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The Latest National News

    President Donald Trump said Wednesday in 'a major breakthrough' he is lifting all sanctions against Turkey. >> Read more trending news  The sanctions were imposed last week. Turkey will stop combat and the ceasefire will be permanent, the President said. 'We have saved the lives of many, many Kurds,' Trump said. 'We've done something that is very, very special.' Trump said Turkey and Syria must keep the peace.  'It's their neighborhood. They need to take care of it,' Trump said. 'Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand.' The president said a small number of troops would remain in Syria to protect oil interests. Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted there was 'Big success on the Turkey/Syria border.' 'Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended,' Trump tweeted. Turkey and Russia reached an agreement Tuesday, installing their forces along the border of northeast Syria after U.S. troops that were withdrawn from the area, The Associated Press reported. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Sochi, Russia, and revealed a 10-point memorandum about Syria, CNN reported. According to the memorandum, Turkish military and Russian military police will patrol the border. The United States was not included in the negotiations.
  • A Missouri man recently fired from his job at Arby’s for allegedly setting fires returned Saturday to the restaurant, where police allege he mutilated and decapitated a cat in the men’s restroom. Tanner Maggard, 19, of Lee’s Summit, is charged with second-degree animal abuse and second-degree property damage, according to online Jackson County court records. The animal abuse charge, which involves abuse by torture and/or mutilation while the animal was alive, is a felony. >> Read more trending news  WDAF in Kansas City obtained the court documents, including police reports that allege Maggard went to Arby’s on Saturday and placed an order before going into the restroom. When he came out, the records show, he asked the manager, “Oh, I see you remodeled the bathroom, huh?” Maggard went back into the restroom a short time later and was still in there when the manager went in to clean it. The manager told police he could hear Maggard in a stall, coughing and gagging. The manager left the restroom, followed by Maggard a short time later. Maggard went outside, the court documents say, according to WDAF. When the manager returned to finish his cleaning, he found a mutilated and decapitated cat on the diaper changing table in the stall where Maggard had been, the news station reported. Blood covered the walls, door and toilet. The manager told officers he went outside, where he spotted Maggard sitting in his truck, waiting to see his former boss’ reaction to the scene he had left behind, the court documents allege. Maggard then drove away. The records show that responding officers who processed the scene in the restroom did not detect the odor of decomposition, which indicated that the cat was recently killed, WDAF reported. Maggard repeatedly denied knowledge of the cat’s demise when questioned by detectives, the news station said. The restaurant did not have security cameras in place.  The restaurant had to replace the changing table and toilet in the stall and repaint the walls, the documents say. Online court records show Maggard was booked into the Jackson County Jail with bail set at $10,000. Maggard appeared to have bonded out as of Wednesday, according to jail records. Maggard is not allowed within 1,000 feet of the Arby’s. He is also not allowed to have contact with domesticated animals, the records show.
  • Warning: The following story contains language that some readers may find offensive.  A longtime Tennessee county commissioner is experiencing blowback from the public, as well as county, city and tourism officials, after he ranted against the Democratic Party Monday night -- saying, in part, that a “queer” running for president is “about as ugly as you can get.” Warren Hurst, who the Mountain Press in Sevierville reported has been a member of the Sevier County Commission for more than 36 years, made the inflammatory comments during a commission meeting. According to WVLT in Knoxville, which caught the episode on video, the topic of the meeting was the commission’s pending vote on whether to become a gun sanctuary city. After Hurst veered far off topic in what many observers have described as homophobic and racist ranting, dozens of people took to social media to call for a boycott of Sevier County and its many tourist attractions, which include the Great Smoky Mountain Park, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, and the sights and outdoor attractions in Gatlinburg. Dollywood is the Appalachian-themed park created by country music icon Dolly Parton. Tami Winterton, of Franklin, Tennessee, told WVLT her family canceled its fall vacation to Pigeon Forge because of Hurst’s outburst and the reaction in the commission meeting room. “My family has interracial marriage. One family member is a lesbian. How could we all travel to Pigeon Forge to attend Thanksgiving with such hate for our family members?” Winterton told the news station. Todd E. Scott, who lists his location as Minneapolis and Charlotte, North Carolina, tweeted, “No more vacations, stopping for gas or a bite to eat in @SevierCounty until Warren Hurst resigns.” James Yoakley, a Tennessee teacher and LGBTQ student advocate, tweeted that he knows “a lot of people who spend a lot of money” in Sevier County. “Until Hurst resigns, we will not spend another penny in this county,” Yoakley wrote. “This includes renewing @Dollywood passes or visiting @Ripleys attractions.” Ripley’s Believe It or Not has eight attractions in Gatlinburg, including its 85,000-square-foot Aquarium of the Smokies. ‘We got a queer running for president of this country’  Hurst, a toothpick jutting from his mouth, told people in the audience: “It’s time, folks, that we wake up. It’s been time. It’s past time,” according to WVLT’s video. As some members of the crowd waved tiny American flags, Hurst voiced his opinion about the Democratic field for the upcoming 2020 presidential election -- specifically South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who, if elected, would be the nation’s first openly gay president. “We got a queer running for president of this country, if that ain't about as ugly as you can get,” Hurst said. Some of the 25 county commissioners, who are all white and, all but one, male, could be seen laughing openly. Many audience members clapped and cheered, and there were a few shouts of “Amen.” Watch Hurst’s entire speech below. Warning: The video contains language some viewers may find offensive.  