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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Punishing Storms Hit Central Plains; Storm Chaser Goes Inside Tornado; Freight Train Hits Truck and Derails in Maryland; American Jailed in Mexico; London Terror Attack Hero Speaks Out
Aired May 28, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Brooke, thanks.
Breaking news tonight. New tornadoes touching down. Late details on damage and why the next 24 hours could be brutal.
Also, what it looks, sounds like and feels when you're in a storm chaser catching the storm he's chasing. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ears are popping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That's the view from inside a tornado, nearly as powerful as the one that destroyed much of Moore, Oklahoma. We're going to show you the truck built to survive almost anything and talk to the guy who just spent this evening riding around in it, actually inside one of the new storms in Kansas.
Also tonight, is this the face of an American pot smuggler in Mexico? Mexican police say yes. Where American family calls her arrest a shakedown attempt. You're going to hear how this Arizona mom was busted on a bus on her way back from a funeral and you decide for yourself. Her daughter joins us this hour.
But we begin with the breaking news. What looks like the start of another round of punishing weather on the central plains. Four, yes, four tornadoes hitting north central and northeastern Kansas, including this one caught on tape in the town of Corning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That in the sky. Oh my (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's huge now. And it's not moving very fast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Hey, just look. It's sucking these clouds in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's just getting bigger and bigger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: In just a moment you're going to hear from a storm chaser who just made it through a twister inside a kind of custom made tornado tank.
But first, Tom Sater is in the Weather Center.
Tom, there's quite a bit of severe weather out there today. We've heard reports of four tornadoes that touched down in Kansas today. What's the latest?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the good news, Wolf, is that these are in extremely rural areas but let me start with this note for you. The month of May is the most explosive month, the greatest number of tornadoes in the U.S., roughly 384. Halfway through the month, on the 15th of the month, we only had three but on that day, on the 15th, it was Hood County, Texas, and the fatalities in Granbury, then it was east of Oklahoma City in the community of Shawnee. And we all know about Moore that followed.
Currently on the map here we have severe thunderstorm watches you'll see with funnel clouds that were in western Kansas but it's the red box -- this is the tornado watch box. This is in effect until 10:00 p.m. Central Time, and this is where we've had the four tornadoes. The first one as we saw the pictures there of Corning, did drop and it briefly dissipated for awhile. Then it was near the town of Minneapolis, not Minnesota, this is Minneapolis in Kansas, and then just south of there, we also had one near Bennington.
Salina, just north of Salina, we've got a small tornado as well. Population of 48,000. But all the ingredients are ripe for tomorrow, another outbreak, where we have sent our very own CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. He's on his way to Wichita. The threat from Kansas will move in tonight, not as strong since we lose the daytime heating, but the thunderstorm threat with hail and damaging winds could go into the Tristate area of Indiana, Ohio, southern Michigan, maybe even in toward the northeast, the New England, late tomorrow afternoon.
But the biggest threat right here as you see here, and let's take this so we can all see this, it's not just a slight risk area. This is a moderate risk which again means the possibility of super cell thunderstorms, Wolf. They have their own circulation, they move sometimes in a random helter-skelter fashion and this is where we can see the tornadoes from areas of Nebraska through central Kansas, Oklahoma, this time east of Oklahoma, but as we all know these systems slide off toward the east.
An interesting note, too, Wolf, if you go back to the beginning of the year, January 1, the U.S. has seen the fewest number of tornadoes since 1954.
Seems like Mother Nature's making up for lost time. But we'll keep you covered. Chad Myers, as mentioned, will be in Wichita throughout the day tomorrow.
BLITZER: So it looks like it's going to be bad tomorrow in Wichita, but once again, just tell us about Oklahoma City because we all know what they went through last week in Moore, Oklahoma, which is right outside.
SATER: Well, the biggest threat there is going to be obviously just debris. Any winds that will kick up even from what we call an outflow boundary, even if these super cells are well to the west of Oklahoma City or Moore, those outflow boundaries can obviously stir up the debris, which is going to be quite dangerous. Anyone living in this area really knows now of course to heed the warnings or make the precautions now, but some of these, we could reach in the range of EF- 3, EF-4 so again, it's a moderate risk which is fairly high, Wolf, on the scale of our threat.
