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    Danbury's mayor was treated after having a seizure and collapsing at a GOP governor candidates' event, sources said.

    Mark Boughton, a Republican contender for Connecticut's next governor, collapsed at the forum at the North House restaurant in Avon on Thursday night, according to sources at the event.

    Sources told NBC Connecticut that Boughton showed no signs of a possible problem as he met with supporters, however, he suddenly collapsed to the ground.

    One person got on the microphone and asked if there was a doctor. Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, an allergist from Glastonbury who is also running for governor, ran to Boughton.

    Srinivasan said he found Boughton on the floor while he was in the middle of a seizure. Boughton's mouth was foaming, he was extremely pale and he had a very weak pulse.

    "It’s a blur. It all happened very fast. You just do what has to be done in those situations," Srinivasan told NBC Connecticut.

    The doctor held Boughton's head and eventually was able to position his head in a way where he was safe and the seizure eventually calmed down.

    When EMTs arrived, Boughton received medical care and was alert before being transported to UConn Health in Farmington. 

    The nine-term mayor added his name to the list of candidates for Connecticut's next governor earlier this year. His consecutive terms as Danbury's mayor is the longest anyone has ever served in the city's history. 

    Boughton previously ran for governor in 2014 and for lieutenant governor in 2010 and is among the better-known names in the Republican field.

    Last August, Boughton's office said he was recovering after undergoing brain surgery to remove a cyst.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    The scraping, clanking and beeping of snow plows in the middle of the night have become a startling wake-up call for some residents in Mystic.

    The Troutman family live near a CVS and Citizen's Bank in their mixed-use community development on East Main Street.  

    Merin Troutman said wants the plows to stop running in the parking lots overnight because she has young children trying to sleep. She said the nearby businesses don’t open until 8 a.m. or later.

    Her husband, Matt, wrote an email to Stonington’s selectmen asking if there was a way for business’ landscaping and snow removal to not take place between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

    As it stands, "unreasonably loud, disturbing or unnecessary activity or noise" that can be heard within the confines of a home is restricted before 6 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. on Sunday, but snow removal equipment is exempt.

    The family said their concern has nothing to do with town plows or people digging out of their homes.

    "When it snows it happens frequently and it’s quite loud. If there was a way to just not have as much scraping or turn off the reverse beeping on the trucks, it would make a difference," Merin Troutman said.

    Matt Troutman said he just wants to start a dialogue with the Stonington Community about whether there can be a change to make it less disruptive, he said in an email. He’s also looking for more information on the town’s ordinances involving noise at night. 

    Another neighbor said that she’s a light sleeper and she’d appreciate less noise overnight but understands why the plows are running.

    The issue was tabled at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Wednesday night.

    "When the snow is gone, that’ll be the end of it. It’s not really a nuisance, it’s something you got to do," First Selectman Rob Simmons said on Wednesday.

    The town prioritizes schools, drug stores and grocery stores to be plowed first, Simmons said.

    Matt Troutman said he was not aware his letter was being addressed Wednesday.

    Merin Troutman said she’s reached out to Citizen’s Bank before about the overnight plowing a couple of years ago and they were responsive for the season. NBC Connecticut reached out for comment and they said they are looking into the matter.

    In a statement, CVS said, in part, "CVS Pharmacy tries to offer the community immediate, safe access to our buildings and parking lots after snow storms and other poor weather conditions, while also complying with all local ordinances."

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A Connecticut mother, whose family has been victim to unspeakable violence three times, is on a campaign to prevent similar tragedies from happening to others.

    Corinna Martin is lobbying for the creation of the National Offenders Registry after two of her daughters and grandchild died in domestic violence incidents.

    On Thursday, Martin held a public forum to discuss the need for the registry.

    Martin believes the existence of such a registry, that includes charge and other information about people charged with violent crimes and breach of peace, could have saved the lives of her daughters and other victims of domestic violence.

    "This is a tremendous way to keep their legacies alive," Martin said.

    In 2013, Martin’s daughter Alyssiah Wiley was murdered and dismembered by her boyfriend. Her body was found in Trumbull following an extensive search.

    In 2017, another one of Martin’s daughters, Chaquinequea Brodie and her 9-year-old daughter were shot to death. Police said it was Brodie’s boyfriend who was responsible for those two killings.

    Both men had documented violence in their backgrounds that Martin wishes were more readily available before their deaths.

    Martin believes a database, similar to what already exists for sex offenders, could help potential victims protect themselves. Victim’s advocates at Monday’s forum told NBC Connecticut they support the premise of the database.

    "It’s very difficult and if you’re this person who wants to put into Google someone’s name, you’re not always going to get the information that you’re looking for," Julie Johnson, a former New Haven Police captain and current project coordinator at Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence, said. 

    Martin has already secured support from local and national elected officials, but she knows the road to seeing her idea realized could be long.

    "This is what we need to protect ourselves," Martin said.

    Martin said the event on Thursday will be the first of many community conversations and education sessions about this registry idea.

    She is hosting another public conversation about her idea on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the Wilson Library in New Haven.

    Photo Credit: Martin Family

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    A jogger told police that a man driving a blue car followed her before exposing himself in Trumbull on Wednesday. 

    The woman said she was jogging in Nichols Park at Huntington Turnpike (Route 108) near Unity Road when she saw a small blue car parked in the dirt lot of the park around 5 p.m.

    She said the driver in the blue car began following her as she jogged onto the road and began exposing himself while asking her to get in his car, police said. 

    The man is described as being in his 50s, balding, wearing round wire-rimmed glasses and a button-down shirt. His car had an orange out-of-state license plate and possibly bearing the characters "622FJ", according to police. 

    The woman was able to run away unharmed. 

    Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at (203) 261-3665 or submit an anonymous tip here

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A pole was knocked down and wires fell on a school bus in the area of 57 Watertown Road in Morris, according to state police. 

    Troopers responded to the area around 6:35 a.m. 

    State police said less than a dozen students are reported to be on the bus and no one on it was injured. The driver of the car has minor injuries. 

    Eversource was called to respond.

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    FIGG Bridge Engineers, one of the companies that helped build the pedestrian bridge in Miami that collapsed Thursday, also built the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven and the Gold Star Bridge in New London. 

    Officials from the state Department of Transportation told NBC Connecticut that our bridges are verifiably safe. 

    “There is no issue, no problem, no concerns,” DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said. “This was a bridge that was under construction, not complete. We don’t know what happened. It could have been any number of things.” 

    On Thursday, a 950-ton pedestrian bridge near Florida International University in Miami, collapsed and six people have died as a result of the collapse, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.  

    FIGG, one of the companies that partnered to design and building the bridge, released a statement Thursday after the collapse in Miami: 

    “We are stunned by today’s tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge that was under construction over Southwest Eighth Street in Miami," said a statement from FIGG. "In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before." 

    An NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation last month revealed that the United States Federal Highway Administration has classified hundreds of Connecticut bridges as structurally deficient.  

    None of these bridges are currently considered unsafe for cars according to the Connecticut DOT, but the department could be forced to close them if costly repairs aren’t made soon and their conditions worsen. 

    The Troubleshooters learned that repairs for many of the state's structurally deficient bridges have been canceled or postponed. Earlier this year, Gov. Dannel Malloy eliminated $4.3 billion worth of transportation projects, citing serious funding issues for the state's Special Transportation Fund. Nearly $200 million-worth of already scheduled repairs on 32 structurally deficient bridges were caught up in the mix.

    Photo Credit:

    File photo of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, or “Q Bridge.”File photo of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, or “Q Bridge.”

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    A man was stabbed when he showed up at a home in New London to meet a woman he had connected with on an online dating site, according to New London police.

    The victim went to the Dunkin’ Donuts at 175 Broad St. just before 11 p.m. Thursday and said he’d been stabbed, according to police.

    He said he’d met a woman on a dating website and agreed to meet at a home in the area of Cleveland and Broad streets in New London.

    When he got to the door, a man in his early 20s who was hiding near the house stabbed him in the leg and knee and demanded the man’s wallet, according to police. The attacker fled when the victim did not hand over his wallet, police said.

    The victim had three superficial stab wounds, police said and was released from Lawrence + Memorial Hospital after being treated.

    The attacker was wearing a black sweatshirt, a red and black winter hat and black pants, according to police.

    Anyone with information is asked to call 860-447-5269, extension 0, or text NLPDTIP and the information to 847411.

    Photo Credit:

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    A 16-year-old girl and a 45-year-old man missing from the Lehigh Valley since March 5 are believed to have taken a one-way flight from Philadelphia to Cancun, Mexico, according to Allentown police.

    The new detail from police Friday comes one day after an Amber Alert was issued in Mexico Thursday for Amy Yu, who investigators now believe to have willingly disappeared with Kevin Esterly, a father of two.

    On Thursday, an Amber Alert issued in Mexico read in part, "From the investigations, it’s determined that she might be traveling in national territory accompanied by ESTERLY, KEVIN MICHAEL. We consider the teenager’s integrity is at risk being that she could be a victim of a crime."

    Allentown police acknowledged Friday that they are now concentrating on tips related to Mexico.

    According to a warrant issued after the two disappeared, Esterly signed Yu out of school 10 times between Nov. 13 and Feb. 9 without her parents' permission.

    Investigators said it now appears that the girl may have added Esterly to her school emergency contact list as a stepfather. That, they said, would have allowed him to remove the girl from school.

    Esterly and Yu apparently had a secret relationship for months, and investigators said Yu may even have gone on family vacations with Esterly. He is married with two children.

    Police said Yu's mother called Feb. 9 to report Esterly had signed her child out of Lehigh Valley Academy earlier that day.

    On Feb. 15, records show police told Esterly to stay away from the teen's home.

    Esterly may be driving a 1999 two-door, red Honda Accord with the license plate KLT-0529. Anyone with information about either person's whereabouts should call Allentown police at 610-437-7751 or by dialing 911.

    Photo Credit: Allentown Police

    Amy Yu, 16, went missing March 5, 2018. Kevin Esterly, 45, also disappeared. Police said Esterly signed out Yu from school 10 times without her parent's permission.Amy Yu, 16, went missing March 5, 2018. Kevin Esterly, 45, also disappeared. Police said Esterly signed out Yu from school 10 times without her parent's permission.

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    Longtime Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, who represented New York districts for more than three decades, died early Friday of injuries sustained in a fall last week at her Washington, D.C., home, her chief of staff announced. Slaughter was 88 years old. 

    Slaughter, who has represented the 25th district since 2013, was surrounded by family at the time of her death, Chief of Staff Liam Fitzsimmons said in a statement. She first took office in 1987, representing the 30th district, then was elected to represent the 28th district in 1993 before taking her final post in the 25th district. 

    One of the longest serving Democrats in the House, Slaughter became the first woman to chair the powerful House Rules Committee since it was formally constituted in 1789 and was serving as the Democrats' ranking member. She fought tirelessly for families in Monroe County and across the nation, authoring the landmark Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, among other accomplishments. 

    "Louise was a trailblazer," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "Her strong example inspired countless young women to know their power, and seek their rightful place at the head of the decision-making table."

    Slaughter, who was the dean of the New York congressional delegation, was serving her 16th congressional term. 

    Fitzsimmons described her as a "force of nature." 

    "She was a relentless advocate for western New York whose visionary leadership brought infrastructure upgrades, technology and research investments, and two federal manufacturing institutes to Rochester that will transform the local economy for generations to come. As the first chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, Louise blazed a path that many women continue to follow," Fitzsimmons said. "It is difficult to find a segment of society that Louise didn’t help shape over the course of more than thirty years in Congress, from health care to genetic nondiscrimination to historic ethics reforms. The Slaughter family is incredibly grateful for all the support during this difficult time." 

    Details on funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time. 

    Slaughter was born in Harlan County, Kentucky, and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in microbiology and a master's in public health. After graduate school, she and her husband, Robert “Bob” Slaughter, moved to the village of Fairport, New York.

    She and Bob were married for 57 years, until his passing in 2014. They had three daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

    Before she was elected to Congress, Slaughter served in the New York State Assembly from 1982 to 1986 and the Monroe County Legislature between 1976 and 1979. While holding elected office, she was regional coordinator to Mario Cuomo from 1976 to 1978 while he served as secretary of state and from 1979 to 1982 while he served as lieutenant governor.

    Photo Credit: Todd Elliott Photography

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    A San Francisco fertility clinic is facing two lawsuits over the possible destruction of thousands of frozen eggs and embryos in a storage tank that malfunctioned.

    A Sacramento-area couple, Jonathan and Megan Bauer, sued Pacific Fertility Center in federal court on Thursday. Their attorney, Adam Wolf, says the couple lost all eight embryos they were keeping at the center when the nitrogen level in a storage tank dropped in a March 4 malfunction.

    The Bauers had been storing the embryos for several years, and the woman was set to undergo an implantation in April, Wolf said. The couple are now in their late 30s — potentially reducing the chance of pregnancy. They also are not sure they can afford additional fertilization procedures, Wolf said.

    "Our clients' embryos as well as their dreams of future children were irrevocably destroyed," he said.

    And an unidentified woman sued the center on Tuesday after she said her eggs were also destroyed.

    A call to Pacific Fertility was not immediately returned.

    The malfunction occurred the same day a storage tank at a fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland failed, potentially destroying as many as 2,000 eggs and embryos, but there is no known connection between the two.

    The clinic in suburban Cleveland run by University Hospitals is also facing lawsuits.

    The Bauers' lawsuit accuses Pacific Fertility Center of negligence, saying it could have prevented the damage if it had "an adequately operating monitoring system" to catch the rising temperature in the tank.

    The lawsuit seeks class-action status to represent other people affected by the Pacific Fertility Center failure.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    File image of fertility clinic. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)File image of fertility clinic. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

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    Traffic was a mess on Interstate 84 East in Hartford Friday morning when trash in the back of a garbage truck caught fire during morning rush hour.

    Fire started around 8:30 a.m. in the back of a truck that was hauling around a ton of garbage.

    “That’s a huge fire load inside the back of the truck, so anything that could ignite it would create a bigger scene than what we normally deal with,” Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz, of the Hartford Fire Department, said.

