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Friday
Dec102010

Brittany Mae Smith, Missing Virginia Girl, Found Safe in California

Phtoo Courtesy - ABC News (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Brittany Mae Smith, the 12-year-old girl from Salem, Va., who went missing for a week, has been found safe in San Francisco.

"She is well and she is in good hands at this time," Roanoke County, Va., Police Chief Ray Lavinder told reporters hours after Brittany was found. "She's been in touch with her family. They're very relieved and I'm assuming maybe a family member will go out there and escort her back."

Police in Roanoke, Va., added that Jeffrey Scott Easley, 32, was in custody in connection with the case. He was a suspect both in Brittany's disappearance and in the death of her mother, Tina Smith.  Police issued an Amber Alert for Brittany on Dec. 6 after discovering the body of her mother in their Salem, Va. home.

Lavinder said Brittany and Easley were spotted by a police tipster in an unspecified retail store in San Francisco. Police soon took the pair into custody without resistance. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Dec102010

Ambassador Holbrooke Treated for Bloodclot after 'Medical Situation' at the State Department

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke was meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when he suddenly gasped and clearly suffered some sort of medical situation.

He is said to have walked out of her office on his own power and was tended to by medical personnel at the State Department before being transported to George Washington University Hospital where he was to be treated for a blood clot.

Earlier Friday, US Department of the Treasury spokesman Steve Adamske announced that Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner was also admitted to GWU Hospital. This morning Geithner was admitted for treatment for a kidney stone.

“He will have a minor surgical procedure this afternoon to remove the kidney stone, and his physician expects that he will be discharged tomorrow with orders to rest this weekend,” Adamske said. “He has been told that he should be able to return to work on Monday.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Dec102010

Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Found Guilty

Photo Courtesy - George Frey/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- The jury in the Elizabeth Smart case found Brian David Mitchell guilty Friday of kidnapping and rape.

The jury determined Mitchell was mentally stable and only deliberated a few hours before it announced the verdict.

Mitchell abducted Smart from her bedroom when she was 14 and raped her on a near-daily basis until she was found nine months later.

The lawyer for the former street preacher did not dispute Mitchell’s guilt, but said he was delusional. Prosecutors said Mitchell faked his behavior to appear crazy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

Geithner to Undergo Surgery to Remove Kidney Stone

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was admitted to a Washington, D.C., hospital Friday morning for a procedure intended to treat a kidney stone.

The surgery -- referred to in a statement by Treasury spokesman Steve Adamske as “minor” -- is expected to take place Friday at George Washington University Hospital. Geithner will remain hospitalized overnight before being discharged on Saturday.

Doctors expect the secretary will be well enough to return to work on Monday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

NYC Fashion Designer Found Dead at SoHo House Hotel

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images for IMG(NEW YORK) -- Authorities questioned the boyfriend of a 33-year-old fashion designer after she was found dead inside a New York members-only hotel and private club Thursday. Sylvie Cachay's partially clothed body was discovered inside an overflowing hotel bathtub at the exclusive SoHo House -- a boutique hotel often visited by celebrities and the wealthy.

"Soho House is full of celebrities, has very prominent New York City membership and it's very exclusive," said New York Magazine senior editor Chris Rovzar. "So of course when a fashion designer is found dead in a hotel room here it's going to raise eyebrows."

Police were called to the scene at about 3 a.m. after a hotel guest noticed water leaking into a room below Cachay's. The woman’s boyfriend, Nicholas Brooks, 24, told authorities the two checked in together and then he left to have some drinks with people he met at the hotel. When he returned, Brooks found police already in his room.

The New York Daily News reported investigators were first looking into whether Cachay died of a drug overdose but are now investigating if she was strangled.

Cachay designed for Tommy Hilfiger and Victoria's Secret before breaking out to start her own fashion line. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

New Orleans Cops Found Guilty of Shooting, Burning Man Post-Katrina

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- Three New Orleans police officers were found guilty Thursday of fatally shooting a man and burning his remains in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

A federal jury in New Orleans convicted officers David Warren, Greg McRae and Lt. Travis McCabe for the death of civilian Henry Glover on Sept. 2, 2005.

During the month-long trial, jurors heard evidence that Warren shot Glover in the back as he was running away from him.  After the shooting, Glover's brother and a friend flagged down a passing motorist who drove the wounded victim to a nearby police station for help.  The officers surrounded the men, handcuffing them while allowing Glover to die in the back seat of the car.  McRae then took off in the vehicle -- with Glover's body inside -- and set the car on fire with a traffic flare, burning evidence of the body.

Warren was found guilty of a civil rights violation and use of a firearm during a crime of manslaughter, and faces a possible life sentence.  McRae was charged with two counts of civil rights violations, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of using fire in the commission of a felony, and could face 50 years in prison.  McCabe was also convicted with obstruction of justice, as well as lying to the FBI and committing perjury, and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec102010

Gen. David Petraeus: Most Fascinating of 2010

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Department of Defense(NEW YORK) -- Gen. David Petraeus is Barbara Walters' pick for the "Most Fascinating Person of 2010." Walters called the top commander in Afghanistan "an American hero."

"In life, it seems, there are people who break things and people who fix them. This man is a fixer," she said on the ABC special 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010. "A lot depends on General Petraeus and his combination of humanity and strength."

In June, Petraeus was appointed by President Barack Obama to replace former Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Petraeus had previously served as the commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq in 2006, where he was seen as the one who turned the tide of violence in that nation and could do the same in Afghanistan.

Petraeus is a different kind of general, fighting a different kind of war. The counterinsurgency strategy largely authored and being implemented now by Petraeus is based on the idea that wars cannot be won with bullets alone, but instead through the hearts and the minds of the local population. Human terrain is the decisive terrain.

To Petraeus, this means gaining the trust of the local population, opening schools, teaching farmers new techniques, helping businesses grow, bolstering the government to provide basic services to citizens, and, ultimately, keeping the peace to keep the terrain from becoming a launching pad for terrorists.

Petraeus topped a wide-ranging list, which highlighted some of the most prominent names in entertainment and politics, including the cast of MTV's hit reality show The Jersey Shore, teen dream Justin Bieber, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the newest American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez, comeback queen Betty White, and future British princess Kate Middleton.

In 18 seasons, Walters has picked an eclectic group for the title of "Most Fascinating Person." Last year, first lady Michelle Obama was named the "Most Fascinating." In 2008, it was then-president-elect Barack Obama. Past honorees include J.K. Rowling, Nancy Pelosi, Camilla Parker Bowles, Paris Hilton, Laura Bush, Lance Armstrong, Gen. Tommy Franks, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Nelson Mandela and more.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Soldier-Denouncing Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Elizabeth Edwards Funeral

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- The Kansas-based church that has made headlines for its controversial picketing of military funerals says it plans to picket Elizabeth Edwards' funeral on Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.

The Westboro Baptist Church released a statement on its website accusing Edwards of "spewing blasphemy."

The statement claims, among other things, that Edwards refused to pray to God to cure her of cancer.

"This witch spent her life in defiance and disobedience to God, and blasphemed Him with her dying breath," the statement reads. "She received multiple warnings and opportunties to repent...Her pride and arrogance is breath-taking!"

Edwards, 61, died Tuesday after a six-year battle with breast cancer.

She was receiving treatment in a hospital after she was admitted over Thanksgiving, but her family announced Monday that she would cease treatment after doctors said it would be "unproductive." Doctors said she was never in pain and never lost consciousness before her death.

With her death, John Edwards becomes the primary caretaker for the younger children. Family friends told ABC News he plans to move back into the 28,000-square-foot mansion the couple had built and once shared.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Feds: Virginia Tech Violated Federal Law for Failing to Issue Timely Warning

A Virginia Tech student breaks down in tears while remembering the 2007 on-campus tragedy. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday issued a report that found the administration of Virginia Tech University in violation of federal law for its handling of the mass shootings on its campus in 2007. The department ruled that Tech had failed in its legal obligation to issue a "timely warning" to the campus community after two students were shot in a dormitory in the early morning hours of April 16, 2007.

More than two hours later, Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year-old student with a history of mental health problems, chained the doors of a classroom building and went on a shooting rampage, killing 30 other students and faculty before taking his own life.

In making its final determination, the Education Department wrote that "Virginia Tech failed to issue adequate warnings in a timely manner in response to the murders on campus." When Tech did eventually issue a warning two hours after the dorm shooting, the report says the alert "was not prepared or disseminated in a manner to give clear and timely notice of the ongoing threat to students and employees."

Virginia Tech is charged with violating the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which requires colleges and universities to publicly disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The complaint against the university was lodged three years ago by the advocacy group Security on Campus, which was formed by the parents of Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in 1986 and for whom the law is named. Under the law, the Department of Education has the authority to investigate violations and enforce penalties, which can include fines and, in extreme cases, suspension of federal financial aid.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Thursday
Dec092010

Holiday Travel: Government Says Babies Should Be Buckled Up on Airplanes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the holiday travel season quickly approaching, the federal government, flight attendants and airlines are urging parents to buckle up their babies on airplanes instead of holding them in their laps, even if it means shelling out money for an extra ticket.

A special forum on child safety in Washington on Thursday brought together representatives from the NTSB, the FAA and the Association of Flight Attendants. Everyone agreed that a young child is safer when buckled into a safety restraint on an airplane, but after decades of debate, tickets still will not be required for children under age two. The FAA has concluded in the past that such a requirement would discourage air travel and put more cars on the road, where the likelihood of harm is statistically far greater.

"Adults experience the same crash forces as children and no love in the world can hold onto that baby in severe turbulence or if you're in a crash," said Debbie Hersman, the chairwoman of the NTSB.

In a document on its website, the FAA has spelled out its safety recommendations to the public.

"FAA strongly urges parents and guardians to secure children in an appropriate restraint based on weight and size," the agency writes. "Keeping a child in a CRS [Child Restraint System] or device during the flight is the smart and right thing to do."

Parents still will be allowed to hold children under two years of age in their laps, though critics say the practice not only puts the child at risk but other passengers as well. In a plane crash, a 20-pound baby can fly with the force of a 100-pound missile.

"We are trained that in an emergency, loose items can be dangerous if flying through the cabin," said Pat Friend, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, in prepared remarks. "A lap child has the potential to be one of those loose items."

The AFA-CWA is lobbying the government to require restraint devices for children.

The FAA has issued the following recommendations for children:

--Children under 20 lbs. use a rear-facing child restraint system

--Children from 20 to 40 pounds should use a forward-facing restraint system.

--Children weighing more than 40 pounds should use an airplane seatbelt.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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