Review Category : National News

Attorney General Announces Federal Marriage Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Same-sex couples will now be able to receive federal marriage benefits.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch made the announcement in a press release on Wednesday. The announcement comes just weeks after the Supreme Court’s historic decision to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

“I am proud to annuonce that the critical programs for veterens and elderly and disabled Americans, which previously could not give effect to the marriages of couples living in states that did not recognize those marriages, will now provide federal recognition for all marriages nationwide,” Lynch said in the release.

She also said that the administration will work to “fulfill our commitment to equal treatment for all Americans, including equal access to the benefits of marriage that the Obergefell decision guarantees.”

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Florida Couple Shot to Death Inside Home

iStock/Thinkstock(BRADENTON, Fla.) — A couple was killed in a home early Thursday in Bradenton, Florida.

Police say a group of people wearing masks broke into the house and shot the couple to death. ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV reports the police have identified the couple as 29-year-old Kantrel Brooks and 29-year-old Esther Deneus.

Authorities say a group of people broke into the home just before 4 a.m. ET. They were notified of the break in by a security alarm.

At the time of the shootings, five children ranging in ages between 1 and 11 years old were in the home. Police say one of the children claimed to see one of the masked suspects inside the home.

There have been calls to the home in the past but none relating to drugs or violence.

The investigation into what happened is ongoing.

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Three Sisters Vanish While Camping in Wyoming

iStock/Thinkstock(TETON COUNTY, Wyo.) — Search crews in Wyoming have found a car belonging to three sisters who disappeared during a camping trip, but the sisters remain missing.

Wisconsin residents Megan Andrews-Sharer, 25, and her sisters Erin, 22, and Kelsie, 16, left 10 days ago for a hiking and camping trip in Teton County, located outside Jackson Hole.

A “ping” from one of the sisters’ cellphones was last detected June 30.

Their car was found empty Wednesday at a trailhead in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

It’s believed the Andrews-Sharer sisters packed a tent, sleeping bags and about five days-worth of food.

Dozens of search team members, including dogs, are scouring an area covering roughly 150 square miles.

The terrain in the region features cliffs and heavy tree coverage, making the search efforts especially difficult, Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen said.

But Whalen remains hopeful because the sisters have extensive camping experience.

“They have been doing back-country camping trips for their entire lives, basically, so we all are confident that they especially know what they’re doing and how to survive,” Whalen said.

“Right now, it doesn’t look like there’s anything nefarious at all; it would appear they got turned around in the backcountry and now they’re lost.”

Parishioners at churches in the sisters’ home state held prayer vigils Tuesday, hoping for a safe return. Lauren Buyan, a close friend of one of the sisters, expressed concern for their safety.

“They’ve never really backpacked in the wilderness before, at least not this type of rugged wilderness,” she said. “So this would be their first real experience out here, in Wyoming.”

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Underwater Camera Captures Family’s Rip Current Ordeal

ABC News(BOSTON) — A family was rescued after being swept away by a rip current while swimming in the ocean off the Massachusetts coast, a harrowing journey that was captured with an underwater camera.

Derrick Johns, his wife and daughter Erynn, 16, of Texas were swimming at Surfside Beach in Nantucket Tuesday when the current pulled and tossed them.

Derrick Johns, a former Marine, said in a Skype interview with ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston that the ordeal was the scariest moment of his life.

“I did a few tours overseas with the Marines and I never felt that kind of fatigue or fear,” Johns said.

Erynn Johns was holding a video camera attached to a selfie stick when the current swept the family away. The camera flipped and spun, submerged as Erynn struggled to keep her head above water.

“I inhaled a lot of water, at that point and I just I couldn’t breathe under there,” she said.

The father and daughter gripped onto the selfie stick, and Erynn Johns credited the object with helping in her rescue.

While Erynn Johns was able to reach the shoreline, her father was pulled away.

Lifeguards and good Samaritans, including an unidentified man wearing orange swim trunks, rushed to the man’s aid. Derrick Johns was helped to shore and put on the sand, struggling to breathe.

“I was semi-conscious on the beach and when they put me in the truck, they said my oxygen level was really low,” he later told WCVB.

The family, recovering after their ordeal, says they hope to find the man in the orange trunks who helped to save their lives.

Experts say people caught in a rip current should stay calm, avoid fighting the current and, instead, swim parallel to the shoreline, waiting for the current to weaken.

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Underwater Camera Captures Family’s Rip Current Ordeal

ABC News(BOSTON) — A family was rescued after being swept away by a rip current while swimming in the ocean off the Massachusetts coast, a harrowing journey that was captured with an underwater camera.

Derrick Johns, his wife and daughter Erynn, 16, of Texas were swimming at Surfside Beach in Nantucket Tuesday when the current pulled and tossed them.

Derrick Johns, a former Marine, said in a Skype interview with ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston that the ordeal was the scariest moment of his life.

“I did a few tours overseas with the Marines and I never felt that kind of fatigue or fear,” Johns said.

Erynn Johns was holding a video camera attached to a selfie stick when the current swept the family away. The camera flipped and spun, submerged as Erynn struggled to keep her head above water.

“I inhaled a lot of water, at that point and I just I couldn’t breathe under there,” she said.

The father and daughter gripped onto the selfie stick, and Erynn Johns credited the object with helping in her rescue.

While Erynn Johns was able to reach the shoreline, her father was pulled away.

Lifeguards and good Samaritans, including an unidentified man wearing orange swim trunks, rushed to the man’s aid. Derrick Johns was helped to shore and put on the sand, struggling to breathe.

“I was semi-conscious on the beach and when they put me in the truck, they said my oxygen level was really low,” he later told WCVB.

The family, recovering after their ordeal, says they hope to find the man in the orange trunks who helped to save their lives.

Experts say people caught in a rip current should stay calm, avoid fighting the current and, instead, swim parallel to the shoreline, waiting for the current to weaken.

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South Carolina House Approves Bill Removing Confederate Flag

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — The South Carolina House has approved a bill calling for the removal of the Confederate Flag from the state Capitol grounds.

The decision came after 13 hours of at times contentious debate, and came weeks after the fatal shootings of nine black church members, including a state senator, at a Bible study in Charleston.

Among the pictures seen on social media accounts of alleged shooter Dylann Roof were pictures of him holding the controversial “Stars and Bars” — as well as him burning the American flag.

Following the 93-27 vote, the measure will go to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who has expressed support for removing the flag.

Following the vote, Haley celebrated the outcome on her Facebook page, saying, “Today, as the Senate did before them, the House of Representatives has served the State of South Carolina and her people with great dignity. I’m grateful for their service and their compassion. It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state.”

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Confederate Flag to Come Down from South Carolina Capitol

Denis Jr. Tangney/iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — The South Carolina House has approved a bill calling for the removal of the Confederate Flag from the state Capitol grounds.

The decision came after 13 hours of at times contentious debate, and came weeks after the fatal shootings of nine black church members, including a state senator, at a Bible study in Charleston.

Among the pictures seen on social media accounts of alleged shooter Dylann Roof were pictures of him holding the controversial “Stars and Bars” — as well as him burning the American flag.

Following the 93-27 vote, the measure will go to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who has expressed support for removing the flag.

Following the vote, Haley celebrated the outcome on her Facebook page, saying, “Today, as the Senate did before them, the House of Representatives has served the State of South Carolina and her people with great dignity. I’m grateful for their service and their compassion. It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state.”

The flag was raised at the statehouse in 1961, when it was raised along with the American flag as part of a commemoration of the centennial of the Civil War.

Critics assert the Confederate flag was raised then as a protest to the growing Civil Rights movement, and remains a reminder of the South’s racist past. Supporters insist the flag is a historical touchstone and a symbol of Southern pride.

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FBI: Tennessee Bank Worker Forced to Rob Branch After Family Kidnapped

Alex_Schmidt/iStock/Thinkstock(KNOXVILLE, TN) — A bank employee, his wife and their young child were abducted from their home in Knoxville, Tennessee, then hooded and driven to the local SmartBank where the husband worked by two armed suspects, who forced the man to rob the bank, according to the FBI.

The family was abducted at 8 a.m. Tuesday after the suspects, carrying two handguns and one long-gun, broke into their home, FBI Special Agent Ed Reinhold said in a news conference Tuesday.

He added the married couple and their young child were forced into their own car, a silver Mazda 6, which the suspects then drove to the bank branch in Knoxville’s Cedar Bluff district.

The suspects demanded that the husband rob the bank, and after the suspects got the money, they then left him in the parking lot and drove his wife and child to a nearby intersection, the FBI said, adding that the mother and child were released still hooded.

The mother then went to the nearest business and called 911, according to law enforcement, who then located the family, which appeared physically unharmed.

Officials declined to release the amount of money stolen from the bank and added that they do not believe the family had any known association with the suspects, though they said it’s likely the husband was stalked by the suspects prior to the robbery. It’s unclear how the father obtained the money from the bank.

The suspects remain at large, the FBI said, adding that they were two white males. One was between 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2 with a thin build, and the other was between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-10 with a stockier build.

SmartBank in Knoxville’s Cedar Bluff district did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for additional comment. Law enforcement officials have also not responded to a request for comment.

The family, which declined to comment, asked ABC News not to name them.

The FBI added they believe there is “a good possibility” this bank robbery case may be linked to an April incident about 25 miles west when three suspects — two male and one female– held the family of the CEO of Y-12 Federal Credit Union in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, hostage in a failed attempt to extort money from the credit union. No one was injured and no money was taken in that incident, officials said.

Bank employees in the area are now on high alert following the two incidents this past year, according to officials.

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12-Year-Old Arrested in Connection With a Deadly Omaha Shooting, Police Say

This is an undated booking photo of Jarrell Milton from the Omaha Police Department. (Omaha Police Department)(OMAHA, Neb.) — A 12-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in connection with a deadly shooting in Omaha, Nebraska, officials told ABC News Wednesday.

Jarrell Milton will be charged with first-degree murder alongside 15-year-old Shuntayvious Primes-Willis and his 17-year-old brother, Jamar E. Milton, police said.

All three are being charged as adults, the Douglas County Attorney’s office confirmed.

The three suspects allegedly got Jamymell Ray, 31, to meet them at the northeast corner of Miller Park in North Omaha for a marijuana deal on June 29, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine told ABC News affiliate KETV-TV.

“All three suspects had guns. There were shell casings from two different types of guns at the scene,” Kleine told KETV-TV.

The three juveniles allegedly attempted a robbery during the drug deal and shot Ray at close range, police said. Ray died from his injures at Nebraska Medical Center, police said.

Bond was denied for both Primes-Willis and Jamar Milton, authorities said, adding that a preliminary hearing for both has been scheduled for July 31. It was not immediately clear whether the three suspects had attorneys.

Charles Fisher, 30, who was with Ray, was also injured in the shooting and taken to Creighton Hospital, police said.

“When you’re sitting in a courtroom with someone who’s in grade school, in effect, charged with this kind of a crime, it really shocks everyone,” Kleine told KETV-TV. “There is no question in my mind that there are gang connections.”

The U.S. Marshals Service Metro Fugitive Task Force got information about Jarrell Milton’s whereabouts in Minneapolis and arrested him “without incident” just before midnight last night, U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson Chris White told ABC News on Wednesday.

Jarrell Milton has family connections in Minneapolis, White said, but could not comment further on the suspect’s connection to Minneapolis.

Jarrell Milton will go through court proceedings in Minneapolis before being extradited back to Omaha, White said.

Authorities are still investigating how the 12-year-old got from Omaha to Minneapolis, and White said authorities know he did not get there himself.

“It’s a difficult thing to wrap your head around,” White said. “We have arrested kids under 16 for homicide, so this is not the first time, but this is definitely the youngest arrest and it has the most unique circumstances.”

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Inside Former Subway Spokesman Jared Fogle’s Children’s Health Charity

The website of The Jared Foundation, which was pulled down on June 8, 2015. (The Jared Foundation)(INDIANAPOLIS) — Jared Fogle, the longtime spokesman for sandwich giant Subway, may be instantly recognizable to millions of people after starring in the company’s ads for 15 years but less is known about his eponymous charity.

The Jared Foundation’s executive director, Russell Taylor, was arrested on federal child pornography-related charges two months ago and now Fogle has become the subject of an off-shoot FBI investigation and his Indiana home was raided by law enforcement on Tuesday.

The charity’s mission statement, as listed on both its website and on multiple tax filings, is “to work with children, their parents and caregivers to educate them and to create programs to help avoid and deal with childhood obesity.”

Much of the charity’s work appears to be dedicated to starting partnerships with schools and companies, arranging “Jared Joggers” groups for various marathons and fundraising runs across the country.

The Jared Foundation does not have its own social media accounts, instead linking its website to Fogle’s verified accounts. It was there that he announced a partnership with MGM in 2012. MGM did not immediately respond today to requests by ABC News for more information.

Though the website appeared to have gone down or been taken down and was inaccessible as of mid-Wednesday morning, when the website was working, the foundation accepted online donations. There was even a special deal for donors to become VIPs by joining “Club 245″ by donating $245, highlighted because it was the number of pounds Fogle said he first lost when he started eating two Subway sandwiches a day when he was in college.

The foundation, as well as two members listed on the foundation’s tax filing documents, did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

The foundation’s website noted that it was founded in 2004 but online database Charity Navigator notes that it wasn’t officially recognized as having tax-exempt status until May 2006.

In keeping with federal tax rules, the group filed a 990 form each year, and those forms from 2006 to 2013, the latest available report, are publicly available.

Fogle is listed as a “member” of the organization in each filing, with Russell “Russ” Taylor as the executive director since 2009. Two other individuals — J.L. Hou and Josh Garrett — are also listed as members during that time period and Dr. Norman Fogle, Jared’s father, is listed as a member in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The only other person listed in the documents is Joy Hafner, who was identified as the executive director in 2007 and 2008, and a paid former executive director in 2009. ABC News’ calls to Hou, Garrett and Hafner were not immediately returned.

Fogle never received any compensation from the organization, according to the tax forms, and he and the other members noted that they dedicated two hours per week to the group.

The documents show that Taylor was the one who spent the most time working for the group, reporting that he dedicated 40 hours per week with his pay starting at $18,900 in 2009 and topping out at $40,008 in 2013.

Fogle gave a statement to The Indianapolis Star immediately after Taylor’s arrest, saying that the foundation was “severing all ties” with him.

Taylor faces eight preliminary federal felony charges, including multiple counts of possession of child pornography, voyeurism and child exploitation. It was not immediately clear whether Taylor has entered a plea. Federal prosecutors have until August to impanel a grand jury, according to Taylor’s lawyer.

After the 11-hour search of Fogle’s home on Tuesday, the 37-year-old spokesman has not been charged with any crime.

“Jared has been cooperating, and continues to cooperate, with law enforcement in their investigation of unspecified charges, and looks forward to its conclusion,” Fogle’s attorney, Ron Elberger, said in a statement on Tuesday. “He has not been detained, arrested or charged with any crime.”

Subway announced Tuesday afternoon that they were temporarily suspending their relationship with Fogle in light of the investigation.

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