Entries in California (368)


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


California State Senate Approves Bill Regarding Transgender Students

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Lawmakers in California have approved a bill that would let transgender students choose which restroom they use.
If signed by Governor Jerry Brown it would mark the first time a state has mandated that K-12 schools let transgender students choose, on their own, which restrooms they use -- and which sports teams - male or female they join. The bill allows the choice to be made based on gender identity instead of chromosomes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the proposal aims to diminish bullying of transgender students.

Opponents of the bill say that California is going too far with the proposed legislation. State Sen. Jim Nielsen said that he believes that the regulation would make some students who don't want to share a restroom with members of the opposite sex uncomfortable.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


911 Caller Sees Alligator by Road in California

L.A. County Sheriff's Department(LANCASTER, Calif.) -- A startled woman in Lancaster, Calif., called 911 Tuesday morning after seeing an alligator on the side of the road.

“I just saw a couple of girls carrying an alligator!” the woman told a 911 dispatcher.

The alligator was being transported in a van when it went to the bathroom in its cage. In order to clean out the cage, two females removed the alligator from the van.

“Could it have been a lizard?” a 911 dispatcher asked the woman.

“No it was like 4 feet long!” the woman said.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement, “The caller feared that the female was about to abandon the beast in the desert.”

LASD deputies stopped the van to learn that the females were part of the “Zoo to You” program in Paso Robles, Calif. Deputies also found a baby kangaroo in the same van. The women planned to show the animals to the students of Quartz Hill Elementary School.

But on Tuesday morning, the alligator and baby kangaroo were stars in Lancaster as deputies took pictures of the animals before sending them on their way.

The deputies parted ways after saying “see you later alligator,” according to an L.A. County Sheriff’s statement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Woman Finds 65-Year-Old Childhood Essay in Used Bible

Paul Bersebach/Orange County Register/Zuma/Newscom(SAN CLEMENTE, Calif.) -- As Marion Shurtleff was on her way out a bookstore in San Clemente, Calif., she remembered that she had meant to buy a few extra Bibles for her Bible study group.

Shurtleff, 75, asked an employee if the store had used Bibles and he pointed her in the right direction. There were four or five versions, so she quickly picked two, paid and left.

She noticed later on that one of the Bibles had some folded yellow papers inside but thought nothing of them until about two months later when she found herself with some free time and decided to take a look at the papers.

What she found floored her.

"I opened it up and on the inside facing page...I started shaking," Shurtleff told ABC News. "There was my name and my telephone number and I recognized my handwriting."

There were three pages of thin yellow paper with a Girl Scout essay written in pencil. Shurtleff wrote it 65 years ago when was 10 years old.

"When you're a Girl Scout and you apply for a badge, you use your Girl Scout handbook and write a report on the requirements," she said. "This was for the Foot Traveler's Badge."

The paper described a day-long adventure in which Shurtleff and a few other girls had chronicled walking "a lot of different places" and how long it took them to get from place to place in her then home of Covington, Ky., which she left in 1963.

Covington is more than 2,000 miles away from San Clemente.

She wrote about the items she carried and different rules like, "Don't walk on the grass" and "Don't harm the bark of a tree."

At the end of the day she had taken the street car home, she wrote.

"I was amazed," Shurtleff said of finding and reading the pages. "I was stunned. I shook. I cried. I had goosebumps."

She now calls the event her "OMG story," since she said all of her friends have reacted to the story by exclaiming, "Oh my God!"

She didn't recognize the Bible and saw that it had been printed in 1986, long after she wrote the essay.

"The Bible wasn't mine and the Bible was printed in 1986 so it's not that old," she said. "Where the document was from the time I wrote it until 1986, I still have no idea."

Shurtleff wanted to solve the mystery of who had saved her Girl Scouts paper. She went back to the bookstore and asked if they could tell her who donated the Bible.

They said privacy rules prevented them from giving her the person's name or contact information but if she wanted to write a letter, they would pass it along.

With the help of some local media, Shurtleff eventually connected with the woman who had donated the Bible.

"When I contacted the lady who had donated and she remembered the Bible and she remembered turning it in, but she and her husband had talked about it and didn't remember anything in the Bible," Shurtleff said.

When asked about the possibility that maybe she had the papers all along and they had found their way into the Bible, Shurtleff said she had ruled that out.

She said she has moved around the country many times throughout her life and kept her possessions to a bare minimum.

"I didn't keep anything sentimental and the number of times I moved...I have been down to almost not taking anything with me so I would have known if I had that in my possession," she said.

Shurtleff said that she believes her former Scout leader in Kentucky has since passed away so her only clue is the name "Bonnie Gene Edwards," who signed the end of the paper and wrote "okay." She doesn't know if Edwards is someone from her school, a fellow Scout or another Scout leader.

Shurtleff has been in touch with the coordinator of her class reunions who is sending her the classbook to see if she might recognize anyone else in it who might have an idea.

In the meantime, Shurtleff said she's taking the wandering papers as a sign from God.

