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The Latest from News 96.5 WDBO

    The man who helped bring the NBA's Magic to Orlando is leading an effort to do the same thing with professional baseball. During a news conference at Dubsdread Golf Course Wednesday, Orlando Magic co-founder Pat Williams said he wants a Major League Baseball expansion team to come to Orlando. He announced the team would be called the Orlando Dreamers.  In an Interview on Orlando's Evening News with Tony Marino,  Williams said from Walt Disney to John Young to thousands of people that move to Orlando each month, the city is about dreamers. 'We're the largest market that doesn't have a Major League Baseball team or an NFL team,' Williams said. He said that professional baseball has not worked well in Miami or Tampa but that he is convinced the Orlando market would be different.  Williams said he called the MLB commissioner’s office Wednesday and left a message about his plan. He encourage people to answer two simple questions at OrlandoDreamers.com, to help gauge interest.
  • When a red-tailed hawk became trapped in a net at Orlando’s Top Golf on Wednesday morning, firefighters decided to “wing it” and come up with a unique rescue plan. “It just goes to show that when our firefighters come to work, they don’t know what the day will bring,” said Mike Jachles with Orange County Fire and Rescue. Around 8 a.m. workers at Top Golf on Universal Blvd. noticed a hawk caught in a net about 50 feet up at the end of a driving range.  Orange County Fire and Rescue reached out to SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center to help in their operation. “The plan was devised to send some of the SeaWorld workers up in a lift that the Orange County Convention Center brought over,” Jachles said.  “They had to work for several minutes to free the hawk.  They got a hold on him, brought him down to the ground and got him in a cage.” Firefighters were waiting on the ground with a tarp as a backup plan in case the hawk fell, but it didn’t happen. “Fortunately it had a good outcome,” Jachles said. The red-tailed hawk was taken back to SeaWorld for their veterinarians to check out.  They told Jachles they’d give the bird fluids and eventually release it in the area from where it was rescued. “This is definitely one of the more peculiar animal rescue calls,” Jachles admitted. (App users tap here to see the video) (Tap here for video)
  • Committing fraud against a veteran could become an “aggravated” white-collar crime next year. Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced his support of The Florida Veterans Protection Act at the University of Central Florida this morning. “When you take advantage of one of our veterans, we’re going to take the level of the law and make it as punitive as we can for those individuals,” Patronis said. The bill, filed in September, would enhance the sentence of a fraudster who victimizes 10 or more veterans to obtain $50,000 or more to a first-degree felony. If approved in January, the bill would become law on Oct. 1 2020.  Florida is home nearly 1.5 million veterans who, according to Patronis, are twice as likely to be the victim of fraud.
  • Mickey Mouse has brought a smile to the hearts and minds of kids, and even some adults, for 91 years. >> Read more trending news  On Nov. 18, fans of Mickey and the rest of Disney are celebrating his 'birthday.' Here are 10 roles Mickey has been featured in. Some are iconic like his donning of a sorcerer's hat, while others are just gaining steam among those who don't eat, live and breathe Disney. 1. 'Steamboat Willie' Mickey first made it to the big screen, on Nov. 18, 1928 in his first cartoon released 'Steamboat Willie.' It was one of the first synchronized sound cartoons produced and was entered into the National Film Registry in 1998. Walt Disney himself provided Mickey's voice in the cartoon, as well as Minnie's. Disney performed Mickey's voice from 1928 to 1947 and again in 1955 to 1959. Watch 'Steamboat Willie': 2. 'Plane Crazy' 'Plane Crazy' was released four months after 'Steamboat Willie,' but was, in fact, the first one animated. It made its official premiere on March 17, 1929.  Watch 'Plane Crazy': 3. 'The Band Concert' 'The Band Concert' was the first color Mickey Mouse cartoon. It was released Feb. 23, 1935.  4. 'Through the Mirror' In 'Through the Mirror,' Mickey Mouse takes over the lead character from Alice for a trip through the looking glass. It was released on April 30, 1936. Watch 'Through the Mirror':  5. 'Brave Little Tailor' Mickey Mouse was the title tailor in this 1938 short. He boasts that he killed '7 with one blow.' Townspeople think he is talking about troublesome giants, while in reality, Mickey was talking about houseflies. 'Brave Little Tailor' was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. 6. 'Fantasia' Mickey Mouse donned a sorcerers hat in 1940, in perhaps his most iconic role in 'Fantasia.' The movie itself was something that not many people may have seen by 1940, animated vignettes set to classical music. Mickey Mouse was the apprentice to the sorcerer named Yensid (Disney spelled backward)  Watch a clip of Sorcerer's Apprentice here. 7. 'Fun and Fancy Free' Mickey Mouse had a new voice in 1947 for the movie 'Fun and Fancy Free's' 'Mickey and the Beanstalk' segment. James MacDonald took over voicing Mickey Mouse for Disney when Walt's schedule or voice would not allow it.  Watch a clip of 'Mickey and the Beanstalk' here. 8. 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' Christmas came early in 1983 as Mickey Mouse took on the role of Bob Cratchit in 'Mickey's Christmas Carol.' It was the first time that Wayne Allwine voiced Mickey in a theatrical role. Before the short, Allwine did his voice for 'The New Mickey Mouse Club.' Allwine, who was married to the actress who gives Minnie Mouse her voice, voiced Mickey until his death in May 2009. Watch a clip of 'Mickey's Christmas Carol': 9. 'Get a Horse!' Released in Nov. 2013, 'Get a Horse' is a classic-looking, and sounding, cartoon with a twist. Mickey and the gang jump out of the black and white world, and into a world of full color. With cameos of classic Disney characters like Peg-Leg Pete and Horace Horsecollar, it marks the first time Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a creation of Walt's that ended up to the eventual creation of Mickey, makes an appearance with Mickey. It also features Walt as the voice of Mickey. Watch a clip of 'Get a Horse': 10. Mickey Mouse Shorts In June 2013, Disney started producing shorts for its YouTube channel. The first one, 'No Service,' has had more than 8 million views. The latest, 'Carried Away,' was posted in July. Watch the short here:
  • From now through the end of December, Central Floridians can head to Lake County and ride The Polar Express. The Polar Express Train Ride is licensed by Warner Bros. and features a musical, theatrical recreation of a Christmas movie favorite. The ride began on Friday, Nov. 15 and runs to Dec. 30 out of the Tavares train station at Wooton Park in Tavares. The ride’s website says, “You will have your golden ticket punched by the conductor, experience the dancing chefs who will serve cocoa and a tasty treat, interact with the hobo and other characters from the movie, along with enjoying a reading of the classic children’s book THE POLAR EXPRESS™ by Chris Van Allsburg.” Tickets for the ride tart at $48 for weekday coach passes and go up to $$88 for first-class weekend tickets. CLICK HERE for more info and to purchase tickets.
  • News 96.5 WDBO talker Brian Kilmeade will be in central Florida this weekend.   The Fox News host is currently on a book tour for his new release Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers.  Kilmeade will make two stops on Saturday where he will discuss the book and sign copies.  At 1:30 p.m. he will be at the Barnes and Noble in the Villages.  At 7:00 p.m. Kilmeade will appear at Writer’s Block Bookstore in Winter Park. The following Saturday, November 30, Kilmeade will bring his book tour to Vero Beach. For details on the book tour click HERE.  Tickets to the central Florida events are $30 and include a signed copy of the book.   For a chance to win two tickets, download the News 96.5 WDBO app and click the Kilmeade button.
  • A ride where ‘only mouse rules apply.’ That’s how Disney is describing their newest Mickey Mouse ride set to be unveiled in Hollywood Studios. Based off Mickey cartoons, ‘Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway’ will give the riders a feeling that they’ve stepped into a cartoon themselves. As the Orlando Business Journal writes, “The 2-D drawing style of classic cartoons is recreated in a physical 3-D environment with eye-popping colors and sound effects using traditional instruments and obscure equipment.” ‘Runaway Railway’ will debut in the park next spring. To see a poster that Disney has released giving even more hints to the ride, check out Orlando Business Journal.
  • The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season isn’t over yet. Tropical Storm Sebastien formed Tuesday morning in the Atlantic Ocean, but the storm is no threat to the U.S. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Sebastien will remain over open water. The system is currently about 275 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands, packing maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour.  It’s moving north-northwest at 8 miles per hour. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect because of the storm. You can read the NHC’s first advisory on Tropical Storm Sebastien by clicking HERE.
  • The city of Orlando is the place to be this holiday season with family-friendly holiday events planned between now and the end of December. Crews are already constructing Orlando’s  Christmas tree at Lake Eola Park.  The 72-foot tree is adorned more than 160,000 LED lights and decorated with 7,000 ornaments. The city of Orlando is planning more than a dozen events to celebrate the holiday season.          WHEN & WHERE: The City of Orlando invites Central Florida residents and guests to celebrate the holiday season at several events, including:  Saturday, November 23, 2019 5 p.m. – Jingle Eve at the Ivanhoe Village Main Street District Ivanhoe Village, North Orange Avenue  Annually organized by the Ivanhoe Village Main Street District, Jingle Eve is a holiday celebration featuring a Santa’s Village, Christmas tree lighting, food trucks, local artists, a boat parade, vendors and live musical performances.  Saturday, December 1 – Saturday, December 31, 2019 Deck the Downtown Downtown Orlando  The Downtown Orlando Partnership, Downtown Arts District Orlando, the Church Street and Thornton Park Orlando Main Streets districts and the Downtown Development Board are hosting “Deck the Downtown” December 1 – 31. During this time, downtown Orlando businesses will be “decked-out” with festive lights and window decorations.  Sunday, December 1, 2019 3 p.m. – Handel’s Messiah, Presented by the Messiah Choral Society Bob Carr Theater, 401 West Livingston Street  The Messiah Choral Society is hosting its the annual performance of “Handel’s Messiah”. The concert features familiar masterworks performed by a more than 120– member choir, including professional soloists.    4 p.m. – Light Up SoDo 2019 SoDo Shopping Center, 80 West Grant Street  The SoDo Main Street District will host its annual family and pet-friendly holiday event that will feature face painting, a letter writing station for kids to share their wish list with Santa, train rides, ornament making and wreath making, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and more.  Thursday, December 5, 2019 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. – What’s Up Downtown for the Holidays Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park  The Downtown Development Board’s annual holiday edition of What’s Up Downtown at Lake Eola Park will feature performances from the Russian Ballet Orlando, Mad Cow Theatre, Howard Middle School Jazz Band and Howard Middle School Elective Orchestra, First United Methodist Church of Orlando students and the NYCE Guys.  Friday, December 6, 2019 5 p.m. – Tree Lighting Celebration Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park  The City of Orlando’s annual Tree Lighting Celebration at Lake Eola Park will feature the official lighting of the city’s 72-foot Christmas tree featuring 160,000 animated lights that will perform nightly in a synchronized light show. This free event will also include live music and performances, vendor booths and The Daily City’s Food Truck Bazaar serving delicious bites.  Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019 Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree Show Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park Every day from December 6 through December 22 at Lake Eola Park, the City of Orlando’s Christmas tree comes alive with synchronized light and music. The show will take place at the following times: 5:45 p.m.; 6:45 p.m.; 7:45 p.m.; 8:45 p.m., and 9:45 p.m.  Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019 Fri & Sat 4:30-9 p.m.; Sunday 5-8 p.m. Santa Claus at the Eola House Lake Eola Park, 512 East Washington Street Santa Claus will be available for photos at the Eola House all-month long, spreading Christmas cheer.  Thursday, December 12, 2019 5 p.m. – Holiday on the Drive 2019 College Park Main Street, 648 Dartmouth Street  The College Park Main Street District’s Holiday on the Drive features a Christmas tree lighting, live music, Santa Claus and other holiday festivities.  Friday, December 13, 2019 7 p.m. – Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park - Elf Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park  Every week during the holiday season, a free movie will be played at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park. This week’s free holiday movie is “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell.  Saturday, December 14, 2019 7 p.m.– Annual Violectric Holiday Show Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park  Rock in the holidays with the popular strings super-group “Violectric” at the annual Violectric Holiday Show. The concert features traditional holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits.  Friday, December 20, 2019 7 p.m. – Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park  Every week during the holiday season, a free movie will be played at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park. This week’s free holiday movie is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” starring Jim Carrey.  Saturday, December 21, 2019 7 p.m. – The Nutcracker, performed by Russian Ballet Orlando Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park  Russian Ballet Orlando will perform Tchaikovsky’s arrangement of the Nutcracker, featuring unforgettable characters, dazzling costumes, onstage blizzards and timeless choreography.  Friday, December 27, 2019 7 p.m. – Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park  Every week during the holiday season, a free movie will be played at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park. This week’s free holiday movie is “Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.          
  • No doubt - Krampus is very creepy. In German folklore he is the “half-goat, half-demon” figure who during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved. The folks at the Phyre Brewery and Tavern had planned to feature the eerie figure in their float during the St. Cloud Christmas Parade on December 7, but, once the Chamber of Commerce discovered the plan they banned Krampus saying he was too scary. Now the brewery has dedicate the day for their Krampus Festival where patrons are invited to wear their horns and visit with creature himself.  On their web page they call the event Family Friendly.   A second event called Kookies with Krampus will take place at Phyre on December 22. 

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A worker at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio walked in a patient’s room last week and saw a father in bed with his daughter, both in a state of partial undress, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  Now, the Dayton Police Department is investigating possible child abuse involving the 12-year-old girl with developmental disabilities. A social worker at the hospital reported the incident to police. “I’m calling to make a report because I’m not familiar with Ohio law and what constitutes sexual abuse,” the caller told dispatchers. “Dad had his shirt off and he had the girl’s shirt and pants off and was laying along in bed together.” The social worker told the dispatcher she asked the man to leave the hospital, and said his reaction was surprising. “I told dad that I was going to call the cops and he said, ‘yeah, that’s fine,’” she said. Police are investigating whether a crime has occurred, and no charges have been filed.
  • The man who helped bring the NBA's Magic to Orlando is leading an effort to do the same thing with professional baseball. During a news conference at Dubsdread Golf Course Wednesday, Orlando Magic co-founder Pat Williams said he wants a Major League Baseball expansion team to come to Orlando. He announced the team would be called the Orlando Dreamers.  In an Interview on Orlando's Evening News with Tony Marino,  Williams said from Walt Disney to John Young to thousands of people that move to Orlando each month, the city is about dreamers. 'We're the largest market that doesn't have a Major League Baseball team or an NFL team,' Williams said. He said that professional baseball has not worked well in Miami or Tampa but that he is convinced the Orlando market would be different.  Williams said he called the MLB commissioner’s office Wednesday and left a message about his plan. He encourage people to answer two simple questions at OrlandoDreamers.com, to help gauge interest.
  • The man whose toddler granddaughter plummeted from a cruise ship window in Puerto Rico this summer appeared in court Wednesday with an attorney and translator present. According to CBS News, no evidence was released. The court is expected to pick a trial date on Dec. 17.  >> Read more trending news  Puerto Rican authorities charged Salvatore Anello, 50, was charged in October with negligent homicide in the July 7 death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand of Granger, Indiana. A judge set Anello's bond at $80,000. Chloe and her family were aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas when Anello placed her on a railing by an 11th-floor window, believing glass would be behind her, he told authorities. But the window was open, and Chloe fell through, the Sun Sentinel reported. The girl struck a concrete dock and died, officials said. The Wiegand family's attorney, Michael Winkleman, blasted the charges and said Royal Caribbean should have 'followed proper safety guidelines for windows,' NBC News reported. 'These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family,' he told the news outlet. 'Clearly, this was a tragic accident, and the family's singular goal remains for something like this to never happen again.' In a July 22 interview with 'Today,' Chloe's mother, Kimberly Wiegand, said she and her husband, South Bend police Officer Alan Wiegand, believed that Royal Caribbean had put their safety at risk. 'We obviously blame them for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship,' she said at the time. 'There are a million things that could've been done to make that safer.' The family also was pursuing legal action against the cruise line, 'Today' reported. Royal Caribbean released a statement in July saying the company was 'deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family,' according to 'Today.
  • The kidnapping of an 8-year-old Texas girl that was captured by a doorbell camera in May is once again in the public eye, in large part due to body camera footage released Monday by police that depicts the girl’s equally dramatic rescue by officers. The video shows Fort Worth police officers rushing the room at WoodSpring Suites, located in the nearby suburb of Forest Hill, where kidnapper Michael Webb had taken the girl and sexually assaulted her. Webb, a homeless man who was convicted in September of kidnapping, was sentenced Thursday to life in federal prison with the possibility of parole, according to court records. U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, who prosecuted the case for the Northern District of Texas, said last week that it took jurors less than 10 minutes to find Webb, 51, guilty of snatching the girl from her mother’s arms around 6:38 p.m. May 18 as they took a walk in the Ryan Place neighborhood of Fort Worth. Officers found the girl about eight hours later, hidden in a plastic bin of dirty laundry in Webb’s hotel room. Cox said in a statement that federal prosecutors are grateful for the judge’s decision to sentence Webb to life in prison. “My hope is that this family and this community will find solace in knowing that he will never be able to harm another little child again,” Cox said. >> Read more trending news  Investigators credited civilians, one of whom was identified by ABC News as a pastor familiar with the child’s family, with first spotting Webb’s vehicle in the hotel parking lot and calling for help. “I’d like to give you all a hand, as citizens in this community, for pulling together the way you did,” Joel Fitzgerald, then the Fort Worth’s police chief, said at a news conference following the girl’s safe recovery. A Forest Hills police sergeant, Richardson Wolfe, was later fired for discounting those same civilians’ concerns, despite the fact that they were correct, Forest Hills police Chief Dan Dennis said in June. “They had located what was correctly the suspect’s vehicle. He basically discounted that,” Dennis said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He looked at the suspect vehicle as unrelated and essentially tried to talk them out of it being the right vehicle. “Fort Worth showed up and took that same evidence and, within minutes, was breaching the door.” Wolfe also failed to find the girl when he searched Webb’s hotel room more than two hours before her rescue. The sergeant was called to the scene after someone who noticed Webb -- and the young victim -- at the hotel called the front desk and told the clerk they thought he was the man being sought by Fort Worth authorities. The clerk, who called police, pointed Wolfe and another officer to Webb’s third-floor room, the Star-Telegram reported. After officers knocked for several minutes, Webb eventually opened the door. “Michael Webb was less than cooperative, but after several minutes, the officers were permitted to step into the room and look,” according to a statement to the Star-Telegram. “Upon entry into the room, the officers made visual inspection of the areas of the room that appeared to be large enough to conceal the missing child. They did not locate any other occupants inside the room. “With no one located and no other information available, the officers cleared the scene.” Dennis said in June that Wolfe’s failure to find the girl during that first sweep of the room was not a factor in his termination, according to WFAA in Dallas. The search had been a reasonable one, the chief said. Instead, his termination stemmed from his response to the tip from the pastor, which the news station said Dennis described as “woefully incompetent” and displaying “shocking ineptitude.” Forest Hills officers, including Wolfe, were the first to return to the hotel shortly after 2 a.m. after receiving the tip about Webb’s car in the parking lot. Fort Worth officers arrived about six minutes later and took over, since the kidnapping took place in their jurisdiction. “The child was located with Michael Webb a short time later,” the release to the newspaper said. Dennis said Wolfe could not remain on the force after his handling of the tip that led to the girl’s rescue. “After looking at all of it, I wouldn’t have wanted him to respond to the call if it was my 8-year-old, so I can’t keep him on staff,” Dennis said. ‘We got her! We got her!’  The body camera footage released Monday shows the officers’ remarkable discovery. The video, which was obtained by multiple media outlets, begins with the officer wearing the camera racing toward the hotel in a police cruiser. As he approaches the scene, he does so without activating the car’s lights and sirens. His partner asks why. “If this guy’s looking out the windows, I’m not trying to let him see that we’re rolling around,” the officer responds. Once at the hotel, the officer is seen hurrying inside and asking a woman who appears to be a hotel housekeeper if she has the room information for Room 333, where Webb was staying. “I need it real fast,” he tells the woman, which sends her running into a small office, where she pulls Webb’s registration paperwork from a filing cabinet. The officer determines the man in the room matches the description of the wanted kidnapper. He takes the paperwork back outside, where some of his fellow officers are using flashlights to search the ground for clues. According to prosecutors, the officers had confirmed the presence in the parking lot of the car suspected in the abduction. Blood was visible on the front passenger seat, they said. The officer recording the search is seen handing a colleague the hotel paperwork, asking her to hold on to it. Meanwhile, other officers are already closing in on Webb upstairs. After obtaining a police shield, the officer with the body camera is seen running up several flights of stairs to the third floor, where a team waits outside Room 333. Webb and the girl are on the other side of the door. “Fort Worth PD, open the door,” an officer is heard calling as he knocks repeatedly, getting no answer. After several seconds, an officer gives the command, “Ram it.” As one officer kicks at the door and another readies a metal battering ram, Webb calls from the other side: “Hold on.” “Open the door! Open the door! Fort Worth Police Department! Open the door!” an officer yells. Webb doesn’t respond, so the officer with the ram begins striking the door. “Hold on, man, I’m getting dressed,” Webb calls. “Open the God-(expletive) door!” an officer yells back. The officer with the ram hits the door a fourth and final time as Webb tells officers he’s opening the door. “Hands. Let me see your hands,” an officer tells him as the door swings open. “Step out here. Step out.” “God (expletive),” Webb mutters, sounding annoyed, as the officers grab him and begin to pull him into the hallway, naked except for a pair of white socks. Two officers force him onto the ground and handcuff him as the rest swarm into the hotel room, guns drawn, in search of the girl. “Blood on the bed,” an officer notes as the beam of a police flashlight illuminates the room. A moment later, success. “Hey, here she is! Here she is!” an officer exclaims. The girl is seen rising from the plastic bin as the officer squats down to pick her up. Her small arms encircle his neck. “Got her! We got her! We got her!” another officer calls out in the video. Watch the footage below, courtesy of WFAA. Warning: The video may be difficult for some viewers. As the officers, out of breath but jubilant, radio in the news that the girl has been found and Webb is in custody, she is heard asking them about her clothes. “Don’t worry about your clothes,” an officer tells her. The officer wearing the body camera finds a towel to wrap around the girl. “Here you go, baby,” the officer says as he hands the towel to a colleague. They then head down the hotel stairwell with the girl. “Come here, sweetheart,” the officer says as he holds the door to the stairwell open. “You’re OK,” the officer carrying the girl says. “Yeah,” she responds. “You’re safe, we got you,” the officer continues as they begin their descent. “You’re going to be OK,” the officer filming the incident says. As they arrive in the parking lot of the hotel, the officers order two men in the parking lot to stand back. One of them is later identified as the girl’s father, who is on the phone telling someone where his daughter had been found. According to ABC News, the pastor who called in the tip about Webb’s car was also at the scene when the girl was brought out. A brazen daylight kidnapping  Officers wrapped Webb in a sheet and took him to the police station where, in a three-hour recorded statement, he admitted to kidnapping and raping the girl. According to the Star-Telegram, FBI Special Agent Chris Thompson and Fort Worth Police Detective Amy Heise asked Webb early in the interview if he knew why he was there. “A little girl,” he responded. “That little girl.” Webb initially lied to the investigators, claiming he’d been paid $1,000 by a man named Nick to abduct and sexually assault the 8-year-old, the newspaper reported. He came clean about two hours into the interview, telling Thompson and Heise they deserved the truth because they had “been nice to (him) considering what the (expletive) he did.” Crying at times, Webb told the investigators he arrived at the hotel with the girl around 8:30 p.m. after spending a couple of hours in the car in an empty church parking lot. He made her stay hidden on the front passenger floorboard of the vehicle, court records indicate. Webb admitted in his confession that he threatened the girl in an effort to keep her from telling police what he’d done to her. “What did you say to scare her, Michael?” Heise asks in the video. “I told her if she said anything, I would do something to her parents,” Webb says, sobbing. The girl told investigators that same threat is what kept her quiet the first time police showed up at the kidnapper’s hotel room looking for her. Webb’s federal public defender, John Stickney, attempted in September to get his confession thrown out, alleging that his client had not slept in three days and was not lucid enough the morning of May 19 to waive his right to speak without a lawyer present. Following a hearing that included testimony from Thompson, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor denied the motion, the Star-Telegram reported. During the trial, Webb’s lawyers did not cross-examine any of the prosecution’s witnesses or call any of their own. According to the newspaper, they urged jurors to ignore the emotions brought up by the testimony regarding the girl’s sexual assault. Stickney argued during his closing that the government failed to produce evidence that Webb was participating in interstate commerce during the crime, one of the elements that must be proven under the federal law against kidnapping. Court records in the case cite the hotel’s proximity to the interstate, making it a popular stopover for interstate travelers, as proof of that element of the kidnapping charge. Webb, who used Google maps on his cellphone to find the hotel, also drove along Interstate 35 and Interstate 20 to get there. “The cellphone, the internet and the interstate highways were used to facilitate and to further the commission of the offense because they helped Webb reach the hotel by the most direct route,” the documents say. The records and media reports describe how Webb, who was driving a gray Ford 500 registered to his mother, approached his victim and her mother twice as the pair walked along 6th Avenue in Fort Worth the evening of the abduction. According to the Star-Telegraph, the girl’s mother, who was not named to keep her daughter from being identified because of the sexual assault, testified at Webb’s September trial that he asked her upon his first approach if she wanted to get high. He also asked if she liked money, the woman said. Webb drove off but returned a short time later. That time, he got out of the car and grabbed her daughter, pushing the girl into the car through the driver’s door before climbing in after her. The girl’s mother tried to climb onto his lap to hit the brakes, but Webb was able to push her out of the car and speed away. In his confession, portions of which have been made public, Webb tells Thompson and Heise he “scoped (the neighborhood) out pretty good” in advance. Still, he said, he must have missed at least one witness. “When I pushed the woman and grabbed her, I heard somebody screaming. I heard somebody screaming,” Webb says in the video. That portion of the abduction was captured on a doorbell camera across the street from the scuffle. In the grainy footage, the girl’s mother can be seen falling to the asphalt as Webb drives off with her daughter. She gets up and runs down the street, screaming for help. “Help me! Help me, please!” the girl’s mother screams. “My daughter just got kidnapped!” Watch footage from the doorbell camera below, courtesy of ABC News. The homeowner of the home with the camera can be seen stopping in his yard and watching in alarm as the woman runs down the street. Webb’s car speeds off in the distance. The girl’s mother was equally frantic in her 911 call, which was obtained by ABC News. “A car, a gray car, just drove off. I think it was a handicap. He just kidnapped my daughter,” the panic-stricken woman tells the dispatcher. “He dragged me off the street and kidnapped my daughter.” The woman pleads with the dispatcher, describing the abductor as a scary man who had been harassing them. She says police need to find her daughter, now. “Please,” she tells the dispatcher. “I can’t let her be gone! Please!” A critical clue  Thompson, who works on the FBI’s Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking Task Force, told ABC News the doorbell camera that caught the tail end of the abduction was a lucky break. The camera is not designed to record any random movement in the street, like a car driving past. It kicked on when the homeowner stepped outside. “The person who owned the home, essentially, accidentally activated the Ring doorbell at that time,” Thompson told the network. The footage, which gave investigators a look at the kidnapper’s vehicle, was crucial. “The Ring doorbell video was the only piece of video that was available for this particular case. It was absolutely critical,” the FBI agent said. The girl’s mother was also able to give detectives a description of the man who snatched her daughter. News of the abduction spread quickly through Fort Worth-area media, leading several members of the community to aid in the search for the missing girl. Heise, who led her department’s investigation, also reached out to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for assistance. Heise told ABC News each moment that went by without word of the girl’s whereabouts and safety felt heavy. “It felt like time was flying by and that I was moving so slow, and that I just could not move fast enough,” Heise told the network. “Because I knew we needed to move fast, and it just felt like I just couldn't get it done.” The detective said she was in a “state of shock” when she learned the girl had been found alive. “I was working as hard as I could to find this little girl, and I just couldn't believe that we had done it,” Heise said. “And in that moment, I just felt a great sense of gratitude to the community, because they did this. They did this. It wasn't us.” Matthew DeSarno, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas field office, said following Webb’s September conviction that he was proud of the collaboration of all those involved in the case, including his agency’s Child Exploitation Task Force and the Fort Worth Police Department’s Major Case Unit Task Force. He also thanked the citizen volunteers, who he said “worked tirelessly” to help bring the victim home to her family. “The critical role volunteer searchers and other members of the public played in recovering the victim cannot be overstated, and the FBI is grateful for their assistance,” DeSarno said. Following Webb’s sentencing Thursday, DeSarno said law enforcement and area residents took a dangerous predator off the streets. “Today’s sentence sends an important message to all predators,” the agent said. “We will not allow any crime against children to go unpunished.”
  • When a red-tailed hawk became trapped in a net at Orlando’s Top Golf on Wednesday morning, firefighters decided to “wing it” and come up with a unique rescue plan. “It just goes to show that when our firefighters come to work, they don’t know what the day will bring,” said Mike Jachles with Orange County Fire and Rescue. Around 8 a.m. workers at Top Golf on Universal Blvd. noticed a hawk caught in a net about 50 feet up at the end of a driving range.  Orange County Fire and Rescue reached out to SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center to help in their operation. “The plan was devised to send some of the SeaWorld workers up in a lift that the Orange County Convention Center brought over,” Jachles said.  “They had to work for several minutes to free the hawk.  They got a hold on him, brought him down to the ground and got him in a cage.” Firefighters were waiting on the ground with a tarp as a backup plan in case the hawk fell, but it didn’t happen. “Fortunately it had a good outcome,” Jachles said. The red-tailed hawk was taken back to SeaWorld for their veterinarians to check out.  They told Jachles they’d give the bird fluids and eventually release it in the area from where it was rescued. “This is definitely one of the more peculiar animal rescue calls,” Jachles admitted. (App users tap here to see the video) (Tap here for video)

Washington Insider

  • Ambassador Gordon Sondland drew stern rebukes from Republican lawmakers on Wednesday as he told impeachment hearings that President Donald Trump's personal lawyer had made clear that in order for the new leader of Ukraine to get a White House meeting with the President, then Ukraine would have to announce investigations sought by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo,' Sondland said, as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union said it became clear to him that the President ultimately had been holding up military aid to Ukraine to leverage those same investigations as well. 'We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani,' Sondland added. While Sondland repeatedly acknowledged that no one - including President Trump - had told him the aid for Ukraine was tied to any investigations wanted by Mr. Trump, the Ambassador said he ultimatley felt that was the bottom line. 'That was my presumption,' Sondland said. Seemingly caught off guard by Sondland's testimony - which more sharply alleged that there was a clear effort to condition aid to Ukraine for a series of investigations than his previous deposition testimony - Republicans ultimately took the gloves off, and took after the President's own ambassador. 'You really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations,' said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH). 'Other than my own presumption,' Sondland interjected, further aggravating Turner, his voice growing more strident by the minute. 'Do you know what hearsay evidence is ambassador?' Turner asked. 'Do you know what made up testimony is?' GOP lawmakers mocked Sondland's earlier statement that he presumed the aid-for-investigations effort was true, when he said he realized 'two plus two equals four.' 'Two presumptions plus two presumptions does not equal even one fact,' said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). Earlier, GOP counsel Stephen Castor sought to undercut Sondland's testimony, rattling off a series of items which Sondland did not have to back up his presumption. 'You don't have records, you don't have notes, because you didn't take notes, you don't have a lot of recollections,' Castor said.  'I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability, isn't that true?' Castor asked, who did not gain the agreement of Sondland.  'What I'm trying to do today is use the information I have to be as forthcoming as possible,' said Sondland. Republicans also complained openly to Sondland about why he did not use a quote from the President - which Sondland had used in a text message - denying any kind of quid pro quo. 'Do you know what a quid pro quo is?' asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who said Sondland should have made that one of the first items in his lengthy opening statement. Ironically, at the start of the hearing, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), warned the Oregon hotel developer that he faced a difficult day. 'Ambassador Sondland, you are going to be smeared,' Nunes declared. But the roughest treatment for Sondland actually came from the GOP, and not from Democrats. Here is the link to my live updates on today's hearing.