BLITZER: Everybody has got to be really, really careful out there and take all of the precautions.
Tom Sater, thanks very much. We're going to check back with you if anything new breaks in this hour.
We're continuing the breaking news, though, with a storm chaser who got very, very close to one of the tornadoes tonight. Sean Casey, he rides inside, get this, a custom made truck built to take the worst including this tornado yesterday evening. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN CASEY, STORM CHASER: Go for. Go for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Sean Casey captured that video yesterday and we're going to be showing more of it as we talk to him. Sean has been right in the middle of tornadoes eight times, but says this was the most intense, the winds were so strong the door of the vehicle blew open and instruments were ripped off the top. We spoke about it and the twister tonight by phone just a little while ago.
BLITZER: Sean, I understand you're chasing a tornado right now. What's going on?
CASEY: Yes. This is my first interview while looking at a tornado. So --
Yes, we are just north of Salina. There is a large tornado that's pretty much stationary, just kind of west of 81.
BLITZER: How big is it?
CASEY: You know, I don't know how strong it is, but it looks like on the ground it might be a quarter mile wide.
BLITZER: And how close is it to where you are in that tank-like vehicle you have?
CASEY: We are roughly three miles. It's wrapped in rain and we may be -- and now it's revealing itself right now, still in the same spot. We're in a safe position. We're just waiting to see this thing so we can run at it and film while we do so.
BLITZER: When you say run at it and film, explain exactly what's going on to the viewers out there who don't understand why you do something so --
CASEY: And we are watching the tornado just to our northwest that is rain-wrapped. It is almost completely stationary. We were hoping it's going to come up on to our road and we will drive right up to the southern half. After our intercept yesterday, you can understand that with, you know, experiencing those kind of winds, we're a little gun-shy today.
BLITZER: Well, you should be. Tell us a little bit about the vehicle you use, it's called the Tornado Intercept Vehicle that was made especially to film inside the tornado. What's it like?
CASEY: Yes. This is a 15,000 pound armored vehicle, you know, designed to take an IMAX camera into a tornado for a film we did call "Tornado Alley." And yes, this tornado is still right there. God dang it. (INAUDIBLE). Yes, see if the downed trucks have a road maybe that they would offer us. Sorry about that.
BLITZER: Well, I don't want to do anything that's going to endanger you. If you feel this is too dangerous, we can -- we can continue this later.
CASEY: No, no, no, it's not that. It's just wanting to get closer. This thing is much wider now. Look how wide it is. It's -- that's a half mile, mile wide now. It's really gotten big now. Anyway, we're in our TIV and we are about to film this thing.
BLITZER: And you get a comparison with -- I was in Moore, Oklahoma last week. How's this one that you're in the middle of right now compared to that?
CASEY: I have no -- you know, the chances are this thing is not as strong as that but the Moore tornado was a very rare tornado, you know, EF-4, EF-5 tornado. This one probably looks like an EF-3 tornado. But it's very wide.
BLITZER: Can your tank withstand an EF-4 or EF-5?
CASEY: Hold on one second. Yes, we're going for it. I'm sorry about that. There's always a little yelling involved when you're storm chasing.
BLITZER: No, you got to do what you got to do. I was saying, can your tank withstand an EF-4 or an EF-5?
CASEY: Yesterday we were in an EF-4 tornado near Lebanon, Kansas.
BLITZER: What was that like? What was that like?
CASEY: We were taking 170, 180 mile per hour wind with heavy debris. So we know that the vehicle can take that. It's just -- it's always a crapshoot because you don't know if a telephone pole is going to dislodge and come at you. We were lucky that that didn't happen yesterday, because we were taking monstrous winds and monstrous debris in this vehicle.
BLITZER: Yes, we can see -- we can see the video. In terms of chasing tornadoes, Sean, how close can you actually get?
CASEY: We go inside the tornadoes.
BLITZER: So you're right in the middle of -- you can get it.
BLITZER: Not only close, but you're right there, it's going over your tank?
CASEY: That's right. This tank is designed -- it has panels and spikes that go into the ground to keep us in one space, one spot, so we don't hover. And we've got two-inch armor to protect us from those airborne missiles.
BLITZER: Well, Sean, be careful over there.
CASEY: OK, thank you.
BLITZER: Amazing, amazing stuff. Let's get to the fire now that's burning into the night from a string of CSX chemical cars that blew up this afternoon east of Baltimore, Maryland. It started when a train hit a truck, sending at least 15 cars off the tracks. The cars carrying chemicals used in making polyester and other synthetics caught fire, then blew up.
You can see what it did to the warehouse nearby. One man, Eric Beverly, who was driving by, started taking video as he got closer and closer to the scene. As you'll see, he almost got too close.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC BEVERLY, WITNESSED EXPLOSION IN BALTIMORE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED), it's torching. Whatever that is, it's torching. That is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) crazy. Set (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fire. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) smoke cloud. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is that? Oh, my god (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Imagine (EXPLETIVE DELETED) being burnt like that. I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, we'll sit down and we're fine.
BEVERLY: Back up. Oh, my god. Oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: People heard and felt that blast for miles around. Remarkably, no one was hurt except the truck driver who hit the train. Nor was anyone hurt nearby. The chemicals, though, while dangerous, are not toxic if inhaled. And Amtrak uses a different lines so passenger service is unaffected. Depending on what the train was hauling, it could have been so much worse.
Joining us now, Kevin Lindemann, who was working at a plumbing supply warehouse near the explosion site.
Kevin, tell us what happened. Where were you when the train derailed?
KEVIN LINDEMANN, WITNESSED EXPLOSION IN BALTIMORE: If you've seen the footage of the warehouse, right in front of the building, I was actually in that building when the train went off the tracks, the one that had the front of the building just basically blown off. We were sitting right in that corner where you see the star ball right on the front side of the front of the building.
BLITZER: We have pictures and video that you took when it first happened. What was going through your mind?
LINDEMANN: Honestly, we were almost in a state of shock. You hear the trains go by every day and you just kind of get used to the sound of the train going by and after awhile, it got a little closer and you realize it's a whole lot louder than it usually is. And we don't have a huge window in the office, so you stand up and kind of try to figure out what's happening. And you realize that there's -- at first you see two or three trail cars or train cars that are on their sides just sliding off the track and you're -- like I said, you're almost in just disbelief.
We kind of walked out to the front of the -- out the front door and as soon as you crack the door, you could feel the heat. It just hit you in the face. And that's when I took that first video. Just kind of panicked there for a second.
BLITZER: I don't blame you. I understand you left your office. What could you see when you got to safety a few blocks away?
LINDEMANN: We were actually right behind a building just around the corner so at that point, I mean, you can kind of see some little pieces of ash coming down from the sky and you could see the smoke rising up way overhead. Like I said at that point you could barely see a little bit of the flame just to the tip. But like I said, we were far enough behind cover that you couldn't really see a ton of it. You could definitely feel the explosion, though.
BLITZER: Could you smell anything? Was there anything in the air that clearly was potentially dangerous? LINDEMANN: I couldn't tell anything that was toxic. It just smelled like real heavy thick smoke. Nothing overwhelming as far as like fumes or anything, no.
BLITZER: You and your co-workers, you were able to walk away to get away but do you know about anyone who might still have been in the area?
LINDEMANN: As we were driving away, I think there were some people at the neighboring warehouse that were still in that yard and I would assume same thing on the other side. I'm sure there were still people in the area that weren't quite as lucky to have driven away when we did. But I'm sure there were people still in the area, yes.
BLITZER: And the smoke that is still apparently coming, what's it like? Give us a sense of what you're seeing now and what's going -- what's happening.
LINDEMANN: Right now it's nothing near what it was. I mean, it's still coming out pretty constant but it's a much lighter smoke. And it's -- I can't imagine you can see it from very far away at this point but it's pretty light. I'm assuming they got it mostly under control but I haven't seen much of the footage. I've been in the car and on the phone much of the day.
BLITZER: I hope they do have it under control. All right. Kevin, thanks very much.
LINDEMANN: No. Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: A lot more happening tonight, including the case of an Arizona woman in Mexico for a funeral, now in jail on drug trafficking charges. Her family says the charges are bogus. Mexican authorities say otherwise. We have the facts so you can decide for yourself.
