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Wednesday
Dec122018

Security video shows missing Colo. mother Kelsey Berreth and baby at store the day she vanished

Woodland Park Police(WOODLAND PARK, Colo.) -- A security video of a young Colorado mother shopping at a grocery store with her baby on Thanksgiving Day was released by police in hopes it will prompt new leads in her mysterious disappearance.

The video released Tuesday night by Woodland Park, Colo., police shows Berreth, 29, entering a Safeway store near her home with her baby in a car seat. Berreth is seen getting a shopping cart before she goes out of the view of the camera.

Police officials said the video was taken at 12:27 p.m. on Nov. 22 and is the last confirmed sighting of Berreth.

While the footage does not show Berreth leaving, police said her fiancé, Patrick Frazee, the father of her child, told investigators he met Berreth later that day to pick up their daughter. Berreth and Frazee do not live together, her relatives said.

Berreth, a flight instructor, hasn't been seen since.

Frazee has yet to publicly comment on Berreth's disappearance.

Frazee's attorney, Jeremy Loew, released a statement to ABC News on Wednesday, saying Frazee had been cooperating with law enforcement. He has voluntarily released his phone to be searched and has provided a DNA sample.

"Mr. Frazee hopes and prays for Ms. Berreth’s return," Loew said. "Mr. Frazee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and continue to parent the child he shares with Ms. Berreth. He will not speak to the media about this case, as he does not want to impede law enforcement's investigation."

Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young told reporters earlier this week that Frazee has been cooperating with investigators in the missing person case and that he is not a suspect.

Berreth was reported missing on Dec. 2 by her mother, Cheryl Berreth.

"This is completely out of character," Cheryl Berreth said at a news conference on Monday. "Kelsey loves her dog, she loves her family and friends and she loves her job."

She said her daughter is "not the kind that runs off."

Further deepening the mystery is a ping from Berreth's cellphone that was detected by police on Nov. 25 near Golding, Idaho, some 700 miles from Woodland Park. But police have found no other evidence of Berreth in Idaho, officials said.

De Young said that on the same day Berreth's cellphone pinged in Idaho, her employer, Doss Aviation, in Pueblo, Colo., received a text message presumably from Berreth stating that she would not be able to work the following week.

Berreth's worried mother said that "someone knows where she's at" and directed a message to Berreth, asking her to return.

"Kelsey, we just want you home," Cheryl Berreth said. "Call us if you can and we won't quit looking."

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Wednesday
Dec122018

'I want my daughter out': Search ongoing for three missing in abandoned mine

stevenfoley/iStock(CLEAR CREEK, W.Va.) -- As crews urgently search for three people believed to be trapped in an abandoned West Virginia mine, their worried loved ones are desperate for their safe rescue.

"I want my daughter out," Randy Williams, the father of trapped woman Kayla Williams, told ABC News.

Authorities believe four people illegally entered the Rock House Powellton mine in Clear Creek around 3 a.m. Saturday, officials said.

One man managed to escape Monday and said the three others -- Kayla Williams, 25, Erica Treadway, 31, and Cody Beverly, 21, -- were alive and still inside, officials said Tuesday.

"The reason they're in there is to get copper," Randy Williams said. "It's worth money. ... A couple years ago it was up to almost $4 a pound. You could go into a mine and make $1,000 a day."

Though the alleged act is illegal, he added, "They're still our kids... I love every one of them."

Kayla Williams' aunt, Teresa Shea, said the group may have panicked or become separated.

Kayla Williams' sister, Camelia Williams, had other concerns.

"It's so dark that you can put your hand in front of your face and not see it," Camelia Williams told ABC News.

"It's been a very slow process," Camelia Williams said. "It's hard to just sit and wait. ... time is ticking."

As the search continues, the concerned father said he thinks the rescuers "need to be moving a little faster."

"We know they got protocol to go by, but we just feel like if it was one of theirs," Randell Williams said, before trailing off, overcome with emotion.

"Hopefully it happens today," he said.

Wednesday's search is focusing on two portals of the mine: eight rescuers heading into the Sand Creek portal and 16 to the Rock Creek portal, Eugene White, director of West Virginia's office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, said Wednesday.

The Rock Creek portal, where the four individuals entered on Saturday, has oxygen levels measuring 16.1, which White described as “good,” adding, “we hope it stays that way.”

Ed Williams, the man who escaped the mine on Monday, has gone over a map with officials in an effort to pinpoint where the three others may be, White said.

A criminal investigation is pending, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office said, though officials stressed that rescue efforts are the priority.

"Our priority is rescuing these individuals and maintaining the safety of our mine rescue teams," West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement Tuesday.

"I have ordered the coordination of all resources needed for rescuers to continue to search the mine. We’re doing everything we can to accelerate the rescue."

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Wednesday
Dec122018

New storm moving east with snow, strong wind and rain

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A new storm is firing up in the West and it will bring stormy weather to most of the country over the next four days.

Already up to 2 feet of snow has been reported in parts of the Northwest while more than 4 inches of rain also fell in the area as the storm system begins to move east. Numerous snow and wind alerts have been issued in the West as the storm moves through.

The storm system will move through the Rockies Wednesday afternoon with more than a foot of snow possible for some areas. Winds could be gusty, as well -- locally more than 80 mph.

On Thursday, the storm system will begin to move into the Plains and the Gulf Coast with heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Some wet snow is possible on the back side of the storm in the Plains, but there will not be a lot of snow east of the Rockies.

The storm system will bring heavy rain into the Southeast on Friday, the same area heavily affected by the latest winter storm. Some flash flooding is also possible.

On Friday night into Saturday morning, the system will begin to send heavy rain up the East Coast into the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., into Boston. Some rain could be heavy and minor flash flooding is possible.

As the storm system moves through the eastern U.S., from the Plains into the East Coast, some areas could see more than 4 inches of rain.

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Wednesday
Dec122018

NC police officer under investigation after slamming teen sisters to ground

WTVD-TV(DURHAM, N.C.) -- A North Carolina sheriff's deputy was placed on leave after a video emerged of him slamming two teenage girls to the ground.

The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said it placed the officer on administrative leave on Tuesday, a day after video surfaced on Facebook showing the girls being wrestled to the ground during an arrest, according to Durham ABC affiliate WTVD-TV.

The sheriff’s office did not name the officers involved, but said the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the case.

Police said the incident in Lillington escalated on Monday morning as a pair of Harnett County officers searched a vehicle for drugs after receiving a complaint. The girls were passengers in the vehicle.

Deputies said they found a small amount of marijuana on one of the female passengers, according to WTVD.

The 17-year-old said she began recording because the officer tried to arrest her 14-year-old sister for filming the encounter. It is legal to film police officers in North Carolina, as long as it's a public space and you are not interfering with police work.

"Yo! What are you doing right now, she didn't do anything," the older teen is heard saying in the video as an officer grabbed her sister by the neck and wrestled her to the ground. "Why are you doing that? What did she do?"

The deputy then turned to elder sister, knocking her cellphone from her hand and tackling her to the ground as well.

Neither girl ended up being taken into custody.

"I'm disgusted," the 17-year-old told WTVD. "After each of us were patted down, we both started recording and asking why [my boyfriend] was being detained."

She said she strained her back during the police encounter and is "in pain right now."

"I understand that they ... felt like they were doing their job, but there's a different way it could have been approached," she said.

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Wednesday
Dec122018

Trump asks Supreme Court to reinstate asylum ban during appeals

dkfielding/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- In an emergency application to the Supreme Court Tuesday evening, the Trump administration has asked the justices to intervene to allow immediate enforcement of President Donald Trump's ban on asylum for immigrants who illegally cross the southern border.

Last week, a federal appeals court declined to lift an injunction blocking the administration from enforcing Trump's order as a legal challenge makes its way through the courts.

"The nationwide injunction, in this case, is particularly unwarranted because it virtually guarantees that the harms the rule addresses will continue to occur during litigation," writes Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

"At a minimum, this Court should narrow the injunction to cover only specific aliens respondents identify as actual clients in the United States who would otherwise be subject to the rule," he says.

Shortly after the president signed the executive order last month, a federal district court judge in San Francisco declared that it "irreconcilably conflicts" with the "expressed intent of Congress" in federal law, putting it on hold.

The lawsuit was brought by immigrant advocates and legal groups who argue that federal law specifies clearly that any immigrants to the U.S. are eligible to apply for asylum -- regardless of how they entered the country.

"The United States has experienced a surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully from Mexico and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while the claim is adjudicated, with little prospect of actually being granted that discretionary relief," Francisco tells the high court.

"These measures are designed to channel asylum seekers to ports of entry, where their claims can be processed in an orderly manner; deter unlawful and dangerous border crossings, and reduce the backlog of meritless asylum claims," the administration's emergency appeal says. "The measures will also assist the President in sensitive and ongoing diplomatic negotiations with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras."

Trump has asserted his broad authority to protect national security -- and specifically to confront an alleged threat from migrant caravans along the southern border -- as a rationale for suspending the right to request asylum anywhere.

The Supreme Court will consider the administration's request; there is no firm timeline on when the justices might make a decision to grant or deny.

Justice Elena Kagan has given the legal groups challenging Trump's ban until Monday, Dec. 17, to present their response to the administration's emergency application.

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Wednesday
Dec122018

CA university offers off-campus finals after second mass-shooting threat in a week

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) -- California State University, Northridge said it will be administering final exams off campus, beginning Wednesday, after receiving a second mass-shooting threat in less than a week.

University officials told professors to offer online or off-campus alternatives for finals after a student discovered a handwritten letter on Monday warning of a campus shooting.

"While law enforcement does not believe there is an imminent threat to campus, I recognize the extreme stress and anxiety the recent threats of violence have caused our community," Cal State, Northridge President Dianne Harrison said in a statement on Tuesday. "CSUN Police and partner law enforcement agencies continue to investigate the threats and maintain their increased patrols across campus."

Professors also will offer alternative exam options Dec. 12-18 for "students who are not comfortable coming to campus," according to the statement.

"Students should contact their instructors to request alternative arrangements," Harrison said. "Any student requesting such an accommodation will not be subject to any instructor-imposed penalty."

The Northridge campus will remain open, however, and employees with concerns were encouraged contact their supervisors, according to the statement.

Less than a week ago, the first threat, a racist message scrawled on a bathroom wall, also warned of a mass shooting on the first day of finals.

"Hate has no place on this campus, and we are working to bring any perpetrators of these cowardly acts to justice," Harrison said. "We are resolute in our duty to not allow these threats to derail our students’ education."

Officials didn't say whether the incidents were connected.

Denise King, a freshman at Northridge, told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV that the incidents had the campus on edge.

"Every threat should be credible and taken into consideration and investigated," she said, "and anything that can be done to stop it should be done, even if it's not real."

"I can't believe this is still continuing. They haven't found the source of where it's coming from," another student, Preston Steinberg, added. "I just hope they find who it is."

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Wednesday
Dec122018

Dramatic video shows child jumping from burning apartment

Balch Springs Police Department(DALLAS) -- Three police officers played heroes in Texas on Monday when they came upon an apartment engulfed in flames and a family stuck on the second floor.

Officers David Fields and Corey Jones from the Balch Springs Police Department were two of the first people on the scene and immediately realized a mother and her son were stuck in their apartment. With the officers unable to get to the apartment by going up the stairs, they retreated to the ground and moved under the window where the two were trapped.

"I was scared to death because you know what fire does and how fast it moves," Fields told Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.

One officer asked the two to move back before he tossed his baton through the second-floor window.

"Jump! We got you, buddy, we got you," the officer can be heard imploring the child in the video.

The child jumped from the second floor into the three officers' hands with a thud.

You can immediately hear him say, "I want my mom."

After wrapping the child in a blanket and moving him to safety, firefighters arrived and managed to get a ladder to bring his mother down from the second-floor window.

Both were uninjured, though in the video you can hear Jones ask, "How's your leg?" The child said he was OK, and Jones responded, "Hey, that was a good jump, man. That was a good jump."

"It's what I believe any officer in this department would do," Jones told WFAA. "Not wait for Fire, not wait for anyone else. We're going to do what we can to help anyone that we can."

An investigation into what caused the fire is still ongoing. Balch Springs is a small suburb just southeast of Dallas.

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Wednesday
Dec122018

Federal judge orders Stormy Daniels to pay Trump nearly $300K in legal fees

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- A federal judge in California ordered adult film actress Stormy Daniels to pay President Donald Trump just under $300,000 in legal fees on Tuesday after her defamation suit against the president was thrown out in October.

The judge’s ruling marks the latest legal setback for Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and her attorney, Michael Avenatti.

Earlier this year Daniels filed a defamation lawsuit against the president in New York, claiming Trump acted with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for the truth" when he posted a tweet mocking her claim that she was threatened by an unknown man to keep silent about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. The case was later transferred to federal court in California.

Trump has denied the sexual encounter ever took place.

In October, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero dismissed Daniels’ suit and characterized Trump’s tweet as "'rhetorical hyperbole' normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States."

On Tuesday, Otero ordered Daniels to pay $292,052.33 in “attorneys' fees and costs.” Lawyers for Trump initially sought $389,000 in fees plus an equal amount in sanctions.

“The court’s order, along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case,” an attorney for Trump, Charles Harder, wrote Tuesday afternoon.

Avenatti sought to downplay Judge Otero’s ruling on Tuesday in a series of tweets: “Trump and his attorney's attempt to fool the public about the importance of the attorneys' fees in the defamation case, which are a fraction of what they owe my client in the main NDA case, is an absolute joke. People are smarter than that.”

