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Entries in Austin (5)

Sunday
Dec302012

Missing Georgia Boys Found Safe in Texas, Dad in Custody

Courtesy of Theresa Nash(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Two missing Georgia boys have been found safe in Texas and their father has been taken into police custody.

Moments after pleading for her boys' return on television, the boys' mother Theresa Nash received a phone call from a citizen in Texas who said he was with her sons.

"I was in complete disbelief," Nash told ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV as she was boarding a plane to pick up her sons. "He immediately put the phone to Ben and Henry and I talked to them. They were very, very shaken up."

Police in Austin, Texas, were notified when someone recognized the boys and their father at a motel after seeing them on TV.

"They were playing with a Nerf ball, went back inside, they were with Daddy and they came back out and somebody said, 'Put your hands up,' and everybody put their hands up," Nash said.

The boys' father Daniel Cleary was arrested without incident, police said.

"We don't know why he chose Austin," Austin Police Cpl. Wuthipong Tantaksinanuki told WSB-TV. "I know that after he was taken into custody, we did recover a handgun -- a pistol -- and a large sum of money."

Daniel Cleary, who will be extradited to Georgia, faces a charge of interstate interference with custody, a felony, and could face other charges, McGee said.

Benjamin and Henry Cleary had been missing since Wednesday from the greater Atlanta area.

Benjamin, 9, and Henry, 7, had plans to leave with their father, Daniel Cleary, on an overnight trip to Chattanooga, Tenn., on Dec. 22. When they failed to return as scheduled on Dec. 26, their mother, Theresa Nash, who does not live with the boys' father, went to his house to check on them, only to find the phone disconnected and the house empty.

An Amber Alert was issued for the boys.

"There is a court order for them to contact me every day," Nash told ABCNews.com on Friday. "When I hadn't heard from them, and their father's phone was turned off, I went to their father's house to see if they were there. The house was cleared out as if they had moved."

Nash called Cleary "unstable," and said he had only been using cash since the boys went missing. Police said they had not found any charges on his credit card.

The three were spotted Friday at a Walmart in Jackson, Tenn., McGee said.

The boys were found on Henry's eighth birthday and were expected to be reunited with their mother on Sunday.

"They've been begging for an Xbox 360 for Christmas, and Santa brought them one so they need to come home because it's waiting," Nash said on Friday.

A prayer vigil that was scheduled for today at 2 p.m. in Georgia's Suwanee Town Center Park will be still be held for prayers of thanks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep142012

University of Texas, North Dakota U. and Valparaiso Disrupted by Threats

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A trio of universities were disrupted by violent threats this morning although all three campuses were later determined appear to be safe, according to the schools.

University of Texas president William Powers, Jr., said today that the school was "extremely confident" that the campus was safe and free of explosive devices as of 1 p.m. today, following a bomb threat placed to the school around 8:30 a.m.

Shortly after the University of Texas announced its bomb threat, North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., announced that it too had been the target of a bomb threat and was evacuating students. A third university, Valparaiso University in Indiana, announced that it had received a violent threat as well in the form of a graffiti message.

All three campuses have since been cleared. Officials said they do not yet know if the threats are related.

"There was always a question about the credibility of the threat. As you know there was a threat in North Dakota as well, so our evaluation continued, but we could not assure ourselves that this was not a credible threat, so we thought the prudent thing to do was clear the buildings," Powers said at a news conference today.

Around 8:30 a.m., the university received a phone call from someone with a Middle-Eastern accent who made an unspecific threat saying there were explosives in buildings on campus that would go off within 90 minutes to two hours, the university said. According to one message sent by the university to students, the man identified himself as part of Al Qaeda.

The university investigated the threats to evaluate their credibility before deciding to evacuate the campus buildings as a precaution, Powers said. Students were notified shortly before 10 a.m. to evacuate campus buildings.

Law enforcement officials then swept each building on campus to ensure that it was clear of any threats, Powers said.

Powers appeared along with the mayor of Austin, Lee Leffingwell, and chief of campus police, Robert Dahlstrom.

"We are very confident from working with state officials, our officials, and federal officials, we can't go into the details of why we know this, but we are extremely confident that the campus is safe," Powers said.

North Dakota State also cleared its buildings and residence halls of students, warning them that a bomb threat had been called into the school. Authorities there, aided by FBI officials, swept that campus to ensure there was no danger before reopening the campus this afternoon.

In Indiana, Valapraiso University also sent out an alert to students notifying them that a unspecified threat that might pose a danger to students during campus chapel time, around 11:15 a.m. The threat was made through graffiti, according to the school.

All three campuses announced that their schools were safe and clear of threats by 1:30 p.m.

The FBI said that it was helping local authorities investigate the threats and whether there was a connection among them.

In Texas, an FBI spokesman said that no arrests had been made yet but that law enforcement authorities were aggressively searching for the culprit.

"We are aggressively looking for this individual. We take these things pretty seriously for obvious reasons of public panic, the response of local authorities and that cost. We treat every one of these as if they're real until we know they are not," Erick Vasys.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May072012

Mysterious Noises, Vibrations Reported in Austin

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Mysterious vibrations – which sounded like a bass guitar and caused homes to shake – frightened Austin area residents over the weekend, prompting calls to 911.

“I heard a shaking noise – it sounded like wind hitting something,” resident Denzell Hutchinson told ABC News affiliate KVUE.   “I just thought it was wind blowing hard outside – until I went outside and there was no wind.”

The vibrations started early Sunday morning. That’s when fire crews arrived in the Harris Branch neighborhood of Austin and noticed homes vibrating.  They eventually traced the mysterious vibrations back to the nearby Sunset Farms Landfill.

Landfill officials think a flare that burns off residual methane gas, a byproduct of the facility, may have shifted around because of storms the previous night.

“It’s like a balloon: you vary the size and the way the air comes out of the opening, and it varies the pitch,” Austin Fire Lt. Josh Portie told the Austin American Statesman.

“If you change the opening, it changes the sound, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Portie said the landfill operator had made adjustments to the damper on top of the flare and the vibration stopped.

There was never any danger related to the flare, he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May252011

Amber Alert Issued for Pinales Sisters in Texas

Roger Weber/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- It's every parent's worst nightmare -- to come home and find your children missing. Right now a young working mother in central Texas is living that nightmare. To make matters worse, authorities believe her one- and two-year-old daughters were taken by their 14-year-old sister.

According to the Hays County Texas Sheriff's Office, last Friday morning, 36-year-old Lorrie Cantu left for her early-morning shift at a local transportation company. Cantu's 14-year-old daughter, Kendra Nicole Lee, was left at home to babysit her two sisters, Jasmine Pinales and Mariana Pinales.

Cantu kept in contact with her teenage daughter throughout the day with phone calls and text messages. She picked up an extra shift at work and when she arrived home that night at 11:30 p.m., the family's white Chevy pickup truck was gone, and so were the girls, police said

Cantu and her husband, who lives in Austin (the parents are separated), began contacting family and friends in the Austin area, desperately trying to find the girls, because Kendra had a history of running away.

On Saturday, a family member spotted the missing pickup truck off of Burton Road in Austin and called Cantu, who went to the scene. The relative told Cantu that two unidentified black males were seen running away from the vehicle, but there was no sign of the missing girls, police said.

When she arrived, Cantu found the doors on the pickup were open and the front seat was moved forward, which led her to believe that Kendra might have been driving the truck.

Detectives in Hays County conducted a second interview with the mother and found out that Kendra has a serious mental illness and is not currently taking her medication. They issued an Amber Alert and listed the girls as missing and endangered. Detectives tried tracking Kendra's mobile phone via GPS and came up with nothing. A warrant has been issued for Kendra's arrest for kidnapping her two younger sisters.

Kendra Nicole Lee, also known as Alejandra Rodriguez, is a 14-year-old black female. She is 5'5" tall and weighs 125 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white tank top and blue skirt.

Mariana Lynn Pinales is a one-year-old Hispanic female. She is 2'5" tall, weighs 30 pounds and has brown eyes and black hair. She was last seen wearing a pink faded "onesie" diaper and pink diamond earrings.

Their sister Jasmine Marie Pinales is a two-year-old Hispanic female. She is 2'5", weighs 40 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. She was last seen wearing a long-sleeved gray shirt with a heart on the front of the shirt and pull-ups.

The Hays County Sheriff's Department is urging anyone who seen Kendra, Mariana or Jasmine to immediately call 911.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb222011

JFK's Last Night Alive Caught on Tape

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) -- New footage from President John F. Kennedy's last night has resurfaced after sitting for years in a chest of drawers in Roy Botello's living room.

Kennedy and the first lady made an impromptu stop at the Rice Hotel in Houston Nov. 21, 1963, as part of a planned five-city visit to Texas that would have ended at a dinner in Austin. The Houston stop was to attend an event for the League of the United Latin American Citizens, replete with a crowd of photographers and a mariachi band.

Kennedy was assassinated the following day in Dallas.

Bottello, now 88, was the scholarship corporation chairman of the league in San Antonio at the time. He shot the silent color home movie on an 8mm camera from his seat in the front row. He not only captured Kennedy's and the first lady's speeches but also the arrival and welcoming of other dignitaries in extremely clear close-up shots.

The president spoke shortly before 9 p.m. in the hotel's grand ballroom.

"I'm glad to be here today," the president said in the original video.

The footage also shows the president -- all smiles -- leaving the dinner with a slew of photographers in his wake.

Botello donated the footage to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, which chronicles the assassination and legacy of President Kennedy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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