Shannan Gilbert Not Among Eight Bodies Linked to Long Island Beach Serial Killer

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A missing prostitute whose disappearance led New York police to stumble on a serial killer's dumping ground on a secluded beach is not among the eight bodies who investigators have found and identified, police said Tuesday.

Shannan Gilbert, 24, disappeared in May 2010 after arranging online to meet a client for sex. Her disappearance triggered a search in the scrub brush along a remote beach halfway between New York City and the Hamptons, a popular summer getaway spot.

In December police found four skeletal bodies, all of them women and all of them prostitutes, but none were Gilbert. This week, cops found another four bodies. Those bodies have not been identified, but Suffolk County Police said Tuesday none of the remains belonged to Gilbert.

Cops obtained DNA samples of Gilbert's family last year and were able to quickly check the remains against those samples.

The police conclusion suggests that Gilbert is possibly a ninth victim of the serial killer.

"The search of the area will continue tomorrow," Suffolk County police said in a statement Tuesday. Cops in rain slickers searched the brush along Gilgo Beach again Tuesday looking for the bodies of more women potentially killed and dumped in the thick vegetation, while other detectives are working to create a profile of the man who is stalking prostitutes online and killing them.

Suffolk County police are keeping a tight lid on many of the investigation's details, commenting publicly only on the search efforts -- the canine units with cadaver sniffing dogs, and a dozen police recruits from the academy brought in to help search for bodies.

Experts outside the investigation consulted by ABC News said cops are compiling a vast database of clues and working up a profile of a single serial killer suspected of killing at least eight women, most of them prostitutes, and dumping their bodies on Gilgo Beach over four years.

The deaths are likely the result of a single killer who knows the area well, said Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant and former FBI agent who has investigated dozens of high-profile cases, including the death of Washington intern Chandra Levy and the 2001 anthrax mailings.

Police would not confirm the genders, ages or identities of the newly discovered bodies. They would not comment on the level of decomposition or whether these bodies, like the others, were wrapped in burlap.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


All-Female Air Force Combat Team Makes History over Afghanistan

Jupiterimages/Comstock(KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan) -- An all-female Air Force team, the "Strike Eagles of 'Dudette 07,'" have soared into history over Afghanistan. Their combat mission, performed March 30 in honor of Women's History Month, was the first in history to involve only female Airmen. From the pilots of the two F-15E jets to the mission planners and maintainers, the operation was carried out entirely by women.

"I have flown with female pilots before, but this was the first time I have flown in an all-female flight," Maj. Christine Mau told the Air Force's news service. "This wasn't a possibility when I started flying 11 years ago."

Although the mission was full of symbolism, the air support they were providing to coalition and Afghan forces in the Kunar Valley was anything but symbolic. ABC News' Mike Boettcher was embedded with the 101st Airborne in the valley and said it was the fiercest fighting he'd seen in his 30 years of covering war zones, and that the support was desperately needed.

"We knew that they were taking some fire, that there were some bombs being dropped that day and we knew we were going to support the guys on the ground the very least making some noise, and most likely that we were going to drop some bombs," said Capt. Jennifer Morton.

Women -- yes, they are still called Airmen -- have been able to participate in Air Force pilot training since 1976, but they were not allowed to fly combat missions until 1993.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Seven Dead, Thousands Without Power After Storms Hit Southeast

WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, NC(HOPKINSVILLE, Ky.) -- Powerful and fast-moving storms powered through the South Monday night, bringing high winds, hail and lightning with them. At least seven people were killed, while several hundred thousand woke up Tuesday without power. Within just one 10-minute period, there were 1,500 lightning strikes, causing three fires in Georgia.

The storms were part of a system that cut a wide swath from the Mississippi River across the southeast to Georgia and the Carolinas on Monday and early Tuesday, marching eastward.

At a factory in Hopkinsville, Ky., a tornado sent seven workers to the hospital after it tore through a wall.

At least 20 tornadoes touched down overnight following warnings that were put out in 10 states.

The storms continued to move across the Carolinas early Tuesday morning, still packing enough punch to knock down trees and damage power lines. Parts of states further north, including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia also reported power outages.

Accuweather meteorologist Tom Kines told ABC News he thinks this storm has largely passed. It currently presents a threat to southern Florida, but it is no longer the angry beast that swept through so much of the country.

Trouble is brewing in the Northwest however, as a cold front moves into that sector in the next 24 hours, bringing unusually cold temperatures. Kines said the system could mix with warmer Gulf air in the plains states, threatening the South with more severe weather this weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Georgia Man Sentenced for Tattooing Toddler Son

WSB-TV Atlanta(FLOYD COUNTY, Ga.) -- A Georgia man has been fined $300 and sentenced to 12 months of probation for tattooing his toddler son. Eugene Ashley, 26, pleaded guilty Monday to giving his three-year-old son a tattoo on his shoulder in 2009 that said "DB" -- short for "Daddy's Boy." Ashley pleaded guilty before the case could be heard by a jury.

Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson called the tattooing of the boy "egregious," the Rome News-Tribune reported.

Patterson told the paper that it would have been difficult to take the case to a jury. "I don't know if we would be able to elicit a testimony from a child," Patterson told the Rome News-Tribune.

The boy's mother, Amy Ashley, was not cooperative and refused to testify. She was the only witness other than the victim, Patterson said. George Hawkins, the boy's uncle, has custody of the now five-year-old child.

Eugene Ashley--– who is not the child's biological father, but adopted him when he and Amy Ashley were married -- is not allowed to see the child. The boy's mother, Amy Ashley, struggles with drug addiction and also lost custody, Hawkins said.

The boy received the tattoo sometime between January and May 5, 2009, according to court documents. Officials from Georgia's Department of Family and Child Services noticed the tattoo while visiting the family's home, where the couple lived with their four children. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NYPD Holds Five-Day Drill to Prepare for Dirty Bomb Attack

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The New York Police Department will begin a five-day drill Tuesday to test its preparedness against a dirty bomb attack on the city.

The drill will take place over five days, involve hundreds of personnel from 150 agencies, and will cost millions of dollars that the city and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hope will help prevent a dirty bomb attack on New York by land or by sea.

The exercise will begin at the United Nations and spread into the Bronx, Long Island and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey.

Officials maintain that the drill is not the result of a specific threat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


One Year Later: West Virginia Miners' Families Seek Answers, Healing

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images(MONTCOAL, W.Va.) -- One year after an explosion ripped through the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, W.Va., killing 29 men, survivors say they're still searching for answers amid what remains an overwhelming sense of loss.

"There just ain't no peace out there right now. There just isn't," said Charles Davis, 76, who lost his son Timmy, 51, and grandsons, Cory, 21, and Joshua, 27, in the accident.  "My boy, he was everything," he said, fighting back tears. "I can't look at the pictures. I can't say their names. The only thing I'd like to know is why it happened. I'm still waiting."

Federal and state investigators, initially hampered by lingering toxic gas, standing water and debris inside the blown-out mine, still have not released an official report on the cause of the explosion. But sources close to the investigation say a buildup of methane or natural gas in the mine shaft, ignited by a spark from a piece of mining machinery and fueled by combustible dust swirling in the air, was likely to blame.

The Upper Big Branch mine accident was the country's deadliest in more than 40 years.

Officials with Massey Energy, which owns the mine, have said an unexpected flood of gas seeping from an underground crack probably overwhelmed the mine's ventilation system just before the explosion.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which enforces U.S. mine safety standards, however, has said Massey may have failed to follow the law. The company racked up more than 1,300 safety violations over the past five years, including 80 in the past month alone, MSHA records show. Many were deemed willful or gross negligence. And as recent as one month before the accident, records show inspectors cited the company for high levels of explosive dust, poor ventilation and flawed escape route plans at the Upper Big Branch facility.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Yale Students React to Probe of Hostile Sexual Environment

Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Yale sophomore Lawrence Lin said a now-infamous email ranking the looks of freshmen women at Yale University was "completely 100 percent repugnant [and] inexcusable."

"To say that boys will be boys, and because boys will be boys, they should be given an excuse or given free license to do whatever they want," said Lin.  "I feel it's just allowed for this string of events that have occurred on campus to repeatedly unfold."

He and three other young men who attend the Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut talked with ABC News and shared their reactions to the 26-page Title IX complaint alleging a "hostile sexual environment on campus."  On Friday, the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights said it would be conducting an investigation.

Three of the men said they knew a girl who had been sexually assaulted.  Three of them said they thought the university had let the offenders get away with it.

Lin said that "groups of people, especially women, are being targeted on campus" and that needs to be addressed.  "That sort of behavior is not acceptable," he said.

In September 2009, an email greeted the freshman class.  Called the "Preseason Scouting Report," it ranked incoming freshmen females' looks by how many beers it would take to have sex with them.

Last month, 16 Yale students and alumni filed the complaint, saying the email and the university's slow response to it is a prime example of how the university has failed to address sexual harassment on campus.

And the complaint says the email is just a very public tip of the iceberg.

The suit also describes misogynistic chants by men at the school, signs that read "We love Yale sluts" outside the school's women's center, and dozens of incidents of rape and sexual harassment about which little to nothing was done.

Title IX ensures equal rights at educational institutions that receive federal funding.  If the prestigious university is found to be non-compliant and doesn't fix the problem, it could lose more than $500 million in federal funding.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing on New York Beach

Stockbyte/Thinkstock (file photo)(QUEENS, N.Y.) -- A small airplane was forced to make an emergency landing on a beach in New York Monday after it had problems with its engine.

According to ABC News affiliate WABC-TV in New York, the PA 28 landed in shallow water on Rockaway Beach in Queens, just three miles south of John F. Kennedy International Airport, around 7 p.m.  All three people on board -- a pilot and two passengers -- walked away from the aircraft with no injuries.

The plane was grounded due to a rough running engine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


W.Va. Governor Remembers Upper Big Branch Miners Killed One Year Ago

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is planning on Tuesday to observe a day of prayer and remembrance for the 29 men killed at the Upper Big Branch Mine one year ago.  Tomblin issued a proclamation last Friday requesting that statewide observances honoring the victims begin Tuesday at 3:01 p.m.

"One year ago, 29 hard-working miners perished," Tomblin said in a written statement.  "In their memory, I request that every church in our state ring its bell 29 times at 3:01 p.m."

The governor noted that 3:01 p.m. is the estimated time of the Upper Big Branch explosion.

Gov. Tomblin will also lay a wreath at the Miner's Statue on W. Va. State Capitol grounds.  Later Tuesday evening, the governor plans to attend a memorial service in Whiteville, W. Va. with the families of the dead miners.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Feds Order 737 Inspections in Wake of Crack in Southwest Jet

David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The federal government on Tuesday will order emergency inspections on 175 737 airliners and is rethinking its approach to plane inspections after a Southwest Airlines jet tore open in mid-flight Friday night, ABC News has learned.

Inspections will initially focus on 175 planes around the globe that make frequent takeoffs and landings. Eighty of the planes in question are in service in the United States, most of which are part of the Southwest Airlines fleet.

The government is particularly concerned about older 737-300, 737-400 and 737-500 jets that have taken off and landed more than 30,000 times. Jets that have accumulated many flight cycles are apparently more likely to develop the sort of fatigue cracks that may have caused the tear in the skin of the Southwest Boeing 737-300 last week.

As the nation's planes age, more jets could cause concern and require inspection for such fatigue cracks.

Inspectors use something called eddy current technology, passing an electric current through an aircraft's skin to look for small cracks. If any warning signs are detected, more sophisticated ultrasound and X-ray tools are then used for a closer examination. In some areas, a plane's skin can be as thin as a nickel.

Inspections of Southwest's 737-300 fleet have already discovered three more planes with fatigue cracks, officials said.

Investigators have cleared 57 of Southwest's 79 Boeing 737-300 jets to return to service, but at least 600 flights have been canceled since Friday's harrowing emergency landing.

Southwest flight 812, enroute from Phoenix to Sacramento, Calif., was diverted to a military base at Yuma, Ariz., after a section of the plane's fuselage ripped open, depressurizing the plane and exposing the sky to passengers.

Last night, another Southwest flight was diverted. The flight, headed from Oakland, Calif., to San Diego, Calif., made an emergency landing because of a burning electrical smell.

Meanwhile, the five-foot section of the plane's fuselage that opened up Friday on flight 812 is headed back to Washington, D.C., for detailed microscopic analysis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

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