Channel: NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Toddler in Critical Condition After Near Drowning in Bridgeport


A toddler is in critical condition after a near drowning at a home on May Street in Bridgeport. 

A spokesperson for Bridgeport initially said the child was 2 years old, but later referred to the child as a toddler.

The child was rushed to a nearby hospital.

UConn Fire Department to Stay Open


The UConn health fire department will stay open in Farmington. 

UConn Fealth had planned to shut it down over financial concerns, but the department in Farmington will merge with the main UConn fire department in Storrs. 

Some full-time jobs will be cut and the number of people on staff during each shift will be reduced. 

The changes are expected to save more than $1 million per year.

Man Robs Woman in Wheelchair at New Britain Bank: Police


A man robbed a woman in a wheelchair who was withdrawing money from a bank in New Britain on Friday morning, police said. 

The woman was at the TD Bank at 178 Main Street at 5:08 a.m. on Friday to withdraw money from the ATM.

She told police a man walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her neck before ordering her to give him money, New Britain Police said. 

The woman confined to the wheelchair tried to fight off the man but he was able to take off with her money on foot, according to police. 

The man is described as middle-aged, approximately 5'5" to 5'7" tall and weighing up to 170 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing and has a small moustache and beard.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (860) 826-3131.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Charged in Anti-Trump Vandalism at West Hartford School


A 32-year-old West Hartford man is accused of anti-President Donald Trump messages at Morley Elementary School in West Hartford earlier this month and has been charged.

School officials were alerted on June 16 about vandalism at the school after anti-Trump, threatening and vulgar writings were scrawled green ink on benches, playground equipment and other areas, police said.

In an attempt to identify a suspect, West Hartford police released video showing a balding man in a Red Sox shirt riding a mountain bike on the property on Bretton Road. By his side was a small brown and white mix-breed dog with him.

After releasing the images, police received tips from the public. The suspect also called police after seeing his picture on the news, according to police.

Police have identified Steven Marks as the suspect and he has been charged with breach of peace and third-degree criminal mischief.

He posted $500 bond and is due in court in Hartford.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Trump Urges GOP to Repeal Obama Law Now, Replace Later


President Donald Trump urged divided congressional Republicans on Friday to break their logjam over dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law by "immediately" repealing it and replacing it later, a formula that GOP leaders dismissed months ago as politically unwise.

Trump's early-morning tweet embraced a sequential approach favored by only a handful of conservatives eager to take quick action on one of the party's foremost priorities — repealing Obamacare, something Republicans have long promised to do. But his suggestion threatened to sharpen divisions between conservatives and moderates, who are leery of stripping coverage from millions of constituents without something to substitute for it.

"If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!" Trump tweeted.

The White House said it remains "fully committed" to pushing through a health care plan in the Senate but is "looking at every possible option" to repeal and replace the Obamacare law.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that Trump "hasn't changed his thinking at all" about the struggling health care bill.

Supporters of that idea include Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rand Paul, R-Ky.

House and Senate leaders long ago abandoned initial thoughts of first erasing Obama's law, and then replacing it.

Such a step-by-step approach would leave Republicans vulnerable to Democratic accusations that they were simply tossing people off coverage without helping them obtain medical care. It could also roil insurance markets by prompting insurers to flee or boost premiums because of worries over whether, when and how Congress would replace the statute.

And the idea would leave unresolved the quandary stumping lawmakers today — how to replace Obama's system of online insurance markets, tax subsidies and an expanded Medicaid with something that will get enough Republican votes to pass Congress.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on Trump's tweet.

Underscoring the fissures within the GOP, conservative group leaders welcomed Trump's suggestion but said it didn't go far enough because it could open the door to a subsequent bipartisan compromise to replace Obama's law. They accused McConnell of not wanting to go far enough and protecting GOP moderates who want to keep parts of the statute, such as insurance coverage requirements.

"It's distressing to see so many Republicans who've lied about their commitment to repeal. Mitch McConnell wants to amend Obamacare," Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said in a conference call. Mimicking a southern accent, the New Jersey-born Cuccinelli said, "Root and branch, root and branch," repeating an expression McConnell once used about how thoroughly he wanted to repeal the Obama law.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans were considering breaking a stalemate over what their replacement bill should do by preserving a tax boost Obama's law imposed on high earners. Keeping that tax increase in place was a bid to woo party moderates and rescue their sputtering push to repeal his health care overhaul.

The break from dogma by a party that has long reviled tax boosts — and most things achieved by Obama — underscores McConnell's feverish effort to rescue the Senate legislation from the brink of possible defeat.

The money from the tax boost would instead be used to bolster proposed health care subsidies for lower-income people.

The change, proposed by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would give a more populist flavor to the bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that as the legislation now is written, it would boost out-of-pocket costs for many poor consumers and produce 22 million uninsured people while cutting around $700 billion in taxes over a decade — largely for richer people and the health care industry.

"You're increasing the burden on lower-income citizens and obviously alleviating the burden on the wealthy. That is not an equation that works," Corker said. He said he was "very confident" that leaders would address the issue in the updated bill.

Top Republicans also considered an amendment pushed by conservatives to let insurers offer plans with low premiums and scant benefits. To do so, a company would also have to sell a policy that abides by the consumer-friendly coverage requirements in Obama's 2010 statute, which the GOP is struggling to repeal.

Both proposals were encountering internal Republican opposition, and it was uncertain either would survive.

McConnell postponed a vote on an initial version Tuesday because of opposition from conservatives and moderates alike. By this week's end, he wants to nail down changes that would assure the bill's passage after Congress' weeklong July 4 recess. No more than two of the 52 GOP senators can oppose the measure for him to prevail, and there were no indications he'd achieved that margin as senators left town Thursday.

"We're kind of at a stalemate right now, I'd say," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who with Ohio GOP Sen. Robert Portman and others wants to forestall reductions the measure would make in Medicaid.

Under Corker's proposal, the bill would retain Obama's 3.8 percent tax increase on investment income for married couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $125,000. Keeping that increase would save $172 billion over 10 years, and moderates want to use that money to make coverage more affordable for poorer consumers.

Conservatives said they opposed the idea, along with the chairmen of Congress' two tax-writing committees: Senate Finance chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

Associated Press writers Erica Werner, Mary Clare Jalonick, Kevin Freking and Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued for Parts of State


There is a chance for severe storms across parts of Connecticut later this afternoon.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Litchfield, Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties.

The storms could contain heavy rain, vivid lightning and gusty winds.

NBC Connecticut's team of meteorologists has issued a First Alert for the storms, which could begin sometime after 3 p.m. The threat will diminish after 10 p.m.

Fireworks displays around the state could be impacted by the storms this evening.

Areas to the north and west of Connecticut could see more significant storms, including the threat of tornadoes.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

At Least 3 Shot in NYC Hospital; Gunman Down: Sources


Multiple people have been shot by a gunman wearing a doctor's coat inside a New York City hospital, sources say, and police are responding to what's being called an active shooter situation. 
Multiple people have been shot by a gunman wearing a doctor's coat inside a New York City hospital, sources say, and police are responding to what's being called an active shooter situation. 

The rifle-wielding gunman at Bronx Lebanon Hospital was dressed in a white doctor's-type coat when he shot at least three people shortly before 3 p.m., sources tell News 4.

Sources say they believe the shooter is "down" inside the hospital and the immediate threat has been contained, but the police response remains heavy and cautious as authorities make sure he was a lone actor.

Members of the NYPD's most-armed units were responding, and police could be seen on the roof of the building at one point with their guns drawn. 

A staff member at the hospital tells News 4 it was under lockdown as police helped to bring people out floor by floor.

Chopper 4 over the scene shows a sea of NYPD vehicles gridlocking the streets around the hospital.

The FDNY, meanwhile, says they've gotten a report of a smoke condition on the 16th floor of the hospital. They are on standby and not inside the hospital yet. Chopper 4 shows firefighters gathered outside the hospital entrance. 

Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center describes itself as the largest voluntary, not-for-profit health care system in the south and central Bronx.

The 120-year-old hospital claims nearly 1,000 beds spread across multiple units. Its emergency room is among the busiest in New York City.

The hospital is about a mile and a half north of Yankee Stadium.

This is a developing story. Check back for details. 

Salmonella Outbreak at New Haven Restaurant: DPH


Several patrons of a New Haven restaurant were infected with salmonella, the Department of Public Health (DPH) said. 

DPH and New Haven Health Department (NHHD) are investigating the salmonella outbreak after several people who ate at Cilantro Fresh Mexican Grill at 158 Whalley Avenue became ill. 

The owner of Cilantro Fresh is cooperating with health officials and has voluntarily closed the restaurant as the investigation is underway.

The restaurant wrote on Facebook that the restaurant was closed for maintenance.

People who ate at the restaurant during the month of June and got sick with fever, nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting should consult their physician and call DPH at (860) 509-7994.

Anyone experiencing symptoms after eating at the Cilantro Fresh restaurant anytime in June should not prepare food or drinks for others and should wash their hands frequently with soap and water. 

"Salmonella bacteria are one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Symptoms typically last for four to seven days, and most people get better without treatment. However, Salmonella can cause more serious illness in certain groups of people, including the elderly, infants and persons with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems," DPH said.

Patrons who ate at the restuarnt in June and do not have symptons do not need to seek medical attention. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/3D4Medical.com RF
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

In Pictures: Active Shooter at New York City Hospital


At least three people were shot at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in New York City. Early reports suggested the gunman was wearing a doctor's coat and carrying a rifle.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Angela Bonilla

Who Is Henry Bello? What We Know About NYC Hospital Gunman


A doctor wielding an assault rifle stormed Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center Friday, gunning down at least six staffers before taking his own life, according to a senior law enforcement officials. Police have identified the shooter as 45-year-old Henry Bello, a former employee at the hospital with an extensive arrest record.

Details continue to develop, but here's what we know about him now:

  • The shooter has been identified as Dr. Henry Michael Bello, a 45-year-old Nigeria-born family medicine doctor formerly employed at the hospital, according to sources.
  • Authorities believe he wore a doctor's coat and used his old badge to sneak past security at the hospital. 
  • Bello was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the 17th floor after a two-story shooting rampage that left one doctor -- a woman who has yet to be identified -- dead and others fighting for their lives. 
  • A senior law enforcement official said Bello asked for a specific doctor on the 16th floor. When he was told that doctor wasn't there, he became angry and started shooting at everyone. 
  • Officials said Bello tried to set himself on fire before committing suicide. A photo provided by authorities shows him dead on the floor of the hospital, wearing a bloodied doctor's coat.
  • Bello used an AR-15 in the shooting. It wasn't immediately known if he obtained the rifle legally. 

  • Sources tell NBC 4 New York a preliminary investigation reveals Bello was hired at the hospital in Aug. 2014 as a house physician, but resigned from the hospital in Feb. 2015 in lieu of termination.
  • He went to medical school on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean. 
  • Bello has past arrests for sex abuse, turnstile jumping, burglary and public urination, law enforcement sources said. 

  • A New York State licensing website does not reveal any disciplinary history.

  • Senior law enforcement officials describe Bello as a transient recently, with at least five different addresses since he left the hospital.

  • Police are investigating the shooting as a case of workplace violence; authorities say there is no indication of a nexus to terror.

Photo Credit: News 4 New York
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

DealDash Penny Auction Sued for Running ‘Perverse Lotteries’


DealDash, one of the largest and best known "penny auction" websites, has been accused of operating an "illegal gambling site” and using a "widespread deceptive marketing campaign to lure customers" to the site, according to the advertising watchdog group Truth in Advertising (TINA.org).

"DealDash’s marketing claim — that consumers can generally expect to win items on the cheap — is simply not true," Bonnie Patten, TINA.org’s executive director, told NBC News.

DealDash denies all of the allegations by made in the suit and by TINA.

"DealDash offers fair value and an entertaining experience for its customers and its business partners," attorney Michael Tuteur said in an email. "DealDash’s auctions are also not a 'form of gambling' as the class action complaint alleges. As with a traditional in-person auction, the outcome of any DealDash auction is not based on chance."

Photo Credit: DealDash.com

DMHAS Audit for Forensic Division in Middletown


A new audit questions excessive overtime and other issues at one of our state’s largest psychiatric hospitals.

The report comes less than two years after it was revealed that some employees doubled their base pay with overtime.

State auditors took a look at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). The audit examined spending at state facilities including one we have focused on, the Whiting Forensic Division in Middletown. Whiting houses the state’s most acute psychiatric patients, some found not guilty of major crimes by reason of insanity.

Among the audit’s findings:

  • Whiting employees were not required to sign in for shifts, resulting in auditor concerns if overtime was actually worked, or fairly distributed
  • Whiting employees worked high numbers of consecutive work hours and days-some between 15 to almost 24 hours per day
  • Eight of 10 employees reviewed worked 13 to 41 days in a row

Auditors expressed concern these long hours impact patient care. While there may not be a connection, at last count, more than 30 Whiting employees have either been put on administrative leave, or transferred out of Whiting due patient abuse investigations.

DMHAS told auditors it plans to purchase an electronic time keeping and scheduling system, and it has hired several nursing directors to monitor work hours and patient care. The agency says it cannot comment on the allegations of patient abuse, since they are part of an ongoing investigation.

You can read the DMHAS audit here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Doctors Warn Parents About Teen Use of New Vaping Device


Connecticut doctors are warning parents about a new vaping device that’s becoming popular among teens.

JUUL is advertised as an alternative to cigarettes, but doctors say parents should watch out for this potentially addictive new trend.

“I would think of it just like any other tobacco product and the safest thing to do is not use them,” said Dr. Deepa Camenga, a pediatrician at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

JUUL is a discrete electronic nicotine delivery device that resembled the look of a thumb drive.

"It’s a very attractive looking product," Camenga said. "Kids seem to think its new and trendy and they’re curious to experiment with it." 

While there aren’t specific studies about the long term health effects of
"JUULing," Camenga said there is emerging evidence regarding the risks of similar e-cigarettes.

"There’s pretty good evidence to show kids who use these nicotine delivery devices have a higher risk of starting cigarette smoking and we have a lot of evidence about the risks of cigarette smoking," she said.

Camenga said it is concerning that teens have an easier time getting their hands on JUUL than traditional tobacco products.

"There’s some recent research showing that kids are able to purchase electronic nicotine delivery devices online and it shows up at their door without any proof of age," she said.

Tracy Yentsch from North Haven has two boys in high school.

"They’re pretty against smoking in general," Yentsch said. "I haven’t really had to have that conversation with them maybe now you brought it up I need to."

School should start educating students about these new potentially addictive products, Yentsch said.

"It should probably be part of the curriculum when they’re talking about drugs and alcohol," she said.

The bottom of the JUUL website includes a nicotine addiction warning and it says this product is not for sale for minors.

The company sent NBC Connecticut the following statement: 

"At JUUL Labs, we take the prevention of underage use very seriously. Minors should not use any nicotine product, including ours. JUUL was created for adult smokers of legal age only and we strive to keep our product out of the hands of minors. Recent science raises concerns about the adverse effects of nicotine on adolescent neurodevelopment. For more information on the steps we're taking at JUUL Labs to prevent underage use, please visit our website."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

New Details Emerge on Historic Hartford Drug Bust


Federal law enforcement officials believe a major heroin and fentanyl bust in Hartford likely saved hundreds of lives.

Twenty kilos of heroin, mixed with fentanyl was confiscated and on the streets, that amount translates to anywhere from $5 to $8 million value, according to federal sources.

Raids overseen by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were conducted in Hartford, East Hartford, New Britain and Meriden. Locations in Massachusetts and New Jersey were also searched.

Thirteen people, including ten from Connecticut, two from Springfield, Massachusetts, and one in New Jersey, were arrested and face federal drug charges.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters poured through the 87-page federal affidavit.

Federal officials said some of the suspects have ties to unidentified distributors in multiple states. Court papers also show they had nicknames for the heroin, including "peso" and other terms, and even changed out cell phone numbers on a monthly basis to arrange drug deals.

The three apartments raided on Collins Street in Hartford, according to those same federal court documents, were used to store, process and package the drugs. This drug trafficking organization, federal agents said was getting the bulk of its heroin, fentanyl and other drugs from New York and New Jersey, arriving in Connecticut where federal agents said they were being mixed with dangerous fentanyl.

This is a conversation about fentanyl between two suspects that was outlined in the affidavit:

Suspect 1: It numbed one of my sides (face) completely, crazy. I'ma’ have to start using a mask and all. The complete side along with the hand, man.

Suspect 2: that's what I'm telling you, so it hit you hard, then.

Suspect 1: yeah, it hit me hard, it hit me hard. Law enforcement agents used hazmat suits for safety.

The drugs were then sold to dealers in Connecticut and the Springfield and Holyoke areas of Massachusetts, the documents said. 

Some of the defendants were living in these raided units. Also, according to the affidavit the "Neighborhood Supermarket" in Hartford on Farmington Avenue, where some of the defendants worked, would sell drugs there. On Friday, the business appeared closed.

"That's very shocking, that's very shocking that would be a connection. I go there every day, it's hard to believe,” customer Calivn Wilson told NBC Connecticut.

Two homes in East Hartford were raided as well, neighbors said they noticed a lot of activity.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigating Early Morning Crash in Hartford


Police are investigating a crash that happened around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

Police said a driver lost control, went over the sidewalk and nearly into a building at 30 Trinity Street in Hartford where the office of the Secretary of State is located.

Police said the driver, a 36-year-old male from Canton, took out a light pole and a blue mailbox.

The driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Hartford Police are investigating whether speed or weather were factors.

The block of Trinity Street will be closed until the damage is cleaned up.

At Least 17 Injured in Little Rock Club Shooting: Police


Police said 17 people were hurt in a shooting early Saturday after a dispute at a downtown Little Rock nightclub. The city's police chief said officers suspect multiple people fired weapons but that the incident was not terror related.

The shooting happened at the Power Ultra Lounge, a club in a two-story building downtown about 1 mile (1.61 kilometer) east of the state Capitol. Police cordoned off the block as crime-scene technicians gathered evidence from inside and outside the club. Glass from the club's second story windows littered the ground, along with empty drink cups.

"We do NOT believe this incident was an active shooter or terror related incident. It appears to have been a dispute at a concert," the city police posted on its Twitter account overnight.

Little Rock Police said on Twitter that all 17 victims were alive and that one person who had been in critical condition was upgraded to stable.

"One is too many. Seventeen is very alarming and certainly disturbing," Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner told reporters. He said there was "some sort of dispute broke out between people inside" the club and that there are "probably multiple shooting suspects."

A video posted online by a club patron showed that a packed house for Finese 2Tymes, a performer from Memphis, Tennessee. About a half-minute into a break in the raucous concert, several bursts of gunfire rang out — more than 24 shots in an 11-second period.

The shooting follows a week in which there have been about a dozen drive-by shootings in the capital city, though there's no indication the events are linked.

Early Saturday, Rada Bunch waited outside the club after she had heard from a friend that her son had been at the club and may have been shot. She had received little information about the incident

"I'm sick of all the killing and I'm tired of all the shooting, the kids getting hurt," Bunch said.

The club's Facebook page promoted Friday night's show with a poster depicting a man pointing what appears to be a gun at the camera. A call to a number listed for Finese 2Tymes' booking agent wasn't immediately returned Saturday.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said on Facebook that more information would be released at a news conference Saturday afternoon.

"My heart is broken this morning — my prayers are with the victims of this tragedy," he wrote. He went on to add, " We are committed to doing everything possible to bring safety to our city. We need everyone to help."

In May, one person was killed and six people were hurt in a mass shooting at a downtown concert in Jonesboro, Arkansas, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock. In that case, two men were charged with first-degree murder and six counts of first-degree battery.

Associated Press writer Tafi Mukunyadzi contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP

Body Found Floating in Bridgeport Harbor


Bridgeport police said the Detective Bureau is currently at the Bridgeport Harbor investigating after someone reported a body was found.

Police said someone reported that they saw a body floating the ferry around 9:30 a.m.

No other details were immediately available.

FIRST ALERT: Evening Storms Could Impact Holiday Plans


NBC Connecticut Meteorologists have issued a First Alert for strong to potentially severe thunderstorms this evening. 

The greatest threat for strong storms exists through portions of Litchfield and Fairfield counties. 

The risk for tonight's storms has caused many towns and cities to either postpone or cancel their firework festivities. Click here for a complete updated list on if your city or town has cancelled/postponed tonights event.

While a few scattered showers can be expected through the afternoon the main thunderstorm threat holds off until after 6 p.m. 

Here's a look at Live First Alert Interactive Radar,

[[273570711, C]]

Storms are expected to move into Litchfield and Fairfield counties between 6 and 7 p.m. Take a look at First Alert Future Radar at 7 p.m. this evening. You can see a line of strong thunderstorms moving into the state. 

[[431969763, C]]

The greatest storm threat with these storms are damaging winds followed by localized flooding issues. 

[[431969663, C]]

The storms will move east through the evening impacting New Haven and Hartford counties by 8 p.m. 

[[431969703, C]]

The storms will drastically weaken as they continue east into eastern Connecticut as the atmosphere won't be as unstable. Here's a look at First Alert Future Radar at 9p.m.

[[431969713, C]]

Make sure to download the NBC Connecticut App for the latest forecast and live interactive radar. Click here for more details on how to download it.

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

Man Charged With Kidnapping Chinese Scholar


A man was charged Friday with the kidnapping of a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois, the Department of Justice announced.

Brendt Christensen, 27, was arrested on a criminal complaint for the kidnapping of Yingying Zhang on June 9, authorities said.

Zhang, 26, was about a month into a yearlong appointment at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus when she vanished June 9, the Associated Press reported at the time. Her friends told police she had gone out to sign an apartment lease.

Since Zhang was last seen in surveillance video entering a car, the FBI, the University of Illinois Police Department and the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement have investigated her disappearance. 

The FBI said it located the black Saturn Astra Zhang was last seen getting into on Tuesday.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court by the FBI, on June 29, while Christensen was under law enforcement surveillance, agents overheard him explaining that he kidnapped Zhang.

"Based on this, and other facts uncovered during the investigation of this matter, law enforcement agents believe that Ms. Zhang is no longer alive," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Members of Zhang’s family, the Chinese consulate, and University of Illinois officials have been advised of Christensen’s arrest and the evidence in the possession of the FBI, authorities said.

Christensen will remain in law enforcement custody pending his initial federal court appearance in Urbana scheduled on Monday, July 3, at 10 a.m., authorities said.

A prayer vigil planned for Saturday was canceled in the wake of the alleged kidnapper's arrest and news of Zhang’s possible death.

"We hope they are wrong, but trust they have creditable information to make this statement," organizers Kim Tee and Randy Tom said in a joint email late Friday night. "Please keep Ying Ying's family in your thought and prayers, and may God watch over them."

Zhang, from Jianyang, China, was working in the university's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, researching photosynthesis and crop productivity, the AP reported.

Photo Credit: University of Illinois Police

Remains of Missing Calif. Boy Found: Sheriff


Sheriff's officials say the remains of missing 5-year-old Aramazd Andressian Jr. have been found, over two months after he was last seen at his father at Disneyland in Southern California.

"Based on additional leads developed in the Andressian case, homicide detectives returned to the Lake Cachuma area of Santa Barbara County on Friday, June 30, 2017 in an effort to locate additional evidence," read a statement from Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"Homicide Detectives have located the remains of victim, Aramazd Andressian Jr.," the statement read.

"Yes it's true," the boy's mother, Ana Estevez, told NBC4 Saturday morning.

No additional information was immediately available.

The boy's father, Aramazd Andressian, 35, is accused in his disappearance. He arrived back in Southern California Friday after being extradited from Las Vegas to face a murder charge, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators said Andressian spent nearly 50 days in Las Vegas as authorities searched Lake Cachuma, parts of the Santa Ynez Mountains northwest of Los Angeles and other areas in Southern California for his son.

Estevez spoke with NBC4 after a hearing earlier this week in Las Vegas, where the South Pasadena man was arrested last week.

"No justice in the world will bring my Piqui back," Estevez said, using her son's nickname. "However, Ara will pay tenfold for all that he has done."

Aramazd Andressian Jr. was last seen on the evening of April 20 at Disneyland in the custody of his father, who was found unconscious at Arroyo Seco Park two days later and was unable to account for his son's whereabouts.

The elder Andressian was initially jailed for three days on $10 million bail before being released. He told investigators he had arrived at the park with his son and waited for the golf course to open, and admitted ingesting prescription medication that was not prescribed to him, Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza has said.

The father said he did not remember what happened to his child or any details that were useful in locating the boy, according to Mendoza, who said a prescription bottle was found inside Andressian's vehicle, which was doused with gasoline inside and out.

Andressian was in the middle of a divorce and custody battle with the boy's mother who investigators have said is not a suspect in the child's disappearance.

According to a sheriff's department statement, detectives have examined evidence indicating that in addition to spending April 21 visiting the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, the father traveled around the area near Solvang and Nojoqui Falls.

On April 28, the day a search warrant was served at his South Pasadena home, Andressian released a statement through his attorney about his son's disappearance, his only public statement.

"I hope and pray for the safe return of my only child, my namesake, who has been missing since last Saturday morning, April 22nd," he said then.

The elder Andressian said he and his family "are heartbroken and grief-stricken that Aramazd Jr. is missing and may be in harm's way."

"I am pleading with the public to come forward with any knowledge of Aramazd Jr.'s whereabouts or information regarding the circumstances leading up to his disappearance,'' he said.

The boy's mother contacted police at 9 a.m. April 22 to report her son missing. She said her estranged husband had failed to drop off the child at a pre-arranged meeting place.

Photo Credit: Family of Aramazd Andressian Jr.
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.
Browsing All 57608 Browse Latest View Live