Review Category : National News

Father of Five Missing Children Detained in Alabama

John Roman/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C.) — The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina announced an investigation on Tuesday into the disappearance of five children from one family.

The children range in age from 1 to 8, and were reported missing on Sept. 3 after last being seen with their father. The father reportedly has joint custody of the children, and was detained on Sept. 6 in Alabama.

The LCSD says the children’s mother reported them missing after being unable to contact her ex-husband.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama confirmed that five bodies were found late Tuesday afternoon. The father is suspected of bringing the children to Alabama and dumping their bodies.

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White House Disputes Claim Steven Sotloff Was ‘Sold’ by US Allies

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The White House on Tuesday disputed claims made by a spokesman for the family of slain American journalist Steven Sotloff that he was sold as a hostage to ISIS by the so-called moderate Syrian opposition, the same forces President Obama is now seeking to fund and arm.

“As it relates to the specifics of this matter, based on the information that has been provided to me, I don’t believe that is accurate,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in response to a question from ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.

Earnest said the incident remains under investigation by the FBI.

“This is something that they’re looking into all aspects of this, including how Mr. Sotloff may have come into the hands of ISIL,” or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, he said.

Earnest suggested that the possibility that Syria’s moderate opposition may have been complicit in Sotloff’s disappearance does not give Obama pause about his decision to expand American support for the group.

Sotloff was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013. He was beheaded last week by a masked ISIS militant in a video posted online.

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Ray Rice in ‘Good Spirits’ and ‘Staying Strong for My Wife’

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — Disgraced running back Ray Rice said on Tuesday that he was in “good spirits” and trying to be “strong for my wife” despite being cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League over a video showing him punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator.

Rice spoke with ESPN’s Josina Anderson hours after his wife, Janay Rice, put out a statement on Instagram defending her husband as “the man I love.”

Rice and his lawyers had made no public statements since TMZ posted a video Monday from inside the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey showing the couple in the elevator, a scene that ended with Janay Rice slumping to the floor after he punched her in the head.

“I have to be strong for my wife. She is so strong…We are in good spirits,” Ray Rice told ESPN. “We have a lot of people praying for us and we’ll continue to support each other.”

“I have to be there for [Janay] and my family right now and work through this,” he said.

Rice handed the phone to his wife who added, “I love my husband. I support him. I want people to respect our privacy in this family matter.”

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Former Mayor’s Wife Faces Trial in Florida Love Triangle Slaying

iStock/Thinkstock(INDIALANTIC, Fla.) — Testimony continues Tuesday in the trial of a Florida woman accused of killing a friend who was having an affair with her estranged husband.

Prosecutors say Sheila Graham-Trott and her husband, former Indialantic, Florida, Mayor Dan Trott, were in the midst of a divorce when she killed her friend Kelly Brennan in February 2010.

Graham-Trott has pleaded not guilty.

Dan Trott has testified that he started dating Brennan as his marriage with Graham-Trott eroded. Brennan and Trott had planned to meet at the gym in February 2010.

But Brennan never showed.

Graham-Trott’s mother called 911 to report Brennan’s death, a detail that stands out to legal analyst Mark Eiglarsh.

“What makes this case so unusual is how the defendant was acting immediately after the murder,” Eiglarsh said. “Her family felt compelled to call 911.”

Prosecutors say Graham-Trott led her own family to Brennan’s body. She was 46.

But the defense argues that other people had a motive to kill Brennan, including Brennan’s husband, Gino Rallo. Rallo testified Monday that he had nothing to do with his wife’s slaying, and prosecutors say he has an alibi, given that he was seen in surveillance footage at a local Walgreens at the time of Brennan’s death.

Rallo told jurors he never gave up on the idea of reconciling with his wife.

“Mr. Rallo, you loved your wife?” a defense attorney asked Rallo.

“Very much,” he responded.

“Even after you found out she’d been cheating on you behind your back for several months?” the attorney asked.

“Yes,” Rallo said.

“You still wanted to be with her?” the attorney asked.

“Yes,” Rallo said.

Graham-Trott’s attorneys declined to comment to ABC News.

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Minnesota Lottery Winner Going Back to Waiting Tables

Photodisc/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) — A Minnesota couple who just won an $11.7 million lottery jackpot say their big plans to use the money include nothing “out of the ordinary,” with the wife even keeping her waitressing job.

“I actually really enjoy my job,” newly minted multimillionaire Rhonda Meath said of her job waiting tables at the Lake Elmo Inn in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

“I have great friends here and a great boss, and it’s just really a fantastic place to work, so I have no plans of leaving,” she said.

Meath, 51, and her husband, Joe Meath of Bethel, Minnesota, came forward Monday as the winners of Saturday’s $11.7 million Hot Lotto jackpot.

The couple, who arrived at lottery headquarters Monday with three of their four children, will take home all of the $11.7 million because Hot Lotto pays the state and federal taxes, according to ABC affiliate KSTP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

“It was just a little shocking at first,” Rhonda Meath said.

The Meaths said they will splurge on a new car but, other than that, they plan to make some charitable contributions and keep their lives the same.

“Have to still mow the grass and get mail and put grandkids on the school bus,” Rhonda Meath told ABC News.

“We’re not going to do anything out of the ordinary,” said Joe, who is retired.

In terms of charity, Joe has promised to contribute to a college fund for the teenage clerk who sold him the winning ticket at a local gas station.

Rhonda, who spends much of her free time training therapy dogs, says she will donate some of the money to a local police K-9 foundation.

While their home life remains largely the same, Rhonda predicts she will see one difference on the job.

“Oh, I think the kitchen staff is going to be a little nicer to me,” she said.

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Ray Rice’s Wife Comes to Defense of ‘the Man I Love’

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The wife of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice defended “the man I love” in an online post Tuesday and said Rice’s football ban left her “feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend.”

Janay Rice, who was shown in a video released Monday getting knocked out in an Atlantic City elevator by Rice, posted the statement on Instagram the day after the Ravens terminated his contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” she wrote.

She called the attention to their Feb. 15 fight in the Revel Casino Hotel “unwanted.”

“To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his a** off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE!” she wrote.

The new video surfaced as the NFL defended itself Tuesday against allegations that it did not try to obtain the video of the punch from the Revel Casino Hotel.

Janay Rice said the stories about their fight and the ban on Rice playing NFL football left them hurt, embarrassed, alone and took “all happiness away.”

“Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!” she wrote.

“Security for Atlantic City casinos is handled by the New Jersey State Police,” the NFL said in a statement. “Any videos related to an ongoing criminal investigation are held in the custody of the state police. As we said yesterday: We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us.”

The league was criticized for initially banning Rice for two games, a punishment many considered to be too light. After the video emerged on Monday, the Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice’s contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

The New Jersey State Police said Tuesday the investigation was handled by the Atlantic City police. “We never had the video,” the state police said.

The Atlantic City police have not responded to requests for comment. The prosecutor in the case declined to discuss the case on Monday.

Outraged response to Rice’s initial two-game suspension prompted the league to establish a mandatory six-game suspension for players who violate the league’s domestic violence policy.

Rice and Palmer married following the incident.

Rice entered a pre-trial intervention program after being charged with aggravated assault and he publicly apologized for striking Palmer.

Revel Hotel Casino, where the incident occurred, closed Sept. 2.

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Thousands of Penn State Students Rally After Football Playoff Ban Removed

Rick Stewart/Getty Images(UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.) — Thousands of Pennsylvania State University students rallied overnight, celebrating the end of the school’s football bowl ban instituted in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving former coach Jerry Sandusky.

The students sang and chanted, shouting the school’s iconic cheer: “We Are Penn State.”

Police in riot gear held watch, making sure the demonstration didn’t get out of hand. Minor vandalism was reported, including a stop sign that was ripped down. Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller urged students to stay calm.

“Vandalism in the canyon will get you arrested, maybe kicked out of school and is no way to celebrate this victory,” Miller wrote on Twitter.

The rallying followed the decision by the NCAA’s Executive Committee to eliminate the school’s football postseason ban and scholarship reductions, recommendations proposed by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

The sanctions were implemented in 2012, after an NCAA report alleged the university was negligent in not dealing with Sandusky, who was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys for more than a decade. Other victims have since emerged.

The scandal ensnared now-deceased football coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley, exposing flaws in the school’s culture and insufficient sexual offense reporting practices.

As a result, Mitchell was instituted as the university’s athletics integrity monitor and sanctions were levied against the school and football program.

In a report released Monday, Mitchell lauded the university’s reform efforts, while also noting that the sanctions affected student-athletes “who bear no personal responsibility for the underlying reasons for the sanctions.”

“In light of Penn State’s responsiveness to its obligations and the many improvements it has instituted, I believe these student-athletes should have the opportunity to play in the post-season should they earn it on the field this year,” Mitchell wrote. “The maximum number of student-athletes ought to be given the chance both to receive a quality education and be active in sports.”

If Penn State continues its current course, Mitchell will recommend that his oversight role, scheduled to continue to 2017, should end earlier, he wrote in the report.

Penn State’s football team is 2-0 so far this season.

The school must still pay a $60 million fine, and 112 wins under Paterno – at one time recognized as college football’s winningest coach -– remain vacated.

Sandusky, 70, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years behind bars, effectively a life sentence.

The school has so far paid nearly $60 million in settlements to Sandusky’s victims.

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One Killed in Plane Crash at National Championship of Air Races in Nevada

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(RENO, Nev.) — The National Championship of Air Races in Reno was halted early on Monday after a fatal plane crash.

A statement from National Championship Air Races identified the pilot of the plane as Lee Behel, 64. Behel was flying a GP-5 at the time of the crash, which Mike Draper, a spokesperson for National Championship Air Races called a result of “a mechanical error.”

The crash was a single-plane accident and no other pilots or spectators were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to investigate the crash. National Championship Air Races said all planes would continue to be inspected prior to a return to the race course — a standard procedure.

Mike Major, chairman of the Reno Air Racing Association called Behel “a very talented pilot” and “an enthusiastic and compassionate friend.”

“This is a difficult day for all of us and our thoughts and prayers are with Lee’s family and friends,” Major said. “The entire Air Race family will miss him deeply.”

Qualification for the event will resume at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and the event officially kicks off on Wednesday.

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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Confirms Remains Are Those of Holly Bobo

The Bobo Family(DECATUR COUNTY, Tenn.) — Authorities confirmed on Monday night that human remains found in Decatur County on Sunday are those of Holly Bobo, the nursing student kidnapped in April 2011.

The remains were found a short distance from the house of one of the suspects in Bobo’s disappearance. On Monday night, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that the remains were those of Bobo.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn assured the public that the investigation into Bobo’s death is not over and that the aim remained to “get to the truth.” District Attorney Matt Stowe said that his office is “ready, willing and able to seek the death penalty for Bobo’s killers, but that a decision would be made in conjunction with the Bobo family in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to make sure that everyone who played a part in the heinous crime that has attacked the peace and dignity of the state of Tennessee faces a consequence for that,” Stowe said.

Charges were filed against Zachary Rye Adams in March for murder and aggravated kidnapping. A second suspect, Jason Wayne Autry, was indicted in April.

Two other men were charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence in June.

Bobo disappeared from her home in April 2011, at the age of 20. Witness statements from her brother said that a man in camouflage dragged her into the woods near her home.

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Fire Causes Roller-Coaster Collapse at California’s Magic Mountain

Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic(VALENCIA, Calif.) — A fire at Six Flags’ Magic Mountain theme park caused the Colossus roller coaster to collapse.

Colossus, a wooden roller coaster built in the 1970s, had been temporarily closed since Aug. 17. Six Flags has said that it planned to turn the ride into a wood-and-steel hybrid roller coaster.

The park was closed on Monday, as it opens only on Saturdays and Sundays after Labor Day. No one was injured by the fire or the ride collapse.

Six Flags released a statement on Monday afternoon that announced that the fire had been extinguished.

The renovated ride, to be called Twisted Colossus, is still on track to open in spring of 2015.

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