<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:28:49 -0400 Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:28:49 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Watch: Best Friends Cheetah, Dog]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:48:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cheetah+and+dog+friends.JPG

The claws are coming out, but what’s a little rough-housing between two really adorable friends?

Cheetah cub Ruuxa and his dog pal Raina, now over three months old, are getting the chance to explore new areas of the San Diego Safari Park.

The unlikely best friends were paired up by zookeepers after Ruuxa was rejected by his mother. Cheetahs are typically born in litters, but when a single cub is born, the mother often abandons it.

So to help the tiny cub navigate the outside world, the zoo introduced him to Raina, a Rhodesian ridgeback puppy.

The duo are training to be part of the Safari Park’s “animal ambassador” program, which has enlisted four furry pairs.

Developing a special kinship as they are raised together, the dog helps the cheetah stay calm in new and public settings. Zookeepers hope to train Ruuxa to become one of the animals on display at the Park’s Cheetah Run experience.

But his training is much cuter than, say, a Rocky fighting montage. The zoo released video this week of Ruuxa and Raina’s work together, which included a lot of playful tackling, nipping and nuzzling.

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: Michael Brown Police Shooting Unrest]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:29:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP748818036139.jpg After 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police Aug. 9, multiple days of rioting and protests have erupted in Ferguson, Missouri. The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Surveillance Video Shows Clown Crook Robbing Gas Station]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:56:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/clown+robbery+suspect.JPG

Newly released surveillance video shows a not-so-funny suspect in a frightening clown mask holding a gas station clerk at gunpoint in one of three, possibly related robberies

The video comes from the USA Gas Station on Morena Boulevard in Bay Park, which was robbed on Aug. 6.

In the footage, a man in a clown mask, rainbow wig, black pants and black hooded sweatshirt is seen walking through the door with handgun held at his waist. He waves it at the clerk, who is standing by the store's drink display, and tells him to get behind the counter.

The worker complies and opens the cash register.

"Put it all in the plastic bag. Hurry up," the suspect is heard saying on the video.

"I don't want to blow a hole in you, man. Hurry it up," he continues.

After the clerk fills the white plastic bag, the suspect grabs it and walks out. Before he leaves, the calm cashier utters, "Have a good night, man." 

Detectives are trying to determine if this clown is responsible for two similar incidents, or if it is the work of a copy cat.

The most recent robbery happened around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at the 7-Eleven at 4080 Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa.

A man in his 20s or 30s wearing a clown mask and carrying a large frame revolver approached the clerk and demanded cash, according to San Diego police. The cashier handed over an undisclosed amount of money, and the suspect bolted out the door.

The crime wasn’t reported until 8:30 a.m. because the clerk didn’t know protocol, police said.

On Aug. 13, a thief struck 7-Eleven at 6615 Linda Vista Rd. In that case, the suspect was wearing a clown mask and rainbow-colored wig, had a thin build and was armed with a gun.

The USA Gas Station decided to release its surveillance footage to help the SDPD get an arrest.

<![CDATA[NH Reacts to James Foley's Death ]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:35:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/James+Foley-722.JPG

As U.S. intelligence officials work to authenticate the ISIS video that purports to show the execution of American journalist James Foley, word is spreading around the tight-knit community of Rochester, New Hampshire, that Foley called home.

"It’s not something you want to hear or believe but it’s true," Lauren Ellis, who went to school with Foley's siblings, said.

Foley had been missing since Nov. 22, 2012, when he was abducted outside an Internet café in Syria while working as a freelance journalist for Boston-based GlobalPost. It was the second time Foley had been taken hostage, after he was released in 2011 after about six weeks in captivity in Libya.

His family had not heard from him directly this time and did not know who took him or why, but family friends tell NECN his mother had recently traveled to Denmark to meet with others who had been taken hostage and let go. They say she was told then that he was alive and doing well.

The family is too distraught to talk about the video released Tuesday, as a yellow ribbon remains tied to the tree outside their home.

However, his mother, Diane Foley, released a message on the Facebook page Free James Foley:

We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.

We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.
We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.

Rochester residents say this news is sickening.

"It’s really an unreal feeling, just hearing the news tonight, my mom and I were both very sad. Like I said, a tough pill to swallow," Ellis said.

Joyce Jacques worked with Foley’s father at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover. She says she cannot imagine what he and his family are going through.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are with you, anything we can do, say, we’re right here," Jacques said.

Foley's employer, GlobalPost, released a statement saying it appreciates the messages of support and is asking for prayers for Foley and his family.

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan was appalled by the news though; she did speak very highly of Foley.

"A talented and fearless photojournalist, James Foley brought us images that connected us to events across the globe, illuminating stories of both heartache and hope and helping us better understand the world we all share," Hassan said.

New Hampshire's U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte each offered up heartfelt condolences to the Foley family.

"His murder was a cowardly act of terrorism and underscores the threat that ISIS poses to the freedoms we hold dear," added U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on the tragic loss.

Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Aunt Arrested After Toddler Killed in SF Crosswalk]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:17:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/Myanamemorial.JPG

A woman who was caring for her 2-year-old twin niece and nephew has been charged with felony child endangerment after the little girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver in a San Francisco crosswalk. Police say the aunt crossed against the signal, leaving the girl unattended in the middle of the street.

San Francisco police on Tuesday arrested 25-year-old Lorysha Gage after her niece, identified by family as Mi'Yana Gregory, was killed on Mission Street between 4th and 5th streets about 10:30 p.m. Friday. The three had just seen "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" at the AMC Metreon, family members said. In addition to the child endangerment charge, jail records show Gage was also booked on a felony enhancement of corporal injury on a child resulting in death. She is in custody on $250,000 bail. As of Wednesday morning, Gage had not been formally charged, nor had a court date been set.

Officer Albie Esparza said that Gage left her niece in the middle of the crosswalk while she went back to get the brother, Michael. That's when "My My," described by relative De'Anthony Daymone Jones as a "bubbly" girl, was killed in the crosswalk.

Attempts to reach Gage and find out if she had an attorney were not immediately successful Wednesday morning. Police did not provide a booking photo of Gage, citing "pending ID matters."

"It's been hard on all of us," said Jones, who has set up a site to help pay for funeral expenses. Mi'Yana and her twin were very close. "They always rolled together," he said.

While police have now arrested the aunt, officers have not yet found the driver, whose car hit the girl and kept going. Surveillance video showed a white, mid-90s, four-door sedan, believed to be either a Camry, Honda or Lexus, with a dark mismatched front bumper and dark rims in the area at the time. The driver did not stop, and police are looking for that person.

A day after the accident, relative Devin Reagans said the driver should have stopped.

"It shouldn't have taken my sister's life," she said.

On Wednesday, a memorial marked the site across from the parking garage at Westfield San Francisco Centre where "My My" was killed, complete with signs and stuffed animals including a pink teddy bear and a Hello Kitty doll.

Her family has also set up a GoFundMe site to help pay for expenses.

NBC Bay Area's Stephanie Chuang and Christie Smith contributed to this report.


Photo Credit: Stephanie Chuang]]>
<![CDATA[Court Docs Detail Boy's Torture]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:41:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/gabriel1.jpg

The fatal beating Gabriel Fernandez took on May 22, 2013, in a Palmdale apartment is just part of what could be described as a living nightmare for the little boy, that according to grand jury transcripts which led to murder charges against his mother, Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre.

Gabriel's older brother, Ezequiel, says on a daily basis Gabriel was gagged with a sock and bandana and stuffed into a small cabinet locked from the outside with handcuffs.

He says that is where Gabriel would sleep despite two beds in their room and when the boy went to the bathroom inside the box he was forced to clean it up.

If Ezequiel helped:

"I got hit."

"By who?"

"By my mom," he testified.

The story of Gabriel Fernandez's torture and killing shed light on how child abuse cases are handled in Los Angeles County. It has led to changes across several county departments, the creation of a new office to monitor these cases, and charges of murder against his alleged killers. His death led to rallies and a Facebook page in his honor.

Testimony details beatings with bats, a club which knocked out Gabriel's teeth, BB gun and pepper spray shot in Gabriel's face, and whippings with the metal part of a belt at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend over eight months.

Pearl took custody of Gabriel, who has been living with his maternal grandparents.

Of the three children in the house, only Gabriel received this type of abuse, according to the testimony.

"We had cats and we had a litter box and whenever he would get punished, my mom would tell him to go eat poop," the testimony read.

