Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Operation Swarmer; War and Politics; Flying Firefighters; Identifying the Dead; Drug Trial Horror; Unsolved Murders: JonBenet Ramsey

Aired March 16, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Patients clinging to life. Witnesses telling stories of terrifying side effects.

RASTE KHAN, MEDICAL VOLUNTEER: It was like someone was stabbing him in his back because he was screaming.


ANNOUNCER: Tonight, a 360 investigation into what went wrong.

And infamous cases gone cold. JonBenet Ramsey, Chandra Levy. Tonight, updates on the murder mysteries that riveted the nation.

From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening again. We begin the hour with a major operation in a very high corner of Iraq. Not just in terms of the insurgency, but also when it comes to the other forces that could tear the country apart. It's happening with Iraqis squabbling over a new government, and Americans losing faith in the president. Two reports tonight.

Starting with CNN's Nic Robertson in Iraq.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Iraqi and U.S. assault troops aboard a helicopter, fly toward what the 101st Airborne describe as the biggest air assault since the invasion of Iraq three years ago.


ROBERTSON: "Operation Swarmer" began at dawn Thursday. More than 1,500 troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft. Some landing near Samarra, about 50 miles north of Baghdad.

MAJOR TOM BRYANT, U.S. ARMY: This is a possible suspected insurgent operating area. And The Iraqi security forces are out front and drove this operation. ROBERTSON: All of the video and pictures provided by the Department of Defense. Iraqis living nearby describe the area as sympathetic to insurgents and say they've seen foreign fighters.

HOSHYAR ZEBARI, IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: The insurgents and the terrorists have been assembling themselves there, trying to create another Fallujah.

ROBERTSON: Troops fanned out to cordon a ten square mile area, hunting for insurgents until the sun went down.

BRYANT (on the phone): We want to do a pretty thorough search in hours of daylight vs. the hours of limited visibility. So the that will be the searches in earnest tomorrow morning.

ROBERTSON: In this potentially lethal environment, so far no shootouts and no casualties. And no reports of insurgents captured yet -- the main goal of the operation.

But, some roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices found in the operation that is expected to last several days.

BRYANT (on the phone): We know we've discovered a couple different cachets, secured artillery shells, some explosive material, some IED materials.

ROBERTSON (on camera): "Operation Swarmer" is being touted as a successful Iraqi-led operation, at least so far. But with so many U.S. air assets, helicopters and aircraft, that may be pushing the definition a little far. That more than half the troops involved are Iraqis, does show that the Iraqi army is becoming more involved.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.


COOPER: As we mentioned at the top, the operation comes just as the president is engaged in a new push to win back public support for the war.

With that as a backdrop, here's CNN's Elaine Quijano.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House dismissed any suggestion that today's assault or the military's effort to publicize it was timed to coincide with this latest PR campaign, saying the president's authorization wasn't required.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He knows about the operation, he's been briefed on it. But this is a decision that is made by commanders who are in the best position to make the tactical decisions about the operations that are undertaken.

QUIJANO: The White House also released its updated national security strategy, emphasizing worldwide democracy as the best defense for America.

The plan says the U.S. will strive to use diplomacy first, but does not back away from the doctrine of preemption, saying, quote, "To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United states will, if necessarily, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense." The national security adviser defended the doctrine.

STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: And the president believes that we must remember the clearest lesson of September 11th, that the United States of America must confront the threats before they fully materialize.

QUIJANO: But some say that staunch defensive preemption ignores the lessons of Iraq.

SUSAN RICE, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: We thought that we knew that Iraq was the most pressing threat because it possessed weapons of mass destruction. It did not. We preempted. We're now in a long-term entanglement in Iraq. We need to do our best to ensure that it doesn't devolve into civil war and that the insurgents and the terrorists are put down.

QUIJANO (on camera): Administration officials insist they have learned better intelligence is needed. They also argue Iraq is not a preemptive war, saying 12 years of diplomacy preceded the U.S. led invasion.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, the White House.


COOPER: Well tonight, another poll showing the president now facing unprecedented public doubt on the war. It's a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll. When asked how things are going in Iraq, 38 percent of people surveyed, answered well; 60 percent said poorly. That's a significant change from just three months ago.

And to the likely outcome in Iraq, 40 percent said a stable government; 55 percent said civil war.

We talked about it, about politics and policy earlier in the program with Former Presidential Adviser David Gergen, now of Harvard University's Kennedy school of Government.


COOPER: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, was talking to Wolf Blitzer earlier today on CNN. And she kind of talked about the coordination or hinted at coordination of today's events, the military operation billed as a massive air assault and then the release of the national security strategy.

If you believe these events were timed, what would be the strategy behind doing it all in the same day? DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I doubt very seriously they were coordinated. The military has -- operates with a fair amount of latitude from the White House on things like this.

You know, I'm cynical about a lot of things, but not about the way the military carries out its operations. And I think they carry them out for their own purposes.

What possible use was this? Well you know, Anderson, it doesn't help the president in a lot of ways to see U.S. troops are still needed to put down things. As you reminded your audience just a couple of minutes ago, you know, we had mission accomplished on that great big banner on the aircraft carrier and here we are with another mission.

COOPER: Well, it's not just that. I mean Samarra was a massive battle back in 2004, and then just a month ago there was another sweep through the town. So that now we're having to go there by air and put troops on the ground again. I mean, that's very damning.

GERGEN: Well it is. And I think that's exactly right. So that's why I don't think this is for PR purposes. What I do think it raises a question of -- as Iraq gets deeper into what looks like a civil war, and we then go in with a lot of air power against one side, do we look like we're taking sides in this civil war? I think that is going to be an issue that's going to be with us.

You know, we've got very delicate and difficult negotiations going on to try to form a government. And we've been looking like we were trying to help Sunnis get into this government. But you know, a lot of insurgents are tied into the Sunnis, the Sunnis think Shiites have been using their militias to kill them. Here we go in to kill more Sunni -- insurgents. So, that's -- I think the problem the administration has now -- the hour is coming went they've got to get some resolution.

You can't -- you've got to get a government formed and you've got to get American troops out of there fairly soon.

COOPER: It seems the only solution, really. I mean, it does seem to me, though, that we're in very dangerous waters. The lack of credibility this administration seems to suffer from -- rightly or wrongly -- it taints the way people see ongoing military operations in Iraq.

GERGEN: Totally right. Totally right.

COOPER: And it's sort of a cascading effect. You know, I've gotten tons of e-mails today from people saying, look, you know, why are there no embedded reporters in the air strikes today? Why are we only seeing Department of Defense footage? You know, and those are good questions. Lack of credibility becomes corrosive.

GERGEN: That, I totally agree with. And the amount of secrecy, the kind of -- the excessive spin, the periodic deception, I think is really coming back to haunt the administration in its hour, you know, an hour of real testing here.

You know, these next few weeks are going to be absolutely critical and the president doesn't -- we talked about this the last couple of days. The president's honesty numbers are down. That is his trump card, if people they he's honest. And when you've got people thinking the administration is not playing it straight, then when they see these kind of pictures, they think well this is all a PR game. When in fact, I don't think it is. But that's the way they see it. And I think it only -- you get into this vicious downward spiral.

COOPER: And I mean, just as an American, you hate thinking that because there are -- I meant, there are troops on the ground and, you know, those guys aren't there for politics. They're there for their buddy standing next to them...

GERGEN: That's for darn sure.

COOPER: ... when they can get back. So it's...

GERGEN: Very darn sure. And they're putting their lives on the line out there.


COOPER: From the battle in Iraq to the battle against wildfires raging in the panhandle of Texas. That is where flames have scorched 840,000 acres. Some of the different views we have seen there. Killed at least 11 people and an estimated 10,000 horses and cattle.

Governor Rick Perry calls the death and loss of property staggering.

Right now some of the most experienced pilots in the country are training to fight fires like the ones in Texas at tree top level, almost in the flames, in small single-engine planes.

CNN's Rob Marciano takes a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a good line, and the line is clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy that. Line is clear.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): What you are hearing is a call to arms in what will be a huge aerial war on fires this year. With the record drought predicted fire officials expect high wildfire potential in the Southwest, the southern Plains, Florida, Nebraska, and the Gulf states.

Firefighters and firefighting pilots will be in high demand, which is why they have a heavy schedule of classes here at the Aerial Firefighting Institute in Safford, Arizona.

PETE DOLAN, FIRE PILOT: You have to be a good stick. You have to be a good pilot, number one. A lot of experience, a very calm demeanor.

MARCIANO: You don't want any hot shots?

DOLAN: No. No. No cowboys.

MARCIANO: With wildfires, pilots have to fly low, sometimes only 60 feet above the ground into fast, shifting high wins. Temperatures in the cockpit can reach 120 degrees -- and with heavy smoke. It can be like flying blind into a fireball.

Pilot and Instructor Pete Dolan goes over the game plan.

DOLAN: I'm going to do a full load on the right flank and I'm going exit straight ahead back to base.

MARCIANO: That's typical understated pilot speak. Translated, that means Dolan's going fly his 8,000 pound plane that's weighed down with another 8,000 pounds of water, maneuver it to avoid trees, power lines, other planes in the air and people on the ground. And then dump the load at an air speed of 100 miles an hour, and not lose control.

It's dangerous. So pilots use sand to simulate the terrain and strategize how to attack the fire before they take off. The plane is a single-engine air tanker, called a seat.

DOLAN: Hold right there and step right up to the back of the door.

MARCIANO: It's also a single-seater. So I climb in and Dolan shows me how they do it.

DOLAN: You hold the stick in your right hand, right where your trigger finger is, up front here. That's what we call the pickle switch. And you click that switch and out comes the desired load.

MARCIANO (on camera): (Inaudible).


MARCIANO (voice-over): A seat is often the first plane sent in because these planes attack the small fires before they get big.

(On camera): These single engine air tankers are smaller and more agile than the big bombers. They can get into tighter spots, hit those small fires. They can go fast, but slow is good. Accuracy is key.

(Voice-over): One lead plane guides the attack fighters to the target. They descend and then release their load. Pilots have to retrain every three years. And the school only operates one month a year -- March. Because it's supposed to be a low-fire period.

But this time the pilots have to get back to the fire lines.

Where are you going after this? DOLAN: Right back to the fires in Oklahoma and Texas. It's a very rewarding job. Especially when we do urban interface. We go in, get the chance to save some homes, save properties.

MARCIANO: With 13,000 wildfires already this year, and 11 people killed in the Texas fires alone, Dolan says the best thing pilots can do now is expect more of the same and to prepare for the worst.


MARCIANO (on camera): Earlier today just up the road in Phoenix, a couple of big announcements. An important forecast from the federal government. First up, the seasonal wildfire forecast, which guess what, is not good -- especially here in the Southwest and Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana -- even Florida. These are areas that typically get rain during the winter months. They got very little. It was hot, it was dry and it was windy.

We will get any help from say, precipitation? Seasonal outlook for the spring the next three months -- a below normal precip expected in those same areas. Where we might see some positive news in areas across the Midwest where there have been drought situations, they'll get a little bit of relief.

Hawaii also has been in a drought, but you may have seen the pictures. Boy, it's been devastating. Too much of a good thing there.

Any help from the temperatures? It doesn't look like it. Pretty much the southern half of the U.S. will see above normal temperatures, including the Southwest, including right here in Tucson, Arizona, where that desert sun will only get hotter as we head towards the summer months.

You want to blame something? Blame La Nina. That bumps up the jet stream, brings all the rain to the northern states, leaves the southern states high and dry.

So right now what are they doing? Firefighter crews are gearing up. Fire pilot crews are gearing up, as well. Hot shot crews and smoke jumpers. If they're not already working, Anderson, they're getting ready -- what's sure to be a busy fire season.

Back to you.

COOPER: Amazing work that they do.

Rob, thanks.

All these months later, bodies continue to be found in New Orleans, if you can believe it. But many still are missing and the search must go on. That story coming up next.

And a drug trial with horror movie side effects. The volunteers can't possibly have imagined the risk they were running.


RASTE KHAN, MEDICAL VOLUNTEER: The gentleman on my left started screaming, saying his head was hurting and he was hot and he couldn't breath and he was hyperventilating. They had like an oxygen mask on him.


COOPER: Also tonight, two stories that need ending. JonBenet Ramsey and Chandra Levy. Their bodies found, but not their killers. A look at unsolved mysteries in America, when 360 continues.


COOPER: Dogs on the hunt in New Orleans. Amazingly, the search for the missing and the dead is far from over. This week, we're reminded of that as more victims from the storm emerge from the Lower Ninth Ward.

CNN's Sean Callebs reports.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four bodies have been removed from the wreckage of New Orleans homes since cadaver dogs resumed work March 1st.


CALLEBS: Before splintered homes are carted away, they have to be checked by cadaver dogs. So Ranger and his trainer Kerry Foster from Shreveport, are searching debris in the Lower Ninth Ward. The house to house monotony, broken up by a sign Ranger may -- just may be on to something.

FOSTER: Well, the problem we're running into with dogs is it could be anything from body fluids to actual remains.

CALLEBS: Potential sites are marked. In the coming days teams of New Orleans firefighters, trained for this kind of grizzly work, will make their way through debris piles.

FOSTER: Good boy. Let's find more.

CALLEBS: Only then will they know if Ranger is on the mark, or picking up some other scents. And only then can debris be carted away. At times it seems the work will never end.

STEVE GLYNN, NEW ORLEANS FIRE DEPARTMENT: It's very time consuming, very tedious to be able to go through each one of these properties and be able to say, it's safe, it's safe to go ahead and remove this property.

CALLEBS (on camera): The dog searches were called off back in December because the city ran out of money and couldn't pay crews. Since they have resumed, four bodies have been recovered. Not a lot of victims, considering the state medical examiner says there may be as many as 400 bodies still unaccounted for.

GLYNN: I don't think we're going to ever find those numbers.

CALLEBS (voice-over): So what is a realistic figure? The cadaver dogs have been busy.

HENRY YENNIE, FIND FAMILY NATIONAL CALL CENTER: We think we're going to find at least 50 to 60 victims.

CALLEBS: This is the Find Family National Call Center, based an hour north of New Orleans in Baton Rouge.

See all of these yellow marks? Those are houses in the Lower Ninth, where people have reported family and friends missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Congress Street?

CALLEBS: Men, women, children, who may never be found.

When do you know you're done?

YENNIE: That's a great question, and I don't have a good answer for you.

CALLEBS: The bright spot for the call center, this -- a tiny bell that carries an important message. Every time it rings, another missing person has been found alive.

But for the next several months, as long as a number is written here, teams like Ranger and Foster will be here.

FOSTER: Get to work.

CALLEBS: Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.


COOPER: Well my next guest knows Katrina's dead like few people. Dr. Louis Cataldie is the medical examiner for Louisiana.

He believes the process of identifying the victims was flawed from the beginning, and he fears hundreds of the bodies will never be identified.

He's also the author of the fascinating new book, "Coroner's Journal, Stalking Death in Louisiana." Dr. Cataldie joined me earlier.


COOPER: Dr. Cataldie, how is the search going from your perspective for the missing?

DR. LOUIS CATALDIE, AUTHOR, "CORONER'S JOURNAL": Well, you know, one of the problems we just ran into is that the contractors were reluctant to go on the private property, where the dogs had hit, to remove some of that debris. So I think that's being ironed out at the Orleans Parish level.

We've had eight individuals since the morgue closed. So we've still got eight folks who are unidentified that we need to get identified.

COOPER: And they found four bodies since March 1st, I understand.

CATALDIE: That's correct.

COOPER: Do you have any sense -- I mean, it's impossible to know I guess, but ballpark, how many people still may be out there?

CATALDIE: We're still missing a couple hundred people. And we're trying to get more and more databases involved, but we've exhausted just about all major leads that we can exhaust. We hope to find them. But there could be -- hopefully there are not. There could be 50 to 100 folks out there. I'm not saying they are, though. Please don't misunderstand. We just -- we're going to find more human remains, there's no doubt about that. I don't know how many we'll find.

COOPER: This book which you have written, "Coroner's Journal," which I've been reading now for several days and it is just fascinating. Part of it deals with Katrina, a lot of it deals with your work and your life before Katrina.

In the Katrina section, what's interesting -- one of the things that I read, you were talking about, you know, assisting victims and family members who were searching for their loved ones and you would put photographs of the missing that the family members would leave.

And one of things you wrote is, you said, "I see those victims smiling back at me in those family photos. I hear them say, 'Find me and send me home.'" It's very personal the work you do.

CATALDIE: It's very personal because you get past all the statistics -- that's not what it's about, it's about getting somebody's mother or father or child back to them and that's what we're about.

COOPER: Why do you do this job?

CATALDIE: Well, I do this job now because it was the right thing to do, you know. When I was asked to come forward, certainly I came forward simply because I had the experience as a coroner. And I guess I was supposed to do it. I was at this place in time and that's where I was supposed to be and that's what I am supposed to.

COOPER: When you, you know, when hear the term, Katrina fatigue, I mean, it upsets me and I don't even live in Louisiana and I've just had the privilege of visiting from time to time. You are still living with Katrina every day and working with Katrina every day and working with its victims. Does that upset you when you hear other people elsewhere in the country use that term? CATALDIE: Yes. Anderson, it's almost a flippant term and I understand where it comes from and I understand people's frustration. But the bottom line is, I still got people out there in the Ninth Ward who under rubble and under houses and I've got mamas that I'm not going to have bulldozed into a trash pile. And I can't afford to get fatigued, nor can the people that work with me on this endeavor.


COOPER: Nor can any of us who live around the country.

An awful story next about some human guinea pigs. They volunteered to try a new drug. They were paid to do that. But they weren't told what no one knew, that effects on them might be horrifying.

And two lives ended prematurely, violently, notoriously. So where are their killers after all these years? A look at unsolved murders when 360 continues.


COOPER: So when a drug company wants to test new medicine, they often pay volunteers to take part in clinical trials.

Now usually we don't hear about them, unless they go wrong. And this week we learned it happened twice.

In Japan, 11 people given an Alzheimer's disease drug died during one clinical trial. And in another, in England, a group of men became violently ill with side effects that left one patient looking, quote, "like the Elephant Man."

CNN's Robyn Curnow has the latest now from London.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Although he didn't know it at time, Russ Tacon (ph) was incredibly lucky because the medication he took in the drug trial was a placebo. He and one other volunteer got placebos. Six volunteers actually got the test drug.

RASTE KHAN, MEDICAL VOLUNTEER: The gentleman on my left started screaming, saying his head was hurting and he was hot and he couldn't breath and he was hyperventilating. They had like an oxygen mask on him. And then he was -- it like someone was stabbing him in his back because he was screaming that his back was hurting.

CURNOW: British newspapers labeled the volunteers, human guinea pigs. In fact, Khan describes it as, quote, "a horror film with the others convulsing into fevers, pain vomiting."

So tonight, here at this London clinic, two men are in a critical condition, four others remain in a serious condition. Doctors say they're consulting specialists in the UK and around the world, looking for an antidote. DR. GANESH SUNTHARALINGAM: The exact sequence of what's happening here is obviously unique because no one's had this particular agent before and so they've not had this reaction to it before.

CURNOW: A German pharmaceutical company, TeGenero, manufactured the drug and says it used it successfully in drug trials with animals.

THOMAS HANKE, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER: We're devastated about these developments and it was absolutely unpredictable.

CURNOW: An American company, Parexel, ran the trial. And it says it followed the guidelines for the trial, and cases like this are extremely rare.

(On camera): Being involved in clinical drug trials is relatively common here in the United Kingdom. In fact, magazines, like this one, openly advertise, targeting students and travelers and other people who want to make money by being involved in tests for new drugs.

(Voice-over): Guy Dickerson (ph) was unemployed two years ago when he signed up for a kidney drug trial, run by the same U.S. firm, Parexel. He earned nearly $4,000 for three weeks in a hospital. Dickerson (ph) says he was made aware of the risks.

GUY DICKERSON (ph), SIGNED UP FOR DRUG TRIAL: You were given the time to read through the information, but I certainly didn't give it a huge amount of thought -- a ridiculous amount of thought. And whether, you know, the other people who were doing it, did or not, I don't know. But, I think it was all about the money.

CURNOW: In the meantime, doctors are trying to understand why this week's trial went so badly wrong.

Was it a result of the drugs themselves or something else? A new drug that doctors admit is taking them into uncharted medical territory.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, London.


COOPER: The question remains, what went so horribly wrong with this particular drug trial? And are there hidden dangers you need to know about before you agree to take part in one?

We asked 360 MD Sanjay Gupta to give us the facts on drug trials.


COOPER: So, Sanjay, how could this happen?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it is -- first of all, it is pretty unusual. And I think that's worth saying right up front. We're talking about a phase one clinical trial, Anderson. And the whole purpose of a phase one clinical trial is to test the safety of a drug. Now what has happened typically with this drug -- it's been tested on animals, it's been tested in the laboratories, but this is the first human testing of it. And this is a safety sort of testing.

Now, even despite the fact that it's safety testing, typically you don't get these sorts of side effects. So this is just very unusual. Was it a contamination problem? Was it an allergy problem? Was it a manufacturing problem? That's all under investigation right now.

COOPER: One of the participants given the placebo said that the man who took the drug became incredibly ill. One guy's head swelled up so much, he was described as looking like the "Elephant Man." What causes that reaction?

GUPTA: And I heard that they felt like they had hot pokers going through their head, all sorts of different reactions. One, it's probably -- it sounds like an allergic reaction or toxin type getting into the blood, and the body just reacts to that. The body says I don't want this toxin in my blood. I don't want this substance in my body, and it starts to get swollen up, just like you would if you had an allergic reaction to something else.

What happens with the face swelling up and the head like that is from all the fluid that you have to give to somebody to maintain their blood pressure and maintain their heart rate. And that's just lots of excess fluid being pushed into the body that will eventually come out. It's unsightly, for sure, at time, but eventually you can get that fluid out once the blood pressure stabilizes.

COOPER: You know, for people out there who are looking for -- you know, have a disease, and looking for sort of cutting edge treatment, they often get the recommendation to check out a clinical drug trial for those treatments. How risky are they in general?

GUPTA: Well, you know, Anderson, I've got to tell you, I've never really heard about such profound side effects even in phase one clinical trial, which is a safety part of the trial, before. So, I don't think -- while this is a dramatic story, I don't think people should take away from this that these are risky necessarily trials. It can happen.

I mean, my best advice, of course, is that you get a sheaf of paper telling you about all the potential risks. You got to read those. You got to know what could potentially happen to you. You also got to know what's going to happen to you if you do get sick. Who's going to care for you? How is that going to get paid for? Those sorts of things. But ultimately, you just have to ask the doctors and the people conducting the trial about any side effects.

This happened, you know, 2006. In 1993, there was another phase one clinical trial that had some bad reactions in the first phase. But that was 13 years ago. You just don't hear about this sort of thing very often.

COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Well, coming up, they are two of most covered murder cases ever.

JonBenet Ramsey, the child beauty queen who was killed nearly a decade ago, if you can imagine. Are police any closer to solving the crime? We're going to look at that.

And Chandra Levy, the former Washington intern. Her body found in a park.

Tonight, a look at both unsolved murders, when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, here in New York, the murder of a graduate student, named Imette St. Guillen, has attracted worldwide attention.

Police arrested a bouncer in connection with the crime, and a grand jury may hand up indictments as early as tomorrow.

In recent years, on average, about 16,000 Americans were murdered. And according to the FBI, more than 35 percent of those murders go unsolved -- 35 percent. Nearly all of them go unnoticed by the media. But a few stand out, of course.

And tonight we're going to take a look at two murder mysteries that all of us will remember. We're also going to update you on where the investigations stand now.

We begin in Boulder, Colorado, and the case of JonBenet Ramsey.


JONBENET RAMSEY: I want to be a cowboy's sweetheart.

COOPER (voice-over): They are images frozen in time. A child beauty queen, 6 years old, performing on a stage. We know her name, but we never knew her -- not in life, that is.

On the day after Christmas 1996, the body of JonBenet Ramsey was found in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colorado. The killer beat her, strangled her and left a handwritten ransom note. It was the city's only murder of the year.

The killing of JonBenet Ramsey instantly became the focus of the nation. JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, said an intruder murdered their daughter. And in an interview with CNN, urged parents to be careful. PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET: If I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep -- keep your babies close to you. There's someone out there.

COOPER: But the police and much of the media were turning their attention back to the parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do remain under an umbrella of suspicion, but we're not ready to name any suspects.

COOPER: Even after a grand jury failed to indict the Ramseys, to many they remained objects of suspicion.

In 2000, on "LARRY KING LIVE," Steve Thomas, former Boulder police detective, confronted John and Patsy about the murder.

STEVE THOMAS, FORMER BOULDER POLICE DETECTIVE: I felt that Patsy was involved in this death, in this tragedy. And I felt it had become such a debunkle and was going nowhere. Out of frustration, I left the case and police work.

LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: John, why did you agree to come on with Steve tonight? I mean this is rather historic. I'm trying to remember if there's ever been television like this.

JOHN RAMSEY: This man, as a police officer, has called my wife a murderer. He has called me a complicity to murder. He has call immediate a liar. He has slandered my relationship with my daughter, Patsy's relationship with JonBenet.

COOPER: Thomas wrote a book, claiming the Ramseys were involved in their child's murder. In 2001, the Ramseys sued, and a year later settled out of court.

About the same time, John and Patsy wrote a book, telling their side the story, that a predator hid in the house and after attempting to kidnap JonBenet, murdered her.

Then in 2003, the Boulder police ended its investigation and handed it over to the D.A.'s office. The district attorney vowed to reopen the case, but refused to eliminate the Ramseys as possible suspects.

Just a month later, however, the D.A. changed her mind. A judge ruled in a civil case that an intruder most likely killed JonBenet, and the prosecutor agreed. Finally lifting the cloud of suspicious over the parents.

Tonight, nearly a decade after the crime, where does the investigation stand? This week, we called the Boulder County D.A.'s Office for an update.

In a statement, the chief investigator told us, "The JonBenet Ramsey case is still open. We are still receiving phone calls, e- mails and letters and evaluating all tips that come in." As for John and Patsy Ramsey, originally from Georgia, they now live in Michigan, but recently returned to Boulder, where "The Rocky Mountain News Post" reports they met with the D.A. They continue to believe DNA evidence will one day bring the killer to justice.

And JonBenet Ramsey, she rests in peace in a Georgia cemetery. If she were alive today, she would be 15 years old.


COOPER (on camera): So strange to think of that, her as 15.

From the unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey, to the haunting case of this young woman. Do you remember Chandra Levy of Washington? Her killer has not been found either.

And we'll talk to a noted criminologist about why so many murders go unsolved, even in this age of DNA evidence and crime lab working, when 360 continues.


COOPER: We continue our look now at unsolved murders. There was a time a few years ago, when the name Chandra Levy was on everyone's list. Now some of you probably need to be reminded who she was and what happened to her.

CNN's Joe Johns reports.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was a driven, bright-eyed 24-year-old intern, one of thousands who flocked to Washington when semesters change. A little dazzled by the power of this place. A little giddy with her own sense of possibility. Chandra Levy came here in September of 2000, interning at the Federal Department of Prisons, dreaming of a job with the FBI.

When spring arrived, she packed her suitcase for a trip back home to Modesto, California. She never got on the plane.

On May 1st, 2001, Chandra Levy disappeared into thin air.

ROBERT LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S FATHER: My precious daughter. I just want her back. I just want her back alive.

