Entries in Kids (32)


Mom Mails Knife to Kids for Murder Plot, Cops Allege

WCTI/ABC News(GREENVILLE, N.C.) -- A Florida woman is being held on $5 million bond for allegedly mailing a knife to her two young children and telling them to kill their grandparents, police said.

Leticia Silva, 31, of Lakeland, Fla., is charged with four counts of solicitation to commit murder. Her children, daughters age 7 and 9, have been living with their grandparents in Greenville, N.C., for seven years.  The grandparents have permanent custody of the girls, police said.

Silva “contacted her children and asked them to kill their grandparents,” according to a statement by the Pitt County Sheriff’s office.  Greenville is located in Pitt County.

“The children revealed that Silva had mailed a knife to be used as the weapon to commit this crime,” the sheriff’s statement said.


The knife and the message were sent to the girls in December 2012, police said. The grandparents found the knife under the pillow of one of the girls in February, according to the statement. The police said they began their investigation on Feb. 4.

Officials said the grandparents spoke to the children about finding the knife and were told that they “love their grandparents very much” and couldn’t carry out the murder.

Silva turned herself in to Pitt County authorities on Monday and was held on $5 million bond. She recently requested a reduction in bail, telling the judge, “Your honor,  I need… my family is here from Florida. I turned myself in. I need to see if I can get a bond reduction.”

The judge refused to lower Silva’s bail.

Silva’s boyfriend reportedly has said that he believes the charges are a result of a “misunderstanding” and that the children’s grandparents are “making this all up.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hero Kids Saved Lives at Sikh Temple Massacre

ABC News(OAK CREEK, Wis.) -- They were among the youngest at the Sikh temple near Milwaukee that deadly Sunday -- and some of the bravest.

Amanat Singh, 9, and her brother, Abhay Singh, 11, were playing outside when they heard gunshots that sounded like fireworks. It was the start of the incident that eventually claimed six lives before the gunman, Wade Michael Page, shot himself.

"We saw a guy," Amanat said. "He got out of a cab and he fast-walked and hit two people who were getting into their car."

The children didn’t hesitate. They ran into the temple to sound the alarm.

"As soon as we got in the kitchen, I started yelling," Abhay said. "I’m like: There's a guy with a gun! Hide! Hide!"

Amanat said she feared that the gunman would kill everyone.

The siblings were able to warn more than a dozen people to run and hide.

Harban Singh Farwaha was one of them.

"They saved my life," Farwaha said.

He added that they also saved the lives of, "my wife, my daughter-in-law and many people."

Amanat and Abhay are happy they were able to do that. Amanat even said she feels like a hero.

"I feel proud because I saved lots of lives," she said.

Even so, she and her brother wish they could have done more.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Death, Greed at the Dentist: American Children at Risk

Raven Maria Blanco Foundation(NEW YORK) -- American children are being put at risk by inadequately trained dentists who often seek to enhance profits by sedating their young patients for even routine tooth cleaning and cavity treatments, an ABC News investigation has found. In many cases, even well-trained dentists have been unable or ill-equipped to handle emergencies with young patients.

More than a dozen children have died after being sedated by dentists, according to the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, which seeks to alert parents to the potential dangers of the increasingly widespread use of oral sedatives on patients as young as 18-months old.

There is no national registry of dental deaths, and some experts say many deaths go unreported or are never officially tied to dental sedation.

Eight-year-old Raven Blanco died after her dentist, Dr. Michael Hechtkopf, gave her "three times the average range" of sedatives, according to the Virginia Board of Dentistry. The dentist had his license restricted for three months and was ordered to complete seven hours of continuing education in record keeping and risk management. He has since retired. A lawyer for Dr. Hechtkopf said the dentist "regretted" what happened.

Raven's parents, Robin and Mario Blanco, set up a foundation in their daughter's name to urge dentists to be better prepared for emergencies and to warn parents that what happened to their daughter could happen to others. They told ABC News, in an interview to be broadcast Thursday night on World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline, that parents assume that a dentist "should know what he's doing and that's not always the case."

The ABC News investigation found a patchwork of state regulations with some states requiring only a weekend-long course for dentists to be certified in the administration of oral sedatives.

