tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC September 30, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
this is "world news." tonight, death blow. the u.s. takes down the man they call the most dangerous man in the world. is this a crippling blow for al qaeda? was a new attack on u.s. soil in the works? desperate deception? the paramedics tell about the moment they arrive at michael jackson's bedside. could a $40 a month device have saved his life? saving dad. a man trapped after a car crash, six days at the bottom of a ravine, found because his children kept up the search. call them a family bureau of investigation. and second acts. meet the woman and the docks who led her to a new life. our "person of the week."
good evening. it was an astonishing bulletin today. another public enemy taken out by the united states. the al qaeda leader called the most dangerous man in the world, the american citizen, anwar al awlaki, who used his knowledge of u.s. culture and u.s. language to recruit terrorists. so, how did they find him? we have full team coverage tonight, and we're going to begin with abc's martha raddatz, who is overseas, has gathered gripping details from her post tonight, the war zone of afghanistan. >> reporter: the u.s. had been zeroing in on awlaki's location for months. in their sights, a compound deep in the back country of yemen, where u.s. military and intelligence operatives were certain the american-born terrorist was hiding out. what awlaki could never know was high overhead. american surveillance aircraft
and satellites were watching that compound 24 hours a day while armed drones flew nearby. all they needed was awlaki to step out into the daylight. they waited and waited. until this morning, awlaki, one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, walked out and climbed into a pickup truck. a huge break. as he began to drive, with two other vehicles, thousands of miles away, likely at cia headquarters in langley, virginia, action. operators using remote controls race the drones into position. within moments, the drones lock in on the vehicle as it sped along a roadway below. a special joint operations plane beaming back real time tracking. fighter jets in the skies as well. and at 9:55 a.m., the drones fire more than three hellfire missiles, hitting the vehicle
carrying awlaki which erupts in flames. his was the only vehicle hit. another huge victory in the war on terror. >> the death of awlaki marks another significant milestone in the brooder effort to defeat al qaeda. >> reporter: an effort that required pin-point accuracy. >> capabilities nay have allow them to be a mile overhead the target but for example, identify a specific car. >> reporter: also killed in the vehicle, another american citizen, samir khan, who edited awlaki's terror inciting online magazine, "inspire." awlaki once consider an inspiration for the ft. hood shooter the attempted times square bomber and played a major role in the attempted bomb of an american-bound jet liner. today, we spoke to the cousin of one of his victims, that was 21 and pregnant when she was killed
at ft. hood. >> i'm glad he's gone and we can move on with our lives. >> reporter: u.s. officials tell me tonight that while awlaki was able to use the internet to get out his message, it was those very websites that, in part, helped the u.s. track him down. diane? >> martha rad dad reporting from afghanistan on how they tracked him down. but a question. could this mark the beginning of the end for al qaeda? abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross has been tracking awlaki for years and tells us what his death means. >> reporter: man who u.s. officials said posed the greatest threat to america was a true 21st century terrorist. harnessing the power of the internet, youtube, facebook and twitter for his soft-spoken calls to muslims to attack america. >> we are against evil. and america has a whole has turned into a nation of evil. >> reporter: born in the united states, in new mexico in 1971, anwar al awlaki went to college
in colorado, before heading up mosques in san diego and virginia. he was considered a moderate, asked to help the u.s. government reach out to muslims, but all that changed just a few months after the 9/11 attacks. >> we're now feeling that things are changing and that the authorities are really putting the whole muslim community under siege. >> reporter: by 2004, he had moved to yemen and begun to inspire and recruit for what would be at least 19 terror plots, including the attack at ft. hood and the failed car bomb in times square. >> the tone, the subject, his ability to push it out through multiple media made him really an unprecedented al qaeda terrorist. >> reporter: and in the failed attempt to blow up a jet liner over detroit on christmas day 2009, awlaki recruited the so-called underwear bomber but trained him with precise instructions. >> theres noo rolling back of the worldwide jihad movement. >> reporter: his final message may have been cut short today,
when al qaeda's magazine promised, with a picture of new york's grand central terminal, would be coming soon, targeting the populations of countries that are at war with the muslims. >> and the cover of that magazine. here's the question. how easy will it be for al qaeda to find another awlaki tomorrow? >> reporter: they won't be. this is a crippling blow. n . >> so you think this is a serious blow? >> reporter: serious blow because of his ability to recruit, understand the american ego of these young men he got to do these acts. >> okay, thank you, brian. i want to go to jake tapper who is standing by at the white house, and jake, we heard martha raddatz say this is a victory for president obama but there is an underlying question about targeting an american citizen with missiles, however lethal he may be. >> reporter: that's right. groups like the aclu are pointing out, here is an american president ordering the targeted killing of an american
citizen without any due process. no evidence, no courts, and they they is a gross violation of both the u.s. constitution and international law. when you ask the white house, what's the legal basis for such an action, they basically said, it's a state secret and they will not get onto their justification. now, president obama was given the news of awlaki's death at roughly 3:45 this morning. this is a president who has increased the number of predator drones in afghanistan, pakistan, east africa and yemen. all told, the administration can point to more than 20 senior terrorist leaders that have been taken out during the obama administration, diane. >> that's quite a gallery there, jake. thanks. and the president did say today that the white house is going to be watching, on alert, for any signs of a retaliation move. so, let's bring in our seen your justice correspondent pierre thomas on that. what are they seeing tonight, pierre? >> reporter: diane, abc news has learned that tonight the fbi is warning police around the country that awlaki's killing could spark revenge attacks here
at home. that warning, sources say, will come in the form of an urgent homeland security bulletin. u.s. officials believe that al qaeda in yemen is going to have a violent response. the next big concern, awlaki's huge online influence. officials fear internet radicals here at home will try to avenge his death. the evidence suggests the concern is warranted. abc news reviewed terrorism prosecutions and found that out of 50 cases involving americans, there were 19 where awlaki's influence was cited. one senior official said everyone is on a hair trigger alert, diane. >> already, pierre, and i know you'll be tracking it 24 hours for us. thank you so much. and now, we turn to other topics in today's news, including the bombshell testimony in the manslaughter trial of michael jackson's doctor. among those on the stand today, the first paramedic to reach the pop star's bedroom and try to revive him on the day he died. he described a frantic scene and said dr. conrad murray kept
vital information secret. abc's jim avila, following every dramatic moment in court. >> i need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir. >> reporter: and they got it. four los angeles paramedics roll up to the front gates of michael jackson's mansion, just five minutes later. but when they get upstairs to jackson's private quarters, they find dr. murray and a lifeless michael jackson. >> the patient was wearing a surgical cap or something similar, covering his hair. and he appeared to be underweight, to me. >> reporter: richard senneff said michael jackson was cold to the touch. and his partner says -- >> he was not breathing. he was not moving. and his eyes was fixed and dilated. >> did you have an opinion as to whether or not mr. jackson was alive? >> i felt he was dead, ma'am. >> reporter: richard senneff says dr. murray tells him he's
treating jackson for dehydration and exhaustion and nothing else. when asked about what drugs jackson might be taking, never mentions propofol, that killed him. >> he said no, he's not taking anything, and then he followed that up with, i just gave him a little bit of lorazepam to sleep. >> did dr. murray ever mention to you having administered propofol to michael jackson? >> no, he did not. >> reporter: the paramedics notice there's no medical equipment in the room, not only a $40 alarm that could have told dr. murray jackson stopped breathing. but they go to work, cpr, a bag to force air into jackson's lungs and drugs to restart the heart, but nothing. and there was more damaging testimony from the paramedics, who say that after dr. murray fought they had left, they saw him putting empty bottles of lied cane into his medical bag. that is a drug often administered with propofol. diane? >> watching the court today. thank you, jim avila. and now we want to tell you about a turn for the worse
tonight in the cantaloupe and listeria outbreak. the deadliest food outbreak in ten years. health investigators say more people have now died and become sick. 84 confirmed illnesses now and 15 deaths. with fear that the numbers could go still higher, because listeria stays in the body for more than a month. and next, we're going to take you to the front lines of a different kind of medical site. the one to save millions of the world's most vulnerable children from pneumonia, which kills 1.5 million children under the age of 5 every year. now, a new vaccine is being rolled out where it is needed moths, and our dr. richard besser recently traveled to nairobi, kenya, to show us what that can mean. >> come to work, they get jobs within the city. >> reporter: my old cdc friend walks thealleys here, convincing moms to bring their babies to a cdc clinic in the slums for a
new pneumonia vaccine. the kenyans pay 20 cents for it. he's racing to save the more than 30,000 children in kenya who die from pneumonia each year. danny says everywhere he goes, kenyans greet him with the only english phrase they know. how are you? >> how are you? >> we used to call that the "how are you" song. >> reporter: and how do you respond? >> fine, fine. >> reporter: as we head to the clinic, another mother joins us. you're coming to get the shots, too? and then, a few more. leading us through the tangle of shanties. this clinic is where they first tested the new vaccine. but just after baby benjamin gets his shot, the camera shuts off for a moment. and then -- we all evacuate. but the camera keeping
what about the mothers? the fire is just about 50 yards from the clinic. where's danny? head up the hill. people here have so little, they're carrying their television, their beds up the hill, right where we're standing. a whole section of the slum is on fire. here in the slum, there's no fire department. there's no one to come put it out. what they do is, they break open a pipe and try to put it out themselves. so some will lose everything. after the fire, the mothers were determined. they returned to the clint you can to make sure their babies got the pneumonia vaccine. one little vaccine to save hundreds of thousands of children. and as they begin to give the shops to the babies here, the children still ask, "how are you?" >> how are you? how are you? >> reporter: and as they give the shot to more and more of them, they will be better and better. >> dr. richard besser reporting in. and abc news and the u.n.
