Facebook user posts confession hours after his mother and friend are found dead: Authorities

first_imgFacebook(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) — A man driving on a Mississippi road phoned local police and then typed a confessional on Facebook detailing the savage double murder of his mother and a close pal, according to police.Police say Casey James Lawhorn typed over a 1,000-word screed about how early Sunday morning he apparently was fed up with his mother and his friend and decided to kill them in his East Ridge, Tennessee, home.As of Sunday night, Lawhorn — who is wanted for killing his mother and his friend — is on the lam in Jasper County, Mississippi, according to the Sheriff’s Department there. A SWAT team surrounded his gold Taurus, but he was nowhere to be found, Tennessee authorities said.East Ridge Police Assistant Police Chief Stan Allen told ABC News the Facebook post to be authentic, saying Lawhorn “posted a pretty specific message on Facebook detailing the crime.”According to the Facebook post from Sunday evening, Lawhorn, who in the post claims he is “almost 24,” admitted to picking up a “stolen .22 LR rifle caliber” from his bedroom and about 1:30 a.m., walked up to his friend dozing on the living room floor and “shot him in the head once.”The Facebook post said the young man the young man “seemed to die instantly.”Then, the post suggests, he marched to his mother’s dark bedroom while she was sleeping. The post claimed that his mom was inebriated when he tried pulling the trigger.But the gun jammed, according to the post.The post stated that he left the room momentarily to fix the weapon, and then returned. That’s when he “rapidly got off two shots” in the dark.The blood-curdling screams tested Lawhorn, according to the post.“She started screaming the worst scream I’ve ever heard,” according to the post. “Movies really don’t do justice to how true terror sounds.”The gun jammed again, according to the post, and after fixing it a second time, Lawhorn then allegedly turned a light on and “shot at her twice more and it was over.”The post stated that Lawhorn later swiped heroin and cash from his dead friend’s pockets and wallet but spared his mother’s dog, Oscar.“I didn’t hurt our dog or cat, in case anyone was wondering about the animals.”Afterward, the post claims that Lawhorn was struggling with college and that he was hoping to commit suicide.“Surely any normal person would wish death on themselves after doing what I did, seeing what I saw, and hearing what I heard,” according to the post.Allen confirmed to ABC News that dispatchers received a phone call from Mississippi — approximately 40 miles from his home — earlier in the evening from a man they believe to be Lawhorn tipping them off on the double homicides.“The suspect called us and identified himself and talked to our dispatchers for some time,” Allen said, noting that Lawhorn directed cops to the location of the purported double murder scene.“He told them that he had committed the crime and that he was going to a location north of our city to find a secluded spot to kill himself,” said Allen.When officers appeared at the home, which is just south of Chattanooga, Allen said there was no answer.“They ended up forcing entry into the home,” he said.Once inside Allen said the cops found a woman, whom they identified as Lawhorn’s mother, Vi Lawhorn, and a young man whom they are not identifying. Both were dead from apparent gunshot wounds, he said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Inspector General probing conditions at migrant children’s’ shelters

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — On the heels of alleged abuse and mismanagement at several Health and Human Services shelters housing migrant children separated from their parents, the agency’s inspector general has launched a review of these facilities, the inspector general’s office confirms.A multidisciplinary team will conduct site visits to Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities nationwide, looking specifically at the agency’s efforts “to ensure the health and safety” of the children housed there, IG officials tell ABC News. Among other issues, the teams will focus on employee clinical skills, identification and response to harmful incidents, and facility security.They expect to release a report by the end of 2018.The announcement comes on the heels of a letter, signed by 77 congressional Democrats, urging HHS Sec. Alex Azar to address the alleged mistreatment of children in his agency’s custody.Citing conditions at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Virginia and Southwest Key facilities across Texas, the lawmakers said they’re concerned HHS “is actively working in ways that harm children.”Azar’s office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.As of last Wednesday, HHS had around 12,000 migrant children – including more than 2,000 children separated from their parents at the border under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which has since been amended to keep children detained alongside parents – in their custody.According to records obtained by ABC News, state inspectors in Texas identified nearly 250 violations at facilities run by Southwest Key, one of HHS’s biggest shelter contractors.“Deficiencies” at those facilities included reports of a child with “unsupervised access to a tool/knife,” a child “clearly in pain” not given prompt medical care, a child administered a medication to which she was allergic, and an employee writing obscenities on a chalkboard.The company says staffers investigated each deficiency and “strive to provide the highest quality of care possible.”The letter to Azar points to even more troubling allegations reported by the Associated Press, including children with mental health issues “routinely beaten while shackled,” and subjected to “long periods of solitary confinement.”“We are concerned that these immigrant children, with their existing vulnerabilities, are falling prey to neglect and intentional harm,” the lawmakers wrote.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Mom not cooperating with police amid search for missing 5-year-old boy: Officials

first_imgFedorovekb/iStock(CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill.) — JoAnn Cunningham, the mother of missing 5-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund, is being “uncooperative” with investigators as the frantic search for the Illinois boy reaches a fifth day, Crystal Lake police said on Monday.AJ was last seen the night of April 17. Police say there’s no indication he was abducted.The young boy was put to bed but in the morning he was gone, Cunningham’s attorney, George Kililis, told “Good Morning America” this weekend.Cunningham reported AJ missing on April 18, Kililis said.Cunningham spoke with multiple officers and “was fully cooperating with the police without holding anything back,” Kililis said.Kililis said he then got the impression that police considered Cunningham to be a suspect when her home and phone were searched.“Those are not actions you take unless you consider somebody a suspect,” he said, adding that he told her to remain silent.“She has nothing to do with his disappearance or anything that may have happened to him,” Kililis said. “She’s nothing more than a grieving mother.”“I just want my kid. That’s my life,” Cunningham told “GMA” through tears.The boy’s father, Andrew Freund, spoke with detectives on Saturday, police said.No arrests have been made, police said.Canine teams have only picked up the boy’s scent within his home, which police said indicates he didn’t walk away on foot. Investigators remain focused on AJ’s house and the people who may have seen him last, police said.As the investigation continues, AJ’s younger brother has been placed in a different home under a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) safety plan, a DCFS spokesman told ABC News.DCFS has had contact with AJ’s family since the boy was born in 2013, the spokesman said.The last contact between DCFS and the family was in December 2018. Child protection staffers were investigating allegations of abuse and neglect, he said. The allegations were unfounded, he added.“The disappearance of AJ shouldn’t impact her ability to parent,” Kililis said, adding, “We will cooperate with DCFS, we understand what they’re doing… they’re doing their job.”“We think we’ll be able to provide ample evidence that JoAnn had nothing to do it” and was providing a “safe environment,” he said.The FBI’s Chicago bureau is involved in the case.AJ is described as standing at 3 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 70 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt and black sweatpants.Anyone with information is asked to call the Crystal Lake Police Department at 815-356-3620.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

College awards student who died after getting into wrong car with posthumous degree

first_imgColumbia Police Department(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — Slain University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson, who died after getting into the wrong car, was awarded with a posthumous degree at what would have been her graduation ceremony.Josephson, 21, died in March after she got into a car she mistakenly thought was an Uber after a night out with friends. After she got into the stranger’s car, the child safety locks were activated, preventing her from escaping, and an autopsy found that she died from multiple sharp force injuries, authorities said.Josephson’s parents were in attendance Saturday at the commencement ceremony at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, where an empty seat was draped with a cap and gown in Josephson’s honor, according to ABC Charlotte, North Carolina, affiliate WSOC. There, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastide presented Josephson with a degree in political science.During the ceremony, Pastide reminded graduating students of the importance of safety when riding in ride-share cars, leading the audience in a chant of “What’s my name?”“Asking ‘What’s my name?’ before entering a ride-share vehicle will save lives and must become as automatic to you as putting on your seatbelt when you get behind the wheel,” Pastide said.Last month, Josephson’s parents appeared on “Good Morning America,” urging for stricter ride-share safety laws.“I think it’s just become such a natural or new phenomenon using Uber,” Josephson’s mother, Marci Josephson, told George Stephanopoulos on April 15. “We trust people and you can’t. You have to change the way that the laws are to make it safer because that’s our nature. We automatically assume that we’re safe.”The man suspected of killing Josephson, Nathaniel Rowland, has been charged with murder and kidnapping. Josephson’s body was found in a wooded area where Rowland recently lived, and her phone was found in his car, police said.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Texas police officer dies after being shot in the line of duty, officials say

first_imgamphotora/iStock(MISSION, Texas) — A police officer died Thursday night after being shot in the line of duty in Mission, Texas.The unnamed officer, a member of the Mission Police Department, was shot when he was “waved down for a suspect with a weapon,” city officials said. The officer was in critical condition when he was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.“We’re devastated,” the City of Mission wrote on Twitter late Thursday night. “He gave his life protecting us. There are no words to explain how heartbroken we are as a community.”An investigation into the fatal shooting is underway, and a suspect is in custody, according to ABC affiliate KRGV-TV in Weslaco, Texas.The police department and city officials have scheduled a press conference on the matter for Friday morning at 10 a.m. local time.“It is a sad day in Mission. Tonight we lost one of our own,” Mission Mayor Armando O’Cana wrote on Twitter. “Our hearts are with the officer’s family.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Dangerous heat wave scorches millions in Midwest, East Coast

first_imgABC News(NEW YORK) — Several heat index readings came close to setting records across the eastern half of the U.S. on Friday, with the hottest temperatures still yet to come on the East Coast.Des Moines, Iowa, saw a heat index reading — the “feels like” temperature due to the high humidity — of 119 degrees, just 3 degrees away from a record. The heat index was 115 degrees in Minneapolis with a dew point of 80, the highest recorded in eight years. The temperature was 93 in Chicago, with a heat index of 107, while it reached a temperature of 95 degrees in Washington, D.C.Many cities across the across the Midwest and Northeast started Saturday with heat indices in the 90s, and the day will be another scorcher with heat indices up to 115 degrees by afternoon. Excessive heat warnings have been issued from Kansas to Ohio and North Carolina to New Hampshire.Some of the temperatures on Saturday will be the hottest in several years.New York City and Philadelphia could see their hottest temperatures since 2012, while Washington, D.C., could hit 100 for the first time since 2016.Overnight lows again will struggle to dip below 80, and it will already feel like 90 degrees when people wake up Sunday morning in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston.Sunday will be the final day of oppressive heat in the East before cooler temperatures arrive.Temperatures will be much cooler than this weekend for the start of the work week, and will even be below average for late July with highs in the 70s across much of the Midwest and East Coast.Severe stormsThe dip in the jet stream and associated cold front bringing the cooler temperatures to the Midwest and Northeast will also bring severe weather.There were more than 140 reports of severe weather Friday and overnight into Saturday from South Dakota to New York. Baseball-size hail damaged wind shields in Minnesota, while 84 mph wind gusts knocked out power in Wisconsin.There is another chance for severe weather Saturday from Iowa to Michigan and another pocket in Colorado. The main threats will be for damaging winds, large hail and an isolated tornado.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Dozens of large wildfires burning in West as California feels the heat

first_imgABC News(NEW YORK) — A storm system that brought damaging winds and flash flooding has moved off the East Coast and attention turns to the West, where there is high fire danger, and the Southwest, where monsoon flash flooding possible. Evacuations and a state of emergency have been declared for the Museum Fire near Flagstaff, Arizona. There are more than 100 large fires burning in the Unites States on Wednesday morning, including 40 large fires burning in the West alone.Monsoon storms will produce dry, gusty winds and lightning for the West.The heat will increase in parts of central and southern California, where there are heat watches and warnings.Red flag warnings have been issued for Washington, Idaho and Montana.Monsoon storms will also produce localized heavy rain for the Southwest over the next several days. Some areas could see more than 2 inches of rain.Flash flooding is possible especially near the burn scar area near the Museum Fire.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Manhunt underway for sniper who shot Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy

first_imgKABC(LOS ANGELES) — A sniper located in an apartment building in Los Angeles County opened fire on a sheriff’s deputy just outside his station house on Wednesday afternoon.The deputy, identified as 21-year-old Angel Reinosa, was shot in his bulletproof vest in the parking lot of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lancaster station by someone in the apartment building across the street, which is a government-subsidized facility.The shooting took place in Lancaster, about an hour north of downtown Los Angeles, at about 2:45 p.m. local time.“Think about what happened here — a sniper took out one of our deputies,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said at a press conference. “And the only reason that deputy is alive is because he had his vest on.”“He was getting ready to take that vest off,” he added. “Had he done so, it would’ve been a much more tragic situation.”The suspect is still on the loose, authorities said early Thursday. Sheriff’s deputies cleared the apartment building overnight and did not find the person. The suspect has not been named, and it is unclear if they are a resident of the building.Reinosa has been treated and released from the hospital and there was no puncture wound.He has been with the sheriff’s office for about a year and at the Lancaster station for just three months, authorities said.Sgt. Benjamin Grubb, in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Information Bureau, called the shooting a “contemptible assault.”Parris was critical of a mental health facility, Mental Health America of Los Angeles, that shares a parking lot with the apartment building, however, the apartments provide housing for a variety of low- and middle-income residents and those who were formerly homeless, according to the Los Angeles Times.“It’s not just a four-story apartment building, it’s a four-story apartment building that is government subsidized for mentally ill people,” Parris said. “I mean, let’s call it what it is. Why do you put mentally ill people in a four-story apartment building across from the sheriff’s department?”A spokesperson for the facility told Los Angeles ABC station KABC that the mental health facility is in the same complex, but separate from the apartments, which are not specifically for patients.“They let people live in our apartment complex who have mental illness,” Terrisa McGhee, who lives in the apartment complex, told KABC. “It’s kind of scary because there’s no security onsite 24 hours. Management is never here when things happen. The cops are in there constantly. So it’s not a surprise.”It is unknown whether the suspect is a patient.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

California fires live updates: Ferocious winds ignite multiple new blazes

first_imgErin Donalson/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — Ferocious winds are hitting Southern California, fueling the already dangerous flames and igniting two new fires early Thursday.With wind gusts reaching 60 or 70 mph, the winds can easily shoot embers and sparks into the air and send them one or two miles away.In San Bernardino County, multiple homes were engulfed in flames early Thursday from the fast-moving Hillside Fire, which ignited as ferocious 70 mph wind gusts lifted burning embers into the air.The wind-driven blaze was reported around 1:40 a.m. Thursday, San Bernardino County Fire Chief Don Trapp said. Within hours, the blaze covered 200 acres and consumed six homes.Mandatory evacuations are in effect for about 1,300 residents.Don Silver said a neighbor alerted him to the danger by banging on his door in the middle of the night. That’s when he saw “flames like 40 to 50 feet high.”“It’s scary,” Silver told ABC News. “You just want to get out, run. You don’t pick up nothing.”The fire has the potential to move so quickly that “if folks don’t evacuate when we ask them to, it’ll be very difficult to try to get them out when the fire is moving toward their homes,” Kathleen Opliger, San Bernardino County Fire’s Interim Deputy Chief of Operations, said Thursday.She said it’s “absolutely imperative that folks go when we ask them to go.”The 46 Fire erupted in nearby Riverside County shortly after midnight on Thursday, destroying at least five structures.The winds sent embers flying, falling dangerously close to horses below. It’s spread to 300 acres and is 5 percent contained.The 46 Fire comes one day after the Hill Fire erupted in Riverside County, forcing the elderly to evacuate a healthcare center. The Hill Fire has since reached 80 percent containment.In Simi Valley, where wind gusts peaked at 70 mph, winds propelled the roaring Easy Fire to 1,700 acres. Firefighters are working to defend the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library against the flames.Roughly 7,000 homes were evacuated after the fire started on Wednesday. The blaze is 10 percent contained.“We still are not through this,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen warned Wednesday night. “We have another 24 hours of significant weather conditions and a lot of threat. Please stay aware, stay tuned and always be ready with a plan.”High wind warnings remain in effect in Southern California on Thursday. Winds are forecast to weaken Thursday afternoon. By Friday, conditions will improve.Meanwhile, the monster Kincade Fire in Northern California’s Sonoma County has covered 76,800 acres, but has climbed to 60 percent containment as the winds calm down.The Kincade Fire burned 141 homes and is still threatening over 90,000 structures.Four firefighters have been injured.Over 5,000 people remained under evacuation orders as of Wednesday night.Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Juvenile center waited 35 minutes to call police when murder suspects escaped: Police

first_imgMetro Nashville Police Department(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Nashville, Tennessee police are investigating a privately operated juvenile detention center where four teens, including two accused of murder, were able to escape through the front door, police said Monday.Youth Opportunity Investments, the private detention contractor that manages the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center, waited more than a half hour before it told police that the teens escaped, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department, which is investigating the circumstances surrounding Saturday night’s escape.“In 30 minutes, with a fast walk, you could be 2 miles away,” Metro Nashville Police Department Chief Steve Anderson told reporters Monday. “I don’t have any indication that a crime has been committed, that there was some overt act to assist in their escape, but certainly a lot of gross negligence.”Murder suspects Decorrius Wright, 16, and Morris Marsh, 17, allegedly ran out of the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center at around 10 p.m. Saturday night along with two other inmates, identified as 17-year-old Brandon Caruthers and 15-year-old Calvin Howse, authorities said Sunday.The teens were on a work detail when their staff supervisor left them to address a fight at another location inside the facility, according to police. They managed to get onto an elevator and used staff protocols to ride to the unsecured ground floor where they went through a series of doors and exited to the outside.Authorities said an employee of the detention center drove around the area looking for the escapees for 35 minutes before he eventually called police for assistance.The teens had not been apprehended as of late Monday night. Investigators said they more than likely had assistance once they were outside.Youth Opportunity said it was conducting an internal investigation into how the teens managed to escape. It said four employees had been placed on suspension pending the results of the internal probe, according to Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN-TV.“Youth Opportunity has provided a safe and secure environment for the youth and the citizens of Nashville. Youth Opportunity has heretofore experienced very few safety and security breaches,” the company said in a statement. “Youth Opportunity acknowledges that several members of its security personnel made improper decisions that, when combined, led to an opportunity for the four youth to leave the facility.”Anderson said he “had more questions than I had answers” after reviewing a copy of Youth Opportunity’s internal report, which is why he requested an investigation.“In looking at their own internal report, I just saw a pattern of people not paying attention to what they should be doing, so that’s the reason that I called for the review,” Anderson said.“What I saw in their report appeared to be a pattern of maybe nonchalant behavior,” Anderson said.Authorities said the teens are considered dangerous and are asking for the public’s help in locating them.Wright is accused of the murder of 24-year-old Kyle Yorlets, a Nashville musician who was fatally shot in an alley behind his home in February, according to police. Marsh is suspected of killing 19-year-old Charles Easley in April.Caruthers had been transferred to adult court on an August 2018 armed robbery case in south Nashville, according to police. Howse was last arrested Nov. 21 on charges of auto theft and gun possession, police said.ABC News does not normally name juveniles, but are doing so because police said they are dangerous individuals and have released their names and photos. Anyone with information about the escapees is asked to immediately call Nashville’s Emergency Communications Center at 615-862-8600.Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more