<![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 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 03:25:49 -0500 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 03:25:49 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Kittens Survive Accidental Mailing]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:04:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cox+kittens+3.jpg

These two kittens are just a few weeks old, but they’ve already taken the trip of a lifetime.

A worker at Cox Communications in San Diego County discovered the kittens inside a box of equipment. It turns out that they were accidentally packed up and shipped from Cox Communications in Hollywood.

Somehow, they survived the journey to San Diego.

The kittens, aptly named Mouse and WiFi, are now being cared for at the San Diego Humane Society’s 24-Hour Kitten Nursery. Humane Society workers believe the mother cat was looking for a safe, warm place for her babies and put them in the box.

San Diego Humane Society Public Relations Manager Kelli Schry says it’s a miracle the kitties survived.

“They were just a few days old, and at that young age kittens have to fed every two hours,” she said via email.

Mouse and WiFi will be available for adoption when they are 8-weeks-old. 



Photo Credit: San Diego Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:59:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/198*120/chelsea-clinton-pregnant.JPG

The Clintons are going to be grandparents -- Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first child later this year.

Chelsea Clinton, who married Marc Mezvinsky in 2010, made the announcement Thursday during an event in New York with her mother. 

"Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year," she said. "I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child, and hopefully children, as my mom was to me."

Chelsea Clinton, 34, delivered the news as she and her mother hosted "Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation," which is part of their project that works to advance progress for women and girls around the world.

The former New York senator and secretary of state, who is considering another presidential run in 2016, said she is thrilled.

"It makes this work even more important because we've made a lot of progress," said the former first lady.

"Obviously we are very excited about what's happening in our family," she said. "But we're also very excited because of what we are doing that we hope gives confidence and support to so many of you across our country as you make decisions about the lives you want to lead."

Later Thursday, the Twitter account for Bill Clinton posted a tweet that said "Excited to add a new line to my Twitter bio ... grandfather to be! @hillaryclinton and I are so happy for Chelsea and Marc!"

 

 

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<![CDATA[McNabb Spends Day in AZ Jail ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:19:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mcnabb+arrested+mugshot+background.jpg

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has been released from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year.

Records released by Maricopa County Justice Court show that 37-year-old McNabb served his time Wednesday and was released Thursday morning.

Court administrator James Vance tells NBC10.com McNabb was stopped on Dec. 15, 2013 in his gray Land Rover LR4 along an Arizona freeway -- Route 101 near East McDowell Road -- on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He was then arrested for driving under the influence and cited for speeding.

McNabb's blood alcohol content (BAC) was not available for release, but Vance said while the state's legal limit is 0.08, a person could be considered impaired with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.

The former Eagle pleaded guilty on March 27 and nine days of his sentence was suspended in exchange for undergoing alcohol screening and treatment. Vance says that is a pretty standard judgment.

McNabb then reported to the Maricopa County Jail on Wednesday, was booked and served the one day sentence.

Once the alcohol treatment is completed, the sentence will be suspended, Vance says.

NBC10.com reached out to McNabb's attorney, Stephen Benedetto, for comment. We have not heard back.

Our sister station, KPNX in Phoenix, Ariz., obtained a booking mugshot of McNabb from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowler, spent 10 years with the Eagles and took the franchise to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. He currently hosts a show on NBC Sports Radio.

A spokesman for the radio network said, "Donovan has no comment," on the matter.



Photo Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[911 Calls Reveal Chilling Moments After Calif. Bus Crash]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:05:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/AP619076443222.jpg

The 911 calls released Thursday reveal audible cries of fear in the moments after the fiery Northern California bus crash that claimed 10 lives while en route to Humboldt State University last Thursday.

The distressed caller tried to explain what happened over screams in the background.

"We crashed into a bus...a truck. I don't know where we are," the caller said. "We were coming from LA and we're going all the way to Humboldt State University."

Ths bus erupted into flames when a FedEx big rig crossed a 60-foot median and slammed head-on into the bus.

"The bus is on fire," the caller said as others could be heard screaming and crying. "We are getting away from the bus actually."

California Highway Patrol Capt. Todd Morrison said that investigators will conduct vehicle tests using a 2014 tour bus and a 2007 FedEx tractor-trailer truck to learn more about characteristics such as braking and visibility.

“We are hoping to learn how it happened so that we can identify what to do to prevent it from happening again,” Morrison said.

