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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Katrina: One Year Later; Fugitive Polygamist Leader Captured
Aired August 29, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Everyone, good evening.
We are back in New Orleans tonight, on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina -- tonight, a progress report and a sobering reality check on where this city and the Gulf Coast stands now, exactly one year later.
And, in Nevada, the search for one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives ends with the capture of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.
ANNOUNCER: Then and now: the horror of Katrina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But, when I pull the blinds back and looked out of it, all I seen was water.
ANNOUNCER: They were the first voices of desperation. Tonight, survivors remember the days of death.
Behind bars -- after months on the run, polygamist ruler Warren Jeffs is under arrest -- tonight, how the notorious fugitive went from the FBI's 10 most wanted to the back of the patrol car.
And free from polygamy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Living in these polygamist homes is like living in a police state.
ANNOUNCER: She was one of five wives to one husband, until one night, when she grabbed her children, and escaped the only life she ever knew.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Reporting live from New Orleans, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: And thanks for joining us.
It's a privilege to come to you tonight from New Orleans. Exactly one year ago today, a natural disaster slammed, head on, and it became a manmade disaster in this state, creating a catastrophe that drowned this city of New Orleans, drowned and destroyed much of the Gulf Coast, revealed failures at every level of government, and opened deep wounds that have still not healed.
To be sure, progress has been made since Katrina, but it has been slow, and, in some cases, virtually nonexistent. There is no better example than the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This is video after the levees broke. The area was annihilated. Water was everywhere, submerged under feet of it.
Survivors were left stranded, as you all know, surrounded by debris, and by death. That was then. This is what the Lower Ninth Ward is now, and it looks like time has virtually stood still. The water may be gone, but the devastation is still everywhere.
Before Katrina, 14,000 people called the Lower Ninth Ward home. Now, only a few thousand residents, maybe only a few hundred residents, have moved back, and, to this day, it remains a ghost town.
Over the last year, we have heard many promises about rebuilding the Gulf Coast and helping the great city of New Orleans rise again. Well, tonight we're going to put those words to the facts and let you judge if progress really has been made.
We begin tonight, however, with the reality of Katrina's horror and the images and stories that are seared into our collective memory.
CNN's Jeanne Meserve was one of the first journalists inside New Orleans to tell the world about the unimaginable suffering as it was just beginning to unfold.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been horrible. As I left tonight, darkness, of course, had fallen, and you can hear people yelling for help. You can hear the dogs yelping, all of them stranded, all of them hoping someone will come.
(voice-over): It is still horrible. The neighborhood is thick with the memory of death, the evidence of destruction, the reality of displacement.
But, a year ago, it was different, immediate, terrifying.
OLIVER THOMAS, NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: It was like a horror film. It was a New Orleans horror film.
MESERVE: City Council President Oliver Thomas drives us to the Eighth Ward, as he did a year ago. As the waters deepened that day, he said, "My city is dying." Water was up to the eaves of the houses.
THOMAS: I felt like it was the end of our world.
MESERVE (on camera): It's hard for me to comprehend how many people might be out there, and how many people's lives are in jeopardy, or how many people may already be dead.
(voice-over): Chris Mercadel launched his fishing boat in the floodwaters, and set out with friends could rescue whoever he could. His boat was one of a handful ferrying people to safety.
CHRIS MERCADEL, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: Where are the police boats? Where were they? I don't know. I'm still angry about it. I'm still hurt by it.
MESERVE: CNN cameraman Mark Biello went along to record the rescues, but repeatedly put down his camera to help.
MARK BIELLO, CNN SENIOR PHOTOJOURNALIST: This is as intense as Rwanda, Somalia.
MESERVE (on camera): He saw bodies, dogs wrapped in electrical -- electrical lines that were still alive, that were being electrocuted.
MESERVE: Mercadel and Biello went back to the neighborhood to remember, to remember the man who salvaged only his Bible.
MERCADEL: It could have been a possibility he's reading it. It could have been a possibility he thought he was going to die that night.
MESERVE (on camera): One man I talked to was barefoot. He hadn't had time to put on shoes.
Arthur white remembers, the water came up so quickly.
ARTHUR WHITE, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: When I pulled the blinds back and look out of it, all I seen was water.
MESERVE (voice-over): He realized there was only one direction to go.
WHITE: I pulled the ladder down and I got into the attic.
MESERVE: After hours on his roof, Mercadel's boat picked him up.
