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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Obama on Surveillance; Manhunt for Suspected Murderer
Aired August 9, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news: a major development in the search for a missing teenager and the murder suspect she's believed to be traveling with.
Also, President Obama says he will keep the spies honest when it comes to spying on you. Tonight, we're keeping him honest on that and digging into Republican claims he's letting an NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, who they call a traitor, force his hand.
Later, amazing rescues in the flood zone. You will meet the parents of this baby and we will show you where the water is still rising.
But we begin with breaking news, two big developments that could lead authorities to alleged killer James DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson, the 16-year-old he's believed to have kidnapped. DiMaggio's car has been found in a remote part of Idaho, far from San Diego, where DiMaggio allegedly killed Hannah's mother and possibly her brother, Ethan, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF: The blue Nissan Versa was discovered covered in brush. The license plates had been removed. But local law enforcement in the area were able to confirm through the VIN number that the vehicle did belong to DiMaggio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That's one key development, the other perhaps even bigger, word that Hannah Anderson and James DiMaggio may have been spotted.
As he's been doing from the very start, Paul Vercammen is working his sources and he's joining us now with the very latest.
Paul, what are you hearing?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, sources saying that a single rider on a horseback, possibly other riders, but spotted what seemed to be Hannah Anderson and the suspect, Mr. DiMaggio, in the Idaho backcountry, not far from Cascade.
They also found the suspect's car. How far? How remote is this? They say the car was at a trailhead and that the couple would have been hiking some six to eight miles away from this trailhead. Authorities also saying it appeared that DiMaggio had geared up for weeks before, buying camping equipment to go into the wilderness perhaps and they did indeed see backpacks on both of the individuals, Wolf.
BLITZER: I know, Paul, that the sheriff spoke about the condition Hannah seemed to be in when the hikers saw her. Tell our viewers what he said.
VERCAMMEN: Perhaps we learned some key clues here to the whereabouts and the well-being of both of the children. As you pointed out, Hannah seemed to be in good health. Let's listen to what the sheriff had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: It didn't look like she was being held against her will. We're still holding out hope that Ethan is still alive, but the sighting up in Idaho was of a man and a -- apparently a teenage girl. So there was no sighting, you know, Wednesday of a small boy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: Perhaps dire news there then, Wolf, a confirmation Ethan was not seen with the couple.
BLITZER: Well, as far as that other body that was found in the house, Paul, authorities say it was consistent with that of an 8-year- old child. I take it the DNA results have not yet come back?
VERCAMMEN: They have had an extremely difficult time here trying to get the DNA sample, and not to put too gruesome point on this, but it's because the remains of the child found inside the house were so badly charred, Wolf.
BLITZER: There is some indication by the police today that this kidnapping seems to have been planned for sometime. What can you tell us about that?
VERCAMMEN: Well, I think one of the smoking gun indicators that detectives are alluding to is the sense that DiMaggio stockpiled camping equipment and had been buying it in recent weeks leading up to the disappearance.
They also, somewhat telling, were warning us as you can recall all week long that they feared that DiMaggio, who is somewhat of an outdoorsman, might try to make some sort of run into the wilderness and we know also in his past he had that misdemeanor back in Texas for avoiding a police officer, and heading down a dirt road at 70 miles an hour.
There just were a lot of signs here that perhaps he thought this out, and carefully calculated just where he would make his run.
BLITZER: Paul Vercammen on the scene for us, thank you very much.
Joining us now, Andrea Saincome. He's Christina Anderson's sister, Hannah and Ethan's aunt.
We're so sorry what has happened, Andrea.
The news today though that your niece appeared to be in good health in the wilderness area with DiMaggio, what is your reaction to that?
ANDREA SAINCOME, AUNT OF HANNAH AND ETHAN ANDERSON: It makes me happy. I'm hoping they find him, get them out of there.
BLITZER: We all are hoping that. Yes, obviously, it's a tough, tough situation.
The sheriff today did say that your niece doesn't seem to be held against her will. I don't know if we can read too much into that. What do you make of that?
SAINCOME: There could be all different scenarios behind that. You know, I -- I don't have much to say on it, but she's being held.
BLITZER: Some friends of Hannah's are saying DiMaggio actually had some sort of crush on her. He's, what, 40? She's 16 years old. She was uncomfortable with that. Does that come as a surprise to you?
SAINCOME: It does. It does. It's very disturbing.
BLITZER: Had you ever heard of any indications that this guy may have had a crush on her?
SAINCOME: No, I have not.
BLITZER: It's a total surprise.
We have seen a family photo, you with Christina, who died in the cabin fire, Hannah, Ethan. We will put it up on the screen. There it is right there on the couch with all of you, including DiMaggio. He really was very close to this family, wasn't he?
SAINCOME: He was. He definitely was.
BLITZER: Looking back, Andrea, was there anything -- was there any clue that you now could discern that he could perhaps do something like this?
SAINCOME: No, not at all. He seemed like a sweet guy, nothing out of the ordinary.
BLITZER: So what was he like, beyond being a sweet guy? Tell us a little bit about him.
SAINCOME: I have only met him that one time, and that was about two years ago. And he was just -- he was fun. You know, he was very interactive with everyone. BLITZER: Do you have any clear picture from the authorities in San Diego what actually happened in that cabin, how the fire was set, what may have happened before the fire?
SAINCOME: No, I do not.
BLITZER: No inside information on that score.
BLITZER: If DiMaggio or your niece is watching you right now, what would you want to say to them?
SAINCOME: Hannah, be strong. Run. Get out of there. We will find you. We love you, baby.
BLITZER: Andrea Saincome, thanks very much for taking a few moments to speak with us. Our deepest, deepest sympathies. Good luck. Obviously, we're hoping for the very, very best.
I want to go next to the crime fighter, the victim advocate John Walsh, who has spoken with Hannah's father, Brett.
BLITZER: John, the San Diego sheriff says Hannah seemed to be OK, didn't seem as if she was being held against her will. I understand you would like to respond to that. What do you want to say?
JOHN WALSH, FORMER HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, I don't think anybody can comment on what Hannah is going through unless they walked in her shoes.
I spoke to Elizabeth Smart the day after she was recovered. In confidence, we talked about her perpetrator was stopped by the police three times. She was terrified to jump out and say, "I'm Elizabeth Smart, I'm captive," because he threatened her every day he had her for eight months. He said, look, I got in your house. I will go back. I will kill your mother and father. I will kill your sister that was in the room when Elizabeth was kidnapped.
So, Elizabeth was terrified. She was in shock. She was being brutalized every day. Don't judge Hannah until we hear the final, final story. Just remember one thing. This girl probably witnessed the murder of her mother and 8-year-old brother and is scared to death. Women go into survival mode. She's probably in that mode that I will comply with this guy to stay arrive.
BLITZER: Is it at least a positive sign that she's alive all these days later? I know last night you told us you thought it could be a good thing that this guy may actually have some kind of crush on this young woman.
WALSH: Absolutely. His obsession with this girl is what caused this whole event. He probably has real knowledge of this no-return wilderness that they are in. As I said to the father, Brett, last night -- and I just spoke to him -- I said, this is good news that Hannah is still alive, that he's obsessed with her, that he won't kill her and go on the run.
I think he's making his -- his attempt to disappear into that wilderness in hopes the cops will never find him. But it's a very good thing that she's still alive.
BLITZER: You also told us last night, John, that you were trying to speak with Hannah's father, Brett Anderson. I understand you were finally able to catch up with him. What can you tell us about that phone conversation?
WALSH: Well, thanks to you guys, Wolf, he called me and I said to him, you have got to focus on one thing. You're a heartbroken father. I have walked in your shoes. Thirty-two years ago, I had my heart ripped out.
He said he's devastated by the murder of his wife and his 8-year- old son, Ethan. I said, you have got to do one thing. Remember who the real victim is. And he's totally focused. He's a courageous father. I said do all the media you can. Right now, you need the media more than they need you and let's get Hannah back alive. He's going to a memorial as we speak for those two loved ones that he lost.
But he's totally focused. And he's asking the public. And so am I. Watch those Amber Alerts. They are crucial, and they saved over 600 kids over the years. And if you see anything, somebody is going to see something in that wilderness, some camper, somebody, and they will give the tip that will get this girl back alive.
BLITZER: This is a little strange, John, but if this guy DiMaggio is watching you and me right now, what do want to -- what would you say to him?
WALSH: I would say to him that you have destroyed an entire family. Do the right thing, give this girl up, bring her back, let her get some counseling, face the consequences, and you just can't believe for a second that you're going to get away with this, that you're going to get out alive. Save your own life, save her life and give yourself up.
BLITZER: And what do you make of what the police suggested, that this guy probably bought camping equipment weeks ago? What does that say to you?
WALSH: I believe that he was planning this. I have tracked so many of these guys, Wolf. I believe that he, in his mind, either believed that she was infatuated with him -- he's certainly infatuated with her -- and he was planning the demise of this mother and this little boy. They are just collateral damage to him.
And he was stockpiling this camping gear. He probably researched this wilderness because that's his hobby. He's a camper, he's survivalist, and he's picked a remote area. And as one of the FBI agents I was speaking to, when we were looking for Eric Rudolph, the FBI and "America's Most Wanted," in the mountains of North Carolina, he was able to stay in those deep, dense wilderness, in that wilderness forest for months at a time.
I'm praying that this isn't the case. But my gut feeling is, he planned this, he killed the mom and brother, collateral damage. He thinks he will get away with it. He will have his wonderful honeymoon or whatever in his mind he's thinking about with this girl. But I think cops are closing in. I want to see them take him alive. I want to see that girl back home. Her father is desperately waiting for her.
BLITZER: But you know the police say he probably has explosives, some sort of improvised explosive devices, something along those lines. That's very worrisome.
WALSH: It is worrisome that he's in that mental state.
And the Idaho bomb squad as we speak is checking out the car to defuse it, to make sure he didn't make it a booby trap. It looks as though in the homicide -- and this has been in the news before we talked about it -- in the homicide of the mom and the son, that he used a blunt weapon. Hopefully he doesn't have a gun with him or other weapons. Hopefully, he won't take his life, take her life first.
He may have explosives. But I think the cops are prepared. The noose is tightening on this guy. I just want to see Hannah back alive.
BLITZER: All of us do.
All right, John Walsh, thanks very much.
WALSH: I'm glad to do it, Wolf. I hope tomorrow there or tonight they are reporting that Hannah is back and this dirtbag is in custody.
BLITZER: Just ahead, we will take you to the flood zone which is now growing.
Also tonight, the skeptics weigh in on President Obama's planned changes to intelligence gathering he says to make it more transparent and accountable. Among the questions, just what do his reforms actually reform?
Later, the Facebook posting that has the whole country reeling in horror, a picture of this man's dead wife and his murder confession. Dr. Drew Pinsky, he's here to make some sense of this apparently senseless act.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: President Obama appears to be feeling the heat from the NSA leaker Edward Snowden's revelations about what the intelligence knows about your e-mail, your phone calls, your Internet access.
Speaking to reporters today at the White House, the president outlined a four-point plan to reform intelligence gathering, especially as it touches American citizens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First, I will work with Congress to pursue appropriate reforms to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the program that collects telephone records.
Second, I will work with Congress to improve the public's confidence in the oversight conducted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
So, specifically, we can take steps to make sure civil liberties concerns have an independent voice, in appropriate cases, by ensuring the government's position is challenged by an adversary.
Number three, we can and must be more transparent.
So I have directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about these programs as possible.
Fourth, we're forming a high-level group of outside experts to review our entire intelligence and communications technologies. We need new thinking for a new era.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: As for the timing of all of this, the president says the review process began before the Snowden controversy, but acknowledged the impact of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Unfortunately, rather than an orderly and lawful process to debate these issues and come up with appropriate reforms, repeated leaks of classified information have initiated the debate in a very passionate, but not always fully informed way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Reaction today from Republican lawmakers, the House speaker, John Boehner, warning the president to make sure reform does not cripple intelligence operations.
Congressman Peter King going further.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: This is a terrible failure of leadership. This is the NSA version of the apology tour, of the Obama apology tour. This is a successful program. The NSA program is successful and yet the president is allowing Edward Snowden, the traitor, to pull the puppet strings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A lot to talk about with senior political analyst David Gergen, chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin and chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.
Let's go to Jessica first.
Jessica, you were there, you were at the news conference today. We heard the president make this promise that it's going to become more transparent. He says it was already happening before the Snowden leaks, but is that really realistic?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you point out, Wolf, he did say that he wanted more transparency. Back in May, he said that. That was right before Edward Snowden's first leak was in June. So his assertion is that the Snowden leaks just sped up the process that was going to happen anyway.
Well, we also have to take a bigger look at the big picture, which is did Snowden actually lead to these new safeguards he's put in place? We know that two Democratic senators have been calling for more transparency and even reforms for more than a year now. Senators Wyden and Udall have been demanding it. And when the head of the Intelligence Committee went before Congress, he admitted now that he was less than truthful in talking about them.
That was all before Snowden, now suddenly all this transparency. Would it have happened without Snowden? We can't know. The train has already left the station, but it does seem to have been a huge nudge, Wolf.
David, you heard the Republican Congressman Peter King say the president is letting Edward Snowden, in his words, pull the puppet strings and that this is another so-called apology tour for the president. What did you make of what the president said today?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, I welcome the fact that the president put this on the national debate more fully.
He's been meeting, as we have learned now, on this subject for awhile, several weeks. All those conversations ramped up this week. He wanted to get this done before he went on vacation. But I'm not sure he pleased anybody, Wolf. On one hand, as you just said, Republicans think he's not really protecting security, he never made a robust defense today of the security aspects of this.
And Democrats worry that, you know, there have been two public concerns. One is the scope of what is being monitored and the other is about the possible abuse of what is being collected. The president today talked about stopping abuses, preventing abuses, but he didn't narrow the scope, so that there is still this vast collection process going on.
And I do think for some Americans listening, it was two weeks ago that this was president saying Washington had taken its eye off the ball on the economy. And here, he had his first press conference in a long time and, sure enough, he put his eye on something other than the economy.
BLITZER: Yes, I was surprised myself he didn't open up with a real economic statement, as opposed to the NSA surveillance program.
Dana, what has been the reaction on Capitol Hill? I know the lawmakers are in recess right now. They're on vacation. The president is heading on his own vacation tomorrow, but we did see what Speaker Boehner was saying, suggesting the president was more concerned about saving face than defending these programs.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Look, I mean, this has been kind of the one issue or one of the few issues, I should say, where Republicans have been pretty supportive of the president. This NSA program, they say, has been helpful and they have been kind of his biggest cheerleaders on this, while the Democrats, many of the Democrats, as Jessica was just talking about, two leading liberal Democratic senators, have been maybe the most vocal in terms of their criticism.
This has kind of changed that a little bit. But one thing I would say about Peter King, one of the lawmakers you were just talking about, how he said the president is on an apology tour, I think what that also illustrates is the split within the Republican Party because Peter King, as you know, is making noises about being president. He also is trying to kind of push the wing of the Republican Party that is more hawkish against those on the Republican side like Rand Paul who is maybe running as somebody who is more of a libertarian.
So that also, even in -- even in the reaction to the president's announcement today, that is on display, the illustration of the split within the Republican Party, not just the Democratic Party.
BLITZER: Yes, a fair point. There is a real split in the Republican Party on these international issues, as you point out.
Let me go back to David and then I will bring Jessica back.
David, the president said that civil libertarians are patriots. Let me play a little clip of what he said when he was asked directly if he considered Edward Snowden to be a patriot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: No, I don't think Mr. Snowden was a patriot. Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies. If he in fact believes what he did was right, then like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer, and make his case. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He said that Snowden interrupted what could have been, in his words, a lawful, orderly examination of these laws, a thoughtful fact-based debate.
But, David, would there have been a debate really without Snowden?
GERGEN: No, not at the kind of volume intensity and level of public concern that we see now.
