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California Authorities Capture Four of Five Escaped Inmates

Sunday, September 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(MADERA COUNTY, Calif.) — Authorities in Central California captured four out of five inmates who escaped a correctional facility this weekend.

Officials originally believed one individual broke free from the Madera County Department of Corrections on Friday, but alarmed area residents a day later when they announced four other missing inmates.

The prisoners escaped about 9:15 PM PT on Friday, with all five men considered armed and dangerous, according to Madera County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Erica Stewart. One of the inmates, Abel Ramos, was jailed for attempting to murder a sheriff’s detective.

Three were in for attempted murder, and most were held for robbery, strong-armed robbery, burglary, and probation violations, Stewart said.

While the fifth prisoner is still at large, officials highlight the importance that majority are captured. No shots were fired while authorities caught the individuals.

“The bottom line and the good news is, we do have four out of the five in custody,” Stewart said. “The worst of the worst we have back behind bars, which is critical.”



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nugget of Knowldege

Activists Take to the Streets to Fight Climate Change

Sunday, September 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Organizers for the People’s Climate March in New York City are hoping a Sunday demonstration will influence the United Nation’s summit on climate change.

“The goal of the march is to show world leaders something needs to be done,” said Negesti Cantave, a field organizer for the march. “There needs to be a call to action.”

The event is scheduled two days before a United Nations summit on climate change, hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23.

World leaders from governments and international environmental and business industries are expected to attend, according to the United Nations’ website.

Cantave could not say how many people are expected to turn out for Sunday’s march, but she advises attendees to arrive early and to bring plenty of water.

“It’s going to be pretty crowded,” she said.

Events on the impact of climate change are scheduled to take place throughout New York City and other international cities.

A complete schedule can be found at peoplesclimate.org.

“The march will kick off an entire week of action,” Cantave said.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Metal Depot

Hundreds of Volunteers Join Search for Missing UVA Student Hannah Graham

Sunday, September 21st, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Nearly a thousand volunteers spread out through Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday to help in the search for Hannah Graham, one week after the missing University of Virginia student was last seen.

Police told ABC News that a person of interest who was seen going into a bar with Graham the night she disappeared was identified as Jesse L. Matthew, 32.

Graham may have gotten into a car with Matthew, and police said Friday they want to ask him “what he knows about Hannah.”

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said police spoke to Matthew on Friday morning when they executed a search warrant and seized his car, but did not feel that they had enough probable cause to arrest him, Longo said.

Members of Matthew’s family declined to speak with ABC News.

“We know that he purchased alcohol (in the restaurant) and we know that Hannah Graham was with him. We also know that within 15 minutes he was gone from that bar and Hannah Graham was with him,” Longo said.

“People saw Hannah and people saw him, and people saw them together. And it’s entirely possible, we believe, that Hannah Graham may have gotten into his vehicle,” the chief said.

Longo asked for anyone to call police if they saw Graham get into the man’s 1998 burnt orange Chrysler coupe.

While the person is not in custody, “We know who he is and we are aware of where he is,” Det. Sgt. Jim Mooney said.

“I’m not calling him a suspect,” Longo said. “We’re interested in him, interested in talking to him, interested in what he knows about Hannah.”

The chief would not say whether he believed Graham was still alive.

“I will always be hopeful until we find Hannah,” he said.

Longo said he spoke with Graham’s parents shortly before the news conference. “They want their daughter back. They want to know what happened.”

Longo held his news conference after executing three search warrants on the car, an apartment and phone. He said that the searches “absolutely” marked a major break in the case.

The first warrant was a search and seizure warrant for a vehicle that was executed shortly after midnight. When police arrived at the apartment building and seized the car, a person connected to the car was in his apartment with two others. Police identified those individuals, but the officer did not feel he had the grounds to detain the individuals, Longo said.

After seizing the car and taking it to an undisclosed location for the full search, investigators developed probable cause and sought approvals for the two other warrants. Police arrived back at the apartment shortly after 10 a.m. and the three individuals were no longer inside, Longo said.

The search warrants were issued a day after police announced a $50,000 reward for information about Graham’s disappearance. Police had also released four clips of surveillance footage from local businesses that showed Graham, 18, walking around in the early hours of Saturday morning. She was last heard from around 1:20 a.m. Saturday when she texted friends, allegedly saying that she was headed for a party but was unsure of where she was.

A person of interest described by police Thursday came from a man who was seen following Graham on surveillance footage. That man told police that he was concerned about Graham because she looked “physically distressed,” but he left when he reportedly saw another man approach her and put his arm around her.

That second man has been described by police as a person of interest. He is not seen on any surveillance footage.

Police described the person of interest as a black male in his 20s or early 30s, about 5’10″ or 5’11″ with a shaved head and goatee. He weighed between 250 to 285 pounds, has a slight beer belly and was wearing black jeans and a white T-shirt.

The FBI joined the case in a guidance role earlier this week and investigators are calling for volunteers as they plan a massive search Saturday. The volunteers are being asked to only join the search if they can walk four to five miles in a wooded area.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Pet of the Week

Gun-Toting Pastor Stops Alleged Thief

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(BAYTOWN, Texas) — A gun-toting Texas pastor laid a trap for whoever was stealing packages from his front porch, and police say the 52-year-old grandmother he caught is suspected of pilfering packages from homes throughout the neighborhood.

Benny Homes, a pastor of The Church of New Beginnings in Baytown, Texas, was frustrated after losing two mailed packages, according to his wife, Pat Holmes.

“I’m going to sit here and I’m going to pull guard duty. I’m going to be a watchman on the wall,” Pat Holmes recalled her husband saying.

She said her husband then put out two dummy packages on the porch and waited to see if anyone would stop.

Months earlier the couple had seen a woman on surveillance cameras twice appearing to take packages from their doorstep.

In footage released to the public, a woman can be seen allegedly walking up to Holmes’ porch, taking a package, and putting it in her red car. In at least one instance, there were two children in the backseat.

Pat Holmes said the day her husband laid out the bait, he waited hours to see if could catch the individual.

Eventually, the woman allegedly turned into his driveway and started to walk over to the porch on the side of the house.

This time Holmes met the woman with his handgun drawn and told her to lie down on the ground while he called the police.

After stopping her, Holmes recognized the suspect as a woman he had stopped two years earlier when she walked by the side of his house claiming she was looking for a missing dog. This time Pat Holmes said the woman again claimed she was looking for her dog.

“I guess she uses that every time she gets caught,” Pat Holmes said. “This time he replied, ‘You found him, bow wow.’”

The Baytown Police Department identified the suspect as Laurie Ferguson, 52, and said she was arrested on a charge of theft, though more charges are possible.

Detective Luzette Watkins said they suspect Ferguson of being a habitual thief who took packages from the front doors of her neighbors.

Ferguson had not sold any of the items she allegedly took and police found at least 30 items in a closet in her home, Watkins said.

Pat Holmes said she has already gotten a gift for Ferguson, a cap that reads “forgiven.”

Calls to numbers listed to the suspect or her family were not answered.

Watkins said Holmes would face no charges for pulling out a gun and detaining Ferguson.

“Here in Texas you’re allowed to protect the property,” Watkins said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Kids Kare PC

SpaceX Delays Dragon Cargo Ship Launch

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Matt Stroshane/Getty Images(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — NASA cancelled its launch plans for the SpaceX Dragon on Saturday after rainy weather around Cape Canaveral made for poor conditions.

“The launch director and team have made the determination to scrub today’s launch attempt,” Mike Curie, NASA launch commentator said.

Officials rescheduled the mission for Sunday at 1:52 a.m., with a forecast calling for 40 percent chance of “acceptable conditions.”

NASA is hoping to send a 3D printer to the International Space Station via the SpaceX Dragon, as well as more than 5,000 pounds of cargo.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Crusin In Cruces

Pope Francis Names New Archbishop of Chicago

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Pope Francis named the next archbishop of Chicago, appointing Bishop Blase J. Cupich to succeed 77-year-old Cardinal Francis E. George, who has been in the office for 17 years.

Cupich moves from the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, to the third largest in the country. He will be formally installed on Nov. 18.

“Archbishop Cupich is well prepared for his new responsibilities and brings to them a deep faith, a quick intelligence, personal commitment and varied pastoral experience,” George said.

The Vatican’s first major U.S. appointment brings change, as George was known as a conservative, and Cupich brings a progressive perspective. The newly chosen archbishop took the opportunity to speak out on immigration reform during a Saturday news conference.

“I don’t want to dance around the issue that we need comprehensive immigration reform,” Cupich said. “Our bishop’s conference has called for that. It’s time for political leaders to put aside their agendas and to take up this issue.”

Still, he says he is still a bit shocked by the pope’s appointment.

“First of all, I’m no saint and this is a pretty big niche. So I hope that what the Holy Father has done I can measure up to the responsibility.”



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Texas Cancer Doctor Gives Testimony of Alleged Poisoning in Former Lover’s Trial

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — A cancer researcher will return to the stand next week in the trial of his co-worker and former lover who’s accused of poisoning him.

Dr. Ana Gonzalez-Angulo is accused of poisoning Dr. George Blumenschein, an oncologist at the prestigious cancer hospital MD Anderson in Houston.

“She said she had a special Colombian coffee for me to try,” testified Blumenschein.

According to prosecutors, Gonzalez-Angulo, a fellow oncologist at MD Anderson, spiked the coffee with a sweet-tasting chemical used in antifreeze. The chemical is also commonly found in medical labs, including those at MD Anderson.

Prosecutors allege that Gonzalez-Angulo poisoned the coffee after Blumenschein picked his girlfriend over her.

Blumenschein said he asked Gonzalez-Angulo why the coffee tasted so sweet and that she responded that she had put Splenda in it.

The poisoning left Blumenschein with permanent kidney damage, according to testimony from doctors who treated him.

Gonzalez-Angulo sat expressionless in the courtroom while Blumenschein testified. Next week, he will return to the stand when prosecutors play tapes of phone calls between the two.

In his opening statement, Gonzalez-Angulo’s attorney, Derek Hollingsworth, said that his client “has been accused of something she did not do. Our first priority is to make sure the jury has the evidence to see that.”



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Double Your Dollars

White House Partially Evacuated as Fence Jumper Gets Into Executive Mansion

Friday, September 19th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Joe Ravi/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Part of the White House had to be evacuated Friday evening after a North Lawn fence jumper briefly eluded security and made it all the way inside the executive mansion.

Omar Gonzalez, 42, was unarmed when he was arrested after jumping the fence and entering the White House through the North Portico doors, Secret Service Spokesman Ed Donovan told ABC News. Gonzales ignored commands from Secret Service, Donovan added.

President Obama was not at the White House at the time of the intrusion after 7 p.m. Friday. He and his daughters had departed from the South Lawn on Marine One just minutes before to head to Camp David in Maryland for the weekend.

Gonzalez, from Copperas Cove, Texas, was taken to GW Hospital for a medical evaluation. He was expected to be charged with unlawful entry of the White House complex.

It is not uncommon for unauthorized people to jump the fences surrounding the White House. It is more unusual to have a fence jumper actually enter the White House.

“The location [of the arrest] is not acceptable,” a Secret Service official said, adding that the incident would be closely reviewed.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, instantly criticized the Secret Service for the security breach, tweeting it was “TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.”

Part of the incident was captured on an Instagram video, which showed a man in jeans and dark t-shirt sprinting across the North Lawn past the fountain, heading for the North Portico door.

ABC News saw Secret Service officers rushing towards the front portico as they yelled at reporters to move inside. Shortly after the breach, members of the media and White House staff were evacuated from the West Wing.

On Sept. 11, the Secret Service apprehended a man who jumped over the north fence and onto the White House grounds. Officers drew their firearms and used a service dog as they took the man in custody.

The last time unauthorized persons infiltrated the White House was in 2009, when Michaele and Tareq Salahi sneaked into a state dinner.



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Missing UVA Student’s Case Similar to 2009 Murder, Mom Says

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Courtesy Harrington Family(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — The mother of a University of Virginia student who was abducted and slain in 2009 sees eerie similarities between her daughter’s death and the current disappearance of Hannah Graham.

Gil Harrington knows the agony that Graham’s parents are enduring. Her daughter, Morgan, disappeared from a Metallica concert in Charlottesville in 2009. Her body wasn’t found until months later and the murder remains unsolved.

What is also upsetting are the similarities to her daughter’s death.

“Hannah was seen for some of the time fairly close to where Morgan’s shirt was found maybe three weeks after her abduction,” she told ABC News.

She said there are other “coincidences” between the two students.

“College town, same town, same kind of look of a girl, same time of year,” she said. “Is this a pattern?”

Harrington said it would be “too speculative,” but she wondered whether the time of year is a trigger for a “predator” in the Charlottesville area “to go out and hurt somebody.”

“We know there’s one predator who killed Morgan,” she said. Harrington said the 2005 abduction and rape of a woman in Fairfax, Virginia, has been linked by DNA to her daughter’s killer.

Gil and Dan Harrington have helped create an organization called Help Save the Next Girl. It offers advice and tracks the disappearance and unsolved murders of girls. The group’s site lists five girls, including her daughter and Graham, from the Charlottesville area who have disappeared or have been killed since 2009. It also lists the cases of seven other Virginia women who disappeared or were killed in unsolved murders.

“Obviously they are not all connected, but it doesn’t seem normal. There’s either some connection of a serial predator or a crime spree gone crazy,” she said.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo conceded earlier this week there are similarities between the death of Morgan Harrington and Graham’s disappearance.

“Both of them occurred within the proximity of the University of Virginia. Both of them are young girls,” the chief said.

Charlottesville Police Capt. Gary Pleasants on Thursday would not make any connection to the deaths or disappearance of the other women.

“We said all along there is no criminal activity yet. At this moment we still don’t know that there is any (criminal activity)…because we don’t know what happened yet,” Pleasants said.

Gil Harrington said she and her husband Dan are praying for Graham’s family.

“Our hearts go out to them,” she said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Suspected Cop Shooter Eric Frein on FBI’s Most Wanted List

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by

Posted in National News

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — The FBI added suspected cop shooter Eric Frein to its 10 Most Wanted list Thursday, announcing a reward of $100,000 for information leading to his capture. There is an existing $75,000 reward from Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers.

The FBI’s action came on the day that Pennsylvania State Trooper Cpl. Bryon Dickson was buried in an emotional ceremony.

The search for Frein, 31, entered its sixth day Thursday after two Pennsylvania state troopers were ambushed late Friday at the barracks in Blooming Grove Township. Schools in the area are closed for the second day as the dragnet continued for Frein, a survivalist and gun expert who often worked on films about war and the military.

New images of Frein show him at rifle practice in high school and stone-faced in his yearbook photo.

The funeral was held Thursday for Dickson, who died in Friday’s gunfire. Hundreds gathered at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton to honor Dickson, a 38-year-old married father of two children.

A second trooper, Alex Douglass, was wounded in the attack.

Police said on Wednesday Frein is also part of a “military simulation unit” obsessed with re-enacting Eastern Europe during the Cold War. He was described as a skilled shooter and is believed to be armed and extremely dangerous.

Frein’s father, a retired U.S. Army major, told police he taught his son how to shoot and that he “doesn’t miss.” The father also told police during a search of the family’s home that two guns were missing — a .308 rifle with a scope and an AK-47, according to court documents.

Frein has a grudge against law enforcement and appeared to be specifically targeting cops, police said.

“He has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder,” State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said at a news conference earlier this week. “What his reasons are, we don’t know. But he has very strong feelings about law enforcement and seems to be very angry with a lot of things that go on in our society.”

Police also addressed the suspect directly.

“If you are listening to this broadcast while cowering in some cold, damp hiding place, Eric, I want you to know know we are coming for you,” Lt. Col. George Bivens said at another news conference on Wednesday.

He warned residents to be on the lookout, lock their doors and keep outside lights on at night, adding that he believes Frein is still in the general area.

Frein is charged with first-degree murder, homicide of a law enforcement officer and other offenses.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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