House Judiciary chairman ‘encouraged’ by document production in broad probe into allegations against Trump

Political News House Judiciary chairman 'encouraged' by document production in broad probe into allegations against Trump

U.S. House Office Of Photography(WASHINGTON) — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he is “encouraged” so far by the document production in his sweeping probe of allegations of obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by President Donald Trump.

“I am encouraged by the responses we have received since sending these initial letters two weeks ago,” said Rep. Nadler, D-N.Y.

He added that the panel would work on an “appropriate accommodation” with any recipient “who may be reluctant to cooperate with our investigation.”

The panel sent more than 80 document requests to different individuals and entities in and associated with the Trump administration, Trump Organization and family’s business empire, campaign and inaugural efforts.

About half of the people and entities who received requests for documents and other material earlier this month have been in touch with the New York Democrat’s staff about complying, Nadler told reporters recently.

The requests appear to cover every major episode under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, and congressional investigators, and the panel even requested copies of documents produced for previous inquiries.

They also ask for documents related to, among other issues, the firing of former FBI director James Comey, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s hush money payments to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who allegedly promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Trump initially suggested he would cooperate with the committee’s probe.

“I cooperate all the time with everybody,” Trump said earlier this month at a White House event when asked about the request.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders — in a statement following the original request described the investigation “disgraceful and abusive.”

“Chairman Nadler and his fellow Democrats have embarked on this fishing expedition because they are terrified that their two-year false narrative of ‘Russia collusion’ is crumbling,” the statement said.

The next day, Trump tweeted that the Democrats “have gone stone cold CRAZY” and that the requests were “sent to innocent people to harass them.”

Democrats’ requests also focus on some of their longstanding concerns about the Trump administration, including the potential conflict-of-interest between the Trump family’s business interests and the administration, given concerns about possible violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The panel has already consulted with attorneys for many of the individuals on their list, according to a committee counsel, and also anticipates issuing subpoenas in the coming weeks to compel compliance.

The chairman also indicated last week that after reviewing the documents, the committee would then settle on plans for eventual hearings.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

Arizona teacher arrested for having sex with 13-year-old student, once while another student kept watch: Police

U.S. NEWS Arizona teacher arrested for having sex with 13-year-old student, once while another student kept watch: Police

Goodyear Police Department(GOODYEAR, Arizona) — Before her arrest for the alleged sexual abuse of her 13-year-old student, sixth-grade teacher Brittany Zamora was confronted in a recorded phone call by that student’s father.

“You are a ——- monster. You are a pedophile,” the father said in the call. “You are a child molester, do you understand me?”

Not long after that recorded call, the student’s parents met with police and Zamora, a teacher at Las Brisas Academy Elementary School in Goodyear, Arizona, was taken into custody while officers’ body cameras recorded the arrest.

The 27-year-old was pulled over and put in handcuffs. She was charged with sexual abuse after allegedly carrying on that secret relationship.

Dreading the media attention, Zamora asked if an officer could pull her hair in front of her face and the officer assured her she’d “be fine.”

“Do we have to stop by them or can we just pass them?” Zamora asked the officer.

The case made local headlines back in March 2018, but didn’t gain national attention until almost a year later when the videos and documents about the alleged abuse went public.

Zamora’s arrest highlights an explosive reality of abuse: the U.S. Department of Education estimates that 4.5 million students experience sexual misconduct at the hands of a school employee sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade.

Officials said Zamora began illicit communications with the 13-year-old boy, a student in her class, by using a school messaging app.

“She said to text her so she wouldn’t be bored and I said ‘Hi Mrs. Zamora’ and she texted back ‘Hi’ and then we just like starting texting,” the alleged victim said in an interview with police.

The student said innocent messages quickly turned to flirting, by text and in person.

“Yeah, we would flirt a lot… we would like be out a recess and I would talk to her and we would flirt at recess and our principal said we couldn’t do that,” he told police. “That we couldn’t talk at recess no more because other kids were getting like jealous that I was talking to her.”

The alleged victim said Zamora told him she wanted to perform oral sex on him and that his “stuff” was “really big.”

