Winter Olympics 2018: Pita Taufatofua is back, oiled and carrying the Tongan flag

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 10:05 AM

WATCH: 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

Pita Taufatofua, the oiled-up Tongan athlete who became a Rio Summer Olympics sensation with fans, is back in an Olympics opening ceremony.

Taufatofua, Tonga’s only Winter Olympics athlete, carried the country’s flag, bare-chested, wearing his country’s traditional mat called a ta’ovala.

>> More Olympics coverage at WPXI.com

While it was similar to the costume worn in the Summer Olympics in 2016, the difference in Friday’s ceremony was the conditions. Taufatofua carried the flag shirtless, in flip-flops, in about 25 degree weather. That’s before the wind chill.

In Rio’s Summer Games, Taufatofua competed in tae kwon do, but lost in his first match. In the Pyeongchang Olympics, he’s a cross-country skier.

While the temperature was below freezing, Taufatofua did receive a warm welcome, especially on social media where comments went something like this:

 

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Pita Taufatofua of Tonga and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Pool - Frank Fife/Getty Images)(Pool/Getty Images)

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Maryland police officer shot, killed in line of duty investigating ‘suspicious activity’

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 4:03 PM
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 4:03 PM



Larry W. Smith/Getty Images
(Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)

A police officer was shot and killed Monday while investigating a report of suspicious activity in Baltimore County, Maryland, according to Gov. Larry Hogan.

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“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a Baltimore County police officer after she was shot in the the line of duty,” Hogan said on Twitter.

“Our prayers got out to this brave officer’s family, Baltimore County police and fire and the Baltimore County community,” he said. 

Hogan said the suspect is still on the loose as a manhunt continues.

The officer has not yet been publicly identified.

She died after she was shot in the head while investigating a report of “suspicious activity,” according to WBAL-TV.

Baltimore County Councilman David Marks wrote in a Twitter post that the officer was shot in Perry Hall, near Belair and Lausmier roads.

Police warned residents to shelter in place as they continued to investigate Monday's shooting. 

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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National Talk Like Yoda Day, It Is

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 3:34 PM

It's the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope! Let's take a look at some of the numbers that this film shattered.

May the 21st be with you, yes? 

Thirty-eight years ago, on May 21, 1980, the world was introduced to a little green Einstein-looking puppet with terrible grammar named Yoda. 

Today, people are still naming their pugs and french bulldogs after him.

Thanks to George Lucas, it is, hmmm?

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National Talk Like Yoda Day celebrates the anniversary release of "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back," the movie where Luke Skywalker meets Yoda in the swamps of the planet Dagobah.

To talk like Yoda, but “do or do not, there is no try.” Just switch around your sentence structure.

Speak in object-subject-verb instead of the normal subject-verb-object. Add "yes" and "hmmm" to the end of your sentences for a bonus. 

Love it, your coworkers will.

More "Star Wars" is coming at you this week with "Solo: A Star Wars Story" premiering Friday, May 25.

FILE PHOTO: A wax figure of Star Wars character Yoda on display at 'Star Wars At Madame Tussauds'. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)(Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

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Twins born on May the Fourth get appropriate ‘Star Wars’ names

Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2018 @ 10:39 AM

Twins Born on "Star Wars Day" Given Honorary Names

You’re expecting twins and they’re born on May the Fourth and you’re “Star Wars” fans, what else can you do but name the babies after the most famous twins in the galaxy. 

Kendall and Ross Robbins decided to give their newborns middle names to honor the movie epics, KSTU reported.

Now they’re the proud parents of Rowan Luke and Kai Leia. 

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“We found out we were having a boy and a girl, and we knew that being born May the 4th, they had to be Luke and Leia, at least for their middle names,” Kendall Robbins told KSTU.

Their names aren't the only nod to the movie franchise.

Their nursery is decorated in a style from “A Long Time Ago and a Galaxy Far, Far Away,” KSTU reported.

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Man charged in 1987 double murder found using Golden State Killer genealogy technique

Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 3:33 PM

William Earl Talbott II enters the courtroom at the Skagit County Community Justice Center before entering a plea of not guilty for the 1987 murder of 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg, Friday, May 18, 2018, in Mount Vernon, Wash. New DNA technology has led to the arrest of Talbott, 55, in the killing of Van Cuylenborg and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jay Cook, in Washington state more than three decades ago, police said.
Charles Biles/Skagit Valley Herald via AP
William Earl Talbott II enters the courtroom at the Skagit County Community Justice Center before entering a plea of not guilty for the 1987 murder of 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg, Friday, May 18, 2018, in Mount Vernon, Wash. New DNA technology has led to the arrest of Talbott, 55, in the killing of Van Cuylenborg and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jay Cook, in Washington state more than three decades ago, police said.(Charles Biles/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

Investigators in Washington state last week made an arrest in a 31-year-old double homicide, tracking the suspect down using the same genealogy techniques used to capture the suspected Golden State Killer.

William Earl Talbott II, 55, of the Seattle-Tacoma area, was booked Thursday with one count of first-degree murder in the November 1987 death of Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, of British Columbia, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office officials said Friday in a news conference

Van Cuylenborg and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jay Cook, vanished Nov. 18, 1987, on an overnight trip to Seattle to buy furnace parts for Cook’s family’s business. 

They were reported missing when they failed to return home. A man found Van Cuylenborg’s body Nov. 24 near Bellingham in Skagit County. She had been bound with plastic zip ties, sexually abused and shot in the head, the Toronto Star reported

Cook’s body was found two days later, battered and wrapped in a blue blanket that did not belong to the couple, about 75 miles away under a bridge near Monroe, which is in Snohomish County. Cook had been beaten and strangled. 

Jay Cook, left, and Tanya Van Cuylenborg(Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)

“It's been 31 years since this horrific crime took place,” Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt said Friday. “Today, we are one step closer for justice for Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg.”

Investigators from Skagit and Snohomish counties worked the three-decades-long case together. 

Talbott’s arrest comes just five weeks after Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary released composite drawings of a possible suspect that were made using DNA believed to have been left behind by the killer. The images showed a white man with light hair and green or hazel eyes. 

The killer’s DNA, which was found at the scene of Van Cuylenborg’s slaying, was also uploaded to a genealogy website and used to create family trees with people who shared significant amounts of DNA with the unknown suspect, officials said. 

CeCe Moore, the genealogist who worked on the case, said Friday that she traced the suspected killer’s DNA to his great-grandparents, then used “reverse genealogy” to fill in the blanks on the branches. 

“This led me to two descendants of the great-grandparents of the original matches who married, thus tying the two families together,” Moore said

The couple had one son -- Talbott. 

Once Talbott was identified as a potential suspect, detectives obtained his DNA from a cup he used and threw out. 

Pictured is the reverse genealogy family tree that led Washington state investigators to William Earl Talbott II, 55, as a potential suspect in the 1987 double slaying of Jay Cook, 20, and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, both of British Columbia.(Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)

Reverse genealogy made headlines around the world earlier this year when investigators looking for the Golden State Killer, a serial killer and rapist believed to be responsible for 12 homicides, more than 50 rapes and about 100 burglaries across California in the 1970s and 1980s, arrested Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 72, after they said they matched his DNA to that of the killer. 

Trenary on Friday thanked the investigators who never gave up on solving the slayings of the young Canadian couple. 

“It’s a difficult thing for us, but candidly, this is what we do our job for,” Trenary said. 

Reichardt said it was the forensic work that detectives did in 1987, which preserved the DNA evidence, that ultimately led to Talbott’s arrest. 

“The next step is prosecution,” Reichardt said. 

Cook and Van Cuylenborg left their Saanich homes bound for Victoria, where they were planning to take the Port Angeles ferry to Seattle. The couple made the ferry and were spotted buying snacks along the way to Seattle in Hoodsport and Allyn, both located in Mason County, Washington, according to Snohomish County officials. 

They were last seen alive buying tickets for the 11:35 p.m. Bremerton-to-Seattle ferry the night they vanished.

KIRO 7 News in Seattle reported that Van Cuylenborg was found six days later, partially clothed, in a ditch. Cook’s van was found the next day, locked and abandoned, in a Blue Diamond parking lot in Bellingham, located in Whatcom County. 

Cook’s body was found the day after the van. 

Pictured are Jay Cook, 20, and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, with the brown Ford Club Wagon van they drove to Seattle the day of their 1987 disappearance.(Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)

The victims’ families last month offered a $50,000 reward to anyone who could provide information before the end of the year that would lead to a positive match to the DNA in the case, KIRO reported

Members of the Cook and Van Cuylenborg families were at Friday’s news conference. They expressed a mix of emotions at the news of Talbott’s arrest. 

“Yesterday, the killer had his last sleep in his own bed, his last coffee break, his last day of freedom," Cook’s sister, Laura Baanstra, said. “It’s hard to put into words the relief, joy and great sorrow this arrest brings.”

“They were both gentle souls, caring and trusting kids, and they were betrayed,” Van Cuylenborg’s brother, John, said. “Hopefully, this is a start of some justice for them.”

Talbott has not yet been charged with Cook’s slaying, but investigators continue to process evidence and interview witnesses related to that portion of the case. Detectives are asking anyone who knew Talbott or his activities in 1987 or 1988 to come forward.

Talbott, who was 24 years old at the time of the slayings, was living with his parents in Woodinville, about seven miles from where Cook’s body was found. 

Detectives are hoping to find witnesses who saw Talbott with Cook’s van in November 1987 or with a 35mm Minolta camera that Van Cuylenborg had with her at the time she was slain. 

The camera’s lens was recovered in 1990 and traced to a pawn shop in Portland, Oregon, police officials said. The body of the camera remains missing. 

They are also looking for anyone who knows anything about the blanket Cook’s body was found wrapped in. 

Anyone with information related to the case should call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 425-388-3845.

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