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Friday
Apr202018

Woman wanted for allegedly killing husband, doppelganger captured in Texas

South Padre Island PD(NEW YORK) -- The woman wanted in an alleged multistate crime spree has been apprehended in Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Lois Riess, 56, was wanted for allegedly fatally shooting her husband in Minnesota and then killing and stealing the identity of 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson in Florida.

Two deputies with the U.S. Marshals service arrested Riess around 8:30 p.m. local time Thursday on South Padre Island, John Kinsey, a U.S. Marshals spokesman, told ABC News.

Kinsey said Riess was sitting at a restaurant by herself when the deputies arrested her.

The case began last month in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota. David Reiss, 54, hadn't been seen in more than two weeks as of March 23, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota said, and his business partner requested that authorities go to his home.

There, officers found David Riess' body. He had been shot multiple times, the sheriff's office said.

It was unclear how long he had been dead, and his wife, Lois Riess, was missing, the sheriff's office said.

After Lois Riess allegedly killed her husband in Minnesota, she allegedly stole his money and then drove to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, authorities said. There, Lois Riess met Hutchinson and then allegedly killed her and stole her ID, credit cards and car, said the Lee County, Florida, Sheriff's Office.

Officials had feared Lois Riess would continue targeting women who look like her.

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Thursday
Apr192018

2 deputies killed in line of duty in Florida were 'best of the best,' sheriff says

iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, Fla.) -- Two sheriff's deputies were shot and killed in the line of duty inside a Florida restaurant on Thursday afternoon, according to law enforcement officials.

Two deputies from the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office were fatally shot at about 3 p.m. ET while they were at the Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton, some 50 miles west of Gainesville, according to a statement from Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz.

A gunman walked into the restaurant and opened fire at the deputies, officials said. Authorities initially thought the gunman had fired at the deputies through a window, but they later determined that the bullet holes in the glass were exit holes.

Deputies responding to the scene found the suspected shooter dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his car, officials said. The suspect was later identified as 59-year-old John Hubert Highnote of Bell, a town in Gilchrist County.

The two deputies -- identified as 30-year-old Sgt. Noel Ramirez and 25-year-old Deputy Taylor Lindsey -- died from their injuries, according to the sheriff.

Ramirez, a seven-year veteran of the force, is survived by a wife and children. Lindsey, who'd been on the force for three years, was not married but had a girlfriend.

Schultz described Ramirez and Lindsay as "the best of the best."

"They are men with integrity. They are men of loyalty," he said. "They're God-fearing, and they loved what they did, and we're very proud of them."

Investigators have not determined a motive or "indications as to why this tragedy occurred," according to the sheriff, who was on the scene throughout the afternoon and notified the deputies' loved ones.

"I do not have answers as to why this happened," Schultz said, calling the gunman a "coward."

"The world is full of cowards, and the world's full of heroes," he said. "We need to highlight those heroes and what they gave."

Schultz suggested that the deputies may have been killed because law enforcement has been "demonized."

"The only thing these men were guilty of was wanting to protect you and me," he said. "They just wanted to get something to eat, and they just wanted to do their jobs."

Schultz described Ramirez as having an "infectious smile" and said Lindsay was planning to participate in the first responder Olympics.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he is "heartbroken" at the loss of the deputies.

"It is true evil for anyone to hurt a law enforcement officer, and in Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence, especially against the police," Scott said in a statement. "Tonight, I ask every Floridian to honor these law enforcement officers, their brothers and sisters in uniform and their families. May God bless those who work to keep our communities safe."

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement that the Gilchrist County Sheriff's deputies were "senselessly killed."

"The daily risk that law enforcement officers take to protect our communities is overwhelming," Bondi said. "My deepest condolences and prayers are with their families as they mourn the devastating loss of their loved ones. May their families, friends and fellow officers find peace and comfort during this very difficult time."

The sheriff's office tweeted that it suffered a "terrible tragedy" and asked residents to avoid the area where the deputies were killed.

Law enforcement officials from neighboring countries, as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the state attorney's office are assisting in the ongoing investigation, Schultz said.

