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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Death Toll Rising After Severe Weather Devastates Texas, Oklahoma; Disturbing New Questions in DC Murder; '19 Kids and Counting' Fallout; Kayak Excursion Turns Deadly. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 26, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:07] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Tonight we have breaking news, and sadly a rising death toll in the wake of the massive weather system that is simply devastating tarts of Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico.
Nearly a foot of rain in places, seemingly all at once. Sections of America's fourth largest, Houston, under water. Rivers and streams hitting flood level in a matter of hours overnight and then rising even further.
Also rising, as we mentioned, the number of lives lost. At least 13 people have now died in this country, 13 more in Mexico. In addition, 15 people are missing, including a mom and two children who are in a vacation cabin when it was swept into a local river and carried downstream. We are going to speak with the woman's sister who was on the phone with her as the house was being swept away. We will also talk with one of the many first responders who thrown themselves into the floodwaters to pull others out.
But first, let's get the latest from Rosa Flores.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dozens of counties throughout Texas were in emergency disaster declarations while thousands evacuated in Oklahoma.
In densely populated Houston, over 11 inches of rain turning many streams into rivers, flooding residential areas and leaving over 80,000 residents without power.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kept calling over and over and I was like, you know, are you OK? Are you OK?
FLORES: In the town of Wimberley, southwest of Austin, over 400 homes swept away.
KHARLEY SMITH, HAYES COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR: We have roadways, like I just described, there are a road full of slabs. We don't have any structures on them at all anymore.
FLORES: The Blanco River, located in the town, surging to a record 44 feet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We saw an increase, a rise in the river in a 30 minute period of 30-40 feet.
FLORES: Today in Houston, rescuers (INAUDIBLE) debris searching for those still stranded. At least three in Houston are confirmed dead and at least 12 more missing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a good person.
FLORES: Alissa Rene Ramirez was one of the victims. At just 18, the student council president and homecoming queen was driving home from prom when her car stalled. She called for help, but her car was swept away before it could arrive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She did the right thing. She called 911. She called her father but it was too much and too quick.
FLORES: And now we also have more breaking news. CNN confirming from the fire department here in Houston that there was an overturned rescue boat earlier today. Three people inside, one person accounted for, and of course, they are telling now that some of those people who are missing from that boat could be part of that rescue team -- Anderson.
COOPER: It is just horrific what's happening. And Rosa Flores, I appreciate the update.
More on the dangerous work that rescuers have been doing. As Rosa said. Jay Horton, and captain and swift water rescue worker, and the rescue began at 4:00 in the morning when the crew decided to shine a light to see how high the water was and they spotted an arm.
Captain Horton joins us now to tell the rest of the story.
Captain, thank you for what you are doing and for being with us tonight. The word that we have just gotten about the death of a first responder on that capsized rescue boat in Houston, it really underscores the risk that you and other first responders are taking in weather like this.
CAPT. JAY HORTON, SAN MARCOS, TEXAS FIRE DEPARTMENT: Correct. It is a shame. And I hate to hear that kind of stuff. We also lost a brother, a first responder in Oklahoma who got sucked into a storm drain. It is a shame. And it is something that I hope we can do something to prevent.
COOPER: The woman that we saw you rescuing in that photo, what happened after you saw her in the water. How did you get her out?
HORTON: I actually didn't see her. Kurt Shuttle and Brad Mason, two co-workers of mine happened to shined a light to see how high the river was getting and they saw nothing but a hand waving and they said did you see that and that is in the water in the weeds and the trees. And so they stopped, backed up and lit up the scene and they could hear screaming. She spoke only Spanish. They didn't know what she was saying, but they knew that she needed to get out there quickly for she was in the water. It took while because the town was sectorized with being cut off by deep water. Even i-35 was shut down and closed. So we couldn't get personnel in there. We tried the boat attempt. The water was too big with the new (INAUDIBLE) fire department who was up there and helping up. We couldn't get the boat in. We did a shore-based walk and then found out that we could access her position from the river right side, but we couldn't get the boat around there. And that is when I figured I had some make-shift throw-bags that I have made. And I happened to be wearing them and that's all the gear that we have was PFD, my flotation device and these little throw bags, and we hooked them together and it was just enough length to make it to the tree to where I could put a PFD or a life jacket on her and then my shore crew pulled me in.
