Kidnapped woman uses insulin pump light to escape car trunk

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 1:25 PM

An Alabama woman’s insulin pump saved her life last week, but not in a way she ever imagined.

Brittany Diggs, 25, was lying in the trunk of her own Nissan Altima just before midnight on March 14, hours after being kidnapped outside her apartment in Birmingham’s Avondale neighborhood by a man wielding a gun. Diggs told “Today” that the gunman kept demanding her money. 

Diggs, a nursing student, told him she was a “broke college student” and didn’t have anything. 

“He was, like, since you don’t have any money, you’re going to help me get money,” Diggs told “Today.” “So he made me drive him to another side of town (and) he tried to rob two other couples.” 

Watch Diggs’ “Today” interview below.

When that didn’t work, the man, who took Diggs’ phone and wallet, forced her into the trunk of the car and drove to multiple ATMs to use her debit card to get cash from her bank account. Hours into her captivity, he pulled into the parking lot of Gas Land in Bessemer. 

Before getting out of the car, he made a threat that Diggs said he’d made multiple times through the night. 

“(He said), ‘If this don’t work, I’m going to kill you,” Diggs said. 

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That’s when a panicked Diggs decided to make her move. She said she had seen a video on Facebook about latches inside the trunks of vehicles, a requirement by law since 2000. 

“I just got the bright idea to use my insulin pump light,” Diggs told “Today.” 

As the man was inside the store, unsuccessfully trying to get more cash from Diggs’ bank account, Diggs held onto the trunk latch and waited. 

“He gets in, he’s yelling, he’s pulling out pretty fast, so I’m, like, ‘Oh, shoot, let me hurry up and get out of here,’” she said. 

Footage from the convenience store’s exterior security cameras captured the moment that Diggs jumped from the moving car, landed hard on the pavement and stood, fleeing into the store. Her captor hit the brakes, but only for a moment, before fleeing in her car. 

Cameras in the store showed Diggs taking cover inside as the owner, Yosef Alsabah, locked the door and called police. At one point, the visibly shaken woman grabbed a shotgun Alsabah kept in the store, fearful the man would come back. 

The store owner took the gun from her and assured her the man was not coming back. 

Alsabah told AL.com the day after the incident that the man tried several times to get cash out of the ATM in his store, but was trying to get more cash than was in the account. He said the man got frustrated and left. 

He was watching the man drive away when he saw the trunk of the car pop open and Diggs roll out, Alsabah said

Her car was recovered in Birmingham, but the suspect remains at large. Birmingham police officials released an image from surveillance video that shows the man’s face.

Diggs told “Today” that she is moving from her apartment because the suspect took not only her wallet and phone, but also her keys. A friend established a GoFundMe page to help her with the expenses of moving. 

As of Monday morning, the page had raised over $16,000, more than double its $7,000 goal. 

“I try to put it in the back of my head, so I can just, you know, get through the day,” a tearful Diggs said. “But that was, like, the scariest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.”

Missing cop faked his death, fled to Mexico, police say

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 6:31 PM



Austin Police Department

A Texas police officer who was originally reported missing is believed to have attempted to fake his own death and to have fled to Mexico, officials said Friday night.

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Austin police Officer Coleman Martin, 29, is facing a Class A misdemeanor charge of “false report,” as a result.

Martin’s wife told KVUE-TV on Saturday that “Cole recently received a new prescription medication."

"The side effects were causing him to be depressed and think irrationally,” she said. “We want him to know his family loves him unconditionally and wants him home safe." 

Martin’s wife asked to remain anonymous for the interview.

An arrest affidavit for the missing officer said a woman, who was not his wife, shared an email with detectives, in which Martin wrote to her and said his plan for a staged death had been successful.

The affidavit does not say how the woman knows Martin.

Martin’s email to the woman said he had staged a scene by parking his vehicle by a body of water near the U.S. border with Mexico, the affidavit says. Then he rode a bicycle for about 8 miles to a convenience store, took a taxi to the border and rode a bus farther into Mexico, the affidavit says he said in the email.

Police obtained video footage of Martin at a gas station in Del Rio, the affidavit says. They also talked to a clerk at the gas station who had spoken to Martin. Martin told the clerk he had biked from Amistad Park to the store, the affidavit says.

Police first got involved on Tuesday night, when Martin’s wife called 911, the affidavit says. She told police that Martin had texted her a photo of a handwritten note that said he was going to drown himself in a lake near the border of Mexico. 

The next morning, officials at the Amistad National Recreation Area said they found Martin’s vehicle with a suicide note inside, the affidavit says. His wallet was also inside the vehicle, but there was no money inside it. His passport was also not in the vehicle.

In response, “a massive search operation was initiated using local, state and federal resources” on Wednesday and Thursday, the affidavit says.

The search team found an inflatable raft in the Amistad Reservoir, which is on the Rio Grande at the border between Mexico and the United States, with Martin’s name, his date of birth, date of death and his and his wife’s initials written on the side, the affidavit says. Inside the raft were remnants of a concrete block as well as scrape marks that indicated that concrete blocks had been pushed over the edge.

Investigators discovered a charge on Martin’s credit card for a new HP tablet from a Best Buy in Austin a few hours before he sent the suicide note to his wife, and the tablet was not found in his vehicle, the affidavit said. Then, investigators learned that someone had accessed Martin’s email from Mexico about five hours after he sent the suicide note text.

According to the affidavit, investigators believe Martin placed “the boat to appear he entered the water, paddled to the middle and jumped overboard with concrete blocks and ropes, and (placed) the raft on the shore to give the appearance it had drifted to shore from where the initial entry place was.”

Investigators tracked down and interviewed the unnamed woman at 4:15 p.m. Thursday.

Police: Man cuts girlfriend's betta fish in half during fight

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 3:44 PM

betta fish Aquarian fish swims in aquarium water
NatalyaAksenova/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A domestic dispute in Connecticut ended with significant property damage, including a woman's betta fish being cut in half.

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The incident took place Thursday, according to the New Britain Herald. Police responded to a domestic disturbance call, where a woman, who was not identified, said her boyfriend, Juan Vega, 33, showed up at her home unexpectedly and began arguing with her. During the argument, the woman claims Vega pushed her. He also kicked a TV, breaking it, and cut a betta fish in half, police noted.

Vega gathered his belongings and left the premises, according to the police report.

Police tracked down Vega, who was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals and second-degree breach of peace, according to the New Britain Herald. Police said Vega admitted to damaging property and killing his girlfriend's fish.

Police: Florida man’s fight with girlfriend causes neighborhood power outage

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 3:09 PM

Milian
Miami Dade County Sheriff's Office

A man in Hialeah who got into an argument with his girlfriend ended up causing a power outage in the neighborhood, police said. 

The outage happened when Angel Milian, 18, set his girlfriend’s purse on fire and threw it over a gate at his house, WPLG reports.

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Florida man accused of killing roommate’s baby 

Firefighters said the purse set a $3,000 palm tree on fire, and the flames spread to a Florida Power & Light electrical box, according to WPLG. 

Hialeah police arrested Milian when the girlfriend showed officers a recorded video of him lighting her purse on fire. He was taken to the county jail and faces a second-degree charge of arson. 

Read more at local10.com.

Deputies: Boy dies after drunken driver strikes 5 children walking home from bus stop

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 1:21 PM

A 13-year-boy died Friday after he and four other children were struck by a drunken driver while they walked home from a bus stop Thursday in Florida, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

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John Camfield, 48, of Davenport, was driving his Kia Rio on Allegheny Road near Athabasca Drive at about 5 p.m. Thursday when witnesses said he leaned forward and left the road, hitting five Dundee Ridge Middle Academy students who were walking on a shoulder of the road, Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Judd said Camfield sideswiped Jonte Robinson, 15, Jasmine Robertson, 14, and Rylan Pryce, 12, before striking Jahiem Robertson and Juan Mena, both 13.

Deputies said Jahiem Robertson and Juan Mena were flown to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando with life-threatening spinal, facial and head injuries.

Investigators said Jahiem Robertson died Friday. Mena remains hospitalized with orbital fractures, but he is expected to survive, Judd said.

Witnesses said Camfield traveled back onto the road after hitting the children, slowed and then sped off before rear-ending a pregnant woman in a Nissan Murano on Poinciana Parkway, deputies said. Investigators said the woman wasn't seriously injured.

Deputy Jonathan Quintana, 30, who lives nearby, arrested Camfield after being notified of the crash, officials said. He was off duty at the time.

Judd said Camfield spent 18 years in law enforcement in Mississippi.

Deputies said Camfield was previously employed by: the Yolobusha County Sheriff's Office, the Tunica County Sheriff's Office, the Oxford Police Department and the Hernando Police Department, all in Mississippi.

Camfield is charged with two counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury, two counts of leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury, two counts of leaving the scene of a crash with bodily injury, three counts of driving under the influence with injury and property damage and reckless driving.

Camfield is scheduled to face a judge at 1 p.m. Friday.