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Oklahoma Teacher Accused of Showing Up Drunk, Pantless on First Day at Work

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 5:08pm

iStock/Thinkstock(WAGONER, Okla.) -- An Oklahoma teacher was arrested for allegedly showing up drunk, pantless and shoeless to school on her first day on the job, police said.

Lorie Ann Hill, 49, was arrested on Monday after she showed up for her first day of work at Wagoner High School intoxicated, pantless, and shoeless, according to the Wagoner Police Department.

"She was found in an empty classroom by an assistant principal," Bob Haley, police chief at the Wagoner Police Department, told ABC News on Thursday. "He found her with no pants on. He has never seen her before."

The police officer on scene could "smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her breath," according to a police report obtained by ABC News.

"She admitted drinking before entering the building," Haley said.

Hill, a newly-hired teacher at the school, told the police officer she was drinking orange juice and vodka on her way to work, the police report stated.

The officer then performed field sobriety tests on Hill, and she failed all the tests, the report said.

When the police officer asked her if she had any more vodka left, she said there was more in her car, which was parked in the school parking lot.

Police booked Hill on a charge of public intoxication.

Haley said there isn't a credible witness to prove that Hill drove to school under the influence of alcohol.

Hill was arraigned on Tuesday and a judge set bail at $149. After pleading not guilty, she was released from jail Tuesday night.

Wagoner High School officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Jenise Wright Searchers Find Child's Body

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 3:28pm

iStock/Thinkstock(BREMERTON, Wash.) -- A child's body was found Thursday near where 6-year-old Jenise Wright disappeared last week.

Police are trying to identify the body. The remains were found near Wright's home in Bremerton, Washington.

"Our unified investigative team have found what appears to be the remains of a child. The body has not yet been identified," said Earl Schmidt, incident commander at the Kitsap County Sheriff's office.

"The body will be turned over to the Kitsap County coroners office, who will conduct an autopsy. They will determine that cause and manner of death," Schmidt said.

Jenise vanished on Saturday in Bremerton.

The remains were found near the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park, where the girl lived, police said.

Jenise was last seen the night of Aug. 2, her family told police. They reported her missing on Sunday night.

No arrests have been made. A press conference is scheduled for later on Thursday.

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Stowaway, 62, Arrested Again Just Hours After Being Released, Police Say

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 3:26pm

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Repeat stowaway Marilyn Hartman was arrested again Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport.

The 62-year-old had just been let out of LAX police custody on Wednesday afternoon after she was caught flying without a ticket on Monday.

Hartman has a history of trying to board planes, though Monday's arrest was the first time she had successfully been able to fly without a ticket.

The details of her latest arrest have not been released. Los Angeles Airport police confirmed to ABC that she had been arrested again Thursday and said they would address the issue later in the day.

She was charged with misdemeanor trespassing following her Monday flight on a Southwest plane from San Jose to Los Angeles.

Hartman has had at least five incidents in San Mateo County in the past six months, but part of the reason why she was not caught on Monday is because the San Jose airport staff did not recognize her, authorities said.

Hartman had been caught repeatedly trying to board flights at San Francisco's international airport without a ticket -- but airport staff has been able to quickly pick her out when she is spotted making her way from the food court to security screenings, authorities said.

Prosecutors described her at a May court hearing as having a major mental illness, though no official diagnosis has been publicly released.

"Does she have a mental illness? She might, but she doesn't have what is defined as a major mental illness," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told ABC on Wednesday.

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NJ Police Reopen 26-Year-Old Baby Melissa Cold Case

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 2:44pm

iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) --  Melissa Diane McGuinn was just 7 months old when she disappeared from her home in Trenton 26 years ago, but her mother remains convinced that her only daughter is out there somewhere.

"I've always felt in my heart that she is out there," Becky McGuinn House said. "It's not just a whimsy feeling. It's a strong feeling. I feel she is alive."

In March 1988, House and her husband Robert McGuinn shared a row house in Trenton with another couple -- Wanda Reed and her partner -- who had an infant son. The two young mothers grew close. They shared housekeeping chores and fell into a routine of watching each other's babies.

"Every morning [Wanda] would come in my room," House said. "She would get Melissa, and she would take her downstairs and play with her in the living room."

So House was not concerned on the morning of March 6, 1988, when Wanda took baby Melissa downstairs while House got dressed. But minutes later, when House said she heard a commotion downstairs, she became alarmed. According to Trenton police reports, a neighbor came running up the stairs and asked where Melissa was. House says she felt, "like somebody had ripped my heart out."

Trenton Police began an extensive search but could find no sign of the missing baby. They arrested Reed on kidnapping charges but asserted that questioning her proved fruitless because her story about what happened kept changing.

"She was 30 years old, but she had the mind capacity of a 5-, 6-year-old," House said.

According to New Jersey State Police detectives and Trenton police reports, at first Reed told detectives she gave baby Melissa to a man in a car. But when pressed for details, her description of the car changed. Next Reed claimed to have thrown the baby in the nearby Delaware River just blocks from their home. Police dragged the river but found nothing to suggest that story was true. Baby Melissa had simply vanished.

In the end, the charges against Reed were dropped because a judge determined she was mentally unfit to stand trial and the case was dismissed.

After several years Trenton Police closed the case and the trail for baby Melissa went cold.

After Melissa's disappearance, House and her husband Robert McGuinn moved to Arkansas. They had more children -- all boys -- but House said she has never stopped agonizing over what happened to her little girl.

"The hardest part is not knowing," she said. "Knowing that there's a beautiful young lady out there somewhere that is mine. And I don't know: dead, alive, mistreated, happy?"

House said she had almost given up hope. Her husband died in 2008. That same year House received a call from Sgt. Wanda Stajanov with the New Jersey State Police. Stajanov had been contacted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on the 20th anniversary of Melissa's disappearance with a new lead in the case. Something about Melissa's case touched Stajanov.

"I have children of my own," Stajanov said. "After talking to Becky, I can't imagine what she's going through."

Though the first lead didn't pan out, Stajanov and Det. Paul Sciortino have been pouring over old police reports and re-interviewing witnesses.

In a stroke of luck, the investigators actually have a sample of Melissa's DNA: the hospital where she was born kept her newborn blood sample. So if they find Melissa, there will be no problem confirming her real identity.

So far four women in their mid-20s matching Melissa's description have been tested. Three of them were not a match. Detectives are awaiting DNA results on the fourth. House waits patiently for news of her daughter and never stops searching.

"There's not a young lady that I've walked past that I don't look and wonder," she said. "I feel one of these days, I'm going to walk up and actually look at myself, just younger. And it's going to be her."

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'Porch Shooting' Jury Says Shooter Is Guilty

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 1:59pm

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- A Detroit jury ruled Thursday that Theodore Wafer was guilty of murder in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Renisha McBride on his porch.

The jury, which consisted of seven men and five women, began its deliberations on Wednesday after nine days of testimony. The verdict came on the second day of deliberations.

Wafer, 55, was charged with second degree murder and manslaughter for shooting and killing McBride, 19, last November when the teenager showed up inebriated on his porch at 4:40 a.m. The jury found him guilty of second degree murder.

He will be sentenced Aug. 21 and could face a maximum of life in prison with parole.

Wafer said he could only make out a figure around his house, and said the person pounded on his door and made him fear for his life.

When the jury began its deliberations, they immediately made several requests, including to have Wafer's shotgun and his screen door brought to the jury room.

The screen door is comprised of a steel frame with a screen insert held in place by clips. Investigators found the screen insert out of position when they arrived on the shooting scene, according to testimony.

The defense argued that the screen was awry because of the way because McBride pounded on the door. Prosecutors told the court that the screen could have slipped out of position days or weeks before the shooting and there was no evidence it was caused by McBride.

Under a 2006 Michigan self-defense law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must prove his or her life was in danger.

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Shot Motorist Chases Suspect Along California Highway

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 1:43pm

Fullerton Police Department(FULLERTON, Calif.) -- A California motorist, who was shot multiple times, chased after his assailant until police arrived and arrested the suspect.

Kenneth Baker, 57, was driving his Ford SUV on the 91 Freeway in Fullerton on Tuesday afternoon when a bullet hit the left side of his car. Six more rounds were fired at his car, three smashing the window and hitting his arm.

“I felt something leaking going down and I saw that my shirt was full of blood,” Baker told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV.

Although wounded, Baker was not going to let the gunman get away. While calling 911, Baker chased after the suspected shooter's car at speeds reaching 98 mph.

In the 911 call released by the Fullerton Police Department, Baker could be heard saying: “Yes, I’m hit. They took out my window and I think my arm is shot.”

After the operator asked Baker what color and type of car the suspect was in, Baker said: “It’s a Ford. I am trying to catch up to him now.”

“Ok, that’s probably not the best idea if he’s shooting at you,” the operator answered.

“Ok, I’m right behind him now,” Baker told the operator.

The California Highway Patrol got to the scene and arrested 32-year-old Jerry Valentin. Meanwhile, Baker was put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital.

“For what reason I don’t know,” Baker told KABC. “I never got close to him. I don’t know the man. I’ve never seen him in my life.”

“We don’t know Valentin’s motive,” Sgt. Kathryn Hamel at the Fullerton Police Department told ABC News. “They have no prior relationships.”

Baker, a trucker driver at VONS, a supermarket chain in California, said he was not going to let the man go.

“Had I not chased the man down, the man would have gotten away,” Baker said.

Valentin is facing four felony charges: attempted murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle, assault with a firearm, and unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm inside a vehicle. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.

“It gives me great pleasure that this man is off the street,” Baker said.

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New Mexico Man Accused of Stealing Car Planted by Police

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 12:21pm

Albuquerque Police Department(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- A New Mexico man allegedly hopped into a vehicle that wasn’t his, blasting the popular tune “Best Day of My Life” before it became anything but.

Authorities say Drew Mayo, 21, took off in a bait car planted by the Albuquerque Police Department. The car was specifically equipped with a remote kill switch that police could trigger to disable the vehicle if stolen.

Surveillance video from inside the bait car appears to show Mayo entering the car in southeast Albuquerque around 10 P.M. Friday, turning the vehicle on, driving off and smiling while the American Authors’ song plays in the background.

But then the police remotely turned off the vehicle, and Mayo was ordered out of the car by officers.

Mayo was taken into custody and charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, ABC News affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reported.

The police department has not responded to ABC News' request for comment.

Officials hope that, aside from the video's comedic nature, it will provide a valuable lesson and deter others from stealing cars.

“If we can take programs such as this to deter individuals from stealing vehicles, that's mission critical for us,” police Lt. Paul Szych told KOAT. “The deterrent is just as important as the apprehension.”

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Pair of Hurricanes Will Chase Tourists Off Hawaii Beaches

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 10:24am

iStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- Beachgoers on the Big Island of Hawaii will have one final day at the water's edge Thursday as the first of two hurricanes headed for the state is expected to make landfall Thursday night.

Hurricane Iselle will bring winds of up 65 mph and surf as high as 20 feet when it hits the Big Island sometime around 8 p.m. Thursday. Beaches around the island have been flagged as "high hazard" areas by state authorities.

The storm will move toward Oahu and Maui early Friday morning, drenching the most popular tourist destinations in the state with up to 8 inches of rain, with the potential for coastal flooding and wind damage.

On the heels of Iselle, a category 1 storm, is Hurricane Julio. Julio is expected to edge close to the islands Sunday night and Monday and is currently a Category 2 storm with winds of up to 100 mph.

Airlines including Delta, United, Alaskan and Hawaiian Air have all announced that passengers with reservations can rebook their travel plans free of charge to avoid the hurricane.

The Big Island has been hit by one named tropical storm, and never a hurricane, according to ABC News meteorologists.

The state has closed public schools in preparation for the storm.

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Accused Teen Murderer's Jealousy Emerges in Court

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 9:59am

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Erika Friman took the stand in a Florida courtroom to testify against her ex-boyfriend, who's accused of murdering their mutual friend in a jealousy-fueled plot.

Pedro Bravo, 20, is accused of killing Christian Aguilar in 2012. Authorities say he was enraged after discovering that Aguilar was dating Friman.

The three had been high school friends, and After Friman entered college, she began dating Aguilar, something she hid from Bravo.

“I lied to him because he was at a very sensitive point in his life, I supposed,” she said in court Wednesday. “I didn’t want to throw him over the edge and say, ‘By the way, I’m dating a mutual friend of ours.’”

Bravo eventually found out about the romance. That relationship caused him to poison and strangle the 19-year-old University of Florida student, hiding Aguilar’s body in a remote field, police said.

Aguilar’s body was discovered 22 days later.

A focal point for the trial has been Bravo’s sketch pad, which authorities say was filled with hate-fueled messages.

“No one will stop me,” he wrote in one passage, prosecutors say. “I will get out of Miami and into Gainesville by January 2013 and I will get her back.”

Friman says she arranged for Bravo and Aguilar to meet after Bravo threatened suicide. She hoped the advice from Aguilar would help.

She still cared about Bravo at that point, she said. “I cared about anyone who claimed they were suicidal,” she told the court.

Surveillance cameras captured the men shopping together, with Bravo buying a shovel and duct tape. The items were later found near Aguilar’s body.

Bravo has denied killing Aguilar.

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Philadelphia Woman's Park Strangling Stuns Police, Friends

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 8:35am

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia police are scouring surveillance footage, looking for the person who they say strangled a woman out jogging in a park.

Connie McClain-Murray, 46, was found strangled in Pennypack Park Tuesday. The park, located in the northeast part of the city, is frequented by families and young children. An autopsy confirmed no signs of sexual assault or trauma, Police Captain James Clark said.

“There was some minor bruising on her, but not even enough to say that it was blunt-force trauma,” Clark said.

McClain-Murray’s family filed a police report Tuesday morning, when Murray went out on her usual Monday night run but didn’t return. A neighbor walking her dog says she found the woman’s body in bushes near the park’s recreation center.

The medical examiner’s report is expected Thursday.

Homicide detectives say they have not been able to locate McClain-Murray’s cellphone or headphones, both of which she had with her when she left for her jog.

The area has been rocked in recent years by a string of sexual assaults, but police haven’t drawn a connection with McClain-Murray’s death. Police are questioning anyone who frequents the area. The investigation is still ongoing, but police don’t have any suspects or possible motives.

“If anyone saw her jogging or knows anything or heard anything, they should give us a call,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

The victim is being remembered as a caring friend with a warm spirit.

“Truly saddened by the loss of Connie McClain-Murray,” a friend wrote on Facebook. “Always outgoing, life of the party and always made me laugh!”

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J.K. Rowling Sends Letter to Texas Teen Who Lost Family in Shooting

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 5:52am

Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- J.K. Rowling has reached out to the 15-year-old Texas girl whose family members were killed in a shooting last month, and who quoted the author's Harry Potter series at a memorial service for her loved ones.

Rowling sent a handwritten letter, written as the Harry Potter character Dumbledore in purple ink, to Cassidy Stay, whose parents and four siblings were fatally shot in Spring, Texas, on July 9.

Stay was injured in the hand and head. Ronald Haskell, the ex-husband of Stay's aunt, is facing capital murder charges in connection with the shooting.

At the memorial service, Stay recited a quote by Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the lights."

Rowling was moved to reach out to Stay in response to an Internet campaign lobbying for the author to meet the teenager. The campaign's Facebook page states that in addition to the letter, Rowling sent Stay a wand, an acceptance letter to Hogwarts with a school supply list, and an autographed copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

A rep for Rowling told Britain's The Telegraph, “We can confirm that J.K. Rowling was in touch with Cassidy Stay, however, the contents of the letter remain private.”

When asked about the possibility of Rowling meeting Stay, the rep said, “We wouldn’t comment on that but [Cassidy’s] is a remarkable story.”

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