<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Mon, 22 Sep 2014 02:21:53 -0400 Mon, 22 Sep 2014 02:21:53 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Parents of MIssing UVA Student: 'Somebody Knows']]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:54:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007930280_1200x675_331897411887.jpg The parents of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham speak publicly for the first time since their daughter disappeared, as police focus on a person of interest.]]> <![CDATA[Crash Survivor Thanks First Responders Who Saved His Life]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 23:41:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007928953_1200x675_331864131697.jpg Three years after a Maryland accident claimed the life of his wife, son, and stepdaughter, Travis Andries is on the road to recovery. Darcy Spencer reports.]]> <![CDATA[Search For Lasana Mack]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 18:30:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007927028_1200x675_331810883878.jpg Former DC Treasurer Lasana Mack disappared from Northeast DC on September 13th. Derrick Ward reports.]]> <![CDATA[Person of Interest Named in Missing UVa. Student Case]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 18:29:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0917-hannah-graham-.jpg

Charlottesville, Virginia, police have issued an arrest warrant on charges of reckless driving for a man they call a "person of interest" in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Police have not charged Jesse Matthew in Graham's disappearance, but Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he believes Matthew was the last person to see Graham.

“I believe Jesse Matthew is the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face off the earth,” Longo said at a media briefing on Sunday. "But somebody knows where she is. And we want to know who that person or persons are.”

Longo said Matthew arrived at police headquarters on Saturday and asked for a lawyer. After speaking to the lawyer, Matthew left the station without talking to detectives.

Longo said after Matthew left, he was being overtly followed by state and federal officials. Matthew then sped away from police at a high rate of speed.

Longo said the speed was so great that police disengaged from the pursuit.

Hannah’s father, John Graham, spoke publicly for the first time Sunday, appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

“Who saw Hannah?” asked John Graham, during the press conference, with his wife, Sue, standing next to him. “Somebody knows what happened to Hannah.”

The father expressed gratitude to more than 1,000 volunteers who combed Charlottesville where Graham was last seen, on Saturday and Sunday.

“We have been utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of the spirit of all the people we’ve met,” he said. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. We need to find out what happened to her so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Graham expressed hope that his daughter would be found alive.

"'Hannah is brilliant, resilient, determined and loves life more than anybody else I know."

He read an email from Hannah's former teacher, who wrotte: “If anybody could get through this, it is Hannah."

The chief, in an emotional statement, said Sunday that Matthew was the person seen in surveillance video walking with Graham before she disappeared more than a week ago.

He wants anyone who saw Graham or Matthew that evening to contact police as soon as possible.

Longo thanked people who were involved in the search this weekend as well as those who emailed him from all over the country, saying “you rose to the occasion, you stepped up to the plate.”

Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Mark Eggeman said nearly 2,000 people searched for clues into Graham’s disappearance. Eggeman said he spent his daughter’s birthday with searchers, saying, “No place I’d rather be.”

Hannah Graham has been missing since early on September 13. She was seen in surveillance video along the city's Downtown Mall.

A man, who police believe is Matthew, is later seen wrapping his arm around Graham's waist. Police say the two then entered a Charlottesville restaurant during the early morning hours of September 13, where the man bought alcohol and later left in a burnt-orange car.

"We have every reason to believe Ms. Graham was in that vehicle," said Detective Sgt. Jim Mooney of Charlotteville police.

Police searched the man's apartment and car and even talked to him -- but stopped short at calling him a suspect. When asked if the man had a criminal history, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he has "had contact with police."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

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<![CDATA[Virginia State Delegate Vince Callahan Dies]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 07:47:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Virginia+State+Delegate+Vince+Callahan.jpg

Virginia State Delegate Vince Callahan passed away Saturday. He was 82.

Callahan help develop several major places in northern Virginia including Wolf Trap and George Mason University.

He served in the Commonwealth's General Assembly for more than 40 years -- longer than any Republican in state history.
 



Photo Credit: NBC4 Washington]]>
<![CDATA[93-Year-Old Gets High School Diploma]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:40:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007925420_1200x675_331726403774.jpg

A northern Virginia woman has received her high school diploma this weekend after waiting 75 years for the honor.

Jane Pickett, who lives in Burke, Virginia, also turned 93, and celebrated the milestones with her family and friends.

She was supposed to graduate in 1939 from her high school in the New York area. But Pickett fell in love with her high school sweetheart.

“I got married the same day I would have graduated from high school,” Pickett said.

Her daughter surprised her with an honorary diploma from the school this weekend after reaching out to the school.

“All the neighbors came over and she had absolutely no idea,” said Sharon Mills, Pickett's daughter. “Cousins came into town. Kids came home from college. But she had absolutely no idea this is what we were doing for her."

The school sent the diploma with a graduation sash and other gifts.


 

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<![CDATA[Woman Killed In Hit and Run Crash In D.C.]]> Sun, 21 Sep 2014 00:23:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007923250_1200x675_331661379896.jpg Tonya Reaves' mother pleads for someone to come forward after her daughter was killed by a driver who did not stop. News4's Darcy Spencer reports.]]> <![CDATA[Police: Chemical Smell Could Be From Meth Lab]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 08:07:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Montgomery+County+hazmat+robot.jpg

Six people are getting medical treatment after a mysterious smell from a row house on Waterside Court in Germantown.

Montgomery County police called in a hazmat team. They rolled out a robot to test for hazardous chemicals.

Detectives believe the chemical smell is related to a possible meth lab.

Firefighters evacuated the house.
 



Photo Credit: NBC4 Washington]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Bartenders Create "Drink Lock"]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:35:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007918956_1200x675_331452483807.jpg News4's Shomari Stone talked with two D.C. bartenders who created "Drink Lock," meant to help prevent strangers from tampering with your drinks.]]> <![CDATA[Secret Service Questioned After Fence-Jumper at White House]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:11:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/whitehouse6.jpg

The Secret Service is coming under intense scrutiny after a man who hopped the White House fence made it all the way through the front door before being apprehended.

President Barack Obama and his daughters had just departed the White House on Friday evening when an intruder scaled the north fence, darted across the lawn and into the presidential residence, where agents nabbed him.

The security breach triggered a rare evacuation of much of the White House, with Secret Service officers drawing their guns as they rushed staffers and journalists out a side door.

For the Secret Service, the incident was a devastating episode that prompted fresh questions about the storied agency and its ability to protect the president.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who chairs the House subpanel on national security oversight, called it "totally unacceptable'" but said the incident was just one of a string of security failings on the Secret Service's watch.

"Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job," Chaffetz said. "These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer."

"Was the door open?" he added incredulously.

On Saturday morning, Secret Service agents could be seen walking shoulder to shoulder across the North Lawn, apparently combing the turf for anything the intruder may have dropped during his sprint the night before. The Secret Service said only that the activity was related to the previous night's incident.

The man in jeans and a dark shirt who scaled the fence shortly after 7 p.m. appeared to be unarmed, but ignored commands from officers to halt, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. He was tackled just inside the doors of the North Portico, the grand, columned entrance that looks out over Pennsylvania Avenue. A search of the suspect turned up no weapons.

The Secret Service identified the suspect as Omar J. Gonzalez, a 42-year-old man from Copperas Cove, Texas. He was charged with unlawful entry into the White House complex and transported to a nearby hospital complaining of chest pain. Attempts to reach Gonzalez or his relatives by phone were unsuccessful.

Although it's not uncommon for people to make it over the White House fence, they're typically stopped almost immediately and rarely get very far. Video from the scene showed the intruder sprinting across the lawn as Secret Service agents shouted at nearby pedestrians to clear the area.

"This situation was a little different than other incidents we have at the White House,'' Donovan said. "There will be a thorough investigation into the incident.''

Only minutes before the breach, Obama had boarded his helicopter on the South Lawn with his daughters and one of their friends, who was joining the Obamas for a weekend getaway to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. First lady Michelle Obama had traveled separately to Camp David and was not at home.

It was unclear whether any other fence-jumpers have ever made it into the White House, one of the most highly protected buildings in the world. But Friday's incident was just the latest setback for an elite agency whose reputation has suffered a succession of blows in recent years.

In 2012, 13 Secret Service agents and officers were implicated in a prostitution scandal during preparations for Obama's trip to Cartagena, Colombia. The next year, two officers were removed from the president's detail after another alleged incident of sexually-related misconduct. And in March, an agent was found drunk by staff at a Dutch hotel the day before Obama was set to arrive in the Netherlands.

Obama appointed the agency's first female director last year as a sign he wanted to change the culture and restore public confidence in its operations. An inspector general's report in December found no evidence of widespread misconduct.

The Secret Service has struggled in recent years to strike the appropriate balance between ensuring the first family's security and preserving the public's access to the White House grounds. Once open to vehicles, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was confined to pedestrians after the Oklahoma City bombing, but officials have been reluctant to restrict access to the area further.

Evacuations at the White House are extremely rare. Typically, when someone jumps the White House fence, the compound is put on lockdown and those inside remain in place while officers respond.

Last week, the Secret Service apprehended a man who jumped over the same stretch of fence on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, prompting officers to draw their firearms and deploy service dogs as they took the man into custody.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Marion Barry's Ward 8 Movie]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:54:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20140222+Marion+Barry.jpg WHUR's Troy Johnson discusses Council member Marion Barry's movie about his beloved Ward 8.]]> <![CDATA[Consumer Watch: Selling Old Furniture]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:04:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007918350_1200x675_331412035960.jpg News4's Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez shows you how to make money off your old and unwanted furniture.]]> <![CDATA[Missing Kids' Father Teams Up With Md. Missing Person's Network]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 18:39:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0919-hoggle-kids.jpg

The father of two missing Maryland toddlers has teamed up with the Maryland Missing Person's Network in an effort to locate his young children.

Montgomery County police have searched thousands of acres of land this week in the search for 2-year-old Jacob and 3-year-old Sarah. Their mother, Catherine Hoggle, has yet to reveal the exact location of her two children, telling police she gave them to a friend before changing her story. Jacob was last seen Sept. 7 and Sarah was last seen the following day.

Hoggle said the two were "alive and safe," but police have transitioned to a homicide investigation based on the amount of time the children have been gone and the 15-hour interrogation of the Montgomery County mom.

The children's dad, Troy Turner, told News4 he's confident Sarah and Jacob are alive, and that Hoggle is incapable of harming them. All week, he's been searching for the kids along with friends and co-workers, and Friday, he launched a new search with the help of Maryland Missing Person's Network. 

"[I'll keep looking for them until] someone turns my kids in or I kick down a door and go get them," he said. "Whatever reality she's formed, she feels like she's protecting the children by hiding them."

Montgomery County police say they have reviewed the group's plan to make sure that it is safe and as effective as possible. While police say they do not endorse the community search, the department is providing some guidance and expertise.  

A member of the police search team will act as a liaison, or direct link, for the community search group.

Volunteers should meet at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown starting 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings. They can also go the Chick-Fil-A on Aircraft Drive in Germantown.

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<![CDATA[Consumer Watch: iPhone 6 Frenzy]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:53:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007918357_1200x675_331412547842.jpg News4's Erika Gonzalez breaks down Consumer Report's findings on the newly-released iPhone 6.]]> <![CDATA[D.C. Parking Spots Transformed For a Day]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:50:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007917345_1200x675_331379267851.jpg Ordinary parking spots were transformed into mini parks Friday in D.C. Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss took a tour around town to check some of them out.]]> <![CDATA[Doreen Gentzler Remembers Her Hometown]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:20:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007916998_1200x675_331371075825.jpg From the archives: News4 anchor Doreen Gentzler looks back at her childhood in Arlington, Virginia, as we look back at her 25 years at the station.]]> <![CDATA[Maryland High School Principal Accused of Bullying Staff]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 08:10:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Angelique+Simpson-Marcus.jpg

Prince George's County leaders are calling for a high school principal to be fired over accusations of bullying and mistreatment of her staff.

Dr. Angelique Simpson-Marcus became Largo High School’s principal in 2007. Three years later a group of employees filed complaints of harassment and bullying against her.

“A counselor at Largo High School came to our office complaining about harassment, hostile work environment,” said Bob Ross of Prince George’s County NAACP.

The NAACP received several complaints. Then a white male teacher filed a case alleging reverse discrimination and won in federal court in August.

“When the case came out in August, we were not surprised that someone would win,” Ross said.

The teacher received $350,000 in a settlement and another $200,000 in back pay.

This week there was another settlement involving a school secretary. That outcome is sealed.

County Council member Mary Lehman called for Simpson-Marcus’ removal in a letter sent to schools CEO Kevin Maxwell.

“It is a strong case and surely there is a mechanism at the very, very least to place her on some kind of administrative leave to get her out of that building and out of that position of leadership and authority at Largo High Schoo,” said. “It’s completely inappropriate.”

The NAACP agrees and is also calling for Simpson-Marcus to step down.

“The principal at Largo needs to be removed for the good of all citizens in the county,” Ross said.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Police: Teen Kept in Va. Home in Sex Trafficking Case]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:51:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Manuel+A+Contreras.jpg

A man held a teenage girl captive in a Falls Church, Virginia, home in what Fairfax County police are calling a sex trafficking case.

The 17-year-old victim met 27-year-old Manuel Contreras on Facebook several months ago and eventually agreed to meet him in person, police said.

"The man allegedly threatened the teen and locked her in a room and took her phone," Fairfax County police Officer Roger Henriquez said.

Though the girl was missing for more than three months, police weren't aware until someone else who lives at the Kaiser Place house where she was kept.

Contreras is charged with abduction with intent to defile and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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<![CDATA[Hundreds Line Up to Exchange Ray Rice Jerseys]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:52:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ray+rice+jersey+exchange.jpg

Hundreds of Baltimore Ravens fans lined the sidewalks of M&T Bank Stadium to exchange their Ray Rice jerseys.

The Ravens are allowing fans to trade in their Ray Rice jerseys Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The exchange was announced shortly after the NFL indefinitely suspended Rice after video showing the former running back punching his then-fiance was released.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league asked for, but was not given, that video — and that "no one in the NFL, to my knowledge" had seen it — before it was posted online.

Rice and Palmer were both charged with assault in the incident. Charges against Palmer were later dropped, and Rice was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program that let him avoid jail time and could allow the charges to be purged from his record. State lawmakers have since called for the New Jersey attorney general to review the case.

According to WBAL, jerseys eligible for exchange must meet the following criteria:

  • Be officially licensed by the NFL
  • Be manufactured by Nike or Reebok
  • Have been purchased or available for purchase at the Ravens Team Store at M&T Bank Stadium or the Ravens Official Team Store online.

Click here for more information on the exchange.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

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<![CDATA[Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of 9-Year-Old Girl]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:55:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_court_gavel_generic_law.jpg

A 53-year-old Washington, D.C. man has admitted to sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl he drove to  federal facility where he worked.

According to his plea agreement, on Oct. 18, 2013, Kevin Robinson drove the victim and her parents to their home following a dentist appointment and dropped the girl's parents off. He then dropped the  remaining passengers off at his girlfriend's house and drove the victim to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Greensbelt, Maryland.

Once in his office, Robinson told the girl to take off her clothes and bit her breast, breaking the skin and leaving a mark. He tried to have sex with her, the plea agreement continues, but the victim refused. The two went back to the car, and Robinson told the girl to preform oral sex, which investigators say she did.

When the victim returned home, she told her parents what happened and they called the police. A DNA analysis taken at the hospital identified the saliva on the girl's chest as Robinson's.

As a part of his guilty plea, Robinson has agreed to be sentenced to between 12 and 17 and half years in prison. He must also register as a sex offender.

He will be sentenced on Jan. 14, 2015.

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<![CDATA[False Bomb Threat at Evacuated Virginia Middle School]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:41:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Generic+Prince+William+County+Police+Generic.jpg

Police determined a bomb threat at a middle school in Woodbridge, Virginia, was a false call.

Fred Lynn Middle School at 1650 Prince William Parkway was evacuated Friday morning, Prince William County police said.

Students, faculty and staff at were moved to a safe location as a precaution.

Police checked the building with a K-9 unit and found no threat.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Most Virginians Support Redskins Name: Poll]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:57:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/RedskinsFlag+.jpg

Most Virginians believe the Washington Redskins should not change their name, according to a new poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

The poll found 71 percent of residents support keeping the name despite years of dispute over whether the name is offensive.

And respondents' political affiliations had little effect on their answers. Seventy-two percent of Republicans support the name, as do 69 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Independents.

"I'’s hard to find 71 percent of Virginia voters agreeing on anything," Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy, said in a statement. "But support for the Redskins' name clearly draws together people of different political stripes who would otherwise be at crossed swords, like it draws together members of the General Assembly from different parties."

More than a third of Virginian voters who follow football consider themselves fans of the Redskins, a higher percentage than any other team. The second most popular team among Virginian voters, the Dallas Cowboys, came in at just nine percent. Twenty-two percent of voters said they don't follow any NFL team.

The Wason Center interviewed 796 voters in the commonwealth between Sept. 9 and Sept. 15. The margin of error was 3.5 percent.

In recent months, lawmakers and Native American groups have urged the team to change the name. Some media outlets have also pledged to not use the name in their reports.

But owner Dan Synder has refused to change the name, insisting that it is an "honor."



Photo Credit: File Photo ]]>
<![CDATA[Fans Line Up for iPhone 6 Release]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:47:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/2014-09-19_0634.png Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus go on sale in stores Friday. But don't think you can just walk in and buy one; devoted Apple fans have been waiting in line for days. Here's a look at what the line looked like in Georgetown Friday morning. ]]> <![CDATA[Contentious Discussion on Relisha Rudd's Disappearance]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:57:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/217*120/2014-03-28_0535_001.png

During a contentious hearing Friday, D.C. officials took a second look at how they handled the case of an 8-year-old girl who disappeared from a city homeless shelter earlier this year. 

The last confirmed sighting of Relisha Rudd was March 1, when she was seen at a motel on New York Avenue with 51-year-old Khalil Tatum, a janitor at the homeless shelter where her family lived.

A recent report found the District couldn't have prevented the little girl's disappearance, citing, in part, the misleading information provided by Relisha's family. However, the report did suggest more than two dozen recommended policy changes on matters including how schools deal with unexcused absences, background checks for homeless shelter employees, and fraternization between families and shelter staff.

But some lawmakers are skeptical of the report's findings.

D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, who is among the report's critics, organized a public roundtable to look into safety procedures at the D.C. General Family Shelter.

Graham criticized two deputy mayors, saying that they refused to answer many questions during Friday's discussion. The deputy mayors defended the review of the agencies' performance.

“Councilman, I cannot release specifics of this case,” Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Beatriz Otero said. “That is privileged information.” Beatriz Otero, Dep Mayor Health and human service

But Graham was able to get one new bit of information about the current criminal investigation

“[The Metropolitan Police Department] continues to investigate Relisha's disappearance, and charges against Relisha's mother and others were referred to [the U.S. Attorney’s Office]," Otero said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed an ongoing investigation.

The deputy mayors admitted a D.C. school employee did violate law by not reporting Relisha had missed 10 days of classes.

“And while that 10 days is a line we want to draw clearly, it wouldn't have changed the situation here,” Deputy Mayor of Education Abigail Smith.

Graham argued it’s impossible to know if reporting her missing from school would have prevented her disappearance and pointed out at least police could have started the search sooner.

“Maybe there would have been a fresher trail, because there were seven days lost,” Graham said.

In the end, the deputy mayors argued Relisha and all those living in a D.C. shelter are not the sole responsibility of the D.C. government.

“We are providing shelter,” Otero said. “We have not taken jurisdiction over families.”

There the two sides parted ways, disagreeing on the responsibility of the government when it is providing shelter to families.

Relisha's disappearance remains unsolved.

Her family had allowed her to spend time with Tatum, although her mother said she thought the girl was with her aunt and grandmother. It was Relisha's many absences from school that ultimately caused authorities to go looking for her. She missed more than 30 days of school before a social worker alerted police.

Police say Tatum purchased a shovel, lime and contractor-sized trashbags at a Home Depot, and spent a significant amount of time at Kenilworth Park around the time Relisha was last seen.

He was found dead in the park later that month, as police and volunteers searched for signs of Relisha. Police believe he committed suicide.

Tatum had also been wanted in the death of his wife, Andrea. Her body was found at a Red Roof Inn in Oxon Hill March 20 during the search for Relisha.

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<![CDATA[Parents Protest Plan to Put Cellphone Tower in Md. Schoolyard]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:45:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Prince+Georges+County+cellphone+tower.jpg

Parents say they are upset about plans to build a lucrative cellphone tower in a schoolyard in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The NAACP blames the school board for keeping secret the plans for a cell tower at Charles Flowers High School in Springdale. That’s one of 73 proposed sites for towers in the county, and one of nine sites in the development stage.

“Eighty-five percent of their problem is communication, letting the community know what’s going on,” said Bob Ross of Prince George’s County NAACP.

Prince George’s County Public Schools released a statement denying the plans are secret:

“The Board of Education approved the master lease for cellphone tower construction during a public meeting in 2010. As chief executive officer of PGCPS and secretary-treasurer of the Board of Education, Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell has authority to sign leases on behalf of the Board of Education. We welcome input from the public about the placement of cellphone towers. There is a process for community at each proposed location.”

Some parents are concerned cellphone towers could hurt their children, though there’s no evidence of that.

The NAACP is calling for a stop to the process until health and environmental concerns are addressed.

The Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County is also getting involved, accusing the school system and the county cell tower commission of signing leases and brokering deals without the public’s knowledge.

“We would like to see parents able to be involved in the process,” said Janis Zink Sartucci of the coalition. “We think they’ve been left out of the process and we think that this is a problem statewide.”

They’ve sent a formal letter of complaint to the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board.

Every time a cellphone tower is built on school property, the Prince George’s County school system gets $25,000 for its general fund.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Parking Spots Turn Into Parks for One Day in D.C. ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 05:47:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/A3UOwlNCQAE7VAO.jpg

Nearly 20 parking spaces in the District of Columbia will become temporary parks Friday.

For this year's PARK(ing) Day event, participants had to apply for a permit to build their temporary green space. Planner say the event allows the public to rethink how we use public space.

Businesses like Zipcar and DC Water will showcase their creativity by spreading out astroturf, lawn chairs and whatever else they can think of to enjoy the space.

The annual event was introduced in San Francisco in 2005, where the first mini-park was intact for two hours, the maximum allowed time on the meter.

The concept has since spread to cities across the globe, and has been held in D.C. since 2009.

The locations of the mini-parks include spots by the D.C. Council at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW and by the bakery Baked & Wired in Georgetown.



Photo Credit: @caseytrees]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Aspiring Medic's Shooting Death]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 05:24:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DeVar+Battle.jpg

Police have arrested a man they say killed an aspiring medic and father of four last year.

DeVar Battle, 34, completed his emergency medical training course in August 2013, and was gunned down in the 3000 block of 30th Street SE about a month later.

Thursday, D.C. police arrested 33-year-old Christopher Fields of no fixed address and charged him with murder in Battle's death. 

Some who live in the neighborhood told News4 last year there had been so many shootings there, they call it, 'The Graveyard Street.'

Battle’s mother told News4 her son lived in the neighborhood when he was younger but moved away when it got too dangerous, but he would return to visit friends.

Battle had four sons, ages 13, 8, 7 and 5.

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<![CDATA[Man Sues Board of Education Over Phony Psychologist]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:12:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_court_gavel_generic_law.jpg

A Rockville lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education of Montgomery County on behalf of an 18-year-old man, who claims he was emotionally damaged by a phony psychologist employed by the school district.

Ronald Karp told News4 told News4 Montgomery County Public Schools had employed "Dr. David Flemmer" for more than 10 years based off fake credentials. The man's real name was Duane Flemmer, according to Karp.

"If they had looked into this man's credentials, they would have known he was using a bogus name," Karp said. "They would have known he wasn't a Ph.D., they would have known that he forged all those documents."

Flemmer counseled Karp's client for two years, beginning when he was 8 years old while his parents were going through a divorce.

"Once you can walk into a courtroom and look the judge in the eye and say, 'I am Dr. David Flemmer and I am a Montgomery County Schools psychologist,' you have instant credibility and you can create havoc for all kinds of people," Karp said.

In 2006, the judge removed the boy from his mother and gave custody to his father, allegedly, based on Dr. Flemmer's testimony.

"[Dr. Flemmer's testimony] was not only very credible, but it was also very enlightening," the judge wrote.

Six years later, Flemmer applied for a job out of state.

His new employer contacted the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists to check his credentials. After an investigation, the board found Flemmer, "created a fraudulent psychology license using an expired license number and forged signatures of real persons who had previously served as board members for the Board of Psychology."

In 2013, Flemmer committed suicide.

"If it comes out that the Montgomery County Schools system never notified any parent about the fact that this man was a fraud when he lost his license in 2012, if that comes out, we don't know how many kids are out there, how many parents out there were counseled by this man," Karp said.

In a written statement released Thursday, a Montgomery County Schools spokesperson says Flemmer worked for the school district from 1998 to 2010 and said, "We have not had the opportunity to see any legal action at this point, and do not discuss legal cases in the media.”
 

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<![CDATA[Hundreds Participate in Electronics, Appliance Recycling]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:35:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007905950_1200x675_331016259704.jpg

Hundreds of people waited in line in Loudoun County, Virginia, for the opportunity to give away their televisions and computers.

The fifth annual Verizon "Recycling Rally" took place at the company facility in Ashburn.

Harry Mitchell, the director of public relations, says all but a very small amount of the materials collected will be recycled.

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<![CDATA[Prince George's Police Search for Missing Man ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 05:24:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Oswaldo+Augusto+Mootoo.jpg

A 77-year-old man from Prince George's County is missing, according to police. 

Oswaldo Augusto Mootoo was last seen on Sept. 14 in the 6300 block of Maxwell Drive in Camp Springs, Maryland, wearing an orange shirt, blue jeans and black shoes. 

Police report that Mootoo is a Hispanic man with light complexion, standing 5-feet-8-inches tall and weighing 145 pounds.

Anyone with information on Mootoo is asked to call the Prince George's County Police Department at 301-749-5064. 

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<![CDATA[Metrorail Construction Delays This Weekend]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:00:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/metro_train_generic_lovelorn.jpg

Metrorail construction will cause schedule changes starting at 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19.

Red Line trains will run every 8 to 15 minutes, with additional trains between the Grosvenor and NoMa-Gallaudet stations during the daytime. 

Silver and Yellow Line trains will operate normally, with yellow trains only running between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Sq. 

Green Line trains will run every 20 minutes, and Orange and Blue Line trains will run every 24 minutes. 

Normal schedules will resume Monday morning. 



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Metro to Stay Open Extra Hour for Redskins Game Sept. 25]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:56:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Generic+Metro+722+x+406.jpg

Metro will stay open an extra hour Thursday, Sept. 25, to accomodate riders attending the Redskins game at FedEx Field. 

Riders can only enter at Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations during the additional hour but can exit at all stations. 

The game begins at 8:25 p.m. 

Event organizers will fund the extra hour of service, since Metro normally closes at midnight.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Southeast Celebrates Renovation of Tennis Center]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 23:18:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/222*120/0917-se-tennis.jpg

Officials are hoping an $18 million renovation of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center will make a positive mark on Ward 8 residents, especially children. 

The improvements include new playgrounds, indoor and outdoor facilities and multi-purpose rooms. 

Woody McKnight grew up near the old tennis center -- where he said he spent more of his time than at home -- and is now planning on going professional.

"I know my dad's watching me up there," McKnight spoke of his late father, the former director of the center. "I know he's proud. He had a dream for me and I'm going to keep pushing for that dream."

During a ceremony Thursday, Mayor Vincent Gray said he hopes the center becomes a similar tool for other D.C. kids.

"The doors of this place are open to every kid in this neighborhood and even outside [of it] and that's what makes it great," he said.

Mark Ein, the owner of the Washington Kastles, said he knows the positive impact a sport like tennis can have on a young person's life.

"Woody may or may not become a great tennis player, but he's going to be a great leader and do something great with his life," Ein said.

"This facility really made me who I am today," McKnight agreed. "On Saturdays, I come and help, they have a tiny tots program and we teach them the sport."

The center will officially open its doors following a gala Nov. 7 hosted by Serena and Venus Williams, who helped sponsor the renovations.

"Anything is possible. That's something I learned right here," McKnight said. 

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<![CDATA[Police Search Hoggle's Writings for Info in Kids' Disappearance]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:08:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007905807_1200x675_330987587887.jpg The 10th day of searching for two toddlers missing from Montgomery County didn't turn up any clues. News4 has learned police are scouring through the mother's journals, hoping it leads them to the children. Kristin Wright reports.]]>