JOHNS: For days the story of the missing intern was buried in the local paper. Another lost soul in the big city. But behind the headlines, Washington was whispering. Chandra Levy had a secret -- Gary Condit, the congressman representing Chandra's hometown of Modesto, California.

According to Levy's relatives, the 53-year-old married lawmaker and the 24-year-old intern were having an illicit affair. Chandra, relatives claimed, had said so herself.


JOHNS: Robert and Susan Levy were desperate to find their daughter, setting up a website for tips, begging the congressman for information.

S. LEVY: I don't feel that he's been very truthful to me.

JOHNS: The public agreed. By August, polls showed more than two-thirds of the country believed Gary Condit was at least somewhat involved in Chandra Levy's disappearance.

Under questioning, police say Condit admitted to the affair, but that's all.

CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, WASHINGTON, D.C., POLICE: We have nothing at this time to connect him with the disappearance of Chandra Levy.

JOHNS: In public, Condit insisted that he and Levy were nothing more than good friends.

GARY CONDIT, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I had nothing to do with her disappearance.

JOHNS: And then summer ended. September 11th wiped Chandra Levy's story from the headlines until spring returned and a man hunting for turtles in Washington's Rock Creek Park, came across some bones.

RAMSEY: We do not know the identity of the person that we found.

JOHNS: Private Investigators Dwayne Stanton and Joe McCann (ph), both former homicide detectives, were hired by the Levys to help find their daughter.

DWAYNE STANTON, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: And they're sitting by the phone, waiting to hear something one way or the other.

JOHNS: When the news came, it was the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remains recovered last week in Rock Creek Park were positively identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as those of Chandra Ann Levy.

JOHNS: Today, Stanton and McCann took me back to the place where Chandra Levy's body was found.

JOE MCCANN (ph), PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: A lot that happened that day is still a mystery. Otherwise, we would know how she got here. And who brought her here.

JOHNS: For all we know about Chandra Levy, we know next to nothing about how she died. The last time she was seen was at the gym, canceling her membership the day before her disappearance. After that, nothing.

There have never been official suspects in the case. For a time, police were questioning this man, Ingmar Guandeque, convicted of attacking two women in the park within weeks of Levy's disappearance. He denied involvement in Chandra's murder.

MCCANN: You know, it's coming up on five years. That's a long time...

STANTON: It's a long time.

MCCANN: ... for a case. You always hear people say that, you know, you try to close a murder case in the first 24 hours. We're talking five years.

JOHNS: You think this thing's ever going to be solved?

STANTON: Somebody knows. Someone has some information that can bring this case to a closure. And just like we always said, if that person would step forward and share that information, I think this case would be closed.

JOHNS: Until then, the death of Chandra Levy will remain yet another Washington mystery.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, DNA, CSI, every high-tech tool imaginable, and still one out of three killers is getting away with murder.

We'll tell you why, but first Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.


Overall, another good day on Wall Street. The NASDAQ was hit by a chip sell-off and crept back a half percent. But hey, the Dow and the S&P 500, building on an upward trend, almost topping their best level since May 2001. The Dow closed just over 11,253.

Plus, a decline in February housing starts, coupled with a tepid inflation report, are seen as more good economic news. Analysts say the housing market is cooling off nicely without bursting. And that means the Fed may halt the rise of interest rates sooner rather than later.

And it looks like Kraft Foods is betting on people foods. Selling its milk bone brand and some of its other pet food products to Del Monte. Del Monte, in the meantime, apparently likes the sound of little paws. They recently bought Meow Mix. Pet food typically has higher profit margins than some of Del Monte's other businesses.

See, Anderson, even if I don't bring you pet video, you know they're still on our minds. And frankly, there's something else that's been on my mind since this morning, since oh, a little after 9:00 watching TV, flipping channels, who's there but A.C. on Reg and Kelly, doing this -- yes, spitting on national television. COOPER: I know.

HILL: Did your mother see that?

COOPER: You know, as soon as I did it, I think I went too far.

HILL: Well, you know. Mr. Edwards used to spit all the time on Little House on the Prairie. He taught Laura how.

COOPER: Really?

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: I didn't know that.

HILL: I'm a huge Little House fan. See all of the things you find out?

COOPER: Yes, interesting. Yes, no it was the new Coke and I was very excited to taste it. It was this new Coke that has a coffee essence in it.

HILL: We had it in the newsroom last night and I saw an empty bottle of it and I smelled it, because it was empty. It smelled to me like those Coke bottle gummies.

COOPER: Yes, it's very like fake coffee smell.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Yes, but anyway. There you go.

HILL: OK, nice work today.

COOPER: All right, thanks. More on some unsolved cases, coming back. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well you'd think these day with high-tech law enforcement, unsolved crimes would be a thing of the past. As we told you earlier, however, in recent years more than 35 percent of all murders in this country went unsolved. That is thousands of mysteries.

