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    State Representative Victor Cuevas, of Waterbury, have been charged with driving under the influence after a crash on Interstate 84 on Wednesday night.

    Cuevas was driving east on I-84 near Exit 25 in Waterbury when he hit the car in front of him as it slowed down for traffic, according to state police.

    Troopers suspected Cuevas was under the influence and asked him to perform a field sobriety test, which he failed, police said.

    He was arrested and taken to the state police barracks in Southbury where he refused to take a breathalyzer test, according to police.

    Cuevas, a Democrat who represents the 75th District in Waterbury, was charged with operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol and released on a $500 bond.

    House Speaker Brendan Sharkey stripped Cuevas of a leadership role on Thursday.

    "Though all of the details of the incident are unclear at this time, in light of the seriousness of the charge, I am removing Rep. Cuevas from his leadership responsibilities as vice-chair of the Labor & Public Employees Committee," Sharkey said in a statement.  "Victor understands that he needs to take the appropriate steps to resolve this matter, while continuing to serve and represent his constituents."

    According to his House Democratic bio page, Cuevas is also the recreational director for the City of Waterbury. 

    A spokesperson for the city said Cuevas does not hold that position, but is recreational director at the River Baldwin Recreation Center in Waterbury.

    NBC Connecticut has reached out to Cuevas for a comment on his arrest, but he has not responded. A crew also went to the address listed on the arrest report on Thursday night, but people at the multi-family house asked us to leave.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    Rep. Victor Cuevas, of Waterbury, is facing DUI charges after an accident on I-84 on Wednesday night.Rep. Victor Cuevas, of Waterbury, is facing DUI charges after an accident on I-84 on Wednesday night.

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    Hartford police have arrested a mother accused of leaving her two young sons alone in a home where about $1,000 worth of crack cocaine and a loaded gun were found. 

    Police said they executed a search warrant at 389-391 Albany Avenue on Thursday and learned that Rhonda Arnum, 34, was selling drugs and has a gun.

    Arnum’s 8- and 11-year-old sons were home and police said they found a loaded gun with six live rounds in a laundry basket, where the boys could get ahold of it, police said.

    "The mother was identified as a target of our investigation as doing some street-level narcotics dealing, but also having a stash house for both narcotics, firearms and cash," Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said.

    Police found Arnum nearby and arrested her.

    She was charged with criminally negligent storage of a firearm, possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell narcotics and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.  She was arraigned on Friday and released on a $75,000 bond.

    Hartford police have previously arrested Arnum nine times.

    The state Department of Children and Families has been notified.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police arrested a mother after finding her two young sons alone in a home where a loaded gun and crack cocaine were found.Police arrested a mother after finding her two young sons alone in a home where a loaded gun and crack cocaine were found.

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    High pressure over New England will make for a beautiful start to the weekend, but a cold front early Sunday does bring a few showers.

    Mostly sunny skies will be the story for the balance of this Friday, with temperatures in the lower to middle 50s. It will be breezy.

    The combination of dry air, a northwest breeze and the lack of rain means the fire danger is moderate. Any fires that ignite will spread quickly.

    Tomorrow's also a sunny day, though it will be a frosty start. Temperatures will be in the upper 20s inland and in the hills, but middle 30s at the shoreline. Temperatures will rise into the lower to middle 50s with lots of sunshine in the afternoon.

    A cold front comes through Sunday morning with clouds and a few showers. But the whole day won't be lost. Skies will clear during the afternoon with temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s.

    The next workweek starts out dry with high pressure in command. Both Monday and Tuesday will have lots of sunshine. Temperatures will be in the middle and upper 50s.

    A storm system rides north to the west of Connecticut in the middle and late part of next week. There's a rising chance of rain on Wednesday, and a better chance of rain on Thursday.

    Even with the clouds and rain chances in the middle part of next week, temperatures rise. Highs will be in lower and middle 60s by Thursday.


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Morning showers give way to clearing on Sunday.Morning showers give way to clearing on Sunday.

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    A 17-year-old Hamden boy was arrested after trying to get away from officers in a stolen car and hitting a police officer who was on foot, trying to stop him, police said. The teen has not been identified and police said he does not have a license.

    It started around 9 a.m., when a traffic officer on a motorcycle tried to stop an SUV that ran a red light near Temple and Crown streets, police said.

    The teen driver refused to stop, sped up and hit the officer, injuring the officer’s shoulder, police said.