Later, Biello's camera caught something flashing, a piece of metal, a desperate signal. They hacked through the roof and found a couple in the attic, grasping an elderly man, almost submerged in the water beneath them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had already been holding on 13, 14 hours. I don't they could have done it much longer.
MESERVE: Other lives ended that night. The lives of those who survived and even those of us who witnessed are changed.
BIELLO: A lot of nightmares. It stays with you. It never goes away.
MESERVE (on camera): What are the nightmares about?
BIELLO: Could we have done more?
MESERVE: When you stand in the dark, and you hear people yelling for help, and no one can get to them, it's a totally different experience.
It's been a year.
MESERVE: Martha and David Ramie are back in the neighborhood, rejoicing at being reunited with friends, even laughing about the storm.
DAVID RAMIE, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: And my wife says, I have to save my shoes.
MESERVE: But, a year ago, they, too, were face to face with death. Martha snapped this picture from the attic of water just below them. Then, they saw Chris Mercadel's boat, their salvation.
Martha Ramie, New Orleans Resident: My thought was, my God, you know, I'm living. I have been saved. Someone has come.
MESERVE: Katrina reduced life to the fundamentals, and so many things went wrong. But, in some places, some people performed mighty deeds, and showed us all what is good, and strong, and right.
Jeanne Meserve, CNN, New Orleans.
COOPER: We will have much more on the one-year anniversary of Katrina in the hour ahead. And we will have a full hour about it on -- at 11:00 Eastern time, the second hour of 360.
We turn now to a developing story out of Nevada. Tonight, the massive manhunt for polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is finally over. The fugitive who was on the FBI's 10 most wanted list for months now, someone we have profiled numerous times, was arrested just outside of Las Vegas.
It was not a dramatic standoff that brought the self-proclaimed prophet of God to justice. It was a routine traffic stop.
CNN's Ted Rowlands was the first reporter to talk to the trooper who pulled Jeffs over. He has filed this exclusive report on his capture.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The FBI's manhunt for the prophet Warren Jeffs came to an end Monday night, just north of Las Vegas, when State Trooper Eddie Dutchover pulled over this burgundy 2007 Cadillac Escalade.
EDDIE DUTCHOVER, NEVADA STATE TROOPER: The vehicle didn't have no plates on it, had a temporary registration.
ROWLANDS: Jeffs, according to Trooper Dutchover, was in the back seat. His brother Isaac Jeffs was driving. In the far back, sitting alone, was one of Jeffs' wives, Naomi.
DUTCHOVER: Naomi was -- didn't say much of anything. She just kind of being quiet.
ROWLANDS: Trooper Dutchover says he immediately noticed, both brothers were nervous. He said Warren Jeffs was looking down, eating a salad, but his neck artery was pumping so hard, the trooper said he knew something was wrong.
DUTCHOVER: I noticed Warren was extremely nervous. He was sitting in that -- behind the right -- right front passenger side, and wouldn't make eye contact with me.
ROWLANDS: Trooper Dutchover separated the brothers and questioned them. Isaac Jeffs told him they were headed to Utah. Warren Jeffs said they were going to Denver, Colorado.
DUTCHOVER: There was a major discrepancy between their -- their stories.
ROWLANDS: At that point, the trooper called for backup. They searched the SUV. The troopers found three wigs, three iPods, several pairs of sunglasses, and more than $54,000 in cash tucked inside the lining of a suitcase. They also found cell phones, computers, a Bible, and letters addressed to the prophet Warren Jeffs.
DUTCHOVER: Guys on my team said, that -- that looks like him. I think we got him. I think that might be -- that might be Warren. I -- I think that, you know, after they removed his hat, they said, I think we -- this is him.
ROWLANDS: Asked for identification, Jeffs only offered a contact lens receipt from another state that identified him as someone else, authorities said. Isaac Jeffs told troopers his brothers' name was John Finley (ph).
But, when the FBI showed up, according to Trooper Dutchover, and asked Jeffs his name, he told them the truth.
DUTCHOVER: And he said his full name, Warren Steed Jeffs, and just kind of like, you know, sighed. And that was it. The agent looked at me. And we both looked at each other. And it was a -- a happy moment.
COOPER: A happy moment, indeed.
Ted, what -- what comes next for Warren Jeffs? What happens to him now?
ROWLANDS: Well, right now, he's behind me here at the Clark County Detention Center. He has a hearing at 9:30 Thursday morning in Las Vegas. At that point, he will most likely be extradited to either Utah or Arizona, if he doesn't fight it.
It's unclear which state will get him first. But it's assumed that both states will have a chance to try to prosecute him.
COOPER: Fascinating development. Ted, thanks.
Warren Jeffs spent 115 days on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. Here is the "Raw Data" on the FBI's program.
Jeffs is the 453rd person on the list to be captured. Since the 10 most wanted program began in March of 1950, there have been 482 fugitives on the list. One hundred and forty-seven of those caught have been found with help from private citizens, while the rest, like in the case of Jeffs, have been caught by law enforcement.
Warren Jeffs is behind bars tonight, as Ted said, but he is still a very elusive figure. The outside world has really only seen glimpses of him. But what we have watched and heard says much about his mysterious and very powerful life.
COOPER (voice-over): To his thousands of followers, Warren Jeffs is the chosen one, a prophet who speaks for God on Earth. To others who have studied his sect, he is pure evil.
JON KRAKAUER, AUTHOR, "UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN": He has the kind of pathology that would put him on a par with Joseph Stalin or Saddam Hussein. He's raped and sodomized many, many children, girls, women, and he's created this culture that -- that is damaging in its own right.
COOPER: Jeffs rules over the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Known as the FLDS, the group shuns the outside world, living a kind of "Twilight Zone" existence in sealed- off communities in Utah, Texas, Arizona, and British Columbia, building churches and waiting for judgment day.
GARY ENGELS, MOHAVE COUNTY INVESTIGATOR: These chosen people believe that they will be lifted up while God sweeps the Earth clean of the wicked people, and then they will be sent back down to rebuild the Earth.
COOPER: Those who left the FLDS describe chilling accounts of Warren Jeffs. He's all-powerful, believed to have dozens of wives himself, and picks what women church elders should take. In a rare audio recording made by a disgruntled member and obtained by a local radio station, Jeffs preached about first-time brides and obedience. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
W. JEFFS, POLYGAMIST LEADER: Many young men, when they receive their first wife, they're just so untrained. And the woman, if she's not careful, will be overbearing and always ask permission for what she wants. And, ladies, build up your husband by being submissive. That's how you will give your children the success. You will want your children to be obedient and submissive to righteous living.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Jeffs also spews hate, warning his believers of a wicked world.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
W. JEFFS: You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, or rude and filthy, uncomely, disagreeable, and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all of the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Brent Jeffs is the nephew of Warren Jeffs. Here's how he describes his uncle.
BRENT JEFFS, NEPHEW OF WARREN JEFFS: He puts on a front like he's a very nice man, a very giving man, very happy. But, underneath all that, he's very dark and very evil.
COOPER: Well, the world of polygamy is secretive and isolated, one that few outsiders really get to see.
Coming up next, we will talk with Jon Krakauer, author of the bestselling book that goes deep inside the communities. Find out what he has to say about Jeffs' capture, and who might be the church's new leader.
And what about those women and kids forced to live under the control of Warren Jeffs, literally reassigned to new husbands, sometimes? We will talk to one woman who escaped his sect -- when 360 continues.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
W. JEFFS: Dear wives, realizing happiness is only being a part and a strength to your husband. Get close to him. Confide in him. Don't let your former family be your total confidence. It should be your new husband. Turn to him with a full heart, and give him the opportunity to lead you right.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
Well, the creepy sermons of Warren Jeffs, disturbing words from the polygamist leader, fugitive until today.
We have been closely following all the developments concerning his arrest near Las Vegas.
One man who knows quite a bit about Jeffs, and probably about more -- more than anyone Jeffs, and, as well, as about polygamist communities, is author Jon Krakauer, author of the bestselling book "Under the Banner Of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith." It is a remarkable book. He joins us now from Boulder, Colorado.
Jon, what -- what did you think when you first heard Warren Jeffs was caught, and caught not in some violent end, but in a traffic stop?
KRAKAUER: I was overjoyed. It couldn't have turned out better. It was a huge surprise. And it's wonderful. It's the best possible outcome, for all kinds of reasons.
COOPER: It's interesting, because everyone we talked to in the past -- and you included -- had said, you know, he usually has this coterie of bodyguards following him wherever he went. What do you think happened?
KRAKAUER: It -- it -- I think he screwed up, in a big way.
I think, perhaps, you know, he knows that we know that he usually traveled in convoys of three SUVs, usually white, black, or tan, gold, sometimes. So, perhaps he thought he would be less conspicuous in a single vehicle of a different color. I don't know. It was a huge blunder.
