Entries in Missouri (92)


Officials Investigate Train Collision That Caused Highway Overpass Collapse

Ingram Publishing(SCOTT CITY, Mo.) -- National Transportation Safety Board officials are looking through video recordings after the collision of two freight trains caused the partial collapse of a Missouri highway overpass Saturday.

A Union Pacific freight train and a BNSF freight train collided under a highway overpass in Scott City, Mo. at about 2:30 a.m., according to a NTSB news release.

The collision caused the trains to derail and later triggered the partial collapse of the overpass, the release said.

A fire was also reported following the crash, authorities said.

“I could hear the train rolling through pretty fast and next thing I heard just destruction, loud crash and stuff. On my front porch my son told me look up and the overpass was gone,” said Scott County resident Ronnie Woods.

Two cars were traveling on the highway at the time.  Seven people were injured.

“I feel very lucky that we have no fatalities involved,” said Robert Sumwalt, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board. “It's still something that should not happen. Two trains should not be at the same place at the same time.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Missouri Police Find Kidnapped Toddler Harmony Blue Safe, Mo.) -- Police in Springfield, Mo., said Saturday night they have found a 13-month-old girl who was the subject of an Amber Alert after she was abducted from a grocery store parking lot earlier in the day.

Harmony Blue and her 4-year-old brother were left inside a 2002 gray Nissan Maxima while their father ran into the grocery store, Springfield police said in a news release.

A white woman with blonde hair was then seen taking off in the vehicle with the children.  The suspect is not believed to have any relation to the family, authorities said.

The 4-year-old boy was dropped off later in the afternoon and was reunited with his father.

Several hours later police announced they had also found Harmony Blue, but aside from saying that she was safe and back with her family, they gave no other details.

They said they were still investigating to determine who was responsible for the girl’s kidnapping.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


TSA Apologizes for Traumatizing Disabled Toddler

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has apologized to a Missouri couple after its agents traumatized the family’s 3-year-old, wheelchair-bound daughter during a screening and told the mother she could not film the process.

The Feb. 8 run-in Annie Schulte and her disabled daughter had with TSA screeners at Missouri’s Lambert-St. Louis International Airport as they were heading to Orlando was caught on tape and posted to YouTube.  In the video, 3-year-old Lucy can be seen crying as TSA agents tell Schulte she cannot film the screening.

“To me it was pretty offensive because I was really tuned in when she said that, immediately I’m like, ‘OK, hold on, something doesn’t seem right.’  So I did tell her I was going to wait because I was going to grab my phone,” Schulte told ABC News.

Schulte says it all started when TSA agents asked to pat down Lucy and screen her wheelchair.  Schulte asked to tape it, she said, but an agent didn’t like that.

In the clip, an agent tells Schulte “it’s illegal to do that.”  She then tells the agent that they cannot touch her daughter unless she can record it.

“The problem is I don’t allow anyone to touch my little daughter without being able to record it,” she said.

Her husband, Nathan Forck, said Lucy was treated unfairly.

“It bothers me that my daughter was singled out, specifically because she is in a wheelchair,” Forck said.

The family says the final straw came when agents refused to return Lucy’s stuffed animal Lamby, even though it had already been scanned.

The TSA issued the apology overnight.

“TSA regrets inaccurate guidance was provided to this family during screening and offers its apology,” the agency said. “We are committed to maintaining the security of the traveling public and strive to treat all passengers with dignity and respect.  While no pat-down was performed, we will address specific concerns with our workforce.”

The family says it accepts the TSA’s apology, but wants screeners to receive more training to prevent such an incident from reoccurring.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


More than a Dozen Injured in Kansas City, Mo., Gas Explosion CITY, Mo.) -- More than a dozen people were injured after a natural gas explosion ripped through a popular downtown restaurant in an upscale section of Kansas City, Mo.

Witnesses say the huge fireball, which engulfed an entire city block Tuesday night, could be seen for miles.  The explosion destroyed JJ's restaurant and rattled windows blocks away.

"Everything shook, and you could feel it almost as much as you could hear it," one witness said.  "It was by far the biggest explosion I've ever felt in my life."

There were no initial reports of fatalities, but cadaver dogs are searching the area.  Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi told reporters Wednesday morning that one person is missing.

"At this time we're still searching for one victim and that employee is a female employee of JJ's restaurant," he said.

St. Luke's Hospital said it treated eight patients, including two men who were in critical condition.  Six other people had less serious injuries, according to ABC News affiliate KMBC-TV.  The University of Kansas Hospital said it had received four patients and had a fifth on the way, KMBC reported.

More than 100 firefighters worked overnight to knock back the thick black smoke and shooting flames that forced onlookers to flee the downtown Kansas City shopping district just after 6 p.m.

"We are concerned that there may be additional people not able to get out of the structure," Berardi told reporters late Tuesday.  "This was happy-hour at a restaurant.  There were patrons in the restaurant."

"I would always fear there are fatalities in a scene like this," he added.

Investigators are sifting through the rubble Wednesday morning and trying to figure out what caused the blaze.  It is believed that a contractor might have hit an underground natural gas line.

It almost smelled like the radiators were seeping out gas," one witness said.  "Strong enough for us to call the landlord to say something was wrong."

Witnesses say gas fumes could still be smelled hours after firefighters got the flames under control.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rescued Boy Huddled with His Dogs for Warmth

File Photo - iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SENECA, Mo.) -- A frantic search for a missing six-year-old boy in Seneca, Mo., ended in relief when deputies discovered the boy huddled under a bush with his two dogs for warmth.

As temperatures plunged into the low 20s, Ryle Smith was discovered about a mile from the family house with Baxter, a large Boxer, and Bella, a Labrador mix lying on top of the boy keeping him warm.

“He was wearing no socks or shoes,” Ryle’s mother Holly told ABC News. “His feet were so cold that it was the early stages of frostbite, he hadn’t eaten dinner, he was exhausted and hungry.”

Ms. Smith said that according to paramedics, the dogs were lying on top of the boy; they could tell because his upper extremities were warm.

Ryle disappeared at about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, following his puppy Bella away from the family property while playing outside. His parents called 911. Between 150 and 200 people responded to the alert to assist with the search.

“Complete strangers drove from surrounding cities and showed up at our doorstop,” said Holly Smith. "It was incredible. Most people have told me they have never seen a response like that.”

“We were real concerned about the weather,” Newtown County Sheriff Ken Copeland told ABC News.  “It was calling for sleet and snow later that night so we were really concerned.”

Copeland said responders from the Newtown County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Joplin, Seneca and Redings Mill fire departments, and the Newtown County Rescue and Recovery team, joined in the search, in addition to concerned local citizens.

“Here in Joplin we went through the terrible tornado,” said Copeland.  "To see all these agencies and the community come together… it went really well.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


9/11 'Truthers' Adopt a Highway in Missouri

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has approved a controversial "9/11 truther" group's application to adopt a highway.

The St. Louis 9/11 Questions Meetup Group, which suggests the U.S. government may have been involved in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, will have a sign erected with its name on it.  In exchange, it will arrange to pick up litter on a half-mile stretch of highway four times a year.

This isn't the first time MoDOT has dealt with a controversial group wanting to adopt a highway.  After a legal battle with a Ku Klux Klan group, MoDOT had to make a change in its policies, allowing anyone to adopt a stretch of highway.

Tom Blair, assistant district engineer for MoDOT in St. Louis, told ABC News that after its battle with the KKK, the state can no longer reject a group based on its beliefs, no matter how controversial or offensive.

"MoDOT has been there," Blair said.  "After they won the right to adopt, we modified the process.  We had to make sure anyone could be approved."

The department's battle with the Klan began in early 2000, when the KKK applied to adopt a stretch of highway and was denied.  After a five-year lawsuit, a federal judge ruled the KKK had the right to adopt a stretch of highway in St. Louis, but its sponsorship signs were routinely stolen.  MoDOT appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but was rejected.

The sign for the St. Louis 9/11 Questions Group will go up in January, according to Blair.

The website for the 9/11 truther group sells T-shirts that say, "The 9/11 debacle was an inside job" and other shirts that compare George W. Bush to Hitler's deputy, Hermann Goring.

"We are in the U.S. and everyone has the right to their viewpoint," Blair said.

The St. Louis group's organizer, Donald Stahl, could not be reached for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missouri Powerball Jackpot Winner to Come Forward

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One of the two winners of the record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot will be announced at a news conference on Friday, according to Missouri Lottery officials.

The Missouri ticket was sold at the only gas station in the tiny town of Dearborn, which has a population of 496.  Many residents there hope the new multi-millionaire is a neighbor that understands the needs of the small farming town and will be able to help invest in the community that has been ravaged by a drought this past summer.

The other winning ticket was sold in Arizona at the 4 Sons Market, a convenience store in Fountain Hills, a suburb of Phoenix.  The winner has not yet come forward, and lottery officials will only say that the ticket was sold sometime Wednesday.  

Officials apparently know exactly when the ticket was sold, but are reluctant to release that information because they don’t want people reviewing the convenience store’s surveillance cameras to learn who the winner might be.

Both winners will split the big prize, which comes to $293.75 million apiece.  If they decide to take the cash payout, they will each receive $192.875 million before taxes.

The Multi-State Lottery Association says Wednesday night’s drawing also produced 58 $1 million winning tickets and eight $2 million tickets.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Winning Tickets for Powerball Jackpot Sold in Arizona, Missouri

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Winning tickets for the record Powerball jackpot worth more than $587 million were purchased in Arizona and Missouri.

Missouri Lottery official Susan Goedde confirmed to ABC News Thursday morning that one of the winning tickets was purchased in the state, but they would not be announcing a town until later Thursday morning. 

Powerball's website reports the other winning ticket was purchased in Arizona.

Arizona lottery officials said they had no information on that state's winner or winners but would announce where it was sold during a news conference later in the day.

The winning numbers for the jackpot were 5, 23, 16, 22 and 29.  The Powerball was 6. 

Before the numbers were drawn on Wednesday, the jackpot swelled to $587.5 million, according to lottery official Sue Dooley.  The two winners will split the jackpot each getting $293.75 million.  The cash payout is $192.5 million each.

An additional 8,924,123 players won smaller prizes, according to Powerball's website.

"There were 58 winners of $1 million and there were eight winners of $2 million.  So a total of $74 million," said Chuck Strutt, Director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Hopeful players bought tickets at the rate of 131,000 every minute up until an hour before the deadline of 11 p.m. ET, according to lottery officials.

The jackpot had already rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner.  That fact, plus the doubling in price of a Powerball ticket, accounted for the unprecedented richness of the pot.

"Back in January, we moved Powerball from being a $1 game to $2," said Mary Neubauer, a spokeswoman at the game's headquarters in Iowa.  "We thought at the time that this would mean bigger and faster-growing jackpots."

That proved true.  The total, she said, began taking "huge jumps -- another $100 million since Saturday."  It then jumped another $50 million.

The biggest Powerball pot on record until now -- $365 million -- was won in 2006 by eight Lincoln, Neb., co-workers.

Lottery officials put the odds of winning the $587.5 million Powerball pot at one in 175 million, meaning you'd have been 25 times more likely to win an Academy Award.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missouri Woman Charged in Scheme to Kill Boyfriend's Ex-Wife

Greene County Sheriff's Office(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) -- A Missouri woman was arrested in a murder-for-hire scheme after she allegedly paid an undercover police officer $200 and gave him the keys to a Jeep in exchange for killing her boyfriend's ex-wife, according to Springfield police.

Diane Elaine Greer, 47, of Nixa, Mo., admitted her involvement, according to a probable cause statement from the Springfield Police Department, but said it was her boyfriend who wanted his ex-wife dead, because she would "never leave him alone."

Greer also told police she believed there was a financial motive for the hit, according to the statement.

Thomas was arrested on Nov. 2 on unrelated charges. While he was in jail, police say Greer decided to proceed with the plan to kill his ex-wife, telling a friend that her boyfriend's incarceration would provide him the perfect alibi for murder. Police say they were tipped off by the friend.

On Nov. 9, an undercover officer met with Greer and agreed to carry out the hit. Police said the officer was given a $200 cash deposit, some musical equipment, a butcher knife to carry out the killing, and a key to a Jeep, which he would be able to take after the murder.

The target of the plot, who is identified by the initials C.T. in a police statement, met with authorities on Nov. 13 to be staged with make-up to make it appear as if her throat had been slashed. Photographs of her appearing to be dead were shown to Greer the next day, who, police said, thanked the undercover officer for carrying out the killing.

In the days after she believed C.T. had been murdered, authorities gathered more evidence as Greer told her friend, who was working with police, that she was concerned because she had not seen C.T.'s obituary.

On Tuesday, Greer was summoned to police headquarters, where she was interviewed and "attempted to act surprised" when shown the staged photos of her boyfriend's ex-wife dead.

After she denied her involvement, the undercover officer who she believed carried out the hit, walked into the room.

"Greer put her head down and admitted she knew who he was," police said.

Greer is being charged with assault in the first degree and is being held without bond.

Thomas is not being charged at this time, a police spokesperson told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missouri Religious Group Investigated in Slaying of Member

KMBC/ABC News(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- A religious community whose members studied at the International House of Prayer University in Kansas City, Mo., is under investigation in connection to the sexual assault and death of its leader's wife.

Bethany Ann Deaton, 27, was found dead on Oct. 30 in the back of a van in Jackson County, Mo., with a bag over her head, pills next to her body and a note that said Deaton "chose this evil thing."

Police initially considered her death a suicide.

But Micah Moore, 23, last week confessed to killing Deaton, the wife of the community's religious leader, Tyler Deaton, 26.  Moore told police that he and others in the group's shared home had sexually assaulted Bethany, and that he had been instructed by Tyler to kill her, according to police records.

"Moore stated that Tyler Deaton told him to kill Bethany Deaton, saying he knew Micah had it in him to do it," a police report by detectives read.  "Moore said he told Tyler Deaton he had killed Bethany after it was done."

Moore told detectives that he had filmed the alleged sexual assaults on his iPad, and that the group was afraid Bethany would tell her therapist about the assaults.  Moore also said there were poems written about the alleged sexual assaults.

He did not say who wrote the note left next to Bethany's body.

"My name is Bethany Deaton.  I chose this evil thing," the note read, according to court documents.  "I did it because I wouldn't be a real person and what is the point of living if it is too late for that?  I wish I had chosen differently a long time ago.  I knew it all and refused to listen.  Maybe Jesus will still save me."

Moore has been charged with first-degree murder and had his first appearance Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.  Moore's attorney requested during the hearing that his arraignment be waived.  His next appearance is scheduled for Nov. 28.

No charges have been filed against any other members of the community, including Tyler.

The Deatons and other members of the community had moved to Kansas City from Texas, where they had studied at Southwestern University.  In Missouri, Moore and the Deatons studied at the International House of Prayer University.

A statement from the school said the group had fewer than 20 members, and had operated "under a veil of secrecy" since relocating from Texas to Kansas City more than five years ago.

"This group has always operated independently of the university, and it is important to all of us that this group's secrecy and disturbing religious practices are fully exposed," the statement read.  "Mr. Deaton led his religious group entirely independently from IHOPU, though he and some of his members were enrolled in our university."

The Deatons and Moore lived in a house with at least four other men in Kansas City, three of whom told police that they all had sexual relationships with Tyler.  A fourth said he felt "groomed" to fit into the group of men, and that Tyler had once gotten into bed with him and held him.

"He stated that he realized now that Tyler was attempting to make him a member of their sexual group," the detective's report said.

Another roommate said Tyler had told him that the sexual activity "was part of a religious experience," according to the report.

Tyler was described by one roommate as a "spiritual leader" who had "control over members of the household," the detective's report said.  The man's name was not made public, but he told police that he believed the community would lie for Tyler so that he could remain the leader of the group.

The roommate described Tyler as "angry" and "frustrated" in the weeks before his wife's death, and said that Tyler had described a dream in which he pictured himself killing his wife by suffocation, according to the detective's report said.

The Jackson County prosecutor's office said on Wednesday that police are still investigating the case.  Tyler could not be reached for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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