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Girl, 7, Saves Puppy Under Barn


Nina Boyett loves dogs, and when the Fort Worth 7-year-old and her aunt discovered a pregnant dog under an old barn, they began trying to figure out how to get her out.

That dog had her litter of 10 puppies, but only one survived.

First her aunt and local rescue group volunteer got the dog out, and then Nina jumped in to help rescue the puppy.

She crawled under the barn and through a crawl space just a little bigger than the length of an iPhone.

In cell phone video from the rescue, Nina stops halfway out and asks, "Can we keep it?"

The second grader at Bruce Shulkey Elementary says she would probably do it again.

"I think she was excited to see me and save her," she said.

The puppy, an Australian shepherd mix, was named Princess Nina.

Photo Credit: Photo from Video by Monica Ailey

2 Winners for Mega Millions Jackpot


Two winning tickets for the $400 million Mega Millions jackpot were sold in Maryland and Florida, state lottery officials said in a statement early Wednesday.

Along with the two jackpot winners, the March 18 draw also saw eight $1 million Match 5 winners, the statement read.


The winning numbers for tonight's drawing were: 51-24-11-33-19 with the Megaplier Number 7.

A cool $400 million is at stake in Tuesday Mega Millions jackpot drawing.

Nobody matched all six numbers in Friday's drawing for what was then a $353 million jackpot. In the days since, the jackpot has ballooned nearly another $50 million.

Tuesday's drawing was held at 11 p.m. ET. It's the third-highest prize in Mega Millions history, according to the lottery's website.

The largest ever came in 2012, when three winning tickets shared the $656 million prize. In December, winning tickets in California and Georgia split the $648 million prize.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Teens Save Woman, 94, From Fire


A trio of San Ramon teens is being hailed as heroes after rescuing a 94-year-old woman from a burning home.

The senior students at California High School were skipping class at about 10 a.m. Monday to get something to eat when they saw smoke. The teens ended up on Broadmoor Drive, where smoke was billowing from the back of a house.

When Garen Kissoyan and his friends, Peter Kravariotis and Kirill Yantikov, drove up, they saw Dianna Davis in the garage calling for help.

"I was turning on the hose, she was on the phone with 911," Kissoyan said. "We asked the lady if anyone was in the house at the time -- she didn't respond."

Davis eventually told the teens her elderly mother was inside.

"We both had the same instinct," Kravariotis said. "Just go in the house, so we did."

The teens ran into the fire and smoke, and discovered an elderly woman sitting in a chair. The woman was suffering from burns and covered in soot.

"When we picked up the chair and we grabbed the dog," Kravariotis said, "the only thing she said to us was 'I'm on fire,' and it was kind of shocking to me to hear that."

Bob Smith, who lives across the street, had already been inside. He said his age and heavy smoke pushed him right back out.

"The elderly lady, she would have been gone a minute and a half more," Smith said. "I don't think she could have survived. I went in there and couldn't see my hand in front of my face. It was that bad."

Firefighters eventually arrived on scene and extinguished the two-alarm blaze. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

The elderly woman was taken to a burn center in San Francisco, where she remains in critical condition.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Hurd

Metro-North Promises Change in Wake of Critical Report


After a recent Federal Railroad Administration report found that Metro-North has compromised safety for speed, railroad president Joseph Giulietti is promising to change that.

“Let me be clear: Safety will be this railroad’s top priority,” Giulietti said in a statement Tuesday. “I will not allow any Metro-North trains to operate unless it is safe for them to run. We will not run this railroad any other way.”

The investigation, known as Operation Deep Dive, was launched following a deadly December train derailment in the Bronx, but addresses an array of other problems that have plagued Metro-North over the past year.

Giulietti unveiled his 100-day plan to improve the railroad earlier this month and says he’s making some changes in the wake of the FRA review.

“We are taking the report’s observations, recommendations and mandates seriously, and are already addressing many of the FRA’s concerns in the draft 100-Day Action Plan that we recently unveiled,” Giulietti said in a statement. “The plan will be revised not only to address specific areas of concern identified by the FRA, but also recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the MTA’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Safety when these reviews are complete.”

Giulietti said those revisions will include improving employee training, monitoring performance, introducing a confidential close-call reporting systems for employees to address safety concerns, improving track inspection methods and maintenance, installing cameras on all trains, installing the Positive Train Control system, buying new equipment and making necessary changes to management.

“Customer service excellence begins with a safe operation,” Giuliettie said in the statement. “And we will continue to work with both the FRA and National Transportation Safety Board to ensure that we heighten the safety awareness of everyone who works on this railroad.”

Giulietti took over the railroad in February and launched his 100-day plan just three weeks into his presidency.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

University of Hartford Student Charged in Hazing Incident


A University of Hartford student has been arrested, accused of a "hazing-related assault” with a golf club at an off-campus unsanctioned fraternity house on Albany Avenue in West Hartford.

George Sinclair, 21, of New London, has been charged with third-degree assault and turned himself in on a warrant on last week.

Sinclair was acting as a pledge master for Phi Delta Theta, an underground fraternity, when the hazing incidents occurred, according to the arrest warrant application. 

Police said the fraternity has not been affiliated with the school for several years because of university sanctions.

"They make a lot of noise and they have parties and drink beer, and go all over the place, and do whatever they feel like," said a neighbor of the fraternity, who wished to remain anonymous. "This has been a good neighborhood. We never had any problems until these guys came in."

Sean Wagner, associate executive vice president of the national Phi Delta Theta, said the fraternity has not had a chapter at the University of Hartford since 2011, when the local chapter was suspended for "failing chapter operations."

"It is our understand that the chapter ceased to exist on that campus since then," Wagner said. "If not, they are legally misrepresenting themselves. They have no rights or privileges as members, and no new undergraduate members who have joined are considered recognized members."

Wagner said Sinclair is not a recognized member of the fraternity.

The University of Hartford freshman who went to police on Nov. 24, 2013 to report violent and painful hazing had been going on for several months and might have led to his lung collapse.

In the fall of 2013, pledges were ordered to do push-ups and "plank" with their elbows on sharp edges of bottle caps to inflict pain, he told police.

Lit cigarettes were put out on the pledges' tongues and they had to swallow them, the student also told police. 

The student who filed the complaint told authorities about one incident on Sept. 19, when the pledges were taken to a golf course, blindfolded and instructed to strip, jump into an extremely cold pond and tread water for around 20 minutes.

The pledges were then brought back to the Albany Avenue address in wet clothes and ordered to sleep outside on the deck with just one blanket for them all to share, the student told police. 

The person who made the complaint explained to police that he passed out because of lack of sleep and dehydration and was transported by ambulance to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital in September. 

He also said stress led to a bald spot on the back of his head, but that the most painful incident happened on the night of Oct. 30 or early morning of Oct. 31.

Sinclair showed up drunk in the basement of Albany Avenue house and started poking pledges in the chest with a golf club and asking them questions, the student told police. When the one pledge answered incorrectly, Sinclair reportedly swung the club at the pledge, hitting the wall behind him, but the shaft struck the pledge's chest. 

The student said he fell to the ground after being hit and fraternity brothers spit on him, cursed at him and made racial statements.

About two weeks after the golf club incident, the student sought medical help because of sudden chest pain and trouble breathing. Doctors could not tell police conclusively that the trauma led to the medical condition, but that it could have, according to court documents.

When police spoke with Sinclair, he admitted to coming home drunk early on the morning of Oct. 31 and using a golf club to push people to the exit of the basement, police said.

He also admitted to pushing one pledge with the golf club and poking him with the butt end, but said he did not intend to harm anyone and apologized to the group. 

Police spoke with another pledge who admitted to taking part in "team building" activities, but denied that Sinclair struck anyone "excessively" with the club as well as the part about the pledge falling, as well as the racial comments.

Another pledge said he was not there for some of the incidents. Others refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to police.

When police spoke with fraternity brothers, one said it was a "social club" rather than a fraternity and they do not have a formal initiation process. 

Others said the freshmen were asked to clean up, but denied witnessing or taking part in hazing and said the pledges were not physically abused.  

The vice president of the fraternity told police he would send a letter to students and parents, warning about the risks of joining "underground fraternities," including this one.    

"It just sounds horrendous, and I don't understand how kids can go through with it to the end and be OK with calling these people their friends," said University of Hartford student Stephen Potter.

Sinclair is due in court on March 19, according to the arrest warrant application.

Feds Make Arrests Over Child Porn


Federal agents announced the results of one of the largest online child exploitation investigations in history Tuesday, involving victims in 37 states and five foreign countries.

Operation Round Table, run by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations team, resulted in the arrest of 14 suspected producers and distributors of child pornography.

Federal investigators have identified and made contact with more than 250 victims of the Internet child pornography ring - including five victims from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 19 total from Texas.

"Many of the victims were not aware that they were even exploited and that their images were being recorded and subsequently shared by predators globally," said David Marwell, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations Dallas office.

Nearly all of the identified victims - 243 of the 251 total - were male, and more than half of the 159 victims were between 13 and 15 years old, according to investigators.

Many of the victims willingly posed for and shared suggestive photographs of themselves with people who they believed to be peers they had met online, Marwell said.

In reality, the assumed peers were predators who shared the nude and semi-nude photographs on the Darknet's Onion Router, also known as Tor, according to investigators.

"Kids don't think they're in any danger," said Lynn Davis, president and CEO of the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center.

Young people are savvy Internet users across many formats and their guardians need to be aware of who they interact with, Davis said.

Young people may be more willing to put themselves in precarious positions because they do not fully grasp the possible impact of their actions, Davis told NBC 5.

"So some of these kids will still not consider themselves victims until one day they wake up and realize, 'I sent some pictures out there.' And once those pictures are on the Internet you can never get them back," Davis said.

Help ID Possible DFW-Based Suspect

In addition to the 14 people who were arrested and charged in connection to Operation Round Table, federal authorities have requested help in identifying a suspect who produced and posted pornographic photographs involving a baby in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

John Doe [pictured below] is believed to be between 18-20 years of age. In April 2013, he posted photographs of himself sexually abusing a child between 12-18 months old, Marwell told NBC 5.

Based on clues in the pictures, investigators believe this person may now live in, or visited North Texas at the time the photos were taken and posted, according to a release from ICE.

In the photographs, the suspect is wearing a cap with the logo, "Shut Up N Play." At the time, the cap had not been made available for sale, except for very limited distribution within North Texas, according to ICE.

If you recognize the person in this photo, please contact 1-866-347-2423. 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Charges in Mansion Rave Party


More than a dozen teens have been charged in connection with breaking into a Southern California mansion and throwing a party, which caused more than $1 million in damages, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.
Twelve males and two females, ranging in age from 15 to 18, were charged in separate cases.

All are facing one count of misdemeanor trespassing, while nine are charged with one count of felony burglary. Other charges filed against some of the teens include grand theft, receiving stolen property and petty theft.
Investigators said more than 100 people partied at a vacant 90,000-square-foot mansion in La Habra Heights between Nov. 23 and Nov. 24, 2013.

A stuffed white leopard worth $250,000, a WWII Nazi helmet and thousands of dollars in Armani suits were among items seized from the opulent mansion, which featured fountains, a grand staircase and indoor palms trees.

All 14 have been cited and are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

The ringleaders likely found the home on an online home sale website, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Tim Murakami told NBC4 at the time. They then advertised the party on social media, drawing an estimated 100 guests, Murakami said.

A group of Southern California teenagers and young adults became known as the Bling Ring when they robbed mansions belonging to celebrities, including Paris Hilton and Linday Lohan, in 2008 and 2009. The cases inspired the 2013 film, "The Bling Ring."

Bruce Rauner Wins GOP Primary in Illinois


It was a closer race than expected for venture capitalist Bruce Rauner.

Rauner commanded 40 percent of the vote Tuesday night, according to projections by the Associated Press, to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination over challengers Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard and Dan Rutherford and face Gov. Pat Quinn in November.

“We started off over a year ago, nobody knew who we were, nobody gave us a chance,” Rauner said Tuesday night. “But you know what, we worked our tails off because we love this state and we want to go to work for you.”

Dillard followed closely behind all night, ending with 37 percent of the vote. Rutherford conceded 15 minutes after polls closed at 7 p.m.

"It was another very, very, very close election," Dillard said.

Brady conceded around 9:30 p.m. The projected winner wasn't called until after 10 p.m., later than Rauner's supporters expected.

"We were all expecting a Rauner victory pretty early tonight," Sen. Mark Kirk said.

Rauner, a first-time candidate and moderate Republican, led much of the primary race in campaign finance and poll numbers. Along the way his opponents took jabs at his big-time money and connections, accusing him of buying the race and even comparing him to Rod Blagojevich.

They questioned the role Rauner played in his company’s ownership of nursing homes as well as his alleged ties to Stuart Levine, both of which Rauner denied. Rutherford accused him of propagating a sexual harassment claim against the state treasurer, which Rauner also denied.

While others slammed him, though, Rauner kept criticizing Quinn.

"The reason I'm running is we have a failed culture in Springfield, and it's bipartisan failure," Rauner said in a forum co-sponsored by NBC 5 Chicago and the University of Chicago, noting "I believe that Gov. Quinn will never transform our state."

Rauner has called Quinn the worst governor in America and said it will take "a lot of money to beat him." For his part, Rauner has been criticized for a clumsy "regular-guy" approach to the election, as well as his stance on issues like minimum wage, an issue that Quinn has championed.

Past polls have indicated Quinn's dwindling popularity as unpaid Illinois bills mount and pension reform chugs along.

"As long as I'm Governor, I'm here to fight for the 99.99 percent," Quinn said in a statement Tuesday. "Since I took the oath of office, we have rebuilt Illinois one hard step at a time, but there is more work to do. Together we will build and protect the middle class and keep Illinois moving forward."

As one of the country’s most solidly blue states, Illinois wasn't supposed to be a battleground, but it's generally agreed upon that a tough race is ahead.

“Can [Quinn] win re-election? Yeah. He’s not a dead man walking,” said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at The Cook Political Report. “But he’s going to have to run a really strong race.”

His attempts to rein in the country’s worst pension deficit have sparked a revolt by public-employees unions, and an income-tax hike did little to help. Quinn started the year with about $4.5 million in his campaign account, but Rauner can easily match him.

Former Governor Jim Thompson, who supported Sen. Dillard's bid in the primary, said the November race remains a toss-up.

"You're going to see the fight of the century," he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Drone Cam Captures Brooklyn Fire


More than 150 firefighters worked for hours overnight battling a blaze that gutted a recycling plant in Brooklyn and sent plumes of heavy smoke into the sky that could be seen from New Jersey, officials said.

The fire at the recycling plant on Humboldt Street in Greenpoint started around 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to the FDNY. It quickly escalated to a four-alarm blaze and sent a smoke plume hundreds of feet into the sky. Drone video obtained by NBC 4 New York showed large portions of the building engulfed in flames.

Crews worked throughout the night combating the fire, which at time spanned hundreds of feet. The blaze was under control by 6 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters said.  

“It was a veryn very fast-moving fire with extremely flammable contents,” Deputy Fire Chief Robert Strong said. "Fortunately this is an industrial area.”

Firefighters were unable to get inside the building to fight the fire because the structure became unstable, a fire official said. At one point, witnesses at the scene saw part of one of the warehouse's exterior walls crumble to the ground.

"When these fires are like this, where the buildings become unstable, we can't get in close enough to quickly put it out," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Jack Mooney.

Recycled cardboard and other materials complicated firefighting efforts, Deputy Chief Brendan McSweeney said.

"We had large bales of cardboard strapped with steel straps and we had rags throughout, so getting to the very seat of all this smoldering cardboard and rags was very difficult," he said. "It's a very time-consuming process."

Firefighters said they received no complaints of abnormal air quality while the recycling materials burned.

Four firefighters sustained minor injuries from battling the blaze, Strong said. No nearby buildings were damaged.

Photo courtesy John Swords

Photo courtesy Anna Wiszowata

Photo courtesy Anna Wiszowata

DRONE VIDEO: Fire at Warehouse


More than 150 firefighters worked for hours overnight battling a blaze that gutted a recycling plant in Brooklyn and sent plumes of heavy smoke into the sky that could be seen from New Jersey, officials said.

Crash Scene on Bulkeley Bridge Clears


Traffic is beginning to ease after a crash closed the right and center lanes of Interstate 84 West at the Bulkeley Bridge in Hartford this morning.

Police said the crash involved a car and a tractor-trailer.

No injuries are reported.


1 Seriously Injured in Crash on Route 4 in Goshen


One person was seriously injured in a crash on Route 4 in Goshen this morning.

