Lower Merion Police Department(PHILADELPHIA) — Police now have a person of interest they are trying to identify in connection to the strangulation of a former Playboy model near Philadelphia last week.The Lower Merion Police Department released surveillance video of someone who spent time with Christina Kraft, 36, in the early morning hours the day she was killed at her apartment in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. They have not referred to him as a suspect.Police say the man “had contact with the victim during the early morning hours” of Aug. 22 in Philadelphia, and was seen on surveillance footage near a SEPTA subway entrance at 15th and Market streets in the city and “may have also utilized a ridesharing service” to get to Ardmore.Ardmore, Pennsylvania, is a suburb just nine miles northwest of Philadelphia.In the surveillance video released by police a woman has her arm around the man, though she has been blurred out.The man in the images can be seen entering Kraft’s apartment building, and riding the elevator, but he never is seen leaving, a source told Philadelphia ABC station WPVI, leading authorities to believe he might have jumped from her second-floor balcony to escape.Kraft’s body was found Wednesday night after police conducted a wellness check.The model appeared in Playboy, Vanity Fair and Maxim, according to WPVI.Authorities said last week they were searching for Andre Melton, 31, in connection to a robbery that took place at Kraft’s apartment the weekend before her murder. Designer handbags and jewelry belonging to Kraft were found in Melton’s apartment, but he has not been located.He was not named as a suspect in her death.Police asked anyone with information to contact the Lower Merion Police Department at 610-649-1000 or the Montgomery County Detective Bureau at 610-278-3368.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two Minnesota police officers are being hailed for resuscitating a baby and delivering her twin after responding to an emergency call earlier this week.Nichole Mickelson was home with her 2-year-old son when she went into labor after taking a shower early Tuesday morning. She called her mother and her husband, who had left early for work, to inform them about her situation, and then she called 911.“By the time I got out of the shower. I was already having full-blown contractions,” Mickelson, who lives in the city of Wyoming, told ABC News.Two officers from the Wyoming Police Department were dispatched to Mickelson’s home. When they arrived there, they found her door locked, with no other way to enter the home.“With a swift kick to the door, the officer forced entry into the house and found the mother had just given birth to a baby girl,” the police department said in a statement. “The newborn was in the mother’s arms and not breathing.”Mickelson saw that the first baby wasn’t breathing, but she couldn’t try to rescue her because she was still having contractions and was about to give birth to the second baby.“But that’s when the police arrived,” Mickelson said. Upon their arrival, one of the officers immediately went to perform CPR on the baby that wasn’t breathing.“The officer sprang into action and began CPR on the newborn baby girl, Anna, clearing the airway, giving mouth-to-mouth and compression until she came to life with that familiar newborn cry,” police said.After helping baby Anna breathe, the officers helped deliver Mickelson’s second daughter. Dealing with both resuscitating a baby who can’t breathe and delivering another baby at the same time is extremely rare, the police said.“As a chief, you want to make sure you give your staff the necessary training to do their job, and you hope they recall that training when the need arises,” Wyoming Police Chief Paul Hoppe said in the statement. “On this day, these two officers performed flawlessly, professionally, without hesitation, with care and compassion to the family.”Mickelson said that as a nurse she could tell that the officers had been trained to respond to such situations, but that they probably never had to do it in real life.“They’ve been trained in it, but they’ve never done it before, so I knew they were probably quite nervous,” Mickelson said. “But, yeah, they did great. It turned out to be happy ending.”“When anybody’s put in that kind of situation I think adrenaline takes over and you don’t really have time to be nervous or panicky,” she said.In the police statement, Hoppe welcomed the two new members to the Wyoming community and thanked the officers for their response.“I am pleased to introduce Anna and Ashley Mickelson to our community,” he said, “and honor Officers Paavola and Boecker, who’s actions saved a life and kept this family’s experience a joyful moment.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News(CHICAGO) — ABC News has obtained a copy of a $3,500 check apparently written by Empire actor Jussie Smollett to Abimbola Osundairo, one of the two brothers who police say helped stage an attack on Smollett in Chicago last month.The check’s memo line reads, “5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don’t Go).”The check was dated Jan. 23, six days before Smollett claims he was attacked in a hate crime. A copy of the check was first published online by TMZ.Sources close to Smollett told ABC News the actor was starting to train for an upcoming music video titled “Don’t Go,” in which he had to appear shirtless. ABC News obtained a calendar entry of Smollett’s that indicates the video was scheduled to be filmed Feb. 23.The $3,500 check was $600 per week for the workout plan, plus $100 per week for the nutrition plan, over five weeks, a source close to Smollett told ABC News.ABC News has also obtained copies of text messages apparently between Smollett and one of the Osundairo brothers, whom he calls “Bon,” in which the two discuss exercise and meal plans in the days preceding the alleged attack.In one of the texts, dated Jan. 25, Bon writes, “This is the meal plan and the breakdown of macronutrients. Also includes projected fat loss.”The copies of the text messages also were first published online by TMZ.A Chicago Police Department spokesperson referred ABC News to the Cook County State’s Attorney when asked for comment, but added, “In the interrogation they [the brothers] told police about the money. That interview is also electronically recorded.”Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men near his apartment in Chicago around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. The two men, Smollett initially said, shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him as a rope was wrapped around his neck and an unknown chemical substance was poured on him. The alleged assailants yelled “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make American Great Again” slogan, police were told.Police identified and questioned two “persons of interest” captured on surveillance video near the scene around the time of the alleged attack. The men, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, were arrested on Feb. 13 but then released without charges, with police saying they were no longer considered suspects.While being questioned by investigators, the brothers claimed that Smollett paid them to help orchestrate and stage the crime after he became upset that a letter threatening him, sent Jan. 22 to the Fox studio where the television series Empire is filmed, did not get enough attention, law enforcement sources told ABC News.Last Wednesday, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false crime report. By that evening, police officially had classified the actor as a suspect in the ongoing investigation. Detectives subsequently presented evidence to a Cook County grand jury.Smollett, who has consistently denied any role in staging the supposed crime, turned himself in to police Thursday morning. He pleaded not guilty.Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson accused Smollett of first sending himself the letter filled with “racial, homophobic and political language,” then orchestrating the alleged attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”“When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack and drag Chicago’s reputation through the mud,” Johnson, visibly angry, told reporters.“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” the police chief added. “Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?” Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — A second teen from Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year, has died from an apparent suicide in less than a week, according to authorities.Officers from the Coral Springs Police Department found the student dead after they were called to a residence Saturday night, Coral Springs Public Information Officer Tyler Reik told ABC News.The student’s identity was not released.Police were unable to confirm to ABC News whether the student was enrolled at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the time of the shooting on Feb. 14, 2018. Sources told the Miami Herald that the teen was a sophomore at the school.The death is the second apparent suicide to hit the Parkland community in less than a week. On March 17, former Stoneman Douglas student Sydney Aiello, 19, died at her home in Coconut Creek from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Broward County medical examiner’s office.Aiello’s mother told CBS Miami station WFOR that she suffered from survivor’s guilt and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.Aiello was friends with victim Meadow Pollack, 18, Pollack’s brother, Hunter Pollack, tweeted last week.If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
diegograndi/iStock(NEW YORK) — Two people have died in separate incidents at the Grand Canyon this week, including a tourist who fell 1,000 feet into the canyon while attempting to take photos.The man fell early Thursday near Eagle Point at Grand Canyon West, an area that is also home to the popular Skywalk attraction. His body was recovered by helicopter later in the day and will be sent to a local medical examiner. The man was identified as a visitor from Hong Kong in his 50s, who was part of a tour group visiting the area.“The thoughts and prayers of every Grand Canyon West employee remain with the loved ones of this individual and the members of the tour group,” the park said in a statement.The Skywalk is a U-shaped, glass-bottomed bridge that juts over the rim of the canyon, located on the Hualapai Tribe’s reservation outside of the National Park.On average, the Grand Canyon sees two to three deaths each year from falls over the rim, park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski told a website dedicated to the park.The Grand Canyon attracts around 6.4 million visitors each year, making it one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the U.S.