Clearly, Snowden triggered that. The president himself said that. But once again, I think this is almost a classic Obama, where he's being so cautious that sometimes the message gets a little muddled. On one hand, he says he's not a patriot, he wasn't a patriot, and on the other hand he really did help move this debate forward.
Instead of having him come down hard on Snowden and what he did, which was so treacherous, which was what, you know, the Republicans who had been supporting the president would like, he seemed to let him off gently. On the other hand, he left people like Ezra Klein of "The Washington Post" saying, why do you call him not a patriot if he did something that helped to move this debate along? After all, Mr. President, that's what you yourself are saying.
So I think the president -- I thought he was a little languid there, sort of low-key, and so lawyerly that I don't think he had quite the political impact that you normally look for in a presidential news conference.
BLITZER: Very quickly, on U.S.-Russia relations, Jessica, did we see any movement as far as President Obama and President Putin is concerned?
YELLIN: No. He described their relationship as candid and blunt. That's diplomacy-speak for, we often don't get along.
Literally, when they want to tell you when a meeting didn't go well, they use that language here. The president -- has already been clear from the White House here that when they called off the Moscow meeting, there were a long list of disagreements. We already know that. But he even had a little poke at Putin when he said, the press describes him, caricatures him as the bored kid slouching in the back of the classroom.
Yes, the president was critiquing how we in the media over-read their body language, but it also was not the most flattering way to describe Vladimir Putin, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly wasn't.
All right, Jessica Yellin, thanks very much. David Gergen, Dana Bash, thanks to both of you as well. A Missouri dad had just minutes to sound the warning, but he kept his cool in the face of rising floodwaters and saved his son and neighbors.
Also, another dramatic rescue. You may have seen this video of firefighters carrying a baby to safety near Nashville. Just ahead, I will talk to her parents about that terrifying moment.
BLITZER: Raging floods across a wide swathe of the country have now claimed at least four lives, the latest victim, a 60-year-old Oklahoma man who was trying to save his daughter from her stranded car. He was swept into a creek.
For days now, a powerful and stubborn storm system has been turning roads and homes into death traps -- 21 states were under some type of flood watch or warning today. And the danger isn't over.
Southeast Kansas and Southern Missouri have seen up to 10 inches of rain already this week, with more expected this weekend. Forecasters say both regions are facing extreme flooding risks.
We can't say it often enough. These floodwaters are dangerous, and they can kill quickly.
One community in Missouri had a very close call.
CNN's George Howell is joining us now live with details.
What happened, George?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, so Hollister, Missouri, you can see the Turkey Creek here back behind running quietly tonight. The other day the water was as high as where I am standing and people in this neighborhood didn't really know because they were asleep. This happened around 3:00 a.m.
There was one neighbor, Rick Ramirez, who noticed this happening, went door to door to door, knocking on doors, making sure everyone got out. The good news in this neighborhood, Wolf, is that no one was hurt, no one was killed. Everyone survived but again, definitely a scary situation for a lot of people.
BLITZER: Of course, so how are the cleanup efforts going, George?
HOWELL: Well, you know, it's one of those things where people are starting to come back. They are starting to see what is left over. It's going to take several days, but you find some of these mobile homes, as you would imagine, with a lot of water rushing through were shifted to several different places. Some mobile homes even have the siding ripped off, the sheer force of the water that came through but again, finding some people who have some belongings left. There are others who are even trying to find their home. Their homes are gone. BLITZER: Yes, sad situation. All right, George, thanks very much. George Howell reporting. As you just saw, these flood waters can raise to dangerously high levels in a matter of only a few minutes. Over the last several days, we've seen some dramatic rescues. One image in particular is very hard to shake. Take a look at this. Firefighters outside Nashville, Tennessee, carry a baby through waist-high water rising fast.
The baby's name is Lauren Marlin. She is just five weeks old. Lauren obviously won't have a memory of her rescue, but her parents, Rebecca and Jeremiah Marlin, will never forget it, a truly terrifying day for them. They join us now along with their baby daughter, Lauren and their son, Jeremiah. We're so happy everyone is OK. But Rebecca, walk us through what happened. You're at home. You're watching the news. What happened then?
REBECCA MARLIN, INFANT DAUGHTER RESCUED FROM FLOODS: I opened the front door to watch the storm and I looked down and I noticed my entire front yard is covered in water, and I yell for my husband to get up, we're flooding. He jumps up and he calls 911. They tell us to get into our attic and bust open the side vent up in the attic to let the firefighters know we're there. I go into panic mode. I start picking up toys -- not toys, but I start getting food and diapers and clothes together because I have no idea how long we'll be up there.
And we get up there and we're up there, I know for a good hour and they get my mother-in-law and father-in-law out first and they finally come over to us, and they rescue our 4-year-old son first, and they decide to get my husband out. So he can be out to get our daughter when he -- when the firefighters bring her out and then they finally got me out and it was probably within 30 minutes where they rescued all of us.
BLITZER: Jeremiah, what was it like waiting up in that attic? Your house was filling up with water. What was going through your mind?
JEREMIAH MARLIN, INFANT DAUGHTER RESCUED FROM FLOODS: It's frightening just seeing that amount of water come in that quick and knowing you've got young children in the house that you've got to protect and try to save and it's -- it's a tough thing to go through. We went through the May 2010 flood, and it was nowhere near like it was yesterday.
BLITZER: Rebecca, I can only imagine how glad you were when the firefighters actually showed up at -- tell us what happened, especially when you passed your daughter to them. I know you were thinking, what, please don't drop her, right?
REBECCA MARLIN: Yes. That was my first thought was please don't drop my baby. Please don't drop my baby. I watched them carry my 4- year-old out, and I just teared up because that's -- you know, he's my first born and my baby. And when they carried her out, she was asleep and she -- she never made a sound. Never moved, and I just thought thank you. Thank you God because they got her safe and sound to the street to where, you know, I knew she was safe and with her daddy and Nanna and it was absolutely wonderful to see that. And then, you know, afterwards, I was so worried about getting myself out and putting my life jacket on. I was done. I was ready to get out of the mess.
BLITZER: That's an amazing story. Jeremiah, what do you want to say to those firefighters that carried your daughter to safety?
JEREMIAH MARLIN: I'm very grateful for the Nashville Fire Department. It was a matter of minutes from the time they got there and got a rope out and got my mom and my father-in-law out, my mom's husband out and did an exception job getting us out and other neighbors out, and I'm very grateful for them.
BLITZER: Thank you so much -- thank you so much to both of you and the entire family for joining us. We're glad you're OK and you've gotten through this, what obviously, is a huge, huge crisis. Rebecca Marlin, Jeremiah Marlin, guys, thanks very much for coming in.
JEREMIAH MARLIN: Thank you.
REBECCA MARLIN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Up next, the Florida man who admits he killed his wife and posted a photo of her body on Facebook. We're going to talk about it with Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Also, Alex Rodriguez returns to Yankee stadium for the first time since his suspension in the juicing scandal. What kind of reception did he get from the hometown fans?
BLITZER: Word tonight about the 19 embassies and consulates the State Department closed this week, nearly all are reopening. We'll tell you which one is not.
BLITZER: A strange twist to a murder case in Florida. A man accused of killing his wife before turning himself in. The 31-year- old Derik Medina posted a photo of her dead body on Facebook. It shows 26-year-old Jennifer Alfonzo in a contorted position on the floor of their South Miami home. The photo is gruesome. We've decided not to show it.
Medina also posted a message, which read I'm going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife. Love you guys, miss you guys, take care Facebook people. You will see me in the news. My wife was punching me and I'm not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did. I hope you understand me.
Some of Medina's Facebook friends reacted in disgust, but incredibly the photo was shared more than 100 times before Facebook took it down. Police say Medina admitted shooting his wife after a violent argument. This afternoon he was arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder and was denied bond. Jennifer Alfonso's 10-year- old daughter was inside the home. She was not hurt.
Just a short time ago, I spoke about this case with Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of HLN's "Dr. Drew On Call."
