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tv   CNN Presents  CNN  August 8, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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there. sad story to end on. again, that's what's happening in the world tonight. join us as at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow for an update on what's going on with the lowering of the u.s. credit rating. i'm don lemon in atlanta. have a great week. see you next weekend. >> announcer: tonight on cnn presents -- rescue. what it takes to become one of the coast guard's elite rescue swimmers. >> here we go. >> announcer: kaj larson takes you inside a rescue mission. hollywood hustle. >> you say you have been robbed for a few decades. >> what would you call it? >> reporter: david cassidy claims he was ripped off over his pop idol image. first a pizza delivery man robs a bank with a bomb around his neck. >> these suckers say you have 55 minutes, man, what are you going to do?
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>> announcer: that's just the beginning of one of the most bizarre crimes ever. drew griffin unwraps the pizza bomber. >> 911 emergency. >> we've just been robbed. >> is anyone hurt? >> no. he walked out the door. >> august 28th, 2003. erie, pennsylvania. within minutes of robbing a bank, brian wells is surrounded by police. cross legged on the ground and handcuffed. he told police, he was a pizza delivery man and he delivered a pizza. the group he delivered it to captured him, he told police. put this bomb on his neck and told him to rob a bank. he asks police to call his boss. then to save his life.
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25 minutes ticked by. then the device begins to beep. in an instant, the bank robber is dead. the death of brian wells in this parking lot that day turned out to be only the beginning of the most elaborate, intricate, and some say still unsolved bank robbery case the fbi has ever had. >> at the end of it all, our system worked. our law enforcement partners solved the puzzle and we achieved convictions and long sentences. >> the fbi, the local police, and the u.s. attorney's office simply want this case to be closed. but is it? tonight, you decide. did the fbi catch all the suspects? did the fbi let one of them
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walk? and did the fbi make a mistake putting blame on a pizza delivery man whose secrets blew up in a parking lot. >> it was a hot thursday afternoon. jean hyde was expecting to see her brother at a party that night, but she had on er rand to run, a quick shopping trip on peach street. but there was trouble. police had blocked the road. cops and cars everywhere. she turned around and went home. it was only later that night, watching the 10:00 news, she learned what that traffic was all about. >> my kids are sitting on the couch and then the story airs of a bank robbery. and a man came into the bank a bomb on him. >> you are recognizing --
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>> my brother sitting there with a bomb on him. and i'm thing, the police have him. they'll find out who did this to him. then as it goes on, it is like, brian exploded. the bomb went off. brian is dead. and i'm like, i can't believe this. >> after the explosion, one of the first things the cops did was look inside his car. and they found these. meticulous notes that amounted to a bizarre scavenger hunt. notes given to brian wells, instructing him to follow a lengthy set of orders if he wanted to survive. >> laying out this puzzling, highly complex scavenger hunt directing him to go to specific places. >> rich shapiro is a journalist who has written extensively about the robbery for "wired" magazine. >> the notes suggested at the very end of this, if he completed it in the allotted time which wasn't much, that he would be able to save his life.
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>> have you asked yourself why didn't my brother brian get in that car and drive straight to the police station? >> no. i never asked that. because brian was in survival mode. i truly believe that he was trying to save his life and others' lives. >> but the police had no idea what to think. was brian wells a victim? was he in on the robbery? what were those notes all about and who wrote them? why? there were no answers, but plenty of agencies wanting to be involved in the biggest case erie had ever seen. >> we have formed a multiagency task force comprised of the pennsylvania state police, the atf, the erie police department, specifically their bomb squad, the united states attorney's office, and the erie county district attorney's office. >> i wouldn't be surprised if some game warden from warren p.a. was on the task force.
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>> reporter: jim fisher, a former fbi agent and criminologist, studied the case from the beginning. >> you have 50 people running around, randomly conducting leads with very little coordination. no one really seemed to be in charge. >> reporter: from the outset, he believes the fbi, the erie police, all the law enforcement agencies involved were on the wrong track. this was not, he says, a bank robbery. >> you believe brian wells was murdered. >> he was murdered and it was a first-degree murder. this was an intentional, premeditated homicide. moreover, it was extremely cruel in the way the crime was executed. >> not just the crime, the actual bomb was a crude masterpiece of someone's twisted art. police would find intricate
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decoy cables, home made lock. it all made into a bizarre puzzle, wrapped around the neck of the victim. and whatever this was, a bank robbery, a violent murder, the case was about to take another bizarre, almost unreal twist. >> there is a frozen body. it is in the freezer in the garage. a second body. this one hidden in the freezer. a new suspect telling an even stranger tale. >> what came in first? the body or the freezer? >> the body came in. i put it on a cart. >> just ahead, a man, a body, and an ever expanding cast of suspects.
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and whatever this was, a bank robbery, a violent murder, the case was about to take another bizarre, almost unreal twist. >> there is a frozen body. it is in the freezer in the garage. a second body. this one hidden in the freezer. a new suspect telling an even stranger tale. >> what came in first? the body or the freezer? >> the body came in. i put it on a cart.
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>> just ahead, a man, a body, and an ever expanding cast of suspects. as brian wells was on the ground in that half-hour, after he robbed the bank, another man was watching everything unfold from across the street. according to an fbi affidavit, informants said a 63-year-old handyman named william rothstein was sitting in his car, eyes focused on brian wells. bill rothstein, officials later said, was the mastermind behind the entire scheme. >> i put a cut piece of green tarp down here to put his body on. >> this is bill a few months after that bank robbery. in a police evidence tape, where he is explaining to a detective how he helped a former girlfriend, marjorie diehl armstrong, dispose of a body. >> what came in first, the body or the freezer? >> the body came in. i put it on a cart. i'll show you the cart. the cart has big wheels. not the cart with the small wheels. yes, that one there. >> what's really going on here? what did that body in the freezer and bill rothstein's confession have to do with the collar bomb explosion that
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killed brian wells? in a word, everything. bill rothstein told police he was just doing marjorie a favor. he claimed she had killed her abusive ex-boyfriend named jim roden. but the fbi's investigation tells another story. roden knew about the bank robbery plot and was about to go to police. rothstein made that mess go away. >> he came to the house and helped. he took the body out. he cleaned everything up. cleaned the walls. replaced floor boards, replaced everything. painted. got rid of everything that might have blood on it. >> after rothstein turned her into police for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, marjorie stunned investigators with another twist. she connected rothstein to erie's biggest bank robbery. >> i mean, to build the bomb and test the bomb and all the
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components, he had to have already been building it and designing it. in doing that, he said i need some money. so marjorie just gave him like $75,000 worth of money that she also kept at the house. so bill was left with two of the most important things to hold over marjorie armstrong. number one, all her money. and number two, a dead body that would make her lose her liberty for the rest of her life. >> even though marjorie diehl armstrong had been talking with police, it took the fbi nearly four more years before it could tie up all the loose ends. everybody, the fbi said, was involved with the robbery. bill rothstein, marjorie diehl armstrong, even another suspect. a crack dealer named kenneth barnes, and barnes claimed brian wells was in on the plot from the beginning and that he was duped. >> wells was essentially told, he would be robbing the bank but the device that was being put
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around his neck would be fake. so he would not be putting himself in harm's way. as it turns out, he was double crossed. >> kril knoll -- criminologist jim fisher believes it was rothstein that wanted to pull off the perfect diabolical crime that would baffle investigators. the elaborate scavenger hunt would eventually send police to a dead end. the confusing yet meticulously crafted collar bomb, even the white t-shirt brian wells wore into the bank, spray painted with the word "guess." to fisher, all of it hatched in the mind of a madman. >> there is a kind of motive we can understand. like a standard bank robbery. someone needs the money. and then we have a category of crime involving motives that a normal person can't really understand.