And later, would you step in and talk to a guy knowing he hacked someone to death on the street in front of you? You're going to hear from the woman who did and you'll find out why she did it.
BLITZER: It's wrenching enough to bury a family member. Worse to have to travel to another country to do it. Worse still to have complications while in that country but it gets absolutely nightmarish for a mother of seven from Arizona.
In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, she's in a Mexican jail awaiting a court hearing tomorrow on drug charges. In a moment, her daughter joins us.
First, here's 360's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yanira Maldonado and her husband Gary were on a bus in Mexico on their way back home to Arizona after attending a funeral. The bus stopped at a military checkpoint in the Mexican state of Sonora. And the lives of the Maldonados changed abruptly and dramatically.
Yanira was charged with smuggling 12 pounds of marijuana which was allegedly found under her seat. She's now in a Mexican jail.
This is her husband.
GARY MALDONADO, YANIRA MALDONADO'S HUSBAND: Either the packages were already on the bus or they were never on the bus and we were just framed, set up for those packages.
TUCHMAN: Yanira is a mother of seven, a grandmother of two. Her family says the charges are outrageous, that she's never even used illegal drugs, let alone trying to deal them.
ANNA SOTO, YANIRA MALDONADO'S DAUGHTER: People out there saying, they're asking, did she really do it? Are you sure? And you know, that hurts, you know, to see that. If you would have known my mom, if you just would have met her, you would have known that she had nothing to do with it.
TUCHMAN: Someone else who think she had nothing to do it? An official in the Mexican state of Sonora with extensive knowledge of the case. This official who does not want to be named told us, "A passenger by himself or herself would have been unable to carry almost six kilos of marijuana on to a bus without being noticed. She must have been framed."
Family members have been allowed to visit Yanira in jail but her brother-in-law says --
BRANDON KLIPPEL, YANIRA MALDONADO'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: We were supposed to have a few hours to visit with her and they told us because she's not an official inmate and she's just being held there, we would only have 10 minutes. And she was at a wire window with her fingertips up through the holes touching her son's hand with one and touching her husband's hands with the other, just saying, I don't know how this happened to me, I have never done anything illegal in my life, and why has this happened.
TUCHMAN: Yanira's husband was actually arrested first on the smuggling charge. Authorities released him and arrested his wife instead, claiming the pot was under her seat, not his.
MALDONADO: It's been tough, but Yanira seems to be strong and holding up. She's not happy where she's at, but she has high hope that she'll be free of this falsely accused accusation against her.
BLITZER: That was Gary Tuchman reporting for us. Recently I spoke with Anna Soto and her uncle, Brandon Klippel.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: Anna, first to you. You think your mother, you insist your mother is innocent. Obviously you know your mother well. Tell us why.
SOTO: She's a person with strong morals and would never do anything like that against the law anywhere, you know. Her home country or here. She's just an amazing woman. You know, she would never take that chance to, you know, be away from her family so that's why I know.
BLITZER: You visited your mom in prison on Saturday. What did she tell you, how did she seem?
SOTO: You know, all I can say is she's a strong woman and when I saw her, she just smiled like she's always smiled before. And I broke down in tears but she just told me that she was going to get out, for me to be strong, that she was innocent. She wanted to tell my brothers and sister that she loved them very much and she wanted me to thank everyone that has been helping her and she just seemed very strong and we cried a little bit. I cried more than her. But she's -- I don't know how she's doing, you know, better than I expected.
BLITZER: Does she have a lawyer?
KLIPPEL: They do. They retained an attorney there who is a local person in Nogales but we're hoping that that works out and if not, we're working on getting her an attorney who might be more familiar with that kind of law.
BLITZER: Brandon, you think there's any chance she can get a fair trial in Mexico?
KLIPPEL: You know, I don't know if she can get a fair trial. We're learning that the Mexican judicial system is so different than ours, you know. The last image I had, I saw her yesterday in the prison, and they gave us visiting hours and we were supposed to have a few hours to visit with her, and they told us because she's not an official inmate and she's just being held there, we would only have 10 minutes and she was at a wire window with her fingertips up through the holes touching her son's hand with one and touching her husband's hand with the other, just saying, I don't know how this happened to me, I've never done anything illegal in my life, and why has this happened.
