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Ahmad Austin/The Press of Atlantic City(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) --  The deck of a New Jersey home collapsed around 6 p.m. on Saturday, injuring at least 21 people, according to ABC Philadelphia station WPVI-TV.

Exactly how many people were hurt was not immediately clear.

The incident occurred in the 200 block of East Baker Avenue in the city of Wildwood, WPVI reported.

Several of those injured were taken to a nearby hospital.

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Tramino/iStock(TAMPA, Fla.) --  Some 500 friends and loved ones of Nicolle Butler gathered last weekend for a funeral to remember the 27-year-old first grade teacher who died in a motorcycle accident.

But later that night, her father's pickup truck was stolen from the parking lot of his hotel -- and with it an urn containing her ashes.

"It really elevated the importance of the case for all of us here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office," said Amanda Granit, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

STOLEN TRUCK! Unknown suspects removed the victim’s Ford F-150 crew cab from the parking lot of Staybridge Suites. There was an urn with his daughter’s ashes inside of the truck when it was stolen. Please #bolo for the stolen truck & if located, call HCSO at 813-247-8200. pic.twitter.com/iexKbaEvpS

— HCSO #teamhcso (@HCSOSheriff) September 12, 2019

Word went out to local media in the Tampa, Florida, area, along with a description of Donald Butler's gray Ford pick-up. On Friday, police got a tip that a truck matching the description had been abandoned by the side of the road, and late that night the truck and the urn were returned to Donald Butler.

"The only thing in it was Nikki," Butler said, adding that he had emptied out the truck in preparation to trade it in, before driving it to his daughter's funeral.

Now that his daughter's ashes are again in the family's custody, Butler said they can get back to remembering "Nikki-Nik," as he used to call her. He plans to set up a foundation and an annual gold tournament in her honor.

A good student who enjoyed cheerleading throughout high school and college, Nicolle loved her work as a teacher and was passionate about doing more to stop bullying.

"She had a good, strong head," Butler said.

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Twann Lovee/Facebook(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- A Memphis high school student who was bullied for wearing the same thing day after day has a new set of clothes and sneakers thanks to the generosity of two of his classmates.

A video of the students, Kristopher Graham and Antwann Garrett, presenting the gift to Michael Todd, a freshman who is new to the Memphis-area school, has attracted attention online. In it, the two boys, whose backs are to the camera, unpack a bag full of things and present them to Todd, as several female students look on.

On social media, people reacted to the video using the hashtags #stopbullying and #bekind. People who want to help can send donations to MLK College Preparatory in Memphis, Tennessee.

In interviews with local media, Todd said he had endured taunts for weeks. Graham and Garrett said they texted one another about what each could spare, and surprised Todd by the lockers.

One in five high school students reported being bullied on school property, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said in 2018. The CDC says bullying can manifest itself in physical behavior, like pushing, as well as teasing, name calling and excluding someone from social situations.

While overall rates of bullying have stayed consistent, cyber-bullying has been sharply on the rise.

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Memphis Animal Services(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- It had been weeks since Anthony Rogers last saw his beloved dog, Bobo.

Rogers, an artist who is currently homeless in the Memphis area, had been on the streets with Bobo before waking up one morning in late August to find that his Staffordshire Terrier mix was no longer there, according to the Memphis Animal Shelter.

He immediately contacted friends to help him look for the dog, and put up flyers in the area in case anyone spotted him.

On Wednesday, Bobo turned up at the Memphis shelter and an employee recognized him from the missing dog ads, prompting her to immediately call the number on the lost poster.

Minutes later, the dog and his owner shared a heartwarming reunion.

Video of the reunion shows Bobo running into Rogers’ arms and excitedly jumping up all over him, with his tail wagging wildly.

“Bobo could not contain his happiness at seeing his dad again,” the shelter wrote on Facebook.

Rogers can be seen smiling ear-to-ear.

Bobo has since been neutered, given a microchip and vaccinated by the Utopia Animal Hospital in Memphis.

