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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Police Investigate New England Double Murder; Gang of Thieves; A Life Changed By Cosmetic Surgery
Aired January 27, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, all, for joining us tonight. Good evening.
Tonight, the baffling murder of a mother and daughter, and shock in a peaceful New England town.
ZAHN (voice-over): Outside the law -- a heartbreaking double murder that stunned a community and devastated a family -- tonight, crime in a setting that seemed picture-perfect.
The "Eye Opener" -- a gang of thieves caught on tape. Forget everything you think you know about shoplifters. Just wait until you see this amazing video of brazen gangs stealing while you shop.
DAVID HILL, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE: We recovered $40,000 worth of merchandise.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a single hour?
HILL: In a single hour.
ZAHN: How do they get away with it?
A life changed. She was an award-winning anchorwoman at the height of her career.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. It is Friday, August 9.
But you won't believe how her life changed when she went in for routine cosmetic surgery -- tonight, her amazing story.
ZAHN: Tonight, we begin with a search for a killer on the loose and a sensational crime where you would least expect to find it.
Police are sifting through clues in the murder of a mother and her baby in a quiet suburb of Boston -- their dead bodies basically found wrapped around each other. But the small-town case is making even headlines overseas, where police have now spoken with the woman's husband. And Scotland Yard is involved.
They're not calling him a suspect now, but, if they do, it would leave family and friends of the victims dumbfounded. Jason Carroll has been working on this story all day. And he has just filed this report for tonight's "Outside the Law."
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were, it seemed, a portrait of a happy family. Neil Entwistle and his wife Rachel's Web site chronicled each special occasion, their trips, the baptism of their baby girl, Lillian, the comfortable life they all shared in this home in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, about an hour west of Boston.
They had planned a dinner party last Saturday night. But, when the guests arrived, no one answered.
(on camera): Rachel's mother, who lives not far away, became suspicious and called police. Police came here to the house and, once inside, they say they didn't see anything suspicious. Entwistle's friends came back the next day on Sunday. And, once they were inside, they say they didn't see anything wrong either.
(voice-over): But when police went back later that night, they found the bodies of Rachel, 27, and Lillian, just nine months old, under the covers in the master bedroom, the same bedroom police and Entwistle's friends had checked before. Both had been shot.
MARTHA COAKLEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Police have said that, we do not believe this was random. There was no sign of a forced entry or any sign of burglary.
CARROLL: Missing from the scene, 27-year-old Neil Entwistle. Police say he left for England within 48 hours of the murders. Investigators say he's not a suspect, but do say they have a -- quote -- "high level of interest in him."
Now news reports say Entwistle has agreed to come back to the United States.
(on camera): Are there any plans to contact him again?
(voice-over): Margaret Kirk (ph), a spokeswoman for police in Nottinghamshire, a county north of London where Entwistle grew up, says police there have been in contact with him for the past several days. They offered to drive him to the U.S. Embassy in London to speak with authorities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have actually driven him down there. And, I mean, I would say we still are in contact with him in that sense.
CARROLL (on camera): You have no idea if -- if he will be speaking with detectives from the U.S.?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not -- you know, ours isn't really to ask what it is he's going to do down there, just that, you know, wherever he's going, he gets there safely. CARROLL (voice-over): Detectives from the Hopkinton Police Department left Wednesday night for England. Their case has drawn media attention...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight, detectives are on the trail of Neil Entwistle.
CARROLL: ... on two continents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new twist in the murder of...
CARROLL: Newspapers trying to find any leads about what happened to this seemingly happy family.
Neighbors who knew them don't have a clue. They told us the couple met while attending York University in England. Entwistle's mother was described as overjoyed when her son announced he was marrying the American girl from Massachusetts.
PAULINE MOORE, NEIGHBOR: I can remember talking about when they got married and how excited she was.
CARROLL: But police are investigating Entwistle's business ventures. The online auction site eBay says he failed to deliver a number of items he sold on the site.
He also ran what authorities say may have been a pyramid scheme, linked to Internet pornography, an operation investigators have shut down -- still, no motive, no suspects. For now, there is at least one man police still want to talk to.
Jason Carroll, Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
ZAHN: So, just where is this case heading tonight?
Joining me now, chief investigative reporter for "The Boston Herald," Dave Wedge.
Good of you to join us.
So, we see investigators not only stumped in New England at this hour, but England as well. What do you think are the -- the most burning questions tonight that have to be answered here?
DAVE WEDGE, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE BOSTON HERALD": Well, there is a -- there is a lot of questions here that need to be answered, Paula, chief among them being, why didn't the police see these bodies when they went into the house on Saturday?
