Review Category : National News

Mom Regains Custody of Kids She Left in Hot Car During Job Interview

iStock/Thinkstock(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — An Arizona mom who left her two youngest children in a hot car says she’s making up for lost time now that she has regained custody of her kids.

“It’s great — a whole lot of family time going on, a lot of activities,” Shanesha Taylor, 35, told ABC News Thursday of the happy reunion.

Taylor was arrested in March after police found her two sons, now 1 and 2, alone inside her SUV while she was on a job interview in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her oldest daughter, now 10, was at school at the time. Taylor and her attorney Benjamin Taylor (the two are not related) reached a deal with prosecutors in July that would allow her to avoid prosecution.

Two weeks ago, Child Protective Services granted her custody of the children again.

“Even though we used to watch TV in different rooms, now we’re sitting together on the couch,” said Shanesha Taylor. “The time we missed apart, we’re definitely making up for that now.”

Taylor, whose case prompted an outpouring of support and debate about the struggles single moms face, is thrilled to have her kids back but says “it’s been a very long road.”

Her daughter has been teased at school, she said, prompting teachers to block Taylor’s name on the school computers.

“She was being picked on, had students telling her they saw her mom on TV, saying, why is your mom in jail?” Taylor said. “Students asking her, put your mom’s name in the computer, let’s see what comes up. It was rough.”

And she still hasn’t found a job.

“I am still looking. It’s been a little bit difficult. My impression is that others are a little reluctant to take that chance on me simply because of the media surrounding my case,” Taylor said.

She received more than $100,000 in donations after her story went viral and her attorney is working pro bono.

Taylor’s criminal charges will be dropped, pending conditions set by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, as part of her plea negotiation. The agreement includes parenting classes that she will take through January.

“Once the classes are completed, the case is officially dismissed,” Benjamin Taylor said.

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New Memorial Honors Women Killed in Line of Duty Since 9/11

Photodisc/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) — A new “Living Wall of Honor” at the Arlington National Cemetery women’s memorial remembers the U.S. service members who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was unveiled Thursday on the attacks’ 13th anniversary.

The unique memorial is an arrangement of over 700 indoor plants, but 160 slots were left empty, one for each death. Volunteers and families then filled those cases with saplings, each bearing a photo of the honored dead. A veteran’s glee club resonated in the chamber.

“Nothing like this has ever been done before. There’s never been an organic memorial to our post-9/11 veterans,” Kristina Kaufmann of the Code of Support Foundation told ABC News.

The charity network helped organize the tribute.

“We’re honoring the fallen with the living; honoring the dead with the living. And that’s really what this is with these plants,” Kaufmann said.

Among them is Army Spc. Toccara Green, who received a Gold Star for her sacrifice in Iraq in 2005. Her parents, Gary and Yvonne Green, reflected on what it was like looking back nearly a decade later.

“After nine years, she had passed away, people still come out and support her,” Gary Green said. “And that makes me feel that her life was not, lost in vain. It really helps me out psychologically, so I really appreciate it.”

Added Yvonne Green: “Even though her life isn’t physically here, these plants are symbolic of the life she lived. They forever grow and continue to blossom on into more life.”

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Florida Woman Found Dead in Bathtub Murder Mystery

Insight For The Blind(DAVIE, Fla.) — Police in Florida are investigating the mysterious murder of a woman found dead in her bathtub.

Jill Halliburton Su — the wife of a prominent University of Florida professor — was found dead Monday inside her Davie, Florida, home in Broward County. The 59-year-old’s son discovered her body and called 911.

Davie Police Capt. Dale Engle said it didn’t take long for authorities to conclude that foul play was involved.

“The initial call came in as a possible suicide, but it became very evident that this was not a suicide, but in fact a homicide,” Engle said.

At this point, police aren’t saying how Halliburton Su died.

She was related to the founder of the billion-dollar Halliburton oil services empire and also volunteered, reading books for the blind.

Her husband, Dr. Nan Yao Su, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida’s Research and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale, was at work Monday, and said he called home when he couldn’t see his home surveillance cameras on his computer, police said. He told his oldest son to check on the house, at which time the victim’s body was found.

Both father and son were questioned by police and, at this point, neither are considered suspects, Engle said.

“I don’t want to say anybody’s been ruled out as a suspect. At this time, this is a very active investigation,” he said. “We did find a door that was broken or the glass of a door that was broken.”

That broken glass suggests that the house could have been broken into, with a room reportedly ransacked. Police are now canvassing the gated neighborhood, looking at surveillance tapes and even diving into nearby canals for clues.

“We’re going door-to-door, literally speaking, with residents over there to see if anybody captured any evidence that we may be able to utilize in this investigation,” Engle said.

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Hoax 911 Call Diverts Cops from Actual Bank Robbery, Police Say

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ISLAND COUNTY, Wash.) — The FBI is searching for a suspected bank robber who’s believed to have made a hoax 911 call reporting a murder in order to send police on a wild goose chase while he robbed a Washington state bank.

In audio of the Monday 911 call, the caller can be heard telling a dispatcher on Whidbey Island the made-up story.

“He lives in a tent with his girlfriend. He says he shot his girlfriend on accident and how he’s suicidal,” the caller said.

The operator pressed the caller for details: “Hold on, listen to me one second. He shot his girlfriend?”

The caller replied: “My phone’s about to die!”

The few members of Island County Sheriff’s Office on duty at the time raced to the scene of the purported crime, but when they got to the wooded area they found no evidence of a murder. That’s when a second call came in indicating a bank robbery was happening at Wells Fargo in Clinton, located miles away from the officers’ location.

“I think the officers realized that they’d been duped and that we needed to respond immediately to the actual crime scene,” Island County Sheriff Mark Brown told ABC News.

A photo released by police shows a man wearing a black face mask, hood and camouflage jacket. Police say the suspect robbed the bank at gunpoint and fled in a bank employee’s car.

Whidbey Island, located north of Seattle, is better known for its picturesque views and quiet life.

Investigators say the last armed robbery on the island occurred at the very same bank two years ago and under very similar circumstances. In a 911 call later traced to a payphone, a caller reported a murder, sending police chasing in the wrong direction just before that robbery took place.

Investigators are considering whether the two robberies could have been committed by the same person and have brought in the FBI to assist in analyzing the 911 tapes.

“We’re certainly following leads to see if we can do some voice analysis,” said Sheriff Brown.

The stolen car used in the robber’s getaway was found Monday but the suspect is still on the loose, authorities told ABC News.

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Supporters of Michael Brown Fail to Block Major St. Louis Roadway

Win McNamee/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — Dozens of protesters calling for justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown rallied Wednesday by attempting to block a section of Interstate-70 in St. Louis County, Missouri.

Organizers called the protest an act of civil disobedience.

Despite demands by police that they confine their protests to the sidewalk, some demonstrators stepped on the roadway anyway, prompting their swift arrests.

As traffic kept moving on I-70, police made about 35 arrests, four of them for assaulting officers, many of whom were in full riot gear.

Protesters were there to demand that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon hire a special prosecutor to investigate the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by Ferguson Police Officer Darren White, who is white.

Other community leaders want White arrested and booked for the alleged murder of Brown even as a grand jury is trying to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

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Supporters of Michael Brown Fail to Block Major St. Louis Roadway

Win McNamee/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — Dozens of protesters calling for justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown rallied Wednesday by attempting to block a section of Interstate-70 in St. Louis County, Missouri.

Organizers called the protest an act of civil disobedience.

Despite demands by police that they confine their protests to the sidewalk, some demonstrators stepped on the roadway anyway, prompting their swift arrests.

As traffic kept moving on I-70, police made about 35 arrests, four of them for assaulting officers, many of whom were in full riot gear.

Protesters were there to demand that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon hire a special prosecutor to investigate the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by Ferguson Police Officer Darren White, who is white.

Other community leaders want White arrested and booked for the alleged murder of Brown even as a grand jury is trying to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

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Driver’s Education Proves Valuable for Teens

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — As the poem goes, a little learning is a dangerous thing but not learning the rules of the road is even more dangerous, particularly for young drivers.

Over the years, driver’s education requirements have dwindled in many states, mainly due to budget cuts.

However, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that if driver’s ed is available to teens, they should by all means take advantage of it.

According to AAA’s statistics, those who received an education on safe driving are involved in 4.3 percent fewer crashes than those who don’t. In addition, convictions due to driving-related offenses fall by almost 40 percent.

Driver’s ed is also valuable because it makes students more knowledgeable. They score higher on driving exams and show a noticeable increase in knowledge of road rules than teens who don’t take the course.

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Federal Agents Seize over $65 Million in Raid on LA Fashion District Businesses

Photo Courtesy: United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California (LOS ANGELES) — About 1,000 law enforcement officers executed dozens of search warrants in the Los Angeles Fashion District on Wednesday, arresting nine people and seizing at least $65 million in cash from businesses linked to international drug cartels.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California, one of the indictments unsealed on Wednesday accused the Sinaloa Drug Cartel of using a business in the Fashion District to accept and launder ransom payments for the release of a U.S. citizen who had been kidnapped, held hostage and tortured in Mexico.

Two other indictments involved alleged money laundering by a pair of Los Angeles businesses using the Black Market Peso Exchange scheme, which involves a “peso broker” who matches up criminals with businesses in currency exchanges.

“Today’s arrests and searches should send a message to international drug cartels that the FBI and our partners won’t tolerate the exploitation of American businesses for the purposes of illicit financial transactions that fund hostage-taking and the distribution of narcotics,” said Bill Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division.

According to Bill Bodnar of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, “the message law enforcement is sending to the fashion district and the whole, whole sale district is clear…if you’re a business owner who chooses to be involved in trade based money laundering, this is just the beginning. The law enforcement community in Los Angeles is coming after you.”

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NFL Commissioner Comes Under Increased Criticism for Handling of Domestic Abuse Situation

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In the wake of the newest information about the Ray Rice domestic violence situation, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell has come under increased criticism, with the National Organization for Women and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, questioning Goodell’s ability to handle the situation.

A statement released on Wednesday by NOW President Terry O’Neill declared that “the NFL has lost its way,” and that its problem is not isolated to the incident in which Ray Rice struck his wife in an elevator at Revel Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., but that the league “has a violence against women problem.” O’Neill’s statement notes even more recent examples of NFL players being accused of domestic violence, including San Francisco 49ers player Ray McDonald who played in his team’s first game of the season despite facing felony domestic violence charges and Greg Hardy, who has also been allowed to continue playing after being convicted in July of choking and threatening his girlfriend.

“The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign,” O’Neill says, “and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.”

Blumenthal even used some of Goodell’s own words to criticize the commissioner. When doling out suspensions to New Orleans Saints players and coaches two years ago, Goodell claimed that “ignorance is not an excuse.” Blumenthal echoed those words, noting that the NFL “has an obligation to do better.”

“The current leadership of the NFL cannot be trusted to fairly, genuinely implement policies that address domestic violence,” Blumenthal said.

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Former FBI Director to Lead Investigation into NFL’s Handling of Ray Rice Situation

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The National Football League announced on Wednesday night that an investigation into its handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident will be led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller III.

A statement put out by the league announced the investigation, which will be overseen by John Mara, owner of the NFL’s New York Giants, and Art Rooney, owner of the league’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Both owners are attorneys.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that Mueller will receive full access to league records and the cooperation of all league personnel.

Mueller served as director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013, under two presidents, and is currently a partner in the law firm WilmerHale, based in Washington, D.C.

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