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Hampton VA Police(HAMPTON, Va.) — A search is underway in Virginia for a 2-year-old boy who has been missing for days. Noah Tomlin was last seen when he was put to bed at about 1 a.m. Monday at his mobile home in Hampton, police said.His mother went to check on him at around 11 a.m. Monday and didn’t find him, police say. Authorities say she reported him missing at 11:35 a.m. “Since that time an intensive search has been underway,” Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult told reporters Wednesday. “We are still hopeful that we’ll find him safe and sound in some location, but we’re looking at all potential aspects that this case could lead us to.”“We’re looking at everything from the child walking off to the abduction scenario,” he said. “There’s nothing we’re not looking at.” “We have looked on land, water. We have checked trash, dumpsters. We have checked neighborhoods, houses, underneath buildings, in sheds,” Sult said.The search shifted to a landfill Wednesday though no specific information led investigators there, Sult said.The parents are cooperating, Sult said. The mother has been working with detectives, Sult said, and “she’s holding up as about as well as you could expect under the circumstances.”Noah’s mother told ABC affiliate WVEC-TV via text on Wednesday, “I’m working real hard with law enforcement to help find my baby. I can’t have my location known or whereabouts of my other children for their safety.” Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 757-727-6111. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock(CHICAGO) — It’s not your average morning in Humboldt Park in Chicago today — officials are trying to trap an alligator spotted in the lagoon there.The reptile is between 4 and 5 feet long, specialists said, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.Authorities are hoping for the animal to be “humanely trapped” and taken to a zoo for a veterinary evaluation, police said.When sightings of the gator came in on Tuesday, Guglielmi called it an “unusual news day.”The public is urged to let the experts do their job and give them space, Chicago police spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli said on Wednesday.It’s not clear how the gator ended up in the lagoon but it was likely a pet that got released, according to ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock(OXFORD, Miss.) — A 22-year-old Texas man is in custody in connection with the killing of an Ole Miss student whose body was discovered over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.Brandon Theesfeld was arrested Monday for the murder of Alexandria “Ally” Kostial.He will make an initial appearance before a judge on Tuesday, according to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office.It was not immediately clear how Theesfeld allegedly knew Kostial, if at all.Deputies were on a routine patrol Saturday at 10:30 a.m. when they found the body of 21-year-old Kostial in Harmontown, Mississippi, about 30 miles from Ole Miss, according to the sheriff’s office.Her cause of death has not been released.Kostial was from St. Louis, Missouri, and was studying marketing at the University of Mississippi’s School of Business Administration, according to the sheriff’s office and the university.Kassidy Desnoyer, who went to high school and college with Kostial, wrote on Facebook, “I’m so grateful that I got to know Ally throughout high school and we shared so many memorable experiences at Ole Miss together.”“From road tripping down to Oxford to being my Alpha Phi sister I will cherish all the memories we had together,” the message read.“She was the brightest light and always had a smile on her face,” Desnoyer wrote. “She truly was a ray of sunshine.”“We are truly saddened by the death of Alexandria Kostial,” University of Mississippi Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said in a statement.“Ally was a valued member of our campus community,” Sparks said. “We extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends, and classmates, and stand ready to support them during this time.”Before attending Ole Miss, Kostial graduated in 2016 from Lindbergh High School in St. Louis, according to the school district.“Our hearts are broken for the Kostials, and we extend our deepest sympathies to her entire family during this time,” Lindbergh Schools spokeswoman Beth Johnston told ABC News via email on Monday.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.,iStock(OXFORD, Miss.) — A 22-year-old Texas man is in custody in connection with the killing of an Ole Miss student whose body was discovered over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.Brandon Theesfeld was arrested Monday for the murder of Alexandria “Ally” Kostial.He will make an initial appearance before a judge on Tuesday, according to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office.It was not immediately clear how Theesfeld allegedly knew Kostial, if at all.Deputies were on a routine patrol Saturday at 10:30 a.m. when they found the body of 21-year-old Kostial in Harmontown, Mississippi, about 30 miles from Ole Miss, according to the sheriff’s office.Her cause of death has not been released.Kostial was from St. Louis, Missouri, and was studying marketing at the University of Mississippi’s School of Business Administration, according to the sheriff’s office and the university.Kassidy Desnoyer, who went to high school and college with Kostial, wrote on Facebook, “I’m so grateful that I got to know Ally throughout high school and we shared so many memorable experiences at Ole Miss together.”“From road tripping down to Oxford to being my Alpha Phi sister I will cherish all the memories we had together,” the message read.“She was the brightest light and always had a smile on her face,” Desnoyer wrote. “She truly was a ray of sunshine.”“We are truly saddened by the death of Alexandria Kostial,” University of Mississippi Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said in a statement.“Ally was a valued member of our campus community,” Sparks said. “We extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends, and classmates, and stand ready to support them during this time.”Before attending Ole Miss, Kostial graduated in 2016 from Lindbergh High School in St. Louis, according to the school district.“Our hearts are broken for the Kostials, and we extend our deepest sympathies to her entire family during this time,” Lindbergh Schools spokeswoman Beth Johnston told ABC News via email on Monday.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Tero Vesalainen/iStock(CHICAGO) — An Illinois man allegedly posed as a ride share driver and sexually assaulted a woman he met on a dating app, according to police. Jason Taylor, a 28-year-old from Evanston, just outside of Chicago, first got in contact with the victim, described as a Chicago woman in her 20s, through an unnamed dating app, according to the Evanston Police Department.On July 30, Taylor allegedly posed as a ride share driver and “was able to intercept her,” said Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew. After the victim got in Taylor’s car, Taylor allegedly sexually assaulted her, police said.Taylor also tried to contact two Northwestern University students and a Loyola University Chicago student through dating apps, Glew said. “Despite Taylor’s multiple attempts these students declined to meet him,” police said in a statement on Tuesday. Taylor was arrested last week and charged on Sunday with criminal sexual assault, said police. He posted bond on Monday and returns to court on Aug. 19. He has not yet been assigned a public defender.Glew declined to comment further on the alleged assault citing the ongoing investigation, but he did stress that the public should be mindful while using dating apps and ride shares. “Dating apps and ride shares are part of our every day life, but we need to recognize that sometimes people will try to use them with bad intent, and we just need to be cautious,” Glew told ABC News.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
GoodLifeStudio/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — Attorney Michael Avenatti was abruptly taken into federal custody in Los Angeles Tuesday evening, following a day-long disciplinary hearing in which the California State Bar is asking a judge to prevent Avenatti from practicing law based upon their belief he poses a “threat of substantial harm to the public” if he continues to perform legal work. Avenatti was on the stand when the court took a break and IRS agents placed him under arrest. Multiple sources told ABC News that Avenatti is accused of violating the terms of his pre-trial release. It was not immediately clear what he allegedly did to violate those terms because the documents are under seal.The lawyer, who is facing multiple federal criminal charges in California and New York, will likely spend the night at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles or the Santa Ana jail before his appearance Wednesday in a Santa Ana federal court. Avenatti skyrocketed to celebrity status alongside his former client, adult film star Stormy Daniels, who filed multiple lawsuits — unsuccessfully — against President Donald Trump. Eighteen months ago, the lawyer was a fixture on cable news shows and the topic of pieces in Vanity Fair and The New York Times magazine. Reporters asked him about his skin-care routine and Tom Ford suits while he and Daniels posed for photographer Annie Leibovitz.The celebrity attorney, with his trademark Twitter hashtag #basta, also dipped his toe into the presidential candidacy pool for a brief moment, dining with potential donors and forming a PAC to accept donations. Then last spring, after the Los Angeles city attorney declined to file domestic violence charges stemming from an earlier incident, federal prosecutors in New York and California indicted Avenatti on charges of extortion, fraud and embezzlement, which included allegations that Avenatti stole millions of dollars from a paraplegic client. In May, New York federal prosecutors filed additional charges, this time alleging Avenatti stole $300,000 from his most famous client, Stormy Daniels.Avenatti has plead not guilty to all charges and has been vocal on social media maintaining his innocence.At Tuesday’s hearing, the state bar’s senior trial counsel, Eli Morgensternm laid out his case for why Avenatti should be placed in “involuntary inactive status,” which would prohibit him from practicing law, but is separate from disbarment. The state bar has already filed their disbarment case as a separate procedure. Proceedings in the matter began last June, when the state bar filed their application for inactive enrollment against Avenatti. The complaint included allegations that Avenatti stole nearly $840,000 from former client Gregory Barela, who testified earlier Tuesday. In previous court filings, Avenatti’s attorney denied he misappropriated Barela’s funds. During Avenatti’s heated testimony before his arrest, he appeared disturbed and at times raised his voice, calling the hearing “nonsense” and claiming that his former client Barela testified to “a lot of things that weren’t true.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.