One woman, identified as Sara Thompson, chair of the Sevier County Democrats, stood up and shouted, “Excuse me!” As Hurst’s rant continued, Thompson stormed out. “This is not professional. This is (expletive),” Thompson said as she left. Thompson told WVLT after the meeting that she was angered by Hurst’s homophobic comments. “I was actually incensed. I think that was a very demeaning and nasty thing to even talk about,” Thompson said. She said Hurst’s outburst should be a reminder to county commissioners about who they are supposed to serve. “They’re elected to represent everyone in Sevier County, even those who don’t love, look or vote like they do,” Thompson told the news station. Hurst’s diatribe, which ran for several minutes, didn’t stop with Buttigieg. He insulted the entire slate of Democratic presidential candidates. “Look what we got running for president in the Democratic Party. We can go over here in (Sevier County Sheriff) Hoss’ jail and get better people out of there than those running for the Democratic president of the United States,” Hurst said to laughter from the crowd. “There ain’t personal morals in this country anymore.” Hurst railed against liberals, appearing to argue that despite Democratic attempts to establish sanctuary cities for immigrants across the country, liberal Americans aren’t against killing. He ventured momentarily onto abortion. “They don’t want you to protect yourself and your home,” he said. “But now, they’ll kill babies. Oh, they’ll kill babies just as fast as they can get them.” ‘Thugs from other countries’  Hurst at one point brought up the immigration stance of President Donald Trump, who in his 2015 speech announcing his candidacy, said Mexico wasn’t “sending their best” when immigrants come into the United States. Trump called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists before stating that “some, I assume, are good people.” “We’re letting people come in here -- you can hate Trump or like him, it doesn’t make no difference -- but now when he tells you they’re only sending their thugs and a few of the good ones may be following, he's telling you the truth,” Hurst said Monday. The commissioner claimed the U.S. is “being run by these thugs from other countries” and indicated some are running for the Democratic presidential nomination. He then appeared to refer to former President Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, as a thug. “We just got rid of one … one president like that,” he said. >> Read more trending news  Hurst’s comments moved on to the state of rights for white men. “I’m not prejudiced, but by golly, a white male in this country has very few rights, and they’re getting took more every day,” he said. Hurst said the Democratic candidates do not stand up for white men. “Now you’ll hear them stand on the stage and say, ‘Oh, I’m for the poor and the black and the whatever.’ But you’ll never heard one of them say, ‘I believe white people have rights, too.’” Hurst pondered the future of the country in the video. “I’ve got two young grandkids. I hate to think what they’re gonna face in this country if we keep being run by these liberals,” he said. “By golly, they’re gonna be told what time to go to bed and what time to get up and what they can do and what they can say. “Russia and Cuba won’t be nothing compared to what our grandkids are gonna see if they live to be our age in this country.” No one on the 25-person commission spoke out, either in favor of, or opposition to, Hurst’s words at the meeting, the Mountain Press reported. The gun resolution, which states that the county supports the Second Amendment and is against laws giving police the ability to confiscate guns from people who are deemed an immediate threat to themselves or other people, passed unanimously, the newspaper said. ‘The fires didn’t take us out. Hurst sure as hell won’t either’  Hurst’s rant drew immediate condemnation from within the Tennessee community and beyond as WVLT’s footage went viral.  The response was also swift from officials in Sevier County, which the Knoxville News Sentinel described as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hurst's fellow commissioner, Greg Haggard, told the news station after the meeting that Hurst did not speak for the rest of the commission.  A tweet Tuesday morning on the Sevier County government’s official Twitter account disavowed Hurst’s comments with a statement that was later added to the homepage of the county’s website. “The statements made by Commissioner Hurst at the Sevier County Commission meeting of October 21, 2019, do not reflect the opinion or position of Sevier County administration,” the statement read. “Sevier County is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or status in any other group protected by law.” Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters, who just hit 41 years in office, also condemned Hurst’s rant. “Commissioner Hurst’s comments were his and his alone and I disapprove of those comments. They do not reflect my beliefs or opinions,” Waters wrote on Twitter. “I have lived in Sevier County my whole life and know it as a place that is welcoming to everyone, as evidenced by the more than 12 million people who visit annually. “Generations of families have enjoyed our beautiful county and know that our citizens are caring and compassionate.” Officials with the city of Sevierville, which touts itself as Dolly Parton’s hometown, also spoke out, calling Hurst’s comments “offensive.” “The City of Sevierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen and city administration reject bigotry and prejudice towards any and all persons. As such, we strongly condemn the remarks of Commissioner Hurst,” the statement posted on the city government’s Facebook page read. “Mr. Hurst’s remarks do not reflect the feelings of our residents, who are friendly, caring people and neighbors. The City of Sevierville and the entire Smoky Mountain community is a welcoming place for the millions that visit our region and the thousands who live here.” Earlene Teaster, city manager for Pigeon Forge, called Hurst’s remarks “disturbing,” the News Sentinel reported, and Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens told the newspaper Hurst’s comments “do not reflect the Dollywood experience in any way. “Dollywood is open and welcoming to everyone, every day,” Owens said. State Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, agreed. She told the News Sentinel Hurst’s comments were “embarrassing” and “horrific,” and castigated those who laughed and “mocked” while he uttered them. “We would hope that Tennesseans would be better than that. And folks in Sevier County, who rely on tourist dollars -- it’s that sort of thing that's going to chase people away from their county,” Johnson said. Some Tennessee residents wrote on Twitter that local public officials’ response to the controversy was weak. “Both the City of Sevierville and Sevier County have ‘denounced’ his comments, but quite clearly, he felt comfortable expressing himself in that forum,” Kenny Faught, of Knoxville, tweeted. Cory Johnson, of Kirkland, Washington, responded that the “laughs and cheers from the crowd speak volumes.” There have been calls for Hurst to resign and on Twitter, Johnson pointed her followers to a protest planned for the Nov. 18 county commission meeting. The protest, titled “Wear Red Against Racism and Homophobia, is being planned by the Tennessee Equality Project. “He should apologize and, yes, he should consider resigning,” a representative of the organization said in a statement to WVLT. “If there were some weird extenuating circumstances like he was having a medical issue, but right now it just looks like he made those remarks.” Hurst told WVLT over the phone following the meeting that he is entitled to his opinion. He also claimed that “some of his best friends” are black, the news station said. Barry and Bryan Payne wrote on Twitter that they plan to attend the protest next month. “We live in Sevierville, and we are a same-sex married couple who love our hometown and our diverse community,” the tweet read. “We are coming in protest to his remarks. He does not represent us or our county.” Taylor Futch, of Gatlingburg, told the couple his family stands with them. “I am so sorry you both are having to hear and see this garbage,” Futch wrote. “It does hurt, some,” the couple responded. “It hurts more that, due to his ignorance, so many people have voiced their opinion on our town when there's more love and acceptance here than there is hate and intolerance. “The fires didn’t take us out. Hurst sure as hell won’t either.” Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, echoed Johnson’s call for Hurst’s resignation, The Washington Post reported. He said the only other option would be for the commission to use inclusive ordinances to strengthen protections against discrimination based on race, gender identity and sexual orientation. “There may be ways for him to make up for what he said, but they have to be concrete. We’re beyond an apology at this point,” Sanders told the Post. “We need to see some real change backed up by public policy in that county.”
  • Ukraine knew the White House was freezing a $391 million military aid package weeks before the United States and Ukrainian officials acknowledged it, The New York Times reported Wednesday. >> Read more trending news  That means the Ukrainian government was aware of the freeze during most of August, when President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and two American diplomats were pressuring President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make a public announcement committing to the investigations sought by the president, the newspaper reported. Earlier, Trump went on Twitter to quote Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, who said William B. Taylor Jr., the top United States diplomat in Ukraine -- or any other witness -- had “provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld.” However, information about the freeze had reached high-level officials in Ukraine by the first week of August, the Times reported.  Ukrainian officials were told that to address that information, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, the Times reported.
  • Deputies in Oregon are searching for a child sex crimes suspect after he removed his ankle monitor and fled, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to KGW and KATU, 29-year-old Josiah Rosales was released on $125,000 bail Sept. 16, two months after he was charged with rape, sodomy, luring a minor, encouraging child sex abuse and other sex crimes, the Washington County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. 'Mr. Rosales had several conditions associated with his release, to include wearing a GPS ankle monitor at all times,' the post said. But deputies learned Tuesday that the Aloha resident had cut his device, the Sheriff's Office said. Search crews have not been able to find him, KGW reported. Deputies said the 5-foot-9, 300-pound Rosales was last spotted on Southwest Breckenridge Lane, KGW reported. Deputies are urging anyone with information about his whereabouts to call 911. Read more here or here.
  • A man is facing murder charges after authorities in England discovered dozens of bodies in a truck container in Essex, police said. >> Read more trending news  According to the BBC, the bodies of 39 people, including 38 adults and one teen, were discovered early Wednesday at an industrial park in Grays. Police arrested the truck's 25-year-old driver, a man from Northern Ireland whose name was not released, in connection with the deaths, the network reported. North Essex police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner called the incident 'tragic,' The Associated Press reported. “We are in the process of identifying the victims; however, I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process,' he said, according to the news service. Investigators said the truck, which came from Bulgaria, arrived in England on Saturday. Read more here or here. Please check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Olivia Gant gained national attention in 2017 as the sweet-faced 7-year-old was granted her dying wishes of being an honorary Denver police officer and a firefighter before succumbing to what her mother said was a lifelong battle with multiple rare diseases. Authorities now allege that Kelly Renee Turner faked all her daughter’s medical conditions, forcing the girl to suffer while raking in thousands of dollars in donations from charities and bilking Medicaid for her daughter’s unnecessary medical care. Turner, 41, is accused of killing Olivia and lying to doctors about a cancer diagnosis involving an older daughter, who is now 11. KUSA in Denver reported that Olivia was one of Turner’s three daughters. The charges against Turner include two counts of first-degree murder, child abuse, three counts of charitable fraud, three counts of theft, two counts of attempt to influence a public servant and two counts of second-degree forgery. Turner was arrested Friday morning at a hotel in Glendale, sheriff’s office officials said in a news release. She is being held without bond in the Douglas County Jail. A reporter with KUSA went to the Highlands Ranch home where Turner was living with her parents prior to her arrest. The news station said a man who answered the door did not identify himself. “No comment,” the man told the reporter. “Get off our property. We’re going through enough.” The Associated Press reported that no one questioned Olivia’s death or her mother’s actions until last year, when Turner took her middle daughter to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where Olivia had also been a patient, for complaints of “bone pain.” It was also last year that the older girl’s primary care doctor retired, and she started seeing a new one, KUSA reported based on court documents. That doctor grew suspicious after Turner claimed her daughter had undergone three years of cancer treatments prior to the family’s move to Colorado in 2013. The doctor called his counterparts in Texas and learned there had never been a cancer diagnosis. During an initial investigation by Department of Human Services caseworkers in Jefferson County, where the family lived at the time, the workers learned about Olivia’s Aug. 20, 2017, death. The investigation moved to Douglas County after Turner and her surviving children did the same, court records indicate. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigators interviewed the then-10-year-old daughter at her school on Oct. 11, 2018, which presumably alerted Turner to their suspicions, KUSA reported. The AP reported that Turner was also separated from her daughter during the investigation. According to the court documents obtained by KUSA and other media outlets, the girl “has not had any additional medical problems or complaints of pain since” that day. Turner eventually admitted that she fabricated the girl’s cancer diagnoses, but maintained that Olivia’s medical issues were real, the indictment in the case says. ‘Our precious Olivia’ Local and national news stories from 2017, just prior to Olivia’s death, painted a portrait of Turner as a doting mother who, when her daughter’s life expectancy became a matter of months instead of years, began helping the girl cross items off her bucket list. In April of that year, Olivia was granted the wish of becoming a Denver police officer for a day. Turner, who was then going by her married name of Kelly Gant, told ABC News that Olivia grew to love the first responders who would come to her aid when she had to call 911, which was often. Becoming an officer was one of the items on the girl’s list of dying wishes. Footage from the Denver Police Department showed Olivia holding up her crooked and misspelled list, which also included being a fireman, riding a balloon, feeding sharks and going to an American Doll store. “That’s a day she’ll never forget,” Turner, who lived in Littleton at the time, told ABC News of her daughter’s day with the police. “It was little things to them (the police officers) that meant a lifetime to her. We don’t know how long we have with her. They have no idea the impact they’ve had on our family or our Olivia.” Denver police Cpl. Tim Scudder was later honored by the department for taking the time to give Olivia her wish, which the news network reported included a tour of the police station and being sworn in as chief. “One of her wish lists is to ‘catch bad guys with police,’” Scudder said in video footage from the Denver Police Department, which includes images of a sunglasses-clad Olivia riding shotgun in a patrol car. “That’s what I think being a police officer is all about -- making an impact on those in the community and those around us.” At one point, Scudder told the girl, “We got a call. We’re gonna go catch a bad guy, right?” An ecstatic Olivia grinned as the camera rolled. “You’re going to jail!” Olivia shouted over the siren at one point in the footage. See Inside Edition's piece on Olivia Gant's adventures as a cop and a firefighter below.  >> Read more trending news  According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, a grand jury on Thursday handed down a 13-count indictment against the mother, who apparently began documenting the alleged medical problems of two of her girls as far back as August 2011, when the family was living in Texas. KUSA reported that at that time, Olivia was 13 months old. The older daughter was 3 and Turner’s oldest daughter, whom she never claimed to be ill, was 11. The charges against Turner include two counts of first-degree murder, child abuse, three counts of charitable fraud, three counts of theft, two counts of attempt to influence a public servant and two counts of second-degree forgery. Turner was arrested Friday morning at a hotel in Glendale, sheriff’s office officials said in a news release. She is being held without bond in the Douglas County Jail. A reporter with KUSA went to the Highlands Ranch home where Turner was living with her parents prior to her arrest. The news station said a man who answered the door did not identify himself. “No comment,” the man told the reporter. “Get off our property. We’re going through enough.” That same spring, the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped Olivia become a firefighter for a day. “She’s in intestinal failure, and we don’t know how much longer she has,” Turner told KUSA in a story about Olivia’s day as a firefighter. Footage of that day shown by local and national shows, including Inside Edition, shows a fire truck pulling up outside the girl’s house. “Look how huge it is!” Olivia exclaimed. Later, the little girl helped firefighters extinguish a fire. Watch KUSA's report on Olivia Gant's day as a firefighter below.  Olivia died four months after her adventures of what her mother told people were complications of a neurogastrointestinal disorder that shut down the girl’s organs, including her intestines. “Our precious little princess will now have a new body, no tubes, no more pain or sickness and everlasting joy with our Lord,” Olivia’s obituary read. “See you in heaven, our precious Olivia.” KUSA reported that the first entries on Turner’s blog back in 2011 described Olivia as having “a misshapen head and a vascular malformation in her brain that could cause seizures, blindness or an aneurysm.” The older girl, Turner claimed, had a bone infection in her ear and an immune deficiency. Entries obtained by the news station showed frequent updates over the next 14 months. In that time frame, Turner claimed Olivia had seizures, celiac disease, autism, excess fluid in her brain that required a shunt for drainage and a thinning of the membrane between the lobes of her brain, KUSA reported. The older sister, whose name is being withheld because of her age, had cancer, both in the form of tumors in her neck and around her pelvis and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Turner claimed, according to the news station. ‘High maintenance mother’  As harrowing as Olivia’s alleged medical journey appeared, the court documents in Turner’s criminal case paint a much darker portrait of what her daughter actually endured. KUSA said the indictment alleges Olivia died after her mother withdrew both medical care and nourishment, which Olivia took in through a feeding tube, in the final weeks of the girl’s life. Multiple doctors argued with Turner, telling her they did not believe her daughter’s condition was terminal, the news station reported. She was persuasive enough, however, to get one doctor to sign a “do not resuscitate” order. She told doctors that her daughter’s quality of life was so poor that the “humane” thing to do was to stop all care and let her go, according to KUSA. The indictment states that doctors who treated Olivia described Turner as a “high maintenance mother,” KMGH in Denver reported. According to KUSA, at least five doctors at Children’s Hospital spoke with investigators about their suspicions. One doctor said she found no evidence of the seizures Turner claimed Olivia was having and warned her three times to stop giving her daughter anti-seizure medication that had harsh side effects, the court documents said. Another said he did not believe Olivia had autism as her mother claimed. Multiple doctors described the girl in glowing terms: “Very active, interactive, social, fun to be around, always smiling and playful.” Dr. Robert Kramer told investigators the same, saying he did not diagnose her with “any of the diseases that Turner wrote about in the GoFundMe page,” the indictment says, according to KUSA. Kramer told detectives he was shocked to learn Turner had withdrawn her daughter’s medical care and that the girl had died. Children's Hospital declined comment Monday to KMGH, citing the pending criminal invstigation.  Tasneem Nashrulla, a Buzzfeed News reporter who wrote about Turner’s arrest, tweeted Tuesday that GoFundMe officials told her they were refunding the more than $22,000 people had donated to Turner for Olivia’s care through a page on the fundraising site. The page has since been removed. ‘In a position of trust’  Olivia’s death was attributed in 2017 to intestinal failure. Investigators looking into Olivia’s case had her body exhumed in November, however, and Dr. Kelly Lear, the Arapahoe County coroner, found no signs of intestinal failure or any of the other conditions Turner had claimed her daughter suffered from. Lear could not pinpoint the exact cause of Olivia’s death and ruled it to be undetermined. KUSA gave a detailed rundown of the allegations against Turner. One of the murder counts alleges that she killed Olivia “while in a position of trust” and the second, that she killed the girl with deliberation. The child abuse charge pertains to her other daughter, who the indictment said was “unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury.” The charitable fraud charges allege that Turner “devised or executed a scheme” to gain money, property or services by false pretense. The theft allegations involve the $22,700 she obtained through GoFundMe, along with nearly $539,000 she is accused of defrauding from Medicaid and/or HealthFirst Colorado, which is the state’s Medicaid program. Both of her daughters were covered by Medicaid, according to the court records. The theft charges also cover more than $11,000 from the Make-A-Wish Foundation for what the documents describe as a “Bat Princess” party they threw for Olivia, as well as $3,000 from Professional Miracles Foundation, a Denver-based group that helps improve the lives of children with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. Turner is also accused of failing to pay Heflebower Funeral Home and Seven Stones Cemetery for more than $5,000 related to her daughter’s funeral. Mike Heflebower, owner of the funeral home, told KUSA that the situation was a difficult one for all parties involved. Rebecca Holm, the director of customer care at Seven Stones, was more blunt in her statement to the news station. “Us being a victim of theft is so minor compared to what happened to her daughter that it’s irrelevant,” Holm said. The Make-A-Wish Foundation Colorado also released a statement. “We are deeply disturbed by the allegations in this case and intend to follow it closely in the hope of learning exactly what happened,” the statement read. “Our procedures for granting a wish require a referral from the child’s medical team, and we rely on their assessment. “As we seek to learn more about the circumstances that led to Olivia’s death, we fondly remember her spirit and hope that granting her wish brought some joy to her tragic life.” The two counts of attempting to influence a public service, as well as the forgery charges, are related to Turner’s application for benefits, including Medicaid, that she filed in July 2013, after she and her children moved to Colorado without their father, Jeff Gant. KUSA reported that court documents show Turner claimed Gant was unemployed and an “absent parent.” Gant told detectives, however, that he was employed and had health insurance that would have covered the children, the news station said. He said he also provided Turner $900 a week in living expenses for her and the kids. Gant, who is divorcing Turner, told investigators his estranged wife asked him to remove the children from his health insurance a short time after they arrived in Colorado because she claimed she could get coverage cheaper through the hospital. Bank records “corroborated Jeff’s account of his deposits and withdrawals,” the affidavit said. Munchausen syndrome by proxy  The AP reported that authorities interviewed Turner during their investigation into Olivia’s death. At that time, she spontaneously brought up the topic of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. According to the Cleveland Clinic, Munchausen syndrome, also known as factitious disorder, is a mental illness in which a person fakes being sick, either physically or mentally, in order to fulfill an “inner need” to be seen as ill, which brings with it sympathy and concern from others. Munchausen syndrome by proxy, or factitious disorder imposed on another, is when a person acts as though another person, a “proxy,” is ill. The Cleveland Clinic’s website states that the condition is considered a form of abuse by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. The target of the abuse is most often a child under the age of 6, the clinic’s website says. “It is not done to achieve a concrete benefit, such as financial gain,” the webpage on the disorder states. “People with FDIA are even willing to have the child or patient undergo painful or risky tests and operations in order to get the sympathy and special attention given to people who are truly ill and their families. “Factitious disorders are considered mental illnesses because they are associated with severe emotional difficulties.” According to KMGH, the Department of Human Services caseworkers who investigated Turner's case expressed concern in their report about her behavior involving her daughters. “There is a concern that (Turner) may have been benefiting from this attention and motivated some of the medical treatment (she) sought for both (name redacted) and (name redacted),” the report said, according to the indictment. “There is a concern that (Turner) has lied about the children’s medical conditions and therefore may have caused harm to the children and or caused them to have significant medical procedures.” The caseworkers wrote in their report that Turner “reported several conditions and procedures that never happened,” including her older daughter’s supposed treatment for lymphoma, KMGH said. When Turner introduced the idea of Munchausen syndrome by proxy during her interview with detectives, she denied the disorder. “That has never been my case, like at all, whatsoever,” Turner said, according to the AP. The indictment indicates she also told detectives she would not be talking to them if she had anything to hide. The most recent high-profile case involving possible Munchausen by proxy involved Clauddinnea “Dee Dee” Blanchard and her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Dee Dee Blanchard, a native of south Louisiana who evacuated herself and her daughter to Springfield, Missouri, following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, spent the majority of her daughter’s life claiming Gypsy had a variety of ailments, including cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and mental impairments. Blanchard’s lies were blown apart in June 2015 when Gypsy, then 23, and her secret boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, 26, were arrested and charged with murder in the brutal stabbing death of Blanchard in the Habitat for Humanity home the mother and daughter had been gifted. >> Related story: Mom's murder uncovers years of fake illness and fraud Greene County investigators told a shocked community, who had rallied around the family in the decade they lived in Springfield, that not only was Gypsy -- who acquaintances believed was wheelchair-bound -- completely healthy, she could also walk. The subsequent investigation found that Dee Dee Blanchard had spent decades fooling doctors, reporters, charities, friends and family, including Gypsy’s father, into believing the girl was sick. Though Gypsy knew she could walk, she has said in media interviews that she believed her mother when she told her she was ill. Blanchard had painful procedures performed on her daughter, including the insertion of a feeding tube into her stomach, despite Gypsy’s ability to eat on her own, and the removal of teeth which deteriorated from needless medications she was given. Gypsy Blanchard, who has said she is now perfectly healthy, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for her role in her mother’s death. Godejohn, who stabbed Dee Dee Blanchard to death as Gypsy Blanchard hid in the bathroom of their home, is serving life in prison. People magazine reported in July that Gypsy Blanchard is engaged to a man who began writing to her after seeing an HBO documentary on her case, titled “Mommy Dead and Dearest.” The case has also been depicted in a Lifetime movie, as well as “The Act,” a Hulu miniseries that won actress Patricia Arquette an Emmy for her role as Dee Dee Blanchard.
  • Former President Jimmy Carter fell Monday at his Georgia home and suffered a “minor pelvic fracture,” the Carter Center tweeted Tuesday morning. >> Read more trending news  According to WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Carter, who lives in Plains, was admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center for observation and treatment. “He is in good spirits and is looking forward to recovering at home,” the tweet read. It is Carter's second fall this month and third this year. In May, Carter fell on his way to go turkey hunting and had surgery to repair a broken hip.  Carter once again fell on Oct. 6, which left him with a black eye and multiple stitches. But that didn't keep him from attending the kick-off to a Habitat for Humanity the next day in Nashville.  The former president celebrated his 95th birthday on Oct. 1. – Visit WSBTV.com and AJC.com for complete coverage of this developing story.
  • Chicago police officers who responded to a call of a man who appeared to be asleep in his vehicle at a stop sign early Thursday morning arrived to a shocking sight -- their boss, slumped behind the wheel. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, 59, was found in his vehicle around 12:30 a.m. Thursday near his Bridgeport home, a Chicago police spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times. >> Read more trending news  Johnson, who spoke to reporters later in the day, said he went to dinner with friends Wednesday night and, after dinner, dismissed his driver and headed home. The superintendent said he felt fine as he left the restaurant but began to feel ill as he got close to home, so he pulled over “out of an abundance of caution.” “Should I have had a driver with me last night? Yes, I should have,” Johnson said Thursday. “But I had already worked a full day, and so did he. Because of different issues going on, and he has a young family … I let him go home.” Johnson admitted he fell asleep as he sat behind the wheel. The officers, as well as responding firefighters, confirmed the superintendent was OK to continue home, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Sun-Times. Johnson said Tuesday that he felt better at that point, so he did so. Johnson blamed the “medical episode” on his failure to take a new blood pressure medication but said that in a bid for “total transparency,” he had ordered the department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs to launch an investigation into the incident. “As I’ve said before, every officer -- regardless of rank -- must uphold themselves to the highest of standards. That includes me,” Johnson said. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot admitted Friday, however, that there was perhaps more to the situation than Johnson let on at his news conference. Lightfoot said in an interview with the Sun-Times that Johnson told her he had been drinking at dinner Wednesday night before trying to drive himself home. Fran Spielman, city hall reporter for the Sun-Times, asked Lightfoot twice if she had asked Johnson if he’d been drinking. “I didn’t ask him that question specifically. He revealed to me that he’d had a couple of drinks with dinner,” Lightfoot said the second time Spielman broached the subject. When asked if she thought Johnson should have been driving under those circumstances, Lightfoot declined to answer outright, citing the ongoing investigation. “He’s a grown man. He had a couple of drinks at dinner, is what he told me,” Lightfoot said. “But he shouldn’t be driving if he did,” Spielman countered. “I can’t say that and I don’t think you can say that,” Lightfoot responded. “But no matter what, I think we’ve got to let the investigation play itself out.” Watch Mayor Lori Lightfoot discuss the incident with Superintendent Eddie Johnson below, courtesy of the Sun-Times.  No field sobriety test was performed on Johnson by the officers who responded to the scene, a group that included a sergeant, a lieutenant and a commander, Spielman said during her interview of Lightfoot. Johnson addressed the lack of a breath test Thursday when asked about it by a reporter. The superintendent said it is within a police officer’s discretion to administer the test if the officer feels there are grounds for it. “They don’t just do that just because,” Johnson said. “If someone looks impaired or intoxicated, or if (the officers) smell alcohol, or cannabis, for that matter, then they will conduct that.” He did not mention to reporters that he’d been drinking at dinner, according to footage of the news conference from WGN-TV and other media outlets. When a reporter asked Johnson if he believed the officers had made an error in not administering the breath test, he said he did not. “Somebody being asleep in the car doesn’t mean they’re impaired in any way,” Johnson said. He ended the news conference as reporters continued to call out questions. Watch the news conference with Superintendent Eddie Johnson below.  Lightfoot said in Friday’s interview that she would wait for the outcome of the internal investigation before determining if the incident was handled properly by responding officers or if Johnson, who was sworn in as superintendent in 2016 by her predecessor, former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will face disciplinary action. Lightfoot said everyone in the department, “whether it’s the superintendent or a beat patrol officer, has to abide by the rules.” She said Johnson made the right decision in calling for an investigation, which she said will “play itself out.” “I know what the superintendent told me, which is that he was having some medical issues this week, he was changing medication, he didn’t feel well, he pulled off to the side,” Lightfoot said. “IAD will sort out the rest of it.” When asked if she “(bought) his story,” Lightfoot said she had no reason to doubt what the superintendent told her. She pointed out his medical history, which includes a kidney transplant in 2017. “I know myself, when I’ve taken medication, sometimes it has side effects,” Lightfoot said. “I know from my parents. So, I take him at his word. The investigation will sort out the details.” Johnson told reporters he visited his cardiologist two days in a row last week for follow-up appointments regarding a blood clot he was treated for over the summer. “When I visited him on Tuesday, he adjusted my medication,” the superintendent said. “It’s painful to admit this, but when he adjusted my medication, I took the old medication out (of a weekly pill case) but I failed to put the new medication in. So, (the doctor) wasn’t too happy with me today when he found out I hadn’t taken it.” Johnson said he visited his neurologist following the early morning episode, where tests showed his blood pressure was high. The superintendent said that was when he realized he’d forgotten to add his new medication to his pill case. “Should I do better with that medication? There’s a couple people not too happy with me about that because that’s the same thing that happened before,” Johnson said. “So the blood pressure medication is something I have to do better with.” Johnson’s kidney transplant in August 2017 was due to glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the filters in the kidneys, which the Sun-Times reported was diagnosed in Johnson about 35 years ago after he had applied to the Chicago Police Academy. The condition, which the Chicago Tribune reported eventually left Johnson’s kidneys functioning at less than 10 percent capacity, was only publicly disclosed when Johnson almost fainted in January 2017 during a public appearance. Johnson referenced that prior spell while discussing Thursday’s episode with reporters. During last week’s news conference, he described the feeling he had while driving earlier that morning as being similar to how he had felt in 2017, when he became ill as he stood next to Emanuel and other police officials at a news conference. The Tribune reported two years ago that Johnson also blamed that incident on blood pressure medication, saying he had taken the prescription on an empty stomach. He also disclosed his kidney condition at that time, however. Johnson received a kidney transplant from his then-25-year-old son, Daniel, later that year. Daniel Johnson is now a Chicago police officer like his father. Lightfoot, who took office as mayor in May, had already been weighing the future of the police superintendent she inherited from Emanuel, who the Sun-Times reported rejected the Police Board’s three finalists for the job in 2016 in favor of the relatively-unknown Johnson. Lightfoot was the president of the board at the time, the newspaper said. Lightfoot earlier this year said she would evaluate Johnson’s performance once the summer, which typically sees an uptick in gang violence in the city, was over, the Sun-Times reported. She admitted Friday that the larger conversation about Johnson’s job has not yet taken place. Spielman on Friday asked Lightfoot if Thursday’s incident would factor into her decision on whether to keep Johnson, who the reporter wrote “wants desperately” to keep his job until April, when he becomes fully vested in his superintendent’s pension. Johnson’s current salary is $260,044. “I don’t want to speculate like that. I want to give him respect,” Lightfoot told Spielman. “We will see what the circumstances are. He called me up, let me know about it ahead of time and there’s an investigation going on. We’ll see where the facts take us.”
  • Tupac Shakur -- no, not the one you think -- was arrested Saturday in Tennessee after authorities allege he pulled a knife on a police officer. Shakur, 40, of Elizabethtown, shares the name, down to the middle name of Amaru, with the 25-year-old rapper slain in 1996. Unlike the rapper, this Tupac Shakur is white. Shakur is charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, simple possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. >> Read more trending news  Johnson City police officials said in a news release that Shakur was arrested Saturday evening after officers went to a home seeking him on warrants out of Carter County. As they arrived, they spotted Shakur in the passenger seat of a vehicle leaving the property. The officers found the car about a half-mile away and made contact with Shakur, who they said pulled away and reached toward his waistband. “Mr. Shakur then attempted to turn towards officers with a knife in his hand before being taken to the ground,” the news release said. “After a brief struggle, Mr. Shakur was placed in custody. “Mr. Shakur was in possession of a syringe and multiple baggies of methamphetamine.” Shakur was taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where he was booked on the charges. According to the news release, he is being held in lieu of $18,000 bail. He was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon. It was not immediately known if Shakur was given his name at birth or if he changed it as an adult. His birth predates the career of the slain rapper with whom he shares the name. The rapper Tupac Shakur, who had survived a shooting in 1994, was gunned down Sept. 7, 1996, in Las Vegas after seeing a Mike Tyson boxing match at the MGM Grand. Shakur was in the passenger seat of a BMW driven by rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, chairman of Death Row Records, later that night as they pulled up to an intersection near the Vegas Strip on their way to a nightclub. A white Cadillac pulled up alongside the vehicle and fired more than a dozen shots into the BMW, striking Shakur four times, according to news reports at the time, including MTV News. As part of a series of three operations, surgeons removed the rapper’s right lung in an unsuccessful effort to stop his internal bleeding. Shakur, who was put on a ventilator and heavily sedated, died Sept. 13, 1996, six days after being shot. His mother, Afeni Shakur, was at his side. Afeni Shakur, who named her son Lesane Parish Crooks when he was born in 1971, changed his name to Tupac Amaru, after an 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary, after she joined the Black Panther Party, according to Biography.com. Tupac’s last name was taken from the surname of his sister’s father. The homicide of the man BET named the most influential rapper of all time remains unsolved, though there have been multiple theories over the years, including one conspiracy theory that Shakur, tired of fame, faked his death. One of the most prevalent theories has been that the killing was part of a feud between East and West Coast rappers. The theory involved rapper Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G., with whom Shakur had an ongoing feud related to their rival record labels, the Los Angeles-based Death Row Records for Shakur and the New York-based Bad Boy Records for Smalls. Smalls, whose birth name was Christopher Wallace, was killed six months after Shakur’s death, in a March 1997 drive-by shooting very similar to the one that killed Shakur. Like Shakur, Wallace was killed as he sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle while leaving a music industry party in L.A. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which reviewed FBI files in 2011 regarding the Biggie Smalls shooting, federal agents investigated the possibility that Wallace’s slaying was committed in retaliation for Shakur’s death. See the FBI's redacted files on the death of Biggie Smalls here.  The files indicate that the FBI became involved as part of a probe of corruption and civil rights violations in the Los Angeles Police Department. The Review-Journal reported that the focus of the investigation was whether corrupt Los Angeles police officers were involved in Wallace’s killing. Federal investigators ultimately concluded that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against the officers suspected of involvement, the newspaper reported. Like that of Shakur, his killing remains unsolved.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • President Donald Trump said Wednesday in 'a major breakthrough' he is lifting all sanctions against Turkey. >> Read more trending news  The sanctions were imposed last week. Turkey will stop combat and the ceasefire will be permanent, the President said. 'We have saved the lives of many, many Kurds,' Trump said. 'We've done something that is very, very special.' Trump said Turkey and Syria must keep the peace.  'It's their neighborhood. They need to take care of it,' Trump said. 'Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand.' The president said a small number of troops would remain in Syria to protect oil interests. Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted there was 'Big success on the Turkey/Syria border.' 'Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended,' Trump tweeted. Turkey and Russia reached an agreement Tuesday, installing their forces along the border of northeast Syria after U.S. troops that were withdrawn from the area, The Associated Press reported. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Sochi, Russia, and revealed a 10-point memorandum about Syria, CNN reported. According to the memorandum, Turkish military and Russian military police will patrol the border. The United States was not included in the negotiations.
  • A Missouri man recently fired from his job at Arby’s for allegedly setting fires returned Saturday to the restaurant, where police allege he mutilated and decapitated a cat in the men’s restroom. Tanner Maggard, 19, of Lee’s Summit, is charged with second-degree animal abuse and second-degree property damage, according to online Jackson County court records. The animal abuse charge, which involves abuse by torture and/or mutilation while the animal was alive, is a felony. >> Read more trending news  WDAF in Kansas City obtained the court documents, including police reports that allege Maggard went to Arby’s on Saturday and placed an order before going into the restroom. When he came out, the records show, he asked the manager, “Oh, I see you remodeled the bathroom, huh?” Maggard went back into the restroom a short time later and was still in there when the manager went in to clean it. The manager told police he could hear Maggard in a stall, coughing and gagging. The manager left the restroom, followed by Maggard a short time later. Maggard went outside, the court documents say, according to WDAF. When the manager returned to finish his cleaning, he found a mutilated and decapitated cat on the diaper changing table in the stall where Maggard had been, the news station reported. Blood covered the walls, door and toilet. The manager told officers he went outside, where he spotted Maggard sitting in his truck, waiting to see his former boss’ reaction to the scene he had left behind, the court documents allege. Maggard then drove away. The records show that responding officers who processed the scene in the restroom did not detect the odor of decomposition, which indicated that the cat was recently killed, WDAF reported. Maggard repeatedly denied knowledge of the cat’s demise when questioned by detectives, the news station said. The restaurant did not have security cameras in place.  The restaurant had to replace the changing table and toilet in the stall and repaint the walls, the documents say. Online court records show Maggard was booked into the Jackson County Jail with bail set at $10,000. Maggard appeared to have bonded out as of Wednesday, according to jail records. Maggard is not allowed within 1,000 feet of the Arby’s. He is also not allowed to have contact with domesticated animals, the records show.
  • We told you about the Kitty Beautiful Cat Cafe earlier this month, now they're looking to hire young adults on the Autism spectrum. This new Orlando cafe is looking to give Autistic adults a big step towards independence. Heather Strauss is a co-owner of the cafe and a mom to two Autistic kids.  “I want to help take care of other people’s kids, kind of like how I want to take care of my own.” Strauss told me about the Autistic employee she just hired. “His parents started to cry, same way I would’ve. It just means the world because as a parent of kids on the Autism spectrum you’re always fighting for your kid, you’re always fighting for opportunities.” Autism disorders specialist, Kimberly Snoeblen, describes what makes Autistic people such great assets to the workforce.  “They have great abilities. They will be the person that’s always on time. They will be the person that follows the rules to the nth degree.” The Kitty Beautiful Cat Cafe will be having its grand opening the weekend of November 1st. Until then, Strauss plans to set up more young Autistic adults for success.
  • The search goes on for the man who a woman said grabbed her while she was jogging along the Northlake Parkway Trail in Lake Nona. According to the Orlando Police Department, the woman was on a run around 6:30 a.m. Sept. 23, when a man came behind her and touched her buttocks and her shoulder.  Police released a composite sketch Wednesday. They said detectives worked with the woman to create it.  Investigators said the man is described as Hispanic and in his early 20s. He stands 5 feet, 8 inches and has black spiky hair.  Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.  No other details were released.

Washington Insider

  • Denouncing the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump undertaken by Democrats in the House, several dozen GOP lawmakers stormed into a secure hearing room in the bowels of the Capitol on Wednesday, demanding that the proceedings be made public, and delaying a scheduled deposition involving a Pentagon official for a little over five hours. 'We're going to go, and see if we can get inside,' said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), as a group of several dozen Republicans pushed their way into the room, unhappy with how Democrats are handling this investigation. 'This is very unfair to the President,' said Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ). 'The American people deserve a public and open process,' said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), as Republicans prevented three different committees from moving ahead with Wednesday's hearing. Those interrupting the proceedings included Republican lawmakers who are allowed into the secure hearing room - because they are on one of the three committees involved in these closed door depositions - Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs. Democrats labeled the sit-in a political stunt that smacked of desperation. 'Trump wanted a foreign government to investigate his political opponent,' said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). 'That is a crime.' “Today's circus-like stunt will delay but it will not prevent our search for the truth about the president’s stunning misconduct,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). 'GOP 'storming' a classified deposition was a ridiculous stunt,' said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Democrats also criticized the GOP effort for violating rules on security, as a number of Republican lawmakers brought cell phones into the secure facility, which is prohibited.  It resulted in officials having to conduct a sweep of the rooms, to make sure no electronic devices had been left behind. 'You may wonder why is it happening now?” asked Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).  “Because Bill Taylor gave a devastating opening statement yesterday. They're freaked out. They're trying to stop this investigation.” Taylor is the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine - he testified Tuesday before investigators, making the case that President Trump was withholding military aid for Ukraine in a bid to get the Ukraine government to publicly announce investigations which might help Mr. Trump's re-election bid. In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, the President took direct aim at Taylor. Reports indicated the President may have been told by allies in the U.S. House of their Wednesday plans. “This looks awfully like obstruction,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). After ordering some pizza and refusing to leave the room known as a SCIF - Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility - GOP lawmakers moved on after about five hours, as Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant Secretary of Defense began her testimony around 3:15 pm.