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Missing teen linked to site of Rainbow Family gathering found in South Carolina

A missing teen whose cellphone was found at the site of the Rainbow Family counterculture gathering in Georgia is safe, according to the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office.

>> Read more trending news 

Williams Johnson, 18, was found in Ridgeville, South Carolina, alive and well, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday in a Facebook post.

Johnson was the second missing person case connected to the recent Rainbow Family gathering at the Chattahoochee National Forest in Lumpkin County. Last Tuesday, 20-year-old Curtis Jay “CJ” Elliott was reported missing after attending the gathering.

>> Related: Man reported missing after attending Rainbow gathering is found

The sheriff announced Saturday that Ellliott was found in Minnesota. No other details were released.

And an 18-year-old woman identified as Amber Robinson was allegedly killed by a man she met at the gathering, authorities said.

Joseph Bryan Capstraw, 20, of Jacksonville, Florida, confessed to killing Robinson in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, authorities said. However, he does not recall the incident, according to police.

>> Related: Woman ID’d who was allegedly killed by man she met at Rainbow gathering

Capstraw has been charged with murder in connection with Robinson’s death.

Mother charged in baby’s death after feeding him breast milk laced with drugs

A Pennsylvania woman who is addicted to painkillers is facing charges of allegedly killing her 11-week-old son with a lethal mix of drugs in her breast milk.

Samantha Jones, 30, was charged Friday with homicide in the April 2 death of her baby, according to The Associated Press.

>> Read more trending news 

The boy died from a mixture of methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office said.

Jones told police she decided to breastfeed her son around 3 a.m. that morning after she was too tired to prepare a bottle, Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

A couple of hours later, she told police he turned pale and had bloody mucus coming out of his nose, the Associated Press reports.

Jones’ mother began CPR on the child after calling 911, court documents state. When police arrived, the child was in cardiac arrest and he later died at a nearby hospital.

Jones told police she had been primarily breastfeeding the child but switched to formula a few days before his death.

Jones told police she had been prescribed methadone because of an addiction to painkillers.

She told police she took methadone during her pregnancy and was taking it when the baby died.

Who is Mariia Butina, the woman charged with acting as a Russian agent in the US?

A Russian national was charged in federal court Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States.

Mariia Butina, 29, was charged with “undertaking activities without officially disclosing the fact that she was acting as an agent of the Russian government.” The criminal complaint accused Butina of failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. That is the same charge filed against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The affidavit in the complaint claims that Butina corresponded with a Russian official using email, Twitter and other electronic means, and worked with two U.S. citizens in an effort to influence American politics.

According to the Justice Department, “from as early as 2015 and continuing through at least February 2017, Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank. This Russian official was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018.”

Butina served as the deputy to Alexander Torshin, a former member of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and the deputy head of the Central Bank of Russia. He is believed to be the “Russian Official” named in court papers.

Torshin was among the 24 Russian oligarchs and senior Russian government officials sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department this year for profiting from the Russian government’s illegal and subversive activities in the United States and around the world. They were banned from the United States.

The two U.S. citizens mentioned in the affidavit were not named in the complaint. One is described as an “American political operative,” and the other as having email communications with Butina about setting up dinners between Russians and influential Americans in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The charges were filed by Justice Department national security prosecutors, not special counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Butina’s arrest came 48 hours after the U.S. indicted 12 Russians for cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Here is what we know from the indictment about Butina and what she is accused of doing.

  • The indictment said that Butina was attempting to "establish a 'back channel' communication for representatives of the Government of Russia."
  • She is a Russian national who entered the United States in August 2016 on a student visa. She studied international relations at American University in Washington D.C.
  • She is a former Siberian furniture store owner.
  • She co-founded a Russian gun rights group called the Right to Bear Arms.
  • In the complaint, Butina is accused of trying to infiltrate an unnamed “gun rights organization” believed to be the National Rifle Association. She described the organization as “the largest sponsor of the elections to the U.S. Congress.” 
  • Butina made contact with NRA members, attended NRA meetings in the United States and hosted NRA executives and gun activists in Moscow.
  • According to court documents, Butina told associates that what she was doing in the United States was approved by Putin.
  • Butina asked Trump a question about US-Russia relations during FreedomFest in Las Vegas in July 2015. FreedomFest, according to its organizers, is “an annual festival where free minds meet to celebrate great books, great ideas, and great thinkers in an open-minded environment. It is independent, non-partisan, and not affiliated with any organization or think tank.” Butina asked Trump, “My question will be about foreign politics. If you will be elected as president, what will be your foreign politics especially in the relationships with my country? And do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging of both economy [sic]? Or you have any other ideas?" 
  • Court documents said that an “American political operative” – U.S. Person 1 in the complaint – helped Butina to target political, business and news media officials for her plans. She met with the American political operative in Moscow, prosecutors said. The person introduced her to the gun rights organization officials.
  • U.S. Person 2 in the complaint is a U.S. citizen “who was included among the participants in a series of email communications in 2016 and 2017 that reveal Butina’s efforts to arrange a series of dinners in the District of Columbia and New York City involving Russian nationals and U.S. persons having influence in American politics.
  • Her home was searched by FBI agents in April, according to her attorney, Robert Neil Driscoll. Driscoll told U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Robinson that his client has “has been offering to cooperate with the government the entire time."

 

Man accused of trying to kill wife with ant poison charged with attempted murder

A North Carolina man is facing charges after he was accused of attempting to kill his wife by feeding her ant poison, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities on Monday charged Eugene Richard Pittman, 52, with attempted first-degree murder, The Fayetteville Observer reported

According to the newspaper, the charge was filed after Pittman put Terro Ant Killer on his wife’s food on May 12. Pittman was charged with attempting to kill his wife “with malice and with specific intent to kill formed after premeditation and deliberation,” the Observer reported.

An arrest warrant obtained by WTVD showed that Pittman’s wife “noticed a funny taste in her meal” while she was eating in May. She told authorities that she later fell asleep.

“The woman said she woke up later to find that her hands and mouth were duct taped, and Eugene was holding her nose shut,” WTVD reported. “She said Eugene told her she had two choice: that she could leave or she could die.”

Jail records showed Pittman had been released on bail by Tuesday afternoon.

Rat crawls out of sink drain, eventually scurries back down

A New York City urban legend came true for one couple who had a furry surprise emerge from their bathroom sink.

Bari Finkel told WNBC a small rat emerged from the drain Friday night.

“It looked like a zombie coming out of the grave,” Finkel told WNBC.

Her boyfriend actually saw it first and let out a small scream. She thought he had hurt himself, but when she saw her new roommate, she screamed, too.

Then, she laughed.

“It was just so insane, I couldn’t not laugh,” she told WNBC.

>> Read more trending news 

Finkel made sure the dogs didn’t come in to investigate the commotion while she let her boyfriend try to deal with the critter. He trapped it in a bag, but it started making noises. That’s when Finkel lifted the bag to try to get a photo and the rat went back down the pipe, WNBC reported.

They spoke to the landlord, who told them the rat visitor was a first. 

The sink had been missing the stopper, but they said they will be replacing it now. 

Mother says teen died of peanut allergy after unknowingly eating Reese's Chips Ahoy! cookie

A Florida mother posted a warning on Facebook after her teenage daughter, who had a peanut allergy, died after eating a Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookie made with Reese's peanut butter.

WTVJ reported Monday that Alexi Ryann Stafford, 15, was at a friend’s house in Weston, Florida, when she ate a cookie.

>> Read more trending news 

According to a Facebook post from her mother, Kelli Travers-Stafford, the incident happened June 25.

“There was an open package of Chips Ahoy cookies,” Travers-Stafford wrote. “The top flap of the package was pulled back and the packaging was too similar to what we had previously deemed ‘safe’ to her. She ate one cookie of Chewy Chips Ahoy thinking it was safe because of the red packaging, only to find out too late that there was an added ingredient.... Reese peanut butter cups/chips. She started feeling tingling in her mouth and came straight home. Her condition rapidly deteriorated. She went into anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing and went unconscious. We administered two epi pens while she was conscious and waited on paramedics for what felt like an eternity.”

Travers-Stafford said her daughter died within 90 minutes of eating the cookie. She ended the post by calling for more prominent food labels and awareness.

“A small added indication on the pulled back flap on a familiar red package wasn’t enough to call out to her that there was ‘peanut product’ in the cookies before it was too late,” the mother said.

“I want to share our story with everyone because we want to spread awareness. The company has different colored packaging to indicate chunky, chewy, or regular but NO screaming warnings about such a fatal ingredient to many people. Especially children.”

Travers-Stafford declined to be interviewed about the post when contacted by WTVJ and the “Today” show.

“Today” reported that Nabisco's parent company, Mondelez International, issued the following statement:

"We were very saddened to hear about this situation. We always encourage consumers to read the packaging labeling when purchasing and consuming any of our products for information about product ingredients, including presence of allergens.”

Following the spread of Travers-Stafford’s post, customers commented with concerns on the Chips Ahoy! Facebook page.

“We take allergies very seriously and all of our products are clearly labeled on the information panel of the packaging for the major food allergens in the U.S. (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans),” the brand said in a comment on Facebook

“Across our Chips Ahoy! product portfolio, packaging color is indicative of product texture (i.e.,Chewy, Chunky, Original) and is not indicative of the presence of allergens. 

The packaging for Chips Ahoy! made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups prominently indicates, on both the front and side panels, the presence of peanut butter cups through both words and visuals. 

We always encourage consumers to read the packaging labeling when purchasing and consuming any of our products for information about product ingredients, including presence of allergens.”

7-year-old girl hit by car, killed while seeking help after dad’s drunken driving crash, police say

A 7-year-old girl died early Sunday when she was hit by a car as she was trying to get help after surviving a drunken driving crash with her father behind the wheel, according to authorities.

>> Read more trending news

The girl, identified by The Associated Press as DeSandra Thomas, sent text messages to police in Romulus after her father crashed around 3:30 a.m. on Interstate 94, near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. A preliminary investigation revealed that DeSandra’s father was drunk when he lost control of the vehicle he was driving, hit an abandoned vehicle parked on the side of the interstate and drove through nearby fencing, according to Michigan State Police.

Police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said DeSandra believed that her father had been killed in the accident.

“After the crash, she was able to exit the vehicle, collected her belongings, climbed over the fence that was damaged, by the freeway, and started walking toward I-94,” Shaw said. “She was wandering around and she was looking for help for herself.”

Romulus police were able to trace DeSandra to near the interstate using the text messages she sent, Shaw said. However, they were unable to pinpoint her exact location.

A short while after the accident, authorities got a call from a woman who thought she might have struck either a pedestrian or an animal on the interstate. Investigators determined that the woman, who was not identified, struck DeSandra with a vehicle as the girl was attempting to cross I-94.

“It’s a very sad case,” Shaw said. “Here’s a 7-year-old girl that’s not going to go to prom. She’s not going to graduate high school, have kids, have a career.”

DeSandra’s mother, Sandria Burts, described her daughter to WJBK as “a beautiful thing … (who) would give you the shirt off her back.”

“She was so helpful,” Burts said. “It’s a void that will never be filled. ... Anybody that she touched she was a blessing to them."

She told WJBK that she was told before her daughter’s birth that she couldn’t have children. She became a foster mother and adopted two children before becoming pregnant with DeSandra, WJBK reported. Burts shared parental custody with DeSandra’s father, her ex-husband, according to WDIV.

“I was angry at first,” Anthony Burts, DeSandra’s step-father, told WDIV. “She told me this morning, ‘That’s not what our daughter would want. She wouldn’t want us to be angry.’”

Charges are pending against DeSandra’s father, WJBK reported Monday. However, Sandria Burts told WDIV that she hoped he would not be charged.

“He has to live the rest of his life knowing that his daughter is not here anymore,” she told the news station. “I hope they don’t charge him. That’s torture enough. Nobody should have to live with the fact that their baby is gone.”

Allura recalls 64,000 pairs of children’s pajamas due to flammability concerns

Allura has recalled about 64,000 pairs of children’s pajamas over fears they could catch fire, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Two styles are included in the recall. The pajamas were sold at America’s Kids, Boscov’s, Kids For Less and other stores nationwide. 

>> Read more trending news 

The pajamas were also sold online at Amazon.com, CookiesKids.com, CrazyforBargains.com and other websites from September 2017 to April 2018.

The pajamas sold for between $8 and $13.

The first is Allura’s “Sweet and Sassy” -- a 100 percent polyester fleece pajama pant.

The second style includes a onesie under the brand name Delia’s Girl.

It is 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex; the garment has long sleeves with a hood and front zipper.

The recall affects clothes made in children’s sizes 4 to 6x and 7 to 16, in a variety of colors and prints.

See all styles affected on the CPSC recall alert.

The CPSC states that the pajamas do not meet flammability standards and pose a risk of burn injury.

Family members who have purchased these pajamas should return them to the store from which they were purchased to get a refund.

Customers can also call Allura toll-free at 1-866-254-3103 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Those concerned their clothing is affected should email custservice1@alluraimports.com or visit www.AlluraImports.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

Semi-trailer truck transporting hot dogs goes up in flames on Nebraska highway

A semi-trailer truck accident led to thousands of hot dogs going up in flames.

The Omaha World-Herald reported a semi-trailer truck caught fire while traveling on the Dodge Expressway in Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday morning.

>> Read more trending news 

The Nebraska State Patrol said no one was hurt.

Some witness photos show cardboard boxes with stacks and stacks of hot dogs inside burned and charred, with many dogs blackened on the outside.

“This isn’t exactly the kind of Saturday cook out we’re in favor of, but this is the aftermath of a semi truck loaded with hot dogs going up in flames on the West Dodge Expressway,” Nebraska State Patrol Lt. Matt Sutter tweeted Saturday. “Luckily no one was hurt...Just hungry...”

Florida woman beat mother to death over absence from will, police say

“You destroyed my life, so I’m going to destroy you.”

With those words, a Florida woman on Thursday night beat to death her 85-year-old mother for leaving her out of her will, , police investigators said. 

Gabriela Perero, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, is charged with premeditated murder and aggravated battery of a person 65 years old or older, according to Broward County jail records. She is being held without bail. 

Perero’s arrest report, which is available online, states that medics with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue went to Luisa Perero’s home around 9:15 p.m. Thursday after receiving a report of an elderly woman suffering from chest pains. When they arrived at the elderly woman’s condo, they found Luisa Perero suffering from injuries consistent with a beating. 

They also found Gabriela Perero, who told the medics that she attacked her mother in a rage, the arrest report said. Fort Lauderdale police officers were called to the scene. 

“I guess I’m going to jail. I beat up my mom,” Gabriela Perero said, according to the arresting officer’s affidavit. 

The officer said that Perero continued to make incriminating statements.

“I pushed her down, grabbed her and tore the skin off her arm,” Perero said, according to the affidavit. “I did it all. I don’t want her to die.”

>> Read more trending news

Luisa Perero was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in critical condition, the affidavit said. The victim, whose visible injuries included cuts to the back of her head and skin torn off both arms, was briefly declared dead but emergency personnel were able to restore her heartbeat. 

Suffering from bleeding on the brain, she was placed on life support and died Friday of her injuries. 

Gabriela Perero told investigators she was angry because her siblings were receiving inheritances from their mother, but she was not, despite being the one caring for the elderly woman. According to the arrest affidavit, she told detectives she became enraged over the ongoing dispute and began ransacking her mother’s home, where she was also living temporarily. 

Perero said she broke picture frames and flung around paperwork, but was still angry and turned on her mother, the document said. She said she threw her mother to the floor, causing a bleeding head wound, and grabbed her by the throat. 

It was then that she told her mother she would destroy her, according to the affidavit. 

Perero told investigators that after the beating, she took her mother into the bathroom and washed the blood off her body, the affidavit said. She then put her to bed and called 911. 

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