    Because the chase was going on during rush hour, the teen’s attempts to get away were slowed by traffic and police said they caught him when he sideswiped a vehicle near Park Street and North Frontage Road.

    Police said the teen was behind the wheel of a car that was stolen from Hamden three days ago.

    He was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny, assault on a police officer, two counts of risk of injury to minors, reckless driving and several motor vehicle charges.

    Police said a 15-year-old, 16-year-old and 18-year-old were in the car.

    The driver of the car that was sideswiped was not hurt and there was minor damage to car.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police have arrested a teen accused of hitting a police officer with a stolen vehicle.Police have arrested a teen accused of hitting a police officer with a stolen vehicle.

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    Authorities have indicted two people in the murder-for-hire plot that left a Dallas dentist dead in a parking garage, and police said the duo may be linked to a drug cartel.

    Kendra Hatcher, 35, was fatally shot Sept. 2 in the parking garage of her Uptown apartment complex.

    Police said Brenda Delgado, 33, remains on the run and is considered a fugitive, but a grand jury has indicted her for capital murder. Investigators believe Delgado, who allegedly dated Hatcher's boyfriend, planned Hatcher's murder and hired people to carry it out.

    According to an FBI affidavit, one of those people, Crystal Cortes, told detectives Delgado was upset her ex-boyfriend was dating Hatcher and had recently taken her to San Francisco to meet his parents. Hatcher and Delgado’s ex-boyfriend were also scheduled to leave for Mexico the day after Hatcher's murder, according to the affidavit.

    In her indictment, prosecutors allege Delgado promised to pay a hitman with money and drugs from a drug cartel. She also allegedly used an iPhone to track Hatcher's location, the FBI affidavit reveals.

    Kristopher Love, man police believe pulled the trigger, has been indicted as well for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. According to an arrest affidavit, Love admitted to his role in the robbery that resulted in Hatcher's death.

    Dallas police said 23-year-old Cortes has already admitted her involvement in the murder. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Cortes told detectives she was behind the wheel of the getaway vehicle on the the night Hatcher was shot and killed. Cortes told detectives she was paid $500 to drive the shooter to the parking garage to commit a robbery.

    In the affidavit, Cortes told police Love waited for Hatcher to drive into the garage and park her car. Cortes said Love got out of the Jeep and she heard a gunshot, then Love returned with two purses, according to the affidavit. After the shooting, Cortes said Love threatened that she and her 6-year-old son "would be next" if she talked to police.

    Cortes was arrested Sept. 4 and also faces a capital murder charge.



    Photo Credit: Family photo, Dallas County Sheriff's Office
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Brenda Delgado (right) has been indicted with capital murder in the slaying of Dallas dentist Kendra Hatcher (left), who was found dead in the parking garage of her apartment complex.Brenda Delgado (right) has been indicted with capital murder in the slaying of Dallas dentist Kendra Hatcher (left), who was found dead in the parking garage of her apartment complex.

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    A gang member has been charged with the murder of a Newtown man who was shot and killed on Interstate 84 in Waterbury 15 years ago as he was heading to work.

    Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s office have charged Alex Garcia, 37, of Danbury, with the murder of Mark Rebong on January 17, 2000 and said the murder was a case of mistaken identity.

    Rebong was the night manager of the Hilton Hotel in Danbury and was heading to work when he shot in the head between 10:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. that night, according to police.

    He was found at 11:02 p.m. on Jan. 17, 2000 in the driver’s seat of an idling vehicle near exit 2 off of I-84 in Danbury and later died as a result of his injuries.

    Garcia is in custody, serving an unrelated state sentence, and he was indicted on Thursday,

    At the time of the murder, he was a member of the Latin Kings and murdered Rebong to maintain or increase his position in the gang, as well as for money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    “In a tragic case of mistaken identity, Mark Rebong, who was neither a member of a gang nor engaged in any criminal activity, was shot and killed as he drove to work,” U.S. Attorney Deidre Daly said. “I want to commend the dedicated law enforcement investigators for their relentless search for those responsible for this senseless murder. Although over 15 years have passed, the law enforcement team never forgot Mark. We hope that this indictment brings his family some small measure of solace.”

    Garcia has been charged with murder in aid of racketeering, assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence resulting death.