So why can't investigators crack these cases? Joining me from Boston with some answers is James Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University and author. His latest book is "The Will to Kill."

James, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: Why are there still so many unsolved cases out there?

FOX: Well, I know people think that with DNA, we should be able to solve these things in a snap. But actually, most cases don't even have DNA.

When you think of the fact that two-thirds of homicides involve a gun. And a bullet doesn't have any DNA. And even if you have DNA, it doesn't mean that the donor, the person you're trying to find, is in one of those databases. So, these cases are very difficult to solve. But what's happened in recent years, is that the nature of homicides changed.

COOPER: How so?

FOX: It used to be the conventional wisdom that most murderers killed people they knew very well, perhaps a family member or a loved one, an intimate partner. Those cases were easy to solve. Oftentimes the perpetrator calls the police themselves.

But in the recent years, we have fewer family murders, but more gang-related murders, more youth killings, more stranger killings.

These are difficult to solve. So the fact that the clear and straight, the solution rate, for homicide has been declining, has nothing to with technology or the abilities of the cops to solve cases. It has to do with the kind of cases they're dealing with. These are challenging. There's a code of silence on the street. People may know who did it, but they're not talking to the cops.

COOPER: Are criminals getting -- you know, there's been a lot -- I was going to say, are criminals getting smarter? I mean, there's a lot of talk about this CSI affect, that you know, criminals are watching TV, they're cleaning the crime scenes up with bleach, they kind of know what police are looking for. Is that true do you think?

FOX: Well, I think you can learn something from television, but not a whole lot. It's still very difficult to commit the perfect crime. And when cases are unsolved, it's typically because the perpetrator is a stranger to the victim. If it's a stranger, you can't make a list of possible suspects. It could be anyone.

COOPER: I'm always amazed actually that police are able to solve as many crime as they are. Because when you watch these police shows, it seems like the bottom line lesson, if you're a criminal, you would learn is don't talk to police. And yet, every police officer I talk to, I always ask them this question, and they say I don't know why people talk to us. Because clearly you should just, you know, dummy up and get a lawyer. But a lot of people don't do that.

FOX: Well, one, they -- a lot of offenders are pretty arrogant, thinking that they can outfox the cops. Plus, if you say I'm not answering any questions, it makes you look suspicious. And one thing that offenders don't want to do is look suspicious. They want to look like they're innocent, and innocent people talk to cops.

COOPER: But the truth is, I mean, if you're talking to the police, they're probably suspicious about you anyway.

FOX: Right. COOPER: I mean, anyway. It's -- I don't know -- it's a minor point, but I find that fascinating. I mean, you know -- we -- TV pays attention to these sort of high profile crimes that involve, you know, Chandra Levy or JonBenet Ramsey, but those are really the exceptions to the norm when it comes to unsolved cases.

FOX: Oh they are, absolutely. They're fascinating to the American public, the who done it aspect. Plus we seem always to be drawn to cases that we identify with. Particularly white females being murdered. For most Americans, a white female, whether it be a little child like JonBenet Ramsey or someone like Chandra Levy, that could be their child, their grandchild, their cousin, their neighbor.

The usual kind of homicide, you know, gang member against gang member, or urban violence, most Americans don't identify with that kind of crime. That's some other neighborhood, and so they're not as fascinated.

COOPER: It's real interesting talking to you, James. Appreciate you joining us again. James Fox.

FOX: Any time.

COOPER: Thanks.

Coming up "On the Radar," tonight, the work that still goes on in New Orleans, reuniting families even in death. It's a sacred responsibility. And the people writing into our blog know it.

Anna in Horn Lake, Mississippi, has this to say. "It seems as if every time I just start to really get a feel for what's happening (or not happening) in Louisiana I get another slap of reality...In my wildest dreams," she says, "I would never have dreamt that there are still searches going on for bodies. It is so disrespectful to those Americans."

About Sean Calleb's report tonight and the idea of Katrina fatigue, Lee in Fairfield Iowa, says, "No Sean, we haven't forgotten and yes, we still want to be kept up to date on what's going on. Keeping them honest should become our national saying."

Amen, Lee.

And Marjie in Biloxi, writes, "Sean, have you driven to Biloxi, to East Biloxi? Same story, different place. Please come over. Do you know about the mountains of debris, of all kinds, still in the Gulf?"

Marjie, we certainly do. We hear you. And we'll never stop making sure the promises are kept and the work gets done. More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


COOPER: Thanks very much for watching 360. Hope you enjoyed the program tonight. Let's see who's coming up next. Oh yes, Larry King. "LARRY KING" is next, with more on "Operation Swarmer," the largest air assault in Iraq since the war began.

And then, Macauley Culkin tells all.

See you tomorrow.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines