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Updated: 3 min 18 sec ago

Teen missing for nearly a year was kept as ‘sex slave’ in trailer, police say

12 min 36 sec ago

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Police have arrested seven suspected human traffickers after a 16-year-old boy who had been missing for nearly a year was found in a “filthy” trailer in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“The teenage victim in this case was lured with promises of a better life,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said at a press conference Monday. “Instead, he was moved into a filthy trailer and used as a sex slave for nearly a year.”

The investigation began on May 9, 2018 after Louisiana officials contacted police in St. Petersburg with information about another missing boy, 17, who they believed had been lured through the online gaming app Discord.

According to police, the suspects used it to communicate with the teen, who they picked up and drove to St. Petersburg.

When investigators went to a mobile home in North St. Petersburg where Louisiana authorities said he was, they found both teens living in the trailer with four men, Mark Earl Dennis, Andrew Barry Dennis, Curtis Lee Gruwell and Michael Wayne Schwartz.

The suspect we were looking for in the human trafficking case is in custody. Curtis Gruwell turned himself in to #stpetepd this morning.
He’s charged w conspiracy to commit human trafficking and interference with custody. pic.twitter.com/aHM9ZD88kA

— St. Pete Police (@StPetePD) January 15, 2019

Dennis initially told authorities he was the 16-year-old’s father, which turned out to be false, police said.

The 16-year-old, from Marion County, Florida, was 15 when he disappeared. Police say his family found a note from her son saying not to look for him. Investigators now believe one of the suspects, Eleanor Faye McGlamory, had befriended the boy and lured him to the trailer.

“For the next year, he was introduced to sadomasochism and used as a sex slave by Mark and Anddrew Dennis, Gruwell, Schwartz and their associated, Michael Ray Blasdel and JR Gauthier,” police said in a news release. During the time he was held in the mobile home he did not attend school and wasn’t given medical treatment, according to police.

All seven face charges of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and interference with custody. Mark Earl Dennis, Andrew Barry Dennis, Michael Ray Blasdel and JR Gauthier also face charges of sexual battery with a child under age 16.

Hospitals try to reduce opioid use for new moms after c-sections

29 min 53 sec ago

DENVER -- Opioid abuse is one of the leading causes of death for new mothers in Colorado.  That’s why some local hospitals are offering something new to their c-section patients, and an alternative to opioids.

New mom Lauren Beckos was happy to learn about the option. The Denver mom delivered baby Abigail four weeks ago through c-section at Swedish Medical Center and afterward she chose not to use any opioids for pain management.

“I knew that if possible I wanted to avoid that,” Beckos said, “because I knew about the addiction, and because I was nursing, and previous experience taking some pain killers, I didn’t enjoy it.”

Instead, Dr. Julie Gelman placed a small catheter under the muscle near the incision that continuously released numbing medicine.

“No opioids whatsoever,” Lauren said.

The On-Q infusion pain pump has a large bulb of medicine that can be carried around and lasts 3 to 5 days.  That, along with Tylenol and ibuprofen was all Lauren needed to handle the pain.  “The pain was ok,” she said.

The ON-Q pump has been used for years for other procedures, but Swedish Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center, and Presbyterian/St Luke’s just recently started offering it after c-sections.

“This is when pregnant moms are starting opioid use, and it could be an addiction problem, and a long term problem, and we are trying to reduce that,” Dr. Gelman said.

She adds that cutting back on opioid use can also reduce nausea, vomiting, and constipation for new moms who would rather be focused on their baby.

Diabetic Texas teen’s service dog fatally shot outside her home

35 min 32 sec ago

QUINLAN, Texas — A diabetic alert dog trained to help prevent a 15-year-old girl from going into diabetic shock was shot to death by someone outside her north Texas home.

KDFW reports that someone shot the golden retriever, Journey, at their home in Quinlan, Texas.

“He was breathing really hard and his gums were white, then he laid his head on my lap,” Hannah Westmoreland told KTVT. “I just went over there and kissed him on the head and told him everything was going to be OK.”

Westmoreland was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 8 years old. At age 12, she met Journey after the community helped raised $10,000 so her mom, who is a single parent, could buy the service dog.

“He took Hannah’s little hero for no reason. He took what has saved her life more than once,” said her mom, Tina Westmoreland, through tears. “He was going to be with her while she was in college, to keep her help healthy in college.”

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting but the family says they have no idea who would do this.

“There’s no good reason,” Tina Westmoreland said. “None.”

The Westmoreland’s told KDFW that the family has a fence in the back, but the gate was open. They also said they heard four-wheelers in the area but did not hear gunshots.

They added that Journey never barked and may have obeyed commands from a stranger.

Mountain snow moves in tonight with chance on Front Range Friday

44 min 34 sec ago

Today was another calm weather day in Colorado. The Western Slope mountains have seen a few light snow showers that will increase in coverage and push east overnight tonight.

While the mountains see snow showers on and off through the day on Wednesday, the Front Range and eastern plains will be mostly cloudy and dry. Temperatures will reach the upper 40s and low 50s in metro Denver tomorrow afternoon.

High temperatures will stay in the 50s on Thursday with mostly sunny skies and dry conditions in the lower elevations. The mountains will once again see scattered snow showers move in Thursday evening and will last through the day on Friday.

Denver and the Front Range have a chance to see some snow showers on Friday. At this time, it is still too far out to know exact timing and totals but the Pinpoint Weather Team will keep you updated.

Denver will dry out by midday Saturday and will stay dry to start next week with gradual warming.

Another storm system moves in bringing the potential for snow on Tuesday.

 

Check interactive radar and zoom in to where you are. Plus, check the radar anytime with the Pinpoint Weather App for iPhone and Android.

Pinpoint Weather Meteorologists Matt Makens, Christine Rapp, Chris Tomer, Chief Meteorologist Dave Fraser, Greg Dutra, and Jessica Lebel.

Pinpoint Weather has been independently certified as Colorado's Most Accurate Forecast by WeatheRate.

We're tracking weather today on FOX31 Denver and Channel 2 News - and when conditions are bad we send out the Weather Beast.

Memorial Day Run & March – 5/25

54 min 42 sec ago

Who: Colorado Veterans Project

What: Memorial Day Run & March

When: Saturday, March 25th – registration opens at 6:30a

Where: Douglas County Fairgrounds (click for map)

FOX31, in our ongoing commitment to Serving Those Who Serve, is honored to again support the Memorial Day March & Run presented by our friends at the Colorado Veterans Project.

The Memorial Day Run & March not only gives people the chance to run and march in memory of our fallen men and women but also helps address a problem that often goes unrecognized: feeding homeless veterans. By participating in the Memorial Day Run & March you will be helping in the battle to ensure our homeless veterans have access to food and make a difference in their lives.

This event offers a variety of routes for those of all skill levels (open to civilians, Veterans, and uniformed Military). Routes include:

  • 5K run or ruck
  • 10K run or ruck
  • 30K ruck march

Be sure to stick around afterward for vendors, entertainment, a beer garden and a chance to check out our Pinpoint Weather BEAST!

For more info and to register, click here.

Heart Walk – 6/1

1 hour 14 min ago

Who: American Heart Association

What: Heart Walk

When: Saturday, June 1st – time TBD

Where: location TBD (stay tuned for details)

Colorado’s Own Channel 2, as part of 2 Your Health, for the third consecutive year is excited to support this year’s Heart Walk brought to you by our partners at the American Heart Association.

By participating in the Heart Walk you will be helping raise awareness and fund the research to fight heart disease. What better way to fight heart disease than supporting the American Heart Association all while getting your heart pumping during a funfilled day of activity! Participants can partake in either the 5K non-competitive walk or the Miracle Mile route more conducive to strollers or anyone needing special assistance. Be sure to stick around for different vendors and stop by to check out the Pinpoint Weather BEAST which will be onsite. Get an up-close look at the baddest weather tracker in Colorado and a chance to meet Channel 2 on-air talent!

For more info and to register, click here.

IRS to recall 46,000 workers from furlough to handle tax refunds without pay

1 hour 24 min ago
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is recalling about 46,000 of its employees furloughed by the government shutdown — nearly 60 percent of its workforce — to handle tax returns and pay out refunds.The employees won’t be paid.

With the official start of the tax filing season coming Jan. 28, the Trump administration has promised that taxpayers owed refunds will be paid on time, despite the disruption in government services caused by the partial shutdown now in its fourth week.

There had been growing concern that the shutdown would delay refunds going out because the money wouldn’t be available for them from Congress.

Last week, the administration said customary shutdown policies will be reversed to make the money available and refund payments on time possible.

FOX31 and Colorado’s Own Channel 2 announce lineup changes

2 hours 6 min ago

DENVER — FOX31 News and Colorado’s Own Channel 2 have announced program line-up changes coming this spring for both stations.

