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.”

Doctor charged with murder in patients' opioid deaths

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 4:20 AM

A Midwest City, Oklahoma, doctor is facing murder charges in connection with the opioid-related deaths of five patients.

>> Watch the news report here

According to The Associated Press and Washington Post, police arrested Dr. Regan Nichols on Friday and charged her with five counts of second-degree murder.

One of the patients, Sheila Bartels, reportedly died after overdosing on painkillers in 2012. The Post reported that on the day Bartels was discovered dead, she had filled a prescription for 510 pills.

The AP also reported that Nichols “prescribed more than 3 million doses of controlled dangerous drugs from 2010-2014" and in 2010 “prescribed one 47-year-old patient a total of 450 pills.”

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“Nichols prescribed patients, who entrusted their well-being to her, a horrifyingly excessive amount of opioid medications,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said, according to the AP, adding that her "blatant disregard for the lives of her patients is unconscionable.”

Nichols was released from prison on $50,000 bail.

Police: Woman arrested in prostitution sting left toddler alone at home

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

An Arizona woman arrested on suspicion of prostitution Wednesday admitted to leaving her 18-month-old toddler at home alone, police said.

Alexis Buchanan, 25, was arrested in an undercover sting operation Wednesday afternoon, investigators said. Upon her arrest, she told officers that her daughter was home alone.

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Police performed a welfare check and found the toddler in a bedroom on the second floor of the town home, which contained dog waste and small objects that could be choking hazards, KPHO reported. The girl was wearing a heavily soiled diaper and had dried food on her face, officers said. 

The child was taken into protective custody, KPHO reported.

In addition to the prostitution charge, Buchanan faces a child abuse charge, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Mother abandoned 4-year-old boy found naked in dollar store, police say

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 8:40 AM

A Chicopee, Massachusetts, mother is accused of abandoning her 4-year-old son after he was found wandering without clothes Saturday afternoon.

According to police, the boy was found alone in a Family Dollar store without clothes on.

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Police told WGGB-TV that the boy “may be autistic.” 

The names of the boy and the mother were not immediately released.

Unhappy customers caught on camera hitting restaurant owner, daughter over order, police say

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 7:51 PM

Police are looking for people they suspect were seen on video fighting a restaurant owner and her teenage daughter.
Baxley Police Department via WSBTV.com

Police in Georgia are hoping surveillance video that captured a violent attack will help them find the people responsible.

Video shows a restaurant owner and her teenage daughter being beaten by two customers Thursday afternoon in Baxley, Georgia.

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The victims told police the suspects were unhappy with their order. The verbal argument turned violent when one of the suspects began punching the restaurant owner repeatedly.

When the victim’s teenage daughter came out of the car to break up the fight, the male suspect punched her in the face.

WJCL reported that Baxley police have issued warrants for the suspects, Nathaniel Smith and Latasha Smith. The pair could be charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

The suspects drove away from the restaurant in a cream or tan Cadillac Escalade with tag number REU8495. Officials said they headed north on Highway 144.

Anyone with any information about the assault is asked to call the Baxley Police Department at 912-367-8305 or the 911 call center at 912-367-8111.