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Family pleads for release of Texas father held in Russia following custody battle

David Barnes is seen in an undated photo provided by his family. - Courtesy Carol Barnes

(HUNTSVILLE, Ala.) -- A Texas man who has spent more than five months in a Russian detention center is facing a different challenge from other recent American detainees such as Trevor Reed and Brittney Griner, as authorities in Moscow are accusing him of wrongdoing in his home country.

David Barnes, a Huntsville, Alabama, native who has lived in the Houston area in recent years, was taken into custody by law enforcement in Moscow in January and has been incarcerated on Russian soil ever since.

"If I could go over there and just sit in that place with him, I would do it in a minute, because this is the most unjust situation I've ever experienced in my entire life," Carol Barnes, David's older sister, told ABC News. "I feel like part of me is missing."

David Barnes was in Russia attempting to gain legal clearance to either see his children or bring them home, after his Russian ex-wife allegedly violated a court custody order and fled the United States with them, his family says.

On Jan. 13, Russian investigators apprehended Barnes in Moscow, accusing him of abusing his two children years earlier in Texas, according to translations of court documents. Similar allegations against Barnes were brought to authorities in Texas by his now-ex-wife Svetlana Koptyaeva during their long and acrimonious divorce proceedings. The allegations were investigated in 2018 by the Department of Family and Protective Services, which found insufficient evidence to support them and closed the case without any findings of abuse or any charges against Barnes.

Barnes' ex-wife is herself now wanted in the U.S. on a felony charge of interference with child custody, after she fled with the children in 2019.

"His mission was to save his children," Carol Barnes said. "His mission all along has not been really revenge against her at all."

With her brother locked up abroad in a country that is currently fighting a war in Ukraine that has lead to a diplomatic dispute with the United States, Carol Barnes says she worries about his future.

"I've never been so sad and so hurt," she said. "All I think about is the conditions that he's living in."

Making 'examples out of U.S. citizens'

For much of his time in Russia, David Barnes has been in Moscow's Detention Center 5, according to his family. He is not the only American -- or even the only Texan -- who has been held there in recent years.

Trevor Reed, a former Marine from Texas, was arrested by Russian authorities in 2019 and sentenced to nine years in prison. After being accused of assaulting two police officers in Moscow, Reed spent part of his time behind bars in Detention Center 5.

After Reed's case gained widespread publicity in the U.S., he was released by Russian authorities in April in exchange for a Russian man who was being held in Connecticut on a federal drug trafficking conviction.

In an interview with ABC News, Reed described his pretrial Russian detention facility as rat-infested and "extremely dirty."

"It took Trevor Reed three years to get out and his alleged crime was much less severe than what David is being accused of," Carol Barnes said. "We're talking about Russia. They're going to make examples out of U.S. citizens."

Another Texan, Brittney Griner, is still being held by Russian law enforcement in the Moscow area. The WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist was arrested at an airport after Russian authorities alleged that she had vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage, but the U.S. government says Griner is being "wrongfully detained."

Barnes had been living in Texas since 2007, working initially as a design engineer for an Alabama-based software company's Houston office.

Houston is where he met Svetlana Koptyaeva, who was also living there for work. The two would go on to marry and have two sons, at least one of whom has dual Russian and American citizenship.

"I saw a difference in him when he had those two children," Carol Barnes said. "His boys were his only focus in this life."

Svetlana Barnes filed a petition for divorce in 2014, and over the next five years, a lengthy and ugly custody battle ensued between the two parents, resulting in a jury trial and numerous court hearings in Texas.

"It was horrible," David Barnes' younger sister Margaret Aaron said. "She tried everything she could to take the children from him and to get sole control, and he fought her tooth and nail."

Of Barnes' two children, Carol Barnes said, "He wanted them -- even though their parents were divorcing -- to have two parents. He thought that children should be raised by two parents' influence."

Paul Carter, a lifelong friend of David Barnes who is also divorced with two sons, said the struggle between Barnes and his ex-wife became "a cascading series of events" stemming from "her desire to not have David in any part of their lives."

"My boys are everything," Carter said. "Watching my sons grow up has been a wonderful experience. I've wanted so much for David to have that."

'Completely and totally devastated'

In early 2019, as part of a custody arrangement, Svetlana Barnes was expected to bring the children to an agreed-upon meeting point so David Barnes could have the boys for a few days.

However, she never showed with the children. According to law enforcement records, David Barnes called the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office multiple times to ask for welfare checks on the two boys.

"She was a flight risk and somehow was able to flee with the passports," Carter said. "I think that's a real travesty. It's a real breakdown of the system."

By April 6, 2019, the FBI was able to track Svetlana Barnes to Turkey, according to a criminal complaint.

"He was completely and totally devastated," Aaron said. "He had gotten their room ready at his apartment and bought them toys, and he was just so happy that they were going to come back to him, and then they were gone. He was crushed."

In August 2020, a judge in Montgomery County signed an order designating David Barnes as the sole managing conservator of his children, which gave him rights to decide the primary home for his children, make decisions regarding their education, represent them in legal actions, and possess their passports.

Yet despite the order, the two boys were nowhere to be found in the U.S. and Barnes was unable to reestablish contact with them.

His family said he had a gut feeling about where the children had ended up.

"He was pretty certain what had happened, that [Svetlana] had taken them back to Russia," Aaron said. "He knew that she would probably do this if she had the opportunity."

Svetlana Barnes was eventually traced to her homeland, with court-appointed receiver Robert Berleth writing in a November 2020 report, "It is understood by the Receiver the Defendant has fled to Russia and has no intention of returning" to her home in Texas.

Carol Barnes said that after locating and hiring an attorney in Moscow, her brother decided to fly there in December 2021 to see if he could secure at least partial custody or limited rights to visitation with his children in Russian court.

"Society doesn't consider fathers to be as important as mothers," Carol Barnes said. "They don't take into consideration that maybe there are fathers out there that are willing to fight for their children."

Not long after David Barnes arrived in Moscow and rented a room near where Svetlana Barnes was believed to be living, the former spouses ran into each other, according to Carol Barnes, who alleges that the ex-wife then contacted Russian authorities to make the same past child abuse allegations that Texas authorities could not substantiate.

David Barnes was soon arrested by law enforcement in Moscow.

"After reviewing the decision to initiate a criminal case against me, I think that this is absurd," court records say that David Barnes told Russian investigators during an interrogation. "I did not take the actions set forth in the decision to initiate a criminal case against me."

"I'm sure he was panicked," Aaron said. "You feel so helpless."

'It was all made up to destroy him'

David Barnes' detention in Russia has come as news to prosecutors in the Lone Star State.

"We were not aware that Mr. Barnes was being held in a Russian detention center," Montgomery County District Attorney's Office Trial Bureau Chief Kelly Blackburn told ABC News when informed of Barnes' incarceration. "At this time, there are no accusations out of Montgomery County that we are aware of that would allow Mr. Barnes to be held in custody."

Nor have any child abuse charges been made against David Barnes in neighboring Harris County, which covers the part of Houston also referenced in Russian court documents, according to the district attorney's office there.

A 2014 petition for divorce that was filed on Svetlana Barnes' behalf said that "Petitioner believes that Respondent [David Barnes] has a history or pattern of sexual abuse directed against" one of the children, but did not go into detail.

"There was not a lot of information in 2014," Carol Barnes said. "All I remember from talking to David was she started accusing him of some kind of abuse, but there was nothing definitive really said."

In 2017, a settlement agreement between David and Svetlana Barnes noted in part that Svetlana Barnes was "to refrain from making statements, either written or oral, to any third party, alleging that … [David Barnes] … molested his minor child and/or engaged in improper sexual contact with his minor child" -- though she did not waive any legal reporting duties.

An incident report from a constable's office in Montgomery County said that law enforcement interviewed Svetlana Barnes and the children in 2018 regarding sexual assault concerns that she reported. A search warrant was subsequently executed on David Barnes' apartment in The Woodlands, but no charges were ever filed.

"I know my brother. I know that he loved his children and he would never do those things that she has accused him of," Aaron said. "It was all made up to destroy him and to get the children away from him."

While David Barnes is not currently facing criminal charges in Texas, the same cannot be said for Svetlana Barnes, who was indicted in 2019 for interference with child custody, a felony.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office alleged that despite a judgment allowing David Barnes to have partial custody of the two children, Svetlana Barnes "failed to comply with any condition for travel outside of the United States with the children," and left the country with the boys on a Turkish Airlines flight from Houston to Istanbul on March 26, 2019.

"Svetlana Barnes still has yet to be arrested on the charge of interference with child custody, and the warrant for her arrest is still active," Blackburn said.

Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, considers March 26, 2019, to be the date on which the children disappeared. The organization, which published yellow global police notices containing pictures of the boys, still considers them missing.

In an attempt to reach Svetlana Barnes for comment, ABC News sent an email to an address previously associated with her, but received an unsigned response from the email account that stated in part, "as her attorney I won't recommend her talking to you."

'I want to see his release'

The news that David Barnes is being detained in Russia has prompted calls for his release from many of those closest to him, including his employer.

"We continue to hope for his well-being and safe return home as soon as possible," Philip Ivy, vice president of Houston-based engineering firm KBR, said.

David Barnes' arrest was covered by state media outlets in Russia, but has not previously made headlines in the U.S.

In the months since he was taken into custody, Barnes has been visited by representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, according to emails between his family and the State Department. A trial date has not yet been scheduled and his future remains uncertain.

"We are aware of reports of the arrest of a U.S. citizen in Moscow," a U.S. State Department spokesperson told ABC News. "We take seriously our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens abroad, and are monitoring the situation. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services in cases where U.S. citizens are detained abroad."

Back in Huntsville, his family and friends are hoping that he will be able to rejoin them soon.

"I want to see his release," said his sister Margaret Aaron. "He is being held there as guilty until they can prove him innocent, but there's nothing to hold him there, there's no evidence of anything, [and] he did not do anything. We would like some action taken for his freedom."

"President Biden, if you could help David in any way, God bless you," said his friend Paul Carter. "We want him back."

ABC News' Patrick Linehan contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jayland Walker was unarmed when eight Ohio officers opened fire on him, body camera footage shows

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(AKRON, Ohio) -- Ohio police officials released officer body-camera footage of a 25-year-old Black man killed in a hail of bullets fired by eight officers while he was unarmed and running away.

As Jayland Walker's family has demanded answers about the circumstances of last week's killing, which authorities said occurred following a police chase, large protests have erupted in Akron, Ohio, with demonstrators marching on the city's police headquarters.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett, during a news conference Sunday afternoon, joined the Walker family in calling for peaceful protests and for patience as the investigation continues in the man's death.

"When an officer makes the most critical decision in his or her life as a police officer, it doesn't matter where in the country this happens, when they make that most critical decision to point their firearm at another human being and pull the trigger, they've got to be ready to explain why they did what they did," Mylett said Sunday. "They need to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing, and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun."

Mylett began the news conference by expressing his "deepest sympathies to Jayland's family" and apologized for their loss.

"I cannot imagine the sense of loss, the pain they are going through right now," Mylett said. "I want to personally thank you for the way in which you have been dealing with this situation. You have asked for peace in an environment that is rife for aggression and violence. If Jayland reflects the character of this family, which I continually heard that he did, you raised a good son."

Before the body-camera footage was shown, Horrigan said he was “beyond outraged” at the situation, and told reporters that “the video you are about to watch is heartbreaking."

Akron police officials said the fatal incident unfolded about 12:30 a.m. on June 27 in Akron's North Hill neighborhood when officers attempted to pull over Walker for a traffic violation and an equipment violation with his car. Police said the driver allegedly refused to stop, setting off a chase that ended in his death.

Police officials played footage from two police body-camera videos, the first showing police pursuing Walker's silver Buick onto Route 8 in Akron.

The video showed the Buick taking an onramp and a flash of light that Mylett said appeared to be the muzzle flash of a gun coming from the driver's side of Walker's car. Police officials also released freeze frames of the flash coming from the vehicle's window.

A second body-camera video recorded officers radioing that they heard at least one shot being fired from Walker's car. The video also shows the officer following the Buick off Route 8 and continuing the pursuit on side streets.

At one point, Walker slowed down and jumped out of the vehicle before it came to a full stop. The footage showed a man, who police said was Walker, exiting the car's passenger side door wearing a ski mask.

Multiple officers are seen in the footage running after Walker, who appeared to look over his shoulder as officers fired their weapons at him.

Mylett said he has watched the video at least 40 times and said there are still photos showing Walker appear to reach for his waistband, turn toward the officers and move an arm forward.

Mylett said Walker's face and body were blurred out in the video shown to the public at the request of the Walker family.

The chief said he is reserving further comment on the video and judgment on the incident until the Ohio Bureau of Investigation completes its probe.

In an earlier statement, Akron police officials said, the "actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them. In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect."

Despite the shooting occurring seven days ago, Mylett said none of the officers have been interviewed by investigators. The chief said the police union president has assured him that all of the officers involved in the shooting will fully cooperate.

The officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation being led by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Following the news conference, Bobby DiCello, an attorney for Walker's family, said the key fact of the case, which Mylett confirmed, is that Walker was unarmed when he was killed.

Mylett said while the video confirmed that Walker was unarmed when he was shot, he said the footage also captured a handgun with a separate loaded magazine and what appears to be a gold wedding band left on the driver's seat of Walker's car.

The body-camera videos were released in accordance with a city law passed last year requiring police body-camera footage be made public seven days after an officer's use of force resulted in death or great bodily injury.

DiCello said the videos show Walker did not pose a threat to the officers when they fired more than 60 shots.

"You can see his hands as he is running on the video," DiCello told ABC News' Good Morning America after watching the video before it was made public.

He said the first two Akron police officers to engage Walker, deployed their stun guns. Mylett confirm that officers deployed Tasers, but they had no effect.

"Why do eight men shoot him, mostly from behind, as he's running away?" DiCello told GMA of the troubling list of questions he has over the shooting.

DiCello said he saw no evidence in the video he reviewed of Walker posing a threat to the officers.

"Just sprinting away from these men, he is shot as he starts to turn and look over his shoulder," DiCello said.

Walker's aunt, LaJuana Dawkins, told GMA, "We'd like to know why he was shot down like a dog."

DiCello said Sunday that Walker was saddened over the recent death of his girlfriend, but relatives told him they did not notice anything about his behavior that would have led them to believe he would allegedly lead police on a chase or shoot at officers.

DiCello accused Mylett of playing "armchair quarterback" during Sunday's news conference without knowledge of all the facts.

"I'm disappointed. They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun," DiCello said. "He wasn't a criminal, he was obviously in pain. He didn't deserve to die."

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost attempted to assure the public on Sunday that the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation "will conduct a complete, fair and expert investigation."

"People want and deserve answers, and they shall have them," Yost said in a statement. “Body-worn camera footage is just one view of the whole picture -- before drawing conclusions, the full review must take place."

He said the investigative file will be made public at the conclusion of the case and people will be able to review it online.

"The goal is the truth, and we need to talk to anyone who knows anything," Yost said. "Silence will never produce justice."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


One person dead in accident at Michigan air show involving jet-powered truck

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(BATTLECREEK, Mich.) -- One person is dead after an accident during the "pyrotechnic portion" of an air show in Michigan, police said.

The incident occurred Saturday shortly after 1 p.m. at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival, held at Battle Creek Executive Airport.

Chris Darnell, 40, died while driving a race truck dubbed the Shockwave Jet Truck during the air show, police said in an update Saturday evening. The accident is under investigation.

Dramatic video by attendees of the air show captured the truck racing two aircraft on the runway before the accident occurred. A small fire behind the truck can be seen as the vehicle slides past a large fireball and crashes.

"Oh boy, we've got an incident here with our Shockwave out here at Air Show Center," the announcer can be heard saying following the accident.

The Battle Creek Fire Department, Battle Creek Police Department and Federal Aviation Administration responded to the scene, police said.

Police have not released any further information amid the investigation.

The remainder of Saturday's air show was canceled "out of respect for the incident that has occurred," Battle Creek Field of Flight said in a statement. Saturday evening's activities were scheduled to resume at the festival, which runs through Monday.

Shockwave, a custom-built race truck, is owned by Darnell Racing Enterprises, based in Springfield, Missouri. ABC News has reached out to the company for comment.

The truck, which was equipped with three flame-shooting jet engines, was capable of racing at over 350 mph, according to its owners. It frequently appeared at air show and drag racing exhibitions across the country.

Darnell was involved in motorsports "his entire life," according to a bio on Darnell Racing's website, and worked with his father in the business.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Neal Darnell described his son as a "family man" who leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

"We have lost our youngest son Chris in an accident doing what he loved; performing with Shockwave," Neal Darnell wrote. "Chris so loved life and his huge air show and drag racing family."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Two dead, three officers injured in Haltom City, Texas, shooting

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(HALTOM CITY, Texas) -- Two people were shot and killed and four others injured, including three police officers, Saturday night in Haltom City, Texas, police said.

Sgt. Rick Alexander of Haltom City police said during a briefing that the three officers did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, as one officer was hit in the right arm, finger and leg, a second male officer was hit in both legs and a third officer was hit in the upper thigh.

At a press conference on Sunday, Alexander identified the three injured cops as Cpl. Zach Tabler, and officers Tim Barton and Jose Avila.

An elderly female had called 911 and police arrived at the residence, where officers returned fire during the incident, Alexander said. The elderly female sustained non-life-threatening injuries. A woman was found dead in the home and a man was found dead outside, Alexander said.

Officers said the elderly female's call was crucial because they entered a situation where the gunman ambushed them.

"If they wouldn't have been prepared, this situation could have turned out a lot worse," Haltom City Police Chief Cody Phillips said. "There could have been several officers deceased over not being able to respond correctly."

Alexander identified the suspected gunman as 28-year-old Edward Freyman. Police said they returned fire, forcing the suspect to flee. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Freyman had a military style rifle and a handgun near him, according to the Haltom City Police Department.

The relationship between the victims and the shooter is not yet known, but officers confirmed that the three people -- the two deceased and the suspected shooter -- knew each another.

"The main concern is getting the scene secure, trying to get to our officers, be able to get them out of harm's way while also trying to keep containment on the suspect," Alexander said, WFAA reported.

The Texas Rangers are taking over the investigation.

ABC News' Izzy Alvarez and Teddy Grant contributed to this report.

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Five-year-old killed in drive-by shooting in Houston, 8-year-old wounded

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(HOUSTON) -- A 5-year-old child was killed in a drive-by shooting on Sunday that also injured an 8-year-old in a Houston neighborhood, Houston Police said.

Police received several phone calls around 1 a.m., saying there was a shooting in the city's Greenspoint area, but when they arrived, they didn't find anything, Asst. Chief Chandra Hatcher told reporters early Sunday.

About 15 minutes later, officers got word that two children arrived at an area hospital with gunshot wounds. The 8-year-old child is expected to fully recover from their injuries, Hatcher said.

Both children were reportedly in a car at a stop sign when a person in another vehicle began shooting, witnesses told authorities. Their mother reportedly drove them to the hospital.

Police are investigating the incident and looking at footage from surveillance cameras to aid in the investigation. A suspect is not in custody, police said.

Authorities are unsure if the two children were the intended targets.

"We do not know a motive," Hatcher said.

Police described the suspect's vehicle as dark-colored and added that there may have been two people in it.

"If anyone knows information, please come forward and please continue to pray for the family of the deceased child and the injured 8-year-old," Hatcher said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Uvalde school district police chief plans to resign from city council post, officials say

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(UVALDE, Texas) -- Pete Arredondo, the embattled police chief of the school district where 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting, is resigning from his city council post, city officials said.

A local newspaper in Uvalde, Texas, first reported Arredondo's decision to resign, which city officials later confirmed.

Arredondo, the police chief for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, served as incident commander during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24. He has faced criticism and calls for his resignation as chief from parents and the Uvalde community over the police response and delay in breaching the classrooms where the gunman carried out the attack.

Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde City Council in early May and was sworn in days after the school shooting. He told the Uvalde Leader-News on Friday he plans to resign from his city council post, according to the local newspaper.

Following the report's publication, the city of Uvalde said it had not seen a letter of resignation or spoken to Arredondo. The Uvalde city manager’s office told ABC News Saturday afternoon that the city council had just received his written resignation. The city called his resignation "the right thing to do."

In his resignation letter obtained by ABC News, Arredondo said that "it is in the best interest of the community to step down as a member of the City Council for District 3 to minimize further distractions."

"The Mayor, the City Council, and the City Staff must continue to move forward to unite our community, once again," he continued.

Arredondo and his representatives have not responded to ABC News' requests for comment.

About a dozen people, including some of the victims' relatives, came out in the afternoon heat Sunday to call on Arredondo to resign as school police chief and for District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee to step down.

Uziyah Garcia's mother, Mandy Renfro, was at the street corner of the makeshift memorial in the town center holding a poster that said, "Bravery called... it wants its badges back."

Uziyah’s uncle, Brett Cross, held a sign that said "families deserve the truth."

The protest followed a council meeting Thursday when families confronted the mayor and the Uvalde City Council, asking for answers about the investigation.

The news of Arredondo's resignation comes after the Uvalde City Council last week denied Arredondo's request for a leave of absence from future meetings, in an effort to be more transparent following criticisms of law enforcement's handling of the shooting.

Arredondo has not been present at three meetings since he was sworn in, including a heated hearing on Thursday during which families of victims demanded more information on what happened that tragic day.

The school district placed Arredondo on administrative leave last week, effective immediately, amid multiple ongoing investigations into the shooting.

Arredondo defended the police response in a rare interview with The Texas Tribune last month.

"Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children," Arredondo told the paper. "We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced."

He added, "Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat."

He also told the paper he did not consider himself the commanding officer on the scene that day.

During an emotional school board meeting last week, parents and community members called for Arredondo's resignation. Several argued that law enforcement should be held partly accountable for the tragedy due to what was described as inadequate decision-making.

Nineteen law enforcement officers waited 77 minutes in the hallway outside the classroom containing the gunman, after Arredondo wrongly believed that the situation had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject, law enforcement has said.

Arredondo testified last week for almost five hours during a hearing on the shooting held during an executive session by the Texas state House of Representatives. A special Texas state Senate panel is also currently conducting a probe into the shooting.

The Uvalde district attorney is also investigating the shooting, and the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the law enforcement response.

ABC News' Julia Jacobo, Teddy Grant, Samira Said, Aaron Katersky and Melissa Gaffney contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Three children, mother pulled from lake in apparent triple murder-suicide

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(VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn.) -- The bodies of three young children and their mother were pulled from a Minnesota lake during a two-day search in what is being investigated as a possible triple murder-suicide, authorities said.

Law enforcement responded to Vadnais-Sucker Lake Regional Park in Vadnais Heights Friday afternoon in response to a welfare check requested on the woman and children, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The woman's car and items including the children's shoes were found at the scene, prompting responding deputies and officers to close the park and begin searching the area and water, the sheriff's office said.

The first child was pulled out of the lake around 7:30 p.m. Friday and declared dead following life-saving measures, authorities said. The second child was located around midnight and declared dead. Responders continued to look for the remaining child and woman until 3 a.m.

The search resumed at 6 a.m. Saturday. The woman was located around 10:40 a.m., and the third child about 20 minutes later, the sheriff's office said. Both were declared dead.

All three children -- two boys and a girl -- are believed to be under the age of 6. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner will release the names of the four found and their manner and cause of death at a later date.

"There is nothing more tragic than the loss of children," Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told reporters Friday, saying that the responders would be searching "long into the night."

Distraught family and friends had gathered outside the police perimeter while the search was underway Friday, ABC affiliate KSTP in Saint Paul, Minnesota, reported.

The welfare check at the lake is believed to be connected to another death investigation in a nearby city in Ramsey County, the sheriff's office said. On Friday morning, Maplewood police officers and firefighters responding to the report of a possible suicide in a residential area found a man dead at the scene.

After responding to that report, authorities then began searching for the mother and three children, ultimately tracking the mother's cellphone to the lake, Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin told reporters during a briefing Saturday.

"Our hearts go out to the families involved here and their friends," Martin said. "Our goal was to find the children and the mother and to return them to their families, and we're glad that we were able to do that."

No further information was released on the connection between the two death investigations.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Immigrants find safe havens in shelters amid border chaos

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As the largest migrant caravan this year makes its way through Mexico toward the United States, numerous organizations on both sides of the border are trying to support the several thousand immigrants seeking asylum.

For people like Estefanía Rebellón, who runs a school within a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, the work is personal.

“When I was 10 years old, my parents had to travel to the United States from Colombia to seek asylum,” Rebellón told ABC News. “I know what it's like to be transported from your home to a completely unknown place.”

Rebellón runs a school called Yes We Can, which provides free education to children five days a week while their families are preparing to cross the border into the United States.

This week, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy, known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP, which required migrants seeking asylum and traveling through Mexico from a third country to return to Mexico while awaiting their court dates. The Biden administration has rarely enforced the policy and has said it seeks to end it.

Far more consequential has been former President Donald Trump’s policy called Title 42, which allows border officials to turn migrants seeking asylum away due to the health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Immigration Council, over 1.8 million people have been expelled as a result.

Recently more than 50 people died in an alleged migrant smuggling operation in San Antonio, Texas, in what Homeland Security Investigations has called the deadliest incident of human smuggling in U.S. history.

Willie, a third-generation coyote, the colloquial term for a person who smuggles migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, says that he has no qualms about his profession.

“Nothing in this life is safe," Willie, who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym, told ABC News' Maria Elena Salinas. "Right now, [there are] people who are helping their families and have thanked me for it.”

“For some it’s illegal. For us it’s legal,” he added of his illegal activities.

In Deming, New Mexico, 35 miles from the U.S. Mexico border, Ariana Saludares runs a pop-up shelter for migrants called Colores United.

Some who are dropped at her shelter have applied for asylum and are legally awaiting their claims; others have requested humanitarian parole. The shelter, which receives around 50 migrants twice a week, runs out of a number of local hotels.

Saludares says that, while she would love to have a permanent space for a shelter, the local hotels she operates out of are her only option.

“There's no other space that’s available to us,” said Saludares. “We hope that will change one day, but we can't wait. We need a shelter. And we need it now.”

Benny Jasso, the mayor of Deming is specifically concerned that removing Title 42 would mean an influx of migrants that he says the city cannot handle.

“What I'm concerned with is, are we going to be able to process them?” he told Salinas.

“We do not have the volunteer base right now to establish a shelter.”

He says that Deming currently receives no federal resources to help house the asylum seekers they receive.

What might be a concern to some, like added safety risks, are not a concern for Deming’s police chief Clint Hogan.

“We don't have any issues… at all,” he told Salinas during an interview.

Marisa Ugarte is the founder and executive director of the human rights non-profit Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, based in California.

Ugarte has helped people such as "Maria," who is a survivor of abuse at the hands of people who promised to smuggle her safely across the border.

"Maria," who is using a pseudonym due to safety concerns, was brought from El Salvador to Sonora, Mexico, where instead of finding safety she says she was repeatedly drugged and raped.

She finally managed to escape and fled to a shelter where she was helped by the workers, who encouraged her to make the trip to the U.S.

“Thank God I’m okay, even though I almost died,” "Maria" told Salinas. “But God never abandoned me.”

Maria was taken to meet Ugarte, who helped her obtain asylum in the U.S. For Ugarte, who has supported countless women in similar situations, the notion that people immigrating to the U.S. should do so the proverbial “right way,” waiting for whatever legal means are available at the time, is flawed.

“What is the right way?” she said. “If you're running from violence and from dying, what is the right way?”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


World UFO Day observed by believers seeking the truth

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- World UFO Day is an annual affair that has captured the interest of many enthusiastic alien believers and recognized globally with parades, scientific discussion, and occasionally pointy tinfoil hats.

It takes place every July 2 to commemorate the anniversary of the alleged 1947 Unidentified Flying Object crash in Roswell, New Mexico. The original report hailed the crashed object as a “flying disk.” Later, the U.S. Army called it a UFO accident, but ultimately, the Pentagon claimed it was a balloon wreck. To this day, many don’t accept that account and have urged the government to declassify information.

Since 2001, people worldwide have celebrated the day, but it takes various forms. Science museums, restaurants, and entire towns hold their own events to commemorate the day.

Some Ufologists, or UFO researchers, voice concern with how the day is observed. Instead of the tinfoil hat-wearing that has been documented at past parades, those such as Ronald James hope for “meaningful discussions and awareness,” to come out of the day. James is the media relations director of Mutual UFO Network, a nonprofit which investigates reported UFO sightings around the world.

“We think anything that brings awareness to the topic is good, but we also again are dedicated to the scientific understanding of the subject,” James told ABC Audio. “World UFO Day is absolutely awesome, just because it’s bringing attention to the whole topic.”

The official World UFO Day goal is “to celebrate the existence of UFOs and extraterrestrial life”, according to the event’s website. One of the proposed actions to celebrate is to “watch the sky together and spot strange objects flying around,” which is exactly what one branch of MUFON plans to do. The Missouri MUFON Chapter is holding a “sky watch” Saturday at 7 p.m. in Kansas City, to locate potential UFOs.

According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans believe that aliens exist. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives held a hearing on UFOs and the possible vulnerabilities they generate. This was something that MUFON’s 4000-plus members advocated for since its founding in 1969 and was the first time the House had done so in 50 years.

“We were happy that the hearings happened. MUFON was in Washington,” James said. “We were involved in helping to push this forward and we’re actually in Washington a lot right now dealing with politicians.”

For those living in Roswell, New Mexico, the site of the alleged crash that sparked this all, awareness is just a slight part of the celebration. Ufologists will speak about their take on the government’s role in investigating alleged UFO sightings, but more so, the day is an economic opportunity presented by their annual UFO Festival, which now marks 75 years since the Roswell incident.

This year, its festival will take place Friday through Sunday and will feature a parade, concert, speakers, food, tours, and more, making it the biggest celebration of World UFO Day anywhere, with a history that spans long before World UFO Day became a global phenomenon.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Officials identify 19 of 53 killed in migrant smuggling case, victim released from hospital

National Institute Of Migration

(NEW YORK) -- A 23-year-old victim onboard a tractor-trailer involved in an alleged smuggling incident in San Antonio was released from the hospital, according to University Health Hospital. Another adolescent male remains in critical condition, according to the hospital. The smuggling incident left 53 people dead after they were trapped in a tractor-trailer.

The Bexar County medical examiner's office has conclusively identified 19 of the victims killed, the office said Saturday. The victims' ages range between 13 and 38. Of these 19 victims, eight were citizens of Mexico, six were citizens of Guatemala and five were citizens of Honduras.

The office is unsure of whether the victims' next of kin have not been informed yet, so their names have not yet been released.

The office has also made 30 potential identifications, but is awaiting confirmation of these cases from the victims' respective consulates. Four of the victims remain unidentified, according to the medical examiner's office.

One of four men facing federal charges in connection with the alleged smuggling incident appeared in court Thursday. Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, of Pasadena, Texas, is charged with one count of alien smuggling resulting in death. He is suspected of being the driver of the truck that was found in San Antonio on Monday.

Zamorano could face up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Court documents show Zamorano will be held in the custody of the United States Marshal without bond until he appears again in court on July 6. Zamorano was appointed a public defender.

Investigators say Zamorano was apprehended at the scene after trying to pass himself off as one of the migrants. Police were able to recover a phone, a hat and a wallet that contained an ID belonging to Zamorano, court documents show.

Using surveillance footage from the truck's immigration checkpoint border crossing, officials from Homeland Security Investigations say they were able to determine that Zamorano was the driver. The driver was seen in surveillance footage wearing a black shirt with white or grey stripes and a hat. HSI officials say they verified Zamorano was wearing the same clothing.

Zamorano was taken to a local hospital for a medical evaluation after he was apprehended.

According to court documents, responding HSI agents initially found 48 people dead inside and around the tractor-trailer. Of those found dead, authorities say 22 were from Mexico, seven from Guatemala, two from Honduras and 17 of unknown origins, who officials suspect are undocumented.

Officials said 16 people were hospitalized.

According to court documents, there were 64 individuals suspected of being in the country illegally in connection to this alleged smuggling incident.

Of the 53 bodies in the custody of the medical examiner's office, 40 are male and 13 are female, the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office said Wednesday.

Rebeca Clay-Flores, the Bexar County Precinct 1 commissioner, said at a press conference Tuesday that some of those found are under the age of 18, likely teenagers.

Clay-Flores, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and representatives from the county medical examiner's office met with Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Búcaro, three Guatemalan consuls, representatives from the Embassy of Mexico and Consul General of El Salvador Fátima Margarita Flores on Wednesday, the medical examiner's office said Thursday.

The medical examiner's office said they would release information on the number and nationality of confirmed identities as they become available. Names and identifying information will not be released until their foreign country's consulate or embassy confirms their next of kin has been notified.

On Tuesday, police arrested Christian Martinez, 28, in Palestine, Texas, alleging he was in contact with Zamorano about the alleged smuggling operation.

Two other men, Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao, were arrested in connection with the truck deaths on gun charges. They were identified as unauthorized migrants in possession of multiple weapons, according to federal authorities.

The incident unfolded in the southern Texas city on Monday evening at around 5:50 p.m. local time, when a nearby worker heard a cry for help and found the tractor-trailer with the doors partially opened and the bodies of 46 people inside, according to San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus and San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood.

"They suffered, horrendously, could have been for hours," Hood said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Severe weather hits East Coast this holiday weekend

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The East Coast is getting hit with severe weather this holiday weekend.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Carolinas as a storm moves through the region, while millions of people are bracing for severe storms in the Northeast.

The National Hurricane Center named its third storm of the 2022 season earlier Saturday. Tropical Storm Colin formed "rather unexpectedly," according to the center, and while not strong it could create holiday weekend disruptions in the Carolinas.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect from just south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, through Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks. There is a flash flooding risk, with around 2 inches to as much as 6 inches of rain possible in some of the downpours across the eastern Carolinas.

The storm has already brought wind gusts exceeding 40 mph along the South Carolina coast as it moved through, with gusty winds and rain expected across southeastern North Carolina throughout the afternoon.

"The most significant storm impacts (rain & wind) will remain at the beaches and offshore today," the National Weather Service said.

The storm is expected to slowly progress northeastward Saturday into Sunday and eventually move out to sea by Monday.

Meanwhile, cities including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston have the potential for storms with damaging winds and hail Saturday afternoon. Some 50 million people are currently in the zone with the greatest severe weather threat today.

The National Weather Service warned that the Philadelphia region into southern New Jersey and the coast could see thunderstorms with flash flooding and damaging wind gusts Saturday evening.

A flood watch is also in effect for the Washington and Baltimore metro areas. Damaging wind gusts and large hail are also a threat, the National Weather Service said.

Holiday travel out of the Northeast could be impacted as the storms come through. Weather will likely not be a major factor at airport hubs like Atlanta, Chicago, Denver or Los Angeles on Saturday.

ABC News' Daniel Amarante contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Thousands of anchovies fall from sky, wash ashore in the Bay Area

Marin Country Parks via Instagram

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Thousands of dead anchovies washed ashore on the Bolinas Lagoon shore in Marin County, California, and fell from the sky earlier this week, according to photos and video shared with ABC News' San Francisco affiliate, ABC7 News, KGO.

"This is just one of those times where we kind of get to see just the sheer number of the size of these schools of fish," Marin County Parks director Max Korten told ABC7 News. "So it's kind of amazing."

There is still uncertainty about why the fish washed up on the shore. Referencing biologists, Korten explained, "What likely happened is, you know, some kind of predator out in the ocean encountered a school of anchovy somewhere near the mouth of Bolinas Lagoon," according to ABC7 News.

He said this possibly pushed the anchovy more toward the shallow water, where they sucked up the limited oxygen and suffocated, according to ABC7 News.

A volunteer researcher told ABC7 News the anchovy could have been going where the food is.

Jim Ervin told ABC7 this La Nina year is generating more food production and the foraging fish are following. He explained the cool water is bringing in more anchovy than seen in the last 10 years off the coast and in the bay.

Ervin said seabirds are feasting. "There's more fish than they know what to do with," he told ABC7 News.

Officials said there is no reason to panic over the mass die-off, saying similar events have happened several times over the last few decades.

"My biggest words of assurance, I guess, is that anchovy populations boom and bust," Ervin told ABC7 News. "And we're in a boom year. Then things like that, they drive 'em into the shore and unfortunately they do themselves in sometimes."

Korten with Marin County Parks told ABC7 News the Bolinas Lagoon as a pretty fragile ecosystem and is encouraging anyone wanting to see the anchovies, to be mindful of the environment.

"It's a home to a really abundant amount of marine life," he said. "We just asked if anybody goes near there, just use caution and not to disturb the animals, the seals and things that make their home there."

ABC News' Amanda del Castillo, Jeffrey Cook and Jennifer Metz contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Three Kentucky officers killed, several hurt by gunman who opened fire at his home

Richard Williams Photography/Getty Images/Stock

(ALLEN, Ky.) --Three Kentucky police officers were shot and killed after a 49-year-old man, who is in custody, allegedly gunned them down and wounded several others in a mass shooting at his Kentucky home.

The City of Prestonburg Police Department shared in a Facebook post Friday that canine handler Jacob R. Chaffins had died.

"You have dedicated your short time on this earth to the service of the citizens of Prestonsburg and the Commonwealth as an EMT, Fire Fighter, and Police Officer. You further dedicated yourself to the security of our country as a valiant soldier,” the statement read.

“The lives you’ve saved since you even started policing are innumerable, and that’s how you gave your life - saving another. We will shine your light to Paisley and the world so long as we breathe. Rest yourself, we have the watch."

The two other slain officers were identified by the sheriff's office as Deputy William Petry and Prestonsburg Police Capt. Ralph Frasure.

The shooting unfolded in Floyd County at about 6:44 p.m. local time Thursday, Kentucky State Police said. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called it a "barricade situation."

According to an arrest report, Lance Storz, who was armed with a rifle, fired multiple rounds at police officers around his home, killing two officers and a police K9.

The arrest report said five other officers and an emergency management director were injured, though state police said four officers and one civilian were hurt.

"Floyd County and our brave first responders suffered a tragic loss last night," the governor tweeted Friday. "I want to ask all of Kentucky to join me in praying for this community. This is a tough morning for our commonwealth."

Storz is in custody on multiple charges including murder of a police officer and attempted murder of a police officer. He entered a plea of not guilty and is being held on $10 million bond. Storz returns to court on July 11.

ABC News' Jason Volack and Ahmad J. Hemingway contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Suspect arrested in the death of 20-year-old mom gunned down on NYC street

WABC

(NEW YORK) -- New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced Friday evening the arrest of a 22-year-old suspect for the murder of a 20-year-old woman was fatally shot in the head while pushing her 3-month-old baby in a stroller on New York City's Upper East Side on Wednesday night.

Isaac Argro, 22, has been arrested and charged with murder of Azsia Johnson and criminal possession of a weapon, the NYPD said in a tweet and added that police would “continue to be relentless in their pursuit of justice.”

Johnson was fatally shot in the head Wednesday on the Upper East Side in what police sources said appeared to be a targeted attack.

Johnson was pushing a baby stroller around 8:25 p.m. when a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt came up from behind and fired a single shot at close range before fleeing on foot, police said. The baby was unharmed, police said.

Before the shooting, Johnson texted a relative saying she was planning to meet her baby's father "to work things out," according to police sources.

Following the shooting, police were wanting to talk to the baby’s father but had not initially named him as a suspect, sources said.

"We are going to find this person that's guilty of this horrific crime. We are going to find him and bring him to justice," New York City Mayor Eric Adams had told reporters Thursday.

Detectives believe Johnson was living at a women's shelter in East Harlem, sources said.

Friends and family held a vigil for Johnson on Thursday at the scene of the shooting, which was near a playground.

Johnson also had a 1-year-old son and was an aspiring pediatric nurse, ABC New York station WABC reported.

ABC News' Matt J. Foster contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Family demanding answers after Black man killed by police during traffic stop in Ohio

Sheila Paras/Getty Images/Stock

(AKRON, Ohio) -- A grieving Ohio family is waiting for answers after a 25-year-old Black man was fatally shot by Akron police officers during a traffic stop earlier this week.

Jayland Walker was shot multiple times after he was pulled over early Monday for a minor traffic violation, according to lawyers representing his family.

Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced Friday that they will release body-worn camera footage from the incident, which has sparked days of protests outside the police headquarters calling for "Justice for Jayland," on Sunday.

Mylett will meet with members of Walker's family before the briefing to allow them to see the footage, officials said.

"How these events took place leaves us with many, many, many questions," Bobby DiCello, one of the lawyers representing the family, said during a press briefing Thursday.

One question involves what police did to de-escalate the situation, he said. Authorities also have not released details on the number of shots fired by the eight officers involved in the shooting, or how many fired their weapons.

Preliminary medical examiner records reviewed by ABC Cleveland affiliate WEWS on Friday showed there were more than 60 markers indicating "defects" on Walker's body, and that there were multiple gunshot wounds to his face, abdomen and upper legs.

The incident occurred early Monday, when Akron police officers attempted a traffic stop at around 12:30 a.m. When the driver did not stop, a police pursuit ensued, police said in a statement.

"During the pursuit, officers reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle," police said.

Walker allegedly fled from the car while it was still moving, with officers then engaging in a foot pursuit, police said.

"The suspect ran northbound into a nearby parking lot. Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them," police said. "In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect."

Officers administered first aid, though Walker was pronounced dead at the scene. Medical examiner records show he was found on his back on the pavement in handcuffs, and that a gun was recovered inside his car, according to WEWS.

The officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an investigation that will be presented to the Ohio Attorney General's Office and Summit County Grand Jury, authorities said.

"We have every confidence in the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation to conduct a thorough, fair, and honest investigation," Mayor Horrigan and Chief Mylett said in a joint statement Wednesday. "We will cooperate fully with that investigation and have made it a top priority for our staffs. As a city, we are committed to this process and trust that it will yield a fuller understanding of this incident."

As they wait to view the footage from the shooting, Walker's family is demanding answers.

"What's unfortunate … is portraying Jayland as the reason this happened," Ken Abbarno, another lawyer for Walker's family, told reporters. "That's spin, that's protection, and that's designed for a specific reason. We will learn in the coming days the real truth of what happened."

Walker, a DoorDash driver, had no criminal record, the family's lawyers said.

Walker's aunt described her "skinny little nephew" as a "sweet young man."

"He never caused any trouble,” Lajuana Walker-Dawkins, who spoke on behalf of the family, told reporters Thursday. "We don't know what happened, and we'd like to know. For the mother, the sister, the whole family and the community."

In the aftermath of the shooting, the city canceled a Fourth of July festival scheduled to run Friday through Monday.

"I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend," Horrigan said in a statement. "Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family. Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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