foundation have launched the million moms challenge, to raise awareness. if you want to help mothers and children around the world, go to million moms challenge.com or million moms challenge on facebook and help out, too. and still ahead on "world news," the children whose tireless detective work saved their father's life, lost for six days at the bottom of a ravine. and meet the woman who found a whole new life for herself by giving some dogs a second chance, too. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future. since ameriprise financial was founded back in 1894, they've been committed to putting clients first. helping generations through tough times. good times. never taking a bailout. there when you need them. helping millions of americans over the centuries. the strength of a global financial leader. the heart of a one-to-one relationship.
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leaves to survive. but the real heroes of the story are his own children, and abc's david wright is in castaic, california. >> reporter: 67-year-old david la vau might not be alive today, if his kids had given up hope. driving in the dark on this treacherous mountain road a week ago, his car plunged into the ravine. his kids were so worried, they didn't wait for the police. >> all of us ended up doing an fbi headquarters at my house. >> reporter: they hacked his facebook account and discovered he hadn't used it in almost a week. confirmed with his bank that his last purchase was friday at 3:00 p.m. at a ralph's grocery store in oxnard. the cell phone company helped pinpoint the last tower where his phone checked in, narrowing the search to a desolate wildness highway. this was truly a needle in the haystack-type search. the family members searched every one of these switchbacks, calling out for their father.
only when they got here did somebody answer back. >> i thought i heard a cat or a dog and i said, "hello" enough and it echoed down and -- then, that beautiful voice and it was my dad. >> reporter: he had broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a broken arm. just a few feet away, another car wreck. that driver had gone missing weeks ago. his body was starting to decompose. la vau clearly thought he might die, too. he scratched a final message on the trunk of his car. >> it said, "i love my kids and this was not my fault." >> "love, dad." >> "dead guy not my fault." >> and he made a request? >> i want a chocolate malt, where is it? >> reporter: instead, today, the whole family celebrated, at his hospital bed, with champagne. david wright, abc news, castalc, california. >> what a story.
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and we just want you to know that the site is back up again tonight, if you want to check it out. and how about that wild and dangerous weather, as the windy city lived up to its name today. a strong cold front slammed into chicago, kicking up 50-mile-per-hour winds and surprise 25-foot waves. look at him go down. walkers and joggers, there you go, were caught in the path. and very different wild waves thrilling people along the pacific coastline in san diego. this surfer is riding waves that glow neon blue at night. it's called a red tide, because of algae in the water. crimson-colored by day, but by night, the billions of microscopic cells cause a colorful chemical technicolor reaction. and coming up, meet the woman who is saving lives, dogs, humans and her own. our "person of the week." óó
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>> reporter: the expectations are high for gilly and joe. they were thought to be useless, past their prime. not now. >> they have drive. they are boldness. they have self-confidence. >> reporter: shelter dogs, once abandoned, now top flight rescue dogs. working in disasters to find victims. re-energized, doing what seemed the impossible. >> to see a working dog, to see the beauty and grace and agility that they have -- it just makes my heart sing. >> reporter: maybe because will wilma melville has walked a similar path. a p.e. teacher in his mid-50s, she was not about to retire. >> when i think about age, it's just a number. i just don't live based on numbers.
>> reporter: she used the connections she'd always found with animals, even with a girl, to rescue herself from that middle aged stereotype. >> i wanted to learn to train a dog to do something special. >> reporter: it started with murphy. with hard work, she got her certified by fema to work disasters. and then, oklahoma city. wilma and murphy were called in and the shocking shortage of rescue dogs left her with a bigger vision. >> i think i know a better way. >> reporter: she set out to train shelter dogs, lots of them. and she's certified more than 100 who have been deployed to disaster zones, like the world trade center, japan, and who have saved lives in the wreckage of haiti. >> the beauty of the dogs is that they give people hope. they give people hope that someone can be found alive. >> reporter: and they've given wilma considerable inspiration.
>> there's almost no end to what a dog will teach a person. >> reporter: certainly a valuable lesson in what's possible. >> if you are breathing, it is not too late. get up and get going. >> and so we choose wilma melville and her second act. and she started training three new rescue dogs just today. don't forget to check abcnews.com for the latest. "20/20" will be along later. and david muir, right here at this desk all weekend. hope you have a great one. see you monday.