Avenatti has already filed to appeal Otero’s October dismissal of Daniels’ case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but it is not clear if he will seek to appeal the legal fees awarded to Trump on Tuesday.

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Tuesday
Dec112018

Breaking down the string of attacks on Jehovah's Witness houses of worship

anouchka/iStock(SEATTLE) -- A string of attacks on houses of worship used by Jehovah's Witnesses in Washington state are under investigation.

There have been four instances of arson and one shooting -- spanning nine months and four locations -- that investigators believe are connected to one another.

"As these incidents were located in close proximity to each other, it is believed that they are related," said Jason Chudy, the public information officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Seattle division.

"ATF is working closely with multiple local law enforcement agencies in these ongoing investigations," Chudy said.

Chudy said that the investigation is ongoing and they are not publicly discussing "any suspects, if any, that we've identified."

March 19: Two arson attacks

Two different houses of worship, referred to as Kingdom Halls, were targeted on the same day.

The two houses of worship, one in Tumwater, the other three miles away in Olympia, were set on fire.

"Damage to both was minor, limited to the exterior structures," Chudy said.

Tumwater Fire Chief Scott LaVielle said that the Tumwater building sustained about $15,000 worth of damage, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV.

May 15: Shooting

A little under two months later, another house of worship was attacked in the town of Yelm.

In this case, a suspect or suspects fired 35 rifle rounds at the Kingdom Hall.

Chudy said the shooting caused more than $10,000 in damage.

July 3: Arson

The fourth attack revisited one of the earlier targets, as the Kingdom Hall on Cain Road in the town of Olympia was lit on fire once again.

This attack "completely destroyed" the building, Chudy said.

On July 18, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza said that the four attacks up to this point are considered hate crimes, according to KOMO-TV.

Dec. 7: Arson

After a five-month break, another attack was reported at the Kingdom Hall in the town of Lacey, closer to the first two targets. The building was "completely destroyed."

Snaza expressed frustration at the series of attacks.

"Why is this specific religion being targeted? Why are these churches being targeted? What are they doing that is so wrong and oppressive?" Snaza said, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV.

"It makes you feel really ill about somebody who has some sort of animosity towards any religion, yet alone a Jehovah's Witness of Kingdom Hall," Snaza said, according to KOMO. "So how frustrating is it that people who find a solemn place of worship, and now it's being destroyed?"

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Tuesday
Dec112018

Nuns accused of embezzling $500K removed from public ministry, religious order says

KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) -- Two nuns accused of embezzling at least $500,000 in tuition, fees and donations from a Southern California Catholic school have been removed from public ministry, according to the religious order they were serving under.

Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang allegedly stole the funds by depositing checks for tuition and fees for the St. James Catholic School in Redondo Beach -- about 20 miles southwest of Los Angeles -- into a "long forgotten" bank account opened in 1997, The Press-Telegram, a Long Beach, California-based newspaper, reported. The sisters were the only two who knew about the bank account, according to the local newspaper.

They allegedly used some of the money to go on trips and gamble at casinos, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York told ABC News over the weekend.

Kreuper, the school principal, would handle all checks made out to the school for tuition and fees before handing them over to bookkeeping for processing, according to The Press-Telegram.

The nuns have been removed from their residence and placed in a religious house under the supervision of community leadership, the religious order they belong to, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, said in a statement.

The half-million figure only represents what auditors have been able to trace in six years' worth of bank records and may not include cash transactions, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told parents at an alumni meeting last week, according to The Press-Telegram.

Both nuns retired earlier this year. They "take full responsibility for the choices they made and are subject to the law," the order said.

Although Monsignor Michael Meyers, pastor for the school, initially wrote in his letter that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not wish to pursue criminal proceedings, the Archdiocese has since filed a criminal complaint with the Torrance Police Department, the order wrote in its statement. Other staff members at the church were not implicated, Meyers wrote

The Torrance Police Department did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.

The order plans to pay all the money back once a final sum of what was taken has been determined, it said.

"We are unable to confirm any sum until the discovery phase is completed," the order said. "We intend to make restitution to St. James School as soon as a total is known. Justice demands this of us."

The order apologized for the nuns' actions.

"The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any pain this has caused many in our Church, especially the families connected to St. James School," they said. "We hold the sorrow of our Sisters’ actions deep in our community hearts."

No student or program has "suffered any loss of educational resources, opportunities, or innovations" as a result of the misappropriation of funds, Meyers wrote to parents, emphasizing that their children's education "has not and will not be affected by these events."

ABC News could not reach Kreuper or Chang for comment. It is unclear if they have retained attorneys.

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