Review Category : Top Stories

Man arrested by FBI after threatening ‘Dylann Roof-style attack’

Horry County Sheriff’s Office(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) — A man with a felony record in South Carolina purchased a gun from an undercover FBI agent with the intention of carrying out an attack in “the spirit of Dylann Roof,” authorities said Thursday.

Benjamin McDowell, 29, who had allegedly become affiliated with white supremacist gangs during his time in prison, purchased a .40 caliber Glock handgun and ammunition, according to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Grant Lowe.

According to the complaint, McDowell was arrested in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina shortly after purchasing the weapon and charged as a felon in possession of a firearm.

The agent said that McDowell had made unspecified threats, once telling Lowe that he might shoot at a gathering of black people.

Authorities began investigating McDowell in December after he threatened a local synagogue on Facebook. Several days later, he again posted to Facebook, complaining that white supremacists were often unwilling to act on their convictions.

“All they wanne (sic) do is stay loaded on drugs the Jews put here to destroy white man and they feast on the drugs. they should be Feasting on the enemy that stole their Heritage and their bloodline and trying to run us off of this Earth,” McDowell wrote. “if you ain’t got the heart to fight for Yahweh like dylann roof did, you need to shut the f— up.”

On or about Jan. 6, 2017, according to the complaint, McDowell had requested an “iron,” a code word for a gun, over Facebook Messenger.

Court records show that since 2008, McDowell’s criminal record included charges for assault and burglary. It also said local authorities had kept tabs on him prior to December because of the alleged white supremacist connections he had made in prison.

Dylann Roof was sentenced to death last month for the 2015 massacre of nine black worshipers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Police search for a man photographed in area where slain Indiana teens had been hiking

Snapchat/Liberty German(DELPHI, Ind.)– Authorities in Indiana have released an image of a man they say was photographed on a nature trail around the same time as two Carroll County teenagers were hiking before they disappeared and were later found dead.

“We are asking help from the public to help identify him so he can be contacted regarding what he might have seen,” police said in a statement Wednesday. “Also, if you were parked at High Bridge
Trail Head on February 13, 2017 between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. we would like to talk to you.”

On Wednesday, authorities identified the bodies of Liberty Rose Lynn German, 14, and Abigail J. Williams, 13, both of Delphi. Police said the FBI was assisting in the investigation.

Police said the girls had been dropped off for a hike around 1 p.m. Monday. About 2.5 hours later, the girls were nowhere in sight when their families came looking for them, police said.

On Tuesday, German and Williams were found around 12:15 p.m., roughly a quarter-mile from an abandoned railroad bridge, near Delphi. Police said they were investigating the deaths as homicides.

They did not release a cause of death and did not detail any wounds or injuries the girls may have sustained.

Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said technology, specifically the girls’ social-media accounts and cell phone records, was important to the investigation.

“At this stage, we don’t know whether or not they’re, maybe someone, is holding back for fear of something or any other reasons. We honestly don’t know but that picture [of the man] is important for us to be able to move forward in this investigation,” Leazenby said. “Maybe there’s a message that was conveyed, maybe at some point, whether it be social media or any other technology, that we
haven’t uncovered yet.”

Leavenby would not say whether the victims’ cell phones had been recovered. Police would not disclose the source of the photograph of the man whom they would like to interview.

“It’s a very tight-knit, close community,” Leavenby told ABC News today. “It’s not like anything we’ve had in our past. … This one has a different feel to it. … These were wonderful girls. …
This was their innocence taken away from them at a very young age.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Denver man arrested in L.A. had knives and explosives

artolympic/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — A Denver man of Pakistani descent who was arrested in West Los Angeles on Thursday possessed weapons and explosive devices, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

The man, who has not been named, was found with knives and possibly flew to L.A. while following an ex-girlfriend, according to police.

In addition to the knives, law enforcement found explosive devices at a Sheraton Hotel in downtown Denver, where he had stayed. None of the devices were detonated prior to being found.

So far, there have been no reports of explosives found in Los Angeles, ABC station KABC in Los Angeles reported.

He is a veteran of the U.S. military and served in Iraq and sources close to the investigation told ABC News that the man had sent letters to Veterans Affairs complaining about his treatment by the
agency.

Investigators were trying to determine whether the man was on the radar of law enforcement agencies prior to his arrest.

He was arrested at a Holiday Inn on La Cienenga Boulevard, which is a major thoroughfare that runs North to South through Los Angeles.

A police report has not been issued yet and the FBI has not commented on the man’s arrest at this time. Charges are pending and have not yet been announced. He is expected in court on Friday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Justin Ross Harris’ ex-wife Leanna Taylor explains why she still supports him after son’s hot car death

ABC News(ATLANTA) — The ex-wife of Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia man who was found guilty of intentionally leaving the couple’s 22-month-old son to die in a hot SUV in June 2014, is speaking out for the

first time about why she supported her ex-husband through the trial and continues to support him today.

“It never crossed my mind that Ross had done it on purpose,” Leanna Taylor told ABC’s Amy Robach in an exclusive interview. “Never. It was an accident.”

Watch the interview first on “Good Morning America” and then see more on “20/20” THIS FRIDAY, Feb. 17 at 10 p.m. ET

A Georgia jury made up of six men and six women in November found Harris guilty on eight counts, including malice murder and two counts of felony murder, for the death of their son, Cooper Harris.
He was sentenced to life without parole.

The boy was pronounced dead on June 18, 2014, after authorities said he spent about seven hours alone in a rear-facing car seat in Harris’s locked SUV in the Atlanta area. Temperatures in the area
had reached the low 90s outside that day. Authorities ruled that Cooper died of hyperthermia.

Taylor said she first learned something was wrong when she went to Cooper’s daycare that afternoon to pick him up.

“The day care teacher … said, ‘Well, Cooper’s not here.’ and I thought she was joking, and I was like, ‘No really, where’s Cooper?’” Taylor said. “And she just looked me dead in the face and got
my attention. She was like, ‘He’s not here.’ I didn’t know what to think.”

Taylor said her first thought was that someone must have taken him from daycare, and then she said she thought, and admits she said out loud, that Harris must have left him in the car.

“Nothing else that my mind was going to made sense,” she said. “The next place my brain went was, ‘Well, maybe Ross left him at home, like, maybe he just forgot to take him to daycare.’ … he
could be a forgetful person.”

When a detective told her later that day that her son was dead, Taylor said she felt “numb.”

Since 1998, an average of 37 U.S. children have died annually from heatstroke after being trapped inside vehicles, according to the Department of Meteorology and Climate Sciences at San Jose State
University, which tracks heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles.

Police say Cooper was in the car when Harris drove to work at a Home Depot corporate office that morning, and when Harris went inside, Cooper was left in the vehicle. Surveillance video showed
Harris had returned to his car during lunch to put something away, then went back to work. Later that day, after Harris went back again to his car and drove away from work, then he pulled over in a
shopping center parking lot where he asked for help, authorities say.

Authorities argued that Harris going back to the car at lunch proved he knew Cooper was still there, but Taylor sees it differently.

“The going back to the car part actually for me solidifies that it wasn’t intentional,” she said. “To me, it said the opposite, that he didn’t have a clue Cooper was there.”

Detectives zeroed in on Harris, but said they were also suspicious of Taylor because they thought her actions that day seemed strange. She had told daycare workers that “Ross must have left him in
the car” and detectives said she seemed unemotional when she was told Cooper was dead.

Most suspicious, police said, was that while Harris was awaiting questioning at the police station, Taylor was recorded asking him, “Did you say too much?” Later, at Cooper’s funeral, eyewitnesses
reported that she seemed unemotional, and that she told people Cooper seemed to be in a better place.

Taylor, who was never arrested or charged in the case, said she was just trying to process what had happened.

“Nothing about it felt real. Nothing about it felt like it was happening. It just felt like a bad dream,” Taylor said. “My faith is the only thing that has kept me alive since this happened. The
only thing that could give me any kind of peace was knowing that Cooper was in a good place … People took it as me not wanting him here.

“If I could bring Cooper back to me, of course I would bring him back,” she added.

Since the funeral, Taylor said she has been the target of horrific bullying, both in person and online. She said she was barred at first from getting her son’s belongings from his daycare and she
said someone left a note on Cooper’s grave saying, “If you had been my son, I would have loved you.”

“There’s no way for someone to know how they would react,” Taylor said. “If somebody had asked me the day before this happened, ‘How would you react if this happened to you?’ My explanation of how
I would have reacted and the reality of how I actually reacted would have been completely opposite.”

Because of pretrial publicity, the proceedings were moved nearly 300 miles away from Atlanta to the coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia.

At trial, prosecutors argued that Harris had researched child deaths in hot cars before he left Cooper locked in his SUV all day. They also alleged that Harris was leading a “double life,” having
multiple online affairs, including with an underage girl, and argued that Harris’ behavior showed he intentionally killed his son to escape the responsibilities of family life.

“He was living a double life,” assistant district attorney Chuck Boring told “20/20.” “This wasn’t just an affair type of thing. It was obsession — pervasive acts constantly on the internet and
meeting up with people … I think he just was having less and less time with the family to be able to do as much as he wanted and to live the life he wanted.”

Harris’ defense attorneys argued that Cooper’s death was an accident and that Harris forgot his son was in the car. Harris pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included malice murder, two
counts of felony murder, cruelty to children in the first degree, cruelty to children in the second degree, criminal attempt to commit a felony and two counts of dissemination of harmful material
to minors.

Some of the charges referred to sexually explicit text exchanges from March 2014 through the day of Cooper’s death that, prosecutors said, Harris had with an underage girl.

Despite the accusations against her ex-husband, Taylor took the stand to testify in his defense. In fact, Taylor said Harris was a very involved father from the moment Cooper was born.

“This was never about me defending Ross,” she told “20/20.” “When you get on the stand and you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, that’s what you’re supposed to do, and that’s
what I did.”

“I couldn’t get up there and say he was a bad father because it wasn’t true,” Taylor continued. “I couldn’t get up and say that he seemed bothered by having a child because it wasn’t true.”

On the stand, Taylor testified that she was aware that Harris had sexted with other women, that he suffered from a porn addiction, though she claimed she thought it was under control, and said they
went to counseling.

“It is incredibly disappointing to see somebody go down — somebody that you loved, somebody that you trusted, and somebody that you believed in go down a road of that kind of destruction,” she
told “20/20.”

Taylor said Harris did apologize to her for what happened and she accepted, but “it’s not going to change anything.” She remains steadfast that Harris never would have killed their son on purpose.

“There was evidence in our relationship that would suggest that he would be capable of being unfaithful to me,” she said. “There was no evidence in our relationship that suggested that he would
harm anyone, much less his own son.”

Today, her son Cooper has been gone longer than he was alive. Taylor said she slept with his blankets every night for months and it took her two years before she could bring herself to wash his
dirty clothes.

“At this very moment, there is a sippy cup on my kitchen table that still has the water in it that he had drank the day before or the morning of, and I just can’t wash it,” she said. “There’s some
of him in it and that may seem weird … and nobody touches it. It’s like they know better.”

Taylor got a tattoo of Cooper’s right footprint on her right foot so that she said he will always be “walking with her.” She has a second tattoo, a semicolon on her wrist, which has been used as a
symbol of suicide prevention. Taylor said she came very close to committing suicide but in the end decided she didn’t want to put her family through more heartache.

Her mission now is to spread awareness about “Forgotten Baby Syndrome,” the clinical term for parents accidentally leaving children in cars, to make sure what happened to Cooper serves as a warning
to other parents.

“[Cooper] deserves a better legacy than ‘the boy whose father intended to kill him,’” Taylor said. “People don’t believe that it can happen to them, and not believing that it can happen to you is
putting your child in danger.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Boston University students catch alleged art gallery thief after Super Bowl

ABC News(BOSTON) — A man who allegedly attempted to steal art from a Boston art gallery after the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LI was stopped by three Boston University students on their way home from celebrating the Patriots’ win over the Atlanta Falcons.

“I yelled out to him, ‘Hey what are you doing? Did you just take those?'” Mackenzie Thompson, one of the students, told ABC News. “And he turned around and once he saw us running after him he actually dropped the paintings and started to run away.”

Thompson was walking down Boston’s Newbury Street just after midnight on Feb. 6 when he and fellow students Chris Savino and Jesse Doe heard an alarm ringing and saw a person who looked suspicious exiting the Galerie d’Orsay art gallery.

The three students caught the suspect and held him until police arrived, authorities said.

Surveillance video taken inside Galerie d’Orsay shows the suspect using a brick and then his own hand to break in the front door after his attempts to kick the door down failed.

The suspect, identified by police as Jordan Russell Leishman, is then seen grabbing two pieces of artwork before he goes into a second room and grabs another two pieces.

“He comes into the second room, walks past the beautiful, $90,000 Picasso [and] instead grabs another small $1,800 [Joan] Miró,” Camille Super, a fine art consultant at Galerie d’Orsay, told ABC News. “It didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing.”

The suspect walked out of the gallery with four paintings valued at nearly $21,000, according to the police report. The paintings were not damaged.

Leishman, 29, of New Hampshire, entered a not guilty plea in court on Wednesday. He is charged with breaking and entering, larceny over $250 and being a fugitive from justice due to a warrant in New Hampshire on a separate incident, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Leishman, who remains in jail, is due back in court on March 20 for a pretrial hearing.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Teen girls found dead on hike in Indiana investigated as double homicide

iStock/Thinkstock(TERRE HAUTE, Ind.) — The bodies of two teenage girls who went missing while hiking in Indiana were found Tuesday, and their deaths, which shook their community, are now being investigated as a homicides, according to police.

State Police Sgt. Kim Riley said autopsies conducted in Terre Haute, Indiana helped to identify the girls as Liberty Rose Lynn German, 14, and Abigail Jay Williams, 13 of Carroll County.

German and Williams were found roughly three-quarters of a mile from an abandoned railroad bridge, near Delphi, where they were dropped off Monday to go hiking. It was unclear who dropped the girls off.

Police said they are still collecting evidence at the scene of where the bodies were found.

Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said authorities do not yet have a suspect or suspects in the girls’ deaths.

Police are not releasing a cause of death, and are not detailing any wounds or injuries the girls may have sustained.

“The investigation is still in its baby steps, so to speak, and we don’t want to put that information out yet,” Leazenby said.

Police urged the community to contact police with any tips they might have to help authorities in the investigation.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of this. We feel confident. And we’re going to do everything within our resources to reach justice in this situation,” Leazenby said.

Riley said that the deaths have sparked fear in the quiet, rural community.

“I feel safe for this community,” he said, and added that people should remain “alert and watchful.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Fearing deportation, undocumented mother of four takes refuge in Denver church

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — An undocumented mother of four who has lived in Denver, Colorado, for 20 years took refuge in a church Wednesday after U.S. immigration officials rejected her request to remain in the country.

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Jeanette Vizguerra, 45, said she skipped her scheduled check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier out of fear that she would be deported.

She has three U.S.-born children — Luna, 12, Roberto, 10, and Zury, 6 — and a 26-year-old Mexican-born daughter, Tania Baez, who reportedly is not a citizen by birth, but has a work permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Vizguerra, a native of Mexico and an immigrant rights activist, said she plans to live in the basement bedroom of the First Unitarian Society in Denver until she has legal documents that allow her to walk freely.

Taking refuge in a church is a common tactic to avoid deportation.

Under U.S. government policy, immigration authorities are supposed to avoid entering places of worship and other “sensitive locations,” unless they have prior approval from a supervisor or face “exigent circumstances” that demand immediate action.

Undocumented Colorado mother of 3 U.S. citizens on deportation fight: ‘It will not end today’: https://t.co/gCkJ5rU6xB #Denver7 pic.twitter.com/HAVuNd35Ca

— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) February 16, 2017

Vizguerra’s attorney, Hans Meyer, said the government had granted his client six stays of removal since she was ordered to leave the country in November 2011.

Meyer said Vizguerra also has a pending U-Visa application she filed 13 months ago. U-Visas are typically set aside for victims of certain crimes and people who are helpful to law enforcement.

Vizguerra was allegedly the victim of a past assault.

ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer said Vizguerra was an “enforcement priority” based on two misdemeanor convictions, including what her lawyer says is the common practice of using a fake social security number to get a job.

Meyer said he blames President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration, which he says eliminated due process.

“She’s not a danger to the United States. She’s a mom,” Meter said told ABC News on Wednesday. “We need to protect the community from Trump’s deportation machinery.”

ICE spokesman Neudauer did not say if Vizguerra’s request for an extension was denied due to a change in policy.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Melania Trump, Sara Netanyahu visit African-American museum

MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — While President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu basked in their bromance Wednesday, their wives also appear to have a seemingly similar affinity for each other.

Following the joint Trump-Netanyahu press conference in the East Room of the White House, Melania Trump hosted Sara Netanyahu on a visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The wives were accompanied by museum director Lonnie Bunch and Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton.

After husbands’ joint news conference, Melania Trump and Sara Netanyahu visited the National African American Museum https://t.co/ps01OZmFmz pic.twitter.com/oPzduBpsR1

— ABC News (@ABC) February 16, 2017

“Mrs Sara Netanyahu met at the White House with @FLOTUS Melania Trump, who surprised her with a visit to @NMAAHC,” read a tweet from Netanyahu’s office, along with a trio of photos of the leaders’ wives at the museum and the White House.

Mrs Sara Netanyahu met at the White House with @FLOTUS Melania Trump, who surprised her with a visit to @NMAAHC pic.twitter.com/c607mj9SBa

— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 15, 2017

The first lady reportedly said in a statement afterwards of the visit, “As we remember, with deep humility and reverence, the historic plight of slavery which the Jewish and African-American people have known all too well, we rededicate ourselves to those powerful words that both our nations hold dear: “NEVER AGAIN!”

Mrs. Trump also tweeted, “It was an honor to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History @NMAAHC.”

During their husbands’ press conference, President Trump gave Mrs. Netanyahu accolades, saying, “I also want to thank Sara, can you please stand up? You’re so lovely and you’ve been so nice to Melania, I appreciate it very much.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

North Dakota governor issues emergency evacuation order for Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp

Scott Olson/Getty Images(BISMARCK, N.D.) — North Dakota governor Doug Burgum issued an emergency evacuation order Wednesday for the Oceti Sakowin protest camp — located on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation — where Dakota Access Pipeline opponents have spent several months expressing their disdain for the pipeline.

Gov. Burgam signed the order “out of concern for the safety of people who are residing on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) land in southern Morton County and to avoid an ecological disaster to
the Missouri River,” read a statement from the governor’s office.

Decreasing temperatures were cited as the impetus in speeding up the camp’s clean-up. “Warm temperatures have accelerated snowmelt in the area of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp, and the National
Weather Service reports that the Cannonball River should be on the watch for rising water levels and an increased risk of ice jams later this week,” reads the statement. “Due to these conditions,
the governor’s emergency order addresses safety concerns to human life as anyone in the floodplain is at risk for possible injury or death. The order also addresses the need to protect the Missouri
River from the waste that will flow into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe if the camp is not cleared and the cleanup expedited.”

The Standing Rock Sioux began coordinating a cleanup in late January, but state officials say it isn’t happening fast enough.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordered on Feb. 3 those camping on federal property to vacate to prevent injuries and significant environmental damage in the likely event of flooding in the area.

The Oceti Sakowin camp needs to be evacuated no later than Feb. 22 in order to allow private contractors to accelerate the removal of waste from the camp, the governor’s office said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Teen girls found dead on hike in Indiana investigated as double homicide

WRTV(TERRE HAUTE, Ind.) — The bodies of two teenage girls who went missing while hiking in Indiana were found Tuesday, and their deaths, which shook their community, are now being investigated as a
homicides, according to police.

State Police Sgt. Kim Riley said autopsies conducted in Terre Haute, Indiana helped to identify the girls as Liberty Rose Lynn German, 14, and Abigail Jay Williams, 13 of Carroll County.

German and Williams were found roughly three-quarters of a mile from an abandoned railroad bridge, near Delphi, where they were dropped off Monday to go hiking. It was unclear who dropped the girls
off.

Police said they are still collecting evidence at the scene of where the bodies were found.

Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said authorities do not yet have a suspect or suspects in the girls’ deaths.

Police are not releasing a cause of death, and are not detailing any wounds or injuries the girls may have sustained.

“The investigation is still in its baby steps, so to speak, and we don’t want to put that information out yet,” Leazenby said.

Police urged the community to contact police with any tips they might have to help authorities in the investigation.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of this. We feel confident. And we’re going to do everything within our resources to reach justice in this situation,” Leazenby said.

Riley said that the deaths have sparked fear in the quiet, rural community.

“I feel safe for this community,” he said, and added that people should remain “alert and watchful.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →