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Girl Thrown From Car Dies


A 12-year-old girl has died days after she was thrown from the top of a car, where police say an intoxicated mom had her and other kids ride because they were wet from swimming.

The girl, Octavia Watkins, died at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night when she was removed from life support, Crowley police said. She had suffered severe head injuries in the fall last week and had been hospitalized since.

Police said Kisha Young, 39, let six children ride on the hood and trunk of her Chevrolet Malibu on June 17 because their clothes were wet. The group, including another adult, had been swimming at the Creekside Community Pool.

Police said Young was arrested and charged with intoxication assault, a third degree felony. She posted $110,000 bond and was released from jail Friday.

Crowley police said they are working with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office to determine future charges on the case.

Watkins' mother, who was an adult passenger in the car, could also be charged.

"The adults involved are responsible for the children, and whatever happens to them while they are in their care," said Crowley Police Officer CC Meadows.

Neighbors who witnessed the accident were sad to learn Watkins died.

Ellen Prince said Young did not even know the children had fallen from the back of her car until she reached the end of the street.

"We know better than to have kids ridding on our car. I can’t imagine a mother, if she was a mother, letting her kids out of the car and driving like that," Prince said.

Albert Garcia said he rushed to help Watkins when he saw her on the pavement.

"She was totally unconscious the whole time, so that was my main concern," he said. "I know the mom didn’t do this on purpose. She was trying to have fun. But she needed to think this through a little bit more."

Marissa Gonzalez with Texas Child Protective Services said the surviving children are in the care of relatives and not their mothers. A CPS investigation is also underway about future custody of the children.

Funeral arrangements for the girl have not yet been revealed.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.

Hartford Police Search for Suspect in August Murder


Police are searching for the man accused of fatally shooting a 22-year-old Hartford resident last August and have obtained a warrant for his arrest.

Demetry McLean, 22, will be charged in the Aug. 14 murder of Jerome Copeland, who was shot to death at the corner of Farmington and Evergreen avenues in the city’s West End. Authorities obtained a warrant for his arrest on Thursday.

Copeland was one of three people fatally shot in a span of two days.

Rasheed Sterling, 23, was also shot during the incident on Evergreen Avenue and survived his injuries, police said.

McLean will be charged with murder, criminal attempt at murder, first-degree assault and carrying a pistol without a permit. His bond has been set at $3 million.

Police have three additional warrants for McLean's arrest for failure to appear in court. They believe he may have left the state or even the country.

Anyone with information on McLean’s whereabouts should contact Hartford police.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Texas Has the Quirkiest Landmark in the Nation


Texans have something "big" to celebrate.

Dallas' iconic 55-foot tall Big Tex cowboy statue was voted "Best Quirky Landmark" in USA Today's Reader's Choice Awards "10Best." The list also includes two other landmarks in Texas as well as Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Washington, North Dakota, Alabama, and South Carolina.

"Our readers love America's quirky landmarks, and none moreso than Dallas's famous Big Tex, which landed at No. 1 after four weeks of passion-fueled voting," USA Today said in a statement Wednesday.

Big Tex, known as the icon of the State Fair of Texas since 1952, burned down in an electrical fire in October 2012 and was rebuilt and unveiled in September 2013 with some modifications to his look.

The makeover included a new pair of boots, a taller stature and a new red, white, and blue shirt.

The second-place quirky landmark was Newark, Ohio's Longaberger home office building, a seven-story building shaped like a picnic basket, the company's primary product.

The third-place landmark was Alliance, Nebraska's "Carhenge," a replica of Stonehenge constructed of 38 vintage cars.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Man Threatens Hartford Resident With Gun: Police


Police have arrested the man accused of threatening another person with a gun at his Orange Street apartment on Wednesday.

Courtney Brown, 27, was arrested Wednesday after the alleged threatening incident. Officers entered the apartment through a back hallway and found Brown, who lives in the apartment where the threat was made, according to police.

Officers searched the apartment and found a 9mm semiautomatic handgun in the kitchen. Police said Brown admitted to owning the gun, which contained six live rounds.

Brown is a convicted felon, according to police.

Court records show he was convicted of carrying a pistol without a permit in 2008.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

No Extra Security Planned for Mohegan Avicii Show


Mohegan Sun does not plan on adding security for Swedish DJ Avicii’ show on Friday night, two days after dozens of fans at his Boston show needed to be hospitalized.

On Wednesday night, 36 people who attended the popular DJ’s concert at the TD Garden were rushed to area hospitals to be treated for dehydration and suspected drug and alcohol use.

Officials in Boston said most of those patients were underage.

With hits including “Levels” and “Sunshine” with David Guetta, Avicii’s rising popularity is expected to draw a large crowd to the Mohegan Sun Arena, but officials said they are confident in the security at the arena and prepared for the size and nature of the crowd that will be attending the show.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Technicality Costs Woman Jackpot


Rachel Marom thought she had hit it big when she won a new car at a South Florida casino this week. But just after she won, it was taken away on a technicality and given to someone else.

Marom hit the jackpot at the Mardi Gras Casino on Tuesday night, and with the win, she was set to take home a 2014 Fiat — but for a paperwork technicality.

Marom carries only photocopies of her driver's license and green card with her and leaves the originals safely at home. It's a habit she developed after she was robbed a few years ago, since replacing her license and green card was time-consuming and expensive.

“They said, oh, those are copies,” Marom said the casino told her. “'We don’t accept copies.' I said, ‘What do you mean, you don’t accept copies? This is my name, my address, my date of birth.’”

Marom said she lived nearby and asked to go home to get the hard copies the casino requested. But she said she never got the chance.

“I said, ‘Please, let me go home and bring the originals. You cannot be so cruel. I won a car. You told me I won a car, and now you want to take it away from me?’” Marom told NBC 6. “He didn’t pay attention to me, and he called the next name. The next name was a lady, and they came and gave her the car.”

The general manager of the Mardi Gras Casino said a valid ID was needed at the time of the giveaway to win the car, and a photocopy does not count. The GM told NBC 6 he sympathized with Marom and is looking into what happened.

In the meantime, Marom said she is considering a lawsuit.

“The only right and just outcome would be for her to get the car or alternatively or get the money, the value of the car, in cash,” said lawyer David Kubiliun of Kubiliun & Associates.

Marom said she used to go to the casino three times a week but will not go back again until she gets what she believes is hers.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com

Police Arrest Suspect in Bristol Home Break-Ins


Police have arrested a Bristol man who is accused of burglarizing several city homes while the residents were sleeping.

Bristol detectives arrested Luis D. Cantre, 28, of Bristol, at 2:49 a.m. on Thursday.

Police said on Tuesday that they had obtained an arrest warrant for him and released a mug shot and description.

A detective recognized Cantre, who was driving on Davis Drive, and stopped the car, which was later reported stolen. Cantre has also been charged with larceny in the third degree.

Cantre is accused of committing a string of nighttime robberies in the area of Jerome Avenue and Mix Street between June 16 and 18.

The victims were sleeping when a burglar forcibly entered homes, police said. In two of the incidents, the intruder actually entered the sleeping occupants’ bedrooms and stole items.

Bristol Police called Cantre a “strong suspect” in these crimes.

"I got hit twice," said one victim, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her identity. "Sunday night they went right through the front door. ... The second night, which was last night, they got sneakier and went through the basement."

Police suspected that the same person was behind the break-ins because window screens were cut or removed in each case.

Burglars tried to get into Samantha Myers Bristol home.

"They had kind of tried to push it up and the wood, you can see, is broken," she said while showing the window where burglars tried to come in.

Homes on Dorothy Road, Vincent Road and Barbara Road have all been hit and money, pocketbooks and credit cards were stolen, according to police.

"It's a violation," Kim Laurie, of Bristol, said. "Even if they only took 10 cents or something useless, it's still a stranger in your house going through your things, and it's a violation."

Cantre is being held on $100,000 bond on the warrant arrest, and an additional $25,000 bond for charges related to the stolen vehicle. He will be arraigned today in Bristol Superior Court.


Photo Credit: Bristol Police

Student Charged in Bloomfield School Pot Brownie Incident


Weeks after Bloomfield police said they identified three students accused of selling marijuana-laced brownies at Metropolitan Learning Center, police have charged a 16-year-old girl in connection with the case.

Police they learned about the drug-filled baked goods after one Metropolitan Learning Center student got so sick he had to go to the hospital.

Police were called to the school, at 1551 Blue Hills Avenue, around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 11 to investigate a medical complaint and found a 15-year-old boy in a “stupor state,” police said.

He sought help from the school nurse when he started hyperventilating after eating a marijuana brownie he’d bought from another student, police said.

The teen was transported to the Connecticut Children Medical Center and Bloomfield Police started to investigate where the brownie came from.

They learned that an 18-year-old student had brought the brownies to the school and sold them to around eight students, who were all well aware of what they were buying, according to police.

Police said they identified the 18-year-old and identified two accomplices, a 16-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy who also attend the school.

The teenage girl was charged with risk of injury to a minor and is due in Hartford Juvenile Court on July 2, police said on Thursday. Her name has not been released because of her age.

When the brownie incident happened, the school was on an exam schedule and students had been sent home for the day and the school sent the following letter to families:

"Dear MLC Families,

"At MLC, we appreciate and value the open communication that our school community has with our families. For that reason, I am writing to share information about an incident that occurred today at school. This morning, a high school student brought brownies that were reported to have been laced with marijuana to our campus. We are working closely with law enforcement to investigate and determining which students may have been knowingly or unknowingly involved. Any students found to be a party to this incident will be issued the maximum possible penalty, including possible expulsion and/or arrest. The safety and security of students is our primary concern, and we take incidents of this nature very seriously. Possession of any type of drug or alcoholic beverage is strictly against school policy and cause for expulsion.  I ask that you spend some time discussing this with your children at home to ensure that they understand the dangers involved with drugs.  We will continue to reiterate these messages at school.

"At MLC, we strive to promote a culture of open communication. If you have any information about this incident that may assist us in our investigation, please contact me at sdouglas@crec.org.
Thank you for your continued support."


East Haven Man Seduces 12-Year-Old on Internet


A 29-year-old East Haven man is facing charges in New Jersey after reportedly seducing a 12-year-old on the Internet and convincing the victim to perform sexual acts while he watched.

According to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Scott Brensinger, of East Haven, contacted the preteen online, engaged in “sexually explicit dialogue” with the victim and persuaded the victim to perform sex acts on social media sites while he watched.

He was arrested June 13 in East Haven after authorities searched his home and workplace. Brensinger reportedly works in the auto repair industry, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

His arrest comes after a four-month investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and the Elmwood Park Police Department, with help from East Haven police and Connecticut State Police.

Brensinger is charged with one count of aggravated first-degree sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

He’s in custody in East Haven as a fugitive and will be extradited to New Jersey.

Photo Credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office

Mystic Scientists Investigate Massachusetts Beluga Mystery


Members of the scientific community are puzzled today after a young Beluga Whale made its way to the Taunton River in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Scientists from Mystic Aquarium, the only aquarium in the Northeastern United States with Beluga whales on-site for study and exhibition, have made their way north to the whale’s current location in the hopes of better understanding what brought the creature so far from its natural habitat.

Dr. Tracy Romano, executive vice president of research and zoological operations at Mystic Aquarium, is leading the effort.

“We are intimately involved in Beluga research with our animals at Mystic Aquarium, and travel to the Arctic every year to study them in their natural habitat,” Dr. Romano said in a statement. “This unusual sighting in our own back yard is anomalous behavior for a Beluga and we would like to find out why.”

The Beluga was spotted several times over the past week in the Taunton River. The changing environment’s effect on the health of Belugas has become a major concern for scientists worldwide.
Officials from Mystic Aquarium will be updating the public via Twitter and other social media using the hashtag #beluga.

Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium

Middletown Man Throws Urine on Housemate: Police


Police have arrested a 22-year-old Middletown resident accused of dumping human urine on his housemate and her belongings.

According to police, Charles Francis Stack, of Frazier Avenue in Middletown, approached the victim’s bedroom on Wednesday and threw a container of urine on her clothes and face. Officers arrived to find an “extremely large quantity” of human urine covering the woman’s room and belongings.

Stack was holed up in his bedroom and refused to open the door for police, so the landlord arrived to unlock it, police said.

The responding officer reportedly walked in to find Stack in bed with a sheet over his head. Police said he was uncooperative and ignored the officer’s requests to get up.

According to police, Stack denied throwing urine on the victim and told the officer, “She’s just crazy and I don’t like her!”

He was arrested and charged with first-degree breach of peace, third-degree criminal mischief and interfering with an officer. Police consider the incident domestic because the suspect and victim live together.

Stack was held on a $20,000 bond and was due in court Thursday.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

APRN Convicted of Arranging Sex With Infant Gets 23 Years


A former APRN and owner of the Connecticut Family Care Center in Vernon has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after trying to arrange a sexual encounter with an 18-month-old child and billing Medicaid for the office visit, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice.

Jay T. Mohler-Avery, of Mountain Street in Hartford, was sentenced Thursday on sexual assault and Medicaid fraud convictions.

Authorities say Mohler-Avery took a particular interest in one patient’s 18-month-old daughter in October 2012 and asked her to bring the baby to his office so he could “break her in early.”

He tried to bill Medicaid for the appointment, “during which no medical treatment was rendered,” according to the Division of Criminal Justice.

Mohler-Avery also aimed to turn the mother into his sex slave, Vernon police said.

He pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree sexual assault, one count of risk of injury to a minor and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault. Mohler-Avery pleaded no contest to one count of insurance fraud.

Mohler-Avery will serve 23 years behind bars and 20 years on parole. He’s also required to register as a sex offender and will be subject to a restraining order against the victim until 2068.

The APRN lost his nursing license in November 2012 and has been behind bars since his arrest.

Candace Merriam, Mohler-Avery’s former personal assistant, was also arrested in connection with the incident.

Missing Wisconsin Teen Found in Clinton


A 16-year-old girl missing from Wisconsin has been found in Clinton, and police are searching for the man with whom she’s believed to have run away.

Evelyne Fischer, who went missing June 13 from her home in Springville, Wisconsin, was found safe at a friend’s house in Clinton around midnight after a resident saw her and contacted police.

Police have notified the Department of Children and Families, which has been helping Wisconsin authorities investigate Fischer’s disappearance.

Police say Fischer ran away with 20-year-old Tyler Hand, of Meriden, whom she reportedly met online. Authorities believe Fischer and Hand had an illegal sexual relationship. Hand was arrested when he went to visit her in Wisconsin and ordered not to contact the teen.

Police are searching for Hand and have obtained another warrant for his arrest, charging him with second-degree sexual assault of a child, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, disorderly conduct and battery.

He was last seen on surveillance video buying two Greyhound bus tickets to Union Station in Hartford, one of which was believed to be for Fischer.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call police.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police Department

$17,000 in Marijuana Found in Car in New Haven


A 34-year-old Hamden man is facing charges after police pulled him over for not wearing his seatbelt and reportedly found more than $17,000 worth of marijuana in his car.

Marquise McDuffie-Burroughs, of Hamden, was driving in the area of Peck Alley when officers stopped him. Police said McDuffie-Burroughs seemed nervous when officers approached and said he was there to see a friend but couldn’t come up with a name or address.

Police smelled marijuana in the car and found a small bag in McDuffie-Burroughs’ pocket. They arrested him, then searched the car and found an additional five pounds of marijuana at a street value of more than $17,000, according to police.

Officers confiscated the drugs, along with a cellphone and $3,363 in cash.

McDuffie-Burroughs is charged with four drug offenses, including possession with intent to sell, and failure to wear seatbelt.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Motorcyclist Killed in New Milford Crash


A motorcyclist has died after colliding with a van on Still River Drive in New Milford Thursday afternoon, according to police.

Police said the victim was a man and was not wearing a helmet. He has not been publicly identified.

LifeStar was called to the scene to transport the victim. Authorities said they will plan to hold a news conference at the police department later today.

The van driver was not injured, according to police. Both vehicles were towed from the scene around 5 p.m.

Still River Drive was closed for hours while authorities investigates. The crash happened near Lovers Leap State Park at the intersection with Pumpkin Hill Road.

No fault or cause has been determined.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Car Wash Security Breach Could Affect Thousands


Splash Car Wash is warning patrons to check their bank accounts after a security breach compromised the credit card information of up to 30,000 customers, according to company executives.

The car wish, which operates 13 locations in Connecticut and three in New York, learned of the breach late last month.

Splash founder and CEO Mark Curtis said malware was externally implanted in the company’s card readers at the end of February. He learned of the breach when American Express alerted the car wash of a problem May 16.

According to Curtis, Splash immediately removed the malware and began using bank-issued card readers.

Curtis believes the malware targeted car washes in Fairfield, Cos Cob, Shelton, Greenwich, Bridgeport and West Haven. The company also operates locations in Cheshire, Hamden, New Haven, Wilton, Norwalk, Darien and Stamford.

At least 1,400 customers have had their information compromised, but Curtis said that number is expected to grow and could reach up to 30,000.

Curtis said the information was stolen in a fraction of a second after customers swiped their credit cards and before Splash’s system could encrypt the data.

The company has sent email alerts to 120,000 customers and urges patrons to check their credit card statements and activity. In many cases, only small charges have been made and could go undetected. Curtis believes the stolen information was sent overseas.

The Secret Service is investigating along with several credit card companies.

Curtis said Splash takes security very seriously and wants customers to feel safe doing business at the car wash.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Students' "Redskins" Fight


School administrators in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, have delivered a final blow to students hoping to ban the use of the word "Redskins" in their high school newspaper.

In a school board meeting Thursday night, Neshaminy School Board members approved a policy that would force student editors of "The Playwickian" to print the name of the Neshaminy High School mascot, the "Redskins," in certain situations, like in letters to the editor or editorials.

Administrators can't, however, force students to use the term in news stories printed in the paper.

The school newspaper's staff voted in October to ban the word "Redskins," calling it a racial slur against Native Americans. Two weeks ago, a federal panel ruled that the NFL's Washington Redskins team name is disparaging and that its trademarks should be canceled.

And although the board's decision to force the use of the word in certain situations was meant to be a middle ground, editors and other students are not happy.

"We're gonna keep fighting this," said co-editor Gillian McGoldrick. "There's no way we're just going to sit back and let these restrictions happen to us."

Board officials say banning use of the term "Redskins" may trample the free speech rights of other students.

"I think if you feel weird about it, you shouldn't use it," said Managing Editor Jackson Haines.

The school board's vote is essentially the end of the line for students opposed to the use of the word, but the editors do have an attorney and haven't ruled out taking legal action against their school district.

Photo Credit: Eugene Sonn | NewsWorks.org

Hearing Held on Anthem’s Insurance Rate Increase Plan


A public hearing is underway on Friday on Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s proposal to raise rates.

In May, Anthem Health Plans, Inc. filed a plan to increase rates on around 66,000 policies by an average of 12.5 percent on individual health plans as of Jan. 1, 2015.

This includes private plans and those on the state's health insurance exchange.

“In filing our rates for 2015, we sought a balance – we know that we operate in an increasingly competitive market place where price drives consumer purchasing decisions. At the same time, as a long-time Connecticut health insurer, watching many other insurers come and go over the years, we know that solvency and stability is important.  We must balance strong competitive pressures against the need to responsibly price our products, so that we remain a leader in the state for the next 75 years,” a statement from the company says.

A team from CONECT, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, plans to testify at the hearing.

More on the proposal is posted on the state Department of Insurance Department Web site.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Missing Calif. Boy Found


A 13-year old Oceanside, California, boy who may have set out on his own Tom Sawyer-inspired journey was found safe Thursday — but in a twist to the tale, the boy was not reunited with his family but instead placed in protective custody.

The young teen had been reported missing by his mother early Wednesday morning after she was unable to find him at home. The mother told officials she had last seen her son Tuesday around 10 p.m. and a search for the boy ensued.

His mother told NBC 7 her son was a fan of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," so he may have been inspired by the main character to take a journey of his own.

She said he had taken a survival kit with him that he recently bought at the fair, as well as a backpack.

At around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the boy's mother received a call saying her son had been found.

However, as she waited for police to bring him home, she found out he wouldn't be coming back – at least not for now.

Oceanside police said the boy and his 14-year-old brother had been placed in protective custody based on some unspecified information they received during the course of their search and investigation.

Since the investigation is ongoing, police said they could not elaborate on what led them to make that decision.

Three other siblings were allowed to remain in the family's home, officials said.

Throughout Thursday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's Search and Rescue Team canvassed the boy's neighborhood at Concho Place near the San Luis Rey Riverbed and Camp Pendleton with a search dog.

The boy wasn't found near his home, but instead was found hiding in bushes off El Camino Real and Vista Rey. Police said he was safe and in good condition.

Police initially said the boy was taken into custody to find out what he was doing and what prompted him to run away. However, further details were not released.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Miss Delaware Breaks Down in Tears on "Today"


Former Miss Delaware Amanda Longacre broke down in tears on NBC's "Today" show as she described her disappointment over being stripped of her crown because of her age.

"It’s like they’re trying to erase me in a way like it never happened," she said.

Longacre disputed Miss America pageant organizers claims that she violated the age rules for competition.

"I am so, like really upset because I just found out Tuesday that I was stripped of my crown over an age clause that clearly the board of my state didn't even know about," Longacre said. "So I am left here wondering why I was put in this position to begin with."

First runner up Brittany Lewis, 24, was awarded Longacre's crown Thursday. But Longacre is not going out without a fight. She told the "Today" show that she is "discussing options" with a lawyer.

Attorney Mark Billion of Wilmington, Delaware, did not respond to a request for an interview at the time this was published. But he told The News Journal that he believes there is a "breach of contract."

"It really hurts because when your peers vote you for Miss Congeniality and you work so hard to get to this position," Longacre said after being overcome with emotion on "Today." 

Pageant officials on Tuesday told Longacre that she would not be eligible to compete in the Miss America pageant in September because of her age, NBC10 reported. She said she was told that Miss America can't be older than 24 the year she is crowned.

Longacre will turn 25 on October 22, two months after the Miss America pageant. She explained on "Today" that she submitted all the proper paperwork to prove her age, and local pageant officials took no issue with it at the time she applied for a chance at the Miss Delaware crown.

"It's not fair because I won outright," she said. "And I deserve to represent my state and I want this chance still to go to Miss America."

The Miss America Organization on Thursday posted on Facebook a status wishing Longacre "well on her future endeavors." The post also included a headshot of Lewis that congratulated her on being crowned Miss Delaware 2014.

Longacre's winning photo from June 14 is still on the Miss America Facebook page as of Friday morning.

The Miss America Organization did not respond to a request for an interview at the time story was published.




Photo Credit: Screen shot from Today show
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