"I guess God wanted me to have this and maybe it was supposed to remind me of an earlier time in my life or just let us know that strange things happen and we should believe," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Lawyer for As I Lay Dying Singer Blames Steroids in Murder-for-Hire Plot

Photo by Joey Foley/Getty Images(OCEANSIDE, Calif.) -- As I Lay Dying lead singer Tim Lambesis is set to appear in court on Tuesday, weeks after his lawyer linked the rocker's steroid use to his alleged attempt to arrange the murder of his estranged wife.

Lambesis, 32, was arrested May 7 in Oceanside, Calif., and charged with soliciting the murder of his wife Meggan Lambesis, who resides in Encinitas, Calif. Tim Lambesis remains behind bars on $2 million bail and has pleaded not guilty.

Thomas Warwick, the rocker's lawyer, blamed steroids, saying Lambesis was mentally unstable when he asked an undercover detective to kill his wife. He said Lambesis' thoughts were "devastatingly affected" by the drugs.

"His thought process was dramatically impacted by the steroid use," Warwick said in a Vista, Calif., courtroom on May 17 during a bail hearing.

Once Lambesis began working out, the steroid use began and the singer known for his head-banging music with a Christian twist lost his faith in God, Warwick said.

Prosecutors don't buy the "roid rage" defense and say the singer knew exactly what he was doing and his estranged wife now lives in fear.

"She is living petrified, not knowing, 'Can I come out, who else is out there?'" Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso said.

A 2008 video of Lambesis on the television show L.A. Ink shows a much skinnier body compared with a 2013 video of the rocker working out in the gym on his personal YouTube page.

"Anabolic steroids lead to an increase of testosterone hormone in blood, but it is very complex and it is not a direct cause-and-effect scenario," ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said.

Authorities began investigating Lambesis about a week prior to his arrest after they said they got word he was allegedly trying to find someone to kill his wife at a local gym. Grasso said Lambesis later met with the undercover agent posing as a hit man and gave him $1,000 and instructions on how best to kill his wife.

Meggan Lambesis served her rocker husband with divorce papers in September 2012, according to court records. The couple has three adopted children from Ethiopia.

Tim Lambesis is a founding member of the metalcore band that formed in 2000 in San Diego. As I Lay Dying's 2007 album An Ocean Between Us hit number 8 on the Billboard 200, and no. 1 on the Top Rock chart. The group was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for the song "Nothing Left" from the album. The band has released six albums.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


California Key to Massive Powerball Jackpot

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the countdown ticks on to Saturday night's record Powerball drawing, the jackpot has swollen to over $600 million, largely due to California's participation in the game, lottery officials said.

In the one month since California joined the list of 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands in playing, Powerball fever has swept across the Golden State.

California, the country's most populous state, has skyrocketed to the top three states in terms of ticket sales, alongside Florida and New York, according to lottery officials.

"Once California joined the Powerball family, we helped change the dynamics to this game because of the mere size of the state and the number of players that we have," a California lottery spokesperson told ABC News.

The size of the jackpot has created a frenzy that has also driven ticket sales, according to lottery officials. The previous record for a Powerball jackpot was $587.5 million on Nov. 28, 2012.

Tickets sold at a rate of 600,000 per hour in New York on Friday, New York lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman told ABC News.

It's expected that tickets will continue to sell at a rapid rate until the 10 p.m. ET cut-off time Saturday night. The winning numbers will be drawn at 10:50 p.m. ET, perhaps minting a few new millionaires.

However, if no one matches all five numbers plus the Powerball, the jackpot will continue to balloon.

Kelly Cripe, media director for the Texas Lottery, which is one of the states in the Powerball lottery, said the next drawing would be May 22 and estimated the pot would be at least an astonishing $925 million. The frenzy of such a massive jackpot would likely push it even closer to $1 billion.

The odds of winning the grand prize are one in 175,223,510, according to the Powerball website.

While Saturday's jackpot is a Powerball record, it's not the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. That honor belongs to the Mega Millions, which paid out a record $656 million on March 30, 2012.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Leila Fowler 911 Call Released, Brother to Appear in Court

ABC News | Calaveras Unified School District(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- In the 911 call from the day 8-year-old Leila Fowler was stabbed to death, her father's girlfriend, who was not home, didn't appear to know that Leila has been hurt. She told the operator that Leila was "freaking out" after her brother said he had allegedly seen an intruder in the house.

The brother has since been arrested and charged with second-degree murder with special circumstances for using a dangerous weapon in the killing. He is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday, though his name has not been released because he is a minor.

On April 27, Leila's 12-year-old brother told Valley Springs, Calif., authorities that he found his sister stabbed to death after an intruder broke into their home. There were no adults at the house when the stabbing occurred. The boy said he called his parents, who alerted sheriff's deputies.

"My children are at home alone and a man just ran out of my house. My older son was in the bathroom and my daughter started screaming," the panicked woman said in the 911 call released by the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office. "When he came out, there was a man outside my house. I need an officer there."

The woman calling was Leila's father's girlfriend, according to ABC News' Sacramento affiliate KXTV.