"Who thinks that they're gonna take their daughter to the dentist and never bring her home?" said Ommettress Travis of Chicago, whose 5-year-old daughter Diamond died after being sedated prior to have cavities filled and teeth capped.

The Illinois Board of Dentistry found that Diamond's dentist, Dr. Hicham Riba, administered an excessive dose of sedatives to the kindergarten-aged girl and "demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of conscious sedation" despite having performed thousands of procedures over nine years.

Leading dental professionals say sedation for routine procedures can make it safer to work on young patients whose anxiety can make it difficult or dangerous to use high speed drills and other equipment. But, they say, it takes extensive training to learn how to administer sedation safely and be prepared to deal with emergencies.

"This is something that is being presented to the practitioners, the dental community, as a very easy thing to do, and nothing could be further from the truth," said Dr. Norbert Kaminski, a dental anesthesiologist in suburban Detroit, who has sought tougher standards for dentists who use sedation on patients.

In the last five years, more than 18,000 dentists across the country have signed-up for weekend-long courses in oral sedation that are set up in local hotel ballrooms and promise to add tens of thousands of dollars to the bottom line.

"Pain-free dentistry can means tens of thousands of dollars of extra income in your pocket annually, and as much as half a million extra in your pocket at retirement," wrote Dr. Michael Silverman, a dentist who runs a company that offers weekend-long training sessions for dentists in the use of oral sedation.

A national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Indru Punwani of the University of Illinois, said a weekend course is "inadequate" for preparing dentists to deal with emergencies that can arise through the use of oral sedatives.

"I don't believe it can be done," said Dr. Punwani of the promise of the popular weekend courses to train dentists.

Dentists following the sedation guidelines of the AAPD have never been tied to a death, said Dr. Punwani.

Dr. Silverman declined to be interviewed by ABC News, but in a written response said, "Everyone who has attended and completed any of our DOCS Education courses knows that safety is by far our top concern and emphasis."

The program brochure says of its single dose sedation course: "Give us three days, and we'll teach you both adult and pediatric protocols -- serving patients from ages 5 to 95 -- that you can take home and implement immediately." In its brochure, the program also recommends but does not require dentists to also enroll in a separate "pediatric advanced life support" course.

This ABC News investigation began after a woman who said she was the grandmother of a young girl who died after an overdose of sedation at the dental office contacted Brian Ross through The Blotter Tip Line. If you have or someone you know has a story that could add to this investigation, contact the Brian Ross Unit by CLICKING HERE.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Women Arrested in Tenn. Family's Disappearance

ABC News(HARDEMAN COUNTY, Miss.) -- The wife and mother of a kidnapping suspect have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a family of four from Tennessee, according to a Hardeman County, Miss., court clerk.

The wife and mother of Adam Mayes were arrested for "especially aggravated kidnapping" in connection with the kidnapping of JoAnn Bain and her three daughters, who were reported missing from their Tennessee home on April 28.

The dead bodies of JoAnn Bain and her eldest daughter, 14-year-old Adrienne Bain, were found in the backyard of the Mayes' family home in Guntown, Miss. The other two daughters and Adam Mayes have not been located.

Mayes was seen digging in his mother's backyard on April 27.

Adam Mayes and his wife, Teresa, share the home with his parents, Mary Mayes and her husband.

In the warrant for their arrests, police note that Teresa Mayes admitted to authorities that she helped Adam Mayes transport all four women from Tennessee to Mississippi, and helped confine them in their home.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Online Gaming Networks Pull Plug on Thousands of Sex Offenders

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The 12-year-old was like any boy his age, playing video games on Xbox LIVE, when prosecutors say he met a predator, Richard Kretovic of Greece, N.Y.  The two chatted using their gaming consoles for three months when Kretovic persuaded the boy to come to his house, where court records say he was subjected to repeated sexual abuse.

"We have seen dangerous people use gaming platforms to lure unsuspecting children," said District Attorney Sandra Doorley in Monroe County, N.Y., whose office prosecuted Kretovic.  He has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said it's too easy for sexual predators to use voice and text chat functions in online gaming services to lure underage victims.

"The level of interaction among the players is just astonishing," Schneiderman said. "It is a really dangerous vehicle for people who would abuse this process."

In what Schneiderman's office called "Operation Game Over" Microsoft, Sony, Disney Interactive Media Group, Electronic Arts and other gaming companies agreed to shut down the accounts of more than 3,500 registered sex offenders in New York.

"By leveraging the online identity information all registered sex offenders are required to provide we are able to help reduce potentially harmful situations," said Microsoft vice president Rich Wallis.

This is the first such purge in the country and Schneiderman hopes other states follow suit.

"We have to be vigilant in this area because online gaming is not just a digital playground.  It has the potential to be a 21st century crime scene," he said.

The Pew Research Center has found 97 percent of young people ages 12-17 play some form of video games. More than a quarter of them play online with people they don't know.

"What better place could there be to find unsuspecting children and teens at their most vulnerable than when they're playing games in their own homes," said Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law.  "Even the most vigilant parent may never know their child could be gaming and chatting with a registered sex offender."

The attorney general advises parents to choose games that are age-appropriate; use a game console's parental controls, keep the console in a public area of the home and talk to kids about protecting identifying information.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Girl, 3, Thrown from Carnival Ride at Houston Rodeo

KTRK(HOUSTON) -- Dramatic video of a 3-year-old girl being thrown from a Houston carnival ride has prompted rodeo officials to change the ride’s height restriction requirements. It may also lead to tougher regulation of traveling carnivals in Texas.

The child, whose name was not released, boarded the Techno Jump Ride with her 8-year-old brother at the RodeoHouston carnival around 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to local affiliate KTRK. RodeoHouston is a popular local attraction.

Witnesses told the station the mother decided to get off the ride before it started, leaving the girl and her brother, who both met the ride’s height and weight requirements, alone on the ride.

Video captured by a bystander and obtained by KTRK shows the girl starting to slip from her seat about 15 seconds into the ride.  As the ride circles around and picks up speed, the girl’s legs fly in the air before she is thrown six to eight feet to the platform below.

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Rodeo officials blamed the girl’s mother for allowing her children on the ride alone.  The ride operator, they said, was not at fault because the girl met the height requirement and looked old for her age. The ride had passed a safety inspection the day before, according to KTRK.

“This was a 3-year-old without an adult, and we said she came under the bar, she came under the lap restraint,” Leroy Shafer, the chief operating officer of RodeoHouston, told KTRK after seeing the video of the accident. “I don’t think it changes anything.”

The girl was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital and treated for a contusion on the side of her head and abrasions on her face, but a CAT scan and X-ray showed there were not more serious injuries, Shafer said on Wednesday.  She is expected to make a full recovery.

The Techno Jump requires that riders be 48 inches tall to ride alone, and at least 42 inches tall “if accompanied by a supervising companion.” Riders sit three-deep in gondolas that have separate lap belts for each rider and a restraining bar that comes down over all three riders.

After shutting down the ride for three hours after the accident, rodeo officials announced Wednesday night they would change the ride’s safety requirements.

“We’re now telling our ride operator, if it’s someone between 42 and 48 inches the other person has to be an adult,” Shafer said.

The accident has also attracted the attention of at least one Texas lawmaker, Rep. Garnett Coleman, who announced he is working on legislation to hold traveling carnivals to the same safety standards as permanent ones, KTRK reports.

“Clearly there needs to be more scrutiny on traveling amusement rides,” Coleman said in a statement. “This is a yearly story with this particular operator that someone is hurt or killed.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


School Bus Driver Saves Students from Burning Bus

George Doyle/Stockbyte(CHARLOTTE, N.C) -- Bus driver Lindora Richardson was driving her normal after-school route in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday when she noticed a burning smell.

“I smelled something and I just knew it didn’t smell right,” she told ABC News Charlotte affiliate WSOC-TV.

Smoke then started pouring from the steering wheel of the 13-year-old bus and that’s when Richardson took action. “As I saw the smoke, I knew it was time to get the kids and myself off the bus,” she said.

Richardson led the six kids out the back of the bus before it burst into flames less than five minutes later.

“I was calm and they were calm and I felt that’s what aided in a safe delivery for the kids,” Richardson, 37, said. “I’m no hero. ...I was just doing my job.”

Fire investigators told WSOC-TV that they believe the blaze was caused by an electrical wiring malfunction.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dad Locked in Custody Battle Gets Christmas Miracle

Courtesy of Dr. Moises Garcia(MILWAUKEE) -- It was a very Merry Christmas for one Wisconsin man, whose four year battle to regain custody of his daughter from his wife, who had taken her to Japan, ended when he returned to the United States with the 9-year-old girl.

Moises Garcia, whose story was part of an ABC News series on fathers engaged in international custody battles, returned Friday with his daughter Karina.

“She’s nervous in the beginning. She told me she was overwhelmed from the, so many people around. But now, with me and my sister, she is actually sleeping. So she’s doing OK,” the Fox Point doctor told ABC News affiliate WISN-TV in Milwaukee as he was coming home from the airport in Chicago.

Garcia’s case was unusual among fathers who have fought their ex-wives in Japanese courts, because Japan made the rare move of recognizing U.S. court orders that granted him custody of his daughter.

Despite that recognition, he was still granted little access to Karina. He visited Japan numerous times each year, but was often only allowed to see his daughter for short, court-monitored visits in a room with a two-way mirror.

The break in Garcia’s case came eight months ago, when Garcia’s wife, Emiko Inoue, was arrested in Hawaii on charges of abducting her child.

In November she pleaded guilty to lesser charges, as long as she returned Karina to Garcia. She was ordered to remain in jail until the little girl was back in her father’s home.

Patrick Braden of California, the founder of Global Frontier, a group that advocates for father’s in custody battles over children who have been taken to Japan, told WISN that Garcia’s case is a landmark.

“This is the first time a Japanese citizen who kidnapped an American child from the United States soil in violation of previously established jurisdiction and laws has been held accountable for the criminal act here in a US court,” Braden said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Debt Committee’s Cuts Could Impact Younger Generation: Report

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Countless battles are being waged behind the closed doors of the Congressional deficit-reduction "super committee," which has less than a month to strike an agreement on reducing federal spending by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

But while the committee members battle in secret, the automatic cuts that will take effect if the committee fails to reach an agreement would create a greater imbalance between the old and the young than between the wealthy and the poor.

“When push comes to shove they are going to cut programs for the kids,” said Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. “Elected officials, they don’t want to mess with the elderly. Not only are they a huge constituency, but relative to many other constituencies they are well organized.” In short? Kids can't vote.

The two of the three major entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicaid, will remain untouched by the automatic cuts, which would kick in for the 2013 fiscal year budget if the super committee fails to create a deficit-reduction plan that passes through Congress.

The third big-dollar entitlement program, Medicare, would be cut a maximum of 2 percent, or about $11 billion in the fiscal year 2013 budget, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The vast majority of the back-up plan cuts would fall on discretionary spending, with half of the $109 billion yearly cuts coming from defense spending.

There are few concrete details on how the remaining $55 billion would be cut, but a report by the Federal Funds Information for States, which does budget analyses for the National Governor’s Association, shows that cuts to children’s programs would likely far outpace cuts to programs for the elderly.

Taking into account likely budget reductions for public education, child welfare services, child care subsidies and the low-income infant nutrition program known as WIC, the younger generation lose about $5 billion in federal funding, according to the report.

About $250 million would be cut from programs aimed toward seniors, such as the Administration on Aging and housing for the elderly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fla. Couple Sentenced in Python Strangling of Daughter

Orange County Corrections Dept.(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Florida python owners Jaren Hare and her boyfriend Charles Darnell were each sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday because the snake escaped from its cage and strangled Hare's two-year-old daughter.

Hare, 21, and Darnel, 34, were convicted last month of third-degree murder, manslaughter and child neglect.

The little girl, Shaianna, was killed two years ago when the couple's pet Burmese python escaped from its enclosure and strangled the girl in her crib. The snake's tank was only equipped with a quilt for a lid.

A medical examiner testified during the trial that the albino snake named Gypsy was underweight and trying to eat the girl. The snake hadn't been fed for a month when the girl died and was severely underweight at only 13 pounds, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The snake should have weighed nearly 150 pounds, the Sentinel reported.

Jurors rejected the defense's argument that this was simply a terrible accident.

Hare and Darnell are the parents of a daughter who was born about a month after Shaianna was strangled. It is not clear who is caring for the girl now.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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