Now Playing Loading...
National
Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(SPRINGFIELD, Tenn.) -- Tennessee authorities are searching for two teenage sisters who are missing and believed to have run away from home.

The Robertson County Sheriff's Office said Kayla Ward, 17, and Brooke Ward, 14, of Springfield, Tennessee, were last seen at their home on Highway 76 just outside of Springfield and are believed to have run away on Jan. 11.

Their mother, Lisa Ward, said she discovered her daughters were gone the following morning and found a goodbye note written in Brooke's handwriting on the window sill, that said in part, "just pray for me. I am going to find some place that will help me, the help I think I need and not your help."

"Please don’t come looking for me," the note continued. "They are be taking good care of me so don’t worry either I love you."

Law enforcement doesn't believe the teens are in imminent danger; however, their family fears they could end up as trafficking victims.

Brooke and Kayla were adopted by Ward and her husband Todd Ward in 2010. Their biological mother had a long history of drug abuse and prostitution and both girls suffer from reactive attachment disorder.

The sisters were featured in the Diane Sawyer 20/20 special report "Generation Meds" in 2011, about the overmedication of children in foster care. Brooke was at one point on 13 different psychotropic drugs.

"Kayla and Brooke suffered years of trauma and neglect, followed by five years in foster care. They have had many trauma struggles to overcome in their young lives," Lisa Ward told ABC News. "Please help us find our girls, to get them help for this time, and remind them they have a family now that loves them more than words. They don’t have to search for strangers to 'show them the way,' their family is here waiting to. No tip is too small, please share and be on the lookout for them. We won’t give up, please help us find them."

Lisa Ward told ABC News she wanted her daughters to know they are loved and cared for, and said she will "never give up" on them.

The Robertson County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about the teenagers' whereabouts please contact local law enforcement or the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 615-382-6600.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

WBAY(BELLEVUE, Wis.) -- Authorities in Wisconsin believe a missing teen is the victim of human trafficking.

Kasey Vang, 15, was reported missing from Bellevue, Wisconsin, Jan. 11, according to the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Vang was last seen Saturday with her younger sister in Milwaukee, more than 100 miles from her hometown. Vang's sister has since returned home and is speaking with investigators.

"Kasey is believed to be a victim of human trafficking by an unknown adult male," the sheriff's office said in a news release Monday.

Lt. Jim Valley of the Brown County Sheriff's Office said the girls "weren't necessarily kidnapped or taken."

"We believe that they possibly knew this individual through some means and went with him down to that area," Valley told ABC Green Bay affiliate WBAY-TV.

Investigators believe Vang and her sister left together and were separated at some point. Both are believed to be victims of human trafficking.

Investigators are working to determine the identity of the man.

Anyone with information on Vang's whereabouts is asked to contact the Brown County Sheriff’s Office at (920) 448-6192.
 
Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Orange County Sheriff's Department (LOS ANGELES) -- Prosecutors haven't ruled out hate crime charges in the fatal stabbing of University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Wednesday.

"We are continuing to investigate, looking through all matters of the communication," he said. "We have an obligation to file charges only if there's sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A hate crime of special circumstance allegation requires that level of proof ... if and when we find it, we will amend the charges."

Bernstein, 19, who was gay, was at home in Southern California for winter break when he went missing on Jan. 2. After an extensive search, his body was found on Jan. 9 in the brush surrounding Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.

The Bernsteins said in a statement earlier this week, “Our son was a beautiful gentle soul who we loved more than anything. We were proud of everything he did and who he was. He had nothing to hide. We are in solidarity with our son and the LGBTQ community. There is still much discovery to be done and if it is determined that this was a hate crime, we will cry not only for our son, but for LGBTQ people everywhere that live in fear or who have been victims of hate crime.”

Samuel Woodward -- Bernstein's former classmate at the Orange County School of the Arts -- was arrested on Jan. 12 and has been charged with murder.

Woodward, 20, allegedly picked up Bernstein from his home the night he went missing, the district attorney's office said.

Woodward -- who is 50 pounds heavier than Bernstein -- is accused of stabbing him to death and burying his body in the dirt in the perimeter of the park, the district attorney's office said.

The exact time and place of the murder is under investigation, prosecutors said, adding that a motive has not been determined.

Prosecutors accuse Woodward of visiting the crime scene days after the murder. They also say Woodward cleaned up the car he used to pick up the Ivy League student.

Prosecutors allege Woodward later gave authorities a "false explanation" about abrasions on his arms and dirt on his hands. According to a search warrant affidavit that was obtained by The Orange County Register and later sealed, Woodward allegedly told investigators the abrasions on him were from a "fight club," the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, Woodward allegedly told investigators that that night at the park, Bernstein left the car and walked off.

In the affidavit, Woodward said he waited for an hour for Bernstein to return to the car and then tried to reach him on Snapchat. When that failed, he said he went to his girlfriend's house and then returned to the park a few hours later to look for Bernstein.

Police said, according to the affidavit, during their questioning, Woodward couldn’t remember his girlfriend's last name or where she lived.

Rackauckas said Wednesday the family is "very distraught."

"This was a treasured young man," he said.

The Ivy League student's mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, tweeted after the arrest, "Revenge is empty. It will never bring back my son."

"My only hopes are that he will never have the opportunity to hurt anyone else again and that something meaningful can come from the senseless act of Blaze's murder," she said.

Bernstein's parents later said in a statement, "We are heartbroken."

"When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change," they said. "We ask that everyone work toward something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

"In the months to come, as part of our healing process, we too will act to heal the world. That is what Blaze would want," the Bernsteins said. "We still believe that people are good. We have seen this first hand in the tremendous amount of support we received from people everywhere."

Woodward, charged with murder, is set to appear at a bail hearing later Wednesday. If convicted, the maximum sentence is 26 years to life in state prison.



Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- Former Today anchor and NBC News correspondent Ann Curry spoke out Wednesday morning about her former co-host Matt Lauer, who was abruptly fired last year following alleged inappropriate sexual behavior.

In an interview on CBS This Morning, Curry fielded a handful of very pointed questions. She said she did not want to "do harm" or cause more pain, but she did address the atmosphere at NBC News she said she experienced while working there.

"I can tell you that I am not surprised by the allegations," she said of Lauer. "I can [also] say that I would be surprised if many women did not understand that there was a climate of verbal harassment that existed. I think it would be surprising if someone said they didn't see that. It was verbal sexual harassment."

Curry added that the movement that is taking place is overdue and has been a long time coming.

"We clearly are waking up to a reality and injustice that's occurred for some time," she said. "This is about power and power imbalance where women are not valued as much as men."

The interview on CBS This Morning comes a day after the appearance was teased on Twitter.

Curry left Today in 2012 after a year as a co-anchor and 15 years with the show. She eventually left NBC News a few years later and is currently promoting her PBS docuseries, We'll Meet Again.

When Lauer's termination from NBC News was announced in November, Curry wouldn't speak specifically to Lauer, but did tell People magazine, "I'm still really processing it," adding more generally that "we need to move this revolution forward and make our workplaces safe."

She also offered support to all women who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.

"I admire the women who have been willing to speak up both anonymously and on the record. Those women need to keep their jobs, and all women need to be able to work, to be able to thrive without fear. This kind of behavior exists across industries, and it is so long overdue for it to stop," she said. "This is a moment when we all need to be a beacon of light for those women, for all women and for ourselves."

Lauer, 60, was fired late last year after the network received "a detailed complaint from a colleague" involving "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer."

As more stories of harassment allegedly involving Lauer began to circulate, he spoke out later in November, saying, "There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this, I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC."

He continued, "Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul-searching, and I'm committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full-time job."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(PERRIS, Calif.) -- The aunt of 13 siblings allegedly abused and held captive by their parents in a Southern California home says her family tried "for years" to get in touch with her sister but "she just shut us out of her life."

"I want to reach out to the kids, I want them to know that for years we begged to Skype, we begged to see them, the whole family,” Elizabeth Jane Flores said tearfully in an interview Wenesday on ABC News' Good Morning America with co-anchor Robin Roberts.

Flores' sister Louise Anna Turpin, 49, was arrested Monday along with her husband, David Allen Turpin, 57, for allegedly holding their 13 children "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings" inside their home in Perris, California, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

The siblings, ages 2 to 29, "appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," the sheriff's department said.

"I was shocked because my sister and I haven’t really had a sister relationship for about 20 years. So other than maybe like a call every once in a while, and sometimes those calls are like a year apart. So I was shocked, I was devastated," Flores said. "We were never allowed to be a part of their lives."

Flores said she lived with her sister and brother-in-law for a few months when she was in college. At the time, the couple only had four children and the eldest was in elementary school, Flores said.

"I thought they were really strict, but I didn't see any type of abuse," she said of the parents.

She too had to follow strict "rules" and was "treated like one of the kids" when she lived with her sister, Flores added. She also said she had "uncomfortable" experiences with her brother-in-law.

"He did things that made me feel uncomfortable," she said. "If I were to get in the shower, he would come in there while I was in there and watch me, and it was like a joke. He never touched me or anything."


Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Thirty-one of the country’s most contaminated sites are likely to be available for building new housing, business or other development soon after they are cleaned up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today, a step that’s part of Administrator Scott Pruitt's push to accelerate the cleanup and make the land available for community use.

Some of the so-called Superfund sites on the list have been considered too contaminated for use for decades and while today’s announcement signals no immediate changes, it opens the door for companies that want to use the land in the future to start that process.

No development could happen until the areas are considered safe and removed from the EPA's list of contaminated sites.

There are nearly 1,200 sites on that list -- known as the Superfund National Priorities List, across the country -- that are managed by the EPA. The agency works with the companies considered responsible for the pollution and local governments to create a plan to clean up the sites and, in some cases, collect settlements used to pay for the cleanup.

Sites included on the list released today are considered good options for redevelopment in the foreseeable future based on location, access to transportation and interest from potential developers, according to the EPA news release.

At least one of the sites has been of particular interest to Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general and state senator. The site of a former lead smelter in East Chicago, Indiana, was the first Superfund site Pruitt visited as administrator before the EPA announced in December it was a site targeted for "intense, immediate cleanup action" to be overseen by the administrator directly.

Multiple areas in East Chicago were added to the Superfund list in 2009 after testing showed high levels of arsenic and lead in residential areas. Residents had to evacuate a housing complex in the area in 2016 because of the contamination and the complex is now set to be demolished, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The governor of Indiana issued a disaster declaration for the city to increase resources for the area and the mayor of East Chicago said the city would need more than $56 million to deal with the contamination, the newspaper also reported.

"The City of East Chicago continues to have dialogue with the US EPA, and it believes that the Superfund site is quite viable for redevelopment given the continuing interest by companies to locate in East Chicago," Mayor Anthony Copeland said in a statement. "The city looks forward to continued work with the EPA in completing the remediation, which we feel should be completed to residential standards - the highest level of remediation, and promoting the development of the site.”

The EPA lists reusing a former elementary school building on the site as one of the possibilities for the site.

Another example on the list is a Superfund site on the coast of Lake Washington and close to the practice facility for the Seattle Seahawks. It was contaminated by coal tar and creosote from manufacturing until 1969 and a cleanup plan is expected to be finalized in 2019.

The owner of the land wants to redevelop it for 10 buildings with retail and residential units, according to an EPA fact sheet.

The full list of sites will be available on the EPA's website.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The entire Gulf Coast region was paralyzed on Wednesday morning with hundreds of schools and flights cancelled and interstates shut down.

A state of emergency has already been declared in North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama due to the winter weather moving through the region. Schools in at least 10 states, including major cities like Houston, Philadelphia and Boston were either cancelled or delayed.

Alabama went to the extreme step of cancelling classes for every public school in the state -- about 727,000 students -- on Wednesday.

Hundreds of accidents were reported Tuesday in the Houston area as the storm began to move through.

Storm alerts have been issued from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, with even a freeze watch for usually warm central Florida.

The storm system is moving east Wednesday morning and stretches hundreds of miles from the Gulf Coast to northern New England. Snow will continue for the inland Northeast and the rain will change to snow from New York City to Boston.

By early afternoon, the snow will move into Raleigh, North Carolina, where a winter storm warning has been issued for 3 to 6 inches of snow.

Snow will continue in the Northeast Wednesday afternoon, with the heaviest snow falling just east of Boston and north of New York City.

During the evening rush hour, major delays are expected in the Carolinas from Columbia to Raleigh.

Snow will be falling around Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, where slick roads are also expected.

When all is said and done, the heaviest snow will fall in western Massachusetts and into northern New England where locally 9 inches of snow is possible in the highest elevations.

Also, locally, half a foot of snow is possible in North Carolina.

Cold air follows behind

The cold air follows the storm all the way into the Gulf Coast and Florida for the next couple of days.

Wind chills on Wednesday morning all the way to the Gulf Coast are in the single digits and teens.

Thursday morning will be the coldest in the Southeast and into Florida, where a freeze watch has been issued for Tampa and a wind chill advisory issued for Fort Myers.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Police in Florida issued arrest warrants for nine men on Tuesday in connection with the November hazing death of a 20-year-old Florida State University student, authorities said.

The suspects, all between the ages of 20 and 22 years old, face charges of college hazing causing injury or death in the case of Andrew Coffey, a FSU fraternity pledge who died of alcohol poisoning on Nov. 3, the Tallahassee Police Department said in a statement Tuesday.

Police said the arrest warrants were issued for Luke E. Kluttz and Clayton M. Muehlstein, both 22; Brett A. Birmingham and Anthony Petagine, both 20; and Conner R. Ravelo, Christopher M. Hamlin, Anthony Oppenheimer, John B. Ray and Kyle J. Bauer, all 21.

It was not immediately known if any of the suspects has an attorney.

The department said detectives in its Violent Crimes Unit had “employed hours of investigative research, combed through several pieces of physical evidence, and conducted dozens of interviews” before announcing the charges.

“This collaborative investigation was critical to finding answers for Andrew Coffey’s family and our community,” Tallahassee Police Chief Michael J. DeLeo said in the statement. “Hopefully, this investigation and its outcome will prevent another tragedy from occurring.”

Coffey, a junior, was found unresponsive after attending "Big Brother Night" with the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, where he was a pledge. An autopsy found his blood alcohol level was .447, more than five times the legal limit to drive, according to The Associated Press.

According to grand jury testimony, a fellow pledge found Coffey unresponsive, but called other frat members instead of 911. Authorities weren't contacted for another 11 minutes, which experts told the grand jury could have cost Coffey his life.

Florida State University, a school of more than 41,000 students, suspended all Greek activities on campus in the wake of the death and Pi Kappa Phi's national office said it would close its FSU chapter.

Coffey's family, which described him as a kind person who loved to laugh, issued a statement shortly after the suspension praising the university’s president, John Thrasher, "for his immediate action in the suspension of all Greek life in the wake of Andrew’s death, and for his genuine desire and dedication to find a solution to this pervasive problem."

"As our family grieves, it is our every hope that Andrew’s memory never fades away and that his unnecessary passing will be the catalyst for communication and positive change in a practice that is obviously broken," the statement added.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW HAVEN, Mich.) -- Residents of southeast Michigan were left a bit shaken Tuesday night after a big bright flash lit up the sky and the ground beneath them shook.

A flying saucer? No. A shooting star? Not quite.

The National Weather Service eventually solved the mystery, tweeting "USGS confirms meteor occurred around 810 pm, causing a magnitude 2.0 earthquake."

According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake was centered about five miles west-southwest of New Haven, Michigan, located about 40 miles northeast of Detroit.

Initially though, as curious residents took to social media by droves to share videos of the dazzling display, the National Weather Service wasn't so sure what these star-gazers had seen.

"After reviewing several observational datasets, the NWS can confirm the flash and boom was NOT thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor. We continue to monitor feeds from astronomical agencies for official confirmation of a meteor," read a tweet posted nearly two hours before the NWS confirmed it was a meteor.

The American Meteor Society's report map illustrated that the meteor was visible in six states and in Canada.

The sparkling display sent social media users into a frenzy, making "#meteor" a top 5 trending topic in the U.S. on Twitter. One Twitter user captured the entire display in a 10-second dashcam video.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  A former CIA case officer has been charged with illegally possessing government secrets.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, was arrested Monday night at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and stands charged with unlawful retention of classified information.

Lee was entering the country from Hong Kong Monday evening when he was arrested, but newly unsealed court documents reveal the FBI has been investigating him for years, at least as far back as 2012.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, in August 2012, FBI agents were watching Lee while he was in Honolulu, Hawaii on a layover while on a trip from Hong Kong to northern Virginia. Armed with a court-authorized search warrant, agents searched his room and photographed items in Lee’s possession.

As Lee’s trip continued to northern Virginia, FBI agents again searched his hotel room, photographing pages in a date book and an address book they found in Lee’s luggage. Both items had been with him in Hawaii as well.

The government alleges the books contained Secret and Top Secret information “the disclosure of which could cause exceptionally grave damage to the United States.”

The information, according to court records, included operational notes from asset meetings, true names of assets, covert facility locations, names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, and addresses of CIA facilities.

Lee, 53, has been living in Hong Kong and is employed overseas. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen and served in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1986. He began working for the CIA in 1994 as a case officer trained in covert communications, surveillance detection, recruitment and handling of assets, and maintained a Top Secret security clearance until he left government service in 2007.

Lee was interviewed by the FBI on five occasions in 2013, but was apparently at some point allowed to leave the country. It is unclear why Lee was not arrested when investigators first searched his belongings and found the books in 2012.

The FBI and CIA both declined to comment on the matter. It is unclear if Lee has an attorney.

Lee is not charged with spying. He is being held in New York, and is expected to be move to Alexandria, Virginia for his initial appearance in federal court. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

David Allen Turpin/Facebook(PERRIS, Calif.) -- The staff of a Southern California hospital was reduced to tears at the sight of seven of the 13 malnourished siblings who were admitted after authorities discovered they were being held captive by their parents, officials from the Corona Regional Medical Center told ABC News. Those seven siblings are all adults.

"It's that profound when you see what they're going through," hospital CEO and Chief Managing Director Mark Uffer told ABC News of the staff's somber reaction. "How does this happen?"

On Sunday, a 17-year-old girl escaped her home in Perris -- about 27 miles south of San Bernardino, California -- through a window and called 911, telling dispatchers that she and her 12 brothers and sisters were being held captive, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

When responding officers arrived, the teen was so emaciated that they said she "appeared to be only 10 years old." Other siblings, who range in age from 2 to 29, were allegedly "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings" and appeared to be "very dirty" according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Corona Regional Medical Center in Corona, California, is treating all seven of the adult siblings -- five females and two males ages 18 to 29 -- Uffer said, adding that he has never seen mistreatment of "this magnitude."

Dr. Fari Kamalpour, the hospital's director of internal medicine, told ABC News that her "first impression" when she saw the siblings was that she was in the pediatric unit.

"When we first saw them, everybody thought they were children," Uffer said.

The malnourishment that the siblings endured was "systematic" and occurred over a long period of time, Kamalpour said.

"This doesn't happen over three months or six months," Uffer said. "When you see malnutrition in people, it's years."

The malnutrition "absolutely" impacted the children's cognitive and physical development, and the staggering development tends to progressively get worse over time, Kamalpour said.

The adults siblings are currently in stable condition but have not been medically cleared to be discharged from the hospital. They are being kept together in the same unit in an attempt to recreate a family environment as they undergo physical, psychiatric, cognitive and medical evaluations by a team of doctors in the coming days.

Hospital staff are most concerned about the eldest child, a 29-year-old woman who Uffer mistook as about 13 to 14 years old, he said.

Kamalpour and Uffer hope that with the a good environment that includes "appropriate" nourishment, physical activity and social interaction, all of the siblings will eventually be able to live a normal life. Hospital staff are currently coordinating with adult protective services to determine how to achieve that, emphasizing that there is "no rush to push them out the door," Uffer said.

"It's not going to be achieved overnight, but definitely they can conquer it," Kamalpour said.

All 13 victims are believed to be the biological children of David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, authorities said. The couple was arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment and are being held on $9 million bail each. They are expected to be arraigned Thursday, according to the sheriff's office.

The family had lived in the home since 2014 and had previously lived in Marietta, California and Texas, authorities said. The children were home-schooled, and it is unclear how long they had been held inside the home.

One neighbor told ABC News that she once saw children who looked to be around 10-years-old planting grass around 11 p.m.

Signs a person is malnourished

Kamalpour said the "main sign" that someone is malnourished or mistreated is "pale skin that you can see from a normal distance."

Another sign that someone is malnourished is muscle atrophy, or muscle wasting, which is often caused by lack of physical activity.

"Basically, you don't see much muscle mass on the face or the arms," or other extremities that are exposed when they venture outside, Kamalpour said.

People who are malnourished do not walk steadily and have poor posture, Kamalpour said.

"As a parent, if you know what is normal in a child, you can easily find out what is abnormal in a child," Kamalpour said. "You don't need a medical degree."

People who go through these type of events are usually aware "that there's something that's not quite right," Uffer said.

Kamalpour said it is the "responsibility" of members of the community to watch out for each other.

"If you see a child that doesn't go to school and is putting sod on the ground at midnight, or looks pale and doesn't walk appropriately, that kid probably has some issues that need to be paid attention to," Kamalpour said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice on Tuesday appealed a federal court ruling that had forced the Trump administration to again accept renewal applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

The administration, which is seeking to appeal a lower court ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, announced that later this week it intends to take the "rare step" of seeking direct review in the Supreme Court.

"It defies both law and common sense for DACA — an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidated the similar DAPA policy — to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Last week, a federal district judge in California issued a preliminary injunction against the end of the DACA program, which was started by the Obama administration to offer deportation relief and work authorization to young people brought to the U.S. as children, known as "Dreamers."

DAPA was a similar program that would have expanded protections to many parents of Dreamers but was eventually blocked by the courts.

Sessions said that acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, who was the head of DHS at the time of the decision to end the program, "acted within her discretion to rescind this policy with an orderly wind down."

"We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved," Sessions added.

The Supreme Court will only hear cases that are still pending in the lower court, if it can be shown the case is of "such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination" in the Supreme Court.

On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced it was ending the program and phasing it out over the following months.

Since the program's initiation in 2012, nearly 800,000 unauthorized immigrants have been granted protection. DACA recipients who had status through March 5 of this year were allowed to re-apply for the two-year extension, but many young people have already begun to lose their status.

Since the administration announced the end to DACA, 12,710 DACA recipients have had their status expire, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which manages the program under DHS.

On Sunday, USCIS announced that due to the federal court order, the agency had resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.

"Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017," read its notice.

This comes amid a contentious debate on Capitol Hill and at the White House over how to proceed with a permanent solution for Dreamers.

Now-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen insisted Tuesday that only Congress can reach a solution for Dreamers during a contentious congressional hearing, where she was repeatedly hammered on the president's reported derogatory remarks made in the Oval Office during an immigration meeting last week.

Democrats insist that if Republicans want their support for a spending deal, it must include a legislative fix to help DACA recipients. Republicans maintain that DACA must be dealt with separately from spending negotiations.

Congress has until midnight Friday to strike a deal on a host of issues -- with DACA at the forefront -- before government funding is set to run out.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christian Senyk/U.S. Navy via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Navy is filing negligent homicide charges against the former commanding officers of two destroyers involved in collisions last summer that killed 17 American sailors. The former commanding officers are among six Navy personnel aboard the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain the Navy says should face criminal charges and possible court martial for the collisions--which occurred off the coasts of Japan and Singapore.

"Courts-martial proceedings/Article 32 hearings are being convened to review evidence supporting possible criminal charges against Fitzgerald members," said Captain Greg Hicks, the Navy's Chief of Information, in a statement announcing the charges.

Article 32 hearings are preliminary court hearings that determine whether criminal charges should stand and be referred to a court martial.

"The members' ranks include one Commander (the Commanding Officer), two Lieutenants, and one Lieutenant Junior Grade. The charges include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel, and negligent homicide," said Hicks.

Cmdr. Bryce Benson was commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald on June 17 when it collided with a Philippine freighter off the coast of Japan, killing seven U.S. sailors. Benson, one of three sailors injured in the collision, was relieved of duty shortly afterwards.

"Additionally, for John S. McCain, one court- martial proceeding/Article 32 hearing is being convened to review evidence supporting possible criminal charges against one Commander (the Commanding Officer)," according to the statement. "The charges include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel, and negligent homicide. Also, one charge of dereliction of duty was preferred and is pending referral to a forum for a Chief Petty Officer."

Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez was commander of the USS John S. McCain on August 21 when his ship collided with an oil tanker just outside the port of Singapore. Ten American sailors were killed and five others injured.

"Additional administrative actions are being conducted for members of both crews including non-judicial punishment for four Fitzgerald and four John S. McCain crewmembers. Information regarding further actions, if warranted, will be discussed at the appropriate time," said the statement.

"The collisions were avoidable," said Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, in the executive summary to the investigative report into both collisions. The report cited poor decisions and lax standards by the ships' crews as contributing to the deadly collisions.

When he released the report in early November, Richardson said he had appointed a four-star admiral to determine if disciplinary actions should be pursued for the officers involved in the incidents.

The Navy investigation found that the "watch teams" on the Fitzgerald's bridge failed to carry out basic Navy safety and navigation procedures and "failed to adhere to well-established protocols put in place to prevent collisions."

The Fitzgerald was traveling at a speed of 20 knots in the early morning hours of June 17 as it sailed through a busy shipping lane 50 miles south of Tokyo. Against his standing order the officer of the deck did not notify Benson when the destroyer came within three nautical miles of nearby ships. At one point the Fitzgerald crossed the bow of one of those ships at a distance of 650 yards.

The bridge team mistakenly calculated the passing distance of the freighter ACX Crystal and did not adjust the Fitzgerald's speed and course until it was too late.

The McCain collision was also deemed to have been avoidable and "resulted primarily from complacency, overconfidence and lack of procedural compliance," the investigation found.

"A major contributing factor to the collision was sub-standard level of knowledge regarding the operation of the ship control console," particularly regarding the ship's steering system prior to the collision," the report said.

As his ship transited through a busy shipping lane outside of Singapore, Sanchez --the ship's commanding officer-- ordered the ship's steering control be split between two helmsman. That decision, the investigation found, led to one of the helmsmen perceiving a loss of steering, causing the team on the bridge to lose situational awareness.

The problems on the bridge were compounded by an earlier decision Sanchez made to delay additional manning of key positions needed to transit busy waterways. The investigation determined the additional personnel could have corrected the mistakes made by the team on the bridge. determined.

The report said the bridge teams on both ships, in a failure of basic seamanship rules, did not sound five blasts from their horns to warn the commercial vessels in their paths about a possible collision, and neither of the bridge teams attempted to make radio contact with the commercial vessels to warn of a collision.

"If John S McCain had sounded at five short blasts or made Bridge-to-Bridge VHF hails or notifications in a timely manner, then it is possible that a collision might not have occurred," the report said.

Neither of the commercial ships made the same efforts either, the report said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- A tearful scene unfolded at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Monday morning, where Jorge Garcia, a father of two and a 30-year resident of Detroit, was deported to Mexico amid cries from his family.

Garcia, 39, was brought to the U.S. by his aunt when he was 10 years old, according to his wife and Michigan United, an immigrant advocacy organization that is working with Garcia. His parents had already immigrated to the country, said Michigan United spokesperson Erik Shelley, who was at the airport this morning as Garcia bid his emotional goodbyes to his wife, Cindy Garcia, and children, ages 15 and 12.

For his family, the parting was devastating. Cindy Garcia told ABC News she is “very sad, very depressed, emotional.”

“It’s like a nightmare,” she said.

Cindy and Jorge Garcia met in Detroit and have been married for 15 years, she said. He worked in the landscaping industry and she is retired from Ford Motor Company.

In 2005, they tried to “fix his paperwork,” Cindy Garcia told ABC News, but instead he ended up in deportation proceedings. Throughout the Obama administration, Jorge Garcia was able to receive multiple stays of deportation, though he had to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) routinely.

But on Nov. 20, ICE told the couple that Jorge Garcia had to leave the U.S. He was going to be detained, but ICE allowed him to stay with his family, first through Thanksgiving and then through the holidays, Cindy Garcia said. However, he was told he had to leave the country by no later than Jan. 15 -- today.

“I am a U.S. citizen and it is affecting me. We tried to do things the right way,” said Cindy Garcia. “We tried and he got sent back to a country he does not know.”

ICE said that its records show that Jorge Garcia, an unlawfully present citizen of Mexico, was ordered removed by an immigration judge in June 2006. He appealed his removal in 2008 to the Board of Immigration Appeals, where it was remanded back to the lower court, which subsequently allowed him to voluntarily depart, according to ICE.

After he failed to depart within the timeline of the agreement, he became subject to a final order of removal in 2009, ICE said.

ICE exercised what is known as "prosecutorial discretion" in his case in 2011, 2012 and 2014, allowing him to remain in the U.S. During that time, he was never detained by immigration authorities.

On Jan. 15, Jorge Garcia was removed pursuant to the judge's removal order, said ICE.

"As ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States," said an ICE spokesperson in a statement.

ICE said it wasn't aware of any criminal record for Jorge Garcia. Shelley said that as far as he knows, Jorge Garcia hasn't had so much as a parking ticket.

Jorge Garcia's deportation comes amid a yearlong effort by the Trump administration to ramp up immigration arrests and deportations.

In fiscal year 2017, ICE arrested 143,470 people on immigration violations -- the highest number of these type of arrests over the past three years.

“If you choose to violate the laws of this country, you should be concerned,” said Homan in December -- a sentiment he has repeated in public testimony and interviews.

There were 30 percent more immigration-related arrests in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to ICE’s end-of-year report.

“It was touch-and-go throughout the Obama administration,” but Jorge Garcia had no chance when President Donald Trump started going for the “low-hanging fruit,” said Shelley.

Garcia was two years too old to qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program -- the Obama-era program that allowed some undocumented immigrants who brought the U.S. illegally to work and live in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

In September, Trump announced he was winding down the program, but the phase-out is facing a number of legal challenges. Meanwhile, Congress is debating a possible permanent solution for DACA recipients -- a debate that could lead to a government shutdown.

ICE did not immediately respond to requests for more information on Jorge Garcia’s case.

While politicians fight over a DACA solution, Cindy Garcia remains in limbo, unsure of when her husband will be allowed to return to the U.S.

“It’s like any minute now he’s going to walk through the door, but he’s not, he’s in Mexico,” said Cindy Garcia.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Obtained by ABC News(LAS VEGAS) -- Criminal charges may be filed in connection with the Las Vegas mass shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more, attorneys for the Las Vegas Metro Police Department said in court on Tuesday.

The hearing, which took place in a Clark County District Court, was held to determine whether the media should be given access to more search warrant documents involving the shooting.

Police department attorney Nicholas Crosby told Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish that while no one may be indicted for the actual murders, "There are charges being investigated."

The police department has been arguing against the release of the documents due to the ongoing investigation, but lawyers for the media said that because shooter Stephen Paddock is dead, there is no prosecution pending against him, so the documents are no longer sensitive.

While Crosby told Cadish that the LVMPD can't say in open court why it can't release the documents, attorneys for the media argued that any delay in their release is a violation of the First Amendment.

The search warrant documents in question are separate from federal documents that were released last week.

Cadish said she wanted to read through the documents to compare them to information already available to the public before making a decision.

Paddock, 64, opened fire on thousands of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of his suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Oct. 1.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Closings and Delays

Delays and Closings sponsored by:

                                                                       

On Facebook
Recent Tracks
Loading ...
Weather
Lost & Found Pets
Community Involvement
  • Crew member with over 35 years at Ludowici Crew member with over 35 years at Ludowici