Review Category : National News

Colorado Teen Who Tried to Join ISIS Gets Four Years in Prison

Ruskpp/iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — A teenager from Colorado who was caught heading overseas to fight for ISIS was sentenced on Friday in federal court.

The judge referred to Shannon Conley, 19, as “a bit of a mess” when describing her mental state before sentencing her to four years in federal prison.

The 19-year-old was arrested last year at Denver International Airport on her way to Syria to marry a man she met online, admitting to FBI agents that she was planning use her military training from the U.S. Army Explorers program to help Islamic militants wage holy war on the U.S.

Prosecutors told the court that even in the Denver jail, all Conley wanted to talk about was violent jihad.

Conley pleaded guilty to providing support to a foreign terrorist organization.

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Army Report Finds No Warning Signs That Triggered 2014 Fort Hood Shooting

Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Army has concluded there were “no clear warning signs” in the military and personnel records of the gunman responsible for last year’s mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that would have indicated he would act violently.

On April 2, 2014 Specialist Ivan Lopez-Lopez went on a shooting spree on the sprawling base that killed three and injured 12 before he took his own life. The investigation found no single event led to the shootings, but it cited “potential contributing factors” that if they had not occurred “might have led to a different result.”

Headed by Lt. General Joseph E. Martz, the investigation concluded: “We find no indication in his medical and personnel records suggesting SPC Lopez-Lopez was likely to commit a violent act” or “sufficient evidence that he pre-planned the shooting.”

In the weeks and months before the shootings Lopez-Lopez was experiencing financial stress and dealing with the emotional blow of the deaths of his mother and grandfather six months before.

However, the report determined, “We cannot reasonably conclude that any single event or stressor, in isolation, was the cause of the shooting. We find that the cumulative effect of these stressors overwhelmed SPC Lopez-Lopez’s ability to effectively cope with them, and led to his irrational, violent outburst.”

Lopez-Lopez had been recently transferred to Fort Hood and upon assignment to his new unit had requested time off, Permissive Temporary Duty (PTDY) to finish his move from his previous posting at Fort Bliss, Texas.

He spent much of April 2 trying to get his time off request processed by his unit’s personnel office, a request they ultimately denied because he had already secured housing in nearby Killeen, Texas.

Later that same day Lopez-Lopez used a recently purchased handgun to begin shooting soldiers assigned to the personnel office, targeting several soldiers “he believed were not supporting his PTDY request.”

Martz’s report says the PTDY request could have been handled better “but we do not find—nor do we intend to create the perception—that personnel in the S-1 shop are to blame for the shooting.” S-1 being the Army acronym for a battalion personnel command.

“No other soldier could reasonably have foreseen that he would react as he did to the denial of his PTDY request, and none of them had the opportunity to stop him,” said the report. “He alone had the opportunity to avoid the shooting, and he chose not to do so.”

The report also found that his unit’s command was in such transition that they “were hampered by a lack of awareness of the stressors affecting him.”

The review found “no indication in his medical and personnel records suggesting SPC Lopez-Lopez was likely to commit a violent act.” But it also determined that they could not conclude that if his PTDY request had been granted whether “he would not have reacted violently at some other time.”

Noting the limited interactions that Lopez-Lopez’s commanders had with the newly assigned soldier the report makes several recommendations to improve the level of contacts with new soldiers in their units.

The report recommends further exploration of the idea that soldiers register their personally owned weapons with their commander. Currently, soldiers are required to register their personally owned guns only if they live on base housing.

“This impacts a commander’s ability to maintain situational awareness over a service member and their actions involving a firearm that could be concealed and brought onto the installation for unauthorized purposes,” said the report.

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The Dangers of a College Student Becoming a Campus Police Drug Informant

Eric Bosco. ABC News(AMHERST, Mass.) — When Francesca sent her son Logan off to college at University of Massachusetts Amherst, she said they were in constant communication, exchanging phone calls at least once a week and texts every day. She was proud of his accomplishments at school and says he seemed to be thriving.

“He was having so much fun, he really was,” Francesca told ABC News’ 20/20. “He made a lot of friends.”

But what she didn’t know was that Logan had been recruited to be a confidential drug informant for the university’s campus police.

And for the first time, Francesca, who asked that her last name not be used, is speaking out about what happened to her son.

Logan Thrives at School

In October 2013, Logan, whose name has been changed, was a junior kinesiology major and a recipient of a prestigious Chancellor’s scholarship at U-Mass Amherst. Growing up, he had been a Boy Scout and an AP student in high school.

“Very happy, always — jokester, major jokester,” Francesca said of her son’s personality. “He was the life of the party, he really was. … He was all about helping people.”

Francesca, a real estate agent and a single mom, said she and her son were “very close.” Logan was her only child, and she said she would visit him every Family Weekend in the fall.

She never imagined that when she spoke to Logan the night before she was coming for Family Weekend in October 2013, it was going to be the last time.

A Parent’s Worst Nightmare

On Oct. 4, 2013, Logan’s father, Francesca’s ex-husband, arrived at the school first for Family Weekend and soon discovered something was wrong.

“I was about a half-hour into the drive and his dad was supposed to meet him after his last class and take him to lunch,” Francesca said, noting that her ex-husband called her and said Logan wasn’t here he was supposed to meet him.

Francesca’s ex then told her he had gone over to where Logan worked at the campus gym, but couldn’t find him.

“He said, “Nobody’s seen him,’” she said. “And I told him I just had an awful feeling, and I told him to ‘knock the door down, something has got to be wrong.'”

Logan’s father got a maintenance worker to open Logan’s off-campus apartment door. Then he delivered the horrifying news.

“He said, ‘He’s not breathing,’” Francesca said through tears. “That’s all he was telling me is ‘he’s not breathing.’ I said, ‘Call an ambulance,’ and he went from saying, ‘He’s not breathing,’ to, ‘He’s blue. He’s dead.’”

At the time, Logan’s parents had no idea what had happened to their son, who loved hockey and was very athletic.

Francesca said she wasn’t naive. She knew her son occasionally drank and smoked marijuana with friends. “I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary,” she said. But a more serious offense was when he was arrested when he was 18 years old after police found cocaine residue in a pen in the trunk of his car during a traffic stop.

But Francesca said Logan was enjoying college, and was working towards becoming a physical therapist. She didn’t know yet that her son had been tapped to work as a drug informant for campus police.

A Student Reporter Makes a Shocking Discovery

When Logan was found dead, a fellow U-Mass Amherst student named Eric Bosco, along with his classmate Kayla Marchetti, decided to look into the case as a class project for an investigative journalism class. He asked for public records on Logan’s death, which he said they copied and gave him.

Bosco said what he found was shocking. The police records showed details of a night ten months before Logan’s death. He was a sophomore at the time and on Dec. 4, 2012, according to the records, Logan unwittingly sold two tabs of LSD to an undercover campus police officer for $20 and was caught. The records said campus police then raided his bedroom at his apartment.

“They find $700 in cash, an assortment of drugs, and a hypodermic needle,” Bosco said, recounting the records.

The hypodermic needle, which is banned on campus, the drugs and money would have typically led to an arrest, suspension and, as part of school policy, the parents should have been notified that a student was found responsible for a drug or alcohol violation.

But that night, the records showed that campus police decided to do something different for Logan.

“He was offered a chance to help himself by giving information in regards to another drug dealer,” Bosco said. “The offer was they’ll drop all charges and they won’t charge him with distributing LSD and for the possession of drugs in his room if he wears a wire and goes, makes a controlled buy from a higher-level dealer on campus.”

Becoming ‘Confidential Informant No. 8.’

According to campus police records, after Logan agreed to the deal, he is dubbed “Confidential Informant No. 8.” That same night, Dec. 4, 2012, the records say Logan contacted his former roommate, a friend called “Sleepy Dan,” and arranged to buy $70 of LSD while wearing a wire.

Bosco said that, “When [Logan] gets up into the room, he’s wearing a wire, he makes the buy, he leaves the room, and detectives swoop in and make the arrest … in a matter of minutes.”

Logan kept his role as a confidential informant a secret from his mother. Even six months after his death, campus police had not talked openly about the night of Dec. 4, 2012. In fact, Bosco said he was the one who told Francesca that Logan was an informant.

“That was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Bosco said. “It was just a powerful, tragic moment.”

Francesca became determined to help Bosco investigate Logan’s death, and sent him her son’s iPhone. When Bosco began looking through Logan’s text messages, he made another shocking discovery.

“We found a lot,” he said. “This kid hadn’t deleted any text messages for a year and a half or two years that he had the phone. … He was able to essentially speak from the grave.”

Logan’s Phone Reveals His Struggles With Going Undercover

Logan’s texts made it clear that making the deal with campus police had taken a toll. In one text, Logan wrote, “kinda hard to live with myself. … that was honestly the worst day of my life.” In another he wrote, “I feel like I lost a brother and it [is] all my fault. Kinda wish I was just behind bars right now.”

His phone also revealed a voicemail message left by U-Mass Amherst campus police one month after becoming an informant, which said they were returning the cash they took from his dorm room.

In the months before he died, Logan confided in his childhood friend John Neuwirth.

“He wasn’t happy about what he did,” Neuwirth said. “He was ashamed. He felt bad. Anybody would. … He gets labeled as a snitch, labeled as a rat. It’s basically ostracizing him from the community.”

As the months went on, Logan’s texts showed his drug use had escalated. “I’m a heroin addict,” he confessed to a friend in one text.

Then, in a text to a dealer he wrote 10 months after becoming CI-8, on the night before his parents were coming to visit for Parents Weekend, Logan wrote, “my veins are crying. … is traffic going too bad?” The dealer wrote back, “you will very soon be in the loving comforting arms of Miss H.”

By the next morning, Logan was dead.

A Mother on a Mission

Francesca is certain her son’s death could have been avoided if she had been given the chance to help him when he was busted for selling LSD on Dec. 4, 2012.

“We should have been called, under the policies and procedures of the university,” Francesca said. “I would have been up there in the middle of the night, bringing him home and finding him help. … Just knowing there was a syringe, I would have gotten him help. I would have just automatically made an assumption it was heroin.”

According to Bosco, campus police claim that they asked Logan repeatedly if he had a drug problem, and they said he assured them he did not. But his mother is skeptical.

“Nobody wants to believe they have a problem, and no one’s going to admit it, especially when you have so much at stake,” she said. “For the police to say, ‘We asked him,’ really? I don’t even know what to say to that.”

Francesca launched a mission to hold the university accountable for Logan’s death.

A University Changes Its Policy

Bosco’s story about his investigation into Logan’s death landed on the front page of the Boston Globe on Sept. 28, 2014, and led prosecutors to re-open the case. Even the university’s own Vice Chancellor of University Relations John Kennedy, shown here, said he didn’t know the details of Logan’s informant work until Bosco’s report came out.

“We learned through the reporting process,” Kennedy said.

John Kennedy told 20/20 the district attorney has instructed him not to talk about the specifics of this case because it is an ongoing and pending investigation.

He said Logan’s parents weren’t notified that Logan had become a drug informant for U-Mass Amherst campus police because the policy on confidential informants protected his identity.

“I would say that this was a revealing moment for us because it caused us to go look at the policy,” Kennedy said. “Parental notification was not required as part of the policy. Notification of the administration was not required as a part of the policy. … that was a shortcoming.”

U-Mass Amherst is not the only university with a student drug informant program. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Campus Police Chief Matthew Kierderlen said they have used 20 CIs since 2012, and it’s made the campus unattractive to drug dealers. But he said students are never coerced into being CIs, they offer do it as a chance to erase drug offenses from their records.

“Our intent is to make this as safe as is possible,” Kierderlen said. “There’s certainly always unknowns but we try to account for as much known as we can.”

After what happened to Logan, the university launched an immediate review, Kennedy said, and last week U-Mass Amherst “decided to do away with the use of student confidential informants on this campus.”

In the wake of Logan’s case, amendments to Rachel’s Law, which puts restrictions on the use of confidential informants, are currently being debated in both the Florida state House of Representatives and the state Senate that would prohibit university campus police from recruiting or using enrolled students for drug buy-bust operations, but would allow them to provide confidential information. It would also require law enforcement to refer treatment programs to known drug abusers who become confidential informants, and prohibit police from using known drug abusers in buy-bust operations.

For Francesca, the policy change at U-Mass Amherst was a small comfort. She said she is working to bring the heroin dealer who sold the lethal dose to her son to justice. 20/20 learned recently that the phone number of the dealer Logan had been texting the night he died belonged to a paid teacher’s assistant at U-Mass Amherst, according to the university directory. He is no longer at the school, and the open investigation is now in the hands of the district attorney.

The Northwestern District Attorney declined to comment on the investigation into the dealer’s role in Logan’s death.

“Maybe they made [the dealer] a confidential informant,” Francesca said.

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Dad Posts Meddling Note Sent Home by Teacher over Packed Lunch

PhotoObjects.net/Thinkstock(KIRKSVILLE, Mo.) — A fed-up Missouri father posted a photo of the letter he received from his daughter’s substitute teacher who criticized the girl’s lunch.

One problem: the teacher didn’t see her whole lunch.

Dr. Justin Puckett was asked to sign a note sent home with his daughter Alia after the teacher saw her eating marshmallows and chocolate at lunch earlier this week.

He refused to do so, and posted it online instead, saying that it was just the latest in what he sees as a growing trend of overreaching by authorities.

“I think that this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me,” Puckett told ABC News.

The substitute teacher wrote in the note sent home on Tuesday that a cafeteria employee said that her lunch consisted of four chocolate bars, a bag of marshmallows, Ritz crackers and a pickle.

“Please see that she packs a proper lunch tomorrow,” the teacher wrote. An attempt to reach the teacher for comment wasn’t immediately successful.

Puckett told ABC News that, since the note was addressed to “Dr. and Mrs. Puckett,” it was clear that the teacher knew he was a physician which he said “just adds to the irony of it all.”

What the cafeteria worker and the substitute missed, however, was that the 8-year-old also had four pieces of ham and a low fat string cheese rather than a sandwich, since “we don’t eat a lot of bread,” said Puckett, who is double board certified in osteopathic family medicine and obesity medicine.

“We leave it up to her and she looks at the school menu and she packs her own lunch and she’s a very independent second grader,” he told ABC News.

“Sure, I’d liked her to pack a few more veggies and maybe a piece of fruit, but we compromise on pickles occasionally,” he wrote in his original Facebook post.

Kirksville, Missouri, school superintendent Damon Kizzire has apologized for the incident and said that the way it’s “being blown out of proportion is way out of line with how it was intended. It was all meant with the best of intentions.”

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11 Rescued After Ship Sinks Off Hawaiian Island

iStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -– Eleven people were rescued on Thursday after a 95-foot towing vessel sank two and half miles off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials received a call around 3:13 pm HST from the pilot about the towing vessel Nalani, stating their vessel was taking on water, and they were in danger of sinking.

A nearby patrol boat from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and towing vessel Tiger 7 heard the urgent broadcast put out to nearby mariners of the situation and responded to the sinking ship.

The crews on the two boats were able to safely rescue the 11 crew members shortly before two Coast Guard boats arrived on the scene.

All 11 survivors were wearing lifejackets, according to officials.

The cause of the sinking is unknown and remains under investigation.

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NFL Says New England Patriots Used Under-Inflated Balls in First Half

Patriots’ Tom Brady on Sunday, January 18, 2015. Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The National Football League acknowledged for the first time on Friday that the New England Patriots used under-inflated balls in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts and that it is continuing to look into the matter ahead of next week’s Super Bowl.

“While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated,” the NFL said in a statement. “The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.”

The statement stops short of saying the Patriots deflated the balls.

The league also said, “The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.”

“Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly,” it added.

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NFL Says New England Patriots Used Under-Inflated Balls in First Half

Patriots’ Tom Brady on Sunday, January 18, 2015. Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The National Football League acknowledged for the first time on Friday that the New England Patriots used under-inflated balls in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts and that it is continuing to look into the matter ahead of next week’s Super Bowl.

“While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated,” the NFL said in a statement. “The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.”

The statement stops short of saying the Patriots deflated the balls.

The league also said, “The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.”

“Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly,” it added.

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TSA Finds Record Number of Firearms in Carry-On Bags

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The next time you are standing in the security line at the airport, be aware that some of your fellow passengers may be packing more than just clothes.

The Transportation Security Administration says that a record 2,212 firearms were discovered in passenger’s carry-on bags or on their bodies in the past year. And more than 80 percent of those guns were loaded.

The TSA says it found an average of six firearms a day, and discoveries were made at 224 airports.

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport had the most guns confiscated, with 120, while Atlanta had 109 cases, the TSA said.

Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Bush International in Houston and the Denver International airport each had more than 50 firearm incidents. On June 4 alone, 18 firearms were discovered around the country packed in carry-on bags.

The total number of firearms discovered at security checkpoints has been rising for almost 10 years now. In 2005, only 660 firearms turned up during air passenger screenings.

“The most common excuse people give when we detect a firearm in their carry-on bag is that they forgot. The second most common excuse is that their husband or wife packed the bag,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told ABC News. “We have no reason to believe that any of the individuals who have been stopped with firearms at checkpoints have had any intent to cause harm.”

That may be true, but some of the firearm incidents make you ask, “What were they thinking?”

  • A 94-year-old man attempted to enter the checkpoint at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) with a loaded .38 caliber revolver clipped to his belt.
  • A loaded 380. caliber firearm was discovered strapped to a passenger’s ankle after walking through a metal detector at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
  • A loaded 380. caliber firearm was discovered in the rear pocket of a San Antonio International Airport (SAT) passenger during advanced imaging technology screening.

In addition to handguns and other firearms, the TSA also turns up some potentially deadly items coming through security.

An Mk 2 hand grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at Los Angeles International Airport. The Terminal 1 checkpoint was closed while the explosive ordnance disposal team transported the grenade to an offsite location to be disrupted. Five flights were delayed more than two hours, affecting 800 passengers.

Other dangerous items discovered last year include: a fireworks making kit, fireworks, black powder pellets, live flash bang grenades, propane, a flare gun, seal deterrent, M-1000 fireworks, over 700 stun guns and live smoke grenades.

TSA also reports there were many instances last year when travelers attempted to hide items, especially knives. An 8 inch knife was found at a Sonoma, California airport hidden in an enchilada. Razor blades were found hidden in a greeting card in Newport News. And the TSA says screeners regularly found sword canes, credit card knives, belt buckle knives, comb/brush knives, knives hidden in shoes, knives hidden in thermoses and knives hidden under the bag lining near the handle mechanism.

Inert or replica explosives are also a problem for screeners. A realistic replica of a Claymore anti-personnel mine was discovered in a traveler’s checked bag at San Francisco International Airport.

So what happens to these gun-toting or weapon-carrying passengers? The TSA says it is up to local law enforcement as to whether the individual is cited or arrested. That is a local decision made based on the laws of the jurisdiction. The same goes for prosecutions — that’s up to the local prosecutor.

The TSA’s Lisa Farbstein points out that “people can actually fly with their firearms if they do so the correct way. The correct way is to pack your firearm in a hard-sided case. The gun must be unloaded. The case must have a lock on it.”

If you are flying with a firearm, you then take that case to the check-in counter and declare to the airline representative that you want to fly with your firearm. The airline representative will give you a brief form to fill out. A local law enforcement officer may come over to see if you’ve packed the firearm properly. The airline will then make sure the firearm is handled as checked luggage, in the belly of the plane.

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Chilling Video Shows Armed Suspect Forcing Woman into Car Trunk, Driving Off

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Texas) — Police released surveillance video of a brazen ATM robbery and kidnapping in Arlington, Texas, in hopes of identifying the suspect.

The video shows the victim pulling up to a drive-in ATM at a Wells Fargo bank early in the morning on Jan. 14 and being approached by a man brandishing a gun. He can be seen ordering the woman into the trunk of her car then driving off with her.

The man ordered her to give him money from her account, police said, driving her to other ATMs to withdraw more money.

The victim was eventually able to escape from her trunk and run to a nearby convenience store, police said. When she took police to where she left her car, it was gone, according to ABC affiliate WFAA. The vehicle was found a short time later.

Police believe the man could be responsible for a robbery at the same Wells Fargo just before 3 a.m. involving a man using a walk-up ATM, the station reported.

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PHOTOS: Inside the Frat Party that Caused $75,000 of Damage at a Ski Resort

Treetops Resort(GAYLORD, Mich.) — Students from the University of Michigan, including members from six fraternities and sororities, are accused of causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damages during a weekend stay at two northern Michigan ski resorts.

The students, which included members of the Sigma Alpha Mu, Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi fraternities, as well as members of the Sigma Delta Tau, Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma sororities, are being accused by resort operators of trashing hotel rooms and hallways, including ripping off cabinet doors, destroying ceilings and rugs, and busting up tables, during a Jan. 17-18 weekend stay at the Treetops Resort and Spa in Gaylord, and the Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs.

Treetops ResortUniversity of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirmed to ABC News the fraternities and sororities who are accused of being involved, saying in a statement, “We are very disappointed in the behavior of some of our students during a weekend visit to two northern Michigan ski resorts. I want to assure you that the organizations and the individuals involved will be held accountable for their actions.”

“While we are still gathering information, we understand that the damage at Treetops Resort and Boyne Highlands is expected to total in the thousands of dollars,” the statement continued.

Treetops ResortThe Treetops Resort gave ABC News exclusive photos of the trashed hotel rooms and hallways, which the resort claims totaled in $75,000 worth of damages.

Treetops general manager Barry Owens described the vandalism as “a malicious destruction of property,” adding that upon inspection, “The rooms were incredibly dirty, broken windows, broken furniture, ceiling tiles torn out of hallways, wall sconces broken off, doors kicked in.

“I mean it just kind of never ended,” he said.

Treetops Resort

Treetops ResortAlthough the Treetops Resort touts itself as a family destination, Owens said college students and fraternity groups do visit, but there had never been any prior issues.

“I’ve been in this business for almost 30 years and I’ve never seen something even close to this,” Owens said. “We do cater to them [college students] but this one got completely out of hand.”

Boyne Highlands President and General Manager Mike Chumbler told ABC News about 100 to 120 students were staying in their cottage and townhouse units, which sustained damage ranging from stains to holes in dry wall. While the damage wasn’t as severe as Treetops, Chumbler said, he estimated it could be up to $20,000 in repairs.

According to U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald, members of the Chi Psi and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternities, and the Delta Gamma and Alpha Phi sororities were staying at Boyne Highlands, while members of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and Sigma Delta Tau sorority were staying at Treetops.

The Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, which is now facing suspension from its national chapter over this incident, issued a statement to ABC News, saying, “We are embarrassed and ashamed of the behavior of a few of our chapter members at Treetops Resort over the weekend of January 17-18. This behavior is inconsistent with the values, policies, and practices of this organization. Our chapter accepts full responsibility for this incident and we will be working with the management of the resort to pay for all damages and cleaning costs. We will work within our own organization and with university officials to hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions.”

Despite the fraternity’s apology, Owens voiced his concerns. “They said they were going to make good on this, however they also said they would behave themselves…we have concerns about the integrity of their word.”

The Treetops resort hasn’t yet billed the fraternity for the damages, or made a decision about whether to seek criminal charges. According to Fitzgerald, there is a pending Michigan State Police investigation that could lead to criminal charges.

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