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2 Young Girls Found Locked in "Filthy" Mobile Home


A couple is accused of keeping two young girls – ages 5 and 10 – locked up inside an Anaheim mobile home, with broken toilets and piles of trash strewn about the trailer.

“Neither child has ever attended school,” Deputy District Attorney Lori Smith said. “The 10-year-old has never been registered or attended school, nor has the 5-year old.”

The girls had teeth damaged beyond repair and lived in what prosecutors called "filthy" conditions. It was not clear how the girls are related to the couple, but officials said they are relatives.

Petra Huffmire, 41, pleaded not guilty on Friday to two counts of felony child abuse.

Her husband Lester Huffmire faces the same charges, including false imprisonment and causing great bodily injury.

Prosecutors said the couple did not work, but rather spent their days playing computer games.

Neighbors said Petra Huffmire claimed to be from Germany and said she wasn’t allowed to leave the country.

Authorities said the girls were never allowed to leave the home, and neighbors said they suspected something was wrong.

“We’d see a corner of the drape lift up and there was a kid peeking out then it would drop real quick,” neighbor Grace McGee told NBC4.

McGee said instinct told her something may be suspicious about the couple living in the mobile home two doors away and that it went on for years.

McGee told NBC4 she tried to file a report with a child abuse hotline more than once. She finally convinced police to do a welfare check at the home.

Inside the home, police found piles of trash, appliances covered in mold, toilets that do not work and condoms piled next to a teddy bear, according to prosecutors.

McGee said she saw the children being taken into protective custody.

“They looked frightened; their hair was all matted,” she said. “They didn’t look good.”

Both Lester and Petra Huffmire are being held on $100,000 bail.

Top Chicago Cop: City's Murder Rates Declining


Chicago’s murder mayhem is declining, police said.

Chicago ended the month of May down four murders from May 2012, an eight percent decrease, according to Director of News Affairs Adam Collins.

Overall shootings for May saw a 31 percent decrease, marking 68 fewer shootings than last year, Collins said.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy attributes the decline to a comprehensive policing strategy that includes a return to community policing, gang violence reduction, narctotics targeting and a close partnership with the Chicago Police Department and the community.

As Chicago’s violence skyrocketed into the spotlight, the city’s overall violence rates are down this year when compared to last year’s murder rates.

To date, there have been fewer murders in 2013 than in 2012 and 2011, marking a 34 percent dip since last year.

Overall crime is also down 13 percent since last year and has dropped 22 percent over the past two years, Collins said.

"The significant drop in murders, shootings and overall crime throughout Chicago is real progress, but it’s not victory,” McCarthy said in a statement. “We will have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, and we will continue our efforts to ensure everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety.”

The city’s violence received national attention with its continued gun violence debate and the deaths of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton and 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins.

The Illinois Legislature approved a gun measure Friday that would end the statewide ban on the concealed possession of a firearm in public, the last state ban in the nation.

But opposers of the legislation fear that concealed carry will further the city's violence.

Illinois' compromise measure reflected the division between gun rights advocates across the state and gun control supporters in Chicago, which continue to battle in the wake of gang violence and murders.

Marking the end of May, the city’s violence claimed an 18-year-old man and wounded nine others overnight.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

State Police Seize Synthetic Marijuana in Manchester


State Police seized a large amount of synthetic marijuana Friday evening at a Manchester storage facility.

Police executed a search and seizure warrant on the facility around 6:30 p.m. where they found over 30,500 bags of synthetic marijuana.

According to police, the amount had a street value of over $610,000.

No arrests have been made yet but police are continuing the investigation.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

One Person Dead And Three Injured in North Haven Car Accident


One person is dead and three people are in critical condition after their car rolled over Saturday afternoon.

North Haven Fire Department responded to a car rollover on Interstate 91 southbound just past the exit 11 on ramp. The accident temporarily closed the southbound highway between exits 10-13.

When crews arrived, they found the SUV went over the guardrail and down the embankment. Four people had been ejected from the car. One person self extricated out of the car.

Paramedics pronounced an unknown occupant dead at the scene.

Three occupants were transported in critical condition to Yale New Haven Hospital. The other person was transported to Yale for evaluation.

Connecticut State Police Major Accident division is investigating the cause of the crash.

Photo Credit: Tom Kienzler

Church Refuses to Host Troops Over Scouts' New Gay Policy


A Crystal Lake, Ill., church is reportedly refusing to sponsor a local Boy Scout troop after the Scouts’ lifted their ban on openly gay boys.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, believed to be the first church in the Chicago area to ban scouts due to their new policy, notified local Scout officials by mail last week that the Cub Scout pack and Boy Scout troop it charted will need to find a new meeting place because they are “condoning” homosexuality, which the church opposes, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Boy Scouts of America on May 23 voted to allow gay Scouts, but not gay Scout leaders, in a fiercely contested compromise that some warned could fracture the organization and lead to mass defections of members and donors.

"Within our movement, everyone agrees on one thing, no matter how you feel about this issue, kids are better off in scouting. Our vision is to serve every kid. We want every kid to have a place where they can grow," said Wayne Perry, BSA National President.

Some churches that sponsor Scout units wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted.

"We are deeply saddened," said Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee after learning of the result. "Homosexual behavior is incompatible with the principles enshrined in the Scout oath and Scout law."

The Assemblies of God, another conservative denomination, said the policy change "will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program."

Troop 550 Scoutmaster Charlie Payseur told the Tribune he and his assistant leaders were “livid” about the church’s move and said the scouts donated about $200 of raised funds to the church last year, and did gardening on the grounds.

The two local Scout groups reportedly have 10 members each and used the church for meetings and annual banquets three times each month.

Of the more than 100,000 Scouting units in the U.S., 70 percent are chartered by religious institutions.

Those include liberal churches opposed to any ban on gays, but some of the largest sponsors are relatively conservative denominations that have previously supported the broad ban -- notably the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Southern Baptist churches.


Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Body of Missing Swimmer Found in Fountain Lake


The body of a man who went missing while swimming with friends in Fountain Lake on Saturday has been found, according to officials.

Rescuers found the 20-year-old man from Bridgeport under 15 feet of water after searching for hours.

Police said his friends noticed he was missing from the group as they got to shore after enjoying a day of swimming in the lake. He was reported missing at around 4:15 p.m.

"It's not an area where a lot of people swim, but occasionally people do come here. It's not posted no swimming, but there's no lifeguard," said Lt Wiliams, from Ansonia Police.

Search and rescue crews from several area towns assisted in the search with divers scouring the murky water.

"One of the biggest problems is once you get divers into the water you end up kicking up mud and debris and you basically have no visibility at all," said Seymour Fire Chief, Jim Smith. 

The man was found shortly before 8pm. The identity of the victim has not yet been released.

With a hot summer expected, officials warn people to be smart as they plan to cool off in area lakes.

"Have the ability to swim. Know the water is quite cold. If you're diving into water, know how deep the water is and what's below the surface."








Man Charged with Having Sex with Pit Bull


A 50-year-old man was charged with having sex with a pit bull while on a tour of the Chicago Animal Care and Control Facility, prosecutors said Saturday.

Gerardo Perez, of the 2500 block of West 38th Street was charged with felony having sexual conduct with an animal, and burglary, after he was found having sexual relations with a pit bull at the city pound, according to police.

Perez was found in a cage with a white and grey pit bull by an empoyee after he entered a restricted area while on a tour of the Chicago Animal Care and Control Facility at 2741 S. Western Ave. on May 29, prosecutors said.

He was allegedly on his hands and knees on the side of the dog, appearing to have had just had sex with the animal, prosecutors said.

Perez then made "inculpatory statements" regarding the sexual conduct with the dog to other employees on the scene.

He was arrested at his home on Friday. Bail was reportedly set at $80,000 Saturday.

Photo Credit: Chicago Police Department

Conn. Lawmakers Reach Deal on GMO Labeling


Connecticut Senate leaders say they've reached a compromise with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on new bipartisan legislation that would mandate special labels on food that contains genetically modified ingredients.

Democratic Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr. and Republican Senate Minority Leader John McKinney announced the Senate would vote Saturday on the new agreement.

On May 24, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring the labels only after five other states with an aggregate population of 25 million people also require them. Two of the states must be New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or Rhode Island.

The Senate, however, previously approved a dueling bill that required food to be labeled as of July 2016, or 2015 if several Eastern states pass similar legislation.

Malloy had backed the House bill.

Associated Press/NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports

Teenage Girl Injured at Enders State Forest


Rescue crews had to make a cliff rescue Saturday afternoon.

According to Granby Police, a 17-year-old girl from Marlborough was injured while swimming in the waterfalls at Enders State Forest at 5:33 p.m.

She fell 15-20 feet down on the rocks and was found unconscious, suffering from a head wound.

Rescuers had to use ropes and a basket to hoist the girl up the side of the cliff.

The girl was transported to a local hospital by Life Star.

Calif. Fire Jumps to 19,500 Acres, Burns Structures


The Powerhouse Fire grew to 19,500 acres in northern Los Angeles County after a hot and windy Saturday, burning structures and prompting evacuations in rugged areas between the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

At least five homes have burned in the blaze, said Los Angeles County Fire spokesman Keith Mora.

About 1,000 structures were threatened in the burn area, he said.

Three firefighters have been injured, and 960 firefighters, assisted by planes and helicopters, were expected to keep up the aerial and ground assault against flames on Saturday. The blaze was 20 percent contained, said John Wagner of the U.S. Forest Service.

The USFS told NBC News the fire had burned 19,500 acres as of 2:15 a.m. PT Sunday. That was up from 5,561 acres as of 1:40 a.m PT.

Temperatures reached the triple digits in some areas, including near the fire.

Also on Saturday, officials ordered evacuations for Elizabeth Lake Road and areas south of Lake Hughes, and upheld existing evacuations in the San Francisquito Canyon area.

Road closures were also ordered as far south as Castaic at Lake Hughes Road. 

The fire broke out Thursday near a hydroelectric plant known as Powerhouse No. 1 in San Francisquito Canyon, north of Santa Clarita.

Health officials urged people to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities as air quality in the Santa Clarita Valley and San Gabriel Mountains was expected to be unhealthy throughout the weekend due to the fire.

Evacuation orders were expected to remain in effect at least through Saturday night for the following areas: the Forest Service's Cottonwood Campground, L.A. County's Camp Mendenhall juvenile detention center and areas along Lake Hughes Road, Judy said. Other evacuations remained for areas north of South Portal Road and west of San Francisquito Canyon Road.

Power lines were reported threatened at one point Thursday, but there were no reports of service disruptions, Judy said.

One structure, described as an outbuilding, was destroyed in the blaze, Judy said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

A Red Cross evacuation center was set up at the Marie Kerr Park's recreation center at 2723-A Rancho Vista Boulevard in Palmdale. An evacuation center for large animals has been set up at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds at 2551 West Avenue H in Lancaster.

Photo Credit: David Jackson/NBCLA.com

Local First Responders Make Care Packages


Local First responders are coming together to assemble care packages to send to those affected by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.

Fire, Police, and the Echo Hose Ambulance Corps in Shelton will be assembling the packages to send to first responders in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma first responders will distribute the care packages to those in need.

The first responders will be at the Walmart on Bridgeport Road in Shelton until 4 p.m. today collecting items.

They are asking for non-perishable food items and toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, adult sized t-shirts, socks, underwear and tank tops.

Included in each care package will also be a card to show support and thanks for the service the Oklahoma first responders did in the midst of the tragic tornado.

Items may also be dropped off at the Shelton Police Department, any of the towns four fire houses and at the Echo Hose Ambulance.



Heat Affecting Half Marathon Runners


Today's heat is causing  problems for many runners participating in the Amica Iron Horse Half Marathon in Simsbury.

About 10 ambulances have responded to Rotary Park in Simsbury off of Iron Horse Blvd. to care for runners affected by the heat.

According to police, some runners have collapsed while others were able to make it to the medic tent on their own for treatment.

Right now, the marathon is still taking place but marathon organizers and medical personnel are asking racers to walk or jog slowly to help avoid heat related injuries.

Prior to the start of the race, the marathon foundation posted tips for staying safe while running in the head.

To read the tips and to find more information on the half marathon, visit www.hartfordmarathon.com.


22,242-Acre Powerhouse Fire Threatens 1,000 Homes


Some 1,000 homes were threatened on Sunday as the 22,242-acre Powerhouse Fire approached the northern Los Angeles County high-desert city of Lancaster, authorities said.

Updated Article: Monday's Weather Key to Fire Fight

The fire destroyed six homes and damaged nine other buildings, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Lee Bentley said.

The fire was 20 percent contained and burning to the northeast, fire officials said. The blaze was burning dense brush on rugged terrain that hasn't burned for more than 80 years.

Officials ramped up their staffing to more than 2,000 firefighters on Sunday to try and get a handle on it. The cost of fighting the fire was estimated at about $3 million.

Firefighters were hopeful that a slight drop in temperatures and more humid conditions would work in their favor on Sunday. Temperatures reach about 90 degrees in areas including where the fire was burning, officials said.

Firefighters were taking no chances.

“It’s got its own mind,” Bentley said. “Unstable air … no set pattern. We want to get a handle on this thing as quickly as we can.”

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while fighting the blaze. One was injured by a falling rock, another suffered from heat stress and a third was injured by contact with poisonous oak.

The fire broke out Thursday near a hydroelectric plant known as Powerhouse No. 1 in San Francisquito Canyon, north of Santa Clarita.

The community of Lake Hughes was under a mandatory evacuation order and Elizabeth Lake was under a voluntary evacuation order.

Evacuations remained in place along Lake Hughes Road, including two youth probation camps and the Forest Service's Cottonwood Campground.

Lake Hughes and San Fransciquito Canyon roads were closed. Bouquet Canyon and Elizabeth Lake roads were open to residents only.

A Red Cross evacuation center is located at Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th St. W. Palmdale, 93551.

The Antelope Valley Fairgrounds are serving as a shelter for large animals.

Photo Credit: Mike Tauber/NBCLA.com

Deputies Tase, Capture Runaway Llama


Leon County deputies were on the lookout for an unusual fugitive this weekend: a llama on the loose in Tallahassee.

Scooter the llama had escaped from his owners and was roaming the Killearn Lakes area of northern Tallahassee, leading deputies from the Leon County Sheriff's Office on a chase that began late Friday night and continued into Saturday morning.

Man Wrestles, Catches 18-Foot Python

"I've been doing this twenty years and this was the first llama I've ever had to chase," said Sgt. Tony Drzewiecki, with the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

Drzewiecki said the calls reporting a llama sighting began to come in at 11 p.m. Friday. Deputies weren't able to get their hands on him that night, but he was seen again on Bannerman Road at about 8 a.m. the following morning.

"Our main concern was that he was going to get hit by a car and either get hurt or injure someone else," Drzewiecki said.

Peanut the Orangutan Doing Well a Year After Lymphoma Diagnosis

That's when deputies were forced to use a Taser on the giant creature to subdue him. They were able to secure him with a rope and get him on a trailer to take back to his owners.

Drzewiecki said Scooter was unharmed by the Taser and was back to normal soon after being apprehended.

"He was eating his favorite snacks, Triscuits, shortly thereafter," Drzewiecki said.

More Weird News:

Photo Credit: Sgt. Tony Drzewiecki

Conn. Bill Would Keep Some Newtown Records Private


Advocates for public records laws say it would be another blow to government transparency if Connecticut officials pass a bill withholding some of the Newtown school shooting records from the public.

The legislation was privately crafted by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office, the state's top prosecutor and legislative leaders. It would allow authorities to withhold photos, videos, recordings of 911 calls and other documents related to the Dec. 14 shootings, under certain conditions.

Relatives of some of the 20 first-graders and six educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School say they don't want crime scene photos posted online.

Leaders of the Society of Professional Journalists and Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission oppose the bill, calling it another effort by government officials nationwide to erode Freedom of Information laws.

Associated Press/NBC Connecticut


Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Man Molests, Urinates on Woman in ER: Police


A man sexually assaulted a woman in an emergency room in Harlem after she fell asleep, then urinated on her when she was startled awake, police said. 

The 45-year-old woman fell asleep after being treated in the Harlem Hospital emergency room for an injured foot Friday afternoon, according to the NYPD. She awoke to find a man allegedly assaulting her. 

He then began to urinate on her, police said.

Hospital police were called and they arrested the assailant, 49-year-old Tyrone Brown, who was being treated for an unknown injury, according to the NYPD. He faces a charge of criminal sex act, a felony. 

Attorney information for Brown wasn't immediately available. 

A message was left with the hospital.

RELATED: Patient Molested in Brooklyn Hospital ER: Officials

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NJ Sen. Lautenberg Dead at 89


Democratic New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who at 89 was the oldest member of the Senate, died Monday due to complications from viral pneumonia, his office said.

Lautenberg was the last remaining World War II veteran in the Senate. He died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The Paterson-born lawmaker had announced in February that he wouldn't seek re-election next year.

Lautenberg was first elected to the Senate in 1982 -- which was his first run for public office -- and was re-elected in 1988 and 1994. He briefly retired and then successfully ran for office again in 2002, followed by a re-election in 2008.

Lautenberg was last on the Senate floor April 17, when he received an ovation from his fellow senators as he arrived in a wheelchair to vote for a gun control measure. 

He cast his 9,000th vote in December 2011, and at the time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said "Frank Lautenberg has been one of the most productive senators in the history of this country."

Lautenberg, who enlisted in the Army when he was 18, served in Europe during World War II. He founded a company, Automatic Data Processing, and then left to run for office.

Lautenberg is survived by his wife, six children and 13 grandchildren.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie will appoint a senator to fill the seat.

Man Dead After East Windsor Shooting


East Windsor and Enfield police are investigating the death of a man found with a gunshot wound in a car on Broad Brook Road in Enfield late Sunday night.

Police said the shooting was not random and they believe it happened at Mill Pond Village in East Windsor, about 10 minutes away.

Police identified the victim as Zachary Mcarthur, 22, of Enfield, and said he and the shooter knew each other. 

Police received a 911 call at 10:03 p.m. reporting that someone in a car had been shot. Mcarthur was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m., according to police.

It’s unclear if anyone is in custody.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 860-292-8240.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Found Dead in Burning New Haven Apartment


Police are investigating what they are calling a probable homicide after finding a woman’s body inside a smoke-filled building at 61 Whalley Avenue in New Haven early Monday morning.

At 1:51 a.m., New Haven police responded to a report of a domestic incident and found flames and smoke pouring from building, so they called in the fire department.

Firefighters traced the smoke to a fire burning in the third-floor apartment, knocked down the apartment door, extinguished the fire and found the woman.

Her name has not yet been released.

Police are investigating this as a suspicious fire and a probable homicide.

They said a suspect with an extensive criminal background is in custody. His name has not been released, but police said and he lived inside the apartment where the body was found.

Photo Credit: NBCConnectucut.com

Nazi-Naming Dad Wears Nazi Uniform to Kid's Hearing


Dressed in a Nazi uniform, Heath Campbell marched into a New Jersey courthouse to petition a family court judge to allow him to see his youngest son.

"I'm going to tell the judge, I love my children. I wanna be a father, let me be it," Campbell told NBC10 Monday before court proceedings. "Let me prove to the world that I am a good father."

The closed-door hearing at Hunterdon County Family Court in Flemington, N.J., was being held to determine whether the 40-year-old father of four, who gave his children Nazi-inspired names, could visit with his 2-year-old son Heinrich Hons Campbell.

The boy was 16 hours old in November 2011 when he was taken from Heath Campbell and his now estranged wife Deborah Campbell at the Hunterdon Medical Center, according to the father.

The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (NJ DYFS) said they took the boy because of previous violence in the home. An anonymous abuse claim was also made to local police.

The couple said they never abused their children and argued they were being targeted for the names they chose for their kids. Officials have denied that to be the case.

NJ DYFS officials had already placed Heinrich Hons Campbell's older siblings – Adolf Hitler Campbell, 7, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, 6, and 5-year-old Honzlynn Jeannie Campbell – in foster care because of the alleged violence in the family's Holland Township, N.J. home.

The Campbells gained national attention in December 2008 after a Greenwich Township, N.J. ShopRite supermarket refused to write Adolf Hitler Campbell’s name on a cake for his third birthday. The couple complained the refusal constituted discrimination.

A second store eventually honored their request, but the flap led NJ DYFS to start an investigation into the family.

The agency's investigation prompted a judge to remove the kids from the couple’s care.

"I've never abused my children, I only name my children and I don't think it's right anymore," Heath Campbell said. He said he hasn't seen any of his children in two years and that the three oldest children have been adopted by another family.

"Basically, what they're saying is because of my beliefs and I'm a Nazi, that us people don't have any constitutional rights to fight for our children," he said.

Asked whether he felt wearing the Nazi uniform, complete with a swastika patch on the arm and leather boots, into court would help or hurt his case, the father said it depended on the judge.

"If they're good judges and they're good people, they'll look within, not what's on the outside," he said.

Heath Campbell started wearing the uniform in June 2012 after forming "Hitler's Order,” a pro-Nazi organization. He was accompanied to the hearing by a member of that organization, Bethanie White.

White also wore Third Reich garb -- with swastika patches -- to the proceedings.

The father, who has Nazi symbols tattooed on his arm and neck and had Nazi memorabilia in his home, had previously said he was not a fan of Hitler's atrocities.

Heath Campbell says he and his wife have separated and that she has given up her rights to the children.

In June 2012, a New Jersey Superior Court denied the couple’s appeal to return the children home.

As is policy with family court proceedings in New Jersey, NBC10 was not allowed into the courtroom. The case court record is also sealed and a court official said any rulings in the hearing would never be released to the public.

Representatives from both the court and NJ DYFS also offered no comment on the case.

Heath Campbell says he plans to be back in court later in June for another hearing regarding Heinrich Hons Campbell's guardianship.

"I'm gonna keep fightin'," he said. "I don't care if it kills me. I love 'em."

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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