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>> you're describing bill rothstein. >> that would be bill rothstein to my mind. he fits to a tee the profile of someone who would commit such a bizarre and pathological crime. >> four years after the original crime, the government had to prove in court, its theory was correct. and there were two big problems. rothstein, the alleged mastermind, died, before even officially being linked to the crime. and the other main suspect, marjorie diehl armstrong, had told so many lies, she was showing evidence of mental problems and a personality disorder. >> the mental illness was a 30-year history. the personality disorders were a 30-year history. >> over many delays and many more years, the government finally obtained convictions on charges of bank robbery and murder. life plus 30 years for marjorie
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diehl armstrong. a lesser sentence for accomplice kenneth barnes because he testified on behalf of prosecutors. and brian wells who died with that bomb around his neck, well, the federal government said, he, too, was in on the crime. >> when brian delivered pizza, he was accosted at gunpoint by a group of strangers whom he did not know. they shot at him. when he tried to run away, they knocked him to the ground. >> the fbi version, as you know, is different. >> that's a lie. that's a lie. that's all their fabrication. >> the fbi did agree to sit down with cnn, to explain their case and their prosecution. how it all went down. they just wanted to know the day we would arrive here in erie and where the interview would take place.
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then the fbi began asking us questions. who else would be interviewed for this report? and suddenly, the interview with the fbi was off. jim fisher says the fbi and the u.s. attorney took the easy way out and never really solved the case. >> bill rothstein died about a year after the crime. and he died with, in my opinion, all the secrets, all the answers, and to that extent, nobody literally dies laughing, he went to his grave knowing that he had outfoxed every one. >> neither the u.s. attorney's office, nor the fbi, would comment to cnn about fisher's assertions. and yet there is someone who is alive who kenneth barnes says was at rothstein's house the day of the robbery but was never charged in the crime. he is the convicted sex offender granted immunity in exchange for testimony he was never asked to
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give. next -- >> brian wells' family really wants to know. >> could this man hold the answers that would finally solve the case? [ male announcer ] 95% of all americans aren't getting enough whole grain. but actually, it's never been easier to get the whole grain you want from your favorite big g cereals. from cheerios to lucky charms, there's whole grain in every box. make sure to look for the white check. in one place. ♪ the front-row tickets you never bought. the lucrative investment you never made. the exotic vacation you never took. but there's one opportunity that's too good to miss. the lexus golden opportunity sales event, with exceptional values on the lexus rx. but only until september 6th. see your lexus dealer.
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in her search for justice, jean hyde said she has searched for years trying to learn the
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truth from the one man she believes now holds the keys to her brother's innocence. his name is floyd a. stockton. a convict sex offender who authorities say was living with bill rothstein on the day of the bank robbery. he goes by the nickname jay. >> jay stockton is a convicted rapist, serial sexual battery of his wife. and he is out there. he is out there, people. >> he is the only one left alive and sane enough to tell the truth, she believes. yet the federal government has allowed him to go free. >> they know that my brother is innocent 100%. and they know that bill rothstein, jay stockton, are the co-conspirators of this crime that killed brian. >> according to this fbi
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affidavit, investigators learned of stockton's knowledge to the crime when stockton talked about it in a monitored phone call from jail. stockton was released, then given immunity to testify for the government in the pizza bomb case. investigators say they compared stockton's handwriting to this handwriting on those scavenger notes found in brian wells' car. it was a perfect match. >> the authorities believe there were at least two people who wrote the notes and jay stockton is definitely one of them. >> on camera is kenneth eugene barnes. >> there is also the testify of this man -- kenneth barnes. >> like i say, i would never kill anybody. >> barnes pled guilty and is serving a 20-year sentence for his role in the case. but it is this fbi search warrant affidavit, now obtained by cnn, which raises even more questions about why jay stockton
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has been allowed to go free. according to the affidavit, barnes and others involved in the case say floyd stockton was deeply involved in the plot. barnes even telling the fbi, on the day of the crime, it was stockton who went into the garage, got the collar bomb, and handed it to rothstein. when we asked then u.s. attorney for western pennsylvania, mary beth buchanan, why stockton never testified, and was never charged, she initially told us, stockton was sick, had suffered several strokes and was unable to travel. after our initial phone call, buchanan never talked to us again and at a news conference in erie, the current u.s. attorney, david hickton, wasn't forthcoming either. >> what about mr. stockton? what can you tell us about his status? will he ever be prosecuted for this? >> we're not in a position to comment on mr. stockton. >> marjorie armstrong's attorney
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says there is good reason the u.s. attorney and the fbi want to keep quiet about jay stockton. >> do you think he is the one person who got away with this? >> yes, he got immunity from the government. free and clear. convicted sex offender multitime sex offender. the government felt that he was the least involved person, and so they gave him immunity. >> they shouldn't have given him immunity. he didn't deserve immunity. he deserved, he is the guilty one that killed my brother. he deserved to be brought to justice. >> stockton has been featured on the vel television show, "america's most wanted." private investigators have tried to track him down but stockton has literally vanished. at least, that is what he may have thought -- until the day we found him. these are pictures of stockton today. two hours north of seattle, down
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a side street in bellingham, washington, we found stockton where he told our investigator he's been living in this duplex for the past six years but was soon about to leave. a week later, we spotted him leaving the duplex in a pickup truck. we followed to an rv sales lot where he was eyeing a large recreational vehicle. it was perhaps the first time in years anyone had mentioned his involvement in the pizza bomb case. >> how are you doing, mr. stockton, right? drew griffin. i'm with cnn. how are you doing? it has taken a long time for me to find you. i wanted to ask you some questions. sir, brian wells' family is really wanting to know about you, sir. please. as fast as he could with his driver's side window lowered, jay stockton sped away, not saying a word. mr. stockton, this is drew griffin again with cnn.
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brian wells' family is trying to get to the truth of the matter about particularly their brother. you're the only one alive and sane enough to tell the truth. and that's what they're after. >> he has refused all of our phone calls, refused to respond to notes placed at his door. the assistant u.s. attorney who prosecuted the case insists to us, jay stockton would tell us what the federal government has proven in court -- that brian wells was involved with the bank robbery. >> no one could have sat through this criminal trial without understanding the degree of evidence linking mr. wells to these particular participants. >> in fact, the same affidavit that implicates stockton repeatedly implicates jean hyde's brother. the suspects involved saying brian wells knew the plot all
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along, was involved in the planning, was part of the band of criminal misfits trying to rob a bank. jean hyde will never believe that. she believes her government is lying. >> they let an innocent man, my brother, die while in their custody. and they didn't even lift a finger to help him. this case is going to be looked at for years to come. and they don't want it known that they screwed up. brian never would have done this. next on "cnn presents," coast guard rescue swimmers. >> he's up above the water now. >> announcer: embedding with those who save lives for a living. and later -- >> are you fighting for more than money? >> i think fairness. >> the cast of "happy days" isn't b so happy. the tv icons are demanding money for what they claim are mountains of merchandise cashing in on their image.
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in north carolina, daniel todd is on his way to a job it took him a year to train for. >> 35-foot hover. >> reporter: to do something that most people would think is crazy.
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hovering above the river, he jumps out of a perfectly good helicopter. because what might be terrifying to some people is pretty normal for a coast guard rescue swimmer. >> survivor's going in the basket. >> reporter: the coast guard has 42,000 personnel stationed from alaska to the caribbean. but only 350 of them are part of the elite cadre of rescue swimmers. today petty officer todd is with cadets from the coast guard academy. they're rewarded with candy before being lowered back into the water. but before the excitement of doing this -- >> hurry up! hurry up! >> todd had to go through this. >> pick it up. get up. >> no need to rest. >> this morning, 7:00 a.m., getting up, i'm going to jump in with the rescue swimmer class to
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see what their physical training program is like. >> 18 weeks of aviation survival technician school in elizabeth city, north carolina. it is a test of physical, mental, and intellectual strength. >> as i look at the photos on the walls, i see some pretty small class sizes. some of these have two or three guys. >> you do see some small classes. we take classes of 12. we may graduate six. we may graduate seven. we may graduate three, four, maybe two. >>. >> reporter: senior chief georg marinko runs the school. a school so selective that sometimes an entire class doesn't graduate. >> physically we don't usually have any problems on the pt grind or the classroom. when we get in the water, the first three or four or five weeks, we see some students do give up and they grab the side.
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there's no side of the pool in the ocean that can mean the difference between someone living or dying and we won't have that. >> 14 students began in the class training during the course of our visit. seven weeks in, only three remain. with one injured, just two are training today. one of them is dave froick. >> if you make it through this school, you can be called out to go out and save somebody's mom or dad or daughter or son, and that alone is just enough for me to want to be here. so just make it through the school. >> how difficult is it? >> it is definitely difficult. this is something i've never, i can only imagine when i was working my way to get here. it is definitely more difficult than i thought it would be. >> reporter: students spend three days of each week in the pool where motivation from the instructors is ever present. this week, students are
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practicing large scale rescue scenarios for the first time. training for such diverse situations as a burning oil rig and water rescues. >> what are we simulating? >> two surfers in distress on their surfboards. >> reporter: imlaing entering the water from a helicopter, each student jumps in and gets to work. >> this is the first time they've encountered this? >> this is our first multirescue center. they have several obstacles to overcome. they need to determine how many people are in the water. whether everybody has flotation or what we call safe in the water. and does anybody have any injuries. >> reporter: first priority -- make contact with the survivor. then take control. >> he's doing the underwater approach on them. going to come up behind them and
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take control. >> reporter: a survivor that might be panicking. >> as he is towing his first survivor, he is learning that is his noncompliant survivor. the guy's panicky and not cooperative. >> finally a lift to safety. through spray, meant to simulate the rotor wash of a helicopter. almost always, there is only one rescue swimmer on the scene without back-up. >> is there another swimmer up there? >> no. it's just you. how long do we have to go? >> week seven. >> reporter: the pool is just part of the training. classroom work covers everything from survival rafts to maintaining pumps and -- they have an entire classroom that is devoted to sewing. you can see the parachute down at the end of the table. these guys actually sew their own gear. so if they're deploying a life raft or a cargo out of a c-130, they know that it is going to hold because they've actually sewed it themselves. >> but after all the swimming, the jumping, and the sewing, students who graduate haven't yet earned their coveted rescue swimmer patches. for that, they'll have to go to an active air station and fly on
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real rescue missions. just like i'm about to do. >> they're looking for a potential victim in the water. so at first flight, we're going to launch. at exxon and mobil, we engineer smart gasoline that works at the molecular level to help your engine run more smoothly by helping remove deposits and cleaning up intake valves. so when you fill up at an exxon or mobil station, you can rest assured we help your engine run more smoothly while leaving behind cleaner emissions. it's how we make gasoline work harder for you. exxon and mobil. that's not going to satisfy you. come on. it's time for a better snack. try this. it's yoplait greek. it has two times the protein of regular yogurt. you'll feel satisfied. [ female announcer ] yoplait greek. it is so good. oh, and there's a smile.
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[ding] announcer: clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soapy water. one in 6 americans will get sick from food poisoning this year. keep your family safer. check your steps at foodsafety.gov. it's the last stop on a coast guardsman's journey to
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become a rescue swimmer. putting it to the test on real life missions at an operational air station. the country's largest and busiest is here in clearwater, florida -- one of 24 across the united states. i'm in clearwater, florida, which is the most active coast guard search and rescue station in the nation. and i've come here over the july 4 weekend to embed with the coast guard for a few days to see how an active duty search and rescue station works. there is no better way to do that than in the air. >> all right. let's go find them. >> reporter: the standard for the search and rescue mission is four personnel. we have the pilot, the co-pilot, the flight mechanic, who operates the winch. he has the visual outside the door. and then there is the search and rescue swimmer who will be floating down into the water as necessary to make the rescue.
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>> the air station has a variety of assets including c-130s, rescue helicopters and crews on standby 24 hours a day, ready to answer a call from here. the coast guard st. petersburg command center, responsible for the entire west coast of florida. >> everything that has to do with search and rescue is dispatched and planned and coordinated from this command center from this office right here. >> what kind of calls do you see commonly here in clearwater? give me a typical call. >> everything. we get everything in here. >> during our time in clearwater, we would see a lot of it in just one flight. first, searching for a radio distress signal. >> we won't be done until we find them. >> we find it located on a boat. >> there we go. >> safely docked here in this subdivision. just as we find the beacon -- >> be advised that we've got a call. we've been diverted.
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we'll have a search pattern as soon as we get ready. >> roger. >> we're sent to a mystery mayday call. >> we searched up and down the river as far inland as we could go with no sign of vessels in distress. >> reporter: it's never found. finally, low on fuel, we get a report of people in the water near a bridge. >> we can give you about ten minutes. we're low on fuel. >> reporter: arriving on scene -- >> we are looking for the p.o.w. what is that at 3:00? >> turn right. >> that's a bird. >> okay. keep going. >> we find them being helped by local rescue units. >> they're all under the bridge right now. >> a busy night. >> we could get called out again. just getting started.
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>> reporter: calls can come any time -- day or night. [ siren ] >> reporter: all right. so 6:00 in the morning, we're all sleeping soundly. and our little bunks here. and the aircraft commander popped in. he said the siren alarm just went off and there is a potential rescue. so that's what being the standby crew means. so we are getting our gear ready. we're going to jump in the bird and see what's going on. >> within minutes we're on our way to the helicopter. so we just got a mini brief by the aircraft commander. he said they are looking for a potential victim in the water. so at first light we're going to launch and initiate a search pattern. >> the pilot, lieutenant commander paul russo is in charge of this morning's mission. >> we've got a 24-year-old female who just came out of rehab. she jumped off a bridge last night. >> we're likely looking for a body but there is a chance she could have survived and she might be hiding in the woods. >> is there some kind of technology that we are using?
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>> eyeballs. old school eyeballs. looking for a person in the water, it's all eyeballs. >> after the preflight safety checks, our jay hawk helicopter is taxiing into the sunrise, hustling to get on scene. at any point, the rescue swimmer is ready to hit the water and hoist his victim up to safety. something that i had experienced firsthand at the coast guard's rescue swimmer's school in north carolina. >> we have the helicopter about to deploy the swimmers. i'm going to be one of the victims today. that's so that the rescue swimmers get to practice what they do best. >> ready for launch. freefall deployment. >> here we go. >> 1:00 position. >> as the flight mechanic guides in the pilot. >> forward and right. >> he's up above water now. right five. ease down.
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25. easy down. >> it's a rush of water, wind, and noise. >> looks like you have the survivor. ready for one. 35 feet. >> first, rescue swimmer daniel todd uses the most common technique -- a basket hoist. then we used just a harness. finally, a quick deployment hoist. the of two us lifted and secured by just a strap. >> the swimmer survivor at the cabin door. the swimmer survivor coming in. the swimmer survivor in the cabin. >> back on board the jay hawk in florida, there is no need for any of those hoists. there is good news. >> the person has been located. >> roger. person has been located. >> the victim has been found. alive.
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we return to base. people often think that search and rescue is all about jumping out of helicopters and saving lives but there is also a lot of long flights, long searches, and that don't end up doing anything. that's why these guys do it. they keep going out there until that one critical moment when they do have to jump in and get somewhere. >> we want to be the guys there. when it gets bad and somebody needs help, they look at us and go that's the guy who will come and pick us up. >> it will be many months before the students back in north carolina are doing what mike has done for the past ten years. but they'll be doing it for the same reason. >> when i joined the coast guard, everything was about me. i realized that was not what i wanted. i wanted to get out there and see what i can do to help other people. there are many ways to do that. saving someone's life though, what more could you do?
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coming up -- >> i'm not sure these will fit. >> pop star david cassidy is still singing the songs that made him a worldwide sensation. but he's also fighting mad. >> i don't want to shame and embarrass and humiliate them but i will if i have to. ♪ i think i love you i love that my daughter's part fish.
