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Saturday
Jun082013

Police Locate Body of Missing 15-Year-Old Girl

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(BOONE, Iowa) -- A body pulled from the Des Moines River on Friday evening is likely that of missing 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard.

Shepard was abducted in May by Michael Klunder, a convicted sex offender who later committed suicide. Asked why Klunder was free, Gerard Meyers of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said, "That's a fair question, and I think it's being asked here in Iowa. It's probably going to be asked nationally and it's definitely going to get some attention."

Authorities received a call at about 7 p.m. from people fishing, saying that they had found a body in the river under the Kate Shelley High Bridge. According to the Des Moines Register, the body was found wearing clothing that was consistent with what Shepard was reportedly wearing at the time of her abduction.

Authorities also told the Des Moines Register that zip ties were found on the body.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May182013

Toddler Steals Washington Teen's Violin

Nichola Evans/Stockbyte(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) -- Police believe a Washington woman used her toddler to steal an antique violin from a teenager Wednesday afternoon at a local restaurant.

Mount Vernon Police Lt. Chris Cammock told ABC News that 17-year-old Kalob Tatum entered a McDonald’s with his backpack and violin after school. When he went up to the counter to order a burger, he turned around, and his 100-year-old Czechoslovakian copy of a Stradivarius violin was missing.

“When I saw the violin gone, my heart just dropped,” Tatum told ABC affiliate KOMO News. “I had this feeling that something terrible just happened.”

Tatum has been playing the violin since kindergarten, according to Lt. Cammock. The teen earned a scholarship to perform in New York this summer.

“I got a scholarship to a two-week camp and… I do not have a violin and I don’t have the money to get a new one right now,” Tatum told KOMO.

Officers searched for the violin immediately following the theft.

“On the security video that’s inside the McChevron (McDonald’s there is attached to a Chevron gas station), it showed a young girl who picked up the violin and left the restaurant with her mother,” Cammock said. “By depiction, it looks like the mother would have been aware that her daughter was taking it.”

Officers then took the footage obtained from the store and circulated the girl’s picture.

On Thursday, Cammock says an officer on patrol spotted the mother and daughter walking near a school.

“The officer stopped her, had a conversation with her and asked for the violin,” Cammock said. “The violin was then returned to the victim.”

The mother, who was not identified, faces possible charges of theft, Cammock says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec122012

Father of Missing North Carolina Girl Optimistic She's Alive

Mint Hill, NC Police Department(NEW YORK) -- The father of 16-year-old Kayla Campbell, who was last seen three days ago at her North Carolina home, tells ABC News he's more optimistic today that his daughter is alive.

"The authorities have jumped on everything and are doing a great job," said Robert Campbell.  "It's been very hard, but my family is staying strong."

On Monday, police located Kayla's cellphone, backpack, shoes and bicycle in a wooded area near her home in Mint Hill, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte.

Kayla was last seen Sunday afternoon when she left home for a bike ride, something that was not out of the ordinary.  Her parents told her to return home by 5:15 p.m. when it starts to get dark, but she did not.

"We called her at 5:20 p.m., and she said she was close-by," said the girl's father.  "But we didn't feel like she was telling the truth."

Campbell used location software he had installed on Kayla's phone to track her down.

"We became concerned when the GPS on her phone showed her being in one area and she told us she was in another.  She's not great with directions," said Campbell.

When the Campbells called Kayla back, her phone had been turned off, and that's when they notified police.

"At this time, we have no reason to believe there was an abduction," said Mint Hill Police Lt. J.K. Rowell.

Campbell admits he was worried about some relationships Kayla had been forming with people on the Internet.

"We were just dealing with the emotions of a teenager, having to do with some online relationships on a Tumblr page," said Campbell.  "These relationships were not healthy."

Tumblr is an online social networking site that allows users to create their own, sometimes private blogs to share personal content.

Campbell wouldn't comment on a news report Monday that Kayla was "battling depression."

"I'm not going to talk about her personal history," he told ABC News.

Mint Hill Police, joined by fire search and rescue personnel, combed the wooded area again on Tuesday, which is located a mile and a half from Kayla's home.

Canines and divers searched a nearby pond and the FBI was on site, helping with the investigation.

Kayla Campbell is approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 115 pounds, has long brown hair and blue eyes.  Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Mint Hill Police at 704-545-1085.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep062012

Ohio Teen’s Harrowing Journey into Storm Drain

ABC News(PARMA, Ohio) -- A 14-year-old boy from Ohio says he is lucky to be alive after he was swallowed up by a sewer drain pipe and carried 1,500 feet by rising waters.

Jeff LaPorta suffered scrapes and bruises on his legs and received six stitches in his arm, but that only tells a part of his harrowing tale.

LaPorta was enjoying the last days of summer like any other kid, riding his bike with a friend in Parma, Ohio, on Tuesday during a heavy rain storm.  He was riding through a parking lot when Mother Nature pulled a trick on him.

“There were big puddles and I was splashing through them and stuff having fun,” LaPorta recalled.

What LaPorta thought was a shallow puddle was actually a deep creek swollen with rain water.  Within seconds, he fell into the creek and was carried away into a drain pipe.

“It was dark, it was scary, it was nasty,” LaPorta said.  “It was like somebody is putting you in a big whirlpool and spinning you around and getting your head knocked on the ground.”

The rushing water sucked LaPorta into the pipe, and carried him 1,500 feet from the entrance.  Along the way, the teen was gasping for air as the water rose over his head.

“…After I took that deep breath I just stayed, and I was not going to give up,” he said.

LaPorta’s friend, Miguel Torres, immediately flagged down help, unsure what just happened to his friend.

“I started thinking the worst,” recalled Torres.

The fire department arrived on the scene and searched manhole cover after manhole cover looking for LaPorta.  After about 40 minutes of searching, the firefighters heard a scream.  LaPorta was pulled out of a manhole cover across the street from a gas station parking lot.

“They lifted the manhole cover and I said, ‘Hey buddy, you alright down there?’” said Parma firefighter David Higginbotham.  “And he was crying.  He was terrified.”

Afraid he’d never make it out alive, LaPorta couldn’t believe the moment he saw the firefighters’ flashlight.

“In my head I’m like, ‘Thank you, Lord.’  I was praying,” said LaPorta.  “I’m a little bruised up, but I’m lucky to be alive.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

Ohio High School Kingpin Arrested in Major Drug Bust

Warren County Drug Task Force(LEBANON, Ohio) -- Ohio police have arrested an alleged drug kingpin, a 17-year-old accused of running a multimillion dollar ring that distributed high-grade marijuana through two school districts and netted $20,000 a month.

When cops raided the boy's bedroom at his parents' home, they found over $6,000 in cash, prosecutors said.

Authorities have not released the student's name, because he was a 16-year-old minor at the time he committed the alleged drug deals.  Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the boy will be tried as a juvenile.

Cops first became aware of a high-grade hydroponic strain of marijuana being sold for $350 to $400 an ounce in the Mason school district near Cincinnati last year.  An undercover agent began making buys at Mason High School, where the teenager was a student, and uncovered a dealing operation headed by the arrested student.

"The undercover officer uncovered six students or former students working for that individual and trafficking drugs in two school districts," Fornshell told ABC News.

"The group supplied an overwhelming amount of marijuana in the Mason and King school districts," Fornshell said.

The marijuana previously sold in the areas was a lower-grade variety smuggled into the U.S. through the border, but the weed they began seeing last year was a much more expensive product.

The student helped lead cops to uncover a major grow operation, run by locals out of warehouses and other buildings in three nearby towns.

Six other adult individuals were ultimately arrested for their role in growing and distributing the drug.

Authorities seized 600 plants from the three grow houses, with an estimated street value of $3 million.

All of the individuals have been indicted by a grand jury, but have yet to be arraigned or enter pleas.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr302012

NC Ninth-Grader Punished By Public Shaming

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW BERN, N.C.) -- A North Carolina ninth-grader who was allegedly getting into trouble at school was handed possibly the worst punishment a teen could ever face: public shaming.

Quandria Bryant's father, Donnell, made her walk up and down busy Highway 17 in New Bern carrying a large sign that read on one side: "I have a bad attitude I disrespet [sic] people who try to help me." The other side read: "I do what I want, when I want, how I want it."