The road was closed near Bruno Road, but has since reopened.

State Police said a car hit a pole, bringing down the pole and wires.

LifeStar medical helicopter was also sent to the scene.

Glastonbury Man Charged in Several Burglaries


A Glastonbury man has been arrested, accused of several burglaries in his own neighborhood.

Dan Taylor, 29, of 74 Whapley Road, is suspected of being involved in several burglaries in and around the Whapley Road neighborhood over the last half of 2013, according to police.

He was arrested on Tuesday and charged with six counts of third-degree burglary and sixth-degree larceny.

Court records state he has not been released from police custody. He is due in court next on April 17.

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

Obama's Final 4, "ACA" Bracket


President Barack Obama picked Michigan State to beat defending champions Louisville in the NCAA  men's basketball tournament title game.

The nation’s first basketball fan filled out his bracket in his annual "BARACK-etology" segment that aired on ESPN Wednesday. The reveal came two days after the White House launched its own GIF-friendly, March Madness-themed Affordable Care Act bracket.

"Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach," Obama said. "I've got Michigan State going all the way. ... He knows how to motivate folks and he knows how to coach. My pick: Michigan State. Bring it home for me. It's been a while since I've won my pool."

Besides the fourth-seeded Spartans and Cardinals, Obama also selected No. 1 overall seed Florida and top seed Arizona to reach the Final Four in Arlington, Texas.

Obama's bracket is available on Whitehouse.gov, which is using March Madness to get more young people to sign up for health insurance before the March 31st deadline.

The  “ACA Bracket” called, “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered," originally featured 16 GIFs, and on Wednesday afernoon was down to the final four. The interactive compilation allows users to vote for the top two reasons to get health coverage and is full of links to healthcare.gov.

People can vote using their Twitter or Facebook accounts for the their favorite GIFs. The “Insurance Companies are Accountable to You” GIF shows a cat dressed in a tux. The "Nobody's Invincible" GIF features an Elmo toy falling from a store shelf. The “You Might Qualify for Free or Low-Cost Coverage” GIF portrays “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon “mom dancing” with First Lady Michelle Obama. And "Women Can't be Charged More Than Men" shows the first lady slam dunking a basketball using a hoop held up by LeBron James.

The ACA bracket is part of the effort by the White House to spread the word about the health care deadline. In the first week of March, Obama sat down with comedian Zach Galifianakis for a “Between Two Ferns” mock interview meant to convince young people to get coverage.

On Thursday, the president is scheduled to appear on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to talk about the ACA.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

School Bans "My Little Pony" Bag


A North Carolina school has barred a 9-year-old boy from carrying his “My Little Pony” lunchbag to school, saying it caused bullying.

Grayson Bruce of Buncombe County, N.C., said kids at Candler Elementary School picked on him because he was carrying the fuzzy, blue bag with cartoon pony Rainbow Dash's face on it, USA Today reported.

Grayson’s mom, Noreen Bruce, said the bullying got so bad that he didn’t want to get out of the car, so she decided to alert the school staff. But a counselor she spoke with wasn’t helpful and suggested Grayson hide his lunchbag inside his backpack instead, Bruce said.

Then the principal called Bruce and told her the lunchbag should stay at home, but Bruce said she didn’t think that was the solution.

"I said, 'You're missing the picture here. You're telling him that it's OK for them to make fun of him,’” Bruce said, according to USA Today.

Bruce is now homeschooling Grayson and is scheduled to meet with the school’s superintendent on Thursday to discuss the bullying.

Bruce and her two friends started a Facebook page in support of Grayson. By Wednesday, it had over 50,000 likes and a petition on Change.org asking that Grayson be allowed to bring his bag to school garnered 6,000 signatures.




Route 4 in Burlington Reopens After Crash


Route 4 was closed in Burlington after a crash on Wednesday, according to state police.

The crash happened near Covey Road around 2:30 p.m.

There is no word on injuries.

The road was closed for a short time, but reopened around 3 p.m.

Police Investigate Untimely Death at State Park


State police are investigating the death of a person at Chatfield Hollow State Park on Wednesday.

Emergency crews were originally called to the park in Killingworth for the report of an injured hiker.

Officers from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection located the body of a man in the park.  EMS crews pronounced the man dead, according to police.

State police troopers arrived at the scene and determined there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man's death.

Police know the identity of the man, but are not releasing it until his next of kin have been notified.

The man's body has been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine a manner and cause of death, police said.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cabbie Dies Behind Wheel on Bridge


A cab driver died after possibly suffering a seizure that caused him to crash his taxi on the Queensboro Bridge early Wednesday with a passenger in his back seat.
The driver hit another cab after the medical episode.
The passenger in the sick driver's car and the driver of the car that was hit suffered minor neck and back injuries, authorities said.


Elderly Couple Dies Minutes Apart


A South Florida couple who had been married for more than 40 years died just 15 minutes apart.

Tom and Naomi Shirley, of Southwest Ranches, both died at Cleveland Clinic in Weston on Saturday.

Tom Shirley, 83, had undergone open heart surgery a year ago and had been admitted to the hospital Saturday after he felt weak, the Sun Sentinel reported. Naomi Shirley, 75, stayed home until the hospital called and said her husband was close to death.

But Naomi Shirley never made it to his bedside; she suffered a heart attack on the way to the hospital and died, her family said. She didn't know her husband had died minutes earlier.

"My father passed away not knowing that mother was on her way to see him and she passed away within 10 minutes... so neither one knew the other one had passed," son Tommy Shirley, Jr. told NBC6 South Florida. "They're together now, looking over everybody."

Now, their kids are surrounded by the thought of the timing of their deaths and memories in the forms of pictures and airboats.

"She was right there beside him," daughter Melanie Davis said. "She'd catch a big of a fish as he did. They always did everything together."

Tom Shirley lived in South Florida since age 3, and was a warden for the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission in the Florida Everglades for 30 years, from 1955 to 1985.

"That was dad's life," Davis said. "It was all about nature and teaching us different things about different wildlife animals."

Naomi Shirley moved to Hialeah from West Virginia. She met her husband while working at a drug store, and the couple married in 1969. She worked as a nurse until retirement while the couple raised four children.

"I'm sure they'd be very satisfied. I couldn't imagine a better way of going together," son Troy Shirley said. "What more could you ask for? They truly did love one another. They truly did."

Photo Credit: Family photo

Pa. Man Accused in Ricin-Laced Card


A suburban Philadelphia man was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly sent a birthday card laced with ricin to the boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend.

Nicholas Todd Helman, 19, was arrested on Wednesday at his home on Byberry Street in Hatboro. It was the second time he had been arrested this month in connection to the ricin-laced card, according to investigators.

Back on March 7, Helman allegedly told his co-worker at a Target store in Warrington that he had sent a scratch-and-sniff birthday card laced with ricin to a man who was dating his ex-girlfriend.

Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans and can cause injury and even death if chewed, inhaled or swallowed. Helman allegedly told his co-worker that he rubbed ground castor beans onto the inside of the card before sending it to his intended victim's mailbox on Olive Street in Warminster.

Officials say Helman claimed the substance would kill anyone who came into contact with it within four days.

Helman's co-worker called police and Helman was taken into custody.

Helman allegedly told police he coated the card with sodium hydroxide in an attempt to scare his ex-girlfriend so that they could reconcile their relationship. Helman also allegedly sent threatening messages to his ex and her new boyfriend in November of last year, according to investigators.

Helman was charged with harassment and later released on bail.

Police say they warned the intended victim and his family not to open their mail. They then removed the envelope from the home.

Investigators later tested the substance on the card and determined that it was ricin.

A hazmat team, SWAT team, police officers and officials with the FBI returned to Helman's home on Wednesday. After a standoff that lasted several hours, Helman was led out of his apartment and to a police vehicle by officers clad in armor and hazmat gear.

He was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

Officials searched through Helman's home for any traces of the substance but determined that the scene was safe and clear.

A friend of Helman, who did not want to be identified, says he was shocked when he learned of the allegations against him.

"I really couldn't imagine him doing something like that," he said. "I've known him since Middle School. He was an odd kid. I would say he wasn't always the most social kid. He was very tech savy. He was probably the smartest kid I've ever known but he never really applied himself."

With his second arrest in one month, the friend says he hopes Helman can turn his life around.

"I know you can come out of this," he said. "I know you can." 

Photo Credit: Nicholas Todd Helman
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