    A $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

    State police posted a photo of Mark Rebong and the Jeep Cherokee online when  this was an open case.State police posted a photo of Mark Rebong and the Jeep Cherokee online when this was an open case.

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    Hillary Clinton called her eleven-hour testimony in front of the Benghazi House Select Committee a “pretty long day” in remarks at the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday morning, NBC News reported.

    Clinton said she was glad that she “finally got to answer questions” during the hearing on Thursday, “something I’ve been pushing for literally a year.”

    Campaign aides said they were pleased with Clinton’s performance at the hearing, but maintained that last week’s debate was a “bigger moment” for her to showcase her strengths. They were also frustrated over the committee’s fixation on Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton's long-time ally.

    During the speech, Clinton also commented on Joe Biden’s announcement that he would not run for president and on Bernie Sanders’s comments on gun control.



    Photo Credit: AP
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the Democratic National Committee 22nd Annual Women's Leadership Forum National Issues Conference in Washington, Oct. 23, 2015.Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the Democratic National Committee 22nd Annual Women's Leadership Forum National Issues Conference in Washington, Oct. 23, 2015.

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    Days before jury selection begins, prosecutors are fighting to keep Gregory Graf from using his mental state to defend himself against charges he murdered his stepdaughter, then recorded himself having sex with her corpse.

    The five-day search for Jessica Padgett, a mother of three and newlywed from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, came to a stunning end the day before Thanksgiving last year when investigators found her body in a shallow grave on the property where Graf lived with Padgett’s mother.

    District Attorney John Morganelli is asking the judge to prohibit any expert testimony during the trial from a psychologist the defense hired to evaluate Graf.

    The defense missed a deadline to disclose the findings of their psychiatric evaluation. Without that information, Morganelli argued, he’s left with little time to determine if he needs his own expert to mentally evaluate Graf.

    Attorney Jack McMahon is expected to use Graf’s mental state to defend him when the Allentown man’s trial gets underway Nov. 2.

    "We can’t be surprised on the eve of the trial," Morganelli told The Morning Call.

    Padgett, 33, was last seen Nov. 21 when she left her job at a day care to run an errand and went to Graf's place to fax some papers. Graf, 54, admitted to shooting Jessica in his home, according to Morganelli. After violating her corpse, prosecutors allege Graf buried Padgett's body behind a shed in his yard.

    While she was missing, Jessica’s family and friends set up a "Help Find Jessica Padgett" page on Facebook. More than 8,000 people joined the group and have since helped raise more than $20,000 to help support Padgett’s children.

    A hearing on Morganelli’s petition is scheduled for Oct. 30.



    Photo Credit: Facebook/Family Photos

    Gregory Graf is accused of murdering his stepdaughter, Jessica Padgett, a mother of three from Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, and then sexually abusing her corpse.Gregory Graf is accused of murdering his stepdaughter, Jessica Padgett, a mother of three from Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, and then sexually abusing her corpse.

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    Police have arrested an exterminator who is accused of stealing more than $20,000 worth of jewelry from a Glastonbury home while he was there, working for a pest control company.

    The jewelry was reported stolen in August, and Eric C. Wallace, 32, of Meriden, has been identified as the suspect.

    Police said he was the only person who had access to the jewelry and sold it at local pawn shops.

    Wallace was arrested, charged with first-degree larceny and is being held on $10,000.

    He is due in court in Manchester on Oct. 19.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A suburban Minneapolis woman has been arrested for sending anonymous notes to her neighbors saying she wanted to taste and lick their children, police said.

    Carrie Pernula, 38, was charged Thursday by summons with stalking and disorderly conduct, according to Champlin Deputy Police Chief Ty Schmidt.

    The family received the first disturbing note in the mail Sept. 27 that anonymously read, "The children look delicious. May I have a taste?"

    After the concerned parents posted the letter to the city of Champlin’s community Facebook page, it started spreading across social media, with residents urging police to take action out of concern for the children’s safety.

    "I tossed and turned all night brewing about this," said one commenter.

    Shortly after, the family began to receive magazine subscriptions addressed to the "tasty children."

    Investigators stepped in and traced the magazines that were sent back to Pernula, who was taken into police custody last Friday, and admitted to sending the threats. She was released from jail Monday.

    Her attorney, Debbie Lang, called it "an unfortunate and complicated situation for everyone involved."

    Pernula told police she sent the messages because the kids made noise and left items in her yard.



    Photo Credit: Facebook/Champlin, MN Community Group

    The concerned mother posted the note she and her family received mailed to their suburban home on Sept. 27 that only read, The concerned mother posted the note she and her family received mailed to their suburban home on Sept. 27 that only read, "The children look delicious. May I have a taste?"

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    Newington police have arrested a man accused of threatening several Newington police officers, as well as New Britain Superior Court, on Sept. 18.

    Police arrested Vishal R. Bhatt, 26, of Newington, on a warrant on Thursday, charging him with breach of peace, criminal violation of a protective order and threatening,

    Police said he left the state after making the threats, but came back on Thursday and police spotted him traveling in Newington. They took him into custody after a traffic stop.

    Bhatt was held on a $150,000 bond and was due in court on Thursday.
     



    Photo Credit: Newington Police

    Vishal Bhatt is accused of threatening Newington Police, as well as New Britain Superior Court.Vishal Bhatt is accused of threatening Newington Police, as well as New Britain Superior Court.

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    Like most couples, Rodolfo Melgoza and Anthony Chavira planned a dream wedding. A destination wedding. One with their closest family and friends in Puerto Vallarta.

    Little did the San Francisco men realize that Hurricane Patricia – the "strongest hurricane on record" in the Western Hemisphere – was going to smack the city a day before they planned to say, "I do."

    Despite the threatening storm, the couple stayed calm and even upbeat.

    "They say rain is good luck," Melgoza said in an exclusive interview via FaceTime Friday afternoon. "So a hurricane? I mean, you know? We’re going to be together forever. Right?"

    The Caterory 5 hurricane prompted a state of emergency in parts of Mexico, and the tourist magnets of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo are directly in the storm's projected path.

    Early Friday morning, everyone in the wedding party received notices on their beach resort hotel doors urging them to evacuate. The couple, along with friend Tim Ramos of San Mateo, were moved from their hotel to a bus, then to an elementary school serving as a community shelter.

    Ramos said the wedding party tried to flee the city, but realized they had to stay put because all flights were canceled. Now they're trying to enjoy the moment, playing softball and basketball.

    After nine years as a couple and a year of wedding planning, the two men have no intention of abandoning their dreams to tie the knot, no matter the 200 mph winds headed their way – or the fact that their photographer couldn't catch a plane to document their bliss.

    "We have nothing to worry about. We’re all together," Chavira said. "The ceremony’s at 5 o’clock."



    Photo Credit: Anthony Chavira and Rodolfo Melgoza
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Anthony Chavira and Rodolfo Melgoza plan to marry Saturday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as Hurricane Patricia is set to slam the tourist destination.Anthony Chavira and Rodolfo Melgoza plan to marry Saturday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as Hurricane Patricia is set to slam the tourist destination.

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    Hurricane Patricia became "the strongest hurricane on record" in the Western Hemisphere early Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, and was expected to hit Mexico's Pacific Coast between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET.

    Experts are warning the Category 5 storm could trigger 40-foot waves across the coast as well as "life-threatening" flash flooding, NBC News reported. 

    The The Mexican government declared a state of emergency and more than 7 million residents were told to prepare for the "worst-case scenario." The tourist magnets of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo were directly in the storm's projected path.

    The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Patricia could feature 200 mph winds, and is calling it "the strongest hurricane on record" in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific Basins.

    NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said the storm could lead to 10 inches of rain for Texas as well as flash flooding in south Texas on Sunday.



    Photo Credit: NOAA
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins warned that Patricia would be NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins warned that Patricia would be "the most devastating storm to ever hit Mexico."

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    Some Simsbury High School students on a field trip to Salem, Massachusetts Friday morning are in trouble after selling pot brownies on the bus.

    The trip involved a group of 11th grade English Language Arts students, according to school superintendent Matt Curtis.

    The bus stopped in Massachusetts about an hour before reaching Salem to deal with the situation.

    "The students that were involved in the event have been identfied, the local police have been consulted, and the parents of the students involved in the event are being contacted," Curtis said in a statement.

    The Simsbury High School Resource Officer and a school administrator traveled to Massachusetts to assist with the investigation, Curtis said.

    It was not clear if any of the students were arrested.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Police said they are looking for a man who offered a girl at a bus stop money top leave with him.Police said they are looking for a man who offered a girl at a bus stop money top leave with him.

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    Police from several towns rushed to schools in Fairfield, Connecticut on Friday morning after at least three of the town’s 17 public schools received phone calls from someone threatening violence with guns or pipe bombs.

    All the public schools were placed in lockdown for around two hours, and some private and parochial schools went into some level of secure mode as well.

    Police went into high alert around 9 a.m. when a man called them, claiming he was at a home on Black Rock Turnpike and had killed his girlfriend, was holding a hostage, and was in possession of guns and pipe bombs.

    Officers responded, shut the street down, checked all the houses and determined there was no such address.

    Then, Fairfield schools started receiving gun and bomb threat phone calls.

    "(W)e don't know if the Black Rock Turnpike thing is used as a diversion, or whether it was just in fact part of the plan." Lt. James Perez, of Fairfield Police, said. "But I will tell you that we, as law enforcement officers, take all of these calls extremely seriously because we have to."

    The call to Holland Hill Elementary School said a man was coming down with an M-16.

    Roger Ludlowe High School received a threat about a bomb in the school.

    Fairfield Warde High School received a call reporting pipe bombs scattered throughout the school.
    One or two additional schools might have received threats as well, police said.

    "All 17 schools, right now, in Fairfield, are on lockdown. We're calling in officers from surrounding areas to help us, not only lock down the schools, but so that we can search every school and dismiss or confirm the threats coming in," Lt. James Perez, of the Fairfield Police Department, said on Friday morning.

    As they faced the challenge of sweeping 17 schools to ensure the safety of everyone inside, local police received assistance from officers from Westport, Trumbull, Newtown, Easton and Bridgeport as the responded and searched each school Friday morning.

    On Friday morning, Gov. Dannel Malloy said he has been in contact with authorities in Fairfield, his office was monitoring the situation and state resources from several agencies were on standby if they are requested or needed.

    Throughout the morning, police reiterated the request that parents stay at home, and warned they would be turned away if they show up at the schools.

    "The kids are locked down and safe right now," Perez said. "There are police officers at every school, and we have our emergency operation center opened up at police headquarters, where we are coordinating our efforts with the fire department, various police departments and other agencies that can help up actually adjudicate or go through all these scenarios."

    By late morning, school officials decided to release students from the public schools on an early dismissal schedule, beginning at 11:45 a.m.

    Despite police asking parents not to rush to campuses, some students walked out of school to find their parents there, waiting for them.

    In interviews outside, some of the students said they had no idea what was going on at first and saw teacher’s expressions change to concern when alerts started coming in.

    Others said they were anxious and scared, but calmed as the morning went on.

    All after school activities for Fairfield public schools, including home and away sporting events, scheduled for today are postponed.

    As police continue to investigate, they are asking anyone with information about any of the calls to reach out to police and call 203-254-4840.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Fairfielld schools are dismissing early after several schools received threats on Friday morning.Fairfielld schools are dismissing early after several schools received threats on Friday morning.

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    Three months after Florida police shot and killed a computer engineer walking with an unloaded air rifle, two of the officers involved received awards for bravery, even though the incident was still under investigation.

    Now their boss — who stood next to them at the ceremony — says those commendations were a mistake and plans to revise department rules.

    "The policy was violated," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told NBC News. "They should not have received the awards." 

    Jermaine McBean was killed in 2013 as he walked home from a pawn shop. Police say McBean ignored shouts to drop the weapon and pointed it at them, giving them no choice but to fire.

    Questions about the police account have been raised by a witness to the shooting and a photo of the dead man that seems to show him with earbuds in his ears.



    Photo Credit: AP

    FILEFILE

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    Police were called to Avon Middle School on Friday after a student brought a stun gun to school.

    While at school, the 7th-grade student showed the stun gun to other students, who then reported the weapon to a teacher, according to police.

    The teacher took the device and the student to the principal, who then called police.

    The student never tried to "shock" anyone with the stun gun and didn't threaten anyone, police said.

    The student was issued a juvenile summons with the charge of carrying a dangerous weapon.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    Four Eastern Connecticut State University students were settling in to their new dorm when they found a small piece of university history.

    Zack Skarzinski and Nick Presbie were exploring their new place at the High Rise Apartments at ECSU's campus as their two other roommates, Luke Davis and Alex Marquis, were gone for the weekend.

    "'I wonder what in that panel back there?'" Said Zack Skarzinski, taking us back to that moment. "We were just looking around. We had just moved in."

    That's when they decided to unscrew the panel under the kitchen sink. Inside, they found a box. But not any box -- a time capsule dated December 18, 2001.

    “Out of all the things to find in there we did not expect to find a time capsule!” said Presbie, who encouraged Skarzinski to open the paneling.

    The time capsule was in a shoe box. Dust covered it, as the area hadn't been opened in nearly 14 years.

    Inside the box was an old blue Wal-Mart bag, covering the findings. There was also a chore list with the names of 4 underclassman who lived in the dorm room. The list read "Liz, Michelle, Becca and Karen."

    The names were then identified on a cassette tape. The roommates identified themselves Elizabeth Munsell, Michelle Peterson, Rebecca Iles and Karen Kaczynski.

    “I want to know mostly what’s in that cassette because that’s been keeping me up,” Said Marquis, who was shocked about the findings in his apartment. What's in the tape is still a mystery.

    The shoe box also contained notes with advice for the finder and a list of the students' dreams. In 2001, they all wrote they hoped to be married with children.

    “But I also it would also be cool to figure out if their dreams… if they really got married to who they wanted to. If they became the job they wanted to be,” said Luke Davis.

    There were also notes with advice for the finder, along with a few of their favorite things including perfume, Nerds candy, popcorn, margarita trees and chewing gum.

    The four roommates have tried searching for the "time capsule roommates." With assistance from school officials, so far Iles and Kaczynski have been contacted.

    The search to find Munsell and Peterson continues.

    “We definitely want to meet them I think that’d be cool,” Said Zkarzynski.

    The roommates plan to put the box back behind the paneling and add their own time capsule with it.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    For the first time, a mother arrested after bringing her child from Pennsylvania to Boston, sparking an Amber Alert, is speaking publicly about the case.

    Tiffany Cherry spoke only to necn, saying she thought she was doing the right thing by driving her infant son to be treated at Boston Children's Hospital. Now, she's fighting to get her children back.

    Balloons in hand, she showed up to Boston Children's Hospital to visit her newborn son.

    "Qisai and Qavai are my world," Cherry told necn. "I love my babies like you love yours."

    Her two children are now in the care of Department of Children & Families. She lost custody of them after she was accused of endangering the life of 2-month-old Qavai Cherry by defying a nurse's suggestion to take the severely dehydrated boy to a Pennsylvania emergency room.

    Cherry says at the time, she was relying on her motherly instinct, and her gut told her the infant would get better care at Boston Children's.

    "I would always, always, always do what I have to do to make sure that my kids are OK," she told necn, fighting back tears. "I'm their mother. That's my job."

    The mother is from the Boston area, and her family has been defending her since her arrest Saturday.

    She says her last child was stillborn - family members say she has been overly cautious with Qavai.

    Stephen Weymouth, her lawyer and a family friend, says her choice should not have prompted a manhunt.

    "I don't think that it was a proper use of the Amber Alert," said Weymouth. "I think Pennsylvania overreacted."

    Cherry is currently out on bail on a charge of being a fugitive from justice. The young boy is recovering at the hospital and is expected to be OK.

    The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families says Cherry's case is being evaluated, and that Qavai and 4-year-old Qisai would remain in state custody until the investigation is over.

    "Please pray for my family," Cherry said. "We need prayers."

    As part of her bail conditions, Cherry had to settle outstanding warrants in Massachusetts, which, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, she did this week.

    Within the next week, she must also return to Pennsylvania to answer to the child endangerment charge.



    Photo Credit: Courtesy Tiffany Cherry

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    While most people were evacuating to get away from Hurricane Patricia, the Category 5 storm that barrelled into the coast of Mexico Friday afternoon, a plane carrying National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees flew right through the eye of the storm.

    The agency's Lockheed WP-3D Orion "hurricane hunter" flies right through the rain and clouds in incredible video shot Thursday by flight engineer Joseph Klippel.

    The first two minutes of the video shows the approach to the eye of Hurricane Patricia, according to a NOAA representative who spoke to NBC 4 in Southern California on Friday.

    In the clip's second two minutes, the plane flies through the storm itself.

    Thousands have evacuated ahead of the storm, which swelled into the largest ever seen in the Western Hemisphere by Friday. 

    Find out how you can help here.



    Photo Credit: Joseph Klippel, NOAA

    A NOAA plane flies through the eye of Hurricane Patricia.A NOAA plane flies through the eye of Hurricane Patricia.

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