BLITZER: Dr. Drew, the fact that this man confessed on Facebook to murdering his wife and posted a photo of her dead body. Have you ever seen anything like this before?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW ON CALL": Wolf, I have never seen anything like this before. This case is so horrific and tragic and at the same time fascinating in so many ways. We are seeing the history of social media evolving before our eyes, now to the point where we have to witness murders and their aftermath in social media, not only does it speak volumes about social media's influence on the world today.
It also calls into question the responsibility an organization like Facebook has to protect the public from things that might otherwise be terribly disturbing. One of the features is the pictures were up there long enough to be shared hundreds of times. So these may end up in front of people who don't want to see things like this.
BLITZER: Yes, amazing, 170 times it was shared before it was taken down. I don't understand that, do you?
PINSKY: I don't understand it, but I think it's going to have to be tightened up. Wolf, when you think about it, it's amazing it wasn't shared 170,000 times and maybe will find its way into that many shares somewhere. That's part of this historical revolution we're seeing right now. This story is ironic and tragic on so many levels, not just from the standpoint of social media issue, but how about the fact this guy was -- wrote books about communication and maintaining a healthy marriage.
BLITZER: Yes. One of those books entitled "How I Saved Someone's Life and Marriage and Family Problems Through Communication." How do you explain that?
PINSKY: Well, I guess it's something he probably had to work on himself in certain areas of his life is all we can speculate. This does throw into bold relief an issue in my mind, which I think people understand that intra personal terrorism, that's a couple that must be separated. But circumstances that are far more common that mental health professional call common coupled violence, we often don't think of as having a potential fatal outcome.
This is a bold reminder that common coupled violence, particularly if you throw in substances. I don't if substances were involved in this at all, but if you throw that in, common coupled violence, which is, well, a little bit of roughness can quickly escalate into something just as dangerous, not as chronic, but at least acutely as dangerous as intra personal terrorism. BLITZER: "The Miami Herald" spoke to people that knew Jennifer Alfonso and they say they definitely did see signs of abuse and control. One friend saying she would say he's going to change that she's in love with him. You see a lot of this kind of domestic abuse, don't you?
PINSKY: Unfortunately, we do. Anyone that works in law enforcement and healthcare we see this all the time. Thankful will in California where I practice there had are mo mandatory rules for this to be reported to social services. The problem is so much of it goes under ground and unnoticed and glossed over with denial that it could become very difficult.
Again, these stories are important for people out there listening, if you have any hint of this in peers and friends and family, you got to get help because help does work in these situations of so-called common violence, and if it's interpersonal terrorism, we got to get these people separated because the ends bad always.
BLITZER: Dr. Drew Pinsky, thanks very much.
PINSKY: Thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead, the family of a Florida teenager who died after being tasered by police want answers. Today a new investigation was launched. We have details coming up.
BLITZER: Coming up, the incident that led Oprah Winfrey to say she's the victim of racism.
BLITZER: Let's get caught up on other stories we're following tonight. Susan Hendricks is joining us with the 360 Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a 360 follow to start Miami Beach officials ordered an in independent investigation of the Israel Hernandez case, the 18-year-old graffiti artist was caught tagging an abandoned building and died after police tasered him. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will conduct the review.
On Sunday, the State Department will reopen all but one of the 19 U.S. diplomatic posts that were closed due to a terror threat. The embassy in Yemen will remain closed.
At Yankee stadium, Alex Rodriguez got a mix of boos and cheers when tonight's starting line up was announced. After striking out at the first at bat, more boos. It's the first home game since violating the Major League Baseball's drug policy. He's appealing that suspension. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she was the victim of racism. On a recent trip to Switzerland when a shop assistant refused to show her a handbag because it was quote, "too expensive." The crocodile skin bag coast $38,000. Oprah has an estimated net worth of 2.8 billion. The shop's manager said it was a misunderstanding, Wolf, not racism.
BLITZER: Yes, you don't treat Oprah like that. If she wants to see the bag, you let her see the bag. That goes without saying. Susan, thanks very much.
Up next, a fascinating story, heading to the big screen, the African-American man who worked as a White House butler for eight presidents.
BLITZER: One week from today Lee Daniels' film, "The Butler" opens in theatres. It's the story of an African-American man that works for more than 30 years as a butler in the White House under eight presidents. The movie is a fictionalize accounts of the true story of Eugene Alan who died in 2010 at the age of 90. He lived to see an African-American become president of the United States.
Anderson sat down with Alan's son, Charles and with Wil Haygood, author of "The Butler, A Witness To History." His original story in "The Washington Post" inspired the film.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Will, what was it that initially drew you to this story?
WIL HAYGOOD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I knew I wanted to find somebody from the era of segregation before the civil rights bills had been passed in this country and what worked in the White House. And so I started this massive nationwide search, made a lot of phone calls, utilized all my sources, and on the 57th call to his father's house, I say this is Wil Haygood with "The Washington Post," and I'm looking for Mr. Eugene Allen who used to work at the White House.
Someone had told me that he worked for three presidents and when I said I'm looking for Mr. Alan who used to work for three presidents, he said well, you're speaking to him, but let me correct you. I've worked for eight presidents.
COOPER: Nobody had ever told his story.
HAYGOOD: When we were looking at his archives in his basement, he had, I think, really realized the importance of what he had went through in life, 34 years at the White House, never missing a day of work through eight presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. I said nobody has ever written a lengthy story about you, Mr. Allen? He took a step closer to me and said if you think I'm worthy, you'll be the first.
COOPER: Wow. The film is coming out at this time where, you know, the nation is talking about race in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case.
HAYGOOD: Yes, of course.
COOPER: Do you hope the story of your father contributes to the discussion in a way?
CHARLES ALLEN, SON OF FORMER WHITE HOUSE BUTLER EUGENE ALLEN: I not only hope it will contribute, I pray that it will contribute to the discussion.
COOPER: What do you hope it contributes?
ALLEN: I hope it will generate people into thinking that what we went through in the -- in the '50s and '60s and before that and during the modern civil rights era, it is -- it has not ended.
HAYGOOD: One of the things that fascinate me about Mr. Allen's life is that he was in the White House and heard the echoes and ramifications of the murder of Emmett Teal, Evers, the murders of the four young girls in the Birmingham 16th Street church, the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he was there for an astonishing sweep of history, and, you know, all those emotions had to swirl inside of him. His son was serving in Vietnam. I mean, Mr. Allen --
COOPER: And yet his job was to be there and yet to not there be in a sense, you know.
HAYGOOD: Yes. I mean, just think about it. In the '50s, he was an employee at the most powerful address in the world, but would go back to his native Virginia, Scottsville, Virginia and have to use a segregated bathroom.
COOPER: Your mom passed away the day before the election in 2008.
COOPER: And your dad went out and voted.
ALLEN: He was going to vote and, you know, my mom -- she had arthritis very bad and I was supposed to get an absentee ballot, which I didn't do. I apologized that Saturday, and I said mom, I'm sorry I didn't get the ballot for you and she said that's OK, I'm going to walk on Tuesday. She walked up the stairs and didn't come down anymore, and, you know, that would be in the morning of the 3rd. And so dad, you know, he had to go up there and he had to vote alone, but it was still -- it was still unrealistic up until the point where we were at the inauguration. We got invited to the inauguration.
COOPER: What was that like for your dad?
ALLEN: Something out of the bible. Those stories, the greatest story ever told.
HAYGOOD: I remember when we got out of the subway and started walking. It was really cold of course as everybody snows. I said Mr. Allen, I apologize, I think we should turn back. I can tell you're in pain, and he looked at me, and he said, you hold one arm, and he looked at his son and he said Charles, you hold the other arm and he said because I'm not turning back.
When we were sitting down watching, watching the president elect, first African-American president in the history of the nation take the oath of office, he leaned over to me and he said when I was in the White House you couldn't even dream that you could dream of a moment like this, two dreams. I mean, you couldn't even dream that you could dream the dream and he was crying.
ALLEN: Yes, I looked at my dad, and he looked at me and said dad, it really going to happen. It's really going to happen. I got to see it, so thank goodness.
COOPER: Well, I'm sorry I never got the honor of meeting him but an honor to meet both of you. Thank you very much.
BLITZER: That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.