Review Category : National News

Cost of Raising a Child Tops $245K, Report Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The cost of raising a kid is now more than $245,000, a new report out Monday finds.

From the time a child is born until he or she turns 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that little bundle of joy, born in 2013, will cost parents $245,340 to raise. That amounts to roughly $13,600 a year.

The annual government report finds that raising a child in the urban Northeast costs more than the national average — $282,480 — while families in the South and rural regions of the U.S. can expect to pay less — $230,610 and $193,590, respectively.

All these figures will increase with inflation. Compared to the USDA’s “Expenditures on Children and Families” report in 2012, the national average is up 1.8 percent.

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DOT Endorses Technology that Allows Cars to Talk to Each Other

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Transportation says cars that talk to each other could prevent more than half a million car crashes a year.

It’s called vehicle to vehicle communication technology — or V2V — and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says it could move the focus from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether.

A new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposes a new rule, issued in 2016, that would require new cars to come equipped with two types of V2V.

The report says those advance warning systems could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives every year.

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Exclusive: Michael Brown’s Mother Sees ‘Justice’ Restoring Peace in Ferguson

ABC News(FERGUSON, Missouri) — The mother of Michael Brown says the officer who shot and killed her son needs to be held responsible in order for peace to return in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Arresting this man and making him accountable for his actions; that’s justice,” Lesley McSpadden said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

The St. Louis suburb has been wracked by clashes and violence since Brown’s Aug. 9 death. Brown, 18, was unarmed when he was shot by a Ferguson police officer, identified by the department as Darren Wilson.

McSpadden said she spoke Sunday with Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson.

“He had a heartfelt message for me, and it was that that could have been his son, and he was sorry, and he’s, like everybody else, supporting and hoping and praying that this doesn’t happen again,” McSpadden said, holding back tears.

A private autopsy performed Sunday at the request of Brown’s family showed that the teen was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, said Shawn Parcells, the medical investigator who performed the autopsy with Dr. Michael Baden.

It’s unclear whether Brown’s arms were raised when he was shot, but he was not shot in the back, despite witnesses’ claims, Parcells told ABC News.

Family attorney Benjamin Crump said the autopsy results are troubling.

“It confirms our worst fears that the witnesses were telling the truth, that her son was shot multiple times,” Crump said. “The most troubling was the head shot, you know, it’s just not justified in any way, fashion or form to execute this child like this in broad daylight.”

Crump said the family wanted an independent autopsy in order to find out the truth about Brown’s death. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office previously conducted an autopsy, concluding that Brown died of gunshot wounds but releasing no details.

Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a separate autopsy because of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The shooting death of Brown has sparked riots and protests in the St. Louis suburb, a situation that intensified after Ferguson police released video Friday they say shows Brown robbing a convenience store before the fatal shooting.

McSpadden said she was surprised by the video’s release, and that it doesn’t help to explain the shooting that followed.

“I feel like it has nothing to do with what he did to my child. Nothing,” McSpadden said.

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Texas Man on Trial for Allegedly Slaying Driver Who Killed His Sons

Brazoria County Sheriff’s Department(ALVIN, Texas) — The murder trial begins Monday for a Texas father charged with gunning down a suspected drunken driver who struck and killed his two sons.

David Barajas, 32, is accused of taking the law into his own hands, executing the driver who authorities say killed his sons, ages 12 and 11, in a December 2012 crash.

The accident happened near Alvin, about 30 miles southeast of Houston. Barajas’ truck had run out of gas, and he and the boys were pushing the truck down a rural road when Jose Banda, who investigators say was intoxicated, slammed into their truck and killed David Jr. and Caleb.

Prosecutors say the enraged father ran home, grabbed a gun and shot the 20-year-old in the head.

Cindy Barajas, mourning the loss of her two sons, is worried that she could lose her husband, too. “Half of my life is gone. There’s no bringing that back,” she said, speaking exclusively to ABC News.

Cindy Barajas said her husband is innocent.

“The fact that they’re sitting there trying to say that he did something he didn’t do … He was sitting there trying to revive my sons,” she said.

David Barajas has pleaded not guilty and says he didn’t shoot anybody. The case features many complexities. Police never found the gun. The defense says there were no witnesses to the shooting.

Barajas has lots of support in the community: There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to freeing him.

“While there appears to be evidence beyond all doubt of motive, what’s lacking is credible evidence to prove that he’s the one who pulled the trigger,” Mark Eiglarsh, a Miami-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst with no connection to the case, said.

Banda’s family also set up a Facebook page, demanding his killer go to prison. Banda’s fate should have been handled by the legal system, they argue.

“Whoever did it is getting away with murdering my nephew. He deserves justice,” said Janie Tellez, Banda’s aunt.

If convicted of murder, Barajas faces up to life in prison. Cindy Barajas remains adamant in her husband’s innocence.

“Trying to take my husband away from me after my kids are gone, accusing him of something he didn’t do…I just don’t think it’s right,” she said.

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Michael Brown Could Have Survived First Five Shots, Autopsy Finds

Photodisc/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) — Michael Brown could have survived five of the six gunshots fired at him by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, but the last shot to the top of his head killed him, a privately conducted autopsy found.

The two shots that hit Brown in the head were likely among the last that hit him and traveled from the back of his head to the front, indicating that Brown’s head was tilted forward, either because he was bending over or falling over, when the final shots struck him, forensic expert Dr. Michael Baden said at a news conference Monday. Brown had abrasions on his face from where he “fell flat down unprotected,” Baden said.

A gunshot wound to his arm could show either that he was hit while walking away from the shooter, with his back to the officer, or that he was facing the shooter with his arm up, either in a surrender position, defensive position, or other motion, Baden said.

The autopsy was performed Sunday at the request of Brown’s family.

Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, was hired to perform the private autopsy along with Prof. Shaun Parcells for the Brown family after St. Louis County would not release the results of its autopsy.

The attorneys representing Brown’s parents criticized the St. Louis authorities for not releasing autopsy results and said that the results show evidence that the shooting officer, Darren Wilson, should be arrested.

“The officer needs to be arrested. Why would (Brown) be shot in the very top of his head? A 6-foot-4 man, it makes no sense,” attorney Darrell Parks said, explaining that the paths of both of the bullets were from the back of the head toward the front of the head. “We believe those two things alone are ample evidence for the officer to be arrested.”

In addition to the two shots to the head, Brown was shot four times in the right arm and chest.

Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a separate autopsy because of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office has also conducted an autopsy, concluding that Brown died of gunshot wounds but releasing no details.

The shooting death of Brown has sparked riots and protests in the St. Louis suburb.

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Exclusive: Michael Brown’s Mother Sees ‘Justice’ Restoring Peace in Ferguson

ABC News(FERGUSON, Missouri) — The mother of Michael Brown says the officer who shot and killed her son needs to be held responsible in order for peace to return in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Arresting this man and making him accountable for his actions; that’s justice,” Lesley McSpadden said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

The St. Louis suburb has been wracked by clashes and violence since Brown’s Aug. 9 death. Brown, 18, was unarmed when he was shot by a Ferguson police officer, identified by the department as Darren Wilson.

McSpadden said she spoke Sunday with Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson.

“He had a heartfelt message for me, and it was that that could have been his son, and he was sorry, and he’s, like everybody else, supporting and hoping and praying that this doesn’t happen again,” McSpadden said, holding back tears.

A private autopsy performed Sunday at the request of Brown’s family showed that the teen was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, said Shawn Parcells, the medical investigator who performed the autopsy with Dr. Michael Baden.

It’s unclear whether Brown’s arms were raised when he was shot, but he was not shot in the back, despite witnesses’ claims, Parcells told ABC News.

Family attorney Benjamin Crump said the autopsy results are troubling.

“It confirms our worst fears that the witnesses were telling the truth, that her son was shot multiple times,” Crump said. “The most troubling was the head shot, you know, it’s just not justified in any way, fashion or form to execute this child like this in broad daylight.”

Crump said the family wanted an independent autopsy in order to find out the truth about Brown’s death. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office previously conducted an autopsy, concluding that Brown died of gunshot wounds but releasing no details.

Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a separate autopsy because of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The shooting death of Brown has sparked riots and protests in the St. Louis suburb, a situation that intensified after Ferguson police released video Friday they say shows Brown robbing a convenience store before the fatal shooting.

McSpadden said she was surprised by the video’s release, and that it doesn’t help to explain the shooting that followed.

“I feel like it has nothing to do with what he did to my child. Nothing,” McSpadden said.

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Texas Man on Trial for Allegedly Slaying Driver Who Killed His Sons

Brazoria County Sheriff’s Department(ALVIN, Texas) — The murder trial begins Monday for a Texas father charged with gunning down a suspected drunken driver who struck and killed his two sons.

David Barajas, 32, is accused of taking the law into his own hands, executing the driver who authorities say killed his sons, ages 12 and 11, in a December 2012 crash.

The accident happened near Alvin, about 30 miles southeast of Houston. Barajas’ truck had run out of gas, and he and the boys were pushing the truck down a rural road when Jose Banda, who investigators say was intoxicated, slammed into their truck and killed David Jr. and Caleb.

Prosecutors say the enraged father ran home, grabbed a gun and shot the 20-year-old in the head.

Cindy Barajas, mourning the loss of her two sons, is worried that she could lose her husband, too. “Half of my life is gone. There’s no bringing that back,” she said, speaking exclusively to ABC News.

Cindy Barajas said her husband is innocent.

“The fact that they’re sitting there trying to say that he did something he didn’t do … He was sitting there trying to revive my sons,” she said.

David Barajas has pleaded not guilty and says he didn’t shoot anybody. The case features many complexities. Police never found the gun. The defense says there were no witnesses to the shooting.

Barajas has lots of support in the community: There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to freeing him.

“While there appears to be evidence beyond all doubt of motive, what’s lacking is credible evidence to prove that he’s the one who pulled the trigger,” Mark Eiglarsh, a Miami-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst with no connection to the case, said.

Banda’s family also set up a Facebook page, demanding his killer go to prison. Banda’s fate should have been handled by the legal system, they argue.

“Whoever did it is getting away with murdering my nephew. He deserves justice,” said Janie Tellez, Banda’s aunt.

If convicted of murder, Barajas faces up to life in prison. Cindy Barajas remains adamant in her husband’s innocence.

“Trying to take my husband away from me after my kids are gone, accusing him of something he didn’t do…I just don’t think it’s right,” she said.

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National Guard Called In to Ferguson, Missouri; Brown Autopsy Released

Scott Olson/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — A curfew imposed on the city of Ferguson by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon did little to quell disturbances Saturday night as one man was shot and seven people were arrested during protests over the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Meanwhile, even before authorities imposed another curfew Sunday at midnight, multiple smoke canisters were fired at protesters in an attempt to disperse a crowd after Molotov cocktails were allegedly thrown by agitators.

On Aug. 9, Brown and a companion were confronted by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who witnesses say allegedly shot Brown multiple times while he had his hands in the air.

In an effort to calm the situation that has grown increasingly more volatile, Governor Nixon said early Monday he was directing the state National Guard to assist in restoring peace and order. Nixon blamed “the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state,” for jeopardizing the community. Meanwhile, all schools in Ferguson will be closed Monday.

In other developments, ABC News has confirmed details in the preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday by Dr. Michael M. Baden, who was hired by the family, according to The New York Times.

According to his findings, Braden said that Brown was shot six times, including twice in the head. One of the bullets, which was the fatal shot, entered the top of the skull, suggesting Brown was bending down. He was also hit four times in the right arm.

Furthermore, the Justice Department will perform its own autopsy on Brown’s body, which is in addition to one by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner and Baden.

Following nights of clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement, Nixon had the Missouri Highway Patrol take over security from local cops while imposing the curfew beginning Saturday from midnight until 5 a.m.

Although the streets were mostly empty Saturday, one person was left in critical condition by an unknown shooter, and when police responded, their car was also shot at. The victim remains in critical condition.

Meanwhile, some groups refused to disperse, prompting authorities to fire smoke and gas canisters. Seven people who refused to leave the streets were then taken into custody.

Afterwards, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ronald Johnson, who is in charge of the security, admitted feeling “disappointed in the actions of tonight.” However, he said that no looting occurred, largely because officers were guarding stores that were ransacked earlier in the week.

Brown’s death is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney and the FBI to determine if federal civil rights laws were broken. The teen was African-American, while Officer Wilson is white.

On Sunday afternoon, Brown’s parents hosted a rally at the Greater Grace Church in an attempt to bring the community together.

Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke, saying, “Anybody that is going to be taken seriously in this country needs to address the police and Michael Brown.”

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Michael Brown’s Family Hosts Rally to Remember Teen Shot by Cop

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Thousands gathered Sunday afternoon at the Greater Grace Church for a rally hosted by the parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old whose shooting by police sparked a week of unrest in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

The rally was an attempt to bring the community together after the shooting of Brown last weekend, according to fliers distributed to Ferguson residents.

Bishop Larry Jones helped lead the service, during which he spoke about unity.

“When we get to the place where we respect everybody, regardless of race, creed or color, respect everyone,” Jones said.

Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke, saying “Anybody that is going to be taken seriously in this country needs to address the police and Michael Brown.”

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who is now overseeing security, said, “And I’m going to tell you I’m going to be here as long as it takes. My words will be honest. If we talk about it behind closed doors, I’m going to tell you.”

The rally was also hosted by Sharpton’s National Action Network and The National Bar Association.

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At Least Two Killed in Arkansas Freight Train Collision

iStock/Thinkstock(HOXIE, Ark.) — Two freight train crew members were killed in a fiery collision between two trains in the northeast Arkansas town of Hoxie early Sunday morning.

According to Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Kendell Snyder, two others were injured and have been transported to local hospitals.

While officials had been concerned the trains were carrying toxic chemicals, the Department of Emergency Management confirms there was no hazardous or toxic release.

The fire has mostly been extinguished. About 500 people in the area were initially evacuated, but the evacuation order has since been lifted.

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