But in the same breath she said that she knows that God will bless her and that she will be able to be home with her family. So we hope that she will have a fair trial.
BLITZER: What's your worst fear, Anna?
SOTO: Never to see my mother again. That's my worst fear. I just want her home. I just want to be able to hold her, tell her how much I love and miss her. That's it. That's my biggest fear, never to see her again.
BLITZER: If they're watching you now, the Mexican authorities, Anna, what would you say to them?
SOTO: That she's innocent. She's an honest, good woman, a Christian woman that would never, you know, do anything to harm her, you know, her own country, jeopardize her freedom.
BLITZER: Well, let's hope -- let's hope for the best. We did get a statement, by the way, from Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. I know he's trying to help your mom. He put out a statement saying -- through a spokesperson, "Senator Flake is personally monitoring the situation. He has had multiple conversations with the deputy Mexican ambassador this weekend as well."
We're going to put in a call to the Mexican ambassador here in Washington and see what we can learn.
Thanks to both of you very much for joining us. Good luck, good luck, Anna, to your mom and Brandon, good luck to your sister-in-law.
SOTO: Thank you.
BLITZER: We hope this turns out good and we hope it turns out well in the next -- in very, very soon.
Guys, thanks very much.
KLIPPEL: Thank you.
SOTO: Thank you.
BLITZER: And coming up, a woman who tried to help the British soldier who was murdered on the streets of London. She also spoke to the alleged killer only moments after the attack. I'm going to speak with her about why she got involved. Many are calling her a hero.
Also ahead, the Oregon teenager who was allegedly plotting to bomb his high school in a Columbine-style attack making his first court appearance.
BLITZER: One of the suspects in the murder of a British soldier on the streets of London last week has been released from the hospital and is now in police custody. Another suspect wounded by police at the scene is still hospitalized.
The man who was seen holding a meat cleaver and a knife, his hands covered in blood in the video, Michael Adebolajo, said soldier Lee Rigby was targeted because Muslims are dying at the hands of British troops.
As the grisly scene was playing out, a woman on a bus saw what looked like a car accident and a man on the sidewalk. She got off the bus and actually ended up talking to the suspected killer.
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett -- kept the man talking when she realized mothers and children were nearby, hoping to keep them engaged so he wouldn't hurt them. An incredibly brave act and Ingrid is joining us now.
Ingrid, you're widely being praised as a hero for confronting this suspected killers in Woolwich. I know you downplay any heroism on your part but explain why you did what you did. You were on a bus. What did you see happening?
LOYAU-KENNETT: Well, from the bus, I could see a crashed car and a body on the road, and a nervous man pacing and I assumed it was a road traffic accident with the driver being nervous so yes.
BLITZER: So at what point, Ingrid, did you realize this was more than just a car accident?
KENNETT: Well, when I approached the body and checked his pulse and then I wanted to check more on him when the most animated of the two black guys came to me and said don't touch the body. I lift up my head and could see two bloodied hands, one carrying a gun, a revolver, and the other one having a meat cleaver and a butcher's knife.
BLITZER: So you were willing to do this, was this your natural instinct, kicking in, for example, when you went to try to take the pulse of the person who was on the ground?
KENNETT: Yes. Well, I'm first aid trained so yes, if I see somebody in difficulty and nobody helping, yes, I will step up and yes, I tried to do something. Yes.
BLITZER: So when one of those suspects said get away, get away from the victim, what did you do? Walk us through the next step.
KENNETT: Well, I just stood up, look at him and say why? Simple as that.
BLITZER: What did he say to you?
KENNETT: Well, he said because he's a soldier. He's a British soldier, and so I don't want you to touch him. I said but why and he said because British soldiers in Islamic country kill Muslim civilians, especially women and children, and he found it really unacceptable and he was genuinely upset about that.
BLITZER: You've said, Ingrid, it was important to keep this suspect talking to you, focused on you, until the police got there so he wouldn't attack anyone else. What else did you talk to him about?
KENNETT: Well, I made him talk about that then I asked him what he wanted from now on, because OK, he's done his crime so what was the next step for him and he said I want war. And I said well, why don't you join the army, it would be a regular army where you could fight and kill as many British soldiers as you wanted.
But he said no, no, he wanted war in London streets and I look at him and said well, the police are going to be there in a minute, and really, you won't be able really to do any war. He said I don't care. I'm going to fight the police and I'm going to kill them and that's what he wanted. BLITZER: Throughout this time, there were dozens of other people standing a distance away, some filming what was happening with their cameras. What was going through your mind? Were you scared at any point for your own safety, being as close to these two guys as you were?
KENNETT: No, no. I never thought of my safety. I never felt threatened, really, but yes, I must say there were more and more people gathering and stopping and especially mothers collecting their children from school and finding nothing better to do than to stop there. And the last thing I wanted is that suddenly he wanted -- so it was really important to keep him talking to me.
BLITZER: So looking back on that, those obviously very eventful minutes, what's your final thought about what happened?
KENNETT: Nothing. It's sad that a British soldier died, it's sad that this guy who is quite educated really, had excellent English and a good accent, sad that he chose this path of life and that's it. I don't want to think of them at all. Yes, and I'm telling my story so much every day that it's like a therapy. So yes, at the moment I'm fine and I try not to think of it at all.
BLITZER: Ingrid, good luck to you. Thanks so much for sharing your story with all of our viewers. We appreciate it very much.
KENNETT: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Just ahead, growing outrage over a backlog of crucial DNA evidence that could identify rapists across the country, an estimated 400,000 rape kits are just sitting in storage, untested, some of them decades old.
Also ahead, the incredible rescue of a newborn infant who spent the first hours of his life inside a sewage pipe abandoned but a fighter.
BLITZER: Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest" with a number that's frankly hard to fathom, 400,000. That's the estimate of how many rape kits are sitting in storage across the nation. You heard right, 400,000. Each kit contains crucial DNA evidence that could identify and help convict a rapist.
A new federal law aims to reduce this enormous backlog of untested kits. It took effect in March, but it doesn't change the fact that the clock is running out for many of the women whose cases have gone cold. Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In June, 1984, Carol Bart endured the most terrifying experience of her life. She was only 24.
(on camera): Did you think you were going to die that night?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did think I was going to die that night. I believed he was going to kill me.
KAYE: It was around 1:30 in the morning. Carol was returning home from a night out with friends. She was just feet from her door here in this Dallas apartment complex when a man grabbed her and forced her back into her car. He then pulled the car around beside a dumpster and spent the next three and a half hours raping her.
CAROL BART, RAPE SURVIVOR: If I screamed or cried, he threatened me that he would kill me.
KAYE (voice-over): When it was over, Carol drove herself to the hospital, where doctors took swabs from her skin, hairs and fibers from her clothes. All part of what's called a rape kit. It was humiliating, but Carol endured it because she thought the material collected would help police catch her attacker.
More than two decades later, Carol's rapist still hadn't been identified. But a routine call in 2008 to check in on the case revealed something shocking. Carol's attacker was still on the loose because police had not exhausted every lead. He was still out there because the most crucial piece of evidence, that rape kit, had never been processed.
(on camera): How did you feel about the fact that your kit had been sitting on the shelf for so many years?
BART: They have just let them stack up and stack up and stack up, and that's just unacceptable.
KAYE (voice-over): You heard right. Carol wasn't the only one. Years earlier, Dallas Police Sergeant Patrick Welsh discovered a huge backlog of rape kits and started a sexual assault cold case program.
(on camera): How critical would you say the rape kits are in helping you solve these cases?
SGT. PATRICK WELSH, DALLAS, POLICE: They're vital to our investigations, no question about that.
KAYE: Sergeant Welsh turned to the team here at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. He asked them to test every single untested swab sitting in their freezer. There were thousands of them dating back to 1970. Not a single one had ever been processed.
(voice-over): The sergeant says decades ago, law enforcement just didn't have the tools to solve these cases. DNA technology wasn't available to them until the 1990s.
WELSH: We've solved well over 80 cases from the early '80s and early '90s.
KAYE (on camera): From the rape kits.