Further details on the shooting were not immediately available and will be released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Schultz said.

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Thursday
Apr192018

'Poop train' gone after plaguing Alabama community for 2 months

iStock/Thinkstock(PARRISH, Ala.) -- A train full of "sewage sludge" from the New York City area has left a small Alabama town after sitting on the tracks for more than two months.

Residents of Parrish, Alabama, have complained about the smell, an infestation of flies, and concerns about declining property values since the waste has been sitting on the tracks, according to Alabama.com.

The company that delivers the waste to Alabama received a permit from the state in December 2016 to dispose of biosolids, also called "sewer sludge," from wastewater treatment plants in New York and New Jersey, according to local news reports. Since then, local communities and towns along the route to deliver the waste to the landfill filed complaints and lawsuits to keep the waste and the smell out of their towns, which left the train cars stuck outside Parrish for months while the issue was resolved.

Parrish is about 40 miles northwest of Birmingham and has a population of fewer than 1,000 people.

Parrish Mayor Heather Hall posted on Facebook that the last container was removed from the town on Tuesday afternoon. She wrote that the situation was unprecedented and there was no entity regulating the situation. She added that it took more than two months and state senators getting involved to resolve the issue.

"I will say this over and over... this material does not need to be in a populated area... period. It greatly diminishes the quality of life for those who live anywhere near it," she wrote in the Facebook post.

New York City has stopped using the facility in Alabama because of local concern, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection told Alabama.com. The department did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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Thursday
Apr192018

Oklahoma wildfire conditions remain critical, flames reaching up to 70 feet

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- Western Oklahoma wildfire conditions remain critical, despite unrelenting efforts to contain.

Fire danger remains high to very high, with flames reaching up to 70 feet, the Oklahoma Forestry Services reports. The Rhea Fire in Dewey County continues to be the most active, having burned over 283,000 acres in a week span.

The combination of strong winds and dry vegetation, particularly the eastern red cedar trees, have caused the fires to burn faster than usual, Oklahoma Forestry Services told ABC News. The oil of the cedar trees also increases flammability.

With a lack of rainfall in Oklahoma for over 150 days, dry terrain creates an environment for rapid consumption.

In total, more than 350,000 acres have burned, and though evacuation centers have closed, additional fires remain active in Woodward County, Beaver/Harper County, and Texas County.

The fires continue to be more critical in the western region.

The fires are currently not expected to move as quickly as the wind has gone down and the humidity has increased, Oklahoma Forestry Services said.

A burn ban remains in effect for 36 counties in western-central Oklahoma due to the fire danger. The fires have killed two people thus far, but with the chance of precipitation ahead, firefighters remain hopeful.

Oklahoma Forestry Services encourages the public to assess their property’s vulnerability to approaching wildfires by visiting www.firewiseusa.org.

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Thursday
Apr192018

Detective saves choking baby at Police Academy graduation

WABC(NEW YORK) -- Police officers have to be prepared for anything but Det. Mark Rubins did not anticipate putting his training to the test during this week’s New York Police Academy graduation ceremony.

With recruits gathered at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, Rubins heard a commotion from the family of one of the graduates, Officer Leonardo Escorcia, because his 1-year-old son had started choking.

Rubins, who is also a paramedic, and Lt. Greg Besson rushed to the child.

“It was just, grab the kid and kind of do anything you could at that point,” Rubins told ABC News. “You saw him limp, you knew as you were going up the stairs what the game plan was. You just kind of go with your training and it kicks in.”

Rubins said he was running on adrenaline in the seconds it took him to reach the child, grab the boy and clear his airway by patting the child’s back, successfully dislodging what turned out to be popcorn stuck in his throat. The whole ordeal lasted less than two minutes.

“I'm just happy that he was in good hands when this happens and that Det. Rubins was there,” Escorcia said. “He just jumped into action.”

Officer Escorcia’s wife, Lillian, said she now plans to take CPR classes, something Rubins said every parent should do.

"Everyone should be learning CPR. It can happen anywhere, any time. It's certainly something that anyone who's going to be around children should take, especially for choking hazards. People should learn from that,” Rubins said.

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Thursday
Apr192018

Model gets engaged on the runway during Bridal Fashion Week

Masato Onoda for Watters(NEW YORK) -- A Bridal Fashion Week model stole the show when her then-boyfriend dropped to one knee in the middle of the runway.

Nicole Kaspar was the finale model in bridal fashion company Watters' Spring 2019 show last week in New York City. And for the Dallas-based model, it started off like any show.

"It was crazy and chaotic backstage," she told ABC News. "I was supposed to escort [designer] Elias [Gutierrez] out for a final bow and when I turned to leave and go back to our place for pictures, he grabbed me and didn’t let me go."

Kaspar, 27, thought she had made a mistake on the runway. But soon, she'd realize that her boyfriend of two years, Chad Stapleton was actually proposing.

Stapleton, who's a dentist based in Dallas, told ABC News he had been trying to plan the perfect proposal for eight months.

"I wanted to propose to Nicole related to something she loves and that’s traveling and modeling," he said.

And after meeting a Watters' designer at their annual model search, the idea was born. He invited their parents to join him at the fashion show to witness it in person. And after Gutierrez's final bow, Stapleton, 26, dropped down to one knee, proposing in front of family, models and press.

Kaspar, who's been modeling since age 15, said her now-fiancé pulled it off perfectly.

"When Chad stepped out into the lights, I was just like in shock," she gushed. "I kind of blacked out. Elias had to push me go move."

The model's engagement ring, which has a cathedral setting, features an inverted ruby stone in the lower band. Stapleton said there's a reason for it.

"About six months into dating, we took a six-week European trip together, which is pretty fast for just dating," the future groom shared, "but that’s how much we knew each other and liked each other."

Stapleton continued that he included a ruby in Kaspar's engagement ring because it's "the birthstone for July. That’s the month we fell in love."

The two are now looking forward to planning a wedding in Texas.

"And I’m looking forward to starting a family," Stapleton added.



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Thursday
Apr192018

Family welcomes 14th son: 'I can't imagine not doing this'

Courtesy Jay Schwandt(ROCKFORD, Mich.) -- For many parents, the idea of 14 children might seem too overwhelming. But one Rockford, Michigan, family, says they were "destined" to have the family they do.

Jay and Kateri Schwandt welcomed a son -- their 14th -- to their family on Wednesday. And Dad could not be more proud.

The family, with boys ranging in age from 25 years to 2 days, did not know the baby's gender prior to the birth, In fact, Jay Schwandt said, the couple has never known ahead of time. "That's like opening your Christmas presents on Thanksgiving."

The 13 older boys were "pretty split" on whether they wanted to have another brother or a little girl. And even though this was his 14th time experiencing the birth of a child, it was "just as exciting the 14th time around."

"We really savored this one," he said, noting that the high school sweethearts are realistically at the end of their baby-making days. "Every little kick, every moment felt special."

As for a name, baby Schwandt doesn't have one -- yet. "We've narrowed it down to just a couple," Schwandt said. "After 13 boys, we've really had to start getting creative." He said the baby's names would ultimately be left up to a vote of the older boys. They're all coming today to meet their little brother, including the ones who are living on their own and off to college.

"I'm kind of the leader of this pack and it's very rewarding," he said. "It's times 14 to set a good example, be a good role model. I'm very proud."

Today, there's 11 Schwandt boys still living with the parents. Jay Schwandt said though that it's his wife who is the "glue that holds the family together. She's an awesome mom."

Kateri Schwandt herself is one of 14 kids -- seven boys and seven girls.

And since the five older boys all have girlfriends, there are females around that "feel like part of the family," said Jay Schwandt. The whole clan 13 boys, two parents and five girlfriends recent;y took a vacation prior to baby's birth. That's not unusual, Jay Schwandt said, noting that the family does many activities as a group.

"There's plenty of attention to go around," Jay Schwandt said when asked what advice he would give to a couple who wants a larger family than is seen as typical.

"We love this," Jay Schwandt said. "I can't imagine not doing this."

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Thursday
Apr192018

Woman's scream scares 1-year-old granddaughter more than the bear scurrying through their backyard

Amanda Massie/Instagram(ALTADENA, Calif.) -- A grandmother in Altadena, California, will be on the lookout for bears this spring after she and her 1-year-old granddaughter had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with one in their backyard.

Missy Hawes and little Blake were on the back porch around 6 p.m. Monday when Hawes noticed Blake’s staring at something behind her, home security video shows.

Hawes then turned around and saw the bear less than 10 feet away before screaming and hustling Blake into the house as the brown bear romped through the yard and out of sight.

“I think she [Blake] was more frightened when I screamed than actually seeing the bear, because the bear made no noise whatsoever,” she told a local TV station, adding that she had seen a bear picking through her trash a couple weeks ago.

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Thursday
Apr192018

Alex Rodriguez's 'nephew' briefly held against his will in New York City, police sources say

iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- The self-described "nephew" of former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was briefly held against his will in a New York City hotel, according to New York Police Department police sources.

Norberto Susini, 29, met with two men at the Mariott Marquis hotel in Times Square on Wednesday to facilitate the sale of a Lamborghini, NYPD police sources told ABC News. Susini is a distant relative of Rodriguez's, but likes to call himself Rodriguez's nephew.

The prospective buyers -- Lamin Vucetovic, 33, and Anthony Gilkes, 30 -- demanded their $30,000 deposit back from Susini, according to police sources. When Susini hesitated, the men held him in his hotel room against his will, police sources said.

Vucetovic and Gilkes then attempted to ransom Susini's business partners, who instead called police.

Susini was identified by police sources as Rodriguez's nephew.

Vucetovic and Gilkes were arrested and were expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon, police sources said.

Vucetovic is charged with kidnapping, while Gilkes is charged with unlawful imprisonment.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will now determine if they will prosecute this case.

Further details were not immediately available.

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Thursday
Apr192018

Philadelphia police commissioner apologizes for how he handled Starbucks arrests of 2 black men

ABC News (PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross has apologized to two black men who were arrested at a local Starbucks last week for how he handled the press surrounding the incident.

Ross said the he "failed miserably" at how he addressed the incident last week when he said the arresting officers "did absolutely nothing wrong."

"I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law and not that they didn’t do anything wrong," Ross said during a press conference Thursday. "Words are very important."

On April 12, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested at a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks and accused of trespassing and disturbance after a manager called 911, telling dispatchers that two men had refused to make a purchase or leave.

The longtime friends, both 23, had just sat down at a table for a business meeting, they told ABC News on Thursday.

Cellphone video of two Philadelphia police officers handcuffing the men and escorting them out of the store caused outrage on social media after it was viewed more than 10 million times.

In a video testimonial released Saturday, Ross also accused Nelson and Robinson of being disrespectful to the officers and said they were both given several chances to leave, but refused.

Ross admitted today that he "played a significant role" in making the situation worse in his initial reaction to the "unfortunate incident."

Before the arrest, Ross was not aware of the Starbucks business model, in which people "spend long hours in Starbucks and aren't necessarily expected to make a purchase," he said, adding that it is reasonable to believe the arresting officers didn't know that either.

While Ross said the issue of race is not lost on him, he also defended the actions of his officers, saying that the fact that they were at the scene for well over 10 minutes suggests that they were trying to resolve the situation.

At the time, the department did not have a policy for dealing with similar situations, Ross said. A guideline has since been created and will be released soon, the police commissioner said.

After they were put in a squad car, Nelson and Robinson were taken to the police station and later freed.

Robinson told ABC News that police never read them their Miranda rights and that they were held in custody for eight hours.

"There was no reasoning," he said. "They had nothing. They just kept using ‘defiant trespassing’ as their excuse for putting us behind bars."

The store manager who called police is no longer working there, a Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed to ABC News.

Starbucks will close 8,000 company-owned stores on May 29 to train is staff on how to avoid "racial bias," Starbucks said in a statement.



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