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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Manhunt Ends in Death; Stop and Frisk Under Fire

Aired August 12, 2013 - 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: Good evening, everyone.

Tonight: rescuing Hannah Anderson and what comes next after the ordeal she survived at the hands of a killer?

Also tonight, the question is, is this any way of fighting crime, stopping and frisking hundreds of people every day, most of whom are guilty of nothing, most of whom are African-American or Hispanic? A judge today called it a kind of racial profiling. Others say it's just good policing. We will explore both sides of the issue and you can make up your own mind.

And later tonight, what every expecting parent needs to know about a new study linking induced labor with autism. How worried should you be? We will talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the facts.

We begin tonight with a young woman's rescue, her kidnapper's killing, the manhunt that save her, and tragically, the sad facts that she's facing along with the happiness of coming home.

In her week of captivity at the hands of James DiMaggio, Hannah Anderson did not know her mother and brother had been killed. Her father this evening said the healing process will be slow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF MISSING CHILDREN: She has been through a tremendous, horrific ordeal. I'm very proud of her, and I love her very much. She is surrounded by the love of her family, friends, and community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, in just a moment, I'm going talk to Ed Smart, whose daughter Elizabeth went through what Hannah Anderson has, also to John Walsh.

But, first, how the whole saga unfolded over barely more than a week. Each day brought another tragedy, another chase or some other dramatic turn.

Miguel Marquez investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Saturday, August 3, 16-year- old Hannah Anderson finishes cheerleading practice. The family along with their dog head up to their close friend James DiMaggio' east San Diego County ranch house. He begged the family to come up for one last visit. His house was being foreclosed on.

Sunday morning, 8-year-old Ethan Anderson fails to show up for an 8:00 a.m. football practice. Then in the 8:00 hour Sunday evening, there's a call about a fire in James DiMaggio's house. The house is engulfed in flames. Investigators say an accelerant is used.

The next morning the body of 44-year-old Christina Anderson, Hannah and Ethan's mother, is found in the partially burned garage. The charred remains of a child are found in the house, later confirmed to be those of 8-year-old Ethan. Hannah is believed kidnapped, and San Diego County authorities name James DiMaggio as a kidnap and murder suspect.

Just before 11:00 p.m., a statewide Amber Alert is issued. The public is told to be on the lookout for a blue Nissan Versa. Tuesday, August 6, authorities nationwide, even Mexico and Canada, are alerted. So far, no sightings of the car. Brett Anderson makes a desperate plea for the safe return of his daughter.

ANDERSON: Hannah, we all love you very much. If you have a chance, you take it. You run. You will be found.

MARQUEZ: Wednesday, August 7, tips begin pouring in. There's a possible sighting in Northern California and Southern Oregon. The Amber Alert is expanded to Washington State and Idaho. Authorities don't locate the car.

Wednesday night, a major break. Horseback riders spot a couple matching DiMaggio and Anderson deep in Idaho's River of No Return wilderness.

MARK JOHN, WITNESS: They just didn't fit very well. The expressions on her face, their demeanor just didn't fit that country. They was out of place completely.

MARQUEZ: The following day, after seeing Amber Alerts, the riders call law enforcement.

JOHN: The minute I seen Amber Alert on television, I immediately pointed to my wife. I said, that is the girl that we seen up on that mountain.

MARQUEZ: A massive search begins. Hundreds of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials rush to the scene.

(on camera): One of the things about this area, it is dotted with those rivers, creeks, and lakes out in the middle of nowhere. If one wanted to survive out here, you can survive for months.

(voice-over): Then on Friday, August 9, CNN breaks the news that the DiMaggio's blue Versa is found under brush, the license plates removed. Saturday, August 10, federal agents spot the campsite. The FBI's elite hostage and rescue team is delivered a 2.5-hour walk from the camp.

FBI agents sneak up to the campsite. DiMaggio is considered armed and dangerous, Hannah a potential hostage. DiMaggio fires at least one round using a rifle. FBI agents kill him.

MARY ROOK, FBI: At approximately 5:20 local time, special agents with the FBI's hostage rescue team along with Salt Lake City division of the FBI observed Hannah and the suspect near Morehead Lake at a campsite. Agents moved in to rescue Hannah. The suspect is deceased.

MARQUEZ: And authorities say Hannah Anderson is safe and unharmed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Miguel Marquez joins us now from Boise, Idaho.

How delicate and dangerous was this rescue operation? What do we know?

MARQUEZ: Incredibly so.

As I understand it, they had surveilled the couple for quite some time, hours before, by plane watching overhead. They then made the decision to move that special team, an elite team of FBI agents in. They were heavily, heavily armed just like you would see out in the military. They moved in, and they were late getting out there.

They wanted to get there earlier for fear that they would be breaking camp. They put them out, two hours out, so that DiMaggio would have no idea that they were coming. They snuck up on that camp. They surrounded it, waited until they separated, and then they confronted DiMaggio. And now we know that DiMaggio got one shot off with the rifle, possibly another, before he was taken down -- Anderson.

COOPER: Miguel Marquez. Miguel, thanks very much.

Both John Walsh and Ed Smart know the horror of losing a child. Ed Smart also knows the challenge, the welcome challenge of helping one heal. Both now fighting to make sure that one day no one will have to endure what they have.

John, the fact that -- I mean, everything this poor girl has gone through, the fact that she's back in San Diego safe and sound with her family, it's unbelievable.

JOHN WALSH, FORMER HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": It's an amazing end to a horrible story, Anderson. She's back alive.

Unfortunately, she didn't know that her mom and brother were murdered. So now she has to deal with just not only her kidnapping, but the fact that her loved ones, two of her loved ones are dead. But I think the ending was fantastic because now the state of California doesn't have to put this guy on trial endlessly and cost millions of dollars.

And then they won't have to house him in a jail cell while he watches TV and brags about his kidnapping and murders on the Internet. So this is a good ending with Hannah being back with her dad, Brett, who is a wonderful guy and a loving dad.

COOPER: Ed, I can't imagine that -- you know, the joy of coming home and then the horror of learning what happened, the things you didn't know about, the murder of your mother, your brother.

ED SMART, FATHER OF ELIZABETH SMART: You know, I think that is very difficult for -- probably as joyful as it is coming home, it's so difficult to know how to deal with the nightmare of losing a mother and a brother.

When I think of Elizabeth's return, it was just such a joyous day. I remember John calling up and, you know, it was so real that Elizabeth was home. And it was such a miracle. You know, the thing that I wonder about, though, is how she's dealing how he manipulated her and held her. In Elizabeth's case, Elizabeth was really manipulated by Mitchell saying, well, I'm going to kill your family if you don't do what I tell you to do.

And we don't know how she was manipulated or handled. Obviously he didn't tell her about what he had done to the -- to her brother and to her mother. And I hope that she understands that what has happened is not her responsibility. So many times, the captor manipulates them into feeling a sense of responsibility for what has happened.

And I hope that she understands that this guy of really sick and a bad guy and that she has her life to move on with, with her father. And it's going to be a difficult adjustment. Hope that the media and everyone will give her arm's length so that she can find that new normal and be able to move forward with her life.

COOPER: Yes. And that's something that her dad mentioned as well today. I just want to play that for our viewers, what he said earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: I respectively ask you to give me, all of our family, and our friends the respect and time to allow this to happen.

As for my daughter, the healing process will be slow. She has been through a tremendous, horrific ordeal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: John, I mean, echoing what Ed said, that idea of not being responsible, that's got to be very important for her moving forward.

WALSH: Absolutely.

She's got so much to deal with. And I really beg the media -- and, Anderson, you and I are in the media -- to leave this family alone. I think Lois and Ed Smart did a phenomenal job keeping Elizabeth away from the media until the family was ready. And look at how poised and wonderful she is now, having gotten married last year.

We advised Jaycee Dugard and her mother not to talk to the media until they had counseling. And we advised the women in Ohio that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children would provide some counseling for them or recommend counselors.

I have talked to Brett several times in the past week. And he said, what do we do when she comes home alive? I said, number one, she's going to come home alive. Number two, don't be seduced by the media. Get with your daughter. Let her deal with what's happened, and you guys heal. And then talk to the media when you feel like it.

COOPER: Yes, or if ever, if you even feel like it.

John, Hannah's grandfather talked about how shocked he was that DiMaggio could do such a thing, saying he didn't even know what he -- saying that what he would or should have looked for. What about that? What should family members be looking for to prevent something like this? Because I think everybody, despite all we have heard and all the examples we have seen, so many people still think of this is something that strangers do.

WALSH: No, not at all. The vast majority of crimes against children, 70 percent to 80 percent, are perpetrated by a trusted authority figure.

Think about Jerry Sandusky, the football coach. Everybody thought he was a wonderful guy. He started charities, while he was cherry-picking disadvantaged children to molest. Ariel Castro, the guy who kept those three women in the house in Ohio, everybody thought he was a great guy. He kidnapped the 14-year-old friend, best friend, of his own daughter.

You and I have talked about pedophile priests that were revered and respected and moved around the world by their higher-uppers in the Catholic Church. I don't know why people can't wrap their head around the fact that you really, really have to figure out and be a little bit on the ball of who your children hang around with, because it could be some trusted authority figure that the family respects.

COOPER: And, Ed, if a child says that someone gives them the creeps, it's important, it's vital for parents or family members, Ed, to listen to that.

SMART: Absolutely. I know Elizabeth and Mary Katherine have both said at different times, this person gives me the creeps. And you hear that once or twice, and that lightbulb should go on, and you should understand that you have got to respect what they're saying and, you know, be aware of what's happening and take safeguards to try to keep them safe.

I don't think there's anything more important than listening to your kids. COOPER: Ed Smart, John Walsh, it's good to talk to you under circumstances that have a happy ending in this case, at least partially. Thank you so much.

WALSH: Great ending.

SMART: Our love and blessings and prayers go out to them.

COOPER: Ed Smart and John Walsh.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper.

Next, is it a legitimate crime-fighting tool or is it wholesale racial profiling? A judge issues a sharp ruling on New York City's policy of stopping hundreds of mostly black and Hispanic men every single day. Our panel weighs in.

Later, the pictures are just amazing, but nothing compared to the stories you're going to hear from the people who narrowly escaped being swallowed alive on their summer vacation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight on race, justice, and a controversial way of doing police work.

It amounts to stopping lots of people, frisking them, checking their I.D., then, in about 88 percent of cases, neither arresting nor ticketing them for violating any laws. That in a nutshell is New York City's stop and frisk policy, police stopping 100,000 people in the first three months of this year alone, according to "The New York Times," which ran the numbers, about 1,100 a day, mostly young, mostly African-American or Hispanic, and, again, mostly guilty of nothing.

The NYPD and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg defend the practice, but today a federal judge ordered limits to it, appointing an outside lawyer to monitor the police, and in a blistering opinion, saying the police -- quote -- "adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling."

The judge also writing -- quote -- that "the city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner." The city plans to appeal. Stop and frisk is one of several law enforcement policies we have recently discussed in our town halls on race and justice in America.

Another is federal mandatory minimum drug sentencing. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder made news on that as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is why I have today mandated a modification of the Justice Department's charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The attorney general citing racial disparities and massive prison overcrowding as factors in his decision.

Now, the new policy drawing praise today from Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democrat Patrick Leahy. Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Mike Lee have been working as well along similar lines.

I want to talk about it all tonight, the stop and frisk ruling. "New York Times" columnist Charles Blow joins us, also conservative blogger Crystal Wright, and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.

Crystal, let me start with you. You support stop and frisk, saying the judge was just being politically correct, that it's not a police problem, you say. You called it a -- quote, unquote -- "black problem."

Explain what you mean by that.

CRYSTAL WRIGHT, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Sure.

The evidence is clear. Stop and frisk works, it saves lives. I lived in New York City, Anderson, in the 1990s. It was a war zone. We know you had over 2,000 people killed each year. And fast forward to Mayor Bloomberg after Giuliani, coming off Giuliani's heels. We know that there's been about 400 murders last year in New York City.

And under Bloomberg, we have had a 34 percent drop in crime. So it works. And what's sad about the judge's ruling is, she's chosen the politically correct route. The reality of the situation is, in our country and cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit, and right here in D.C., white people aren't being killed or killing. It's blacks and Hispanics.

And in New York City -- I will leave you with this note. In 2009 in New York, blacks represented about 25 percent -- 24 percent of the population. They were doing 66 percent of the killing. So, I'm sorry. We need to -- and we need to move beyond this discussion, and we need to talk about the root cause of what's bringing the black race down, and really get with that.

And that's what we're not dealing with, and that's what I find just unacceptable.

COOPER: Well, Crystal, does it trouble you at all that 88 percent of the stops that are police are doing result in the release of the person? So if there's a reason to stop the people they're stopping, how come so many of them are innocent?

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: Well, Anderson, it's kind of like when I see crime in my neighborhood, and I see a suspicious person. The first thing -- or I see somebody breaking into a car -- the first thing the police officer asks me, Ms. Wright, what's the person's race? First question out of the police officer's mouth.