WELSH: From the rape kits.
KAYE (voice-over): And Carol's case was one of them. Just four months, four months after Carol's kit was located and analyzed, the man who raped her was identified. But adding insult to injury, Joseph Houston couldn't be charged in Carol's case because the statute of limitations had run out.
It turns out after Carol's rape. He kidnapped another woman and exposed himself to a child. Carol believes if her rape kit had been analyzed years ago, her attacker might have been picked up and others wouldn't have been harmed. Lavinia Masters' case had gone cold, too. She had been raped at 13, back in 1985.
LAVINIA MASTERS, RAPE SURVIVOR: I woke up with a knife to my throat and someone spreading my legs apart, ripping my underwear from me.
KAYE: Her rape kit sat on a shelf for 21 years until Lavinia called Sergeant Welsh.
(on camera): After 21 years, they first had to unearth your kit. How frustrating was that?
MASTERS: I felt that I was on the shelf and I was forgotten about.
KAYE (voice-over): A few months later, Sergeant Welsh got a hit. He showed Lavinia a photo of the man who had raped her all those years ago.
MASTERS: I was like, my God, that is him. That is him. It was just amazing to me to see what DNA could do and how it changed my life.
KAYE: Too many years had passed for Lavinia to bring charges and it turns out the man was already in prison for raping two other women at knifepoint. He was up for parole, but his parole was denied after a DNA match was finally made in Lavinia's case. But this isn't just a Texas problem. It's estimated as many as 400,000 rape kits are sitting untested nationwide, 400,000.
Detroit has just started testing their backlog of 11,000 kits and of the 300 they've tested, they've gotten 119 hits, and of those, 29 have been I.D'd as serial rapists. It's all frustrating for Carol Bart.
BART: I can understand one city maybe being negligent, but a nation being negligent with rape kits? I don't understand it. This is a felony crime.
KAYE: A felony crime that still has police playing catch-up. Randi Kaye, CNN, Dallas.
BLITZER: Joining us now, CNN legal analyst, the former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin. Sunny, it's just unbelievable that this can happen in the United States of America, that a possible key to solving these crimes, convicting rapists sitting on shelves for years without being processed. How is this even possible?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think there are a lot of reasons why it's possible. None of them are appropriate excuses. Some people say that it's budgetary, others says the science hasn't caught up in some cases. I have to tell you, Wolf, as someone who has tried rape cases without this vital evidence it's inexcusable this kind of thing still happens in our country today.
It is so very difficult for women who have been sexually assaulted to put themselves through the process of getting a rape kit examination done. It's very, very intrusive. It's very difficult for them to go forward and after they go forward and get that very crucial evidence for law enforcement, for law enforcement to have dropped the ball on so many cases and just not even tested it. I'm speechless that this kind of thing still happens.
BLITZER: And as Randi pointed out, for a lot of women the statute of limitations runs out by the time the rape kit is finally processed and the perpetrator is identified. You say there shouldn't be a statute of limitations for these kinds of sex crimes, don't you?
HOSTIN: Yes, there shouldn't be. I have been a proponent of this for many, many years. Having been a prosecutor, again, who has tried rape cases, in many states, unfortunately, there's a statute of limitations for rape cases. These are felony rape crimes. There is no reason why there should be a statute of limitations.
We have about 20 states, though, let me be clear, that there are no statutes of limitation for rape cases, but that's just simply not enough. Bottom line is with all the DNA matches and the advances we've made with DNA, a match could be made many years later, sometimes after the statute has passed.
And also, it takes women a very long time to be able to be emotionally ready to try these cases, to sit and face their attackers. So there is no good reason that we don't have -- that we have statute of limitations in our states. It's just -- it is incomprehensible to me.
BLITZER: It's incomprehensible to me, too. It's an unbelievable story. I'm glad Randi Kaye brought is to our viewers. Sunny, thanks very much.
Just ahead, we are going to update our breaking news. More tornadoes hitting tonight and dangerous wet weather might not be over yet.
Also ahead, a newborn baby boy found alive inside a sewage pipe. How rescuers got him out safely.
BLITZER: Breaking news tonight, new tornadoes touching down and the possibility of more dangerous weather, a lot more, tomorrow. Several in Kansas and now reports there might have been one in Pennsylvania. Quick update now from Tom Sater in the Weather Center. Tom, what's the very latest?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Wolf, how ironic, at the top of the hour, we talked about the possibility of tornadoes and the small ones that they were in very rural areas in parts of Kansas. The tornado watch extends until 10:00 p.m. Central Time, but all of these supercell thunderstorms are sort of losing their punch and that's the good news.
But as we mentioned at the top of the hour, the threat would go into the tri-state areas of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, and now even into Pennsylvania. Just southeast about 17 miles southeast of Erie, Pennsylvania, we had reports of a possible tornado with possible damage moving toward the Waterford area. Now we have a warning for Broken Straw.
We were able to confirm by local law enforcement, they believe there was no tornado, even though maybe Doppler radar indicating that circulation. They believe it was straight line wind damage, downed power lines, a lot of rainfall and flooding rains. We still have a warning in that area of southeast areas of Erie County, northwest Pennsylvania.
But also into areas of Michigan. In fact, you see where flint is. The National Weather Service out of Detroit and of course, Pontiac, reporting the possibility of a tornado. Because they're moving at 30 miles an hour, straight line winds are a very good possibility, but not the supercell thunderstorms that we typically see, so again, it is reaching areas of Michigan as well.
The threat should continue toward the east, maybe into areas of northeast U.S., New England by tomorrow morning, and that's the frightening part when it's overnight, but again, the setup and the main concern is in the central plains and the heartland of the U.S., not just the slight risk but it's a moderate risk for parts of Nebraska all the way down and it does include, it's right on the edge of Oklahoma City.
Keep in mind, Wolf, these moderate outbreaks that we see do not read county lines so it could be one of those days tomorrow where the supercell thunderstorms will drop a few and we'll be keeping a close eye on it. Again, Chad Myers is on his way to Wichita as we speak.
BLITZER: All right, we'll check in with you and Chad, thanks very, very much.
Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following tonight. Susan Hendricks has a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a teenager in Oregon accused of planning to bomb his high school made his first court appearance today by video monitor from jail. The 17-year-old Grant Acord did not enter a plea. He is charged as an adult with attempted aggravated murder. Bond was set at $2 million.
President Obama returned to the Jersey Shore today seven months after Superstorm Sandy caused billions of dollars in damage. The president walked on the boardwalk with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and said that the Jersey Shore's open for business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And I saw what thousands of Americans saw over Memorial Day weekend. You are stronger than the storm. After all you've dealt with, after all you've been through, the Jersey Shore is back and it is open for business, and they want all Americans to know that they're ready to welcome you here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDRICKS: Also this, passengers are arriving back home on charter flights from the Bahamas after a fire on the Royal Caribbean's "Grandeur of The Seas" cruise ship canceled the trip for more than 2200 people on board. Passengers will get refunds and money towards a future cruise if they're willing to go on another one. Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Susan, excellent. Thanks very much.
A lot of people are talking about the dramatic rescue of a newborn baby in China. Tonight, we can show you how it unfolded. The infant was found over the weekend stuck inside a sewage pipe in an apartment building. At the time, no one knew who his parents were. Tonight, local police say they have found the baby's mother and she regrets what she did. The case is still under investigation, a deeply disturbing story, to be sure, but also an astonishing story of survival. Here's CNN's Hala Gorani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dramatic rescue began after cries from a fourth floor apartment toilet. Alarmed neighbors saw a tiny foot and called the fire department. Unable to pull the baby out, rescuers went to the floor below and sawed away the entire section of sewer pipe.
But still, the baby remained wedged inside. So sewer section and the baby were taken to the local hospital where firefighters and surgeons working together carefully began removing the pipe piece by piece. An hour later, success, a newborn baby rescued, the after birth still attached. Chinese media said he's a baby boy, now in stable condition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What an amazing story. CNN's Hala Gorani reporting. Today, by the way, local police posted these photographs taken in the hospital. As Hala reported, the baby boy is in stable condition, very remarkable. He's obviously a very strong little guy. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: That does it for this edition of 360. We'll be back one hour from now, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts right now.