Review Category : National News

Tornadoes and Hail Head Toward Midwest as 54 Million Americans Are in the Path of Wild Weather

jeffclarke/Instagram(DALLAS) — Destructive tornadoes and giant hail are headed towards the Plains states, including Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.

As one storm system moves towards the Northeast and a second, stronger one hits the Midwest Tuesday night, there are altogether 54 million people in the path of the wild weather.

In the Northeast, stormy weather is moving to the Mid-Atlantic, where a severe thunderstorm watch has been issued from Pennsylvania to Maryland to Northwest New Jersey. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, there was a 48 mph wind gust with pea-sized hail. The Northeast’s storms will continue through the evening before clearing out tonight.

Meanwhile, the second storm system is moving east out of the Rockies. Strong tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds are expected tonight in the Midwest, from cities as far north as Lincoln, Wichita, St. Louis and Kansas City, to as far south as Oklahoma City, Dallas, Waco and San Antonio.

A Tornado Watch was issued Tuesday afternoon stretching from San Angelo, Texas, up to Tulsa, Oklahoma, that will last until midnight CST. This is a rare “Particularly Dangerous Situation” where several intense and long-track tornadoes are possible. The area may also face huge hail — larger than 4 inches — and damaging wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour.

Another Tornado Watch covers eastern Kansas and southern Nebraska. Several tornadoes, some strong, are likely, along with large hail over 3 inches and damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph. That Tornado Watch expires at 9 p.m. CST.

As the storm loomed, photos captured the eerie skies in St. Louis:

In the space of just 3 minutes. #weather #Stlouis pic.twitter.com/5Cj1n7H36A

— William Good (@william_good) April 26, 2016

Then, an hour later in St. Louis, the rain and wind arrived:

Stormin’ & shakin’ in the Grove! #thegrovestl #stlwx pic.twitter.com/aw2oasi53n

— The Grove STL (@thegrovestl) April 26, 2016

The long line of damaging storms is expected to stretch from Kansas City and Wichita south toward Dallas by midnight, and then continue east overnight.

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White House Briefly on Lockdown After Suspected Fence Jumper

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The White House went into lockdown on Tuesday afternoon after a man tried to jump the fence of the neighboring Eisenhower Executive Office Building, according to the U.S. Secret Service.

The Secret Service said that a preliminary investigation indicated the man was fleeing the scene of a robbery nearby.

DC Fire and EMS tweeted that a suspected fence jumper was being transported to the hospital for evaluation of a minor hand injury.

White House Fence jumper near 17th & G – Now in custody. May have minor injury to hand. DC Fire/ EMS – we even help catch the bad-guys.

— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) April 26, 2016

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Scientology Leader David Miscavige’s Father on David’s Childhood

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Ron Miscavige, the father of the Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, remembers when he first introduced his son to Church practices.

David Miscavige was a 9-year-old boy at the time, his father said, and after David finished his first “auditing,” a kind of Scientology counseling session, Ron Miscavige said he saw something change in him.

“After 45 minutes, David walks out, smiling, bright,” Ron Miscavige told ABC News 20/20. “[That moment] decided his life, and mine.”

For the first time ever, Ron Miscavige opened up about his experience as a former member of the Church of Scientology and his son David Miscavige in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Dan Harris for a special edition of ABC News’ 20/20 to air this Friday at 10 p.m. ET. Ron Miscavige also talked about his new memoir, “Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me,” out on May 3.

Although he used the word “Ruthless” to describe his son David in the title of his book, Ron Miscavige said, “He wasn’t always that way.”

“When he was a kid, I am telling you, he was a lovable kid,” he said.

In his interview with 20/20, Ron Miscavige recalled the day in 1960 when the nurses brought his son David, his second child, out of the delivery room.

“He was kind of smiling with a bit of a scrunched-up face,” Miscavige said. “And I looked at him, I says, ‘Ah,’ you know, ‘This is your old man,’ you know, Gave him a kiss.”

The family lived in Willingboro, New Jersey at the time, where Miscavige and his then-wife Loretta raised their four kids — the oldest Ron, Jr., David, Denise and the youngest, Lori. Ron Miscavige said David was a happy child but the “bane of his life” was dealing with asthma.

“He would get severe attacks,” he said.

David was an “excellent” student, Miscavige said, but he started getting into fistfights when he was a first grader.

“He enjoyed having a fight,” he said. “And I’m sure he instigated it… he’s a tough kid. I mean, for his size, he’s like a stick of dynamite.”

Miscavige also said that his son had a tendency to put others down.

“He would come home and start complaining about somebody and I would say, ‘Hey, come on, you’re like Little Bad News, what the hell is this?’ … and then he would knock it off,” Miscavige said.

Ron Miscavige said the family’s home life wasn’t the easiest and he admitted that he hit his then-wife and their kids.

“Marriage-wise, we didn’t have a great marriage at all,” he said. “We had strife, and there was some domestic abuse, which I don’t feel good about, and I don’t think you can make excuses for that, no matter what, or how much time goes by.”

The Church of Scientology told 20/20 that Ron Miscavige’s acts of domestic abuse are much more serious and frequent than he admits. The Church said Miscavige’s memoir is filled with lies and granted 20/20 a rare interview with Church lawyer Monique Yingling, who called the book “a literary forgery.”

“And the title of the book, ‘Ruthless,’ I mean, it couldn’t be a falser description of David Miscavige,” Yingling told 20/20. “He’s a very compassionate, kind person.”

David Miscavige declined repeated requests from ABC News to comment on this story, but Yingling told 20/20 that, “On a personal level, I think he [David] is probably very, very sad that his father would do this.”

“There seems to be no explanation except that his father is trying to make a buck off his name,” she continued. “So I think there’s that level of sadness and I’m sure a sense of betrayal.”

Miscavige’s daughters declined to sit down for an interview with “20/20,” but through an attorney told 20/20 in a statement that they have cut off all ties from their father. They claim he was more violent with their mother and them than he admits, accusing him of striking them with his fists and his belt and saying, “Our father beat our mother senseless in drunken tirades, averaging two violent attacks with his fists per week.”

Ron Miscavige denies those claims. “That is a flat-out lie,” he said.

Ron Miscavige, a musician and a salesman, said he first heard about the Church of Scientology, a religion founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, in 1968 at a business meeting. After he started looking into it, he said he found someone teaching Scientology in New Jersey and started attending meetings regularly.

Miscavige said Scientology resonated with him at the time and he began paying for “auditing” sessions, a sort of counseling that uses a Scientology device called an E-Meter. The process promises to release negative emotions and Ron Miscavige thought it was life-changing.

“I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew I was looking for something,” Miscavige said. “When I got into Scientology, I felt that I had found what I was looking for, which did have a lot of answers … on a basic life.”

Miscavige said he took his son David to his first auditing session in 1969, and afterwards, he said his son seemed elated and his asthma attacks lessened “considerably.”

When asked if he thought his son’s asthma was linked to a psychological component, Miscavige said, “Of course, that’s what the auditing handled, the actual psychological phenomena of it.”

“I think it was at that moment that he [David] decided he’s going to do something with this,” he added.

According to Ron Miscavige, the whole family began studying Scientology, with David setting himself up as somewhat of a prodigy by the time he was a teenager. With his family’s consent, David left home at age 16 to join the clergy of the Church, known as the “Sea Organization” or “Sea Org.”

“He advanced very rapidly in the Church,” Miscavige said. “He really decided at a very young age to make it his career and his mission.”

Watch the full exclusive interview with Ron Miscavige on ABC News’ 20/20 THIS FRIDAY, April 29 at 10 p.m. ET

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El Faro Voyage Data Recorder Located, NTSB Says

National Transportation Safety Board(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has located the voyage data recorder belonging to the El Faro, the cargo ship that sank during Hurricane Joaquin, the agency announced Tuesday.

The 790-foot ship and its 33-member crew perished off the coast of the Bahamas after the vessel lost propulsion in the path of what would become a category 4 storm last October. Following a harrowing six day search in difficult weather, rescue workers gave up hope of finding any survivors.

Three months later, investigators discovered the ship’s hull 15,000-feet below the water’s surface, buried in about 30-feet of sediment at the bottom of the Atlantic. They found the navigation bridge, shorn off from the hull, nearly half a mile away – but failed to locate the mast and black box, or VDR.

In a subsequent search, the NTSB says investigators using more sophisticated sonar and remotely-operated vehicles found the mast and identified the VDR, thought to contain vital clues about the ship’s final moments, including audio from 12 hours before the ship sank.

The “next step” will be to “determine how the VDR can be retrieved,” according to the NTSB.

“Finding an object about the size of a basketball almost three miles under the surface of the sea is a remarkable achievement,” NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said in a statement.

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Trio Capsized off Coast of Cuba, Rescued by Cruise Ship Were Fugitives

Disney Cruise Line(NEW YORK) — In addition to providing family entertainment and vacation packages, the Walt Disney Company also occasionally aids U.S. authorities in capturing fugitives on the run in international waters.

Three individuals were found on Thursday clinging to a capsized boat about 40 miles north of Varadero, Cuba, by the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, federal authorities said.

The three were rescued by the Disney cruise liner and turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard, who discovered upon fingerprint analysis that two of the individuals had outstanding arrest warrants in New Orleans, according to U.S. Marshal Amos Rojas Jr. of the Southern District of Florida.

Luis Rivera-Garcia, 26, Juliet Estrada-Perez, 23, and Enrique Gonzalez-Torres, 23, were wanted for violating their supervised release on federal credit card fraud charges in Louisiana, according the U.S. Marshals Service. The three are Cuban nationals who had been living in the United States, authorities said.

“I think it was evident from the law enforcement standpoint that they were fleeing the U.S. to avoid federal and state charges,” Barry Golden, senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service, told ABC News Tuesday. “Cuba is somewhat a safe place for fugitives to hide.”

The three had multiple arrests between them for credit card fraud. Most recently, Estrada-Perez and Rivera-Garcia were arrested in Fort Myers, Florida, on April 18, and reportedly had been in possession of 28 fraudulent credit cards at the time, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Disney Cruise Line officials declined to comment on the incident.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

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Georgia College Student Missing Since Uber Ride Last Friday

Family Handout(ATLANTA) — A 21-year-old college student in Georgia has been reported missing since last Friday and her family is desperate to find her.

Georgia State University student Monique Priester was last seen on April 22 at a family member’s home, Priester’s mother Jacquelin VanLoo-Al Kush told the Gwinnett County Police Department. She left after a verbal confrontation with a family member, the mother added.

VanLoo-Al Kush told police she last spoke to her daughter on the phone later that day — at about 6:30 p.m. — and that Priester told her she was taking an Uber with a few other people to a college campus.

According to police, Priester’s phone has since been turned off.

“I’m panicked,” VanLoo-Al Kush told ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta. “I’m hoping that she’s safe.”

VanLoo-Al Kush told WSB-TV there was an ATM withdrawal in Nashville, Tennessee on her daughter’s account. Police declined to comment.

Police told ABC News that a missing persons report was in the process of being filed.

An Uber spokesperson told ABC News Tuesday: “We are working directly with local law enforcement to provide any assistance or information that could help them locate Ms. Priester and get her safely home.”

VanLoo-Al Kush told ABC News her daughter is “extremely bright, articulate, and has lots of friends.”

VanLoo-Al Kush described Priester as 5′ 1″ and 165 pounds with black hair, brown eyes, a pierced nose and a tattoo on her left forearm. She also said her daughter suffers from depression and anxiety, WSB-TV reported.

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One Murdered Ohio Family Member Was Shot Nine Times

iStock/Thinkstock(PEEBLES, Ohio) — One of the eight relatives all killed “execution style” in rural Ohio suffered nine gunshot wounds, according to the local coroners’ offices.

Two victims suffered five gunshot wounds; one was shot four times; and the others were shot once, twice or three times, the Pike County Coroner and Hamilton County Coroner said on Tuesday. Officials did not identify which of the victims was shot nine times.

Seven of the eight victims in Friday’s shooting spree were found in three homes along the same road in Peebles, a small village about 70 miles east of Cincinnati. The eighth victim was found in nearby Piketon. Some of the victims appeared to have been killed in their sleep, officials said.

Three children — a 4-day-old baby, a 6-month-old baby and a 3-year-old — were found unharmed at the crime scenes, said Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told ABC News on Sunday that authorities still did not have a suspect description or motive in the killings.

More than 300 tips have been received since Friday, all of which are being investigated, the Ohio Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday.

The victims were all members of the Rhoden family, identified as: Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden, Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden, Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

Evidence consistent with cockfighting was found at one of the crime scenes, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s office, adding another dimension of mystery to this unsolved murder case.

DeWine “observed roosters in small cages, one to a cage — a set-up he’s seen previously associated with cock fighting,” Eve Mueller, spokeswoman for DeWine’s office, told ABC News Tuesday. She did not specify which crime scene.

“Whether or not that was actually happening here, he doesn’t know — but what he saw was consistent with cock fighting,” Mueller said.

While Mueller said the attorney general’s office cannot “comment specifically if that is part of the investigation,” she added, “we are looking at every possible angle.”

DeWine has also said marijuana growing operations were found at three of the four crime scenes but authorities did not provide further details.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office has also confirmed that a Facebook threat was made against the youngest victim — 16-year-old Chris Rhoden. Authorities say they are pursuing the Facebook threat along with other leads.

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Evidence Consistent with Cockfighting Found at Scene of Ohio Killing

iStock/Thinkstock(PEEBLES, Ohio) — Evidence consistent with cockfighting was found at one of the scenes where eight relatives were shot dead in “execution type” killings, an official said, adding another dimension of mystery to this unsolved murder case.

At one of the Pike County, Ohio, crime scenes, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine “observed roosters in small cages, one to a cage — a set-up he’s seen previously associated with cock fighting,” Eve Mueller, spokeswoman for DeWine’s office, told ABC News Tuesday. She did not specify which crime scene.

“Whether or not that was actually happening here, he doesn’t know — but what he saw was consistent with cock fighting,” Mueller said.

While Mueller said the attorney general’s office cannot “comment specifically if that is part of the investigation,” she added, “we are looking at every possible angle.”

DeWine has also said marijuana growing operations were found at three of the four crime scenes but authorities did not provide further details.

Seven of the eight victims in Friday’s shooting spree were found in three homes along the same road in Peebles, a small village about 70 miles east of Cincinnati. The eighth victim was found in nearby Piketon. Some of the victims appeared to have been killed in their sleep, officials said.

Three children — a 4-day-old baby, a 6-month-old baby and a 3-year-old — were found unharmed at the crime scenes, said Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader.

DeWine told ABC News on Sunday that authorities still did not have a suspect description or motive in the killings.

The victims were all members of the Rhoden family, identified as: Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden, Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden, Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office has also confirmed that a Facebook threat was made against the youngest victim — 16-year-old Chris Rhoden. Authorities say they are pursuing the Facebook threat along with other leads.

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Dramatic Rescue of California Teen Stuck Under 6,000-Pound Truck

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — Dramatic surveillance footage captured the moment 17-year-old Cameron King was rescued from underneath his 6,000-pound truck.

King said he had been working on his truck when the unimaginable happened: the jack holding up the vehicle tipped over, causing the truck to collapse on top of him.

“I was supporting as much as I could with my neck and my shoulders,” King told ABC News. “I was raised fight or flight. When this happened I thought, ‘What’s the best thing I could do?’ First thing, yell and call for help.”

Fortunately, UPS driver Brian Phillips was making deliveries in the area and heard King’s screams.

Phillips jumped into action without hesitation, lifted the weight of the truck, freeing King from underneath.

“He popped out and was standing up,” Phillips recalled. “I couldn’t believe he was OK.”

The California teen sustained only minor injuries. His parents were extremely grateful that Phillips was there to assist.

“We are so blessed and it’s a miracle when you see that video and you see his truck go down,” said Kimberly King.

Cameron was reunited with his hero to thank him for saving his life.

Phillips joked: “Remember the first thing you asked when you got from under the truck? Is my truck OK? Well, it’s OK!”

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DC’s Famous Eaglets Now Have Names

American Eagle Foundation(WASHINGTON) — After more than a month, the eaglets born in the nation’s capital finally have names.

The pair will be called “Liberty” and “Freedom” — monikers befitting the two youngest members of the “First Family” of eagles.

Until Tuesday, the eaglet duo were called “DC2” and “DC3.” The public was invited to submit name suggestions using the hashtag #namethenestling. Thousands of submissions were narrowed down to five, which were put to a vote last week.

The winners were announced at a press conference Tuesday. Representatives from the National Arboretum, the American Eagle Foundation and a number of other organizations were joined by a live eagle named Challenger to share the exciting news. All seemed pleased with the public’s interest in the eaglets’ growth. There was, however, a small hurdle in the naming process.

“It’s a bit complicated because we don’t know if they’re male or female,” Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Liberty and Freedom were born to “Mr. President” and “The First Lady” in late March at the National Arboretum. Thanks to the DC Eaglecam, the eaglets were celebrities even before their birth. More than 35 million visitors have tuned in to get an “eagle-eye view” of the nest.

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