When the dispatcher asked if the children had seen the intruder, the woman said, "They did see him. My daughter is freaking out right now."

She also said the children were "really scared" and that she was trying to get home.

The boy told authorities the intruder, whom he described as a tall man with a muscular build, fled the scene. The boy's description launched a 15-day manhunt that included door-to-door searches and divers in a reservoir.

The Calaveras County Sheriff's Office in Northern California announced the arrest of the 12-year-old boy on May 10.

Mark Reichel and Steve Plesser, attorneys from a firm hired by the boy's family to represent him, told KXTV that they met with him Wednesday at a juvenile detention facility.

"He's actually doing very well right now," Plesser said. "As well as can be expected in these really difficult times."

The two attorneys said they plan to ask the court to allow the boy to return to his family.

Neighbors in Valley Springs said they feared all along that Leila's brother -- not a mystery man the boy described -- might be responsible for the girl's stabbing death.

"It made us sadder, because he's just 12 years old," Barbara Barron told ABC News. "The family has lost two children now."


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Weather May Aid Crews Fighting California Wildfires

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Wildfires raging through Southern California have tripled in size to 28,000 acres as firefighters work to bring the blazes threatening nearly 4,000 homes under control.

More than 2,000 firefighters and structure protection crews from across the region worked tirelessly to protect buildings, including a naval training facility, from the raging fires in Camarillo, Calif.

Even residents have joined in to quell the early season flames. Eighteen year-old Brittany Smolarski used a bottle of water and her riding boots to stomp out a sudden spot fire while helping to evacuate horses.

"I've never been that close to a fire," Smolarski told Good Morning America. "That smoke is pretty deadly. I'm trying to protect everything that I can. I don't want my barn to burn up."

With red-flag warnings lifted on Friday, weather conditions may be turning in favor of the firefighters, reports the Los Angeles Times. The weekend's weather is expected to be cooler and more humid. Inland areas could temperature drops of 15 to 20 degrees along with potential rain showers that would aid efforts to control the flames.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Judge Defies Victim's Family by Sending DUI Driver to Prison

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Calif.) -- The judge who sentenced a Fresno, Calif., man to jail for his role in a deadly drunk driving accident, defied the wishes of the victim’s family who had asked that the driver not receive jail time.

Judge Alan Simpson sentenced 25-year-old Brian Cappelluti to a year in jail after Cappelluti pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges on Thursday.

In 2011, Cappelluti was arrested after driving drunk with a blood alcohol level of .21 and crashing into a traffic light. The accident took the life of passenger 23-year-old J.W. Pardini, a close friend of Cappelluti’s.

Before Cappelluti’s sentencing, the Pardini family wrote a letter to the judge asking that Cappelluti not be given jail time.

“JW is gone forever. Brian has to live with the thought of this accident every day for the rest of his life,” the family wrote in a statement. “We suggest that probation for Brian is the proper corrective action.”

Another passenger in the car, Marion Walker, was severely injured during the crash. But she also spoke out for Cappelluti and asked the judge for leniency in his sentencing.

“All of us will pay for this accident for the rest of our lives,” Walker said. “We all understood what could happen and it did. I ask you not to take away my surviving support.”

While Simpson’s sentence of one year in jail is more than the defense wanted, it is far less than the five years in prison the prosecutors had asked for.

“I think the outcome was fair and just and everybody can feel that justice was done,” defense attorney Rick Berman told ABC News affiliate KFSN-TV in Fresno after the sentencing.

An earlier plea bargain fell apart in February after Cappelluti refused a deal that could have resulted in his spending six years in prison. During that hearing, Judge Houry Sanderson chided Cappelluti for relying on the kindness of Pardini’s family.

“If he was not related at all to these victims at all, total strangers, I am very sure that the position of these families would have been very different,” Sanderson said.

Cappelluti could be released from jail after eight months.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Denied Money, Panhandler Lights California Man, Car on Fire

KABC-TV/DT(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- Police arrested a panhandler who reportedly lit a man on fire outside a convenience store in Long Beach, Calif. after not receiving money.

The 63-year-old victim was hospitalized with third-degree burns. He is in critical condition.

ABC's Los Angeles affiliate KABC reported on Friday that a panhandler approached the victim walking into a 7-Eleven store and asked him for money. The victim said no.

When the victim left the store and got into his SUV, the 37-year-old transient reportedly doused him and the inside of his vehicle with a flammable substance and lit it on fire, engulfing the truck in flames with the man inside, KABC reported.

"With the door open you could see the entire insides were ablaze," one eyewitness told Good Morning America. "He came out and he was horrifying. His entire shirt was on fire, his head was on fire."

Authorities called the incident a random act of violence. The two men did not know each other, police said.

"It's a horrific crime to think that somebody's, really no motive, just sitting there, minding their own business and then to be lit on fire," Long Beach Police Sgt. Aaron Eaton told KABC.

KABC reported the transient was arrested and will be charged with arson and attempted murder.

Police have not released the names of the two men.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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