Georgia woman charged with helping ISIS come up with online ‘kill list’ of Americans

Posted on: March 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A 20-year-old Georgia woman has been charged with helping ISIS by posting a “kill list” online that included the names of State Department employees and American soldiers, according to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

According to the indictment unsealed last week, Kim Anh Vo joined the United Cyber Caliphate in 2016 — a group that authorities said pledged allegiance to ISIS and was committed to carrying out online attacks and cyber intrusions against Americans.

Vo is accused of working with the UCC to recruit a minor in Norway and others to “create online content in support of ISIS,” a DOJ release said.

She was known as “[email protected],” “Zozo” or “Miss.Bones” online, according to the government.

According to court documents, she “worked as part of the Kalachnikv E-Security team, which pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

That group “worked under the UCC banner with other hacking groups that had pledged allegiance to ISIS,” officials said.

In April 2016, the UCC posted a kill list of just over 3,600 people in the New York City area that said “List of the most important citizens of #NewYork and #Brooklyn and some other cities … We Want Them #Dead,” according to the Justice Department.

That list included personal information and was posted on Twitter, according to the Justice Department.

Another kill list came a year later in April 2017 and this time included a video with more threats and had more than 8,000 individuals on the list.

“We have a message to the people of the U.S., and most importantly, your president Trump: Know that we continue to wage war against you, know that your counter attacks only makes stronger(sic). The UCC will start a new step in this war against you. . . .” one video said, according to court documents.

“We will release a list with over 8000 names, addresses, and email addresses, of those who fight against the US. Or live amongst the kuffar. Kill them wherever you find them,” another alleged threat continued, accompanied by what prosecutors say is a decapitation of a kneeling man.

The group also targeted a nonprofit whose CEO is was a former U.S. ambassador, court documents said. Videos posted on the company’s internal site read “This message is directed at you … you have been spying on us.”

It’s not known who the company is that’s mentioned or who the former ambassador is who was targeted.

“You messed with the Islamic State, SO EXPECT US SOON,” the video message reads with the CEO’s image in front of a video depicting a decapitation.

Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen mentioned the Vo case in a speech Monday, saying ISIS is encouraging followers to “stay in your homeland and kill — using any means possible.”

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Harvard report helps parents emphasize ethics, character during college applications

Posted on: March 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

teekid/iStock(NEW YORK) — After the curtain was pulled back on the allegations of bribery, cheating and deception that has plagued some of the country’s elite universities, a new study from a Harvard University-based group is urging parents and high schools to put ethics and character at the heart of the college application process.

The Making Caring Common project released their new report, “Turning the Tide II,” with the graduate school of education on Monday in the wake of the largest-ever prosecuted college cheating scam.

The report largely focuses on how high schools and parents can support “core ethical capacities” while reducing “achievement-related stress” as teens go through the application process.

“What kids are hearing is ‘achievement, achievement, achievement'”

“All these things that parents are doing to get into the selective college isn’t, in the end, gonna make their kids happier,” Richard Weissbourd, faculty director and study author, told ABC News. “What’s gonna make their kids happier is if they end up in colleges where they’re likely to really be engaged and fit and thrive.”

Weissbourd said parents — largely in middle- and upper-income families — “think” they are “communicating this message that what’s most important is that you’re a good person. But what kids are hearing is ‘achievement, achievement, achievement.'”

The report also emphasized the small number of kids who actually get into elite universities — and the treatment they get once they’re there.

“The biggest problem in college admissions is that huge numbers of young people, especially low-income and first-generation students, struggle to access or simply can’t afford college or land in colleges that aren’t committed to their success,” a portion of the report stated.

“The SAT is like $50, and most people can’t afford the $50”

Vincente Waugh and Nicholas Burgess, juniors at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida, represented students trying to make it into college for Harvard’s Youth Advisory Board. Both emphasized that a lack of resources stunted their efforts.

“I personally can’t afford the SAT tutor or the classes, and the SAT is like $50, and most people can’t afford the $50,” Burgess told Good Morning America.

Waugh added, “I was able to get a laptop this year, but prior to that, I didn’t have a laptop and I wasn’t able to get any of my homework done.”

And it’s not just the physical resources — a lack of personal support can also make the process difficult.

“It’s really hard to know where you want to go and how you’re gonna get there if you don’t have people around you who are guiding you in a sense to tell you how to do that,” Waugh said.

Burgess and Waugh credited their success in school to the EVAC Movement, an organization that aims to help young black men in their area.

Both students have their sights set on Florida State University, and if they are accepted, they would become the first in their family to attend college.

“No matter the obstacles, just have hope,” Burgess said. “And never forget where you came from, always keep your manners and that’s about it.”

A map for success — beyond achievement

Making Caring Common released this report as a follow-up to one published in January 2016 that suggested ways to “reshape the college admissions process” to emphasize “ethical engagement” and to “level the playing field for economically disadvantaged students.”

In the coming months, Making Caring Common will also publish resources to help high schools and parents implement guideposts from the new report.

Check out what the report suggests for parents below:

Seven tips for ethical parenting in the college admissions process

Keep the focus on your teen

“It’s critical for parents to disentangle their own wishes from their teen’s wishes,” the report said. “It’s important for parents to just pause and listen.”

Follow your ethical GPS

“Parents may slip into more subtle forms of dishonesty — allowing their own thinking or voice to intrude in college essays,” the report said. “We as parents ought to be willing to ask ourselves hard, fundamental questions about who we want to be and what we want to model for our children.”

Use the admissions process as an opportunity for ethical education

The report suggests parents take up ethical questions such as differences in access to resources and affordability to “explore with their teens how to address the unfairness in the process.”

Be authentic

“Mixed messages can diminish parents’ role as trusted guides and erode their capacity to support their teen in expressing themselves authentically,” the report said.

Help your teen contribute to others in meaningful ways

“What makes service meaningful and what matters to the deans is whether service is chosen based on authentic interest, and is immersive, meaningful and sustained,” according to the report.

Advocate for elevating ethical character and reducing achievement-related distress

“Parents need to step up — respectfully but firmly — to advance a very different vision of high schools and the college admissions process.” The report said parents can “take a zero-tolerance stance on achievement-related distress.”

Model and encourage gratitude

“Parents can ask their teen who they’ve appreciated in this process and why, and encourage their teen to consider people who may not be on their radar,” the report said.

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Historic river flooding devastates parts of Midwest due to rapid snow melt, ice jams

Posted on: March 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Parts of the Midwest, especially in eastern Nebraska, saw some of the worst flooding in decades over the weekend — roadways and bridges were washed away as snow melt, ice jams and some rainfall combined to create extremely dangerous conditions.

Widespread flood alerts and warnings were still in place early Monday, with light precipitation Tuesday or Wednesday potentially aggravating rivers in some of the harder-hit areas.

In a bit of good news, both the Platte and Elkhorn rivers are receding Monday morning after cresting over the weekend, exceeding records from the 1960s.

Unfortunately, farther downstream along the Missouri River, major flooding is ongoing. In Plattsmouth and Nebraska City, serious flooding is likely to persist for a few days.

In St. Joseph, the Missouri River looks as though it won’t rise as much as initially forecast, although it will flirt with danger throughout the week.

In Joslin, Illinois, near Quad Cities, the Rock River is cresting below a record but also will remain in the major flood stage for much of this week. Similar conditions were reported in Rockford, Illinois.

Conditions in the rest of the U.S. remain comparatively quiet, with temperatures a few degrees below average across the Northeast Monday morning. A few snow showers are moving through the mid-Atlantic region, including Washington.

Out West, a gradual warming has been underway, with a few spots seeing 80-degree temps for the first time in months. Some parts of the Northwest are experiencing temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal.

The next storm in the region, which could deliver a period of strong thunderstorms to Southern California and snowfall to higher elevations, is expected to arrive late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

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ATV driver drags Nashville officer down busy street after traffic stop

Posted on: March 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Andrew Weyer(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Police are searching for an ATV driver who was caught on video dragging a Nashville, Tennessee officer down a busy road last week.

Metro Nashville Police Department officer John Bourque, 22, was injured during an illegal bikers’ demonstration on Friday when an ATV driver ran him over and kept driving as the officer held on to the vehicle, officials said.

The police department shared footage of the suspect zooming down a busy Nashville road with the officer clinging to the suspect’s four wheeler.

Bourque was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and was home recovering as of Sunday evening, according to the police department. A second officer was also treated for minor injuries on the scene, ABC affiliate WKRN-TV reported.

The suspect was one of an estimated 100 bikers who “illegally took over” the road on Friday, according to the police department.

Cellphone video showed the bikers speeding, blocking the roads and weaving in and out of traffic during the apparent protest. The driver fled the scene after striking another unrelated vehicle.

Metro police shared images from the scene over the weekend, asking residents if they recognized the driver in question.

“Here are more photos of the driver of the 4 wheeler who dragged Sgt. John Bourque as he was working on Broadway,” the department tweeted. “Recognize this person? Please call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 anonymously. Callers qualify for a cash reward.”

Here are more photos of the driver of the 4 wheeler who dragged Sgt. John Bourque as he was working on Broadway. Recognize this person? Please call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 anonymously. Callers qualify for a cash reward. pic.twitter.com/TVzxarlkno

— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 17, 2019

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Husband of murdered North Carolina nurse captured, authorities say

Posted on: March 17th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Nash County Sheriff(NEW YORK) — The husband of a murdered North Carolina nurse has been captured, authorities said Sunday.

Rexford Lynn Keel Jr., 57, was taken into custody just outside Tucson, Arizona, about 34 miles from the Mexican border, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone told reporters Sunday. He had a large amount of cash on him when he was caught on Interstate 10, authorities said.

“I can only speculate … he was headed toward the Mexican border,” Stone said, adding that had he made it, it would have been “a lot tougher” to arrest him.

His wife, Diana Keel, 38, an emergency room nurse, was found dead Tuesday near Leggett, North Carolina, about 30 minutes from her home in Nashville. She was reported missing by her daughter on March 9.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission was searching for Lynn Keel in the air Sunday morning when they received a tip that he was traveling westbound on I-10. Arizona State Police took him into custody without incident just before he came within Tucson city limits around noon eastern time, Stone said.

“We got a killer off the streets today,” Stone said.

Lynn Keel has been charged with first-degree murder, Stone said. He is currently being held in Arizona as he awaits extradition and will appear in court on Monday.

Authorities initially considered Lynn Keel armed and dangerous as the manhunt for him began, but he was not armed when he was captured, Stone said. Lynn Keel obtained the vehicle he was driving, which had North Carolina license plates, from his father, Stone said.

Lynn Keel left the state before his arrest warrant was issued on Friday, Stone said, adding that “he was able to leave the state and go about his business” before the charges had been filed. He was last seen in Nashville, North Carolina, around noon Thursday, investigators said Friday.

When interviewed by investigators last week, Lynn Keel said he didn’t report his wife missing because she would leave “from time to time” and “stay gone a couple of days,” authorities said.

Lynn Keel left the state before his arrest warrant was issued on Friday, Stone said, adding that “he was able to leave the state and go about his business” before the charges had been filed. He was last seen in Nashville, North Carolina, around noon Thursday, investigators said Friday.

When interviewed by investigators last week, Lynn Keel said he didn’t report his wife missing because she would leave “from time to time” and “stay gone a couple of days,” authorities said.

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DNA links suspect to 1999 cold case murders of 2 Alabama teenage girls, police say

Posted on: March 17th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Dale County Sheriff’s Office(BIRMINGHAM, Alabama) — Alabama police have linked a suspect to the 1999 cold case murders of two 17-year-old girls using DNA and genetic genealogy.

Investigators identified Coley McCraney, of Dothan, Alabama, in the murders of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett as the case closed in on two decades without being solved, Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker told ABC News.

The upcoming 20th anniversary, along with the April 2018 arrest of Golden State Killer suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, prompted the police department to send evidence from the crime scene to Parabon Labs, a Reston, Virginia, company that provides DNA phenotype services, Walker said.

The two teens, students at Northview High school in Dothan, were headed to a party on July 31, 1999, but got lost and ended up about 20 miles northwest in Ozark after they confused the directions, ABC Dothan affiliate WDHN reported.

Hawlett’s mother, Carol Roberts, said in 2007 that the girls called her from a gas station, telling her they were on their way home, according to the local station. When they hadn’t made it back by dawn, Roberts called police.

At first, there were no signs of foul play when investigators found the black Mazda sedan the teens had been driving by 9 a.m. the next day, WDHN reported. But when they opened the trunk, they found Beasley and Hawlett inside with gunshot wounds to their heads, according to the station.

One of their purses was found in the front of the car with all of her cash and credit cards inside, leading police to believe that the motive was not a robbery, WDHN reported.

No one had been arrested in the nearly 20 years since the killings. But a few months before the anniversary, police sent evidence from the crime scene to Parabon.

Genetic genealogy allows law enforcement agencies to identify a potential suspect through his or her family members who voluntarily submit their DNA to a genealogy database, allowing investigators to create a larger family tree than in years past.

After the evidence was analyzed at Parabon, investigators recognized McCraney’s last name from the DNA search, Walker said.

Police then brought the 45-year-old in for a DNA swab, the police chief added, and it matched the evidence collected at the crime scene.

McCraney was arrested Friday and charged with multiple counts of capital murder as well as first-degree rape, online jail records show. Walker said he was not considered a suspect in 1999 and had been under investigators’ radar.

It was not clear Sunday if McCraney had an attorney. He is being held at the Dale County jail without bond, according to his jail records.

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Nebraska dealing with record river flooding

Posted on: March 17th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NIOBRARA, Nebraska) — Eastern Nebraska continues to deal with record-breaking river flooding this weekend due to rapid snow melt, ice jams and last week’s rainfall.

The flooding has caused parts of highways, including some bridges, to be washed away, isolating some communities.

The scale of the devastation near Niobrara, Nebraska, is unprecedented as the swollen Niobrara River washed away a dam.

The Platte River, near Louisville, Nebraska, has crested, breaking a record that stood since 1960. The Platte River, near Ashland, broke its record from 1997, and the Elkhorn River, near Waterloo, swelled over 17 feet in the last five days to break a record from 1962 on Saturday.

There are several other rivers in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin that have risen into flood stage, including rivers near Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Rockford, Illinois.

There are widespread flood alerts in the Central Plains and Midwest for river flooding. The good news is there is no notable precipitation coming to the region through the week.

Brief snow from Illinois to Maryland

Nearly the entire country remains quiet in terms of weather, but there is a compact, quick-moving disturbance moving through parts of Illinois and Indiana on Sunday morning. This disturbance will struggle to draw in much moisture, but as it slides off toward the Mid-Atlantic it could drop a quick period of snow from Illinois to Maryland.

Some of the moisture will be in parts of Ohio and Kentucky by Sunday night before reaching parts of the Washington, D.C., metro area on Monday morning.

Accumulation will not be significant, however, the system could cause a few slippery spots over the next 24 to 36 hours in the region.

Temps rise out West

High pressure remains firmly in control over much of the U.S. this weekend and will persist for a couple more days. Storms traversing the Pacific will be forced into southern Canada until the high pressure systems dominating the West finally ease up.

The result of this is fairly mild weather across much of the country, including a good deal of sunshine.

Much of the West will see a gradual increase in temperatures the next few days, with some of the most comfortable weather in months for the region.

It looks like the high pressure will begin to ease around midweek, which would allow the next storm to move onto the West Coast, and eventually bring some effects to the central and eastern U.S.

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Body found on roadside believed to be abducted 2-year-old girl: Police

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Milwaukee Police(MILWAUKEE) — A child’s body wrapped in a blanket and found on the side of a road in Minnesota is believed to be that of Noelani Robinson, a 2-year-old girl for whom an Amber Alert was issued on Monday and whose father allegedly shot and killed her mother in Milwaukee on that same day.

The body was discovered at around 7 p.m. on Friday night by a state Department of Public Works employee who was driving home, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said during a press conference Saturday morning.

“He called this tip into the local police department … and just off the shoulder was a blanket and wrapped in there was the body of a child. We believe it is that of Noelani,” he said.

Noelani was allegedly abducted on Monday by her father, Dariaz Higgins, 34, after he allegedly shot and killed her mother, Sierra Robinson, 24, that afternoon.

Robinson was found lying on the driveway outside an apartment building, according to police, who said that she had been shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene.

Morales said on Saturday that there would be an investigation into the death of the child, who was found 15 miles north of Austin, Minnesota, which is about 300 miles west of Milwaukee. First, however, there would have to be an autopsy.

“What we can tell is we believe this death did not occur within the last 24 hours,” Morales said. “She had been there for quite some time, which is consistent with the suspect’s time when he was in that area in Minnesota.”

Higgins was arrested by officers from the Milwaukee Police Department on Wednesday, department officials said in a statement. A second unnamed person was arrested with Higgins for “harboring and aiding a fugitive,” police said.

Morales said that an investigation will determine “where we proceed … the types of charges we will be seeking.”

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Alleged robber at Bellagio casino dies after trading gunfire with police on Las Vegas strip

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

MGM Resorts International(LAS VEGAS) — An attempted robbery at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas ended in a gunfight between police and the suspect late Friday.

An armed man walked into the casino and approached a popular poker cage, where he demanded money, before quickly fleeing out the north entrance, Las Vegas police said in an overnight press conference.

The suspect attempted to carjack someone at the valet but was confronted immediately by four uniformed officers.

The man turned and fired at least one shot in the direction of an officer who was struck in the chest, police said.

A second officer returned fire, striking the suspect.

“The officer had his bulletproof vest on, which probably saved his life,” Las Vegas Police Department Capt. Nichole Splinter said.

He was treated and released, police said.

The suspect was also struck in the chest. The man, who was not identified, died a few hours later, police said.

The casino was filled with police officers Friday night because they responded to a report of a missing child, officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

There were two robberies at the Bellagio in 2017. In March 2017, three men in animal masks used sledgehammers to smash their way into a luxury jewelry store before at least one of those suspects was apprehended.

In a robbery similar to Friday night, a man was able to make off with money from a poker cage at the Bellagio in November 2017. He was able to get away with an unspecified amount of cash.

Almost a year later, that suspect had yet to be caught, according to CardPlayer, a casino gaming news site.

Police are investigating possible connections to at least one of the casino robberies last year, sources said.

The Bellagio, and its famous dancing fountains, play prominently as one of the casinos robbed in the film “Ocean’s 11.”

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Police question suspect in killing of Gambino crime family boss: Sources

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) —  A suspect was being questioned Saturday in connection with the fatal shooting of a reputed Gambino crime family boss, sources told ABC News.

Police were interrogating a 24-year-old man as part of their investigation into the killing of Francesco “Frankie Boy” Cali, sources told ABC News.

The man, whose identity was not released, was being questioned at an NYPD precinct on Staten Island, the sources added. He was taken into custody in Brick, New Jersey, by police and the FBI’s organized crime squad, the sources said.

He has not been arrested.

Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea is expected to hold a press conference Saturday at 4 p.m. to discuss this case.

Cali, who was allegedly the Gambino family boss, was gunned down in front of his Staten Island home on Wednesday night, reigniting focus on the mob for the first time in years.

The last mob boss to be killed was Paul Castellano, also the leader of the Gambino crime family at the time, who was murdered outside Sparks Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan in 1985. That hit was ordered by John Gotti, who later took over the family until being convicted in 1992 of racketeering and Castellano’s murder.

Gotti died of cancer in prison in 2002.

Cali’s killing was captured on surveillance video, which investigators pored over to determine if the murder was sanctioned or not, fearing it could touch off a new “mob war,” sources told ABC News earlier this week.

The footage, which was grainy, appears to show that the suspect drive up to the home in a blue pickup truck, come to a stop, then suddenly reverse. The pickup truck then crashes into Cali’s parked Cadillac SUV, multiple police sources told ABC News.

The force of the impact knocked the license plates off the SUV, sources added.

Cali then came outside and talked to the shooter, police sources said. The two men shook hands, and then Cali turned his back to put the license plate inside the SUV.

That’s when the man pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired six bullets into Cali, police officials said.

A witness told police he saw an individual run toward the driver’s side of the blue pickup truck while simultaneously keeping one hand near his waistband, a source told ABC News.

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Reputed Gambino crime family boss Franceco ‘Franky Boy’ Cali killing may not be mob related: Sources

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) —  The first mob boss murder in New York in 30 years may have nothing to do with the mob, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

A 24-year-old suspect is in custody in connection with the murder of Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali.

The alleged gunman made conflicting statements to police on Saturday which has changed the motive to the fatal shooting.

Officials initially believed the killing was related to Cali’s alleged mob ties.

Sources now believe the suspect was dating one of the reputed mob boss’ female relatives and at some point Cali told the suspect to stop seeing her — sparking a conflict.

The man, whose identity was not released, was taken into custody from Brick, New Jersey by police and the FBI’s organized crime squad, the sources said.

He has not been arrested.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea is expected to hold a press conference Saturday at 4 p.m. to discuss this case.

Cali, who was allegedly the Gambino family boss, was gunned down in front of his Staten Island home on Wednesday night, reigniting focus on the mob for the first time in years.

Cali’s killing was captured on grainy surveillance video, which shows the suspect drive up to the home in a blue pickup truck, come to a stop, then suddenly reverse. The pickup truck then crashes into Cali’s parked Cadillac SUV, multiple police sources told ABC News.

The force of the impact knocked the license plates off the SUV, sources added.

Cali then came outside and talked to the shooter, police sources said. The two men shook hands, and then Cali turned his back to put the license plate inside the SUV.

That’s when the man pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired six bullets into Cali, police officials said.

Detectives discovered a fingerprint on Cali’s SUV and the suspect was tracked by his phone, sources said. The pickup truck eyewitnesses saw at the scene was with him when cops and FBI agents found him, sources said.

A witness told police he saw an individual run toward the driver’s side of the blue pickup truck while simultaneously keeping one hand near his waistband, a source told ABC News.

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Suspect in custody for the killing of reputed Gambino crime family boss Francesco ‘Franky Boy’ Cali, shooting may not be mob related: Sources

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The first mob boss murder in New York in 30 years may have nothing to do with the mob, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

“We believe we have the shooter in custody,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea at a press conference on Saturday where he named 24-year-old Anthony Comello as a suspect accused of the shooting death of Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali.

Comello, of Staten Island, with residences elsewhere, has not been formally arrested, but was taken into custody by police and the FBI’s organized crime squad in Brick, New Jersey. The police have secured an arrest warrant and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office will be working on extraditing Comello to face the charges.

Comello has had “multiple discussions” with detectives since he was taken into custody 12 hours ago.

The alleged gunman made conflicting statements to police on Saturday, which has changed the motive to the fatal shooting.

Officials initially believed the killing was related to Cali’s alleged mob ties.

Sources now believe the suspect was dating one of the reputed mob boss’ female relatives and at some point Cali told the suspect to stop seeing her — sparking a conflict.

Comello has retained an attorney and the police’s questioning seized, Shea said.

Cali, who was allegedly the Gambino family boss, was gunned down in front of his Staten Island home on Wednesday night, reigniting focus on the mob for the first time in years.

Cali’s killing was captured on grainy surveillance video, which shows the suspect drive up to the home in a blue pickup truck, come to a stop, then suddenly reverse. The pickup truck then crashes into Cali’s parked Cadillac SUV, multiple police sources told ABC News.

The force of the impact knocked the license plates off the SUV, sources added.

Cali then came outside and talked to the shooter, police sources said. The two men shook hands, and then Cali turned his back to put the license plate inside the SUV.

Police are still investigating whether the accident in front of Cali’s house that preceded the shooting was a “ploy” to lure Cali outside.

That’s when the man pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired six bullets into Cali, police officials said.

Detectives discovered a fingerprint on Cali’s SUV and the suspect was tracked by his phone, sources said.

Shea confirmed forensic teams recovered fingerprints from Cali’s SUV.

The pickup truck eyewitnesses saw at the scene was with him when cops and FBI agents found him, sources said.

A witness told police he saw an individual run toward the driver’s side of the blue pickup truck while simultaneously keeping one hand near his waistband, a source told ABC News.

Comello, according to Shea, has “crossed paths with the NYPD in limited circumstances” through his driving record. “On the day of the incident his car received a parking summons,” Shea said.

The gun believed to have been using in the killing has not been found.

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Student paper claims university did not inform them of coach in admissions scandal

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Georgetown University, one of the eight universities involved in the largest college admissions scandal in history, conducted an internal investigation into the school’s former tennis coach, who was accused of accepting bribes from parents, but students weren’t informed of the probe until news broke of the allegations, according to student newspaper “The Georgetown Voice.”

“Students were actually shocked to find out the university had actually conducted an internal investigation starting in December 2017 into the tennis coach’s recruiting tactics and why there had been certain kids recruited for tennis but never played on the team,” The Voice’s editor-in-chief Margaret Gach told ABC News in an interview on “The Briefing Room” Wednesday.

Gordon Ernst, who allegedly accepted a monetary bribe from Manuel Henriquez, the now former CEO of venture debt firm Hercules Capital, and his wife Elizabeth, to recruit the couple’s eldest daughter on Georgetown’s tennis team to secure her admission.

According to Ernst’s racketeering conspiracy indictment charges at the U.S. District Court of the District of Massachusetts, he accepted more than $2.7 million in bribes from 2012 to 2018.

“In exchange for the bribes, Ernst designated at least 12 applicants as recruits for the Georgetown tennis team, including some who did not play tennis competitively, thereby facilitating their admission to Georgetown,” according to his indictment.

According to Georgetown University’s public statement on the Department of Justice investigation, Ernst had not been the coach for their men and women’s tennis teams since 2017 “following an internal investigation that found he had violated University rules concerning admissions.”

That piece of the statement left some students feeling a little puzzled.

“In the press release, they had sent out announcing … the tennis coach’s resignation, they didn’t make one mention of this internal investigation and we haven’t gotten any clarification on if they told the next school he went to, the University of Rhode Island either,” Gach said.

According to Georgetown spokesman Matt Hill, the admissions office “discovered irregularities” in athletic credentials for some students recruited to play on the tennis team.

“Mr. Ernst was put on leave in Dec. 2017, we launched an internal investigation, and he was later asked to resign in 2018,” Hill told ABC News in an email statement. “The University was not aware of any alleged criminal activity or acceptance of bribes by Mr. Ernst until it was later contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with whom we fully cooperated in its investigation.”

The university did not clarify whether they notified students of the internal investigation when the school announced his resignation in a public statement.

Attorneys for Ernst did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Gach told ABC News the reporting by “The Georgetown Voice” is far from done and they plan to dive deeper into the matter.

“Right now our big question is what were the results of that internal investigation into Gordon Ernst back in 2017-2018 and why wasn’t the student body notified when it originally happened,” Gach told ABC News. “Why are we just finding out now?”

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Plains, Upper Midwest dealing with record flooding

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Major, even historic, river flooding is occurring in parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest and will persist through the weekend and into early next week.

There are still flood alerts due to river flooding from Kansas to Michigan. There are also flood alerts for parts of upstate New York and upstate Vermont due to the risk of ice jams and river flooding through Saturday.

The river flooding is a result of melting snow, rain earlier this week falling on frozen ground and developing ice jams in creeks and rivers. Rising rivers are putting pressure on levees and dams in the region.

Overnight, there was a flash flood emergency in parts of eastern Nebraska, outside of Omaha, due to so many roads being completely impassable.

There have been evacuations and rescues in parts of the Plains and Upper Midwest, especially in a large area of eastern Nebraska. In some cases, flooding has isolated towns in the region.

The Platte River, near Ashland, Nebraska, has broken a record, last set in 1997. This river is responsible for overtopping levees in this region.

Meanwhile, the Missouri River in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, is also in major and record flood stage. The last record was from June 2011. The Missouri River is also rising downstream in St. Joseph, Missouri, and Nebraska City, Nebraska.

The good news is there is no notable precipitation forecast for this region through the next week.

Quiet weather coast to coast

A couple of snow showers are moving off the Great Lakes on Saturday morning, but most precipitation has left the eastern U.S. A couple of heavy rain showers lurk south of New Orleans, but most activity should be suppressed to the south on Saturday.

Radar and satellite are showing very little in the way of storm activity across the entire country. High pressure is building through the western and central U.S. and pushing storm activity north of the United States, while suppressing the ingredients needed for thunderstorms south of the country.

Much of the country will enjoy a decent March weekend, especially since the last several weeks have seen significant blizzards, major flooding in California, powerful wind storms in the central and northeast U.S., a tornado outbreak that killed more than 20 people in Alabama and now record river flooding.

High pressure will cause a gradual warming over the next few days in the West, and some seasonably cool temperatures in the central and eastern U.S. It is cooler in the Southern Plains, where temperatures are around 10 to 15 degrees below their typical average.

On the West Coast, temperatures will gradually warm over the next few days, rising to seasonably warm levels. Temperatures could be 10 to 20 degrees above average in the Northwest by Monday and Tuesday.

In parts of the Northeast, temperatures will remain seasonably cool for a few days, with temperatures just a few degrees below average for this time of the year.

The quiet weather looks to persist through early next week, with the next Pacific storm impacting the West Coast by the middle of the week.

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Alleged robber at Bellagio casino trades gunfire with police on Las Vegas strip

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

MGM Resorts International(LAS VEGAS) — An attempted robbery at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas ended in a gunfight between police and the suspect late Friday.

The suspect attempted to carjack someone at the valet, but was confronted immediately by four uniformed officers.

The man turned and fired at least one shot in the direction of an officer, who was struck in the chest, police said.

A second officer returned fire, striking the suspect.

“The officer had his bulletproof vest on, which probably saved his life,” Las Vegas Police Department Capt. Nichole Splinter said.

He was treated and released, police said.

The suspect was also struck in the chest and remains in critical condition.

There were two robberies at the Bellagio in 2017. In March 2017, three men in animal masks used sledgehammers to smash their way into a luxury jewelry store before at least one of those suspects was apprehended.

In a robbery similar to Friday night, a man was able to make off with money from a poker cage at the Bellagio in November 2017. He was able to get away with an unspecified amount of cash.

Almost a year later, that suspect had yet to be caught, according to CardPlayer, a casino gaming news site.

The Bellagio, and its famous dancing fountains, play prominently as one of the casinos robbed in the film Ocean’s 11.

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Abuse investigation underway at home of Chiefs’ star wide receiver Tyreek Hill

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) — A police investigation into the abuse of a child is underway at the home of Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill, according to police reports.

Two police reports in the past two weeks detail an investigation into allegations of battery, child abuse and neglect at the Overland Park, Kansas, home. The police reports were obtained by Kansas City ABC affiliate KMBC-TV.

Hill is not mentioned in the police report from Thursday, but his partner, Crystal Espinal, is listed under “others involved.”

The victim, listed only as a “juvenile,” suffered a minor injury in the incident, according to the report.

Hill has not been charged with any crime.

The Kansas City Chiefs acknowledged they were aware of the incident in a statement.

“The club is aware of the investigation involving Tyreek Hill,” it reads. “We are in the process of gathering information and have been in contact with the league and local authorities. We will have no further comment at this time.”

Hill has been elected to the Pro Bowl in all three of his seasons in the NFL, all with the Chiefs. He was an All Pro as a returner in his rookie season and as a wide receiver last season. He has twice finished in the top 10 in the league in receiving yards.

News of the abuse incidents broke on the same day Kareem Hunt, Hill’s former teammate, was suspended for eight games by the league after video emerged last year of him shoving and kicking a woman in February 2018. Hunt was immediately cut by the Chiefs, and later signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Hill’s agent did not respond to a request for comment from KMBC-TV.

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Scoreboard roundup — 3/15/19

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Friday’s sports events:

INTERLEAGUE
Philadelphia 3 Toronto 2
L.A. Angels 5, San Francisco 5
Chicago Cubs 11, Chicago White Sox 9
L.A. Angels 2, Arizona 1
Colorado 2, Kansas City 1
Houston 5, St. Louis 0
Houston 11, St. Louis 2
Tampa Bay 6, Pittsburgh 6

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Minnesota 12, Baltimore 9
N.Y. Yankees, 14 Boston 1
Tampa Bay 7, Detroit 3
Texas 5, Cleveland 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Miami 7, Atlanta 6
Washington 11, N.Y. Mets 3
Milwaukee 6, San Diego 2
L.A. Dodgers 8, Cincinnati 1

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Philadelphia 123, Sacramento 114
Charlotte 116, Washington 110
Detroit 111, L.A. Lakers 97
Houston 108, Phoenix 102
Portland 122, New Orleans 110
Milwaukee 113, Miami 98
San Antonio 109, N.Y. Knicks 83
L.A. Clippers 128, Chicago 121

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Columbus 3, Carolina 0
Toronto 7, Philadelphia 6
Vegas 2, Dallas 1
Anaheim 5, Colorado 3
Calgary 5, N.Y. Rangers 1
SO New Jersey 3, Vancouver 2

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
(12) Florida St. 69, (2) Virginia 59
(5) Duke 74, (3) North Carolina 73
(4) Kentucky 73, Alabama 55
(6) Michigan St. 77, Ohio St. 70
(8) Tennessee 83, Mississippi St. 76
Florida 76, (9) LSU 73
(10) Michigan 74, Iowa 53
(11) Houston 84, UConn 45
Minnesota 75, (13) Purdue 73
San Diego St. 65, (14) Nevada 56
Iowa St. 63, (15) Kansas St. 59
(17) Kansas 88, West Virginia 74
(18) Buffalo 85, Cent. Michigan 81
(19) Wisconsin 66, Nebraska 62
(22) Auburn 73, South Carolina 64
Seton Hall 81, (23) Marquette 79
(24) Cincinnati 82, SMU 74
OT (25) Villanova 71, Xavier 67

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In moving speech, kidnap survivor Elizabeth Smart comforts Jayme Closs’ community

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

KSTP(BARRON, Wis.) — Even within the members of her own Wisconsin community — which searched relentlessly for Jayme Closs for 88 days until the 13-year-old managed to escape her abductor – few if any truly understand the terrifying dimensions of the young teen’s captivity.

But Elizabeth Smart does.

In a raw, remarkable speech she made to the residents of Barron, Wisconsin on Friday night, the now 31-year-old kidnapping survivor opened her heart to share her story of determination in the face of unspeakable abuse and surviving a seemingly hopeless ordeal at such a young age.

“When I was kidnapped, it just brought a whole new meaning to terror, a whole new meaning to what nightmares are made of,” she said. “I was taken away from my family…where my captor told me that I was now going to be his wife, that I was now going to be their slave.”

“That I had to do everything that they told me to do. They told me that my name was no longer Elizabeth, that I could no longer speak about my family, and that if I ever did anything that they did not want me to do, they’d kill me and if they didn’t kill me, they’d…kill my family.”

“That was terrifying,” she added. “That was enough to keep me silent because I could never allow anything to happen to my family.”

 Smart was abducted at knife point in 2002 from her Salt Lake City, Utah home and held for nine months before her captors were spotted by two witnesses who recognized the pair from an episode of the television series “America’s Most Wanted.”

She described the searing psychological trauma of realizing that she may never go home again.

She spoke frankly about how she had been raped “within moments” of entering the campsite where her captors lived, and said that after thinking about how drastically her life had changed “in just a matter of hours” she realized that her captors didn’t plan on letting her go.

“This man planned on keeping me,” she said. “Days? Weeks? Months? Years? What if it was so long that I forgot my name? What if it was so long that I forgot who I truly was? That thought terrified me. I never wanted to forgot who I was…where I came from…my family.”

She said that she closely followed the search for Closs and was moved by the community’s unyielding determination to bring Closs home safe.

“I have been so inspired the last few days…and I find it inspiring to see so many of you here tonight in support of Jayme and in moving forward and in reclaiming all of your lives because this has touched so many people,” Smart said.

Smart’s visit to Barron followed just over two months after Closs escaped her captor and fled to safety earlier this year.

Some of Closs’ relatives were expected to attend Friday night’s event at the high school gym in Barron, the town’s county sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald, told ABC News Friday morning.

Smart’s introductory remarks were open to the public, but the press was asked to leave after about five minutes to give Smart the chance to speak privately with community members who are still recovering from the ordeal.

She was expected to share more of her own story and discuss ways the Barron community can move forward, including how to talk to children about such traumatic events and what neighbors should say to Closs and her family, the sheriff said.

“We’re very honored to have her here,” Fitzgerald said.

The rural community of Barron found itself at the center of a kidnapping saga when Jake Patterson, 21, allegedly gunned down Closs’ parents then abducted the 13-year-old from her home on Oct. 15.

Patterson told investigators that, after the killings, he fled with the girl to his house in Gordon, Wisconsin. He allegedly created a space for Closs under his bed, and when he’d leave the house, he’d put barbells and free weights around the bed so she couldn’t escape, according to a criminal complaint.

On Jan. 10, when Patterson left the house, Closs fled, according to court documents.

Patterson was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, kidnapping and armed burglary. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 27.

Following her abduction, Smart went on to become a national child safety advocate and is a married mother of three children.

As for her captors, Barzee was released from prison in 2018 while Mitchell is serving a life sentence.

After Closs’ miraculous escape, Smart wrote, “I hope we may all continue to support and embrace Jayme as she reclaims her life and comes to terms with the reality of her situation. What a brave, strong, and powerful survivor!!!!”

“No matter what may unfold in her story let’s all try to remember that this young woman has SURVIVED and whatever other details may surface the most important will still remain that she is alive,” she wrote. “May god bless you Jayme Closs and may we all continue to search for every missing child.”

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30,000 fentanyl pills seized in Arizona drug bust

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Department of Interior(PHOENIX) —  The Interior Department announced Friday that agents on the department’s opioid task force seized about 30,000 fentanyl pills and other illegal drugs at U.S. points of entry on the Tohono O’odham Nation lands in Arizona.

The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs launched an opioid task force with state, local and tribal officials last year focused on combating illegal drugs in Indian Country. As part of an investigation into fentanyl pills being trafficked onto tribal lands, undercover BIA agents purchased the drugs and took three suspects into custody.

Fentanyl is the drug connected to the most overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earlier this year, border patrol agents announced the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history along the border.

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Northern California special education teacher faces allegations of allowing a fight club in his classroom

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Ridofranz(CLOVERDALE, Calif.) —  A California special education teacher is facing multiple charges for allegedly creating and refereeing a “fight club” inside his classroom, according to a statement released by the Cloverdale Police Department.

On March 7, police officials were informed by Cloverdale High School administrators that Federico Vargas was using his classroom to secretly have students fight each other, said Sergeant Chris Parker in a statements released on March 10.

“The fights occurred on multiple occasions over a period of time not yet determined, but isolated to Vargas’ classroom,” said Sgt. Parker. “Multiple student injuries were reported during the investigation, one of which required medical attention as a result of the fighting.”

One of the fights refereed by Vargas was captured on a student’s cellphone, according to the statement.

It’s unclear if all the minors involved are special education students, said Jeremy Decker, the Cloverdale School District’s superintendent. “But, we haven’t completed the investigation yet,” said Decker.

Vargas, 41, who taught for the Cloverdale School District for eight years, was arrested on March 9 and charged with 13 counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors and five counts of endangering children, according to the statement.

Vargas is out on bail, Sgt. Parker told ABC News in an email on Thursday.

The police’s investigation is still ongoing.

Attempts by ABC News to reach Vargas by phone were unsuccessful. It’s unclear if Vargas was assigned an attorney as of Friday.

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The murder of reputed Gambino mob boss, Francesco ‘Franky Boy’ Cali, was no quick hit: Sources

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Moments before a reputed mob boss was gunned down in front of his Staten Island, New York, home on Wednesday night, the alleged killer lured the unsuspecting man outside by crashing into his parked car, multiple police sources told ABC News.

The unidentified hit man drove to Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali’s Todt Hill house and came to a stop.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that the driver put his vehicle in reverse and crashed into Cali’s parked Cadillac SUV — forcing the license plate to fall off Cali’s car.

Once Cali came outside the home, sources said, video surveillance showed the two men talking and then shaking hands.

Sources said Cali, 53, appeared unaware of impending danger because he turned his back on his killer to put the license plate inside the rear of the SUV.

That’s when the gunman pulled out a 9mm pistol, held it with two hands —- as if he was trained, the sources said — and opened fire. The video is grainy and has not been released because the suspect’s face cannot be made out, sources told ABC News. Investigators are continuing to canvass the neighborhood in search of clearer video.

Twelve shots were fired and Cali was hit six times, New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said at a news conference on Thursday.

Cali, was taken to Staten Island University North hospital and was pronounced dead less than 40 minutes later, police said.

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Cesar Sayoc, man accused of mailing bombs targeting prominent Democrats, to plead guilty: Court records

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Johnny Louis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Cesar Sayoc, the suspect behind a campaign of letter bombs targeting prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, is expected to plead guilty next week, according to a federal court docket in New York.

Sayoc, of Aventura, Florida, was arrested in October after allegedly mass-mailing explosive devices to top Democrats, CNN and other prominent figures.

Days after the first package was delivered, FBI investigators found a latent fingerprint from an envelope mailed to Democratic California Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The fingerprint belonged to Sayoc, FBI Director Chris Wray said in October.

Also among those to receive packages were Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Sayoc faces 30 charges. It is unclear which charges he will plead guilty to.

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After New Zealand massacre, US authorities search for copycats and links to America

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — U.S. authorities and international partners were scrubbing their databases on Friday to determine whether the man now in custody in New Zealand for allegedly launching the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s history has any links to their own countries.

Police in New Zealand say the alleged gunman, described as being in his late 20s, opened fire inside a mosque in Christchurch and that a shooting at a different mosque killed a total of at least 49 worshipers gathered for Friday prayers. Authorities say a lengthy online document, posted after the shooting and linked to the alleged gunman’s video of the shooting, praised other mass shooters, advocated white supremacy and detailed hatred for immigrants.

In the document, the author said he wanted to create a Second Amendment-inspired civil war inside the United States that would further divide Americans along racial and political lines.

So far, however, American authorities have not found any evidence that the alleged gunman traveled to the United States in recent years – if at all – according to sources familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are looking to bolster security at mosques in their regions.

“There is no specific or credible threat to our homeland, but all Americans should remain vigilant so we can prevent such violent hate,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen posted to Twitter on Friday.

She was unequivocal in her description of the New Zealand attack: “This was an act of terror.”

In Washington, D.C., on Friday, police said they were providing “an increased presence at mosques in the nation’s capital,” and city officials were contacting religious leaders in communities there.

In New York, the city’s police department announced that it had also deployed “extra NYPD officers” to mosques throughout the city.

“The NYPD is committed to the safety of all houses of worship, and the freedom to practice your religion freely without any fear,” the department said in a statement.

In addition to the suspected gunman, who has been charged with murder, at least two others were taken into custody by New Zealand police. Authorities have not released the identities of anyone in custody but did say none of them was on a terrorist watchlist.

In the statement posted online, the suspected gunman cited an array of mass shooters from around the world, including Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine African-Americans at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015.

Such posts online and the surge of social media are a major factor in radicalizing white supremacists, according to John Cohen, a former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security who ran the department’s efforts to stop targeted violence.

Online platforms allow “like-minded people who in the past were separated by geography” to share ideas and “spread hateful and violent rhetoric,” said Cohen, who’s now an ABC News contributor.

The statement apparently linked to the New Zealand shooting also mentioned Anders Breivik, the Norwegian extremist who killed 69 people at a children’s summer camp in Norway in 2011. As part of the attack, he left behind a statement detailing his far-right views and killed eight others with car bomb in Norway’s capital, Oslo.

Breivik’s name has surfaced in several cases inside the United States, most recently three weeks ago when FBI agents arrested a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant described by the FBI as a “domestic terrorist.”

According to court documents filed in the case, 49-year-old Christopher Paul Hasson collected a cache of weapons, wrote of his hatred for “muslim scum,” and was looking to launch an attack that would bring back “a white Homeland.”

Hasson “routinely perused portions of the Breivik manifesto that instruct a prospective assailant to amass appropriate firearms, food, disguises, and survival supplies,” prosecutors said in court documents. “[C]onsistent with the directions in the Breivik manifesto, the defendant began the process of targeting specific victims, including current and former elected officials,” prosecutors said.

When agents raided Hasson’s home, they found 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, according to the court documents.

Hasson, however, has only been charged with firearms-related offenses, not any terrorism-related offenses. On Monday, he appeared in a federal court in Maryland and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

In New Zealand on Friday, when authorities searched the suspected gunman’s car, they found two homemade bombs and several weapons, police said.

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Elizabeth Smart to speak to Jayme Closs’ neighbors in wake of kidnapping

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Noam Galai/WireImage(BARRON, Wis.) —  Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart is set to speak to residents of the Wisconsin town where 13-year-old Jayme Closs lived and was recently abducted.

Smart’s appearance comes after Closs fled to safety after spending months as a captive.

Some of Jayme’s relatives are expected to attend Friday night’s free event at the high school gym in Barron, the town’s county sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald, told ABC News Friday morning.

Smart, 31, is expected to share her own story and discuss ways the Barron community can move forward, including how to talk to children about this kind of traumatic event and what neighbors should say to Jayme and her family, the sheriff said.

“We’re very honored to have her here,” Fitzgerald said.

The rural community of Barron found itself the center of a kidnapping saga when Jake Patterson, 21, allegedly gunned down Closs’ parents then abducted the 13-year-old from her home on Oct. 15.

Patterson told investigators that, after the killings, he fled with the girl to his house in Gordon, Wisconsin. He allegedly created a space for Closs under his bed, and when he’d leave the house, he’d put barbells and free weights around the bed so she couldn’t escape, according to a criminal complaint.
On Jan. 10, when Patterson left the house, Closs fled, according to court documents.

Patterson was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, kidnapping and armed burglary. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 27.

Smart is a kidnapping survivor herself. She was 14 in 2002 when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City home and held as a prisoner by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee.
Smart was rescued in 2003.

Barzee was released from prison in 2018 while Mitchell is serving a life sentence.

Smart went on to become a national child safety advocate and is a married mother of three children.
After Closs’ miraculous escape, Smart wrote, “I hope we may all continue to support and embrace Jayme as she reclaims her life and comes to terms with the reality of her situation. What a brave, strong, and powerful survivor!!!!”

“No matter what may unfold in her story let’s all try to remember that this young woman has SURVIVED and whatever other details may surface the most important will still remain that she is alive,” she wrote. “May god bless you Jayme Closs and may we all continue to search for every missing child.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girl found dead in 1971 is finally identified through novel DNA technique

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A body found in the woods in Aug. 1971 has been identified as Anne Marie Lehman.

Girl found dead in 1971 is finally identified through novel DNA technique

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A body found in the woods in Aug. 1971 has been identified as Anne Marie Lehman.

Powerful storm ends after almost 150 reports of severe weather

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — A powerful storm that triggered nearly 150 reports of severe weather, including five tornadoes, Thursday has finally ended.

The top reported snowfall from the storm was more than 18 inches in South Dakota, with the top wind speed reported at 103 mph in Pine Springs, Texas.

The combination of rapid snow melt, warmer temperatures and rainfall caused significant flooding from Nebraska to Wisconsin on Thursday. Record flooding is occurring on the Platte River near Leshara and on the Missouri River nears Plattsmouth — both near Omaha, Nebraska.

Downstream, the Missouri River is expected to rise through the weekend with major flooding heading for St. Joseph, Missouri, and Athcison, Kansas, by early next week. Record or near-record river flooding, exacerbated by ice jams and melting snow, is forecast to continue over the weekend and into next week throughout the region. River flooding has been reported near Green Bay, Wisconsin, and multiple flood alerts have been issued Friday morning in the Midwest.

The center of the storm that brought a crippling blizzard to the Plains and powerful winds throughout the central U.S. is racing into northern Canada, where radar and satellite systems show it’s losing much of its power. All that’s left Friday morning are a few scattered thunderstorms along the eastern U.S. and a cold front approaching the East Coast.

Ahead of the cold front, East Coast temperatures on Friday will be 10 to 20 degrees warmer than normal — into the 70s and 80s from the Carolinas to Georgia and into the 60s from Washington to Boston. When the cold front arrives on the East Coast later Friday, a few thunderstorms may develop, but none are expected to be serious. A few comparatively stronger storms, with gusty winds, could develop in Virginia or the Carolinas.

Much cooler weather will trail the cold front along the East Coast.

Throughout the U.S., following a few weeks of significant weather events, the weather should quiet down significantly. Outside of potential flooding in the Midwest, high-impact weather isn’t expected at least for a few days.

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Man finds suspected burglar dead in his home, trapped under 900-pound safe

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

aijohn784/iStock(MARION, Ind.) — An Indiana man said he found an intruder dead in his home this week, trapped under his family’s 900-pound safe, according to police.

George Hollingsworth, of Marion, Indiana, said he made the discovery on Wednesday, a day after he first reported the robbery to police.

Hollingsworth was inspecting his home, located about 70 miles north of Indianapolis, for stolen items when he made the discovery, according to the Marion Police Department.

The homeowner went into his garage and found that his floor safe, which had been lifted by a floor jack, was knocked over with a man lying beneath it. The safe weighs more than 900 pounds.

“Hollingsworth began cleaning the clutter in his garage to see if any items had been stolen. Upon cleaning, he found that his antique floor safe weighing over 900 pounds was knocked over,” the Marion Police Department said in a statement. “Upon further inspection Mr. Hollingsworth found a body lying underneath the safe.”

The Marion Fire Department helped lift the safe and remove the body, police said. Authorities have not released the dead man’s identity, pending family notifications.

“I came in [the house] and told my wife, ‘I think we’ve got a dead body out there.’ She thought I was kidding,” Hollingsworth told Fox 59 in Indianapolis.

An autopsy will be conducted by the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center, according to the department.

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Man finds suspected burglar dead in home, trapped under 900-pound safe

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The homeowner made the shocking discovery on Wednesday, a day after first reporting the robbery.

Man finds suspected burglar dead in home, trapped under 900-pound safe

Posted on: March 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The homeowner made the shocking discovery on Wednesday, a day after first reporting the robbery.