Investigators were also still interviewing passengers, witnesses and urging anyone with video of the crash to send it to authorities. They also attempted to recreate the crash scene with similar vehicles to try to gain insight.

"We owe it to the families of the involved families and the victims of this tragic collision that we tell the story of what happened, and that we tell it as accurately as possible," Leal said.

All 10 victims in the crash had been identified, some by authorities and others by family, including a recently engaged couple, a college admissions counselor and the the drivers of the truck and bus.

Fellow students returned to the scene of the crash Thursday to pay tribute to those killed one week ago.

Glenn County Sheriff-Coroner Larry Jones said most of the victims had been positively identified by his office, but their causes of death were being withhel pending toxicology testing.

"That can be several weeks out before we receieve all of that data from the labatory," Jones said.

Michael Myvette, 25-year-old Mattison Haywood, 26-year-old counselor Arthur Arzola, students Adrian Castro, 18, Marisa Serrato, 17, Denise Gomez, Ismael Jimenez , Jennifer Bonilla, bus driver Talalelei Taiao and FedEx driver Tim Evans were among those killed in the wreck.

The news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. near the collision site.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cabbie Accused of Avoiding 3,000 Bridge Tolls ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:46:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GENERIC-CAB.gif

A New York City taxi driver is accused of avoiding bridge tolls more than 3,000 times in two years by tailgating cars in front of him and slipping through the tollbooth before the barrier came down, prosecutors said Thursday.

The 69-year-old driver, Rodolfo Sanchez, is charged with third-degree larceny, theft of services and fifth-degree possession of stolen property, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Authorities discovered him after noticing that an inactive E-ZPass tag was regularly crossing the RFK Bridge without paying. The bridge, formerly known as the Triborough Bridge, is actually made up of three bridges, a viaduct and 14 miles of approach roads that connect Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Upon further investigation, surveillance video was matched to that E-ZPass, showing a yellow cab tailgating closely behind the car in front of it, crossing through the tollbooth before the barrier came down.

Additional examination of the E-ZPass tag showed it had crossed the bridge 3,017 times between 2012 and 2014 without paying tolls, allegedly costing the MTA more than $28,000 in lost revenue.

"This type of behavior is egregiously unfair to the millions of honest, motorists who pay tolls every day, and we will continue efforts to root out toll evaders and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Chief of Security Donald Look.

Sanchez was released on his own recognizance. His attorney did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

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<![CDATA[Courtroom Erupts After Conviction]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:41:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AlHimidi-Verdict-1.jpg

A broken family’s screams erupted in a San Diego courtroom after a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of an Iraqi immigrant who killed his wife.

As the defendant cried out in Arabic "not guilty," his mother-in-law flailed her arms, screaming "you killed my daughter," while his two teenage sons chose opposing sides.

Jurors found Kassim Al-Himidi, 49, guilty in the death of his wife Shaima Alawadi -- a bloody, brutal beating once considered a hate crime that was, in the end, an act of domestic violence.

After Judge William McGrath handed off the verdict for reading, several family members began screaming, including the defendant's oldest son, who yelled profanities, saying he disagreed with the jury's verdict.

"This is bulls---!" This is f---ing bulls---!" the son yelled. "My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly."

Al-Himidi smirked, crossed his arms, shook his head, wagged his finger and began praying as the jury was polled one by one. At one point, he put his head on the table in front of him. Then, he too began yelling.

According to a translator, Al-Himidi screamed out in Arabic, "God knows I'm not the killer. I'm not the killer! I'm innocent. Not guilty."

As deputies rushed to place handcuffs on Al-Himidi, he continued to yell, telling his family to seek international help on this case and have investigators look at it as a hate crime. He said to get him help from overseas to get him out of jail, the translator said.

Meanwhile, the mother of the victim stood up in court, flailing her arms, and screamed,"You killed my daughter. This is not a mistake, you did kill her."

Another one of Al-Himidi's sons sided with his grandmother and said his father did kill his mother.

Outside of the courtroom, through a translator, the victim's mother said a guilty verdict is the least Al-Himidi could have gotten in this case.

"If you killed her, you deserve to be killed as well," she added, with tears in her eyes. "My daughter was home, as you probably all know. He's the one."

The grandmother went on to say that she disagreed with her oldest grandson about the verdict.

"He does not believe that, but I do," she added.

She said she heard about the problems between her daughter and Al-Himidi before the killing, but she never imagined it would lead to murder.

Ron Rockwell, attorney for Al-Himidi's children, including daughter Fatima Al-Himidi, said the tension in the courtroom was from years of pent-up emotions. Despite the oldest son's outburst, which surprised the attorney, Rockwell said all of the siblings agree with the guilty verdict.

He released this statement, on behalf of the children:

“Fatima and her brothers and sisters respect the integrity of the jury system and find it unfathomably sad that their father found life so difficult that he resorted to taking the life of their dear mother but hope that this is justice for her and for them, her children that miss her dearly. We agree with the jury’s decision and although we love our father, we hate what we also believe that he did.

After over two years of great sadness, Fatima and her brothers and sisters find relief in now believing that they can begin to heal as a family while knowing in their minds that while missing their mother more and more with each passing day, whether that is with or without their father, it will always be without their mother.”

Al-Himidi will be sentenced on May 15, Judge McGrath said Thursday.

Alawadi, 32, was beaten in a bloody attack inside the family's home on March 21, 2012. She suffered critical brain injuries and died three days later.

At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime because of a handwritten note found at the crime scene that read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”

Just before they entered deliberations, jurors were reminded of the defendant's timeline on the day of the beating.

According to phone records, Shaima called her husband at 8:04 a.m.

Video from a nearby middle school shows a burgundy Nissan Quest going and leaving the home that morning.

At 8:15 a.m. the van was seen traveling southbound along Emerald Avenue toward Skyview Street as Al-Himidi returns to the house from taking the children to school, prosecutors said.

Then, at 9:49 a.m. a vehicle matching the description stopped at the curb, just north of the intersection of Emerald and Skyview.

Prosecutors say 30 seconds later, a pedestrian can be seen moving from the vehicle towards the house at 564 Skyview Street, three homes from the corner.

At 10:10 a.m., cell phone records show someone called Al-Himidi’s cell phone but it goes unanswered.

Prosecutors say the phone communicated with the cell tower that serves the same area as the family’s home on Skyview.

“At 10:10 he’s still in his home tower area,” Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said Tuesday.

The next phone call to Al-Himidi’s cell phone was from his daughter, Fatima, at 11:18 a.m. after Shaima is discovered.

Defense attorneys poked holes in the prosecution's case in their closing arguments.

Investigators did not find any forensic evidence linking their client to the crime scene, the defense argued.

They reminded jurors that witnesses testified how violence is not in Al-Himidi's character.

Throughout the trial, the defense raised questions about the role of Shaima's daughter, Fatima, who was in the house at the time of the attack.

She was called to testify several times and shared details of her parents’ tense marriage.

The defense believes Fatima was somehow involved in her mother’s murder.

“You don’t have to solve this mystery to acquit Mr. Al-Himidi,” defense attorney Richard Berkon told the jury. “You don’t have to figure out who did it.”

In closing, even Mechals told jurors, "Fatima doesn’t make your job easy, that’s for sure."

"Whether you can believe anything she says, that’s up to you," he said.

However, Mechals urged the jury to use their common sense to find what is reasonable and what isn't.

Al-Himidi has been visibly emotional throughout the trial, at times crying and wailing loudly as evidence was presented to the jury. He wept uncontrollably when 911 tapes were played in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial.

Cameras were only allowed in the courtroom during opening testimony and closing arguments.

“He thought he had committed the perfect crime. He thought he had nothing to worry about,” Mechals said.

Both the defendant and victim are Iraqi immigrants. The murder investigation reverberated across the nation when it first happened because of the discovery of a threatning note.

However, in November 2012, El Cajon police announced the arrest of Al-Himidi and said the killing was not a hate crime, but rather one of domestic violence.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Laughs at Man Named Cocaine]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:41:54 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000012359097_1200x675_229639747887.jpg Broward Judge John Hurley thought he had heard it all, until this man walked into his courtroom.]]> <![CDATA[In Memoriam: Gabriel Garcia Marquez]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:09:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GGM-106331297.jpg Take a look back at those we lost in 2014.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Squirrel on the Mend in DC]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:14:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/squirrel8.jpg

The same rehab center that patched up an injured snowy owl in the nation's capital has another cute creature under their care.

D.C. City Wildlife said a baby squirrel was found on the sidewalk after falling 75 feet from her nest.

Wildlife officials said the squirrel — which they believe is a female — suffered a broken ankle. Her leg is now wrapped up in a little red cast.

The squirrel "should heal very quickly," officials said.

Earlier this year, City Wildlife treated a rare snowy owl after it was apparently hit by a bus in D.C. 

The injured owl was taken to the National Zoo before being transferred to the wildlife rehabilitation center. It's now at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, which has expertise in replacing damaged feathers.

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<![CDATA[Mom Drives Van Into River: Police]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:05:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Delaware-River-Mom.jpg

A man swooped in to save a South Jersey family after a mother allegedly tried to kill her teenage children.

Darnell Taylor is mourning the loss of his father, who died from cancer Wednesday morning. Yet while Taylor is now coping with the tragedy, he can take solace in the fact that he prevented another one from happening just a day before his father's death.

Police say 49-year-old Joann Smith was driving her van on West Front Street in Florence Township, N.J around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. With her 15, 14, and 13 year-old children inside the vehicle, Smith allegedly accelerated onto a boat ramp and into the Delaware River.

Investigators say she was intentionally trying to kill her children.

Taylor says he was driving to dinner with his wife when he noticed the vehicle partially submerged in the water and the family trapped inside.

"I got out of the car and heard people screaming," Taylor said. "I took off my jacket, jumped in and swam out there."

Taylor swam towards the family while his wife called 911.

"I couldn't get the window open because the window in the van was not a pop out window," Taylor said. "So I kept telling the young lady to kick the window out and she kicked it out."

One by one, Taylor grabbed Smith, her daughter and two sons to safety. Taylor claims Smith didn't say anything during the rescue except for "Thank you."

One of the children suffered cuts on the leg while Smith was checked into a medical facility for a mental evaluation.

Police claim Smith intentionally drove the van into the water. She was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of child endangerment.

Smith’s bail was set at $600,000. Officials originally said that Smith would likely appear in Superior Court in Mount Holly Thursday afternoon. Thursday morning however they said her first appearance wouldn't occur until Monday morning at the earliest.

Detectives with the Florence Township Police Department along with officials from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the case.

Smith's three children are currently staying with relatives, shaken by their terrifying experience but still alive thanks to Taylor.

"He was a godsend," said Bob Lane, a Florence Township resident. "He saved them. That water is not warm and he jumped in."

While many people are calling him a hero, Taylor disagrees.

"I'm not a hero," he said. "I'm just a member of this community and anyone else would have done the same thing."



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Condom Shortage in Cuba]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:20:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WEB_CONDOMS_BY_MAIL.png

The latest food and product shortage to rock Cubans is being felt in the bedroom.

Complaints that condoms are scarce are emerging from the island, part of a dry spell that has lasted several weeks, The Miami Herald reported. 

One Havana author wrote on a Spanish-language website based in Miami that some shops continue to sell condoms, but at prices tailored to tourists that are unaffordable for most Cubans, according to The Herald. The shortage has lasted about two weeks, she wrote.

A report in a Communist Party newspaper pinpointed the prophylactic pinch to labeling and packaging issues with a batch of condoms purchased wholesale from China, The Herald reported.

Residents have also reported recent shortfalls of staples like toothpaste, toilet paper, soap and beer, the paper reported. 

 

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<![CDATA[Plane Evacuated at JFK After Bomb Threat: Officials]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:33:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JFK-airport.jpg

A plane was evacuated at John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday evening after a bomb threat was made, officials say.

Authorities cleared out United Airlines flight 5714 at 7:40 p.m. after officials received an alert for the threat, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The FBI searched the plane, officials say, but agents didn’t find anything. Passengers were allowed back on the plane, and all of the luggage on the plane was rescreened.

The plane took off for its destination, Dulles International Airport in Washington, at 9:45 p.m., officials say.

No arrests have been made.



Photo Credit: File Photo / AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Truck Crashes Into Restaurant]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:55:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/firetruckcrash1.JPG

Monterey Park's fire chief said during a news conference on Thursday that he had never seen an accident the magnitude of Wednesday's crash that left 15 people hurt when two fire trucks plowed into a restaurant.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time ... we don't have anything like this occur," said Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell.

Lu's Dumpling House owner Vivian Lu said a man was on the sidewalk when the 40,000-pound fire engine jumped the curb, pushing him as it slammed through her restaurant near Garfield and Emerson avenues about 3:25 p.m.

When the fire truck came to a stop, a man was found pinned beneath it.

Cellphone video captured the moment when a firefighter attempted to help the man under the front bumper of the engine. The victim was believed to be hospitalized in critical condition.

"A lot blood,” Lu said. ”I see a lot blood."

Lu said the impact of the crash also pushed a built-in cashier's table across the floor, sending a waitress into a wall and making the building unstable.

Six firefighters suffered minor to moderate injuries, and eight other people had minor injuries. One person was in critical condition. A total of 15 people were hurt.

"I see a few people sitting on the street and all this blood," Lu said.

The crash happened down the street from Garfield Medical Center, where many of the victims were being taken on foot by firefighters.

The crash occurred when a fire truck and a fire engine crashed while responding to a house on fire. Both trucks were blaring sirens and running lights, one truck from Montery Park Fire Department and the other from the Alhambra Fire Department. All firefighters on board were wearing ear protecting headsets to dampen the sirens noise.

"It is ear protection from the noise of your own sirens so they do diminish the sound from outside," Alhambra Fire Department Chief Bill Walker said.

Neighbors ended up helping put out the house fire that both departments were responding to at the time of the crash.



Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus Drawing a Record in Chalk?]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 05:22:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chalk-jesus-03.jpg

Fellowship Church in Grapevine is attempting to set the world record for the largest chalk drawing.

The church, led by Pastor Ed Young, is coloring a drawing of Jesus Christ that spans nearly 17,000 square feet, according to a statement on their website.

It took 6,700 individual pieces of chalk to create the portrait, and 125 bags of charcoal, according to a church representative.

The purpose of "Chalk Jesus" is to get people interested in and talking about the church in the days leading up to Easter.

"We believe the church should be the most creative entity on the face of the planet. Not boring, not humdrum," said Derric Bonnot with Fellowship Church. "But it should be out there thinking up new ways to tell the story of who Jesus is and who God is. And so hopefully this just catches people's attention to want to see more and want to know more."

Bonnot told NBC DFW hundreds of volunteers helped to make the portrait possible. Most were members of the mega church, which has six locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But many of the volunteers were people who learned about the effort from social media, the radio or from the television, Bonnot said.

"Honestly, I think it speaks to people," said church member Roger Moreno about the portrait. Moreno brought his son, Luciano, 2, to help. "To show him that it's a good thing to give back and not just be so selfish."

"That actually shows that we actually still care and [we are] trying to make a difference in somebody's life," Moreno added.

The portrait will stay in place through Sunday's Easter services, at which point congregation members will then wash it away.

Despite their 12-plus hour drawing effort, if rain showers come before Sunday, Bonnot said the church understands that may make the chalk Jesus "an abstract art piece."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Once-Conjoined Twins Leave Hospital]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:26:08 -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 have left the hospital for an inpatient rehabilitation center.

"We are thrilled beyond words that we are here today," the boys' mother Jenni Ezell said Wednesday.

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.

Owen and Emmett Ezell left the Dallas hospital eight months after their surgery and a day after turning 9-months-old.

"This is a big day we have been waiting on a long time, we have been ready to bring these boys home for months now so this is a good thing," said the boys' father Dave Ezell.

It was an emotional departure for the hospital staff, the team of doctors and nurses who have cared for them in the neonatal intensive care unit since their birth and separation surgery in August.

"I just can't thank them enough we are so happy and grateful," said Jenni Ezell. "They are like family to us. It is hard to say goodbye until later."

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

"When we first learned they were conjoined we never imagined, that we would be here but it has come and it is time now time to keep loving them and watching them develop and grow," said Dave Ezell. "We are in charge of their care, we get to take care of the babies. So it is like the beginning of this whole new world for us, where it is going to be physically exhausting, it's going to be amazing." 

The Ezells home the boys can go home for good in a month.

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[Girl Robbed of $1 in NYC Subway]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:47:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/girl-robbed-1-dollar.jpg

Police are looking for a man who approached a teen girl in an Upper West Side subway stairwell and tried to rob her before assaulting her and fleeing with $1.

The 15-year-old girl was entering the B and C subway station on 96th Street and Central Park West at about 10 a.m. Saturday, police said.

The suspect approached her and demanded her valuables.

He then assaulted her and took $1 from her jacket before fleeing.

Police released surveillance images of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[Explosives Scare in SoCal Town]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:28:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/military+ordnance.jpg

Residents were allowed to return home around midnight Thursday after the discovery of a potentially explosive military device forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes and businesses in a Southern California tourist town Wednesday, authorities said.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials said the device, described as a military ordnance, was reported about 3:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive in Solvang, a small city about 35 miles north of Santa Barbara.

About 500 to 700 homes and businesses in the immediate area received Reverse 911 calls ordering evacuations, sheriff's officials said.

The evacuation area was within a 1,500-foot radius of where the device was located. It included south of Laurel Avenue, west of Alisal Road, north of Birch Drive and east of 5th Street, sheriff's officials said.

Just after midnight, the Sheriff's Bomb Squad and Venderberg Air Force Base's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team removed the device and deemed it safe. The evacuation was lifted and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

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<![CDATA[VIDEO: Burglar Peers Into Crib]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:40:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gjanda-2014-04-16-12h46m46s137.jpg A burglary suspect who broke into a Houston home was caught on the video baby monitor set up to view the family's sleeping toddler.]]> <![CDATA[Yawning Suspect to Judge: "I Don't Care, Man"]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:36:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/041614+joseph+butler+judge+john+hurley.jpg

A yawning suspect earned a stern rebuke and a trip to jail after he told a South Florida judge, "I don't care, man."

Joseph Butler was facing grand theft and resisting arrest charges when he appeared before Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley Tuesday in the incident captured on court video.

Butler, arms crossed, stood as the prosecutor read from his lengthy criminal past then yawned loudly, drawing the ire of Hurley.


"Oh don't worry, sir. Sir, I heard you yawn, but don't worry. You won't yawn in just a minute. Trust me on that one," Hurley said.

"I don't care, man. I really don't care," Butler said.

"I know this is boring to you and you'd rather be out doing something else, but I can guarantee you won't be stealing anymore after this conversation," Hurley replied.


Hurley then set Butler's bond at $104,000, but ordered him held without bond on three previous grand theft arrests.

"So he's gonna be staying in jail for awhile," Hurley said after dismissing Butler. "Good, maybe he can yawn all he wants while he's over there."

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<![CDATA[Must See Photos:Boston Marathon Exhibit]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:07:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/boston-bombing-memorial-%285%29.JPG Photos of Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial, an exhibit of running shoes, posters, notes, shirts, hats and tokens of all shapes and sizes meant to give support and love to those impacted by the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Those objects were collected and transferred to the Boston City Archives for safekeeping. A selection of those artifacts are now on display at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.

Photo Credit: Ames Meyer, NBC 5 Chopper Photographer]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Accused of Sharing Naked Pics]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 04:32:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/texting-sexting.jpg

Two New Jersey teens are facing criminal charges after allegedly sharing nude photos of other teens, some of whom were engaging in sex acts, police said.

The Little Falls Police Department said Wednesday that a 16-year-old West Orange boy was arrested after he texted eight naked photos of a 17-year-old girl to a 16-year-old girlfriend from Little Falls.

That friend is then accused of showing the photos to others, and may have posted them on social media, police say. 

The girl is also believed to have sent other videos and photos of underage teens engaging in sex acts to other juveniles.

The teens are charged with endangering the welfare of a child by possessing child pornography. Both teens were released to the custody of their parents.

Police are urging parents to explain to their children that sending, taking and sharing of naked photos of juveniles is a crime. 

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Accused in Son's Death Kept Body on Ice for Hindu Ritual]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:56:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pallavi-dhawan-mug-inset.jpg

A North Texas mother who is accused of killing her 10-year-old son says the boy died in his sleep and was kept on ice to comply with a Hindu ritual, an affidavit released by the family states.

Pallavi Dhawanwas was arrested and charged earlier this year after police were called to the family's Frisco home and discovered the boy's body in a bathtub. Frisco police charged her with murder after they said she confessed to killing the boy. Her husband, Sumeet, and the family's attorney have repeatedly called for charges against her to be dropped.

In an affidavit dated April 15, Dhawan said she loved her son Arnav "with all of my heart and never would hurt him in any way."

"...I want to make it perfectly clear to the world that: I did not hurt Arnav. I did not kill Arnav. I did not murder Arnav. I did not drown or smother Arnav. I did not poison Arnav," the affidavit states. "I did not fail to render aid to Arnav at any time."

Dhawan said her son, Arnav, had been diagnosed with microcephaly and had special needs that were catered to by the family and other caregivers.

She said she found the boy "cold," "stiff," and "completely unresponsive" in his bed after trying to wake him up for school. The mother said she moved her son's body to the bathtub and attempted to revive him with CPR.

The boy's mother said she kept her son's body on ice for four days after his death using ice cubes taken from her refrigerator and placed in plastic bags. Dhawan said she followed Hindu rituals with her son, including reading the Hindu scriptures over his body, due to significant concern over the last rites that she believed needed to be performed on Arnav. She said that when her husband Sumeet's father passed away, the body was preserved on ice for "4-5 days until the immediate family could reach India and perform the last rites."

"Being in the state of shock with such a sudden demise of Arnav, I continued to try and follow the Hindu customs to the best of my knowledge as exhibited by the father's [Sumeet Dhawan] family in the past, including preserving the body on ice," she said in the affidavit.

In March, Sumeet Dhawan said the charges against his wife are a result of a cultural misunderstanding. The Dhawan family is Hindu and after death bodies are preserved on ice while waiting for family to pay respects and for last rites to be issued.

"Nothing is going to get our son back and I hope that what has happened to us doesn't happen to anybody and cultural differences played a big part in this," said Sumeet Dhawan.

During an April 10 hearing on the case, prosecutors said they haven't decided if Dhawan will be indicted because they are still waiting for a report from the Frisco police department.

Additionally, a report from the Collin County medical examiner ruled the boy's cause of death as "undetermined," but "natural disease is most likely."

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<![CDATA[Formerly Conjoined Twins Thriving]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:28:38 -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 have left the hospital for an inpatient rehabilitation center.

Owen and Emmett Ezell left the Dallas hospital eight months after their surgery and a day after turning 9-months-old. Video of their departure from Medical City Children's Hospital appears in the player above.

"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, earlier this week.

Doctors hope that the boys can go home for good sometime this summer.

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 unit 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[Son Accused in Mom's CO Killing Due in Court]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:36:43 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Koustantinos-Yiambilis-Lead.jpg

A Bucks County man accused of killing his own mother with carbon monoxide from a portable generator in a possible murder-suicide pact is set to appear in court Wednesday.

Bensalem Police say that they found Koustantinos "Gus" Yiambilisis killed his mother Karen Yiambilis inside the Longmeadow Apartment unit they shared.

Police responded to the 3000 block of Bristol Road on April 7 for a report of fumes coming from the interior of an apartment unit.

When the responding officers and firefighters arrived, they were met at the door by 30-year-old Koustantinos Yiambilis.

The officers entered the apartment where they found Yiambilis’ 59-year-old mother lying unconscious on the bedroom floor. She was taken to Aria Torresdale Hospital where she later died.

Koustantinos Yiambilis was also taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. Residents in four adjacent apartments were evacuated until officials determined the scene was safe.

According to police, a preliminary investigation found that Yiambilis intentionally caused the death of his mother by using a portable generator. He was arrested and charged with criminal homicide, risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person and other related offenses.

Despite the charges, neighbors who spoke with NBC10 say they believe the incident was actually a suicide pact between the mother and son who had recently been hit by hard times.

According to neighbors, Yiambilis was fired from his job last Friday and needed brain surgery after suffering a serious head injury. With his mother unemployed as well, the family didn't have the money for the procedure.

Friends also claim that Karen Yiambilis was the one who actually asked to borrow the generator from a neighbor Monday morning.

"I really don't think it was homicide at all," said Jessica Shaffery, one of the neighbors. "I think that they just had a lot going on and they didn't have the resources that they needed for themselves. I think it was just too much for them to handle at that point."

Yiambilis remains detained without bail.



Photo Credit: Facebook.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bloomberg to Spend $50M to Fight Gun Violence]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:32:46 -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 appeared on NBC's TODAY show Wednesday morning to talk about the group.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sprint Sends Email Addressed to "Sissyboy" Customer]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:03:35 -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[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[Man Found Burned, Bound Along Los Angeles Freeway]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:06:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/204*120/freeway-burn-victim-605.jpg

A man who was found badly burned and partially bound along the 605 Freeway in the city of Industry on Tuesday has died, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

The man, whose identity is still unknown, was discovered by a driver 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 naked with his hands and feet tied.

Investigators said that the man was assaulted prior to being burned and was not dumped in that location.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the LA County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Refresh this page for updates.

City News Service contributed to this report.

 

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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]]>