Middle sex district attorney Martha Coakley is saying that the mother and the child were killed some time Friday night or Saturday morning. Police went in that house on Saturday, never saw the bodies. Same goes for some friends that went into the house on Sunday morning. They didn't see the bodies as well. The bodies weren't discovered until Sunday.
And, so, it raises the question, were the bodies there? Did they just not see them? Another question is, the door was locked when investigators went to the house on Sunday. So, that -- those are just some of the questions among many.
ZAHN: So, this case is captivating for a whole number of reasons. But you have had the opportunity through your reporting staff to talk with members of the Entwistle family, friends who knew this young couple when they just moved to this neighborhood. What are they telling you about how they lived?
WEDGE: Well, they -- they -- they haven't been in the United States very long. As your reporter said, they met in England at York University. And they moved to Carver, Massachusetts, which is down near Plymouth.
They actually got married. And part of the ceremony was at Plymouth Plantation, which is where Plymouth Rock is located. And they -- they -- they lived with her parents in Carver, Massachusetts. Ten days before the murders, they moved into this new home that they rented in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, which is west of Boston.
It's a very expensive home that they were renting, around $2,700 a month. And they were both unemployed. So, that's another wrinkle in the case, is perhaps there was some financial strain going on in the marriage -- the marriage.
ZAHN: And, then, tell us what else you can add to those reports that Neil Entwistle was involved in some shady Web and porn business, and how that enters into this investigation.
WEDGE: Yes, he was -- he was running a very successful and lucrative Internet business.
But it turns out that basically what he was selling was get-rich- quick schemes. And, around January 6, several of his customers complained that he hadn't been delivering what he had been delivering -- delivering.
And he had been, by all accounts his business was doing very well up until that point. And, all of a sudden, he started getting negative feedback. And eBay actually shut down his site and stopped him from selling the materials he was selling.
And now investigators are talking to those people about perhaps a possible link to this whole situation of maybe there was a disgruntled customer out there that might have some information about this situation.
ZAHN: Certainly, lots of little leads leading in different directions tonight.
Dave Wedge, thank so much for your update.
WEDGE: It is a real mystery. It is. ZAHN: Yes, it certainly is.
WEDGE: Thank you.
ZAHN: And there is going to be much more on this chilling case on "LARRY KING LIVE" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.
But coming up next, I am going to speak with a woman whose persistence with police may have rescued a child from horrible abuse. What tipped her off?
Also, some amazing video of shoplifters in action, gangs that cost businesses billions every year.
And, then, a little bit later on, for the first time, we are hearing from the woman who received the world's first face transplant. How is she doing now?
And that video doesn't relate to that story, but you will actually see for the first time how she looked prior to that hideous accident she had, when her dog mauled her.
But, first, more than 18 million of you checked out our Web site today. So, let's get right down to our countdown of the top 10 most popular stories on CNN.com. At number 10, the president's poll numbers -- a majority of you consider his second term a failure so far. That's according to the latest CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll.
At number nine, incredible video from four men who rode out Hurricane Katrina on a shrimp boat in southeast Louisiana and lived to not only tell us the tale, but show you the tale. And you can state it by going to the "Watch Video" of our Web site.
Stay right there. We have got a lot more ahead, plus seven and eight on our countdown.
ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, a respected and beautiful anchorwoman goes in for routine surgery, but she never expected what would happen next. Her story in just a little bit.
And last night, we brought you the story of one woman who had the courage and persistence to act on her suspicion and rescue a troubled little girl. We also showed you a video that, at first glance, might not catch any of our eyes. But it happens to be a very key element in this story, a story about a couple suspected of leaving behind a trail of child abuse. And now authorities are scouring the country for anyone who may have encountered these two people.
David Mattingly has the latest from Alabama.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRACIE DEAN, REPORTED CHILD TO POLICE: I would like to report a strange -- a strange incident involving a child.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This scene in a gas station at Evergreen, Alabama, is what led Tracie Lee Dean to call police. You can hear the concern in her voice in the worried 911 call.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DEAN: After a few minutes, I was like, OK, why is this little girl wandering around by herself? Because it had been a good five minutes. And I said, does your mommy work here? And she said, no. And then this man was like, Elizabeth (ph), are you trying to find a new mommy?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: It was this little girl you see here in the surveillance video and her brief encounter with Dean that started this one woman's crusade and ended this one little girl's nightmare.
DEAN: I have seen that look before, that blank look, that -- that there is something missing. I call it -- I consider it like they're missing love.
MATTINGLY: Police followed up on Dean's 911 call and went to the gas station.
TRACY HAWSEY, CONECUH COUNTY, ALABAMA, SHERIFF: The clerk said that she knew these people, that they frequent the store, that they come in a good bit, and that the older gentleman is the grandfather of the little girl.
MATTINGLY: Even though she was back home in Georgia, Tracie took matters into her own hands. On a Web site for abducted children, she thought she had found a match. A 300-mile drive back to Evergreen put her back in that store, looking at their surveillance tapes.
Police were brought in and visited the family at their trailer park, where they arrested the man who raised Tracie Dean's suspicions. Jack Wiley is charged with sex crimes against the 3-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy who lived with him. Wiley's companion, Glenna Faye Cavender, is charged with child abuse. Both are now behind bars.
The children are in protective custody. Neighbors in a trailer park where they lived for the past month or so are shaken.
ERICA FOSTER, NEIGHBOR: He just kept saying, well, if you ever need a baby-sitter, we can watch them.
MATTINGLY: Local authorities are canvassing the area and interviewing local children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have got possibly some other kids in that area that had some contact with Mr. Wiley. MATTINGLY: The next step is a DNA test to determine the two children's real parents and a national search to find any other children this couple might have encountered.
MATTINGLY: Investigators say that their work is being hampered by the large number of aliases that Jack Wiley may have used over the years. They have confirmed, they say, however, that he was at one time wanted on an arson charge from San Diego, California, dating back to the '70s.
They say they have also spoken to a woman in Phoenix, Arizona, who claims to be his wife. She says -- she tells investigators that he left her years ago. In the time they were together, she says she saw no evidence of child abuse, so this mystery just beginning to unfold -- Paula.
ZAHN: And we will be counting on you to keep on top of it. David Mattingly, thanks.
And just a little bit earlier, I spoke with Tracie Dean and, from Evergreen, Alabama, the deputy who actually helped her, Brian Davis.
ZAHN: So, Tracie, we know that there was something in this little girl's face that didn't look right to you. Describe to us exactly what you found haunting or unusual.
DEAN: Well, when I walked into this gas station, and this small child is alone, that's a big red flag. And then, when I said hello to her, I noticed that she appeared a little bit startled that someone had actually said something to her in a warm way.
It was like a -- she really didn't know whether to say hi back or not. And so that's when I bent down and said, does your mommy work here? Because I figured, surely, her mom must work here. And she said no. At that time, a man from across the room said, Elizabeth (ph). And then he walked over to her and said, are you trying to find a new mommy?
It just, you know, very tense.
Deputy Davis what was it about Tracie's description that got you to take this so seriously?
DEPUTY BRIAN DAVIS, CONECUH COUNTY, ALABAMA, SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Well, she was very persuasive in the way she told her story. And one major thing was, she had drove all the way back from Atlanta, after she had gotten off of work.
ZAHN: So, what happened in that four-day period? You have called 911. You are stubborn. You are not going to let go of this. You really think you see something disturbing.
ZAHN: Could you sleep?
DEAN: I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up thinking about it. I think what happened in Alabama was probably a poor judgment call on someone's behalf, not to take it farther than they should have.
But what is more concerning is that I contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I contacted the Ohio Police Department, that I thought the detective involved in the case -- I thought the little girl was -- I contacted that -- that department directly. And I contacted on Thursday, finally, the Alabama Bureau of Investigators and said...
ZAHN: And nothing happened...
DEAN: Nothing happened.
ZAHN: ... until you drove several hundred miles...
DEAN: And I said...
ZAHN: ... back to the store.
DEAN: I said, please, go check the video surveillance. Go get the little red cowboy hat she was playing with and check her fingerprints. I will be easily proved wrong. But, instead, I had to get in the car, drive 300 miles to prove myself right.
ZAHN: And, Tracie, a final word of advice to all of us who are whirling around pretty darn fast and might not even have noticed that very empty look in this young girl's face.
DEAN: If you think that you have suspected something, then you need to follow it through, because I truly believe that this very well may have been this little girl's one chance.
ZAHN: Well, we appreciate both of you sharing your story with us tonight. Good luck to both of you.
DEAN: Thank you.
ZAHN: Thank you.
ZAHN: And, coming up next, criminals in action -- shocking videotape of shoplifting gangs ripping off stores. You won't believe how easy they make it look. It happens pretty darn fast, too.
And, a little bit later on, what does the world's first face transplant recipient have to say two months after her surgery? We are going to find out exactly that in her first U.S. interview.
Right now, though, a look at our top countdown stories tonight. Number 10 of the poll, President Bush's poll numbers, number nine, the shrimpers who rode out Katrina on their boat and took lots of videotape as well.
Coming in at number eight, the 7.7 undersea earthquake just off the coast of eastern Indonesia. Officials say no there was no danger of tsunami.
And, number seven, protests in the wake of Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections -- thousands of supporter of the party that lost the election demonstrated in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. We have got five and six for you on the countdown coming right up.
Please stay with us.
ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, check out closely what happened on the screen here today. What went wrong on the set of "All My Children"? Who got hurt?
And now take a look at this surveillance tape just released today. I think you're going to be pretty outraged by it. According to New York fire officials, this accused shoplifter stuffed clothes into her bag, then moments later, to cover her tracks and get away, actually used a lighter to set off a fire on the rack of clothes behind her. That woman is under arrest tonight, charged with doing that at several stores. And at this hour, she -- it appears that she appeared to be operating alone.
But you might be surprised, there are violent organized gangs of professional shoplifters who steal tons of merchandise. They do it right under the noses of security guards and shoppers, just like you and me. It costs businesses more than $30 billion a year.
Here's Deborah Feyerick with tonight's "Eye Opener."
FEYERICK (voice-over): Take a look at this surveillance video from a suburban shopping mall. This is no ordinary shoplifter. Just watch -- one, two, three pairs of shoes all stolen in less than a minute.
Now watch this woman, different store, different day, same technique. While her partner acts as a lookout, she slips box after box of perfume into a bag. Police call it "boosting," organized shoplifting carried out by trained gangs of professional thieves.
(on camera): How much merchandise are we talking about at any one time in an hour?
DETECTIVE DAVID HILL, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, POLICE DEPARTMENT: In an hour, we have made an apprehension where we recovered $40,000 worth of merchandise.
FEYERICK: In a single hour?
HILL: In a single hour.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) security officer is holding an adult male.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Maryland Detective David Hill heads the Montgomery County Police retail theft unit.
HILL: ... target high-end stores...
FEYERICK: We met Detective Hill at a mall, but agreed not to mention which one. Stores are desperately afraid of drawing unwanted attention from gangs.
(on camera): So, one person is stealing. One person is doing surveillance. What are their roles?
HILL: You have collectors, packers, ones that take it to the car, others that are watching their backs to make sure they're not being followed by security.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Authorities say the gangs that have made the biggest dent are largely from Latin and South America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My eyes never look down, always straight.
FEYERICK: This man, who we'll call "Carlos," says it's not unusual for his gang to hit seven malls in one day. He asked that we disguise his voice and face, afraid of retribution by those who run the criminal enterprise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are very dangerous, because, in their countries, they rob banks, they kidnap people. They're drug dealers. If you fail them or if you -- you do something against them, yes. These people is dangerous.
FEYERICK: Authorities don't know how many gangs there are or who runs them. Yet, police believe organized shoplifting has touched nearly every major retail chain in the country.
Joe LaRocca is with the National Retail Federation, the group that represents many major store owners.
JOE LAROCCA, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: They are targeting particular types of merchandise. They have an order list. And they're going out and stealing what's on their order list.
FEYERICK: You name it, police say, they will steal it, jeans, lingerie, iPods, baby formula, over-the-counter drugs. The demand is endless, stolen merchandise then sold online, or at discount shops that fuel a black market.
(on camera): It looks like they have just been shopping in the mall. FEYERICK (voice-over): Even with store clerks and shoppers around, it's surprisingly easy. Detective Hill showed us one of the tools the gangs use, boosting bags, ordinary shopping bags lined with foil to smuggle stolen merchandise out of a store.
(on camera): This is regular aluminum foil?
FEYERICK: Regular aluminum foil.
FEYERICK: So, somebody's put in a lot of work just to make this one bag.
HILL: Oh, yes.
HILL: And what that does is, when they walk out of the store with merchandise that has sensors on, the alarms will not be activated.
FEYERICK (voice-over): The bag also boosts the thieves' efficiency.
(on camera): So, then, I go over here and I'm just kind of looking at these jeans and then I can very easily just take it.
HILL: Come over.
FEYERICK: You put it into the bag.
HILL: Drop it right in.
And, while you pick it up -- now, this is interesting. So, you pick it up. Then you can effectively walk out.
HILL: I walk out, unless I want -- want more.
HILL: And they usually...
HILL: They're going to want this full.
FEYERICK (voice-over): This video command center at a major department store invited us to see this recent hit by a shoplifting gang. (on camera): The woman in the white looked back at her colleague.
HILL: She gives the OK. The coast is clear.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Here's how it works. While her partner trails her, the woman in white picks up a black shirt. She holds it up to block the security camera, then loads her bag with perfume. She passes the perfume to a third woman, who switches it to a different bag, and walks out of the store.
HILL: Over 40 items of perfume were taken. And it was just under $3,000 recovery was made.
FEYERICK (on camera): Not bad for eight minutes' work.
HILL: Not bad at all.
FEYERICK (voice-over): These women were caught. But even when police do make arrests, most of these thefts are treated as misdemeanors. The criminals get no more than 30 days in prison.
Stephen Chaikin prosecutes organized crime in Montgomery County, Maryland.
STEPHEN CHAIKIN, PROSECUTOR: When they get into the court system, since they have multiple names and Social Security numbers, it's often hard to know who we're dealing with. And, sometimes, they bond out. They get out of jail. We never see them again.
FEYERICK: The other reason shoplifting has turned epidemic, because of their competitiveness, stores are notoriously secretive, sometimes, even refusing to alert mall security or a store next door. That's now changing.
(on camera): So, basically, this database allows the stores to talk to each other.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Stores have joined together to create a national crime database. Retailers that are targeted can now post information, like the type of crime, where and how it was committed, and a description of the criminal.
LAROCCA: We need to be able to go after these individuals. We need to put them behind bars for their crimes. And we need to keep them out of our retail stores.
FEYERICK: Carlos, who was recently arrested and is now awaiting trial, says it's not so much the individual, but the gang leaders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people, I don't think they're going to stop.
FEYERICK: And even stores and police acknowledge, it will take a very long time to bring organized shoplifting under control.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Maryland.
ZAHN: And with the rise of these so-called super-shoplifters, big retailers like Sears and the Gap are fighting back with their own special investigative team.
Still, they prefer to keep their operations low-key and their strategies a secret. I don't blame them.
Still ahead tonight, she was a beautiful and respected TV anchor who went in for routine surgery. You are not going to believe what happened next.
And, then, she made history two months ago as the first person ever to receive a partial face transplant. So, how is she doing now? We are going to hear what she's saying in her first U.S. interview.
First, though, number six in our CNN.com countdown. The city of Los Angeles is suing the makers of the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" for allegedly hiding porn inside the game and failing to warn buyers of that.
Number five, the fight in the Senate over Supreme Court nominee judge Samuel Alito. Democratic Senator John Kerry is pushing for a filibuster to block the nomination. And he's getting some support for from some of his fellow Democrats in the Senate -- the confirmation vote scheduled for next week.
We have got number four on the countdown coming up for you. Please stay with us.
ZAHN: And there is a lot more ahead in this half hour coming to our busy control room, including the shocking story of what happened to this beautiful anchorwoman, who went in for what she thought was going to be routine surgery.
Also, what is the world's first face transplant patient saying about her challenge? She's giving her first U.S. interview, and we'll share that with you.
And then a little bit later on, some amazing video. What went wrong on the set of "All My Children."
Surgery, let's face it, can be pretty darn scary. You just never know. But the truth is, for most procedures, the chance of something going wrong is quite small. Face-lifts, for example. Well over 100,000 Americans a year take that risk, and most probably worry about the money they're spending, or maybe if they're being too vain, not if their world might come crashing down on them, as it did for award- winning TV anchor and reporter Mary Nissenson.
MARY NISSENSON: From the second I opened my eyes, the agony was so extreme, so excruciating. I wanted to kill myself that second. If somebody handed me a gun, I would have used it.
ZAHN: A 24-hour journey from the top of the world to the depths of despair.
NISSENSON: Good morning. It's Friday, August 9th.
ZAHN: At 42, she was a veteran TV reporter and award-winning documentary filmmaker.
NISSENSON: Hello, I'm Mary Nissenson.
ZAHN: Professionally, she was reaching her peak. Personally, she was the happiest she had ever been: A newlywed. She and her husband were about to start a family. But she says there was one thing holding her back.
NISSENSON: I got very hung up on this concept that at 42, maybe I was going to look more like a grandmother than a mother. Underneath all of that was this fear that if I let myself age naturally, this handsome young husband of mine would stray.
ZAHN: There was also the added incentive of looking younger on TV. And that career in television, 21 years of experience in medical documentaries, was helpful as Mary researched her doctor's credentials, the potential pitfalls and complications of her face- lift.
NISSENSON: I did tons of research. I asked him all the questions you're supposed to ask. All of them.
ZAHN: But despite all that, something went terribly wrong. She knew it as soon as she woke up from the surgery.
NISSENSON: I felt like someone had put a skullcap on my head. It is like they were turning the screws and tightening it. I could practically feel my bones being crushed. I was so exquisitely sensitive to light and to sound. The sound of a piece of candy being unwrapped would set off a near seizure.
ZAHN: In most cases, patients are off painkillers and back to their normal lives about two weeks after a face-lift. But for Mary, it was quite different. Weeks passed, and despite the support of her husband and friends, Mary became a prisoner to her pain, spending day after day at home in a dark, silent room.
Ironically, she says that she loved the way the face-lift looked, but she was unable to work, or even leave her home. She begged her surgeon for help.
NISSENSON: I went in and told him the pain medicine he had given me wasn't enough anymore. And actually, he started yelling at me. I shouldn't still be taking the pain medicine, I was going to grow dependent on it, blah, blah, blah. And I started weeping.
ZAHN: Two months after the surgery, she says the pain was as bad as ever, and she still didn't know why.
NISSENSON: I seem to be having more of the migraine-related pain.
ZAHN: Specialists at last provided an answer. A little known nervous system reaction called reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or RSD. Dr. Tim Lubenow, director of the Pain Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago didn't perform her surgery, but is Mary's doctor.
DR. TIMOTHY LUBENOW, PAIN SPECIALIST: This is a condition that more often would affect an extremity, like an arm or a leg, but it can involve the head and face, as it has in Mary's condition.
ZAHN: RSD is something of a medical mystery. It is impossible to know just how many patients may suffer from it. It can happen after a minor trauma or surgery of any kind, even something as routine as getting a tooth pulled. There is some evidence that RSD can be treated if diagnosed immediately. But for Mary, diagnosis came two months after her face-lift, and doctors still don't know what causes it.
NISSENSON: That's when in the beginning, I was hoping that it was all just part of the recovery process. But then, the days and weeks went on.
ZAHN: RSD is so rare in the face that some plastic surgeons are completely unaware of it and never even mention it to their patients.
Dr. Alan Gold is a plastic surgeon and associate professor of surgery at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
DR. ALAN GOLD, PLASTIC SURGEON: Such an uncommon occurrence, certainly even more uncommon after elective cosmetic surgery.
ZAHN: So uncommon that Dr. Gold has never even mentioned the possibility of RSD to any of his patients. And neither the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, nor the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommend that doctors mention it at all.
GOLD: It's that uncommon. Not predictable, and not preventable.
ZAHN: Not predictable, not preventable, and in some cases incurable.
(on camera): When did you reach your lowest point?
NISSENSON: When they finally told me, they said, look, if it were going to get better, it would have by now. And we have done some tests. And it appears the damage is quite permanent.
So I took too many pills, and then I got into bed, not just hoping, expecting to die. And fortunately, I was an idiot and didn't realize that I was already on so much medication that to kill myself, I would have had to take four or five times what I took.
ZAHN: So you had built up a resistance to this stuff over a period of time.
NISSENSON: Right. So the next morning, I most unhappily opened my eyes again.
ZAHN: Mary survived the suicide attempt. Her marriage didn't. In addition to RSD, Mary says she suffers from nerve entrapment and cluster migraines, both conditions Mary says began after the surgery.
Mary's plastic surgeon has denied any wrongdoing, and Mary initiated a medical malpractice lawsuit against her surgeon, but later dropped the case.
Alone and in pain, Mary says her only hope was a daily diet of powerful prescription drugs, under the constant supervision of a pain specialist.
NISSENSON: During the course of the day, 90 milligrams of morphine every four hours, 12 pills just starting off in the morning. Another collectively probably 30, 35 pills. Then, depending on how bad things are, intramuscular injects. It's a lot of meds. If you had it, were in a car accident, and you were taken to the hospital, they would give you in the emergency room probably 15 milligrams of morphine to start. OK, so I take 90 four times a day.
ZAHN: And Mary says her medical insurance doesn't cover pain resulting from cosmetic surgery. It was an elective procedure. So the price of every pill, every shot, every doctor's visit comes from Mary's savings.
Today, she lives on her disability insurance and some money from her jewelry business.
But Mary has learned to cope. Ten years after that fateful surgery, Mary has proven that she is a survivor.
NISSENSON: The best thing about the human spirit is that it is incredibly resilient, and you can survive. You can survive almost anything.
ZAHN: And we wanted to remind you that the vast majority of plastic surgeries go smoothly. Again, what happened to Mary is rare, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't shop carefully for a doctor who is board-certified in plastic surgery.
Coming up next, she received the world's first face transplant. Now hear what she is saying in her first U.S. interview.
And check out this frightening video from the set of "All My Children." Something went terribly wrong. What happened?
And before that, here's number four on our countdown of the top stories on cnn.com today. About 18 million hits in all. Doctors say Sago mine disaster survivor Randy McCloy is moving, standing up, with some assistance, and actually making some sounds. McCloy was moved to a rehab center earlier this week.
Don't go away. We've got number three straight ahead. We'll be right back.
ZAHN: Are we making you dizzy with our Columbus Circle pictures there tonight?
Few of us ever could forget the attention-grabbing news last night about a woman who received the world's very first partial face transplant. Now just two months later, she's given her first interview to "People" magazine. It hits the newsstands today. And in a minute, we're going to talk to a senior editor at "People" about exactly what she had to say about what she is facing now.
Btu first, here is a look at her incredible transformation.
ZAHN (voice-over): These are the first pictures of Isabelle Dinoire, the woman who made medical history last November. After being mauled by her dog, she was the first person ever to undergo a partial face transplant. Dinoire's new face came from a braindead woman, a 46-year-old school teacher, who we have now learned was named Mary Lynn St. Obert (ph). French doctors operated on Dinoire for 15 hours, carefully connecting her muscles, veins, arteries and nerves to her new nose, mouth and chin. At a recent news conference, Isabelle's doctor says she's doing well, but acknowledged it will take several more months for her to fully recover. And of course, there is still a possibility that Dinoire's body will reject her new face.
Even if a recovery does go well, Dinoire will have to take anti- rejection medication for the rest of her life and deal with the emotional challenges of living with a new face.
ZAHN: Now, as I mentioned, Isabelle Dinoire has given her first U.S. interview to "People" magazine. That issue hit newsstands today. And joining me now is "People" senior editor, Patrick Rogers. Thanks so much for joining us.
PATRICK ROGERS, SR. EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: My pleasure.
ZAHN: So in your story, you describe that her physical recovery is going fine. But her emotional recovery is a different story. How is she doing?
ROGERS: She told us that it's not -- the things that she's been hearing about herself in the press, how well she's doing, well, it is not always the case. There is bad days, there is good days. And what there is every day is isolation. She's tired of being in this hospital room in Lyon, France by herself.
ZAHN: What about physical pain? Is she putting up with that?
ROGERS: Well, there is probably not much physical pain. In fact, the problem is that she has no sensation in her face. That her lips are completely numb. She's able to eat. She eats strawberries, chocolate cake, some of her favorite foods. She's even able to have the odd glass of wine without dribbling. But you have to bear in mind she can't actually move her lips. So it must be very strange for her, that sort of half of her face is working, yet the part that you see, the lips, that's all pretty much dead in terms of sensation. The doctors hope the sensation will come back, but it is not there yet.
ZAHN: And for the first time, "People" magazine is showing us what she looked like before the operation. We've seen some of the post-surgery pictures. Is she happy with her new face?
ROGERS: She is happy with her new face. She has called her new face beautiful. So there is no problem -- she's happy to have a new face. And you read here in the press, there is a lot of speculation about identity issues, like what is it like to live with another woman's face? But we're told that for patients like this, they're not worried about that. They have already lost their face. So they're very enthusiastic about having a new face, any face, and that seems to be the case here. She has called her face beautiful.
ZAHN: But the other big concern doctors have right now is the fact that she is chain-smoking against their orders. How might this compromise her recovery physically and...
ROGERS: Well, it could have physical results. Smoking restricts the oxygen flow in your blood. And when you have like a large graft, like basically the bottom half of your face has been reattached, you need full blood flow, oxynated blood flow, to help in that recovery.
ZAHN: So obviously the doctors are upset that she's smoking, because that can compromise a lot of things. But they are finally allowing flowers into her room, which were forbidden as well at one point.
ROGERS: Believe it or not. The patient had been sent a lot of flowers as a get-well gesture, and until now she couldn't even have them. But they are allowing the flowers in the room.
The concern before was that flowers might make her sneeze, the sneezing would upset their work, the doctor's work.
ZAHN: So when do you think she'll ever be able to go home?
ROGERS: Well, that's the big unknown for us and also for the patient. We know she wants to go home desperately, but her doctors won't tell her when.
ZAHN: Patrick Rogers, thanks for the update. Appreciate it.
ROGERS: My pleasure. ZAHN: And we're moving up on about 11 minutes before the top of the hour. "LARRY KING LIVE" comes up then, and he's going to give us a preview right now. Hey, Larry. How are you doing?
LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: We it again.
ZAHN: What did we do, Larry?
ZAHN: We did. Not just average, ordinary green.
KING: Sparkling green.
ZAHN: Sparkling green.
KING: We came on with it strong.
What we have going on here, folks, is that we wear matching colors every night. It's become a kind of theme, and people are picking up on it all over the country, guessing if we'll -- one of us will forget.
We've got an amazing story tonight, Paula, at the top of the hour. A murder occurs in Salt Lake City, a 2-year-old is killed in the house. Living in the house are the mother and her live-in boyfriend. The live-in boyfriend is charged with the crime. He is found not guilty. And years later comes into the police station and says, I did it.
Can't do anything to him. Double jeopardy. Tonight, we have the police captain, the prosecutor, the mother, and our experts on the defense and prosecution side. It's an incredible story. We'll get to it at the top of the hour, Paula.
ZAHN: That mother's pain is absolutely incredible. Living with this frustration now of what she has to endure. Larry, thanks so much. Have a good show.
KING: (INAUDIBLE) Monday? What are you wearing Monday?
ZAHN: How about something I know you probably don't own, fabulous fuchsia. Get shopping.
KING: OK, I'll find something.
ZAHN: That's like hot pink.
KING: Fuchsia. Oh, oh, trust me, I have fuchsia.
ZAHN: All right. See you Monday.
KING: OK, don't forget. ZAHN: When we come back, we're going to take you to a terrifying accident on the set of a popular soap opera. What went wrong on "All My Children."
Right now, though, we move on to number three on our cnn.com countdown. A story our medical unit is working on about kids with a rare disease that makes them virtually unable to feel any pain at all. There's a lot more ahead, including number two on our countdown. You'll never guess what it is. About 18 million of you voted on this list tonight.
ZAHN: And now your vote counts. Your choice for number two on today's countdown of the top 10 stories on cnn.com. When you hear the words "soap opera," you may not immediately think special effects. But on the set of "All My Children" earlier this week, there was an explosion. It turns out it was bigger and more serious than it was supposed to be. The host of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" A.J. Hammer was there on the set when it happened.
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT (voice-over): This amazing "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" exclusive video is a special effects explosion gone wrong. Precautions were taken. The scene had been rehearsed for a week, and a fire marshal and emergency medical workers were on the set during the taping. But four stunt people ended up hurt during the staged explosion.
A spokesman for "All My Children" says three of these individuals were treated for minor injuries and were back on set later that day. A fourth stunt person is currently hospitalized, but is expected to be released tomorrow.
I was on the set during the blast, initially unaware of the injuries. We thought everything went according to plan.
Watch the tape again. This woman was extremely close to the center of the explosion. The blast apparently knocked her backward. Here she is right after the stunt. Emergency workers helped her walk off the set.
None of "All My Children's" leading cast members were present on set during the pyrotechnic stunt. Only professional stunt people were allowed in the scene. The explosion stunt was planned as part of an upcoming Mardi Gras-related episode "All My Children" was shooting for the ratings sweep week. Despite the accident, the episode is set to air on February 13th.
HAMMER: Now, I should point out that as scary as that explosion appeared to be, that was the effect that they were going for. As I mentioned, I was standing right there when they did light it up. And they apparently, as far as I was able to tell, took every possible precaution. And Paula, as I imagine these stunt people well know, when you're setting up to do a stunt like that, there is always the chance that somebody is going to get hurt.
ZAHN: And that's certainly the risk they took. A.J. Hammer, thanks for the update. Glad you're OK.
HAMMER: I'm fine.
ZAHN: Larry King is coming up at the top of the hour. He's going to have more on our lead story tonight, the murder mystery in a small Massachusetts town, with the investigation now spreading to England. We'll be right back.
ZAHN: Now it's time to get your take on some of our stories here.
Last night, we told you about the growing black market for human breast milk. You heard from some of the women selling it, as well as from some moms who fed their children breast mill from other women -- in most cases, strangers. Here's what one of you wrote to us. "This is one of the most incredibly ignorant and risky things that people can do. If we won't even let our children eat Halloween candy unless it's wrapped in the original packaging, how can any parent in good conscience give their child milk from some unknown breast?"
Please send us your thoughts on tonight's stories and leave us a voicemail, if that's easier for you, at 1-877-PAULA-NOW, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, number one in our countdown of the 10 most popular stories on cnn.com: Golden Globe-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix walking away from a traffic accident unhurt after his car flips over on the road in L.A.
That's it for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. Have a great weekend.
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