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A Father’s Fight to Win Back His Daughter Secretly Put Up for Adoption

Chris Emanuel(AIKEN, S.C.) — Skylar is a rambunctious toddler who runs and plays and giggles with her father, Chris Emanuel.

But she has no idea she sat at the heart of a massive custody battle with far-reaching implications for fathers’ rights.

Emanuel, a 25-year-old from Aiken, South Carolina, met Skylar’s mother, whom he now refers to as simply “the egg donor,” through their work as fork lift drivers at a manufacturing company three years ago. He said they started off as friends before it escalated into something more.

“She wasn’t the ordinary girly girl. She was a girly girl but she could play pool. I could sit down and play pool with her,” he said. “She listened to the same music that I listened to but she rode horses. You know, it was different. I never met someone of that nature before but I definitely enjoyed the moments that we shared.”

In the beginning, Emanuel said they texted all the time, and their affectionate messages soon turned into flirtations. Three months later, Emanuel was overjoyed to learn he was going to be a dad.

“I was happy, who wouldn’t be happy?” Emanuel said. “It was my first child and at the time, you know, I’m going to be there. We’re going to do everything we got to do.”

Emanuel said he and Skylar’s mother talked about getting married. Throughout the mother’s pregnancy, Emanuel said he was a deeply involved expectant father.

“It was in my heart that despite anything, I’m going to be there…I’m going to do what I got to do,” he said.

After a long-awaited meeting between both of their families, Emanuel said he knew in no uncertain terms that her parents were dead set against him and even accused the family of racism.

“Like hearing racism but actually feeling it, it totally different. It’s like being punched in the stomach,” he said. “The crazy thing about it was when we left she reassured me that we would continue to raise our child together.”

The woman’s mother said Emanuel is a “liar” and that she disapproved of their relationship, not because of the color of his skin, but because he didn’t have a job.

Emanuel said he and his girlfriend continued to be in contact, talking and texting frequently. Texts often ended with a “mwwuah” kiss. But Emanuel said his girlfriend started to avoid meeting in person and asked him to skip doctor’s appointments.

“She was saying her mom was coming and I didn’t need to come,” he said. “And I was like, ‘Dang, why can’t I come to the doctor’s appointment?’ If I can’t come to the doctor’s appointment, I can’t even think about being there to witness my child’s birth.”

Six months before Skylar’s birth, Emanuel’s half-sister, Chelsea McKnabb, and her best friend, Jill Thomason, were more than worried. They feared the woman would give the baby away.

“I said, I don’t think ‘the egg donor’ is keeping the baby, and he was like, ‘No, she is. We’re going to get married. We’re going to move in together,’” Thomason said. …read more […]

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10-Year-Old Boy Among 16 Dead in Utah Flash Flooding

iStock/Thinkstock(HILDALE, Utah) — Twelve people, including a 10-year-old boy, are dead after flash floods tore through the town of Hildale, Utah, Monday night, on the border with Arizona, authorities said.

One person is missing, Washington County Emergency Services said Tuesday afternoon.

Separately, four people were killed in nearby Zion National Park and three people remained missing as a result of the flooding.

“I join with other Utahns in mourning today the lives lost in two tragic incidents at Zion National Park and Hildale,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said a statement. “Jeanette and I send our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.”

The victims in Hildale had stopped their cars at a point where waters from Maxwell Canyon cross Central Street, authorities said.

They exited their cars, then got back in, when a massive flash flood swept them away, authorities in Colorado City, Arizona, said at a news conference Tuesday. Hildale serves as a sister town of Colorado City.

The 10-year-old’s body was found over 6 miles downstream from the incident, authorities said.

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Dirty FBI Agent Gets 5 Years for International Bribery Scheme

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The FBI Special Agent’s “master plan” was simple: Mine FBI computers for dirt on a prominent foreign politician, then sell that information to the rival political party for a handsome sum of money. “No one knows… No one gets hurt.” Easy.

