Review Category : National News

Funeral for Murdered Teen April Millsap Held as Police Search for Killer

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — About 100 people Friday attended the funeral for April Millsap, the teenage girl murdered in Michigan on July 24 while walking her dog.

The funeral took place at around the same time that a father and son were arraigned for growing marijuana inside a house that the Michigan State Police and FBI searched as part of the ongoing investigation into Millsap’s murder, according to the FBI and Michigan State Police.

James Bernard VanCallis, a 66-year-old registered sex offender, and his 32-year-old son, James Donald VanCallis, both had bail set at $75,000, according to state police.

Police searched the VanCallis home on Wednesday as part of the murder investigation but Michigan State Police spokesman Lt. Michael Shaw made it clear that the arrests were separate from the homicide investigation. No arrests have been made in connection to Millsap’s murder.

The younger VanCallis began to cry during the arraignment and his father pleaded to be allowed to go home on account of his pets.

“I love my dogs. I just wanna go home to my dogs. I didn’t do nothing,” VanCallis Sr said according to WXYZ.

VanCallis Jr. has a medical marijuana license and is allowed to have 36 plants in his home, but during the search of Goodell, Michigan house, investigators found 52 plants inside, according to WXYZ.

Both men have criminal records: VanCallis Jr. was convicted of breaking and entering in 2005 and failing to pay child support. His father is a tier-3 registered sex offender and was convicted on two counts of criminal sexual misconduct, both in 1995. The second-degree charge related to a person under the age of 13 and the fourth-degree charge involved a victim between the ages of 13 and 16 years old, according to the Michigan sex offender registry.

Neither of the men have a lawyer, WXYZ reported, so the judge entered a not guilty pleas for both.

The Michigan State Police and the FBI are continuing to search for leads in Millsap’s murder. The girl, who was walking her dog on a hiking path, was killed and left in a drainage ditch, where joggers found her body. The cause of death has not been revealed.

Police stopped all traffic going in and out of Millsap’s hometown of Armadad for three hours on Thursday evening in a hunt for leads. Shaw explained that they chose that time because it is the exact time frame when the 14-year-old was killed a week earlier.

“Humans are creatures of habit so we were hoping to speak to some of the same people who had been there when April disappeared,” Shaw told ABC.

He said that the efforts paid off and investigators got “five to eight good tips that we didn’t have before from people who weren’t sure if they should call us or not.”

WXYZ reported that police were seen searching and dredging Omo Lake on Friday, which is near the area where the victim’s phone was found.

Police already issued search warrants for phone records- though they would not specify which phone records- as part of the investigation.

Early reports about Millsap’s murder included claims from a relative that she had texted her boyfriend on July 24 saying “OMG. … I think I’m being kidnapped.” But Michigan State Police spokesman Lt. Michael Shaw told ABC News that the message was phrased differently and may not have come from April herself.

Police still have no formal suspects in the case.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Hammerhead Shark Spooks Swimmers at Florida Beach

iStock/Thinkstock(NAVARRE, Fla.) — A hammerhead shark shocked beachgoers in Florida when it swam right up to the shore, prompting terrified swimmers to frantically flee from the water.

And the man who caught it all on video, Dan Flynn, said the hectic scene was “extraordinary.”

“I’ve seen sharks before but I’ve never seen a shark get that close,” he told ABC News on Thursday. “It was almost interacting with humans. From our vantage point, we could see the shark going towards a lady swimmer. And her back was to the shark, and she was unaware. You can hear people screaming in the video. I yelled, ‘Get out of the water!’”

ABC News | More ABC News Videos

Flynn, who lives in New Orleans, watched the scene unfold Tuesday from the fishing pier in Navarre, Fla., while on vacation with his family.

From above, he could see directly into the clear water. The shark was probably 10-feet-long, he said.

“Someone just yelled shark and I started taping,” he said.

Flynn estimates that the shark got within 10 feet of the shore. It swam around for about 10 or 15 minutes, he said, before retreating back into the sea.

Swimmers were spooked but wasted no time getting back into the water, he said. His videos of the shark quickly went viral after he posted them on Facebook.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Abby Hernandez Saw Reports About Her Disappearance While She Was Missing

ABC/Randy Holmes(CONWAY, N.H.) — Abigail Hernandez’s mother told their local newspaper the teen saw reports about her disappearance while she was missing for nine months.

Hernandez and her mother stopped by The Conway Daily Sun‘s offices and cited a daily ticker box feature in the paper that showed how many days Hernandez had been missing, as Hernandez gave the paper her first media interview since she returned home July 20.

“Abby saw that [ticker box] off and on,” her mother, Zenya Hernandez, told the paper on Thursday. “She didn’t see it every day. It gave her hope that people were looking. It was one of the first things she said to me when she returned home, is, ‘Thank you to The Conway Daily Sun.’”

The teen returned to her mother’s home in Conway, New Hampshire, on July 20 after vanishing during her walk home from school on Oct. 9, 2013.

Police have arrested Nathaniel Kibby, a 34-year-old man from a town 34 miles away, in connection to Abby’s disappearance. He was arraigned Tuesday and Abigail was sitting in the front row alongside her mother during the hearing.

“I’m taking it a little at a time but I’m feeling a lot better every day,” the 15-year-old said during the informal meeting at the local newspaper.

Abigail, who was reportedly malnourished and unable to eat solid foods when she first returned home, was pictured smiling at the newspaper offices with her mother and a family friend while wearing a t-shirt that said “C.S.I. Can’t Stand Idiots.”

She told the paper that she wants to “be treated like a normal person” and revisit old pastimes like horseback riding.

“I really miss that,” she said.

Neither the Hernandezes nor police have released any information about where she was or what happened to her during her disappearance because the investigation is ongoing.

The only charge listed against Kibby claimed he “confined [Hernandez] with a purpose to commit an offense against her.” No plea was entered at the hearing. Authorities may bring more charges at the next hearing in the case on Aug. 12.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

NYPD Chokehold Death Ruled a Homicide

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The death of a Staten Island man, who was put into a choke hold by the New York Police Department, was ruled a homicide Friday by the city’s medical examiner.

The incident provoked outrage last month after a witness filmed NYPD cops placing Eric Garner in what appeared to be a chokehold while arresting Garner for selling cigarettes illegally. Garner, who was 6-foot-3 and 350 pounds, could be heard yelling that he could not breathe.

After his death, officers told supervisors that they did not think excess force was used and initially blamed Garner’s death on a heart attack before the film went viral.

On Friday, the New York City Medical Examiner ruled that the cause of death was “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

The examiner said that acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and hypersensitive cardiovascular disease were “contributing conditions” but still ruled the manner of death a “homicide.”

The officer who was seen in the video placing Garner in the choke hold, Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran, was placed on modified assignment pending the outcome of investigations into the incident by the district attorney and NYPD Internal Affairs unit. The FBI also said it was monitoring the case.

Pantaleo’s gun and badge were taken away pending the outcome of the investigations.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

What to Expect from Tropical Storm Bertha this Weekend

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The second storm of the season has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and Tropical Storm Bertha is expected to hit Puerto Rico this weekend.

Bertha is currently located 70 miles Northeast of Barbados and is moving at 21 mph, packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

Luckily, the predicted path shows that the U.S. mainland will not be impacted. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, isn’t so lucky.

Tropical Storm warnings are in effect for Puerto Rico as well as surrounding islands, with heavy rain and tropical storm force gusts likely this weekend.

As Bertha continues moving northwest, it could bring some wind-driven rain to the Bahamas on Sunday night into Monday. As a result, there is also the possibility of strong rip currents in Florida by early next week.

Tropical Storm Bertha is not expected to strengthen into a hurricane since it will go out to sea before reaching the East Coast.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

What to Expect from Tropical Storm Bertha this Weekend

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The second storm of the season has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and Tropical Storm Bertha is expected to hit Puerto Rico this weekend.

Bertha is currently located 70 miles Northeast of Barbados and is moving at 21 mph, packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

Luckily, the predicted path shows that the U.S. mainland will not be impacted. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, isn’t so lucky.

Tropical Storm warnings are in effect for Puerto Rico as well as surrounding islands, with heavy rain and tropical storm force gusts likely this weekend.

As Bertha continues moving northwest, it could bring some wind-driven rain to the Bahamas on Sunday night into Monday. As a result, there is also the possibility of strong rip currents in Florida by early next week.

Tropical Storm Bertha is not expected to strengthen into a hurricane since it will go out to sea before reaching the East Coast.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

FBI After ‘Good Grammar Bandit’ in Colorado

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — Authorities in Colorado are searching for a bank robber in the Denver area whose tactics would make his high school English teachers proud.

The FBI calls him the “Good Grammar Bandit,” and he’s wanted in connection with seven bank robberies in Colorado.

All of the robberies happened the same way: A guy walks in and demands money by handing the teller a typed letter, filled with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation.

The bandit is said to be between 5 feet, 9 inches and 6 feet tall.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Man Killed After Lightning Strike at Calif. Beach Was Electrocuted

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — It’s now clear how a 20-year-old man died last weekend after a rare lightning strike at California’s Venice Beach.

An autopsy confirmed on Thursday that Nick Fagnano was electrocuted when a bolt of lightning struck the ocean water. He was swimming when the lightning hit, electrifying the water.

Fagnano was with a group of friends before the incident occurred on Sunday. They were about to leave Venice Beach but his friends say Fagnano went back in the water to rinse sand off his feet.

After the lightning strike, he was missing for about an hour before lifeguards found him.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Girl Accused in ‘Slender Man’ Stabbing Ruled Incompetent

iStock/Thinkstock(WAUKESHA, Wis.) — One of two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing their friend so they could meet the fictional Internet character “Slenderman” was ruled incompetent to stand trial on Friday.

Morgan Geyser had twice been found not competent to stand trial and Friday’s decision marks the third incompetency ruling.

Prosecutors requested that she undergo a third evaluation to determine if she has a mental disease or defect that could affect the case and those results were discussed in a Wisconsin court on Friday.

Geyser and Anissa Weier, both 12, are charged with first degree attempted murder after prosecutors said they lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times.

Authorities said the girls admitted assaulting their friend on May 31 as a means to please Slender Man, a faceless fictional character.

Geyser and Weier are being tried as adults because Wisconsin law dictates that anyone above the age of 10 charged with first degree murder or attempted murder will not be considered juveniles.

The 12-year-old victim, who has not been identified because of her age, was said to have nearly died from her wounds, but has since been released from the hospital and her parents recently released new details about her recovery.

The Slender Man meme began on a Web forum called Something Awful as part of a Photoshop contest in 2009, according to the website KnowYourMeme.com, but it has since grown into a kind of Internet folklore.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Girl Accused in ‘Slender Man’ Stabbing Ruled Incompetent

iStock/Thinkstock(WAUKESHA, Wis.) — One of two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing their friend so they could meet the fictional Internet character “Slenderman” was ruled incompetent to stand trial on Friday.

Morgan Geyser had twice been found not competent to stand trial and Friday’s decision marks the third incompetency ruling.

Prosecutors requested that she undergo a third evaluation to determine if she has a mental disease or defect that could affect the case and those results were discussed in a Wisconsin court on Friday.

Geyser and Anissa Weier, both 12, are charged with first degree attempted murder after prosecutors said they lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times.

Authorities said the girls admitted assaulting their friend on May 31 as a means to please Slender Man, a faceless fictional character.

Geyser and Weier are being tried as adults because Wisconsin law dictates that anyone above the age of 10 charged with first degree murder or attempted murder will not be considered juveniles.

The 12-year-old victim, who has not been identified because of her age, was said to have nearly died from her wounds, but has since been released from the hospital and her parents recently released new details about her recovery.

The Slender Man meme began on a Web forum called Something Awful as part of a Photoshop contest in 2009, according to the website KnowYourMeme.com, but it has since grown into a kind of Internet folklore.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →