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Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 4:37 PM
PHOENIX — An Arizona author, vegan chef and motivational speaker is charged with three counts of first-degree murder after he gunned down his ex-wife and their two children on Christmas Day, police officials said.
Anthony Milan Ross, 45, of Phoenix, is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault, 19 counts of aggravated assault against an officer and a single count of discharging a firearm in city limits, ABC 15 in Phoenix reported. He is being held without bond in the Maricopa County Jail.
Ross, who earned a following after losing a significant amount of weight and attributing the loss to his vegan diet, is accused of killing Iris Ross, 38, and their two children, Nigel, 11, and Anora, who was 10 months old. He is also accused of shooting at police officers during a six-hour-long standoff following the slayings.
Ross, who goes by his middle name, on Monday posted a video showing him and his son singing together for the holiday. The video was shot the night before.
“Hey guys, it’s Milan, and I’m hanging out with Nigel on Christmas Eve,” Ross said in the video. “We’re about to embarrass ourselves. We’re going to sing.”
A giggling Nigel joined his father in singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” laughing throughout the song and looking up at his father with adoration in his eyes.
Just over two hours after Ross posted the video, Nigel, his baby sister and their mother were dead, according to police.
The Arizona Republic reported that court documents state that witnesses saw Milan Ross shoot Iris Ross outside his apartment complex as she tried to run from him. Milan Ross then went into his apartment and the witnesses heard multiple gunshots, the Republic reported.
That is when police believe he killed Nigel and Anora. Iris Ross had gone to her ex-husband’s apartment to pick the children up for a Christmas party at their own home about a mile away, the Republic reported.
The witnesses told investigators that Ross came back outside and began rifling through Iris Ross’ pockets. When the witnesses asked if she was OK, Milan Ross said “no” and pointed his gun at them, the court documents say.
When officers arrived at the home at 3:45 p.m., they found Iris Ross’ body on the patio. Ross barricaded himself in the apartment for several hours before he began firing at officers outside.
Ross initially told police negotiators that he had already killed the children, the Republic reported. They continued negotiating with him, however, in the hopes that one or both of the children had not yet been slain.
The suspect later changed his story, telling the officers that the children were still alive and that he would kill them, police officials said.
Just after 10 p.m., police officers sent a robot into the apartment, where a camera showed the baby dead in one of the rooms, the Republic reported. That was when a police team went in, at which time Ross opened fire on the officers.
He was taken into custody uninjured, but a 46-year-old officer was injured by shrapnel and was hospitalized in stable condition.
Nigel’s body was found in another room of the apartment after his father was arrested, the newspaper said.
Iris Ross’ sister, Mary Wogas, told ABC 15 that she received a text from Milan Ross on Christmas afternoon, in which he admitted what he had done.
“I received a text yesterday about 2:52 p.m.,” Wogas told the news station. “Two messages, (the) first one saying, ‘I just killed Iris and the kids.’ The second message was, ‘with a gun.’”
Wogas said she had suspected that Milan Ross was unstable, but had no idea how her sister’s life, and those of the children, would end.
“I knew he had a very, very dark side,” Wogas said. “I didn’t know it was this dark.”
Wogas said that Milan Ross’ behavior changed in June, after Iris Ross filed for divorce.
“The man was off his rocker. One minute, he was yelling at her and calling her a whore and the next minute wanting to tell her he loved her and wanted them to be a family unit,” Wogas told the news station. “He would also claim that he was working with a voodoo priest in New Orleans to put a hex on her. Just very, very dark, very dark intentions.”
Milan Ross’ Facebook page is full of inspirational posts about weight loss and a vegan diet. He has a website devoted to veganism called Full Flavor Vegan and co-authored two books, The Change and The Change Cookbook.
Iris Ross worked as an administrator at a local outpatient surgery center, where officials released a statement mourning the “beloved” executive and her children.
“Iris was a fabulous person with a huge heart, and we are honored to have had her as part of our family,” the statement from St. Joseph’s Outpatient Surgery Center read.
Iris Ross’ roommate, Lushanya Echeverria, told the Republic that Iris saw the beauty in everyone.
“She saw people on the inside,” Echeverria said. “Every person who encountered her, they felt touched by her. They felt seen.”
Echeverria, who shared a home with Iris Ross for about a year, described the children as “beautiful, bring lights.”
She said that Milan Ross had harassed his ex-wife in recent weeks, and had shown up to pick up the children with a handgun that he said he carried for protection, the Republic reported. Despite the problems, Iris Ross tried to see the positives in the situation.
“She believed everybody was honest and good, even her ex-husband,” Echeverria told the newspaper. “That ultimately, he would do right for the children and he would have a healthy parenting relationship with her so that the kids could grow up healthy.”
Milan Ross told KPNX-TV just last month that his son was his inspiration for losing more than 300 pounds. He said he weighed in at 518 pounds during a family trip to Universal Studios, when he was told he was too big to fit on a Harry Potter ride that Nigel wanted to go on.
“He started crying,” Ross told the television station in the interview. “It was at that moment I learned that the decisions I was making didn’t just affect me.”
Losing the weight strengthened his bond with his son, Ross said. It also led to appearances in magazines and on television shows and to the writing of his two books.
Ross’ fans weighed in on the slayings in comments on the Christmas Eve video he posted hours before he is accused of killing his family.
“This just shows you that you never know what state of mind someone is in,” one man wrote.
Others wondered if Ross’ vegan diet played a role in his actions.
“I support vegan ideals 100 percent, but unfortunately most of us are genetically wired to need omega 3 and some animal fat for a healthy brain function,” another commenter wrote.
“This has nothing to do with being vegan,” one woman responded. “Most serial killers and murderers…are meat eaters. This is about mental health, not diet!”
Others expressed anger that Ross allegedly killed his children just hours after posting such a happy video.
“Omg (Oh my God), I’m in shock, like wth (what the hell)?” one woman wrote. “How could someone do this to their family? I don’t even know what to say! I thought you were an inspiration, but I clearly was wrong! Rest in peace, little ones.”
Another woman wrote that killing an infant was unfathomable.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:13 PM
TUCSON, Ariz. — Authorities are trying to find the person who abandoned a baby in an airport bathroom.
Police at Tucson International Airport are now combing through surveillance footage, trying to find out who left the a newborn baby boy on a woman’s bathroom changing table Sunday, AZCentral reported.
Not only are they trying to find the mother of the baby to find out what happened, but also to find out if she needs help.
The newborn was only hours old and was in good health, Tucson Police spokeswoman Jessie Butler told AZCentral.
The baby was clean and swaddled, KMSB reported.
Arizona is a state that offers Safe Haven for babies, meaning they can be dropped off at specific locations like staffed fire stations, hospitals and churches. Parents can be anonymous but they have to answer questions about the baby and its health, KMSB reported. According to the Safe Haven law, babies can be up to three days old.
Since the program started in 2001, 40 babies have been taken in by Safe Haven, KMSB reported.
An airport is not listed among the legal locations, but there was a fire station nearby, AZCentral reported.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 2:01 PM
— You've probably heard winter health myths for years and you may have even accepted some of them as fact.
From being told to bundle up, so you don't catch a cold to your neighbor swearing he got the flu from his flu shot, these myths make the rounds every winter.
We separate fact from fiction with the following five winter health myths:
Cold weather can make you get sick.
Mom always warned you you'd get sick if you didn't bundle up before heading out in cold weather. Her advice wasn't exactly horrible, since you'll certainly be more comfortable and protected from frostbite. But cold by itself doesn't make you more likely to get sick, according to The Weather Channel. Most experts think we're more likely to get sick in colder months, but that's because we're all cooped up together, exchanging germs. Cold weather also dries out your nasal passages, reducing their ability to filter out infections. Despite evidence to the contrary, moms will probably keep warning their kids to bundle up. It's what they do.
You lose 90 percent of your body heat through your head.
Of all your body parts, your head is more likely to be exposed in cold weather. But that doesn't mean the myth about losing 90 percent of your body heat through your head is true, according to Business Insider. Sure, wearing a hat in cold weather will help you stay warm, but that's just because you're covering an exposed body part, not because there's anything special about your head. You could cover up any other exposed body part and also feel warmer.
You don't need sunscreen in the winter.
If you think you only need sunscreen in hotter weather, you've probably packed your lotion away by the time winter comes around. But even when the weather's overcast in the winter, up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds, according to Reader's digest.
UVA rays are always present - even in winter - and they can damage the deeper layers of your skin, increasing your risk for skin cancer and causing premature aging of your skin. And if you're planning a ski trip, you should be even more careful. UV radiation increases with elevation, and snow reflects and intensifies sunlight. So whatever the season, wearing sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF is the safest way to go.
Feed a cold, starve a fever.
The origin of this myth may be rooted in antiquated beliefs about colds and fevers, according to CNN. It was once believed that your body literally became colder if you had a cold, so it needed to be "warmed up" with food. Fever was thought to need "cooling down" by not eating.
In reality, you need to eat whether you have a cold or a fever. Good, nutritious foods are important, but it's OK if your illness suppresses your appetite a little. Staying hydrated is most important, especially if you have a fever. You may need to replenish electrolytes, so sports drinks can be a good choice. Good ol' chicken soup will keep you hydrated while also helping to clear your nasal passages.
The flu shot can give you the flu.
This isn't true, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). Flu shots are made with either an inactive form of the virus or no flu virus at all. Neither type can give you the flu. You may have a sore arm after getting a flu shot and some people report having a low-grade fever and aches for a day or two, but it's not the flu.
On the other hand, you may still get the flu even if you've had a flu shot, but the odds of getting it are much lower and, if you do get the flu, the symptoms will likely be less severe.
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 1:13 AM
OCONEE COUNTY, Ga. — The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was back at it again with the jokes (and insults) as Georgia woke up to a messy wintry mix Wednesday, prompting schools, businesses and nearly three-fourths of the state’s roadways to close.
Stay home. Just STAY HOMEPosted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
State government offices are remaining closed for non-essential personnel Thursday across the 83 counties affected by winter weather, Gov. Nathan Deal said.
Although the weather’s no joke, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office brought some humor to its Facebook page on what many found to be a frustrating snow day.
“I know you need cigarettes, beer and wine to get you through having your kids at home. Can you just do without for a day? Stay home,” one post read.
In another post, the office noted the multiple morning crashes due to the inclement weather. “Body shops and wrecker companies just love y’all.”
There is an incoming ballistic missile...er, wait. That was the wrong button. Ok. Got it now. Oconee County Government is closed today due to weather.Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
If a Deputy is directing you to not travel down a roadway, he or she probably has a good reason for doing so. The fact that you are from Wisconsin and “this ain’t sh..” is really not pertinent.Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
I know what y'all are doing. You looked out the window and saw your driveway and the 87 feet of road you can see looks...Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
While most readers lauded the sheriff’s office for its jokes, some found the announcements to be disrespectful.
“Government entity at its finest. Oconee, be respectful! We all feel what you are saying, however, some of the things you are saying are offense considering you are a government office and serving the public (those stupid beer and cigarette runners). Thank you!” commenter Wendi Turpen Hood wrote.
Another commenter, Nikki Giamarino, noted some serious implications of bad weather.
“My employer called off work. But what about people who’s employer didn’t? What about single parents who cannot afford to lose their jobs due to absence? I wish the world was a kinder place,” she wrote.
This isn’t the first time the Oconee Sheriff’s Office has garnered attention for its humor.
Following Georgia’s win against Auburn last month, the office wrote, “Show proof you graduated from Auburn and we will discount your speeding tickets by 5 miles per hour,” the post said. “Y'all have had enough of a beating today.”
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:49 PM
— Some Wells Fargo customers found their bank accounts drained to zero Wednesday when some sort of glitch caused their online bill payments to be processed twice.
Numerous customers -- so many that Wells Fargo’s customer service phone lines were jammed Wednesday night -- were discovering that recent payments they had made using the bank’s online Bill Pay system had been deducted twice from their checking accounts.
In some cases, that sent customers’ balances to zero -- or below zero -- and triggered the possibility of overdraft protection fees. Some customers received email notices telling them that they now had no money in their checking accounts.
Customers who sat through the hour-plus wait to reach a customer service representative Wednesday night were being told that their accounts would be fixed overnight.
“We’re aware that certain Wells Fargo customers are experiencing issues with Bill Pay,” Wells Fargo communications manager Hilary O’Byrne said in a statement. “We apologize for this inconvenience, and are working to resolve the issue quickly.”
O’Byrne declined to say how many customers were affected or to describe how the double charges occurred.
In the meantime, customers took to social media to share their shock and frustration over not being able to access the money that should have been in their checking accounts.