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Here’s what the children in the California torture house did to cope with the abuse

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 9:16 PM

Details Emerge About 13 Siblings Rescued From California Home

Authorities are releasing more information about the California “torture house” where over a dozen children were kept in subhuman conditions by their parents, including that the victims kept journals.

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Though the children in the home, ages 2 to 29, were only allowed to bathe twice a year and eat once a day, they were allowed to write all the time. Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a press conference on the case that the children kept hundreds of journals and that he believes they will be “very significant” in the upcoming court case, the Desert Sun reported. Hestrin added that he thinks the journals will provide “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”

>> Related: Couple behind California torture house just appeared in court — here’s what they had to say

Researchers are also interested in the journals as they detail the first-hand accounts of horrific abuse. One academic told the Desert Sun “There is a good chance that being able to write may have kept them sane. In an interesting way, this may have helped them come to terms with the bizarre world they lived in.” He even compared them to the journals kept by Anne Frank.

The journals could prove valuable for prosecutors as they might provide damning evidence that could be used to cross-examine the parents, David and Louise Turpin. The Turpins are facing life behind bars for a series of charges, including torture.

The journals have not been made public, and law enforcement officials are currently in the process of reviewing them.

>> Related: Giant burning spider spreads flames in apartment, after torched by tenants

The conditions in the home were unimaginable. The children were reportedly beaten and chained to furniture. Neighbors recalled seeing them marching during the night, and they were almost never allowed outside. They were finally liberated when one girl escaped and managed to find a police officer. She was 17 years old, but her growth was so stunted that police allegedly estimated her to be closer to 10 years old when they first saw her.

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4-year-old mistakes gun for toy, shoots, kills little brother

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 7:18 AM

4-Year-Old Shoots, Kills Little Brother After Mistaking Loaded Gun for Toy

A Virginia family is mourning the death of a 2-year-old boy after he was shot and killed by his 4-year-old brother.

Tyson Aponte was shot in the chest when his brother picked up what he thought was a toy. In reality it was a loaded gun, WTVR reported.

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The children’s mother was home when the shooting happened Tuesday morning.

Tyson was taken to the University of Virginia Health System where he died, WCAV reported.

“It’s of paramount importance to make sure your guns are secured and out of the reach of children and everything,” Major Donald Lowe told WTVR. “At least have them unloaded or a safety lock on them, whatever you have to do to keep them from being discharged accidentally.”

Police are investigating.

“Our heart breaks for this family ... they’re devastated, naturally, so we want to do everything we can to help them,” Lowe told WTVR.

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No leads in fatal drive-by shooting of grandmother; police asking for public’s help

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 9:50 PM

Police Catch Suspected Wrong-Way Semitrailer Driver Naked

Ohio authorities have no suspects and few solid leads in their investigation into who shot and killed a 62-year-old grandmother during a drive-by shooting Saturday evening in Dayton.

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Investigators are asking for the public’s help in what they called a “heinous” and “sad” crime.

Dayton police Lt. Gregg Gaby on Tuesday wouldn’t answer specific questions about how many shots were fired and what caliber of bullet killed Sherrell Wheatley as she was walking home after feeding a neighbor’s dogs.

We really have nothing other than at this point the suspect vehicle is possibly a silver-colored (Ford) Taurus or possible (Chevrolet) Impala-type vehicle. We’re not sure of the exact make and model of the vehicle,” said Gaby, commander of the violent crimes bureau.

“What we are asking is anyone in the neighborhood that saw any of this or has any information on this, please contact the Dayton Police Department.”

“At this point, we do not think that they intentionally targeted her, but we don’t know that,” said Gaby, who added that nothing in the investigation has revealed why Wheatley was targeted.

Gaby said witnesses heard gunshots and saw the vehicle, but nothing has tied the suspect vehicle to other crimes. Gaby also said a September 2017 shooting at the same residence does not yet tie in.

>> Related: Innocent bystander grandmother killed: ‘Hit by a bullet that has no eyes’

“This is the type of crime that hopefully the community will be incensed by and come forward and help out with and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got information on it,’” he said

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Veterans Day vs. Memorial Day: When is each, why is it commemorated?

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 11:17 PM

VIDEO: Military Memorials

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, apparently you’re not alone. No less an authority than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says people frequently confuse the two holidays.

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Make no mistake about it: Both are incredibly important holidays, with their common focus on Americans who’ve served in the military. The key distinction: Memorial Day “is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle,” the VA says.

While Veterans Day also honors the dead, it is “the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.”

Here’s a guide to each holiday:

MEMORIAL DAY

When it is: This year, it is on May 28.

Its original name: Decoration Day. Initially, it honored only those soldiers who’d died during the Civil War. In 1868, a veteran of the Union Army, General John A. Logan, decided to formalize a growing tradition of towns’ decorating veterans’ graves with flowers, by organizing a nationwide day of remembrance on May 30 (Logan also served in Congress from Illinois and in 1884, unsuccessfully ran for vice president on the Republican ticket). During World War I, the holiday’s focus expanded to honoring those lost during all U.S. wars.

When it became official: In 1968, Congress officially established Memorial Day (as it had gradually come to be known) as a federal holiday that always takes place on the last Monday in May.

Its unofficial designation: Memorial Day is still a solemn day of remembrance everywhere from Arlington National Cemetery to metro Atlanta, where a number of ceremonies and events will take place on Monday.   On a lighter note, though, many people view the arrival of the three-day weekend each year as the start of summer.

One more thing to know: In 2000, Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance. It asks all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day each year to remember the dead.

VETERANS DAY

When it is: November 11 every year. 

Its original name: Armistice Day. The “armistice” or agreement signed between the Allies and Germany that ended World War I called for the cessation of all hostilities to take effect at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year in 1918. One year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day was celebrated in the U.S. 

When it became official: In 1938, a Congressional act established Armistice Day as an annual legal holiday. In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks first proposed the idea of expanding the holiday to one honoring veterans of all U.S. wars. In 1954, the holiday legally became known as Veterans Day (In 1982, President Ronald Reagan presented Alabama resident Weeks with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in recognition of his efforts in creating Veterans Day).

Its temporary relocation: In 1968, the same Congressional act that established Memorial Day moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October every year. That law took effect in 1971; just four years later, in 1975, President Gerald Ford -- citing the original date’s “historic and patriotic significance” -- signed a bill that redesignated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day every year.

One more thing to know: Despite much confusion over the spelling, it’s Veterans Day, plural, and without any apostrophes. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which explains on its web site: “Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an "s" at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”

(File photo)

   

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Man charged with murder in chase, crash that killed North Carolina trooper

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 6:30 AM

Authorities had been looking for 22-year-old Dakota Kape Whitt (pictured) after Trooper Samuel N. Bullard, 24, of Wilkes County, died late Monday in a crash.
North Carolina Highway Patrol
Authorities had been looking for 22-year-old Dakota Kape Whitt (pictured) after Trooper Samuel N. Bullard, 24, of Wilkes County, died late Monday in a crash.(North Carolina Highway Patrol)

A man wanted following a fatal crash involving a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has been captured.

>> Shooter dead in Panama City, Florida standoff, reports say

Authorities had been looking for 22-year-old Dakota Kape Whitt after Trooper Samuel N. Bullard, 24, of Wilkes County, died late Monday in a crash along Interstate 77 in Yadkin County during a chase.

WGHP-TV reports that during the chase, one trooper noticed he did not see a second patrol car behind him. When his attempt at contacting the other trooper failed, he turned around and found the patrol car engulfed in flames.

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“Our SHP family is devastated by the loss of Trooper Bullard. We are struggling to find words that describe the hurting we feel right now,” said Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “Trooper Bullard died as he was fulfilling his promise to the people of North Carolina, protecting and serving his community.” 

It happened around 11:30 p.m. on I-77 southbound near NC-67. The area is about 70 miles north of Charlotte and due west of Winston-Salem.

>> No leads in fatal drive-by shooting of grandmother; police asking for public’s help

Chris Knox with the NCSHP said Bullard was a three-year veteran assigned to Surry County.

Troopers said the incident started with a license check. A black BMW did not stop and troopers went after it. Trooper Bullard was involved in a collision at Mile Marker 80.

Whitt was taken into custody without incident around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. He's charged with murder, felony fleeing to elude arrest in a motor vehicle and driving with a revoked license. 

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