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Tuesday
Aug092011

Obama at Dover Air Force Base to Witness Return of Fallen Soldiers

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DOVER, Dela.) -- President Obama arrived at Dover Air Force Base Tuesday to pay his respects to the fallen service members who lost their lives in this weekend’s deadly helicopter crash in Afghanistan, and to witness the dignified transfer of their remains.

The president arrived at Dover at 12:30 p.m. to see the arrival of the remains of the 22 SEALs, three Air Force controllers, and five Army helicopter crew killed Saturday when Taliban insurgents shot down a CH-47 Chinook in the Tangi Valley, marking the deadliest single attack in the Afghan war's ten year history.

The identities of the 30 victims are being withheld at this time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug092011

Fugitive Dougherty Siblings Allegedly Have Deadly 'Arsenal'

FBI Atlanta Field Office(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The fugitive Dougherty siblings, on the lam for a week, have an arsenal of high-powered weapons, and a newly released video shows that the siblings know how to use them, police said.

Ryan Dougherty, 21, sister Lee Grace E. Dougherty, 29, and half-brother Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, have been on the run since Aug. 2 when they allegedly shot at a Florida police officer attempting to pull over their white Subaru Impreza for speeding. A few hours later, they allegedly robbed a bank in Georgia.

"We know that Ryan several years ago purchased an AK-47 at a pawn shop," Pasco County (Florida) Sheriff Chris Nocco said.  "We know his brother, Dylan, also purchased several high-caliber rifles and handguns...We were also informed by family members that they do have a large arsenal and when we searched the house, there were no weapons or any ammunition left so we know they took them with them."

Nocco said the siblings could be anywhere.

"We want to reiterate to the Dougherty family, we want you to turn yourselves in, we want a peaceful resolution, but at the same time we understand if they want to battle with us, we have the resources and we will win," Nocco said.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office on Monday released dash-cam video of the high-speed chase that launched the nationwide manhunt to find the siblings, now dubbed the Dougherty Gang.

The chase started the same day that Ryan Dougherty had allegedly cut off his court-ordered ankle monitoring device.  He'd been forced to register as a sex offender for sending explicit text messages to an 11-year-old girl.

The video shows the Doughertys' white Subaru zooming by the Zephyrhills, Florida police car.  The police officer can be heard saying, "Speeds over 100 mph at this time."

The siblings allegedly take aim at the car.  The officer says, "Fired several shots at me."

Nocco said the Doughertys weren't just trying to disable the police car, they were trying to kill the officer.

Luckily, the officer was uninjured.  The chase came to an end when one of the 20 shots fired at the officer punctured his patrol car's tire.

A few hours later, the siblings allegedly robbed a bank in Valdosta, Georgia.  A masked woman who appears to be Lee Grace Dougherty is seen allegedly holding an Uzi submachine gun.

"She had her finger on the trigger.  We know they are trained in these weapons, they're not afraid to use them and they are extremely dangerous," Nocco said.

A week into the manhunt for the violent criminals, spottings have been reported throughout the southeast, including one in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  A digital billboard campaign is also being used by law enforcement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug092011

Panetta Comments on 30 US Deaths: 'We Will Never Stop'

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Monday's Change of Command ceremony at Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida was to have been a happy event, but everyone's thoughts were on the deaths of 30 American servicemembers in this weekend's deadly crash.

The ceremony was even more poignant because the change of command involved two Navy SEALs, Adm. Bill McRaven taking over from Adm. Eric Olson.  The majority of those killed in the crash were Navy SEALs.

In his remarks, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said their deaths will not diminish U.S. efforts, but instead will strengthen the push to victory in Afghanistan.

"We will never stop," said Panetta.  "We will fight on until we have achieved the final goal of victory over terrorism.  This is a reminder.  It's a reminder to the American people that we remain a nation still at war, one that has seen its share of triumph and tragedy."

Panetta noted that "the thoughts and prayers of the entire nation are with the families and with the loved ones of those we lost in Afghanistan over the weekend."

He said the servicemembers were far from home, but "where they wanted to be" with men they considered "perhaps closer to them than their own brothers."  "We owe them our deepest gratitude for their willingness to put their lives on the line, for their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their nation."

Panetta said, "We must also must pledge to them and to their families that we will never cease fighting for the cause for which they gave their lives, the cause of a secure and safer America."  He added: "We will honor the fallen by showing the world our unyielding determination to press ahead, to move forward with the hard work that must be done to protect our country."

"As heavy a loss as this was, it would even be more tragic if we allowed it to derail this country from our efforts to defeat al Qaeda and deny them a safe haven in Afghanistan."  Instead he said, "we will send a strong message of American resolve" and "greater inspiration to carry on the fight, to continue to hunt down those who would do us harm."

Panetta said the world saw the success of special operations forces during the Osama bin Laden raid, but he explained how those successes are driven by "the willingness of these brave warriors to shoulder heavy burdens, to take on great risks.  And as we all know, that comes often times at a very high cost."

Panetta said that though the ceremony was being held at a time of great loss, "we affirm our even greater resolve and commitment to complete the mission at hand." He said that with Adm. McRaven "at the helm, we will honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice by showing even more determination to do everything we can to ensure that our fellow citizens and future generations have a safer and better life.  Those who we have lost in combat in Afghanistan would have it no other way."

The remains of the SEALs and other servicemembers killed in this weekend's crash will soon begin to arrive back in the U.S.  They will arrive quietly and without media coverage at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware because they are returning in an "unidentified status."  There will be no media coverage because they have not all been identified and next of kin are not in a position to grant approval for media access as required by Defense Department guidelines.  Families will still be present for the arrival.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug092011

Oregon Hiker Fell 50 Feet, Survived Three Days on Bugs, Berries

ABC News(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- An Oregon hiker who fell 50 feet off a cliff and spent three nights alone in a national forest said that she was unwilling to die after the accident, and ate caterpillars and berries to survive.

An Oregon Army National Guard air search team spotted 28-year-old Pamela Salant and rescued her from the Mount Hood National Forest last week.  Salant had been missing since July 31 after she got lost and fell during a camping trip with her boyfriend.

"I didn't even feel myself landing; I just sort of like waking up and like,  'Whoa what just happened?' and then looking at my leg and then seeing like it was at a bowed kind of angle," Salant told reporters from her bedside on Monday.

She says that after the fall she stayed close to a creek to keep her bearings and have access to water.  While recovering in a hospital she told reporters that her survival instincts kicked in.  Since she was only wearing shorts and a tank top at the time of the accident, she covered herself with moss to stay warm.

"That drive to live was so strong for me, and I just like really felt like I just wasn't done yet," she said.  "I never wanted to give up really, I just was not certain my body could handle it with my broken leg and I was...crawling all over, around waterfalls and on the riverbed, so I was kinda doing some dangerous things."

She said that during her ordeal she attempted to eat a snail-like forest mollusk, which "looked really tasty, but it was not."  She spat it out.

Crawling and scooting because she was unable to walk on her broken leg, Salant moved more than a mile from where she fell along a drainage path in hopes of reaching the Columbia River.

"I just kept pushing through all the pain.  I just wanted to keep going," she said.

Her boyfriend Aric Essig called for help when she didn't return, and volunteers and rescue workers searched for her.  On Monday night, she thanked all of those who aided in her rescue.

"I'm just so thankful that I'm here," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

FBI Says DNA Doesn't Match in D.B. Cooper Case

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI says DNA found on D.B. Cooper's clip-on tie and DNA taken from the daughter of suspect L.D. Cooper is “not a match.” However, FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt says “that doesn’t suggest that the current lead is a dead end.”

“It’s possible that the DNA sample taken off the tie was not from the hijacker," Gutt told ABC News. "There are questions about the tie -- it may have been borrowed or purchased used. The DNA may be from someone else."  

Gutt also says, “The tie had two small DNA samples, and one large sample lifted off in 2000-2001. It’s difficult to draw firm conclusions from these samples.”

When asked if the "no match" finding damaged Marla Cooper’s credibility, Gutt replied it did not. Marla Cooper recently came forward claiming to be the niece of infamous hijacker D.B. Cooper.

“We haven’t come up with anything that is inconsistent with her story,” he said.

What the FBI really needs to make the case, Gutt said, is a fingerprint from L.D. Cooper to match against fingerprints found on the hijacked plane.

“We are working with surviving family members to try to identify objects he may have handled," Gutt said.

Since L.D. Cooper died in 1999, that may prove to be an impossible task, but the FBI is planning to revisit Marcia Cooper, L.D.’s widow, who lives in Sparks, Nev., to see if they can find anything that may still hold L.D’s prints.  

“Without fingerprints,” Gutt said, “we just have circumstantial evidence.”  He said exhuming L.D’s body to obtain DNA would do no good, since “we have nothing certain to compare it to.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News

Monday
Aug082011

Ohio Gunman's Final Victim Was 11-Year-Old Child He Hunted Down

Comstock/Thinkstock(COPLEY, Ohio) -- The final victim of the rampaging Ohio gunman who killed seven people was an 11-year-old boy he hunted down, killing him in a neighbor's basement where he was hiding.

The gunman was identified Monday as Michael Hance, 51.

All but one of the victims' identities were released Monday with most of them being relatives of his girlfriend, Rebecca Dieter, who were in town from Kentucky for a family reunion they were planning on attending later in the day.

Rebecca Dieter was the only survivor of Sunday's shooting rampage. Police said she suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Hance became the eighth casualty when he was killed by police officer.

Copley Police Chief Michael Mier told ABC News that police are baffled by the shooting spree which has stunned the town of 17,000 people, about 40 miles south of Cleveland.

"I don't think we can tell you with any degree of certainty yet why this happened," Mier said.

The most troubling part of the carnage, however, was Hance's apparent determination to kill Scott Dieter, his girlfriend's 11-year-old nephew.

What police have determined so far is that Hance shot his girlfriend at her home where he was also living. He shot five people outside an adjacent house: Rebecca Dieter's brother Craig Dieter, 51, Russell and Gudrun Johnson, their granddaughter Autumn Johnson, 16, and a teenager whose identity wasn't released because his family wasn't yet notified.

It appears the gunman then pursued at least two people through neighboring backyards: Bryan Johnson, 44, and little Scott Dieter.

Police said the two split up and ran in different directions. Hance chose to keep pursuing Bryan Johnson, who he quickly shot and killed. Hance then doubled back and went hunting for the boy, who had sought protection in a neighbor's house.

A woman had let Scott Dieter into her house and hid with him in her basement along with her own children and boyfriend, in an effort to protect him. Police say Hance forced his way into the basement and shot the child, but did not attempt to hurt anyone else.

While Hance was forcing his way into the home, a 911 call from the woman recorded the family's terror. In the call, a child can be heard crying in the background and the woman cries, "We are so scared," as the shooter enters her house.

After shooting Scott Dieter, Hance exited the house where he was confronted by a police officer and a civilian who was a former police officer. Mier said the officer asked Hance to drop his weapon, but shot him when Hance refused to comply.

Mier said that everything indicates that it was the police officer who shot and killed the gunman. 

Rebecca Dieter, the lone survivor, is in the hospital but police said her condition has not been released and they have not been able to interview her yet.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Arrest Made in 27-Year-Old Murder Case

ABC News/Handout(PLEASANTON, Calif.) -- A former classmate of high school student Tina Faelz was arrested Sunday, 27 years after Faelz was found stabbed to death.

Officers from the Pleasanton Police Department in California said they had arrested a 43-year-old Santa Cruz man after they uncovered biological evidence they say linked him to the murder.

"We put together a probable cause to arrest him based on interviews with witnesses and the biological evidence we got back," said Lt. Jim Knox of the Pleasanton Police Department. "He didn't express a lot of emotion....It wasn't consistent with what you would expect."

Since the murder occurred when the suspect was a minor, his name has not been released. The case must be cleared through the juvenile courts -- a process that is taking place this week.

The man was already in custody for unrelated drug charges when police found a link to Faelz. He was arrested for the murder upon his release.

Police say Faelz and the suspect attended the same high school when the crime was committed.

Faelz, who was 14 at the time of the crime, was found stabbed to death in a drainage area adjacent to Interstate 680 on April 5, 1984. Her Foothill High School classmates found her body.

Police underwent an extensive investigation at the time but couldn't pinpoint a suspect or locate a murder weapon. The case has remained open and unresolved for nearly three decades.

The suspect is expected to have a hearing as early as Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Strauss-Kahn Accuser Files Civil Suit Alleging "Sadistic Attack"

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The hotel maid who has accused former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in a New York hotel filed a civil lawsuit Monday.

In a 16-page civil lawsuit filed Monday in the Bronx, Nafissatou Diallo accuses Dominique Strauss-Kahn of a “violent and sadistic attack” that robbed her of “her dignity as a woman.”   

Even as Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance decides whether to go forward with a criminal case, Diallo, in a civil suit, says Strauss-Kahn caused her “severe mental anguish and emotional distress from which she may never fully recover.” She is asking for a damage award of an unspecified amount.

The suit comes two weeks before Strauss-Kahn’s next scheduled court date Aug. 23.  Prosecutors, meanwhile, have been weighing “concerns” about Diallo’s credibility.

Her civil suit portrays an encounter between “a man who had aspirations to become the next president of France” and “an innocent hardworking immigrant woman from Africa whom he had never met.”

The suit is detailed and graphic in its description of Diallo’s version of the encounter and its aftermath.  It quotes from news accounts to demonstrate the “public humiliation, shame, scorn and disdain throughout the world” it says were brought to bear against her.

The play-by-play of the encounter is consistent with the version Diallo gave in her interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts.  

“I want to let people know the truth,” Diallo said in the interview.  “I have to tell the truth.”

The suit notes, without specifics, alleged prior acts: “With violence and depravity in his heart and having the confidence of sexually assaulting other women in the past who did not immediately come forward Defendant Strauss-Kahn forced Ms. Diallo all the way to the back of the suite and down on her knees outside of a bathroom at the end of the corridor.”

Diallo’s attorneys are prepared to call as witnesses other women “who were sexually attacked” by Strauss-Kahn in hotel rooms, in apartments, at his place of business or “who were going about their normal day.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Sisterhood of SEAL Wives Rush to Support Widows

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.) -- The wives of Navy SEALs are rallying around one another, sharing support for the widows of the 22 SEALs who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

They also share the trepidation for those waiting to hear which husbands will be deployed to replace those who have fallen.

While the SEALs are known for their courage and toughness, their wives, mothers and fiances are displaying some of that same grit.

"He was a fabulous son to his parents and a great big brother, and to me, the love of my life," Kimberly Vaughn, wife of slain SEAL Aaron Vaughn, told ABC News through tears.

Aaron Vaughn — a 30-year-old father of two with a newborn daughter he had been with for just two weeks before heading back overseas — had volunteered to return to combat, his wife said.

Kimberly Vaughn, a former NFL cheerleader, met her husband when she was performing with United Service Organizations Inc.

When the doorbell rang on Saturday, and she saw the men in uniform, she says she fell to her knees.

"The energy, everything just drops out of you. I just remember saying, 'No, no,'" she said. "His last words to me were 'I love you, I'll talk to you later.' And one day in heaven we will."

The wives and mothers of Navy SEAL operating base Dam Neck, an air station near Virginia Beach, began their grim vigil when news broke that the Taliban had shot down a helicopter rushing to the aid U.S. soldiers. The crash claimed the lives of 30 U.S. troops, 22 of them Navy SEALs.

The possibility of catastrophic news comes with the territory when women say "I do" and marry a SEAL. They cope with that as best they can.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Fugitive Siblings 'Committed to One Another' on Dangerous Mission

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Text messages and tweets by three fugitive siblings who shot at a police officer and robbed a bank reveal a dangerous mindset and a firm bond between the siblings, investigators said Monday.

"We've certainly seen their mindset when they shot at a law enforcement officer outside of Tampa Bay, Fla., and when they fired inside that bank in Valdosta, Ga. But these additional texts and tweets have given us additional insight," FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett told Good Morning America Monday. "We are concerned and feel that they are going to continue and cause problems to say the least for law enforcement."

Ryan Dougherty, 21; his sister Lee Grace E. Dougherty, 29; and half-brother Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, have been on the lam since Aug. 2 when they shot at a police officer attempting to pull their white Subaru Impreza over for speeding. A few hours later, they robbed a bank in Georgia.

While on the run, they've sent a text message to their mother that read, "There's a time for all of us to die." Investigators said that previous tweets also reveal details about the siblings' bond. Investigators won't discuss the content of those tweets.

The three siblings, dubbed the Dougherty Gang, were allegedly driving as fast as 100 mph on Aug. 2 when a Zephyrhills, Fla., police officer attempted to pull them over. They fired 20 shots at the officer and escaped when one of the bullets hit the police car's tire. The officer was not injured.

A few hours later that same day, about 200 miles North in Valdosta, Ga., the Dougherty gang allegedly robbed a bank while wearing masks and firing rounds from an AK-47 at the ceiling. They escaped with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

"It's very unusual to have siblings like this so well armed, so committed to whatever mission that they think they're on and to have demonstrated such propensity for violence," Emmett said. "The problem that we feel we're facing is that they're committed to each other as siblings, so that's going to create additional issues for any law enforcement that is confronting them."

Police have found an elaborate bunker, constructed out of two 40-foot storage containers, under an abandoned house where the trio reportedly once lived.

The siblings share a lengthy criminal history that includes 20 felonies among them. The charges range from drug possession to battery and burglary. Ryan Dougherty's latest crime may have sent he and his siblings on their current spree.

Ryan Dougherty had recently been put on court probation and was forced to register as a sex offender after sending explicit text messages to an 11-year-old girl. He feared that his conviction would keep him from seeing his unborn baby.

Barbara Bell, the mother of the fugitive siblings, has publicly appealed to her children to turn themselves into authorities.

"Only mom knows what good people you are inside," Bell told ABC Affiliate WFTS. "Please prove me right and everybody wrong by doing the right thing now and turning yourselves in."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio