Entries in Teen (37)


Teen Allegedly Killed by Kidnapper Seeking to Be a Hero

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BANGOR, Maine) -- A man's bizarre plot to be a hero by kidnapping and then "rescuing" a teenage girl who had rebuffed his advances resulted in her death, according to an indictment charging him with murder.

Kyle Dube, 20, of Bangor, Maine, was arrested for the murder of Nichole Cable, 15, after he lured her from her home while pretending to be one of her Facebook friends promising her marijuana, the indictment states. The indictment was unsealed on Wednesday.

According to police, Dube waited in the nearby woods wearing a ski mask on May 12 as Cable walked to the end of her driveway to meet Bryan Butterfield, a friend of hers who she'd been speaking with online. Dube allegedly jumped from the bushes, duct taped Cable and threw her in his dad's pick-up truck.

When Dube removed Cable from the truck, she was dead, his brother Dustin Dube told police, the indictment claims.

"Kyle intended to kidnap Nichole and hide her … he would later find her and be the hero," Dustin Dube told police, the court document states.

Kyle Dube had set up a phony Facebook profile for Butterfield, a man who Cable knew. Posing as Butterfield, Dube repeatedly requested to meet with Cable. On the night she vanished, Cable sent a text message to a friend saying that she had planned to meet Butterfield.

When interviewed by police the day after Cable disappeared, the real Bryan Butterfield said that he suspected Dube, who he said wanted to have sex with Cable, but had been rebuffed by Cable.

While searching for Cable, investigators logged into her Facebook account and noticed frequent communications between her and the fake Butterfield account. Detectives made an emergency request to Facebook to produce records to identify the owner of the fake account and the IP address linked to an account that belonged to Dube's parents, according to authorities.

Facebook also provided the last four digits of the smart phone used to log into the fake Facebook account, and they matched the last four digits of Dube's phone number, the indictment states.

During an interview with police, Dube stated that he had a relationship with Cable, and had exchanged text messages with her the day she disappeared, but was at work in Bangor when she vanished. He consented to a DNA sample, which later proved to match DNA on a sock found in a wooded area where police were searching for Cable, police said. Cable's DNA was also found on the sock.

On May 20, Sarah Mesinger, Dube's girlfriend, told police that he had detailed to her where he left Cable's body in a clearing, covered with branches and that he had thrown her clothes out of the truck's window, according to court papers.

Police deployed aircraft and dogs in the search for Cable's body, while hundreds of civilian volunteers had spent days searching. Her body was found on the night of May 20.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Arizona Police Officer Gives Bike to Teen Who Walks Nine Miles to Work

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- For one man in Arizona, getting pulled over by a police officer might have been the best thing to ever happen to him.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Natalie Simonick, 46, was on patrol around 11 p.m., when she saw a young man walking alone in a dark and desolate area who she thought might be violating curfew.

“And I pulled over and I asked him what he was doing,” Simonick told ABC News. “He said, ‘Walking home, I missed the bus.’”

After the young man, Christian Felix, showed Simonick his ID proving he was 18 years old, the sergeant offered Felix a courtesy ride home. Then Simonick learned Felix had never ridden a bike before.

“He never had a father in his life, so he had no one to teach him,” Simonick said.

By the end of the ride home Simonick was shocked.  It turned out Felix would walk the 9 mile distance to his home from his job at McDonald’s if he missed his bus.

Simonick was impressed by the young man. “He doesn’t drink and doesn’t smoke,” she said. “He had never had any contact with police as far as negative contact.”

After that night, Simonick spoke to her husband, who said she could give Felix their extra bike.  The other members of her squad agreed to help teach Felix how to ride a bike.

“It’s really something when someone comes up on the street and offers to do a kindness for you,” Felix told ABC affiliate KNXV. “These days you don’t see anything like that.”

Last month, Felix had his first bike lesson at the Phoenix police precinct parking lot.

"Two of my officers stood on either side of him and pushed him," Simonick said. "He was a little wobbly and rode into one of the poles, but my guys were right there to catch him."

After 45 minutes, Felix was riding on his own, and he and Simonick rode together around the lot.

Since then, the two have kept in touch, and Simonick said she wants to continue to help Felix.  So what’s Simonick’s next project?

“Well he did say that he’s never driven a car before,” Simonick joked.  "First things first I’ll see how he does with the bicycle.”

As for the attention, Simonick said she just wanted to show Felix that there are people out there who care.

“If everybody could help just one person in the world like this, I think it would definitely be a better place to life.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teen Without Legs, Only One Arm Competes in World Championships

Courtesy Joyce Wheeler(LYNWOOD, Wash.) -- Born without legs and only one arm, Kayla Wheeler, a 16-year-old high school student from Lynnwood, Wash., is gearing up to compete in the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships this August in Montreal. She's one of 25 American swimmers who has qualified to represent team USA.

"I'm just excited to see all of them. It's fun, and it fills me with joy to know that I am going to be spending two weeks of my life with some of the best swimmers in the world," Wheeler told ABC News.

Wheeler will compete in the S-1 class, which is the Paralympics category for those who are the most disabled. It includes only two other swimmers.

"I am basically the most disabled you can be and still swim," Wheeler said.

It was at the Can/Am Para-Swimming Championship last month in Minneapolis where Kayla broke her own record, with a time of 1:30 in the 50-meter butterfly.

"I broke it twice, once in the morning and once in finals. It was my own world record already, and I broke it again. It still feels really awesome," she said. Wheeler came away from the meet as female swimmer of the day for all three days of competition, and female swimmer of the meet, earning three gold medals in every division she competed in.

Wheeler got her swimming start at the age of 8 months, after a doctor suggested that she try hydrotherapy to help her learn how to balance her body and sit up.

"As an infant she loved the water," her mother, Joyce Wheeler, told ABC News. "I guess I never thought she would learn how to swim, but I just wanted her to be safe around the water."

That's when Joyce Wheeler set out to find someone who could give her daughter real swimming lessons. Amy Rust, coach of the Barracudas swim team in Edmonds, Wash., took on that challenge, propelling Wheeler into her swimming career.

When she was 10 years old, Wheeler joined the Shadow Seal Swim Club. Accredited by USA Swimming, the club offers swimmers with disabilities opportunities to compete.

"I had my eye on Kayla [Wheeler] about two years before she joined my team, Kiko Van Zandt, a coach and pediatric rehabilitation clinic nurse at Seattle Children's Hospital, told ABC News.

"She [Wheeler] is a role model to people not only with disabilities, but also able-bodied people too," Van Zandt said. "At a recent local meet, she got the crowd going and people were seeing that if she can do it, then my kid can do it too."

Wheeler inspired close friend Breanna Sprenger, an 11-year-old from Avon, Ohio, born with the same disabilities as Wheeler. The two met through the International Child Amputee Network. Sprenger now competes with Wheeler and an Australian athlete in the S-1 category for the most disabled.

"I actually taught her how to swim," said Wheeler. "I showed her parents the fact that it was possible for her to swim. So now she is competitively swimming and following in my footsteps so to speak. We call each other the body twins. She calls me her mentor and I call her my mentee."

Over the past six years, Wheeler has competed at the Can /Am Para-Swimming Championships, the World Championships in Rio de Janeirio, where she took home a bronze medal, the World Championships in the Netherlands, as well as the 2012 Paralympic Trials last June in North Dakota, where she won female swimmer of the meet. That qualified her for the 2012 Paralympics in London.

But she couldn't compete in London, because there were not enough swimmers for her to compete against in her category -- there must be at least five swimmers from two different countries for there to be a race.

"The classifications get a little frustrating," said her mother Joyce Wheeler. "She started in the S-3 class. At the beginning she was at the top of the class and the more people who came in bumped her down at the bottom of the class. There are not than many people in her S-1 swimming class. She is out there beating her own records and times."

But Wheeler's goals -- and talents -- stretch beyond competitive swimming. She was recently named the 2012 USA Swimming Scholastic All-American, earning a grade point average of a 3.8, while taking classes at her high school and a local community college through the Running Start program.

"I eventually want to go through law school and eventually become a disability rights right attorney," said Wheeler. When Wheeler is not in the pool or studying, she enjoys snow skiing, playing baseball and being on her high school's rocketry and robotics teams.

