Entries in House (15)


Maryland Couple to Retire in 'Tiny House' on Wheels

Image Credit: Kenneth Lam/MCT/Landov(PASADENA, Md.) -- When Greg Cantori and his wife, Renee, are ready to retire, they will not only have to pack up their respective offices, but also downsize their home, in a big way.

The Cantoris of Pasadena, Md., plan to retire in a 238-square-foot house on wheels they purchased two years ago for $19,000.

The couple lives with one of their two grown daughters in a 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home on the same lot where their future retirement home waits on wheels.

“We don’t know how many years it will be but we’re getting there,” said Cantori, the president of Maryland Nonprofits.

Cantori, 53, became used to living in small spaces as a 19-year-old living aboard a sailboat and then spent his honeymoon with Renee, 51, living aboard a 30-foot sailboat in the Virgin Islands for three weeks.

“We know what it’s like to live small and simple,” Cantori told ABC News.

Once on dry land, the Cantoris raised two daughters, now 19 and 22, and began to follow the “tiny house” movement in which people, like themselves, choose to abandon space for simplicity and give up luxuries to make do with less.

“This is not for everyone,” he said. “Probably 99.9 percent couldn’t conceive of doing this.”

The Cantoris, however, can completely conceive of it and have made it their “goal” to live full-time in the “tiny house” they purchased from a lawyer in Kansas and drove across the country to Maryland attached to a U-Haul.

Their “tiny house,” which consists of a kitchen, bathroom, living space and two bedroom loft, has stayed put on their property since its purchase, but once retirement comes, the Cantoris plan to move on.

“We’re thinking of moving it to Western Maryland or Nova Scotia,” Cantori said. “We may find a place we want to stay for a couple of months or a couple of years and then move from there.”

“The rigidity people have when thinking of their lifestyles, they don’t realize they have many other options,” he said in response to those who wonder how, or why, the couple would choose to downsize in such a drastic way.

“None of this is permanent,” Cantori said.

Cantori also sees adapting to a “tiny house” as a great and easy way to keep the property in the family. Both daughters, according to their father, “love” the house and their parents’ retirement plans.

“Unlike an RV or a house, you can pass it on and it’s not a burden to your children,” Cantori said.  “In this case, you can say, ‘Here it is, take it with you.’”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mammoth Boulder Crashes into California Home

KGTV/ABC News(POWAY, Calif.) -- A boulder, estimated to weigh 12 tons, rolled into a house in Poway, Calif. Thursday, wiping out its garage, crushing gas and electric lines, and barely missing a propane tank.

Poway Fire Department officials said the boulder was apparently dislodged during heavy rains Thursday, and traveled about 300 feet before crashing into the San Diego County home.

“I heard a loud booming sound and the walls of my house were shaking … I rushed to the patio and then the garage and that’s when I saw a big hole,” said Janielle Gendelman, who lived alone in the house with her dog and two cats.  “My gosh! Pieces of the siding of the garage were sticking… It was a disaster! I saw the washing machine upside down.”

Kevin Hitchcock, fire division chief for the Poway fire department, told ABC News, “It is not clear what caused the boulder to come loose, but it could have been the torrents of rain.”

Poway firefighters said they put a rescue plan into effect. “First, we made sure there were no injuries, we secured the leaks in the propane and electric lines and sent out a MATS [Mercury and Air Toxics Standards] unit to contain the toxic leaks from pesticides and gasoline products stored in the garage,” said Hitchcock.

“This is my family home,” Gendelman said in an interview with ABC News. “I grew up here.”

Deanna McGough, who has lived nearby for 10 years, said that rolling boulders are not new in the area. “Three years ago a boulder rolled into a house in this neighborhood,” McGough told ABC News. “And occasionally I see boulders on the sides of the street.”

Hitchcock said the rock that hit Gendelman’s house was more than 5 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide. It was made of granite. “We’re still not sure how it will be removed from the garage,” he said.  “Most likely it will have to be pulled out of the garage with a cable because it can’t be drilled where it is.”

Gendelman said she is not sure if her home insurance would cover all the expenses to repair the damage. “I was told by my agent that they might not cover the damage. This is really upsetting because this is my only home and I had to pay extra to insure against damage from natural disasters like earthquakes,” she said tearfully.  “I mean, what will I do with this big rock in my garage? Can’t they at least seal the walls?”

ABC News contacted Gendelman’s insurer. The company confirmed that it is aware of Gendelman’s claim and is looking into it.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York Woman Slams Mercedes Through Home into Backyard

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A Brooklyn, N.Y., woman will be arraigned Tuesday on drunk driving charges after she allegedly ran her Mercedes convertible through a Long Island home, taking everything, including the kitchen sink, with her.

The driver, 21-year-old Sophia Anderson, walked away with only a few scrapes and bruises to her face, police said.  A male passenger was also left unscathed from the crash, which occurred Monday at 4:05 a.m.

Anderson failed to turn at a t-intersection, a Suffolk County Police spokesperson told ABC News.  The Brooklyn woman allegedly rammed her Mercedes through the home, causing furniture, a stove and dishes to scatter in the backyard of a 90-year-old woman’s home.

The homeowner and her caretaker were inside the home at the time of the accident, but were uninjured.

“It could have been a lot worse,” a police spokesperson said.

Neighbors said they were jolted awake by the noise of the crash.

“It sounded like a wrecking ball,” neighbor Kimberly Steinberg told the New York Post.  “All I saw was a red glow.  I heard people making noise and glass breaking.”

Anderson refused a breathalyzer test.  She was treated at Huntington Hospital and then booked at the Fourth Precinct.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Suspicious’ Washington State House Fire Kills Two Women

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- A “very suspicious” house fire near North Bend, Wash., that killed two women on Sunday is being investigated as a homicide, according to officials.

The King County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 41-year-old Peter Keller, the male resident of the home, as a person of interest in the case. A car missing from the scene was found hours later at the North Bend library.

While police have not released the identities of the victims, neighbors told ABC News that a man and woman lived in the home along with their teenage daughter.

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The fatal blaze was reported early Sunday morning by a neighbor. Firefighters found the two women unconscious in the home. Although responders attempted to revive the victims with CPR, they were unresponsive.

Firefighting officials became suspicious about the cause of the fire after finding seven gas canisters on the scene, which led to the deployment of a bomb detection robot.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Five Killed in Christmas Day House Fire

WABC-TV New York(STAMFORD, Conn.) -- Three young girls and their grandparents were killed in a three-alarm house fire in an exclusive neighborhood of Stamford, Conn., early Christmas morning, as the girls’ mother tried in vain to save them, authorities said.

The mother of the girls is fashion consultant Madonna Badger, who created the Mark Wahlberg Calvin Klein underwear ads.

“Mom and her male friend were trying desperately to get the children’s bedrooms,” Stamford Police Sgt. Paul Guzda told ABC News on Sunday. “They were trying to break windows. Mom was actually up on a roof that extends from the house, trying to break the window.”

Guzda said Badger and her “male acquaintance” are in the hospital, but she didn’t appear to be severely physical injured.

Two of the girls were seven years old and their older sister was 10-years-old, according to police.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I tell you — to get that call in the early morning hours, to hear that there’s a fatal fire, that’s bad enough. But then when you hear it on Christmas morning, that three little children like this perished in a fire…it’s beyond words,” Guzda said.

“To say it’s tragic,” he said, “is an understatement.”

“There probably has not been a worse Christmas Day in the city of Stamford,” said Mayor Michael Pavia.

Officials said the fire started at about 5 a.m. and that smoke was still present at the scene as firefighters surveyed the area at 9:30 a.m.

A neighbor said he woke up to the sound of screaming, only to see the house engulfed by flames, ABC News New York station WABC-TV reported.

“It was a male voice, and it was just, ‘help, help me,’” neighbor Charles Mangano said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Missing Missouri Baby: Family Attorney Questions 'Massive, Public' Search

Kansas City Police(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- An attorney for the family of missing 11-month-old Lisa Irwin questioned the motivations behind what she called the "enormous, massive, public" search of the family's Kansas City, Missouri home.

"It almost seemed as if that was more for the public's benefit than for the benefit of doing a thorough search of this house," attorney Cyndy Short, who represents parents Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, told ABC's Good Morning America on Monday.

"It was interesting to watch the activity outside of this house when they were conducting the search.  There were so many crime scene people that were seen outside, and seen coming in and out of this house…carrying a rolled up rug," Short said.  "It really gave the impression that there was a lot going to be removed from this house."

Short gave Good Morning America an exclusive tour of the house after the police search.

[Click here to watch a video of the tour]

According to an affidavit regarding the search, a cadaver dog searching for evidence "indicated a positive 'hit' for the scent of a deceased human" next to her mother's bed.  Questions have arisen about the accuracy of the scent dogs.

Short pointed out in her walk-through of the house that the carpeting in Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin's room was intact.

"The number one thing in walking through this room and having an opportunity to look at it that stood out to me, is that the carpet has not been collected.  There are no swatches of the carpet taken out," Short said.  "There's no evidence of where in the world this dog was supposed to have alerted."

Video footage had previously showed investigators carrying a rolled up carpet out of the home, but Short said the carpet had been sitting in the garage and while searchers did look at it, they did not ultimately take it with them from the house.

Short also pointed out that there were very few places around the house where fingerprint powder indicated investigators had collected fingerprints.

"It would seem to me that there would be attempts to lift prints from a variety of surfaces in this house because you're looking for unknown prints -- prints that don't belong here.  So if you only check [at the door] and at the light switch, it would seem you would miss the potential of unknown prints," Short said.

The walk-through also revealed that police had left the box of wine in the kitchen that Bradley has admitted to drinking from the night Lisa disappeared.  The wine bag was removed from the box and Short believed police may have emptied the remaining wine in an attempt to measure how much Bradley had consumed.

The six items removed from the home were a multicolored comforter, purple shorts, a Disney character shirt, a glow worm toy, a Cars-themed blanket, rolls of tape and a tape dispenser.

"The search itself lasted 17 hours.  That's a very long time, and would suggest a very thorough search. But now having been in the house and seen how many items they took out of the house, it's frankly surprising," Short said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Idaho Family Flees 'Snake House'

Courtesy of Amber Sessions(REXBURG, Idaho) -- Even in this economy, a picture-perfect five bedroom rural home that lists for just over a $100,000 might seem like a real deal.  Except for the fact this home is known by locals in Rexburg, Idaho as the "snake house" because it apparently sits on a nest of non-poisonous garter snakes.

The home has had a fraught history of owners leaving in haste.  Now owned by Chase bank, it was on the market briefly in January and then taken off again.

In September 2009, it seemed like the ideal home for the growing Sessions family.  Ben and Amber Sessions got it for what seemed like a steal, paying less than $180,000.  But soon after moving in, they found snakes slithering inside the residence and all around the property.

"After we moved in, it was really horrible," Amber Sessions told ABC News.  "There were snakes in the walls. We could hear them and then our water tasted like how they smell."

Sessions said they trusted their real estate agent, who, she claimed, told them the snake problem was "made up" by the previous owners so that they could leave their mortgage behind.  He assured them that every precaution was made to keep the snakes away, she said.

But shortly after they moved in, Amber Sessions saw eight snakes in one day.  She texted her agent, she said, and he told her he was going to help them take care of it with traps.

The problem just kept getting worse and three months after they moved in, Amber Sessions, who was pregnant at the time, had enough of what seemed like the serpent house of horrors.  She said she got so scared about coming across a surprise snake in the house that she was worried she would miscarry.

"One day, we caught 43 snakes in total and that was it. The next morning I almost stepped on one in our house and I had enough, we can't do this anymore," she told ABC News. "I don't know how we stayed there as long as we did."

The Sessions family eventually abandoned the home in December 2009, a day after their daughter was born and three months after they moved in.

Real estate experts say the Sessions' story is a hard-learned lesson in the importance of due diligence when searching for your dream home.

"This is a buyer beware nation," New York City broker Brian Lewis told ABC News.  "You have to do your research because if you don't do your research, you end up with a house full of snakes."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


House of Homicide Up for Sale in Maryland

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- It has three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and is in a nice neighborhood in Silver Spring, Md. The asking price: $515,000. There's just one catch -- three people were murdered there.

The price was reduced on the single-family home by $20,000 earlier this month, according to

Brian Betts, 42, the principal at Shaw Middle School in Washington, D.C., was murdered in this home on April 15, 2010.

Alante Saunders, a teenager who encountered Betts in an online gay chat room and arranged to meet him at his home, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the case, while three other teenagers pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The site had also been the scene of a double murder in 2002 when a parolee, Anthony Kelly, broke in and pistol-whipped and shot a nine-year-old girl, Erika Smith, then shot her father, Greg Russell, at least six times. Kelly is in prison on a life sentence.

Rene Sandler, an attorney for Betts' family, said the principal had no idea of the house's bloody history when he bought it in 2003. "Three days after Brian settled on the property, he learned from a neighbor what happened and tried to rescind the deal," she said.

That wasn't possible — in Maryland, realtors have no legal obligation to reveal if a crime has occurred in a house for sale. So Betts lived with the property's history.

After his death, Betts' family wanted to bulldoze the house and establish a memorial there, Sandler said. "If they had their way, no one would live in it," she said.

But the house now belongs to Fannie Mae and it is up for sale. "I don't believe honestly there's been much action," Sandler said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Osama Bin Laden Evidence Trove: US Hopes to Follow Money Trail

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S agents charged with disrupting and dismantling al Qaeda are hoping Sunday's harrowing raid of Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound yields valuable financial clues that could help them expose the underpinnings of the entire organization, including the identities of the major donors who have bankrolled the terror network.

American authorities are ready to follow the money, experts say, hoping detailed ledgers and financial records were scooped up during the raid in which bin Laden was killed. They say any wealthy financiers whose donations helped support the bin Laden terror network now have reason to be nervous.

"Al Qaeda has traditionally been funded by deep-pocket donors," said Stuart Levy, who served as the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence and is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "If people have been giving money, and they don't know yet whether their name is being identified in this intelligence, or that their name might be on a list of potential donors, they might have real reason to worry."

Top counterterror officials said the Navy SEALs who conducted the raid on bin Laden's fortified lair did not leave empty handed. But they have not disclosed what exactly they carried away along with bin Laden's corpse.

John Brennan, the president's chief counterterrorism advisor, told reporters the military team "took advantage of their time there to make sure that we were able to acquire whatever material we thought was appropriate."

He wouldn't describe in detail what they found, but said the quantity of the material was not as encouraging as its quality. A special CIA team has been designated to go through it.

"We feel as though this is a very important time to continue to prosecute this effort against al-Qaida, take advantage of the success of yesterday and to continue to work to break the back of al-Qaida," Brennan said.

Levy noted that in Iraq, detailed financial books were discovered in 2007 that provided a roadmap for al Qaeda in Iraq's financial structure. In 2010, a drone strike by U.S. forces took out the man believed to be al Qaeda's chief financial officer, Saeed al-Masri. Little is known about the bookkeeping that occurred after that.

"Others replaced him, but we don't know that they exerted the same control," Levy said.

Whether bin Laden took over that work himself, or kept those records with him remains unclear. But if he did, Levy said, those records could do lasting damage to the entire al Qaeda network.

Investigators are relishing the chance to put their hands on actual records that will enable them to dissect bin Laden's operations, said John Nagl, a counter-terrorism expert who serves as president of the Center for New American Studies. His ability to operate in the world without leaving a trace of himself is what helped him evade capture for more than a decade.

"He did a very good job in hiding himself from the outside world," Nagl said. "He cut himself off from all electronic emissions."

But for his use of couriers whom the CIA was eventually able to track, he may never have been found, Nagl said. "The ability to track his curriers, to find someone he trusted, then to follow that person all the way back to the rats nest was absolutely essential in this," he said.

Regardless of what records have been uncovered in the raid, bin Laden's death will in some respects cripple al Qaeda's ability to raise money – and not just because bin Laden served as an inspirational leader to his followers, Levy said. The network's infamous leader served as a stabile presence for donors who wanted to support the al Qaeda mission. Now, those soliciting donations will have no way to prove to potential donors that they really represent the terror movement.

"That could really create chaos for their fundraising," Levy said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John Wheeler's Cell Phone Found in House Under Construction

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- Police in Newark, Del., have recovered John Wheeler's cell phone in a house under construction across the street from his home in New Castle. Del., reported ABC affiliate WPVI in Philadelphia.

The ex-presidential appointee had filed a lawsuit, challenging the zoning approval for the neighboring house because it partially blocked his view of Battery Park and the Delaware River.

Police have been looking into the possibility that Wheeler may have set off smoke bombs in the house earlier last week.

Wheeler reportedly fought with a neighbor over the construction of the home. An attorney for that neighbor issued a statement saying his client was saddened by Wheeler's death.

Authorities have also interviewed a cab driver after finding his phone number on Wheeler's cell phone.

The driver, Athel Scott, said he doesn't know how his number got on Wheeler's phone, but he said he does remember seeing him.

"I seen him one day by the Hotel duPont and one day I seen him at the train station going inside that little store, that's all I know," Scott said.

Police also announced Friday they have uncovered more surveillance video from the night Wheeler was last seen alive. The video shows Wheeler leaving the Nemours Building in Wilmington, then walking down the street, passing through the Hotel duPont valet parking area further, before crossing over to Market Street.

In one portion of the video, the 66-year-old Wheeler appears confused as he held a shoe in one hand, and limping slightly. He is last seen on camera at 8:42 p.m. on Dec. 30.

Former homicide investigator Brad Garrett told ABC News, "So the, the question for investigators is, does it all really go together or is it pieces? When I say pieces, did he have a stroke, for example? Becomes disoriented, he wanders around. He hits into the wrong crowd. They kill him. They rob him, whatever they might do."

Wheeler's death remains a distressing mystery for his family and the police.

Investigators are continuing their efforts to talk to Wheeler's friends and associates, and are asking for the public's help. Meanwhile, Wheeler's family issued a statement Friday, thanking the police for their efforts:

"The family of John P. Wheeler III is most grateful for the efforts of the law enforcement authorities in the ongoing investigation into his death. The family is sincerely thankful for all the personal expressions of sympathy and condolences received from so many whose lives were touched by Jack in such positive ways. We reiterate our previous requests for privacy as we mourn his loss and ask that our decision to refrain from further comment at this time be respected."

Wheeler, a former presidential appointee and defense consultant, was found dead as his body was being dumped out of a dumpster into a Wilmington, Del. landfill on New Year's Eve.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio