the Raelians? Why do you say it would be different, because, in fact, if you are able to produce a cloned child, won't you have to prove as well with DNA tests?
ZAVOS: Of course.
CHUNG: You would?
ZAVOS: That's exactly what we intend to do. We would not make an announcement unless we have the proof with it.
CHUNG: And you would present that proof?
ZAVOS: And we don't intend to have a press conference just to say, we have a cloned baby and then we'll try to show you that later. As you know, you and I showed Bill and Kathy on your program because we wanted America and the world to see that we do have couples.
CHUNG: A couple that wants a cloned baby, yes. Go ahead.
ZAVOS: That's correct.
They are due to undergo this process. And we wanted to show step one, step two and step three as to how things should proceed. And therefore, this is the way to proceed when you execute a major effort such as this, which is quite, quite serious. And I don't think that the style like this one that we have seen and been watching for the last 10 days should be repeated.
CHUNG: Well, with all due respect, though, why should we take you seriously?
ZAVOS: Well, it's -- time is going to tell. Obviously, we haven't told anything that we have not been able to deliver as yet.
I think this issue is very hot, remains as such. And I think that, inevitably, this technology will be developed and it will be made available to infertile couples. And God knows who else may be able to use it. But, for the time being, this technology is developing well. And other than just some of those spins and whatever that we have seen from the Raelians, things evolve very well.
CHUNG: All right. Well, we'll be at the ready to hear from you, Doctor. Sir, we'll hear from you, Panos Zavos, all right?
ZAVOS: Thank you very much, Connie.
CHUNG: Thank you so much. Thank you.
Tonight, President Bush's road map for Iraq in "The World in: 60."
(voice-over): Bush plans for a post-Saddam government: The White House is putting finishing touches on plans for a Democratic Iraq, including an extended U.S. military presence and the use of oil revenues to pay for reconstruction.
U.N. inspectors reject spy claim: Weapons inspectors in Iraq reject accusations by President Saddam Hussein that they are spying for the U.S. It remains unclear whether Iraq will stop cooperating with inspectors.
Another chance for North Korea: The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, won't report North Korea's violations of weapons monitoring to the Security Council, but will give the North Korean government -- quote -- "one more chance to comply."
New crackdowns on Palestinians: A day after double suicide bombings killed 22 people, the Israeli government imposes travel restrictions on Palestinians. This blocked plans for a delegation to travel to London for talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Big boost for the Big Apple: Republican leaders choose New York City as the site for their 2004 presidential-nominating convention. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican, calls the decision a -- quote -- "tremendous boost for the city."
ANNOUNCER: Still ahead: The treatment of 700 million chickens leaves a bad taste in the mouth of some animal rights activists. Why is this fast-food chain now in hot water?
CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT returns in a moment.
CHUNG: The essential role of a father is to protect his kids, not to mention their mother as well. So, police are now trying to figure out why was a man on the run for two weeks as the bodies of his pregnant wife and children were discovered.
It happened in Oregon just before Christmas. CNN investigative correspondent Art Harris has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ART HARRIS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Renee Morris, seven months pregnant, with three children in Portland, Oregon, she never did show up to rehearse for the Christmas play. Four days before Christmas, all four found by hunters, murdered, bodies in the snow.
PAT GIBSON, MOTHER OF RENEE MORRIS: She was devoted to Jesus, a loving wife and mother. Her prayer this year was for a bigger house. She got God's mansion.
HARRIS: Her husband, Edward Paul Morris, seems to vanish into thin air. On December 20, police say he uses an alias to register at an Oregon motel. On December 22, police released his photograph and license tag and deputize the public to be on the lookout for the prime suspect.
Morris is described by friends as religious, devoted to his family, but in a financial bind and, now by police, as armed and dangerous.
CHARLES MATTHEWS III, FBI: Today, the FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Edward Paul Morris.
HARRIS: Morris' family makes an emotional plea.
PAUL MORRIS, FATHER OF SUSPECT: Edward, Marie (ph), Heather, Derek (ph) and I would like to make an appeal to you to immediately surrender yourself to the closest authorities. We want you to know that we love you and we will stand by you regardless of what happens.
TODD ANDERSON, TILLAMOOK COUNTY SHERIFF: We're up close to 600 tips at this point.
HARRIS: Then, after two weeks on the lamb, a break. Edward Morris is spotted outside Baker City, Oregon, followed by two motorists and arrested.
ANDERSON: We believe we have the right suspect and that there are no further suspects at large involving the Morris homicides.
HARRIS: Police praise a brother and sister for cracking the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We apologize to all the police in Baker, but I whipped a U-turn right there on the main drag and followed him back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was so awesome. He was so awesome. And we were jumping and screaming and yeaing. And all of the people in the parking lot were going, oh, my God, you got him.
HARRIS: Caught. But authorities say they're still trying to figure out why any man would kill his pregnant wife and three children.
Art Harris, CNN. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CHUNG: Edward Morris is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow.
Tonight, we have with us the Tillamook sheriff you just saw in Art's report, Todd Anderson, joining us from Portland.
Thank you, sir, for being with us.
Were you able or your deputies able to question Mr. Morris?
ANDERSON: Yes, we were, Connie. The investigators at the scene talked and spoke with Edward Morris for approximately five hours.
CHUNG: Can you tell us what he told you on?
ANDERSON: Unfortunately, we can't disclose any of the details. We did learn that he is the only suspect in this case and that there are no other suspects at large.
CHUNG: Sheriff, can you describe his demeanor at least?
ANDERSON: Very polite, very cooperative. He was talkative, both during the interview and also when we flew him home.
CHUNG: I know you have him on suicide watch. And that is standard procedure in these kinds of cases. But do you have any reason to believe that he might be suicidal?
ANDERSON: No, we don't. It's just a precautionary measure.
CHUNG: All right.
Did he change his appearance while he was on the lamb?
ANDERSON: He did. He shaved his head and then also grew a mustache.
CHUNG: How did he elude capture, do you think, those two weeks?
ANDERSON: I believe, probably, he was out of the area, out of the state of Oregon for most of that time and was just returning when he was arrested.
CHUNG: Does he have any police record at all?
ANDERSON: Not that I'm aware of.
CHUNG: Do you know if there was any domestic violence reported?
ANDERSON: I don't believe there are any arrests, no.
CHUNG: Did he resist arrest when he was taken into custody?
ANDERSON: No. He was very cooperative. He was arrested without incident. CHUNG: Sir, can you tell us how the wife and the children were killed?
ANDERSON: Homicidal violence. We can't go into the details further than that.
CHUNG: Was a weapon found on Mr. Morris?
ANDERSON: None were found on his person.
CHUNG: And, finally, do you know of any motive?
ANDERSON: We do. But, again, we can't disclose that at this time.
CHUNG: Sheriff Anderson, I thank you so much. We'll be watching the arraignment tomorrow.
ANDERSON: Thank you.
CHUNG: When we come back: another family shattered, another pregnant wife gone. What happened to Laci Peterson?
Stay with us.
CHUNG: Laci Peterson has been missing for almost two weeks now. She was eight months pregnant when she disappeared the morning of Christmas Eve. Police this weekend broadened their search, but still did not rule out Laci's husband, Scott, as a suspect.
We've been following this story with the help of Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden, who joins us once again tonight to bring us up to date.
Chief Wasden, it's so good to see you again.
ROY WASDEN, MODESTO POLICE CHIEF: Good evening, Connie.
CHUNG: I appreciate your being with us.
WASDEN: It's good to be with you. Thank you.
CHUNG: Can you tell us, is there any late information, any new developments tonight?
WASDEN: No. We're -- continues to follow up on the logical areas. We don't have any breaking information at this time.
CHUNG: I know that Laci's husband, Scott, is not officially in any way a suspect. But are his movements being restricted? I mean, could he leave Modesto if he wanted to?
WASDEN: He could leave Modesto if he desired to. His movements are not being restricted. He has not been eliminated from the investigation, either.
CHUNG: I understand he comes to the command center every morning. Is that correct? What does he do?
WASDEN: Connie, there's two areas. There's a command center where the family and volunteers are meeting and then a police command center, where searches are coordinated out of and the police information is. I believe Scott comes to the family command center, so we don't see him every morning.
CHUNG: Do you know what he's doing there?
WASDEN: I don't, Connie.
CHUNG: He simply helps out?
WASDEN: I assume so, yes.
CHUNG: Has any deputy or have any members of your staff spoken to him today and questioned him further today?
WASDEN: I don't know if anyone has spoken with Scott today, Connie. That's a possibility, but I don't know at this point.
CHUNG: All right.
I know your investigation has expanded beyond the Berkeley marina where the husband said that he was fishing. Is it going to expand beyond several county areas?
WASDEN: Right now, we're concentrating on some surrounding areas immediately adjacent Stanislaus County and some of the rural and waterway areas in those counties that make kind of some logical sense for us to search, based on the things that we do not know at this time.
CHUNG: Still have a lot of tips, I'm sure. Are they all coming in again?
WASDEN: Yes. It's amazing the number of tips we continue to receive. The last count, we were well over 2,000 tips. Many of them are of minimal value, but, again, we encourage people to call if they think they know something or have any information.
CHUNG: Chief Wasden, I thank you so much for being with us. Again, we'll check in with you.
Tomorrow night, we'll take you inside the command center in search for Laci Peterson.
And still ahead: turning up the heat on Kentucky Fried Chicken. Why is there a boycott? We'll tell you.
CHUNG: So, are you going to boycott Kentucky Fried Chicken? Well, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals want you to. PETA says KFC's chickens don't have good living conditions or diet and should be put to sleep before they're slaughtered.
In the past, PETA has won concessions from chains, including McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's. KFC, with almost 10,000 outlets around the world, kills about 700 million chickens every year. And the company says it is -- quote -- "committed to the well-being and humane treatment of chickens. And we require all of our suppliers to follow welfare guidelines developed by us, with leading experts on our Animal Welfare Advisory Council."
The KFC folks aren't talking on camera. We have National Chicken Council spokesperson Richard Lobb with us from Washington; in Norfolk, Virginia, PETA campaign coordinator Andrew Butler.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us.
First, Mr. Butler, why are you targeting KFC?
ANDREW BUTLER, CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR, PETA: Well, we've been in talks with KFC for two years now. And, really, we've gotten nowhere with them.
We know that the animals raised for KFC restaurants, their lives and deaths are categorized by nothing but unmitigated cruelty. We know that, oftentimes, these chickens, when they're hung upside down by their weak and frail legs, have their throats slit and enter the scolding tank while still fully conscious. We know that there are better ways to ensure that these chickens are adequately prestunned, gassing, for example. But that simply hasn't happened.
CHUNG: Mr. Lobb, what about that? How about not gassing them, the fact that, we are told by PETA, that they are debeaked, there's overcrowding, these chickens are thrown, and the chickens are hurt when they're put into crates? Do suppliers do this?
RICHARD LOBB, NATIONAL CHICKEN COUNCIL: No.
I think PETA's campaign is very far off the mark here. I think KFC is in good company. You have to remember that PETA is also against drinking milk. They're against fishing. They're against the March of Dimes. They are against a whole bunch of other things. They claimed to have negotiated with KFC for the past two years. I don't believe that's true.
I don't think there have been negotiations at all. I think PETA has made its views known. But what KFC and other people in the industry are doing is moving forward responsible experts, both in animal science and animal welfare, to make sure that we're using the best available guidelines to ensure that these animals are handled and treated properly.
CHUNG: But does your industry have rules?
LOBB: We do. We do.
CHUNG: And have you itemized those rules to PETA? Have you told them about your rules?
LOBB: We're not in the business of trying to negotiate with PETA.
That's the kind of group that, if they ask you what time it is and you tell you what time it is, they're going to claim they're negotiating with you. I don't think you can succeed with a group like PETA. On gas stunning, for example, there's a lot of concerns about the use of carbon dioxide or argon or something else to stun or kill animals. There's concerns about product quality.
CHUNG: What do you mean?
LOBB: Discoloration. And it concludes -- it retains too much blood in the meat. Most consumers in this country would rather have that blood removed. And we think that the method that we use now to stun animals and make sure they are insensible to pain before the slaughter process is very effective and it's humane.
But suppose we did go with gas stunning or gas killing. In two years, PETA would be coming back at us claiming that we are using gas chambers for chickens and they would be demanding we stop that.
CHUNG: Is that true, Mr. Butler? Will you come up with yet another complaint after the industry complies?
BUTLER: Well, if you have a look at our Web site, KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, you will the exchanges that we've had with the corporation for the past two years.
But you will also see the enormous success that we've had with others in the fast-food industry, McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, who have instituted a raft of reforms that improved the lives and deaths of these animals. Ultimately, it is just a drop in the ocean of the misery that these animals endure, but it is a good step in the right direction.
KFC have ignored these please. And these are pleas that are not just coming from PETA, but from industry experts, people on their own Animal Welfare Advisory Council, who are saying, you should go with mechanized catching rather than using people who grab chickens by the legs, four, five or six at a time, and throw them bodily into crates.
CHUNG: Aren't you really, Mr. Butler, trying to actually get people become vegetarians and really not eat chickens? Isn't that what you would really like?
BUTLER: It would be absolutely fantastic if people went vegetarian, because we know it's the best thing for animals. And, ultimately, it's the best thing for our health and also for the environment.
But, of course, we're a pragmatic organization. And any step in the right direction is a good thing. So, we'd like to see this corporation follow the industry lead, follow the rest of the restaurant industry, who are developing good welfare guidelines that will spare these animals some of this terrible pain, some of this terrible suffering, the sort of pain and suffering that, sadly, groups like Richard's don't want to alleviate. They're in it for the money. They don't care about these animals' welfare.
CHUNG: Well, Richard, what about those other companies that have talked to PETA and come up with some compliances?
LOBB: No, come on. Get serious here.
For PETA to claim credit for improvements in animal welfare standards is like the rooster claiming credit for the sun coming up because it's been crowing. This is an area that a lot of responsible people are working hard in. And we have consulted with experts, with scientific experts, people out of the academic community. And so has the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the Food Marketing Institute.
KFC itself has its own board of experts who are widely respected in this field. And they have developed guidelines that they have made mandatory for their suppliers. And they do audits to make sure these guidelines are being enforced. So, this is already going on. We're making a tremendous amount of progress in this area. And PETA is just jumping on a bandwagon here to try to have something to get people riled up about and raise some money from.
CHUNG: All right, well, I thank you both for being with us.
I can tell that you both have a little bit of a sense of humor, because I could see both of you smiling. So, I thank you so much for being with us to talk about this chicken story.
Next: finding a mate on national TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JOE MILLIONAIRE")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great hair, great eyes, great body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The storyline: Women hope to be chosen by a multimillionaire. Tonight: The man behind the reality show defends his latest fare -- when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT returns.
CHUNG: Here's how far reality TV has come. "Joe Millionaire" debuts tonight, but his name isn't Joe and he's not a millionaire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JOE MILLIONAIRE")
ANNOUNCER: Heaven. A bachelor construction worker who earns $19,000 a year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great hair, great eyes, great body.
ANNOUNCER: And meet the 20 women who traveled to a chateau in France to compete for his heart. Why? They think he's worth $50 million.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHUNG: He wants to find his true love anyway and wants to find that younger audience the advertisers love. And so is "The Bachelorette," also debuting this week, starring one of the losers from "The Bachelor."
Fame is the issue on the week's other new reality show, "Celebrity Mole," "Star Search," and "The Surreal Life." Don't even ask about "High School Reunion."
So, are "Joe Millionaire" and other mating games appropriate ways to find love? And if Fox's "Joe Millionaire" is really a nonmillionaire named Evan, how are we supposed to know whether Fox reality vice president Mike Darnell is really who he says he is?
Is that really your name?
We have ways to find out the truth. You know that, Mike.
MIKE DARNELL, REALITY DIVISION V.P., FOX ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION: Yes, I do, Connie. And, hopefully, it won't all come out right now. I'm a little nervous about it. But it's my real name, though.
Where did you come up with this idea of "Joe Millionaire"?
DARNELL: Well, actually, my staff and I were sitting around last spring and just talking about relationship shows. We had done "Temptation Island" and "The Bachelor" was out at the time. And we were just thinking, what could we do that sort of takes it up a notch, whether that's good or bad?
DARNELL: But, seriously, what could we do to take it up just another -- sort of, where's reality going? And there was a lot of suspicion, as there is, I think, on both "Bachelor"s that have aired and probably what's going to happen with Bachelorette.
Why are the women there? What motivates them? Are they really falling in love? And I think this show, in a way, attempts to answer some of those questions. What's it about? Why are they there?
CHUNG: Yes, but it's an OTO. It's a one-time-only, right? You can't make a series out of it. DARNELL: No, that's true. It's worth it. You know what? I've got it tell you, I'm so excited by the show. It's going to be great. And I'll take the one-time-only.
CHUNG: What we hear, though, is that, in reality, this man, you're going to do an additional surprise. Not only are you going to say that he is not a millionaire; you're going to turn around and say he is a millionaire at the very end. Is that true?
DARNELL: You must be reading the Web sites, Connie. There's no truth to anything right now. We can just tell you that the show, as you know, it is what you know. He is broke, basically. He makes about $19,000 a year as a construction worker, the nicest guy you'll ever meet, though, and good-looking, too, a very good-looking guy.
CHUNG: Can he talk? Does he have a brain?
DARNELL: Yes, smart guy, too. Nice guy. Smart.
DARNELL: Everything about him. I think you'll find that women will find him very attractive. I've heard nothing but that from the people that we've shown the show to.
CHUNG: So, how did he come into this $50 million, inheriting it from whom and how? Do the women actually need to know or do they want to know?
DARNELL: We don't go into great detail about it.
CHUNG: They don't ask any questions?
DARNELL: Not really. We went into -- it was a relative and that the relative was estranged from the parent, thus left all the money to nieces and nephews, a billionaire who left this $50 million pittance to our "Joe Millionaire."
CHUNG: Do you have any obligation to tell these women what might be down the road? In other words, when you draw them into this program, do you, for any reason, moral, ethical, or legal reason, to tell them what is going to happen may not actually be what we say is happening?
DARNELL: Well, legally, we are covered. Obviously, we couldn't go into it without doing that. I can't go into the contractual obligations, but we're legally covered.
I think everybody comes on these shows knowing there might be surprises around the corner. Honestly, when we did "Temptation Island," the couples did not know what was going to happen next, next, next, until the show started to escalate. And so I think it's just sort of part and parcel of being on TV now and being famous, because of these reality shows.
CHUNG: Mike, how did you meet your wife? DARNELL: Funny enough, I told her I was a millionaire.
CHUNG: How much are you worth now?
DARNELL: Not enough. Not enough. No, you know what, Connie? The reality is, we grew up across the street from each other.
DARNELL: Yes, that's the truth.
CHUNG: Is that the sweetest?
DARNELL: Isn't that nice.
DARNELL: Can I say hi?
DARNELL: Hi, Carolyn (ph). I love you.
CHUNG: That's great. You just don't seem like the kind of guy who would have done that.
DARNELL: I know, but I am.
CHUNG: All right.
CHUNG: Thank you, Mike Darnell, so much.
DARNELL: Thank you. It's my pleasure. Thank you very much.
CHUNG: If I admit that I'm going to watch, do you think everybody going to think that's insane? No. You are going to love it, right?
DARNELL: No. And, in fact, it's on right after your show. So, everybody, please turn to Fox.
CHUNG: Oh, my God. How could you say that? No, no, take it back.
DARNELL: No, I can't.
DARNELL: Thanks, Connie.
CHUNG: Joining us now with, it's safe to say, a different take on these shows, we have Tammy Bruce, former president of the National Organization for Women in Los Angeles chapter, and the author of "The New Thought Police."
Tammy, tell us, what is your objection to this program and all of these reality programs?
TAMMY BRUCE, AUTHOR, "THE NEW THOUGHT POLICE": Hi, Connie. Sure. I appreciate being on your program.
The underlying message -- and the producer sounds like a nice enough guy, but what he said is true. This is about moving a notch up. And with these programs in particular, the underlying theme is the humiliation of women. And the problem is, they're looking at a demographic of young men. And both women and men lose here, because the message is that relationships are built on deceit, that courtship is built on certainly no ethics.
And, more importantly, young men are really being fed with a message that feeds their own suspicions about what women want, what they're interested in. And everyone loses as a result. We have to be, I think, a little bit more conscious of what we're watching and why we're watching it, because, really, right now in England, as an example, when we talk about pushing the envelope, there is going to be a program, a reality show, of performance art where a man eats the corpse of an infant.
CHUNG: Oh, no, you're kidding.
BRUCE: I'm not kidding. It's Channel 4 in England.
Now, if that's going to be performance art, a new reality, the reality is, Connie, I think, as you know -- you've been in a very long-term relationship -- these shows aren't reality. The best relationships are based on trust and knowing someone from across the street. And it really is setting up both young men and women for a hard fall and particularly affects, I think, the image of women in particular.
CHUNG: But are you concerned about men who are humiliated, too, on television?
BRUCE: Well, it's interesting. In these programs -- and we'll have to see how "The Bachelorette" goes, because I don't know -- with "The Bachelor," the man was being what I guess people expect and young men expect men to do, which is sleeping with a whole slew of women, up until the week before he asks another woman to marry him.
The men I know don't do that. And the reality is, this loser, as she's termed, who's the new "Bachelorette," is she then going to be termed a more derogatory word, because she then is going to sleep with all the men attracted to her? It really moves us into the "Jerry Springer," if you will, of nighttime television. They're cheap to produce. They're not reality.
They humiliate women. And I don't -- I've yet to see the men being humiliated all because -- if your target goal of a demographic is young men, you are not going to humiliate the man. I'll tell you that right now.
CHUNG: I'm delighted that you chose that particular talk show host.
BRUCE: I'll tell you, there's nothing wrong -- my book, "The New Thought Police," talks about the importance of ideas and communication and entertainment. At the same time, there can be some who attach certain levels of personal responsibility. It sounds like a young man who is the producer of this program. And he doesn't care about the responsibility. Perhaps he cares about the money.
CHUNG: I don't know. He didn't look that young to me, Tammy. You couldn't see him.
BRUCE: I couldn't see it.
CHUNG: A lot of lines on his face.
BRUCE: We have a responsibility in the marketplace to decide...
CHUNG: Do you think that you're taking this a little too seriously? Because, if these people want to look dumb and stupid and goofy on television, so what? It's their fault.
BRUCE: They've made this choice, absolutely.
As an activist and as a writer and a feminist, I know the impact on everyone else outside of that program watching.
CHUNG: I see. Yes.
BRUCE: And just like advertisers know what 30 seconds can do when it comes to influence, young men are being told right now: Women want to be humiliated. Lying is part of courtship. Women can't be trusted. And they should be made fools of.
CHUNG: All right, Tammy Bruce, I appreciate your view, and quite valid, indeed.
BRUCE: My pleasure. Thank you, Connie. CHUNG: And speaking of reality TV, in our "Snapshot" tonight: A new book makes some claims about the reality of President Bush.
(voice-over): The former Bush administration speechwriter who wrote the phrase axis of evil is reportedly riling the White House with a bit more name-calling. David Frum's forthcoming book says President Bush is tart and not nice and his staff lacks -- quote -- "really high-powered brains."
As United Air Lines tightens its belt, its passengers will be tightening theirs. United is drastically scaling back food service in first class.
The American Dialect Society has voted weapons of mass destruction word of the year. The society chairman says you can't turn on the radio or TV anymore without hearing that one.
"The Two Towers," the second movie in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, has topped North American box office receipts for a third weekend.
Leaning heavily on Beatles songs, Paul McCartney performed the top-grossing concert tour of 2002. He took in $103 million.
And some Japanese celebrated the new year last week flying kites at an imperial palace, a tradition that goes back centuries.
ANNOUNCER: Still ahead: Who will be our "Person of the Day"?
CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT will continue in a moment.
CHUNG: He's a teacher and a coach, but his unique motivational technique makes him our "Person of the Day."
Coach Jim Tressel's Ohio State Buckeyes are college football's champions today, after defeating Miami's Hurricanes in a thrilling double-overtime game. Credits the players, of course, but how did the coach get his players so fired up to win?
Reportedly, Tressel told his players if they did what he and his coaches said, they would win, and, if they did, he would change his hairstyle from conservative to cornrows. Now, who's to say that this isn't just what the kids needed to fire them up? We presume Coach Tressel will keep his part of the bargain. He hasn't been seen in the barbershop yet, but this is what he might look like. What do you think?
CHUNG: For his hair-raising win and for his team's national championship, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel is our "Person of the Day."
And tomorrow: sexual abuse by clergymen, what if it wasn't just children? Tomorrow, the shocking claims by American nuns.
And coming up next on "LARRY KING LIVE": the creator of the Atkins diet, Dr. Robert Atkins.
Thank you so much for joining us. And for all of us at CNN, good night.
And stay on CNN. Don't you go over to Fox.
See you tomorrow.
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