Police: Mom Shackled Son's Ankles Over Fears of Gang Involvement

KABC(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- A 10-year-old Santa Ana, Calif., boy is in protective custody after his mother allegedly shackled chains around his ankles as a way to keep him inside the house and out of trouble, police said.

Irma Navarro, 37, was arrested and faces charges of child abuse after neighbors found her son lying on the ground next to a tree outside the family's apartment with a chain wrapped around his legs.

Two women walking by the apartment complex saw the boy crying on the ground with a chain around his ankles and both of his legs crammed into one leg of a pair of shorts Thursday morning, Santa Ana Police Department spokesman Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told

When he told them his mother had shackled his legs, they called the police.

Bertagna said the boy was able to free himself from the apartment and had hopped out to the front courtyard of the complex to get help.

"He was on the ground and could definitely see a lot of fear in him, and he was crying," neighbor Jose Salinas told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV. "He had the chains around his ankles. I even noticed his pants when they were on, it looked like one pant leg."

Bertagna said Navarro was concerned her son was getting involved with gangs in the neighborhood. She left the 10-year-old in the apartment with food and a game to play at 8 a.m. Thursday morning, he said.

"She was having a problem with her 10-year-old, who takes off and doesn't come back until 9 or 10 at night. She's afraid he's getting tied up into gangs," he said. "It was a matter of frustration on her part, but it doesn't justify committing a crime. That doesn't justify shackling your kid.

"My understanding is that she bought the chains about a week ago," Bertagna said. "A couple of days before, she tried it around his wrists but it didn't work, so she tried it around his ankles."

Bertagna said Navarro is a single mother of three. Her older child was in school, while her younger child was with a babysitter at the time of the incident, he said.

Navarro, who works as a house cleaner, told police she couldn't afford to get a babysitter for two kids, Bertagna said.

Navarro was booked into custody at the Santa Ana Jail on a charge of willful cruelty to a child. Her bail was set at $100,000, Bertagna said. She is expected to be arraigned in court on Monday.

All three children were taken by child protective services to the Orangewood Children's Home in Orange, Calif., Bertagna said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Suspected Killer of Three Inspired By Convicted Serial Killer, Officials Say


(EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio) -- Authorities and volunteers expanded their search of vacant and abandoned houses Sunday in a Cleveland, Ohio, suburb for more possible victims after three bodies wrapped in plastic bags were found within less than 200 yards of each other.

Michael Madison, 35, was arrested Friday after authorities uncovered the body of a woman who had been wrapped in several garbage bags in a garage near a vacant East Cleveland home where he was apprehended.

Madison, a convicted sex offender, has been named a suspect in all three deaths, Norton said. He has not been charged.

"We believe every hour he was on the street, he would have been a danger to someone," East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton told

Police returned to the neighborhood to find two more bodies in the backyard and in the basement of nearby vacant homes the next day, Norton said.

All three corpses were found in the fetal position, wrapped in multiple trash bags, officials said.
While the identities of the three victims are currently unknown, Norton said that investigators believe all of the victims were black women who were killed within the last six to 10 days.

Based on investigators' initial reports, only one of the bodies was found without clothing. While Norton could only provide details on the shirts the other two women had on, he did not know if they were fully dressed when they were uncovered.

East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts called the discoveries an "absolute worst case scenario."

Norton said families who have relatives missing called in as soon as news of the discoveries broke.

"Some concerned family members can take comfort in knowing their loved one is not one of the victims," Norton said. With no autopsies scheduled at this time, others will have to continue to wait, he said.
Despite the fact that Madison was registered as living at his mother's home several miles away from where the bodies were found, he was well-known in the neighborhood.

"He was a person who frequented the area, and had spoken to and approached multiple women in the area," Norton said.

It is unclear where Madison's mother is, he said, or where he was living at the time of his arrest.

Police and the FBI expanded their search Sunday to more vacant homes and empty lots near the neighborhood where Madison frequented, after he led investigators to believe he may have been influenced by Ohio serial killer Anthony Sowell, Norton said.

Police will also be looking into anybody who was recently reported missing, the police chief said.

Sowell, who was described in court papers as "the worst offender in the history of Cuyahoga County and arguably the state of Ohio," was sentenced to death in 2011 after he was found guilty of killing 11 women and hiding their remains around his Cleveland home from June 2007 to July 2009.

"[Madison] said some things that led us to believe that in some way, shape, or form, Sowell might be an influence," Norton said. "Hopefully, we pray to God, this is it."

The gruesome discovery was made just 10 miles from the home where Ariel Castro allegedly held three women captive for nearly a decade until they were able to escape in May.

Despite the arrest of a suspect people in the East Cleveland neighborhood said they are still anxious.
"Something like this is very upsetting, not only for me but for my children and grandchildren," East Cleveland resident Bernadette Bass said.

Another resident said the discovery has convinced her it's time to find a new place to live.

"I have three daughters of my own and me and I do walk and go to the store, so it's kind of scary out here," the woman said. "I'm about ready to leave. Matter of fact I am moving."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


‘Justice for Trayvon’ Rallies Planned in 100 Cities 

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of last weekend's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, numerous "Justice for Trayvon" rallies are set for 100 cities across the country Saturday.

The movement was organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network. Sharpton said the show of support has been huge.

“Last Saturday we cried, but this Saturday we march,” Sharpton said to crowds in New York City.

At a rally in downtown Miami, outside the federal courthouse, protest organizer Bishop Victor T. Curry says they're calling for an end to Florida's “Stand Your Ground Laws.”

“It has given people the license to shoot and kill unarmed African American boys and then hide behind this law,” Curry said. “You cannot be told by the police to stay in your car, pursue someone, kill them and then hide behind self-defense.”

In response to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement that he does not plan to change the law, Curry said that he and the other protesters would “stand our ground,” and convince Scott to change the law.

“We're just trying to show support for the Martin family to say this is not over, this, this can’t be over,” Curry said.

Martin's father Tracy Martin was one of the key speakers at a rally in downtown Miami.

“It's touching my heart right now, it's touching my family's heart and we're glad for all of their support, and we ask that they continue to support, if they want to protest, be peaceful,” Martin said.

In Tampa, protestors are calling on the federal government to press civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

Crowds in Philadelphia, chanted “yes we will,” while in New York City morning protesters marched through Harlem. Sharpton, Jay Z and Beyonce were in attendance. Another rally has been scheduled to take place in downtown New York.

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, attended the New York events.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Severe Storms Cause Flooding in Las Vegas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Severe thunderstorms hit Las Vegas Friday evening causing flash flooding near the Strip.

Nevada Energy tweeted overnight that crews were working to restore power to about 33,000 customers.

Storms hit the northeast side of Las Vegas, pounding the area with rain and strong gusts of wind in the early evening. A 71 mph gust was recorded at Nellis Air Force Base.

Some areas experienced more than 2 feet of water. National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Lericos, said roads were the worst affected by the storm.

“The widespread nature of the precipitation as the storm came across really caused a lot of inundation of a lot of the drainages around town and that cause a lot of headaches at intersections and road crossings,” Lericos said.

According to Lericos, at least two water rescues took place in the Las Vegas metro area due to rapidly rising water.

Thankfully, the floodwaters are receding.

“We'll start to see a lot of the waters recede as all of it works its way out of the valley and into Lake Mead but we still may see some ponding of water in areas,” Lericos said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Six Flags Over Texas Roller Coaster Death Witness: That Could Have Been Me

Fuse(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- Authorities are working to determine if a woman was not properly secured in her seat after she fell to her death from an amusement park roller coaster in Arlington, Texas.

A woman, whose name has not been released, was riding the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, with her son when she apparently fell out of her seat at around 6:30 p.m. local time Friday.

Many park goers said they were shocked to witness the deadly accident unfold just seats ahead of them.

"Literally just witnessed someone fly off the Texas Giant two seats in front of me," tweeted Joshua Paul Fleak. "Restraint came undone, coaster turned and she was gone."

"She goes up like this, then when it drops to come down, that's when it [the woman's restraint] released and she just tumbled," Carmen Brown told ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV.

Brown, who had been next in line to ride the coaster at the time, said it took her some time to realize what she had just seen.

"It didn't hit me until we got back down to the bottom," Brown told WFAA-TV. "She was no bigger than I was. That could have been me."

Jahzeel Cabrera, who was also on the ride ahead of the victim, said that people started to panic when they learned someone on the ride had just dropped to their death.

"Other families were crying, screaming and looking for their families," he told ABC's Good Morning America. They just heard that someone had fallen down from the roller coaster and in that moment, there was a panic."

While officials would not comment on the ride's restraint system, Arlington police told WFAA-TV this was not a criminal investigation.

Park officials have not released details on how the woman died, but released a statement confirming the death.

"We are deeply saddened to share that earlier this evening an adult woman died in the park while on the Texas Giant," wrote Sharon Parker, communications manager for Six Flags Over Texas. "Park medical staff and local paramedics responded immediately. Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, the ride has been closed pending further investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time."

The Texas Giant rollercoaster debuted as an all-wooden ride in 1990, and reopened in 2011 redesigned with a steel track, WFAA-TV reported. The coaster is now billed as the tallest steel hybrid coaster in the world.

At 152 feet, it boasts "the steepest drop of any wooden coaster at 79 degrees," Six Flags Over Texas said on its website. "The new ride also has a record-breaking bank of 95 degrees, steeper than any other wooden coaster on the planet."

Another amusement park accident unfolded after a thrill ride malfunctioned at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio Friday evening.

Cedar Point officials said in a statement a boat on its Shoot the Rapids ride rolled backwards and flipped over in water, trapping and injuring seven passengers.

All seven people onboard were taken to the park's first aid station. One passenger was later brought to Firelands Regional Medical Center in Sandusky, Ohio, for additional evaluation, but was treated and released later Friday evening.

Park officials are currently investigating the incident and Cedar Point is to remain closed until further notice, the statement said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Woman Accused of Pretending to Be Boston Bombing Victim to get Money

John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New York woman has been accused of collecting nearly half-a-million dollars in fraudulent claims from a fund created to support the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

On Friday, authorities arrested and charged 26-year-old Audrea Gause with larceny, having allegedly altering old medical documents to make it look like she received treatment for injuries suffered during the attacks. She received $480,000 from The One Fund, established to help victims of the bombings.

Gause was not even in Boston during the April 15 attacks, authorities said in a news conference Friday.

She is said to have submitted notarized claims and several pages of medical records that she claimed documented treatment for injuries suffered during the bombings, photocopying and altering them to make them appear authentic.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley condemned Gause’s alleged crimes during the news conference.

“It is outrageous,” Coakley said, “… [that] some individuals have attempted to defraud The One Fund and to take dollars from those victims who need and deserve them.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Drank $102,000 Worth of Historic Whiskey 

WTAE(PITTSBURGH) -- The owner of an historic inn in Pittsburgh has brought charges against a former tenant she says was supposed safeguard 50 bottles of vintage whiskey valued at more than $100,000 but drank it all instead.

The owner of the South Broadway Manor Bed and Breakfast, Patricia Hill, found 104 bottles of Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey when she bought the historic mansion and converted it into a bed and breakfast. It had originally belonged to Pittsburgh businessman J.P. Brennan.

The whiskey had been distilled in 1912 and given to Brennan in 1918, she told ABC News affiliate WTAE.

"There were four cases, 52 bottles, manufactured by an old distillery here in the Township that went out of business many years ago," Barry Pritts, chief of police in Scottdale, Pa., said today.

He said the bottles had been made and sold before Prohibition and then passed down.

The Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey was part of a collection of historical whiskey believed to have been consumed by Henry Frick and Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s in Pittsburgh, Rick Bruckner, the chef at the South Broadway Manor, told WTAE.

"The family that owned the estate, somebody hid it under a flight of stairs and enclosed the staircase, and the estate went through several families. The lady that owns it now was doing a remodeling project and the people who were doing the work found them," Pritts said.

Hill did not immediately return calls for comment. Pritts said that Hill put the whiskey bottles in the basement while the main floors were being renovated. John Saunders, 62, was a caretaker who lived in the basement and was expected to safeguard the booze.

"You know, to watch over them and keep them secure. I guess that was a mistake," Pritts said.
Hill discovered that 52 of the bottles had been emptied in March 2012, and reported it to police. All four cases of whiskey had been emptied within about a year, Pitts said.

Saunders denied that he consumed the vintage alcohol, but police tested the empty bottles to see if they matched Saunders' DNA. After seven months of testing, police confirmed that Saunders' DNA was found on the bottles, and charged him with felony theft and receiving stolen property, Pritts said.
Saunders appeared for a preliminary hearing in court on Wednesday and will face trial.

His attorney, Patrice DiPietro, did not immediately return calls for comment from ABC News.

"The DNA doesn't lie. I'm just disappointed a family friend of over 40 years has lied," Hill said, according to WTAE. "It's a shame it took historic whiskey to realize and come to this point, but if it saved his life, maybe that's the best of it all."

A whiskey appraiser told WTAE the value of the missing whiskey is around $102,400. Pritts requested restitution in the amount of the full retail value.

Attorneys agreed Wednesday that further expert testimony and evidence will have to be heard to determine the exact retail value of the whiskey.

During the hearing Wednesday, Saunders' attorney noted to the court that Saunders is now awaiting a liver transplant, Pritts added.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Woman Dies While Riding Rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Texas

Bloomberg News/Mike Fuentes(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- A woman died on a rollercoaster at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park in Arlington, Texas, apparently after falling out of her seat, a witness told local media.

"She goes up like this, then when it drops to come down, that's when it [the woman's restraint] released and she just tumbled," Carmen Brown told ABC News affiliate WFAA, adding that she had been next in line to ride the coaster at the time.

The death appeared to be an accident, Arlington police told WFAA, and the probe of the incident was not a criminal investigation.

Official details were not immediately available on how the woman died, though the park released a written statement confirming the death.

"We are deeply saddened to share that earlier this evening an adult woman died in the park while on the Texas Giant," wrote Sharon Parker, communications manager for Six Flags Over Texas. "Park medical staff and local paramedics responded immediately. Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, the ride has been closed pending further investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time."

The Texas Giant rollercoaster debuted as an all-wooden ride in 1990, and reopened in 2011 redesigned with a steel track, WFAA reported.

It rises 14 stories high and boasts "the steepest drop of any wooden coaster at 79 degrees," Six Flags Over Texas said on its website. "The new ride also has a record-breaking bank of 95 degrees, steeper than any other wooden coaster on the planet."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Judge Says Detroit Bankruptcy Unconstitutional

Cornelia Schaible/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- A judge ruled Detroit's bankruptcy filing violates the Michigan Constitution, though the state attorney general said he will appeal the decision.

Detroit became the biggest American city to file for bankruptcy after its emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection on Thursday with more than $18 billion in accrued obligations. In the filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr indicated that the city's estimated number of creditors was "over 100,000."

If the bankruptcy filing is approved, Detroit's assets could be liquidated to meet creditor payments.

But circuit judge Rosemarie Aquilina said the bankruptcy filing violated the state constitution by threatening the pension benefits for the city's retirees.

Lawyers representing pensioners and two city pension funds got an emergency hearing with Aquilina Thursday, but attorneys and the judge learned Orr filed the Detroit bankruptcy petition in Detroit five minutes before the hearing began, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement that he was appealing Aquilina's ruling on behalf of the governor's office.

Randye Soref, an attorney with law firm Polsinelli, said the chances of the bankruptcy not moving forward and being declared unconstitutional "are slim to none."

Soref said that the state constitution includes a prohibition against taking any action that would modify pensions.

"In Chapter 9, however, the municipality has the absolute right to modify pensions, reject collective bargaining agreements -- without meeting any protections that would arise in Chapter 11 -- and wage and severance claims are afforded no priority," she said. "I think the bankruptcy code as a federal statute will trump the state statute. The whole rationale behind Chapter 9 and the limits on court involvement that a debtor has in Chapter 11 is to allow the sovereign the breathing room it needs to rearrange and adjust its debts, thereby allowing it to govern."

Michael S. Leib, attorney with Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth & Heller, P.C. in Southfield, Mich., said the decision as to whether the bankruptcy filing was proper should be determined by the U.S. bankruptcy judge appointed to hear the case.

"There are complicated issues of preemption and constitutional questions regarding the eligibility of the city to file the Chapter 9 petition. It would appear Congress placed that decision in the hands of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court," Leib said.

David Duffus, a partner with ParenteBeard, said there is a precedent for an attempted municipal bankruptcy to be derailed, as shown in the example of Harrisburg, Pa., which declared bankruptcy in 2011.

When the Harrisburg City Council attempted to file for bankruptcy, the petition was denied by Judge Mary D. France on the basis that the filing was illegal because Pennsylvania state law prohibited the city from filing, Duffus said. That council needed the mayor to back its filing. The issue was appealed to the Third Circuit, where the appeals court confirmed Judge France's decision. That ruling then cleared the way for the state takeover of Harrisburg.

Orr, who was hired in March to assist with the city's budget, had tried to convince creditors to accept pennies on the dollar to deal with its financial problems.

Included in the bankruptcy filing is a four-page letter signed by Michigan Gov. Snyder and dated July 18 in which he wrote that a "vital point" made by Orr was that, "Detroit tax rates are at their current legal limits, and that even if the city was legally able to raise taxes, its residents cannot afford to pay additional taxes."

Jefferson County, Ala., previously held the title of largest municipal bankruptcy. Attorneys for Jefferson County have submitted plans to exit its historic $4.23 billion bankruptcy.

In a statement, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said, "Today's bankruptcy filing is an unfortunate event in our city's history. While it has never been my desire that the city file for bankruptcy, I understand why Kevyn found it necessary to do so."

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) president Lee Saunders said in a written statement, "Gov. Snyder and [Kevyn] Orr are not above the law and cannot ignore the Michigan constitution."

"AFSCME members challenged Snyder in court over the unlawful bankruptcy authorization that cleared the way for Detroit Emergency Manager [Kevyn] Orr to attack public worker pensions," he added. "Today, the judge ruled against Snyder and Orr and accused them of using bankruptcy as a backdoor around the state constitutional protection of pension benefits."

The AFSCME has 1.6 million members with over 5,000 in Detroit. Saunders said the average public service pension is less than $18,000 per year.

"We urge Snyder and Orr to immediately abandon their course of action," Saunders said, "and to follow the judge's order directing 'the emergency manager to immediately withdraw the Chapter 9 petition' and to 'not authorize any further Chapter 9 filing that threatens to diminish or impair accrued pension benefits.'"

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Aurora Shooting Survivor Recalls Terror on Eve of Anniversary

ABC News(AURORA, Colo.) -- Sitting in a dark movie theater watching The Dark Knight Rises with her boyfriend, Julia Vojtsek sensed something "weird" was going on.

"A guy was pretending to talk a cell phone call outside," she said. "I thought, 'just leave.'"

When the man came back in through the theater's emergency exit, all hell broke loose in Aurora, Colo.

First, it was the teargas.

"Somebody screamed out 'poison'," she said. "Almost immediately it filled the entire theater. Your lungs start burning. You feel like your eyes and nose are bleeding, even though they're not."

Then, the gunfire.

"He shoots a few times into the air, then just starts shooting toward the crowd," she said.

Vojtsek was sitting in the center of Theater 9, about six or seven rows up, with her boyfriend John Larimer.

She says Larimer's quick thinking is the only reason she is alive today. She is telling her story publicly for the first time since the shooting.

"His first instinct was to grab my head, cover me, tell me to get down. He was kind of guiding me where to go," she told ABC News.

"He looked up for a split second to kind of see what was going on and I think that's when he was shot. He was holding on to me tight, and I could feel when he relaxed," Vojtsek recounts. "I think that's when he died."

Vojtsek made it to safety with the help of two of Larimer's Navy friends who had met them at the theater that night.

Larimer was only 27 when he died. The youngest of five siblings, Larimer was a Navy petty officer third class stationed Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.

"He was super excited" about seeing the new Batman movie, Vojtsek says. The couple even made a special trip to Wal-Mart before the midnight screening, buying Batman T-shirts along with a cape and mask they wore into the theater.

Eleven others were killed and 70 others were either wounded by gunfire or injured in the chaos of July 20, 2012.

For the first anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting, there were competing rallies Friday in Colorado.

At a state park near Aurora, the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns will be joined by shooting survivors and victims of gun violence. Organizers plan to read names of thousands of people killed by guns, ending with a moment of silence at 12:39 a.m.Saturday, the moment the shots first rang out in the Aurora theater.

A counter rally is planned at the same location by gun rights advocates to rally for the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

In court filings, former University of Colorado neuroscience student James Holmes has admitted to being the gunman who opened fire on the movie theater audience. His lawyers say he was having a "psychotic episode" at the time. He has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Vojtsek says the last year has been a tremendous emotional struggle. She's been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. About 40 percent of her hearing is gone, she says, a result of her close proximity to loud gunfire.

Smells trigger vivid memories, everything from popcorn to the smell of the concrete on the theater floor. The sound of sirens, even the sight of a Wal-Mart, can send her into a tailspin.

She says, however, that she will never forget the love of her life who saved her in more ways than one.

"He was one in a billion to me and to a lot of people," Vojtsek says of Larimer. "I hope that his heroism and his bravery can be honored forever and remembered forever."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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