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Minneapolis Police Searching for Missing College Student

Minneapolis Police Department(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Authorities in Minneapolis are searching for a missing University of Minnesota student.

Jennifer Houle was last seen Friday at a bar in the Dinkytown area of Minneapolis between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., the Minneapolis Police Department said. Her purse was then found nearby, police said.

Houle, 22, is a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Her Pi Phi chapter posted on Facebook Saturday: "We need all the help we can get to find this warm-hearted, beautiful person."

According to police, Houle stands at 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. She has long, blond hair and was last seen wearing a black leather jacket, green blouse, black leggings and black boots, police said.

 

Public's help in locating missing woman. Jennifer Houle, 22 yrs old last seen 3-27-15/1:00 am in Dinkytown(Blarney's) pic.twitter.com/2p29mPiRhK

— Minneapolis Police (@MPD_PIO) March 28, 2015



Anyone with information is asked to contact the police.

 

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Possibility of Criminal Charges in New York City Building Collapse Growing

FDNY(NEW YORK) -- As searchers and cadaver dogs sift through the rubble looking for victims and evidence, New York City officials tell ABC News that the possibility is growing that criminal charges could be filed as a result of the blast and building collapse in the East Village.

Investigators with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office are now fully engaged, according to a law-enforcement source, as opposed to simply "monitoring" the investigation -- which would be the standard procedure.

"They are on-site and they've given instructions" about what type of information may or may not be released by other city agencies, the source said.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is not commenting at this point.

Two city officials tell ABC News investigators are now pursuing reports from tenants that they were told by building management to report gas problems to the landlord and not the energy company, Con Edison, or to 911.

Some tenants have told investigators that they were given those instructions as late as Thursday morning -- just before Con Ed inspectors were scheduled to examine plumbing in the basement.

Investigators have not yet confirmed these reports. But if they are found to be accurate, it could prove to be critical. Investigators and prosecutors are trying to determine whether the piping work done in the basement was legal and done appropriately, or if the building's owners knew they were violating the city code and, thus, might be jeopardizing the safety of people in and around the building.

Specific instructions to tenants that they should not call the city or the utility could be a key indicator that someone knew the gas piping might not be up to code, the officials said.

It is these reports, the officials said, that prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to be so emphatic in the last couple of days as he reminded people during his briefings that gas odors must be reported immediately to the city or the utility. He stressed that no one should rely on simply calling their landlord.

The owner of the ground-floor restaurant where the explosion occurred called the landlord to report the gas leak Thursday, and it is that leak that is believed to be the cause of the blast.

Though the mayor has cautioned that the cleanup and probe will take time, investigators want to get into the basement as soon as they can to examine the gas pipes. They believe those pipes will provide the most crucial evidence.

Two people were still missing as of Sunday, and 22 people were injured in the explosion and collapse.


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Trooper Wounded in Eric Frein Ambush Wants to Return to PA Police

ABC News(DUNMORE, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania state trooper critically injured in a sniper attack six month ago by accused cop killer Eric Frein said Saturday he feels he will "eventually be able to go back" to his old job.

On Sept. 12, 2014, state trooper Alex Douglass was shot in the pelvis during Frein's ambush, which took place during a late-night shift change at the State Police barracks in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania.

Douglass has undergone 16 surgeries and has another one scheduled in April, he told ABC News affiliate WNEP-TV Saturday at a road naming ceremony for Cpl. Bryon Dickson, who died in the attack.

"I feel good," Douglass said to WNEP-TV. "I'm getting better and now I'm off the crutches. Our department was tremendous during this horrific tragedy. That's what really kept me motivated and just looking on into the future."

And Douglass' future could include returning to the state police.

"I don't want anything to hold me back," Douglass said, according to WNEP-TV. "It will be an honor to go back to the Pennsylvania State Police."

Frein was captured in October after a 48-day manhunt. At times, 1,000 officers searched the Pocono Mountains for Frein, who police said had planned his attack and hiding for years.

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21 Injured When Metro Rail Train Collides With Car in Los Angeles

Johnny Stevens(LOS ANGELES) -- At least 21 people were injured Saturday after a Metro rail train collided with a car in downtown Los Angeles, next to the University of Southern California campus, officials said.

The driver of the car, a 21-year-old USC student, was hospitalized in critical condition, reports ABC station KABC-TV.

The train operator was hospitalized and later released.

The conditions of the remaining people weren't immediately released.

A Metro spokesperson said the car was traveling in the same direction as the train on Exposition Boulevard and was trying to make an improper left turn into the USC campus when the collision occurred.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, officials said.

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Seven Injured, Three Critically, in Panama City Beach Shooting

Alex_Schmidt/iStock/Thinkstock(PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.) -- Three college students on spring break who were among seven people wounded in a shooting early Saturday at a home in Panama City Beach, Florida were "innocent victims," police said.

Police arrested the shooting suspect, David Jamichael Daniels, 22, of Mobile, Alabama, and charged him with seven counts of attempted murder. The Bay County Sheriff's Office said witnesses helped identify him.

Three people were in critical condition following the shooting, the sheriff's office said. Three others were in stable condition and one victim was in surgery, officials said.

Among the victims were three students from Alabama A&M University visiting Panama City Beach for spring break, the sheriff's office said.

The university identified the three as Kearria Freed, 20, who was in critical condition; Kelli Regina Curry, 20, who was in stable condition; and, Annesia Powell, 19, who was undergoing surgery.

The university said it was told the three students were "innocent victims in the wrong place" by a Bay County investigator.

Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said in a news conference Saturday afternoon that he wasn't surprised by the shooting.

"We have drunk people under the influence with guns and no respect for themselves, others, and - most of all - authority," he said. "We have a recipe for disaster."

Six firearm-related calls were reported in the area on Friday night, according to the sheriff's office. In another incident, a gun discharged at a condo, officials said, and four additional firearms were seized in drug-related cases.

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Decorated Boston Police Officer in Coma After 'Unprovoked' Shooting

ABC News(BOSTON) -- A police officer decorated for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing remains in critical condition in a medically-induced coma after he was shot in the face during a traffic stop, the city's police commissioner said Saturday.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans called the shooting of officer John Moynihan on Friday night "unprovoked" during a news conference on Saturday. Moynihan and five other officers had pulled over a driver in Roxbury, Massachusetts, when the driver began firing at the officers, according to police.

The officers hadn't drawn their guns when the driver began shooting, said Evans. As the officers chased after him, the driver continued to fire, emptying his revolver as he ran.

The officers later shot the driver, who died on scene, police said. Evans identified him as 41-year-old Angelo West, adding that he had a violent criminal past.

Moynihan, 34, was shot underneath his eye and the bullet became lodged behind his ear, Evans said.

"We're hoping and praying there's no further damage," he said.

Evans said video shows the officers approaching the vehicle very "low key." The video then shows the suspect pointing his gun at the officers' faces.

Police hoped to release the video soon in order for the department to be "as transparent as possible" in its investigation, Evans said.

"I can't say enough about the great work we did out there," he added.

Two other suspects were in custody "on unrelated matters," police said.

Moynihan, a six-year veteran of the Boston Police Department, was one of seven officers who came to the aid of MBTA Officer Richard Donohue during the Watertown, Massachusetts, shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers in 2013 shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston. He was honored at the "Top Cops" ceremony at the White House in 2014.

After Friday's shooting, Donohue tweeted his best wishes for Moynihan.

 

Hoping for the best for our BPD brother tonight

— Dic Donohue (@DicDonohue) March 28, 2015

 

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Girl, 4, Found Alone on Philadelphia Bus After Seeking Slushie

WPVI-TV(PHILADELPHIA) -- A four-year-old girl in Pennsylvania couldn’t wait to get her hands on her favorite treat – a slushie -- so she headed out on her own for an overnight adventure.

The girl, sporting a purple coat and snow boots, ended up alone on a SEPTA bus in Northeast Philadelphia around 3 a.m. on Friday after a man flagged down the bus, according to a report by ABC News station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.

“Got to be kidding me! At this time, at 3 o’clock in the morning,” the bus driver, Harlan Jenifer, told WPVI-TV. “She’s a small little thing. It kind of just shocked me.”

Jenifer told the television station he called police while passengers on board the bus comforted the four-year-old.

“All I want is a slushie, that’s all she said,” Jenifer told WPVI-TV.

The girl was eventually taken home to her parents, who said this was Annabelle’s first and last solo adventure. The family has since reconfigured the locks on the home.

“There are no words, he saved my daughter’s life,” her mother, Jaclyn Mager, told WPVI-TV.

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Denise Huskins' Boyfriend's Attorney Says He Received Email From Her Abductors

Courtesy Mike Huskins(VALLEJO, Calif.) -- The alleged kidnappers of a California woman sent an email detailing their motive to the office of her boyfriend's attorney, he said Friday, saying it proves her disappearance was real and not a hoax as police have claimed.

Aaron Quinn's attorney Dan Russo declined to specify what was said in the six-page email that he claimed detailed the kidnappers' motivation for abducting Denise Huskins on Monday morning.

"These people are real," he told ABC News. "They're really motivated."

Police in Vallejo, California, said Wednesday that they found "no evidence to support the claims" that Huskins was abducted from Quinn's home before she was found alive two days later more than 400 miles away in Huntington Beach, California. They declined to comment on Russo's claims about the email his office received.

Huskins, 29, and Quinn, 30, have denied any involvement in a hoax through their attorneys. Russo has said that Quinn was tied up and drugged by at least two assailants the day his girlfriend was taken, which he said explains why Quinn was unable to call police until hours later.

Police said that Quinn told investigators that Huskins' abductors made a $8,500 ransom demand.

Both police and the San Francisco Chronicle said Wednesday that they received emails allegedly from Huskins' kidnappers. While police declined to detail the specifics of the email, the newspaper reported it received an email the day before from an "anonymous person claiming to be holding Denise Huskins."

The newspaper reported on Thursday that it received a second email from a person claiming to be one of the kidnappers that said the abduction was real.


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Watch Tom Brady Jump Off Cliff, Land in Water

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This video may be too scary for New England Patriots fans to watch.

A new Facebook post from Tom Brady shows the quarterback -- apparently on a family vacation -- jumping off a cliff beside a waterfall and landing in a pool of water at the bottom.

Before Brady takes the leap, you can hear his wife Gisele Bündchen asking, "Are you going to jump, Tom?"

The Super Bowl champ appeared to survive the jump uninjured.

"Never doing that again!" Brady wrote along with the video.

Since Brady posted the video to Facebook Saturday morning, it's already received more than 2 million views.

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No Murder Charges Filed in Case of Baby Cut from Womb

Boulder County Sheriff's Office(LONGMONT, Colo.) -- The woman accused of attacking a pregnant woman and cutting her unborn child from her womb will not face murder charges for the death of the baby, the Boulder County district attorney announced Friday, because the baby never lived outside the womb.

District Attorney Stan Garnett said at a Friday press conference that the cause of the baby's death was as yet unknown, but test results were pending. Still, because an autopsy and investigation failed to provide evidence that the baby "exhibited signs of life outside of the womb," murder charges could not be brought.

"A prosecutor can not file murder charges when a baby who is killed has not lived outside the body of the mother," Garnett explained. "For similar reasons, I can not bring charges of child abuse resulting in death."

"I understand that many people in the community, and Heaven knows I've heard from a lot of them, would like me to have filed homicide charges," Garnett concluded. "However, that is not possible under Colorado law without proof of a live birth."

Dynel Lane was accused of luring the victim to a Longmont home, beating her, and cutting the baby out of her. Police later arrested Lane at a hospital after she arrived with the dead child.

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Oklahoma Frat Members Learned Racist Chant During Cruise: School

ABC News(NORMAN, Okla.) -- The University of Oklahoma fraternity members who were recorded singing a racist chant on a bus learned the song during a leadership cruise held by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon's national organization four years ago, university officials announced on Friday.

The University of Oklahoma's chapter of SAE was closed earlier this month after the recording was released online. Two students were subsequently expelled from the school.

The university launched an investigation into the use of the chant, and school president David Boren announced on Friday that school officials had found that the 2011 cruise was the first known contact that their students had with the song.

It was then brought back to the school's chapter where it was shared with members and pledges for the past four years.

Boren says there is no evidence this was a nationally sanctioned chant, but that it appears to have been widely known by SAE members from around the country at that leadership cruise.

In a statement, the SAE national organization confirmed that members of its University of Oklahoma chapter "likely learned a racist chant while attending a national Leadership School about four years ago," but that there was no evidence the chant is widespread among its 237 chapters.

"We remain committed to identifying and rooting out racist behavior from SAE," the organization's Executive Director Blaine Ayers said in a statement, "but our investigation shows no evidence the song was widely shared across the broader organization." SAE says it invites hundreds of leaders to an annual six-day leadership retreat that includes classes, seminars and social gatherings. Ayers speculated that it was during such a social gathering that "some members shared the racist song that was recorded on video at the University of Oklahoma and shared through social media earlier this month," the organization's statement read.

"The song is horrific and does not at all reflect our values as an organization," Ayers said. "If we find any other examples of this kind of behavior currently occurring, we will hold our members accountable, just as we've done in Oklahoma."

No further details about the cruise have been released, including where it sailed and how many members were involved.

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Investigators Say Contents of Drum 'Incompatible,' Caused 2014 Radiation Leak at New Mexico Facility

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(CARLSBAD, N.M.) -- Investigators looking into the radiation leak at a New Mexico nuclear waste dump from last year found that the use of organic kitty litter may have created an incompatible mixture in one of the drums stored at the site.

The radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant led to the contamination of 21 workers. A 2014 report on the leak slammed federal staff and outside contractors who were responsible for running and overseeing WIPP.

According to a new report released this month, the leak can be traced to an incompatible mixture of nitrate salt residues, organic sorbent -- in the form of Swheat Scoop kitty litter -- and triethanolamine, a neutralization agent.

Internal chemical reactions within the drum caused the contents to breach, and that breach was the source of radioactive contamination at WIPP. Tests indicated that had the drum contained an inorganic sorbent, such as zeolite in place of the Swheat Scoop, the conditions would likely have remained normal and avoided a breach of the drum.

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At Least Five Injured in California School Explosion

Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) -- At least five people were injured in an explosion at a California middle school.

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, five patients were taken from Ethan Chase Middle School by ambulance after  18 students were exposed to a loud explosive device and suffered minor injuries. The 13 students not taken by ambulance were either picked up from the school by their parents or were being held by the sheriff's department until their parents arrived.

The explosion was reported at 11:05 a.m. local time.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion or why the device was on the school's grounds.

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NASA Launches Year-Long Experiment

NASA-TV(NEW YORK) -- An unprecedented NASA experiment began on Friday, with Astronaut Scott Kelly and a pair of Russian cosmonauts blasting off, bound for the International Space Station, where Kelly will spend the next year.

Kelly and his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark, will be human guinea pigs. While Scott spends the year in space, Mark will remain on the ground. NASA hopes to compare what happens to the bodies and brains of the two men in such different environments.

The launch took place on Friday afternoon, with video inside the rocket showing Kelly giving a thumbs up.

Beforehand, Kelly posted a photo to Instagram showing him closing up shop for the next year.

 

Shutting down my office for a while. #ISS1year #iss #office #nasa #jsc #timetogo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on Feb 15, 2015 at 10:42am PST

 

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NYC Building Fire: Restaurant Owner Smelled Gas Before Massive Explosion, Officials Say

Todd Maisel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)(NEW YORK) -- With the cause of a fire and explosion that destroyed several buildings in Manhattan's East Village on Thursday still under investigation, officials Friday revealed details that may have led up to the blast.

The explosion reportedly came after the building's owner and a contractor arrived to investigate the smell of gas, police said.

Three buildings collapsed and a fourth building was seriously damaged, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, and the fire department is still actively fighting the fire. Though the cause appears to be a gas explosion, no final conclusion has been drawn, he added.

Twenty-two people were injured -- four critically, De Blasio said Friday.

No fatalities have been reported, but two people remain unaccounted for.

Two of the most seriously injured victims were Michael Hrynenko, a building co-owner, and Dilber Kukic, a general contractor working at the site who helped carry Hrynenko away from the blast, police said. Both were being treated at New York Presbyterian Hospital's burn unit.

Con Ed inspectors arrived at the building at 2 p.m. Thursday to meet with the contractor to evaluate work being done by a plumber in the basement of one of the buildings, according to police, and the work failed inspection.

After the inspectors left, the owner of the Sushi Park restaurant, located in one of the buildings, notified a building owner, Maria Hrynenko, mother of Michael Hrynenko, of a gas odor, according to police. Michael Hrynenko and Kukic met up at the location, and when they opened the side door of 119 Second Avenue, also known as 45 East 7th Street, there was an explosion, officials said.

Officials said Kukic is answering questions and helping with the investigation.

The Department of Buildings will be inspecting all of the surrounding buildings before they are re-inhabited, the mayor said.

The gas is shut off for the immediate surrounding area and air quality has returned to normal levels in the surrounding area.

"Once the debris is cleared and the fire is fully extinguished then we will do a full investigation and clean-up," De Blasio said, adding that the full investigation will "take days."

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