I think, in large part, it might just be he's arrogant and assumed, sort of believing his own prophecies, that he was invincible, and the law couldn't get him, because he was protected by God. I -- I'm not sure what happened. But it's -- it's great. It's -- it's really good. Couldn't have turned out better.
COOPER: Great, because why? I mean, what -- what is it about Warren Jeffs that deserves this scrutiny, that deserves this attention, and deserves being put on the FBI's list? I mean, what -- what has he done that is so bad?
KRAKAUER: Well, he has -- he has -- he has damaged thousands of individuals, I mean, you know, by raping and sodomizing them, and just brutalizing them in all kinds of ways.
He has created a culture of -- of fear and misery that -- that's really, really sad. It's tragic. And it doesn't allow people to escape. He's very good at manipulating them. The culture is growing. He -- he's a dangerous man, any way you look at it. And it's good he's behind bars.
And it's -- it's amazing that they were able to get him there without harming or killing anyone. If they had killed him, which I thought was almost inevitable, he would have become a martyr. And that could have generated some very bad things.
As it is now, he's in -- he's going to be in jail. He's still the prophet. He's so egomaniacal, he's not going to give that up and hand over power to someone else. So, he won't be able to -- there will be no more marriages of underage girls, because he has that power, and he's not going to surrender it. He's -- he looks like a fool. He has been preaching that he's invincible. And, now, it's clear that he's not. I mean, from making phone calls today -- it's interesting -- many of his followers -- followers, at least on the lower echelons, don't even know he has been arrested, because they don't have contact with the outside world.
I'm not sure what his higher lieutenants think. They must be shocked and -- and freaked out that he's locked up. It's -- this is the one outcome that -- that they couldn't have predicted. I'm sure -- you know, I think -- I think law enforcement is prepared for this. But they -- you know, I'm sure they're a little wary.
It's possible his -- his most hard-core, fanatical followers are devoted enough, perhaps, to try to launch a jailbreak. And that would be -- that would be bad. I -- I can't imagine it succeeding.
COOPER: How do you...
KRAKAUER: And I -- I'm sorry. Go ahead.
COOPER: What -- what is it going to be like, trying to build a case -- what is it going to be like, trying to build a case against him? I mean, you have these very hostile communities. Investigators have been down there. Some -- one investigator, at least, has been living down in one of the communities, gathering evidence.
What is going to happen in the court? Because, in the past, Jeffs has instructed his other followers not to cooperate with courts, not to -- not to do anything in courts. You think he's going to follow his own advice?
KRAKAUER: I don't know what he will do.
He's a coward. And he's -- he looks out only for himself. So, he will do whatever he thinks will offer him the best chance of -- of getting out of this.
The case for him is going to be built -- right now, the state of Utah has one very brave, very courageous young woman who has agreed to testify. Now, she's in hiding. I don't want to say too much about her. But the -- the case she will present is -- is horrifying and compelling, and will put Jeffs away for a long time, even if it's just her.
Now, I suspect, now that he's in jail, others will come forward, in Utah and Arizona both perhaps, and perhaps other places, and be willing to testify, too. I -- I'm hoping that this will be sort of -- a cascade will -- will start now. And this is the end. I don't see how Warren can get out of this.
COOPER: Well, we will -- we will be watching.
Jon Krakauer, appreciate it. Again, thanks very much.
With Warren Jeffs finally behind bars tonight, a lot of people say it's time for justice to be served. Coming up a little later, we are going to hear from one of Jeffs' victims.
But, first, Rick Sanchez standing by in Atlanta with some of the other stories we're following tonight -- Rick.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It looks like some good news for the folks along South Florida, Anderson.
Tropical Storm Ernesto seems to have lost its punch, prompting weather forecasters to drop hurricane watches along the South Florida coastline. The storm crashed the Florida Straits with sustained winds of 45 miles an hour.
You're looking, in fact, at some live pictures that we're providing for you now. This is Key West, by the way, around the Florida Straits, where the storm appears to be fizzling. There looks to be just a little bit of rain. And, obviously, there's a little bit of traffic, but very little at this point. People have been told to pretty much stay off the roads, because, still, winds of 45 miles an hour can do some damage.
It's expected to move through the state as a weakened tropical storm -- certainly, good news for Florida residents. The state has been the victim of seven hurricanes since 2004.
The FAA today admitted that not enough air traffic controllers were on duty when a Comair jet crashed in Lexington, Kentucky, Sunday. Only one person was in the tower at the time. Now, the FAA rule for that particular airport is, two people need to be in the tower -- not certain whether an extra controller would have made a difference in this case.
The Comair jet crashed after taking off from the wrong runway that was, in fact, too short for the plane to get enough lift to get off the ground, experts say. Forty-nine people were killed. The lone survivor is the co-pilot who was flying the plane at the time.
And the prosecutor in the JonBenet Ramsey case is defending her decision to extradite Jon Mark Karr from Thailand to Colorado. District attorney Mary Lacy says, Karr's graphic account of the case of his predilection for little girls made him a threat to public safety. Yesterday, she dropped the case, after Karr had failed DNA tests, or at least those that would have linked him to JonBenet's murder.
The space shuttle Atlantis is back on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center. It's there because NASA doesn't think Tropical Storm Ernesto will be severe enough to affect it. It will stay on the launchpad, which right now, at the earliest, would be next Wednesday, when it would have its next liftoff.
Those are the stories we're following tonight -- Anderson, back over to you in New Orleans.
COOPER: Rick, thanks very much.
The words so many people have been waiting to hear: Warren Jeffs is in custody -- coming up, what life was like for members under his brutal control. One woman tells the story of her daring escape from his sect.
Also, he was a leader excommunicated -- Warren Jeffs -- some believe he may now be trying to take over Jeffs' sect, a man who was excommunicated by Jeffs. We're going to hear from a polygamist, Winston Blackmore -- when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
W. JEFFS (singing): One little candle burning bright, one little gleam of radiant light, shimmering softly in the night makes the darkness fade away.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: The creepy music there sung by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, no longer a fugitive tonight, no longer on the FBI's most wanted list.
To his followers, of course, Jeffs is a prophet. To others, like Carolyn Jessop, he is pure evil. She was actually a member of Jeffs' sect, but she did the unthinkable. She escaped.
COOPER (voice-over): Carolyn Jessop grew up in a polygamist family in the FLDS sect in Colorado City, Arizona. She dreamed of going to college and becoming a pediatrician. Her father went to ask the prophet for permission, and was told Carolyn Jessop had to get married first. That was nearly 20 years ago. The prophet then was Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs' father.
CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: I didn't really know what to do with it. It was just like you can see something really bad's coming down. You can see your life's going in a direction that's the worst place you would ever want it to go. But you -- there's nothing you can do to stop it.
COOPER: The man chosen to be Carolyn's husband, a 50-year-old man who already had three wives, and would eventually take several more.
JESSOP: I get in the car with this strange man, 32 years older than me, and we're going to get married that day, and drive to his house to meet his family. It was like watching a horror movie, except for I was in the front seat of it.
COOPER: Carolyn moved in to her husband's home.
JESSOP: It was bad from the beginning. I mean, there -- there was few, if any, happy moments. You're not allowed any form of birth control.
And to say, you know, "I really can't handle it; I'm having too many children; I'm having them too fast," is a mortal sin.
COOPER: She had eight children in 15 years, including a son who was severely disabled. Eventually, there were five wives in her home and 54 children. Life became more extreme when Warren Jeffs took control of the sect, after his father's death in 2002.
JESSOP: A lot of things changed when he took over. The -- the children were pulled out of public schools, and put -- everybody was put into private schools. And then they burned all the books.
COOPER: Shortly afterwards, at the age of 35, Carolyn started thinking about the unthinkable, escape.
JESSOP: Living in these polygamist homes -- or the one that I lived in -- is like living in a police state. Everyone reports everything on everybody else.
COOPER: One night, she had an unexpected opportunity. Her husband was out of town, and all eight children were home. She called her brother in Salt Lake City.
JESSOP: And he said
CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: Everyone reports everything on everybody else.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: One night, she had an unexpected opportunity, her husband was out of town, and all eight children were home. She called her brother in Salt Lake City.
JESSOP: He said, "You know Carolyn, I will do anything and everything I can to help you but if I leave right now, the soonest I can be there is at 5:00 in the morning." I said will do you it? And he said, "I'll be there. But I don't want to come into the community." So he wanted me to drive three miles outside of the community and meet him at a store out there that's called Canaan Corner. The next issue was not letting the children know. There's no possible way they would have come with me knowing what I was doing. They were terrified of the outside world. So I had to come up with a story so I got them up about 4:00 that morning and I told them that Harrison was extremely sick and I had to take him to the doctor, which was common. That was life. And then I told them well Arthur's here and so I want to get family pictures. And so everybody's coming with me this time. One of Meryl's other wives walks in on my oldest daughter getting dressed and starts demanding answers, and so about 4:30 that morning, I hear over the intercom, Meryl wants to talk to me on the phone. I knew I was -- I knew they were on to me.
COOPER: Carolyn began piling her children into the van.
JESSOP: The last person I went in and got was Harrison, I took him off his oxygen, put him in his car seat and I thought everybody was there. I got in the front seat and I was just about to put the key in the ignition.
COOPER: But her oldest daughter was missing.
JESSOP: You know, honestly, it was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had in my life. Because I knew I was out of time. And do I leave her? Do I leave one and save seven? Or do I go back in and get her and none of us get out?
COOPER: She made a split second decision and ran inside her house.
JESSOP: But she didn't want to come. And she was crying and you know, she said, mother, there's something you're doing that's wrong. Why doesn't father know what you're doing?
COOPER: Carolyn grabbed her daughter and pulled her into the van.
JESSOP: Now after I got out of the community, then the realization that my van was completely out of gas, so it was like just making it on a prayer that I could get three miles out of town. And about a mile before I got to Canaan Corner the van was sputtering, it was definitely out but I made it there.
COOPER: She met her brother and reached safety. Her life began all over again.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: And Carolyn Jessop is still safe tonight. We'll talk to her live from Salt Lake City coming up in just a few moments, we'll hear what she has to say about today's arrest.
Also, from New Orleans, one year later, the chaos left by Katrina, and remember that plan to rebuild those hundred days the mayor said he needed? Well as it turns out there may be no plan to rebuild at all, that and more on Katrina as "360" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN JEFFS, FDLS: Many young men when they receive their first wife they're just so untrained. The woman if she's not careful will be overbearing and always ask permission for what she wants. And ladies, build up your husband by being submissive. That's how you will give your children the success. You will want your children to be obedient and submissive to righteous living.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Easy to discount this guy now as just some freak. But just remember, he had close to 10,000 followers, people who believed every word he spoke, believed he was a prophet of God. He's now of course in custody. Before the break we introduced you to Carolyn Jessop, the former wife of a polygamist who lived under the spell of Warren Jeffs but managed to escape with her family. She joins me now live from Salt Lake City. Carolyn, your thoughts on hearing that Warren Jeffs is in custody?
CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER WIFE OF A POLYGAMIST: Oh, I was tremendously relieved. It went down so smoothly where it could have been such a tragedy, when they could have caught him. So I was just, it was just such a relief to know that he was in custody, no one had been hurt, it had gone smoothly, and this is a huge step in that community rebuilding, and people that I love and care about being safe.
COOPER: But you're also concerned that some people are going to close the book on this and say, ok, well look, Warren Jeffs is in custody, game over, no problem anymore.
JESSOP: That's a huge concern for me, because what I view Warren Jeffs as a product of the problem. He was created from this lifestyle and you know my fear is that people will think that he was just this weird, crazy guy that they took care of and now the problems are taken care of and that's not the case. The crimes are still occurring and they will continue to occur unless society wants to prosecute the crimes that occur in polygamy. And until that happens --
COOPER: Do you think local authorities, do you think local authorities particularly in Utah really do want to prosecute these crimes?
JESSOP: I do. I think that local authorities feel pretty anxious that they do not want to drive polygamy underground deeper into secrecy because that is feeding the crimes and I agree with that. And there's also people that are living polygamy that really want to live it honestly above-board, and they're not living it in a way that they're hurting people. So there needs to be a separation. And there needs to be a difference so that people are not required to live secretly, that are not hurting anyone. That people that are hurting --
COOPER: What are the crimes, what are the crimes in particular? I mean you talk about people hurting other people in this lifestyle. What are the particular crimes that you have seen, that you have heard from other people as well?
JESSOP: What I witnessed growing up in the community as a child, and married into the community as an adult is just horrible child abuse, and it's continued. It was in the community when I was a small child. Warren was not in power then, and it was rampant when I was a young mother in the community and Warren was not in power then. It has grown since he became in power. But you know, in some ways there's other --
COOPER: And when you talk about child abuse you're talking physical, you're talking sexual?
JESSOP: I'm talking physical, emotional, sexual, neglect. There's huge educational neglect in the community right now that needs to be addressed. Throwing young boys on the streets. You know, the problems have always been there. They've gotten a lot more extreme with Warren, as you know in leadership. But my belief is not that -- is that those problems will not go away until society addresses them.
COOPER: And what do you think should be done to Warren Jeffs? What do you think he deserves?
JESSOP: I think he deserves to be prosecuted for the multiple crimes where he's hurt multiple people. He's hurt thousands of lives and he's hurt a lot of children. He's hurt them very bad. I think that it would be good to draw the public's awareness to the fact that this, what he's being taken in, what he's being prosecuted for is about child abuse. It's crimes where he's hurt children. It's not necessarily about polygamy.
COOPER: Carolyn Jessop we appreciate you being with us. You've had a long journey and I know the journey for you and your family continues. Appreciate you talking to us tonight.
One big question that a lot of people of course have, you just heard from Carolyn, who was a former member of this community, she got out. How is this arrest playing out in Jeffs community tonight, right now? Coming up CNN's Gary Tuchman returns to Colorado City for some reaction, he'll talk with a polygamist who may be gunning for Jeffs' leadership post.
Plus, then and now, looking back at the terror and the despair in this city, in New Orleans, one year ago today. How far has the city really come since the killer named Katrina struck? My reporter's notebook when "360" continues live from New Orleans.
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JEFFS: You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth or rude and filthy, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Some of the words there from a sermon by Warren Jeffs. You can add a racist to the list of things that Warren Jeffs is now known for. Jeffs as you know had immense power over this community of his, thousands of followers. He wasn't afraid to ex-communicate his own church leaders including a man named Winston Blackmore. Blackmore is another polygamist, who has been trying to keep kind of a low profile. He's accused of marrying underage women, he now lives in exile in Canada. Blackmore recently returned to Colorado City, however, where some people want him to stay for good. CNN's Gary Tuchman explains.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The followers of Warren Jeffs are dedicated to their leaders' commands. And nearly all of them obey Jeffs' orders not to speak to outsiders. Do you still consider Warren Jeffs your leader?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No comment, thank you.
TUCHMAN: Sir, can I ask you a quick question? Yeah, I -- miss, can I ask you a quick question? Did you know -- miss? And then we asked this question. Did you know that Winston Blackmore was here today? Winston Blackmore is a man who says he has at least 10 wives and as many as 100 children. He was once a leader in Jeffs' church but was ex-communicated and now lives in British Columbia. He's believed to be detested by Jeffs and therefore, persona non grata among Jeffs' supporters.
WINSTON BLACKMORE, POLYGAMIST: I'm going to give you a little preamble of our history in this place.
TUCHMAN: But amid a tense atmosphere, he came back to Colorado City, Arizona to dedicate a monument to families separated during a polygamy raid by police. By his own account, Blackmore could find himself in legal hot water, too. He admits he has married underage girls and believes Canadian authorities may arrest him one day. Some believe Blackmore is angling to take over the church in Jeffs' absence.
Would you like to some day, possibly run the church here in Colorado City?
BLACKMORE: No. And this is not all about that at all.
TUCHMAN: I was hoping I could ask you a quick question. We did get one Warren Jeffs supporter to speak with us, sort of. Do you still like Warren Jeffs?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure, I like everybody.
TUCHMAN: How are you doing, sir? But then a Colorado City police officer showed up. According to outside legal authorities, the cops in town are totally obedient to Jeffs. This officer accused us of being solicitors. I just wanted to ask you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No questions asked. You're soliciting, put the cameras away, leave the property.
TUCHMAN: Can I just ask you off the property then, can I ask you a couple questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No.
TUCHMAN: The property is the parking lot of a post office, one of the only businesses in town, not owned by the church. The police have refused all our interview requests for weeks. Can I ask you a couple of questions off the property? I just want to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I don't want to talk to you.
TUCHMAN: How come?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Load up and leave the property now.
TUCHMAN: But why can't I talk to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now.
TUCHMAN: Sir that's fine if you don't want to talk. But why won't you talk to me is all I'm asking?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Load now or I'll cite you.
TUCHMAN: You'll cite me for what? The police and other Jeffs' followers did leave Winston Blackmore alone. He dedicated his monument and headed back to Canada, to his throng of wives and kids. Whether he's a leader in waiting of this polygamist church, still not known.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
TUCHMAN: Tonight we come to you from the border, we're in Hildale, Utah, that blue sign behind me is the welcome to Arizona sign, Colorado City, Arizona. And tonight, the thousands of Warren Jeffs followers seem to be very quiet. Is that a surprise? We don't know. Authorities don't know. They didn't know what to expect. These people consider Warren Jeffs a prophet. They believe God talks to Warren Jeffs. What Warren Jeffs says is literally gospel. And that's why they avoid us like the plague. And today we've been walking around town asking people what they think about Warren Jeffs being captured, they will not talk. And we're not even sure they know he's been captured because they are not permitted to have televisions or radios and we are not quite sure, as a matter of fact we're pretty positive they don't believe us when we're telling them that Warren Jeffs has been caught.
