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Entries in North Carolina (94)

Monday
Jul022012

Firefighting Plane Crashes in South Dakota; Casualties Confirmed

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- An Air National Guard cargo plane based out of North Carolina crashed Sunday while fighting wildfires in South Dakota. Officials say six crew members were on board the C-130, but will only say there were casualties as well as survivors.

The plane had been dropping flame retardant on the White Draw fire near the town of Edgemont.

“Can't speculate on what may or may not have happened that caused the incident. That's going to be investigated in the next weeks and months,” said North Carolina National Guard spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carver.

“There were casualties. There were lives lost. There were injuries,” Carver said. “We're very grateful for the survivors and our thoughts and our prayers and our hearts go out to the families that have lost loved ones.”

President Obama echoed that sentiment in a statement issued by the White House on Monday.

“The full details are still under investigation, but the crew of this flight – along with their families and loved ones – are in our thoughts and prayers.  

“The men and women battling these terrible fires across the West put their lives on the line every day for their fellow Americans,” he said. “The airmen who attack these fires from above repeatedly confront dangerous conditions in an effort to give firefighters on the ground a chance to contain these wildfires – to save homes, businesses, schools, and entire communities.

“They are heroes who deserve the appreciation of a grateful nation.  I know Americans across the country share my concern for the well-being of the surviving members of the crew and my deep condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. And I know that Americans join me in expressing my deepest gratitude for the selfless determination they and thousands of men and women involved in this fight in states across the country demonstrate every day.”

Northcom says the other seven C-130s have been placed on “an operational hold at the present time.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

Cops Solve ‘Ski-Mask Rapist’ Cold Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Police in North Carolina have solved a cold case more than 30 years old, arresting a suspect they believe terrorized a series of women in 1979 and was nicknamed “the ski-mask rapist.”

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Tuesday they had arrested Jerry Lee Brooks, 62, at a rented condo in Surfside Beach, S.C., just one day after a grand jury indicted him on 13 charges of rape, breaking and entering, burglary and kidnapping.

So far, police have connected Brooks to three rapes, but he may ultimately be connected to more, according to authorities.

“We are still investigating to determine if he was involved in any more crimes from around that time, late 1970s and early 1980s,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman Robert Fey.

In December,  police reopened the decades old cold case file and positively linked Brooks to the attacks using DNA sequencing, a technology unavailable at the time of the rapes.

In 1979, the only thing linking the attacks was the balaclava the attacker wore, earning him the nickname “the ski-mask rapist.”

Brooks was being held in the Horry County, S.C., jail awaiting extradition to Charlotte in order to be arraigned and tried there.  A spokeswoman said he was expected to arrive at the Mecklenburg County jail late Wednesday.

According to court records, Brooks served time in the 1980s and 1990s for various crimes including breaking and entering, safe cracking, and embezzlement. He was last released in 2005 after serving a federal sentence for armed robbery.

Authorities did not know whether Brooks had yet hired an attorney.

A man identifying himself only as Brooks’ roommate Larry, described the suspect to ABC News affiliate WPDE as, "a good person, easygoing and laid back."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

Man Bites K-9's Ear in North Carolina Police Chase

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(WILMINGTON, N.C.) -- A police dog in North Carolina nearly sacrificed its ear when a fugitive bit it as he tried to wrestle his way loose from authorities over the weekend.

At 4:28 p.m. Sunday, police officers in Wilmington, N.C., got a tip on the whereabouts of Keith Glaspie, 22, who had eluded an arrest for a nonfatal shooting last Friday.  When police spotted him on Henry Street in Wilmington, he fled on foot, police said.

A 2-year-old police dog K-9 named Maxx soon caught up with Glaspie, and in the ensuing struggle, Glaspie tore into Maxx’s ear with his teeth, severing it in two and requiring more than 15 stitches.  In exchange, Maxx bit Glaspie, who was treated for wounds to his thigh at New Hanover Regional Medical Center before police took him to jail.

“When [Glaspie] was biting the dog, it was something we haven’t seen,” Cpl. David Pellegrino told ABC News affiliate WWAY in Wilmington.  “Yes, our dogs do get assaulted, but no one has ever tried to cannibalize one of our animals before.”

The altercation on Sunday followed a string of legal troubles for Glaspie, who is being held on a $1,025 million bond.

Glaspie allegedly opened fire on an occupied vehicle while riding by on a bicycle last Friday.  And on June 5, Wilmington police attempted to pull Glaspie over when he jumped out of his car and escaped to a nearby house.  A relative walked him out after police officers surrounded the house.  Police then booked Glaspie in the New Hanover County jail, but he was released after posting a $5,000 bond, police said.

Glaspie now faces charges of felony assault on a law enforcement animal, resisting arrest, assault on a law enforcement officer, property damage and possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance, according to WWAY.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May032012

NC Pastor Apologizes for Encouraging Violence Toward Gay Children

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- A North Carolina pastor who told parents in a Sunday sermon that they should hit their children if they began to act gay has retracted his advice, saying he should have spoken more carefully.

Pastor Sean Harris, of the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., apologized in a statement released this week for "any and all words that suggest that child abuse is appropriate for any and all types of behaviors, including (but not limited to) effeminacy and sexual immorality of all types."

In the sermon, given Sunday in support of a proposed North Carolina amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, Harris talked at length about homosexual behaviors. At one point, he instructed fathers who "see that son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist."

Harris said that gay tendencies in young children should be "squashed like a cockroach" and that if parents see young boys acting like girls, fathers should "give [them] a good punch."

"When your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign her in," Harris said in the sermon, which was posted in a video online. "You're going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl, and that means you're going to be beautiful and you're going to be attractive and you're going to dress yourself up."

Harris later told the Fayetteville Observer newspaper on Tuesday that he "would never ever advocate" hitting a child.

"If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt," Harris told the newspaper Tuesday.

Despite retracting his statement that parents should be violent toward seemingly-gay children, Harris reiterated that parents should reinforce traditional gender roles in children.

"I do not apologize for the manner in which the word of God articulates sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination of God," he said in a written statement.

Gay rights activists in Harris' community equated his tactics with the Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Christian church.

Harris did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Missing Soldier: Police Release Photo Taken Night of Disappearance

Fayetteville Police Department(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- Investigators searching for Kelli Bordeaux have released a new photo of the missing Fort Bragg soldier, which was taken by Bordeaux herself using her iPhone just before heading out to the Fayetteville, N.C., bar the night she disappeared.

Bordeaux, 23, who has been missing for nearly two weeks, was last seen leaving Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville around 1:20 a.m. on April 14.  The marine was reported missing on Monday when she failed to report to duty.  Police won't say how they got the cellphone picture.

Her husband Michael Bordeaux is now speaking about his wife for the first time, confirming that she was committed to her job and their marriage, which he says was not on the rocks.

"She was a dedicated soldier, a dedicated wife.  Me and her loved each other very much," Michael Bordeaux said.

While Michael Bordeaux says that the couple was not having marital problems, he admits he last saw his wife on April 3 -- 10 days before she went missing.  Contrary to reports he had moved out, he denies they were estranged, saying he was just visiting his father in Florida.

"We were married.  We weren't getting a divorce," he says.  "We were together.  We love each other a lot."

Nicholas Holbert, 25, says he was with Bordeaux at the bar on April 13, and dropped her off on a street near her apartment.  He says when he asked her if she was married she said "it's complicated."

Holbert surrendered after it was revealed he failed to register as a sex offender at his new address.  Although he has been questioned twice, investigators said Holbert is not a person of interest.  He maintained he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Police on Thursday renewed their search for Bordeaux, showing more than 500 volunteers the newly released photo of the marine and asking them to scour the heavily wooded area between the bar where she was last seen and the cellphone tower she last pinged early on April 14.

"All the evidence …has led us right back to this area as an area of concentration," Det. Jeff Locklear of the Fayetteville Police Department said Thursday.

Bordeaux's family and fellow soldiers are holding out hope she is still alive.

"Your family loves you, your friends love you, your battle buddies love you," Jason Bardow, the woman's uncle and a fellow soldier said. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr202012

Police Search Pond for Clues in Missing Fort Bragg Soldier Case

Fayetteville Police Dept(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- Police in Fayetteville, N.C., turned up no new leads Thursday after searching a pond for signs of the missing soldier Kelli Bordeaux.

Pfc. Bordeaux, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, was last seen leaving Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville around 1:20 a.m Saturday.

Detectives issued a public plea for anyone who was at the bar that night to call a hotline that was set up to collect leads.

Nicholas Holbert, a 25-year-old bar hand who is a registered sex offender, has been questioned twice, but police said on Thursday at a news conference that he is not a person of interest in the case.

Holbert told ABC News affiliate WTVD exclusively that he gave Bordeaux, 23, a ride home from the bar, where he works, but denied having anything to do with her disappearance and said he dropped her off at the entrance of her neighborhood at her request.

"As soon as you drive into the entrance to Meadowbrook, she said, 'Stop right here,'" Holbert said.  "So I stopped and she said, 'I'll walk home.'  I said, 'Are you sure?'  She said, 'Yeah.'  I said I figured she didn't want me to know where she lived, or somebody was there and she didn't want to be seen together."

Officials on Thursday also released Bordeaux's missing persons report, which was filed by John Neighbors, who is a member of the soldier's unit at Fort Bragg.

Bordeaux joined the military in April 2011 and worked as a health service specialist.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Missing Soldier: Person of Interest, Questioned Twice, Denies Involvement

Fayetteville Police Dept(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- A 25-year-old bar hand who is a registered sex offender has been questioned twice by police in connection with the disappearance of a missing soldier and has been called a person of interest.

Kelli Bordeaux, 23, was last seen leaving Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville, N.C., around 1:20 a.m Saturday.

Nicholas Holbert, 25, told ABC News 11 exclusively that he gave the soldier a ride home from the bar, where he works, but denied having anything to do with her disappearance and said he dropped her off at the entrance of her neighborhood at her request.

"As soon as you drive into the entrance to Meadowbrook, she said stop right here," Holbert said. "So I stopped and she said, 'I'll walk home.' I said, 'Are you sure?' She said, 'Yeah.' I said I figured she didn't want me to know where she lived, or somebody was there and she didn't want to be seen together."

The bar hand, who lives in a lean-to behind Froggy Bottoms, was questioned for a second time Wednesday by Fayetteville Police. He said he believed he was being targeted because he has a criminal record.

Holbert is a registered sex offender and was convicted as a 16-year-old of indecent liberties with a 5-year-old child, ABC 11 reported.

The search for the Fort Bragg soldier, who was reported missing by base officials on Monday, focused Wednesday on an area where her phone was last detected, officials said.

The last ping from Bordeaux's cellphone came late Friday or early Saturday off a tower off the Ramsey Street corridor, the area police plan to scour for clues, Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said.

Bordeaux's family said she took her job seriously and would never miss work.

"Being a soldier, to Kelly, isn't something she'd jeopardize for anything," said Bordeaux's older sister, Olivia Cox. "Missing work isn't something that's in character for Kelli. This is an out-of-character thing to happen to my sister."

Fayetteville Police spokesman Gavin MacRoberts said there is reason to believe the soldier is in danger.

"There is some information we've gathered that makes us concerned for her safety," he said, declining to go into more detail, citing the ongoing investigation.

The missing soldier, who is from St. Cloud, Fla., has been married to her husband, Mike Bordeaux, who is a civilian, for nearly two years. He was in Florida at the time of his wife's disappearance visiting his father, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Kelli Bordeaux's mother, Johnna Henson, told ABC News she was having difficulty coping with her daughter's suspicious disappearance.

"I can't function not knowing where she is. How can someone hurt her?" Henson asked. "I lost my mother and my husband within a three-months span. I can't deal with losing my child. I can't deal with any more loss."

Henson plans to join her daughter, Cox, at Fort Bragg to assist in the search for Bordeaux.

"She joined the military to make her family proud," Cox said.

Cox described her sister as an "amazing soldier" and a "self-motivated individual."

Bordeaux joined the military in April 2011, according to a Fort Bragg spokesperson. She was assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Brigade, as a health service specialist. She joined the unit last November.

Bordeaux is 5-foot-1 and weighs 102 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink tube top with spaghetti straps and black shorts. Anyone with information is asked to contact Fayetteville Police.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr132012

Murder Suicide Mystery Spans 475 Miles

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(VOORHEES, N.J.) -- Police in two states are investigating whether the murder of a 35-year-old woman in North Carolina is connected to the murder-suicide Thursday of two physicians in New Jersey.

Police in Vorhees, N.J., are probing the shooting death Thursday of Dr. Payman Houshmandpour by a former colleague, Dr. Giocondo "Joe" Navek. According to police, Navek drove to Houshmandpour's house, shot him, and then turned the gun on himself minutes later.

As they began to investigate the murder-suicide, police found a woman's personal items in Navek's car, according to Camden County, N.J. prosecutor's office spokesman Jason Laughlin. Police tracked the items to a woman in North Carolina, whom they tried to contact as part of the investigation. The woman, however, had just been discovered dead.

"We were trying to figure out what led to the shooting (in New Jersey), and we were shocked to find out there was another victim," said Laughlin. "We just wanted to talk to her, and then found out she had been killed. It was an eye-opener for us."

Police in Fayetteville, N.C., found Shawna Givens dead in her home Wednesday afternoon after co-workers reported that she did not show up for work. Police believe that the mother of three was killed and left there days earlier.

According to Laughlin, Givens, 25, had been involved in a romantic relationship with Navek, 39, since January. Around that time, Navek had begun working at the Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, where Givens also worked.

Navek split his time between North Carolina and New Jersey, where he lived until recently with his fiance and their daughter. Navek previously worked at the same hospital in New Jersey where Houshmandpour was employed, but lost his job there over a year ago. Navek then got a job at Womack in North Carolina, Laughlin said.

Police records show that Navek and his New Jersey-based fiance had relationship problems, including an incident in March in which the woman contacted police to report Navek firing a gun at a basement wall in their home. She did not seek a restraining order.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Navek's former fiance ended the relationship when she found out about his relationship with Givens, the woman's mother said. They had dated for about five years.

The fiance's mother told the paper that Navek believed Houshmandpour was responsible for his dismissal from the New Jersey hospital's residency program. Police could not confirm that allegation.

Houshmandpour had a wife and 1-year-old child, police said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar042012

Bear Camps on Hospital Wall

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ASHEVILLE, N.C.) -- A bear was evaluated before being sent back to the woods Saturday after it was captured on the wall of an Asheville, N.C., hospital.

The 50-lb bear hopped up on the wall of the Mission Hospital Cancer Center Friday morning and quickly drew a crowd of gawkers. The bear didn’t seem to mind the attention, curling up and sleeping through part of the day. It also ignored pastries set out to lure the bear off the wall for capture.

The bear was finally snagged Friday evening and was held for examination before being released back in the wild.

It was the third bear sighting in the city this week, but it wasn’t clear if there were several bears that have been seen or if the bear caught Friday was a repeat offender.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb252012

Jason Young May Take Witness Stand in Retrial

Giorgio Fochesato/Vetta/Getty Images(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Defense attorneys are spending the weekend deciding whether Jason Young, the North Carolina man who is on trial a second time for allegedly killing his pregnant wife, should take the stand on Monday.

Young, 37, was originally tried in 2006 for the death of his 29-year-old wife, Michelle, and is now back in court for first-degree murder charges after the trial ended in a deadlocked jury in June.

Young took the stand in his first trial and admitted he and his wife were having problems, however he denied killing his wife and said he had been on a business trip at the time of her murder.

Prosecutors are taking a closer look at his first trial testimony, comparing it to previous evidence submitted by the lead investigator.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings compared Young's statements to find inconsistencies, such as what he did on the night of his wife's death, the shirt he wore to his daughter's birthday party and his financial situation in 2008.

Prosecutors called their final witness, a family attorney who represented Michelle Young's family in a custody dispute on Friday.

Attorney Mike Schilawski told the jury he was hired after Young cut off visitation of the couple's young daughter to his wife's mother and sister.

Linda and Meredith Fischer, the mother and sister of Michelle Young, sued for custody of Cassidy Young, who was 2 years old at the time of her mother's 2006 murder.

Had Young chosen to fight the lawsuit, he would have been subjected to questioning under oath—allowing attorneys to ask him what he knew about his wife's murder. Instead, he ceded custody to his in-laws.

When Cummings asked Schilawski what he would have asked Young, he replied, "I would have asked him whether or not he brutally murdered his wife."

The defense argued Young did not have the money to engage in a costly legal battle and that his relinquishment of custody should not be seen as an implication of guilt, ABC affiliate WTVD reported.

Meredith Fischer found her sister face-down in a pool of blood with the couple's 2-year-old daughter and only possible witness, Cassidy, hiding under the covers of her parents' bed.

If convicted, Young could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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