    Officials said it took around half an hour to put out the fire.

    No one was injured, but the truck was near exit 46, a busy section of the highway, when the fire started and there were backups because of it.

    The truck had to be towed from the scene.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras

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    What a victory. The Loyola Ramblers are making headlines nationwide after a dramatic upset win by the No. 11 seed over the No. 6 Miami Hurricanes in the NCAA Tournament Thursday.

    An unexpected three-point buzzer-beater lifted them to March Madness victory and it's just what fans in Chicago were looking for.

    Social media was buzzing after the game, with plenty of focus on guard Donte Ingram, who hit the game-winning shot.

    He's being called a March icon, after picking the perfect spot to sink that final basket - standing on the March Madness logo as he sealed his team's 64-62 victory.

    The 6 feet 6 inches tall senior is one of six players from Illinois on Loyola's roster, and a proud graduate of Simeon Career Academy, a Chicago Public School on the city's South Side.

    "It's a great feeling," Ingram said after the game. "I thank Marcus you know, for making that pass. Any one of us could have hit that shot but I was just fortunate enough to be in that position. When I seen the shot and I had space, I was confident."

    Chicago Public Schools gave Ingram a shoutout on Twitter after the game, while plenty of other notable names - including former President Barack Obama - joined in on social media to cheer for the Ramblers.

    But for one of Loyola's biggest fans - Thursday's victory came as no surprise.

    Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, the team's 98-year-old chaplain, prays with the players before the games and gives them scouting reports during the day.

    She was in Dallas to see the team's dramatic win and she said she was more thankful than shocked.

    "Thank God, thank God you did it, because we knew we would do it," Sister Jean said after the game.

    "When we were in the locker room ahead of the game we just knew that we would do this," she continued, adding, "Our team is so great and they don't care who makes the points as long as we win the game."

    Sister Jean was already well-known on campus, but she's now a national celebrity - and she said she's already praying for the second round.

    Loyola will face No. 3 seed Tennessee next on Saturday, fighting for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen.

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    Days after a gunman stormed their Florida school and killed 17 people, two young survivors wrote a song about their grief and healing. On Friday, those Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students released their song for the world to hear.

    The inspirational power-ballad is called "Shine," and the students said on their YouTube page that it "is dedicated in loving memory of the 17 victims" of the Feb. 14 massacre. All proceeds will go toward their non-profit, Shine MSD, which helps fund recovery efforts for the victims and families affected by the shooting, as well as mental health programs centered around the arts.

    Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Pena penned the original song "as a creative outlet so our voices and the voices of those 17 could be heard and never forgotten," Pena wrote on Twitter.

    It's packed with emotional lyrics that illustrate the trauma they experienced and how they are fighting to overcome it. A single piano leads the track with rich harmonies and powerful strings filling the background until the song reaches a crescendo with drums.

    Garrity and Pena were moved to record and release "Shine" after performing it at the Feb. 21 CNN Town Hall event along with several other students.

    "What started as a personal healing journey quickly grew into an anthem met with an overwhelming response," their website says. "Sawyer, Andrea, their families and friends realized the power of healing through artistic expression, and the positive impact the arts has in inspiring hope and unity in the aftermath of tragedy."

    Photo Credit: Terry Spencer/AP, File
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    Seventeen people dressed as angels stand Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, at the memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., for those killed in a shooting on Feb. 14. Organizer Terry Decarlo said the idea originated after the death of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was tortured and murdered in 1998. Decarlo said the costumes now travel to disasters and mass shootings around the country. “We want to the survivors to know angels are looking over them and protecting them,” Decarlo said.Seventeen people dressed as angels stand Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, at the memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., for those killed in a shooting on Feb. 14. Organizer Terry Decarlo said the idea originated after the death of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was tortured and murdered in 1998. Decarlo said the costumes now travel to disasters and mass shootings around the country. “We want to the survivors to know angels are looking over them and protecting them,” Decarlo said.

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    A little Milford, Connecticut boy was not happy when he heard that Toys R Us stores will be closing soon and his family has the video to prove it.

    Parents across the country are finding themselves with the unenviable task of breaking the news to their little Toys R Us kids that Toys R Us will be closing its doors soon.

    Terri Fischettl shared the video of how that news went at a home when Max heard that his favorite toy store is closing.

    With the end coming soon for Toys R Us, Max is now counting the change in his money jar and plans to go buy one more toy from Toys R Us before the stores close.

    Photo Credit: Terri Fischettl

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    The search for a man who is missing after an explosion and fire destroyed the Texas chemical plant where he worked is underway again Friday.

    Dylan Mitchell, 27, is believed to have been at work inside the Tri-Chem Industries Plant in Cresson when something exploded, sparking a fire that consumed the building Thursday.

