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The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- As the manhunt intensifies for a 15-year-old Tennessee student and her former teacher who allegedly kidnapped her, authorities say it's possible the two are in Mexico.

There have been no credible sightings of 50-year-old Tad Cummins and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas in the two weeks they've been missing, officials said Tuesday.

Cummins, who is accused of kidnapping Elizabeth on March 13, is wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. An Amber Alert has been issued for Elizabeth.

Tuesday morning, Brent Cooper, district attorney for Maury County, Tennessee, asked members of the public to share the Amber Alert with friends and family in Mexico and Central America, adding that Mexican law enforcement was notified of the Amber Alert and "it's possible that's where they are."

Cooper said Cummins "planned this in such a way that he had a 24-hour head start ... easily enough time for him to make it to Mexico."

Cooper also called Cummins a "religious man" and said "it's possible that he's playing the role of a missionary in that area."

After the news conference, Cooper told ABC News that Cummins is "familiar with missionary work ... he could easily blend into that kind of culture."

Mark Gwyn, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, called the relationship between Cummins and Elizabeth a manipulation -- not a "romance."

"Some have characterized this relationship as a romance. But this morning I want to caution the public to avoid anything that might look or sound like victim blaming," Gwyn said. "This is not a fairy tale -- this is a case of kidnapping."

Cooper told reporters he apologized for using the term "romantic interest" and said he should have used the term "grooming."

Cooper told ABC News that Cummins "had a fictional past that he told his students about. His students believed that he was former FBI, former CIA, and that he had this mysterious past."

"He was kind of brainwashing all the kids into thinking he was something he wasn't," Cooper said. "I'm sure all that played into Elizabeth's feelings toward him. It was a complete deception."

"She may not realize she's in danger. She may not realize she's been taken against her will," he continued. "If you see them and they look happy, that doesn't matter. This is a serious crime."

The TBI said that Cummins, who was fired one day after the alleged kidnapping, "may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom [Thomas] ... in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her."

Cummins, a married father and grandfather, researched teen marriage online, specifically the age of consent, according to law enforcement officials.

Investigators have uncovered email draft messages between Thomas and Cummins, which authorities said show a romantic relationship between the two. According to authorities, after one of them would write a message, he or she would save the message as a draft, and the other person would log on, read the message and delete it.

One of Elizabeth's schoolmates reported seeing her and Cummins kiss in his classroom on Jan. 23, according to a school district investigative report, but both denied the claim. A school report from January reads that neither one "admitted to behaving inappropriately towards the other."

An attorney for the Thomas family, Jason Whatley, told ABC News last week that Cummins "preyed on her."

"She is under his spell, and she is being controlled by him, and that is what is so scary," Whatley said.

Authorities have received 1,100 tips from across the country and 167 of those tips remain open, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said today. He said the TBI is "optimistic" about the outcome, saying it only takes one lead "to turn this thing around."

Added Gwyn, "We remain gravely concerned for the well-being of this young girl. We will keep doing everything and anything we can to bring Elizabeth home and pursue justice for Tad Cummins."

 

Your RT may just get this information in front of the one person who needs to see it. Help us spread this across the country! Thanks! pic.twitter.com/c5jI8ER816

— TBI (@TBInvestigation) March 17, 2017

 

Cummins is described as 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds. He may be driving a 2015 silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee license plate number 976-ZPT.

Elizabeth is described as about 5 feet tall. She was last seen wearing leggings and a flannel shirt.

Authorities are asking that anyone with information call 1-800-TBI-FIND and that anyone who sees a car with Tennessee license plate number 976-ZPT call 911. A $1,000 reward is available for information leading to Cummins' arrest.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SPUR, Texas) -- Three storm chasers died in a car crash in Spur, Texas, according to authorities.

At around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a black Chevy Suburban was traveling northbound on Farm to Market Road 1081 before it disregarded a stop sign and collided with a black Jeep that was traveling westbound on Farm to Market Road 2794, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a press release.

The two-car crash occurred about five miles west of the city of Spur, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Both drivers and one passenger were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said, adding that all three people were storm chasers.

The location of the crash was either in or near an area under a tornado warning, ABC Lubbock affiliate KAMC-TV reported. A tornado watch is in effect for Dickens County until 11 p.m.

Authorities are continuing to investigate.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for from Del Rio to Amarillo until about 9 p.m. Tuesday, with large hail and tornadoes possible. Fourteen million Americans from Texas to Oklahoma may be affected by possible storms overnight.

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iStock/Thinkstock(OOLAGAH, Okla.) -- Three teen burglary suspects were shot and killed Monday by a homeowner's son armed with an assault rifle in Oklahoma -- which has a "stand your ground" law -- and the alleged getaway driver in the case was arrested on felony murder and other charges, authorities said.

Authorities said they had not determined if the shooter, who was armed with an AR-15, would face charges. Oklahoma law presumes homeowners have a fear that justifies use of defensive force just by virtue of someone breaking into a home.

A decision on charges for the shooter as well as formal charges for the alleged getaway driver, would be determined in the coming days, prosecutors said.

“And at that time, there’ll be a final decision -- I know there’s questions that have been posed regarding Stand Your Ground law as well as the application of the felony murder rule," said first assistant district attorney Jack Thorpe. "We hope to be able to answer those questions with our formal filing decision when we reach that decision.”

According to Deputy Nick Mahoney of the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office, deputies got a call around 12:30 p.m. Monday about a possible home invasion with shots fired.

On Tuesday, Chief Deputy Les Young identified the 911 caller as Zach Peters, the son of the homeowner. They said he told the dispatcher that people had entered his home and that he'd discharged his weapon.

Mahoney said that when police arrived, they found three deceased male teenagers, ranging in age from 16-18.

Two were in the kitchen area of the house, Mahoney said; one appeared to have run from the home after being shot but had died in the driveway.

"These three individuals came to this residence, which we believe, with the intent to break in, to burglarize the home," he said.

Hearing of retired cop who shot moviegoer puts Florida's controversial 'stand your ground' law back in the spotlight

Mahoney said the males were dressed in black, wearing masks and gloves, when they allegedly forced their way through a glass backdoor. He said, there, the three allegedly encountered Peters, who was armed with a rifle. Police said Tuesday that multiple shots were fired.

Mahoney said Peters and his father, the homeowner, were in the home at the time but were not hurt. Police said Peters went to the Sheriff's Office and was interviewed by investigators.

Mahoney said two of the deceased were considered armed. One had brass knuckles, he said. Another had a knife. Mahoney said the third suspect had not yet been searched by police.

Police with the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday they'd arrested an alleged getaway driver who they identified as Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez.

Mahoney said that Rodriguez, 21, had turned herself in to authorities after the shooting, allegedly saying that she had information about the incident. He said she was interviewed and taken into custody. Police said Tuesday that Rodriguez had identified the three dead males in the house.

Rodriguez was arrested on three counts of felony first degree murder (for deaths that occur during the commission of a felony), one count of first degree burglary and one count of second degree burglary. Police said the last count was because the four had allegedly gone to the same home earlier in the day and then returned. She has yet to be formally charged.

Mahoney said he did not know whether Rodriguez had dropped the suspects off at the home or had planned to pick them up. Police said that the investigation was ongoing and that they did not know whether the burglary was random. They would not release the names of the three killed until they contacted relatives.

Rodriguez was scheduled to appear in court April 5.

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California Highway Patrol(LOS ANGELES) -- Police are looking for a man spotted "car surfing" on a California highway.

In a video provided to local ABC-owned station KABC-TV, the man appears to dance while hanging off the passenger side of a dark-colored pickup truck for several seconds before he re-enters the car through a window.

The California Highway Patrol told ABC News that the agency is looking for the unknown man. Police stressed the danger of such a stunt, noting that the man could have fallen off the vehicle and into traffic.

Further details on the incident were not immediately available.

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iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- An angry mother said Tuesday that she was owed an apology from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after she said her 13-year-old son was patted down and held for what she said was more than an hour as her family prepared to board a flight in Texas.

On Sunday, in a Facebook post, Jennifer Williamson described the "horrifying" experience at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and included a video capturing a little more than two minutes of the incident. The video has gone viral with more than 92,000 shares so far.

"We have been through hell this morning," Williamson said. "They detained Aaron for well over an hour at DFW. (And deliberately kept us from our flight... we are now on an alternate) We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules. He has SPD and I didn't want my child given a pat down like this. Let me make something else crystal clear. He set off NO alarms. He physically did not alarm at all during screening, he passed through the detector just fine. ... I am livid.”

She added: "I wish I had taped the entire interchange. ... Somehow these power-tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in.”

In the post, Williamson said Aaron has sensory processing disorder and hours after the incident was still saying, "I don't know what I did. What did I do?"

On Tuesday, Aaron and his mother spoke to ABC News about the incident.

"I have always been like really sensitive to people touching me and whenever he touched me, I got, started having hives a little bit and I had that for at least half of the plane ride," he said.

Williamson said that Aaron had not removed his laptop from his backpack and was not aware that he had to remove it, setting off an alarm. Williamson said, however, that a TSA agent had removed the laptop, ran it through a scanner and cleared it. She maintained Tuesday that the entire situation had not been handled appropriately.

"He [Aaron] hadn't done anything wrong. He had done everything they had told him. ... We've flown frequently before and never had a problem," she said Tuesday, adding that she'd filed a complaint on the TSA and written to the agency on Twitter.

Williamson said she had not heard back yet.

In a statement Monday, the TSA said family members were at the checkpoint for about 45 minutes.

"TSA allows for a pat-down of a teenage passenger, and in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of a passenger's laptop," according to the statement. "The video shows a male TSA officer explaining the procedure to the passenger, who fully cooperates. Afterward, the TSA officer was instructed by his supervisor, who was observing, to complete the final step of the screening process. In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother. TSA officers were with the teenager for approximately 35 minutes, which included the time it took to discuss screening procedures with the mother and to screen three carry-on items that required further inspection."

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Frederick County Sheriff's Office (THURMONT, Md.) -- A Maryland teen accused of plotting a school shooting mentioned the Columbine High School massacre and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in a diary discovered by investigators, according to authorities.

On March 23, the father of the suspect, Nichole Cevario, 18, told officials at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, Maryland, about a "potential threat of violence toward the school," the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said, and his daughter "was immediately removed from the classroom and turned over to investigators."

Authorities said investigators then searched Cevario's home, where they found a diary that indicated she planned to carry out a mass shooting at her high school less than two weeks later -- on April 5. The high school senior's diary also mentioned the 1999 Columbine, Colorado, high school shooting and the 2012 Newton, Connecticut, elementary school shooting, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins told ABC News.

Jenkins added of the suspect's parents, "I can’t tell you how thankful I am that they stepped forward, offered this information to school administrators and contacted us. Without their help with this thing, we would have been dealing with an aftermath, rather than averting.

As a parent himself, Jenkins said that "it would be extremely hard to make that decision," but added of Cevario's parents, "they most likely saved their daughter’s life as well as other lives within the student body."

An ABC News investigation found that in the last 17 years there have been at least 79 thwarted school massacre plots, and in more than half of them, the would-be attackers mentioned Columbine.

But female shooters are rare. In a study by the FBI of 160 active shooter incidents between 2000 in 2013, only six involved a female shooter.

Officials said Cevario's journal showed she had been plotting the alleged attack "for some time and had been compiling intelligence on behavior activities of the school, noting emergency procedures associated with drills conducted by school staff and obtaining intelligence on the School Resource Deputy," the sheriff’s office said. The journal had a timeline and her expectations for each stage, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities searching Cevario's home also found a shotgun with ammunition and "bomb-making materials to include pipes with end caps, shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape, and fuse material," the sheriff’s office said.

"I have no doubt based on what we saw in her diary, the evidence we found, the information that we have taken throughout the investigation, that this was going to occur ... April 5," Jenkins said.

When Cevario was removed from the school on March 23 it appeared that she posed a threat to herself and she was taken to the hospital, where she remains as of Tuesday, the sheriff's office said. The sheriff's office said she is struggling with mental health issues.

According to the diary, Cevario planned to die in the attack, officials said.

Investigators secured an arrest warrant for possession of explosive material with intent to create a destructive device and possession of incendiary material with the intent to create a destructive device, the sheriff's office said. The arrest warrant will be served when Cevario is released from the hospital, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office did not know whether Cevario had retained a lawyer.

Jenkins said all the items Cevario bought were legal. Authorities said no one else was involved or knew of the alleged plot.

There was never a weapon or explosive device on school property, authorities said, and the materials were never combined into an explosive device.

In a video Monday on the school district's YouTube page, Dr. Terry Alban, superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, thanked the "courageous" parents for stepping forward.

"Whenever you hear or see anything that raises concern, you need to trust us and come to us so that we can do the right thing and handle it just like we did in this case," Alban said. "Those relationships, that trust, that's what enables the policies and the procedures that we have put in place to keep our school safe work. And they did."

Brad Young, President of Frederick County's Board of Education, said in a statement, "We are blessed that these efforts resulted in thwarting a potentially disastrous situation. We are thankful for the cooperation of the family, the school and law enforcement in preventing this."

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iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Two undercover Miami police officers were rushed to the hospital late Monday night after being ambushed outside an apartment complex where they were conducting surveillance.

The wounded officers were rushed to the hospital in the bed of a pickup truck and were able to limp inside with the help of their colleagues, ABC affiliate WPLG reported.

The officers, who officials said were in stable condition after being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital, were working as part of a multi-agency operation on gang activity.

"Individuals like this that have the audacity to ambush a vehicle unprovoked and open fire like that, are individuals in this community that are causing havoc and terrorizing this community day in and day out," Maj. Hector Llevat said. "These are the officers that were out here to put a stop to that."

Police said the suspected assailants remain at large and described them as being between 17 to 18 years old and wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirts at the time of the incident.

"We do whatever we have to do to save our officers," said Miami-Dade police director Juan Perez. "We got lucky tonight that the officers will survive. It's not going to deter us. In fact, what this does is the opposite."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The family of award-winning Sharkwater filmmaker and marine biologist, Rob Stewart, has filed a lawsuit claiming damages and blaming Stewart's dive instructor and boat crew for his death.

Stewart went missing off the coast of the Florida Keys in January. His body was recovered after a three-day search by the Coast Guard.

Now, two months after Stewart's death, the Canadian filmmaker's grieving parents, Brian and Sandy Stewart, sat down with ABC News, along with their attorney Michael Haggard, to discuss the tragic incident.

"The is no way anyone should ever die the way Rob died and it's the responsibility of the people involved that caused it," said Brian Stewart.

"Had somebody had their eyes on the water," he continued, "you keep your eyes on the people in the water and of all things the student comes out first, not the diver."

The complaint says that Rob Stewart and his instructor, Peter Sotis, were diving the Queen of Nassau wreck to remove a grappling hook that had been attached to the underwater wreckage for navigational purposes to mark the wreck and assist in maintaining its location while divers were in the water. The hook was located 230-feet below the surface of the water off the coast of Islamorada, Florida.

Sotis and Stewart used new rebreathers -- a piece of scuba diving equipment that controls the mix of oxygen supplied to the diver by recycling exhaled breath -- for their dive. When Sotis reportedly resurfaced to board the boat due to issues breathing, he received "emergency aid," while supervisors failed to "monitor, keep eyes on, and/or rescue" Stewart, according to the complaint.

"So many things went wrong," said Sandy Stewart. "So many careless mistakes were made and [Rob] would want to make sure this didn't happen to anyone else again."

The family's attorney told ABC News that those allegedly negligent actions are what led to the disappearance and death of their son.

"The only reason Peter Sotis is alive today is he left his student in the water -- which is a cardinal sin in the diving industry," Haggard said.

"He didn't protect the student, he got on the boat and left his student in the water," Haggard continued. "It's so preventable that it's scary."

Sotis and the boat crew did not reply to ABC News' request for comment.

Brian Stewart said his son's legacy will continue to live on. The Stewarts told ABC News they intend to finish shooting their son’s sequel and hope his story inspires others to explore.

"He always used to take off and go to another part of the world with his camera," Brian Stewart said. "To us, a little part that makes me go on is the fact that he is still off shooting.”

He added, “Somehow what he wants done is going to be done."

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iStock/Thinkstock(GREENEVILLE, Tenn) — A Tennessee couple was arrested last week after they attempted to sell their 5-month-old infant online.

John David Cain, 26, and Deanna Lynn Greer, 37, were charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect or endangerment after they posted an ad on Craigslist and offered to sell the baby for $3,000, ABC News affiliate reported WATE Saturday, citing the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

The couple was caught in a sting operation that ended on Friday when the two exchanged the baby with state agents for the cash.

Cain and Greer were arrested immediately and taken into custody at the Greene County Jail in Greeneville, Tennessee, according to the report.

They are both being held on a $150,000 bond and scheduled to appear in court during the first week of April.

The baby is currently in state custody. It was not immediately clear if the couple had legal representation.

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Anthony DelMundo/NY Daily News via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A white Maryland man accused of prowling the streets of New York City for a black person to "assassinate" has been charged with murder as an act of terrorism -- the first time the Manhattan District Attorney's office has used the provision since the statute was changed right after 9/11.

James Jackson, 28, an Army veteran from Baltimore, "prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of a black person to assassinate in order to launch a campaign of terrorism against our Manhattan community and the values we celebrate,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said.

On Monday, a grand jury returned an indictment against Jackson, who is accused of fatally stabbing 66-year-old Timothy Caughman last week.

Jackson was charged with one count of murder in the first degree as an act of terrorism; one count of murder in the second degree as an act of terrorism; one count of murder in the second degree as a hate crime; and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

“Last week, with total presence of mind, he acted on his plan, randomly selecting a beloved New Yorker solely on the basis of his skin color, and stabbing him repeatedly and publicly on a Midtown street corner," Vance said.

"James Jackson wanted to kill black men, planned to kill black men, and then did kill a black man," Vance said.

In a jailhouse interview with the Daily News, Jackson reportedly said of his victim, “I didn’t know he was elderly."

He also reportedly told the Daily News he would have rather killed “a young thug” or “a successful older black man with blonds."

Jackson reportedly said he wanted the murder to be “a practice run” for a bigger plan that would have more casualties, which he also allegedly told investigators.

Vance said that Jackson chose Midtown "because Manhattan is the media capital of the world, and a place where people of different races live together and love one another. We must never take for granted New York’s remarkable diversity. We must celebrate it, protect it, and refuse to let violence and hate undermine the progress we have made as a city, a state, and a nation.”

Jackson's next court date is set for April 13. His lawyer, Sam Talkin, declined comment to ABC News Monday, but said after his initial appearance in court that he would consider an insanity defense.

"If the facts are anything near what the allegations are, then we're going to address obvious psychological issues present," Talkin said. “We are going to let the dust settle and take a few minutes."

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Tennessee Bureau of Investigation(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- Days before a former Tennessee teacher allegedly kidnapped his 15-year-old student, he reportedly showed up at the teen's place of work, according to the girl's sister.

There have been no credible sightings of 50-year-old Tad Cummins and 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas in the two weeks they've been missing, officials say. Her sister, Sarah Thomas, told ABC News that Cummins showed up to teen's workplace multiple times, including the Saturday before they disappeared.

Elizabeth would ask co-workers to tell Cummins that she wasn't there, Thomas recalled to ABC News, "and she would go and hide until he left."

According to Thomas, Elizabeth hid in the bathroom multiple times. Sometimes she couldn't hide because she was at the cash register, Thomas said.

"She thought it was really weird," Thomas noted. "She felt uncomfortable."

As the manhunt for the former teacher and student intensifies, "it feels like she just vanished," Thomas explained.

Cummins is wanted on allegations of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. An Amber Alert has been issued for Elizabeth.

Elizabeth's father, Anthony Thomas, said, "We just live for that day when we're gonna get a phone call that says, 'I'm alright, I need somebody to come and get me.'"

The Thomas' family attorney, Jason Whatley, told ABC News last week Whatley told ABC News last week that Cummins “is a 50 year old authority figure predator. That’s what he is. He has preyed on her.”

“She is under his spell, and she is being controlled by him, and that is what is so scary," Whatley said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said that Cummins, who was fired one day after the alleged kidnapping, "may have been abusing his role as a teacher to groom [the teen] ... in an effort to lure and potentially sexually exploit her."

Investigators have uncovered email draft messages between Thomas and Cummins, which authorities say showed a romantic relationship between the two. According to authorities, after one of them would write a message, he or she would save the message as a draft, and the other person would log on, read the message and delete it.

Authorities also said Cummins researched covert ways to communicate via Instagram and specific encrypted texting apps.

Cummins, a married father and grandfather, researched teen marriage online, specifically the age of consent, according to law enforcement officials.

One of Elizabeth's schoolmates had reported seeing her and Cummins kiss in his classroom on Jan. 23, according to a school district investigative report, but both denied the claim. In a school report from January, neither "admitted to behaving inappropriately towards the other."

Thomas told ABC News her sister was bullied in school by students and teachers after the reported kiss.

"I can't handle this anymore ... all the teachers, all the kids constantly saying mean things, I can't handle it,’" Thomas recalled Elizabeth saying to her.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine told ABC News last week that Cummins and Elizabeth could be "off the grid" in a rural area at this point.

Cummins is believed to have watched a TV show about living off the grid before the pair disappeared, law enforcement sources told ABC News. Three days before the alleged kidnapping, Cummins did online research about his car "to determine if certain features could be tracked by law enforcement," the TBI said. Cummins also researched if his SUV was suitable for camping, according to law enforcement officials.

Cummins is described as 6 feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He may be driving a 2015 silver Nissan Rogue with a Tennessee license plate number 976-ZPT.

Elizabeth Thomas is described as 5-foot-5 and weighs 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing leggings and a flannel shirt.

Authorities are asking that anyone with information call 1-800-TBI-FIND and that anyone who sees a car with a Tennessee license plate 976-ZPT call 911. A $1,000 reward is available for information leading to Cummins' arrest.

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Family Handout(LAS VEGAS) -- Even in Las Vegas, a place where anything can happen, the story of attorney Susan Winters’ death is shocking.

Originally ruled a suicide, authorities have now re-opened the case as a murder investigation after seeing evidence that makes them suspect her husband was possibly involved.

Early on Jan. 3, 2015, the 48-year-old part-time judge and mother of two was rushed to the hospital from her suburban Las Vegas home after ingesting lethal combination of oxycodone and antifreeze. She died later that day.

The Clark County coroner’s office concluded after an autopsy that Winters died of a combination of ethylene glycol poisoning and oxycodone intoxication. Ethylene glycol is the main ingredient in antifreeze.

Her husband Gregory “Brent” Dennis, a 54-year-old psychologist, was arrested in early February and charged with murder in connection to her death.

The Winters family does not believe Winters killed herself, but instead they suspect Dennis is responsible for her death. They hired a retired FBI agent to investigate him, along with attorney Tony Sgro, who filed a civil suit against Dennis on the Winters’ family’s behalf before Las Vegas authorities re-opened the case as a criminal investigation.

“Everything that we learned seemed to point towards foul play,” Sgro said. “Nothing we learned tended to point toward Susan taking her own life.”

During his deposition for the civil case, Dennis said he couldn’t save Winters from her demons, and that she “was agitated and making threats to hurt herself” the day before she died.

But her family in Oklahoma is convinced there is something suspicious about Dennis’ story.

“When mom said, ‘Susan’s dead,’ I said, ‘What did he do to her?’” her brother Chris Winters told ABC News.

Srgo complied a nearly 50-page investigative report, citing potential evidence against Dennis, including an alleged substance abuse addiction and a connection to a man named Jeffrey Crosby, who in the past had been convicted of felony possession with intent to sell cocaine.

In deposition, Dennis admitted that he would pay Crosby cash and in exchange, he “would provide me substances.”

According to a police report, phone records show there were six calls and texts from Winters’ phone to Crosby’s phone in the days before she died. Her father, Dan Winters, said his daughter was calling Crosby to tell him that she was going to go to the authorities.

“She was going to turn him in and Brent in for selling to him,” Winters said. “She wanted Brent to stop and she thought that would get him [to] stop.”

Dennis disputed that in his deposition, saying he didn’t have “any recollection” of his wife saying she would turn him in.

“Honestly I don't recall any threat of that nature. She just threatened me,” he said.

But her parents, who have known Dennis for decades, are adamant that was the case, saying Winters was “going to go to the psychology board and tell them what he [Dennis] was doing.”

Richard Schonfeld, Dennis’ attorney, says Dennis’ drug problems are in the past.

Winters and Dennis’ marriage was rocky. Less than two years before Winters’ death, the couple separated for several months. Winters' parents said she was seeing a therapist for anxiety over her marital problems – problems she seemed to have kept FROM her family.

“There were things that we didn’t know,” Chris Winters said.

Schonfeld says Winters’ family is simply in denial.

“We believe that the Winters family has been unable to accept that Susan Winters’ death was a suicide,” Schonfeld said. “It was deemed suicide by the Henderson Police Department. It was deemed to be a suicide by the Clark County coroner’s office, and they were unable to accept that fact.”

Her family argues Winters had everything to live for, including two beautiful daughters and a new job helping her parents with their string of Sonic hamburger franchises. Winters owned a share in the lucrative family business, netting her roughly $200,000 a year.

Most telling, Winters’ family says, is Winters had a $1 million life insurance policy that Dennis immediately collected on after her death.

“Brent Dennis called the insurance company the first business hour of the first business day after his wife passed away,” Sgro said. “She passed away on a Saturday -- he was on the phone with the insurance company around 9:30 in the morning on Monday.”

But Schonfeld says a spouse has every right to file a life insurance claim without it being suspicious.

“I don’t think the actions when looked at in the totality of the circumstances raised any red flags whatsoever,” he said.

He also cited the children’s support of their father as evidence of Dennis’ innocence.

“Mr. Dennis has been the exclusive care provider for his children for the last two years with no issue,” Schonfeld said. “A loving, harmonious household. And he’s very supportive of his children and they’re very supportive of him. And I believe that says a lot.”

The district attorney charged him with murder, leading to the summary suspension of his license to practice psychology. He is currently out on bail. An upcoming preliminary hearing will determine if Dennis’ case goes to trial.

“Typically if you have a suicide, you have the things that the person used to kill him or herself there -- a gun, poison, pill bottles, sitting right next to the person who has died. In this case that wasn’t there and prosecutors believe that’s because this wasn’t a suicide,” said ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams.

The coroner’s original cause of death could be a potential weakness for the prosecution, says Abrams. “The minute that coroner gets on the witness stand, the question is going to be, ‘Excuse me, didn’t you initially say this was a suicide?’ And that’s exactly what the defense’s argument here is.”

Dennis’ attorney says he plans to plead not guilty. His next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for August. Dennis declined ABC News' requests for an interview and deferred to his attorney.

But for the Winters’ family, the case seems clear.

“Susan held all the cards in his world. She had the girls. She had money,” said Chris Winters’ wife Julie Winters. “What do you think, what makes sense? He killed her.”

“Nevada has the death penalty but I pray he doesn’t get it. And I hope that he stays forever in jail,” Chris Winters added. “Death is too good. I’d like him to be punished for the rest of his life.”

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Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (THURMONT, Md.) -- A Maryland high school student is expected to face charges after a journal with a detailed plan for a mass shooting at her school was found in her home, in addition to a shotgun and bomb-making materials, authorities said.

On March 23, the father of the suspect, Nichole Cevario, 18, told officials at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, Maryland, about a "potential threat of violence towards the school," the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said, and his daughter "was immediately removed from the classroom and turned over to investigators."

Authorities searched Cevario's home where they found a shotgun with ammunition and "bomb-making materials to include pipes with end caps, shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape, and fuse material," the sheriff’s office said Monday.

Authorities also say they found a journal that "clearly planned out a mass shooting," Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said at a news conference Monday afternoon. The journal, which listed the suspect's school and a date in April, had a timeline and her expectations for each stage, the sheriff's office said.

The diary's first entry was Dec. 16, 2016, Jenkins said. Officials say the journal showed Cevario had been planning "for some time and had been compiling intelligence on behavior activities of the school, noting emergency procedures associated with drills conducted by school staff and obtaining intelligence on the School Resource Deputy," the sheriff’s office said.

"It shocks the conscience to see that someone of that age could be thinking like this,” Jenkins said.

There was never a weapon or explosive device on school property, authorities said, and the materials were never combined into an explosive device.

Jenkins said all the items Cevario bought were legal. Authorities said no one else was involved or knew of the alleged plot.

According to the diary, Cevario planned to die from the attack, officials said.

When Cevario was removed from the school on March 23 it appeared that she posed a threat to herself and she was taken to the hospital, where she remains Monday, the sheriff's office said. The sheriff's office said she was struggling with mental health issues.

Investigators secured an arrest warrant for possession of explosive material with intent to create a destructive device and possession of incendiary material with the intent to create a destructive device, the sheriff's office said. The arrest warrant will be served when she's released from the hospital, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff’s office expressed its appreciation for Cevario's father who reported the potential threat and said he has been cooperative with the investigation. The sheriff's office did not know if Cevario had retained a lawyer.

In a video Monday on the school district's YouTube page, Dr. Terry Alban, superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, thanked the "courageous" parents for stepping forward.

"Whenever you hear or see anything that raises concern, you need to trust us and come to us so that we can do the right thing and handle it just like we did in this case," Alban said. "Those relationships, that trust, that's what enables the policies and the procedures that we have put in place to keep our school safe work. And they did."

The school district did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

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Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- This little fella got stuck inside the wall of a stranger’s home.

Luckily, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue showed up to save the day.

The department used thermal imaging to detect where the frisky feline was hiding.

“The guys did the whole creeping around the house thing,” deputy fire chief Timothy Heiser told ABC News of the firefighters who listened for the cat’s meows. “They got a thermal imaging camera ... and knocking and going along the wall, they managed to find where the cat was. A light heat signature was detected through the wall.”

#FLFR saved fella from a wall today #kitty @FTLCityNews @JackSeiler @leefeldman @wsvn @peta #kitty #rescue @UrgentNews911 @CommissionerBR pic.twitter.com/FMCiuEcxHX

— FLFR PIO (@FtLaudFire) March 26, 2017

The firefighters had to tear a hole in the wall to safely remove the kitten.

“They’ve got all the tools they need for cutting stuff up,” said Heiser. “The owner was more than happy to let us cut a hole in the wall. They found the little guy in there. They didn’t know how long he was in there for. They washed him off and brought some food for him back to the station. Everybody at the station has already adopted so many cats and dogs from rescues like these so no one was available to take him.”

The cat was taken to a local no-kill animal shelter for adoption.

“It was a stray that either the mother cat carried into the attic to keep it safe or gave birth up there and this one just wandered,” Heiser explained. “We get a lot of these. The shelters are all overloaded so a lot of our guys adopt them. Cats and dogs. One guy even has a parrot. It’s pretty funny. My poor mother’s taken in more cats than I know. We always try to find a home for them. We had a bunny rabbit last week. We always manage to find something.”

Heiser said these rescue situations are always “sad to begin with because you’ve got an animal that is by itself, but when you have a happy ending, that’s great.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- The toll from a weekend nightclub shooting in Cincinnati has risen to 17 injured and one dead, as one more person has come forward and said he was struck by gunfire in the melee, police said Monday.

Among the injured, two are in critical condition and two are in serious condition, police said. The victim who died was identified by authorities Sunday as 27-year-old Obryan Spikes.

The city's police are continuing to investigate the shooting early Sunday morning at the Cameo Nightclub and have yet to make an arrest, Police Chief Eliot Isaac told city officials during a previously scheduled meeting on law and public safety.

Officers believe more than one person was responsible for the gunfire that sent approximately 200 people fleeing for safety, Isaac said.

Investigators "believe based on the number of shots that there were multiple shooters,” he said.

Isaac said Monday that residents are cooperating with the investigation, and that police are confident that they will make arrests in the case.

The shooting started at around 1:30 a.m., creating an atmosphere of "chaos," police said Sunday.

Images from inside the club give a sene of the violence: Hats and sneakers were left behind by clubgoers scrambling to escape, and couches and chairs were soaked with blood and punctured by bullets.

"The bar was very crowded" at the time, with hundreds of people inside, police said.

“People were going to have a good time and ended up being shot. That is unacceptable,” the city's mayor, John Cranley, said at a press conference Sunday.

Police early on in their investigation ruled out terrorism as being behind the attack, but Mayor Cranley said that didn't diminish the tragedy.

"To the victims, what difference does it make?” the mayor said.

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