Review Category : National News

Stranded Couple ‘Floatin’ Around’ in the Ocean for 14 Hours

iStock/Thinkstock(HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.) — A Florida couple is happy to be alive after drifting helplessly in the Atlantic Ocean for 14 hours.

Mellisa Morris, 52, and Sean McGovern, 50, say their nightmare at sea started at around 6 p.m. Friday, when they somehow fell off their 30-foot Island Hopper boat near Key Largo, Florida, leaving them stranded in the open water and all alone, except for each other and the creatures of the deep.

Yes, they feared for sharks. But they had a technique for survival. They say they tried treading water, but when exhaustion set in, they decided to drift on their backs, with no floatation devices. The current took them 75 miles north, all the way from Key Largo to Hallandale Beach.

There, four fisherman — who happened to include two off-duty detectives and a paramedic — spotted what they thought were birds.

“We headed that way and the closer we get, we realize it was actually a female waving a shirt up in the air,” said Keith Silvis, a firefighter and paramedic for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office fire rescue department.

Rescuer Steve Couch couldn’t believe Morris and McGovern were floating without life jackets.

“It was incredible. It’s hard enough to find fish, but two people floating out in the water. It was pretty strange,” Couch said.

They are only suffering from some jellyfish stings and minor hypothermia. Their boat was found washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale.

Morris is glad to be back on dry land.

“We’re fine,” she said. “We’d just like to take care of what we need to take care of so we can go home.”

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Manhunt for Escaped Murderer in Arkansas

Arkansas Department of Corrections(PINE BLUFF, Ark.) — A manhunt for an escaped prisoner, who was nearing the end of his sentence for murdering his wife, entered its third day Monday with a dragnet through a wooded area near the Arkansas prison.

Timothy Buffington was on work duty at Pine Bluff prison in Jefferson County, Ark., when he made a run for it on Saturday evening, according to ABC News affiliate KATV in Arkansas.

Police told KATV that he held a woman hostage as he escaped, but she was able to get away unharmed.

The Arkansas Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to requests for details about the escape or the hostage situation. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office referred questions to the ADC.

Buffington, 47, is believed to be armed with a shotgun. He is a 5-foot-6 with scars on his upper left arm and right wrist.

Shae Wilson, spokeswoman for the ADC, said Buffington had only four years left on a 20-year sentence he was serving for the murder of his ex-wife in 1999. He was set to be released in 2018.

Numerous law enforcement agencies from across the stage have been searching through heavily wooded areas around the prison for any sign of him.

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Father Charged with Felony Murder in Son’s Heat-Stroke Vehicle Death

Cobb County Sheriff’s Office(ATLANTA) — A Georgia father has been charged with felony murder in the death of his 22-month-old son after the boy was left inside a mini-SUV for hours on a sweltering day.

The man’s family claims it was an honest and tragic mistake. But police disagree — and Justin Ross Harris, 33, now faces heightened charges in Cooper’s heat stroke death, a case that has drawn outrage from people who believe the man has already suffered enough.

Harris buckled his son Cooper into his car seat Wednesday before heading to his job as a web developer at a Home Depot corporate office near Atlanta. On the way, Harris was supposed to drop off his son at daycare.

He never did.

The temperature outside reached 92 degrees by noon.

Hours passed. As Harris was driving home for the night, he noticed his son still in the backseat and pulled into a shopping center parking lot. Witnesses say he rushed to try to save Cooper.

“He kept saying, ‘What have I done? What have I done?,’” witness Dale Hamilton told ABC affiliate station WSB-TV. “He laid his son on the ground and started doing CPR, trying to resuscitate him. Apparently, the child wasn’t responding.”

After searching Harris’s office, police arrested the grieving father and charged him with felony murder and child endangerment.

“Until we more or less run out, a lot of the information that we are having to track down, right now these charges will stand,” Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce said.

The arrest has caused outrage, with some saying the father simply made a mistake, although others agree with police. Supporters have raised more than $18,000 for his defense.

“The justice system can’t punish Ross worse than he is punishing himself,” one commenter wrote.

“It will only cause more pain for a grieving family,” another wrote.

An average of 38 children die across the United States annually after being left in a hot car, with 44 deaths reported nationally last year, according to kidsandcars.org, a national nonprofit devoted to vehicle safety. In Atlanta, more than 22 children have died this way since 1990.

Public safety advocates say these are usually accidents and happen to the most loving and protective parents of every color and socioeconomic background.

Cooper’s death marked the second vehicle heat stroke death involving a child last week. A Florida man, Steven Lillie, faces aggravated manslaughter charges in the June 16 death of his 9-month-old daughter, Anna Marie.

In Harris’ case, police feel strongly about the murder charge, ABC’s Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said.

“We don’t know exactly what evidence they have, but they’ve executed a search warrant. And it’s not uncommon for computer-related searches to yield information,” Abrams said. “Whatever the evidence is, the authorities believed it warranted bringing charges very quickly.”

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Stranded Couple ‘Floatin’ Around’ in the Ocean for 14 Hours

iStock/Thinkstock(HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.) — A Florida couple is happy to be alive after drifting helplessly in the Atlantic Ocean for 14 hours.

Mellisa Morris, 52, and Sean McGovern, 50, say their nightmare at sea started at around 6 p.m. Friday, when they somehow fell off their 30-foot Island Hopper boat near Key Largo, Florida, leaving them stranded in the open water and all alone, except for each other and the creatures of the deep.

Yes, they feared for sharks. But they had a technique for survival. They say they tried treading water, but when exhaustion set in, they decided to drift on their backs, with no floatation devices. The current took them 75 miles north, all the way from Key Largo to Hallandale Beach.

There, four fisherman — who happened to include two off-duty detectives and a paramedic — spotted what they thought were birds.

“We headed that way and the closer we get, we realize it was actually a female waving a shirt up in the air,” said Keith Silvis, a firefighter and paramedic for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office fire rescue department.

Rescuer Steve Couch couldn’t believe Morris and McGovern were floating without life jackets.

“It was incredible. It’s hard enough to find fish, but two people floating out in the water. It was pretty strange,” Couch said.

They are only suffering from some jellyfish stings and minor hypothermia. Their boat was found washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale.

Morris is glad to be back on dry land.

“We’re fine,” she said. “We’d just like to take care of what we need to take care of so we can go home.”

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Father Charged with Felony Murder in Son’s Heat-Stroke Vehicle Death

Cobb County Sheriff’s Office(ATLANTA) — A Georgia father has been charged with felony murder in the death of his 22-month-old son after the boy was left inside a mini-SUV for hours on a sweltering day.

The man’s family claims it was an honest and tragic mistake. But police disagree — and Justin Ross Harris, 33, now faces heightened charges in Cooper’s heat stroke death, a case that has drawn outrage from people who believe the man has already suffered enough.

Harris buckled his son Cooper into his car seat Wednesday before heading to his job as a web developer at a Home Depot corporate office near Atlanta. On the way, Harris was supposed to drop off his son at daycare.

He never did.

The temperature outside reached 92 degrees by noon.

Hours passed. As Harris was driving home for the night, he noticed his son still in the backseat and pulled into a shopping center parking lot. Witnesses say he rushed to try to save Cooper.

“He kept saying, ‘What have I done? What have I done?,’” witness Dale Hamilton told ABC affiliate station WSB-TV. “He laid his son on the ground and started doing CPR, trying to resuscitate him. Apparently, the child wasn’t responding.”

After searching Harris’s office, police arrested the grieving father and charged him with felony murder and child endangerment.

“Until we more or less run out, a lot of the information that we are having to track down, right now these charges will stand,” Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce said.

The arrest has caused outrage, with some saying the father simply made a mistake, although others agree with police. Supporters have raised more than $18,000 for his defense.

“The justice system can’t punish Ross worse than he is punishing himself,” one commenter wrote.

“It will only cause more pain for a grieving family,” another wrote.

An average of 38 children die across the United States annually after being left in a hot car, with 44 deaths reported nationally last year, according to kidsandcars.org, a national nonprofit devoted to vehicle safety. In Atlanta, more than 22 children have died this way since 1990.

Public safety advocates say these are usually accidents and happen to the most loving and protective parents of every color and socioeconomic background.

Cooper’s death marked the second vehicle heat stroke death involving a child last week. A Florida man, Steven Lillie, faces aggravated manslaughter charges in the June 16 death of his 9-month-old daughter, Anna Marie.

In Harris’ case, police feel strongly about the murder charge, ABC’s Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said.

“We don’t know exactly what evidence they have, but they’ve executed a search warrant. And it’s not uncommon for computer-related searches to yield information,” Abrams said. “Whatever the evidence is, the authorities believed it warranted bringing charges very quickly.”

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Infant in Stolen Car Found Crying in Bushes

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — An 8-month-old child who was in her mother’s car when it was stolen was found safe early Monday morning, snuggled in her car seat that was left among weeds along a Houston road.

The infant, Genesis Haley, was in her mother’s car at a Houston area gas station when the car was stolen. Police were able to locate the stolen vehicle, but the child was still missing.

An amber alert was issued immediately.

Early Monday morning, a jogger called 911 after saying she heard a crying baby in the bushes along a road, ABC News affiliate KTRK reported. Police hurried to the scene and found Genesis in the bushes, still in her car seat.

She was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital and is in good condition, Houston Police Department public information officer Victor Senties told ABC News.

Houston Police are investigating the incident and have not released any further information at this point.

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Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to Be Treated as Outpatient

Photo by U.S. Army via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released from Brooke Army Medical Center and will be treated as an outpatient, the Army said on Sunday.

An Army spokesperson released a statement on Sunday saying that Bergdahl will undergo “continued reintegration and medical care.” He will slowly be exposed to more people and “a gradual increase of social interactions.”

The Army says he will continue to receive debriefings and counseling “to ensure he progresses to the point where he can return to duty.”

The Army declined to share the specifics of Bergdahl’s location “to safeguard the reintegration process.”

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Body Found During Search for Missing Hiker

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — Police suspended the search for hiker Karen Sykes on Sunday, later announcing that their search had turned up a woman’s body.

Sykes, a well-known author and photographer, was reported missing on Wednesday. The body found on Sunday was sent to the Pierce County coroner, said a spokesperson from Mount Rainier National Park.

Officials say that Sykes was on a day hike, researching a new story when she and her hiking partner split up. The 70-year-old woman had taken supplies in case she had to camp out overnight.

A park spokesperson said that the body was found in an area that is “not commonly traveled.”

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Woman’s Claim of Excessive Force Could Be Decided by Police ‘Body Camera’

Creatas/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — The outcome of a California woman’s claim that police used excessive force during her arrest could hang on what a police officer’s “body camera” saw.

Bana Mouwakeh was arrested after being stopped by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department last October, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV in San Diego.

The sheriff’s office told KGTV that Mouwakeh was arrested for assault after she reached up and grabbed an officer’s safety vest, ripping it off. Deputies then arrested Mouwakeh and pulled her from her vehicle on charges of battery and resisting arrest.

Mouwakeh’s case could be decided by what was recorded by the “body camera” worn by one of the arresting officers. Video posted by Mouwakeh’s attorney online and by KFMB-TV in San Diego shows Mouwakeh arguing with officers and then the officer’s vest ripping.

Mouwakeh is then quickly pulled from her car and arrested, while she is face down in the road.

Body cameras have become more common for police officers across the country as a way to protect both officers and citizens. According to ABC News station KABC-TV in Los Angeles, police in Rialto, Calif., saw an 88 percent drop in complaints against officers after they started using the cameras and a 60 percent drop in the use of force by officers.

In this case it is unclear whether the camera will help Mouwakeh or the arresting officers.

Mouwakeh’s attorney Mary Frances Prevost wrote in a post online that her client was trying to get the officer’s name and touched his vest to see his badge when it ripped.

However an arrest report obtained by KGTV tells the story from the officer’s point of view.

“Mouwakeh reached out the vehicle and grabbed Deputy Rosas’ person and his uniform,” the report said.

Mouwakeh was then ordered out of the car, and after she refused to comply, police removed her and arrested her, the report said.

According to the officer’s report, Mouwakeh was also argumentative before she grabbed the officer’s vest.

Prevost did not immediately return ABC News’ calls for comment on the police report version of events.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department did not comment to KGTV, citing the ongoing investigation.

When contacted by ABC News, a spokesperson said they did not have any additional statement.

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Woman’s Claim of Excessive Force Could Be Decided by Police ‘Body Camera’

Creatas/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — The outcome of a California woman’s claim that police used excessive force during her arrest could hang on what a police officer’s “body camera” saw.

Bana Mouwakeh was arrested after being stopped by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department last October, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV in San Diego.

The sheriff’s office told KGTV that Mouwakeh was arrested for assault after she reached up and grabbed an officer’s safety vest, ripping it off. Deputies then arrested Mouwakeh and pulled her from her vehicle on charges of battery and resisting arrest.

Mouwakeh’s case could be decided by what was recorded by the “body camera” worn by one of the arresting officers. Video posted by Mouwakeh’s attorney online and by KFMB-TV in San Diego shows Mouwakeh arguing with officers and then the officer’s vest ripping.

Mouwakeh is then quickly pulled from her car and arrested, while she is face down in the road.

Body cameras have become more common for police officers across the country as a way to protect both officers and citizens. According to ABC News station KABC-TV in Los Angeles, police in Rialto, Calif., saw an 88 percent drop in complaints against officers after they started using the cameras and a 60 percent drop in the use of force by officers.

In this case it is unclear whether the camera will help Mouwakeh or the arresting officers.

Mouwakeh’s attorney Mary Frances Prevost wrote in a post online that her client was trying to get the officer’s name and touched his vest to see his badge when it ripped.

However an arrest report obtained by KGTV tells the story from the officer’s point of view.

“Mouwakeh reached out the vehicle and grabbed Deputy Rosas’ person and his uniform,” the report said.

Mouwakeh was then ordered out of the car, and after she refused to comply, police removed her and arrested her, the report said.

According to the officer’s report, Mouwakeh was also argumentative before she grabbed the officer’s vest.

Prevost did not immediately return ABC News’ calls for comment on the police report version of events.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department did not comment to KGTV, citing the ongoing investigation.

When contacted by ABC News, a spokesperson said they did not have any additional statement.

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