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Friday
Dec142018

Storm crossing country moves into Southeast with heavy rain, flooding

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A storm system crossing the country dropped more than 4 inches of rain in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Thursday and snow in parts of Abilene, Texas.

As the storm moves east, numerous states from Texas to Maryland are under flood, wind and even snow alerts.

The storm is centered over Texas on Friday morning, but the heavy rain ahead of it is already spreading into the Carolinas.

By this evening, severe storms are possible across northern Florida and southern Georgia where damaging winds and a few tornadoes are possible.

Flash flooding cannot be ruled out from Tallahassee, Florida, to South Carolina and North Carolina, including the inland areas that got the heavy snow last weekend.

The heavy rain will move into the mid-Atlantic and part of the Northeast from Friday night into Saturday morning with some flooding possible near Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

By Sunday, the main center of the storm system will move into the Northeast with more heavy rain and even snow to the north.

Some areas in the Southeast could see 2 to 4 inches of rain, with 5 inches of rain possible in some parts of northern Florida.

Due to a very saturated ground and the snowpack in the Southeast, flash flooding and river flooding is expected. Some of the river flooding could reach a major flood stage this weekend.

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Friday
Dec142018

Four adults who entered WV mine could face felony charges

ABC News(CLEAR CREEK, W.Va.) -- The four people who illegally entered a West Virginia mine, where they were trapped for days, could face felony charges if investigators determine they had intended to steal copper, authorities said.

The individuals entered the Rock House Powellton mine in Clear Creek on Saturday, officials said.

Ed Williams, 43, escaped on Monday and told authorities the three others -- Kayla Williams, 25, Erica Treadway, 31, and Cody Beverly, 21, -- were alive and still inside. The final three were rescued Wednesday night.

Now that the rescue is complete, a criminal investigation is ongoing as authorities work to establish intent, Lt. M.A. McCray of the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office told ABC News Thursday.

Depending on what police find, they could face charges ranging from misdemeanor trespassing to felonies, McCray said.

Interviews are underway, McCray said.

While the rescue efforts were happening, Kayla Williams' father, Randy Williams, told ABC News, "The reason they're in there is to get copper."

"It's worth money," he said. "A couple years ago it was up to almost $4 a pound. You could go into a mine and make $1,000 a day."

Hours after their rescue, Kayla Williams and Beverly spoke out, thanking those who helped save them.

"All the effort that everybody put in to get us out, we really appreciate it and we thank God," Kayla Williams told ABC News.

Beverly added, "Everyone who was involved in searching for us, I just wanna thank you, with everything inside of me. This is the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned in my life. This is a life-changing experience for me."

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Friday
Dec142018

Melania Trump makes Christmas visit to children's hospital after taking on critics

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Melania Trump visited the Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, continuing a tradition followed by every first lady since Bess Truman more than 60 years ago, according to the White House.

It came on the heels of a Fox News interview in which, asked about criticism, she said, "I follow what’s going on. And I give my husband advice and my honest opinion. And sometimes he listens and sometimes he doesn’t."

During her visit to the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit, to meet with families and their children who have graduated from the program, a 7-year-old girl told Trump that she wanted a dog for Christmas. The first lady then asked if she had a name in mind, to which the child replied, "Peppermint."

Trump then read Oliver the Ornament to children who are current patients. The story is about an ornament who is pushed around by others, playing to the first lady's "Be Best" campaign and its prevailing anti-bullying message.

The holiday visit followed her interview with Fox News that aired Wednesday night, in which she shared her views on her first two years in the White House while visiting troops on the USS George H.W. Bush. During the visit to the troops, the first lady posted a photo to Twitter wearing a USS George H.W. Bush baseball cap while aboard a flight on a V-22 Osprey, a military aircraft -- making history as the first presidential spouse to take the flight.

Trump said the hardest part in her role was coping with people who she said frequently "use" her and her husband.

“I would say the opportunists who are using my name, or my family name, to advance themselves -- from comedians to journalists to book writers," are the most difficult parts of the job, Trump said.

The first lady then said she is prepared for regular criticism, but added she does what she believes to be correct.

“I know I will get the criticism -- from the public or from the media -- but I will do what is right and what I feel is right for the country and for the people," she said.

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Friday
Dec142018

"The Lorax" makes appearance in federal court ruling on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

ssuaphoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A fuzzy orange creature famous for standing on a stump played a role in a legal decision on a major natural gas pipeline this week.

A federal judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals quoted Dr. Seuss' beloved environmental warrior in a decision calling for the U.S. Forest Service to revisit its approval for a natural gas pipeline on the East Coast to go forward.

"We trust the United States Forest Service to 'speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues,'" Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote, quoting Dr. Seuss' 1971 book The Lorax.

"A thorough review of the record leads to the necessary conclusion that the Forest Service abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources. This conclusion is particularly informed by the Forest Service’s serious environmental concerns that were suddenly, and mysteriously, assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company’s deadlines," she wrote.

The decision issued Thursday was the latest move in ongoing lawsuits seeking to block the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile underground natural gas pipeline through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The route for the pipeline would cross the Appalachian Trail and George Washington and Monongahela national forests, which environmental groups say could be threatened by the project.

Environmental groups, like the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Sierra Club, have argued in this case that Dominion Energy, the company behind the pipeline, went around Forest Service officials who expressed concerns about the project and asked political appointees in the Trump administration to approve the project.

Thacker and the two other judges on the panel agreed Thursday that the Forest Service permits should not have been approved because the company didn't provide information to resolve the agency's earlier concerns. The permits were vacated and are no longer valid.

Greg Buppert, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, also said the decision found that no federal agency has the authority to allow a pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail, essentially blocking the planned path for the project completely.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline spokesman Aaron Ruby said they strongly disagree with the court's ruling and plan to appeal immediately. He said other federal agencies have said the Forest Service does have the authority to approve pipelines across the Appalachian Trial.

"We are confident we will prevail on appeal," he said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Forest Service said they will review the court opinion and look into their options before taking any further action.

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Thursday
Dec132018

Bomb threats demanding bitcoin funds reported across the country, authorities say

TinaFields/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Multiple bomb threats have been reported across the country, according to authorities.

The New York Police Department said it was monitoring multiple bomb threats sent electronically to various locations throughout the city. The threats are not credible at this time, the department said.

 The FBI said in a statement that it was aware of "recent bomb threats made in cities around the country." The agency is in touch with local law enforcement to provide assistance, it said, asking the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report any suspicious activity.

Also in New York City, a call came into The Bronx High School of Science saying a pipe bomb would explode in 20 minutes, a police spokesperson told ABC News. The school was cleared, and it was determined that there was no threat, police said.

 The threat seemed to fit the pattern of others deemed not credible, saying that a detonation would occur in the absence of a $20,000 bitcoin payment.

Massachusetts State Police are also tracking multiple bomb threats emailed to several businesses throughout the state, it said.

Bomb threats were made to several locations in the Chicago area, including Aurora City Hall, the Aurora Library and Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, ABC Chicago station WLS-TV reported.

Threats have also been made in Canadian cities Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Penticton, CTV reported.

It is unclear how many bomb threats were made. Additional details were not immediately available.

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Thursday
Dec132018

Death-defying drivers clamor for cash spilling out of armored truck on New Jersey highway

WABC-TV(EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.) -- Rush hour was particularly hectic on one New Jersey highway Thursday morning.

Some drivers stopped their vehicles on Route 3 in East Rutherford during their morning commute to pick up cash that had apparently spilled out of an armored truck. The commotion caused "multiple" car accidents, police said.

A video taken by a motorist on the other side of the highway divider shows people clamoring for the bills in the middle of the road, bringing the traffic behind them to an almost standstill. Some drivers were laying on their car horns as they tried to get through.

"There's money all over Route 3, no joke. Can't make this up," the woman who took the video says in disbelief. "I want to get out and go get money too, but I wouldn't dare!"

Brink's, an American security and protection company, confirmed to ABC News that one of its trucks was involved in the incident on Route 3 in East Rutherford.

"The incident is under investigation and we have no additional comment at this time," a company spokesperson said in an email Thursday.

It was unknown how much money wound up on the roadway or if those who pocketed the cash will be allowed to keep it.

The East Rutherford Police Department said its detectives are investigating the incident.

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Thursday
Dec132018

Murder investigation underway after remains of dad who vanished in 1961 found in family's basement

D-Keine/iStock(LAKE GROVE, N.Y.) -- A murder investigation is underway after the remains of a man who vanished in 1961 were found in his family's Long Island home, police said.

George Carroll's remains were found by his son, Michael Carroll, and grandsons while they were excavating the basement of the Lake Grove home on Halloween, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

The skeleton was sent to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner to be examined by an anthropologist, and on Wednesday police confirmed that the remains belong to George Carroll.

Michael Carroll, 57, now owns the house, police said.

As a child he lived there with his parents, George and Dorothy Carroll, and his siblings before George Carroll disappeared in 1961, police said.

How his father ended up beneath the basement is still unclear.

Michael Carroll, who could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday, told ABC New York station WABC in October that his father vanished when he was a baby, but the possibility that his father was buried in the basement was always a family rumor.

"It's something that's been talked about for years," he told WABC. "We heard multiple stories."

Michael Carroll's mother died in the 1990s, police said.

Police on Wednesday said the death is being investigated as a homicide, but the department declined to release the cause of death.

"Previously, we said the skull was fractured due to blunt force trauma, however, that was not concluded as the cause at this point," a Suffolk County police spokesperson told ABC News via email on Thursday.

The department also declined to discuss any potential suspects.

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Thursday
Dec132018

Severe storms to move east with flooding possible in Southeast

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The storm that dumped over a foot of snow from Washington to Colorado over the past two days is continuing to push east on Thursday.

Numerous states from the east to west are under flood, snow and high wind alerts.

The storm system will move into the Southern Plains on Thursday, bringing heavy rain and storms ahead of it, from the Gulf Coast into the mid-Mississippi Valley.

A few of the storms could become severe with damaging winds, hail and even an isolated tornado. Flash flooding is also possible.

The storm system will not move much on Friday, but the rain ahead of it will spread into the Southeast -- the areas that just got hit with heavy snow and ice last weekend.

Damaging winds, hail and a few tornadoes -- as well as flooding from heavy rain -- are possible from Florida to the Carolinas.

The heavy rain moves up the East Coast into the Mid-Atlantic on Friday night into Saturday morning and into the Northeast by Saturday afternoon.

Some flash flooding is possible from the heavy rain.

Some areas from northern Florida to the Carolinas could see more than 4 inches of rain as the storm moves through the eastern U.S.

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Thursday
Dec132018

Middle school gunman exchanges fire with officers, kills himself: Police

ChiccoDodiFC/iStock(RICHMOND, Ind.) -- A teenage suspect is dead after a shooting outside an Indiana middle school Thursday morning, police said.

The single shooter exchanged gunfire with police before killing himself, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. John Bowling.

No other students were injured in the incident at Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond, police said.

Bowling credited an unknown individual who warned police.

"Someone knew something and said something," he said. "The school was able to follow procedure to help protect students."

The students are being evacuated from the intermediate school, Richmond Community Schools said, while other schools in the district are resuming classes.

"You wouldn't think a small town like Richmond this would happen," one grandmother who raced to the scene told ABC Indianapolis affiliate WRTV. "I don't know what's wrong with this new generation."

"My heart is aching for all these parents," she added.

The investigation is ongoing, Bowling said.

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Thursday
Dec132018

Indiana police officer killed in high-speed chase

Benjamin Eads, of Freedom, Ind., is pictured in this mugshot. Credit: Indiana State Police(CHARLESTOWN, Ind.) -- A police officer in southeastern Indiana was killed in a high-speed chase Wednesday night, authorities said.

The pursuit began in Clark County when Sgt. Benton Bertram of the Charlestown Police Department attempted to pull over a teal colored 1998 Toyota Corolla for a traffic violation on Indiana State Road 3. The driver sped off and fled into neighboring Scott County.

As Bertram chased the car and approached the intersection with Indiana State Road 56 east of Scottsburg, the officer lost control of his vehicle, driving off the roadway and hitting a tree in the front yard of a nearby residence. Bertram, 35, died at the scene of the crash, according to a press release from the Indiana State Police.

He was a nine-year veteran of the Charlestown Police Department.

"Charlestown suffered a great loss last evening of one its police officers in the line duty," Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall said in a statement on Facebook early Thursday morning. "We have a small close knit department and it is like losing one of our family."

Authorities later located the driver of the car that Bertram was pursuing, identified as 35-year-old Benjamin Eads of Freedom, Indiana. He was arrested on preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement and auto theft. He was being held at the Scott County Jail, police said.

Indiana State Road 56 remained closed until 4:30 a.m. local time Thursday as investigators remained on scene, trying to reconstruct the crash.

"At this time, the crash and pursuit are still under investigation," Sgt. Carey Huls of the Indiana State Police said in a press release Thursday.

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