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Tuesday
Apr232019

Militia group agrees to leave their encampment in New Mexico near US border

KVIA-TV(SUNLAND PARK, N.M.) --  An armed militia group of private citizens has agreed to leave their encampment near the U.S.-Mexico border after officials expressed concerns about them brandishing weapons on public property.

"They decided it wasn't worth the fight," Sunland Park, New Mexico, Police Chief Javier Guerra told ABC News on Tuesday.

Members of the group, which calls itself the "United Constitutional Patriots," were seen using military-style attire and firearms to detain dozens of migrant families last week. Video of the encounter was shared widely on social media.

The group has remained camped out near the border in New Mexico and plans to leave the area Wednesday morning, Guerra said.

The group's leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, was arrested Saturday after he was charged in a criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of New Mexico.

"Pointing a weapon at an unarmed individual is assault," Guerra told reporters in Sunland Park on Tuesday. "Now that I know there was an ex-felon over there, it does bring worry to me."

Federal officials also issued a warning to militia members over the weekend.

"Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved," a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official said in a statement.

Private citizens have organized along the southern border for years in attempts to stop immigrants. A group known as the Minuteman Project coordinates volunteers looking to spot and report people that they believe to be crossing into the United States illegally.

"It's our job to support law enforcement, not to be law enforcement," said Howie Morgan, a Minuteman Project leader.

Despite public warnings from federal and local officials, Morgan said that their group only reports what they believe to be illegal activity.

CBP did not respond to follow-up questions from ABC News about border agents' interactions with civilians offering unsolicited help and members associated with United Constitutional Patriots could not be reached for comment.

Hopkins, the group's leader, allegedly said the that United Constitutional Patriots had also plotted to assassinate Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, according to a 2017 criminal complaint.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico declined to comment further.

Hopkins will appear in court next week and, if convicted, faces up to 10 years in prison.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr232019

Bodycam video released in shooting of unarmed woman near Yale University

Connecticut State Police(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Newly released body camera video has shed new light into an officer-involved shooting in New Haven, Connecticut, that’s prompted protests.

Stephanie Washington, 22, was shot in the torso on April 16 in New Haven when an officer from the neighboring town of Hamden and another from Yale University unleashed a barrage of gunfire on the red Honda Civic that her boyfriend Paul Witherspoon was driving, authorities said.

The shooting unfolded at about 4:20 a.m. after Hamden police responded to a call of an attempted armed robbery at a gas station in Hamden, according to state police.

A car allegedly matching the description of the one leaving the scene of the attempted robbery was spotted on Dixwell Avenue in New Haven, state police said. Police stopped the Honda Civic that Washington and Witherspoon were in.

In the video, Witherspoon opens the door and within seconds, his hands go up and he is shot at by police. He was not struck.

The Yale officer did not have his dash camera or body camera on. The Hamden officer turned his body camera on just before the incident.

Commissioner James Rovella said “There were indications that he was told to open the door… or come out with his hands up.”

A surveillance video obtained by ABC News shows another vantage point – again appearing to show Witherspoon being shot at by police while his hands are in the air.

“I thought I was already dead because he pointed it right at me,” Witherspoon told ABC affiliate station WTNH-TV in New Haven.

Investigators said Washington, who was in the passenger’ seat, was shot in the torso. She is now in stable condition at a nearby hospital.

Rovella said there was "no gun found."

The officers involved claimed the driver made an abrupt movement and ignored commands.

In response to the incident, hundreds of Yale students have called for the two officers who fired their guns to step down.

Both officers have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut State's Attorney's Office. The officers have not commented on the incident.

Rovella said he has many concerns about how this case was handled.

The state’s attorney is continuing their investigation into the shooting.

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Tuesday
Apr232019

Brothers implicated in Jussie Smollett 'hoax' attack sue the 'Empire' actor's lawyers

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) --  The two Chicago brothers who claim Jussie Smollett paid them to help stage what police deemed a "hoax" attack filed a defamation lawsuit on Tuesday against the "Empire" actor's lawyers.

Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago accusing Smollett's attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian of making false public statements about them during a media blitz that has damaged them both emotionally and economically. 

The lawsuit claims Smollett's lawyers continued to proclaim the actor's innocence even after prosecutors said he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and do community service in exchange for them dropping 16 felony disorderly conduct counts against him stemming from what a Chicago Police Department investigation determined was a false police report about a January homophobic and racist attack.

The March 26 decision by the office of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx prompted outrage from police and then-Mayor Rham Emanuel, who called the move "a whitewash of justice." Foxx and her first assistant, Joe Magats, stressed the decision was not an exoneration of Smollett and expressed confidence that he would have been convicted if the case had gone to trial.

But the actor immediately held a press conference to continue denying the allegations made against him, saying he had been "truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother's son if I was he capable of one drop of what I was accused of."

The Osundairo brothers' lawsuit claims Geragos and Glandian continue to foster the myth that the attack on Smollett was real and portrayed the brothers as the perpetrators.

"Mr. Smollett's attorneys, faced with an outraged public, did not retreat after their success. Instead, they doubled down...," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit details a litany of "false" statements made by Geragos and Glandian in media interviews, including ones with ABC, NBC and numerous newspapers. Among the statements the suit characterized as defamatory were that the brothers "criminally battered" Smollett and committed a hate crime against him, that one of the brothers donned "whiteface" on the day of the attack, that the brothers illegally distributed foreign steroids, that they committed perjury in front of the grand jury and that Abimbola Osundairo had engaged in a homosexual relationship with Smollett.

ABC News has reached out to Geragos and Glandian for comment.

Smollett's defense lawyers not only affirmed their client "was a wholly innocent victim," but accused the Osundairo brothers of leading "a criminally homophobic, racist, and violent attack against Mr. Smollett."

Geragos and Glandian, according to the lawsuit, "made these comments knowing they were untrue to distract from Mr. Smollett's farce and to promote themselves and the Geragos & Geragos Law Firm."

In a joint statement released by their attorneys at a news conference on Tuesday in Chicago, the brothers, who also go by the names Abel and Ola Osundairo, said they are fed up with the "lies" being told about them by Smollett's legal team.

"We have sat back and watched lie after lie being fabricated about us in the media only so one big lie can continue to have a life," the brothers' statement said. "These lies are destroying our character and reputation in our personal and professional lives."

"Those who know us personally know hate for anyone is not who we are," the brothers said. "We try to spread as much love and positivity with whoever we come in contact with. We will no longer sit back and allow these lies to continue. "

Attorneys for the Osundairos said at the news conference that they were taking action in federal court so that those responsible for trashing the brothers' reputations are held accountable.

"Let me make one thing clear: The Chicagoan brothers told the truth. They could have remained silent," said Gloria Schmidt, one of the attorneys representing the brothers.

Schmidt said she hopes the lawsuit will also ensure that the "lies and malice" perpetrated on the brothers, the city of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department "are met with truth and healing."

James Tunick, another attorney for the brothers, described the public remarks by Geragos and Glandian about Abel and Ola Osundairo as "scorched earth lawyering" and added that such tactics "will not play out in the United States District Court in Chicago."

Smollett told police that on Jan. 29 he was walking to his Chicago apartment about 2 a.m. when two men wearing masks attacked him, screaming homophobic and racist slurs while pouring a liquid on him and putting a noose around his neck. Smollett also told police that the attackers yelled "This is MAGA country!" an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."

As part of the investigation, Chicago police spent hours combing through video surveillance before finding images of two men walking in the general vicinity of the reported attack around the time Sollett said it occurred. Detectives eventually tracked down the Osundairo brothers on Feb. 15.

While being questioned by investigators, the brothers claimed Smollett paid them $3,500 to help orchestrate and stage the crime after he became upset that a letter threatening him, sent Jan. 22 to the Fox studio where the television series "Empire" is filmed, did not get enough attention, police said. Police said they suspect that Smollett was the letter's author.

Schmidt said the brothers, who testified before the Cook County grand jury that indicted Smollett, knew Smollett from bit parts they performed on "Empire" and because the actor had hired them to get him in top shape for an upcoming music video.

The lawsuit claims that on Jan. 25 Smollett solicited the brothers to help him stage the street attack.

"Mr. Smollett told [the brothers], in private, that he needed a favor from them: they were to help him stage a social media hoax and pretend to attack him," the lawsuit says. "Mr. Smollett's motivation was simple. He wanted his employer and the public to notice and appreciate him as a successful Black, openly gay actor. So, Mr. Smollett directed every aspect of the attack, including the location and the noose."

The suit goes on to say that “Mr. Smollett used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence [the brothers], who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to ‘make it’ in Hollywood.”

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Tuesday
Apr232019

Kansas zoo identifies staffer attacked by Sumatran tiger

Topeka Zoo(TOPEKA, Kan.) -- A Kansas zookeeper who was attacked and badly injured by a Sumatran tiger when she inexplicably entered the animal's enclosure was identified on Tuesday as a 40-year-old wildlife veteran and "one of the most experienced keepers" at the Topeka Zoo, officials said.

Topeka Zoo officials said Kristyn Hayden-Ortega was inside the tiger exhibit Saturday morning when she was mauled by the 275-pound cat named Sanjiv.

"She is a truly remarkable member of our team," Brendan Wiley, director of the Topeka Zoo, said of Hayden-Ortega at a news conference. "She's one of those people you can talk and talk and talk about."

Hayden-Ortega, the married mother of a 3-year-old, suffered lacerations and puncture wounds to her head, neck, back and arms in the attack and remains hospitalized in Topeka, Wiley said. She was removed from the intensive care unit on Sunday and her condition continues to improve, according to Wiley.

He said investigators have yet to interview Hayden-Ortega, who has worked at the Topeka Zoo since 2001, about why she was in the enclosure with the 7-year-old tiger.

"That is what everyone wants to know. The honest answer to that is we think we understand the sequence of events. We need her to confirm that," Wiley said.

He declined to say if Hayden-Ortega, president of the Topeka chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, was unaware that the tiger was still in the enclosure when she entered to clean it, or whether she noticed the animal and entered anyway.

"There only should be a zookeeper in that space when that tiger is secured in an inside area," Wiley added.

"We thought safety was our No. 1 focus. What happened Saturday morning, I think, shows that it wasn't, and we're going to rework processes so that things like that can't happen again," Wiley said.

He said there are no surveillance cameras inside the tiger's enclosure. A webcam nearby recorded Hayden-Ortega walking inside the exhibit dragging a water hose just before she was attacked, but did not capture the horrific event.

A zoo volunteer, according to Wiley, was standing in front of the tiger enclosure when Hayden-Ortega was mauled about 9:15 a.m. on Saturday.

"There was a zoo volunteer stationed in front of the tiger exhibit that noticed something very wrong. That was Kristyn being in the outdoor tiger exhibit and the Sumatran tiger approaching," Wiley said, offering new details of the incident.

He said the volunteer turned around and alerted a zoo staff member nearby, who ran and got the attention of an elephant keeper and then radioed for emergency response.

Wiley said the zoo was immediately closed and evacuated and a tranquilizer gun was prepared but ended up not being needed to subdue the tiger.

He called three staffers "heroes" for managing to lure the tiger away from Hayden-Ortega with food and allow emergency personnel to begin treating the injured zookeeper within 8 to 10 minutes of the attack.

"Three of Kristyn's friends responded and really saved the day," Wiley said. "That volunteer could only stand there and watch and is having difficulty processing that."

Wiley said a thorough inspection of the enclosure failed to detect any problems with its gates or fencing that would suggest the tiger had escaped from a separate locked area while the zookeeper was in the animal's exhibit.

"We were 100 percent confident in the infrastructure of that facility when we put tigers back in later that same day," Wiley said. "We have no question about the integrity of the space or the environment."

Hayden-Ortega has traveled the world teaching and mentoring zookeepers, Wiley said. She's worked with elephants in Thailand and is a renowned expert on the African painted dog species.

"She is one of our most experienced keepers," said Shanna Simpson, an animal care supervisor at the Topeka Zoo. "She's an excellent trainer for the animals and our staff."

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Tuesday
Apr232019

Baby girl dies after being left in family car for hours in possible hot car case: Police

KNXV-TV(GLENDALE, Ariz.) -- An 18-month-old girl died after she was left in her family's car for several hours, Arizona authorities said.

The child's death is being investigated as a possible hot car case, said police in Glendale, where the temperature reached 88 degrees Monday.

When the baby's father found the girl inside the car at an apartment complex Monday afternoon, officers were sent to the scene.

The baby had been there for at least a few hours and "died from being left inside the vehicle," police said in a statement, adding that the parents were at the scene and spoke with detectives.

"Both parents are cooperating with detectives and they are very upset over losing their child," Glendale police spokeswoman Tiffany Ngalula told ABC News via email Tuesday.

"We will not be releasing their names as we are still working with them through this tragedy to determine exactly what occurred," she continued. "We have not formally submitted any charges at this time as we still have key portions of the investigation to complete."

The little girl's autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, Ngalula said.

As the investigation continues, the police department urged, "Always check twice for loved ones left inside of a vehicle that do not have the ability to get out on their own, because we are ultimately responsible for them."

While it was not immediately clear if the baby's death was hot car related, public safety group KidsAndCars.org warns that last year was the worst in history for child hot car deaths in the U.S., with a total of 52 fatalities.

"Hot car deaths continue to take place because nobody believes this could happen to them," KidsAndCars.org spokesperson Amber Rollins said in a statement Tuesday.

If the Arizona case is confirmed to be hot car related, it will mark the third hot car death of the year, according to KidsAndCars.org.

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Tuesday
Apr232019

More than 12,000 Boy Scout members were victims of sexual abuse, expert says

AmyKerk/iStock(NEW YORK) -- An expert who has been working with the Boy Scouts revealed that there may have been as many as 7,819 sexually abusive troop leaders and volunteers in the storied organization, according to newly released court documents.

More than 7,800 individuals allegedly abused 12,254 victims, according to the court testimony.

These figures were released Tuesday by attorney Jeff Anderson, whose firm regularly represents victims of sexual abuse and has been involved in numerous clerical sexual abuse cases.

The new testimony was entered into the court record as part of a January trial about child sex abuse at a Minnesota children's theater company.

One of the expert witnesses who testified was Dr. Janet Warren, who is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia’s medical school.

Warren testified that she has been "on private contract" with the Boy Scouts of America for the past five years, evaluating its handling of sexual abuse within the organization from 1944 through 2016.

Warren testified that she and her team worked with the group's ineligible volunteer files, which have sometimes been referred to as perversion files.

In her January court appearance, Warren said that she and her team have coded through all of those files, determining that there were "7,819 perpetrators who they believe were involved in sexually abusing a child."

"From reviewing all these files, we identified 12,254 victims," Warren said.

Anderson publicly released those numbers at a news conference in New York Tuesday, saying 130 of those perpetrators are in New York and could face legal repercussions. In August, the state's Child Victims Act, passed earlier this year, will allow a one-year period for any and all claims of sexual abuse from any time period to be brought forth in spite of existing statutes of limitations.

“The disclosure made by Dr. Janet Warren really sounded the alarm to us,” Anderson said.

The Boy Scouts of America released a statement after the disclosure, expressing sympathy for the victims and noting the work the organization has done to protect children.

“We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice,” the organization said in a statement to ABC News. “Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children.”

The organization confirmed it has maintained the Volunteer Screening Database since the 1920s and “at no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement.”

In the statement, officials also confirmed that Warren has worked with the Boy Scouts of America since 2013 to conduct ongoing research about the database and provide recommendations for improvement.

The existence of the abuse database is not new but the scope of the abuse is. In 2012, more than 14,000 pages of documents relating to abuse by 1,247 scout leaders was released in connection to a case in Oregon. That same year, The Los Angeles Times created a database detailing about 5,000 men and a small number of women tied to the Boy Scouts who were expelled in connection to sexual abuse.

Warren’s number shows a significant jump in that number and Anderson is calling for the Boy Scouts of America to make the list public.

“This is information that the Boy Scouts has and has had for several years... [and is still] keeping secret today,” Anderson said.

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Tuesday
Apr232019

24-year-old Wisconsin man Manuel Franco is winner of $768 million Powerball jackpot: 'It feels like a dream' 

LPETTET/iStock (NEW BERLIN, Wis.) -- Wisconsin resident Manuel Franco is the winner of last month's $768.4 million Powerball jackpot -- the third-largest lottery amount in U.S. history.

"It feels like a dream," Franco, 24, said at a press conference Tuesday.

"It was amazing, my heart started racing, blood pumping," he said. "I screamed for about 5 or 10 minutes."

"My dad cried lot," he added.

The winning ticket was sold on March 27 at a Speedway in New Berlin, about 15 miles west of Milwaukee.

"I walked into the Speedway and I purchased $10 worth of individual Powerball tickets," Franco said. "I honestly felt so lucky that I did look up at the camera and I wanted to wink at it cause I just had that lucky feeling."

He went to work the day after he won but was anxious and sweating. He said he never showed up to work again after that day.

Before the big win, Franco said his biggest concern was getting his bank account up to $1,000.

Franco, who was born in Milwaukee, has been playing Powerball since he turned 18. He said he bought his first ticket on his 18th birthday.

The jackpot has a lump sum cash value of $477 million, according to Powerball.

Franco said he is accepting the lump sum. He will receive just over $326 million after taxes, said lottery officials.

"I'm sure you'll never see me as like one of the people who went bankrupt or broke or anything like that. I plan to live my life normal as much as possible," he said.

Franco said he doesn't know what his future holds but that he wants to "help out the world."

State law does not allow the winner to stay anonymous, said Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin.

Franco had 180 days to claim the ticket.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr232019

Trump lawyer, Supreme Court justices clash over citizenship question on 2020 census

liveslow/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump's top administration lawyer clashed with liberal justices of the Supreme Court on Tuesday over the government's plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

"I'm sorry. It's not been a part of the survey since 1960," Justice Sonia Sotomayor protested, interrupting Solicitor General Noel Francisco as oral arguments began.

"It has been part of the census for a long time," Francisco fired back. The decision to include it again "is well within [Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross'] discretion."

"This is about 100 percent that people will answer less," Sotomayor shot back.

New York state and several civil rights groups that sued Ross, who oversees the census, say his decision to add a citizenship question was "arbitrary and capricious," flouting the best advice of experts and a politically motivated attempt to generate an undercount in heavily Democratic areas.

How the justices rule will impact the decennial count which determines how congressional seats are apportioned, how many electoral votes each state receives in a presidential election and how billions in taxpayer dollars are distributed on a per capita basis.

The Census Bureau told Ross that asking about citizenship would drive down the census count by about 6.5 million people, mostly among immigrants and their families.

"A secretary can deviate from his experts' recommendations and bottom line conclusions, but he needs reason to do that and I don't see any reason," said Justice Elena Kagan.

"This boils down to whether the secretary's judgment here is a reasonable one," said Francisco.

Ross has said he sought to reinstate the question at the request of the Justice Department, in order to improve enforcement of the federal voting rights law. But documents revealed in the case suggest that Ross had other motives and may have engineered the DOJ request himself.

Three lower federal courts found that Ross acted illegally -- in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner -- circumventing the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires federal agencies to carefully study all relevant evidence and facts pertaining to a problem before implementing a new policy. The agency must also publicly lay out the reasons for a decision and allow public comment.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Maryland also said Ross violated the Constitution "by unreasonably compromising the distributive accuracy of the Census."

The Constitution requires the government, every decade, to survey all "persons" living in the U.S. -- an "actual enumeration" -- regardless of citizenship or status.

The court's conservative majority was notably muted throughout the hearing, signaling potential inclination to support the administration's position. If all five justices vote to support Ross the lower court decisions will be overturned and the citizenship question added for 2020.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed out that several major countries ask a citizenship question on their census, which is a recommendation by the United Nations. He also pointed out that until 1950, a citizenship question was a regular feature of the census in the U.S.

"The UN says be careful and test the question to ensure that it doesn't hurt the enumeration," countered Barbara Underwood, solicitor general for the state of New York. "It's useful information for a country to have. The question is, should it be included on an instrument to get a count."

Chief Justice John Roberts signaled he also had concerns about Underwood's argument.

"You're right. But we've had demographic questions on the Census -- sex, age, do you own a house or own a radio?" Roberts said.

"But there is no comparable evidence that those questions depress the count in such a way," said Underwood.

Dozens of states, grassroots advocacy groups and the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives have filed friend-of-the-court briefs urging the justices to prioritize ensuring the most accurate count possible.

"An undercount would threaten at least one of California's seats in the House of Representatives -- and, by extension -- an elector in the electoral college," said California attorney general Xavier Beccera. "It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds."

Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, a nonpartisan public interest group, said the administration's approach amounts to discrimination.

"The citizenship question is a bald-faced attempt to racially rig the census, undercount communities of color and undermine fair representation which our democracy relies upon," she said.

A White House spokesman said the president is closely watching the case.

"He wants to know who is in the country. I think as a sovereign nation, we have that right. It's been a question that's been on the census for decades, but we'll wait and see how the Supreme Court rules," deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters.

The justices are expected to issue an opinion before the court ends its term in June. The Census Bureau plans to send it's short-form 2020 census questionnaire to print by June 30.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr232019

Feds charge pharma executive Lawrence Doud in a first over opioid crisis

Darwin Brandis/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Federal prosecutors charged pharmaceutical company Rochester Drug Cooperative and two of its former executives Tuesday in a new method of charges for a drug distributor related to the nation's ongoing opioid crisis.

Rochester Drug Cooperative (RDC), one of the nation's largest distributors of opioids, has entered into a non-prosecution consent decree with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which accused the company of failing to properly report thousands of suspicious orders of oxycodone, fentanyl and other controlled substances.

At the same time, the company's former chief executive, Laurence Doud III, has been placed under arrest by federal drug agents and is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later Tuesday. He's believed to be the first pharmaceutical executive associated with the nation's opioid crisis to face a criminal charge of diverting drugs for an illegitimate purpose.

In the nation's opioid epidemic, RDC is a middleman that buys controlled substances from manufacturers and sells them to individual pharmacies. As one of the nation's 10 largest drug distributors, it delivers to more than 1,300 pharmacies. Along the way, federal prosecutors claim, it ignored certain pharmacies that were placing suspicious orders.

"RDC was well aware that many of its largest pharmacy customers exhibited 'red flags' associated with the diversion of controlled substances, but failed to report these customers or their orders to the DEA as required," court records said.

RDC was among the drug distributors named last month in a civil lawsuit by the New York Attorney General's office, which alleged fraud, willful misconduct and gross negligence.

Between 2010 and 2018, the company sold more than 143 million oxycodone pills to customers in New York alone, the state's attorney general's lawsuit said.

The DEA has been investigating for years whether RDC failed to comply with pharmaceutical reporting laws. The company has previously paid to resolve claims it failed to properly report the theft of opioids.

According to court records, from 2012 through 2016, RDC filled more than 1.5 million orders for controlled substances from its pharmacy customers but reported just four suspicious orders to the DEA. In reality, there were at least 2,000 suspicious orders in those four years, federal prosecutors said.

"During this period, RDC shipped large quantities of opioids to pharmacies that RDC knew exhibited dispensing patterns that suggested the pharmacies were dispensing controlled substances for illegitimate medical purposes," court records said. "They did not report suspicious orders or pharmacy customers to the DEA because they did not want to risk losing revenue from these customers."

Opioid manufacturers are facing over 1,700 lawsuits over their role in the current crisis. Paul Hanly, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the federal litigation who said he is handling 2,000 cases, welcomed the move by U.S. prosecutors.

"The charges make the civil case against RDC easier to try and provide a potential roadmap to evidence that may prove the civil claims against other distributors," Hanly told ABC News on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr232019

Mystery deepens in Delphi girls' double murder

ABC News(DELPHI, Indiana) -- The mysterious murder of two Delphi girls deepened this week when Indiana State Police revealed new clues about the killer, including that he may live in the tight-knit Indiana community.

But this new information -- including a new sketch and more video evidence -- seems to leave the public with more questions than answers.
The crime

Eighth-graders Abby Williams, 13, and Libby German, 14, were enjoying a day off from school on Feb. 13, 2017, when they vanished on a hiking path.

Abby and Libby snapped this photo on the bridge on the day they disappeared.

Their bodies were found the next day near the trail.

The male suspect -- seen in this new sketch released on Monday -- is believed to be between 18 and 40 years old, but may appear younger than his age, police said.

Indiana State Police released a new sketch of the suspect in the unsolved murders of two teen girls.

Police had previously released a different composite sketch of the suspect.

Former FBI agent and ABC News contributor Brad Garrett said the new sketch likely came from a new witness -- "someone that's come forward, maybe alleging to have actually seen the guy they're looking for."

"The difficulty in any sort of sketch is that it's difficult obviously for people to remember exactly what somebody else looks like ... it's not uncommon for sketches to not necessarily look like the person you're looking for," Garrett said, which can translate into false leads.

Callahan Walsh, a child advocate with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, agreed.

"I think they have some new information. I think they have a new eyewitness who has come forward," he told "Good Morning America" Tuesday. "The [new] sketch isn't created from the video. A sketch like that is mostly done when someone is describing what a person looks like -- it's not a computer generated image from that video."

'Hiding in plain sight'

The killer is believed to currently or previously live in Delphi, work in town or visit on a regular basis, Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter announced Monday.

"We believe you are hiding in plain sight" and even "may be in this room," Carter said at a news conference.

"We likely have interviewed you or someone close to you," Carter said.

From the beginning, Garrett said he believed the killer was local and "attached to this community" of nearly 3,000 people.

"Carroll County, Indiana, is very rural ... when the superintendent of the police says 'local,' that's not just the town of Delphi. That's Carroll County," Garrett said. "This person could well live 15 miles from Delphi, but they're from here, they know that trail, they walk that trail ... it's reasonable to think that the killer isn't down the street from the trail, but he's in the proximity."

Garrett said that particular trail likely wouldn't have visitors from outside the area.

"The idea that a random person would happen to be walking down the railroad track and happen upon these two victims, and that they had never been there before, I think is low," Garrett said.

Serial offenders often do not leave the area where they committed their crimes, Garrett said, because "they feel comfortable that they're not gonna get caught."

"This particular killer, he's on a remote trail -- if he believes that nobody else saw him actually harm these two girls, then in his mind, he feels like he's home free," Garrett said.

"He's going to be somebody that is pretty good at keeping his mouth shut. That doesn't mean somebody doesn't know something, but he's been very good at maintaining his lifestyle," Garrett continued. "Some killers have an innate ability to do that ... it goes with criminals' ability to place their life in boxes -- commit these crimes, do awful things, continue on their normal life."

Walsh said it's likely the killer is "very close to the investigation" and is likely "trying to take the temperature of the investigators to determine what they know and how hot on his trail they are."

"It's not unlikely he could have been a volunteer in the search" for the girls that first day they went missing, Walsh added.

An abandoned car

Officials also said Monday they're looking for the driver of a car mysteriously abandoned on the day the girls' bodies were found.

Carter did not elaborate on the car's involvement in the case. But Garrett said he believes investigators either just learned about the car recently or were unable to find the driver.

"Maybe this car has taken on a different significance in this investigation," he said.

In 2017, police released a grainy image of someone seen on the trail the day the girls went missing along with a chilling recording found on Libby's phone with just three words heard: "Down the hill."

On Monday, state police released new audio and video footage from Libby's phone.

The brief video clip shows the suspect walking on the bridge near where the girls were last seen.

"When you see the video, watch the person's mannerisms as they walk," Carter said Monday. "Do you recognize the mannerisms as being someone you might know?"

It's hard to decipher what the suspect says in the new audio clips.

"The person talking ... is the person on the bridge with the girls," Carter told reporters. "Please listen to it very, very carefully."

Garrett said he doesn't understand why state police waited two years to release the additional footage.

"The critical window many times in catching people quickly is to release as much evidence as you can that won't compromise the case -- maximum amount of video, maximum amount of audio that you can get out there to trigger somebody to come forward," Garrett said. "That's how you get really good tips."

But to Walsh, the delayed release of the video and audio helps keep "the community invested in this crime."

"And if anybody out there who did know anything and maybe it's weighing on their conscience, they're seeing it out there again and they're getting a reminder that they need to do the right thing," Walsh said.

Walsh thinks Monday's press conference was an appeal to the community in hopes that more eyewitnesses will come forward.

"People sometimes think their tip may be insignificant so they don't say anything -- but it can often be the key that unlocks the door to justice," he said.

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