Fashion designer Kate Spade found dead in apparent suicide: Police sources

Andrew Toth/FilmMagic via GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Fashion designer Kate Spade -- who started her namesake company in 1993 and grew it into a massive empire including clothes, jewelry, perfume and furniture -- was found dead in her New York City apartment Tuesday morning after apparently taking her own life, police sources said.

The 55-year-old's body was found around 10 a.m. at her Park Avenue apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan by a housekeeper, the sources said. She apparently hanged herself on her bedroom doorknob using a scarf.

A suicide note was left at the scene, but police officials declined to disclose its contents.

"The contents of that note, as well as the physical state of the apartment and the comments of the witness, lend to the credibility that it is an apparent suicide," said Dermot Shea, chief of detectives for the New York City Police Department.

Spade's former company issued a statement saying her death was "incredibly sad news."

"Although Kate has not been affiliated with the brand for more than a decade, she and her husband and creative partner, Andy, were the founders of our beloved brand," the company's statement reads. "Kate will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Andy and the entire Spade family at this time."

Spade and her husband, the brother of actor and comedian David Spade, have a 13-year-old daughter.

Born Katherine Noel Brosnahan in Kansas City, Missouri, Spade graduated from Arizona State University in 1985 with a degree in journalism. She got her start in fashion working for Mademoiselle magazine in the fashion accessories department.

By the time she left Mademoiselle in 1991, she had risen on the magazine's masthead to senior fashion editor and head of accessories. While working at Mademoiselle, she noticed there was a need for stylish handbags, but it was her husband who convinced her to set out to fill the void.

"At the time, bags were too complicated, and I really loved very simple kind of architectural shapes," Spade said last year on the NPR show "How I Built This with Guy Raz."

"I would wear these very simple shapes, none of which were famous designers. I mean, they were no-names," she said. "If someone were to say, 'Whose is that?' I'd say, 'I don't know. I bought it at a vintage store or it's a straw bag I got in Mexico.' And they were all very square and simple and I thought, 'Gosh, why can't we find something just clean and simple and modern.'"

In January 1993, she and Andy Spade, an advertising executive she married in 1994, launched their company out of their apartment in New York City and called it, simply, "Kate Spade Handbags."

"I was not Kate Spade. I was Kate Brosnahan, and I kept coming up with these names, and Andy kept saying 'Kate Spade' because we were 50-50 partners," she told NPR.

They went from initially making burlap bags with raffia fringe and webbing handles to manufacturing colorful leather rectangular handbags that fashion editors and fashionistas loved. By 1998, the company's annual revenue reached $27 million.

A year later, the Neiman Marcus Group purchased 56 percent of Kate Spade New York for about $30 million.

"She has a brand loyalty like none I have ever seen," Hitha Herzog, chief research officer of H Squared Research, told ABC News. "There are women who started carrying her tote bag in 1997 and are still wearing her stuff now. It's one of those brands that has generational loyalty. Despite Kate, sadly, not being alive anymore, her brand name and brand loyalty will continue."

Herzog, who covers Tapestry, the company that acquired the Kate Spade fashion house, credited the designer with being a role model for a younger generation.

"As others came through the ranks they looked to her to see how she was able to navigate the world of retail," Herzog said. "What she created will always be a foundation in the industry. This is a brand that women between the ages of 20 to 34 have gravitated toward, starting from 1993 to now, when you see everyone from news anchors to celebrities wearing her products on the red carpet."

Spade and her husband sold their remaining stake in the company in 2015 to shoe designer Stuart Weitzman for $574 million.

Her death comes about a year after Weitzman sold the brand to Tapestry, the company formerly known as Coach, for $2.4 billion.

Spade's death left a legion of celebrities and fans of her designs heartbroken.

"My grandmother gave me my first Kate Spade bag when I was in college. I still have it. Holding Kate's family, friends and loved ones in my heart," former first daughter Chelsea Clinton wrote on Twitter.

Fashion designer Kenneth Cole also expressed his condolences on Twitter, using Spade's famous motto, "I believed that I could, so I did."

"She alone didn't change the handbag world, but she was an inspiring accessory," Cole tweeted.

In late 2016, Spade and her husband launched another shoe-and-handbag company called Frances Valentine.

In the NPR interview, she said she was "a little more confident" about starting a new business the second time around but still felt the pressure to deliver a great product.

"We're self-financing again, so I'm not crazy about losing any money -- s, this thing better work," she said in the interview.

