National
Subscribe To This Feed

Samantha Sergi/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Renowned ABC News journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75.

Roberts won countless awards, including three Emmys, throughout her decades-long career. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. She was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress in 2008.

"We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness," her family said in a statement.

Her death was due to complications from breast cancer.

Roberts, born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, said she got the name "Cokie" from her older brother, who couldn't pronounce Corinne and dubbed her Cokie instead. The name stuck with her ever since.

"Cokie Roberts will be dearly missed," said James Goldston, president of ABC News. "Cokie's kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists."

Roberts was "a true pioneer for women in journalism," Goldston said, "well-regarded for her insightful analysis of politics and policy in Washington, D.C., countless newsmaking interviews, and, notably, her unwavering support for generations of young women — and men — who would follow in her footsteps."

She is survived by her husband, fellow journalist Steven Roberts, her children, Lee and Rebecca and her six grandchildren.

Roberts graduated from Wellesley College in 1964 with a degree in political science and began her career in radio as a foreign correspondent for CBS in the 1970s and started covering Capitol Hill for National Public Radio in 1978, reporting on the Panama Canal Treaty.

She was assigned to Capitol Hill full-time in the early 1980s, serving as the network’s congressional correspondent for more than a decade.

Roberts co-anchored ABC’s This Week with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002. She also served as political commentator, chief congressional analyst and a commentator for This Week during her three decades at ABC.

Before joining ABC News in 1988, Roberts spent more than two decades at outlets including WNEW (1968), KNBC-TV (1974-77), CBS News (1974-1977) and NPR starting in 1978. She was also a correspondent for MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour and a contributing senior news analyst for PBS.

Additionally, she wrote eight books, largely focusing on the role of women in American history, many of which were New York Times bestsellers.

She had recently acknowledged a struggle with her health.

"Over the summer, I have had some health issues which required treatment that caused weight loss. I am doing fine," she said in a statement after the This Week appearance. "I very much appreciate the kind comments I have received and expect to be, as I have been, working away in the days and months to come, covering what promises to be a fascinating election. I am grateful to everyone who has been in touch and sent their well wishes. Thanks for caring."

Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and was successfully treated. When she was diagnosed, she spoke about her longtime work urging women to get regular mammograms.

"Fortunately, in the course of my efforts to inform others about the disease, I learned about the benefits of early detection," she said in a statement at the time, The Washington Post reported. "Now I am the beneficiary of that information."

She told the Post that her cancer diagnosis didn’t give her a newfound perspective on life, because she already had one.

"I had a healthy perspective on life already," she said to The Washington Post. "I have always cared more about family than my career. I lost my father at age 58 in a terrible accident and I lost my sister at age 51. So I didn’t need any extra perspective on life."

During a Facebook Q&A in 2013, when asked what was the best part of her career, she said that her family has been "by far the best part" of her life.

"I’ve been blessed in my life with been a long and happy marriage that produced two wonderful children who have in turn each produced three spectacular grandchildren and that is by far the best part. In terms of career, I’ve been lucky to have many interesting jobs and loved most of them. The ability to develop expertise and then be able to use that knowledge in broadcasting is gratifying. And I find writing books particularly satisfying," she wrote in her response to the Facebook question.

Roberts came from a political family: she was the daughter of (Thomas) Hale Boggs, the former Democratic House majority leader and representative from New Orleans. Her father was also a member of the Warren commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Hale Boggs died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1972, and his wife – Roberts’ mother – Lindy Boggs was elected to fill her late husband’s congressional seat.

Lindy Boggs was later appointed to be the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See by then-President Bill Clinton in 1997.

Roberts’ siblings also took a liking to politics. Her older brother, Thomas Boggs Jr., was a lobbyist and her sister Barbara Boggs Sigmund was the former mayor of Princeton, N.J., younger brother, William, died as an infant, and her other two siblings have died as well.

In an interview earlier this year, Roberts noted that she was "the only person in my original nuclear family who didn’t run for Congress. Now, they didn’t win all of them – the only one that never lost an election was my mother."

But she filled that void with her foray into journalism.

"I have always felt semi-guilty about it. But I’ve sort of assuaged my guilt by writing about it and feeling like I’m educating people about the government and how to be good voters and good citizens," she told The Washington Post.

Roberts married journalist Steve Roberts in 1966, after meeting at a political event in Ohio four years earlier when they were both in college.

Steven Roberts worked as a reporter at The New York Times for many years, and in a 2017 interview, Cokie Roberts credited her husband as being "my mentor when I started off as a journalist."

"I had always been a good writer, and so I started reporting and writing. He was a big help to me, and we did a lot together," she said for an oral history project developed by the House of Representatives.

Steve Roberts said in a New York Times interview in 2017 that he was "bowled over" by his wife’s intellect.
                        
"Marrying the right person is the single most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. Everything else is secondary. From the very beginning, I knew what an extraordinary person Cokie was," Steve Roberts said in the Times article, which was published to celebrate their then-50 year union in 2017.

The pair got married under an apple tree in the backyard of her family’s home in Bethesda, Md., and then-President Lyndon B. Johnson and first lady Lady Bird were among the 1,500 guests in attendance. The home stayed in the family, and was Cokie and Steve Roberts’ home at the time of her passing.

Full statement from the family of Cokie Roberts:


Her loving family announces the passing of journalist and author Cokie Roberts, due to complications from breast cancer, on September 17.

Born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs on December 27, 1943, Cokie was – first and foremost – a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

Cokie’s career as a journalist at National Public Radio and ABC News took her to the heights of her profession, and her success as an author on history and family put her on the best seller list.

But her values put family and relationships above all else.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, journalist, author and professor Steven V. Roberts, her children Lee Roberts and Rebecca Roberts, her grandchildren Regan, Hale and Cecilia Roberts and Claiborne, Jack and Roland Hartman, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She is also survived by friendships and by causes that she put her time, resources and energy into that are too numerous to count.

We would like to thank the staff at the National Institutes of Health for their dedication, expertise, work and incredible care for Cokie during her illness.

We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness.

We are hopeful that Cokie now goes to join her parents, former Members of Congress Hale and Lindy Boggs, her siblings Barbara, Tom and William, who predecease her, and her God.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

FILE - Erin Donalson/iStock(NEW YORK) -- There are now 14 large uncontained wildfires burning in the West, not including smaller fires that broke out Monday.

One of them, the Francis Fire in Davis County, Utah burned up to 200 acres and there were mandatory evacuations for residents in the area, though those have since been lifted since Monday evening.

Tuesday, the cold front that caused all the gusty winds that helped to spread the fire in Utah will continue to move through the West, producing more gusty winds 20 to 60 mph.

There are still Red Flag Warnings Tuesday morning and also high wind warnings from Utah to Wyoming.

Elsewhere, a tropical disturbance in the western Gulf of Mexico will bring very heavy rain to eastern Texas from Houston to just east of Dallas.

The heavy rain will begin Tuesday afternoon and the round of heavy rain will continue into Thursday.

Some areas are expected to see up to 10 inches of rain, especially in Houston, Galveston and up to the Lufkin, Texas area where flash flooding is forecast later Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Humberto is moving away from the U.S. but will continue to bring high surf and dangerous rip currents from the Mid-Atlantic to the Carolinas and down to Florida where the waves could be as high as 11 feet.

As Humberto moves east it will pass to the north of Bermuda brining gusty winds and heavy rain to the island where a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for them.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

NYPD School Safety(NEW YORK) -- A school safety officer with the New York City police was shot dead in her apartment, allegedly by her boyfriend, in an apparent murder-suicide, according to authorities.

Officers responded to reports of an argument and gunshots inside a Fort Greene, Brooklyn, apartment around 11:20 p.m. Sunday, initially treating the call as a possibly armed and barricaded person, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD).

When officers went inside, they found 44-year-old Naire McCormick, an NYPD school safety agent, in her bedroom, shot in the head, police said.

A 47-year-old man was also found dead in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head, police said, and a gun was recovered at the scene.

Today is a sad day as we mourn the death of our beloved School Safety Agent Naire McCormick. She will be deeply missed by her friends, family, the youth & faculty she served at her school and her NYPD School Safety Family. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/66OdUdf7gn

— NYPD School Safety (@NYPDSchools) September 16, 2019

"Today is a sad day as we mourn the death of our beloved School Safety Agent Naire McCormick," officials with the NYPD's school safety department wrote on Twitter Monday. "She will be deeply missed by her friends, family, the youth & faculty she served at her school and her NYPD School Safety Family."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

amphotora/iStock(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- A 40-year-old police officer was shot to death in Alabama on Monday night, officials said.

Officer Dornell Cousette, a 13-year-veteran of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, was the father of two daughters and was also engaged to be married, according to Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

"In our community, our heroes wear the police uniform of the Tuscaloosa Police Department," Maddox said at a press conference. "And tonight, one of our heroes has died in the line of duty, protecting our city."

"Heroes come in many different forms...in our community, our heroes wear the uniform of the @TuscaloosaPD.

Tonight one of our heroes has died in the line of duty protecting our community."

-@WaltMaddox

We will be forever grateful for heroes like Officer Dornell Cousette. pic.twitter.com/uFORMPext4

— City of Tuscaloosa (@tuscaloosacity) September 17, 2019

Cousette was shot while exchanging gunfire with a suspect inside a house in the city of Tuscaloosa, some 57 miles southwest of Birmingham. The officer was taken to a local hospital where he died, according to Tuscaloosa's interim police chief, Mitt Tubbs.

The suspect, who was wanted on warrants for failure to appear for felony offenses, was also shot and was taken to the hospital for treatment. The individual is in custody, Tubbs said.

Cousette is the first Tuscaloosa officer to be killed in the line of duty since 2011.

“He was a great officer," the interim police chief told reporters. "Everybody loved him.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

KGO-TV(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The Bay Area father of an 11-year-old child has been charged with manslaughter after he allegedly ran over his son with his boat this weekend after he had been drinking.

Javier Burillo, 57, was arrested in Marin County, California, one day after the incident on Sunday near Angel Island, according to authorities.

Burillo is a prominent real estate developer in Mexico and built the swanky Las Ventanas al Paraiso luxury hotel in San Jose del Cabo, according to a Marin Magazine article from 2008. He also owns a home on the exclusive Corinthian Island in San Francisco Bay, purchased in 2004 for $10.2 million, according to San Francisco ABC station KGO-TV.

Burillo's two sons were ejected from his 33-foot, twin-engine boat near Angel Island at about 7 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Marin County Sheriff's Office. When the boater tried to rescue his 27-year-old and 11-year-old sons they were struck by the ship. Both were pulled aboard the boat and taken to the nearby Corinthian Yacht Club where they were met by first responders.

"Tragically and unfortunately, one child sustained severe traumatic injuries as result of this incident and his death was pronounced on the scene at the yacht club, dockside," the Marin County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Authorities said they were unsure if the child was swept under the boat after falling off, or when the boat was turned around to find them.

Burillo's 27-year-old son was taken to the hospital with cuts to his legs and is expected to recover.

"It's very difficult. This gentleman is going through unimaginable pain," Tiburon Police Chief Michael Cronin said at a press conference Monday. "And we have no desire to contribute to that, but we need to enforce the law."

Burillo is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter while operating a vehicle, willful harm or injury to a child and reckless or negligent operation of a vessel. Police said he submitted to a breathalyzer test, which he failed.

Burillo posted $1-million bail late Monday afternoon, KGO reported.

"He was operating the boat -- he had that choice -- and the negligent part of it is the alcohol," Cronin said.

"Officers in interviewing him felt they had a probable cause for intoxication," he added. "We enforced the law."

Cronin said an investigation continues and he wasn't sure if Burillo was driving too fast.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

MicroStockHub/iStock(CLEWISTON, Fla.) -- Despite calls from the LGBT community for more information in the wake of the discovery of a black transgender woman burned beyond recognition in Florida earlier this month, authorities say they are reluctant to release details about the investigation into her death.

Police had to use dental records to identify 23-year-old Bee Love Slater after her body was discovered inside of an abandoned car in Clewiston, Florida, on Sept. 4.

Even though it's been nearly two weeks since authorities made the gruesome discovery, the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation, said it's too early to say if her death can be classified as a hate crime.

"We've not been able nail down a possible hate-crime angle, as far as I know," Capt. Susan Harrelle, a public information officer at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News in an interview Monday.

She also said the sheriff's office was aware of social media reports that speculated Slater had been shot and tied up in the car, but she said there was no evidence to confirm those reports.

Harrelle acknowledged members of South Florida's LGBTQ community have shown frustration with the investigation, but said authorities looking into the case have been extremely reluctant to release information to the public out of privacy concerns.

"They're not releasing a lot of information because it's an active, ongoing investigation. I can only suspect that some of what they're learning is really sensitive," Harrelle said.

Investigators are examining a number of social media posts directed at Slater before her killing, including some that wished death on her, according to The New York Times.

Slater was found just days after 17-year-old Bailey Reeves, who is also transgender, was shot and killed in Baltimore. Police have released few details on that case, but said they do not believe she was the intended target.

At least 18 transgender people, including Slater, have been killed this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The group tracked 29 killings in 2018, the most it had ever recorded in a year.

Since 2013, HRC has tracked at least 145 transgender deaths due to fatal violence, with most victims being black transgender women. But the organization said the violence is hard to track due to misgendering -- incorrectly applying gender labels -- and transphobia.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Baltimore Police Department(BALTIMORE) -- Police are searching for a former actor on The Wire who allegedly escaped custody after being taken to a Baltimore hospital last week.

Christopher Clanton Sr. -- who played Savino Bratton in two seasons of HBO's Baltimore-based drama The Wire -- allegedly escaped from police custody on Friday after being transferred to a nearby hospital, police said.

The 33-year-old actor was arrested for allegedly violating a protective order on Thursday, the Baltimore Police Department said.

He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital on the city's northeast side the next day for treatment for a pre-existing medical condition, the department said.

Police did not offer details on how he escaped, but they said he somehow managed to leave the hospital without notice, sparking a state-wide search.

The department posted two images of Clanton on its Facebook page Friday, asking for the public's help in the search.

"Christopher Clanton, Sr. is 6’ tall and weighs approximately 165 lbs. He is known to frequent the Harford Road corridor," the post said. "Anyone who has seen or knows of Clanton’s whereabouts is asked to call police."

The hospital did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment, but a spokesperson for Baltimore MedStar Hospitals, including Good Samaritan, told the Baltimore Sun that she could not answer questions about the incident.

"Our role as a healthcare provider is to ensure every patient who comes through our doors gets the best possible medical care," Baltimore MedStar Hospitals spokesperson Debra Schindler told the Sun. "It would be inappropriate for us to comment on what is truly a police matter."

Clanton played one of the enforcers in Avon Barksdale's crew in The Wire, which took place in Baltimore and charted the daily lives of police officers and criminals for five seasons on HBO.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

mstahlphoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Two high school football players died this weekend after sustaining injuries on the field.

Peter Webb, a sophomore at Southwest Covenant in Oklahoma, and Alex Miller, a senior at Roane County High School in West Virginia, both died after sustaining injuries during school football games on Friday.

Officials at Southwest Covenant, a Christian private school west of Oklahoma City, announced Webb's death in a statement Monday, calling him "a servant-leader, always ready to help anyone in need." He was 16.

"As an athlete, Peter played a key role in our football, basketball, and baseball programs, even as an underclassman," the statement said. "Coaches would say that Peter was not only talented, but he worked as hard as anyone. Teachers admired his respect and discipline in the classroom. Classmates loved Peter deeply."

"The character of this young man and the respect we all had for him cannot be contained in words," it added.

It said Webb died "as a result of an injury suffered during the football game on Friday," but it did not elaborate on the nature of his injuries. The Oklahoman newspaper said he appeared to have been knocked unconscious after taking a hit to the head during a tackle.

He sustained the injury during the fourth quarter while playing defense against Strother High School, The Oklahoman reported. Webb tackled the Strother high quarterback from behind, according to the report. As Webb made the tackle, he pulled the quarterback on top of him and fell back on his head, the report said.

He died at the Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City on Sunday.

The teenager's death came just two days after Miller collapsed and died on the field in Clay, West Virginia. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Roane County superintendent Richard Duncan confirmed the student's death in an interview with ABC News' Good Morning America on Saturday as his teammates worked to make sense of his sudden passing.

"It's a shock to them. They were there. They were getting ready for the second quarter one moment, and the next moment, Alex was on the ground," Duncan said. "We've had an outpouring of support though from communities both within Roane County and all around the state."

He said Miller did not have any known health issues.

Both students received an outpouring of love on social media. Southwest Covenant's post on announcing Webb's passing racked up more than 1,500 reactions, comments and shares on Facebook in just a matter of hours.

The Roane County School District shared video from a candlelight vigil for Miller, gathering more than 2,500 reactions, shares and comments on Facebook.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York City mother is facing criticism after her toddler was filmed hanging outside the window near an air conditioning unit on the 13th floor of an apartment building.

The video, taken by Bronx resident Jennifer Mares on Saturday evening, shows the child in a diaper clinging onto the window where the 3-year-old boy had just climbed out. Several people below could be heard gasping and urging the child to go back into the residence.

Mares told ABC News that she was with her son at a park outside their apartment building when she heard someone say a baby was in the window. She called police and began filming the incident, but fearing they wouldn't arrive in time, she counted the number of floors and ran into the building, she said.

Mares found the apartment where the toddler lives and banged on the door, which was answered by the child's mother. The child's 14-year-old sister then grabbed him and brought him inside, Mares said.

The boy's mother, who was not named, told New York ABC station WABC that he snuck out while she was making dinner. The boy had pushed the air conditioner aside and crawled through the gap, his mother said.

The mother, who immigrated to New York from Mali, said other residents have been calling her names and telling her she will go to jail.

"God saved my boy, and he will save me from these people," she told the station.

The New York City Administration for Children's Services is investigating the incident, a spokesperson told WABC.

Officials went back to the apartment the next day after receiving reports that the boy had climbed outside the window again, but the mother insisted that bars installed early Sunday morning would have prevented another escape from occurring, according to WABC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Kaitlin Feriante(CHICAGO) -- A former teacher with Chicago Public Schools has turned her passion for helping children with learning disabilities into an affordable program that aims to help children all across the city.

Kaitlin Feriante and her husband, Andre Feriante, opened the Redwood Literacy program in June 2018 as a summer course with approximately 40 children.

More than a year later, Redwood has not only grown into Redwood Day, a school co-founded by Becky Sinclair and located in Rodgers Park, Illinois, north of Chicago, but also into a partnership and teachers training program called Redwood Grow.

"Things are moving so fast, but like it feels like this was all supposed to happen," Kaitlin Feriante told ABC News.

The school teaches students from first grade to eighth grade and currently has 20 children.

"Redwood Day is considered a transitional school, meaning that they help kids then they transfer back to their mainstream curriculum after a year or two," Feriante said.

Redwood Literacy now functions as an after-school program, where students receive literacy lessons, and Redwood Grow partners with charter schools in the Chicago area, providing funding and one year of curriculum as well as training instructors.

"Our mission is threefold: one, to offer affordable after-school and summer-camp, small-group sessions at around $33 an hour; two, to offer a full-day school program for 20 kids who need it most offering as many scholarships as possible; (and), three to train Chicago Public School teachers as dyslexia practitioners in order to get this intervention to students around the city for free," she told ABC News.

Feriante said she and her husband started Redwood Literacy because they found that courses helping children who suffer from learning disabilities are "marketed at such a high price" and only certain people have them as a resource, leaving others at a disadvantage.

Each program helps individuals with dyslexia, dysgraphia or other literacy-based learning struggles.

Feriante grew up in Albania and said she saw a lot of poverty and struggle. Those experiences influenced her desire to provide affordable education and classroom lessons to children.

She went to school to become a behavioral learning specialist but stopped working in the public school system because she found it hard to teach full time and have a family. Feriante told ABC News that she is focusing on Redwood Grow and more partnerships within schools around Chicago.

 Feriante, now a mother of three, told ABC News that "it feels hopeful and encouraging" when seeing the results and growth of the children who are at Redwood.

Sophie Galeener, 8, a third-grader at Grace Lutheran Church and School in River Forest, Illinois, has dyslexia. She attended Redwood's summer program and then attended Redwood Day for a school year.

Megan Galeener, Sophie's mother, said that school year and program improved her daughter's reading skills and that they changed their lives.

"For the first time, someone understood what we were going through and what our daughter needed," Galeener told ABC News. "They taught her how to read."

Beginning its second year of services, the future seems bright for Redwood Literacy, Feriante said.

"We hope to have multiple affordable after-school centers around the city, especially in or near neighborhoods that are under-resourced. We are planning on opening a second Redwood Literacy location in summer 2020," she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- A 4-year-old boy was shot dead, allegedly by his 5-year-old sibling, while the mother was asleep in another room, according to police.

The tragic shooting was reported at a home in Fort Worth, Texas, shortly before noon on Sunday, according to Fort Worth police.

Officers responded to preliminary reports that the sibling shot the 4-year-old, who was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The 4-year-old's name was Truth Albright, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.

No one else was hurt, Fort Worth police officer Jimmy Pollozani said.

The mother was asleep in another room at the time of the shooting, said police.

No arrests have been made, Pollozani said.

It is too early in the investigation to determine if the shooting was accidental, Pollozani said. Detectives are conducting interviews, police added.

Guns are the second leading cause of death for children in the U.S., with nearly 1,700 killed by gun homicides every year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office(MIAMI) -- A man charged with a Florida woman's murder has been linked through genetic genealogy to the killing of three women from over a decade ago -- leading authorities to believe a serial killer is now "off the streets."

"Had we not done this [arrest], we're pretty sure he would've killed again," Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw told reporters Monday.

Robert Hayes, 37, was arrested Sunday and charged with one murder, and remains a suspect in three others from 14 years ago, authorities said.

The case began in 2005 and 2006, when three women -- Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton -- were fatally shot in the head in separate incidents, said Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri.

"All three were discovered naked and face down on the ground, with their clothes either under them or found nearby," police said in a statement.

Gunther was killed on Dec. 26, 2005; Green was killed less than a month later, on Jan. 14; and Patton just a few weeks after that, on Feb. 24, 2006.

The three cases were considered linked: two of the three victims were linked by forensic evidence, while two of the three were linked by DNA, Capri said.

Years went by without a lead in any of the killings.

Then on March 7, 2016, about 200 miles south of Daytona Beach, Rachael Bey, a 35-year-old prostitute, was found naked, severely beaten and strangled to death along a highway in Palm Beach County, according to the probable cause affidavit.

DNA of an unidentified man was recovered from Bey's body and entered into the law enforcement database CODIS (the Combined DNA Index System), said Palm Beach County Sheriff Capt. Mike Wallace.

The unknown male DNA from Bey's body matched the mystery suspect in Gunther and Green's killings, said Capri, and investigators in Daytona Beach and Palm Beach County began working together.

Though they had DNA matches, the suspect's name was not known. That's when investigators used genetic genealogy, which led to Sunday's arrest of Hayes, authorities said.

Genetic genealogy compares unknown DNA evidence to public genetic databases to identify suspects through their family members -- and has been called a "game-changer" in the effort to crack cold cases.

Since the arrest of the suspected "Golden State Killer" in April 2018, at least 70 suspects have been identified through the technology, according to CeCe Moore, the chief genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs, which investigated the Bey murder among others.

Moore has appeared as an expert in ABC News "20/20" episodes and has been quoted in ABCNews.com articles.

Authorities did not elaborate on which relatives of Hayes were found through genealogy, but on Friday, investigators zeroed in on him. They collected a cigarette he had discarded, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The sample was taken to a lab where officials found that the DNA from the cigarette matched the DNA from Bey's killing and from one of the Daytona Beach killings, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Palm Beach County investigators arrested Hayes on Sunday for the first-degree murder of Bey.

A separate killing of a woman, Stacey Gage, in January 2008 is being investigated to see if it's connected to the other four murders. There is no physical evidence, however, linking it to the other murders at this time, police said.

Hayes, meanwhile, has not been charged in any of the Daytona Beach cases, police said, but he is tied by DNA to Gunther and Green's slayings and is linked by forensic evidence to Patton's death.

He lived in the areas where Bey and the three Dayton Beach victims were last seen, according to the probable cause affidavit. It's believed he attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Capri said.

It is not clear how the victims and the suspect allegedly came into contact, authorities said. The victims seemed to be targeted randomly, Wallace said.

Hayes' criminal history only involves traffic-related offenses, Capri said.

Hayes made his first court appearance Monday morning and was held on no bond, authorities said. His public defender did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Bey's brothers traveled from out of state to attend Monday's press conference in Palm Beach County. Her family chose not to speak.

The State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Dave Aronberg, vowed to get "justice" for Bey.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Molly Stephens(GERMANTOWN, Wisconsin) -- A 3-year-old girl from Wisconsin has donated hundreds of dollars from her lemonade stand so her local police department could afford a new K-9 dog.

Lainie Stephens raised $754 by selling snacks and lemonade during her family's three-day garage sale to help the Germantown Police Department.

Lainie's good deed captured the attention of media outlets, and she's since received hundreds more via crowdfunding.

"She's super outgoing and excited to greet people," mom Molly Stephens told "Good Morning America." "She was very proud of the fact she had all those customers."

Stephens said she helped her daughter set up the lemonade stand as a learning experience to interact with neighbors and practice counting money.

When Stephens thought to make it a charitable moment, she decided Lainie should give the funds to the Germantown police, since the department was hoping to get another K-9.

"We have a history of law enforcement in the family, and we support the local police department," Stephens said. "I was expecting [Lainie would raise] $30 to $40."

Last week, Lainie gave the money raised to Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell.

"It doesn’t get any cuter than that, warms the heart," the department wrote on Facebook Sept. 12.

Lainie has racked up an additional $325 on GoFundMe and hopes to hit her $500 goal.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(ATLANTA) -- A homeowner in Georgia shot and killed three young masked men at his home early Monday morning, according to Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett.

Authorities identified the three deceased individuals as juveniles Monday evening -- two 16-year-olds and one 15-year-old -- but have not released their names. The sheriff’s office told ABC News it waited to release information about the teens, all from Conyers, Georgia, until all three families were notified.

The homeowner, who has also not been identified by deputies, was taken to the station for questioning.

"It could be a 'stand your ground' type case, based on the preliminary [information] that we have learned so far," Levett said during the briefing.

The three teens allegedly approached the home and attempted to rob three people in the front yard, the sheriff's office said Monday night. One of the attempted robbery suspects purportedly brandished a handgun and fired shots at the residents before one returned fire. All three attempted robbery suspects were killed during the exchange, authorities said.

The victims of the attempted robbery were all uninjured. No charges have been filed against anyone in the case.

Deputies found two guns at the scene, but have yet to determine to whom the weapons belonged, Levett said.

The men were found outside the home when deputies arrived. One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the two others were transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

A neighbor told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB that he heard gunfire around 4 a.m. Monday and ran outside to see what happened.

"It was five shots, and then it sounded like a handgun. Then I heard somebody have an assault rifle. And it was a slew of shots that came out," neighbor Carlos Watson told the station.

The legal phrase "stand your ground" became a national story in 2012 when George Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin following an altercation in their Florida neighborhood.

Zimmerman was charged with murder, but said he had no choice but to shoot Martin because he feared for his life. In July 2013, a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

WMTW(FARMINGTON, Maine) -- A 68-year-old Maine fire captain was killed and six people were injured from a powerful explosion at a building Monday morning, leaving a fire department in mourning, according to officials.

Farmington Fire Capt. Michael Bell, a 30-year member of the department, died while responding to reports of a propane smell at a local Farmington business, according to Maine State Police.

The building -- the central office for LEAP, a program that supports homes for developmentally disabled people -- exploded minutes after responders arrived, flattening the two-story structure, according to police.

The cause of the explosion is believed to be an accidental propane or natural gas leak, said Farmington police chief Jack Peck.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols was one of the first responders and helped moved people away from the scene, according to the police chief.

"I spent a year in Iraq, it’s about the closest I can explain it. Total devastation," Nichols said. "I've never seen destruction like that in my career... It was horrible."

Five of the six injured are firefighters. Among them is Fire Chief Terry Bell, 62, the brother of fallen Capt. Michael Bell, said state police.

The other injured firefighters are Capt. Timothy Hardy; Capt. Scott Baxter; Scott Baxter's father, Firefighter Theodore Baxter; Firefighter Joseph Hastings; and Deputy Fire Chief Clyde Ross, said state police.

The sixth person injured was a maintenance worker at the facility: 60-year-old Larry Lord, said police.

Ross has been treated and released while the other five remain hospitalized to be treated for serious injuries, said police.

Residents who live in the area appear to be fine but shaken, said the sheriff.

The blast was so powerful that those in the adjoining town said they felt it, said the police chief.

"Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy, especially to the loved ones of the firefighter lost and others injured," Maine Gov. Janet Mills tweeted. "I am grateful for the work of first responders who are at the scene and urge Maine people to avoid the area."

Grieving firemen lined up outside the medical examiner’s office Monday afternoon ahead of the procession to the funeral home.

The governor has directed flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the fallen firefighter.

"Our hearts go out to anyone injured or impacted today," said officials with LEAP.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate the cause and origin of the blast, said Mills, who visited the explosion site.

Agents will begin processing the scene on Tuesday, according to state police.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Hound Poll
Do you support stricter gun laws?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.