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Wednesday
Aug202014

Indiana Police Investigate Possible Link in Moms’ Disappearances

iStock/Thinkstock(BOONVILLE, Ind.) -- The mysterious disappearances of two Indiana moms who vanished within weeks of each other could be linked, according to police.

Police say they are actively investigating any possible connection between the disappearances of Joelle Lockwood, 30, and Kristy Kelley, 27, who vanished about 20 miles apart.

“It doesn’t happen frequently that we have two women of the same age group that go missing around the same time,” Warrick County Sheriff Brett Kruse said.

Police say they have nothing linking the disappearances at this point, but investigators on both cases are comparing notes daily.

Kelley was last seen at 1:30 a.m. Friday leaving a Boonville VFW club. Surveillance footage shows what police believe is Kelley’s car heading in the direction of her home. Authorities haven’t noticed any activity on Kelley’s bank accounts, and “no evidence pointing towards any type of struggle,” Kruse said.

Meanwhile, Lockwood was last seen July 9 leaving a party in Evansville, about 20 miles away. She, too, has disappeared without a trace, and her mother, Candace Lockwood, is grief-stricken.

“She’s faced a lot of different challenges in her life, and we’re very worried for her right now,” Candace Lockwood said.

Kelley’s mother, Kathy Scales, is stunned that her daughter is missing.

“I just can’t explain the pit that I have in my stomach. And just knowing that our daughter is out there and we can’t get to her. It’s very, very, very rough,” Scales said.

Both families are pleading for the public’s help, reassuring their grandchildren that they won’t stop searching.

“It’s been difficult to keep one foot in front of the other,” Candace Lockwood said. “But we are doing that, and we will find our daughter.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug202014

Uneasy Calm Returns to Ferguson Ahead of Holder Visit

Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- Unlike Monday night's chaos that led to the arrests of 78 people and injuries to four police officers, the situation Tuesday night in Ferguson, Missouri, was relatively calm, albeit with tension still in the air.

There appeared to be fewer people on the street protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American, amid a still-heavy presence of local cops, Missouri Highway Patrol and National Guard. For the most part, the marches were orderly in stark contrast to the clashes that have cast a poor light on both law enforcement and some of the demonstrators.

Late in the night, several arrests were made after water bottles were tossed at police.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will meet Wednesday with investigators from the Justice Department and FBI for an update on their findings on Brown's death, which came at the hands of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

At some point, Holder will determine whether civil rights laws were violated.

The prosecutor's office in St. Louis County, which has jurisdiction in the case, could begin hearing evidence against Wilson as soon as Wednesday to determine if he will be charged in the shooting.


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In other developments, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued a message Wednesday that lists three main objectives.

First and foremost, Nixon says that the residents of Ferguson must be protected from "increasingly violent instigators" who use "bricks and guns and Molotov cocktails" against police, a reference to nightly clashes.

Nixon also promised that "a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued" against objections to keeping St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch on the case. Some said that McCulloch has biases in favor of the police.

Lastly, Nixon said that "once we have achieved peace in Ferguson and justice for the family of Michael Brown, we must remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been lost, mending what has been broken, and healing the wounds we have endured."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug202014

New Mexico Teen in Critical Condition After Lightning Strike at Football Practice

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) -- A New Mexico middle-school student is in critical condition and three others were injured after a lightning strike.

The lightning strike happened Tuesday at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces in the southern part of the state. The school’s eighth-grade football team was practicing after school ended when it became overcast and started to drizzle, said Jo Galvan, director of communications for Las Cruces Public Schools.

The group started walking toward the school when lightning struck a nearby tree, sending several students and coaches falling to the ground, likely the lightning grounding itself, Galvan said.

Three 13-year-old boys and one coach were injured, Galvan said, with a parent and a coach performing CPR on the critically injured boy.

Kelly Duke, marketing director of Mountain View Regional Medical Center, confirmed to ABC News that the players and coach were taken to the hospital, with the critically injured boy later transferred to University Medical Center, listed in critical but stable condition.

The other two students were listed in stable condition, Duke said. The coach’s injuries aren’t life-threatening.

Counselors and district school physiologists will be at the school Wednesday to speak with students, Galvan said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug192014

Staten Island District Attorney to Convene Grand Jury in Police Chokehold Case

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Staten Island, New York District Attorney has opted to convene a Grand Jury to determine whether or not charges will be filed against the police officer who allegedly choked a man last month, leading to his death.

District Attorney Daniel Donovan assured the public that he is, "committed to conducting a fair, thorough, and responsible investigation" into the death of Eric Garner on July 17. The incident provoked outrage last month after a witness filmed NYPD cops placing Eric Garner in what appeared to be a chokehold while arresting Garner for selling cigarettes illegally. Garner, who was 6-foot-3 and 350 pounds, could be heard yelling that he could not breathe.

Earlier this month, the New York City Medical Examiner determined that the cause of Garner's death was, "compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."

According to a statement from Donovan released on Tuesday, a Grand Jury will be convened and evidence will be presented beginning in September.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug192014

Man Braves Muddy Flood Waters to Rescue Elderly Woman From Car

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Heavy rain in Arizona has flooded streets and one major freeway, stranding cars and trapping drivers and passengers.

One dramatic rescue in Sun City West was caught on the camera by ABC affiliate KNXV.

In the video, a white minivan was swamped on a main street in Sun City West. The fast-moving stream had submerged the minivan to its hood.

One rescue worker from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office approached the vehicle with nothing in his hands but a stick. He didn’t have a security belt tied to his waist, only his co-worker pulling him from behind, just in case he lost his balance.

The rescue worker slowly approached the minivan, hitting the front window repeatedly with a stick and eventually breaking it. He tried to open the passenger door, but the water pressure from the flooding made it difficult to pop the door open.

After finally sliding open the door, he got inside the minivan and pulled out an elderly woman. Wrapping her arms around the worker's neck, the woman appeared to be struggling with the muddy road.

As soon as the two rescue workers brought the woman to safety, the flood fully covered the minivan’s hood.

The two rescue workers brought the woman to a neighbor’s garage and sat her down on a chair. A neighbor offered the woman towels to keep her warm.

The several inches of rainfall in less than an hour caused havoc during the morning commute for commuters in the state.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug192014

Alleged School Massacre Plot in California Foiled

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SOUTH PASADENA, Calif.) -- Two Southern California male teenagers were being held in juvenile hall Tuesday after an investigation by authorities using social media led authorities to suspect taht the two were allegedly in the early stages of a plot to commit a mass shooting at South Pasadena High School.

“It was a very viable threat what they were plotting,” said South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller. “They were making a huge plan of a school massacre. … During our interviews with the suspects, they, more or less, confirmed what they had talked about, very cold-heartedly.”

Miller said the suspects, whom police did not identify, were 16 and 17. They were arrested Monday on suspicion of conspiracy and criminal threats.

The investigation started Thursday after an anonymous person informed the school’s staff about the alleged plot. The staff then contacted police about a possible school shooting in the works.

Miller said detectives watched the teens’ conversations on social media and eventually were able to get a search warrant Monday.

Miller said that three staff members were targeted by name as were “random” students.

“As they put it, they just wanted to kill as many people as possible,” Miller said.

On Monday afternoon, officers went to two homes in South Pasadena and removed two computers. Miller said a search of the teens’ computers found the students had researched weapons as well as how to make bombs.

He said the students were in the beginning stages of their plan and were also looking online about tactical training.

He said they told detectives they were prepared to die.

“[They were] very monotone, very matter-of-fact, and when you are talking about killing people, shooting them in the head and to be so calm about it. It’s very chilling,” he said. “It’s very frightening.”

No weapons were found in the houses. Miller did not reveal a motive or a target date and said that the parents were stunned.

“I can’t emphasize enough how that one phone call to us got the ball rolling,” he said. “This press conference today would have been a much different one, had we not acted.”

School is set to start Thursday.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug192014

Ferguson Chants Heard After St. Louis Cops Shoot Suspect

ABC News(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A 23-year-old black man was shot and killed by St. Louis police Tuesday after he charged at them with a knife.

The incident comes just 10 days after police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, less than 6 miles away.

The man had taken two energy drinks from a store and returned to take a package of pastries without paying, according to St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson. The suspect then went into the street and was "acting erratically," and talking to himself, Dotson said. When the store employee followed him outside, the man threw the pastries into the street, the chief said.

Police responded to a 911 call, and the suspect walked toward the officers' vehicle and put his hand on his waistband, pulled out a knife and held it in an "overhand" position above his shoulder, Dotson said.

The chief said the officers got out of their vehicle and drew their weapons, telling the man to drop the knife, but he continued to advance, reportedly saying "Shoot me, kill me now."

When he got within four feet of one officer, both cops fired their weapons at the man, who has not yet been identified. Dotson said that witnesses described it as "suicide by cop."

A crowd of about 150 gathered at the scene of the shooting in the moments after the incident. Many expressed anger that cops had not used other means of restraint.

"You don’t need to shoot if you’ve got a Taser and he's got a knife," one bystander said.

"You just kill, kill, kill because you got a gun," another said. "They could've tased him. He was by himself."

"They’re trying to shoot us down," a third onlooker said.

