May 4, 2008

California Man Says Internet Photo Not that of Missing Chicago Girl

The photo of a 17-year-old California girl is being investigated by the FBI after a forensic artist released that she is almost certain that the photo is that of a missing Chicago girl.

Tionda Bradley and her sister Diamond were kidnapped from their home in 2001. After an exhaustive police search no leads as to the girl's disappearance were uncovered. That is until earlier this week when a Houston forensic artist said that she is certain that the photo seen on is that of Tionda Bradley.

But a man claiming to be the father of the teenager told CBS 2 over the phone from his home in Chula Cista, Calif. that the picture was actually of his daughter. Jeff Smith apologized to the Bradley family for raising hopes that their child may have been found.

"I hate to have the family suffer like this, it is very disheartening," he said.

According to CBS2, sources told the station that California FBI agents will be looking into the girls background and checking birth certificates, school records and maybe ever DNA to verify Smith's claim that the girl is not Tionda Bradley.

Reports earlier in the week released that the artist, Lois Gibson who works with the Houston Police Department, was certain that the girl was in fact Tionda Bradley.

"I took a hard look at them for the first time and I do not say this lightly, but it's her," Gibson told a reporter with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Gibson then went on to explain that the girl in the photo has the same nose, nostrils and lips as the missing girl.

"They're going to have to get computers, they're going to have to use the Patriot Act, they're going to have to find her now," said Shelia Bradley-Smith, the great-aunt of the missing Bradley sisters.

Continue reading "California Man Says Internet Photo Not that of Missing Chicago Girl" »

April 19, 2008

YouTube Beating May Have Inspired Copycat

The beating of a 16-year-old Florida girl may have been the inspiration for the taped beating of a 12-year-old girl in Indiana.

A group of middle school students, ages 12-14, videotaped the beating of a 12-year-old girl. The video, which was posted on PhotoBucket according to Police Chief Dwight ingle, has since been removed.

The victim was taken to a hospital with cuts and bruises, and is the daughter of an Indiana police officer.

According to Ingle, the group of girls led the victim to a parking lot near a warehouse in Clarksville, Indiana. One girl got into an argument with the victim, which escalated into a physical confrontation. As one girl repeatedly hit the victim around the head, a group of other girls watched laughing.

Detective Darrell Rayborn said that police believe the attack may have been a copycat of similar attack which happened in Florida. The videotaped beating of the 16-year-old Florida girl was broadcast on YouTube, and parts of the footage made it on to TV.

Continue reading "YouTube Beating May Have Inspired Copycat" »

April 12, 2008

12-Year-Old Runaway Found with 19-Year-Old Internet Boyfriend

Police have in custody a 19-year-old man whom police say helped a 12-year-old girl from Florida run away from home.

Police in Quincy, which is located in northern Florida, say they have found the missing girl, Tiffany Tyson, at the home of her 19-year-old Internet boyfriend James Linch.

According to police, Linch drove to Tyson's home in Port St. John, which is in central Florida, to pick up the girl.

Linch was arrested on a warrant out of Brevard County on a single charge of interfering with child custody.

Neighbors of the 12-year-old recalled seeing her leave on Tuesday morning. Tyson's mother came home to find a note saying that he daughter left with Linch.

April 5, 2008

He Keeps Your Mail Safe, and He Keeps You

When an Indiana postman saw a woman's SUV slide off the street and into a river, his first thought was to help.

Jason Brink, A U.S. Postal Service worker, was heading to work in Gary, Indiana, when he saw a black SUV cross three lanes of traffic and plunge into the Little Calumet River. Without hesitation he moved toward the vehicle where he could hear voices calling for help. Brink then got onto a branch extending over the river and reached down as the woman driving the SUV handed him her children.

Lori Burnett-Williams' SUV slid off of the road and into the river. As her Chevrolet Blazer began to sink, and her 8-year-old daughter began to cry "I don't want to die," she grabbed her cell phone and began to dial. Soon after, Brink appeared.

"Then I looked up, and there's the postman. It was like something out of a movie scene," Burnett-Williams said.

Brink rescued Burnett-Williams and her four children. The SUV was a total loss, said patrolman Michael Shannon. The only injury was a bump on 2-year-old Aron Williams' head.

"It was a miracle," said 8-year-old Chari Williams while her mother talked to reporters.

"The car just started sliding. I tried turning the wheel the way they say to and didn't slam on the brakes, but nothing I did stopped it," Burnett- Williams said. "Thank God no one was coming south right then."

Both Burnett-Williams and Brink said that the road was very bumpy with deep potholes, though Burnett-Williams says she still does not know what happened.

"I don't know why I couldn't stop," she said.

Continue reading "He Keeps Your Mail Safe, and He Keeps You" »

March 30, 2008

Owner of Wildlife Sanctuary Mauled by Cheetahs

Authorities said that the owner of a Florida wildlife sanctuary was attacked by two of the sanctuary's cheetahs Sunday. The woman was hospitalized with around 40 puncture wounds to her extremities and back.

Judy Berens was airlifted to Delray Medical Center. Her injuries appear to be non-life threatening injuries according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

Berens is the owner and operated of Panther Ridge Conservation Center in Wellington, Florida. The center provides a sanctuary for exotic cats according to police.

Berens was conducting an exhibition with two male cheetahs when one saw a bouncing ball outside of the enclosure. The cheetah went toward the ball quickly, knowing Berens down. He then pounced on her and began biting and clawing at her said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Gabriella Ferraro said.

The second cheetah also attacked Berens according to Ferraro.

The woman was rescued with several people entered the enclosure and helped her.

The cheetahs are caged at the center.

Continue reading "Owner of Wildlife Sanctuary Mauled by Cheetahs" »

March 15, 2008

Middle School Students Charged in Plot To Kill Classmates and Themselves

Three Florida middle school students were arrested after police learned of a plot to kill their classmates as well as themselves. The three 13-year-old's have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

The two boys and one girl were evaluated for mental health issues before being transferred Friday to a juvenile detention center, Gary Davidson, Spokesmen for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

According to a news release by authorities, the young man believed to be the ringleader of the group sent instant messages to another middle school student expressing his desire to slaughter his classmates.

"I will kill every person I see," the report says that the instant messages said. "Everyone will pay for what they did to me."

The 13-year-old boy in custody said that he was being teased at school, and said that he planned to lock the cafeteria doors during lunch and begin shooting classmates.

"They will all die along with me," the report says the boy said. "The massacre will happen soon."

The student who received the instant messages forwarded the messages to a family member, frightened by them. The family member then contacted the sheriff's office, who arrested the boy at his home.

Students at the school recalled to investigators that two students openly talked about the plan with the young man. Those two students have since been taken into custody.

Continue reading "Middle School Students Charged in Plot To Kill Classmates and Themselves" »

March 9, 2008

California Rooster Thefts Stir Up Concern

Authorities suspect that the recent thefts of over a dozen roosters from a local animal shelter may be related to a cockfighting operation.

Forty-five roosters were removed from a home in Bakersfield, California, Thursday according to police Lt. Vrad Wahl.

Early Friday morning, two men were stopped near the Bakersfield Animal Shelter by California Highway Patrol Officers. Wahl stated that the men had burlap sacks containing feathers and found cockfighting videos in the car.

The men were released, but the car was impounded.

Continue reading "California Rooster Thefts Stir Up Concern" »

February 26, 2008

Florida Mother Arrested after Police Find Cocaine in her Toddler's System

30-year-old Marshal Daniels was arrested and charged with child abuse after Florida police discovered cocaine in her daughter's system.

The 16-month-old girl was taken to the hospital by her grandmother who found sores covering the little girl's body. The toddler was digging at her skin, trying to scratch the sores.

The grandmother contacted police around 6 p.m Saturday when he found the girl home alone.

Daniels has a history of drug arrests and is being held on $7000 bond.

Continue reading "Florida Mother Arrested after Police Find Cocaine in her Toddler's System" »

February 22, 2008

The Dark Side of Elmo

Elmo has gone to the dark side says one Florida family. When the parents of 2-year-old James Bowman replaced the batteries in their son's "Elmo Knows Your Name" the toy began making threats.

"Kill James!" the doll said to the toddler according to his mother, Melissa Bowman. "It's not something that really you would think would ever come out of a toy," she told the Tampa Tribune.

Bowman said Elmo is her son's favorite character and keeping the death-threat doll away from her son is difficult.

"We've been going through a lot of hassle because he's trying to climb up the counter and up the closets to get it." she said.

Fisher-Price said it will issue the family a voucher to replace the menacing Elmo. They also said they will check the toy for malfunctions and see if other Elmos are having the same issue.

Continue reading "The Dark Side of Elmo" »

February 14, 2008

Mayor Forced to Resign Amid Dog Custody Battle

A former Texas mayor resigned after her neighbor made allegations that she stole her neighbor’s dog.

Former Mayor of Alice, Texas, Grace Saenz-Lopez said she took the dog in because she believed it was being mistreated.

"I didn't steal the dog. I did not return him to save his life," Saenz-Lopez said. She was indicted Jan. 18th with two felony counts of dognapping.

The former mayor’s neighbors Rudy Guiterrez and Shelly Cavasos asked Saenz -Lopez to look after the dog Puddles, whom Saenz-Lopez renamed Panchito, while they were on vacation. When the couple checked in with Saenz-Lopez during their vacation they were told that Puddles had died and was buried in the mayor’s backyard.

When a relative of the couple reported that they had seen the dog at a groomers, the couple asked Saenz-Lopez again for their dog back. When she refused to return the dog, the couple filed a criminal complaint and civil lawsuit against her.

Shortly after, Saenz-Lopez reported the dog was missing. Puddles was found at the home of the mayor’s twin sister.

Saenz-Lopez resigned as mayor on Feb. 1 after a recall petition began passing around the town.

Continue reading "Mayor Forced to Resign Amid Dog Custody Battle" »

February 10, 2008

Police Release Sketch of Mall Shooter

Police have released a composite drawing of the man who killed five women inside of a Lane Bryant Store last weekend.

The composite was put together by police and the only survivor of the incident. The shooter is described as being an African-American male between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, with thick, braided black hair and weighing between 200 and 230 pounds.

The shooting occurred at a Lane Bryant store in a strip mall on February 2. Five women died as a result, and one survived.

Tinley Park police Sgt. T.J. Grady told reporters that it appeared that the women were shot during a robbery that "went rather poorly."

The suspect was seen by a witness fleeing in black jeans, a black winter coat and a black knit cap.

The store is located in Brookside, which is a suburb of Chicago.

Continue reading "Police Release Sketch of Mall Shooter" »

February 3, 2008

A British teacher was attacked by a lion while in Africa, leaving the woman with 13 stitches.

The lion jumped onto Kate Drew and took the woman’s head between its jaws. The woman suffered bite wounds. The lion pinned Drew, while two other lions lurked near waiting to pounce.

The 28-year-old Drew told London’s Daily Mail that she thought “‘Oh my God, I'm a goner.'"

"I was scared enough when the lion pinned me to the ground, but when I looked up and saw the other two, I really thought I'd had it,? she said.

Drew is the headmistress of a primary school, and had been volunteering in Tanzania since September. When the attack occurred, she was traveling with other backpackers.

In the area, tourists are allowed to walk with lions that are considered tame enough for human contact.

"They said it had never happened before. They think that because she's got long, blonde hair the lion thought she was a playmate, another lion, Drew’s mother Carole told the Daily Mail.

Shortly after the attack, Drew flew to Peru to work with disabled children living in an orphanage.

Continue reading "A British teacher was attacked by a lion while in Africa, leaving the woman with 13 stitches." »