    Mitchell's brother, Austin Mitchell, spoke with NBC 5 Thursday afternoon and said his family is fearing the worst since his brother hasn't been seen since the blast was reported.

    "It sucks. I feel hollow," Austin Mitchell said. "It's been this long, he's probably dead."

    The section of the building that remains standing after the fire was searched by rescuers earlier Friday, but there was no sign of Mitchell in that part of the building.

    The search was halted for part of the day while the collapsed part of the building was evaluated. Sometime before 2 p.m., crews began using heavy machinery to lift parts of the collapsed structure so that the search for Mitchell could continue.

    Officials at the scene said some parts of the building are still smoldering and that the search could take some time.

    "What's in there is still dangerous right now, there are a lot of fires still burning in there; relatively small fires," said Ron Becker, Chief of the Cresson Fire Department. "We know, based on some witness accounts, where we think the individual was last seen and it's a portion of the building that has collapsed."

    The Environmental Protection Agency and a specialized hazmat team are on site assisting in the investigation. 

    Two other people working at the facility were injured in the fire, including one person who was critically burned on his trunk and hands and flown about 50 miles to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

    A second injured person, whose injuries were not as serious, was taken to Lake Granbury Medical Center.

    NBC 5 has learned about 12 people work at the Cresson facility, which opened about a year ago. There were no other injuries reported and it's not immediately clear how many people were working at the facility Thursday.

    On Friday, a list provided to state regulators shows the mixing facility routinely worked with a number of different chemicals, including acids, many of them flammable and others that are toxic.

    Air quality around the area has been monitored and officials do not believe there is any threat to the public.

    The investigation into the fire, meanwhile, is ongoing. Though most believe the cause of the fire was accidental, arson investigators from Tarrant County are also looking into what caused the fire.

    NBC 5's Kevin Cokely and Tim Ciesco contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Mitchell Family
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    Dylan Mitchell, inset, is missing after an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Cresson, Texas, March 15, 2018.Dylan Mitchell, inset, is missing after an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Cresson, Texas, March 15, 2018.

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    After an 18-year-old woman with mental disabilities was found dead in her Riverside County home, her mother and stepfather were charged with murder, abuse and child endangerment Friday.

    Riverside County sheriff’s deputies responded to an unattended death call just after midnight on March 10 to a home on the 18000 block of Palowalla Drive in Mesa Verde. They discovered Kaylina Anderson’s body in her bedroom.

    It is unknown how long the body had been in the room or the cause of death.

    Anderson’s mental disabilities required full-time care and supervision, according to deputies. Officials described the victim’s appearance as "diminished" and the home was deemed the home as substandard. Child Protective Services removed three children under the age of 6 from the house.

    On March 14, Central Homicide investigators arrested the victim’s mother, 35-year-old Jill Williams and her stepfather, 40-year-old Steven Williams.

    The couple was held at the Indio Jail with $1 million bail each. It is unclear if either suspect has a lawyer.

    Anyone with information on Anderson’s death is asked to call the Central Homicide Unit at 951-955-2777.

    City News Service contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Department

    A Mesa Verde couple, Jill and Steven Williams, were arrested March 14, 2018 after Jill's 18-year-old daughter, who has mental disabilities, was found dead in their home.A Mesa Verde couple, Jill and Steven Williams, were arrested March 14, 2018 after Jill's 18-year-old daughter, who has mental disabilities, was found dead in their home.

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    Two Sheehan High School students were seriously injured after a car crashed into a tree just north of Route 68 in Wallingford, police said. 

    A 16-year-old and 15-year-old inside a vehicle that crashed on Highland Avenue around 3 p.m. were extricated from the car around 3 p.m. 

    The teens were transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment. 

    Their names are not being released.

    Highland Avenue between Route 68 and Buttonwood Circle will be closed until further notice.

    No other details were immediately available. 

    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    College freshman Alexa Duran died Thursday in the Miami bridge collapse, officials have confirmed. Duran was killed as she was driving home from a doctor’s appointment and the bridge collapsed on top of her car. Her friend Richard Humble was in the passenger’s seat and survived.

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    The technique used to build and install the FIU- Sweetwater bridge which collapsed Thursday in Miami has also been used to replace many bridges in Connecticut.

    The largest of these projects to date is the replacement of the bridge carrying Interstate 84 over Marion Ave. in Southington. Contractors built much of the bridge on the side of the road and ultimately slid each span into place over the course of two weekends in 2014, significantly shortening a construction project that could have taken years and cause many traffic-related headaches.

    DOT Spokesperson said Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) is specifically applied in projects where it can help avoid a major disruption to drivers. "More often than not, it's more expensive than conventional construction, but you're offsetting the cost because the impact to the motoring public is being reduced," Nursick said.

    ABC was a factor in the design and construction of the FIU-Sweetwater bridge which collapsed Thursday. It is not yet known what caused the bridge, which was set to feature a novel design and new construction materials, to ultimately fail.

    Bridge expert, Prof. Michael Chajes of the University of Delaware, doubts the ABC process is the direct cause of the collapse, and told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, "it doesn't have any safety risk beyond what you normally would have," using conventional construction techniques.

    Chajes added that the FIU-Sweetwater bridge stood for several days after it was slid into place Saturday, and said that fact, "tells me that something occurred on Thursday that initiated this event."

    For now, Chajes said Connecticut's bridges that were constructed with ABC processes and are already in place should be safe.

    "There's nothing dangerous about that technique. It should not make you fear that any bridge that you seen in the past constructed that way has any issues with it," Chajes said.

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    The companies behind a pedestrian bridge that collapsed near Florida International University have faced questions about their past work, and one is accused of substandard work in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.

    Munilla Construction Management, a Miami-based construction management firm, won the $14.2 million contract to build a pedestrian walkway that would connect the FIU campus to the city of Sweetwater. The partially built 175-foot, 950-ton section of the bridge had been assembled by the side of the highway and moved into place Saturday to great fanfare. It collapsed just five days later, trapping cars underneath and leaving at least six people dead.

    MCM said on Twitter that it is "a family business and we are all devastated and doing everything we can to assist. We will conduct a full investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and will cooperate with investigators on scene in every way."

    The company has a long history of working on large-scale government contracts in Florida and across the U.S., and it has been a prolific donor to local and federal politicians, according to the Miami Herald. It has also had some safety issues.

    A review of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records shows that MCM has been cited for 11 safety violations, three of them "serious," between 2014 to 2017, according to the federal agency. The fines totaling more than $50,000 arose from complaints about unsafe trenches, cement dust and other problems at its Florida work sites.

    And just last week, a Transportation Security Administration employee filed a lawsuit accusing the company of "shoddy work" after MCM allegedly placed makeshift bridge at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that collapsed under his weight. Jose Perez said in court documents he sustained significant injuries in the October 2016 incident.

    The lawsuit alleges that MCM "failed to utilize reasonable care in the design, planning, inspection and maintenance" of the make-shift bridge, adding it employed "incompetent, inexperienced, unskilled, or careless employees." The makeshift bridge was inside a construction site not accessible to the general public, according to the lawsuit.

    In a statement, MCM said the incident is being mischaracterized and that the "makeshift bridge" referenced in the lawsuit was a piece of plywood.

    "We want to make it clear that there is no bridge, or temporary bridge, at this project," MCM wrote. "This was simply a trip and fall accident that occurred on the ground floor involving a piece of plywood that was covering a sidewalk under construction."

    MCM was awarded the $128 million expansion of Terminal 4 at Fort Lauderdale airport in October 2015. A month later, the company announced in a news release it had secured the FIU pedestrian bridge project in partnership with FIGG Bridge Engineers, a Tallahassee firm that designed the structure.

    After Thursday’s deadly collapse FIGG said in a statement, "In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before."

    But FIGG was fined in 2012 after a 90-ton section of a bridge it was building in Virginia crashed onto railroad tracks below, injuring four workers. A citation from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry said FIGG did not properly inspect a girder and had not obtained written consent from its manufacturer before modifying it, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The newspaper reported the state fined FIGG $28,000.

    The firm is behind two iconic Florida landmarks: the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay and the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.

    When the aging Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people and injuring 145, FIGG was chosen to design the replacement. The original structure was designed by Sverdrup & Parcel in the 1960s.

    Additionally, NASA contracted FIGG to repair an unspecified number of bridges at both the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in September 2011, the Miami Herald reported.

    The pedestrian bridge at FIU was the first joint venture for MCM and FIGG. The $14.2 million project was supposed to be a hallmark of the faster, cheaper and less risky method of bridge-building promoted by the university. Slated to open in 2019, it would have provided safe passage over a canal and six lanes of traffic, and created a showpiece architectural feature connecting the FIU campus and the community of Sweetwater, where many students live.

    As state and federal investigators worked to determine why the span collapsed, authorities said Friday that cables supporting the bridge under construction were being tightened following a “stress test” when it collapsed.

    "This is a tragedy that we don't want to re-occur anywhere in the United States," said Juan Perez, director of the Miami-Dade police. "We just want to find out what caused this collapse to occur and people to die."

    The Associated Press contributed to this article.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personel and other rescue units work at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personel and other rescue units work at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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    A Brooklyn, Connecticut man is accused of hacking cell phones and social media accounts of several women and girls and threatening to distribute their photos and personal information if they did not send him nude photos. 

    State police said 25-year-old Christopher Lamb, of Brooklyn, is suspected of illegally hacking the victims' cell phones, social media accounts and online data storage. He was identified as a suspect during an investigation into incidents involving more than 20 women and girls as far back as 2014.

    After obtaining the victim's sensitive photos, personal information and contact lists, Lamb threatened to send the sensitive photos to lewd websites as well as to members of the victims’ families, their friends and their employers if they did not send him nude photos, police said. 

    None of the victims complied with Lamb’s demands, according to police. 

    Lamb was arrested on 51 charges Friday, including promoting a minor in an obscene performance, dissemination of child pornography of victims under the age of 16, importing of child pornography, coercion and more. 

    He pleaded not guilty Friday and bond was raised from $10,000 to $100,000. He is due in court again on April 13.

    Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

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  • 03/16/18--16:48: DRS Warns of Fake Tax Email

  • The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is warning taxpayers not to fall victim to a fake email.

    The email contains the department's logo and claims the recipient owes state tax on items purchased from and The message includes a link to a fake payment website.

    While it may look legit, the department's commissioner Kevin Sullivan said the email is fake and his office first heard about the message around at noon on Friday from a citizen who received it.

    The email address for the sender of these bogus emails appears as, which DRS said is not a valid address for the agency.

    Sullivan said taxpayers should not open or respond to the email, and should not click the link.

    The commissioner also said DRS will never send a bill by email, text or social media.

    "Anybody who got an email bill about Amazon and Newegg today or any day after today, it is a scam," Sullivan said.

    The email could be a source of confusion for taxpayers who recently received similar letters in the mail from DRS. Those are a real attempt by DRS to collect owed use taxes on purchases from DRS said the online retailer failed to collect sales tax from its customers in Connecticut.

    Sullivan encourages taxpayers to contact his office with any questions about tax bills or communications that appear to be from the department by calling (860) 297-5962.

    Photo Credit: Department of Revenue Services

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    Students across the nation walked out of school Wednesday in honor of the victims of the Parkland shooting last month, including a group of New London kindergarteners.

    "We love school! We love school," children in New London are chanting in a video posted on Facebook. 

    While the people involved in the walkout involving a group of 5-year-olds at Harbor Elementary School said the demonstration was about school safety, student safety and parent permission have been called into question. 

    "It was discussed, it was a safety march and we took them out and they chanted 'we love school' and 'honk your horn.' And we told them that the 17 angels are above in heaven, they’re watching down and they’re proud," one parent, Olga Vokolou, said.

    Vokolou, whose child participated, chaperoned what she called the "safety march" on school grounds. She said her child’s teacher let parents know on Facebook.

    "My opinion as a parent, they do shooting drills so we also want to make sure they know we’re going to keep their school safe," Vokolou said.

    New London Interim Superintendent Dr. Stephen Tracy said he didn’t have a problem with the safety message, but he and the principal didn’t know about the march ahead of time and there was no written permission from parents.

    "When you’re going to do something like that, in connection with something that, let’s face it, is controversial, you need to seek the approval of the principal and the parents before you involve 5-year-olds in something like that," Tracy said.

    Another parent, Marlinda Robinson, said she didn’t know her kindergartner was participating in a march but said she didn’t have any issues with the message.

    "I would have liked to know, but not for the reason of what it stood for," Robinson said. "More because I just didn’t know."

    One student's grandmother, Helene Thomas, said she found out about the march through word-of-mouth. 

    The video drummed up some negative opinions from parents at the school.

    "It’s kind of a safety issue, too, to have the kids file out of the class in an organized manner," Sebastian Larrea, whose child is in pre-K and did not participate in the march, said.

    Harbor Elementary’s crossing guard Joyce Powers said she saw the children escorted in two lines by teachers who were carrying signs that read "enough."

    "I thought it was pushing it with that age group," Powers said. "I don’t think they understood what was actually happening."

    Tracy said he’s talked to the two teachers involved but would not say if any disciplinary measures were taken.

    "Suffice it to say, lessons were learned and I consider the matter closed," Tracy said.

    Board of Education member Jason Catala, the chair of the board’s Policy Committee, said a number of policies were ignored and called for the school’s principal to resign.

    Catala also plans to take up the policies regarding field trips and leaving the building at the next Board of Education meeting.

    Tracy called it inappropriate for a member of the board to evaluate the performance of a school employee and hopes for an apology.

    Catala said there will be more to come out about this incident that he’s not at liberty to discuss at this time.

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    Sometimes dead men do tell tales: A Romanian man who says his wife had him declared dead has been trying to prove in court that it was a mistake. But the court this week rejected his claim and said that the ruling is fi

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    Below is Andrew McCabe's full statement on his termination from the FBI:

    I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

    For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.

    No more.

    The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

    The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

    But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

    Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

    This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.

    I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.

    I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.

    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

    In this file photo, then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, listens as Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, testifies at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017.In this file photo, then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, listens as Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, testifies at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017.

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    An engineer of the company that designed the faulty pedestrian bridge warned the Florida Department of Transportation of cracks to the structure in a voicemail, but said the company was "not concerned" from a "safety perspective."

    Denney Pate from the FIGG Bridge Group left the voicemail on Tuesday. FDOT employees did not listen to the voicemail until Friday – the day after the bridge near Florida International University collapsed, killing six people.

    FDOT released a transcript of the voicemail Friday:

    “This is Denney Pate with FIGG bridge engineers. Calling to – share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span, the pylon end of that span we moved this weekend,” Pate said. "We’ve taken a look at it and – obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that. At any rate, I wanted to chat with you about that because I suspect at some point that’s gonna get to your desk. So, uh, at any rate, call me back when you can. Thank you. Bye.”

    Authorities are working to investigate the cause of the incident.

    Two of the six victims have been identified. Authorities are slowly removing the debris, looking for more victims.

    "At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue," FDOT said in a statement. "Again, FIGG and the FIU design build team never alerted FDOT of any life-safety issue regarding the FIU pedestrian bridge prior to collapse."

    FIGG released a statement over the voicemail in which it said it would "pursue answers to find out what factors led to this tragic situation."

    "The evaluation was based on the best available information at that time and indicated that there were no safety issues," FIGG wrote. "It is important that the agencies responsible for investigating this devastating situation are given the appropriate time in order to accurately identify what factors led to the accident during construction."

    Munilla Construction Management, which was building the bridge, has not yet released a comment.

    During a press conference, the National Transportation Safety Board said that cracks to the bridge – cracks which the NTSB stressed they had not yet verified – may not necessarily have made the structure unsafe. The NTSB said it would work to determine all facts related to the cracks mentioned.

    Please check back for updates to this developing story.

    The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team. At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue. Again, FIGG and the FIU design build team never alerted FDOT of any life-safety issue regarding the FIU pedestrian bridge prior to collapse. 

    Photo Credit: AP

    A worker uses a saw next to a crushed car under a section of a collapsed pedestrian bridge, Friday, March 16, 2018 near Florida International University in the Miami area. The new pedestrian bridge that was under construction collapsed onto a busy Miami highway Thursday afternoon, crushing vehicles beneath massive slabs of concrete and steel, killing and injuring several people, authorities said. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)A worker uses a saw next to a crushed car under a section of a collapsed pedestrian bridge, Friday, March 16, 2018 near Florida International University in the Miami area. The new pedestrian bridge that was under construction collapsed onto a busy Miami highway Thursday afternoon, crushing vehicles beneath massive slabs of concrete and steel, killing and injuring several people, authorities said. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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    Lawmakers are calling for reforms at the Whiting Forensic Division, in part, after the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters uncovered allegations of patient abuse and that hospital staff allowed patients, including one man found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity, to play violent video games.

    Meanwhile, the father of Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Wesleyan student shot and killed at an off-campus bookstore in 2009 by Stephen Morgan, a current patient at the facility, spoke out for the first time in years. 

    At a hearing on Friday, the Connecticut Legislature Public Health Committee discussed the possibility of forming a task force of experts from outside Whiting.

    The commissioner of the agency that oversees Whiting told the Connecticut Legislature Public Health Committee that Whiting currently has an internal task force that includes patients and staff. She said they are examining some of the issues uncovered over the last few years, but some legislators want more accountability and are concerned about the agency policing itself.

    Kathy Flaherty, the executive director of an agency providing legal services for patients at Whiting is not so sure that another task force would be effective.

    “You form a task force, all of this falls off the front page, it's no longer on the six o’clock news people forget about it and nothing ever changes," said Flaherty.

    Daniel Jinich, Johanna Justin-Jinich's father, wants as much independent oversight of Whiting as possible. 

    Just before the hearing on the Whiting task force got underway, Jinich addressed a different panel reviewing Morgan’s conduct, and his doctor’s plan to eventually move him to a less restrictive setting.

    "We flew in late last night from Denver to be present at this hearing, my daughter Johanna Justin-Jinich could not be here because she was shot seven times by Stephen Morgan, your patient," said Jinich.

    Morgan, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, has been at Whiting since 2011.

    Jinich is questioning the judgment of the people running Whiting after Morgan's possible move to a less restrictive environment and NBC Connecticut reports of alleged patient abuse and violent video games usage.

    "We conclude that the Whiting Forensic unit hospital has no credibility, it comes back to trust," Jinich said.

    After the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooter's coverage on patients playing violent video games, the agency overseeing Whiting said it got rid of them. A majority of the 37 employees put on leave in the patient abuse case no longer work for the state.

    The attorney for Stephen Morgan did not speak outside his hearing. During the hearing, he did point out that Morgan has never attacked a patient or staff member at Whiting, even when he stopped taking his medicine for a while in 2017.