[20:05:27] COOPER: Just incredible.
HORTON: Yes, it was pretty harrowing.
COOPER: This is valid damn question, but I mean, what is it like to be in water like that? I mean, you know, people I have talk say no one ever expects it to be as strong as it is. There is the current you got to deal with. There is objects in the water you can't even see. How tough is it?
HORTON: I teach swift water rescue and have so since the mid-80s and I liken it to a crash course in physics. So if you are standing in three mile-per-hour of water which is up to your pockets, you will get about 20 pounds force on your legs. If you double that speed to six, you don't have double the force on your legs, you have quadruple the force on your legs and now that is six miles per hour and that is like a jog. And still not fast water. You start getting 15, 20, 30 miles per hour like you can get in fast water and you have exponential pressures and people don't understand the force and you can see what it does by some of the debris behind me, by ripping trees, floating houses away. And it is unbelievable the force, and people didn't really grasp the force of the water at that point.
COOPER: And as you said, you teach the water rescue, some of the biggest mistakes that people make, even the firefighters, I mean, it is very easy to get killed out there. If you are a firefighter, you are wearing a lot of firefighter gear, people don't take that into account sometimes?
HORTON: Well, actually, it is appalling to see your newscast and other newscast with agencies trying to do their best across the country. They were standing on a boat or close to the store and bank of the river in their turnout gear. That is the gear that we use to fight fire, to protect us from extreme heat. Do not use that to go into the swift water. Because once you fall in, it floats at first, but once it absorbs the water it is ten times as heavier than it is to begin with. Once the water absorbs and all the installation like -- this is a fire helmet. You see the brim that it has on. You take that into a water. That can snap your neck in quick and fast powerful water, you need a helmet that's like a kayaker helmet, got holes in it. You know, it is like a brim on this to keep the sun out of my eyes, but this will peel away in the force of the water.
COOPER: That is incredible. You are telling me if a firefighter, if their brim of the firefighter hat gets under the water it can snap their neck?
HORTON: When you talk about water this fast and powerful, you don't want anything that catches the current. And so, you want to have like gear like here is the fins that we use when we are in water. They are not scuba fins. They are shorter because they current peel you off the rock, (INAUDIBLE) scuba fins. So got to have to have a life jacket with like 23-25 pounds of flotation device to keep your face above water where you can breathe. And if I could do anything, Anderson, it would be to beg, plead with any first responders, my brothers and sisters out there, that are EMS, sheriff's department, fire department, first responders, take a course in swift water rescue. They don't usually teach in fire academy. So you need to learn the power of water under a condition to where your instructors can keep you safe while you are learning what this force of water is all about and get the gear and the training and get prepared for it because it is too late to just do it on a whim at the last minute.
COOPER: And we've seen some of the results of that.
Captain Horton, I appreciate your training and your helping others and you being with us tonight, thank you. I really appreciate all of you.
Just incredible with so many first responders, trying to do that now in Texas, Oklahoma down in Mexico. We have just learned that a fifth person has now being confirmed dead in Houston. That brings the total number of confirmed fatalities to 14, talking about in Texas, and Oklahoma.
And as we said, despite the best efforts of a lot of emergency crews, the force of nature was simply too much in some places. And you saw in Rosa Flores' reporting Alissa Ramirez lost her life, just a couple miles from her home in Devine, Texas returning from the prom when the floodwaters overtook her car. She was able to call 911. She was able to call her dad but nobody could get to her in time. She was the homecoming queen and student body president, yearbook editor. Her future could not have been brighter.
Joining us tonight is her aunt, Roberta Ramirez.
What do you want people to know about your niece? What kind of person was she?
[20:09:53] ROBERTA RAMIREZ, NIECE DEAD IN TEXAS FLOOD: She was just in a way your typical 18-year-old young lady. And she was beautiful. Full of life. Ready to take on the world. Cheerleader, volleyball, tennis. On the other side of it, she just had a really deep rooted faith and a belief that there was a higher being that she answered to and that her desire was to just show people more love and to be able to bring that message to the people around her.
COOPER: On Saturday night, did she have any idea the weather was going to be that bad? RAMIREZ: No. Anderson, I just don't think anybody really expected
it. Texas is kind of tumultuous that way. One minute the sun is shining and the next minute you have torrential rained. The kids had met, about 50 of them at her house before. All dressed up and beautiful and ready to go to prom and celebrate and the storm hit while they were inside. So, I'm not sure that they really understand the depth of it.
COOPER: And she was nearly home.
RAMIREZ: Yes. In fact, where the accident happened, from the house, you could see where it happened. The home is on a hill on some acreage and so it is about, excuse me, about two miles away from where it happened. So she, you know, she did everything that she knew how anybody would do. I guess she found herself in distress, she called 911, she called her dad and said you know, dad, I'm stuck, what do I do? I already called 911. He said sit tight. I'll be right there. And within, you know, the 10-12 minutes but it took him to get there, you know, the waters were just raging and it was too late unfortunately.
COOPER: It is so awful and just so stunning how quickly life can change and everything changes.
RAMIREZ: Yes, it is. You know, her father, their family is very strong in their faith and her father is a practicing attorney but he also devotes a lot of his time to the church. And he had the opportunity to speak to the senior class the week before. And he was talking to them about how important the decisions this they made in life were going to be for them and that they needed to, you know, get a good bible and get themselves into the word and read and make sure they were making the right choices because they were not guaranteed another tomorrow. I mean, like all of us, you know, we don't know if tomorrow was going to come. And ironically, his daughter was sitting in the front row listening to that very same message and here we are a week later having to go through this very terrible tragedy of losing a love one and one so young and beautiful like Alissa was.
COOPER: Roberta, again, I'm sorry for your loss and your family's loss. And I appreciate you sharing Alissa with us tonight. Thank you.
RAMIREZ: Thank you so much, Anderson. We really appreciate that and appreciate the prayers and condolences.
COOPER: We are obviously going to be following the weather throughout the hour and throughout the night tonight.
Coming up next, more on a family that was trapped inside a cabin as the water rose and picked it up, picked up the cabin and carried the cabin downstream, it hit a bridge, split it in half, a mother and father and two children were inside. The mother was on the phone with her sister and we'll talk to her shortly.
And later, where the money trail is leading investigators in the kidnapping and extortion and murder of a wealthy Washington family.
[20:15:50] COOPER: Breaking news tonight, the flood waters are receding, but the human toll is rising in Texas and Oklahoma, and additional fatality just confirmed now in Houston. Some of worst devastation happened along the river that rose three times flood level in just a few hours. And once it did, there was simply no stopping it. Anything and anyone in the way found themselves a great danger including a cabin in Wimberley, Texas. Now inside there was a family of four, mother in touch by cell phone with her sister who joins us shortly.
But first a background from Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Along the banks of the Blanco River in Hays County, Texas, a sad solemn sight. Members of the military searched for the people who are missing after last being seen swept into the river. The river flooding catastrophically, after huge amounts of rain and are still a violent and dangerous current.
WILL CONLEY, HAYS COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Our community has been devastated by a tsunami of water, a historic tsunami of water that came down the Blanco River very quickly in a very powerful way.
TUCHMAN: And in this small county, people have lost their lives and many are missing. Among them a mother and her two children, Laura McCome, her 6-year-old son Andrew and 4-year-old daughter Layton. Her husband, the children's father, John, survive but were seriously hurt and her is in the hospital.
Joe McCome is John's father.
JOE MCCOME, JOHN MCCOME'S FATHER: Well, it is difficult for him right now, obviously. He is heavily sedated in the hospital.
TUCHMAN: John was tossed in the river with his family.
MCCOME: We don't know how long he was in the water being tossed around and slammed up against trees and rocks and things.
TUCHMAN: John's wife actually called her sister when the house was uprooted and started floating on the river.
MCCOME: And from what I understand and just basically said, the house is floating. I just want to tell you all I love you. I don't know what is going to happen, but I just wanted you to know I love you and I'm with my kids and my husband and that was the last of the phone call.
TUCHMAN: So far no signs at all of the mother and children. About 70 homes have been destroyed in this county, some 1400 houses damaged.
This home owned by a woman who that says that in 40 years of coming here she's never even had minor flooding.
Could you ever imagine this much destruction from this river?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. But I respect it now, I'll tell you that.
TUCHMAN: The fury of these waters tossed vehicles like they were toys. This was a Volkswagen Jetta.
Police and emergency officials say they are still hoping for miracles. They still consider this a search and rescue mission.
COOPER: Gary, what is the river level right now? Is it still high and still dangerous?
TUCHMAN: Yes, it is still well above flood stage, Anderson, and that is a great concern particularly considering the forecast a few days from now of more heavy rain, but also concerning is this current. This is a normally a very placid river, the Blanco. I want to show you. I can illustrate it just by walking in up to my shins. And once I get to this point, I really have to hold on to a tree to avoid going east spun of the river. That is the way it is floating from the west to east. The searchers are all behind me. And one can only measure the terror that these people went through Saturday night and Sunday morning in the dark as they ended up in this river.
I could tell the flood stages normally is 13 feet. The record before this weekend was back in 1926, 89 years ago when the level was 32 feet. And this weekend, Anderson, not 32 feet, it was 44.5 feet, demolishing the old record from 89 years ago.
[20:20:31] COOPER: And I mean, to be swept away in the dark and all that stuff in the water, just awful.
Gary, appreciate the reporting.
A short time ago, I spoke with Laura McCome's sister, with Julie Shields. I was struck by how someone is experiencing such profound loss can show the kind of poise and strength from love that she is showing tonight. And as you listen to our conversation, I think you'll agree.
COOPER: Julie, I cannot imagine how difficult this must be for you and for your family. If you can, walk me through what happened. I understand you were on the phone with your sister Laura when the house was floating down the river. What did she say?
JULIE SHIELDS, LAURA MCCOME'S SISTER: She called me and she said, OK, we're in Wimberley. We're in it a house and we have water coming in. And I said OK. I go, well, where exactly? And then she started to look outside and sees how high the water was getting. So I told her to call 911. And she was surprised, she didn't really fathom that 911 was what she was supposed to call. And so, she called them and I told her that help was on the way. And then, a little after 1:00 in the morning she called and said I just want you to know the ceiling has caved in and the boat -- the house is floating down the water, and tell mom and dad that I love them, I love you, and pray.
COOPER: I'm trying to imagine what was going through your mind while she was telling you all of these things. It must have just been terrifying?
SHIELDS: It was surreal. But the strangest thing about it is she was so incredibly calm. Which you are not calm in these type of situations. And I had been calm with her that evening. And I would say that it's -- it was a sign of her faith in God and God and her faith were just so incredibly important to her.
COOPER: She has deep faith.
SHIELDS: She has deep faith. And I think she was at that moment that she knew she needed to be there for her family, she knew what was coming and she was ready to accept that.
COOPER: And I understand that the cabin actually split apart and separating your brother-in-law, Jonathan, from your sister and your niece and nephew. I think your brother-in-law is being treated in the hospital. Have you been able to speak to him? How is he doing?
SHIELDS: He is not -- as you can imagine, if you are the one person that is not left behind, you don't know how to process. He lost everything. He lost everything when my sister and his two children disappeared. And I don't know how you live with that type of grief. He did everything he possibly could to save them.
My mom talked to him yesterday, when he was in the hospital, and he told her that a wall of water separated him from my sister and that was around the time that the house -- the house hit the bridge. And the house then split in two.
COOPER: What do you want people to know about your sister?
SHIELDS: She was loved. She was loved. She had a very big personality, she was a good wife. She was a loving mother and her kids were her life.
COOPER: And her kids are so beautiful, you know. I don't know if there is any consolation in this, but that they were together has got to be some source of strength right now.
SHIELDS: That is a source of strength and it is somewhat comforting because she would never leave her babies and the fact that they are together is very, very important and something that -- I don't know what to say.
COOPER: Julie, I'm just so sorry for what you're going through and your thoughts of everybody here, are with you and your family. And I just wish you peace in the days ahead.
SHIELDS: Thank you. Thank you.
COOPER: There is a lot of people in need right now in Texas, Oklahoma and down in Mexico. Just ahead, we have new questions in the quadruple homicide in D.C.
New details involving an assistant, text messages and a lot of money.
[20:28:54] COOPER: Disturbing new questions tonight in the investigation into the murder of a wealthy Washington, D.C. couple and their 10-year-old son and housekeeper. One suspect has been arrested, as you know. Police say the investigation to other is still very active.
Pamela Brown reports.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned two of the five people with Daron Wint during his arrest cash money orders for $2,500 each, money believed by investigators to be from the $40,000 dropped off from the Savapoulos family home while they were held hostage according to a law enforcement official.
HARRY HOUCK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You released them. I mean, you got all -- you have identified all the information. We know where they work, we know their cell phone numbers, we know where they live, we know where their family is. So the police officers probably felt pretty confident that they can release them, alright, and let them know, listed, you know. And you are still under investigation and there might be charged to come in this case.
BROWN: And this as we are learning police continue to investigate an individual described n police record as an assistant and driver of Savva Savapoulos who allegedly helped facilitate the money dropped off at the family home. According to court documents, the assistant changed his story about when his boss contacted him to pick up the $40,000, revised details about the car he left the money at the mansion and admitted he lied by not initially telling police the cash was in the red bag.
HOUCK: There is no reason for somebody like that to lie. The detectives are taking a very close look at him, to find out whether or not money was dropped off or not, going through all these records to see if anyway it was he was somehow connected to Wint at all in this case.
BROWN: So far, no one else besides Darrin Wint has been named as a suspect in the case. CNN has learned after the murders in Washington, D.C. Wint allegedly took a bus to New York to stay with his girlfriend. Once he was publicly named as a suspect, Wint paid a thousand dollars to hire an Uber car service to drive him back to D.C., according to a law enforcement source.
BROWN: And the two women who allegedly purchased those money orders were released from police custody in less than 24 hours, but we're told the investigation into them is still very active. Authorities have been looking at possibly bringing charges such as accessory after a crime, though law enforcement official says charges against them are not imminent. Anderson, it is clear D.C. police do not believe the suspect Darrin Wint committed this quadruple homicide alone.
COOPER: All right. A lot more to find out. Pamela Brown, thank you. Let's get the latest on some of the other stories we are following tonight. Amara Walker has a "360 News and Business Bulletin". Amara.
AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson. Iraqi forces have started a major military operation to free areas from ISIS including Anbar province. The counterstrike comes a little over a week after ISIS took over the city of Ramadi.
In North Dakota, a U.S. airman shot two Wal-Mart employees killing one before killing himself early this morning. 21-year old Marcel Willis was stationed at Grand Forks Air Base. Police say there is no obvious connection between Willis and the victims, but an investigation is underway.
Two daughters of late blues legend B.B. King are saying he was murdered by two of his close associates claiming they gave him medication to induce diabetic shock. An attorney for King's business manager calls the charges ridiculous. King died earlier this month at the age of 89.
And a volcano on one of the Galapagos Islands has erupted for the first time in 33 years. There are concerns that the eruption will damage the eco-system near the - of volcano on Isabella Island and threaten species, including the only population of pink iguanas in the world. Anderson.
COOPER: Amazing pictures. Amara, thank you very much.
Just ahead, new fallout tonight for the Duggars and there are growing calls for TLC to cancel the popular series, "19 Kids and Counting," over molestation claims.
COOPER: Tonight, more fallout for TLC's popular reality series "19 Kids and Counting." Three companies now are pulling their ads from the top rated show following claims that Josh Duggar, the eldest son in this series, molested underaged girls when he was 14 and 15 years old. His parents waited at least a year to report the claims to police, no charges were ever filed. Duggar who is now 27 has resigned his position with the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council. As for the future of the top-rated show featuring the devoutly Christian supersized family, that's still - that's a big question. Alexandra Field tonight has the latest.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For years, America watched their family grow. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are the Duggars.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And our children.
FIELD: Duggar life documented in the hit series, "19 Kids and Counting" and in a book, "Growing up Duggar," co-authored by the four oldest Duggar daughters, but they are staying quiet as the family's darkest chapter continues to play out in public. Claims that Josh Duggar molested five children, including some of his sisters, when he was a teen. Late last week the 27-year old issued an apology. Saying twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably, for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. Now, newly resurfaced video shows Josh in 2008 making an apparent joke about his siblings and incest.