If all went according to plan, the corrupt agent and his co-conspirator would be “having lunch in our oceanfront restaurant” in no time, as the co-conspirator put it.

Instead, former Special Agent Robert Lustyik and his co-conspirator, Johannes Thaler, will be eating their next few hundred meals behind bars, after Lustyik was sentenced Monday to five years in prison — in addition to a 10-year sentence imposed by a Utah court in a second, unrelated bribery case in March. Thaler previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

In the case for which he was sentenced Monday, Lustyik had pleaded guilty to soliciting and accepting bribes from a Bangladeshi man in the U.S. in exchange for providing that man with confidential information on a rival politician — information pilfered from FBI computers. Lustyik worked through Thaler, who played the role of middle man.

The first exchange back in December 2011 went well, according to court documents. Thaler met the buyer, identified as Rizve Ahmed, at a food court in Danbury, Conn., where he gave Ahmed an “FBI memo” and a Suspicious Activity Report on the rival politician, and received $1,000 in return.

Lustyik, a who had been at the Bureau for more than 20 years and at the time worked in counter-intelligence, didn’t bother with code words when asking his partner about the meeting, except for an apparent alias for Ahmed.

“Hey did you see cezar [Ahmed]? Did he pay you?” Lustyik texted Thaler after the meet, according to court documents.

“Yeah. I got some for you. We need to talk about Bangladesh,” Thaler responded.

“Ok. He give you a grand? And r they ready to play?” Lustyik wrote.

“Yes on both,” Thaler said.

The pair tried to escalate the deal quickly, hoping for a $40,000 “retainer” and then a $30,000 monthly salary. But things went south when Ahmed didn’t hold up his end.

“I want to kill C… F—king C. Let’s kick his ass. Show them. I hung my ass out the window n we got nothing?” Lustyik reportedly texted Thaler later, before indicating he could turn on his buyer by speaking directly with the target of the spying, the Bangladeshi politician.

It appeared Lustyik and his partner were able to mend fences with Ahmed, but only a few weeks before Lustyik was arrested for a separate bribery case prosecuted out of Utah.

That case, involving a former Green Beret and international security contracts and in which Lustyik also pleaded guilty, may shed some light on why Lustyik, the veteran FBI Special Agent, would sell out the U.S. government in two overlapping bribery schemes.

“[I]t is kind of sad that after 24 years of government service all I have to show for it is a couple of boxes of awards somewhere in my basement …read more […]

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Lost GoPro Found 2 Years Later With Stunning Footage of Grand Canyon From Space

Bryan Chan(STANFORD, Calif.) — A GoPro launched into space by Stanford University students was lost for two years years — that is until an Arizona hiker found it recently intact with stunning footage of the Grand Canyon from space.

Stanford alumni Bryan Chan told ABC News that the GoPro and a phone with a GPS was launched near the Grand Canyon on June 8, 2013 on a high-altitude weather balloon to gather data for his aerospace engineering dissertation. His fellow classmates and friends — Ved Chirayath, Ashish Goel, Tyler Reid and Paul Tarantino — were part of the team working on the project.

The GoPro caught incredible aerial footage of the Grand Canyon and of Earth a few miles out in the stratosphere, but the team never got to see the footage because the GoPro went lost.

“We were supposed to recover the GoPro and the phone two hours after the launch, but it ended up being two years,” Chan said. “The GoPro and phone was projected to land in an area with cell coverage, but the problem was that the cell service coverage maps we relied on weren’t accurate, so the phone didn’t have signal as it came back to Earth. We couldn’t get the text it was supposed to send with the coordinates of where it landed.”

But this past March, an Arizona hiker named Pearl Tsosie found the GoPro and phone “in the barren dessert” near the Grand Canyon, Chan said. Tsosie was also an employee for AT&T, and she used that to her advantage to identify the phone’s owner using the sim card.

“She was able to call my friend Ved, and we got the footage and data a few weeks later,” Chan said. “We couldn’t believe it.”

Chan edited the incredible aerial footage and uploaded the video last Thursday to YouTube, where it had over three million views as of Tuesday evening.

“We’re blown away by how many people love the video,” Chan said. “I’ve got message from people saying they’ve put it on their desktop, and it’s just really great to have such an overwhelming positive response.

Chan said he and the team are still in the Bay area in California, and they may get together to create another epic GoPro video.

“We’re thinking about it for sure, and though there’s no strict timeline, we’re beginning to put plans into motion,” he said. “This video definitely won’t be out last.”

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Baruch Student Killed in Hazing Incident ‘Singled Out,’ Authorities Say

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Authorities said Tuesday that Chun “Michael” Deng, the Baruch College student who died during a 2013 hazing incident, had been “singled out” by members of the school’s Pi Delta Psi chapter, some of whom now face charges in his death.

“The overall investigation shows that, yes, he was singled out and he was treated harsher than the other pledges,” said Chief Chris Wagner, of the Pocono Mountain Regional Police, during a news conference Tuesday in Pennsylvania. He would not explain further.

On Monday, authorities announced that 37 people were expected to be charged in connection with Deng’s death, including members or alumni of Pi Delta Psi and as well as the fraternity itself. Prosecutors said Tuesday that five members would face charges of third degree murder.

Authorities say members of the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity at Baruch, part of the City University of New York, pushed and tackled Deng, 19, during a December 2013 hazing ritual while on a retreat in the Poconos, where he and other pledges were blindfolded and then forced to run across a frozen field while wearing a backpack filled with 30 pounds of sand.

At one point he fell over and hit his head, police said.

After Deng lost consciousness, other fraternity members brought him into the house, but they never called 911 for help, police said. Instead they put him near the fire, changed his clothes and searched the Internet for information about his symptoms, police added. After two hours, Deng was taken to a local hospital by three of the fraternity members. He later died. Authorities said fraternity members then allegedly tried to cover up the crime.

The first five college students charged are set to be arraigned Thursday, Pocono Mountain Regional Police said Tuesday. They will not be facing murder charges.

New York Congresswoman Grace Meng — whose brother Andy Meng, the former national president of Pi Delta Psi fraternity, faces lesser charges including hazing and hindering apprehension — said in a statement: “This young man’s death was a terrible tragedy and our deepest condolences and prayers continue to go out to his family and friends. I love my brother very much and as his sister I’ll be here for him as he goes through the legal process.”

In a statement released by their lawyer Douglas Fierberg, the Deng family said they were taking further action against those involved in Deng’s death.

“Fraternities and their members must be held accountable. … Michael was a wonderful, beloved young man and in his honor, the family also continue pursuing its wrongful death case against the fraternity to cause it and other fraternities to change so that other parents will be spared the loss of a precious child,” Deng’s parents said.

The Baruch College chapter of Pi Delta Psi was disbanded after Deng’s death.

In a statement, Baruch College said: “In the wake of Chun Hsien ‘Michael’ Deng’s tragic death at an unsanctioned fraternity event in the Pocono Mountains in December 2013, Baruch College has taken strong action to ensure the safety …read more […]

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Police Release 911 Call and Note from 2nd Killing Linked to Alleged Delta State Shooter

Kyu Oh/Getty Images(GAUTIER, Miss.) — The academic suspected of killing a fellow professor at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, made a chilling 911 call saying that he had shot his wife to death and left a note that he wished he could “take it back,” according to police.

Shannon Lamb, the suspect in a fatal shooting on a Mississippi college campus, allegedly admitted to the murder of Amy Prentiss, saying “I shot my wife last night,” according to the call, released by the Gautier, Mississippi, Police Department.

The caller gives the address of the home, but when the dispatcher asks for the man’s name, he says, “That’s all I feel like saying right now. Just go and take care of her. You’ll find all of her … family phone numbers and things in her phone. Go and contact them.”

Lamb, 45, is considered the only suspect in Prentiss’ death, the Gautier Police Department said in a news release Tuesday. Lamb, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday night, is also the suspect in the killing of a professor at Delta State University Monday morning.

According to the Gautier police, shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, Lamb “called the Gautier Police Department and stated that he shot and killed his wife … Lamb did not provide an explanation or time frame for the shooting, nor did he indicate that he intended to harm anyone else.”

Police responded and found Prentiss, 41, dead in the home.

Police also said they found a handwritten note signed by Lamb. The note, obtained by ABC News from the Gautier Police Department, reads: “I am so very sorry I wish I could take it back I loved Amy and she is the only person who ever loved me.”

The Gautier Police Department said Tuesday it is still searching for a motive for Prentiss’ death, adding that Lamb is the only suspect.

Lamb was also identified as the suspect in the murder of Ethan Schmidt, a Delta State professor who was found dead in his office Monday morning.

The Gautier Police said today they “have no indication of any relationship between the victim at Delta State and the victim in Gautier.”

Late Monday night, Cleveland Police Chief Charles Bingham said officers followed the suspect’s car until Lamb pulled over on his own, exited the car and ran into the woods. The officers then heard one gunshot, Bingham said, and found Lamb with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Lamb was declared dead, police said.

The Cleveland Police did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment today.

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Adorable Tiny Week-Old Puppy Rescued From Plastic Bag in Trash Bin

George Clerk/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) — A tiny puppy — only a week old — was recently rescued from a trash bin by police and animal safety officers in Tampa, Florida.

Someone heard the puppy whimpering coming from the garbage on Monday and called for help, the Tampa Police Department told ABC affiliate WFTS.

The nearly newborn puppy was discovered inside a plastic bag in a bin on 10th Street by three responding police officers and a Hillsborough County Animal Safety officer, police said. The puppy was suffering from heat exhaustion, so the rescuers helped cool it down with ice cubes.

The puppy’s mother and four of its siblings were also discovered in a nearby shed during the investigation, according to police.

The dogs are currently under the care of Hillsborough County Animal Services at the Pet Resource Center in Tampa, police added.

An investigation is ongoing and charges are possible, WFTS reported.

The Tampa Police Department and Hillsborough County Animal Services did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional information such as updates on the dogs’ conditions.

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Police Investigate Exotic Cars Racing on Beverly Hills Residential Street

BCFC/iStock/ThinkStock(LOS ANGELES) — Police are investigating after two luxury sports cars were captured on video speeding through the residential streets of Beverly Hills with shocked neighbors standing by.

The video, shot on Saturday, shows a yellow Ferrari LaFerrari and white Porsche 911 GT3 revving their engines and blowing through a stop sign at a four-way intersection. Residents called the police to report the reckless driving, ABC’s Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported.

“I heard a bunch of loud noises, looked outside,” witness Aaron Esagoff told KABC-TV. “I saw a Ferrari coming down the street really fast. It kept on veering around, coming back and forth, back and forth. It was pretty loud.”

The LaFerrari can have a price tag of about $1.5 million while the newest model of that Porsche has a manufacturer’s price of $130,400.

The video shows the Ferrari making a noise at it scrapes the road at least twice and smoke coming from the vehicle when it returns to the house. At the end of the video, police are seen approaching the house.

A Beverly Hills Police Department told ABC News in a statement Tuesday that a man who said he was the owner of the cars “denied driving at a high rate of speed, running stop signs or driving recklessly. That individual claimed to have diplomatic immunity.”

“The Beverly Hills Police Department has been in contact with the United States Department of State in regards to the diplomatic status of the individuals involved and the legality of those vehicles being operated on a roadway in the State of California,” the statement added.

Freelance journalist Jacob Rogers told KABC-TV that he went to the owner’s house Monday afternoon to ask about the incident and was angrily confronted by a man who answered the door.

“He still proceeded to push me. I started walking backward with my camera up on my shoulder and at that point, he punched the camera as I was trying to lift it up on my shoulder,” Rogers told KABC-TV.
No arrests have been made or summonses issued, police told ABC News.

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Puppy Found Beaten, Buried Alive in Georgia Gets Another Chance at Life

Credit: WJBF-TV. This adorable four-month puppy pictured in this undated photo was found beaten and buried alive by Augusta Animal Services in Georgia. (AUGUSTA, Ga.) — A puppy found badly beaten and buried alive in Augusta, Georgia, is now getting a second chance at life.

The four-month-old dog was originally found “trying to dig his way out of what appeared to be a little grave” by Augusta Animal Services last week, according to Dr. Scarlett Timmons, the veterinarian treating the pup at Westside Animal Hospital.

“He was nearly comatose when he first came in, and he wasn’t responsive at all” Timmons told ABC News. “He had a pretty significant head injury, a lot of swelling in his head. He also had been bitten by ants and had a respiratory infection from all the dirt that got caught in his nasal passages.”

The medium-sized mixed breed puppy has been fittingly named “Moxie,” a word referring to the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage, Timmons added.

The veterinary staff wasn’t sure if Moxie was going to make it when he first came in, but now, after five days of treatment, Timmons said they’re hopeful.

“Before, he was complete blank with no reactions, but now he comes up to kiss people, and he’s very affectionate and he’s enjoying the attention he’s receiving,” she said. “He’s now also eating and drinking with us. He still can’t stand on his own — he’s pretty wobbly — but he’s making progress and we’re praying he can make a full recovery. “

Though Timmons said she’s not sure about how long Moxie will have to stay under the hospital’s care, she said the staff will be working to make sure he gets “the loving family and home he deserves once he’s all better.”

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office did not receive a report filed about Moxie’s case, Sgt. Shane McDaniel told ABC affiliate WJBF-TV, but he did say that anyone who harms an animal is looking at a $1,000 to $15,000 fine and possible jail time.

McDaniel added that anyone with information about Moxie’s incident can call Augusta Animal Services or the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Augusta Animal Services did not immediately respond to ABC News’ calls and message on its Facebook page requesting additional information such as how Moxie was found.

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What We Know About Alleged Delta State Gunman and His Possible 2nd Killing

Delta State University(CLEVELAND, Miss.) — The suspect in a fatal shooting on the Delta State University campus is dead, but police in Mississippi have not said what might have motivated the school instructor to allegedly kill a professor in his office.

And motive in the Monday shooting at the Cleveland, Mississippi, school isn’t the only mystery. Police are also investigating another slaying that they say the Delta State instructor may be connected to, 300 miles away.

Here’s what’s known so far on the two killings:

DELTA STATE SHOOTING:

A shooting was reported around 10:15 a.m. Monday on the Delta State campus, and the school was placed on lockdown, police said. The victim, identified as Ethan Schmidt, was found dead in his office. The school’s Facebook page lists him as an assistant professor of history.

The suspect was identified by police as 45-year-old Shannon Lamb, an instructor of Geography and Social Science Education. Lamb’s connection to Schmidt, if any, was not released by police.
Lamb was at-large all day Monday after the shooting.

At an overnight news conference, Cleveland Police Chief Charles Bingham said officers followed the suspect’s car until Lamb pulled over on his own, exited the car and ran into the woods.

The officers then heard one gunshot, Bingham said, and found Lamb with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Lamb was declared dead, police said.

GAUTIER MURDER INVESTIGATION:

Before Lamb’s death, he was identified as a suspect in another slaying: the deadly shooting of a woman in Gautier, Mississippi, a coastal town about 300 miles south of Delta State.

A shooting was reported at a house in Gautier just after 10 a.m. Monday, the Gautier Police Department said. Responding officers found 41-year-old Amy Prentiss dead inside the home.

The Gautier Police said Monday the department was looking for Lamb “in connection with her murder,” but did not say how Lamb and Prentiss were connected.

The Cleveland Police and the Gautier Police did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment Tuesday.

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