“I would tell her the same,” he told police. “But like I would just say ‘yeah’ stuff like that. Or I’d be like ‘I can’t wait.'”

Eventually, investigators said their relationship did get physical. The alleged victim told police it started when Zamora grabbed his shirt, pulled him in for a hug and kissed him inside her classroom.

“The first time we kissed, I was saying goodbye to her and I gave her a hug and she just started kissing me, so I kissed her back,” he told police.

Officials say the sexually explicit texts continued. The alleged victim said Zamora sent him photos of herself naked and wearing lingerie. The two called each other “baby.”

He told police he sent naked pictures of himself back to the teacher.

“Sometimes I would ask and sometimes I wouldn’t and she would be like ‘Do you want a picture?’ and I would say ‘Yeah,'” he said. “They would just be of her stuff, or like one time she sent me like a full-body picture of her in like this outfit like you can have anything right here or like by her stuff.”

He said things escalated to sexual touching during class while other students watched videos.

Then, he said, one night the two were texting while the victim and his siblings were sleeping over at their grandparents’ house.

“She was all like ‘Let me come over so I can show you how much I love you’ and I was like ‘No my little brother’s here’ and then she was like ‘OK’ and then she put the sad face and I was like ‘I gotta go,'” he told police. “But she was all like ‘Where is you grandparent’s house?’ and I was like ‘In Tullison’ and she was like ‘Send me the address’ because her husband was fishing.”

He said he sneaked out and met her in her car where they kissed and she performed oral sex on him.

The alleged victim said it stopped when Zamora’s husband texted and she left. He said it happened again the next night, only that time it ended with intercourse.

He told police it was her idea and that “She was just telling me to relax.”

They had sex again, at least two more times, in the classroom, police said. On one occasion, another student acted as a lookout.

“They were just doing it. It was very uncomfortable,” the second student told police. “So that’s why the second day they were doing stuff, I just left the room.”

That student said the alleged victim confided in him that the victim and Zamora were sexually involved. The student even said the alleged victim showed him cell phone messages and begged him to keep it secret.

“They’re texting dirty stuff, like on Instagram,” the student told police.

Authorities say those messages are ultimately what alerted the alleged victim’s parents. The parents used an app called “Sentry,” which monitors keywords on their kid’s cell phone. According to police, the app repeatedly flagged the use of the word “baby” and the parents confronted their son.

“He [my dad] was like ‘Who have you been texting?’ and then he showed me the text messages and he said ‘You have one chance to tell me don’t lie to me’ and I told him,” the victim said during his interview with police. “And that’s when … he called my principal and he called the cops.”

The alleged victim’s parents also spoke to Zamora herself in that recorded call.

“Can you explain to me, can we meet to talk about this? There’s nothing we can settle you know outside?” she asked the alleged victim’s dad.

“Oh yeah that’s what we can do so I can give you a chance to do it to some other kid, yeah that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” the alleged victim’s father said to her. “No, Ms. Zamora. Do me a favor. Do not call me back again. Do you understand me? Make sure you tell your husband what’s going on.”

Zamora then put her husband David Zamora on the phone to talk to the alleged victim’s dad.

“She had another 13-year-old in there watching the whole —-ing thing. She’s a monster, do you understand that. Do you understand that?” the alleged victim’s dad said to him.

The next day, police recorded a meeting between the alleged victim’s parents, school officials and law enforcement.

“My husband just told him ‘Have you done anything with your teacher? Have you had sex with your teacher?’ And he said ‘Yes,'” the alleged victim’s mother said in that meeting.

“His childhood’s already —-ing gone. He’s 13,” the alleged victim’s father added.

Police arrested Zamora last March on charges that included eight counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, two counts of child molestation and one count of transmitting obscene material. She pleaded not guilty.

They raided her home and her classroom. In her classroom, police said they found what appeared to be saved notes from the victim, many written on brightly colored post-it notes in childish handwriting that said things like, “UR so sexy” and torn scraps of notebook paper that said, “You just look really cute RN [right now].”

Zamora’s former colleague from a previous school where she worked told “Inside Edition” that she was not surprised to hear about the allegations.

“She was very friendly and very hands-on with the boys from the sports that she coached. They would kind of hang on her shoulder, hang on her back, put their arm around her,” Christine Alvarez said. “And when we said it was not appropriate…she would just kind of go with the flow. And kind of welcomed the advances.”

For now, Brittany Zamora remains in Maricopa County Jail on a $250,000 bond. She surrendered her state teaching certificate in December.

Requests for comment from Zamora or her attorney were not returned.

An attorney for the victim declined requests for comment, but the boy’s father spoke to reporters outside of a Tempe law firm in March 2018, and said, “There truly are real monsters in the world… As parents, you teach your kids that there’s no such thing as monsters. At all. There’s none. But in the real world, there are monsters. And Brittany Zamora is a monster.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

New Zealand prime minister vows gun law changes after mass shooting, a novel idea for some Americans

WORLD NEWS New Zealand prime minister vows gun law changes after mass shooting, a novel idea for some Americans

iStock/artas(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) — New Zealand residents have been told to prepare for something that Americans rarely see: legislative action in the wake of a mass shooting.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed there will be changes to the country’s gun laws following the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.

“What we’re looking here is for an effective gun law that will make a difference,” Ardern said Monday at news conference before a cabinet meeting. Ardern said they would be discussing “what we have a responsibility to pursue in the aftermath of this terrorist attack, so that will include work around gun laws.”

The shooting that left 50 people dead after a self-proclaimed white supremacist opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday has led to a number of questions about how it could have happened in a country in which the last deadliest mass shooting took place nearly 30 years ago.

“While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the handling of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change,” Ardern said Monday. The alleged shooter possessed one of the country’s required gun licenses.

The prime minister even put a timeline on the changes that she planned to discuss with the cabinet, saying that “within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer.”

New Zealand has a far lower rate of gun homicides than the U.S., but the deadly mass shooting last week exponentially increased its number of gun fatalities.

There were a total of 69 murders with a firearm in the entire country from 2008 to 2017, according to New Zealand police.

From December 1998 to December 2018, there were a total of 15 murders committed by someone who had a firearms license, according to police.

By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2017, there were 39,773 gun deaths in the U.S., the majority of which were suicides. Of that total number, 37 percent were homicides with guns, meaning that in one year alone there were more than 14,700 gun homicides in the U.S.

The two countries are dramatically different in size, and the population of the U.S. is more than 68 times larger than New Zealand.

But gun control advocacy groups in the U.S. are applauding New Zealand’s promise of swift action after the mass shooting.

David Hogg, a former Parkland student-turned-activist who survived a mass shooting at his school during which 17 people were killed, tweeted his reaction to Ardern’s vow, writing “Imagine.”

Peter Ambler, the executive director of Giffords, a gun violence-prevention advocacy group, told ABC News that he thought Ardern’s actions were “refreshing.”

“Americans should absolutely look to other countries as to what’s possible,” Ambler told ABC News.

In 2019, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan background check bill, one of the most far-reaching gun laws passed in recent memory. However, it is not expected to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

“The politics of this issue are changing in this country,” Ambler said, noting that the shift in the U.S. has happened incrementally “over the past six years,” as opposed to after a single incident, like in New Zealand.

Ambler said that Ardern’s comments can inspire not just her constituents but also the U.S, saying that her actions give “Americans an example of the type of courage they should expect form their leaders.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

Democrats want FBI to investigate spa owner, Mar-a-Lago attendee Cindy Yang

Political News Democrats want FBI to investigate spa owner, Mar-a-Lago attendee Cindy Yang

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — High-ranking Democrats Friday called on the FBI to conduct a criminal and counterintelligence investigation into a Florida spa owner whose consultancy firm advertised access to President Donald Trump and his inner circle at the president’s Mar-a-Lago country club.

The Democrats said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and other high-ranking officials that recent news reports about Li “Cindy” Yang’s consulting firm, which offered clients opportunities to interact with Trump raised “serious counterintelligence concerns” if true — as did allegations of sex trafficking at massage parlors founded but no longer owned by Yang.

“…[A]lthough Ms. Yang’s activities may only be those of an unscrupulous actor allegedly selling access to politicians for profit, her activities also could permit adversary governments or their agents access to these same politicians to acquire potential material for blackmail or other even more nefarious purposes,” according to the letter, which was signed by Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

The letter requests that the FBI “conduct criminal and counterintelligence investigations into credible allegations of potential human trafficking, as well as unlawful foreign lobbying, campaign finance and other activities by Ms. Yang.” The letter also requests answers to a number of questions about law enforcement’s knowledge of Yang prior to the media reporting and about Yang’s interactions with Trump and others in the administration.

The letter came after an attorney for Yang, Michelle Merson, told ABC News that her client was wrongly accused -– though the legal team then hadn’t had a chance to look into the allegations related to the consulting firm.

“Mrs. Yang loves this country,” Merson said last week. “She has lived a very quiet life, doing good things for herself, her family and her community.”

Merson said her client is now living through a “nightmare” after she was perceived as linked to the alleged prostitution or as a national security “threat” because of the questions of political access peddling — which, Merson said, is “far from the truth.”

Another attorney for Yang later released a statement calling the allegations about Yang “abhorrent.”

“At this time, the evidence indicates that our client has been falsely accused in a manner that she may never recover from,” attorney Evan Turk said on March 14. “Her name, her reputation and her honor have been destroyed. Cindy Yang seems to be another casualty, as a supporter of our president.”

Yang came to national prominence in the wake of a Miami Herald report that said she was the previous owner of a massage parlor where New England Patriots owner and longtime Trump friend Robert Kraft allegedly solicited prostitution. Kraft has pleaded not guilty, and Yang’s attorneys stress that Yang sold that particular massage parlor six years prior to Kraft’s arrest.

Yang’s story took on a different dimension when she was later identified by Mother Jones as having founded a consulting firm called GY US Investments LLC targeting Chinese businesspeople and advertising among its services access to Trump, his family and administration officials at Mar-a-Lago.

The extent of Yang’s relationship with Trump and his associates is unclear. Federal records show Yang and her family have contributed over $40,000 to pro-Trump and pro-Republican organizations since 2017, and photos from her Facebook page, now disabled, show her at various political events, including at Mar-a-Lago, posing with Trump, his sons, and other prominent Republicans.

But Merson said Yang was not a friend of the president and had only taken photos with him like many other Mar-a-Lago attendees.

Authorities have not accused Yang of any wrongdoing, and Merson told ABC News last week that she had not been in contact with law enforcement. Merson said Yang would cooperate with an investigation if it would help “clear her name.”

In their letter, the Democrats request answers to their questions by 5 p.m. Thursday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

Woman who pushed friend off Washington state bridge pleads guilty

U.S. NEWS Woman who pushed friend off Washington state bridge pleads guilty

ABC News(TACOMA, Washington) — A young woman in Washington state has pleaded guilty to pushing a now-former friend off a 60-foot bridge last summer.

On Monday, Taylor Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless endangerment in a Vancouver courthouse. Her sentencing was scheduled for March 27.

Jordan Holgerson suffered multiple injuries after Smith shoved her off the Lewis River at Moulton Falls Regional Park near Vancouver on Aug. 7.

Holgerson plunged the equivalent of three stories before belly-flopping into the water below, and suffered six broken ribs, a punctured lung and air bubbles in her chest, officials said.

After Monday’s court hearing, Holgerson said she just wanted to put the whole ordeal behind her.

“I don’t really want to wait for next Wednesday, she said, referring to the day Smith is scheduled to be sentenced.

Holgerson’s mother, Genelle Holgerson, attended the hearing with her, and said Holgerson was still going to physical therapy for an injured shoulder and being treated for anxiety.

Genelle Holgerson said the judge’s decision to delay Smith’s sentencing — in part to review the victim’s information — was “a little upsetting” for the family.

“Being done with this will help her close that chapter in her life,” Genelle Holgerson said Monday. “We wanted a guilty plea. We just wanted a sentence too.”

The incident was captured on cellphone video that went viral on social media but was eventually removed. Surveillance camera video also showed the moment Smith shoved Holgerson off the bridge.

According to the complaint filed in Clark County District Court, Holgerson told authorities that Smith was the one who pushed her, and that she did not want to be pushed.

Smith also allegedly admitted to pushing Holgerson off the bridge but allegedly told authorities she did so in an attempt to help her friend overcome her fear and not to injure her, officials said.

Reckless endangerment is considered a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

Lawmakers call on Congress to diversify staff

Political News Lawmakers call on Congress to diversify staff

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — As the new freshman class of Congress makes history as the most diverse class in the history of Congress, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling on colleagues to  the intern class on Capitol Hill.

Last week, a congressional committee gave final approval to a new program forcing Congress to set aside funding to mandate Congress to pay its interns.

The non-profit bipartisan group Pay Our Interns, which pushed the effort for intern pay, is now working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to push for greater diversity with the halls of Congress.

In a new video released on Monday, freshman Rep. Ayanna Pressley recalled her stint as an unpaid congressional intern. “I worked three part-time jobs so that I could do that unpaid internship. And I had to work. I had rent to pay. I was contributing to bills in my family’s household. “

Pay Our Interns co-founder Guillermo Creamer told ABC News his group plans on traveling across the country over the next six weeks, targeting historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic serving institutions’ “Reflect Us” campaign. Pressley is one of over a half a dozen members of Congress who will be working with Pay Our Interns to push for diversity within the internship class.

In 2016, then-Speaker Paul Ryan drew criticisms for posting a selfie with House Republican intern class which lacked diversity. Rep Barbara Lee blasted Ryan saying “there’s no excuse for not having diverse staff & interns.”

Congress set aside $14 million towards intern funding. Each office will be allowed to pay interns up to $1,800 per month. Previously, intern pay was at the discretion of the office. According to a 2017 study that Pay Our Interns conducted only 51 percent of Senate Republicans offered paid internships and 31 percent of Democrats.

In the House, paid internships were even harder to find, nearly 90 percent of offices didn’t pay interns. Only 8 percent of Republicans and 3.6 percent of Democrats set aside funding.

Although Pay Our Interns is pushing for the diversity of the internship class, Creamer says he believes it is a starting point to diversifying staff on the hill. “Workforce is a pipeline, internships are an entry point.”

According to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found in the last Congress, people of color accounted for 13.7 percent of senior staffers in the House. Since the new class takeover in January people of color now accounts for 22.1 percent of senior staff in the House.

Pressley agreed that internships are a pipeline, urging her colleagues to diversify their ranks.”We need to diversify this pipeline, make sure that more people have an opportunity to learn the inner workings of government.”

That unpaid internship would be a foundation for Pressley’s political career, the same office she interned in over two decades ago is the same office she represents as a member of Congress.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

Human rights worker in Chechnya sentenced to 4 years in prison amid fears of further crackdown

WORLD NEWS Human rights worker in Chechnya sentenced to 4 years in prison amid fears of further crackdown

iStock/JANIFEST(MOSCOW) — A court in Chechnya has sentenced a prominent human rights worker to four years prison in a case that has been widely condemned by international rights organizations as fabricated, and which some fear may unleash a new wave of repression in the troubled Russian province.

Oyub Titiev, the director of the local branch of Memorial, one of Russia’s most respected human rights organizations, was convicted of marijuana possession, a charge his lawyers said was manufactured in order to punish Titiev for his work investigating and exposing human rights abuses in Chechnya, including extrajudicial killings.

Memorial has long worked to record such crimes in Chechnya, a semi-autonomous republic in southern Russia that is ruled by strongman president Ramzan Kadyrov. Human rights abuses and violent attacks on Kadyrov’s opponents have been reported in Chechnya, and human rights campaigners fear that Titiev’s trial could mark the beginning of a renewed crackdown after Kadyrov said that he would no longer allow rights activists to operate in the region.

“I officially declare to human rights activists: after the end of the trial, Chechnya will be forbidden territory for them, like it is for terrorists and extremists,” Kadyrov said in late August of 2018, referring to Titiev’s trial in a speech to local law enforcement that aired on Chechen television.

The guilty verdict against Titiev was expected by his colleagues and human right organizations, which have slammed the case as a show trial, filled with inconsistencies and fabricated evidence.

“The guilty verdict against Oyub Titiev is gross injustice to him, a disgrace to Russian criminal justice system, and a further sign that Ramzan Kadyrov, the governor of Chechnya, will be emboldened to silence reporting on human rights abuses,” Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Titiev was arrested in January of 2018 by Chechen police, who claimed to have found 200 grams of marijuana in his car. Titiev’s lawyers have accused police of planting the drug in Titiev’s vehicle after they arrested him.

Director of Memorial’s Chechnya office since 2009, Titiev had been working for the organization since 2001. His case has become one of Russia’s most prominent political trials. In October, the European Union awarded Titiev a prestigious human rights prize, giving it to him in absentia.

Human rights workers and journalists have for years been frequent targets for attacks in Chechnya, where dissent is heavily suppressed.

Natalia Estemirova, Titiev’s predecessor as director of Memorial’s Chechnya office, was kidnapped in Grozny and shot dead outside the city in 2009. In 2016, masked men attacked a group of journalists trying to enter Chechnya on a tour organized by the Committee to Prevent Torture, beating the reporters and setting their bus on fire. The same month, the head of the organization, Ilya Kalyapin was attacked in Grozny.

In 2017 and again this January, reports emerged that dozens of people suspected of being gay were rounded up and tortured by Chechen security forces. Some have linked the renewed surge in repression and pressure against rights activists to the international outcry that followed those round ups, after which Kadyrov and some of his top lieutenants sanctioned by the European Union and the U.S.

Memorial has long been a target of Kadyrov, and repeatedly suffered attacks, and. Around the time of Titiev’s arrest, the organization’s office in a neighboring region was burnt down by masked men. One of Titiev’s colleague in Dagestan was beaten outside his home last March.

It’s unclear why Titiev, who has been documenting crimes for years, was arrested now. His colleagues have said that in the months before he was detained, he had been investigating alleged extrajudicial killings by security forces linked to Kadyrov.

Some rights researchers have attributed the case to a growing intolerance in Chechnya for human rights organizations in any form.

“Memorial was the last human rights organization that still maintained a presence in Chechnya and exposed enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and other egregious abuses,” Human Rights Watch wrote ahead of Monday’s verdict. Titiev’s trial, the organization wrote, was aimed at “forcing Memorial completely out of Chechnya.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

13-year-old boy falls to death climbing in Utah state park, may have been trying to ‘free solo’

U.S. NEWS 13-year-old boy falls to death climbing in Utah state park, may have been trying to 'free solo'

Utah State Parks(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) — A 13-year-old boy was climbing in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, when he fell to his death.

Elijah Baldwin of Farragut, Iowa, who was identified on Monday by Utah State Parks, was visiting the park with his mother and two younger siblings, Regan Wilson, lieutenant with Utah State Parks, told ABC News.

He was climbing south of Pioneer Names, a popular hiking and climbing area, on Sunday around 4:15 p.m. when he fell.

The family had been hiking together, Wilson said, and Baldwin’s mother and younger siblings stayed on the trail while Elijah would occasionally venture off to hike and climb.

According to Wilson, the family was trying to stay in view of each other, but Elijah went ahead and eventually got separated from his family.

“They could hear him yelling, saying that he needed some help,” Wilson said.

His mother had the two younger siblings stay where the 13-year-old was last seen while she went to the south entrance station of the park to get help.

Wilson said the area where the boy was found features many climbing routes of varying difficulties. Some are situated on rolling hills, while others are on steep cliffs that often require ropes for climbers.

“This 13-year-old was in a more advanced area, I would guess,” Wilson said.

“He did make it to the top,” Wilson said, but, “on the way down, I think, is where the difficulty came.”

Baldwin is estimated to have fallen 75 to 100 feet as he climbed down. He was pronounced dead at the scene on Sunday.

Search and Rescue’s High Angle search team, which is “more advanced” and use ropes, harnesses and safety equipment, per Wilson, had to be called in to recover the boy’s body because of the difficult terrain.

Elijah was found without rope, a harness, a helmet or climbing shoes, and it is believed he may have been attempting to “free solo,” wherein a person climbs without equipment or a partner.

According to Wilson, the family said the Elijah loved to climb and that they had plans to do so in Zion National Park this week.

Utah State Parks expressed their condolences to the family in a press release stating, “Our sympathy’s go out to his family at this very difficult time. Utah State Parks encourages visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy the wonderful natural environment present in our parks. We also encourage them to take necessary precautions and to be familiar with their surroundings to help ensure a safe and enjoyable outing.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

Trump calls Biden a ‘low IQ individual’ after former VP slips and hints at 2020 run

Political News Trump calls Biden a 'low IQ individual' after former VP slips and hints at 2020 run

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — In the latest confrontation between President Donald Trump and a 2020 Democratic hopeful, he called former Vice President Joe Biden a “low I.Q. individual,” referencing a slip in which Biden may have shown his hand.

It’s no secret that Biden may be close to declaring a 2020 presidential bid. At a recent event he told cheering supporters he appreciated their energy, and that he “may need it in a few weeks.” But at a fundraising dinner Saturday in his home state of Delaware, he may have unintentionally revealed just how near he is to launching a campaign, saying “I have the most progressive record for anybody running.”

Biden quickly corrected himself, saying, “I didn’t mean it. I mean, of anyone who would run. Of anybody who would run.”

On Monday, Trump posted on Twitter: “Joe Biden got tongue tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for President. Get used to it, another low I.Q. individual!”

Last Thursday, when Trump was asked who poses a bigger threat — Biden or Beto O’Rourke — he responded: “Whoever it is, I’ll take him or her on and I think with the economy doing so well … I think it’s going to be very tough to beat.”

Trump has been engaging as well with other Democrats considering or running campaigns for the 2020 presidential ticket. The president has referred to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders occasionally as “Crazy Bernie,” though in February he paid Sanders a rare compliment following the senator’s announcement of a 2020 bid.

Trump has also taken swipes at Beto O’Rourke’s mannerisms, continued longtime criticism of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and gone after the Green New Deal, supported to some degree by several Democratic candidates.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019

Suspect in decades-old murder, rape cold cases in Maryland identified through DNA: Police

U.S. NEWS Suspect in decades-old murder, rape cold cases in Maryland identified through DNA: Police

Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department(ROCKVILLE, Maryland) — The man behind a 1989 rape and a 1994 rape and murder in suburban, Washington, D.C., has finally been identified through DNA and genetic genealogy, according to local police.

But the suspect, Kenneth Earl Day, died in 2017 in West Virginia at the age of 52, the Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department said Friday.

Police allege Day raped a woman who was walking in Rockville, Maryland, on June 25, 1989.

Authorities said he was also behind the rape and strangulation of Le Bich-Thuy, whose body was found near her Rockville home on October 3, 1994.

DNA was recovered at the scenes and authorities determined the same suspect committed both crimes, police said. But when the suspect’s DNA was entered into CODIS — the Combined DNA Index System, a law enforcement database — there was no match, and the cases went cold, police said.

In 2017, cold case detectives reached out to DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs, and using the suspect’s DNA left at the crime scenes, Parabon analysts created a composite of what the suspect might have looked like, police said. Investigators released that image to the public, hoping someone would recognize him, police said.

Then, Parabon used the suspect’s DNA in a novel investigative technique known as genetic genealogy.

Genetic genealogy takes the DNA an unknown killer left behind at a crime scene and identifies the suspect by tracing the family tree through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to public genealogy databases.

This allows police to create a much larger family tree than using DNA submissions to law enforcement databases like CODIS, in which an exact match to the suspect is needed in most states, according to CeCe Moore, chief genetic genealogist with Parabon.

The first public arrest through genetic genealogy was the April 2018 identification of the suspected “Golden State Killer.” Since then, genetic genealogy has helped identify more than three dozen suspects in violent crimes, said Moore.

Once investigators zeroed in on Day as the suspect through genetic genealogy, detectives took a sample of Day’s DNA from his autopsy and investigators found it was a match to the suspect’s DNA from both crime scenes, police said.

Investigators are looking to determine if Day was connected to any other unsolved crimes. Police ask anyone with information about him to call the Montgomery County Department of Police – Major Crimes Division, Cold Case Section at 240-773-5070.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 18 Mar 2019