So, I don't think this is racial profiling. This is profiling for suspects. And what we know, the majority of suspects in New York City are over 90 percent Hispanic and blacks. And I think the one thing I will say about the judge's ruling, I think it's ironic, she says it's not -- it's unconstitutional, but I'm not going to end the program.

So, I'm all for looking at how we train officers, but I think the New York -- NYPD is doing a heck of a job. It's safer when I go to New York. I'm not afraid to walk from the subway station to wherever I'm going.

COOPER: OK.

Charles, you were actually quoted by the judge in this ruling. What do you make of...

CHARLES BLOW, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, let's take Crystal's numbers, right?

So, if you have 400 murders in New York City, you also have eight million people living in the city. A quarter of them are black, a quarter of them are Hispanic, so, half of those people, four million people. You cannot take the demography of a tiny criminal population and extrapolate that on to regular law-abiding citizens who are doing nothing wrong and say that that is OK.

What the city's argument basically is, is that the means justify the end. No matter what we do, no matter who it hurts, if our numbers at the end of the day come back lower, then we are justified in taking away your rights and impeding on your rights.

And I think that we don't -- it's hard for me to understand how the city can make this argument, because you're on moral quicksand at that point. When you start to say that anything that I do, as long as it adjusts the numbers in the end, it's OK, many of the horrors of humanity have been based on that same argument.

You do not want to go down that road. And when the mayor and the police chief responded today, you heard nothing about the constitutionality of what they were doing. They just went back to the numbers, because you cannot defend this on constitutional principles.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, how do you see it?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, this is -- it's almost silly that we're having this argument in this sense.

My father, who was my partner for many years, used to say if you want to solve the crime problem, just incarcerate all minority males or males in general between the ages of 16 and 25. And that would give you the result that Crystal wants...

WRIGHT: Come on.

GERAGOS: ... because the great majority of crime is committed by males between the ages of 16 to 25.

Crime is going down everywhere. It's a demographic, Crystal.

WRIGHT: I realize that.

GERAGOS: It has nothing to do with this idea of making you feel safe.

If you want to feel safe, we can adopt what they do in Singapore. We could publicly cane people.

WRIGHT: I think what New York's doing now is keeping us safe, Mark.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: Well, except at the expense of a free society.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: And you're just being politically correct about it.

GERAGOS: I'm not being politically correct. I sit in courtrooms every day, Crystal. And I watch the disproportionate number of minority youths being processed through.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: Why do you think that is?

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: This policy wouldn't last -- I'm going to explain it to you, if you will give me a second.

This policy wouldn't last 45 minutes if you had the police going up to the Upper East Side, along Madison Avenue, and stopping and frisking people up there. It wouldn't last; 45 minutes, there would be an outrage.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: You know why it wouldn't last, Mark?

GERAGOS: Why wouldn't it last, Crystal?

WRIGHT: When you go...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Let her answer.

Crystal, what about that? If this was happening in predominantly white neighborhoods, wealthy neighborhoods, do you think people would stand for it? WRIGHT: Well, you show me a wealthy white neighborhood where you have the level of crime. Show me, and then I think we should go there.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Well, what kind of crime are you talking about? I can show you a lot of areas.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: I think muggings, murders.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Believe me, I grew up in a very wealthy white neighborhood. And I can tell you the number of parents who were popping pills and doing all sorts of illegal stuff, but it wasn't the stuff that is being prosecuted.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Crystal, go ahead.

WRIGHT: Wait. I just want to make a point here.

I was -- one time I was here at CNN getting ready to go home from evening, and I had a nice gentleman walk me out, a security guard, a black security guard here. And you know what he said he's afraid of when he leaves CNN at night? He's not afraid of the white kid walking around. He's afraid of his own people.

And the reality is, when you go to the ghettos and the public housing and cities in urban environments like Washington, you go to predominantly black neighborhoods, that is where the violence is occurring. And it's occurring. Black lives and Hispanic lives are being saved by stop and frisk.

Would I like it? I'm uncomfortable when I have to go through TSA and they pull me aside for an extra pat-down. And that has happened a lot of times.

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: Crystal, there are two problems. There are two problems.

One is, stop making the argument that you're doing black people a favor by profiling black people, right? That's a horrible argument.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: No, it's not a horrible argument.

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: That is an argument that that people have used all the way back to slavery, this idea that you're better -- you are better off...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: One at a time.

Charles, go ahead.

BLOW: You're better off here than if you were out there.

The second thing is, you make this point that if you go to wealthy white neighborhoods, you wouldn't have this problem. It's very important to understand the connection between poverty and crime. And crime is multifactorial, a lot of things go into why people behave the way that they do.

And if we got out of the business of being a punishment culture, and got into the business of being a helping culture, which we weren't punishing necessarily the person -- you got pregnant, you had a kid out of wedlock, whatever the case may be, this kid acts out, that kid now has to be punished, instead of providing services, which is what a lot of states are now doing, by the way, providing services, so that kids do not have to get in trouble, do not have to go to jail.

But it is cheaper on the front end to say, I will support a boy rather than incarcerate a man. That is a cheaper proposition.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: I agree with you. Actually, I agree.

Here's where you and I have consensus. I agree that we need to be focusing on programs that aren't going to necessarily incarcerate our young people who make mistakes. And speaking of out of wedlock, you know how I feel about this. You and I have spoken about this. We agree partly on this, is that the real thing that we're not -- I'm talking about is let's get to the root of the problem, so you don't have so many minorities that are in prison.

And that goes to the breakdown of the black family. It's not something to be proud of that 73 percent of my race, my race's babies are born without fathers, compared to about 30 percent of whites. And they're -- and I'm all for you. I know of a program right now, a character building program that Elayne Bennett is doing in about 14 states in public schools across the country to teach exactly what you're talking about, Charles, to teach girls self-esteem and to delay risky behavior.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: One at a time, one at a time.

GERAGOS: If you're worried about self-esteem, what do you think it does to minority youths who...

WRIGHT: Character building. GERAGOS: Is it character building to have them be frisked for doing nothing? Do you think that there's any kind of resentment that builds when they get constantly hassled or pulled over because of their color or where they live?

And they can't help it. You talk about it. They're born into where they live. Do you think that is something that's going to build a lot of respect for authority and a lot of character?

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: And the frisking is a very invasive maneuver. It is not a pat-down on the shoulders sort of thing.

I have listened to a young man who is part of this lawsuit that had been stopped and frisked eight times, never arrested once, never charged once. And the way he describes the invasiveness of the frisking and then for them to just leave him on the ground like a wet rag when it's done and walk away, and no apology, and no nothing, it is incredibly damaging psychologically to these young black men.

COOPER: Crystal?

WRIGHT: Yes. No, and I agree with you, and that -- and I will say the part of the judge's ruling that I think needs to be looked at is the training of the officers.

And that is humiliating, and I'm sure, look, it's not pleasant. I have been followed before in numerous department stores just solely because I was black. It's not fair. I don't think it is. But I also think we need to have -- if we're going to have this conversation, we need to be honest about what's going on in the black community. I feel like we're not doing that. There's a lot of apologizing going on, there's a lot of talking around it.

I think one of the programs the judge wants is, she wants to pilot a program where police officers wear cameras to actually see what's going on. I'm for that. I would like to see firsthand what's going on in the field.

GERAGOS: What about the part of the opinion where the judge talked about what the culture is in some of these precincts and what the attitude is in some of these precincts, and what you're breeding by doing this? Doesn't that give you some pause as to the us-and-them mentality that you're creating?

WRIGHT: No, because I think there's always going to be us and them with when you're dealing with law enforcement, and law enforcement doing a Herculean job, I will say, knowing police officers in Washington, D.C., personally, and in Los Angeles and many other cities, friends of mine who are police officers. It's tough work.

I don't think that what she said is pervasive, and I think that Bloomberg is going to do the right thing and appeal this decision. So I don't agree.

COOPER: It's a good discussion. We will continue it.

Charles Blow, Crystal Wright, Mark Geragos, thank you very much.

For more on the story, go to CNN.com.

Just ahead tonight, they were nearly swallowed alive on their vacation. Sounds like a Stephen King novel. The sinkhole that opened up under a Florida resort is very real -- how dozens managed to escape safely.

Also, the battle over baby Veronica takes a dramatic turn. There's been an arrest. And, tonight, the little girl's adoptive parents are calling on federal authorities for help.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. A massive sinkhole swallows a resort. Some amazing stories of survival ahead on "360."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Terrifying night at a resort in central Florida near Walt Disney world. A huge sinkhole opened up causing a three-story building to collapse. Part of the second building also sank. Dozens of guests had to be evacuated. Amazingly no one was hurt. Sinkholes are a fact of life in Florida, and they can be deadly. Just a few months ago, you may remember, 36-year-old Jeff Bush was swallowed alive when a sinkhole opened under his bedroom in Suburban, Tampa. His brother, Jeremy, tried to save him. Here's what he told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY BUSH, BROTHER OF KILLED IN SINKHOLE: This big hole. All I could see was barely see his bed. And I jumped in the hole to try to dig him out. I got a shovel and just started to try to dig him out. I thought I heard him screaming for my help. I thought I heard him asking me for help. I tried and tried and tried digging him out, and I was screaming and screaming for him and I couldn't get him out. I tried so hard. I tried everything I could.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Jeff Bush's body was never found. Sinkholes can strike with little or no warning at all. At the resort last night, guests had minutes to get out.

Martin Savidge reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a vacation destination known for make believe, it was all too real. A sinkhole, 100 meter cross, opens up under an Orlando area resort condominium, giving panic guests just minutes to get out.

ENRIQUE DIAZ, WITNESS: I saw it, it was crazy like how does that happen, you know?

SAVIDGE: Late Sunday night, the building 104 at the Summer Bay resort, guests began hearing strange popping and cracking, then the earth began to move.

DIAZ: We were walking around, and the building's collapsing, and the sinkhole on the bottom of it, buildings collapsing both ways.

SAVIDGE: More than 100 people including children were inside. But amazingly, everyone made it out safely. Some credit a quick thinking security guard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the security guards ran up and was evacuating people, barging into their rooms. One woman was sitting in the tub and the tub levitated.

BEN WARRICK, WITNESS: We hold the phone out.

SAVIDGE: Ben Warrick from Des Moines had just started his vacation, and was staying next door. He managed to capture the building collapse on his cell phone rolling at just the right moment.

WARRICK: I turned to film the guys talking to the fire department, I heard a crack, and I quickly I turned and the roof came down.

SAVIDGE: Officials say the sinkhole appears to have stabilized, but that's no help for the guests who fled in the darkness.

How do people retrieve the items they left behind.

PAUL CALDWELL, PRESIDENT, SUMMER BAY RESORT: Those items that may be in 104, to be very bluntly and realistic, may never be retrieved.

SAVIDGE: As a precaution to buildings that were evacuated leaving the residents scrambling that rooms for displaced gas at the height of the summer season.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just got here, and, you know, I don't want the kids to see us, you know, with a sad face. They came to see Mickey, you know? And I'm going to do my best to make it happen for them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It is unbelievable. Martin Savidge joins us now live.

Any idea why this sinkhole happened?

SAVIDGE: No, it's still being investigated. They have a private engineers firm looking at the soil on the property. In general though, they way they happened in the state of Florida, the reason they are so frequent, you have a high water table and it's very acidic water, and it is washing up against the relatively soft bedrock. That's a lion's stuff. You got an opening a cavern, that's opens up under the soil of them. The weight of the building on top, it just -- that's how it all falls in, Anderson.

COOPER: It's unbelievable.

Martin Savidge, appreciate the update. Thanks. And amazing no one was hurt.

Up next tonight, dramatic new developments in the battle for the little girl known as baby Veronica. Her biological dad, you may remember is under arrest for refusing to follow the Supreme Court decision and give her back to her adoptive parents. We will hear from both sides of the emotional case.

Also ahead, a new study that shows a possible link between autism and the way many women give birth. Doctor Sanjay Gupta explains coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: New ruling on the lawsuit, the legend Paula Deen's downfall, details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Crime and punishment now. Heartbreaking custody battle we have been following for months took a dramatic turn today when the South Carolina couple calling on federal authorities to help recover their daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIE CAPOBIANCO, VERONICA'S ADOPTED MOTHER: We ask what are you waiting for with every passing hour, we fear more and more for her safety and well being. Vermont's court appointed representative (INAUDIBLE) also fears for her safety. If anything should happen to our daughter while she's being left in the hands of those that are holding her captive from us, the responsibility will be shared by many.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Melanie and Matt Capobianco raised their adopted daughter, Veronica, for the first two years of her life. But 19 months ago, the court ordered them to return her to her biological father.

Veronica has been living with the biological dad, Dusten Brown in Oklahoma. But in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Capobiancos. Despite the ruling, Brown failed to show for reason court appointed -- appointment hearing that was supposed to be the first step in returning Veronica to the Capobiancos.

Today. Veronica stepmom told us the little girl was with her grandparents in Oklahoma. Capobianco say it amounts to kidnapping. As per Brown, well today, in a surprising development, her was arrested and then released on bond. Police say that happened today.

Our Randi Kaye actually spoke with Brown over the weekend as this whole thing was unfolding.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DUSTEN BROWN, BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF VERONICA: She's doing great, she's a wild kid, and very excited. Full of energy.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dusten Brown, talking with us for the first time about his daughter Veronica, less than 72 hours before he was taken to jail for refusing to return her to her adopted parents. He practically foreshadowed today's arrest during our interview.

Are you willing to go to jail for veronica.

BROWN: I'm willing to go to jail for my daughter. This is my family, and I protect them. If it takes me going to jail for it, so be it.

KAYE: What about veronica, now four, how is she handling the turmoil of being taken from her adopted parents nearly two years ago.

Do you think this is in her best interest?

BROWN: I think so.

She doesn't quite understand it. She has seen pictures of them with her. She goes, I know that's me, but who are they? I just tell her, those are some people that love you, too.

KAYE: Those people who love her too are Matt and Melanie Capobianco. They adopted Veronica at birth from Brown's ex-fiancee. Brown got his daughter back after a South Carolina court ruled in his favor citing a little known federal law designed to keep Indian children in Indian homes. Brown is part Cherokee. Veronica's been living in Oklahoma with him and his wife.

ROBIN BROWN, VERONICA'S STEPMOTHER: She's very attached to Dusten. When he comes home from work, she runs up to him, grabs his leg and says, "Daddy, I love you!" They horse around and play together and act like goof balls.

KAYE: But there's another side to this story. The perspective of the adopted parents, Melanie and Matt Capobianco.

MELANIE CAPOBIANCO: You want to be an engineer when you grow up?

VERONICA, 4-YEARS-OLD: Yes.

KAYE: Last week, Veronica was supposed to begin the transition back to their home. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their favor because Brown had given up his parental rights.

MELANIE CAPOBIANCO: I started getting really excited Sunday morning, because I thought, well, they are not going to break the law and not show up.

KAYE: Sure enough, he did just that. Brown never brought Veronica to meet them.

MATT CAPOBIANCO, VERONICA'S ADOPTED FATHER: We know better than anybody how it feels to have to hand over a child. And you know, we understand their pain, what they're going through. We know they care about her, we know they love her. One way or another she's going to come home.

KAYE: After Dusten Brown didn't show up, a family court judge here in South Carolina suspended the gradual transition of Veronica to the Capobianco and ordered she be handed over immediately. The judge said she was being unlawfully withheld from her lawful parents and he's called on the U.S. attorney's office to find Veronica and return her to the Capobiancos.

ROBIN BROWN: She will cling on to why if they are trying to pull her away from Dusten, there will be somebody literally grabbing her fingers and pulling them one by one often time because she will grab to him, she will not let go.

KAYE: Will you be ready at some point to hand your daughter over to the Capobiancos or what will it take?

BROWN: I'm going to fight until I have no fight left in me and until they say, you can't fight no more. I mean, this is my daughter. It's not a yo-yo that I can say, hey, I borrowed it for two years, have it back.

KAYE: The Capobianco say the fight is over. And the sooner Dusten Brown accepts that, the sooner their daughter, Veronica, will be home in her brand new big girl bed.

How hard is it waiting for her to come home and sleep in this bed?

MATT CAPOBIANCO: It's awful. I mean, it's just -- and it's wrong and it should be here already.

MELANIE CAPOBIANCO: That was the plan. But, I mean, I still feel really good that she'll be back home again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, the biological father, he still maintains that he can keep her, is that possible?

KAYE: He truly believes so, even though the U.S. Supreme Court and the South Carolina Supreme Court have both said this girl belongs with the Capobiancos. That she is legally theirs. But he thinks that he can find jurisdiction somehow in Oklahoma, he says that it doesn't belong in South Carolina courts which initially said that the adoption should stand in the Supreme Court affirmed that. But he thinks he has a chance in Oklahoma because he says, she was born there, she lives there now, and it should be under Oklahoma jurisdiction. But it's Capobianco say no way.

COOPER: So, I mean, is it possible, the courts have ruled, is it possible that at some point soon law enforcement will step in and take her?

KAYE: That is possible. I mean, certainly, the Capobiancos have asked for that. There was a warrant for his arrest, so that's why he turned himself in. Now, he is out on bond but a warrant has to be signed once again in South Carolina. And if it is, he is going to be brought back to jail, maybe as early as tomorrow. So, the next move is unclear.

The FBI has said we don't want any part of this. Leave it on the local level. Leave it on the state level. But there is a chance that authorities could go in there tonight and the next hour, and overnight, in the morning, and take this little girl out of that home. They say she's with her biological grandparents, but nobody has actually seen her.

COOPER: All right, Randi, appreciate it, thanks.

Just ahead, a new study linking induced labor to autism that's got a lot of people's attention. A lot of people are worried about this. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me ahead with some important perspective.

Also, the jury has spoken in the Whitey Bulger racketeering case with the Boston mob boss was convicted of and how much time he could be facing.

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COOPER: A new study published (INAUDIBLE) pediatrics has a lot of people talking tonight. The study found a link between autism and induced or augmented labor. In other words, babies born to moms who receive medications to induced or expedite labor had a higher risk of autism. It's the kind of finding that can sound alarming, but it comes with a lot of caveats.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me tonight.

So Sanjay, what can you tell us about this?

DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I want to make clear at the top, this is an observational study. No one is saying it's a cause and effect here because obviously, this is very concerning to a lot of people. It's going to capture a lot of headlines.

No one can say inducing labor, even augmenting labor leads to autism, but this study was an observational study, looking specifically at boys and they found that there was an association between inducing labor, augmenting labor and having a boy that's subsequently at higher risk of autism.

Let me show you some numbers really quick. First of all, inducing labor means a woman is around her due date. She has not yet developed contractions, you give medicines to start those contractions. Augments means the contractions have started, but you're going to make the contractions even stronger. But take a look at the numbers there, if someone induces, it's about an 18 percent increase in the likelihood of having a boy with autism. Slightly lower if just augmenting, 15 percent. But if you do both, Anderson, 35 percent increase overall, and likely to have a boy with autism.

COOPER: So, I mean, first of all, how common is augmenting or inducing?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, I looked this up as well because I actually thought it was going to be much more common than I found. But overall, inducing labor is about 23 percent, about a quarter of women have their labor induced. And those numbers are from 2008, the last time it was really recorded, my guess is, it's a little higher now. But it's a little, I think, a little lower than most people expected, it's not something out all women.

COOPER: As you mentioned, the findings were much more pronounced among boys, do you know why there's a gender gap?

GUPTA: I don't know why there is, and this could be one of those things where we don't know which came first. They are checking on the eggs here. We know boys are more likely to have autism than girls. If you take a look at the numbers across the board, they say one in 88 children, Anderson. But if you look more specifically at the numbers, among boys, it's one in 54, among girls, it's one in 252. So, it could mean that more boys are having autism or could be that this is actually playing some sort of role. We just don't know.

COOPER: when you talk about this being an observational study. But, I mean, what does that actually -- I'm practically speaking, what should families do, should people potentially stop inducing or augmenting pregnancies?

GUPTA: I don't think so. And you know, we asked that same question. And again, this is something that affects a lot of families, a lot of women out there, what I would say is that, you know, the old adage applies here, that the correlation here does not indicate causation.

But, you know, if there's something more to be learned here, are the women who are more likely to get their labor induced, do they have other health problems that are very much in common. Are they all taking certain medications that should be investigated more fully. That, you know, they did look at father's age. Is father's age playing a role here?

We do know there are certain factors that they have figured out over the years, do increase risk of autism for certain maternal age, older than 35, raises the risk by 30 percent, a first born child. Increased risk by 21 percent. And having a mother with gestational diabetes increased by 24 percent. This may be one of those other things that sort of establishes that correlation, but it may not be a definitive cause?

COOPER: So, more study is needed? GUPTA: Yes, and really figuring out what is happening around the induction and augmentation of labor. Is there something else these women have in common? Is there something about the process or medicine that has given during that process. I think those are the things that are going to be investigated.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

COOPER: Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following, Susan Hendricks is here with the "360" news and business bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a jury has convicted Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger on 31 counts of racketeering involvement in 11 murders. The 83-year-old could face life in prison when he is sentenced in November.

A "360" follow now racial discrimination claims against Paula Deen have been tossed out. A federal judge said the former worker suing Deen can't make those accusations because she herself is white. This is the same lawsuit that led to Deen losing much of her cooking empire after she acknowledge using racial slurs in the past during her deposition.

And a 12-year-old boy unearthed a 5.16 karat diamond in Arkansas' crater of diamonds state park since the park's policy is finder's keeper, he got an impressive souvenir to bring home.

And stay with us. We will be right back.

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COOPER: We're out of time with "ridiculist." That does it for us. Thanks for watching.

Erin Burnett, "OUTFRONT" start now.