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Video: Octuplet mom describes death threat

  1. Transcript of: Octuplet mom describes death threat

    CARL QUINTANILLA, co-host: Back now at 8:09 with a frightening threat allegedly made against the octo-mom. Police in California are investigating a report that someone smashed her van's window and left behind an alarming note. We'll talk to Nadya Suleman exclusively in a moment. But first, the latest on her story.

    Ms. NADYA SULEMAN: I'm ashamed. But, you know I...

    QUINTANILLA: Just days after Nadya Suleman appeared on TODAY telling Matt that in the past she's been the target of death threats ...

    Ms. SULEMAN: I was absolutely terrified. I mean, receiving thousands upon thousands of death threats .

    QUINTANILLA: ...she says it's happened again. On Saturday police in La Habra , California , were called to the Suleman home by her father to investigate damage to her car parked in the driveway.

    Ms. GINA RODRIGUEZ (Nadya Suleman's Manager): She's very scared. She's scared for the kids. She's scared for herself.

    QUINTANILLA: After getting questions from the media about a death threat Tuesday, police say detectives met with Suleman . She said she found a

    threatening note inside the car that read: "Leave California or you will die." But she said she hadn't told her father about the note. When detectives tried to collect the note as evidence, Suleman told them she no longer had it.

    Mr. KEN BAKER (E! News Chief Correspondent): The police don't know and none of us know who made this alleged death threat and what their motivation was. We do know that for a very long time that a lot of neighbors around Nadya 's house have not wanted her there and they would rather she just left.

    Ms. SULEMAN: I love you.

    QUINTANILLA: Suleman became widely known as octo-mom in 2009 when she gave birth to octuplets through in vitro fertilization, adding eight to the six children she already had.

    Ms. SULEMAN: You said apple!

    QUINTANILLA: Sometimes vilified in the media, Suleman defended her decision to give birth to the octuplets and vowed at the time to care for them on her own, without government assistance.

    Ms. SULEMAN: I've chosen never to go on welfare. I feel as though it is my responsibility to do what I can to provide for my children.

    QUINTANILLA: But last week on TODAY Suleman admitted receiving about $2,000 a month in aid from the state of California .

    Ms. SULEMAN: It's only food stamps . And if you do it temporarily, it's a resource.

    QUINTANILLA: A resource, according to her manager, that comes at a price.

    Ms. RODRIGUEZ: This is all because she needed a little bit of assistance right now. And it was already hard enough for her to go and do it and now she's having to deal with this. She's afraid to leave the house.

    QUINTANILLA: And Nadya Suleman is with us exclusively this morning. Nadya , good morning.

    Ms. SULEMAN: Good morning, how are you?

    QUINTANILLA: I'm good.

    Ms. SULEMAN: Thank you for having me.

    QUINTANILLA: A few days ago you were on this couch with Matt and you talked about your financial troubles. Days later, this event happens.

    Ms. SULEMAN: Right.

    QUINTANILLA: Do you think the two were related?

    Ms. SULEMAN: Right. It's -- I think it's highly possible. And I -- the note suddenly disappeared. I -- my daughter found it, and then when we read it, I was so terrified I threw it out. And then we had to retrieve it from the trash to show...

    QUINTANILLA: So who has the -- who has the note right now?

    Ms. SULEMAN: But I don't -- I didn't want -- I wanted to -- I wanted to -- I believe another interviewer, I think he took it. I had it with me in the morning and I retrieved it from the trash. But I really want to protect my kids from it. I didn't want them to see it.

    QUINTANILLA: So are you going to eventually hand that note over to the police?

    Ms. SULEMAN: I -- they have a copy of it. But I'm going to have to find out if the -- I can't say the name of who interviewed me in the morning.

    QUINTANILLA: Uh-huh .

    Ms. SULEMAN: But I believe they did take it.

    QUINTANILLA: You -- this is not the first time you've had trespassers on your property, or is it?

    Ms. SULEMAN: Right, right. No, this is not the first time, no. About three years ago the same car, our poor car, it was vandalized. They -- someone smashed the back of it, the entire back window with a -- and threw a car seat in it. And I had someone try to break in this side of the house.

    QUINTANILLA: And you've been getting death threats ?

    Ms. SULEMAN: So, I have...

    QUINTANILLA: You've said you've gotten death threats literally for years.

    Ms. SULEMAN: ...right. Well, thousands.

    QUINTANILLA: Thousands.

    Ms. SULEMAN: For years, right.

    QUINTANILLA: What?

    Ms. SULEMAN: And they stopped. Thousands for the first two years and then they suddenly stopped. And then they just started again.

    QUINTANILLA: What steps are you taking to try to keep your family safe?

    Ms. SULEMAN: It's kind of exacerbated my anxiety and my fear of being out in the public so I don't really go out often. If I do, I'll wear a wig or I'll disguise myself.

    QUINTANILLA: Except when you're on national television?

    Ms. SULEMAN: Right now, yep, exactly.

    QUINTANILLA: Ah.

    Ms. SULEMAN: I'm not leaving the house, I'm in my house.

    QUINTANILLA: You've described your situation as destitute. What are your plans to start making some real income? How are you going to get off of assistance? And is this going to have to involve you eventually doing some kind of reality show or what?

    Ms. SULEMAN: Right, you know, I'm open to that. I'm very open-minded to doing any type of reality show . But I'm planning on getting off completely the food stamps any -- you know, all of it, within a month. I'm hoping.

    QUINTANILLA: Are you worried at all that you've talked so much about your financial situation being so precarious...

    Ms. SULEMAN: Right, right.

    QUINTANILLA: ...that authorities are going to move in and try to take some of your children? Is that element of worry in your head?

    Ms. SULEMAN: No, not at all. That's not any -- there's no worry whatsoever that that will ever happen. They don't do that. They help you get assistance. They were actually shocked it took me over three years to even call to make -- to ask for some help with food.

    QUINTANILLA: You know, there are...

    Ms. SULEMAN: But they, yeah, that would never happen.

    QUINTANILLA: There are a lot of moms out there, Nadya , who look at your situation and feel that your kids deserve better. What's your message to them?

    Ms. SULEMAN: My message is that they could never have a better home. A better home physically? Yes. We're going to be moving. But they could never have a better mother. And they are so, so fortunate. Actually, these people who are saying that are probably envious that they will never have the connections they -- that these children have within their own groups. The bond that they share and the connection they share within -- with each other is extraordinary. And I think they just -- they have -- they're kind of oblivious to how special that bond is.

    QUINTANILLA: Yeah, Nadya ?

    Ms. SULEMAN: And so, they, yeah. They don't have it.

    QUINTANILLA: Nadya , thank you very much . Nadya Suleman joining us live.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 4/11/2012 9:18:49 AM ET 2012-04-11T13:18:49

Only days after discussing on TODAY how she has received numerous death threats in the last three years, octuplet mom Nadya Suleman claimed she received another frightening one this past weekend.

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“When we read it, I was so terrified I threw it out and had to retrieve it from the trash,’’ she told Carl Quintanilla on TODAY Wednesday. “I really wanted to protect my kids from it. I didn’t want them to see it.’’

‘They started again’
On Saturday night, Suleman’s father called police in La Habra, Calif., to investigate damage to her van parked in the driveway, including a smashed window. On Tuesday, detectives had a follow-up meeting with Suleman, 36, after they received questions from the media about a threat on her life. Suleman said her daughter found a note inside her car that read: “Leave California or you will die.’’

However, when detectives asked for the note to use as evidence, she told them she no longer had it and had not told her father about it. She told Carl Quintanilla Wednesday that she thinks police have a copy of the note. She called it “highly possible’’ that her appearance on TODAY last week may have been linked to this new death threat.

“I received thousands (of death threats) for the first two years, and then they suddenly stopped, and then they just started again,’’ she said.

Video: Octuplet mom describes death threat (on this page)

Police do not know who made the alleged death threat or what their motivation was for leaving the note. Many of Suleman’s neighbors have long preferred that she not live there and have wished that she would just leave, according to E! News chief correspondent Ken Baker. On April 5 she told Matt Lauer that she has received “thousands and thousands” of death threats after the highly publicized birth of her octuplets through in-vitro fertilization in 2009 added to her existing family of six children, also conceived in vitro.

‘She’s very scared’
Suleman claims this is not the first such incident on her property; she says that about three years ago, the back window of the same van was smashed out and that another person tried to break into the side of the house.

Story: The price of 14 kids? $15K a month for octuplet mom

“She's very scared,’’ Suleman’s manager, Gina Rodriguez, told NBC News. “She's scared for her kids. She's scared for herself."

As a result of the threats, Suleman said she has secluded herself in the family’s home most of the time and will often wear a wig or a disguise when she ventures into public.

Video: Mom of octuplets struggling financially (on this page)

“It’s kind of exacerbated my anxiety and my fear of being out in the public, so I don’t really go out often,’’ she said.

The alleged threat came only days after Suleman told Lauer that she is receiving $2,000 a month in food stamps from California after having previously vowed to never go on public assistance to support her children. Her home is also in foreclosure. Suleman recently posed topless in the British women’s magazine “Closer,’’ netting $8,000, which is less than the monthly cost of supporting her family.

She does not have a steady job, but vows to get off food stamps soon. Meanwhile, she is searching for opportunities to make money. “I’m very open-minded to doing any type of reality show, but I am planning on getting off completely, the food stamps, within a month,’’ she told Quintanilla.

Video: Nadya Suleman: I’ll be off financial aid soon (on this page)

Given Suleman’s struggles to support her 14 children, some have asked whether the state could take them away.

“There’s no worry whatsoever that that will ever happen,’’ Suleman said. “They were actually shocked it took me over three years to even call to ask for some help with food.’’

Suleman believes she is the best option to give her large brood a good life.

“My message is that they could never have a better home,’’ she said. “A better home physically, yes —  we’re going to be moving — but they could never have a better mother. They are so, so fortunate. The bond they share and the connection they share with each other is extraordinary, and I think (others) are oblivious to how special that bond is.’’

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