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♪ i think i love you ♪ isn't that what life is made of ♪ >> it's 1970 and a 20-year-old named david cassidy is starring in "the partridge family." ♪ screaming out the words i dread ♪ ♪ i think i love you >> not only did the show and soldout concerts make him a star but the teen idol's success spawned an avalanche of merchandise. >> this is a dress-up set. remember these? oh, gosh. nice outfit, david. >> david cassidy is everywhere. >> how big of a star was david cassidy? >> well, i had the largest fan club in the history of the planet. bigger than elvis and the beatles. >> he was all over lunch boxes, board games, pins, even dancing
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hampsters. >> which sings "i think i love you ♪ ♪ >> there we go. there we go. it is running out of gas. listen to it. it is running out of gas. >> ladies and gentlemen, would you please put your hands together for the one and only david cassidy. [ cheers and applause ] >> the 61-year-old performer clearly isn't running out of gas. 37 years after the partridge family went off the air, he is still performing and producing. and now he is on a personal mission. to get paid for that merchandise from sony which owns the show. >> you say you've been robbed for the last few decades. >> how would you call it? if somebody does not pay you and you are entitled to a percentage of the profits, and you know they're making profits, is that stealing?
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>> cassidy isn't alone. the cast of "happy days" wants to know where the money went. four stars of the iconic show, anson williams, don most, marion ross and earn moran, as well as the widow of tom bosley are suing cbs for $10 million. they told cnn earlier this year they weren't paid what they were owed for "happy days" merchandise that sold around the world. cbs which own the show agrees the actors are owed money. but disputes the amount. after the suit was filed, cbs cut checks to the actors, totaling about $43,000. largely for the use of their images on happy days slot machines. but the actors argue they are owed much more. >> are you fighting for more than money? >> i think fairness. when you think of all different shows that must be having the
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same argument about this. >> reporter: shows like "the partridge family." cassidy says according to his contract, while the program was on the air, he was entitled to 15% of net merchandising profits when his image was used. half that if he appeared with other cast members. >> were you paid for that? >> i was told by my manager, i received a check for $5,000. and i never heard another word. i was never given another statement. >> but why is cassidy just coming forward now? decades after "the partridge family" ended? he says it wasn't until just a few years ago after a string of business managers and moves across the country that he found his old contract. >> my hands started to shake. i went, and there was the contract. >> as for the other cast
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members, brian forester, who playeded chris partridge said he did get about $1,100 for merchandising back in the '70s. the others we spoke with say they didn't have a merchandising deal or don't recall getting paid for any items. hours before a las vegas concert, cassidy signed some of the items. >> it was at the time, the largest selling lunch box in history. >> he showed us items with recent copy rights that he says were issued without his permission. sony did not reply to our question about this. >> the only way i can get a truthful accounting is by showing articles like this, of which there are many others, that were done in this last decade that they are obviously in breach. >> cassidy's lawyer sent this letter to sony requesting a prompt and full accounting and payment of proceeds for any merchandise sold using his name, likeness, voice or other exercise of such merchandising
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rights. sony responded that it could not locate any merchandising statements but found letters showing that mr. cassidy's representatives audited such statements. therefore, they must have been rendered to him. the company went on to say, it was not aware of any new merchandising licenses with his name, voice and likeness, after "the partridge family" went off the air, and said the statutes of limitations had run out on any claims. sony had no other comment to cnn. on stage, it is like cassidy is back in the '70s with fans who still throw their underwear. >> i'm not sure those will fit. >> how much do you think you're owed? >> until i get a proper sit-down with them, i'm not going to demand a number.
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>> are you willing to settle with sony or do you want to see this go to trial? >> i don't want to shame and embarrass and humiliate them but i will if i have to. get real. be fair. you owe me a fortune. you want to go to trial, they've got sony against david cassidy, go ahead. >> in his florida home, there are few remnants of cassidy's life as a pop superstar. but what made him famous will always be a part of who he is today. ♪ i think i love you ♪ >> announcer: on the next "cnn presents," it's jobs. >> well, it means that we will be able to support our family. >> shame on you! >> announcer: versus the environment.

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