The shelter gave Rogers a year’s supply of dog medicine and a bag of dog food. Bobo will also be rocking some new accessories thanks to the shelter, including a harness, leash, collar and tag, the shelter said.

Utopia Animal Hospital will continue to care for the dog as Rogers gets back on his feet, a spokeswoman said.

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ABC News(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- Tropical Storm Humberto is forecast to strengthen over the next few days but should stay offshore -- preventing significant impacts to the southeastern U.S.

As of Saturday morning the center of Tropical Storm Humberto was about 70 miles east of Great Abaco Island. Humberto has winds of 40 mph and is moving northwest at 7 mph. A tropical storm warning is still in effect for parts of the northwestern Bahamas.

Humberto is expected to continue moving northwest today with a turn north-northwest by Sunday and then a turn northeastward by Monday. Humberto is forecast to strengthen over the next 48 hours and become a Category 1 hurricane by Sunday night.

Forecast computer models are showing Humberto bringing periods of heavy tropical rain showers to parts of the Bahamas today. Only a couple of showers look like they will reach the Florida coastline and therefore any notable impacts should be kept to a minimum. Humberto is expected to bring locally 2-4” or more of rain to parts of the Bahamas and 1-2" from Florida to the Carolinas. No significant storm surge is expected in the Bahamas.

As Humberto moves north and eventually turns northeast, some tropical showers may move into parts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. However, an overwhelming majority of the heavy rain will stay well offshore and therefore rainfall impacts in the southeast U.S. should be kept to a minimum.

Rough surf and occasionally gusty winds will occur along the Southeast coastline as Humberto moves parallel to the coast.

Meanwhile, there are several other regions being monitored for tropical developments in the Atlantic Basin.

One area over the Gulf Of Mexico will drift westward over the next few days and conditions will become just a little bit more favorable for development next week. There are two different areas well east of the Lesser Antilles that also show some low chance of development next week as those areas slowly move westward.

The most notable tropical wave is about 600 miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. This system will enter favorable conditions for some development in the coming days and will likely become the next depression early next week. It is unclear how this system interacts with the two tropical waves out ahead of it.

Strong storms are also possible today in parts of the Northeast and Midwest, with gusty winds and heavy rain.

The threat for severe weather is rather marginal today. A frontal system will approach the Northeast later this afternoon and early evening. As it does, it could spark a couple of showers and some thunderstorms. The activity should first fire up from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia during the early evening hours, and then new activity should develop from New York to Boston during the middle of the night as we head into Sunday. At this time, the widespread severe threat with these storms looks to be rather low.

Also overnight into early Sunday, a line of storms should develop in southern Wisconsin and into parts of Illinois and Western Michigan. Once again the severe threat with these storms looks to be rather low, but some gusty winds and heavy rain will be possible.

In the West, temperatures remain 5 to 10 degrees above average across parts of southern Nevada and California as late summer warmth continues to hang on in much of the U.S.

Temperatures will reach into the triple digits today from Vegas to Fresno. There will be an increasing fire danger threat for parts of extreme northeast California and Nevada in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the heat will make a return to parts of the central and eastern U.S. Minneapolis should reach into the 80s to start the week, and it will be in the 90s in Kansas City, which average a high of 80 degrees this time of the year. Some of the summer warmth with temperatures near 90 will also reach parts of the East from Cincinnati to Washington, D.C., early in the week.

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Emilie Richardson/ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Kobe Richardson rolled up his pant leg to show where the bullets had torn through his flesh. His leg looked mangled, even after three years of healing. "I was shot 14 times and left for dead," he said.

Richardson was just 16 years old when another young man he thought was his friend riddled him with bullets. But Sally Hazelgrove was one of the first faces he saw when he woke up from a coma in the hospital.

That’s one of the reasons why Richardson, now 19, is fiercely defending the woman known as "Miss Sally," who is embroiled in controversy after a viral video showed her cutting off his dreadlocks two years ago.

The social media onslaught began when Hazelgrove’s organization, Crushers Club, which helps at-risk youth in Chicago through boxing and mentoring, received a $200,000 donation from Inspire Change, a social justice collaboration between Roc Nation, the company founded by Jay-Z, and the NFL. A mostly unknown Twitter account with the handle @RzstProgramming dug up a 2016 tweet from the Crushers Club account that shows Hazelgrove, who is white, cutting off the dreadlocks of two black male teenagers -- Richardson and another unidentified teen.

The tweet, which Hazelgrove wrote, was captioned, "And another Crusher let me cut his dreads off! It’s symbolic of change and their desire for a better life!"

The filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who is behind "A Wrinkle in Time" and the Netflix miniseries "When They See Us" about the Central Park Five, retweeted the original video last weekend, helping to set off a firestorm and charges of racism against Hazelgrove.

DuVernay, who is black and wears dreadlocks herself, also started a hashtag #loclife and encouraged people to share pictures celebrating the style. For many in the black community, dreadlocks symbolize an embracing of natural hair and are a symbol of pride -- deeply personal and political.

Controversy erupted late last year after a New Jersey wrestler was forced to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a match. And a 2017 study found that black women with natural hair are often placed at a disadvantage in the workplace.

DuVernay's #loclife post received over 50,000 likes, many from the association of social media accounts known as ‘Black Twitter’ – accounts run mostly by people of color who often use the platform to sometimes express outrage over social injustice as well as discuss culture, politics and topics.

The backlash to the video was so intense that Hazelgrove was forced to make an apology via the Crushers Club Twitter account.

"The Crusher’s Club does not have any policies prohibiting dreadlocks – we welcome all hairstyles from our youth. On two occasions, our kids looked to change their hairstyles and asked us to assist. I understand how my social media posts could be interpreted as insensitive, but that was never my intention," she wrote. She declined to comment further when reached by ABC News.

Richardson said it was a huge misunderstanding and was so irked he made a video defending Hazelgrove and Crushers Club, which was posted by media outlet TMZ.

He told ABC News that he felt that dreadlocks were a hairstyle that represented his life as part of a gang. After he was shot and joined the Crushers Club, he wanted to cut them off to disassociate himself from gang culture.

"You shouldn’t judge a person over a picture," he told ABC News. "Because that’s not who they are. And they don’t know Sally. Sally is a good woman. All I know her to do is help and love people."

Richardson, who now works with Crushers Club as a supervisor and is trying to finish high school, was adamant that he was the one who asked Hazelgrove to cut his hair. He said he felt comfortable enough to ask both because of his relationship with her, but also because she is the mother of biracial kids.

DuVernay did not respond to a request for comment.

The individual who purports to run the Twitter account that initially shared the tweet of Hazelgrove cutting dreadlocks told ABC News in a message: “When Jay-Z announced the Inspire Change initiative would be the 'actionable items' answer to the kneeling protests and the non-profits would be 'hand-selected and vetted' I decided check for myself,” the individual, who did not identify wrote. “It was clear that this group had not been vetted and was practicing assimilationist views.”

Hazelgrove launched the Crushers Club, where young men can go to learn to box and interact with mentors, in 2013, three years after moving to the Englewood neighborhood, which had historically high crime and incarceration rates.

Elizabeth Talbert said the organization helped turn her son’s life around.

More than six years ago, her son Elijah Tribitt, who had been struggling in school, came to her and said he wanted to try boxing. Talbert was familiar with Hazelgrove, who she often saw picking up kids from school and dropping them off at Crushers Club.

"My son was failing at school," Talbert said. "Miss Sally got him a tutor – now he’s 4.0. And still boxing."

Talbert, who herself wears dreadlocks, was also frustrated with the criticism leveled against the organization. She said she finds it “unnecessary.”

"What does the hair have to do with the kids? No one else in the community put in that much time, energy and love," Talbert said.

"People was in that neighborhood for years, never helped a child out," Talbert said. "Let me help you get off the streets. Let’s play basketball. Let’s pick up trash around the neighborhood. Let’s clean the parks up. Those are things Sally do with the kids."

Talbert said that Crushers Club helps the kids and their parents in the community in other ways, as well.

"When school [time] comes, the whole gym room is amazing," she said. "Full of bookbags, school supplies. Some kids can’t even get that at home."

Both Talbert and Richardson say they can understand the reactions to the controversial tweet, and the uncomfortable optics of a white woman cutting a young black man’s dreads with the message of giving him a better life. But they remain steadfast in their support for Hazelgrove.

"People are quick to judge because she’s a white woman," said Talbert. "But she sees things in these kids that other people don’t."

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ABC News(SEATTLE) -- One person is dead and two others have been injured in a shooting at a light-rail station in downtown Seattle, authorities say.

Seattle police say they're looking for suspects.

Responding officers found three men with gunshot wounds in the Westlake light-rail station, police said. Officers performed CPR on the victims until Seattle Fire Department medics arrived and transported the victims to an area hospital, where one of them died from his injuries.

Witnesses reported seeing a male suspect flee the station on foot following the shooting.

Police detective Mark Jamieson told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO there may have been a dispute between the suspect and the victims in a nearby McDonald's before the group ended up at the train station.

Responding officers found three men with gunshot wounds in the Westlake light-rail station, police said. Officers performed CPR on the victims until Seattle Fire Department medics arrived and transported the victims to an area hospital, where one of them died from his injuries.

Witnesses reported seeing a male suspect flee the station on foot following the shooting.

Police detective Mark Jamieson told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO there may have been a dispute between the suspect and the victims in a nearby McDonald's before the group ended up at the train station.

Jamieson said authorities don't believe the shooting was random.

Seattle Fire Department officials said one of the victims was in critical condition and the other one was in stable condition, according to KOMO.

The shooting closed down multiple streets around the area.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- A woman who allegedly claimed that she was able lift curses as a result of a God-given power is now facing a court-issued judgement.

She was ordered to pay $1.6 million in restitution after being found guilty of one count of wire fraud.

The suspect, whose legal name is Sherry Tina Uwanawich, was sentenced to 40 months in prison in southern Florida before facing three years of supervised release. The sentence was issued Sept. 6.

Uwanawich, who according to court documents also was known as Jacklyn Miller, "would claim that her curse-lifting work required her to receive money for the purchase of various expensive items needed for rituals."

The indictment detailed how Uwanawich allegedly "claimed to engage in meditations in order to communicate with spirits or higher beings. Based upon these meditations, the defendant claimed to have learned that the victim was suffering from a 'curse' that purportedly had been placed upon her now deceased mother and which had been passed on to her."

She allegedly told the victim, whose name is not disclosed in court documents, "that in order to remove the curse, the defendant needed cash from the victim to purchase various expensive 'materials,' such as special candles and crystals," the indictment reads.

Uwanawich met with the victim "multiple" times "over a period of years," from 2007 to 2014.

The indictment does not specifically say how, where or when Uwanawich, 28, met the victim, identified as V.G. in court documents, but it's believed they met in Texas before the suspect moved to Florida, where she continued the ruse.

The Miami Herald reported that the suspect met the victim at a Houston mall in 2007.

The indictment shows wire transfers that the victim sent to the suspect originated in Houston and were delivered to an account in Florida.

"On at least one occasion, the defendant needed items of jewelry and other personal property to 'work with' in her 'curse removal work,' promising that said items would be returned," according to the indictment. "The items were never returned."

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iStock(CARLISLE, Ohio) -- A former Ohio high school cheerleader who was charged with killing her newborn daughter and burying the baby in her family's backyard has avoided prison time.

One day after Brooke Skyler Richardson, 20, of Carlisle was cleared of the most serious charges levied against her, Judge Donald E. Oda on Friday decided to spare her any time behind bars.

"I just wanted to say how sorry I was," she told Oda before he delivered her sentence. "I can sometimes be selfish but I would like to think that I've become better. ... I'm forever sorry."

Richardson was sentenced Friday to three years of probation and seven days of jail time with credit for time served, meaning that she was allowed to go home Friday. The judge did sentence her, however, to six to 12 months in prison if she violated her probation.

"I think that your choices before birth, during birth, and after show a grotesque disregard for life. And I think when I look at this case that to me, is what offends the community sensibilities. But because of policy decisions that are beyond my purview, the jury was not permitted to consider those things," Oda said. "And neither am I."

In 2017, Richardson, then 18, delivered her baby, alone and at home, and then buried the infant's remains in her family's backyard, according to authorities. When Richardson went to a doctor for birth control two months later, she told doctors what she had done and they called police.

During her trial, prosecutors maintained that she didn't want to be an 18-year-old single mother so when she gave birth, just days after attending her senior prom, she killed the baby and buried her -- never telling a soul.

But, her defense lawyers argued that the baby, who was named Annabelle, was stillborn at delivery.

In police interrogation video presented in court, Richardson could be seen telling investigators in July 2017 that she did not hear a cry or a whimper and that the baby’s eyes were closed.

Oda said Friday he believed Richardson's version of events.

"In all of this mess that we have with this case, I think what often gets overlooked, Miss Richardson, is just how precious life is. Your life. Annabel's life. Life is precious, and it should be protected. And it should be guarded in all respects," he later said.

On Thursday, a Warren County jury found Richardson not guilty of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. She was found guilty of abuse of a corpse.

She faced up to a year in prison on that conviction.

The family of the baby's father, Trey Johnson, had sought the remains of Annabelle. They were instead given to Richardson's family.

The judge said that both families should be permitted to visit Annabelle's burial site.

"As hard as I've tried to find the right word to describe -- broken, shattered, destroyed -- none of them seem to fit the amount of pain I've felt," Trey Johnson's mother, Tracy Johnson, told the court Friday during the sentencing hearing.

She reminded the court that not only had she lost her first grandchild, but that her son had lost his first child.

"And, Skyler had no intention of ever letting us know," she said. "I find out from watching her interviews with detectives and her parents that not only did she know from the very beginning that Trey was the father, but also that she tried to secure her remains and plan on burying her without any of us ever knowing," she said. "My friends and family will tell you I've become withdrawn, cut off in a shell of the outgoing person I've always been."

Tracy Johnson said Friday that she would have taken the baby in and raised her "with no questions."

"Instead, I get to send two balloons to heaven with notes telling her how much her daddy loves her, how much I love her," Tracy Johnson said.

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iStock(ST. LOUIS) -- A 3-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself in the St. Louis area, bringing the total number of children killed in gun-related incidents in the St. Louis metropolitan area to 22 so far this year, according to a count by the Associated Press.

The St. Louis County Police Department charged the boy’s father Friday with one count of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree. Rodney March II, 28, is being held on a $100,000 cash bond.

March left a loaded .40 caliber Glock within reach of the boy and the child, who shared his father's name, was able to get the gun and shoot himself in the head Thursday, police said in a statement to ABC News.

“Ladies and gentlemen it is tragic any time we lose somebody in any manner. Certainly more tragic when we lose somebody to gunfire. And it is certainly beyond the pale and heartbreaking when we lose a child anywhere in the communities we live in,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said during a press conference on Thursday.

“So this is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for the family, for those involved and I will tell you, that it’s also heartbreaking for the police officers who are involved in this,” Belmar said at the press conference.

The incident happened at the boy's home and he was then driven to the hospital by his mother. While en route, the mother flagged down police for help.

County police said they quickly began to administer medical assistance to the boy and then moved him into one of their vehicles before rushing him to a local hospital. While one officer was driving, the department said the other officer tried to administer life-saving treatment to the child. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The toddler was not the only child to be shot to death in the St. Louis metro area on Thursday. Authorities said 13-year-old Clifford Swan III was killed Thursday night. Police have arrested an 18-year-old man suspected in the killing, but have not released the suspect's name.

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iStock(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) -- A Florida high school student was arrested Thursday after saying he would shoot up his school -- marking the latest scare just weeks after back-to-back mass shooting at a Texas Walmart and downtown Dayton, Ohio.

The St. Petersburg Police Department announced that the 16-year-old, whose name was not publicly released, is facing a felony charge of making a false report of a bomb or firearm to conduct bodily harm.

The threat was allegedly made during a class at Gibbs High School in Pinellas County. Each school site in that county has either a school resource officer or an armed school security officer on site, according to a letter from the county's school superintendent on the county's website.

The police department reported the arrest on their Facebook page, using it as a plea to urge the public to continue to report any incidents or threats they see.

"The St. Petersburg Police Department takes all school threats very seriously for the safety of our students. Threatening comments/posts will always be investigated," they wrote in the Facebook post, along with the hashtag #seesomethingsaysomething.

This is the latest arrest in connection to a threat of a shooting.

More than a dozen people were arrested in the three weeks after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, according to various news reports.

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KTRK(HOUSTON) -- A violent night of crime in Houston left one officer hospitalized, a suspect dead and three other people victims of separate robberies, including a priest who begged on his knees to be spared, police said.

The officer, who was shot in his lower stomach Thursday night, is now in stable condition after undergoing surgery that lasted several hours, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference Friday morning.

The officer's name has not yet been released, but police described him as a 29-year-old man who has been on the force for five years. His father is a 42-year veteran with the police department, Acevedo said.

The suspect who was killed was shot by another officer who heard the shots fired and witnessed his fellow cop fall to the ground, according to Acevedo.

The "acts of violence" began around 9:56 p.m. at a Valero gas station on Scott Street, according to police, when four suspects allegedly approached a man getting gas for his 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe and demanded he give them his vehicle at gunpoint.

The man tried to explain that he was running on fumes and they wouldn't make it far, police said, but the suspects still fled with the vehicle.

Around 10:02, officers said they found the vehicle not far from the gas station and it appeared to have been abandoned because there was no gas.

Police said after the suspects ditched the vehicle, around 10 p.m., they approached a priest in a nearby parking lot.

"The priest has indicated that he was on his knees praying when one of the suspects pulled the trigger twice," Acevedo said.

The gun, however, did not discharge.

Acevedo said the four suspects then beat the priest and stole his cellphone. When police were called to the scene, the priest gave the same description of the suspects as the first carjacking victim did.

Shortly after that, the suspects allegedly approached a woman inside in her truck in her driveway and, at gunpoint, demanded she get out. The woman did so, and the suspects stole her vehicle, cell phone and purse, according to police.

Officers were able to finally locate the suspects around at 10:21, prompting a chase.

The officer who was shot chased one of the suspects for "quite the distance" before a struggle ensued and the shots were fired, according to police.

Acevedo said he did not know the exact sequence of events, but it was possible that the officer was shot with his own gun. He described the night of crime as "chaotic."

 

We have one of our officers who has been shot on the 3900 block of Tristan at Scott. He has been transported to @memorialhermann by @HoustonFire. Please pray for our officer. We also have one suspect down, others in custody and are looking for more. Please stay in hour homes.

— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) September 13, 2019

 

Two of the four suspects -- a 17-year-old man and 39-year-old man -- are in custody. Charges for them will be announced at a later date, but Acevedo did not elaborate on the exact charges.

Police are still searching for the fourth suspect.

"We're going to get you. We're going to find you," Acevedo said.

He urged the suspect to come forward. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact authorities.

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aijohn784/iStock(GRAND ISLES, Fla.) -- A man using Google Earth to have a look around his old property ended up spotting something unusual -- sparking a chain of events that led to the remains of a person who disappeared two decades ago.

As he scanned a pond behind the home, the man spotted a lump that appeared to be a vehicle and reached out to the property's current resident, who then used a drone to scan the Grand Isles, Fla., property.

That resident then contacted the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which confirmed it was a vehicle, it said in a statement.

The sheriff's office removed the vehicle from the pond, which they say was "heavily calcified" and had been in the water "for a significant amount of time."

"Upon removing the vehicle skeleton remains were found inside," the sheriff's office said.

On Tuesday, authorities identified the remains as that of William Moldt, who was reported missing on Nov. 8, 1997, after leaving a nightclub, authorities said.

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Kuzma/iStock(BOSTON) -- Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman has been sentenced to 14 days in prison for federal crimes stemming from the massive "Varsity Blues" college entrance scam.

Huffman also will have to pay a $30,000 fine, complete 250 hours of community service and serve one year of probation.

She is due to self-report to a yet-to-be-determined Bureau of Prisons facility Oct. 25.

Huffman, 56, learned her fate Friday and issued a statement shortly thereafter, accepting the judge's decision.

"I accept the court's decision today without reservation," she said in the statement. "I have always been prepared to accept whatever punishment Judge Talwani imposed. I broke the law. I have admitted that and I pleaded guilty to this crime. There are no excuses or justifications for my actions. Period.

"I would like to apologize again to my daughter, my husband, my family and the educational community for my actions. And I especially want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children."

"I have learned a lot over the last six months about my flaws as a person," she added. "My goal now is to serve the sentence that the court has given me. I look forward to doing my community service hours and making a positive impact on my community. I also plan to continue making contributions wherever I can well after those service hours are completed. I can promise you that in the months and years to come that I will try and live a more honest life, serve as a better role model for my daughters and family and continue to contribute my time and energies wherever I am needed. My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions."

Earlier this month, Huffman's lawyers filed papers asking Talwani to not send the Oscar-nominated actress to prison, writing that "nothing about her history and characteristics require a prison sentence."

Huffman's lawyers had asked Talwani to impose a one-year probation term, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine. But federal prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Huffman to one month of incarceration, followed by 12 months of supervised release and a fine of $20,000.

"She is remorseful -- indeed, deeply ashamed -- about what she did," Huffman's lawyers stated in court documents.

On March 13, a federal indictment was unsealed with charges for 50 people, including Huffman and more than 30 other wealthy parents, in the largest college cheating scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

The indictment alleges the parents paid bribes to William "Rick" Singer, a college-entrance tutor guru whom prosecutors identified as the ringleader of the nationwide scam, to get their children into elite colleges, including Stanford, the University of Southern California, Princeton and Georgetown.

Singer, 59, who prosecutors said collected $25 million in bribes during the years-long scam, pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. He's yet to be sentenced.

Also indicted was actress Lori Loughlin -- best known as Aunt Becky on the sitcom "Full House" -- and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, who are fighting charges they paid Singer $500,000 to get their two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, into USC as recruits for the university's crew team, despite the fact they'd never participated in the sport.

Huffman pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest service mail fraud and admitted that she paid Singer $15,000 to falsify her daughter Sophia's SAT score.

"I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done. I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions," Huffman tearfully said as she pleaded guilty in court on May 13.

Thirteen other defendants also have agreed to plead guilty.

Huffman's lawyers presented Talwani with letters vouching for her character from the actress' relatives, including her husband, actor William H. Macy, and former colleagues such as Eva Longoria, a fellow cast member on "Desperate Housewives."

Huffman and Macy later allegedly made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for their younger daughter, before deciding not to do so, according to court documents. Macy was not charged in the scam.

"To be sure, Felicity's relationship with her daughters exploded on March 12th and rebuilding that relationship will be a long process. But I also want you to know Felicity has raised two amazing young women," Macy wrote in his letter to Talwani.

"After her arrest Felicity found a wonderful family therapist and we've all been going (in various combinations) for the last few months," Macy wrote. "There is much to be done, and some of the hurt and anger will take years to work through, but we are making progress."

In court documents filed last week, federal prosecutors asked that Huffman serve time in prison.

"Huffman's conduct was deliberate and manifestly criminal: It was wrong, she knew it was wrong, and she actively participated in manipulating her daughter's guidance counselor, the testing services and the schools to which her daughter applied," prosecutors wrote in court documents filed last Friday.

Prosecutors, according to the documents, argued that Huffman should serve time behind bars and that "neither probation nor home confinement (in a large home in the Hollywood Hills with an infinity pool) would constitute meaningful punishment or deter others from committing similar crimes.

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danchooalex/iStock(PADDOCK LAKE, Wis.) -- Authorities in Wisconsin are investigating whether a large-scale operation by two brothers allegedly making illegal THC-infused vape cartridges could be connected to recent vaping-related illnesses and deaths across the country.

Tyler Huffhines, 20, and Jacob Huffhines, 23, were arrested on Sept. 5 after authorities conducted various search warrants on their family's home in Paddock Lake and a rented condominium in Bristol, both villages of Kenosha County. Investigators believe the younger brother was the "ringleader" of what they say was the "sophisticated" drug operation and the condo was its headquarters, according to Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.

At the Paddock Lake residence, where the brothers live, $59,000 in cash, guns, drugs and drug paraphernalia was found, according to authorities. But that was just the "tip of the iceberg" in their alleged "empire of illegal drugs," Beth said.

It was the raid at the condo, which was rented under a fake name, that netted 31,200 vape cartridges in the condo, each filled with 1 gram of liquid THC -- the main psychoactive component of cannabis -- and ready to be distributed, according to Beth. There were also 98,000 empty vape cartridges and 57 mason jars filled with liquid THC, with the contents of each jar valued at approximately $6,000, as well as three money-counting machines and 18 pounds of marijuana, Beth added.

"This is a major, major operation," the sheriff said at a joint press conference with other law enforcement agencies on Wednesday.

Investigators believe Tyler Huffhines, who allegedly started the operation in January 2018, hired several employees to fill the vape cartridges with liquid THC and package them in brightly-colored wrappers, mimicking candy with names like "Sour Patch." The back of the packaging states the product contains a very small amount of THC, about 5 mg, when in reality it's 1,000 mg, Beth said.

"It looks like candy," he told reporters. "It's not candy. It's highly potent drugs."

The investigation into the alleged operation started this summer after the parents of a high school boy in Waukesha found THC vape cartridges on their their son and brought him to the police station, providing information that was ultimately traced back to the Huffhines brothers, officials said.

“These parents were courageous for what they did,” Waukesha County Police Captain Dan Baumann said at Wednesday's press conference. “They should be commended.”

Tyler Huffhines was being held in the Kenosha County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond, according to Milwaukee ABC station WISN-TV. He faces several drug-related felony charges. He was scheduled to appear in court Friday.
 
Jacob Huffhines was being held in the Kenosha County Jail without bond on charges of cocaine possession, possession of a firearm by a felon and violating probation.

Formal charges have not yet been filed, according to WISN. It was unclear whether the brothers have obtained attorneys.

Investigators are "actively searching" for others involved in the alleged drug ring, and there may be more arrests, according to Beth. Authorities in Kenosha County are also "willing to work with any agency in this country" to determine whether the Huffhines brothers and other members of the community "have any responsibility in hurting the hundreds of people throughout the United States, especially Wisconsin," the sheriff said.

Earlier this week, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed the first death in the state from a vaping-related lung disease, bringing the nationwide total to six.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously confirmed five deaths from a vaping-related lung disease across five states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon. The agency also said it is aware of over 450 possible cases of vaping-related illnesses in 33 states and one U.S. territory.

There is no specific vaping device or chemical that have been linked to all the cases, but the CDC reports that a majority of the patients are male, between the ages of 18 and 35, and admit to using nicotine, THC (the main active component in cannabis), or both, about 90 days before experiencing symptoms, which include shortness of breath, gastrointestinal issues, fever and fatigue.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating at least 127 reports of people suffering seizures or other neurological symptoms after using e-cigarettes. All of the reported cases occurred between 2010 and 2019, and many involved youth and young adults. It remains unclear whether there's a direct link between vaping and the reported cases of neurological events, according to the federal agency.

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