Beginning April 22, FOX31 Morning News will leverage the momentum of their growing ratings and add an hour of news from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. The team of Kirk Yuhnke, Meagan O’Halloran, Greg Dutra and Sam Boik will also anchor the new time period, which will also include more lifestyle and entertainment segments.

On FOX31, “Live! with Kelly and Ryan” will move to 10:00 a.m., replacing the local produced Everyday show. Everyday’s final broadcast will be March 29.

As a part of this move, Everyday anchor Chris Parente will move into a full-time anchor role on KWGN’s Daybreak from 4:30 – 9:00 a.m. He replaces Ernie Bjorkman who plans to retire from his full-time position at KWGN. Bjorkman, who is relocating to Grand Lake, will stay with KWGN and FOX31 as a fill-in anchor. Parente will begin his anchor duties Monday, March 25.

On the KWGN programming side, Channel 2 will move “Dr. Oz” to 9:00 a.m., and the locally produced “Colorado’s Best” with Paula Haddock and Joana Canals will move to the 10:00 a.m. time period on Channel 2 beginning April 22.

“It makes sense for us to leverage the popularity and growth of the FOX31 Morning News and add another hour to our FOX31 line-up,” said Joan Barrett, VP and General Manager of KDVR/KWGN. “For Channel 2, the transition of Chris Parente to the anchor desk with Natalie Tysdal was a natural move. Chris has been in the market for 13 years and has a tremendous following on-air and in social media. Plus, he’s a great guy and fun to watch!”

“I’m excited about the opportunity to stay in Denver – the place I call home,” said Chris Parente. “Going back to my roots in news and on the anchor desk at a station I love seems too good to be true.”

Missouri 86-year-old loses 120 pounds by walking in her living room every day

2 hours 40 min ago

ST. LOUIS — No gym, no problem!

An 86-year-old St. Louis woman says she lost 120 pounds just by walking back and forth from her living room to kitchen every day in her one-bedroom apartment.

“Even as a kid in Mississippi, I was always the fattest kid in the class. I got teased a lot,” Jessica Slaughter told KSDK. “I didn’t know how to stop eating. Fried chicken. Bacon and eggs. Desserts, like cakes and pies.”

In addition to walking in her house every day, Slaughter also became a vegan when she hit her 70s. She was once pre-diabetic and now she tells KSDK she’s the healthiest she’s ever been.

“I went to my doctor for a checkup. He told me my health was better than his,” Slaughter said. “I was a borderline diabetic. I’m free of all that, and I know it came from my way that I eat and exercise.”

Slaughter says she walks 3,000 steps every morning before she stops and her granddaughter even bought her a Fitbit to help her keep track of her health.

She also wants to tell other seniors to just get moving every day no matter how fast or slow.

“I just want seniors to know just because we’ve gotten a certain age, we don’t have to stop living,” said Slaughter. “I want to tell them that there’s a better way of life if they choose.”

Boy bravely battled terminal cancer so he could meet newborn sister

3 hours 16 min ago

BRISTOL, England — Bailey Cooper was such a brave, strong and determined little boy.

Bailey fought back against terminal cancer so that he could meet his newborn sister, according to TODAY. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2016 when he was just eight years old.

The family, who is from the United Kingdom, learned shortly after his diagnosis that mom Rachel was pregnant.

Bailey’s dad, Lee, told TODAY Parents that Bailey was “absolutely over the moon” when he learned a baby was on the way; he was even more excited when he learned it was going to be a little girl.

Then, devastating news. The family had to tell Bailey after his second relapse that he was not going to survive the cancer.  “One of the first things he asked was if he was going to meet his baby sister before going to heaven.”

Bailey survived to meet his new baby sister, sweet Millie, who was born in November of 2017.

Lee Cooper said Bailey “did everything he set out to do in meeting his sister.” He told TODAY that Bailey fed Millie, bathed her, changed her, and sang to her.

Bailey passed away a few weeks after his sister’s birth at nine years old. The Coopers told TODAY they will always keep Bailey’s memory alive for both Millie and older brother, Riley.

Chocolate might be better for your cough than cough syrup, study says

3 hours 44 min ago

LONDON — It might sound too good to be true, but researchers in London claim that chocolate might be a better cure for your cough than cough syrup.

WABC-TV writes that a research group from from a university in England randomly prescribed more than 160 patients either regular cough medicine or a chocolate-based medicine this year.

According to the study, the patients with chocolate-based medication improved quicker than those on regular cough syrup.

“This proves that a new medicine which contains cocoa is better than a standard linctus,” said Alyn Morice, professor at the University of Hull, according to the Daily Record.

The authors of the study believe that because chocolate is sticky it can help relieve irritation and inflammation and suppress the urge to cough.

“This demulcent effect explains why honey and lemon and other sugary syrups can help, but I think there is something more going on with chocolate,” Morice said.

The authors of the study wrote that although sucking on a piece of chocolate might provide relief, it’s still best when it’s working with other ingredients in medicine.

2 men sentenced to prison in ‘brutal’ bar assault on man holding 4-year-old daughter

4 hours 49 sec ago

Devon Premer and Joel Wilson

GOLDEN, Colo. — Two men who pleaded guilty to brutally assaulting a man as he held his 4-year-old daughter have been sentenced to prison, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Joel Wilson, 32, was sentenced to six years in prison and Devon Premer, 24, received a five-year sentence on Friday.

Wilson pleaded guilty on Nov. 30 to second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Premer pleaded guilty the same day to second-degree assault and child abuse.

On Jan. 25, Wilson, Premer and Richard Brown were at the Crossroads Pub in Pine Junction in Jefferson County, prosecutors said.

The men got into an argument and as Brown was holding his 4-year-old daughter on his hip, a fight broke out.

Prosecutors said Wilson and Premer brutally beat Brown. One of the men would hold him down while the other inflicted blows with fists, punching Brown in the head, face, ribs and face.

The incident was caught on surveillance video. The girl was not injured. Brown suffered serious bodily injuries, including a lacerated spleen.

“It is impossible to call this assault a ‘bar fight’ because Mr. Brown never fought back,” Jefferson County District Attorney Pete Weir said. “This was a brutal, one-sided attack by two men that could have stopped at any time.”

Under Eye Bags Vanish Before Your Eyes

4 hours 20 min ago

We have all tried to mask the under eye bags with make-up or get rid of them with cosmetic products. If you are one of the many people who have tried to do this, prepare to be amazed. Plexaderm gets rid of the bags and fine lines in minutes, you won't believe the results. Call now and get up to 50% of Plexaderm with free shipping. Call 1-800-963-8533 or go to Plexaderm.com

Man filmed punching 11-year-old girl outside mall facing charges

4 hours 41 min ago

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- A 51-year-old man is accused of pushing and punching an 11-year-old girl outside a North Carolina shopping mall.

The Asheville Citizen Times reported that David Steven Bell, of Black Mountain, was caught on video assaulting the victim Saturday outside the Asheville Mall.

Bell was arrested by an off-duty officer and charged with assault on a child under the age of 12, a misdemeanor offense.

He was also charged with two other counts of assault on a female after two 13-year-old girls also said Bell pushed them.

Bell is listed in an incident report as standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 250 pounds. Video of the assault was shared widely on social media.

Some people online came to the suspect’s defense, saying he was responding to a threat after being pushed.

The exact circumstances of what led to the assault remain uncertain. Bell has not responded to the paper's request for a comment.

Woman charged in alleged love-triangle murder of Army sergeant in Michigan

4 hours 51 min ago

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. — The wife of an Army sergeant and her alleged lover are charged with plotting the murder of her husband in Berrien County, according to WXMI.

Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III, 23, was shot multiple times around 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve in front of his father’s home on Colfax Avenue in St. Joseph Township.

“I’m wondering what was going through her mind, actually I’m trying to understand it all,” said Tyrone Hassel Jr., the victim’s father.

Berrien County prosecutors say Kemia Hassel was having an affair with Jeremy Cuellar, also an active-duty soldier at Fort Stewart in Georgia, and they planned to kill Tyrone Hassel to take the Army’s death benefit.

“It’s a lot of anger, because, you know, it seems like it boils down to — it was over money,” Hassel Jr. said.

Investigators say Cuellar traveled from Fort Stewart to Chicago several days prior to the murder, waited for directions from Kemia Hassel and finally shot and killed Tyrone Hassel Dec. 31.

Authorities arrested Kemia Hassel and Jeremy Cuellar last week, and on Monday charged both with first-degree premeditated murder. Cuellar has also been charged with felony firearm.

“She deceived us all,” Hassel Jr. said. “I thought she was a completely different person than who she really is.”

If found guilty, Kemia Hassel is looking at life in prison without parole. Cuellar is being held in a Georgia jail awaiting extradition.

Terrifying dash cam video shows toddler in car seat falling out of moving vehicle

5 hours 36 min ago

MANKATO, Minn. — Terrifying dash cam video captured the moment that a 2-year-old child in a car seat fell out of a moving vehicle in Minnesota.

The incident happened around 11:45 a.m. Monday in Mankato, Minnesota when Chad Cheddar Mock was driving when he saw a the toddler in the car seat fall out of the rear driver’s side door of the vehicle in front him, KMSP reports.

The video shows the vehicle in front of him continue to drive away.

Mock stopped his vehicle to help the child and told KMSP that child was okay and that emergency crews said the child was okay.

“If it didn’t happen in front of me, I’d never have believed it,” Mock said.

Police told KMSP that the child’s mother was driving the vehicle at the time and that the child was properly strapped into the seat but the seat wasn’t fastened to the vehicle seat.

Mock told KMSP that a woman later walked back to get the child.

The mother could face charges of child endangerment and child restraint system not fastened, according to KMSP.

Colorado Springs woman among first World War II female pilots dies at 96

5 hours 43 min ago

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado Springs woman who was among the first women to fly for the U.S. military during World War II has died at age 96.

Bill Young told The Gazette that his mother Millicent Young died Saturday of complications related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

She was a member of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, known as WASPs.

They flew bombers and other warplanes in the U.S. to free up male pilots for combat service overseas.

In 2010, they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, among the nation’s highest civilian honors.

Young was born near Lodgepole, Nebraska, and took flying lessons with money she earned growing wheat.

Her family says she mainly flew an AT-6 Texan single-engine plane, towing a target so male pilots could train for in-air combat.

The most powerful transformation

5 hours 44 min ago

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Attend a Cool January Event

5 hours 45 min ago
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2-year-old found dead outside home in bitterly cold weather

6 hours 28 min ago

NEWPORT, N.H. — A New Hampshire toddler, barefoot and clad only in a nightgown, was found dead early Monday in bitter cold weather just feet from her front door after she managed to get out of her house and couldn’t get back in.

Police in the small town of Newport said they received several 911 calls around 7:10 a.m. about an unresponsive child who was not breathing. When they arrived at the two-story residence, they pronounced the girl dead. A preliminary investigation found the child, identified by family as Sofia Van Schoick, had left the house on her own and “was not able to regain entry,” said authorities.

Police Chief James Burroughs said they took the temperature at the scene, and it was 8 degrees below zero. Later, Burroughs said the child died as a result of “exposure to the elements and hypothermia which are consistent with the autopsy results.”

“I don’t believe it was too difficult for the child to get out,” Burroughs said, adding that her death appears to be accidental.

The toddler’s grandfather, Lindsay Van Schoick, said the family is still trying to understand what happened.

“It’s rough,” he said. “It was a terrible accident, a terrible accident. She (his daughter) is doing horrible. She is doing terrible. She just lost one of her children.”

Van Schoick, who was at the Newport home, said the family had just moved into the apartment and his granddaughter may not have known her way around. He also said the front door leading outside was easy to open and the family had not had time to put deadbolts on the entrance.

“I don’t think she made it up the stairs. They found her at the bottom of the stairs,” he said. “There are things we will never know. We’ll never know what happened.”

Burroughs said the accident remained under investigation by the police and the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office and that it had been referred to the state Division for Children, Youth and Families, as is routine in cases like this. Among the things that will be looked at are how the child got out of the house and whether there were proper safeguards to prevent it, he said.

“Certainly there are things parents can do to protect their children better and prevent people coming or going from your residence,” he said. “Those safeguards that seem common and obvious to some are not always that way for others. Accidents happen where either you forget to put locks in or chains on your doors or dead bolts to prevent this from happening.”

WMUR-TV reported a woman and her boyfriend who lived next door heard cries around 4 a.m. Monday but didn’t see anything. They went back to bed and the woman later found the girl at the bottom of the stairs leading to the child’s apartment.

“I was coming out of my kitchen and looked out the window. I saw a woman standing on the porch, a gentleman in the driveway and what I thought as a doll laying facedown next to the stairs,” said Charlotte Caron, who lived in the same house as the woman and her boyfriend. “All of a sudden I heard a scream. I saw a second woman come out of the house, grab the child and go back inside.”

The toddler’s grandfather, who lost a son five years ago, said the death of a girl he described as “very intelligent, precocious, very stubborn and adamant” has hit the family hard.

“She was a very special kid,” he said.

Alan Ayotte, a neighbor of the family who lived in the same house, said he had met them briefly and they “seemed to be fine, decent people.” He never heard anything overnight and only learned of the accident when emergency officials arrived early Monday.

“It’s just unbelievable that something happened like that,” he said. “It’s too bad that someone couldn’t have prevented it.”