She said she never had any regrets about selling Kate Spade New York and shared a humorous story about going into a Kate Spade store to purchase her daughter a gift.

"We went to the cash register and [the sales clerk] said, 'Are you on our mailing list? And I said, 'I don't think so.' I used my maiden name ..." Spade recalled. "And then my daughter kept nudging me. She was dying for me to say something, and I didn't. Then I remember thinking, you know, 'No, I'm not on your mailing list, but I think I helped create it.'"

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How Apple plans to help you spend less time on your iPhone

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you want to curb your kids’ screen time or your own, you have an unlikely ally in the battle against phone addiction.

Apple’s latest software update, iOS 12, will come with new tools to help users control the amount of time they spend on their iPhones and iPads.

Here are the basics:

More 'Do Not Disturb' features

The iPhone's Do Not Disturb feature will be enhanced, including new options that will automatically end Do Not Disturb based on a specified time or location.

A new Do Not Disturb during Bedtime mode will dim the phone's display and hide all notifications on the lock screen until you prompt it in the morning.

Activity reports

A Screen Time feature will create daily and weekly Activity Reports that show how much time a user spends in each app, across categories of apps, how many notifications they receive and how many times they check their iPhone or iPad.

App Limits will allow users to set a limit for how much time they want to spend in an app and receive notifications when that time is about to expire, another helpful feature for parents.

Downtime is another tool for parents that will allow them to partially disable their child's device for a period of time, like bedtime or school.

When Downtime is turned on, notifications from apps will not appear and a badge will appear on apps that are not allowed to be used. Parents will also be able to choose the apps they want to make available to their kids all the time.

The Screen Time features work with Family Sharing and are account-based, so parents can configure the settings remotely for their child's devices.


You will be able to manage app notifications more easily and with more options.

You can choose Grouped Notifications to be able to manage and view multiple notifications at one time, and choose to send notifications directly to Notification Center so you don't get a ping every time.

Siri will also be empowered to "intelligently make suggestions for notifications settings," according to Apple.

What prompted the new features?

Details of the iOS 12 software update -- available later this month in public beta form -- were announced Monday at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC18, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

“[It] is interesting because Apple is trying to sell you the screen and trying to minimize it,” said Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News' chief business, technology and economic correspondent. “Ultimately, Apple might be able to sell more phones by telling people, ‘Our phones come with these structures that allow you to not spend so much time on your phone.’”

A survey released in May by Pew Research Center found that 95 percent of teens in the United States have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent say they are online "almost constantly."

Two Apple shareholders sent an open letter in June asking the company to take on phone addiction among children.

Earlier this year Apple added a new "Families" section to its website that has information for parents on the tools available to monitor their kids' device usage.

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Passenger's suitcase arrives at Texas airport in shreds, American Airlines apologizes

Kristen Horabin(DALLAS) -- Clothes ripped to shreds and covered in black grease and toothpaste.

That’s what American Airlines passenger Kristen Horabin said she found Sunday when she went to claim her suitcase at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, according to ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV.

“The suitcase was shredded,” Horabin told the station. “Most of the clothes that were left were shredded, and what was left was covered in black grease and toothpaste. There was a lot of toothpaste. It must have exploded on whatever impact there was.”

Horabin and her husband, who live in Texas, had returned from a weekend trip to Tampa, Florida, WFAA reported. Her husband’s checked bags arrived undamaged, but Horabin’s battered belongings arrived on the baggage carousel in a plastic bin.

“I’d say about 50 percent of my belongings were gone,” Horabin said, adding that no one from the airline offered an explanation.

“I guess what I find so appalling is that, after it happened, someone gathered up what was left of my bag and my belongings and put them in the bin and sent it on its way,” she said. “The bag just popped up on the carousel with my destroyed belongings, or half of my destroyed belongings, heaped on top.”

An airline employee told her to file a claim, which she did immediately, Horabin said.

Within 24 hours of reporting it, Horabin told WFAA, American Airlines apologized and told her it was sending her a $3,500 check for the damages, as well as a $300 travel voucher.

A statement from American Airlines obtained by WFAA reads: “We apologize for the damage that occurred to Ms. Horabin’s bag; we know how difficult it is to arrive at your final destination and a find a bag extremely damaged,” American Airlines said in a statement obtained by WFAA.

“In 2017, American transported more than 160 million checked bags. While it is extremely rare to receive a report of a broken and/or damaged bag such as this one, our team will always work with our customers directly to resolves these claims.”

Horabin said she hopes that that if this ever happens again, the airline will do more than send a heavily damaged bag through the carousel with no explanation.

“Send someone up to say, you know, something happened to your personal effects and we’re sorry,” she told WFAA. “And I really honestly would have walked away and counted it as an unfortunate accident. I hope in the future that happens for other passengers.”

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The house from 'The Holiday' could be yours

Don Lewis(LOS ANGELES) -- You can live out your best life in a dreamy California home made famous by none other than Kate Winslet.

The 10,000-square foot home that served as Winslet’s character’s vacation home in the 2006 movie “The Holiday” is on the market.

A cool $11.8 million will get you the seven bedrooms, six bathrooms home in San Marino that Winslet's character stayed in thanks to a home swap with Cameron Diaz’s character in the movie.

The sellers were the homeowners when Winslet and “The Holiday” crew took over their home for six months, despite the house only showing up in about 20 minutes of the film.

The movie crew removed the fountain from the home’s front entryway changed the landscaping and front gates and then restored them to their previous condition after filming, according to the seller’s agent, Brent Chang.

The homeowners had their own red carpet moment when they got to attend the movie’s premiere and see their home on the big screen, noted Chang, co-founder of the Chang Group.

The home is not only famous by Hollywood standards. It was also designed by noted architect Wallace Neff, who built the two-story home as his own residence in the 1920s.

Click HERE for more on the home and its history.

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Dog dies during Delta Air Lines layover, cause unclear

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The owner of a Pomeranian that died during a layover at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Thursday is seeking answers from Delta Air Lines.

Michael Dellegrazie said his 8-year-old dog, Alejandro, died on a flight from Phoenix to Newark, New Jersey, where he and his girlfriend are relocating, while in an animal-care facility at the airport.

"I got the phone call from my girlfriend ... and then she gave me the number to call Delta," Dellegrazie said in an interview with ABC News' "Good Morning America."

In a statement to ABC News over the weekend, Delta said the airline is conducting an ongoing investigation.

"We know pets are an important member of the family and we are focused on the well-being of all animals we transport," the company said. "Delta is conducting a thorough review of the situation and have been working directly with Alejandro's family to support them however we can. As part of that review, we want to find out more about why this may have occurred to ensure it doesn't happen again and we have offered to have Alejandro evaluated by a veterinarian to learn more."

An airline official told ABC News the deceased dog was placed in a sealed bag and placed on ice, as requested by veterinarians, in an effort to maintain accuracy in any future necropsy.

The shipper of the dog was informed of the dog's death about 90 minutes after Alejandro was found unresponsive, the Delta official said. In each conversation with the family and their attorney, Delta offered to arrange an independent necropsy through Michigan State University. The family and attorney asked the airline to "stand by" on each occasion.

Dellegrazie's attorney, Evan Oshan, said he contacted Delta immediately to "put them on notice" and sent the airline a "preservation of evidence letter."

"I wanted to get to the bottom of this -- figure this out. We had a dead family member. A dog, but a family member," he added.

Dellegrazie said he was filled with "very strong feelings of pain, anger and disgust" at the moment he received his dog, which intensified when he went through the pup's personal belongings and found them soaking wet.

"It was at that point that I stopped the retrieval of the items and called for a criminal investigation. The area was completely taped off, and some of the items were marked, and some of those are with the Detroit Police Department," he said.

Delta told ABC News the dog may have been wet from the refrigeration of the dog's body or from bodily fluids. Delta does not wash deceased dogs because doing so would jeopardize the accuracy of the necropsy, the airline said.

Nearly 507,000 animals were transported on U.S. airlines last year, and of those, 24 died, according to Department of Transportation figures.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect additional comments from Delta Air Lines regarding the circumstances of the case.

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Apple will now offer group FaceTime chats, more animojis for users

Apple(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC18) kicked off today at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

More than 6,000 developers from around the world are attending the five-day event. CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, were on hand to announce the company's latest news.

The first major announcement at this year’s keynote was iOS 12. Federighi said everything that supports iOS 11 will also now support iOS 12, meaning Apple isn’t leaving older devices behind in terms of performance.

Apps will now open 40 percent faster and the camera function will also be quicker to access.


Federighi gave some major updates around augmented reality (AR) with ARKit 2, a "platform that allows developers to integrate shared experiences, persistent AR experiences tied to a specific location, object detection and image tracking to make AR apps even more dynamic," according to the company.

Apple also added a new app Measure that can "quickly gauge the size of real-world objects similar to a tape measure."

