Entries in Kansas (26)


Kansas Wants Sperm Donor to Pay Child Support

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The state of Kansas is seeking child support from a man who says he signed away all parental rights when he donated sperm to a lesbian couple.

"It came out of the blue. He was absolutely floored," attorney Ben Swinnen said of his client William Marotta.

Marotta, 46, met Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner in 2009 when he responded to a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple in Topeka, Kan., who were offering $50 per sperm donation, according to legal documents.

Marotta and his wife met with the women and he agreed to donate to them without accepting the money, Swinnen said.

All three signed a sperm donor contract that stated that he would have no paternal rights and would be in no way responsible for any child that resulted from the donation.

"Jennifer and Angie further agree to indemnify William and hold him harmless for any child support payments demanded of him by any other person or entity, public or private, including any district attorney's office or other state or county agency, regardless of the circumstances or said demand," the agreement read.

Marotta donated and Schreiner gave birth to a little girl through artificial insemination, according to court documents. The issue that would later become a legal factor, however, is that the artificial insemination was not performed by a licensed physician, which Swinnen said Marotta did not know at the time.

"He sporadically heard that the child was born, but that was about it," Swinnen said. "He had no contact with the child."

"Three years forward, the couple sought state assistance for the child and the Kansas Department of Children and Families sought out of them the name of the father and said they would not provide assistance unless they provide the name," Swinnen said.

The women gave the state Marotta's name and on Oct. 3, attorney Mark McMillan filed a petition on behalf of the Department of Children and Families that claimed that Marotta was the baby's father and needed to support her.

The filing said that the state had spent $189 on the baby from July 2012 to September 2012 and nearly $6,000 in medical assistance, which Marotta had a duty to pay.

Swinnen said Marotta was "absolutely floored" by the petition, especially after signing the agreement.

Marotta's attorneys claimed that as the sperm donor, he had no responsibility to pay. But the state shot back saying that the agreement signed was invalid because the artificial insemination was not performed by a licensed physician, according to legal documents.

"The state does not recognize the contract. We'll see if the courts in Kansas do," Swinnen said. "We have filed a motion to dismiss. We hope to prevail, but this is the first round."

Kansas law states that the donor is "treated in law" as if he were not the father if the donation of semen is provided to a licensed physician.

Marotta's attorneys protested this requirement.

"If, as the petitioner alleges, the use of a licensed physician is a primary requirement...then any woman in Kansas could have sperm donations shipped to her house, inseminate herself without a licensed physician and seek out the donor for financial support because her actions made him a father, not a sperm donor," they wrote. "This goes against the very purpose of the statute to protect sperm donors as well as birth mothers."

The attorneys point to a similar but converse 2007 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In that case, a sperm donor sought parental rights after making a semen donation to a woman. The woman had a child after the artificial insemination was performed by a licensed physician. The man was denied parental rights.

Even though the woman in the 2007 case used a licensed physician, Marotta's lawyers emphasized that Marotta did the same thing as the man in the 2007 case and cannot be held responsible for what the woman did with the donation.

Bauer and Schreiner did not respond to requests for comment. A representative for the Department of Children and Families said that they could not comment on any specific cases.

A hearing regarding Marotta's motion to dismiss is scheduled for Jan. 8 in Shawnee County District Court.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bomb Threats Rattle Walmart Stores in Kansas, Missouri

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) -- Two Walmart stores received bomb threats on Sunday, prompting police to evacuate stores and search for dangerous devices, Kansas police officials said.

The threats in Leavenworth and Lawrence came after at least eight Missouri Walmarts received threats on Friday.

Leavenworth Deputy Police Chief Dan Nicodemus told ABC News that someone called a Walmart in Grand View, Mo., to threaten the Leavenworth location.  Grand View Walmart employees called Leavenworth police at 4:27 a.m. on Sunday, he said.

"It's not how it typically happens, but nonetheless the threat is the same," Nicodemus said.

Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman released a statement to ABC News regarding the threats.

"We're concerned anytime someone makes a threat that might endanger our customers and associates," he said.  "We're grateful no one was injured.  We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.  We want to make sure everyone stays safe."

He said the company would also be working with law enforcement to find the person responsible for the threats.

ABC17 in Columbia, Mo., reported on Friday that Walmarts in Jefferson City, Nixa, Ozark, Raytown, Gladstone and Fredericktown were shut down due to bomb threats.

In all, eight Missouri Walmarts were threatened, according to KMBC-TV, ABC's Kansas City, Mo., affiliate.

Fredricktown Police Chief Eric Hovis told ABC17 he thinks the Friday threats are related.

The Fredricktown threat came into the Walmart there at 6:45 p.m., he said.

"It was an automated call, and the voice said, 'There's a bomb in the building.  You have two hours to get everybody out this store.  This is not a joke,'" he said.

Officers did not find bombs in any of the threatened stores.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sole Plane Crash Survivor Saved by Marine Friend

Hemera/Thinkstock (file photo)(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) -- The sole survivor of a small plane crash in Kansas is in stable but serious condition after she was reportedly pulled out of the burning aircraft by a passenger -- an Iraq war veteran who later died from his injuries.

Hannah Luce, 22, is in a Kansas City hospital with burns covering 28 percent of her body after surviving the Friday crash that killed three of her friends and the young pilot.

"While we're thankful for this miracle of Hanna, we are truly grieving with all these parents," Hannah Luce's father Ron Luce said.

Hannah and her three friends were aboard an eight-seater twin-engine Cessna 401 plane, heading to a Christian youth rally called Acquire the Fire, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  The rally was held by Teen Mania Ministries, an organization founded by Hannah's father.

But after taking off from an airport in Tulsa, Okla., something suddenly went wrong with the plane, which landed in a field and skidded around 200 feet before hitting several trees and bursting into flames.

The pilot, 23-year-old Luke Sheets, died at the scene, as did 29-year-old Garrett Coble, and 22-year-old Stephen Luth.

Austin Anderson, a 27-year-old former marine who completed two tours in Iraq, had just graduated from Oral Roberts University with Hannah on May 5.  Anderson reportedly pulled Hannah out of the burning plane, and the two were able to walk to a nearby road for help.

Anderson later died in the hospital, suffering from burns over 90 percent of his body.

Ron Luce told ABC News' Kansas City affiliate KMBC that he knew Anderson and that he is the type of man that would save someone in that situation.

"He served two tours in Iraq, and he was willing to give his life for his country," he said.  "He was willing to give his life for a friend.  He was always willing to go that extra mile."

Ron Luce said his daughter, who was working on her master's degree in counseling psychology, "just began to tear up" when asked about Anderson pulling her from the wreckage.

Hannah is now in serious but stable condition at the University of Kansas Hospital, where on Monday she will undergo skin grafts for her burns.

"She said, 'I have all these burns," her father said.  "Then she said, 'but I'm here.  I'm here.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kansas Murderer Caught After Jailbreak; One Inmate Still At Large

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(RUSSELL, Kan.) -- A double murderer who escaped from a Kansas jail has been recaptured, authorities said on Friday.

Santos Carrera-Morales was taken into custody in Russell, Kansas, at 11:38 p.m. on Thursday, according to Jeremy Barclay, spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Carrera-Morales, 22, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in 2008.  No immediate details were available regarding the apprehension.

Eric James, 22, is the last of four inmates to remain at large after the Wednesday morning jailbreak.  James was convicted on three counts of aggravated burglary and one count of kidnapping, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Authorities are cautioning the public not to approach James, who is considered armed and dangerous.

The four inmates escaped from a holding cell at Ottawa County Jail in Minneapolis, Kan., early Wednesday morning after complaining to guards about a broken water line above their cell.  While one guard went to check on the situation, the men were then able to overpower the lone remaining guard using homemade knives, Ottawa County Sheriff Keith Coleman told The Salina Journal.  The second guard returned to help fend off the inmates.  Both guards suffered minor injuries, he said.

One inmate was quickly apprehended.  The second inmate, Drew Wade, turned himself in to authorities 240 miles away in North Platte, Neb., authorities said on Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Forecasters Warn of Violent,' Life-Threatening' Storms for Midwest

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Midwest is bracing itself for an outbreak of violent weather Saturday that could be "life-threatening," according to forecasters.

Baseball-sized hail and damaging 70 mph winds are expected to whip through a handful of states.

A warning was issued Friday for parts of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Oklahoma and Kansas are expected to be the hardest hit, according to a rare high risk warning issued Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center.

Paul Walker, an Accuweather senior meteorologist, told ABC News that a warning two days in advance of a storm was unusual and cautioned that the weekend "should be particularly dangerous."

Oklahoma had its first brush with the severe weekend weather on Friday when at least one tornado ripped through the town of Norman, where the University of Oklahoma is located, leaving 19 people hurt with "bumps and bruises" and a trail of property damage.

One patient was hospitalized and in fair condition Friday, said Norman Regional Hospital spokesperson Kelly Wells.

Residents began assessing the damage today before preparing for another day of wild weather. A brick storefront was decimated by the storm. One resident told ABC News a woman lost the roof on her house.

"Fortunately, the portion of the roof that's left is right over our bedroom. I mean, it was there and gone before we could even get out of bed," she said.

The National Weather Service is urging residents in the danger zone to heed its strongly-worded warning.

The storm system was moving toward the Rockies and energizing a warm, moist flow of air from the Gulf of Mexico, according to Accuweather.

Those conditions, plus differing wind directions in the atmosphere and on the surface, will increase the likelihood of tornado-spawning storms today, Accuweather senior meteorologist Paul Walker said.

“All the pieces of the pie are coming together to make a particularly dangerous situation.”

California also dealt with severe weather on Friday when thunderstorms, hail and fierce winds pummeled parts of the state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Midwest Warned of Severe Storms, Tornadoes This Weekend

NOAA/Storm Prediction Center (WASHINGTON) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center issued a rare "high risk" alert on Friday, warning of the potential for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across Midwestern states over the weekend.

The biggest threat is to Oklahoma and Kansas, but states as far north as Nebraska and as far south as Texas could also be in danger.  The storms are expected to intensify Saturday afternoon into the evening, when a tornado outbreak is likely to occur.

The storm system in question is currently moving through California, where it is bringing hail and lightning to San Francisco and Sacramento, and three feet of snow to the mountains.

The last time the Storm Prediction Center issued such a high risk this far in advance was in April 2011, ahead of a tornado outbreak in Alabama that killed over 300 people and produced billions of dollars in damage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arrests, Gunfire in Kentucky as Fans Celebrate NCAA Title

Jeff Gross/Getty Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- A shooting broke out in Lexington, Ky., early Tuesday morning as thousands of University of Kentucky fans were out in the streets celebrating their team's eighth NCAA basketball championship.

According to police, the shooting happened just after 2 a.m. and left one person wounded.  The victim, who has not been identified, was transported to a nearby hospital with undetermined injuries.  No other details are known at this time.

The gunfire came hours after the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, 67-59, Monday night to take the title. 

An estimated crowd of 15,000 took to the streets to cheer on the Wildcats and about 300 police officers, equipped with riot gear, were put in place to keep fans under control.

Several dozen arrests were made as the celebrations got a bit out of hand, according to police, and at least 40 small fires had to be put out.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


RV Crashes into Ravine in Osage County; Five Dead 

Stockbyte/Thinkstock*UPDATE: ABC News Radio has confirmed that the RV was carrying 18 people and five people are dead. Names of the victims have not yet been released.

(OSAGE COUNTY, Kan.) -- An RV carrying more than a dozen people crashed into a ravine in Osage County, ABC affiliate KMBC reports.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said the accident occurred around 9 a.m. on Sunday in the northbound lanes of I-35. More than one person died in the crash. The RV reportedly went off the road and landed in a ravine, according to police. The RV had a Minnesota license plate.

The northbound lanes of Interstate 35 were closed following the accident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mega Millions Winners: Identities Not Yet Revealed

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The identities of three lucky Mega Millions ticket holders in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas who will share a $656 million prize, the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, are still a mystery today.

The three tickets matched all five numbers including the megaball number from Friday night's drawing.

The winning numbers were: 2, 4, 23, 38, 46, and megaball 23.

The initial total jackpot estimate was $640 million but was revised to $656 million on Saturday.

Before taxes, lottery officials said each winning jackpot ticket was expected to be worth more than $213 million.

The identities of the Maryland and Kansas winners may stay a mystery as the winners can choose to remain anonymous. Illinois identifies lottery winners.

The Maryland winning ticket was sold in Baltimore County and purchased at a 7-11 store in Milford, Md.

Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said it was a quick pick ticket.

"We obviously don't have any idea right now who the player is, when they will come forward. Our advice to the player is to safeguard the ticket, sign the back of it," Martino said.

The Kansas ticket was sold in the northeast part of the state. Kansas officials said that the winning retail store will also receive a $10,000 prize.

The winning ticket in Illinois was sold in the small town of Red Bud, which has a population of 3,640.

Denise Metzger, manager of the MotoMart convenience store that sold the ticket, said that the company will get a bonus check of $500,000, according to state lottery rules.

"I just wish someone from Red Bud would win. I never in my wildest dreams thought it would ever happen," Metzger said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


At Least a Dozen Confirmed Dead in Midwest Tornado Aftermath

Scott Olson/Getty Images(HARRISBURG, Ill.) -- At least 12 people are dead after a series of tornadoes blew through the Midwest earlier this week, according to authorities, and the death toll is expected to rise.

The extensive damage caused by the storms in at least five states is only beginning to become clear.  The tornadoes touched down across Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said.

At least six people -- four women and two men -- were killed in the town of Harrisburg, Ill., according to Lt. Tracy Felty of the Saline County Sheriff's Office.  The tornado hit Harrisburg, 50 miles southwest of Evansville, Ind., around 5 a.m., leveling a wide swath of homes and other buildings.

The National Weather Service said the twister was about 200 yards wide and ranked as an EF4 -- the second-highest rating given to twisters -- with peak winds of 170 mph.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg said that the city was in "search and recovery mode."

"We have devastation in our community like we've never seen," he said.  "We are doing everything we can to protect this community. ... That is our mission.  That is our task now."

Sheriffs' officials earlier estimated the number of people killed in the 9,000-resident town to be as high as 10, but later said that number was incorrect.  An estimated 100 people were injured in the storm, officials said.

The physical damage in Harrisburg was said to be extensive, with power lines down and as many as 300 homes and 25 businesses damaged or destroyed, according to officials at the sheriff's office.

Schools in Harrisburg were canceled and officials asked non-residents to stay away, according to local ABC News affiliate WSIL-TV.

Another confirmed death came in Missouri, where the entertainment destination of Branson, Mo., was hit hard by the storms.

Local ABC News affiliate KMB-TV reported windows were blown out of the Hilton Convention Center in Branson and 32 people were treated for injuries in at least one local hospital.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon issued a state of emergency order Wednesday morning and shelters for displaced residents were opened throughout the state.

The small town of Harveyville in Kansas was also hit hard by a tornado that touched down just after 9 p.m. local time Tuesday.

"The town was taken out by about 40 percent of the buildings in the community," Sharon Watson, director of public affairs for the Kansas Adjutant General's Office told ABC News.  "A significant amount of it has been destroyed.  A lot of homes damaged, a lot of buildings down including a church and an apartment complex."

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback also declared a state of emergency after the storm hit and caused highway closings and downed power lines throughout the area.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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