<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:09:12 -0500 Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:09:12 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bloomberg to Spend $50M to Fight Gun Violence]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:05:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mayor-bloomberg-budget.jpg

In his first major political investment since leaving office, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to build a nationwide network aimed at curbing gun violence and battling the National Rifle Association, according to published reports.

Bloomberg told the New York Times that he is planning to spend $50 million this year to establish the grassroots gun control lobbying group, called Everytown for Gun Safety.

The new organization will encompass two other Bloomberg-funded gun control groups – Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – and will first take aim at expanding background checks for gun buyers both at the state and national levels, according to the Times. 

Everytown for Gun Safety will borrow from some of the NRA’s field operation tactics to grow influence, targeting mothers and other women that might be swayed on gun issues. The group has already targeted 15 states across the country with varying views on gun control, with the goal of recruiting 1 million new supporters.

“Right now, women, when they go to the polls, they vote on abortion, they vote on jobs, they vote on health care,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts told the Times. “We want one of those things to be gun violence prevention.”

Bloomberg said he wanted work with both parties on gun control efforts and assembled an advisory board of Republican and Democratic officials, philanthropists and investors.

The former mayor's $50 million contribution would more than double the NRA’s $20 million in annual spending on political activities, the Times reports. Bloomberg hinted that his contributions to the cause could grow.

“I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,” he told the Times. “Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.”

Bloomberg and Watts will appear on NBC's TODAY show Wednesday morning to talk about the group, according to NBC News.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Burned, Bound Along Los Angeles Freeway]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:05:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/20090524092339389-330767-1315015563.jpg

A man is reportedly on life support after being found badly burned and partially bound along the 605 Freeway in the city of Industry on Tuesday.

The discovery was made around 1:30 p.m. near the transition road from the northbound 605 Freeway to the 60 Freeway, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher.

The man crawled out of a nearby riverbed wash and up onto the freeway, according Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators.

The man was burned all over his face and body. He was found with his hands and feet tied. He was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center Burn Center.

The sheriff’s Arson Explosive Detail arrived at the scene about 3:30 p.m. to investigate.

Refresh this page for updates.

City News Service contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Formerly Conjoined Twins Thriving]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:57:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ezell-Twins-041514.jpg

The conjoined twins who were separated at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas are expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday, eight months after their surgery and a day after turning 9-months-old.

Medical City announced Monday that Owen and Emmett Ezell are expected to be released to a local inpatient rehabilitation center this week.

"I am so excited. I am shaking I am so excited. We have been waiting months for this and it's finally here," said the twins' mother Jenni Ezell.

The boys were born in July and were connected from the chest to the belly button. They shared a liver and intestines until doctors at Medical City Dallas Hospital separated them a month later.

They've lived in the neonatal intensive care until ever since and have each had multiple surgeries and setbacks. Through it all, the boys' parents never lost faith.

"Back when the struggles were the hardest and the struggles were the biggest, basically the way we would keep pressing on without losing it was to talk about having all four boys together," said the boys' father Dave Ezell. "When this is over, we're going to have 4 boys, we're going to be a family."

In the past the hospital had said the boys had to pass three major hurdles to go home -- eating and breathing on their own and fully healing from their surgical wounds.

The hospital said Monday the twins are breathing on their own through trachea breathing tubes and are no longer being fed through an IV, but they continue to be fed through tubes in their abdomens.

While at rehab, the boys' parents will learn to manage those tubes until the boys can eat on their own.

"It's been a dream. We've made it and it's been really hard. I feel like that first 9 months, it's all been emotional, it has been very difficult emotionally," said Jenni Ezell. "But from here out it's going to be very difficult physically. We are going to be exhausted taking care of these boys but it's going to be totally worth it!"

Jenni and Dave Ezell call the twins their "little miracles" and say each step has been part of a greater plan.

"They wouldn't be here if it weren't for God. It's the truth," said Jenni Ezell.

To celebrate the twins' health and success, a small celebration is being planned on Wednesday prior to their departure. Ahead of that celebration, the hospital and Ezell family released new photographs of the now 9-month-old boys on Tuesday.
 

The family has been chronicling the boys' progress, since their separation surgery in August 2013 on The Ezell Twins blog.

The Ezells are selling T-shirts through their blog that read, "The Works of God Displayed in Them, John 9:1-3."

The funds donated go into a trust fund set up for Emmett and Owen and their direct care.

More: The Ezell Twins blog | The Ezell Twins T-Shirts | Contribute



Photo Credit: Ezell Family/Medical City Children's Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD Disbands Muslim Spying Unit]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:55:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/nypd-Surveillance-Muslims.jpg

The New York Police Department says it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to try to detect terror threats in Muslim communities through secret surveillance sparked outrage.

The NYPD confirmed the decision on Tuesday.

The surveillance program by the NYPD Intelligence Division had come under fire by community activists who accused the department of abusing civil rights.

The program relied on plainclothes officers to eavesdrop on people in bookstores, restaurants and mosques. The tactic was detailed in a series of stories by The Associated Press and became the subject of two federal lawsuits.

The NYPD's decision to disband the unit was first reported in The New York Times.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sprint Sends Email Addressed to "Sissyboy" Customer]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:57:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Kelvin_matthews.png

A Chicago man said he received an unwelcome email from Sprint this weekend after he called the company to report an error with his account.

Kelvin Mathews claims he was sent an email addressed to "Sissyboy Kelvin Gay Matthews" after he sought assistance from customer service.

“I gave [the representative] my email address, and that’s the email they sent me,” Mathews said.

Mathews said he originally called the company Sunday because he was still receiving messages from a Sprint account he thought he closed.

He told a customer service representative about his issue and was directed to check the status of his phone on his online account. When he couldn’t remember his login information, he said the representative sent him an email with instructions.

When he received the email, however, he was shocked and called customer service again.

“I expressed my concerns to them and how serious this is to me and my wife,” he said. “I don’t live a homosexual life, I never gave Sprint anything to go on and think that, and even if I did I don’t think it would be fair to say this on my account.”

Sprint said its investigation is ongoing but did acknowledge the error.

A spokesman for the company said the salutations on the automated emails can be changed by employees.

"We have apologized to Mr. Mathews and deeply regret what happened over the weekend,” the company said in a statement. “Mr. Mathews should never have received this email from our representative. We have dealt with that employee appropriately."

Mathews said a representative from Sprint contacted him Monday following his report, apologizing for the email.

The representative offered to close Mathews’ Sprint account with no early termination fees and agreed to open a new business account with an iPhone and two months of free service, Mathews said.

Mathews said he had not yet accepted the offer.

“To have this email is a form of degrading someone and I think people need to know about it,” he said. “They’re not treating customers like they should.”

Earlier this year, a suburban Chicago couple who lost their teenage daughter in a car crash received mail from OfficeMax addressed to "Daughter Killed in Car Crash."

And in February, a California woman named Lisa McIntire received mail from Bank of America addressed to "Lisa Is a Slut McIntire."

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<![CDATA[Pride and Resolve on Boston Marathon Route]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 05:59:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Boston+Marathon+high+fives.jpg

From her living room window in Hopkinton, Mass., Judy Keefe can make out the spot where tens of thousands of runners line up every April to run 26.2 miles into downtown Boston, a trek she never quite understood but celebrated anyway.

Journalists, athletes and local luminaries — and generations of friends and relatives — relied on her unquestioning hospitality in the hours before, and during, the Boston Marathon. Every year on race day, they turned her modest wood-frame home on East Main Street home into a combination shelter, operations base and party spot.

Keefe, who grew up watching the race before it became a major international event, asked nothing in return. She saw it as a sort of civic duty, a way to help her community look good, and bring strangers together.

“People did a lot of jogging, but it was always a social event for me,” Keefe, 69, said.

The Boston Marathon exerts a strong centripetal force on the region, unifying the city and its neighbors in a daylong rally that is as much about the race as it is a show of provincial pride. Nowhere is this dynamic more apparent than in the homes, businesses and schools that line the route between Hopkinton, in the city's Western suburbs, and Copley Square, in downtown Boston. And at no time is the sentiment more palpable than now, a year after twin bombings rocked the finish line.

Motivated and defiant

The race course is quintessential New England: undulating back roads passing through leafy town commons, tidy old suburbs, wooded preserves, immigrant enclaves, low-slung commercial strips and belts of light industry before confronting the well-appointed townhouses of Brookline and the bustle of Boylston Street.

Most of the outlying communities don’t typically think of themselves as part of Boston. But that changes on the third Monday in April, when hundreds of thousands of people spend the Patriots Day holiday — which marks the opening battles of the Revolutionary War — crammed along the route. They cheer and high-five people they know, and many more they don’t. They cheer the home they share, and its place in history.

“It’s another one of those patriotic, very American, apple pie, baseball kind of things,” said Jane Nelson, who grew up in Framingham, a working-class town with its share of empty storefronts. She works at Silton Glass, where every year she roots on runners in a gaudy red, white and blue outfit. “Even though it’s 26 miles long, you feel like it’s your community. It’s bigger than the little town you live in.”

This year brings added motivation.

Just after the 4-hour mark of the 2013 marathon, two bombs, allegedly set by a pair of brothers, exploded near the finish line. The attack, which killed three people and wounded more than 260, set off a furious four-day manhunt in which a police officer was shot to death, one of the brothers died in a gunfight, and the other brother was found wounded in a Watertown backyard. The Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious road races in the world, was now infamous as well.

The 2014 marathon, on April 21, is expected to draw 36,000 runners and more than 1 million spectators. Security will be tight, with backpacks prohibited on the route and party hosts urged to be wary of strangers. But people on the route are united in defiant insistence that no one — not even a pair of murderous brothers — will disrupt their special day.

In a way, the marathon represents the end of a year-long grieving process, and the return to a routine.

“I think, and a lot of people I talk to, it’s, ‘They ticked us off and we got our back up, and there’s no way you’re going to ruin this for us,’” Nelson, 64, said.

Life and marathon, entwined

A few miles down the road, in postcard-quaint Natick, Brian Donovan recalled his earliest childhood memory: he is about 4 years old, on the sidelines, watching for his father to run by.

Donovan missed him, but before he could get upset, his dad turned around and picked him up.

“It sounds all cheesy and stuff, but that’s an indelible moment,” Donovan, 39, said.

In later years, Donovan accompanied his father, a state trooper, on a security detail for Johnny Kelley, a Boston Marathon icon who ran the race 61 times and won it twice. They were together at the finish line for the 1982 “Duel in the Sun” between the long-distance legend Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley.

Donovan’s father used to tell him that anyone who ran a marathon was a hero. So when Donovan grew up, he began running marathons himself; he has completed seven, including four Boston Marathons.

When he wasn’t running, Donovan always took Patriots Day off to watch the marathon. In 2009, he and his wife bought a house on the route. Now they host race-day parties on their front lawn.

“Everyone has the same thing they’re embracing, whether you’re in Hopkinton or Ashland or you're a student at Wellesley screeching like crazy, or at the firehouse turn,” Donovan said. “In any of these places, you just drop everything.”

Among his friends and neighbors, Donovan had noticed an urgent refusal to succumb to fear of another attack. The 2014 marathon will represent a “big middle finger to terrorism,” he said.

“I think a lot of people are going to be motivated more by, ‘You’re telling me I can’t do something that’s actually good, cheer people on? You’re telling me I can’t do that? Forget that.’”

"This is our race"

Eric Barry is a photographer whose studio faces the route in Wellesley, a well-to-do college town next door. He isn’t much of a racing fan, but he feels a sense of ownership with the Boston Marathon, a rite of spring that attracts an international field of elite competitors.

“This isn’t the Tour de France where you might watch for a couple of minutes and be like, ‘Yeah, this is beautiful’ and whatever,” Barry, 40, said. “You watch it here because this is our race.”

He added: “I don’t think I could just go anywhere and watch a marathon. I’d rather watch paint dry. But this transcends the sport. It’s the fun, the community, and the people really go crazy when they actually see someone who is beating the odds somehow.”

This year, of course, there will be plenty more underdogs to cheer: people injured at the finish line last year, and thousands whose races were cut short.

Molly Tyler, a senior at all-women Wellesley College, is leading the school's effort to make signs for anyone who asks. Each will be posted along the "Scream Tunnel," a pack of hundreds of hollering students that for decades has urged racers to press on as they hit the approximate halfway point of their journey. Requests are way up this year, she said.

"People say things like, 'I didn't get to finish last year, so make this the best sign ever, because I'm finishing,'" Tyler, 21, said.

"Nothing but resolve"

In the hours following last year’s bombing, the Newton Fire Department scrambled to find a way to uplift the surrounding neighborhood, which borders Boston.

The department’s red-brick Station 2 firehouse at the corner of Washington Street and Commonwealth Avenue was a marathon landmark, a popular gathering spot and a crucial turning point in the race at the base of Heartbreak Hill.

“We gotta do something,” Lt. Tom Lopez, a union leader, recalled telling his chief.

By the end of the week, a “Boston Strong” banner hung from the firehouse’s facade. It will remain there through this year’s race. “That sign is a source of pride,” Lopez said.

Throughout the harsh winter, runners training for the marathon have stopped at the firehouse for warmth, or water, or to chat.

Residents, meanwhile, have said they are looking forward to the marathon more than in years past.

“I have not had anybody say to me that they’re not going to go to the race,” Lopez said. “People say, ‘I can’t wait to be there.’ I hear nothing but resolve.”

Driven by memories

Back in Hopkinton, a semi-rural town that feels a world away from Boston, Rick Macmillan pulled out a 60-year-old autograph book in which he's been collecting signatures of marathon runners since he was a young boy. Johnny Kelley's in there. So's four-time champion Bill Rodgers. And three-time winner Sara Mae Berman.

Macmillan, 67, a former Hopkinton fire chief who lives a block or so from the starting line, worries, as he always does, about security. But that won't keep him and his wife from throwing their regular marathon party, popular among runners and race officials and neighbors.

"I'm proud to be a part of it, to maybe contribute as little as we can to keep it going," Macmillan said.

Along with his own marathon memories, Brian Donovan has been thinking about Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was standing at the finish line with his family when one of the bombs exploded, killing him. “I was that kid,” Donovan said. “Standing there, cheering with an ice cream cone.”

Anyone who has been to the Boston Marathon could relate with that, he said.

“How many kids had that same American or Boston kind of experience? We’re going to keep doing it. It’s not going to go away.”



Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bombing Victim's Parents Recount Heartbreaking Mix-Up]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:00:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/krystle-campbell1.jpg

Childhood pictures of Krystle Campbell show nothing but smiles — which is exactly how her family continues to remember the 29-year-old, whose life was stolen by the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon almost one year ago.

Her parents, Patty and Bill, shared exclusively with NECN personal stories about Krystle, from her devotion to her ailing family members in Somerville, Mass., to the heartbreaking confusion of the day she died.

Krystle's grandmother Wilma shared her own memories of her granddaughter's care, remembering the time Krystle turned down living with her friends to be closer to her. She was recently widowed at the time and recovering from colon surgery.

"And then she lived with me after I got sick," Wilma Campbell said. "She thought maybe I would need her, so she lived here with me a little over two years."

Patty and Bill saw Krystle every day until April 15, 2013, when she saw a Red Sox game with friends before heading to the marathon finish line.

"My son thought my daughter was at that Red Sox game, and we tried to call her," Patty recalled of the moments after the blasts first rocked the marathon finish line. "My son said to me, 'Mom, I have a funny feeling that Krystle is involved in this.' My son had a sixth sense."

One Error's 15 Painful Hours

When the bombs exploded, Krystle's friend Karen Rand was carrying Krystle's purse — leading first responders mistakenly to identify Karen as Krystle at the hospital.

That meant that for 15 hours, Krystle's parents thought their daughter was alive and in surgery.

"They told us that she was in surgery," Patty said. "A quarter to three that morning, they told us they got the bleeding under control, that we could go in for a brief minute. And then we're just going to leave it at that. We found out there was an error," Patty recalled, her voice faltering.

Karen had endured life-altering injuries but ultimately survived. Krystle had not.

"After thinking for 15 hours that your daughter is going through all of this stuff, but she's not, she's gone..." Bill said. "A parent should never have to bury their child, because it's the hardest thing that any parent has to go through, to lose a child. I don't care if it's a newborn or six years or 30 years or 40 years."

An Unexpected Letter From a Survivor

The Campbells have been sustained by the thoughts and prayers promised by the letters, cards and other tokens of support they've received from people around the world.

But the letter that affected them most deeply came from a woman in California who had stood right by Krystle at the marathon finish line.

Krystle was standing at the barrier with a view of the finish line, and when she overheard that the sister of the California woman behind her was about to cross the finish line, she offered her spot so she could see better, the woman wrote.

"My daughter says, 'Well, you know, our runner is not going to be here for a few more minutes, why don't you step in front of us?'" Bill explained.

"I guess my daughter went out behind her, and less than three or four seconds later, the bomb went off. And the woman from California felt like it was her fault. But it wasn't," Bill said, weeping.

"Why Is Our Daughter Gone?"

It's not easy for Patty and Bill to see Krystle's friends who have recovered from their blast injuries.

Patty recalled how she saw one of her daughter's friends at an event, and the friend asked if she were mad. "I said, 'No, God no, I'm not mad at you at all. I'm not mad at you,'" Patty said.

But Bill said he can't help but wonder: "'Why is our daughter gone and you're still here?'"

That question — a "natural human thought," Patty observes — isn't one the Campbell family will ever be able to answer. But as they try to make peace with Krystle's death, her grandmother Wilma Campbell takes comfort in the belief that Krystle is now reunited with her late grandfather.

"I said that when I first saw her in the casket, I told her, 'Okay, Papa's waiting for you, and you'll be okay,'" Wilma said.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Campbell family]]>
<![CDATA[$70,000 in Heroin Seized From Man's Underwear at JFK]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:38:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/heroin+underwear.jpg
Authorities searching a man passing through John F. Kennedy International Airport found nearly two pounds of heroin -- worth more than $70,000 on the street -- in his underwear. 

Officials say Bernard Charles, a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, arrived at JFK from Port of Spain, Trinidad April 1 and appeared extremely nervous as customs officials were going through his suitcase, as is routine. 

Authorities took Charles to a private search room. During the search, agents found two clear packages in his underwear. The packages contained a brown paste-like substance that tested positive for heroin.  

Charles was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. He faces federal narcotics smuggling charges. 

It wasn't clear if he had an attorney.


Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Blood Moon Lights Up the Sky]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:46:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edt-AP71116375260.jpg The first "blood moon," or lunar eclipse, of 2014 lit up the sky early in the morning April 15. Click to see photos from around the world.

Photo Credit: ap]]>
<![CDATA[109-Year-Old Bible Saved From Fire]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 23:21:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/206*120/55-san-pedro-fire-elks-bible-2.jpg

A Bible that has been part of ceremonies at a Southern California Elks Lodge for more than 100 years and other items that have been part of the organization for decades were saved from a fire early Tuesday at the iconic building.

Firefighters responded to 1748 W. Cumbre Drive just after 2:50 a.m. The two-story building was fully engulfed in flames and the roof collapsed on the first floor around 3:30 a.m., according to officials. The fire was knocked down by 4:45 a.m.

The Bible, which was not damaged, is used during Elks Lodge ceremonies for the fraternal organization. It was one of several items firefighters brought out of the burned out building.

"I'm so elated that firefighters were able to save our lodge room and save this Bible," said Exalted Ruler Jose Chavez, who was in tears when firefighters handed him the Bible. "I've been holding this since 3 o'clock this morning."

The Bible has been signed by every Exalted Ruler, including Chavez, since 1905.

Battalion Chief Steve Ruda of the Los Angeles Fire Department called the structure an "iconic San Pedro landmark" that was "serving the people of San Pedro for over 100 years." The San Pedro Elks Lodge had more than 2,300 members.

"Anybody who lives in San Pedro has been here, for either a fundraiser, wedding, funeral, community fundraising event, said James Dimon, Elks Lodge trustee. "The lodge is the community and the community is the lodge."

The building a 37,000-square-foot two-story structure with a basement, located on a hillside. Ruda said the facility faced significant damage and that firefighters are saddened by the loss.

Firefighters were able to save what Ruda described as a ritual hall, where services and meetings are held.

"There was not total devastation here, we were able to save that particular part of the building and our hearts go out because everybody knows of this iconic building, (and) what they've done for the people of San Pedro," Ruda said.

No injuries have been reported.

There was a members-only meeting at the facility last night, but it's "hard to say" what the cause of the fire is just yet, according to Ruda.

Another fire was reported at the same location outside the building on Sunday at 6 a.m., raising concern.

"It is a little early to tell, however it is two fires close together that are of suspicious nature," Ruda said.

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<![CDATA[Tweeters Respond to Palindrome Week]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:30:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/121330338.jpg

This week is palindrome week—every date reads the same forwards and backwards. 4/12/14, 4/13/14, 4/14/14... you get the point. Just like words and phrases can be palindromes—mom, racecar, level, live not on evil—so too can numbers. The palindrome has a long history that goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks, who would inscribe palindromic phrases on fountains. One of the most popular fountain inscriptions was "wash the sin as well as the face." Although that phrase isn't a palindrome in English, it is one in Greek.

Palindrome week is only really celebrated in the United States, as it's the only country that uses the mm-dd-yyyy format when writing out dates. Most countries around the world use the dd-mm-yyyy style, although China and Japan are notable for using yyyy-mm-dd. In any case, Twitter has been abuzz with tweets about the week-long holiday. Some have taken to Twitter to celebrate the wordsmith holiday.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Image Source]]>
<![CDATA[Parolees Raped, Killed While Wearing GPS Bracelets: Police]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:29:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/oc-serial-murders-suspects.jpg

Two parolees raped and killed at least four women in Orange County last year while wearing GPS ankle bracelets, police said Monday.

Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon, both registered sex offenders, wore the tracking devices and checked in with police every 30 days during the murders last October and November, Anaheim police Chief Raul Quezada said at an afternoon press conference.

The two men were each charged Monday with four felony counts of special circumstances murder and four felony counts of rape, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.

Investigators got a break in the case when a woman's body was discovered on a conveyor belt at an Anaheim recycling plant on March 14. She was later identified as 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp of Oklahoma.

The three other women had been reported missing from Santa Ana. They were identified as 20-year-old Kianna Jackson of Las Vegas, and Santa Ana residents Josephine Vargas, 34, and Martha Anaya, 28. Investigators were searching for their bodies.

Quezada said the women’s cases were tied together based on their lifestyle, location and pattern of behavior, including drug use and prostitution in Anaheim and Santa Ana.

Investigators were searching for additional victims. They're also looking into whether an unsolved murder near Costa Mesa last year is connected to the case.

"We are confident there is one additional victim, and possibly more," Quezada said.

Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, who police said are both transients, were arrested Friday in Anaheim.

If convicted, they face life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty, Rackauckas said.

"Our hearts go out to the victims in this case," Rackauckas said. "Certainly, the families are all very distraught and concerned."

Herlinda Salcedo said police came to her home Saturday to inform her that her daughter Anaya, who disappeared in November 2013, was dead. Police also told her they had not found Anaya’s body.

Salcedo spent months searching for her daughter. The mother told NBC4 she has found closure.

A woman in an area of Santa Ana known for prostitution told NBC4’s Gadi Schwartz that she recognized Gordon, and that he was known to offer women rides in an RV where they could get high on crack cocaine.

“He was always offering rides,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified. “In a safe place, that’s priceless for some of these girls out here.”

Police are in possession of the RV. Arraignment on Tuesday was postponed to May 19.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Construction Worker Killed in Fall]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 05:57:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/scaffolding+death+33rd+street.jpg

Authorities say a construction worker died after a 10-story fall from the roof of a midtown Manhattan office building.

Authorities say the man landed on scaffolding about 25 feet above the sidewalk on the south side of West 33rd Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues. It happened about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Police diverted traffic from the street. Detectives were investigating the cause of the fall. Some were seen peering out at the scaffolding from a second-floor window.

The area is home to several major construction zones, including two projects involving development over nearby rail tracks.

A fire department spokesman says another person was taken to Bellevue Hospital complaining of chest pains.

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<![CDATA[Journalist Says Google Glass Led to SF Assault]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:00:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/04-14-2014-Kyle-Russell.jpg

Google Glass appears to have inspired another attack in San Francisco.

Kyle Russell, a Berkeley-based tech reporter for Business Insider, had his Google Glass ripped from his face and "smashed on the ground" near the 16th and Mission BART station on Friday, he says. 

The attacker, a woman, shouted "Glass" before taking off with the $1,500 computer glasses, Russell said. Russell gave chase but before he could catch the assailant, she smashed the Glass on the ground.

She then "vanished," the Chronicle reported.

Russell had been in the Mission District covering an anti-Google protest, he said on Twitter. There had been a tech bus blockage that morning as well as a protest at an apartment building supposedly bought by a Google lawyer, who had moved to evict the tenants. 

Reaction to Russell's fate -- or, to be more accurate, the fate of his Glass -- ranged from solace-giving to outright schadenfreude, with perhaps a bit more of the latter from the anti-tech set.

Russell told NBC Bay Area he’s amused that critics seem to believe he was “flaunting” his wealth “as a techie, which is funny because I'm a journalist who lives in Berkeley.”

However, "I can see why the person who smashed my Glass did what they did," Russell said in a post summarizing the run-in and the subsequent reactions.

He recognizes that tech-fueled gentrification has pushed people out of their homes, and that his "love for gadgets" like Glass "makes me look and sound like one of the" oppressors, he wrote.

Earlier, a woman reported having her Google Glass snatched off of her face at a San Francisco bar. Sarah Slocum, a self-described tech PR writer, recovered her device.



Photo Credit: Karyne Levy]]>
<![CDATA[Russian Fighter Jet Buzzes U.S. Ship]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:32:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/5PM_PKG_US_DESTROYER_BU_KNSD3RLI_1200x675_226907203532.jpg On Saturday, a Russian fighter jet made several low passes over the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea. NBC 7 military reporter Bridget Naso has more on the face-off that could have turned into a deadly battle. ]]> <![CDATA[Bus Crash Vic's Twin Had Nightmare]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:41:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/serratotwins4.jpg

The sister of a Riverside girl killed in a fiery Northern California bus crash last week spoke out Monday and said she hasn't been able to sleep since losing her beloved identical twin.

Marisol Serrato recalled the moments before her twin sister, Marisa, boarded the ill-fated bus tour to Humboldt State University.

"I told her, 'What if I get in an accident and God saves you from that because you are on the waiting list?'" she said. "'You might not go.'"

Marisol was on the same college tour, but she boarded a different bus that made it safely to the university.

"And she told me, 'We think the same,' and I asked her, 'Would you cry for me?'" she said. "And she just smiled at me and she just kind of like hit me a little."

Ten people died April 10 when a FedEx big rig slammed head-on into the charter bus carrying dozens of Southern California high school students. Days before the crash, Marisol had a nightmare.

"I had a bad feeling, I was nervous," she said. "I saw my dad in the dream, and he was dressed in all black."

Marisol said she believes it was a sign, but at the time the twin sisters were just excited they both got seats.

"I can't get that image out of my head when I last saw her," she said. "She was just waiting there with my mom and she was smiling. My mom says she got on the bus happy."

After nearly 24 hours of agonizing over whether her sister had survived the crash, Marisol got the confirmation Marisa was killed. The family has since asked for the public to pray for them as they believe that's they only way they will get through her death.

"My heart wants to break. I keep shaking in the night," she said. "I can't stay still. Her image pops and pops in my head over and over again."

Marisa told Marisol that if she ever died, she could read her journal -- something Marisol has decided to do.

"I think she wants me to move forward with this and do something for her, and that's what I'm going to do," she said. "I think, 'Why me? Why did God still want me around? And why her? Why was it her time?'"

Marisol is expected to receive her sister's high school diploma from Norte Vista High School in June. She has also decided not to attend Humboldt State University.

Anyone who wants to donate to the family can do so by using Bank of America trust account for Marisa Serrato, account number 325026597007.



Photo Credit: Tony Shin/Alex Vasquez]]>
<![CDATA["Wheel of Fortune" Flub Costs Contestant Shot at $1M]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 05:57:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WheelOfFortunePic.jpg

An Indiana University freshman appears to have found his Achilles heel when it comes to the TV game show "Wheel of Fortune" -- pronouncing the name "Achilles."

That error narrowly, plus a handful of others, cost Julian Batts his chance to win $1 million, a trip to London and a car on Friday, which capped "College Week" on the game show.

The honor student's closest miss came when he guessed all the letters in the “Character” category, to spell out “Mythological Hero Achilles.” Unfortunately for him, his pronunciation of "Achilles" was more akin to "A-chill-us," and he wasn't given credit for the answer.

The next contestant swooped in for an easy win of the puzzle.

Julian's next flub came when he had to solve a puzzle in the “Person” category; the sentence read “The World’s Fastest _a_”. Julian guessed “Car” for the incomplete word, but the answer was “The World’s Fastest Man.”

Another upsetting loss came in the last regular round. The incomplete puzzle stood at, “_n-Th_-Sp_t D_c_s__n,” and Julian guessed “On-The-Spot Dicespin.” The next contestant solved for the win with “On-The-Spot Decision.”

Despite his flubs, Batts still managed to win the game and advance to the bonus round, collecting $11,700. It's not much compared to a cool $1 million, but it's not a terrible consolation prize.

Watch the video of Julian’s blunders.
 

 



Photo Credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Blood Moon" Eclipse to Wow U.S. Sky Watchers]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 05:57:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/194*120/AP10122117992.jpg

The first of four lunar eclipses known as the "blood moons" will take place on Tuesday and those living in the U.S. are in for a treat.

"The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA," said NASA expert Fred Espenak on Nasa.gov. A tetrad is a series of four consecutive total eclipses that take place at six month intervals.

Tuesday's eclipse starts at 2 a.m. EST, according to NASA, when the edge of the moon will enter the core of the earth's shadow. Total eclipse will occur at around 3 a.m. for those on the East Coast and at around midnight for those in the west. The event will last about 78 minutes, according to NASA.

A total eclipse takes place when the earth casts a shadow on a full moon. The sunlight on the earth's surface shows up on its shadow and gives the moon a red, coppery glow.

Three more total eclipses are expected on Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[WTC Skydiver: I Thrive on Heights and Fear]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:06:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/wtc+jumpers+arrest.jpg

The ironworker who helped build the new World Trade Center tower and then leaped off its roof in a daring BASE jump says all that time spent working on the building only contributed to his urge to seek the thrill.

"I'm working on this building. What do I want to do? I want to jump off," James Brady told the New York Post for a story published Monday.

Brady, 32, and two other extreme-skydiving enthusiasts were arrested last month for the September stunt, along with a man police say kept watch on the ground.

Helmet cam video of the Sept. 30 leap was posted to YouTube in March, just as the group was facing charges including burglary, trespassing and reckless endangerment.

Brady told the Post he worked for nearly five years on building the 1,776-foot tower, including installing a beam signed by President Barack Obama.

Brady said he has completed about 700 skydives and BASE jumps.

"Working on heights and dealing with fear -- I thrive on those things," he said.

Brady said the jump was "just the realest moment you can experience."

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the men "placed themselves, as well as others, in danger."

The arrest of the jumpers came just as a teenage boy was also arrested for sneaking into the site and going up to the roof of the tower. Days later, CNN producers were arrested trying to get into the site, and just last week, sources say a man with a backpack walked past a security guard into an area where he was not authorized to be.



Photo Credit: AP Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tax Day Deadline Details — And Freebies]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:09:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tax_day.jpg

Tax Day is upon us, and whether you've already spent your fat return or are preparing to pony up, there are still a few things most taxpayers should know before Tuesday's deadline.

There are remedies for those who can't afford to pay by April 15 and those in need of making an amendment.

And for those who just need a break to enjoy some free stuff, scroll down to see where you can take advantage of Tax Day deals:

Freebies

The most practical of all tax season freebies is the IRS' Free File program, which allows those who have an adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less to file for free through the agency's website.

Once you're done with the arduous task of doing your taxes, you can reward yourself with some of these wackier Tax Day freebies:

  • Hard Rock Cafe: On Tax Day, diners can sing on stage to get a free entree.
  • Office Depot: Retail stores will shred up to 5 pounds of paper until April 29 if you present this coupon.
  • Arby's: Get a coupon here for some free curly fries on April 15.
  • Bruegger's Bagels: Get a dozen bagels from April 12 to 15 with two tubs of cream cheese for $10.40, a nod at the IRS' 1040EZ form.
  • Sonic Drive-In: Enjoy half-priced drinks and slushes all day on April 15.
  • Boston Market: Get two half-chicken individual meals for $10.40.
  • HydroMassage: Free massage are available through April 18 at participating locations.
  • California Tortilla: Say "taxes schmaxes" to the cashier for a free chips and queso with any purchase.
  • Pizza Hut: Use the code TAXDAY to get a large pizza and your choice of breadsticks, cinnamon sticks or Dunkers for $10.99.
  • Cheesecake Factory: Tweet about your Tax Day woes with the hashtag #CakeMe on April 15 for a chance to win a free gift card.

Deadline extension

A six-month extension until Oct. 15 is available for those who are running late. File Form 4868 to qualify, but there is a catch: The IRS will charge interest on any amount not paid by the April 15 deadline.

If you've already dropped your tax returns in the mailbox and you have changes to make, you must file the 1040X Form with the corrected information and explain why you are changing what you're reporting, according to TurboTax.

Payment plans

For individuals who owe $50,000 or less, Form 9465 allows them to make monthly payments if they're not able to pay their tax debt immediately.

Lowest audit rate in years

The Internal Revenue Service is reportedly auditing fewer individuals this year due to budget cuts and a shortage of resources at the agency.

The IRS' new head Josh Koskinen said the "worst of the bad guys" will be closely scrutinized.

"But there are going to be some people that we should catch, either in terms of collecting the revenue from them, that we're not going to catch," Koskinen told The Associated Press.

The IRS audited less than 1 percent of all individuals' returns last year and "the numbers will go down" this year, Koskinen said.

For those who might try to fleece Uncle Sam in light of this Tax Day discovery, watch out. Not only is it illegal not to pay, but employers, brokers and lenders report all wages, interest and investment income to the IRS.

 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Flight Diverted After Man Attempts Mid-Air Exit]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:05:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/swa-mdw-smf-passenger-11.jpg

A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Sacramento was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Nebraska on Sunday after a passenger reportedly tried to make an abrupt mid-air exit.

Joshua Carl Lee Suggs, of Sacramento, was charged Monday with interfering with flight crew. He's expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

Video recorded by a producer from NBC station KCRA in Sacramento shows authorities removing Suggs from flight 722 after the pilots put the plane down at Eppley Airfield in Omaha.

Witnesses said they heard screaming coming from the back of the plane. A flight attendant was yelling "Help me! Help me!" as the man attempted to jump out of the plane through a rear door.

A doctor and other passengers reacted.

"I ran to the back of the plane. At that point in time I was joined by about two other people," Dr. Scott Porter said. "We basically tackled the -- I don't want to say gentleman -- but the guy who was back there and pinned him down and restrained him."

Another passenger, Monique Lawler, told KABC-TV in Los Angeles that she saw Suggs acting strangely during the flight. At one point he came out of the bathroom soaking wet, she said.

The flight with five crew members and 134 passengers arrived safely in Sacramento about two hours behind schedule, the airline said in a statement.

No injuries were reported.

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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:45:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/485009219.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Investigation Continues After Police Kill Homeless Man ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:24:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/140413-hollywood-ois.jpg

Los Angeles police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding homeless man outside a discount store in Hollywood on Sunday, officials said.

Officers responded to a call around 3:45 p.m. about a man breaking items at a 99 Cents Only store near Sunset and Hobart boulevards, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

When officers arrived at the store, they allegedly found the man outside the store carrying a knife.

During the confrontation, officers used a stun gun on the man, but "he continued to come at the officers," who then opened fire, LAPD Cmdr. Dennis Kato said.

A witness said he heard three or four shots. One witness said an officer beat the man with a baton after he was shot.

“He was already dead and another police came and hit him in the arm two times,” the witness said.

Authorities did not comment on the claim, but said they were investigating the entire incident.

Tim Nicholson said the homeless man went by "Dougie," and that he mostly kept to himself.

"He had a short temper but, you know, he was a good guy," Nicholson said.

No officers were hurt in the incident.

Police said a knife was recovered at the scene.

A stretch of Sunset Boulevard was closed during the investigation but has since then been re-opened as of 1:15 a.m. Monday.

A person who lives in the neighborhood said the trouble began when the man got in an argument with a store security guard after trying to take a shopping cart.

"I feel for the guy that went down, and he died over like a shopping cart, so it sort of doesn't make sense," the witness said.

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<![CDATA[NTSB: No Evidence of Pre-Crash Fire]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:40:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/AP619076443222.jpg

Federal investigators said on Sunday that they haven't found any evidence that the FedEx truck was on fire when it hit a tour bus carrying high school students on a Northern California highway.

Ten people were killed when the delivery truck crossed a 60-foot median and hit a couple’s Nissan Altima and a charter bus carrying dozens of Southern California high school students on Thursday.

Mark Rosekind of the National Transportation Safety Board said authorities were still investigating the scene of the crash near Orland, but there was nothing indicating the truck was on fire while crossing the median or highway before the wreck.

"There is no evidence of pre-impact fire located at the accident scene, on the median or on the highway," Rosekind said.

The couple in the Altima, Bonnie and Joe Duran, said the truck had fire coming from the rear of the truck just before it sideswiped their car.

"Look to the left and there it was, coming through right at me at an angle and I could tell I wasn’t going to outrun him so I just kind of turned to the right and he hit me just like that," Bonnie Duran told NBC4.

Miles Hill disputed other witness accounts claiming the delivery truck was on fire before it collided with the bus.

“It was in perfect condition. It exploded upon impact with the bus," Hill said. "It was not on fire at all.

Video captured by the Durans' and dashcam footage from a California Highway Patrol vehicle were being used in the investigation, Rosekind said.

In the past five years, 109 crashes have occurred within a 10-mile radius of the wreck site. In all of those wrecks, Rosekind said a vehicle had never crossed the median before.

A final report could take up to a year before it is finished, but a preliminary report was expected to be released in about one month, Rosekind said. 

Eight of the 10 killed had been identified as Saturday afternoon.

Michael Myvette, 25-year-old Mattison Haywood, 18-year-old Adrian Castro, 26-year-old Arthur Arzola, 17-year-old Marisa Serrato, Denise Gomez, Ismael Jimenez and Jennifer Bonilla were among those killed when the bus they were riding collided head-on with a FedEx truck on Interstate 5 in Orland, Calif., on Thursday evening.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[49ers' Aldon Smith Arrested For False Bomb Threat]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:59:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/10-9-2013-aldon-smith.jpg

San Francisco 49ers star linebacker Aldon Smith was taken into custody by police at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday following an encounter with a TSA agent, police said.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, 25-year-old Smith from San Jose, Calif., was arrested at LAX after making a bomb threat. He was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail Sunday evening and was not charged on Monday, as is standard for out-of-custody defendents, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

According to the police statement, Smith was going through Terminal 1 screening and was randomly selected for a secondary screening at about 2 p.m.. Smith "then became belligerent and uncooperative with the process and with the TSA agent, making a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb before proceeding towards the gate area."

Los Angeles Airport Police made contact with Smith at the gate, where he was identified as the person in question. Once again, Smith became uncooperative and was detained and taken into custody by Airport Police and transported to LAPD and booked for California Penal Code 148.1(a) - false report of a bomb threat.

Additional eyewitness accounts support the accusation.

An airport employee said that he witnessed the confrontation at the gate between Smith and police.

"I could hear him saying bomb, and then I looked and noticed who it was," an LAX employee who said his name was "Garet" told NBC Bay Area. "He was taking money out of his pocket and throwing it on the ground saying, ‘It’ll be all right. It’ll be all right.'"

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has confirmed police at the airport said it appeared Smith may have been drunk earlier in the day. He was belligerent, but he was not charged with being drunk in public, police said.

The airport said it did not run or request any blood alcohol tests because alcohol was not a factor in the arrest.

TMZ Sports was first to post footage of police officers at LAX taking Smith into custody. Smith can can be heard in the video saying he did nothing wrong.

San Francisco 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke released a statement saying the team is "disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith." He declined to comment further, citing a "pending legal matter."

This is the fourth criminal case against Smith in the last two years.

Smith had hearings on two separate criminal cases last Friday, including three felony counts of possessing an illegal assault weapon and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Deputy District Attorney Brian Buckelew.

Smith wasn't present for the hearing.

The district attorney's office filed the three felony charges against Smith on Oct. 9, after the office's firearms unit examined five rifles recovered by sheriff's deputies from Smith's rented home outside San Jose in 2012. Deputies searched the home after a raucous late-night party where two people were shot and wounded and Smith was stabbed in the leg.

During the crowded party, which was attended by 49ers player Chris Culliver and former 49ers player Delanie Walker, Smith fired a .45 caliber handgun into the air to disburse partygoers before he was stabbed.

The man prosecutors alleged stabbed Smith, Steven Raymond Burba, a reputed gang member, was later arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Authorities have not arrested a suspect in the shootings of the two victims at the party.

When sheriff's deputies arrived at Smith's home to investigate, they found five rifles in his bedroom, including three assault weapons, an Armalite AR-10T and two Bushmaster brand rifles, which Smith bought legally in Arizona in 2011 but are illegal to possess in California, prosecutors said.

Smith's separate DUI case was on the court calendar for a pretrial conference. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession on Sept. 20, after San Jose police said he crashed his car into a tree at about 7 a.m. on Bentley Ridge Drive in San Jose.

Some 49ers fans said they were not surprised Smith has had yet another brush with the law.

"You would think he’d get his act together after getting caught after having that DUI crash in San Jose but he’s young, he’s not learning," 49ers fan TJ Duran said.

"I would be shocked if he has a future with the team," football fan Sean Smith said.


Credit for cell phone video: Clayton Mullaly, USMC combat vet.

 

Information from Bay City News was used in this report.



Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Janitor Accused of Raping Woman]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:43:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/back+to+school+hallway.jpg

A janitor at a school in Brooklyn is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl inside the school where he worked, police say.

Hernan Zapata, 51, was arrested and charged with rape, assault and unlawful imprisonment after the alleged attack Friday.

Police say the girl was a former student and was at the school to meet someone. The janitor offered to let her inside and took her to an office where he allegedly assaulted her.
   
Police have not released the name of the school.

The Department of Education released a statement saying Zapata has been been terminated and had been hired by a custodian as a cleaner.

Zapata was not a DOE employee, according to the statement, and will not be able to work at a DOE facility again.

Information on an attorney for Zapata was not immediately available.

--Jonathan Dienst contributed to this story

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<![CDATA[Bus Crash Survivor Recounts Horror]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 04:27:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/miles-hill-bus-crash-survivor.jpg

A Southern California teen said he knew he had to act quickly when he saw a tractor-trailer careening directly toward the tour bus full of students he was riding in.

Miles Hill, 18, escaped the fiery crash with second-degree burns on both his hands and along the left side of his body, among other injuries. Five students and five adults were killed in the crash on Interstate 5 near the small Northern California city of Orland on Thursday.

When Hill saw the FedEx truck coming toward the bus, he covered his head with his fire-repellent Army jacket and braced for impact. As the bus became engulfed in flames, the teen kicked out a window and fled from the burning bus.

“So much adrenaline was coursing through my veins,” Hill said. “I was in so much shock that I did what I had to do. I kicked it and it came off and I ran.”

From his hospital bed at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, Hill said he is still haunted by what he heard and saw.

“Screams of people who were trapped inside burning alive,” Hill said. “They were screaming, ‘Help me, I don’t want to die.’”

The worst of the fire and most of the deaths happened near the front of the bus. Hill was sitting right behind the driver.

“He chose that position because he had read somewhere a long time ago that the safest position in the bus in a bus crash – he had researched it – was in the front of the bus,” said Hill’s father, Gaylord Hill.

Hill disputed other witness accounts claiming the dlivery truck was on fire before it collided with the bus.

“It was in perfect condition. It exploded upon impact with the bus," Hills said. "It was not on fire at all.

The teen was able to save himself and others after kicking out the window. But his father said the teen almost feels guilty about surviving because he wasn’t able to do more for those who died.

“I can’t even imagine him in the middle of the explosion and saved his life, and the others couldn’t,” the father said.

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<![CDATA[High School Senior ID'd in Crash]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 05:55:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/jenniferbonilla+copy.jpg

A senior from Dorsey High School was identified as one of the 10 dead in the violent Northern California bus crash Thursday.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy confirmed Saturday that Jennifer Bonilla died in the bus that was carrying Los Angeles area high school students to Humboldt State University when it was struck by a FedEx delivery truck that crossed lanes of traffic on Interstate 5.

Bonilla's mother notified Dorsey High's principal that her daughter was on the bus that crashed. A crisis center will be open to students on the Dorsey campus starting Monday at 9 a.m.

A donation site was set up for Bonilla by Nancy Perdomo-Browning, a co-worker of the victim’s sister.

“Any financial assistance you are able to give will be greatly appreciated and updated information will be posted on this site as arrangements are made,” Perdomo-Browning wrote on the site. “The funds will be used by her mother to assist with burial and additional arrangements as necessary in relation to such.”

To donate, click here: http://www.gofundme.com/8a287s 



Photo Credit: Nancy Perdomo-Browning]]>
<![CDATA[No Sign Truck Braked Before Crash]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 07:10:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP158992610562.jpg

Investigators found no signs that a FedEx truck braked before colliding head-on with a tour bus in Northern California, killing 10 people, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said Saturday.

The tractor-trailer strayed from the southbound lane at a 10-degree angle, the spokesman said, running over the 58-foot-wide median and onto the northbound lane – but leaving no tire marks behind, NBC News reported.

Tire marks by the bus before the moment of impact stretched for 145 feet, said the NTSB’s Mark Rosekind. The marks indicate that the bus driver reacted to the oncoming truck by braking and steering to the right, he said.

The force of the collision ejected some of the bus passengers, Rosekind said.

The bus, a 2014 model, had been in service for about a month and was equipped with seat belts, Rosekind said.

Rosekind also said toxicology tests were being conducted on both drivers to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Tracking technology on board the tractor-trailer was likely destroyed during a fire, an investigator told NBC News.

The crash occurred about 5:40 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 5 near Orland, when the FedEx truck crossed a median and struck a Nissan Altima and a charter bus carrying dozens of Southern California high school students on their way to visit Humboldt State University.

Rosekind told NBC News that an electronic module inside the delivery truck could give information “about the speed, any hard braking that may have happened.” However, the blaze was so powerful that the device was “probably destroyed” in it, he said.

Rosekind’s comments come after the couple driving the Altima told NBC4 that the FedEx truck was already on fire before it crossed lanes and hit the tour bus.

Bonnie and Joe Duran were driving back to home to the Seattle-area at the time of the crash. They were driving in front of the charter bus.

"The driver (of the Nissan) did report seeing flames that were coming out from the truck tractor cab prior to the crash as it was coming across the median," Rosekind said at the news conference Saturday.

Bonnie Duran said the flames were not coming from the front engine and appeared to be coming from behind the cab.

The Durans were set to be interviewed by CHP investigators Saturday, and could be seen leaving a station Saturday morning.

Seven victims of a fiery bus crash had been identified as of Saturday afternoon. They are Michael Myvette, 25-year-old Mattison Haywood, 18-year-old Adrian Castro, 26-year-old Arthur Arzola, 17-year-old Marisa Serrato, Denise Gomez and Ismael Jimenez.

Four autopsies were completed Friday, and coroners were attempting to complete the remaining five on Saturday. An update was not expected until midweek.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2 Bodies Found in Hudson River]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 05:57:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hoboken+pier+deaths+serrano+inset.jpg

Two Newark men were found dead in the Hudson River off a pier in New Jersey Sunday morning, authorities said.

Police received reports of two men in the water near Sinatra Park in Hoboken at around 5:30 a.m. The bodies of the two men were recovered by the NYPD Scuba Unit about 90 minutes later, police said.

Officials have identified them as 20-year-old Elias Serrano and 24-year-old Edwin Cruz.

Investigators said Serrano and Cruz were with a group of friends on a pier near Eighth Street before they went in the water.

No foul play is suspected but it remains unclear exactly why or how the men ended up in the river.

On Sunday afternoon, police were still interviewing the group of friends. Autopsies for Serrano and Cruz were expected to be completed Monday.

Tearful family members remembered Serrano Sunday night.

“Any dark room he lit it up, he was vibrant, strong,” said Jose Rivera, one of his cousins.
 


 

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<![CDATA[2 Men Arrested in String of Murders]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 07:57:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/oc-serial-murders-suspects.jpg

Two transients have been arrested in connection with a string of murders in Orange County, police said Saturday.

Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, were arrested Friday in the 5100 block of East La Palma Avenue in Anaheim for allegedly killing four women, the Anaheim Police Department said.

Three of the women had been reported missing from Santa Ana and the fourth, identified as 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp of Oklahoma, was found dead at a recycling plant in Anaheim on March 14, police said.

The missing women were identified by police as 20-year-old Kianna Jackson of Las Vegas, and 34-year-old Josephine Vargas and 28-year-old Martha Anaya, both of Santa Ana.

Investigators said there may be more victims.

The Anaheim and Santa Ana police departments conducted a joint investigation into the slayings.

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<![CDATA[7 Bus Crash Victims Identified]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 10:36:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP300421924489.jpg

Eight victims of a fiery bus crash that left 10 dead on a Northern California highway Thursday have been identified.

Michael Myvette, 25-year-old Mattison Haywood, 18-year-old Adrian Castro, 26-year-old Arthur Arzola, 17-year-old Marisa Serrato, Denise Gomez, Ismael Jimenez  and Jennifer Bonilla were among those killed when the bus they were riding collided head-on with a FedEx truck on Interstate 5 in Orland, Calif., on Thursday evening.

The bus was carrying Los Angeles area students on their way to a college tour at Humboldt State University. The drivers of both the bus and the FedEx truck were killed in the wreck, but their identities have not been released.

Four autopsies were completed Friday, and coroner's were attempting to complete the remaining five on Saturday. An update was not expected until midweek, according to a press release from the Glenn County Sheriff's Department.

Jennifer Bonilla: 

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy confirmed Saturday that Dorsey High School student Jennifer Bonilla died in the wreck. 

Bonilla's mother notified Dorsey High's principal that Bonilla was on the bus that crashed and was killed.

A crisis center will open to students on campus Monday at 9 a.m.

Ismael Jimenez:

Evelin Jimenez, the sister of Ismael Jimenez, confirmed to NBC4 on Saturday that her brother was killed in the wreck. 

Denise Gomez:

Extended family members confirmed to NBC4 that Animo Inglewood Charter School student Denise Gomez was killed in the wreck. Gomez and Ismael Jimenez, who also died in the crash, were sitting together at the time of the collision.

Adrian Castro:

Friends of Castro, a football player at El Monte Union High School, say the teen was going to be the first in his family to go to college.

"I just felt like I lost a brother, I lost a family member. It hurt real bad," said classmate Nathaniel Medina, who was on the football team with Castro. “He was telling me he hasn't decided what college to go to and then, um, he was telling me he was really excited because he was going to college."

Marisa Serrato:

Serrato, whose twin sister Marisol was also on the trip but rode a different bus, was a senior at Norte Vista High School. Serrato's mother confirmed on Friday that Marisa is among the dead.

Since the crash, the girls' mother struggled to get a hold of Marisa and said she was desperate for information about what happened to her. The family became even more worried when officials called asking for dental records that would be used to possibly identify a victim.

Michael Myvette and Mattison Haywood:

Myvett and Haywood were a recently engaged couple who were chaperoning the students on the trip. Haywood was a high school and college basketball player who planned to become a doctor. Myvett worked with autistic children.

The two were described as very sweet people whose fairytale romance was "like a movie."

"Had only one of them survived, the other would be an absolute wreck because they were two peas in a pod," Mattison's father John Haywood said.

Arthur Arzol:

Arzola, a college admissions counselor, was recruiting for the university in the LA area. He married his high school sweetheart in 2012.

"He had the biggest smile. He was always really charismatic," friend Ryan Garcia said.

A total of five students, three chaperones and both the bus driver and truck driver died in the crash, authorities said. Nine people died at the scene. Arzola died at the hospital.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Body Is Missing Calif. Hiker]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 10:56:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mttam-missing-hiker.jpg

Investigators confirmed Saturday night a woman’s body found that morning near Mt. Tamalpais is that of a hiker from Menlo Park who went missing two weeks ago.

The sheriff’s department confirmed the body to be of 33-year-old Magdalena Glinkowski. As for exactly what caused her death, that could take some time to determine, investigators said.

Search teams returned to Mt. Tam Saturday morning after a runner called in a tip and said he thought he saw Glinkowski on the day she disappeared.

He said he spotted her on a hiking trail about a mile from the Pantoll Campground where security cameras captured images of Glinkowski, who appeared to be embarking on a hike.

Dozens of searchers, along with trained search dogs, went looking for Glinkowski in that general area. And they discovered a woman’s body at the bottom of a steep ravine.

"The body was located in a very remote, rugged area, drainage off what might be considered one of the more common used here in the mountain," Marin County Sheriff's Department Lt. Doug Pittman said.  "It's unusual for people to travel these areas, which would explain as to why she had not been located up until this point."

Glinkowski went missing on March 30, and the software developer apparently left a note at her Menlo Park home, saying she was going hiking for the day.

Her parents were present at the site of the search Saturday morning. Some experienced hikers said that particular trail is dangerous, and there are places where you can easily slip and fall.

The sheriff’s department said that is a possibility in this case, and they do not suspect foul play.

It will take a day or two for the medical examiner to do an evaluation.

Toxicology tests can take up to 30 days, so it may be a while before the official cause of death is released.

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<![CDATA[Family of Innocent Man Speaks]]> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 12:59:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/212*120/johnwinklercrop1.jpg

The family of an innocent man who was mistakenly shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies is trying to make sense of his death, they said in a statement Friday.

Deputies on Monday were responding to a call of an assault with a deadly weapon and man with a knife in an apartment in the 900 block of Palm Avenue when two men came running toward them.

The deputies mistakenly thought one of the men was the victim and the other the suspect, officials said. They opened fire, shooting and killing John Winkler, 30.

Winkler’s uncle, Craig Dawson, said the Comedy Central staffer was a “kind, funny, smart young man.”

“We are grasping to understand why he was taken away from us in such a tragic way,” Dawson said. "Those who were blessed with the opportunity to know John knew him to be an incredibly giving young man, always ready to do anything for friends and family.”

Authorities said Winkler was one of three men who were held hostage inside the apartment at knifepoint. Alexander McDonald, 27, allegedly stabbed and fought the hostages until deputies arrived.

McDonald was charged with murder on Thursday.

Dawson said that Winkler put his own life at risk trying to help a friend in a dangerous situation.

"Moving forward, we seek to understand the reasons why the sheriff's deputies shot and killed John,” Dawson said. “We know that shooting and killing an innocent man must be a horrible burden for those deputies, and they are in our prayers as well, as they attempt to cope with the circumstances of his death.”

Comedy Central released a statement on Friday mourning the loss of Winkler.

“We only had the privilege of working with him for a short while and extend heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends during this tragic time,” Comedy Central said.

Family members told NBC4 that Winkler moved to Los Angeles about six months ago. 

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