Mom accidentally bakes family’s Elf on a Shelf, hilarity, heartbreak ensue

Published: Thursday, December 21, 2017 @ 2:23 PM

Children Devastated After Mom "Accidentally" Tortures "Elf on the Shelf"

A Texas woman found herself going viral this week after she forgot her children’s Elf on a Shelf in the oven and subjected him to a gruesome, melty death.

Brittany Mease told her colorful tale Monday on Facebook, where about 72,000 people commented on the mishap. As of Thursday morning, more than 141,000 people had shared her post.   

Mease wrote that when she brought the elf, named Elfis, out of storage on Dec. 1, she dreaded the task of finding different adventures on which to send him each day.

“Y’all know I can’t stand doing Elf on the Shelf, but I suck it up every year and do it to see those precious smiles on my beautiful children’s faces,” Mease wrote

She had a brilliant idea to get out of moving him each day. She put a cast on the elf’s leg and left a note for her kids to find that said Elfis broke his leg when he tripped on toys they left lying around the house.

She wrote that Doc McStuffins, a favorite children’s television show character, patched Elfis up, but that the elf needed bedrest for 14 days.

“Mom win, right?” Mease wrote. “I just got a free pass to not worry about moving that creepy guy for TWO WEEKS!”

Read Mease’s entire tale in the Facebook post below. Warning: The post includes colorful language that may be offensive to some readers.

The trouble began when her children, Graysen and Ily, noticed that Elfis had been on bedrest for longer than two weeks, Mease wrote. When the kids weren’t looking, she grabbed Elfis off the kitchen counter and tossed him in the oven, planning to deal with him later.

Then life happened, and Gray ended up hospitalized for several days. Mease told that doctors believe he developed rheumatic fever following a strep infection in his throat. 

In the chaos, Mease forgot about Elfis. 

Until lunchtime on Monday, when her kids wanted leftover pasta -- baked in the oven.

“I preheated the oven and started cleaning the kitchen,” Mease wrote. “About four minutes later, I started to smell something REALLY funky, and that’s when all hell broke loose and I broke my son’s heart.”

Mease wrote that she and a visiting friend were talking and, mid-conversation, she realized what the smell was.

“I yelled, ‘(Expletive). The (expletive) elf is in the oven!’” she wrote. 

She and her friend began frantically trying to rescue Elfis, and that’s when Gray walked in. 

“Gray came in the kitchen with excitement (literally the happiest I think I’ve seen him since he got out of the hospital), thinking our elf was back, but his world fell apart as we were using kitchen utensils to get our burnt and melting elf out of the (expletive) oven,” Mease wrote

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Photos Mease posted show the horrific aftermath, during which Elfis was hung up on the metal oven rack, scorched and misshapen. 

Gray was heartbroken, Mease wrote. Ily, on the other hand, laughed and said she was glad that Santa’s favorite snitch could no longer tattle on her if she misbehaved. 

Mease was left scrambling to find the spare elf she bought last year.

“Then I have to call Santa (in front of the kids) and ask him if he will please pick Elfis up tonight,” Mease wrote. “Ya know, since he is unable to make it to the North Pole to get fixed because his head literally popped off…and his feet are completely melted off.

“(Expletive) this Elf on a Shelf (expletive). Wish me luck. Let’s see how I get myself outta this one.”

Mease on Tuesday updated her friends, saying she found the extra elf -- which she bought last year when she misplaced Elfis. She wrote that she was torn about what to do.

“Do I let our Elfis tradition go out in flames or have Santa’s magic bring him back?” she asked. 

Ultimately, Mease decided that Santa should repair Elfis’ wounds and return him to their home. He even delivered Elfis to their home himself.

“As much as I despise this freaking elf, Santa has returned Elfis and I have committed to more days of moving the creepy thing,” she wrote. “Christmas magic is real! Merry Christmas, everyone!”

The response to Mease’s predicament was strong, and sometimes it was as hilarious as Elfis’ oven mishap. One person organized a candlelight vigil for Elfis.

Others shared tales of their own Elf on a Shelf struggles. 

Mease, an Army veteran, is using her newfound notoriety to raise awareness of Chiari malformation, a congenital defect in which a portion of a person’s brain protrudes out of the skull and into the spinal column.

Mease’s daughter was born with the condition and has survived three brain surgeries to alleviate symptoms. The single mother writes about Ily’s fight against the illness, as well as epilepsy, a sensory processing disorder and other health issues, on a Facebook page called Ily to Infinity

She wrote that she has been strengthened by the messages and care from other parents all over the world who have children fighting the same illnesses that affect her daughter. 

Mease also wrote that her children have come up with a plan to keep Elfis safe in the future. Gray decided that the elf should return to the exact same spot each night so he doesn’t get killed again.

“Gray is glad to have his Elfis back and Ily’s a little salty, but she’ll be alright,” Mease wrote. “I plan on keeping both elves and using them as Christmas ornaments in the future, when (the kids) are older.

“I cannot let a funny mishap be forgotten.”

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E. coli outbreak: CDC warns to ‘avoid all types of romaine lettuce’

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 5:42 PM

E. Coli Outbreak: 'Avoid All Types Of Lettuce' CDC Warns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning to include all types of romaine lettuce. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

The CDC also asks consumers to “not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.”

Additionally, the CDC suggests that consumers throw away any romaine lettuce in the home, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

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At least 31 people have been hospitalized, including three who developed a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.

The affected states include

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington

No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.

The CDC has not yet identified the grower or a common brand, and is urging people not to eat chopped lettuce from the Yuma area.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection vary, but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Most people get better in five to seven days. Infections can be mild, but can also be severe and even life-threatening.

If you think you have E. coli, the CDC says to talk to your health care provider or public health department and write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.

People started reporting illnesses that are part of the outbreak between March 22 and March 31.

DNA fingerprinting is being used to identify illnesses that are part of the same outbreak. Some people might not be included in the CDC’s case count if officials weren’t able to get bacteria strains needed for DNA fingerprinting to link them to the outbreak.

To reduce your risk of an E. coli infection, you can:

  • Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized juices.
  • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.

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Convicted murderer leaves courthouse before verdict is read

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:49 PM

Verlaine Laguerre (Photo: Fulton County District Attorney’s Office)
Verlaine Laguerre (Photo: Fulton County District Attorney’s Office)

A man convicted of murder Friday left a courthouse in Atlanta, before the verdict could be read.

Verlaine Laguerre, 26, was found guilty in the killing of Matthew Hardeman, who was 19 at the time of his death.

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After a long legal battle, Laguerre and Prentice Baker were convicted of Hardeman’s murder Friday and sentenced to life in prison, plus five years. But Laguerre didn't show up to hear the verdict.

“I was just fearful. Just fearful. I just said, ‘Lord have mercy,’” Gloria Hardeman said.

She said that she still has faith that the system will bring complete justice for her and her family. 

“I hope the system continues to work to capture him, that he won’t do no harm to himself or nobody else,” Hardeman said.

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said Laguerre's whereabouts are unknown at this time and he is considered a fugitive. 

After so many years of waiting, Hardeman said she will have to wait a little longer to see the man who killed her son behind bars where he belongs. 

“It’s been a long time. Praying and crying. Praying and crying, but like I say, we held on,” Hardeman said.

On Oct. 15, 2011, Hardeman and Laguerre got into a physical fistfight outside Hardeman’s Lakewood Terrace home in southeast Atlanta.

Police said it all started because of "dirty looks" between the two. At the end of the fist fight, Laguerre took off, telling Hardeman he was coming back with his "red eye," referring to his gun.

Shortly after the fight, Laguerre came back with his accomplice, Prentice Baker. When Hardeman appeared, Baker opened fire, hitting him multiple times. Laguerre also shot Hardeman with an assault rifle. Police say a third man, who hasn't been identified yet, also fired shots. In total, Hardeman was shot 50 times. His family found him dead in the front yard of their home.

“He wasn’t just but 19, and he hadn’t begun to start his life, and it’s hurting me dearly," Gloria Hardeman said Friday night. 

Matthew Hardeman made a name for himself as a high school football star at Avondale High School in DeKalb County. He then went to Cal State Fullerton on a football scholarship.

After injuring his knee, he was forced to return home to Georgia. At the time of his death, he was taking criminal justice classes at Georgia State University and preparing to play on the football team the next year.

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Two days after Barbara Bush's death, a granddaughter gives birth

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:16 PM

Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO and Founder of FEED Projects (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc. )
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc.
Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO and Founder of FEED Projects (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc. )(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc.)

Just two days after the death of former first lady Barbara Bush, her granddaughter Lauren Bush Lauren and her husband, David, welcomed Max Walker Lauren to the family.

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According to a Facebook post from Barbara’s Bush son Neil Bush, Max was born on Thursday. Arriving two weeks before his mom’s due date, the baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

Neil shared the news Friday morning and spoke about his mother’s passing as well as recognizing the moment as part of the circle of life:

“Maria and I were so blessed to spend lots of time with mom and dad during mom's last weeks and we are so grateful for the condolences and the outpouring of love expressed towards her by many, many friends. Barbara Bush was loved by everyone. She lived a remarkable life blessing family, friends, and total strangers around the world. Mom left on her own terms. In the final hours she was comfortable, loving, surrounded by family, holding hands with dad. Maria and I will always be grateful for being able to say a proper goodbye to our wonderful mother. And then two days later, yesterday morning, two weeks before her due date, Lauren Bush Lauren gave birth to a beautiful 7 lb 8 oz baby boy Max Walker Lauren. The circle of life. God is good.”

Bush’s daughter Lauren is married to the son of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Lauren and David were married in 2011 and had their first son in 2015.

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Woman steals identity via social media to land job with 6-figure salary

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 4:17 PM

Woman Tries To Land Six-Figure Job By Stealing Identity Via Social Media

A Louisiana woman with a history of identity theft faces 10 years in prison after she was convicted Wednesday of stealing another woman’s background to land an executive position with a six-figure salary.

Cindy T. White, 41, of Slidell, was found guilty of identity theft over $1,000, according to a news release from the office of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery. It took jurors just 15 minutes to find White guilty of the charges. 

Montgomery said in the news release that White used information stolen from another woman’s LinkedIn profile to beef up her resume in September 2015, when she applied for an executive-level position with Diversified Foods & Seasonings. reported that the company, based in Covington, was founded by the late entrepreneur Al Copeland.

White also used the other woman’s Social Security number and driver’s license number when applying for the job, the news release said

She was initially hired as a human resources manager, a position with a $95,000 annual salary, Montgomery said. Five months later, she was promoted to senior human resources director, a job with a $105,000 salary. 

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Company officials became suspicious a few months later when they noticed that White had trouble with duties that she should have been able to perform based on her alleged educational background. Her resume listed a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

“That’s not this person,” prosecutor Casey Dieck said in court, pointing at White. “This person stole the victim’s hard work and used it to get a six-figure salary and benefits to boot.”

Officials at Diversified Foods & Seasonings also noticed that White delegated a large number of tasks assigned to her, Montgomery said in the news release. They took a closer look at her personnel file and found discrepancies in it. 

Company officials called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in April 2016. 

Investigators determined that White lifted her educational background directly from the LinkedIn profile of a woman with a similar name, Montgomery said. They also discovered that she obtained the woman’s driver’s license and Social Security numbers from an unnamed online site. 

A look at White’s real background revealed that this was not the first time she had stolen someone’s identity, the news release said

White, a former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee, was arrested in New Orleans in 1997 on suspicion of theft, forgery and malfeasance in office after she was accused of stealing a co-worker’s identity and emptying the woman’s bank account.

She was caught when she was spotted in surveillance photos and identified, the news release said. She pleaded guilty that September to two counts of forgery and received probation. 

Her probation was terminated in 1999 when the court was sent information that White had died, Montgomery said

White also had a 1998 conviction in Jefferson Parish for attempted theft of goods. 

Prosecutors argued that White, who admitted to St. Tammany Parish investigators that she used the victim’s identity to get the job, fraudulently collected $56,209 during the seven months she worked at Diversified Foods & Seasonings. Her defense attorney argued that she earned the salary she received. 

Dieck denied the defense claim, Montgomery said in the news release

“We have here a defendant who admits to stealing to cover up the fact that she’s a convicted thief,” the prosecutor said. 

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