Entries in Girl (21)


Body of Girl, 4, Recovered After Being 'Swept Away' by Storm

ABC News(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- The body of a 4-year-old girl was recovered after she was swept away by the rising floodwaters in the wake of tornadoes that ravaged the Oklahoma City area, but what happened to the rest of her family is unknown, police said today.

The young girl and her family took shelter from the barrage of tornadoes that touched down Friday night in a ditch three miles south of downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Lt. Jay Barnett told ABC News.

"They were seeking shelter from the storm and got caught up in it somehow," Barnett said. "She was trapped by the fast-rising waters associated with the storm and got swept away."

Barnett said it is believed she hid out with family members who may have included a 21-year-old adult male, as well as her 4-year-old, 3-year-old, and 5-month-old relatives.

Barnett could not confirm whether the girl was included in the nine deaths listed by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.

The whereabouts of the child's family are still unclear, Barnett said.

"Until we actually recover additional bodies and are able to speak with available witnesses, we can't say for certain what happened," Barnett said. "We can also hold out some hope that not all of them were swept away, that not all perished."

Barnett could not comment on where the girl's body was found, saying it was part of an ongoing investigation.

A mother and her baby were also killed after they were sucked out of their car during the tornadoes.

The storm, which included an estimated five twisters, left others huddled and crying in walk-in freezers, smashed and flipped cars and trucks, and turned roads into rivers.

The woman and her infant were in a vehicle on Interstate 40 when the storm struck during rush hour. They were just miles from the city of Moore, Okla., which was devastated by a massive tornado that killed 24 people on May 20, said Betsy Randolph, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

"A mother and baby lost their lives out here tonight," Randolph said. "They were swept up in the storm... (They were) traveling on the interstate and their car was sucked up into the tornado and they were sucked out of their vehicle and thrown from their vehicle.

"We know that the storm picked them up and swept them away. When the troopers found them, they were both deceased," the officer added.

They were not immediately identified.

Randolph described a nightmarish situation on the interstate.

"The sky was black, there was debris flying through the air," she told ABC News. She said there was heavy rain and hail the size of "softballs" that was hitting people as they escaped from cars that were colliding and being sent airborne by the storm.

"It was absolute chaos with all the crashes and vehicles flying through the air," she said.

Randolph compared the damage along Highway 40 to a parking lot strewn with wrecked cars and said there were not enough troopers to respond to each accident.

Hail, flood waters and downed power lines made it difficult for police and emergency crews to access the area, Randolph said.

"I cannot stress to you just how important it is that if people don't have to be out, that they stay inside and seek shelter," she said.

Beverly Allam, 57, was trying to leave her home and head south to outrun the storm, but got trapped in what she called "a mass exodus" as other motorists also tried to flee.

She was at Highway 9, 10 miles from I-40, but the winds were strong enough to push her van into a different lane and make her fear that the van would tip over. She was with her daughter Helema, 16, and son Mohamed, 33. They fled for shelter into a Sinclair gas station and took shelter with 50 other strangers in the station freezer.

In the freezer there were a few people freaking out crying with their pets, she said. There were some comforting others, and a few just trying to keep things light with jokes.

This storm particularly scared her and she has lived in Oklahoma her whole life. She describes the sky as pitch black and said she was able to see power surges and flashes in the sky.

"You just try to make a run for it and get away," Allam said.

She was particularly scared because she has never been without a shelter in storm situations, "the only way to survive theses storms," she said.

When they emerged from the freezer, Allam saw that her car windshield had been shattered by the hail and the lot was littered with glass and huge balls of hail. On her way home after the worst had passed "the roads were like rivers," Allam said.

Addie Pendarvis was working at a Sonic, a drive-in diner, when the tornado emergency went into effect.

"When my bosses called me, I had to get everyone and put them in the walk-ins until I got the call to get everybody out that it had passed us," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


11-Year-Old Girl Dies After Fight with Classmate over Boy

KABC-TV/ABC News(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- Health officials and police in Long Beach, Calif., are trying to determine how an 11-year-old girl died after getting into a fight with another girl over a boy.

Joanna Ramos, a fifth grader at Willard Elementary School, died Friday night in the hospital after complaining of a headache.

“She was so nice to me; she was like a sister to me,” said classmate Stephanie Soltero, crying.  “They were fighting over a boy, just for a boy.  It’s just stupid.”

The two girls and seven onlookers went to an alley off campus after school on Friday, where they had planned to fight, according to Deputy Chief Robert Luna of the Long Beach Police Department.  No weapons were used and no one was knocked to the ground.