JOSH DUGGAR: We chose Jan and John David. We thought, why not have a double date? We are from Arkansas ...
DUGGAR: It is the Bible.
FIELD: The Duggars, a conservative Christian family shared their home with cameras for ten seasons.
TLC made the family famous, but it's taking heat for its response to the fallout. Airing a marathon of old episodes only hours after the allegations were published. A day later, executives reversed course, announcing the network would take all episodes off the air, at least temporarily, but there is no word on whether the show will go on.
ALYSSA ROSENBEREG, WASHINGTON POST POP CULTURE COLUMNIST: It's sort of an open question, and some of it depends on how willing TLC is to be transparent and how willing the Duggars are to participate in the process of addressing this on screen. The show certainly can't continue without some sort of acknowledgment or some sort of conversation here.
FIELD: General Mills, Payless Shoes and Choice Hotels, all show sponsors are now pulling their ads and a petition on Change.org to cancel "19 Kids and Counting" started nine months ago has now racked up 193,000 signatures. A rival petition to keep the show has garnered more than 212,000 signatures. Online, a sign of support for the embattled Duggar and the entire clan, a blog post from Josh's sister's father-in-law who writes, "It pains me to see that they are now having to relive the nightmare that had been laid to rest well over a decade ago, with Josh's repentance and reformation."
In a joint statement Josh's parents Jim Bob and Michelle said their son made some very bad mistakes. His wife pregnant with the couple's forth child is standing by his side. The audience waiting to see if the Duggar family gets another chapter. Alexandra Fields, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, there are so many unanswered questions in this story. A lot to talk about with Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN's "Dr. Drew." He joins me tonight.
So, Dr. Drew, I mean the fact that Josh Duggar hasn't received as far as we know, any sort of professional treatment or assessment other than a so-called Christian counseling program, which according to "In Touch" magazine was really just a family friend who had a construction business.
COOPER: Does that make any sense to you?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, "DR. DREW": No. It is actually -- it frightens me. The fact that this man is with his own children, amongst his siblings, who remain at an age which he had targeted in the past, with no -- no assessment whatsoever, we don't have any idea what this potential could be. Whether he's continuing to do it, whether he's even treatable, we have no idea. So, the fact that there was no assessment, we can't even discuss treatment, because we don't know what we are dealing with. But I can tell you for sure, we are not dealing with something that couldn't be associated with profound, profound disaster.
COOPER: Right. I mean if this is some sort of predilection for children.
PINSKY: Yes. Yes.
COOPER: This kind of thing. This doesn't just go away. We all know this.
PINSKY: No, it does not. And the fact that you know, what you read about the family's interventions. We've taken care of those. We've taught him the difference between right and wrong. Are you kidding me? If all we had to do with child molesters is - they often know they are doing something wrong. They typically know there's something wrong. They know right from wrong. They can't control their impulses, their urges, their drives. And by the way, even after this kid confessed to what he had done, he did it again very shortly thereafter and then the family intervenes by telling a trooper who himself, I believe, is doing time for child pornography. Am I right?
COOPER: Yeah, I mean "In Touch" magazine saying this trooper who apparently gave him a stern talking to, whatever that even means, is serving like 56 years for child pornography.
PINSKY: That means - I mean it is unbelievable. It's - Anderson, it's just unbelievable to me that people in this day and age can contemplate, particularly somebody in law enforcement, could contemplate that all you need to do is rationalize or talk or be stern with, or teach somebody who has this problem, no. Oh my goodness, no. This is something far more serious. COOPER: Well, also, the fact that - and you think about the victims
in all of this, who have not only - not had any justice, but as far as we know, and we don't know what sort of counseling they've had or if anybody has even listened or cared about what happened to them. It seems like the focus was on well, you know, we gave a stern talking to this young man at the time, what about the victims in all of this?
PINSKY: What about the victims? Have they even been identified yet? Sometimes people that engage in these kinds of activities don't even really understand the extent to which they perpetrated and one of the things that victims typically do, is they wall it off. Literally - brain grows in such ways to sort of unwire that memory, that piece of the emotional machinery that is associated with the trauma, so the victim certainly doesn't come forward and doesn't want to talk about it or doesn't want to think about it and it has effects that are often lifelong.
COOPER: Doctor Drew Pinsky, I appreciate being on, thanks.
PINSKY: You bet.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, a kayak excursion that turned deadly. She says her fiance drowned by accident. The prosecutors led to something far more sinister. Now, the victim's body has finally been found.
COOPER: Tonight, new developments in a murder mystery that has stunned and stumped a lot of people. A body recovered over the weekend has been identified as the man that prosecutors say was killed by his fiance last month while they were kayaking in the Hudson River north to New York City. The body could yield crucial clues about what actually happened on the water that day. The case that prosecutors are building, it is deeply disturbing. Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An evening kayak trip for a couple that appeared very much in love. But before it was over, Angelika Graswald's fiance, 46-year old Vincent Viafore had disappeared, presumed dead.
Police say the couple was kayaking here on the Hudson River between Plum Point and Bannerman's Island. Investigators say around 7:40 that evening, Graswald called 911 from the river to report that her fiance's kayak had capsized in the choppy water. She told police she couldn't find him.
It was April after an especially cold winter, so the water was only about 40 degrees. Rescue crews searched the river for Viafore with no luck. Graswald, who is a U.S. permanent resident but a Latvian citizen, described the scene to a reporter.
ANGELIKA GRASWALD: I saw him struggling a little bit, he was trying to figure out how to paddle the waves because they were getting crazy. And then I just saw him flip.
KAYE: But the police don't believe that story. Graswald is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The indictment alleges that as Viafore reached for his paddle to save his own life, Graswald pulled it away. Richard Portale is Angelika's Graswald's defense lawyer.
(on camera): Did your client try to save her fiance that night on the river?
RICHARD PORTALE, ANGELIKA GRASWALD'S ATTORNEY: Well, I think she did. But even if she could have gotten to him, she didn't have the physical ability to save him.
KAYE (voice over): Prosecutors also suggest Graswald may have actually set him up to drown by tampering with his kayak's plug so the boat would fill with water.
(on camera): So your client didn't remove the plug from the victim's kayak?
PORTALE: She did not. Vincent left in his kayak on April 19 without the plug, knowingly, as he'd done several times in the past.
KAYE (voice over): In the days following the tragedy, Graswald posted this video of herself on Facebook doing a cartwheel, along with smiling selfies, all of it raising eyebrows. She even showed up on stage at a local pub singing Hotel California. A friend of the couple described her performance as strange. Mike Colvin (ph) is Angelika Graswald's ex-boyfriend.
(on camera): Does she have a temper?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The temper would come out on occasion. You know, as I've told a lot people, there was no inclination that she was ever capable of anything remotely like this.
KAYE (voice over): When they broke up in 2010, Colvin says Graswald made a desperate and dangerous attempt to take the couple's cat.
COLVIN: She threatened to break into the house if I didn't give her the cat. Finally, I relented, I did give her the cat, and I literally got an alarm installed in the house the next day.
KAYE: Angelika Graswald later moved into this townhouse with Vincent Viafore. Why if she did do this, would she want to harm her fiance?
KAYE: The prosecutor says Graswald stood to inherit 250,000 dollars from life insurance policies and talked about what she could do with the money after his death.
(on camera): Was she aware of those insurance policies.
PORTALE: I'm not aware that she was. KAYE (voice over): What about her diary? Could that hold clues to a motive? Graswald told a reporter that she complained in her diary about her fiance wanting a sexual threesome.
PORTALE: What partner hasn't requested a threesome? This is not craziness, right? This is not anything out of the ordinary, but it's not a motive for murder.
KAYE: Motive or not, investigators now have a body.
COOPER: It's an interesting soundbite there from that gentleman.
KAYE: Oh, yes.
COOPER: Randi - Randi Kaye joins me now. Is there any evidence that this woman made an effort to get help for her fiance?
KAYE: Well, Anderson, the state police are handling this investigation and they say that she did call 911 at 7:40, but they also say that she told them the kayak capsized at 7:15. So, did she wait and why did she wait? We asked her attorney that, and he said that she was in shock, she was freezing from that water, and maybe she didn't' have her time straight. I also want to mention that plug, that kayak plug that police say she tampered with, so his boat, her fiance's boat would fill with water. This - the lawyer says that she did not tamper with that, of course, and we spoke with a guy who works on the river and he said that that wouldn't have caused a kayak to fill up with water. He said what you are more worried about, is what he called the cockpit, which is where a person sits in the kayak.
COOPER: Randi, thanks very much.
Up next, marking a milestone here at CNN. 35 years of CNN. That is our Wolf Blitzer, back in the day. He hosts a special. He's been here for decades himself, 25 years, bringing us some of the biggest stories, his memories, coming up.
COOPER: We're celebrating a milestone. The world's first 24 hour news network was launched on June 1st, 1980. Now, in just a few minutes, the special report, breaking news, 35 years of CNN is going to be hosted by Wolf Blitzer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I dedicate a cable news network.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots were fired at the president.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For 35 years we've been everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The skies over Baghdad has been illuminated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's nothing - about the horrors of this war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J. Simpson is in that car.
BLITZER: In danger. Covering the devastation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has got a big laceration.
BLITZER: The terror.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has been a second explosion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Possible suspects in the Boston bombing.
BLITZER: And triumph.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Director Helmin (ph), can you talk to us?
BLITZER: Making news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't move!
BLITZER: And breaking news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is going on in Ferguson, Missouri.
COOPER: And Wolf Blitzer joins me now. Wolf, 35 years. I mean it is amazing to believe. It is hard to believe. You've been here, you know, 25 years, I've been here about 13 years or so. What stands out to you in all of the years, c you've covered?
BLITZER: Well, all of these stories of at least 25 that I've been here, and so many of them have been amazing stories, whether it's the first Gulf War that really put CNN on the map when we were covering what was going on in Baghdad. We had three journalists, these reporters there, and plus, our photographers, our producers who were there. Peter Arnette, Bernie Shaw, John Holiman, they were literally risking their lives. I was at the Pentagon reporting what was going on.
COOPER: You had just started.
BLITZER: Yeah, I had started like a few months earlier, I started on May 8th, 1990, and Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on August 1. August 2, their time 1990. And all of a sudden, operation Desert Shield, operation Desert Storm and so TV was a whole new world and at that time, as you remember, Anderson, the whole world literally was watching CNN because we were the only 24/7 cable network, we were the only one reporting live from Baghdad, so it was really an amazing story that we were covering. And as I said, it really put CNN on the map.
COOPER: It is also incredible how, you know, a seemingly ordinary day, not that there is any ordinary day, but everything can change in the matter of a seconds, a story just comes out of nowhere sometimes, U.S. Airways jet down in the Hudson River, you know, well known first, Michael Jackson dying. I mean something happens somewhere in the world, and the whole network kicks into high gear.
BLITZER: It is really what I love about CNN and I'm sure you love it too. That we have incredible news gathering capabilities, obviously, here in the United States, but around the world. I don't think anyone has the reach that we have around the world, when there is a tsunami, for example, in Japan, and, you know, we were all over there. You were there. It was really amazing. Any big story that happens and it has been like that for me ever since I started in 1990, you know, whether it was the first Gulf war, the Murray federal office building in Oklahoma City, 9/11, which all of us, of course, covered. These were stories that not only impacted the world, but impacted us so much as well. You know, a lot of times we're professional journalists, but we're also human beings and as you know covering Katrina and as I know covering other really poignant stories it has a very, very powerful impact on all of us as people as well.
COOPER: And now we're all mandated to wear the same glasses.
BLITZER: I like your glasses. They make you look a lot younger, Anderson.
BLITZER: I know you. 13 years ago, when we were getting ready to cover the Iraq war, we went to Doha, Qatar, remember?
COOPER: That's right.
BLITZER: And the U.S. military is having us war games there.
BLITZER: And you were much younger looking then.
COOPER: I was.
BLITZER: I don't know if we could show our viewers a picture of you then.
COOPER: You had a fancy room, as I recall it.
BLITZER: I had.
BLITZER: And you were new to CNN.
COOPER: I was new, they were - I think people are like why did they hire this guy? What is, you know, what's his role?
BLITZER: We had total confidence. We had total confidence.
COOPER: Well, Wolf, it is an honor to work with you. Thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you.
COOPER: Wolf Blitzer. That does it for us. Now here is "Breaking News" 35 years of CNN with Wolf.