<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:14:45 -0700 Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:14:45 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mom Drives Van Into River: Police]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:05:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Delaware-River-Mom.jpg

A man swooped in to save a South Jersey family after a mother allegedly tried to kill her teenage children.

Darnell Taylor is mourning the loss of his father, who died from cancer Wednesday morning. Yet while Taylor is now coping with the tragedy, he can take solace in the fact that he prevented another one from happening just a day before his father's death.

Police say 49-year-old Joann Smith was driving her van on West Front Street in Florence Township, N.J around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. With her 15, 14, and 13 year-old children inside the vehicle, Smith allegedly accelerated onto a boat ramp and into the Delaware River.

Investigators say she was intentionally trying to kill her children.

Taylor says he was driving to dinner with his wife when he noticed the vehicle partially submerged in the water and the family trapped inside.

"I got out of the car and heard people screaming," Taylor said. "I took off my jacket, jumped in and swam out there."

Taylor swam towards the family while his wife called 911.

"I couldn't get the window open because the window in the van was not a pop out window," Taylor said. "So I kept telling the young lady to kick the window out and she kicked it out."

One by one, Taylor grabbed Smith, her daughter and two sons to safety. Taylor claims Smith didn't say anything during the rescue except for "Thank you."

One of the children suffered cuts on the leg while Smith was checked into a medical facility for a mental evaluation.

Police claim Smith intentionally drove the van into the water. She was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of child endangerment.

Smith’s bail was set at $600,000. Officials originally said that Smith would likely appear in Superior Court in Mount Holly Thursday afternoon. Thursday morning however they said her first appearance wouldn't occur until Monday morning at the earliest.

Detectives with the Florence Township Police Department along with officials from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the case.

Smith's three children are currently staying with relatives, shaken by their terrifying experience but still alive thanks to Taylor.

"He was a godsend," said Bob Lane, a Florence Township resident. "He saved them. That water is not warm and he jumped in."

While many people are calling him a hero, Taylor disagrees.

"I'm not a hero," he said. "I'm just a member of this community and anyone else would have done the same thing."



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Condom Shortage in Cuba]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:51:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB_CONDOMS_BY_MAIL.png

The latest food and product shortage to rock Cubans is being felt in the bedroom.

Complaints that condoms are scarce are emerging from the island, part of a dry spell that has lasted several weeks, The Miami Herald reported. 

One Havana author wrote on a Spanish-language website based in Miami that some shops continue to sell condoms, but at prices tailored to tourists that are unaffordable for most Cubans, according to The Herald. The shortage has lasted about two weeks, she wrote.

A report in a Communist Party newspaper pinpointed the prophylactic pinch to labeling and packaging issues with a batch of condoms purchased wholesale from China, The Herald reported.

Residents have also reported recent shortfalls of staples like toothpaste, toilet paper, soap and beer, the paper reported. 

 

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<![CDATA[Plane Evacuated at JFK After Bomb Threat: Officials]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:39:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/JFK-airport.jpg

A plane was evacuated at John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday evening after a bomb threat was made, officials say.

Authorities cleared out United Airlines flight 5714 at 7:40 p.m. after officials received an alert for the threat, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The FBI searched the plane, officials say, but agents didn’t find anything. Passengers were allowed back on the plane, and all of the luggage on the plane was rescreened.

The plane took off for its destination, Dulles International Airport in Washington, at 9:45 p.m., officials say.

No arrests have been made.



Photo Credit: File Photo / AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Truck Crashes Into Restaurant]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:30:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/firetruckcrash1.JPG

Witnesses described a scene of chaos in Monterey Park on Wednesday as 15 people were hurt in a crash involving two fire trucks, including one that plowed into a restaurant.

Lu's Dumpling House owner Vivian Lu said a man was on the sidewalk when the 40,000-pound fire engine jumped the curb, pushing him as it slammed through her restaurant near Garfield and Emerson avenues about 3:25 p.m.

When the fire truck came to a stop, a man was found pinned beneath it.

Cellphone video captured the moment when a firefighter attempted to help the man under the front bumper of the engine. The victim was believed to be hospitalized in critical condition.

"A lot blood,” Lu said. ”I see a lot blood."

Lu said the impact of the crash also pushed a built-in cashier's table across the floor, sending a waitress into a wall and making the building unstable.

Six firefighters suffered minor to moderate injuries, and eight other people had minor injuries. One person was in critical condition. A total of 15 people were hurt.

"I see a few people sitting on the street and all this blood," Lu said.

The crash happened down the street from Garfield Medical Center, where many of the victims were being taken on foot by firefighters.

The crash occurred when a fire truck and a fire engine crashed while responding to a house on fire. Both trucks were blaring sirens and running lights, one truck from Montery Park Fire Department and the other from the Alhambra Fire Department. All firefighters on board were wearing ear protecting headsets to dampen the sirens noise.

"It is ear protection from the noise of your own sirens so they do diminish the sound from outside," Alhambra Fire Department Chief Bill Walker said.

Neighbors ended up helping put out the house fire that both departments were responding to at the time of the crash.



Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus Drawing a Record in Chalk?]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 03:22:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chalk-jesus-03.jpg

Fellowship Church in Grapevine is attempting to set the world record for the largest chalk drawing.

The church, led by Pastor Ed Young, is coloring a drawing of Jesus Christ that spans nearly 17,000 square feet, according to a statement on their website.

It took 6,700 individual pieces of chalk to create the portrait, and 125 bags of charcoal, according to a church representative.

The purpose of "Chalk Jesus" is to get people interested in and talking about the church in the days leading up to Easter.

"We believe the church should be the most creative entity on the face of the planet. Not boring, not humdrum," said Derric Bonnot with Fellowship Church. "But it should be out there thinking up new ways to tell the story of who Jesus is and who God is. And so hopefully this just catches people's attention to want to see more and want to know more."

Bonnot told NBC DFW hundreds of volunteers helped to make the portrait possible. Most were members of the mega church, which has six locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But many of the volunteers were people who learned about the effort from social media, the radio or from the television, Bonnot said.

"Honestly, I think it speaks to people," said church member Roger Moreno about the portrait. Moreno brought his son, Luciano, 2, to help. "To show him that it's a good thing to give back and not just be so selfish."

"That actually shows that we actually still care and [we are] trying to make a difference in somebody's life," Moreno added.

The portrait will stay in place through Sunday's Easter services, at which point congregation members will then wash it away.

Despite their 12-plus hour drawing effort, if rain showers come before Sunday, Bonnot said the church understands that may make the chalk Jesus "an abstract art piece."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Once-Conjoined Twins Leave Hospital]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:26:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ezell-Twins-041514.jpg

The conjoined twins who were separated at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas have left the hospital for an inpatient rehabilitation center.

"We are thrilled beyond words that we are here today," the boys' mother Jenni Ezell said Wednesday.

The boys were born in July and were connected from the chest to the belly button. They shared a liver and intestines until doctors at Medical City Dallas Hospital separated them a month later.

Owen and Emmett Ezell left the Dallas hospital eight months after their surgery and a day after turning 9-months-old.

"This is a big day we have been waiting on a long time, we have been ready to bring these boys home for months now so this is a good thing," said the boys' father Dave Ezell.

It was an emotional departure for the hospital staff, the team of doctors and nurses who have cared for them in the neonatal intensive care unit since their birth and separation surgery in August.

"I just can't thank them enough we are so happy and grateful," said Jenni Ezell. "They are like family to us. It is hard to say goodbye until later."

While at rehab, the boys' parents will learn to manage those tubes until the boys can eat on their own.

"When we first learned they were conjoined we never imagined, that we would be here but it has come and it is time now time to keep loving them and watching them develop and grow," said Dave Ezell. "We are in charge of their care, we get to take care of the babies. So it is like the beginning of this whole new world for us, where it is going to be physically exhausting, it's going to be amazing." 

The Ezells home the boys can go home for good in a month.

The family has been chronicling the boys' progress, since their separation surgery in August 2013 on The Ezell Twins blog.

The Ezells are selling T-shirts through their blog that read, "The Works of God Displayed in Them, John 9:1-3."

The funds donated go into a trust fund set up for Emmett and Owen and their direct care.

More: The Ezell Twins blog | The Ezell Twins T-Shirts | Contribute



Photo Credit: Ezell Family/Medical City Children's Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Robbed of $1 in NYC Subway]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:47:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/girl-robbed-1-dollar.jpg

Police are looking for a man who approached a teen girl in an Upper West Side subway stairwell and tried to rob her before assaulting her and fleeing with $1.

The 15-year-old girl was entering the B and C subway station on 96th Street and Central Park West at about 10 a.m. Saturday, police said.

The suspect approached her and demanded her valuables.

He then assaulted her and took $1 from her jacket before fleeing.

Police released surveillance images of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[Explosives Scare in SoCal Town]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 01:28:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/military+ordnance.jpg

Residents were allowed to return home around midnight Thursday after the discovery of a potentially explosive military device forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes and businesses in a Southern California tourist town Wednesday, authorities said.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's officials said the device, described as a military ordnance, was reported about 3:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive in Solvang, a small city about 35 miles north of Santa Barbara.

About 500 to 700 homes and businesses in the immediate area received Reverse 911 calls ordering evacuations, sheriff's officials said.

The evacuation area was within a 1,500-foot radius of where the device was located. It included south of Laurel Avenue, west of Alisal Road, north of Birch Drive and east of 5th Street, sheriff's officials said.

Just after midnight, the Sheriff's Bomb Squad and Venderberg Air Force Base's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team removed the device and deemed it safe. The evacuation was lifted and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

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<![CDATA[VIDEO: Burglar Peers Into Crib]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:40:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gjanda-2014-04-16-12h46m46s137.jpg A burglary suspect who broke into a Houston home was caught on the video baby monitor set up to view the family's sleeping toddler.]]> <![CDATA[Yawning Suspect to Judge: "I Don't Care, Man"]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:36:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/041614+joseph+butler+judge+john+hurley.jpg

A yawning suspect earned a stern rebuke and a trip to jail after he told a South Florida judge, "I don't care, man."

Joseph Butler was facing grand theft and resisting arrest charges when he appeared before Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley Tuesday in the incident captured on court video.

Butler, arms crossed, stood as the prosecutor read from his lengthy criminal past then yawned loudly, drawing the ire of Hurley.


"Oh don't worry, sir. Sir, I heard you yawn, but don't worry. You won't yawn in just a minute. Trust me on that one," Hurley said.

"I don't care, man. I really don't care," Butler said.

"I know this is boring to you and you'd rather be out doing something else, but I can guarantee you won't be stealing anymore after this conversation," Hurley replied.


Hurley then set Butler's bond at $104,000, but ordered him held without bond on three previous grand theft arrests.

"So he's gonna be staying in jail for awhile," Hurley said after dismissing Butler. "Good, maybe he can yawn all he wants while he's over there."

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<![CDATA[Must See Photos:Boston Marathon Exhibit]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:07:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/boston-bombing-memorial-%285%29.JPG Photos of Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial, an exhibit of running shoes, posters, notes, shirts, hats and tokens of all shapes and sizes meant to give support and love to those impacted by the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Those objects were collected and transferred to the Boston City Archives for safekeeping. A selection of those artifacts are now on display at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.

Photo Credit: Ames Meyer, NBC 5 Chopper Photographer]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Accused of Sharing Naked Pics]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 02:32:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/texting-sexting.jpg

Two New Jersey teens are facing criminal charges after allegedly sharing nude photos of other teens, some of whom were engaging in sex acts, police said.

The Little Falls Police Department said Wednesday that a 16-year-old West Orange boy was arrested after he texted eight naked photos of a 17-year-old girl to a 16-year-old girlfriend from Little Falls.

That friend is then accused of showing the photos to others, and may have posted them on social media, police say. 

The girl is also believed to have sent other videos and photos of underage teens engaging in sex acts to other juveniles.

The teens are charged with endangering the welfare of a child by possessing child pornography. Both teens were released to the custody of their parents.

Police are urging parents to explain to their children that sending, taking and sharing of naked photos of juveniles is a crime. 

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Accused in Son's Death Kept Body on Ice for Hindu Ritual]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:56:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pallavi-dhawan-mug-inset.jpg

A North Texas mother who is accused of killing her 10-year-old son says the boy died in his sleep and was kept on ice to comply with a Hindu ritual, an affidavit released by the family states.

Pallavi Dhawanwas was arrested and charged earlier this year after police were called to the family's Frisco home and discovered the boy's body in a bathtub. Frisco police charged her with murder after they said she confessed to killing the boy. Her husband, Sumeet, and the family's attorney have repeatedly called for charges against her to be dropped.

In an affidavit dated April 15, Dhawan said she loved her son Arnav "with all of my heart and never would hurt him in any way."

"...I want to make it perfectly clear to the world that: I did not hurt Arnav. I did not kill Arnav. I did not murder Arnav. I did not drown or smother Arnav. I did not poison Arnav," the affidavit states. "I did not fail to render aid to Arnav at any time."

Dhawan said her son, Arnav, had been diagnosed with microcephaly and had special needs that were catered to by the family and other caregivers.

She said she found the boy "cold," "stiff," and "completely unresponsive" in his bed after trying to wake him up for school. The mother said she moved her son's body to the bathtub and attempted to revive him with CPR.

The boy's mother said she kept her son's body on ice for four days after his death using ice cubes taken from her refrigerator and placed in plastic bags. Dhawan said she followed Hindu rituals with her son, including reading the Hindu scriptures over his body, due to significant concern over the last rites that she believed needed to be performed on Arnav. She said that when her husband Sumeet's father passed away, the body was preserved on ice for "4-5 days until the immediate family could reach India and perform the last rites."

"Being in the state of shock with such a sudden demise of Arnav, I continued to try and follow the Hindu customs to the best of my knowledge as exhibited by the father's [Sumeet Dhawan] family in the past, including preserving the body on ice," she said in the affidavit.

In March, Sumeet Dhawan said the charges against his wife are a result of a cultural misunderstanding. The Dhawan family is Hindu and after death bodies are preserved on ice while waiting for family to pay respects and for last rites to be issued.

"Nothing is going to get our son back and I hope that what has happened to us doesn't happen to anybody and cultural differences played a big part in this," said Sumeet Dhawan.

During an April 10 hearing on the case, prosecutors said they haven't decided if Dhawan will be indicted because they are still waiting for a report from the Frisco police department.

Additionally, a report from the Collin County medical examiner ruled the boy's cause of death as "undetermined," but "natural disease is most likely."

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<![CDATA[Formerly Conjoined Twins Thriving]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:28:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ezell-Twins-041514.jpg

The conjoined twins who were separated at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas have left the hospital for an inpatient rehabilitation center.

Owen and Emmett Ezell left the Dallas hospital eight months after their surgery and a day after turning 9-months-old. Video of their departure from Medical City Children's Hospital appears in the player above.

"I am so excited. I am shaking I am so excited. We have been waiting months for this and it's finally here," said the twins' mother Jenni Ezell, earlier this week.

Doctors hope that the boys can go home for good sometime this summer.

The boys were born in July and were connected from the chest to the belly button. They shared a liver and intestines until doctors at Medical City Dallas Hospital separated them a month later.

They've lived in the neonatal intensive care unit ever since and have each had multiple surgeries and setbacks. Through it all, the boys' parents never lost faith.

"Back when the struggles were the hardest and the struggles were the biggest, basically the way we would keep pressing on without losing it was to talk about having all four boys together," said the boys' father Dave Ezell. "When this is over, we're going to have 4 boys, we're going to be a family."

In the past the hospital had said the boys had to pass three major hurdles to go home -- eating and breathing on their own and fully healing from their surgical wounds.

The hospital said Monday the twins are breathing on their own through trachea breathing tubes and are no longer being fed through an IV, but they continue to be fed through tubes in their abdomens.

While at rehab, the boys' parents will learn to manage those tubes until the boys can eat on their own.

"It's been a dream. We've made it and it's been really hard. I feel like that first 9 months, it's all been emotional, it has been very difficult emotionally," said Jenni Ezell. "But from here out it's going to be very difficult physically. We are going to be exhausted taking care of these boys but it's going to be totally worth it!"

Jenni and Dave Ezell call the twins their "little miracles" and say each step has been part of a greater plan.

"They wouldn't be here if it weren't for God. It's the truth," said Jenni Ezell.

To celebrate the twins' health and success, a small celebration is being planned on Wednesday prior to their departure. Ahead of that celebration, the hospital and Ezell family released new photographs of the now 9-month-old boys on Tuesday.
 

The family has been chronicling the boys' progress, since their separation surgery in August 2013 on The Ezell Twins blog.

The Ezells are selling T-shirts through their blog that read, "The Works of God Displayed in Them, John 9:1-3."

The funds donated go into a trust fund set up for Emmett and Owen and their direct care.

More: The Ezell Twins blog | The Ezell Twins T-Shirts | Contribute



Photo Credit: Ezell Family/Medical City Children's Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Son Accused in Mom's CO Killing Due in Court]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:36:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Koustantinos-Yiambilis-Lead.jpg

A Bucks County man accused of killing his own mother with carbon monoxide from a portable generator in a possible murder-suicide pact is set to appear in court Wednesday.

Bensalem Police say that they found Koustantinos "Gus" Yiambilisis killed his mother Karen Yiambilis inside the Longmeadow Apartment unit they shared.

Police responded to the 3000 block of Bristol Road on April 7 for a report of fumes coming from the interior of an apartment unit.

When the responding officers and firefighters arrived, they were met at the door by 30-year-old Koustantinos Yiambilis.

The officers entered the apartment where they found Yiambilis’ 59-year-old mother lying unconscious on the bedroom floor. She was taken to Aria Torresdale Hospital where she later died.

Koustantinos Yiambilis was also taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. Residents in four adjacent apartments were evacuated until officials determined the scene was safe.

According to police, a preliminary investigation found that Yiambilis intentionally caused the death of his mother by using a portable generator. He was arrested and charged with criminal homicide, risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person and other related offenses.

Despite the charges, neighbors who spoke with NBC10 say they believe the incident was actually a suicide pact between the mother and son who had recently been hit by hard times.

According to neighbors, Yiambilis was fired from his job last Friday and needed brain surgery after suffering a serious head injury. With his mother unemployed as well, the family didn't have the money for the procedure.

Friends also claim that Karen Yiambilis was the one who actually asked to borrow the generator from a neighbor Monday morning.

"I really don't think it was homicide at all," said Jessica Shaffery, one of the neighbors. "I think that they just had a lot going on and they didn't have the resources that they needed for themselves. I think it was just too much for them to handle at that point."

Yiambilis remains detained without bail.



Photo Credit: Facebook.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bloomberg to Spend $50M to Fight Gun Violence]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:32:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mayor-bloomberg-budget.jpg

In his first major political investment since leaving office, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to build a nationwide network aimed at curbing gun violence and battling the National Rifle Association, according to published reports.

Bloomberg told the New York Times that he is planning to spend $50 million this year to establish the grassroots gun control lobbying group, called Everytown for Gun Safety.

The new organization will encompass two other Bloomberg-funded gun control groups – Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – and will first take aim at expanding background checks for gun buyers both at the state and national levels, according to the Times. 

Everytown for Gun Safety will borrow from some of the NRA’s field operation tactics to grow influence, targeting mothers and other women that might be swayed on gun issues. The group has already targeted 15 states across the country with varying views on gun control, with the goal of recruiting 1 million new supporters.

“Right now, women, when they go to the polls, they vote on abortion, they vote on jobs, they vote on health care,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts told the Times. “We want one of those things to be gun violence prevention.”

Bloomberg said he wanted work with both parties on gun control efforts and assembled an advisory board of Republican and Democratic officials, philanthropists and investors.

The former mayor's $50 million contribution would more than double the NRA’s $20 million in annual spending on political activities, the Times reports. Bloomberg hinted that his contributions to the cause could grow.

“I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,” he told the Times. “Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.”

Bloomberg and Watts appeared on NBC's TODAY show Wednesday morning to talk about the group.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sprint Email Calls Man "Sissyboy"]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:03:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Kelvin_matthews.png

A Chicago man said he received an unwelcome email from Sprint this weekend after he called the company to report an error with his account.

Kelvin Mathews claims he was sent an email addressed to "Sissyboy Kelvin Gay Matthews" after he sought assistance from customer service.

“I gave [the representative] my email address, and that’s the email they sent me,” Mathews said.

Mathews said he originally called the company Sunday because he was still receiving messages from a Sprint account he thought he closed.

He told a customer service representative about his issue and was directed to check the status of his phone on his online account. When he couldn’t remember his login information, he said the representative sent him an email with instructions.

When he received the email, however, he was shocked and called customer service again.

“I expressed my concerns to them and how serious this is to me and my wife,” he said. “I don’t live a homosexual life, I never gave Sprint anything to go on and think that, and even if I did I don’t think it would be fair to say this on my account.”

Sprint said its investigation is ongoing but did acknowledge the error.

A spokesman for the company said the salutations on the automated emails can be changed by employees.

"We have apologized to Mr. Mathews and deeply regret what happened over the weekend,” the company said in a statement. “Mr. Mathews should never have received this email from our representative. We have dealt with that employee appropriately."

Mathews said a representative from Sprint contacted him Monday following his report, apologizing for the email.

The representative offered to close Mathews’ Sprint account with no early termination fees and agreed to open a new business account with an iPhone and two months of free service, Mathews said.

Mathews said he had not yet accepted the offer.

“To have this email is a form of degrading someone and I think people need to know about it,” he said. “They’re not treating customers like they should.”

Earlier this year, a suburban Chicago couple who lost their teenage daughter in a car crash received mail from OfficeMax addressed to "Daughter Killed in Car Crash."

And in February, a California woman named Lisa McIntire received mail from Bank of America addressed to "Lisa Is a Slut McIntire."

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<![CDATA[NYPD Disbands Muslim Spying Unit]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:55:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nypd-Surveillance-Muslims.jpg

The New York Police Department says it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to try to detect terror threats in Muslim communities through secret surveillance sparked outrage.

The NYPD confirmed the decision on Tuesday.

The surveillance program by the NYPD Intelligence Division had come under fire by community activists who accused the department of abusing civil rights.

The program relied on plainclothes officers to eavesdrop on people in bookstores, restaurants and mosques. The tactic was detailed in a series of stories by The Associated Press and became the subject of two federal lawsuits.

The NYPD's decision to disband the unit was first reported in The New York Times.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Burned, Bound Along Los Angeles Freeway]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:06:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/204*120/freeway-burn-victim-605.jpg

A man who was found badly burned and partially bound along the 605 Freeway in the city of Industry on Tuesday has died, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

The man, whose identity is still unknown, was discovered by a driver around 1:30 p.m. near the transition road from the northbound 605 Freeway to the 60 Freeway, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher.

The man crawled out of a nearby riverbed wash and up onto the freeway, according Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators.

The man was burned all over his face and body. He was found naked with his hands and feet tied.

Investigators said that the man was assaulted prior to being burned and was not dumped in that location.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the LA County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Refresh this page for updates.

City News Service contributed to this report.

 

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<![CDATA[Pride and Resolve on Boston Marathon Route]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 03:59:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Boston+Marathon+high+fives.jpg

From her living room window in Hopkinton, Mass., Judy Keefe can make out the spot where tens of thousands of runners line up every April to run 26.2 miles into downtown Boston, a trek she never quite understood but celebrated anyway.

Journalists, athletes and local luminaries — and generations of friends and relatives — relied on her unquestioning hospitality in the hours before, and during, the Boston Marathon. Every year on race day, they turned her modest wood-frame home on East Main Street home into a combination shelter, operations base and party spot.

Keefe, who grew up watching the race before it became a major international event, asked nothing in return. She saw it as a sort of civic duty, a way to help her community look good, and bring strangers together.

“People did a lot of jogging, but it was always a social event for me,” Keefe, 69, said.

The Boston Marathon exerts a strong centripetal force on the region, unifying the city and its neighbors in a daylong rally that is as much about the race as it is a show of provincial pride. Nowhere is this dynamic more apparent than in the homes, businesses and schools that line the route between Hopkinton, in the city's Western suburbs, and Copley Square, in downtown Boston. And at no time is the sentiment more palpable than now, a year after twin bombings rocked the finish line.

Motivated and defiant

The race course is quintessential New England: undulating back roads passing through leafy town commons, tidy old suburbs, wooded preserves, immigrant enclaves, low-slung commercial strips and belts of light industry before confronting the well-appointed townhouses of Brookline and the bustle of Boylston Street.

Most of the outlying communities don’t typically think of themselves as part of Boston. But that changes on the third Monday in April, when hundreds of thousands of people spend the Patriots Day holiday — which marks the opening battles of the Revolutionary War — crammed along the route. They cheer and high-five people they know, and many more they don’t. They cheer the home they share, and its place in history.

“It’s another one of those patriotic, very American, apple pie, baseball kind of things,” said Jane Nelson, who grew up in Framingham, a working-class town with its share of empty storefronts. She works at Silton Glass, where every year she roots on runners in a gaudy red, white and blue outfit. “Even though it’s 26 miles long, you feel like it’s your community. It’s bigger than the little town you live in.”

This year brings added motivation.

Just after the 4-hour mark of the 2013 marathon, two bombs, allegedly set by a pair of brothers, exploded near the finish line. The attack, which killed three people and wounded more than 260, set off a furious four-day manhunt in which a police officer was shot to death, one of the brothers died in a gunfight, and the other brother was found wounded in a Watertown backyard. The Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious road races in the world, was now infamous as well.

The 2014 marathon, on April 21, is expected to draw 36,000 runners and more than 1 million spectators. Security will be tight, with backpacks prohibited on the route and party hosts urged to be wary of strangers. But people on the route are united in defiant insistence that no one — not even a pair of murderous brothers — will disrupt their special day.

In a way, the marathon represents the end of a year-long grieving process, and the return to a routine.

“I think, and a lot of people I talk to, it’s, ‘They ticked us off and we got our back up, and there’s no way you’re going to ruin this for us,’” Nelson, 64, said.

Life and marathon, entwined

A few miles down the road, in postcard-quaint Natick, Brian Donovan recalled his earliest childhood memory: he is about 4 years old, on the sidelines, watching for his father to run by.

Donovan missed him, but before he could get upset, his dad turned around and picked him up.

“It sounds all cheesy and stuff, but that’s an indelible moment,” Donovan, 39, said.

In later years, Donovan accompanied his father, a state trooper, on a security detail for Johnny Kelley, a Boston Marathon icon who ran the race 61 times and won it twice. They were together at the finish line for the 1982 “Duel in the Sun” between the long-distance legend Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley.

Donovan’s father used to tell him that anyone who ran a marathon was a hero. So when Donovan grew up, he began running marathons himself; he has completed seven, including four Boston Marathons.

When he wasn’t running, Donovan always took Patriots Day off to watch the marathon. In 2009, he and his wife bought a house on the route. Now they host race-day parties on their front lawn.

“Everyone has the same thing they’re embracing, whether you’re in Hopkinton or Ashland or you're a student at Wellesley screeching like crazy, or at the firehouse turn,” Donovan said. “In any of these places, you just drop everything.”

Among his friends and neighbors, Donovan had noticed an urgent refusal to succumb to fear of another attack. The 2014 marathon will represent a “big middle finger to terrorism,” he said.

“I think a lot of people are going to be motivated more by, ‘You’re telling me I can’t do something that’s actually good, cheer people on? You’re telling me I can’t do that? Forget that.’”

"This is our race"

Eric Barry is a photographer whose studio faces the route in Wellesley, a well-to-do college town next door. He isn’t much of a racing fan, but he feels a sense of ownership with the Boston Marathon, a rite of spring that attracts an international field of elite competitors.

“This isn’t the Tour de France where you might watch for a couple of minutes and be like, ‘Yeah, this is beautiful’ and whatever,” Barry, 40, said. “You watch it here because this is our race.”

He added: “I don’t think I could just go anywhere and watch a marathon. I’d rather watch paint dry. But this transcends the sport. It’s the fun, the community, and the people really go crazy when they actually see someone who is beating the odds somehow.”

This year, of course, there will be plenty more underdogs to cheer: people injured at the finish line last year, and thousands whose races were cut short.

Molly Tyler, a senior at all-women Wellesley College, is leading the school's effort to make signs for anyone who asks. Each will be posted along the "Scream Tunnel," a pack of hundreds of hollering students that for decades has urged racers to press on as they hit the approximate halfway point of their journey. Requests are way up this year, she said.

"People say things like, 'I didn't get to finish last year, so make this the best sign ever, because I'm finishing,'" Tyler, 21, said.

"Nothing but resolve"

In the hours following last year’s bombing, the Newton Fire Department scrambled to find a way to uplift the surrounding neighborhood, which borders Boston.

The department’s red-brick Station 2 firehouse at the corner of Washington Street and Commonwealth Avenue was a marathon landmark, a popular gathering spot and a crucial turning point in the race at the base of Heartbreak Hill.

“We gotta do something,” Lt. Tom Lopez, a union leader, recalled telling his chief.

By the end of the week, a “Boston Strong” banner hung from the firehouse’s facade. It will remain there through this year’s race. “That sign is a source of pride,” Lopez said.

Throughout the harsh winter, runners training for the marathon have stopped at the firehouse for warmth, or water, or to chat.

Residents, meanwhile, have said they are looking forward to the marathon more than in years past.

“I have not had anybody say to me that they’re not going to go to the race,” Lopez said. “People say, ‘I can’t wait to be there.’ I hear nothing but resolve.”

Driven by memories

Back in Hopkinton, a semi-rural town that feels a world away from Boston, Rick Macmillan pulled out a 60-year-old autograph book in which he's been collecting signatures of marathon runners since he was a young boy. Johnny Kelley's in there. So's four-time champion Bill Rodgers. And three-time winner Sara Mae Berman.

Macmillan, 67, a former Hopkinton fire chief who lives a block or so from the starting line, worries, as he always does, about security. But that won't keep him and his wife from throwing their regular marathon party, popular among runners and race officials and neighbors.

"I'm proud to be a part of it, to maybe contribute as little as we can to keep it going," Macmillan said.

Along with his own marathon memories, Brian Donovan has been thinking about Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was standing at the finish line with his family when one of the bombs exploded, killing him. “I was that kid,” Donovan said. “Standing there, cheering with an ice cream cone.”

Anyone who has been to the Boston Marathon could relate with that, he said.

“How many kids had that same American or Boston kind of experience? We’re going to keep doing it. It’s not going to go away.”



Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bombing Victim's Parents Recount Heartbreaking Mix-Up]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 06:00:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/krystle-campbell1.jpg

Childhood pictures of Krystle Campbell show nothing but smiles — which is exactly how her family continues to remember the 29-year-old, whose life was stolen by the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon almost one year ago.

Her parents, Patty and Bill, shared exclusively with NECN personal stories about Krystle, from her devotion to her ailing family members in Somerville, Mass., to the heartbreaking confusion of the day she died.

Krystle's grandmother Wilma shared her own memories of her granddaughter's care, remembering the time Krystle turned down living with her friends to be closer to her. She was recently widowed at the time and recovering from colon surgery.

"And then she lived with me after I got sick," Wilma Campbell said. "She thought maybe I would need her, so she lived here with me a little over two years."

Patty and Bill saw Krystle every day until April 15, 2013, when she saw a Red Sox game with friends before heading to the marathon finish line.

"My son thought my daughter was at that Red Sox game, and we tried to call her," Patty recalled of the moments after the blasts first rocked the marathon finish line. "My son said to me, 'Mom, I have a funny feeling that Krystle is involved in this.' My son had a sixth sense."

One Error's 15 Painful Hours

When the bombs exploded, Krystle's friend Karen Rand was carrying Krystle's purse — leading first responders mistakenly to identify Karen as Krystle at the hospital.

That meant that for 15 hours, Krystle's parents thought their daughter was alive and in surgery.

"They told us that she was in surgery," Patty said. "A quarter to three that morning, they told us they got the bleeding under control, that we could go in for a brief minute. And then we're just going to leave it at that. We found out there was an error," Patty recalled, her voice faltering.

Karen had endured life-altering injuries but ultimately survived. Krystle had not.

"After thinking for 15 hours that your daughter is going through all of this stuff, but she's not, she's gone..." Bill said. "A parent should never have to bury their child, because it's the hardest thing that any parent has to go through, to lose a child. I don't care if it's a newborn or six years or 30 years or 40 years."

An Unexpected Letter From a Survivor

The Campbells have been sustained by the thoughts and prayers promised by the letters, cards and other tokens of support they've received from people around the world.

But the letter that affected them most deeply came from a woman in California who had stood right by Krystle at the marathon finish line.

Krystle was standing at the barrier with a view of the finish line, and when she overheard that the sister of the California woman behind her was about to cross the finish line, she offered her spot so she could see better, the woman wrote.

"My daughter says, 'Well, you know, our runner is not going to be here for a few more minutes, why don't you step in front of us?'" Bill explained.

"I guess my daughter went out behind her, and less than three or four seconds later, the bomb went off. And the woman from California felt like it was her fault. But it wasn't," Bill said, weeping.

"Why Is Our Daughter Gone?"

It's not easy for Patty and Bill to see Krystle's friends who have recovered from their blast injuries.

Patty recalled how she saw one of her daughter's friends at an event, and the friend asked if she were mad. "I said, 'No, God no, I'm not mad at you at all. I'm not mad at you,'" Patty said.

But Bill said he can't help but wonder: "'Why is our daughter gone and you're still here?'"

That question — a "natural human thought," Patty observes — isn't one the Campbell family will ever be able to answer. But as they try to make peace with Krystle's death, her grandmother Wilma Campbell takes comfort in the belief that Krystle is now reunited with her late grandfather.

"I said that when I first saw her in the casket, I told her, 'Okay, Papa's waiting for you, and you'll be okay,'" Wilma said.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Campbell family]]>
<![CDATA[$70,000 in Heroin Seized From Man's Underwear at JFK]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:38:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/heroin+underwear.jpg
Authorities searching a man passing through John F. Kennedy International Airport found nearly two pounds of heroin -- worth more than $70,000 on the street -- in his underwear. 

Officials say Bernard Charles, a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, arrived at JFK from Port of Spain, Trinidad April 1 and appeared extremely nervous as customs officials were going through his suitcase, as is routine. 

Authorities took Charles to a private search room. During the search, agents found two clear packages in his underwear. The packages contained a brown paste-like substance that tested positive for heroin.  

Charles was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations. He faces federal narcotics smuggling charges. 

It wasn't clear if he had an attorney.


Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Blood Moon Lights Up the Sky]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:46:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-AP71116375260.jpg The first "blood moon," or lunar eclipse, of 2014 lit up the sky early in the morning April 15. Click to see photos from around the world.

Photo Credit: ap]]>
<![CDATA[109-Year-Old Bible Saved From Fire]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:35:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/206*120/55-san-pedro-fire-elks-bible-2.jpg

A Bible that has been part of ceremonies at a Southern California Elks Lodge for more than 100 years and other items that have been part of the organization for decades were saved from a fire early Tuesday at the iconic building.

Firefighters responded to 1748 W. Cumbre Drive just after 2:50 a.m. The two-story building was fully engulfed in flames and the roof collapsed on the first floor around 3:30 a.m., according to officials. The fire was knocked down by 4:45 a.m.

The Bible, which was not damaged, is used during Elks Lodge ceremonies for the fraternal organization. It was one of several items firefighters brought out of the burned out building.

"I'm so elated that firefighters were able to save our lodge room and save this Bible," said Exalted Ruler Jose Chavez, who was in tears when firefighters handed him the Bible. "I've been holding this since 3 o'clock this morning."

The Bible has been signed by every Exalted Ruler, including Chavez, since 1905.

Battalion Chief Steve Ruda of the Los Angeles Fire Department called the structure an "iconic San Pedro landmark" that was "serving the people of San Pedro for over 100 years." The San Pedro Elks Lodge had more than 2,300 members.

"Anybody who lives in San Pedro has been here, for either a fundraiser, wedding, funeral, community fundraising event, said James Dimon, Elks Lodge trustee. "The lodge is the community and the community is the lodge."

The building a 37,000-square-foot two-story structure with a basement, located on a hillside. Ruda said the facility faced significant damage and that firefighters are saddened by the loss.

Firefighters were able to save what Ruda described as a ritual hall, where services and meetings are held.

"There was not total devastation here, we were able to save that particular part of the building and our hearts go out because everybody knows of this iconic building, (and) what they've done for the people of San Pedro," Ruda said.

No injuries have been reported.

There was a members-only meeting at the facility last night, but it's "hard to say" what the cause of the fire is just yet, according to Ruda.

Another fire was reported at the same location outside the building on Sunday at 6 a.m., raising concern.

"It is a little early to tell, however it is two fires close together that are of suspicious nature," Ruda said.

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<![CDATA[Tweeters Respond to Palindrome Week]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:30:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/121330338.jpg

This week is palindrome week—every date reads the same forwards and backwards. 4/12/14, 4/13/14, 4/14/14... you get the point. Just like words and phrases can be palindromes—mom, racecar, level, live not on evil—so too can numbers. The palindrome has a long history that goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks, who would inscribe palindromic phrases on fountains. One of the most popular fountain inscriptions was "wash the sin as well as the face." Although that phrase isn't a palindrome in English, it is one in Greek.

Palindrome week is only really celebrated in the United States, as it's the only country that uses the mm-dd-yyyy format when writing out dates. Most countries around the world use the dd-mm-yyyy style, although China and Japan are notable for using yyyy-mm-dd. In any case, Twitter has been abuzz with tweets about the week-long holiday. Some have taken to Twitter to celebrate the wordsmith holiday.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Image Source]]>
<![CDATA[Parolees Raped, Killed While Wearing GPS Bracelets: Police]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:29:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oc-serial-murders-suspects.jpg

Two parolees raped and killed at least four women in Orange County last year while wearing GPS ankle bracelets, police said Monday.

Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon, both registered sex offenders, wore the tracking devices and checked in with police every 30 days during the murders last October and November, Anaheim police Chief Raul Quezada said at an afternoon press conference.

The two men were each charged Monday with four felony counts of special circumstances murder and four felony counts of rape, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.

Investigators got a break in the case when a woman's body was discovered on a conveyor belt at an Anaheim recycling plant on March 14. She was later identified as 21-year-old Jarrae Nykkole Estepp of Oklahoma.

The three other women had been reported missing from Santa Ana. They were identified as 20-year-old Kianna Jackson of Las Vegas, and Santa Ana residents Josephine Vargas, 34, and Martha Anaya, 28. Investigators were searching for their bodies.

Quezada said the women’s cases were tied together based on their lifestyle, location and pattern of behavior, including drug use and prostitution in Anaheim and Santa Ana.

Investigators were searching for additional victims. They're also looking into whether an unsolved murder near Costa Mesa last year is connected to the case.

"We are confident there is one additional victim, and possibly more," Quezada said.

Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, who police said are both transients, were arrested Friday in Anaheim.

If convicted, they face life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty, Rackauckas said.

"Our hearts go out to the victims in this case," Rackauckas said. "Certainly, the families are all very distraught and concerned."

Herlinda Salcedo said police came to her home Saturday to inform her that her daughter Anaya, who disappeared in November 2013, was dead. Police also told her they had not found Anaya’s body.

Salcedo spent months searching for her daughter. The mother told NBC4 she has found closure.

A woman in an area of Santa Ana known for prostitution told NBC4’s Gadi Schwartz that she recognized Gordon, and that he was known to offer women rides in an RV where they could get high on crack cocaine.

“He was always offering rides,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified. “In a safe place, that’s priceless for some of these girls out here.”

Police are in possession of the RV. Arraignment on Tuesday was postponed to May 19.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Construction Worker Killed in Fall]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 03:57:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/scaffolding+death+33rd+street.jpg

Authorities say a construction worker died after a 10-story fall from the roof of a midtown Manhattan office building.

Authorities say the man landed on scaffolding about 25 feet above the sidewalk on the south side of West 33rd Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues. It happened about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Police diverted traffic from the street. Detectives were investigating the cause of the fall. Some were seen peering out at the scaffolding from a second-floor window.

The area is home to several major construction zones, including two projects involving development over nearby rail tracks.

A fire department spokesman says another person was taken to Bellevue Hospital complaining of chest pains.

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<![CDATA[Journalist Says Google Glass Led to SF Assault]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 06:00:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-14-2014-Kyle-Russell.jpg

Google Glass appears to have inspired another attack in San Francisco.

Kyle Russell, a Berkeley-based tech reporter for Business Insider, had his Google Glass ripped from his face and "smashed on the ground" near the 16th and Mission BART station on Friday, he says. 

The attacker, a woman, shouted "Glass" before taking off with the $1,500 computer glasses, Russell said. Russell gave chase but before he could catch the assailant, she smashed the Glass on the ground.

She then "vanished," the Chronicle reported.

Russell had been in the Mission District covering an anti-Google protest, he said on Twitter. There had been a tech bus blockage that morning as well as a protest at an apartment building supposedly bought by a Google lawyer, who had moved to evict the tenants. 

Reaction to Russell's fate -- or, to be more accurate, the fate of his Glass -- ranged from solace-giving to outright schadenfreude, with perhaps a bit more of the latter from the anti-tech set.

Russell told NBC Bay Area he’s amused that critics seem to believe he was “flaunting” his wealth “as a techie, which is funny because I'm a journalist who lives in Berkeley.”

However, "I can see why the person who smashed my Glass did what they did," Russell said in a post summarizing the run-in and the subsequent reactions.

He recognizes that tech-fueled gentrification has pushed people out of their homes, and that his "love for gadgets" like Glass "makes me look and sound like one of the" oppressors, he wrote.

Earlier, a woman reported having her Google Glass snatched off of her face at a San Francisco bar. Sarah Slocum, a self-described tech PR writer, recovered her device.



Photo Credit: Karyne Levy]]>
<![CDATA[Russian Fighter Jet Buzzes U.S. Ship]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:32:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/5PM_PKG_US_DESTROYER_BU_KNSD3RLI_1200x675_226907203532.jpg On Saturday, a Russian fighter jet made several low passes over the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea. NBC 7 military reporter Bridget Naso has more on the face-off that could have turned into a deadly battle. ]]> <![CDATA[Bus Crash Vic's Twin Had Nightmare]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 05:41:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/serratotwins4.jpg

The sister of a Riverside girl killed in a fiery Northern California bus crash last week spoke out Monday and said she hasn't been able to sleep since losing her beloved identical twin.

Marisol Serrato recalled the moments before her twin sister, Marisa, boarded the ill-fated bus tour to Humboldt State University.

"I told her, 'What if I get in an accident and God saves you from that because you are on the waiting list?'" she said. "'You might not go.'"

Marisol was on the same college tour, but she boarded a different bus that made it safely to the university.

"And she told me, 'We think the same,' and I asked her, 'Would you cry for me?'" she said. "And she just smiled at me and she just kind of like hit me a little."

Ten people died April 10 when a FedEx big rig slammed head-on into the charter bus carrying dozens of Southern California high school students. Days before the crash, Marisol had a nightmare.

"I had a bad feeling, I was nervous," she said. "I saw my dad in the dream, and he was dressed in all black."

Marisol said she believes it was a sign, but at the time the twin sisters were just excited they both got seats.

"I can't get that image out of my head when I last saw her," she said. "She was just waiting there with my mom and she was smiling. My mom says she got on the bus happy."

After nearly 24 hours of agonizing over whether her sister had survived the crash, Marisol got the confirmation Marisa was killed. The family has since asked for the public to pray for them as they believe that's they only way they will get through her death.

"My heart wants to break. I keep shaking in the night," she said. "I can't stay still. Her image pops and pops in my head over and over again."

Marisa told Marisol that if she ever died, she could read her journal -- something Marisol has decided to do.

"I think she wants me to move forward with this and do something for her, and that's what I'm going to do," she said. "I think, 'Why me? Why did God still want me around? And why her? Why was it her time?'"

Marisol is expected to receive her sister's high school diploma from Norte Vista High School in June. She has also decided not to attend Humboldt State University.

Anyone who wants to donate to the family can do so by using Bank of America trust account for Marisa Serrato, account number 325026597007.



Photo Credit: Tony Shin/Alex Vasquez]]>
<![CDATA["Wheel of Fortune" Flub Costs Contestant Shot at $1M]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 03:57:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WheelOfFortunePic.jpg

An Indiana University freshman appears to have found his Achilles heel when it comes to the TV game show "Wheel of Fortune" -- pronouncing the name "Achilles."

That error narrowly, plus a handful of others, cost Julian Batts his chance to win $1 million, a trip to London and a car on Friday, which capped "College Week" on the game show.

The honor student's closest miss came when he guessed all the letters in the “Character” category, to spell out “Mythological Hero Achilles.” Unfortunately for him, his pronunciation of "Achilles" was more akin to "A-chill-us," and he wasn't given credit for the answer.

The next contestant swooped in for an easy win of the puzzle.

Julian's next flub came when he had to solve a puzzle in the “Person” category; the sentence read “The World’s Fastest _a_”. Julian guessed “Car” for the incomplete word, but the answer was “The World’s Fastest Man.”

Another upsetting loss came in the last regular round. The incomplete puzzle stood at, “_n-Th_-Sp_t D_c_s__n,” and Julian guessed “On-The-Spot Dicespin.” The next contestant solved for the win with “On-The-Spot Decision.”

Despite his flubs, Batts still managed to win the game and advance to the bonus round, collecting $11,700. It's not much compared to a cool $1 million, but it's not a terrible consolation prize.

Watch the video of Julian’s blunders.
 

 



Photo Credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Blood Moon" Eclipse to Wow U.S. Sky Watchers]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 03:57:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/AP10122117992.jpg

The first of four lunar eclipses known as the "blood moons" will take place on Tuesday and those living in the U.S. are in for a treat.

"The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA," said NASA expert Fred Espenak on Nasa.gov. A tetrad is a series of four consecutive total eclipses that take place at six month intervals.

Tuesday's eclipse starts at 2 a.m. EST, according to NASA, when the edge of the moon will enter the core of the earth's shadow. Total eclipse will occur at around 3 a.m. for those on the East Coast and at around midnight for those in the west. The event will last about 78 minutes, according to NASA.

A total eclipse takes place when the earth casts a shadow on a full moon. The sunlight on the earth's surface shows up on its shadow and gives the moon a red, coppery glow.

Three more total eclipses are expected on Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>