Making his gums bleed, the brother adds he saw the boyfriend, who worked as a security guard, grab Gabriel in a chokehold and knock him into a wall, feet off the ground.

"He would gasp for air," the brother testified.

The last beating began when Gabriel did not want to pick up his toys and Pearl and Tony, as they called the boyfriend, allegedly began punching and kicking Gabriel, even while the boy lay on the floor unconscious.

"It just went quiet, and my mom came out like scared and told me to, to make up a story because she was going to call paramedics, and she told me to say that me and Gabriel were playing in her room and he hit his head on the cabinet, that it hit the cabinet," the brother said according to testimony.

NBC4 requested a comment from public defenders for both defendants, but did not receive a response.

<![CDATA["Affluenza" Teen's Father Arrested for Impersonating an Officer]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:50:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/frederick-couch-inset.jpg

The father of a North Texas teen whose defense blamed “affluenza” for his deadly DUI wreck has been arrested and accused of identifying himself as a police officer.

Frederick Anthony Couch was arrested Tuesday for falsely identifying himself as a police officer and for misrepresentation of property, North Richland Hills police said.

Officers were called to a disturbance on the 4400 block of Mackey Drive just after 1 a.m. July 28, police said Tuesday. 

There, resident Keith Capo said Couch had a gun and had shown up with Capo's neighbor, who he said threatened him following a disagreement days before.

Capo's wife then called police.

"The officer I was speaking to was all gung-ho. He said, 'What do you want to happen?' I said, 'I want to press charges,'" Capo said.

Investigating officers spoke with Couch, who they said presented a badge and an identification card and identified himself as a reserve officer for the small Lake Worth community of Lakeside.

According to police, as officers were wrapping up their investigation at the scene, Couch reiterated that he was a reserve police officer and said he had his "police stuff" in his car.

"Couch reached into his vehicle and took out his wallet, displaying what appeared to be a police badge and identification card, suggesting he was a police officer," police said in a news release Tuesday.

The officers at the scene looked into Couch's status as a reserve officer and learned that he was not an officer with the City of Lakeside and has never been licensed as a police officer in the state of Texas.

Capo said if Couch broke the law this time, he should pay the consequences, like anyone else.

"I just hope he understands that you can't sit there and say and do whatever you want, just because you got more money than anybody else. I mean, that's not right," Capo said.

Following his arrest Tuesday, Couch was taken to the city's detention facility for processing with bond set at $2,500.

Couch's son, Ethan, was intoxicated and behind the wheel of a pickup truck when he crashed and killed four people while injuring several others in June 2013.

The "affluenza" defense, which garnered national attention, maintained that the teen suffered from a condition where he had no sense of responsibility due to a lack of parenting.

Couch was subsequently sentenced to 10 years probation on four counts of intoxication manslaughter and ordered to be admitted to a rehabilitation facility at his parents' expense.

Since the verdict, the Couch family has settled several lawsuits worth millions of dollars with the families of the victims.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Patient May Have Ebola Virus]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:48:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola.jpg

A patient admitted to a South Sacramento hospital may have been exposed to the Ebola virus, health officials said Tuesday.

The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center is working with the Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood samples from the patient.

"In order to protect our patients, staff and physicians, even though infection with the virus is unconfirmed, we are taking the actions recommended by the CDC as a precaution, just as we do for other patients with a suspected infectious disease," Dr. Stephen Parodi, director of hospital operations for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said in a statement. "This includes isolation of the patient in a specially equipped negative pressure room and the use of personal protective equipment by trained staff, coordinated with infectious disease specialists. This enables the medical center to provide care in a setting that safeguards other patients and medical teams."

The Ebola virus got worldwide attention earlier this month when two United States aid workers were infected in Liberia. The aid workers were move to an Atlanta hospital for treatment in a specially equipped plane. Both patients are recovering, officials said.

The Ebola outbreak started in December of last year in West Africa. Since the outbreak, some 2,200 people have been diagnosed with the virus and nearly half o those people died.

Even though the Ebola virus can be deadly, doctors said, survival rates are improving because people are getting checked if they feel they have come in contact with the virus.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Star Little League Team Taney Dragons Got Their Start]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:56:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg

Twenty years ago, the league behind the Taney Dragons started with three parents, a coach and a permit to play on a Philadelphia field.

Now, the youth baseball team is the subject of national media frenzy thanks to its remarkable Little League World Series run and star pitcher Mo'ne Davis' 70 mph fastball.

“The kind of attention we’ve had has absolutely been mind-boggling," co-founder Ellen Siegel said.

Siegel is one of the five original founders of the Taney Youth Baseball Organization, which was formed back in 1994 by a group of locals who wanted to create a different kind of team for the city's children.

“We wanted to be inclusive and allow girls to play,” Siegel said. “We also wanted players who weren’t as skilled to be allowed to play with the very skilled players. We wanted to be instructional which was our biggest point. Game, scores and winning weren’t as important as teaching all the kids proper mechanics, good sportsmanship, teamwork, camaraderie and knowing the game.”

The decision to create a co-ed squad paved the way for the team's roster to incude 13-year-old Davis, whose series shutout and spunk have landed her national headlines and a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She's set to pitch again tonight, when the team goes up against Las Vegas.

Siegel, a clinical psychologist who serves on the league’s board of directors and helps administer the league’s registrar, website and Facebook page, still remembers the league’s humble beginnings at the Markward Recreation Center on 400 South Taney Street in Philly.

“We practiced there and we’d have scrimmage games there and it was so wonderful to have something in our neighborhood with our kids,” Siegel said. “Then we thought it would be wonderful if we started a league of our own.”

While the Markward Rec Center served as the home field, neighborhood parents and kids had a different name for it that ended up sticking.

“All the neighbors called it Taney Field because it’s on Taney Street,” Siegel said. “I don’t think anyone really knows the real name. If you ask anyone where Markward is they’ll say, ‘what?’ If you ask them where Taney is they all know. That’s where we got our name.”

The league remained a local attraction for nearly two decades until last year, when they officially joined the Little League.

“We’ve always had the same kind of rule as Little League which is you need to play on your intramural team during the season,” Siegel said. “Then after that there are tryouts for the select tournament teams. The select, more competitive team will play after our regular season is over.”

With the tremendous success of the Dragons and the national attention they’ve gained, Siegel says the league's popularity may become a problem.

“We’re already getting so many requests to join us next year and we don’t have open registration until January,” Siegel said. “We’re worried about the influx of how many people would want to play because we can’t accommodate. We already had 73 teams this year from ages 3 to 16. We don’t have places for them.”

Siegel hopes the league will receive offers for more fields for the teams to play on.

“We’re in a situation where we don’t own our own fields, like a suburban league,” Siegel said. “We use Philadelphia Parks and Recreation fields.”

Regardless of what happens with the increased interest or with Thursday’s game, Siegel is confident the spirit of the league, defined by unity rather than winning, will remain high for years to come.

“We care about each other,” Siegel said. “Taney families, even on regular teams bond together and help each other out. To me that’s the essence of what we’re all about. The sense of community.”

To donate to the league, visit the Taney Youth Baseball Association website.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Steal from Home After Fire]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:31:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/FW+Fire+082014.jpg

Just days after a deadly house fire, a Fort Worth family is suffering again. A fire on Rockdale Road killed a 9-year-old boy Thursday, and now police say the family's home was picked over by thieves.

Police arrested 76-year-old Willie Ray Young on suspicion of stealing some of the family's belongings after the fire, police said.

A neighbor told NBC 5 she saw several men loading items onto two pickup trucks in front of the damaged home early Saturday morning. She thought it was suspicious, so she wrote down the license plate numbers and called police.

That tip led investigators to Young, who was found at a house only five minutes away from the home that caught fire.

He's accused of taking a washer, dryer and a barbecue pit from the property, police said.

Neighbors said they were upset that someone would take advantage of the family's misfortunes.

"It's a sad thing to think of," said Laquacious Baskin, who lives in the neighborhood. "You think the situation's already sad, but then to come back to know that some of your belongings aren't there."

Young is being charged with theft and there could be more people arrested in connection to this case, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Nutella Maker Smooths Out Hazelnut Shortage Fears]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:30:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/edt453785302.jpg

There's no need to go nuts over a Nutella shortage, the makers of the chocolate and hazelnut spread confirmed.

The Ferrero Group, the company that makes Nutella, purchases its hazelnuts from Turkey, the chief producer of hazelnuts. But last spring's freeze destroyed a large portion of the hazelnut crop in Turkey, sending hazelnut prices up by 60 percent, according to NBC News, their highest levels in 10 years.

Though a number of media outlets raised concerns that a Nutella shortage or a price increase was imminent, Ferrero said the availability of Nutella won't change.

"We are tracking this issue closely and there's no foreseeable impact on the availability of Nutella," a spokesperson for Ferrero USA said in a statement to NBC on Tuesday, adding, "as always, we will maintain the high quality of the Nutella product that consumers know and love."

Ferrero has no comment on any changes to the price of Nutella as a result of the hazelnut shortage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ill. Hostage Situation Ends]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:19:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Harvey_Hostage_8-19.jpg

A nearly 20-hour hostage/barricade situation in a Chicago suburb that began with a home burglary and two officers being shot ended Wednesday morning when about two dozen heavily-armed cops stormed the home to free four remaining hostages and arrest their captors.

Two individuals were taken into police custody when authorities took down a door and entered the home near West 147th Street and Robey Avenue in the south suburb of Harvey. The suspects -- two men -- were found on the first floor. The hostages -- 6-year-old and 11-year-old girls, as well as two adult females aged 37 and 43 -- were recovered on the second floor, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

"There had been a lot of tension," he said. "Things were changing at different times it just it was the proper time to act. ... We tried everyting conceivable to get them to understand that we weren't going away and that this was going to be resolved."

He said it was unclear if there was any relationship between the hostages and the suspects. Wednesday's action was taken without a single shot being fired by police and without any injuries.

The release of the final hostages came hours after four other children -- all boys -- were released throughout Tuesday evening. One sick child was released at around 6:30 p.m. and another was released about 30 minutes. A 1-year-old child was released at around 7:45 p.m. A fourth child, the 1-year-old's twin, was released at around 10:30 p.m.

"They haven’t been harmed," Dart said of the hostages, "but they’re very, very traumatized."

Police initially believed that five children were being held hostage, but after speaking with an 11-year-old child that was released, they learned a sixth child was also taken. One of the adult females was a nurse, according to police.

Harvey town spokesman Sean Howard said the entire incident began at about 12:48 p.m. Tuesday when a 911 call was placed about a burglary in progress. The first-responding officer saw the burglary under way and responded, Howard said. Gunfire was exchanged and the officer was shot in the arm.

Officer Darnell Keel, an 18-year veteran of the force, was scheduled for a Wednesday morning surgery. The second officer suffered a graze wound and was treated on the scene.

"He's a man of faith and that's where his thoughts are right now," Howard said. "He's just thanking God that it's the arm, and not something more serious."

The suspects took the hostages into the home as police began to arrive. Police officers from 22 law enforcement agencies responded to the barricade situation.

"We thank God that our officer was not injured more seriously than he was, and our major concern right now are the individuals inside the home, that's what we're focusing on right now, their safety," Harvey Police Chief Denard Eaves said.

"We're just asking for a safe recovery of all the family and that no one will be hurt in this incident," an unidentified family member of the hostages told reporters.

Hostage negotiators were put in place and talked to the captors through an open window.

Parks Middle School was locked down at the start of the situation but later cleared. Classes were cancelled Wednesday as the standoff continued. Students at nearby Thornton Township High School were excused from class if they were affected by the situation, administrators said.

Around 100 residents in the area were told not to leave their homes.

<![CDATA[Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 23:08:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/Steve+Ballmer+Clips+1.JPG

Steve Ballmer on Tuesday left Microsoft's Board of Directors, citing new commitments as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a day after publicly stepping into his role with the team.

"The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately," Ballmer wrote in his resignation letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."

Ballmer, who handed off the reins as CEO to Nadella in February, expressed confidence in the company’s future and said he is proud that "Microsoft has been my life's work."

"I bleed Microsoft -- have for 34 years and I always will," he wrote.

Ballmer bought the Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, for $2 billion in May.

The deal was approved by the NBA and finalized Aug. 12 after a tumultuous court battle between the Sterlings.

Shelly Sterling said last week she is "thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner."

Ballmer introduced himself to thousands of Clippers fans on Monday during an energetic rally at the Staples Center that also featured several players and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ballmer promised to keep the team in LA and to usher in an era of many victories.

"This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," Coach Doc Rivers said at the rally. "I couldn't be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization."

In a response to Ballmer's resignation letter Tuesday, Nadella thanked Ballmer for his time at the company and wished him success.

"I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft," Nadella wrote.

Ballmer remains a shareholder at Microsoft.

<![CDATA[Woman Calls 911 to Report Botched Pot Sale]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:40:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Amanda-Twomey-Jackson-Crisler.jpg

A Virginia woman called 911 to claim a pot dealer robbed her at gunpoint, but detectives later discovered a different story, say Prince William County Police.

Authorities say 19-year-old Amanda Paige Twomey called police around 5:10 p.m. Sunday and told them she was robbed after making arrangements to buy pot in Woodbridge.

Twomey claimed that when she met with 20-year-old Jackson Crisler in the 13400 block of Longwood Manor Court, he pulled out a gun and demanded her money. She said that she complied, and he left without giving her the marijuana.

However, detectives say that during the investigation that followed, they discovered that Twomey voluntarily gave Crisler money to buy marijuana from another person. They say Crisler instead kept the money without giving Twomey the pot.

After not receiving the drugs, Twomey called police to report the robbery.

Following an investigation, both Twomey and Crisler were arrested.

Twomey, of Woodbridge, is charged with filing a false police report and attempted possession of marijuana.

Crisler, also of Woodbridge, is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Both were ordered held without bond. They are due in court Oct. 28.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

<![CDATA[Compton OKs AR-15s for School Cops]]> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 07:47:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AR-15_Rifle.jpg

Some Compton residents are concerned about a policy passed by the school board last month that allows some campus police officers to purchase semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and carry them in the trunk of their patrol cars while on duty.

According to the policy proposal presented to the board, allowing officers to have the rifles could be a "more effective means to protect the students, staff, community, and police personnel in high risk and/or dangerous situations."

"These kids don’t deserve reactive measures, but protective measures," said Francisco Orozco, a recent graduate of Dominguez High School and founder of the Compton Democratic Club.

Orozco said the ability of the police to carry the high-powered weapons represents a needless escalation of force.

Supporters of the proposal say the standard police handgun is not capable of piercing soft body armor and are only accurate up to 25 feet. They say in an active shooter scenario, the standard issue weapon might not be enough to stop the threat to students and staff.

"This is our objective -- save lives, bottom line," Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu told NBC4's Media Partner KPCC.

Orozco said the examples of school shootings used by the Compton school police chief to convince the board to approve the measure were inapplicable to the district’s schools.

"The school board just ate everything up," Orozco said. "We think that the decision was made too quickly and completely without discussion."

Officers that apply to have the weapon must meet a number of criteria, including being with the department for at least three years and participating in at least 16 hours of training courses.

While individual officers are responsible for the purchase and maintenance of the rifle, which costs about $1,000, the Compton Unified School District is required to shoulder the cost of ammunition and training courses.

The Compton School Police Officers Association on Facebook defended the policy, citing the training and proficiency requirements for officers who have the rifles.

The association also pointed to other school district police forces who have passed similar measures including the Baldwin Park Unified School District Police Department, the Los Angeles Unified School Police Department and Fontana Unified School District police.

"We need to make sure we have the proper firepower as some of the suspects who may be carrying assault rifles," said Chief Jill Poe of the Baldwin Park School Police Department.

In October 2013, a child at an elementary school in Chino fired an AR-15 rifle mounted on a police motorbike, wounding three students.

NBC4's Kathy Vara contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charges in Marine Wife Death]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:43:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/N5P_PKG_MISSING_MARINE_WIFE_web_SHIN_1200x675_319343683627.jpg

Murder charges were filed Tuesday morning against the man prosecutors believe killed the 19-year-old wife of a fellow Marine and disposed of her body in a 14-story abandoned mine in a remote Southern California desert.

Christopher Brandon Lee, 23, is charged in the murder of Erin Corwin. Investigators have said they were having an affair and that Corwin may have been pregnant with Lee's baby.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos also filed a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait against Lee, an allegation that could set the stage for prosecutors to seek the death penalty. They have not yet decided whether to do so.

"The decision regarding which penalty will be sought will be made after a full review of the facts and evidence in the case," Ramos said in a statement.

Lee was arrested Sunday in Alaska, a day after police located Corwin's remains in mine shaft.

Corwin's cause of death has not been disclosed, but an arrest warrant released Tuesday said .22-caliber "fired cartridge casings and pieces of rebar" were found at the scene.

"The head stamp on the fired cartridge was consistent with head stamps on .22-caliber casings recovered from Lee's vehicle and Lee's residence," the warrant stated.

The warrant also said Lee admitted to conducting Internet searching about how to dispose of a human body.

Corwin was last seen leaving her Twentynine Palms home on June 28. She told her husband she was headed to Joshua Tree National Park to look for hiking trails, authorities said.

Her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, reported her missing the next day. Erin Corwin’s car was found in Twentynine Palms two days after she disappeared.

Corwin, 19, had a possible secret relationship with 24-year-old then-Marine Cpl. Christopher Lee, both Lee's neighbor and Corwin's friend told investigators, according to a court documents.

Lee lived next door to Corwin and her husband, with his wife and family. Investigators said in a search warrant that Lee and Corwin had begun having an affair in February, and that she may have been three months pregnant with his baby. Investigators believe that may have been a motive for her murder.

Volunteers spent nearly eight weeks combing 300 acres of remote desert nearby before a special team with the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Department found Corwin’s body in a 140-foot deep abandoned mine shaft just outside of Joshua Tree National Park, officials said Monday.

Lee appeared in court in Alaska Tuesday afternoon for an initial hearing. He did not waive his right to an extradition hearing, officials said.

It could be four to six weeks before Lee arrives in SoCal, Ramos said.

"Once again, we are faced with a terrible crime that shows absolutely no regard for the value of human life,” Ramos said. "Make no mistake that this office will fight to see that justice is carried out for our victim and her family."

<![CDATA[Little League Dragon Fever Spreads]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:43:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg NBC10's Katy Zachry talks to a few Philadelphians who have personal ties to the Taney Dragons including star pitcher Mo'ne Davis. Xfinity Live! will hold a gamewatch party tonight as the Dragons try to stay undefeated in Williamsport.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hiker Falls Just After Proposing]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:50:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/bradandjainee.jpg

An experienced hiker a friend called a "bad ass rock climber" fell to his death in Yosemite National Park, just hours after proposing to his girlfriend during an earlier climb.

Brad Parker's girlfriend, Jainee Dial, had accepted his marriage proposal Saturday after the couple reached the top of Cathedral Peak.

His father, Bill Parker, said his son told him that it was "the happiest day of his life,'' the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Tuesday.

Later in the day, the couple separated as Parker went on a solo climb of nearby Matthes Crest, a ridge of upturned rock about three miles from Cathedral Peak.

But Parker never returned to his new fiancee.

Other climbers witnessed Parker fall about 5:45 p.m., Yosemite Park Ranger Kari Cobb said. Parker, 36, had gone climbing alone and without ropes and fell on an established route, Cobb said.

Park rangers hiked in and located Parker's body. Parker's death was the second climbing death in Yosemite this year, which Cobb noted was the  typical annual average.

A resident of Sebastopol, California, Parker appeared on a cover of California Climber magazine in 2012. He also worked as a yoga instructor and was an avid surfer and mountain biker. He also enjoyed backpacking and fly fishing trips in the Sierra Nevada with his father and good friend that he considered a brother, Mat.

"He was the nucleus of a community of adventurous people out here," Parker's longtime friend Jerry Dodrill, 41, a photographer, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday. He and Parker have climbed Matthes Crest – the spot where Parker asked Dial to be his wife –  on several occasions. The two also scaled a wall near the Moab desert in Utah last May. Dodrill snapped the camera from above, capturing Parker climbing in jeans and gloves. A huge smile was plastered on Parker's face.

"He was a bad ass rock climber and surfer," Dodrill added. "And he did it all with grace and dignity."

Dodrill said he and Parker were scheduled to climb on the High Sierra this weekend. Instead, Dodrill will attend one of several memorials for his friend Saturday.

He told NBC Bay Area that Parker had been dating Dial, a yoga instructor and digital media producer, for a little more than a year.

Dodrill took several pictures of Parker rock climbing, as well as a portrait of Parker and Dial on Dial's phone that she posted on her Facebook page late Monday. In the photo, a bare-chested Parker dangles his arm over Dial's shoulders, huge white smiles on both of their faces. Dodrill captured the two again last August walking arm in arm on Driftwood Beach in Jenner, California.

Friends were posting messages to Dial after her fiance's death, remembering Parker as one of the "best people" they had ever known.

Parker's father told the Press Democrat he thinks fatigue from the climb up Cathedral Peak and the run his son made to Matthes Crest may have been a factor in the fall.

"We're all so stunned," Bill Parker told the newspaper. "What happened is so unbelievable."

About 150 people attended an impromptu vigil for Parker Monday night in Sebastapol, Dodrill said. The climber's father said some family and friends planned to hike to the Cathedral Peak area Tuesday.

"It's the only closure we're able to get,'' Bill Parker told the newspaper.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Jerry Dodrill]]>
<![CDATA[Sandy Wedding Photo Mystery Solved]]> Sat, 16 Aug 2014 06:45:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sandy+photo+reunion.jpg

A New Jersey couple about to celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary has been reunited with their lost wedding photos, just one day after NBC 4 New York aired a report about a Staten Island couple who found the pictures while cleaning up after Sandy.

Dominic and Patricia Guinta found the 53 black and white wedding photos while starting the process of remodeling their garage after Sandy flooded their Seaford Street home. They reached out to NBC 4 New York in the hopes of locating the owners.

On Tuesday, Patricia Kearns' daughter called her to say she was watching NBC 4 New York's morning news show "Today in New York" and saw her parents' wedding pictures flash across the screen.

Kearns was speechless.

"I saw the pictures, and it was just amazing," she said. "I broke down crying, because we don't have most of our pictures."

NBC 4 New York delivered the photos to Kearns and her husband Paul in their Teaneck, New Jersey, home Tuesday.

"I can't believe this," she said. "I'm just overwhelmed."

The couple, who are celebrating their anniversary next month, were overwhelmed with emotion as they shared memories of their wedding with their granddaughters.

Patricia Guinta had guessed the photos were taken in Brooklyn, where she grew up. Sure enough, the wedding had taken place in the borough where Patricia Kearns also grew up.

"That's in Brooklyn, honey," she said to her granddaughter as she pointed to a photo. "That's where Nonni lived, that's where she was brought up."

As for how the photos wound up on Staten Island, the ringbearer in the photos is a nephew of Kearns -- and a neighbor of the Guintas. Derrick lives on Neptune Street, just a few blocks away from the Guintas' Seafoam Street home.

"I think they probably floated out of his house," said Patricia Kearns.

Now the pictures are back where they belong.

"I'm gonna be sitting here for the rest of the day and probably tomorrow, looking at my pictures," said Patricia Kearns.

As for the strangers who worked so hard to get the precious wedding photos back to her, Patricia Kearns said, "I just want to give them a hug and tell them how much I appreciate what they did."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Beaten After Fatal Crash]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:45:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000007882625_1200x675_319272003525.jpg A driver who tried to help the pedestrian he struck and killed was beaten by angry witnesses. New video has emerged of the attack. NBC10's Ted Greenberg has the details.]]> <![CDATA[Chokehold Death Case to Grand Jury]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:48:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/donovan+garner.jpg

The chokehold death of 43-year-old Eric Garner will head to a grand jury, Staten Island's chief prosecutor said Tuesday.

District Attorney Daniel Donovan said in a statement that his office has reviewed the recent findings of the medical examiner, which determined Garner died of neck compression from a chokehold and labeled his death a homicide, and decided that "it is appropriate to present evidence regarding circumstances of his death to a Richmond County Grand Jury."

Donovan said the court granted his application to impanel a grand jury on Monday, and he plans to begin presenting evidence in the Garner case in September. He declined to say what criminal charges the grand jury might consider, or against whom any charges might be filed.

The case has garnered national attention and led to cries for the arrests of the officers who were trying to cuff Garner in Tompkinsville July 17 for selling untaxed cigarettes.

"I assure the public that I am committed to conducting a fair, thorough, and responsible investigation into Mr. Garner's death, and that I will go wherever the evidence takes me, without fear or favor," Donovan said in a statement.

Shortly after Garner died, one officer was stripped of his gun and badge pending an internal NYPD investigation and another was placed on desk duty. Two paramedics and two EMTs were suspended without pay after allegedly failing to provide CPR in a timely manner.

An attorney for Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who lost his badge after he was seen in amateur cellphone video allegedly putting Garner in a chokehold, said the Staten Island district attorney's office notified him of the grand jury. Lawyer Stuart London said he hadn't decided if his client would testify if called to the stand.

"I haven't made any decision," London said. "It is premature to say. It is something I weigh heavily and carefully." 

The NYPD said in a statement it would "continue to cooperate" with the district attorney's office, and the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said the union was encouraged the process was moving forward.

"We are confident that a fair and impartial grand jury that is allowed to conduct its deliberations based on facts and not emotion or political considerations will see that justice is served," Pat Lynch said in a statement.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been a vocal critic of police in the case, said he and the Garner family would continue to push for a federal investigation into Garner's death. Sharpton said he, Garner's family and their attorneys would meet with a U.S. attorney Thursday to discuss the matter.

In addition to running the National Action Network, Sharpton is a talk show host on MSNBC, which is owned by WNBC's parent company, NBCUniversal.

In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York last week, Donovan said he had no intention of handing the case over. He said he assigned eight assistant district attorneys and 10 non-NYPD detectives to investigate the case -- the greatest amount of resources allocated to one case in his tenure. 

“In my 11 years in office, this is the biggest allocation of resources I’ve ever used in any matter,” Donovan said.

The medical examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide, saying neck compression from a chokehold killed him. Asthma, heart disease and obesity all contributed to the 43-year-old’s death, the medical examiner determined.

Donovan also said that members of the NYPD, who’ve been accused of condoning the apparent chokehold, are entitled to the truth, not opinion.

“The police department deserves to be treated fairly as well,” he said. “They deserve answers, too.” 

<![CDATA[Little League Star Mo'ne Davis on Sports Illustrated]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:25:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/monedavisap.jpg

Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old girl who's become baseball's breakout star, has become the first Little League player ever to make the national cover of Sports Illustrated.

Not that the Philadelphia eighth-grader needs any more firsts under her belt — not with her blinding 70 mph fastball, and certainly not with the Series shutout she threw last week, making her the first girl ever to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history.

Mo'ne, an honor roll student at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, has helped make her team the Taney Dragons the first Little League team from Philadelphia ever to advance to the Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

But Mo'ne's sports goals extend far beyond baseball.

"To be honest, I never thought I'd be famous for baseball," she told Sports Illustrated. "I want to play basketball, and I could also do both basketball and baseball — but I really want to play basketball."

She one day hopes to play basketball for the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship, preferably as the point guard for the Huskies. Her mother Lakeisha McLean says she's confident her daughter can do it.

"When Mo’ne says she's gonna do it, she's gonna do it," McLean said.

Mo'ne will take the mound Wednesday in Las Vegas when the Taney Dragons take on the only other undefeated team in the Series, the Mountain Ridge team from Las Vegas.

--David Chang contributed additional reporting.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Brown Protests: What To Know About Ferguson's Unrest]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:31:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP126518669725.jpg

Unrest has continued to roil the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, despite various tactics by authorities to diffuse a crisis sparked by the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

Calls among for the arrest of the officer who shot Brown have grown as protests continued for a tenth night.

Here's what else you need to know:

How did the chaos begin?
A candlelight vigil for Michael Brown ballooned to a riot on Sunday, Aug. 10, as looters were seen making off with food and alcohol from nearby stores. Some protestors stood on police cars and taunted officers in the first of several nights of unrest and violence in Ferguson, Missouri.

Protestors were enraged by the shooting of the unarmed man who, according to some witnesses, had his hands up in the air — a universal sign of surrender. Demonstrators around the country and on social media have turned the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture into a rallying cry amid the protests.

Police fought back with tear gas and rubber bullets, prompting questions over the intimidating presence of security forces armed with military-grade gear and equipment. The conflict has also brought attention to allegations of racial profiling in a community where 92.7 percent of those arrested in 2013 were black, when they make up 63 percent of the city's population, according to a report by the Missouri Attorney General's Office

The Ferguson Police Department has 53 officers, three of whom are black.

Who was Michael Brown?
The teenager was on his way home from a convenience store on Aug. 9 with a friend when police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown multiple times. Brown had no criminal record, but it was later revealed that he was a suspect in a robbery allegedly committed before the shooting.

Brown graduated from Normandy High School in the spring and was two days away from starting college before he was gunned down. Teachers described him as a "gentle giant," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and friends said he was a quiet, funny guy who loved music and struggled to graduate.

He was in ROTC, he played football, and upon graduation on May 22, he told a friend that he was determined to build for himself a successful life. "He said he wasn't going to end up like some people on the streets," Hershel Johnson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He was going to get an education. He was going to make his life a whole lot better."

His funeral is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 25.

Who is Darren Wilson?
On Aug. 15, after a night of relative calm, police identified the shooter as Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old man who had patrolled the suburbs of St. Louis for six years, according to The Associated Press. On the same day Wilson's identity was made public, authorities released a surveillance video that implicated Brown in a convenience store robbery of nearly $50 worth of cigars moments before he was killed. The video's release fueled more protests, with police clashing with crowds as nighttime descended on Ferguson. Wilson's supporters have rallied in St. Louis, created Facebook pages and raised money for his family on GoFundMe.com.

Who are the major players?
The shooting has pit those who are calling for Wilson's arrest against Ferguson's security forces, which now include the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the National Guard. The FBI opened an investigation into Brown's death and President Barack Obama pleaded for peace after several nights of clashes between crowds and police. Some local protesters have blocked businesses to defend the community from looters. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to visit Ferguson Wednesday to meet with prosecutors and community leaders.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson and Rev. Al Sharpton are also leading  voices on the ground. Brown's parents Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr. are being represented by Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney in the Trayvon Martin case.

What happened on the day of the shooting?
Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking home in the middle of the road on the 2900 block of Canfield Drive around noon on Aug. 9 when a police car with two officers approached the pair. The officers and the boys exchanged words, but after this the narratives split.

Johnson said Officer Wilson ordered the two to the sidewalk but the boys told the officers they were near their destination. The officer slammed on his brakes and stopped so that he was face-to-face with the teens. Wilson tried to open his door, but it hit Brown's body and ricocheted closed.

From his vehicle, Wilson grabbed Brown by the neck and shirt, verbally threatened to shoot the teen and fired his gun, according to Johnson. The two boys ran for cover, but the officer got out of his car, fired several more rounds and the lumbering, 6-foot-4 Brown slumped to the ground, according to Johnson.

Police say Brown and Wilson were involved in an altercation, where Brown pushed the officer back into his car and physically assaulted him. The two struggled over the officer's weapon and a shot was fired inside the police car. After the pair took off running, Wilson fired more shots. Brown was fatally shot when he lowered his arms and moved toward Wilson, law enforcement officials said. Wilson was taken to nearby hospital where was treated for a "swollen face," according to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.

What do the autopsies say?
An autopsy commissioned by Michael Brown’s family and one performed by the St. Louis County medical examiner found Brown was shot in the head and the chest. The expert who performed the family's autopsy said he was shot at least six times, and the final bullet that hit him -- in the head -- proved fatal. The reports prompted more calls for justice, with Brown's mother asking, what else is needed "to arrest the killer of my child." Attorney General Eric Holder commissioned a third, federal autopsy due to the "extraordinary circumstances involved in this case."

Who is in charge?
The Missouri Highway Patrol took over security in Ferguson on Aug. 14, with Capt. Ron Johnson, who grew up in the area, at the helm. After four nights of unrest with local police in charge, the mood among protestors became lighter and more festive within hours of the transition.

That soon changed after police paired the announcement of Wilson's identity with the release of the robbery video, which Brown's supporters called a "character assassination." Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew, which some protestors ignored.

On Monday, Aug. 18, Gov. Nixon lifted the curfew and enlisted the help of the National Guard to restore order. Authorities arrested at least 78 people overnight after police said they were fired on by "criminals." Of the 78, all but three people were arrested for refusing to disperse, according to records obtained by NBC News. At least 47 people were arrested the following night, though Johnson credited community elders and clergy with bringing a "different dynamic" to Tuesday's protests.

Could Wilson be charged with a crime?
It’s too soon to say. Prosecutors were expected to begin presenting preliminary evidence to a St. Louis County grand jury on Wednesday, Aug. 20, NBC News reported. The secret proceedings could take weeks. Nine of 12 members of the grand jury would have to agree on whether to indict Wilson. Brown's family has called for a special prosecutor to take over the case from County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch over his purported ties to police.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's to Sell Packaged Coffee in Supermarkets]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:48:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/050509+McCafe+Picture+p11.jpg

Fans of McCafe will be lovin’ the latest McDonald’s news.

The fast food chain announced plans to start selling its packaged coffee at supermarkets across the nation by early next year, the Associated Press reported.

The company reportedly made a deal with Kraft Foods to manufacture and distribute bags of ground and whole bean McCafe coffee, joining other retailers like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks in the sale of branded packaged coffee. They will also sell single-cup pods for in-home coffee machines, according to the AP.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain debuted its McCafe product line, which includes coffees and other drinks, in the U.S. in 2009.

The chain has since redesigned the coffee cup to make it more appealing for customers and even released flavored lattes.

Earlier this year, the Oak Brook-based company highlighted the coffee line as a leading contributor in the company’s breakfast market, using it to draw morning customers during a two week-long coffee giveaway program.

McDonald’s Corp. and Kraft Foods reportedly began testing the packaged coffee in select markets last year.

<![CDATA[SoCal Teens Were Making "Huge Plan of School Massacre": Police]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:17:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/rsz_1southpashighschools.jpg

Two teenage boys accused of planning a mass shooting at South Pasadena High School were determined to kill people on the campus, officials said Tuesday.

School and police officials began investigating the threats last week, South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said at a press conference filled with parents, students and community members stunned by the allegations.

"It was very viable, what they were plotting," Miller said. "They were making a huge plan of a school massacre."

Miller said the two incoming seniors, aged 16 and 17, were very specific about their targets.

“As they put it, they just wanted to kill as many people as possible,” Miller said.

Investigators said the boys had not obtained weapons, but researched guns and explosives on the Internet. The pair were arrested after search warrants were served at their homes Monday.

Miller said the pair were researching automatic weapons, bulletproof vests, bomb making materials and other weapons.

He declined to discuss a possible motive for the planned attack. He said the two students did not have a specific date planned for an attack, but investigators believed they intended to carry it out.

“There was no target date, but had a very, very specific plan of how they were going to carry out their sick mission," Miller said.

The police chief said the parents of both boys were cooperating with the investigation.

But officials reassured parents, students and staff at the school Tuesday that there is no current threat. Classes are not yet in session for the fall semester, but some students have returned to activities on campus, and security will be increased when classes resume Thursday.

South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz issued a statement on social media.

"The South Pasadena High School administration was informed of a credible threat of potential school violence at the high school and immediately contacted the South Pasadena Police Department who investigated the matter," he said.

Counselors and psychologists were available at the school Monday.

But news of the arrests shocked the small community, which has just 21,000 residents.

"Parents are expressing a lot of sadness, fear, Mayor Marina Khubesrian said Monday. “Wondering will there be increased police presence in the schools. In general, a lot of concern."

Students said they were alarmed by the possibility classmates would even consider such a plan.

"I would think about (the plan) and I was, like, I could have lost all my friends that day and I would have been in such sorrow," said student Max Garcia.

Student Hanna Crowley said she was trying not to think too much about what could have happened.

"I'm trying not to actually think about what would have happened because that scares me quite a bit," she said.

Both boys were booked on suspicion of conspiracy and making criminal threats. Detectives said they will present their case to the LA County District Attorney's office late Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Sean Browning/NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Staffer in Chicken Suit Faces Charges After Clucking at NH Governor, Senator]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:25:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/zona+chicken+suit.jpg

A GOP state committee staff member has been charged with disorderly conduct after heckling New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Governor Maggie Hassan at this past Saturday's Old Home Day parade.

Michael Zona, of Manchester, was dressed in a chicken suit when he began to interfere with the parade, reports The Eagle-Tribune.

The 23-year-old allegedly ran out into the parade route toward Shaheen and Hassan, clucking at them.
"I believe Senator Jeanne Shaheen should be holding town halls and I have a First Amendment right to express that point of view. I wasn't bothering anyone. I wasn't disturbing anyone. In fact, I got a good deal of encouragement from people along the parade route," said Zona in response to the incident.
Zona was escorted from the parade after failing to comply with numerous requests to stop. 
“At one point, the governor had to take a few steps back toward her security staff,” Detective Christopher Olson told The Eagle-Tribune.
Julia McClain of the New Hampshire Democratic Party used the incident to blast the state Republicans, saying the party "wastes taxpayer resources and local law enforcement time with these juvenile antics when we should be discussing critical issues that matter--like raising the minimum wage, creating good paying jobs, and protecting social security and Medicare for our state's seniors."

Photo Credit: Twitter: John DiStaso]]>
<![CDATA[BRITA Recalls Children's Water Bottles]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:51:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/water-bottle-recall.jpg

Four varieties of children’s water bottles produced by Brita were recalled Tuesday after it was discovered that the lids can break into sharp pieces, posing a laceration hazard.

The bottles, designed with popular cartoon characters, stand at 6 inches tall, hold 15 ounces of liquid and have white screw-top lids with fold-up straws and filters. Characters include Dora the Explorer on a violet bottle; SpongeBob Square Pants on a blue bottle; Hello Kitty on a pink bottle; and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on a green bottle.

Brita, who produced about 242,500 of the bottles, received 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking. No injuries have been reported.

The bottles were sold at Target, Wal-Mart stores and online at Amazon.com, among other retailers. Hello Kitty bottles were sold from February 2014 through July 2014. Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob Square Pants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bottles were sold from June 2013 through July 2014. The bottles sold for $13 to $19.

UPC codes for each item are as follows: 60258-35883 on the Dora the Explorer, 60258-35914 on the Hello Kitty, 60258-35880 on the SpongeBob Square Pants and 60258-35882 on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Customers can contact Brita at (800) 926-2065 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on weekdays to request a refund or report an incident involving the product.

Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested in School Shooting Plot ]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:59:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/editsouthpashighschools.jpg

Two South Pasadena High School students were arrested in connection with planning to shoot "as many students as possible" and staff in a plot that was thwarted after school administrators called police, officials said Monday.

The teenagers, who were not immediately identified, did not have weapons but were trying to get them, Sgt. Brian Solinsky, of the South Pasadena Police Department, told the Associated Press.

"This is a prime example of school officials recognizing suspicious behavior," Solinsky said in a statement. "It was this information that helped prevent a horrific tragedy."

A press conference announcing details about the case is scheduled for Tuesday.

Detectives served warrants at the students' homes, found enough evidence and made the arrests, officials said.

One of the students was arrested without incident.

The second student resisted arrest and officers had to force entry into his home. He was captured in the home as he tried to run away from the officers.

NBC4 talked with the mother of one of the students, who said she was completely shocked and never saw this coming. A man claiming to be the father of one of the students told NBC4 his son had no intention of hurting anyone at the school an that they are "just very worried about their boy."

The boys were both about to begin their senior year at South Pasadena High School in the community of about 25,000 people eight miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, according to the AP.

School officials called police regarding the threats and police started surveilling the school, said South Pasadena police Sgt. Robert Bartl.

Superintendent Geoff Yantz said in a bulletin to parents and employees that the police "have the situation under control." He said that the first day of the 2014-2015 school year will start as planned on Thursday.

"There is currently no threat to students or employees," he said.

Psychologists and counselors will be available, he said.

Students who spoke with NBC4 expressed their concerns.

"Everyone doesn't want to go to school. They're scared," one student said.

"You never suspect anything like this so to think to hear this is why everyone is so panicky and shocked," another student said.

Student Jordan Jackmon told NBC4 that one of the students arrested was "very awkward" and "very low key about himself," adding that he rarely saw him talk. 

"Parents are expressing a lot of sadness with this news, a lot of fear. Wondering about whether there’ll be increased police presence in the schools, and in general a lot of concern," South Pasadena Mayor Marina Khubesrian said. "Thank God that this was averted." 

The arrests in South Pasadena came a day after a teenager was arrested in connection with a shooting threat in the Santa Clarita Valley that turned out to be a prank.

NBC4's Robert Kovacik, Beverly White and Samia Khan contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Sean Browning/NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Expectant Couple Seeks Prayers and Support on Facebook After Devastating Diagnosis]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:44:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/jenna+and+dan+haley+new.jpg

First-time parents Jenna Gassew and Dan Haley are making the most of Jenna's pregnancy.

Just two months after the Pennsylvania pair found out they were expecting, doctors gave the young couple the news that turned their lives upside down: something is wrong with the baby.

Their unborn child has been diagnosed with anencephaly, a rare and terminal condition that usually leads babies to die shortly after birth. He is not expected to survive.

Confronted with a situation that seemed hopeless at first, the couple started a “Prayers for Shane" Facebook page to deal with the pain and seek support from friends and family. They use the account to ask for prayers and use the page as a virtual scrapbook to share things they are experiencing during the pregnancy.

Using the hashtag #shanesbucketlist, friends can follow the family visiting places, such as Wildwood and the Linvilla Orchard’s petting zoo. They chronicled a trip to visit the Philadelphia Phillies along with the Phanatic traveling along inside his mother's tummy.

“We know we have this time with him and that’s awesome,” said Jenna.

Finding out about the condition was like something out of a movie for the young couple.

In April, the couple drove to Penn State to see Dan’s brother play baseball when their car slipped on a patch of black ice, leading to an accident.

“We were both fine. I wasn’t showing yet though and I wanted to make sure the baby was okay,” Jenna said.

The emergency room doctor told them to see a specialist because there was some internal bleeding.

Once back at home, Jenna and her mom visited Bryn Mawr Hospital for an ultrasound. The diagnosis came just two days before Jenna and Dan’s fourth anniversary.

Since anencephaly is a rare condition, not many people know a lot about it.

Jenna was warned about seeking information on the Internet because the images of anencephalic babies, who are born missing part of their brain and skull, may be graphic.

She said one of the first questions the doctors asked was whether she planned to carry to full-term. Having been raised Catholic, the couple felt that abortion was not an option.

As they learned more about the condition, they embraced the pregnancy.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, anencephaly is a serious birth defect in babies born without major parts of the brain, skull and scalp. The defect occurs during the first month of pregnancy.

Only one in every 4,859 babies in the United States is born with it, according to the CDC.

Jenna and Dan became involved in online support groups, helping them to cope with the baby's condition.

Through online research, Jenna found out that anencephalic babies need to wear preemie onesies. Jenna's grandmother made alterations to a few that they picked out together, making it easy to get it over the baby's head.

Since the diagnosis, tremendous support has poured in via Facebook. Family, friends and even strangers have left comments and liked the pictures. There are several new wall comments each day from people giving the couple encouragement and prayers.

"It's nice and it's a blessing that they're with you for the whole thing," Jenna says.

Dan came up with the idea for the Facebook page. He says the site has allowed him to bond with Shane in a special way as the baby's Oct. 12 due date approaches.

Throughout the summer, Shane attended his dad's baseball games and was dubbed his "#1 fan."

The couple also shared photos that show them setting up Shane's crib, which is appropriately sports-themed with a soccer and football mobile.

On August 11, the couple shared the news that Shane had hiccups, a rare occurrence for anencephalic babies with polyhydramnios. Jenna believes it's a sign he is strong.

The couple recites the "Angel of God" prayer every night before bed and they say the rosary at St. Lawrence Church every Monday night in Upper Darby.

They say, during this time, Shane is especially active.

The couple has several more trips planned for Shane, including Ocean City, Maryland and Lancaster, where Jenna's sister lives.

"It's the hardest thing in the world but you can make it through. We're his parents and we're going to take care of him as long as we can," said Jenna.

Photo Credit: Prayers for Shane facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Shama, Mate of Rusty the Red Panda, Has Been Euthanized]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:33:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/195*120/2014-08-18_14151.jpg

Shama, the mate of a red panda who famously escaped the National Zoo last year, has been euthanized due to severe swelling of the brain, zookeepers announced Monday.

She had given birth to three cubs just seven weeks ago.

The cubs are now being hand-reared by experienced staff, who have also been hand-rearing a cub born to another female red panda.

The zoo said in a release that Shama had been under close observation at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, because it's rare for a red panda to successfully raise three cubs.

On Wednesday, keepers noticed that she had developed a neurological disorder that was progressing quickly, the zoo said.

Shama, who was 7 years old, was euthanized Saturday.

A necropsy performed later that night revealed severe cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), the zoo said in a release. Zoo officials believe the swelling was due to encephalitis associated with a microscopic parasite.

As a precaution, Rusty and all three cubs are receiving anti-protozoal treatment.

They appear to be doing well, the zoo said. However, one cub is much smaller than its siblings, and has been receiving treatment for pneumonia.

"Shama's death is a big loss for all of us and for those who study and care for red pandas everywhere," said National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly. "I have a lot of confidence in the team caring for the surviving cubs and hope this creates an opportunity for scientists to research infectious diseases that affect red pandas."

Rusty and Shama had been moved from the National Zoo to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in January as zookeepers thought they would need a more quiet environment in which to breed.

Last summer, Rusty garnered nationwide attention when he escaped from his enclosure at the National Zoo. He was later found about a mile away and was recaptured.

<![CDATA[Naked Burglar Climbs Into Bed]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:58:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/naked-burglar-suspect-jonathan-phan.jpg

A Southern California woman woke up in her bed to find a naked burglar sleeping next to her, police said Monday.

The victim was at home in the in the 2100 block of West Civic Street in Santa Ana on July 22 when a man forced his way into the home through a window, removed his clothing and climbed into bed with her, police said. 

When she awoke, she saw the man and screamed, police said. Her shriek woke up the intruder and sent him fleeing through a window. The man left behind his pants, cellphone and wallet, police said.

Police were able to identify the suspect after finding his driver’s license inside the forgotten wallet.

The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Jonathan Phan, was arrested in the presence of his attorney on Friday, police said. He faces a charge of residential burglary.

Phan is a Vietnamese actor who has a few TV credits to his name.

"It just seems really odd, probably someone not in their right mind," said neighbor Diana Munoz.

The victim's teenage daughter was also home at the time, police said.

Hetty Chang contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Santa Ana Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Can You Answer Common Core Test Questions?]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:31:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/education+stock+school+kid+student+happy+tablet+classroom.jpg

The dispute over the Common Core has spilled over to the testing meant to measure whether students are meeting the national standards. Two testing consortiums — the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC — were to provide assessments but some states have since pulled out or have delayed the administration of the exams. Others will be rolling out the tests during this school year.

Here are some sample questions from the new tests.


Fourth Grade Math

Tenth Grade Language Arts

You have studied three sources involving the establishment of American Independence from Great Britain. The sources are:

Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776
A passage from Patrick Henry’s March 23, 1776, speech to the Second Virginia Convention
The video “From Subjects to Citizens”

An important idea presented in the sources involves the colonists’ notions of the purpose of government. Write an essay in which you explore the perceptions of government’s purpose presented in the sources. In writing your essay, consider how the authors of the two written documents describe the ideal relationship between a government and its people, and how they describe the actual relationship between the government of Great Britain and the colonists. Consider also the perspective presented in the video. Remember to use evidence from all three sources to support your ideas.


Fourth Grade Math

Eleventh Grade Language Arts

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Vetta]]>
<![CDATA[Jogger Saves Kids in Reservoir]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:42:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Brookline+Reservoir.jpg

Two children in a stroller that rolled face-first into the Brookline Reservoir were rescued by a passing jogger, according to police in Brookline, Massachusetts.

A double stroller with the two kids inside, aged 18 months and 4, rolled right into the water just after 4 p.m. Monday because the brakes weren't on, police said. The parents were briefly distracted, according to police.

"My first lap, I noticed a family — three women, two husbands, and three or four little kids, two in a stroller," said the rescuer, who only wanted to be identified as Rebecca. "In my second lap, from about a hundred yards away, I noticed the women had their backs turned, with the stroller moving towards the reservoir."

They rolled right down the steep embankment and into the water, and Rebecca, a former lifeguard, went in after them.

"The children were buckled in, and at that point it was water-logged, so one of the women jumped in, but she couldn't really swim, so I tried to help, but she ended up grabbing on me," Rebecca said.

The carriage was face down in the water. Luckily, police say, two others nearby also ran to help Rebecca.

"I was like, 'I hope I hear them cry, I hope I hear them cry.' As soon as I flipped it, one of the little girls started to cry," she said.

Others who walk the popular path around the reservoir say they could see how this could happen.

"It's a cement wall that goes down into the water. If you have anyone in a wheelchair, or stroller or anything, they can go in," said walker Will Carli.

Brookline Police don't believe the parents were negligent, and while the incident is still under investigation, they say it was just an accident. They're just pleased things turned out the way they did.

"One word I can use is unbelievable. I think God has a plan. There's a higher power that has a plan, and she was meant to be it today to save those kids," Brookline Police Sgt. Robert Disario said.

The children were taken to Children's Hospital in Boston out of precaution but are said to be okay.

Rebecca is only in town for her father's birthday and lives in New York.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Police, Protesters Clash in Ferguson]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:15:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP378951873028.jpg After nightfall, police and protesters were again in a tense standoff Monday as crowds filled the streets. Officers used noisemakers, bullhorns and armored vehicles to push demonstrators back.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[1-Year-Old Dies After Being Stabbed]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:22:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bristol+Park+Street+Murder.jpg

A Waterbury uncle has been charged with murder after police said he stabbed and killed his 1-year-old niece at a home on Park Street in Bristol on Monday evening.

Arthur Hapgood, 36, of Waterbury, has been charged with the murder of Zaniyah Calloway.

According to the incident report from police, Hapgood admitted to the stabbing and told officers he had taken illegal drugs.

Police said Hapgood stabbed Zaniyah with a large kitchen knife and she suffered a deep gash to her mid-section. An 11-year-old was also home in the care of someone else at the time of the stabbing.

“I think there should be justice. I don’t think he should get away with this. He was perfectly fine when I was there with him. Why kill a little innocent baby? She never did anything to him,” Shakyia Danay Clay, the baby's mother said.

Hapgood appeared in court on Tuesday and applause broke out as the judge raised his bond from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

"I just want justice. Why would you do this to a baby girl?" said Juan Negron, a man who identified himself as a relative of the baby, through tears. "Just ask him why."

Negron repeatedly denied in court that Hapgood is Zaniyah's uncle.

Nearly a dozen police cruisers swarmed the intersection of Park and Tulip streets at shortly before 7:30 p.m. Monday, responding to a 911 call reporting that a baby had been injured during a disturbance at 211 Park Street, police said.

When police arrived, a resident ran to them carrying a small child. She had no pulse and was not breathing, according to police.

It's unclear who called 911.

More officers responded to the home and found Hapgood naked on the front porch and put him in handcuffs. He was cooperative when they took him into custody, police said.

Officers rendered medical treatment at the scene and Zaniyah was rushed to Bristol Hospital, according to the police report. A LifeStar medical helicopter then airlifted the baby to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, where she was treated for life-threatening injuries and ultimately died.

As police searched the home, they found a blood-covered kitchen knife and Hapgood admitted to committing the stabbing, the incident report says. He also told police he had taken drugs beforehand. When police questioned which illegal drugs Hapgood had taken, he said, "all of them."

Hapgood had wounds that appeared to be self-inflicted, but not necessarily intentional, according to police, and might have fallen. He was taken to Bristol Hospital for treatment. After his release from the hospital, Hapgood was transported to the Bristol Police Department.

Hapgood was charged with murder with special circumstances, first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor.

Police said the last two charges were filed because an 11-year-old was home during the stabbing under the care of a family member.

"From the child, we heard lots of screaming and then a few adults or teenagers screaming get somebody on the ambulance, get somebody on the phone," said Olivia Mattei, a neighbor. "They were just really worried about what was going to happen to the child."

Police have not released details on the sequence of events that led to the fatal stabbing of the baby.

Investigators took photographs of the crime scene and interviewed residents.

“We’ll be questioning all of the witnesses, people in the neighborhood, and [seeing] if we can find the reason why,” said Bristol police Lt. Kevin Morrell. "We may never know. That’s what we’ll be working on now."

Hapgood is due back in court Sept. 9.

Photo Credit: Family Photo/Bristol Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[2 Arrested in Attack on Park Ranger]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:06:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/772ad352ee9d4835ab66c0c5fa380bd1.jpg

Two teenagers are charged in a brutal attack at an iconic Philadelphia park that was caught on camera.

Two of the three skateboarders police say were involved in the beating of a 35-year-old ranger at LOVE Park, captured on cell phone video, have been arrested, police officials announced Monday.

Curtis Tanner, 19, of Pottstown, was arrested at his mother's home. He's charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and making terroristic threats.

Police say Tanner was the one who attacked the park ranger. According to court records, Tanner is currently on probation for a 2013 robbery conviction. He also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after a fight a few months ago.

A Pottstown 17-year-old boy and junior at Pottstown High School is also charged as a juvenile with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment. Police say the teen and his mother arrived at Central Detectives Monday afternoon.

Police are still searching for a third teen shown in the video.

Video of Friday's attack shows a teen kicking the ranger in the head repeatedly and spitting on him after he asked that they stop skateboarding in the park on 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

"Basically, he was just doing his job," witness Mariano Verrico of Essex Fells, New Jersey, who recorded the violent beating, said of the ranger.

The video shows the teens finally walk away when a man who appears to be dressed as Jesus walks towards them.

Verrico tells NBC10 he was too scared to try and stop the attack because he was outnumbered. He did escort the victim to a nearby police station and turned over his video.

The ranger suffered head injuries but is expected to make a full recovery, according to investigators. A skateboarding ban has been enforced at the iconic park since 2002.

<![CDATA[Naked Burglar Climbs Into Bed]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:29:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/140818-11pm-naked-burglar_1200x675_319398467581.jpg Police say a Santa Ana resident woke up in bed to find a naked burglar sleeping next to her. The woman screamed and sent the man fleeing through a window. He left his wallet and ID behind, police said. Hetty Chang reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Truck Crashes Off I-95 Bridge in NJ, Bursts Into Flames]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:44:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/truck+crash+rescue+newer.jpg A tractor-trailer careened off the side of Interstate 95 in New Jersey Tuesday morning, sending part of the truck’s cab into a creek below.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Marine Wife's Body Found]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:15:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/missing+pregnant+woman+copy.jpg

The body of a Marine wife missing for nearly two months has been discovered at the bottom of a mine shaft, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department announced Monday.

The victim's former neighbor and alleged lover Christopher Lee, 24, has been arrested in Alaska on a warrant connected to the case, Sheriff John McMahon said. The district attorney will determine which charges Lee will face within the next 48 hours.

Erin Corwin, 20, went missing without a trace from her Twentynine Palms home on June 28. Her husband, a Marine corporal, reported her missing the next day when she did not return home from a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Corwin was reportedly three months pregnant.

Corwin's body was discovered Saturday 140 feet down a mine shaft, according to officials. The mine is located in a remote area several miles southeast of Twentynine Palms on property owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

“At approximately 4:30 p.m., one of our mining teams sent a camera down a particular mine shaft. As the sheriff mentioned, it was approximately 140 feet down. We were able to locate what we believed at the time was a female corpse,” said Sgt. Trevis Newport with the homicide unit.

A skilled rescue team from Fontana took two hours Sunday to retrieve the body and additional evidence, San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said.

One firefighter was injured by a rock on his way down the mine shaft. The firefighter was pleased he could play some small role in bringing Corwin’s killer to justice, Hartwig said.

The search for Corwin spanned 300 square miles of the Mojave Desert. Hundreds of rescue workers and volunteers searched in helicopters and on the ground, often in sweltering heat. Dive teams searched bodies of water in the area.

“There are over 100 mine shafts in the 300 square mile area they were searching,” McMahon said.

Forensic exams of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices led detectives to a mine shaft outside Joshua Tree National Park.

Newport did not know if the mine is currently active or what is mined there.

An autopsy determined that Corwin's death was a homicide, but officials did not reveal exactly how she died.

“We are attempting to confirm that Erin Corwin was in fact pregnant,” Newport added.

The Anchorage Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Lee on Sunday night, officials said. He will be extradited back to Southern California.

The sheriff said there could be more arrests in the case.

Court documents obtained by The Desert Sun indicated that Corwin may have been having an affair with Lee. Evidence showed their relationship could have started as early as February 2014, Newport said Monday.

Corwin's friend from Tennessee confirmed to authorities that the two were romantically involved and that Lee was afraid his wife would find out, according to the court documents. The friend said they were planning a hunting trip for June 28 -- the day Corwin disappeared -- to celebrate the pregnancy.

Back on July 4, Lee was arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device, according to the sheriff’s department. Authorities would not say if the arrest and the missing person case were connected. He was released on bail two days later.

Lee initially told investigators that Corwin was just an acquaintance but later admitted they had kissed and were growing closer.

Corwin's family released a statement Monday night, expressing their gratitude to everyone who helped search for the missing woman: 

"The countless hours that have been spent by volunteer search crews and multiple branches of law enforcement, especially the Specialized Investigations Division Homicide Detail, are more than we could have asked for and are ultimately what have led to finding her. While we are relieved to have closure, we ask that our privacy be respected over the next few weeks so that we can properly grieve and mourn the loss of our sweet girl. Please continue to pray for our family and for justice for Erin."