So as usual, they're just avoiding us. The women are very scared of me when I walk up to them. The men aren't scared of me, they're just angry. And as we stand here on the street, trucks pull up and they speed up and they belch off smoke as we go past, that's a standard protocol we see when we visit Colorado City. I've had one man tell me here that I'm going to go to hell upside down for being here. So the men are angry. The women are scared, but coincidentally, just five minutes ago while I was standing here, two Hildale police officers pulled up next to me, Warren Jeffs followers, they said can we please turn off our light because it's blocking the drivers. A good thing to ask, we will turn off the light any second. But I asked him what he thought about Warren Jeffs being captured and he said to me, "It's fine," whatever that means Anderson.
COOPER: Unbelievable that the police are part of all of this. Gary Tuchman, thanks for that and stay safe.
Then and now, the stories and lasting images from Katrina, that is coming up. It is hard to believe really it's been one year since all of this. Tonight we look back on those dark days, those days that we must never forget.
And remember Mayor Ray Nagin's 100-day plan to rebuild New Orleans? Well the time's almost up. We have a reality check on the mayor's promise coming up on "360."
COOPER: Today there was a jazz funeral in New Orleans, a procession to remember the dead, and honor the living. It is a uniquely New Orleans tradition, just one way people here remembered what happened. In the days after the storm, a New Orleans police officer said to me, "mark my words, man, it's all going to be cleaned up and forgotten." At the time I remember his words surprised me. But now there are many people in New Orleans who fear he was right. They fear all of this is just being forgotten. We thought we'd look back at some of the images from Katrina then and show you what those same places look like now. Here is my "reporter's notebook."
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We want help! We want help!
COOPER: One year later, one year, at times it's hard to believe. So much has happened, so much seems the same.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two days with no food.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't see how a bus can't pick somebody up?
COOPER: One year later you go to spots you remember and it's hard to tell what once happened there, where there was water one year ago, today, there are roads. Where boats once were needed, now there are cars. Streets of fear are now highways for limousines. Where people once fled, now they stroll. Where people once died, today, there is grass. No marker, no memorial to signify the spot. Then, and now, one year later, one year on. This city that was rubble is slowly cleaning up. The superdome has been scrubbed. Outside where people once waited there's no sign of their suffering. You can no longer hear their cries for help. It's not all been erased. Some places remain the same. One year later, one year on, a destroyed house remains untouched. There's still so much work to be done. Then, and now. That which once seemed unforgettable slips from memory. Time dulls the anger, the fear, the pain. Perhaps that is as it should be, progress is progress, life must return, but in New Orleans, the past is also important. It always has been. This is a city which holds on to its memories and residents will tell you the memory of what happened here must never be forgotten. It's up to all of us to remember what's been lost.
So many people, so many faces, their names we never even knew, some called them bodies, corpses but they were our neighbors, our countrymen, abandoned in life and also in death. They deserved better than this. Do you remember Ethel Freeman? She died at the convention center, waiting for a bus, waiting for a doctor. They put a blanket over her head and left her on the side of the road. She was 91. Do you remember the animals? Left behind, their owners unable to evacuate with them, alone, desperate, barking into the night. Do you remember the failures, the slow response, the lack of answers, the buses that never seemed to come? Do you remember the heroes, men and women, police and volunteers, coast guard pilots and divers, doctors and firemen, animal rescuers, individuals who did whatever they could. One year later, one year on, it's hard to believe, hard to remember, but we must never forget.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: And tonight, of course, we remember, as we have all day, this next hour of "360" we devote to what happened then and what is happening now. When the levees broke the lower ninth ward became a death trap, water quickly rising to roof tops. Hundreds of people would wait days to be rescued. The lower ninth ward became a symbol of everything that went wrong. Coming up, what has been done right and what has been done to right the wrongs?
Plus, Waveland, Mississippi, it hasn't gotten the kind of attention that New Orleans has, even though Katrina nearly wiped it off the map. We'll show you it, how it is doing one year along, and those stories ahead on "360" live from New Orleans on this anniversary of Katrina.
COOPER: And thanks for joining us for this hour on 360. The anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the struggle to rebuild this broken city has been going on for months and will continue for many more months, maybe even years. Tonight, a progress report, 12 months after the storm, we're keeping them honest.
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