Review Category : National News

Search for Missing DC Girl Gets Renewed Attention

FBI(WASHINGTON) — The search continues for an 8-year-old girl who vanished from the Washington, D.C., area in March, months after her suspected kidnapper was found dead — with her case getting renewed attention due to the case of a missing University of Virginia student.

Relisha Rudd was last seen with Kahlil Malik Tatum, 51, a janitor at the family homeless shelter where Rudd and her mother lived. Police believe Tatum, also facing charges for his wife’s murder, kidnapped Rudd before he committed suicide. He was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 1 in Kenilworth Park in northeastern Washington, the FBI said.

The search for missing UVA student Hannah Graham has sparked renewed interest in Rudd’s case, as supporters turn to social media to urge the public not to forget about the young girl.

“We continue to look for her,” FBI spokesman Andrew Ames told ABC News Wednesday. “There were a lot of tips that came in when she was initially reported missing, and we continue to receive tips and follow up on them.”

The Metropolitan Police Department is also involved in the ongoing investigation. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to Rudd’s return.

The city has also looked into whether more could have been done to keep Rudd safe.

An internal report presented at a District of Columbia Council hearing earlier this month revealed her school delayed reporting unexcused absences to Child and Family Services to give Rudd’s mother, Shamika Young, additional time to collect medical documentation to justify the absences. She later told the school her daughter was sick and “under the care of a Dr. Tatum,” referring to the janitor at the shelter, who is not a doctor, according to the report.

The review also points out that Tatum had a criminal history and violated the shelter’s policy, which prohibited relationships between staff and residents. The report recommends the school and shelter review their policies.

But the city says it did “not find evidence that these tragic events were preventable.”

Tatum’s wife, Andrea Tatum, was found shot to death in a hotel in Maryland on March 20, 2014, the day after Rudd was reported missing.

Rudd and Kahlil Malik Tatum were seen on surveillance footage at a Holiday Inn Express in late February.

Young, who has three other children, has defended herself against critics who suggested she didn’t keep a close eye on her daughter.

“Can’t nobody put their feet in my shoes. Don’t nobody know what’s going through my mind and what’s running through my head,” Young said when she called into an Internet radio show discussing her daughter’s disappearance in April, ABC News affiliate WJLA reported.

ABC News could not reach Young for comment.

The Facebook group “Help Find Relisha Rudd” is hosting a prayer event on Oct. 1, urging supporters to light a candle at home and say a prayer for Rudd’s safe return.

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Protesters Loot Store in Ferguson After Fire Destroyed Michael Brown Memorial

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Protesters took to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, late Tuesday night and looted a store, according to police, after a fire destroyed one of the memorials dedicated to 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was gunned down by a police officer this summer.

An unruly crowd gathered around 9 p.m. local time Tuesday on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, close to where the memorial site burned down earlier in the day, police said.

The crowd then made its way towards Beauty Town on West Florissant Avenue and began to loot the store. Police arrived at the beauty store quickly and were able to calm down the situation. It was the third time Beauty Town was looted since Brown was killed, police said.

The crowd, according to police, eventually thinned out and moved down West Florissant Avenue towards a McDonald’s.

Around 11 p.m. local time, a car ran over a water bottle, making a popping sound, police said. The sound seemed to spook people, but it was determined that the popping was not a gunshot.

At least three people were arrested, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.

Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot to death by a white Ferguson police officer Aug. 9. Residents and others remain upset about the way his body lay in the street for more than four hours while police investigated the shooting. Many insisted Brown was trying to surrender, with his hands up.

Residents were also angry that the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, remained free on paid administrative leave. A state grand jury is considering whether Wilson should face criminal charges and the Department of Justice was also investigating.

The roadside memorial where Brown was killed was destroyed by fire early Tuesday. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear. Later in the day, the memorial was rebuilt with new teddy bears, a blanket and new signs.

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Accused Cop Killer Eric Frein Stars in War Reenactor Documentary

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The filmmaker of a new documentary about a Vietnam War reenactment said he was shocked to learn that one of his actors was Eric Frein, the subject of a massive Pennsylvania manhunt, and said he had sensed that some reenactors were on the “edge of violence.”

The dragnet for Frein, wanted for allegedly shooting two state troopers at the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, has plagued eastern Pennsylvania for the past 12 days. Schools in the Pocono Mountain School District reopened on Tuesday, but students were kept indoors and some bus routes were canceled. Frein is believed to be hiding out in the woods near his home in Canadensis, Pa.

“I think we always had a fear that one of the people we were following — because they had so much weaponry — could do something very dangerous,” filmmaker Patrick Bresnan of Austin, Texas, told ABC News Tuesday.

Bresnan, 38, said he and his wife, also a filmmaker, have been busy all summer getting their documentary Vietnam Appreciation Day ready for film festival submissions. The documentary follows a group of war reenactors in rural Pennsylvania, including Frein, preparing for a public show.

Frein and his friends were “very serious about the job,” said Bresnan, who grew up in Pennsylvania and spent time there while filming.

“They were at another level,” he said. “Their collections were almost fetishistic, obsessing over details on uniforms and weaponries.”

But he sensed how the hobby could lead to violence.

“Many people use reenacting as a way to justify owning weapons,” Bresnan said, adding that many of the reenactors he met were people who failed to get into the military.

“A lot of these guys try to act in History Channel episodes as extras, and they get paid $150 so they justify hoarding and collecting weaponry through their reenacting. That’s like the crown jewel for a lot of these guys — getting to portray a Nazi or a soldier on the History Channel.”

Frein is not a main character in Vietnam Appreciation Day, but the film “is a window into Eric’s world,” said Bresnan, who described the suspected murderer as “goofy but dark.”

Filming wrapped in 2011, and Bresnan hopes the film will appear on the next festival circuit. The application deadline for the Sundance Film Festival is next week, he added.

Frein is accused of killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounding another trooper when police say he opened fire at the barracks, and then fled into the woods. He’s a survivalist with experience living off the land and a skilled shooter, police said.

His father, a retired Army major, said two weapons were missing from his home: a .308 with a scope and an AK-47 assault rifle. Police scouring the woods have found an AK-47 and ammunition that they believe Frein either abandoned or had stashed.

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Accused Cop Killer Eric Frein Stars in War Reenactor Documentary

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The filmmaker of a new documentary about a Vietnam War reenactment said he was shocked to learn that one of his actors was Eric Frein, the subject of a massive Pennsylvania manhunt, and said he had sensed that some reenactors were on the “edge of violence.”

The dragnet for Frein, wanted for allegedly shooting two state troopers at the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12, has plagued eastern Pennsylvania for the past 12 days. Schools in the Pocono Mountain School District reopened on Tuesday, but students were kept indoors and some bus routes were canceled. Frein is believed to be hiding out in the woods near his home in Canadensis, Pa.

“I think we always had a fear that one of the people we were following — because they had so much weaponry — could do something very dangerous,” filmmaker Patrick Bresnan of Austin, Texas, told ABC News Tuesday.

Bresnan, 38, said he and his wife, also a filmmaker, have been busy all summer getting their documentary Vietnam Appreciation Day ready for film festival submissions. The documentary follows a group of war reenactors in rural Pennsylvania, including Frein, preparing for a public show.

Frein and his friends were “very serious about the job,” said Bresnan, who grew up in Pennsylvania and spent time there while filming.

“They were at another level,” he said. “Their collections were almost fetishistic, obsessing over details on uniforms and weaponries.”

But he sensed how the hobby could lead to violence.

“Many people use reenacting as a way to justify owning weapons,” Bresnan said, adding that many of the reenactors he met were people who failed to get into the military.

“A lot of these guys try to act in History Channel episodes as extras, and they get paid $150 so they justify hoarding and collecting weaponry through their reenacting. That’s like the crown jewel for a lot of these guys — getting to portray a Nazi or a soldier on the History Channel.”

Frein is not a main character in Vietnam Appreciation Day, but the film “is a window into Eric’s world,” said Bresnan, who described the suspected murderer as “goofy but dark.”

Filming wrapped in 2011, and Bresnan hopes the film will appear on the next festival circuit. The application deadline for the Sundance Film Festival is next week, he added.

Frein is accused of killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounding another trooper when police say he opened fire at the barracks, and then fled into the woods. He’s a survivalist with experience living off the land and a skilled shooter, police said.

His father, a retired Army major, said two weapons were missing from his home: a .308 with a scope and an AK-47 assault rifle. Police scouring the woods have found an AK-47 and ammunition that they believe Frein either abandoned or had stashed.

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New Jersey Wedding Crashers Wanted for Robbery

iStock/Thinkstock(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J.) — Three uninvited guests who allegedly crashed a wedding in New Jersey are now wanted by police because of the stunt.

Ocean Township police said they have identified the three minors, who took the time to pose in a photo booth that the newlyweds had rented for their guests at the reception. They remain at large but police said they expect to apprehend the suspects soon.

“The three unknown subjects were dressed in suits and mingled with the wedding guests,” Ocean Township police said in a statement about the incident on Sept. 20.

The reception was being held at the English Manor, a wedding venue in Wanamassa, New Jersey. A representative from the venue had no comment about the incident when contacted by ABC News.

The three reportedly drank while crashing the party, which constituted a form of theft, according to ABC affiliate WPVI.

The jig was up when legitimately invited wedding guests alerted a manager about the crashers, and one of the young men threw the manager, a woman, to the ground and fled, police said. The suspects are accused of a strong-arm robbery.

“If you use force during the course of a theft, that is technically a robbery under New Jersey law,” Police Captain Earl Giffords told ABC News.

He went on to say that there is a “broad range” of prospective punishment for such a crime but because no one was injured in the incident, they will likely get a sentence on the low end of the spectrum.

“I can’t imagine we’re going to see any jail time,” Giffords said.

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Bags of Clothing Moved from Jesse Matthew’s Apartment, Police Say

Charlottesville Police Department(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Bags of clothing are being tested by police after authorities removed them from the apartment that belongs to the person of interest in the search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, police said Tuesday.

The items were taken from Jesse Matthew’s apartment on Monday as part of the second search warrant issued for the property though police would not elaborate on who the clothing belonged to or how they are connected to the case.

Charlottesville police are expected to release their findings from inside Matthew’s car later Tuesday stemming from a search warrant executed last week, though any findings from the clothing will take longer, officials said.

Matthew has not been charged with any crimes in connection to Graham’s disappearance, though he is now wanted on a reckless driving charge after he allegedly sped away from the police station after going there to get a lawyer on Saturday, police said.

A wanted poster was issued for him Monday and police stated that they believe he may be in possession of his sister’s car, and has known associates along the east coast, from his home state of Virginia all the way up to New York.

Matthew, 32, came under scrutiny in the Graham disappearance because he was seen at a restaurant with the 18-year-old student shortly before she disappeared in the early hours of Sept. 13.

Police chief Timothy Longo has repeated calls asking Matthew to come forward to discuss any information he may have about Graham and what happened to her. Longo has said that police believe Matthew is the last person to have seen Graham since she disappeared.

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Three Afghan Soldiers Stopped by Strip Club Before Seeking Asylum: Police

iStock/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Prior to their encounter with Canadian and American border agents near Buffalo, New York, the three Afghan soldiers who went missing from Joint Base Cape Cod over the weekend stopped at a strip club, a local police chief confirmed to ABC News Tuesday.

“They were in Mashpee, Massachusetts, at Zachary’s Friday evening,” said Mashpee Police Chief Rodney Collins.

By Saturday they were at Cape Cod Mall, where law enforcement sources said they wanted to buy civilian clothing.

Zachary’s Pub touts itself as “Cape Cod’s only Gentleman’s Club.” The website says “We feature all-nude exotic entertainment, pool tables, Keno, full menu and $4 draft beer. We are open every day, with continuous entertainment from noon – 1 a.m. Couples are welcome!”

“Having military people in here is pretty standard and having people using passports is pretty standard,” said club owner Richard Halpern.

Halpern told ABC News his employees notified him after the story of the soldiers’ disappearance hit the local news.

“Cashiers, dancers and disc jockeys all called to tell me they were in here,” he said.

Halpern said the three Afghan soldiers were part of a larger group of seven or eight that included a translator who told the hostess to notify him if there were any problems. There were no problems and the group left later that night without incident.

The officers were part of a 14-officer contingent from Afghanistan, officials said.

The three Afghan soldiers were found Monday near the U.S.-Canada border, a U.S. Defense Department official told ABC News. Law enforcement officials said the men did not try to hide, but instead walked up to border patrol agents and presented themselves for asylum.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday that the three Afghan men are now in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Batavia, New York.

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Protesters Play Dead Outside White House

John Parkinson/ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Five demonstrators shut down a checkpoint at the White House Tuesday, days after an intruder scaled a fence.

One man held up a sign that read: “THERE IS NO MILITARY SOLUTION.” Four others played dead on the sidewalk in front of the northwest checkpoint along Pennsylvania Avenue.

An organizer told ABC News that the man holding the sign is Father John Dear of the group Campaign Nonviolence.

More than a dozen Secret Service officers arrived to remove the protestors, who did not resist arrest.

“When will we realize war is the worst thing we can possibly do?” one protester yelled. Others sang in honor of the victims of drone attacks.

“We’re standing for the victims, we shall not be moved,” they chanted.

The protest organizer, Campaign Nonviolence, describes itself as a group “committed to nonviolent social change…representatives of organizations that normally do not have a voice and have little influence in the places of power in Washington DC,” and outlined a series of “demands” in a letter apparently sent to President Obama and posted on Twitter:

  1. ”[E]nd all drone warfare,”
  2. “establish a living wage” and
  3. “initiate and work for an international treaty for swift verifiable action to reverse climate change.”

“We have the audacity to hope that you or a senior representatives will meet with us on Tuesday September 23, 2014,” the group said in the letter.

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LISTEN: 911 Call of Florida Man Who Shot Entire Family

AbleStock.com/Thinkstock(BELL, Fla.) — A chilling 911 call reveals the moments after a Florida man shot his entire family in cold blood before committing suicide.

Don Spirit of Bell, Florida, turned the gun on himself after police arrived at the scene of the crime at his mobile home last week where they found seven other bodies, including that of Spirit’s infant granddaughter.

“Yes, ma’am, I just shot my daughter and shot all my grandkids and I’ll be sitting on my step, and when you get here I’m going to shoot myself,” Spirit, 51, said during the call, obtained Tuesday by ABC News.

Spirit was eerily calm as he gave the dispatcher his address, but refused to answer some of her questions.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of gun I got,” he said. “They’re all dead. When you get here, I’ll shoot myself and then you figure out what kind of gun I have.”

He refused to stay on the line until help arrived and committed suicide shortly after officers got there.

The victims include Bell’s 28-year-old daughter, Sarah Lorraine Spirit, and her six children, including a baby girl born in June.

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Ravens Owner Denies Charges in ESPN Report

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti Monday refuted accusations made by ESPN’s Outside the Lines that the team knew former running back Ray Rice had struck his then-fiancee inside a hotel elevators hours after it happened last Feb. 15.

Among the other points raised in the ESPN story was that Bisciotti and the Ravens front office pressured NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to only penalize Rice with a two-game suspension, which the owner denied.

After the video of Rice punching Janay Palmer surfaced two weeks ago, the Ravens cut Rice from the team and Goodell boosted the penalty from two games to an indefinite suspension, which the former Raven is now appealing.

Meanwhile, Bisciotti said he made a huge mistake by not attempting to see the fateful surveillance video earlier, admitting to reporters, “I lacked a whole lot of interest. Zero desire to see that tape.”

As for why he didn’t kick Rice off the team when the first video showed her collapsed on the floor after the elevators doors had opened, Bisciotti also conceded, “I’m not that good. I’m not that honorable I guess. I was not prepared to take the worst-case punishment against somebody I have loving feelings for.”

Meanwhile, the owner speculated about why he felt the ESPN story was filled with inaccuracies, saying, “It’s Ray’s attorney, it’s Ray’s agent, and it’s Ray’s friends, and you know, they are building a case for reinstatement and the best way to build a case for reinstatement, is to make everyone else look like they’re lying.”

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