Donnell Bryant told ABC News affiliate WCTI12 that 15-year-old Quandria had become a "mean girl" in high school, and had been suspended for being disrespectful to her teachers.

"She acts like it's all about her," he said. "And really the end of the day, it's not."

Her friends who were leaving school on buses or on foot were able to take in the spectacle on Thursday.

"Instead of embarrassing the teacher, she's the one embarrassed," her father said.

As she walked along the side of the road, Quandria held the sign high to conceal her face, while passing motorists and pedestrians slowed to gawk. The girl declined comment to the WCTI reporter, but has reportedly decided to change her ways.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Texas Teen Indicted for Faking Cancer

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HORIZON CITY, Texas) -- Police in Horizon City, Texas say they have arrested a teenager whose false tale of her fight against cancer got neighbors to open their hearts -- and their wallets.

Nineteen-year-old Angie Gomez was busted on Friday and charged with felony theft by deception and tossed in jail; her bond was set on $50,000.

In January of 2011, Gomez told her classmates her childhood cancer had reappeared and she was given six months to live. Her community rallied around the supposedly sick teen, creating a charity in her honor and stuffing some $17,000 in cash, gift cards and other donations into her pot, according to the El Paso Times.

In June of 2011, cops started investigating her when she didn't appear to be at death's door at all. As it turns out, there was never any evidence Gomez had cancer as a child. Her mother told detectives she was never told about the scam.

It's not known if the money in the bank account of Angie Gomez' Achieve the Dream Foundation has been returned to donors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

Dad Who Turned in Son for Filmed Beating Says Punishment Too Harsh

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago father who turned his teenage son over to the police after he was seen as part of a mob in a video beating and robbing a fellow 17-year-old believes that the legal system is treating his son too harshly.

Michael Palomino, who has been a sheriff's deputy of 30 years, turned in his son Raymond after he identified him in a YouTube video stomping, punching and slamming another boy to the ground, along with six other teens. All of the attackers covered their faces with hoods or masks during the attack last Sunday afternoon, except Palomino.

In the video the six attackers are seen beating and robbing a teenager of Asian descent in an alley behind a Chicago elementary school. They shout profanities and racial epithets while he is kicked and punched. The video received close to half a million views, and relatives of the 17-year-old who saw the clip informed the teenager's dad.

"As soon as I saw the video I had to call 911, the police department," Michael Palomino told ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday.  "I did what was right as a parent…I am in law enforcement myself.  The right thing was to turn him in."

He says it was especially gut-wrenching for him because of the decision he was forced to make after he saw the video.  And while he doesn't regret his decision, he says the consequences for his son's behavior are too harsh.

Police have charged Raymond Palomino, 17, as an adult with one count of robbery and one count of aggravated battery.  Three 16-year-old boys, three 15-year-old boys and one 15-year-old girl have also been charged as juveniles in connection to the case.  Authorities are not releasing their names because they are minors, and they have been turned over to a juvenile detention center.

"They are trying to make him look like he is the aggressor in the whole video, and he is not.  He is 17 and they are trying to make an example of him," Michael Palomino told ABC News.

Police disagree, however, and say this is a case of mob mentality.

"This is very clearly mob type of behavior.  They get a lot of courage when its six or seven beating up one person.  And this just isn't tolerable," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.

Raymond Palomino is being held on a $100,000 bond.  His dad, a single father, can't afford to bail him out.

During a court appearance Monday, Judge Sandra Ramos refused Palomino's lawyers' request to drop the bond, and denied a request to release Palomino on electronic monitoring, according to ABC News affiliate WLS-TV.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov042011

‘Person of Interest’ Questioned in Illinois Teen’s Murder

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- As hundreds of friends and family members poured into a suburban Chicago funeral home to say goodbye to 14-year-old Kelli O’Laughlin, police in a tiny Illinois suburb on Thursday announced they are questioning a “person of interest” in her murder.

“We have a person of interest in custody, and we’re working feverishly to bring this to a conclusion,” said Indian Head Park Police Chief Frank Alonzo at a brief press conference at which he took no questions.  "No charges have been filed.”

Police say the brutal killing of the high school freshman is the first murder ever in this tight-knit community of 3,700 people.  Kelli was discovered by her mother inside the family’s home last Thursday.  She had been stabbed to death with a kitchen knife.  Investigators believe she came home from school and walked in on a burglary.

Investigators with the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force have combed through more than 100 leads.  They are also searching for several rare coins -- including some from a Las Vegas casino -- believed stolen from the O’Laughlins' home.

The man police have in custody is reportedly on parole and thought to be connected to a recent string of burglaries in the region.  Sources close to the investigation say search dogs tracked the man’s scent to a highway rest stop near the O’Laughlin family’s home, where he may have hailed a taxi.

The latest developments in the case come as Kelli’s distraught family holds her wake and prepares for her funeral.  

On Wednesday, Kelli’s father, John O’Laughlin, released a statement on behalf of his family, saying, “We are truly overwhelmed and touched by the outpouring of support we have received from the community and all those who knew and loved Kelli.  We are so grateful to everyone who has offered their support and condolences at this difficult time.”

So many people are expected to attend Kelli’s funeral on Friday morning that community members are conducting a roadside vigil to help ease the overflow crowd.  They’re calling it “Join Hands and Hearts for Kelli,” and asking neighbors to line the mile-and-a-half route between the funeral home and the church, in a show of support for Kelli’s family.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep042011

Florida Teen Charged With Impersonating Physician's Assistant

Comstock/Thinkstock(KISSIMMEE, Fla.) -- A 17 year old is facing felony charges for his real-life "Catch Me If You Can"-style prank that could have put lives in danger.

Matthew Scheidt was arrested Friday, accused of impersonating a physician's assistant for five days at a central Florida hospital.

According to police, the untrained teen spent time in the operating room and emergency room, where he conducted exams, provided patient care and accessed restricted patient information.

It all started on Aug. 24, when Scheidt allegedly went to the human resources office at the Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Fla., and requested a new hospital badge, according to the police report.

He allegedly said he was a physician's assistant in a program at Nova Southeastern University and he needed to replace his old badge, which had out of date information. Police said that though he gave two different explanations to two different people in the HR department, he was given a badge with his name and picture, stating that he was a P.A.

That week, Scheidt repeatedly presented himself as a P.A. in the emergency room, according to police.

Physicians on duty told the police Scheidt wore scrubs, a lab coat and his badge, and helped restrain a combative patient, cleaned and dressed wounds and removed an IV for a patient who was being discharged.

Scheidt also performed patient interviews and physical exams on disrobed male patients and accessed patient charts with personal and medical information, the police report said.

On just his second night as a "physician's assistant," he allegedly did chest compressions for about five minutes on a patient in cardiac arrest.

He told hospital staff he was 23 years old, claimed his mother was an executive with the corporation that owns the hospital and bragged he had been deputized with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, the police report said.

Scheidt allegedly played doctor for six days before emergency room staff contacted human resources because they thought there was something suspicious about him, police said. The ER staff began questioning his qualifications when he continually requested access to restricted areas of the hospital, according to the report.

The HR department contacted the Surgical Management Group, where Scheidt said he was a P.A., and found that though the teen worked there, it was as a part-time billing clerk, not a P.A. Scheidt was fired from that job and had to return his P.A. ID card.

When the Surgical Management Group's practice manager confronted him about his claims that he had been deputized by the Sheriff's Department, he said his status was "top-secret" and the department wouldn't verify his employment because of his undercover status, the police report said.

Again, it appears, the teen was allegedly stretching the truth. Scheidt had been in the Sheriff's Explorer Program, but was removed for "over-stepping his explorer duties," by attempting to mislead people into the belief that he was a deputy, according to the police report.

When an officer from the Kissimmee Police Department showed up at Scheidt's front door to retrieve an ID card he had not turned in when he was fired from the hospital, the teen cried and said he had simply been shadowing as a records clerk, which he is allowed to do, and not acting as a P.A.

He said the HR department at the hospital was making up lies about him to "cover their butts," the police report said. He allegedly stuck with that story and told the officer to check with the emergency room P.A., who would back up his story.

On Sept. 2, Scheidt was arrested, and charged with five counts of impersonating a physician assistant, a third degree felony.

The Osceola Regional Medical Center issued a statement saying that patients treated in the ER during the time Scheidt was there received the medical care they needed, and that they are reviewing hospital practices to ensure this does not happen again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio