West Virginia residents using wasp spray as meth alternative: Police 

kirisa99/iStock(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- Residents in West Virginia are using wasp spray as an alternative form of methamphetamine, according to officials.

West Virginia State Police called the use of wasp spray a “cheap fix” for the drug.

“People are making a synthetic type methamphetamine out of wasp spray,” Sgt. Charles Sutphin told ABC Charleston affiliate WCHS-TV Monday.

Police believe wasp spray was behind three overdoses last week. It was not immediately clear how the people consumed the spray.

Sutphin said the physical effects include erratic behavior, extreme swelling and redness of the hands and feet.

Pyrethroid, a chemical found in wasp sprays, can cause allergic reactions in some people and repeated exposure could increase the intensity of the reaction, according to a recent study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on pesticides.

Sutphin echoed the notion that the more often one encounters wasp spray, the more dangerous it becomes.

“From what we're being told, if you use it, you know, you might use it one or twice and be fine, but the third time when your body hits that allergic reaction, it can kill you,” he told WCHS.

Dr. Rutherfoord Rose, the director of the Virginia Poison Control, told ABC News Wednesday that fatal allergic reactions from pyrethroid are rather uncommon but a person could be seriously poisoned.

He noted that the the trend of abusing household items to get high is not new, specifically mentioning the idea of sniffing white-out, paint and whipped cream.

“There’s a long history of people attempting to use products in an attempt to recreate some kind of high,” Rose said.

The reasons for using wasp spray as an alternative form of meth, he said, could be a result of what he described as a more restrictive opioid market.

“It's not surprising that as the opioid market becomes more restricted, people are turning to other things," he said.

“It’s a sign or a symptom of a larger problem we have … we work on the supply, but there’s also the demand and that’s a lot harder. If you restrict the supply of some things, they’ll turn to something else," he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Beachgoers attempt to push more than 20 beached whales back into ocean

@Lauren2point_oh/Twitter(NEW YORK) -- Beachgoers in Georgia attempted to save the lives of more than 20 pilot whales that beached themselves along the coast, according to officials.

The pod of whales began turning up on the beach on St. Simons Island Tuesday afternoon, prompting hundreds of volunteers to push them back out to sea, according to Glynn County EMA and Homeland Security.

Several videos posted to social media show the volunteers surrounding the whales as they collectively heaved them from the sand to the water.

At least two of the whales died, including one that was euthanized, but the rest were safely returned to the water, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. They were last seen swimming in the St. Simons Sound, "and it is hoped they will continue to keep moving out to sea," the statement read.

It is unclear what caused the strandings, but they are a "natural occurrence," Clay George, wildlife biologist with the GPNR, said in a press release.

"The only thing we can do is to continue pushing them out to sea," George said.

Pilot whales are the most common species among cetaceans known to strand in mass numbers, according to the department.

Pilot whales have a herd mentality and may have followed the leader toward the sand, experts told ABC Jacksonville affiliate WJXX-TV.

Possible theories are that the leader could have been suffering from an injury or some sort of infection, or followed prey too close to the shore, WJXX reported.

One witness told the station that it was "really exciting" to see all the volunteers trying to help them.

The whales that died will be taken for necropsies.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


'A new beginning': Man convicted of murder in the '90s exonerated thanks to genetic genealogy

Zinkevych/iStock(IDAHO FALLS, Idaho) -- In the 1990s, Christopher Tapp was sent to prison for the rape and murder of Idaho teen Angie Dodge.

Despite his DNA not matching evidence found at the crime scene, he was still convicted based on the theory that multiple people were involved in the crime.

On Wednesday, after decades of proclaiming his innocence and claiming his confession was coerced, Tapp was finally exonerated due to the novel DNA technique of genetic genealogy, which was used to find identify a new suspect in Dodge's murder.

Stepping out of the courthouse, Tapp told reporters, "I hope that things get learned from this mistake and I hope things get changed."

"I'm glad I was able to come out the other end and still smile and still be happy," he said.

"I accepted the fact that I was gonna be a convicted felon," Tapp said. "Now I don't ever have to worry about that. It's a new life, a new beginning, a new world for me. And I'm just gonna enjoy it every day."

Tapp added, "I hope nobody ever forgets Angie Dodge."

Mystery DNA and a coerced confession

The case dates back to June 13, 1996, when 18-year-old Dodge was raped and killed in her Idaho Falls apartment.

Semen and hair was collected at the scene and DNA testing showed they belonged to the same suspect, according to the Idaho Falls Police. Detectives canvassed the neighborhood in their search for the killer, but to no avail.

In January 1997, Tapp, then a 20-year-old living in Idaho Falls, confessed to being involved in the rape and murder, according to authorities.

His DNA didn't match the semen and hair samples but police said "an existing theory was that multiple people were involved and Tapp was suspected to have been one of those people."

Tapp -- a "kid" "scared for his life" -- sat through nine interrogations, his attorney, John Thomas, told ABC News.

"Tapp's confession matched details from the crime scene and included assertions that he had not acted alone," said police. "Based on his confessions, knowledge of the crime, and other facts that supported a theory that multiple people had been involved in the rape and murder, Tapp was convicted in 1998 by a jury."

No information from Tapp -- who is now 43 -- led to more arrests or the person who left behind DNA, police added.

A proclamation of innocence

In 2001, Tapp said his confession was coerced and that he was innocent, but Idaho's supreme court affirmed the conviction, police said. The Idaho Innocence Project took up Tapp's case as one of their first and pushed for his exoneration.

Tapp filed several petitions for post-conviction relief over the years, and in 2017, while a petition was pending, he made a plea deal to amend his sentence.

To secure the deal, Thomas presented new DNA evidence and argued that Tapp's confession was coerced.

In 1997, after being "coerced and pressured" by investigators, Tapp told police he held Dodge down by her wrists during the rape and murder, Thomas said. Dodge's hands were swabbed for DNA but were not tested until 2016; that test found DNA was only present from Dodge and the killer -- not Tapp, said Thomas. It was unclear why the evidence wasn't tested at the time.

In the 2017 deal, the rape conviction was vacated, Tapp's murder sentence was reduced to time served and he was freed, said Thomas.

New technology finds a new suspect

Idaho Falls police say the search for the mystery suspect who left DNA at the crime scene never stopped in the years after Dodge's killing.

In November 2018, police turned to genetic genealogy.

Genetic genealogy -- a novel technique that compares unknown DNA evidence to public genetic databases to identify suspects through their family members -- has been called a "game-changer" in the effort to crack cold cases.

Since the arrest of the suspected "Golden State Killer" in April 2018, about 70 suspects have been identified through the technology, according to CeCe Moore, the chief genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs, which investigated the Dodge murder among others.

Moore, who also appeared as an expert in ABC News "20/20" episodes, said she started building family trees of people who shared DNA with the unknown suspect and with each other, and found where those intersected in one marriage. She was spurred on by Dodge's mother who inspired her to push thru this case even though it was so difficult.

"I knew the suspect had to be a descendant of that marriage, so I narrowed it down to six men who were descendants of that couple. And five of the six on that list lived over 1,000 miles away, didn't have any connection to Idaho that we could find. One of them did live in Idaho," Moore told ABC News.

In February, investigators surveilled the man who lived in Idaho, obtaining a wad of discarded chewing tobacco from him, said police.

That man not only was not a match to the DNA at the crime scene, but he was also found not to be close relative to the suspect, Moore said.

While Moore felt like she "was back to square one," she said she also was "aware of the fact there could be a missing descendant."

Moore remembered that one of the men in the family had gotten married early and then divorced. While there didn't appear to be a child from the marriage, she thought it was possible that a child was born shortly after they separated.

"I went back to my research and tried to find what happened to that woman... we finally found her by finding her mother's obituary, which listed her current name and listed a son," Moore said.

It turns out Moore's hunch was correct -- that son was from the first marriage but carried his stepfather's last name -- Dripps.

In May, detectives went to Caldwell, Idaho, to investigate Brian Dripps Sr.

Investigators recovered a cigarette butt Dripps threw out of his car window -- and the DNA on the cigarette butt was found to be a match to the semen and hair at the crime scene, police said.

As it turned out, Dripps lived across the street from Dodge when she was killed. Detectives even spoke to him five days after the slaying during a neighborhood canvass, police said.

But he moved away from Idaho Falls the year of the murder, police said.

Dripps, 53, was arrested on May 15 and charged with Dodge's murder and rape, police said. In a police interview, once confronted with the DNA evidence, he admitted to the crime and said he went into Dodge's apartment alone.

Dripps has not entered a plea and his attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment. He has a motion hearing set for Thursday and a preliminary hearing on Aug. 7.

Also, in May of this year, a key witness in the case reportedly recanted her testimony, according to the Post-Register newspaper.

'The power of genetic genealogy'

Tapp, who was released from prison in 2017, is married and working at a local plastic bag factory, his lawyer said.

"He's doing well," his lawyer, Thomas told ABC News on Tuesday, but getting back his family's name will mean a lot to him.

"It is a huge thing for him and his mom. They're the last two Tapps of his particular line," he said. "He hasn't had any children. He's an only child for his mom."

"It's hard for me to fathom or believe it still," Tapp told ABC News hours before the exoneration hearing. "For me it's just the disappointment I've received over the last 22.5 years.... I just didn't know what was gonna happen, if the state or the judge or anybody would do the right thing."

On Wednesday afternoon, a judge approved prosecutors' motion for post-conviction relief, making Tapp the first person to be exonerated for murder thanks to genetic genealogy, said Moore.

Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Clark said he believed there was clear and convincing evidence of Tapp's innocence.

Tapp was accused of helping with the murder, not being the sole killer, and Clark says investigators believe Dripps' alleged confession was to acting alone.

Ethically "my obligation is to remedy that conviction," Clark told ABC News before the hearing. "That's a very sobering thing to be involved in, no doubt."

Moore called Tapp's case a highlight of her career.

"I'm more excited and exhilarated about this than I think anything else. It's just such an incredible feeling to be a part of clearing an innocent man's name," she said.

Moore believes genetic genealogy will help with more exonerations going forward.

"There's been so much focus put on arresting the violent criminals -- which is very important -- but I always thought there wasn't enough attention put on the fact that when we do that, we're clearing a lot of other potential persons of interest, or even suspects," Moore said.

"So it's been less formal with all the other cases, but there are many other cases where people's names have been cleared thanks to genetic genealogy, people who have carried burdens for years," she said. "So I think this is very important to demonstrate the power of genetic genealogy, not just to convict people, but also to exonerate."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Sex assault charge dropped against actor Kevin Spacey

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(NANTUCKET, Mass.) -- Prosecutors in Nantucket on Wednesday dropped a felony sexual assault charge against the actor Kevin Spacey, after watching their case against the actor slowly fall apart under scrutiny from Spacey's defense team during months of contentious pre-trial hearings that unfolded in the resort island's lone courtroom.

The decision to drop the charges followed a meeting between the accuser, his parents and prosecutors on Sunday, July 14, following a July 8 hearing in which the alleged victim exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a hearing in which he was testifying about his missing cell phone.

"The complaining witness was informed that if he chose to continue to invoke his Fifth Amendment right, the case would not be able to go forward," Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said in a statement released on Wednesday. "After a further period of reflection privately with his lawyer, the complaining witness elected not to waive his right under the Fifth Amendment."

In October, 2017, the young man contacted the Cape and Islands District Attorney's office to allege that 15 months earlier Spacey had plied him with beer and whiskey in July 2016 after meeting the two met at the Club Car bar and restaurant in Nantucket, where the young man had worked that summer as a busboy, and sexually assaulted him.

The alleged victim admitted to authorities that he lied to Spacey about his age, saying he was a 23-year-old college student attending Wake Forest University, when in fact he was an 18-year-old busboy working at the restaurant where he met the actor.

The alleged victim told investigators that while Spacey was touching him, he was texting and communicating with his girlfriend and other friends on Snapchat and sent his girlfriend a Snapchat video of Spacey groping him, according to the criminal complaint. He alleged the inappropriate touching of his genitals continued for about three minutes, according to the complaint. Those texts and videos have been a key focus of heated, pre-trial courtroom debates during previous hearings in the case.

In January, authorities charged Spacey with a single felony count of indecent assault and battery.

But over the course of months of pre-trial hearings, it emerged that the mother of Spacey's accuser had deleted potentially exculpatory data from her son's cell phone before turning it over to police, and that the lead investigator in the case did not file a report stating the mother's voluntary admission until just last month -- in June, 2019 -- more than three years after the alleged encounter.

When Spacey's defense team learned of these developments last month, they sought from the judge in the case and were granted direct access to the accuser's phone.

Defense attorneys, who compared the results of the state's forensic examination of the phone with screenshots of the group chat conversation from that night that the accuser had initially texted to investigators, concluded that key parts of those conversations had been deleted before the phone was turned over to investigators.

A civil attorney for the accuser then informed the court that the phone had apparently been irretrievably lost -- and even questioned whether police returned the device to the family at all after the government completed its forensic exam of the contents of the phone.

The accuser appeared in court earlier this month and took the witness stand. He testified he did not report the alleged assault to police for 15 months, in October, 2017, rather than the three months prosecutors had been contending since filing charges against the actor in January. The lead investigator in the case testified later that day under questioning from Spacey's defense attorney that the one-year difference was the result of a "typo," and a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office acknowledged the error in response to a question from ABC News.

He also testified that he had turned the phone back over to the accuser's family a few weeks after obtaining it. But the accuser's father went on to testify that he doesn't recall ever receiving the device back, prompting the lead investigator to acknowledge that he was "remiss" and failed to get a signed receipt confirming the return of the phone.

But part of the way through the accuser's July 8 testimony, during questioning from Spacey defense attorney Alan Jackson, a recess was called after the accuser was asked whether he was aware that it's a crime to delete potentially exculpatory data from a piece of evidence in a criminal probe. He said on the stand that he had not been aware of that.

Then a recess was called -- during which the accuser informed the judge through a representative that he had decided to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself against self-incrimination -- and declined further testimony. That prompted Barrett to order the accuser's testimony stricken from the record.

That led Jackson to demand of Nantucket District Court Judge Thomas Barrett that the case be dismissed on the spot. An assistant district attorney asked for a week to confer with his office, and the next hearing in the case was scheduled for July 31.

"This entire case is completely compromised" by the accuser's decision to take the Fifth, Jackson told Barrett. "He's the sole witness than can establish the circumstances of his allegation."

Barrett declined to immediately dismiss the charge, after an assistant district attorney asked for a week to confer with his office, but acknowledged from the bench that "without [the accuser's testimony], the Commonwealth will have a tough row to hoe," adding that it remained unclear whether the case would "continue or collapse" without the testimony of the accuser himself.

In Oct. 2017, actor Anthony Rapp claimed in a BuzzFeed interview that Spacey made sexual advances towards him at a party in 1986 when he was 14 and Spacey was 26.

When the story was made public, Spacey posted a statement on Twitter saying he is "beyond horrified" by the story, but doesn't remember the encounter. He went on to say he was examining himself and now chooses "to [openly] live as a gay man."

Rapp's allegation prompted a flood of similar allegations against the actor for groping and other inappropriate behavior over the course of his long career, but to date no other charges beside the now-dropped Nantucket charge have been filed.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Air Force warns against storming Area 51 as Facebook event reaches 1.5 million attendees

Sgt. Connor Mendez/U.S. Army (LINCOLN COUNTY, Nev.) -- The Air Force is warning people against storming Area 51 in Nevada, after a Facebook event page, organizing a meet up at the "Alien Center tourist attraction," went viral.

Conspiracy theorists believe that the U.S. government has kept UFOs and extraterrestrial life at the location, which is actually an Air Force training range.

As of Wednesday morning, over 1.5 million people said they were "attending" the event, called "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us." The event is scheduled for Sept. 20 at 3 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Another 1.1 million Facebook users indicated they were "interested."

"We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry," according to the Facebook page. "If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets [sic] see them aliens."

"Naruto" refers to the running style of the Japanese anime character, Naruto Ozumaki.

"The United States Air Force is aware of the Facebook post," Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews told ABC News in a statement. "The Nevada Test and Training Range is an area where the Air Force tests and trains combat aircraft. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss specific security measures, but any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous.”

The range is the largest contiguous air and ground space available for peacetime military operations in the free world, according to the Air Force, spanning 2.9 million acres of land and 5,000 square miles of airspace which is restricted from civilian air traffic.

The range is also used by the Department of Energy for testing, research and development.



It's unknown how many of the 1.5 million Facebook attendees would actually travel to the remote location in Nevada for the event, as the page has sparked Internet memes poking fun at the idea of storming the Air Force range for the opportunity to see aliens.

The Air Force did investigate UFOs under Project Blue Book from 1947 to 1969, but the project was headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, not at the range in Nevada.



Project Blue Book concluded that none of the UFOs investigated were a threat to U.S. national security and there was "no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as 'unidentified' were extraterrestrial vehicles," according to the Air Force.

The project's findings are available in the National Archives for public review.



Earlier this year, the Navy updated its guidelines for how its pilots report the sighting of "unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft" due to an increase in the number of reports in recent years.

"There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," Joseph Gradisher, spokesperson for Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, told ABC News in May.



"For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] take these reports very seriously and investigate each and every report. As part of this effort, the Navy has updated and formalized the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities," he said.

Gradisher added that senior Naval intelligence officials and aviators "who reported hazards to aviation safety" have briefed congressional members and staff in response to requests for information.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Heat wave is coming: How to stay safe and prepare an emergency supply kit 

winstonwolf89/iStock(NEW YORK) -- With a massive heat wave forecast to hit huge swaths of the U.S. from New York City all the way to Nebraska and temperatures expected to swell into the triple digits this weekend, here are some expert tips on how to stay cool and safe from heat-related illness.

New York City's Office of Emergency Management announced Wednesday that air-conditioned cooling centers will be open to the public throughout the city through the weekend and advised in a statement that most heat-related deaths occur after exposure to heat in homes without air conditioning.

Staying inside in an air-conditioned room is the best way to to stay safe amidst extreme heat waves, the Emergency Management office warned.

"Hot weather is dangerous and can kill. People with chronic physical and mental health conditions should use air conditioning if they have it, and get to a cool, air conditioned place if they don’t," Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said in a statement

"During times like these, we all need to look out for each other. Be a buddy and check on your family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and help them get to a cooling center or another cool place – even if for a few hours," she added.

Other tips for protection against the heat include staying out of the sun, avoiding strenuous activity during the sun's peak hours, drink a lot of water, cool down with a bath or shower and wear lightweight clothing when outside.

How to prepare an emergency supply kit

In new guidelines for how to deal with heat waves, the American Red Cross warns to prepare an emergency supply kit ahead of a heat wave in case of a power outage.

The emergency disaster kit should include one gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food items, a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit, medications, cash and more basic necessities.

Red Cross guidelines for before a heat wave

- Prior to an anticipated heat wave, listen to local weather forecasts and make a plan with family members and friends about where to spend time during a major heat wave.

- Prepare an emergency disaster kit in case a power outage occurs.

- If you don't have air conditioning in your home, find places you could go during the hottest parts of the days such as libraries or malls.

Red Cross guidelines for during a heat wave

- When the heat wave hits -- it's important to never leave pets or children alone in vehicles where temperatures can soar rapidly.

 - Stay hydrated, wear loose-fitting and lightweight clothing, eat small meals, stay indoors and take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors, the Red Cross recommends.

- Check on family members, friends and neighbors who don't have air conditioning.

Check out the Red Cross's full guidelines for dealing with a heat wave here.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


69-year-old woman missing after hiking in California's Mojave Desert with her husband

San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department(LAS VEGAS) -- Authorities are continuing to search for a 69-year-old woman who has been missing for almost a week after hiking in California’s Mojave Desert.

Barbara Thomas was last seen last Friday when she and her husband, Robert, were making their way back to their trailer after hiking in the desert, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Colorado River Station said in a press release.

The two had nearly reached their vehicle when Robert stopped to take a photo and she continued on ahead in the area of Kelbaker/Hidden Hills near Interstate 40, he told ABC Las Vegas affiliate station KTNV.

It was the last time he said he saw her.

The trailer was still locked when he arrived and Thomas was nowhere to be found.

She was wearing a black bikini, red baseball cap and tan hiking boots with black socks, according to authorities. She does not have any supplies or a cellphone.

Officials with the sheriff’s department, search and rescue volunteers, K9s, park rangers, and a helicopter are all part of the search efforts to find Thomas.

The sheriff’s department has scoured the area daily since she was reported missing and had been out Wednesday morning "since the sun came up," a spokeswoman said.

Robert believes she may have been picked up on the road near their trailer. He said he wouldn’t press charges on anyone who did take her.

“I just want my wife back and if somebody out there has her, which I feel somebody does, please drop her off at a safe place where she can contact us and that’s it,” he told KTNV. The two are residents of Bullhead City, Ariz.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department told ABC News there is no evidence at this time suggesting foul play.

Anyone with information regarding Thomas’ whereabouts is urged to contact the Colorado River Station at (760) 326-9200 or Sheriff's Dispatch at (760) 956-5001.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman sentenced to life in US prison

OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced to life in prison, a federal judge in Brooklyn decided Wednesday.

Guzman, 62, was convicted in February of charges that mandate life in prison, proving he was "a ruthless and bloodthirsty leader of the Sinaloa Cartel," federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said in a court filing.

"The horrific nature and circumstances of the defendant's offense, his history and characteristics and the fact that the defendant committed some of the most serious crimes under federal law make a life sentence warranted," prosecutors wrote.

“My case was stained,” Guzman told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan before he was sentenced. “You denied me a fair trial.”

The complaint derived from a VICE report that jurors consumed media about the trial despite the judge’s instructions.

Dressed in a gray suit and dark tie, Guzman said he endured “total torture” in jail from the lack of fresh air, clean water and sunlight. He also complained about a noisy air duct.

“In order to sleep I have to use plugs in my ears made of toilet paper,” Guzman said.

The U.S. had agreed not to seek the death penalty as part of its deal with Mexico to transfer Guzman into American custody.

“It was an inevitable sentence,” defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said outside court, alleging up to five jurors broke the law by reading about the trial. He promised to appeal.

Guzman's trial has spanned four months. In 10 weeks of testimony, 53 prosecution witnesses described a naked journey through a secret tunnel, plastic bananas filled with cocaine and spied-on mistresses.

The government presented evidence that Guzman ordered the murder of or, in some instances personally tortured and murdered, 26 individuals and groups of individuals. His army of assassins carried out violence on his orders, prosecutors said.

Testimony also showed that from the 1980s until his arrest, Guzman was an innovator in drug trafficking, devising new methods to evade law enforcement from detecting the multi-ton quantities of cocaine he brought from South America to the U.S.

"He was a killer. He was a murderer. He was a manipulator. But he was also very, very, very smart, very street smart," Ray Donovan, special agent in charge of the New York field office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, told ABC News after Guzman's conviction. "He was he was willing to use extreme violence to control his territory and control his organization."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Flooding lingers in central US as heat wave threatens East Coast

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Slow-moving remnants of Barry delivered 16 inches of rain in southwestern Arkansas on Tuesday, breaking the state's record for the most precipitation from a tropical system.

What's left of Barry now is forecast to combine with a frontal system, producing more severe storms, rainfall and potential flooding.

Flash flood alerts were issued Wednesday morning in seven states from Minnesota to New Jersey. Some areas could see more than 4 inches.

The frontal system and tropical moisture from Barry also could ignite multiple severe storms in the Plains and Upper Midwest later in the day.

Damaging winds, large hail and a slight tornado chance likely are the biggest threats in the region.

From Nebraska to New Jersey, two dozen states are under heat alerts on Wednesday morning, with the heat index in some sections probably topping 110.

The massive heat wave should continue into the weekend, from Kansas City to Chicago and all the way into New York City.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Parents speak out after 2-year-old daughter went missing in Michigan woods

Michigan State Police(DETROIT) -- The parents of a missing 2-year-old girl who was found alive and healthy in the dense woods of rural Michigan on Tuesday morning said it's a miracle she survived.

Gabriella Roselynn Vitale was reported missing on Monday morning in northern Michigan's Oscoda County, where she and her family had been camping.

More than 24 hours later, Gabriella was found between a quarter to a half-mile west of the campsite. She had walked up to the porch of a home that was outside of the zone that had been searched thus far, and residents immediately notified authorities, according to the Michigan State Police.

Gabriella was reunited with her family and taken to a hospital to be evaluated, but Michigan State Police said she was "in good condition and even in good spirits for a little girl who had been out in the woods all night."

"We would like to express our thanks to God for keeping our sweet Gabriella safe," Gabriella's mother said in a statement Tuesday. "Thank you to the countless public safety officers, first responders, and those that helped locate our girl."

Gabriella's father said he wasn't on the camping trip but drove up north as soon as he heard his daughter was missing.

"At this point, my mind is like running races and laps, and I just can’t think straight," Dominic Vitale said in an interview with ABC Detroit affiliate WXYZ-TV on Tuesday.

And now, being able to hold his little girl in his arms again, the father struggled to find the words.

"That's the type of feeling that you can't really explain," he told WXYZ. "It's something that you feel when I held her. I felt like I was bullet proof. I felt like I was bulletproof. I felt like nothing could harm me and nothing was going to harm her."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio