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Monday
Jun182018

Audio recording emerges of 'orchestra' of crying children in migrant detention center

U.S. Customs and Border Protection(NEW YORK) -- Young migrant children, fighting through tears, can be heard crying "Mami" and "Papa" in an eight-minute audio clip first obtained by ProPublica.

The children are believed to be between 4 and 10 years of age, and they're crying because their parents have been detained elsewhere after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an activist who provided the recording.

"Well, we have an orchestra here -- what's missing is a conductor," said a male voice on the recording, someone believed to be a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

One of the children heard on the recording is a 6-year-old girl from El Salvador begging a consulate official to let her call her aunt. She repeats the digits and announces, through tears: "My mommy says that I'll go with my aunt, and that she'll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible."

ProPublica caught up with the U.S.-based aunt -- herself seeking asylum in the country -- who confirmed that the little girl's family paid $7,000 to a guide to smuggle them into Mexico and then the U.S.

The call she received from her niece rendered her powerless, she told ProPublica.

"Imagine getting a call from your 6-year-old niece," she said. "She's crying and begging me to go get her. She says, 'I promise I'll behave, but please get me out of here. I'm all alone.'"

ProPublica reported that the girl and the rest of the wailing children heard on the audio hadn't been at the facility a full 24 hours "so their distress at having been separated from their parents was still raw." And while some officials were doling out snacks, the outlet claimed that many children "were inconsolable."

The recording was captured last week and given to Jennifer Harbury, a civil rights attorney who confirmed its authenticity to ABC News. She told ProPublica the person who made the recording was a client of hers who asked to remain anonymous because that person feared retribution. That person "heard the children's weeping and crying, and was devastated by it."

Government statistics indicate that, so far, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May.

Melania Trump's spokeswoman issued a statement after several days of images of crying children appearing on television and online saying that the first lady "hates to see children separated from their families," and the president said on Friday: "I hate the children being taken away" before blaming those actions on Democrats and "their law."

There is no such law.

"To a select few in the media, Congress and the advocacy community, I'd like to start with a message for you: This department will no longer stand by and watch you attack law enforcement for enforcing the laws passed by Congress," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Monday at the National Sheriffs' Association in New Orleans. "We will not apologize for the job we do, for the job law enforcement does and for the job the American people expect us to do."

Those comments came a day after she said on Twitter: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has justified the fracturing of families by quoting The Bible.

"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, 'To obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for His purposes,'" he said last week.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't directly defend Sessions' quoting of the Bible, but suggested it's religiously prudent to enforce the law.

"I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible," Sanders said. "It's a moral policy to follow and enforce the law."

The president on Monday took a hardline on the border crisis during an announcement of a Space Force.

"The United States," he said, "will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility."

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Monday
Jun182018

Photographer details the emotional moment that created viral border photo of crying toddler

John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dozens of harrowing images have rippled across the country from the southern border in recent weeks, but one that has caught the attention of many shows a crying 2-year-old girl who looked on as her mother was searched by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

"These folks, they didn't know what was about to happen" with the policy leading to the separation of families, photographer John Moore told ABC News. "They had no idea, and I did and that's what made this different for me."

Moore, a special correspondent and senior staff photographer for Getty Images, was doing a ride-along with a Customs and Border Patrol agent when they saw a group of roughly 20 mothers and children late on June 12, "gathered on a dirt road" in a part of the Rio Grande Valley called El Rincon.

They approached the group and the mother, whose name he did not learn, who was holding her young daughter in her arms.

Moore said that he saw the mother was breastfeeding her daughter "to keep her calm" and, later, one of the agents asked the mother to put her daughter down.

"Once the mother put her on the ground she started screaming immediately," Moore said.

He told ABC News that he crouched to "[get] down on a child's level" to take the photo.

"It was an emotional moment for me," said Moore, who is a father of three himself.

Moore has been covering border issues for a decade now as a photojournalist and produced a book of a collection of photos called, "Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the United States-Mexico Border."

He said that he's seen similar interactions between immigrants and border agents before, but the difference with this instance was that it happened with the backdrop of the recent zero-tolerance policy being enforced by the Trump administration. The policy stipulates the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) refer all cases of illegal entry to be criminally prosecuted and, as a result, the parents are detained and because the children are not charged with a crime, they are not detained with the parents.

"What was different this time is I knew what would happen afterward," he said.

He had a very brief chance to speak to the mother and she said that they had traveled from Honduras over the past month and that her daughter was 2 years old, Moore said.

Moore noted that the mother and child were together when they left with authorities and he didn't see the pair formally separated, nor has he been able to confirm whether or not they were separated afterward, though the policy indicates that they would be held separately.

"All that happens behind closed doors... We'll never see that," he told ABC News.

The heartbreaking moment with the little girl wasn't the only interaction that Moore said has left an emotional impression on him.

In the same group of women and children that night, Moore said there was a frightened boy who looked to be about 10 years old.

"I tried to calm him down as much as I could," Moore said.

He told ABC News that he told the boy, in Spanish, "don't worry, everything's going to be OK," but now he wishes he didn't do that.

"Now, I regret saying that because I don't know that everything is going to be OK," Moore said. "I don't know that at all."

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Monday
Jun182018

Trial begins for man alleging Roundup weed killer caused his cancer

iStock/Thinkstoclk(BENICIA, Calif.) -- A California man is the first of hundreds of plaintiffs to see his day in court with Monsanto in a lawsuit alleging that its weed killing product Roundup gave him cancer.

Jury selection began Monday in California Superior Court in DeWayne Johnson’s suit against the agrochemical giant. Johnson worked for a school district and regularly applied Roundup on campuses dozens of times a year. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in August 2014 at the age of 42. His case has been fast-tracked through the court system because of his failing health.

Johnson has suspended his chemotherapy treatment because the side effects were so severe, according to court documents. His doctors have told the court they don’t expect him to live through 2019. Johnson’s lawyers did not return ABC News requests for comment.

Lawyers for Johnson say in court documents that Monsanto championed false data and attacked legitimate studies that revealed possible dangers of using its Roundup weed killer. The case could set a precedent for hundreds of other cases against the maker of the weed killer. There are more than 400 cases against Monsanto in San Francisco courts alone.

At issue is the chemical Glyphosate, a widely used herbicide that is used in more than 750 products sold in the United States. The National Pesticide Information Center says that Glyphosate has carcinogenic potential when administered in high doses to laboratory animals. Studies on cancer rates in humans have had conflicting results.

A Monsanto representative tells ABC News that more than 600 published medical peer-reviewed studies have found no link between Roundup and cancer.

“It has been studied extensively throughout the world over and over again, the conclusions are unequivocal," Scott Partridge, vice president of Global Strategy at Monsanto, told ABC News. “In a real-world environment, there is no association between the use of Glyphosate and cancer.”

Once a jury is seated, the trial is expected to last four weeks.

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Monday
Jun182018

Gunshot victim covered with sheet starts breathing again

WLS(CHICAGO) -- First responders had already draped a sheet over a 17-year-old who was shot in the head and left for dead.

But after a few minutes went by, the unidentified teen restarted breathing.

They quickly lifted the sheet and worked to revive him by performing chest compressions, police said. He was then rushed to Stroger Hospital, where he was listed in very critical condition.

"I do understand that paramedics looked at him, believed him to be deceased, covered him with that sheet and moved on to another individual who was nearby who was also shot. They saw motion, movement underneath the sheet," Chicago Police First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio told reporters, according to ABC station WLS. Officers who were present notified paramedics, this man is still alive."

"That individual has a catastrophic injury," Riccio added. "He was shot in the head, and the prognosis is not good."

The 17-year-old was one of five victims from a drive-by shooting early Monday in Chicago.

A 23-year-old woman shot in the chest, left arm, head and ear a block away from where the boy was found was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.WLSEveryone shot was attacked as a house party on South Loomis Street near west 13th Street started clearing out around 4:45 a.m. Then, police said, a pair of cars were spotted roaming around the party and somebody drew a weapon and started firing off gunshots.

The other gunshot victims were four men in their 20s, all of whom are expected to survive, police said.

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Monday
Jun182018

Pharmacy tech arrested for 2nd time in 3 weeks for allegedly stealing pills

ABC News(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- A pharmacy technician in Florida was arrested for the second time in three weeks for allegedly stealing bottles of prescription pills after store surveillance video appeared to show her stuffing bottles down her shirt, police said.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said Katie Jean Williams, 28, of Daytona Beach, had been working at the Pierson Community Pharmacy for about a month when authorities said she stole more than a dozen bottles of prescription drugs out of the pharmacy's safe. Surveillance video appeared to show Williams putting bottles underneath her clothes and into a bag, police said.

Williams was arrested Friday on charges of trafficking in Oxycodone, four counts of drug possession and grand theft. The sheriff's office said Williams was first arrested May 25 on charges of grand theft and trafficking in Oxycodone.

At the time of that first arrest, the pharmacy's owner reported that hundreds of Oxycodone and amphetamine pills had gone missing, deputies said. A follow-up audit found there were more bottles missing than previously thought and more surveillance video that allegedly showed Williams stealing pills.

According to court documents, Williams spent five days in jail for her first arrest and was released on bond. She is currently being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on June 21.

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Monday
Jun182018

What we know about the immigrant children being detained separately from their parents

U.S. Customs and Border Protection(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) -- The debate over separating immigrant children from their parents is raging at the southern border and across the country, as images from the centers housing the kids have shown them, in some cases, inside structures made of chain-link fencing.

In other instances, buildings that used to house Walmart stores have been converted into facilities that look like large schools. But the children aren’t there by choice.

Here’s a roundup of the key information at the heart of the ongoing firestorm.

What is it like in the detention centers?

U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionABC News chief national affairs reporter Tom Llamas visited the Casa Padre detention center in Brownsville, Texas, with other reporters last week.

They were not allowed to film inside the facility, but the government contractor managing the facility shared video footage from their tour.

The Casa Padre facility was once a Walmart superstore but now houses nearly 1,500 boys between the ages of 10 and 17.

During the press tour, Llamas found the Casa Padre shelter to be clean, well-staffed, with several activities to keep the kids busy, also though the scheduled media visit had been announced.

The capacity is 1,497 people and on the night of Llamas' visit, 1,469 children were sleeping there, meaning the facility was at 98 percent capacity. They needed an extra bed in each room, so now there are five beds inside a 240-square-foot space, according to the government contractor.

The children are given three meals a day, along with two snacks. They have access to video games, pool tables, civics and English as a second language classes.

Only two hours are spent outside -- one hour in the morning and later in the afternoon -- and there are soccer fields and basketball courts for the kids to use.

That said, most of their day is spent inside the converted big-box store. Each child is assigned a clinician to help with any separation trauma or mental health issues.

There are no fenced-in structures at the Casa Padre detention center like those that have been reported at other facilities.

Who are the children inside the centers?

The detention facilities house unaccompanied minors who arrive at the border, as well as children who are separated from their parents by government officials at the border.

The system, which includes the separation of parents and children, stems from a "zero tolerance" policy U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued in early April.

That policy stipulates that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) refer all cases of illegal entry to be criminally prosecuted.

As a result, the parents are detained and because the children are not charged with a crime, they are not detained with the parents.

How many children are being detained?

U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionABC News has been unable to determine the exact number of children being held by DHS, but The Associated Press last week obtained details on the number of children who have been separated from accompanying adults in the past two months as part of the administration’s policy.

There were 1,995 minors separated from adults in a six-week stretch this spring, from April 19 to May 31, the AP reported.

There were also other minors separated at ports of entry, with 64 such cases in March, 55 in April and 38 in May through June 6, according to the AP.

How the government views the centers

The minors “are very well taken care of,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said during a speech in New Orleans Monday morning.

“We operate in some of the highest standards in the country. We provide food, medical, education, all needs that the child requests,” she said.

The DHS oversees both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which are the two agencies that handle adults who arrive at the border, whether illegally or legally by seeking asylum at a port of entry.

Where are the children held before the detention centers?

U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionBefore entering the detention centers, which the Department of Health and Human Services calls shelters, the children and adults go through processing centers.

ABC News national correspondent Marcus Moore Sunday went into the Rio Grande Valley Centralized Processing center in McAllen, Texas, which is run by Customs and Border Protection.

Inside, hundreds of men, women and children were divided among various holding cells. Some of the cells are made using gate-like materials, making them look like large cages.

In another part of the facility, a group of young children had gathered a central holding cell. The appeared to be resting on sleeping bags.

In other images from that facility, children are seen lying on mats with blankets that appeared to be made with tin foil, which could be similar to the foil wrap-type blankets used by runners after long races to retain body heat.

Who runs the detention facilities?

U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionThe facilities are run by private contractors hired by the Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS is the agency responsible for the care of unaccompanied children (both who arrive unaccompanied and those who are separated from their parents and therefore become unaccompanied).

The Casa Padre center in Brownsville is run by a private nonprofit called Southwest Key Programs. Ii also operates 26 other facilities, telling ABC News all its facilities are nearing capacity.

How many detention centers are there?

HHS told ABC News last week it operates a network of more than 100 shelters, which is the term they use for the detention centers like the one in Brownsville.

That was before another temporary shelter was created last week to meet growing demand.

Those shelters are located in about 17 states, a HHS spokesperson said.

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Monday
Jun182018

Wisconsin sisters arrested after stabbing each other, police say

Google Maps(MADISON, Wis.) --Police arrested two sisters in Wisconsin on Sunday after they allegedly stabbed each other while fighting in front of five young children.

Authorities arrived to their home in Madison, Wisconsin, about 80 miles west of Milwaukee, at around noon after one of the siblings called to report that she’d been injured, city officials said.

The sisters, ages 23 and 24, sustained stab wounds to the arm and were “uncooperative” with police, according to the city, which described their injuries as non-life-threatening.

A preliminary investigation indicated that both females had “engaged in mutual combat,” the city said in a statement. They were arrested on charges of domestic reckless endangering safety, according to the statement.

Police are looking for a third suspect, a 30-year-old male, who they said may have “initiated the disturbance.”

The city did not release the names or ages of the children, but it said Child Protective Services had been "plugged in to assist” with the case.

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Monday
Jun182018

Record flooding in the Midwest as East Coast continues to heat up

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- A stationary front produced torrential rainfall in the Great Lakes and Midwest over the weekend with up to 7 inches of rain falling Sunday in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Flood and flash flood watches continue from Wisconsin to Montana Monday with more rainfall to come.

The heaviest rainfall over the next few days will be from southern Wisconsin to Montana, where, in some areas, an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain is possible. The hard-hit Upper Peninsula of Michigan will see a break, though.

The biggest threat for severe weather Monday is in New England as the same storm system that brought all the flooding and severe weather to the Midwest and the Great Lakes moves east.

The biggest threat in the Northeast Monday will be damaging winds of more than 60 mph, some hail and flash flooding.

Heat up moves East

There are 18 states from Kansas to Maine under heat advisory or warnings on Monday.

Several cities in the Midwest broke record highs Sunday, including Waukegan, Illinois, at 93 degrees and La Crosse, Wisconsin, at 98 degrees.

The heat expands into the Northeast and East Coast with temperatures approaching possible record highs in major cities. The forecast will be for close-to-record highs Monday in Boston at 92 degrees (record: 94), Hartford at 92 (record: 95), New York City at 92 (record: 95) and Philadelphia at 92 (record: 96).

With the humidity, it will feel like nearly 100 degrees from Kansas City to Chicago to New York City.

But there is some good news, as Monday will be the last really hot day from Chicago to New York City. Temperatures will cool down by Tuesday with even cooler readings on Wednesday. Highs will be in the 70s in Chicago and near 80 in New York City on Wednesday.

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Monday
Jun182018

Armed bystander shoots, kills suspected carjacker in Washington state

KOMO(TUMWATER, Wash.) -- A bystander in Washington fatally shot a carjacking suspect on Sunday after the carjacker allegedly shot a man who refused to give up control of his vehicle, according to police.

Police said they received several calls on Sunday reporting a man who allegedly opened fire inside a Walmart in Tumwater, Washington, and attempted to carjack a vehicle in the parking lot there, according to Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO.

Police said the suspect shot a display case inside the Walmart before exiting and attempting the carjacking. No one inside was injured.

The suspect, whose identity was withheld, allegedly shot the driver after he refused to cooperate. He was attempting to carjack a second vehicle in the parking lot when the armed bystander intervened.

The suspect was pronounced dead on the scene.

Witnesses told KOMO that a total of three bystanders pulled guns on the suspect and at least one of them fired. The driver in the first attempted carjacking was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, about 60 miles north of Tumwater. His condition was not disclosed.

Police say the suspect may have been connected to an earlier attempted carjacking in Tumwater where a man opened fire at an intersection and injured a 16-year-old girl.

Authorities said her injuries were not life-threatening, but they did not disclose the nature of her condition.

Police are investigating both incidents.

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Monday
Jun182018

Roller coaster passenger who survived 34-foot fall was 'praying it was over'

ABC News (DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- Amanda Bostic remembers the harrowing moments when she was tossed more than 30 feet from a roller coaster that had just derailed.

"I remember falling through the air and I remember hitting the ground," she said during an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America."

The 34-year-old mother of two sons said she was "knocked out" from the fall. But when she she woke up, she heard cries for help and saw the roller coaster hanging off the rails.

"I will never forget that in my life," she said. "People on the ride were screaming; one [car] was dangling."

Bostic, of Knott County, Kentucky, was one of 10 people aboard the Sandblaster Thursday night in Daytona Beach's boardwalk amusement park. She and her friend -- who were in the first car -- were pitched 34 feet to the ground when the roller coaster lost control.

They were considered "trauma alerts" and rushed to the hospital.

Nine other passengers were transported to hospitals, officials said.

Bostic -- whose boys are 11 and 13 years old -- was visiting Daytona Beach with co-workers. Their holiday trip came to an end Thursday evening when she and her friend hopped on the Sandblaster, its first car detailed in red with hot, yellow flames.

She said nothing seemed out of sorts: There were seat belts that clicked, and she said a worker "pulled on them" before the train took off.

Yet Bostic said the ride didn't feel right.

"It seemed to be going a lot faster than I felt comfortable with," she said. "As we went around the turn it felt like it wasn't completely attached to the tracks. ... The car was leaning to the side and into the curve.

"I was scared and I was praying it was over."

Those fears were compounded when the train suddenly slipped off its tracks sending Bostic and her friend out of the car.

All she can recall are the sounds and flashes of the plunge.

"I remember hearing a lot of screeching. A lot of metal. A lot of sounds that just weren't right," Bostic said. "I closed my eyes and held on."

Daytona Beach Fire Department officials confirmed that 911 calls started flooding their dispatchers at around 10 p.m. on Thursday. Once arrived, responders found that eight passengers were still trapped on the derailed Sandblaster roller coaster and had to be rescued.

Upon arriving at the chaotic scene, firefighters found the first car of the Sandblaster -- where Bostic and her friend were seated in before ejecting -- "completely off the track and dangling front end towards the ground."

She says she suffered a concussion, deep bruises "from head-to-toe" and several cuts.

Still, she saw the dangling car positioned over her friend.

That's when she crawled over to try to help her friend.

"I was afraid it was going to fall on her," she said.

Bostic learned later from her co-workers stuck on cars hovering over her and her friend that she "bounced from support beam to support beam like a pinball."

Miraculously, she limped out with the aid of a walker from the Halifax Medical Center on Friday night -- one full day after her and other roller coaster riders' brush with death -- to mend from bruises all over her body and broken teeth.

Bostic's friend remains in the hospital with numerous fractured bones.

The investigation into the derailment is still under investigation.

Maintenance records logged by the Florida Department of Agriculture reviewed by ABC News verify the Sandblaster was tended to and that "deficiencies were corrected." The roller coaster's record is rife with records of numerous repairs going back to 2016.

The Sandblaster was serviced for "excessive corrosion," "bracing cracked" and "track cracked," according to the agency's event report dated May 17.

Since the derailment, the roller coaster has been halted pending an investigation, the most recent report confirmed.

Upon learning the roller coaster was serviced the same day of the derailment, Bostic is concerned the effort was incomplete.

"Something had to be missed," she said.

As she recovers from the visible and internal pain after an agonizing ride, she is swearing off roller coasters for good.

"I will never be on a roller coaster," she vowed. "My family will never be on a roller coaster."

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