Police are waiting for autopsy results to determine Ramos’ cause of death.

Ramos’ classmate said she was complaining about a pain in her head during an after-school program.

“She was crying and saying her head was hurting.  She said to the supervisor, the principal on call, she told them that my head was hurting and then she called the parents and the parents took her to the hospital,” classmate Justin Robert King Jr. said.

Ramos was unconscious and not breathing when family members took her to the hospital at about 5:50 p.m., according to police.  She was rushed into surgery but pronounced dead three hours later.

“There are times when words do not convey a sense of sadness and loss that we feel.  This was one of those times.  Our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragic event yesterday.  It resulted in the death of an 11-year-old girl from Long Beach.  It’s hard to understand how this can happen.  If you’re like me, you’re also thinking of your own children, perhaps your daughter or your granddaughter, and you get a sense of how precious life really is,” Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said Saturday.

Outside Willard Elementary School, friends left balloons, candles, stuffed animals, flowers and letters to Ramos.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maryland Fourth Grader Suspended for Composing 'Kill List'

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DEALE, Md.) -- A nine-year-old Maryland girl was suspended from school for what administrators claim was a hit list she put together.

They discovered two weeks ago that the fourth grader from Deale Elementary School in Anne Arundel County put dozens of names on what was initially called a "kill list" but was later changed to "people mean to me."

Despite the rewording, school officials notified police as well as the parents of 35 kids who were allegedly on the list.

Some of the parents believe the child who compiled the list should be expelled and suggested other disciplinary action.  Others said the girl was troubled and needed compassion.

Among the names found on the list: singer Justin Bieber.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suspect Arrested in Jorelys Rivera Sex Assault, Murder

ABC News(CANTON, Ga.) -- Police on Wednesday arrested a maintenance worker who lives at the same apartment complex where 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera is believed to have been bludgeoned, stabbed and sexually assaulted in a vacant apartment near the playground where she disappeared.

Ryan Brunn, 20, doesn't have a criminal history, investigators said, but Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vernon Keenan told reporters, "We are confident that Brunn is the killer and that is why he is in custody."

Jorelys disappeared Friday evening from the playground at the River Ridge apartment community, where she lived with her mother in Canton, Ga. Her body was discovered Monday in one of the complex's dumpsters.

"This investigation will continue on for several months," Keenan said Wednesday. "This is a mammoth case. We believe this horrendous crime was planned and calculated and we've recovered a lot of evidence that will require processing."

Prior to being arrested on murder charges Wednesday, Brunn had been under surveillance since the night prior, Keenan said.

"We reached a point this afternoon where we had sufficient evidence to obtain arrest warrants for murder of the 7-year-old child," he said.

Keenan would not say what evidence police had gathered, but did say Brunn "had access to the trash compactor."

Brunn was well known in the apartment complex because he was employed there.

"To the extent he was known to the family of the child, I don't know," said Keenan.

A neighbor told ABC News affiliate WSB, "I just knew it was him."

The neighbor also told the TV station that investigators had removed the suspect's car and items from his apartment and that Brunn lives with the property manager's son.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jorelys Rivera Stabbed, Assaulted in 'Calculated' Murder

Handout, Cherokee County Sheriffs Department(CANTON, Ga.) -- Jorelys Rivera, the 7-year-old girl whose body was found in a Georgia dumpster, was bludgeoned, sexually assaulted and stabbed in a remarkably vicious attack by a killer who police believe lives in her apartment complex.

The wounds to the girl's body were so severe that Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan refused to describe them beyond that fact that she had blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds.

Keenan described the crime as a "very horrific and brutal murder."

Jorelys had been missing since Friday and was last seen at her apartment community's playground in Canton, Ga. Her body was pulled from a dumpster Monday and an autopsy was completed Monday night.

"We don't know if the child was targeted or not. We do know from what was determined through the autopsy and other evidence this was a very calculated and planned crime," Keenan said.

Police believe the murderer is still nearby. "The investigators feel very strongly the killer of the child resides in the apartment complex or has ready access to the apartment complex," said Keenan. "It's very important that persons who live in that apartment complex...If they have any information that could have bearing on this case, to let us know."

Keenan said there are several registered sex offenders who have resided in the River Ridge apartment complex, but they have all been interviewed and, "we have no reason to believe at this point that [those] sex offenders are involved."

The scene of the murder may have been an unlocked apartment at the River Ridge apartment complex where Jorelys lived.

Investigators believe Jorelys was abducted near the River Ridge playground, taken to a vacant apartment within the complex, assaulted and murdered, and then tossed in the dumpster.

"We have found evidence in [the vacant apartment] we believe is blood," said Keenan. "We are awaiting results of the investigation. The lab worked all night long."

Preliminary DNA test results are expected to be released Tuesday.

The award for any information that leads to the capture or conviction of the murderer is now $15,000, up $10,000 from Monday.

Canton Police Chief Jeff Lance told reporters Monday, "What we need is help from the public -- that's the key to this right now."

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call 770-704-7074.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Missing Georgia Girl: Body Found in Dumpster

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CANTON, Ga.) -- A brutally disfigured body discovered in a dumpster may be that of a 7-year-old girl who went missing at her family's apartment complex in Canton, Ga., investigators told reporters Monday.

"This is going to be a very, very horrendous crime. I am convinced of that after having observed the body," Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vernon Keenan said. "A child who dies under extreme violence is the absolutely the worst thing that can happen to a human being."

The body, thought to be missing girl Jorelys Rivera, was badly beaten and sexually assaulted, Keenan said. Autopsy results, still pending, will confirm the identity and cause of death.

Keenan said the body was discovered around 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Canton Police Chief Jeff Lance told reporters, "What we need is help from the public -- that's the key to this right now."

Authorities had searched a mile and a half radius from the River Ridge apartment community where Jorelys lived with her mother, enlisting the help of state officers specially trained in child abductions before finally narrowing their search to one dumpster at the complex.

On Monday they took the dumpster to a barren field and emptied it there, pulling a body from the trash.

Now investigators are asking for the public's help in finding the person responsible.

A $5,000 reward is being offered in the hopes of generating more leads.

Jorelys was last seen Friday evening at the playground in her apartment complex. She reportedly left to get drinks for her friends and never returned.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call 770-704-7074.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


‘Person of Interest’ Questioned in Illinois Teen’s Murder

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- As hundreds of friends and family members poured into a suburban Chicago funeral home to say goodbye to 14-year-old Kelli O’Laughlin, police in a tiny Illinois suburb on Thursday announced they are questioning a “person of interest” in her murder.

“We have a person of interest in custody, and we’re working feverishly to bring this to a conclusion,” said Indian Head Park Police Chief Frank Alonzo at a brief press conference at which he took no questions.  "No charges have been filed.”

Police say the brutal killing of the high school freshman is the first murder ever in this tight-knit community of 3,700 people.  Kelli was discovered by her mother inside the family’s home last Thursday.  She had been stabbed to death with a kitchen knife.  Investigators believe she came home from school and walked in on a burglary.

Investigators with the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force have combed through more than 100 leads.  They are also searching for several rare coins -- including some from a Las Vegas casino -- believed stolen from the O’Laughlins' home.

The man police have in custody is reportedly on parole and thought to be connected to a recent string of burglaries in the region.  Sources close to the investigation say search dogs tracked the man’s scent to a highway rest stop near the O’Laughlin family’s home, where he may have hailed a taxi.

The latest developments in the case come as Kelli’s distraught family holds her wake and prepares for her funeral.  

On Wednesday, Kelli’s father, John O’Laughlin, released a statement on behalf of his family, saying, “We are truly overwhelmed and touched by the outpouring of support we have received from the community and all those who knew and loved Kelli.  We are so grateful to everyone who has offered their support and condolences at this difficult time.”

So many people are expected to attend Kelli’s funeral on Friday morning that community members are conducting a roadside vigil to help ease the overflow crowd.  They’re calling it “Join Hands and Hearts for Kelli,” and asking neighbors to line the mile-and-a-half route between the funeral home and the church, in a show of support for Kelli’s family.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


5-Year-Old Gets Behind the Wheel To Search for Mom

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(MANSFIELD, Ohio) -- When Ameleah Kegly got off the school bus Monday afternoon, her mother was not there to pick her up.  The 5-year-old walked herself to the family’s home in Mansfield, Ohio, but mom Christina Hunter, 31, was not there either.

So the girl waited at home, alone.  Three hours later, when her mom had still not arrived, Ameleah took matters into her own hands. She grabbed the keys at about 7 p.m. and got behind the wheel of the family’s black SUV to search for her mom.

She turned the headlights on and put the key in the ignition but, failing to turn the ignition completely on, she rolled the car backward down the driveway and right into the neighbor’s yard.

Realizing the trouble she was in, Ameleah got out of the car and called 911.

“Um, my mom’s car backed out on accident and I need the police to pull my mom’s car back in,” she told the dispatcher.  “The car is staying on running now you got to get here quick, my mom is going to be pissed at me.”

Mansfield police officer Ryan Grimshaw arrived at the family’s home to find Ameleah unharmed, but scared.

“I just found a little girl standing in the doorway by herself on the phone,” he told the Mansfield News Journal.  “She was scared, but she opened up pretty quickly. She said she came home from school and no one was there. She said she had been playing with her two cats and that she was hungry, so I made her some pizza rolls and gave her a juice box. She was pretty happy about that.”

What Ameleah and Grimshaw didn’t know at the time was that the girl’s mother, Hunter, had been taken by ambulance to a local hospital earlier in the day for an undisclosed ailment.

Released from the hospital late Monday, Hunter told officials she had asked Ameleah’s father, Aaron Kegley, 26, to take care of their daughter after school. Kegley says he never received that message.

Mansfield police did not file charges against Hunter or Kegley, but the county’s Department of Children Services is looking into the incident.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Texas Girl Found, Soldier Facing Charges

Handout(WICHITA FALLS, Texas) -- A missing 14-year-old girl with the mental capacity of someone much younger was found Friday with a 21-year-old soldier who now faces charges in her disappearance.

Police located Andrea Fox around 8:45 a.m. in Wichita Falls, Texas, in the car of James Dean Martin, an Army soldier stationed in Colorado, whom she knew from Timpson, Texas. Police had obtained text messages the two had exchanged in the hours before Fox disappeared Tuesday, which led them to believe she was with Martin. Helped by a tipster who had seen a description of Marin's car in the Amber Alert, police found the two asleep inside the vehicle that was parked on the side of a road.

"She's in good shape, she's unharmed and we're going to see her now," Fox's mother, Shanna Love, told ABC News. Wichita Falls is approximately 600 miles from League City, where Fox was last seen while staying with her grandmother. Her grandmother reported her missing Tuesday morning when she found a note from the girl saying she was going to New York for a week, would return before school began and not to look for her.

State police issued the Amber Alert Thursday because of the risk posed by a 14-year-old girl with a diminished mental capacity traveling with someone unrelated who was more than three years older than she was.

"Certainly when you have someone who is young and is traveling with someone older, there is always a concern that they could be in danger of serious bodily harm, sexual assault or even death," said Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas state police.

Love said that her daughter had had no previous contact with Martin and was not the type of girl to run away.

Kristi Wyatt, a spokeswoman for League City, said that Martin would face charges of harboring a runaway. Both Fox and Martin are giving statements to police this morning, and then Fox will be released to her family, Wyatt said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lawyer for Suspect in Aruba Missing Woman Case: 'No Proof'

Comstock/Thinkstock(FREDERICK, Md.) -- The attorney for a man being held in Aruba for the disappearance at sea of Robyn Gardner claimed Wednesday that there is no evidence that his client committed murder.

Gary Giordano, 50, is being held as a suspect in the disappearance of Gardner, 35, of Frederick, Md., who vanished in the same Aruba town where another American woman, Natalee Holloway, disappeared six years ago.

Giordano and Gardner traveled together to Aruba July 31, according to Aruba police.

Giordano has claimed that the two went snorkeling together around 6 p.m. on Aug. 2, but Giordano returned back to shore amid rough currents and realized Gardner had not returned to shore with him. He alerted Aruba police who searched the area with ships, helicopters and divers, but did not find any sign of Gardner.

Giordano was arrested Friday as he attempted to board a flight to the U.S., police said.

"They suspect murder but there's no proof, to my knowledge," said Michael Lopez, Giordano's attorney in Aruba. "I don't see any proof. There's no proof and no motive."

The Natalee Holloway Resource Center, a foundation started after Holloway's disappearance, has been offering help to Gardner's boyfriend, Richard Forester.

"It strikes a chord close to home because that's where my nightmare began, the day I got the call in 2005," Beth Holloway, mother of Natalee, told ABC News. "We want to be a first responder to these families, we want to be there to help them."

Maryland court documents show that a Gary Giordano there has a criminal record, including two orders of protection taken out by women that claimed he was violent. One was taken out by his ex-wife during their divorce proceedings.

Two women who say they dated Giordano told ABC News that he was terrifying, and another woman said Giordano stalked her.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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