Review Category : National News

Woman Finds Handwritten Letters From 1915 in Ceiling, Returns Them

Courtesy Gina Teliho(ATLANTA) — When Gina Teliho was renovating the ceiling of her guest room last year, she had no idea that amidst all the trash she’d find a true treasure.

In the rafters of her historic Atlanta home she found a bundle of handwritten letters, some of which dated all the way back to 1915.

“We cut the ceiling out because it was cracked and we finally decided to fix it,” Teliho, 40, told ABC News of her fascinating discovery. “We live in a historic neighborhood in the Buckhead community of Atlanta, where most homes were constructed in the 1920’s and 1930’s, so this was just another necessary renovation that needed to be done.”

When she found them she was so bogged down with the construction in her house that she simply set them aside and completely forgot about them until recently.

“I came across them again recently and really started reading through them, and I became determined to find the family and pass them on,” she explained. “They felt like real treasures to me, but they didn’t belong to me nor to my family. They were clearly very meaningful to the family who carried them to Georgia from Pennsylvania, so I went on a mission to find the descendants.”

And that she did. Teliho posted a photo of the bundle of letters, inscribed with Ridgway, Pennsylvania, and Fairbury, Illinois, addresses to Facebook, in hopes her friends could help with suggestions to track down any relatives.

“I initially posted on my personal page, stating that the main letter was postmarked 1915 in Fairbury, Illinois,” she said. “Many friends, including one who had lived in Illinois, shared on their pages, and I was contacted by a historian from Fairbury who ‘loves a good mystery’ and helped me with the family genealogy.”

Armed with a few names from the genealogy research and the letters themselves, Teliho dove head first into the Arnold family tree, the surname used on the envelopes, at the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Museum where she searched through directories beginning with the year her home was built, 1935.

Then she hit jackpot.

“I found a Paul T. Arnold who owned my house in 1947,” she said. “I then posted on a local Buckhead Facebook page, seeking help and any information. The response I got just blew me away! So many people offered ideas, suggestions, tagged others, or simply loved what I was doing and expressed their support. I never could have imagined the fascination the community would have for this story.”

Everyone’s support and encouragement eventually led Teliho to Kelly Arnold, the grandson of Paul T. Arnold, who owned her home 68 years ago, and the great grandson of Norman T. Arnold, who wrote the love letter to his wife, Hannah, who is the subject of the love letter that Teliho found in her ceiling.

“When I called him I think I caught him off guard,” Teliho said of her first conversation with Arnold, who lives in Decatur, Georgia, only about 20 miles away from her. “He was so tickled when I told him that all of Buckhead was looking for him!”

The two met this week for the first time, allowing the precious letters to be returned to their rightful owner all these years later.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Arnold, 65, said of this entire experience. “This whole thing started less than a week ago and it’s been a whirlwind. I was really impressed with her persistence and the amount of time she put into it.”

Neither of them are sure how the letters ended up in the attic, but both have their theories.

“The house used to be just a two bedroom bungalow back in the day when it was built, and I imagine it was an attic there when he was here,” Teliho said.

“I think they were re-doing the attic and putting flooring in and it maybe fell out of a box or something,” Arnold agreed.

Teliho was sad to see the letters go, but is thrilled to have gotten them back in the hands of the writer’s descendants.

“I feel like it’s a part of history. The neighborhood that we live in is part of the National Historic Registry, so it makes me wonder what else the house is hiding,” she said. “What else are its secrets? I feel like I found a true treasure, it just wasn’t mine.”

And for Arnold, he’s not only grateful for the insight into his family, but also for one simple reminder.

“When I looked at the letter, it was addressed to Hannah Arnold, Ridgway, Pennsylvania, with no street address. Times were simpler back then,” he explained. “It reminds me that there was a simpler time and place, and it’s nice to remember that given the way things are now.”

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Couple Convicted of Selling Florida Sinkhole Home

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — A Florida couple is facing up to 20 years each in prison for selling their home without informing the buyers about an enormous sinkhole that they knew was underneath it.

On Thursday, a federal jury in Tampa, Florida, decided that Glenn Jasen and wife Kathryn Jasen, of Spring Hill, Florida, were guilty of wire fraud, which is a federal felony.

Prosecutors alleged in the case that the Jasens “did detect a sinkhole” in 2009, filed a claim with their insurer and then “elected to receive a check in the amount of $153,000 but did not ever fix the sinkhole.”

According to the US Attorney’s Office, the Jasens deposited the insurance check into a bank account. They then failed to disclose the sinkhole in real estate documents and later sold the home to another family, according to the indictment.

In court, US attorney Tom Palermo told the jury that “the defendants put lipstick on a pig and sold it to suckers.”

In July, the Jasens’ lawyer, Victor Martinez, told ABC News that his clients were being singled out and should not be facing 20 years in prison. He told ABC News then that omissions or errors in home sale disclosures were typically prosecuted civilly through lawsuits.

“When they filed the sinkhole claim, they did take some monies to make remedial repairs,” Martinez said.

He said that the federal indictment through wire fraud was because money had been transferred in the sale. According to the indictment, the Jasens received $64,900 for the sale of the home, which authorities say was a wire fraud scheme because money was wired from one bank to another across state lines.

In 2014, the Jasens sold the home to Kelly Magbee and her family “without disclosing the existence of the sinkhole or the previous sinkhole claim,” according to court documents.

Magbee said she is now stuck paying the mortgage on a home that cannot be lived in. In July, she showed ABC News the dangerous cracks that, she said, had been caused by a sinkhole beneath her home.

She, her husband and their five children eventually had to move out after the sinkhole caused a crack down the middle of their living room.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” Magbee said. “Living here, knowing there’s a hole, was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

The Jasens are expected to be sentenced in January.

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Marchers Gather in D.C. for 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Marchers in Washington D.C. mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

On Saturday, supporters of all different races and from all over celebrated 20 years since the 1995 march with a new march called, “Justice or Else.”

One of the speakers was Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who launched the original march.

“We are still trying to get…civil rights,” he told the crowd. “While at the same time, we are denied the human right of self-determination.”

He also commended the Native Americans in the crowd for wearing their native dress.

“They are not here as some mascot,” he said. “They are here because they are the original owners of this part of the earth and we honor them with the honor that they justly do.”

Another speaker was District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser who said she would continue to be focused on “growing pathways to the middle class” and finding “productive avenues” for young people as well as men and women coming home from war.

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Death Toll Rises From South Carolina Flooding

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — More deaths have been reported from the massive flooding in South Carolina.

At a press conference on Saturday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced that the death toll had risen to 19 in the state.

She urged residents to stay at home since flash flood watches had been issued Saturday morning, saying it was “a good day to stay in and watch football and not get out on the roads.”

Portions of the Carolinas could see 1 to 2 inches of rain within the next 24 hours, and it may cause issues for already-damaged roads.

The governor said the state could see a slow decline of the larger rivers, but possibly some flooding in small creeks.

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Officer in Bergdahl Hearing Recommends No Jail Time, His Lawyers Say

U.S. Army via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Army officer who presided over Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s preliminary hearing last month has recommended that he should not face any jail time or a punitive discharge for charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the sergeant’s lawyers said.

According to Bergdahl’s defense team, the officer has also recommended that Bergdahl’s case should proceed to a lower level court martial that limits a maximum penalty for convictions to a year in prison. A four star general will review the officer’s recommendation and determine how Bergdahl’s case will be handled.

Bergdahl’s civilian attorney Eugene Fidell confirmed to ABC News that Lt. Col. Mark Visger “recommended that the charges be referred to a special court-martial and that a punitive discharge and confinement would be inappropriate given all the circumstances.”

Special Court Martials review cases that would equate to misdemeanors in the civilian system and limit maximum punishments to one year of jail time, a reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge. Under a general court martial Bergdahl could face a maximum life sentence for the charge of misbehavior before the enemy and five years jail time if convicted of desertion.

Visger’s recommendations have not been made public but a filing released Friday night by Bergdahl’s defense team indicated what Visger had recommended.

In the filing, Lt. Colonel Franklin D. Rosenblatt, Bergdahl’s military attorney wrote, “Given your conclusion — with which we agree — about whether confinement or a punitive discharge are warranted, and the factors you cited in support of that conclusion, nonjudicial punishment under Article 15, UCMJ, is the appropriate disposition.”

UCMJ refers to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which are regulations for the military’s criminal justice system. Non-judicial punishments can take the form of a reprimand, a reduction in rank or pay or restrictions to base.

Visger presided over Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing that heard evidence from prosecution and defense witnesses as to whether Bergdahl’s case should go to a court martial.

His recommendation will be reviewed by Gen. Robert Abrams, the commander of U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), who is the convening authority in charge of Bergdahl’s case. Abrams will ultimately decide whether the case should go to a court martial and if so whether it should be a general court martial or a special court martial. Under military rules convening authorities can disagree with a recommendation made by Article 32 presiding officers, though it is not a common occurrence.

“As legal action is ongoing, we continue to maintain careful respect for the military-judicial process, the rights of the accused, and ensuring the case’s fairness and impartiality,” FORSCOM spokesman Paul Boyce said when asked to comment on Visger’s recommendation. “We will notify the public and interested news media when further information about this ongoing legal action potentially is available.”

During the Article 32 hearing, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, who led the exhaustive investigation of Bergdahl’s case, testified that he did not believe Bergdahl deserved jail time if the case went to a court martial and resulted in a conviction.

“I do not believe that there is a jail sentence at the end of this process,” Dahl said. “I think it would be inappropriate.”

In June 2009, Bergdahl walked away from his unit’s remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan and was quickly captured by the Taliban who held him captive for nearly five years. He was freed in May 2014 in a controversial exchange for five Guantanamo detainees who had been Taliban leaders.

Bergdahl did not testify at the Article 32 hearing, but evidence presented at the hearing indicated Bergdahl had left his post in a bid to highlight problems in his unit to a general located 19 miles away.

Dahl described Bergdahl as “young, naive, and inexperienced” and that after five years of captivity “I believe he is remorseful.”

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Armed Robbery Suspect Tries Using Uber as Getaway Car, Police Say

Baltimore County Police Department (PARKVILLE, Md.) — A 23-year-old man suspected of armed robbery tried to take an Uber car to help him get away after he held up a store outside Baltimore, police said.

The suspect, Dashawn Terrell Cochran, was at a store in Parkville, Maryland, early Wednesday morning when he took a bottle of Tylenol cold medicine to the register, the Baltimore County Police Department said. He then pointed a gun at an employee and demanded money, police said.

Cochran ran from the store with an undisclosed amount of cash, but officers began to track his path, police said.

Cochran was seen getting into the back of a silver Lexus, police said, and when officers pulled the car over, the driver said he was an Uber driver.

The driver and a second passenger were released since it was determined they “had nothing to do with the robbery,” police said.

Cochran faces armed robbery and several related charges, police said. He was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $500,000 bail as of Friday morning.

It’s unclear if Cochran had an attorney.

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Young Cousins Found Safe Day After They Went Missing from Campsite

David Stricker(CINCINNATI) — Two young cousins were found safe today, officials said, one day after they were reported missing from a campsite in eastern Kentucky.

The cousins, 5-year-old Michael Esposito and 7-year-old Adrian Ross, disappeared in the woods around 6 p.m. Thursday, while their fathers and grandfather were setting up for a family reunion at a campsite at the Red River Gorge, according to ABC affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.

Today, both boys were found alive and well, Kentucky State Trooper Joe Veeneman told ABC News. They were found by search and rescuers about 1 mile from the campsite, Veeneman said.

The boys were checked out, Veeneman said, but he did not have further information on their conditions.

According to WCPO-TV, the boys told their family that they weren’t scared and they had fun.

The desperate search for the cousins began Thursday evening. Rescue crews, helicopters and hound dogs looked through the night, WCPO-TV said.

Once the sun rose, about 100 people joined the search on foot, Michael’s mother, Julie Esposito, told WCPO-TV.

“I can’t really afford to break down and be emotional because I needed to help answer questions and coordinate things,” Esposito told WCPO-TV this morning. “We are going to bring them back.”

Friday afternoon, after the search had ended, Esposito told WCPO-TV that she knew the boys would be OK.

“It wasn’t that cold last night and they were together, but I knew if it rained and they were out and if they spent a second night wet and cold it wouldn’t be good. So I just kept praying,” she said.

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Bill Cosby to Be Deposed Friday Amid Mounting Sexual Assault Accusations

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Bill Cosby is set to be deposed Friday for the first time since a growing number of sexual abuse allegations have emerged against the actor.

“In any deposition, we are permitted to ask any question that is relevant and that is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence,” said Gloria Allred, the high-profile civil rights lawyer who will be deposing Cosby. “And so we have wide latitude in any deposition so that we are able to prepare our case for trial.”

Allred’s client, Judy Huth, alleges Cosby, 78, forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy mansion in the mid-70s, when she was just 15 years old.

“It’s a very serious allegation, of course, because it’s an allegation of child sexual abuse,” explained Allred. “And so we have a longer period of time, a longer period of statute of limitations for a lawsuit to be pursued in California for a person who alleges she is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse.”

A judge has ordered the deposition recording and transcript to remain sealed until late December, at least, pending further arguments.

Cosby’s lawyers have denied Huth’s claims in court documents calling them “absolutely false” and “baseless,” and the lawsuit “outrageous.”

“It’s very, very challenging for Judy and I do admire her courage,” said Allred. “She is not going to be present at deposition of Mr. Cosby. She has a right to be there, but she does not wish to be there. She is just relying on her attorneys to proceed and to assert her rights and to vindicate her rights, and that’s what we are committed to doing.”

“I expect that Bill Cosby will evoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on almost all of the crucial questions that Gloria Allred or any other attorney wants to ask,” said Dan Abrams, Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News.

Statutes of limitations prevent most of Cosby’s accusers from attempting to file criminal charges or civil claims against him for incidents that allegedly occurred long ago. But that hasn’t prevented many from speaking out. So far, more than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault, drugging, or rape. Their allegations span five decades. Cosby has never been charged with a crime and his attorneys have said he denies the allegations.

Chloe Goins, a 25-year-old Las Vegas model, is one of the youngest women to come forward publicly, accusing Cosby of sexual abuse.

“It’s such a traumatic and hard thing to live with,” Goins said. “And for a long time I tried to bury it.”

Her lawyer, Spencer Kuven, believes her claims fall within the statute of limitations, making them a potential game changer in the firestorm surrounding the man who was once “America’s Favorite Dad,” and star of the legendary Cosby Show.

“All I can think is, ‘hypocrite,’” said Goins. “Somebody who goes on TV and presents such a wholesome image yet is so sick. It’s hard to – I can’t watch it. And that’s why I’m here today, to bring out the truth– the truth about his lies, the truth about his secrets.”

Goins filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday claiming Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2008 when she was just a teenager.

“It’s tragic that it happened to me when I was so young,” she said, “just coming into womanhood.”

Goins’ lawyer says Cosby offered her a drink at a party at the Playboy mansion in 2008.

“Chloe had a few sips of the drink and began feeling nauseous and dizzy,” said Kuven.

He says Cosby then offered to escort her to a bedroom. “And on their way to the bedroom, Chloe blacked out,” Kuven claims. “She doesn’t remember anything after that point until waking up with no clothes on, laying on her back in a bed. And at the time she wakes up, she felt that her chest was wet and sticky as if somebody had been licking on it.”

Kuven says, “She then noticed that Mr. Cosby was down at the foot of the bed and was biting one of her toes,” and that Cosby then left the room.

“There’s a lotta shame in the act of what happened,” said Goins. “And it’s an embarrassing thing that happened to me.”

Goins did not report the alleged incident to police until January 2015. The L.A. Police Department turned over the results of their investigation to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office just last week, and they are now deliberating on whether or not to charge Cosby criminally.

“I decided to come public and come forward and relive everything that happened to me– because of the other women,” said Goins, “all the other women that have been abused by Mr. Cosby. And I would like to see justice for all of us.”

Her lawyers now believe she has a valid claim to bring forward both criminal and civil action against Cosby.

“The statute in California’s very clear,” said Kuven. “She has eight years after age of majority, eight years after turning 18 to bring her claim up until age 26. Chloe right now is 25 years old. So, she is, we believe, squarely within the statues of limitations.”

Cosby’s attorneys told ABC News they had “no comment” on Goins’ civil suit. But earlier in January, a lawyer for Cosby said Cosby wasn’t in L.A. when the alleged incident occurred, saying in statement, “We will be providing documentary evidence to the appropriate authorities which conclusively establishes Mr. Cosby’s whereabouts on August 9 and for the preceding and succeeding days.”

Goins’ attorney says the disputed date was a false assumption.

“She has never publicly said that she was there on any specific date,” said Kuven. Goins’ civil suit comes on the heels as another accuser, Judy Huth, is making legal headway in the closed-door deposition lead by her attorney Gloria Allred on Friday.

“We are looking for accountability, and we are not going to stop until we get it,” said Allred who currently represents up to 26 accusers of Cosby, many of whom have allegations that fall out of the statutes of limitations.

“Many of the accusers, however, felt that of course even though it’s too late to pursue their lawsuits in a conventional court, it is not too late to pursue their accusations and make them in the court of public opinion.”

In September, over a dozen accusers spoke out in A&E’s documentary “Cosby: The Women Speak.” Several of the women interviewed alleged the comedian offered mentorship or career coaching, and that later Cosby assaulted or attempted to assault them, after they drank a beverage that, they, say, rendered them unconscious.

Among those interviewed was legendary supermodel Beverly Johnson, who said she was invited to Cosby’s brownstone to rehearse in the mid 80’s, when she was in her early 30’s.

“He said, ‘There’s an exercise you do in method acting… You know, I want you to act like you’re drunk,’” explained Johnson.

Next, she said, Cosby insisted she try a cappuccino.

“Immediately I felt woozy,” she said.

“Everything was spinning. And I was, you know, dizzy, and I knew I had been drugged. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

“He puts one hand around my waist,” Johnson continues, “And I remember cocking my head and saying, “You’re a mother******, aren’t you?”

According to Johnson, Cosby escorted her out of the house and threw her into a taxi.

“I was so disappointed,” she said. “It was like a family member had done something to me…I knew that the kind of person I was dealing with would destroy me.”

“Even though there is no verdict yet in any civil case filed against him by any of the accusers. I think it’s a fair conclusion that, in fact, in the court of public opinion he has lost that battle,” said Allred.

And it’s the many other women, who, Goins says, ultimately gave her the courage to come forward as well.

“I buried it for a long time,” said Goins. “And I’m not sure how I would’ve been able to come out if these brave women didn’t come forward and find the strength to tell their story.”

Goins’ civil lawsuit also includes a list of 40 other Cosby accusers.

“We felt it was very important to give a voice to those victims, all 40 women that we were able to identify– their voices, their stories– and be able to talk to them in this litigation so that they can speak on the record for the first time,” said Kuven.

“I’m trying to heal myself from everything that’s happened,” said Goins. “And coming out about it and speaking about it, it does help. It’s been very hard.”

While she says speaking out has been empowering, Goins says she wants more.

“I feel he needs to see justice,” she said. “I’d like to see him behind bars for everything he’s done.”

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Rival Rats Try to Steal Slice in Tug-of-War on NYC Subway Tracks

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — More pizza rats were found on a subway track in New York City — and it was caught on video.

The video taken Thursday night at the 14th Street station shows a rodent, who very well may be the original Pizza Rat, carrying yet again, another fresh slice twice its size.

But a second rat can be seen scurrying up to the other rodent, snatches the slice and backs away.

The second rat appears to be the victor, but just a few moments later, our underdog Pizza Rat appears again! The rats then engage in a tug-of-war fight and gets the slice back before the video ends.

“I win today, interwebs,” wrote Jonathen Liu in the caption of his video on Instagram.

The original Pizza Rat rose to Internet fame when another subway rider captured video of the rodent carrying a slice of pizza twice its size down a set of stairs at the First Avenue L train station in the city’s East Village.

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Texas Southern University Lockdown Lifted After Shooting Near Dorm

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — Texas Southern University lifted its lockdown on Friday after two people were shot near a school residence hall, a rep for the school told ABC News.

A statement instructed staff and students to remain in their classrooms until further notice.

The campus is in the heart of the city, so it is unclear whether or not the shooting involved students, the spokesperson said.

The Houston Police Department announced via Tweet that a possible suspect has been detained.

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