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Monday
Jul242017

Last killer whale calf born at SeaWorld dies in San Antonio

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- A 3-month-old killer whale calf named Kyara died in captivity at SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas on Monday, the park said in a statement.

Kyara was being treated for an infection, likely pneumonia, that SeaWorld's veterinary and animal care staff was "aggressively treating," according to the statement.

“Kyara had a tremendous impact on each of her care staff, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her," Julie, one of the park's orca trainers, said in the statement. "From late nights to early morning, rain or shine, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”

Kyara was the last killer whale to be born in captivity at SeaWorld's parks after the company announced it would end its breeding program last year.

According to the park, the whale's illness was not caused by being in captivity.

The whale's official cause of death has not yet been determined pending a full post-mortem examination.

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Monday
Jul242017

CIA and FBI documents on investigation into Kennedy assassination are released

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- More than 3,800 records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have been released this week by the National Archives.

Most of the documents were previously released with parts redacted, and 441 have never been released before. Of those that were previously redacted, some have now had the redactions removed.

Among the materials, which include CIA and FBI records, are transcripts and 17 recordings of interviews with Yuri Nosenko, a former KGB agent who defected in 1964 and claimed he was in charge of the KGB file on Lee Harvey Oswald when Oswald was in the Soviet Union.

The list of documents released Monday also includes some referring to the investigation into Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968, five years after President Kennedy was killed.

The National Archives has been working toward releasing documents related to Kennedy's death since 1992 when a law was passed to preserve the approximately 5 million pages of records surrounding the investigation.

Most of the millions of pages have already been released or made available to the public. Those released today had previously been withheld in part or in full. Several more batches of records are to be released this fall.

The materials released Monday can be viewed on the National Archives website archives.gov.

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Monday
Jul242017

4-year-old boy can't contain emotion during stepmom's heartfelt wedding vows

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- Two U.S. service members tied the knot over the weekend, but it was the groom's 4-year-old son who stole the show.

Emily Leehan, a senior airman in the Air Force, stood at the altar at Quincy Cellars in New York on Saturday to marry Marine Sgt. Joshua Newville and recited separate vows to his son Gage.

As she shared her meaningful words, her soon-to-be stepson became overwhelmed with emotion, welled up with tears and embraced her.

"When she started reciting the vows, that's when the emotion took over and he lost it," Newville told ABC News. "The whole day was pretty emotional, so I was just trying to keep myself together and keep him together."

Gage stood with his father as Emily finished with the words, "I may not have given you the gift of life, but life surely gave me the gift of you."

The two shared a hug and a kiss.

After the ceremony Gage was told how special he made the moment, "We were telling him, 'You did awesome,' and our family and friends were saying that and told him he made it even better," Newville said.

The 4-year-old is also a massive "Star Wars" fan and was clad in a Darth Vader mask as he entered the reception with the bridal party to the film series' famous theme music.

The active-military couple will not have a honeymoon at this time and will return to their Joint Base McGuire-Dix-LakeHurst, New Jersey.

Gage, who lives with his new stepmom and dad, also has, as his father put it, a "great mother," Kali Nuckols, who lives in Virginia Beach and he visits as much as possible.

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Monday
Jul242017

Oldest captive manatee dies at 69 in heartbreaking accident

ABCNews.com(BRADENTON, Fla.) -- The life of the world’s oldest captive manatee came to an end at the South Florida Museum on Saturday, one day after his 69th birthday.

Born in 1948, Snooty was the center of attention on Friday and the keeper of a manatee milestone worth celebrating. According to the non-profit Save the Manatee Club, the large marine mammals usually live up to 60 years or more in captivity.

But news of the marine mammal’s death one day later created a much different mood at the museum in Bradenton, Florida.

"Today we are getting an outpouring of love and support from our community and all of Snooty’s fans," South Florida Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio said at a news conference on Saturday.

According to museum officials, aquarium staff noticed on Saturday morning that an underwater hatch used to access plumbing in the manatee tank had been knocked loose and was opened.

"It appears that Snooty was able to get into the area, but was not able to extract himself from that situation," South Florida Museum COO Jeff Rodgers said.

Rodgers said that by the time staff reached the 69-year-old manatee, he was no longer alive.

Besio said that the museum is reviewing the situation and will "conduct a full investigation into the circumstances."

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Monday
Jul242017

Arizona rescue agencies airlift stranded hikers from floodwaters; 2 remain trapped

ABCNews.com(TUSCON, Ariz.) -- Arizona law enforcement officers have rescued a dozen hikers trapped in raging floodwaters but two remain stranded overnight in a wilderness area just east of Tuscon, officials said.

Dramatic video footage showed a Pima County Sheriff’s Department helicopter hovering over the rock-covered, fast-moving water of the Tanque Verde Falls as a rescuer was lowered on a line to save two hikers. The sheriff's department, together with the Southern Arizona Rescue Association and Rural Metro Fire Department pulled at least a dozen from the water as of late Sunday, including a 4-year-old boy, authorities said.

The rescue happened in a spot known as Redington Pass, a high mountain area of Tanque Verde Canyon, about 20 miles east of Tuscon.

As of late Sunday, two men remain trapped on a ledge on the far side of the canyon, according to the rescue association. Conditions were unsafe for the helicopter to retrieve them. A team of rescue association volunteers on foot made contact from the near shore and was waiting the night to keep an eye on them. Another team was hiking to access the men from the far side with the intention of descending the cliff to reach them.

"At that time water levels will be reassessed and a decision will be made to help them out on the far side or cross the stream if conditions are safe,” according to the rescue association.

Law enforcement officials said that area is known for flash flooding.

"It takes time for the water to flow from the mountain down to the valley, and when it does it can be swift and deadly," according to the sheriff's department. "All too often, hikers decide to hike just after it rains because the air temperature is cooler, not realizing they are walking into areas which are at an increased risk for flash flooding."

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Sunday
Jul232017

Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity, dies at 69

South Florida Museum(BRADENTON, Fla.) -- Snooty, believed to be the world's oldest manatee and the oldest manatee in captivity, has died one day after celebrating his 69th birthday, according to officials at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

Officials said Snooty's death was the result of a tragic accident where the manatee was able to get into an underwater area that's normally blocked off and used to access plumbing for the life support system.

"The manatees had access to get into this tight area," said Jeff Rodgers, the museum's provost and chief operating officer. "The young manatees were able to get in and out of that and it appears that Snooty was able to get into the area, but he was not able to extract himself from that situation."

Museum officials were trying to figure out how to deal with the situation, and when they were finally able to get to Snooty, he was dead, the COO said.

Rodgers added there was no indication of foul play or anything malicious.

South Florida Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio said the museum was "heartbroken" over Snooty's death.

"Snooty was important to so many," she said. "Today we are getting an outpouring of love and support from our community and all of Snooty's fans."

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Sunday
Jul232017

Grim details revealed as father is charged with murdering his 13-year-old son

La Plata County Sheriffs Office(BELLINGHAM, Wash.) -- Nearly five years after a 13-year-old boy disappeared while on a court-ordered visit with his father in Colorado, the man has been charged with murdering his son.

Mark Redwine was arrested Saturday in Bellingham, Washington, and may face a request by authorities to extradite him to Colorado where a grand jury has indicted him for second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of his son, Dylan, the Sheriff's Office in La Plata County, Colorado, said in a press release.

Redwine, who is being held in Washington on a $1 million cash-only bond, has in the past denied involvement in the death of his son Dylan. It is unclear at this time whether Redwine has obtained a lawyer or if he has yet made a plea.

Thanksgiving visit allegedly turned violent

Dylan was visiting his father in Bayfield in La Plata County for the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012 when he disappeared, the indictment says.

The father and son had argued on a previous visit, according to the indictment, and witnesses said Dylan had not wanted to go to his father's home that Thanksgiving.

Surveillance video at the airport, where the father picked up the boy who had flown from the home of his mother, Elaine, in Colorado Springs, and from a store they went to afterward showed that the pair had "little to no personal interaction," according to the grand jury indictment and Sheriff's press release.

"Dylan Redwine was never seen or heard from again after that evening," the indictment says.

Dylan had made plans to stay with a friend the same night of his arrival, a plan his father denied. The boy then made plans to visit a friend's house early the following morning. When Dylan did not show up, his friend texted, "Where are you?" the indictment states.

Redwine told police at the time that his son was in his home when he left to run some errands at 7:30 a.m. that morning and that when he returned four hours later, the boy was missing.

A previous wife of Mark Redwine's, Betsy Horvath, told investigators shortly after Dylan's disappearance that she was concerned Redwine might have hurt the boy. She said that during her and Redwine's own divorce and custody proceedings over their children he told her he would "kill the kids before he let her have them."

Horvath's account was referring to her children with Redwine, not to his children with his later wife, Elaine.

Horvath also told investigators that Redwine once told her that if he ever had to dispose of a body, he would leave it "out in the mountains," the indictment said.

At the time Dylan went missing, Redwine and his more recent wife, Elaine, were in the middle of a heated custody battle, the indictment states.

Elaine Redwine told ABC News in November 2012 that she suspected her ex-husband was involved in the boy's disappearance.

"I was married to Mark for a lot of years, and I know the way he reacts to things," Elaine Redwine told ABC News. "If Dylan maybe did or said something that wasn't what Mark wanted to hear, I'm just afraid of how Mark would have reacted."

Dylan's blood was found in Redwine's home

Grizzly details are laid out in the indictment of the discovery of Dylan's blood and later his remains.

The boy's blood was found in multiple locations inside of his father's living room, according to the indictment, including on the couch, the floor in front of the couch, the corner of a coffee table, the floor beneath a rug, and on a love seat.

In June 2013, some of Dylan's remains were found on a road about eight miles from his father’s home, and that August, police conducted a canine search to determine "if the corpse of a deceased person" had been present. The search found traces of the scent of a human cadaver in Redwine's home and in the bed of his truck, the indictment said.

More than two years later, on Nov. 1, 2015, hikers found Dylan’s skull one and a half miles away from where his partial remains had been discovered in 2013.

Wildlife experts determined that "no animal known to the area would transport a body up the mountain from Mr. Redwine's residence to the first recovery site ... [or] would transport the skull an additional 1.5 miles through the terrain where the skull was found," the indictment said.

Forensic anthropologists examined the skull and said it showed injuries "consistent with blunt force trauma," and that the skull "had two small markings consistent with the use of a knife."

Authorities in 2015 identified Mark Redwine as a "person of interest" in the death of Dylan, according to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV.

In the more than four years since Dylan has disappeared, the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and Federal Bureau of Investigation "invested thousands of hours in investigating this case," the Sheriff's office said in the press release announcing Redwine's arrest.

'A tremendous loss'

Betsy Horvath told ABC affiliate KMGH-TV that her heart breaks for Dylan's mom, Elaine, and Dylan's brother.

"They've suffered a tremendous loss," she said.

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Sunday
Jul232017

Lawyer: OJ Simpson 'is on cloud nine' and planning a 'quiet' post-prison life

ABCNews.com(CARSON CITY, Nev.) -- The countdown is on for O.J. Simpson's release from Nevada's Lovelock Correctional Center, which could come as early as Oct. 1.

So how is the former football star's state of mind?

"Mr. Simpson is on cloud nine," his lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, told Fox News' Jeanine Pirro during an interview Saturday night. "He obviously likes the outcome ... Everything is hung from the moon at this point."

A group of four commissioners from the Nevada parole board on Thursday granted parole to Simpson after he served the minimum nine years of his 33-year sentence for a 2007 kidnapping and armed robbery incident in Las Vegas. Simpson was sentenced to prison after he allegedly led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal sports memorabilia at gunpoint; he contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him, and he denied ever holding a gun or threatening the robbery victims.

Following the parole board's decision, Simpson is now in protective custody, having been moved to a separate part of the prison and removed from the general population, according to Nevada Department of Corrections spokesperson Brooke Keast.

But that's not sitting well with Simpson, according to LaVergne.

"The only thing that's kind of a little bit disheartening for him is that he's had a change of custody status, and they are going to kind of change that for the next couple of months until he's released," LaVergne said. "He's had to move his cell to an area where he is a bit more protected. There's good reason for that. One of them is for his own safety and basically not to rile things up ... There is a legitimate concern about threats."

As for his post-prison life, LaVergne said, "Florida has obviously been mentioned. California is another option. He is looking forward to spending a lot of time with his family. There were loved ones who have passed away, who he wants to honor them at their graves. He wants to live a quiet life."

And contrary to reports and Internet speculation, LaVergne said Simpson is not currently negotiating any deals, such as starring in a reality show.

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Saturday
Jul222017

Trump says new aircraft carrier ensures that 'if a fight does come... we will win' 

Janet Weinstein/ABC News (NORFOLK, Va.) -- President Trump at the commissioning of the Navy's first new aircraft carrier in 40 years declared that the massive ship ensures that "if a fight does come ... we will win."

The president made his remarks aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, which was unveiled at a commissioning ceremony on Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia.

The massive ship -- which displaces 100,000 tons of water and is about twice as long as the Washington Monument would be on its side -- cost nearly $13 billion to build, making it the Navy's most expensive aircraft carrier ever.

Navy officials say the ship is state-of-the-art, from its voyage-management system to the design of its sleeping quarters for sailors.

The president said the aircraft carrier sends a message to the world that “American might is second to none.”

"This ship also ensures that if a fight does come, it will always end the same way," Trump said. "We will win, win, win. We will never lose."

The president also touted securing $20 billion dollars for the defense budget and took a subtle swipe at previous administrations for what he said was unpredictable military funding.

"For years our government has subjected the military to unpredictable funding ... This has led to deferred maintenance, a lack of investment in new equipment and technology."

Navy officials said the USS Gerald R. Ford is the first of a class that will replace Nimitz-class carriers as the next generation of ships.

“This is the first new design of an aircraft carrier in more than 40 years, and it really is a state-of-the-art ship,” U.S. Navy Cmdr. Dave Hecht told ABC News. "The USS Gerald R. Ford is really a quantum leap into the 21st century."

ABC News and other media were invited on a tour of the carrier 12 days before its commissioning on Saturday. Officers brought the press around for a quick look at the flight deck, crew quarters, navigation room, and other spaces that represent advancements from earlier classes of carriers.

“Our voyage-management system is the only one of its kind. Our steering gear-control system, only one of its kind,” Petty Officer 1st Class Jose Triana said. “You really can’t compare it to anything else.'

On the flight deck, planes will use a new electromagnetic system to launch as opposed to the old steam-driven catapult.

The redesign extends to the sleeping areas. Before, 100 sailors would be crammed together at night. Now, only 25 to 30 will sleep in each area.

The massive 1,100-foot warship won’t be sent into combat for at least four more years, as it still needs to undergo more testing. Around 2,600 sailors will work and call the ship home once it’s fully operational.

Despite the delays and big price tag, the U.S. Navy says the Ford-class carriers will be $4 billion cheaper to construct compared to older ships.

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Saturday
Jul222017

Police pursue misdemeanor charges against teens who they say recorded man's drowning

iStock/Thinkstock(COCOA, Fla.) -- Police in Florida are pursuing misdemeanor charges against five teenagers for failure to report a death after authorities say they recorded video of a man’s drowning and didn't intervene.

The video, taken earlier this month in Cocoa, Florida, about 45 miles east of Orlando, shows a person's head bobbing up and down in a pond. The teenagers, who are between the ages of 14 and 18 and have not been named by police, are heard laughing and joking in the video, with one of them appearing to laugh and say, "He just died!"

Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe said the department learned of the recording last weekend and later reviewed it. Police identified and interviewed the five teens, he said.

Police in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office determined that charges of "failure to report a death under Florida Statute 406.12," a misdemeanor, will be pursued, the Cocoa police said in a statement Friday. Police said the charging document, case report and video evidence are being sent to the State Attorney’s Office for review, and a decision about whether the charges will be prosecuted.

“When we initially reviewed this case it was determined there were no laws broken as the teens were not directly involved with the death,” Cantaloupe said in a statement Friday. "Further research of the statutes and consultation with the State Attorney’s Office yielded the decision to move forward with charges under this statute. It’s our belief that this law has never been enforced in a scenario like this, but we feel it could be applicable.”

Cantaloupe added, “Pursuing criminal charges is a way to hold them accountable for their own actions.”

Earlier, Cocoa police said that the five teenagers were not facing criminal charges after the State Attorney’s Office was consulted.

“As horrible as this video is the laws in the State of Florida do not obligate citizens to render aid or call someone to render aid to a person in distress," Cantaloupe said on Thursday.

The victim, 31-year-old Jamel Dunn of Cocoa, drowned July 9, police said. He was reported missing July 12 and authorities recovered his body July 14 after a passerby reported a body floating in the pond.

Police said home surveillance video apparently captured Dunn jumping over a fence and willingly going into the water. "I don't think you can ever replace a lost life," Cantaloupe told ABC News Friday.

He added, "I think what we look at is, the hope that what we do from here going forward, whether it be this charge or some new legislation, that another family doesn’t have to go through this. And that we work with our youth ... to instill these morals ... I would’ve never believed that somebody could watch somebody in distress and not do anything about it."

Of the video recorded by the teenagers, Cantaloupe said in a statement Thursday, "There are no words to describe how utterly inhumane and cruel the actions of these juveniles were towards Mr. Dunn. ... I want to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Dunn’s family and friends."

Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III released a statement Friday regarding the incident. "It saddens me to the core to watch video shot by a group of kids watching a man drown and doing nothing to help him. There just are no words to describe the lack of conscience within these young people," he said.

"I also would like to extend my deepest condolences to Mr. Dunn’s family and friends," he added. "My hope is we all come together to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else."

Parrish said of the decision to pursue charges, "While this in no way will bring justice for what occurred, it is a start."

"In a case like this we struggle to understand how anyone could be so cold and heartless and then learn that there are no laws in Florida that obligate someone to render aid or call for someone to render aid for a person they see in distress," he said. "If this case can be used as an example to draft new legislation, then I am committed to move forward to make that happen. More so, may this tragic incident, which has shocked all of us, cause each of us to examine ourselves and our responsibility to one another."

"I implore the State Attorney’s Office to follow through and file the charges presented by the Cocoa Police Department!" he added.

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