She also helps to coach nondisabled kids to swim. "The youngest person I have helped was in pre-K, and the oldest was 11 or 12 years old," Wheeler said.

"I want to continue as long as I physically can continue, and I am hoping to make the 2016 Rio Paralympic team," said Wheeler. "I think a lot of it is just going to depend on if they can get a lot of S-1 swimmers from other countries. As of now, my times are good enough, but now it's going to depend on how many people they are going to get onto the team.

"My parents have always taught me that I can do anything that I put my mind to," said Wheeler. So I just put my mind to it."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teen Mom's Photo Banned from High School Yearbook

Courtesy Caitlin Tiller(TRINITY, N.C.) -- When Caitlin Tiller receives her high school yearbook later this month, she won’t find a single picture of herself on its pages.

Tiller’s photo was not allowed in the high school yearbook because she held her baby boy in the picture.

“The lady who runs the yearbook texted me and said, ‘We can’t use your picture in the yearbook because it promotes teen pregnancy,’” Tiller, 18, from Trinity, N.C., told ABC News about the exchange last month.

Wheatmore High School, in Trinity, N.C., allowed students to use a prop in their yearbook photos that would show something they were proud of when they posed for the photos last summer.

“There were no stipulations,” Tiller’s mom Karen Morgan, 42, also from Trinity, told ABC News. “They said, ‘Use whatever you want.’”

Tiller’s son, Leelin, 1, had just been born last summer when she took him to her yearbook photo appointment. “Everyone saw me with Leelin,” Tiller said. “No one said anything about me having my picture taken with him.”

That was until April 12, just days before the yearbook was going to print when the teacher at the school sent her the text notifying her that she had two days to submit a new photo without Leelin or not be in the yearbook.

“If he wasn’t going to be in it with me, I didn’t want be in it at all,” Tiller said.

Tiller, who graduated from high school early in December and is now attending Randolph County Community College, said the school fully supported her during her pregnancy. “They all helped me when I needed the help,” Tiller said. “I don’t understand why they’re being like this.”

Tiller said her best friend, who has a child, was also not allowed to have her picture with her child in the yearbook. She said, however, that a photo of a pregnant student, who posed with hands around her stomach, was allowed to be in the yearbook.

Both Tiller and Morgan said they tried to speak to school officials, but were not successful. ”I tried to fight it, but no one was budging,” Tiller said. Morgan said one school board member even hung up on her.

Donald E. Andrews, superintendent of Randolph County Schools, said in a statement to ABC News, “The practice at Wheatmore High School regarding yearbook pictures for seniors has been to include only graduating students in the senior section, and to permit family members and friends to be featured with our seniors in the ad section of the yearbook.”

Andrews said they offered Tiller this option and regretted not making their policy clearer to her.

“I feel like it’s discrimination,” Tiller said.

Morgan said the school is trying to hide its teen moms rather than being proud of girls who stay in school and achieve their goals like her daughter.

“She finished high school early, started college this year, and is working 30-36 hours a week,” Morgan said. “It’s ridiculous. She has proven so much and been such an inspiration to teen moms.”

While it is too late for Tiller’s photo to be in the yearbook, she and Morgan hope that the attention her story has gotten will help other teen moms gain recognition for their hard work. ”Having a baby is not easy,” said Tiller, who is currently studying to be a medical assistant.

When asked what advice she had for teen moms, she said, “Keep on fulfilling your dreams.

“Don’t give up because that little baby needs you.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teen Burn Victim Arrested on Drug Charges

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Michael Brewer, who was set on fire by three teens in 2009, has been arrested on felony and misdemeanor drug charges.

Brewer was stopped by Florida Highway Patrol on Wednesday after running a red light and was found with marijuana, crack-cocaine, oxycodone and drug paraphernalia in his possession.  Thursday morning, he faced a judge in Palm Beach County court and was given a $6,000 bond.  He was released and, according to the Miami Herald, was warned to “stay out of trouble” and undergo random drug testing.

Brewer was in the news in 2009 when  he was attacked by three teens who poured alcohol on him and set him on fire.  He was able to run away and jump into a nearby pool, but suffered second and third-degree burns to 65 percent of his body.  Brewer nearly died and was in a medically induced coma for three weeks. Then he endured numerous skin graft surgeries and months of rehabilitation.

The teens responsible for the attack were convicted and sentenced to 8-11 years behind bars.

Brewer, 18, now finds himself facing charges.

According to the arrest report, Trooper M.N. Vasconcelos saw the van that Brewer was driving make a U-turn on a red light and pulled the vehicle over. The report notes when the trooper approached the vehicle he, “smelled a strong odor of raw marijuana” coming from inside.

After asking Brewer to step out of the vehicle, the report reads, “a zip-lock plastic bag containing a green leafy substance fell on the ground, followed by a brown pill container, containing little white rocks.”  The report states the substances were field-tested and were positive for marijuana and crack-cocaine. Also found in the car, according to the report, were 14 glass pipes, a glass bong, empty pill containers, a grinder, cigarette papers, a straw and a pocket knife.

There were three teens in the van with Brewer at the time of the traffic stop, ages 19, 16 and 15.  None of them were arrested or charged with any crimes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hyundai Allegedly Takes Teen on ‘Nightmare’ Ride

ABC News(ROCKWALL COUNTY, Texas) -- A Texas teenager suffered several broken bones after his Hyundai allegedly took him on a terrifying ride on a Texas Highway with, he claims, no way to stop the car.

Elez Lushaj, 16, was driving on Highway 183 in Rockwall County, Texas, Dec. 2 when his 2011 Hyundai Elantra reportedly accelerated out of control, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour, according to police.

Unable to slow down, Lushaj traveled at break-neck speed for nearly 120 miles, finally losing control of the vehicle when a semi pulled in front of him, causing the car to flip four times before coming to rest on the side of the highway.

Rockwall County Deputy Tim Williamson told ABC News the teen was in relatively good shape after wrecking at such a high speed.  "His arm may have been broken, they had to cut him out of the car but he was talking and alert when we walked up to him,” he said.

Lushaj made a frantic 911 call shortly after the car accelerated.  In the call, operators are heard struggling to come up with a way to slow the car down, telling Lushaj to turn off the ignition, or put the vehicle in neutral.

When the teen was unable to decelerate, deputy Williamson was dispatched to help shepherd the out-of-control vehicle away from traffic, capturing the nightmare ride on his car’s dashboard camera.

“It took me about five miles to catch up to him,” said Williamson.  "Right about the 125 [-miles-per-hour] mark is roughly how fast I was going to stay in front of him.”

The dashboard camera video shows Lushaj’s vehicle swerving at times onto the shoulder at high speeds to avoid traffic.

“He was doing a pretty good job avoiding traffic, avoiding any road obstacles, considering how inexperienced he was given his age,” Williamson remarked.

According to WFAA-TV, the teen’s father called the incident “a nightmare” and claimed that his son would likely have permanent damage, but said they are declining further comment based on advice from their attorney.

Hyundai, however, is doubtful of the teen’s story.

“It is extremely unlikely there would be simultaneous and spontaneous failure of the braking, acceleration and transmission all at the same time,” Hyundai public relations manager Jim Trainor told ABC News in an emailed statement.

According to the Rockwall County Sheriff’s department, the incident took place on Dec. 2 and the incident was not investigated because no criminal charges were filed.  It is unclear at this point why the incident was not reported to Hyundai until now.

“We have never heard from the driver, his family nor their representatives and have not had a chance to inspect the car in order to determine what went on here,” the Hyundai statement continued. “We would like to speak with the parties involved and take a look at the car. And we’d like to find out why this hadn’t come to our attention for almost three months.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Teenager Killed After Reported Fight Over His Jacket

16-year-old Raphael Ward was killed Jan. 4, 2012, in New York, according to police. (Facebook/BloccBoy Tokyo)(NEW YORK) -- A New York City teenager is dead after he reportedly refused to give up his Polo Ralph Lauren jacket to another young man. Friends of 16-year-old Raphael Ward, who lived in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, told the New York Post that Ward had an altercation over his jacket before he was shot.

Cynthia Nieves, 14, who was with Ward before the shooting, told the Post that he warned her, "Go home!" He didn't say what was going on, but, she told the paper, "He knew they were coming back."

Officer Sophia Tassy of the New York Police Department confirmed the reports of an altercation over Ward's parka, but said police aren't sure if the same people involved in the altercation are responsible for the shooting.

On Friday evening at about 8:10 p.m., police say Ward was shot in the chest in front of a church near his home. According to the Post, Ward stumbled into a nearby convenience store after the shooting and said he had been approached by people who wanted his jacket.

Paramedics rushed Ward to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No arrests have been made, and the NYPD has asked the public's help in locating four persons of interest.

Monday afternoon, police released a surveillance video showing four men walking into a bodega, then walking out. Two of the men are wearing ski masks and have been described as Hispanic. Police said the other two are black.

The price of the green coat is unknown, but friends reported that it was expensive and may have attracted unwanted attention in one of New York's poorer neighborhoods.

Raphael Ward lived with his mother and 7-year-old brother in the Baruch Houses, a public housing project. ABC News tried unsuccessfully to reach Ward's family.

The New York police asked that anyone with information on the shooting call them.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Steubenville Officials, Under Scrutiny, Launch Website Regarding Alleged Teen Gang Rape

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- As Steubenville, Ohio, prepares for the high-profile rape trial of two high school football players, officials, battling allegations of a cover-up, announced the creation of a new website on Saturday to debunk rumors and create what they said would be a transparent resource for the community.

"This site is not designed to be a forum for how the Juvenile Court ought to rule in this matter," the website, called Steubenville Facts, said.

A timeline of the case, beginning with the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl at a party on Aug. 11-12, 2012, is posted on the site. Summaries of Ohio law relating to the case and facts about the local police force including statistics on how many graduated from Steubenville schools, is included.

The case gained national attention last week when hacking collective Anonymous leaked a video of Steubenville high school athletes mocking the 16-year-old female victim and making crude references to the alleged rape.

Anonymous has called for more arrests, however Steubenville Police have said their hands are tied.

"Steubenville Police investigators are caring humans who recoil and are repulsed by many of the things they observe during an investigation," the website said, addressing the video. "Like detectives in every part of America and the world, they are often frustrated when they emotionally want to hold people accountable for certain detestable behavior but realize that there is no statute that allows a criminal charge to be made."

Occupy Steubenville, a grassroots group, estimated 1,300 people attended a rally on Saturday outside the Jefferson County Courthouse, where rape victims and their loved ones gathered to share their stories.

The father of a teenage rape victim was met with applause when he shared his outrage.

"I've tried to show my girl that not all men are like this, but only a despicable few," he said. "And their mothers that ignore the truth that they gave birth to a monster."

Authorities investigated the case and charged two Steubenville high school athletes on Aug. 22, 2012.

The teenagers face trial on Feb. 13, 2013 in juvenile court before a visiting judge.

Attorneys for the boys have denied charges in court.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pregnant Florida Teen Disappears

Courtesy of Morgan Martin's family(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- A pregnant Florida teenager has disappeared after telling her mother she was stepping outside to tell the father of her unborn baby that an ultrasound indicated the baby was a girl.

Morgan Martin, 17, disappeared July 25 in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Morgan’s mother said the baby’s father, whom Morgan met on Facebook, is 26 and from Kansas City. Police and Morgan’s mother declined to name the man.

The teenager was last seen about 12:30 a.m., her mother Leah Martin told ABC News.

Mrs. Martin said she had warned her daughter against seeing the man because he was not on good terms with Morgan.

“He said he was going to come over and talk to her and so she told me, ‘Mom, I’m just going to go talk to him,” Leah Martin said. “I told her, ‘Morgan, you don’t want anything to do with him … You’re a kid. If he gets caught with you, he’s going to jail.’”

The mother said Morgan’s sister, Sierra Cahill, 20, was the last to see Morgan step outside. When Leah Martin woke for work at 5 a.m., she noticed her daughter had left the lights, television and air conditioning on. She figured Morgan was probably still outside talking with the baby’s father, but didn’t see any cars.

A few phone calls from Cahill followed saying Morgan was not returning calls and was not on Facebook, something Leah Martin said was very rare for the teen.

Police say they have no indication Morgan Martin left of her own accord. The fact that she didn’t take anything with her and was dressed for bed “has caused us to believe this is not a normal set of circumstances,” St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said Friday.

“There’s a difference between a runaway situation and something like this, where you have a set of circumstances suggesting that she has just stopped communicating with all her friends,” Puetz said.

Morgan has run away from home before, Puetz said, but always returned soon after.

Puetz said the baby’s father and Morgan were communicating up to her disappearance.

Police are not certain a crime has taken place and have not named any suspects.

Morgan is 5-feet-2 and weighs around 170 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Morgan Keyanna Martin can call police at (727) 893-7780.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Abandoned Teen Graduates from Homeless Custodian to Harvard University

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C.) -- After returning from a prestigious academic summer program in Raleigh, N.C., last summer, Dawn Loggins found her parents had left. To complete her high school senior year, she began "couch-surfing" in friends' houses. She'd wake up at 5:20 a.m. each day, begin work as a school custodian, focus on a roster of advanced placement and honors courses, complete more custodial work and then hit the books.

The early mornings and late nights paid off. Now, she will graduate from Burns High School in Cleveland County, N.C. Next, she is headed to Harvard University.

Dawn spent much of her life moving frequently from one home to another and attending a number of different schools. Despite the circumstances, she said, she was committed to doing whatever was necessary to excel in school.

"Education is a means to make something better of myself," she told ABC News.

Dawn recalled having to do homework by candlelight because the power had been disconnected and having to cook noodles on a wood stove after her mother and stepfather lost their jobs. Focusing on her school work, she said, helped her deal with the family's circumstances. She had no idea what she might have to deal with next.

After she returned last summer to find her parents gone, she found she had no way to reach them because their phone services had been disconnected. Determined to complete her senior year at Burns, Dawn stayed for a few days at a time at the homes of friends until finally finding a home with Sheryl Kolton, a friend's mother who was also a custodian at the school. It would be a few months before she learned that her parents had gone to Tennessee for a visit and decided to stay.

Dawn's school year consisted of very long days. After cleaning for two hours, she would begin her school day of tough classes, including AP U.S. history, AP calculus, and honors English, and she participated in various school clubs and honor societies. After school and two more hours of cleaning work, she'd still have hours of homework, often keeping her up until midnight or 2 a.m. The late nights paid off as Dawn earned at 3.9 GPA and scored 2,110 on her SAT. She was committed to not just graduating high school, but finding a way to go to college.

"A high school diploma doesn't mean anything if you don't do anything with it," she said.

She began applying to colleges with the help of her counselor and a friend of the school's principal. She initially applied to Davidson College, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Warner Wilson College. After the persistent urging of those helping her, she also applied to Harvard.

The acceptance letters started arriving, mostly in larger, thick envelopes. Then one day, an envelope arrived from Harvard.

"It was a small envelope; you never want a small envelope," she said.

But inside was a letter admitting Dawn into the Harvard class of 2016.

"I was kind of surprised," she said. "I didn't jump and down or scream or cry or anything, but I was happy. I guess I'm not easily exited. I'm not a very emotional person."

But Dawn wasn't so sure that she would be heading to Massachusetts -- not until she was able to visit this spring, thanks to school staff pooling their money to pay for her trip.

"After visiting Harvard, I couldn't see myself anywhere else," she said.

Dawn will receive financial aid from Harvard and get an on-campus job to help pay for tuition, room and board. She also has saved money from her job to help with books and other essentials.

As for her field of study, Dawn plans to major in biology and is considering a career in biomedical research. When asked what she is most looking forward to as she heads off to college, her reply was one word.

"Stability," she said.

Dawn reflected on her life growing up and said she just wants to be able support herself and not worry about losing power or not being able to buy food.

Even though her mother may not have been the best mom, she said, she still loves her parents. Both will be at her high school graduation.

Dawn wants to focus on her future, not her past, and hopes that she can motivate other students, like her two younger sisters, to further their education beyond high school in order to have a better life.

"I'm in a good place right now," she said. "I have a lot of community support."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio