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Wednesday
Jun202018

Heavy rain, flooding will continue for Midwest and South

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- There were nearly 150 damaging storm reports Tuesday from Washington, D.C., to Denver, including five reported tornadoes, with many of the areas looking at more rain and possible flooding on Wednesday.

Some of the worst damage on Tuesday was reported in Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, where hail bigger than baseballs covered the ground and damaged cars. More than 10 inches of rain fell Tuesday in parts of Texas and up to 8 inches of fell in the Plains, producing flash flooding from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Kansas and Nebraska.

Flash flooding is possible on Wednesday from Montana to Texas. Flood watches have been issued in southeast Texas and across much of the Plains.

The bull's-eye will stretch from Texas to Illinois, where some areas could see more than 4 inches of rain.

Excessive heat

A huge area of high pressure is moving into the Southwest, drying the air out and heating it up.

Excessive heat warnings and watches were issued for California, Nevada and Arizona for the next several days as temperatures soar into the 110s.

The heat will spread into central and northern California as well, with cities such as Sacramento and Redding heating up into the 100s.

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Wednesday
Jun202018

Mississippi mother charged in infant son's hot-car death

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office(VANCLEAVE, Miss.) -- A mother in southern Mississippi has been charged with second-degree murder after her 10-month-old son was left in a hot car and died, authorities said.

The child, Kash Barhonovich, died last Thursday after being left in his mother’s parked car for an unknown length of time outside her home, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

The temperature reached 90 degrees with a heat index of 98 degrees that day.

The preliminary autopsy results show that Kash's death was consistent with hyperthermia, or having a body temperature greatly above normal, according to the sheriff's office.

Elizabeth Marie Barhonovich, 28, of Vancleave, Mississippi, was jailed Tuesday without bond on the second-degree murder charge, the sheriff's office said. She made her first court appearance Wednesday morning without an attorney, and did not enter a plea, the sheriff's office said.

Kash was one of at least 15 children to die from hot cars so far this year, after 43 died in 2017, according to kidsandcars.org.

Another baby died Tuesday after being found in a hot car in Kingsland, Georgia, according to The Florida Times-Union. Authorities declined to confirm the place or cause of the baby's death, citing a pending autopsy report, Donald Belcher of the Kingsland Police Department told ABC News.

In general, it takes little time for a car to get too hot for babies and kids.

Children's bodies heat up much faster than adults' do, and children's internal organs begin to shut down after their core body temperature reaches 104 degrees, according to a report from the National Safety Council.

On an 86-degree day, for example, it would take only about 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach a dangerous 105 degrees, the report said.

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Wednesday
Jun202018

Pennsylvania police shoot, kill teen fleeing from them at traffic stop, authorities say

iStock/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Pennsylvania police shot and killed a 17-year-old boy near Pittsburgh Tuesday night after pulling over a vehicle believed to have been connected to an earlier shooting incident, authorities said Wednesday.

Officials have not released the names of anyone involved.

The Allegheny County Police Department reported receiving multiple 911 calls of shots fired in the borough of North Braddock at about 8:20 p.m.

Callers reported that a vehicle was seen fleeing the scene, according to authorities. Descriptions of the vehicle were relayed to neighboring police departments to assist in the search.

North Braddock police and paramedics responded to the scene and discovered a 22-year-old man who had been shot, authorities said. He was transported to a trauma center where he was treated and released.

Meanwhile, an East Pittsburgh police officer stopped the vehicle matching the descriptions, Allegheny County police said, and the driver was taken into custody.

But, during the arrest, two other people in the vehicle fled, according to authorities.

“One individual -- a 17-year-old male -- was shot by police," the Allegheny County Police Department said in a Facebook post Wednesday morning.

Police provided no additional information about the fatal shooting.

The teen was transported to McKeesport Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

There is an ongoing search for the other person who fled the scene, authorities said.

Multiple police agencies are assisting, including Pennsylvania State Police, which has provided a helicopter to help in the search, according to ABC Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE-TV.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Allegheny County Police Department’s anonymous tip line at 833-ALL-TIPS (833-255-8477). The department can also be reached via its social media sites.

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Wednesday
Jun202018

Massachusetts jogger details how she escaped terrifying abduction attempt

iStock/Thinkstock(BRIDGEWATER, Mass.) -- A Massachusetts woman is opening up about how she managed to fight off a convicted rapist who attacked her over the weekend and tried to force her into his car.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, spoke out Wednesday in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America, offering exclusive details on how she mustered up the strength to fight off the man who assaulted her early Sunday morning.

The terrifying ordeal unfolded while she was out for a routine jog at around 7:30 a.m. Sunday in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, about 33 miles south of Boston, when a man pulled his SUV over, ran toward her and tried to drag her into his vehicle.

A surveillance camera captured the terrifying ordeal on video as the 37-year-old woman kicked and screamed as she tried to escape from the attacker’s grip.

"I was able to fight and kind of flip him to the ground," the woman said, but she fell to the ground, as well. "I don't wanna go into too many details because some of it is tough for me to talk about, but he was grabbing at me."

"I just kept kicking back behind me. I was not even sure if I was making contact with him," she added.

Afraid for her life, she said she screamed "Help me" repeatedly and as loud as she could, knowing that the situation could end badly if the attacker got a better grip on her.

"I was just trying to prevent him from getting a further hold of me and getting to a point where he could either assault me or pick me up and get me into the vehicle," she said. "I knew if that happened, I was in a really bad place."

She managed to break away when the assailant stumbled a bit, fell to the ground and ran back to his car, according to the surveillance video.

Police arrested 57-year-old Gordon Lyons, a convicted rapist, in connection with the attack after he allegedly fled at high speed and crashed his vehicle.

The woman said she’s thankful to be alive. Her attack recalls other high-profile assaults in recent years.

A similar story unfolded in Queens, New York, on Aug. 2, 2016, when 30-year-old Karina Vetrano was fatally strangled while jogging alone with her dog. Chanel Lewis, 20, was arrested in February for second-degree murder, a little over six months after Vetrano's death.

Another woman, Vanessa Marcotte, 27, was murdered less than a week later while jogging near her mother’s home in Leominster, Massachusetts. Police charged Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, with assault with intent to rape and aggravated assault and battery in connection to her case, citing DNA from under her nails and witness accounts, according to local reports. Colon-Ortiz pleaded not guilty.

Officials with the Bridgewater Police Department commended the woman from Sunday's video for refusing to be a victim.

"She also had the presence of mind to take a picture to help law enforcement catch the perpetrator," a spokesperson for the department told Good Morning America.

The woman, who described herself as an avid runner, said she was afraid the entire time, but she would not let her fear paralyze her.

"I'm not gonna say I wasn't afraid," she said. "But it was kind of a moment of, yeah, some fear, but also this -- I’m not gonna let this happen. This is not how my story ends."

She praised the police department and her "hero" neighbor, 84-year-old Donald Prohovich, who yelled at the attacker and intervened when he realized what was happening.

"I cannot tell you how grateful I am. That is a brave man and a man that cared," the woman said.

Lyons, the man accused in the attack, was charged on Tuesday in court, where he attempted to hide his face with a sheet. He pleaded not guilty.

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Wednesday
Jun202018

Family of 12-year-old New Jersey girl who killed herself sues school district

Family Photo(ROCKAWAY, N.J.) -- The family of a 12-year-old who committed suicide has filed a lawsuit against the young girl's school district, claiming it failed to protect her from months of intense bullying.

Mallory Grossman, a sixth-grader at Copeland Middle School in Rockaway, New Jersey, killed herself on June 14, 2017, following months of “ongoing and systematic bullying” that her family said caused her to suffer at school, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

Her parents, Dianne and Seth Grossman, filed a wrongful death suit against the Rockaway Township Board of Education and its staff, citing at least 14 bullying incidents they said drove her to kill herself.


One incident involved messages where the bullies allegedly asked her when she was going to kill herself, according to the suit. The Grossmans said they could provide evidence to prove that the school system could have prevented the alleged attacks.

The suit did not name any particular teachers, but it said staff at Copeland had failed to provide a safe and secure environment for students. They called on the school to change how it handles physical and online bullying.

The parents said they addressed the alleged bullying in a meeting with Mallory and officials at Copeland just before her death, saying their daughter was "suffering at the school," but nothing changed, according to the suit.

Dianne Grossman said the bullies still haven't been punished.

"We know that the poor behavior and poor decisions these kids make has not changed," she told New York ABC station WABC-TV. "They do not believe ultimately that they are responsible for it."

"Our family is forever changed because they chose not to put systems in place. They chose not to protect her, so I want other school systems to learn from this and to start making immediate changes within their buildings," she added.

Rockaway's Board of Education has previously called the Grossmans' allegations "categorically false," but declined to elaborate Tuesday, citing an ongoing investigation, according to local news site NJ.com.

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Tuesday
Jun192018

Did Minneapolis cops pressure medics to sedate suspects with ketamine?

iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- In a joint statement on Monday, Minneapolis' mayor and police chief sought an independent investigation into claims that city police asked emergency medical responders to sedate dozens of criminal suspects and others over the past three years with the powerful tranquilizer ketamine, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

In some cases, suspects were allegedly handcuffed or otherwise restrained when they were sedated, and in other cases the individuals were not even accused of committing a crime, the Star Tribune reported.

In one case from the draft report that the newspaper cited, Minneapolis police officers and Hennepin County emergency medical personnel responded to a 911 call to find an unnamed man "who appeared to be in the throes of a mental health crisis."

Despite the man's protests, he was injected twice with ketamine and "became nonverbal and unintelligible," according to the Star Tribune.

The newspaper reported that it had obtained a copy of an unreleased draft report on the issue compiled by the city’s Office of Police Conduct Review.

The draft report said the drug “caused heart or breathing failure in some instances and suspects had to be revived or intubated,” according to the Star Tribune.

Ketamine is an animal tranquilizer that is often abused recreationally. As a powerful sedative, it has also been used as a so-called “date rape drug.”

Minneapolis officials are looking into the 2015–2017 time period in the investigation, according to the joint statement.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo underlined the need for an independent investigation in their statement.

"To preserve public trust and ensure an impartial process -– one free of any interference, intentional or otherwise -– we will contract with an independent third party to provide the needed expertise to compliment the draft report's findings. The people of Minneapolis deserve transparency from their government," the two officials said in their statement.

The probe comes amid a dramatic spike in ketamine injections between 2012, when three such injections were documented, and 2017, when that number reached 62, according to the Star Tribune's review of the draft report.

Neither the Office of Police Conduct Review nor the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office immediately responded to ABC News requests for comment.

The issue came to light in April, after emergency responders associated with Hennepin Healthcare, formerly Hennepin County Medical Center, began to complain of feeling pressured by police to inject the drug into criminal suspects.

On Tuesday, Hennepin Healthcare provided ABC News with a statement that pinpointed the genesis of the investigation.

Hennepin Healthcare said in the statement that based on complaints from its emergency services personnel, the hospital's director of emergency medical services contacted Minneapolis police officials in early May to "clarify that medical direction for sedation is the sole responsibility of the paramedics."

The statement went on to say that "while a police request for ketamine may occur, the final decision is always made by professional medical personnel."

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Tuesday
Jun192018

Facebook campaign tops $5 million to reunite immigrant families separated at border

iStock/Thinkstock(SILICON VALLEY) -- In a little over three days, a fundraising campaign on Facebook has topped $6 million to help reunite undocumented families split up by the U.S. government at the Mexico border.

The fundraiser page, "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child," was launched on Saturday by three Facebook employees. As of Tuesday night more than 146,000 people had donated to the fund, which was fetching more than $61,000 an hour in donations. Several people donated $250,000 each.

"We are collectively revulsed at what's happening to immigrant families on our southern border," the fund's organizers wrote the campaign's Facebook page.

The page was launched by Silicon Valley power trio Malorie Lucich and Dave and Charlotte Willner, who were among the original employees at Facebook and now work at Pinterest, the popular image-collecting site. The Willners also work at Airbnb.

The goal of the fund is to raise $8 million.

The money will go to The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, and provide legal aid for undocumented immigrant parents arrested on suspicion of crossing the border illegally.

"In times when we often think that the news can't possibly get worse, it does -- we learned ... that 2000 children (many of them infants and toddlers) have been separated from their parents in just six weeks under President Trump's 'zero tolerance' policy," the organizers wrote.

Bond for the parents arrested at the border has been set at a minimum of $1,500, according to RAICES. Unlike in the criminal justice system, bail bond companies either do not help people in immigration proceedings or impose strict requirements, according to RAICES.

President Donald Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the administration's controversial immigration policies on Monday.

As part of the "zero-tolerance" policy, federal prosecutors have been ordered to file criminal charges against any adult caught crossing the border illegally, including those traveling with minors. The children are being placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and adults are apprehended by law enforcement.

"Children are not being used as a pawn," Nielsen said at a press briefing Monday. "We are trying to protect the children."

She and Trump said the administration is enforcing laws already on the books.

"The voices most loudly criticizing the enforcement of our current laws are those whose policies created this crisis and whose policies perpetuate it," Nielsen said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions scoffed at claims that the policy harkens back to Nazi Germany after former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, who served mostly under George W. Bush, tweeted a picture of a Nazi concentration camp and wrote, "Other governments have separated mothers and children."

"Well, it's a real exaggeration," Sessions said in an interview Monday on Fox News. "Of course, in Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country."

The policy of separating parents from children at the border had been widely denounced by both Democrats and Republicans. Former first lady Laura Bush penned an op-ed in The Washington Post calling the policy "cruel" and "immoral," and comparing it to Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Lucich and the Willners called the policy "a grave American moral failing."

"These children don't know where their parents are," they wrote on the Facebook fundraising page. "Their parents aren't allowed to communicate with them while in custody. The government hasn't set up a system to reunite separated parents and children if one or both are ultimately released. In many cases, parents have been deported without their children -- sometimes, young children are deported without their parents."

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Tuesday
Jun192018

Boater and 2 dogs rescued from tree after their boat sank in Louisiana

ABC News(BOSSIER PARISH, LA.) -- An elderly neighbor with a boat became a hero in Louisiana on Monday when he and two sheriff’s deputies saved a man and two dogs stuck in a tree after his boat sank.

The watery rescue scene unfolded on Lake Bistineau after the stranded boater made a series of desperate 911 calls.

Later identified by law enforcement officials as Christopher Burns, the man tried calling 911 multiple times before being cut off, only getting into contact with the dispatchers after they repeatedly tried calling him back.

“That’s a real blessing,” said Lt. Bill Davis, the public information officer for Bossier County Sheriff’s Office, going on to call the dispatchers “tenacious.”

Once he finally got through, Burns told the dispatchers that he was trying to save himself by clinging to a cypress tree with his two dogs.

Burns, an electronic maintenance manager, was wearing a life jacket but his dogs weren't. Davis said “he had been holding tightly to them to make sure they were OK, and he had been there a good 45 minutes or so.”

Burns told ABC News that was on a boat ride with his dogs, a samoyed husky and a sabrina husky, when water quickly flooded the craft.

Recalling the incident, Burns told ABC News he was wondering "how long it’s going take to get somebody out here. How long can I hold on for?"

He said he was more worried about his dogs than about himself.

“I don’t think they really understood what was happening or what was going on,” he said, adding that they were about 400 yards from land and the water was about 10 feet deep.

Deputies Tim Wynn and Duane Washington were dispatched to Burns’ home. From there, they checked with neighbors to see if they had a boat they could borrow.

“Our deputies went from door to door checking with people, and we finally got in touched with a gentlemen, and he said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a pontoon boat right here,’” Davis said.

Washington told ABC News that the kind neighbor was retired septuagenarian Thomas Murthree, who didn't hesitate to help with the rescue.

"He said, 'Let's go, I have a pontoon boat at the back. Let’s go out on the water,'" Washington recalled.

The two deputies and Murthree got on his boat and set out to find Burns and his dogs. They found him about 10 minutes later.

“He was very happy to see our folks,” Davis said. "I’ve just met him this morning with his wife. They have no children. These dogs are their children."

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Tuesday
Jun192018

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces plan to sue Trump administration over child separation policy

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo intends to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its controversial immigration policies, including the "callous and inhumane" practice of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border, he announced Tuesday.

The state of New York will file a multi-agency lawsuit accusing the Trump administration of violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents, according to a press release.

At least 70 children are currently staying in 10 different federal shelters in New York, and that number is expected to rise, Cuomo said.

"The Trump administration's policy to tear apart families is a moral failing and a human tragedy," Cuomo said. "We will not tolerate the Constitutional rights of children and their parents being violated by our federal government. New York will act and file suit to end this callous and deliberate attack on immigrant communities, and end this heartless policy once and for all."

The governor has directed the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services to commence legal action against the federal government's "separation of families" policy.

The lawsuit also accuses the Trump administration of violating the terms of the 1997 Flores Settlement, which "set national standards regarding the detention, release, and treatment of all children in immigration detention and prioritizes the principle of family unity," according to the release.

On Tuesday, Cuomo wrote an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence condemning the federal government's "zero-tolerance" policy and urging the administration to "end the mistreatment of immigrant families at the border."

On Tuesday, Trump continued to defend his immigration policies, telling a group at the National Federation of Independent Businesses in Washington, D.C., that the practice of separating families at the border is being caused by "crippling loopholes" in immigration laws supported by the Democrats.

"Under current law, we have only two policy options to respond to this massive crisis. We can either release all illegal immigrant families [of] minors who show up at the border from Central America or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry. Those are the only two options, totally open borders for criminal prosecution for lawbreaking. And you want to be able to do that," Trump told the audience. "If we don't want people pouring into our country. We want them to come in through the process, through the legal system, and we want ultimately a merit-based system where people come in based on merit."

Trump also said that while he wants the U.S. to be a "country with heart," the only option is to stop people from entering the country in the first place.

"I don't want judges, I want border security. I don't want to try people. I don't want people coming in," he said. "If a person comes in and puts one foot in our ground, is essentially welcome to America, welcome to our country, and you never get them out."

More than 75 former U.S. attorneys are calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop family separations. The bipartisan group wrote in a letter to Sessions that the decision to implement a policy that has led to more than 2,000 children taken from their parents "falls squarely on your shoulders."

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Tuesday
Jun192018

Vexed for years by elusive serial rapist, D.C. authorities indict a DNA sample

FBI(WASHINGTON) -- Federal prosecutors in Washington D.C. announced the first ever "John Doe" indictment of a still unknown suspect's DNA on Tuesday, as part of an ongoing investigation into a string of violent sexual assaults of women in hotel rooms in the D.C. area between 1998 and 2006.

The long-unsolved serial rapist case has vexed area law enforcement for years. The suspect, who became known as the "D.C.-area hotel rapist" terrorized mostly hotel maids by sneaking into rooms they were cleaning and sexually assaulting them.

"This individual preyed on members of the D.C. region for nearly a decade," Washington Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Peter Newsham said in a statement. "We have not deviated from our goal of holding this person accountable for his heinous actions and feel confident that our recent progress will lead to his identification."

Six of nine attacks on women in hotel rooms have been definitively linked to the suspect through DNA, and suspicious activity reported in five other area hotels may be related, authorities said. The attacks unfolded in hotels in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

In several of the incidents, the assailant used a box cutter, a necktie or a rope to threaten or assault his victims.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu said in the statement that "despite the passage of time, we have never forgotten these victims."

“Working with the public and our law enforcement partners," he said in the statement, "we are hopeful that we finally will be able to hold this serial rapist accountable for his brazen crimes,” said Jessie K. Liu, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Authorities also released a relatively new type of suspect sketch - not a composite created based on eyewitness descriptions, but one created in a lab using the suspect's DNA to produce a composite sketch of the possible suspect which includes eye color, skin color, hair color and a face based on biogeographic ancestry with age-progression.

Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) Washington Field Office Matthew Desarno urged the public to take a close look at the suspect sketch.

"The reason we are here today, is about bringing closure for the victims," Desarno said at a press conference. "There are now multiple women that have been attacked, assaulted and raped," said in the statement.

"We stand here on behalf of them in the hope that a recollection, a memory jogged, a subsequent text or phone call with that information with result in the closure that these victims deserve."

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