Siri Shortcuts

Apple announced some new updates to its personal assistant, Siri. With Siri Shortcuts, users will be able to build their own commands with any application. Siri will also be able to make suggestions, like ordering a coffee in the morning or calling your mother on her birthday.

Group FaceTime

Apple said its popular FaceTime service can now include up to 32 people in a video call.


Now Apple users will be able to make personalized animojis -- even ones that stick out their tongues thanks to the new “tongue detection” technology. Apple also added several more animojis like a ghost, koala, tiger and T.rex.

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Survey: YouTube is most popular social media platform among teens, Facebook less popular

ooddysmile/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center finds that America’s youth is using the Internet and social media differently than they were a few years ago.

The survey found that the most popular online platform among teens is YouTube, with 85 percent of teens saying they use the video platform. Thirty-two percent say they use YouTube most often of any online platform.

Seventy-two percent of teens say they use Instagram, 69 percent say they use Snapchat, while just 51 percent say they are on Facebook.

An overwhelming majority (95 percent) of teens say they have a smartphone or access to one, including 45 percent who say they are online on a near-constant basis.

The survey did not find, however, a consensus on how social media use affects teens’ lives. According to the survey, 31 percent of teens say the impact of social media on their lives has been mostly positive. Twenty-four percent say their experience has been mostly negative, while 45 percent say it has been neither positive nor negative.

In the previous survey on teen social media use, done in 2014 and 2015, 71 percent of teens reported being users of Facebook.

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Fiat Chrysler to offer 30 electric or hybrid vehicles by 2022

omada/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fiat Chrysler plans to offer 30 electric and hybrid vehicles by the year 2022, the company announced on Friday.

The news comes from the company’s five-year plan, in which Fiat Chrysler says it will invest more than $10 billion into the development of more environmentally friendly vehicles.

The company does note, however, that the vast majority of its sales will continue to be vehicles powered by fossil fuels. Estimates indicate 15 to 20 percent of Fiat Chrysler sales would be vehicles with “heavy electrification.”

One of the reasons for the change is stricter carbon emissions standards, in Europe, China and the United States. Without emissions reductions, Fiat Chrysler could be required to cease production and sale of certain models.

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Visa says service disruption resolved

zorandimzr/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Visa says a "technical issue" that prevented some users in Europe from making payments with their credit or debit cards has been resolved.

The outage was widespread, and impacted banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Ireland. Tech website The Verge reported that some retailers resorted to using paper slips to take down customer information.

According to Visa, "the issue was the result of a hardware failure within one of our European systems and is not associated with any unauthorised access or cyberattack." The company did warn that some customers may be impacted by pending transactions limiting their spending ability, but that they are working to resolve any ongoing issues.

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Tesla's Autopilot woes continue with Laguna Beach police car crash 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- In the past week, a Tesla sedan driving with Autopilot collided with a parked Laguna Beach Police Department vehicle in California, authorities confirmed, stoking concerns about the semi-autonomous system, which has been involved in several head-line grabbing incidents over the past few months.

No officers were in the police car at the time of the crash, and the Tesla's driver sustained only minor injuries, police said.

“Why do these vehicles keep doing that?” Sgt. Jim Cota mused to the Los Angeles Times.

"When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times," a Tesla spokesperson said when asked about the Laguna Beach incident. "Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings."

But the pressure's on for the automaker, currently facing four active investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Three of the investigations are looking into the vehicle's Autopilot function, and one is focused on a post-crash fire.

Tesla says Autopilot was not engaged immediately preceding the high-speed crash of a Tesla Model S in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., earlier this month, which resulted in an intense fire, killing two local high school seniors. Witnesses said they could see the pair still moving inside the vehicle while it burned.

First responders faced a similar challenge in March when another Tesla, this time while using its Autopilot system, crashed in Mountain View, Calif., and ignited. An investigative source told ABC News that the battery of the vehicle caught fire again a week later after the car was towed to an impound lot.

In April, the NTSB decided to remove Tesla as a party to that investigation, a rare move by the agency, citing the release of investigative information violated an agreement between the company and the agency.

"While we understand the demand for information that parties face during an NTSB investigation, said Sumwalt. "Uncoordinated releases of incomplete information do not further transportation safety or serve the public interest.”

Less than a week after the NTSB accused Tesla of being uncooperative with that federal investigation, Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, announced plans to halt production of the Model 3 for a few days due to problems on the assembly line.

Production has since resumed and Tesla is showing "encouraging signs" of a potential increase in its production rate, according to Bloomberg.

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