Many in the crowd began chanting "Hands up, don't shoot," and "No justice, no peace," the chants that have been a hallmark of the protests in Ferguson over the past 10 days.

Reporters asked Dotson whether the officers should have used lethal force in this situation, given the tensions in the area over Brown's death.

"Our policy is at the end of the day the officer should be able to go home, so (he should use) the amount of force necessary to overcome resistance. If a person is charging you within 3-4 feet that’s a lethal range,” Dotson said.

"I think officer safety is the number one issue and we can all understand the officers' right to defend themselves. I understand what’s going on in Ferguson, but I think everyone has to understand that right and think of officer safety," Dotson said.

Dotson said the officers would be placed on administrative duty while the department investigates the shooting, as per policy.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug192014

Coast Guard Responding After 8,000 Gallons of Diesel Spilled in Ohio River

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard is responding after 8,000 gallons of diesel oil spilled into the Ohio River near Cincinnati.

The spill took place at the Duke Energy W.C. Beckjord Power Station. Duke Energy has assumed responsibility for the cleanup and is working with an approved oil spill response organization.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were three Coast Guard vessels on scene helping to contain the oil.

An investigation into the cause of the spill is underway with local, state and federal officials. Cincinnati Waterworks and Northern Kentucky Waterworks have been contacted to address possible concerns regarding municipal water intakes.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug192014

Investigations into Ferguson Shooting Continue, Holder Urges Peace Ahead of Visit

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The police officer accused of fatally shooting Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Mo. earlier this month has been interviewed by local investigators and will be given the chance to testify before a grand jury.

A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, Edward Magee, said on Tuesday that the St. Louis County Prosecutor will try to begin presenting evidence to the grand jury on Wednesday. That decision remains dependant on witness availability.

In addition to the local investigation, a federal investigation remains ongoing into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown that has prompted days of protests, as well as clashes between police and protesters.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to visit Ferguson on Wednesday, with Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. joining him. Holder wrote an op-ed published in Tuesday's St. Louis Post Dispatch ahead of his arrival, saying that "hundreds" have already been investigated as part of the FBI and Department of Justice investigation.

Holder also called for an end to the violence that has marred protests repeatedly over the last week. "Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority -- and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson, they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice," Holder wrote. He also added that violence interrupts the, "deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance."

As of Tuesday night, the Missouri National Guard will remain in Ferguson, once again operating under the command of the Missouri Highway Patrol to provide protection for the Unified Command Center.

Also announced on Tuesday was the funeral for Michael Brown, which will take place on Monday, August 25.

Gov. Jay Nixon released a statement on the ongoing tension on Tuesday, calling the shooting a "tragedy," while echoing Holder's calls for peace. Officers, Nixon said, have tried to, "protect the public, while at the same time preserving citizens' rights to express their anger peacefully." Once peace is achieved, "a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued," against the officer, Nixon said.

Perhaps more important, Nixon said, once peace and justice are achieved, "we must remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been lost, mending what has been broken, and healing the wounds we have endured."

In his statement, Nixon also declined to ask McCulloch to recuse himself from the investigation despite some residents claiming the prosecutor has biases in favor of police.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug192014

Most Ferguson Arrest Suspects Are from Area, Records Show

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- People arrested during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have come from as far away as New York City and California, but the overwhelming majority of those detained for refusing to disperse are from Ferguson and the surrounding area, according to jail records.

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is in charge of the law enforcement efforts in Ferguson, said Tuesday morning that those arrested mainly had come from out of town.

"As I've said, many are a criminal element that have been coming to Ferguson and are not from this area. Tonight some of those arrested came from as far away as New York and California," he said Tuesday morning.

The town of Ferguson has been roiled with protests since Aug. 9, when Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown at least six times. Brown, 18, was unarmed.

Records from the St. Louis County jail show that 78 people were arrested Monday night, including four from Ferguson and eight from neighboring Florissant. Another 10 came from the nearby city of St. Louis, and a smattering from other small towns in St. Louis County. Fifty-three in total were from the St. Louis metro area.

All but three of the arrests Monday night were for refusal to disperse. Two of the individuals charged with unlawful use of a weapon were from the St. Louis area. One out-of-state resident, from Rockton, Illinois, was charged with interfering with an officer, according to records provided by St. Louis County jail.

Eighteen of those arrested Monday night were from out of state. Those suspects came from Chicago; Brooklyn, New York; California; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; other parts of Illinois; Alabama and Iowa.

Johnson said Tuesday that a "tiny minority" of protesters had been arrested for becoming violent. He could not be immediately reached for further comment on the jail numbers.

About 120 people have been arrested since the start of the protests, according to St. Louis County police.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio