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Pregnant woman shot, killed days before baby was due; boyfriend charged

Police are investigating after a pregnant woman was found dead in South Memphis, Tennessee.

>> Watch the news report here

The incident happened in the 1900 block of Sparks Street. 

The woman, identified as 26-year-old Karmeshia Pipes, was located with a gunshot wound and pronounced dead at the scene. Pipes was nine months pregnant and was due any day.

A suspect identified as Ricky Anderson II has been detained by police. The suspect was Pipes' boyfriend and the father of her unborn child, police said. Anderson was in the home when police arrived, officers said. The incident appears to have stemmed from a domestic violence situation, according to police.

>> On Fox13Memphis.com: PHOTOS: Pregnant woman fatally shot; boyfriend charged

Family called someone to go check on Pipes. When the friend arrived at the house, the friend had a key and let themselves inside. The friend found Anderson and saw Pipes lying on the floor, police said. According to the arrest affidavit, Anderson just looked "as though he was in shock and wouldn't answer any questions."

>> Read more trending news 

Police told relatives it looked like Pipes had been dead for multiple days before being found. She was last seen at her baby shower on Jan. 21. 

Police detained Anderson; however, he refused to answer questions and give a statement. Police said they saw a fresh scratch/cut on his inner wrist. 

Anderson is charged with first-degree murder.

‘Little Jacob’ case: Police release graphic photo of boy found dead on beach

Texas investigators have taken the unorthodox step of releasing a graphic photo of a young boy found dead on a Galveston beach in October, saying the image may be their final shot at identifying the child they have nicknamed “Little Jacob.”

The boy, who was about 3 or 4 years old when he died, was found Oct. 20 in the water along a relatively undeveloped stretch of coastline on the eastern edge of the city. Capt. Joshua Schirard, public information officer for the Galveston Police Department, said during a news conference Tuesday that despite the release of an artist’s rendering of the boy and detectives’ exhaustion of hundreds of leads, the child’s identity remains a mystery. 

“We’re not releasing this photo lightly. It’s really being done at this point as a last option,” Schirard said. “We’ve exhausted all other things we could do to get this child identified.”

Click here to see the boy’s photo, which was shared on the department’s Facebook pageWarning: The image may be too graphic for some readers. 

More typical methods of identification have not been fruitful and even a $10,000 reward offered by the FBI has failed to produce the right lead. Tips can be phoned in at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

“Evidence found and collected at the scene and during the autopsy is limited,” Schirard said. “DNA samples have been collected and submitted to multiple labs in the hopes of identifying the boy. 

“Unfortunately, these methods have been unable to assist with identification, as children of this age usually don’t have fingerprints or DNA on file.”

Cameras clicked as Schirard taped a photocopy of the boy’s photo to the podium at which he stood. Some reporters asked questions as others remained silent, looking at the boy’s face. 

The photo, which was taken on the sand where he was discovered, showed a boy with thick eyebrows and black hair plastered to his head. He appeared to have an olive complexion and may have been Latino.

The previously released artist’s rendering of the boy, which showed him as he might have appeared alive, was released with pleas for help from the public written in both English and Spanish.

Detective Jeff Banks, an investigator on the case, said Tuesday that the photo was touched up to remove early signs of decomposition and water damage so the image would be more appropriate for release. The boy’s autopsy indicated that he was in the water between 12 and 48 hours when his body was found.

>> Read more trending news

Schirard and Banks gave some of the few details gleaned from the boy’s autopsy, including the fact that he was already dead when his body was placed in the water. He is believed to have died on Oct. 17 or 18. 

The autopsy results, along with studies of the flow of the Gulf of Mexico by the U.S. Coast Guard and National Weather Service, indicated that he was discarded somewhere in Galveston County, east of where his body washed up. Investigators included the area of East Beach and the Houston Ship Channel in Galveston Bay as possible locations. 

The boy was abused and malnourished, the autopsy found. 

“Autopsy results indicate that prior to his death, Little Jacob showed signs of neglect and injuries consistent with abuse,” Schirard said. “However, none of those injuries appear to have been fatal.”

The spokesman declined to detail the signs of abuse discovered. Banks, the detective, said that the boy weighed about 28 pounds -- about half of what a boy his age should have weighed. He was about 3 feet tall. 

His cause of death has not been determined, but along with no signs of a fatal injury, the medical examiner found no indication of a fatal illness in the boy’s system. The case is being treated as a homicide until investigators can rule it out. 

“Further information is needed to find out what happened to Little Jacob, and the first and most crucial step in that investigation is identifying him,” Schirard said. 

Inquiries with dozens of law enforcement agencies have turned up no missing child reports matching the boy’s description, and searches of databases up to the national level have also offered no results. 

Banks said that investigators decided to release the photo in the hopes that someone who was already suspicious after seeing the artist’s rendering of Little Jacob would recognize him from his “true likeness” and come forward. 

“I hate to release that photo,” Banks said. “It’s terrible. But I think at the end of the day, the objective of identifying him outweighs it.”

Schirard said that investigators continue to believe that someone, somewhere knows the boy’s identity.

“That child deserves to be identified and properly laid to rest, but for this to happen, input from the public is absolutely crucial,” Schirard said. 

Lois Gibson, the renowned forensic artist who created the rendering of the child, said she believes that police officials made the right decision in releasing Little Jacob’s actual photo. 

“I have one goal. It’s to find out who the baby is,” Gibson told KHOU in Houston

Gibson has previously worked on six criminal cases similar to the Little Jacob case, including one involving the death of a child nicknamed “Baby Grace” in 2007. Gibson’s drawing helped identify Baby Grace as Riley Ann Sawyers, 2, after her paternal grandmother recognized the image as one of her granddaughter. 

Riley’s mother, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, and her stepfather, Royce Clyde Ziegler II, were both convicted of capital murder for killing the girl during an all-day punishment session in July 2017, the Houston Chronicle reported. The abuse reportedly included whipping the girl with a belt, pushing her face into a pillow, holding her head underwater and throwing her multiple times onto a tile floor.

The Chronicle reported that Trenor told police that after Riley died, they put her body in a plastic box and kept it in storage for about two months before hurling the box off a railroad bridge near the Galveston Causeway.

A fisherman found the girl’s body that October on an island in West Galveston Bay. 

Man accused of shooting 4 at Pennsylvania car wash dies

The suspect in Sunday's mass shooting at a Fayette County car wash has been pronounced dead.

>> Read more trending news

Timothy O'Brien Smith, 28, was pronounced deceased by two separate doctors at Forbes Regional Hospital at 8:54 p.m. Sunday, Pennsylvania State Police said Tuesday.

Smith was accused of shooting and killing four people early Sunday morning at a car wash in Melcroft, located about 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Investigators believe he then turned the gun on himself.

>> Related: 4 people dead after shooting at Pennsylvania car wash

The victims -- identified as William Porterfield, 27; Chelsie Cline, 25; Courtney Snyder, 23; and Seth Cline, 21 -- were pronounced dead at the scene. There was a fifth person with the victims that night who managed to escape with minor injuries.

Chelsie Cline used to date Smith, family members said.

The motive behind the shooting remains unclear.

Governor asks Texas Rangers to look into Karolyi Ranch sexual abuse allegations

Amid allegations that athletes were sexually abused for years at the Karolyi Ranch near Huntsville, Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday asked the Texas Rangers to investigate activities at the former national training center for USA Gymnastics.

>> Read more trending news

Gymnasts, including 2010 U.S. national champion Mattie Larson, spoke out about enduring abuse at the center while giving victim-impact statements before Larry Nassar, a former sports doctor, was sentenced last week to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty in a Michigan courtroom to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Others, including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, have also spoken out about the role the remote ranch played in allowing Nassar to abuse athletes under the guise of medical treatment.

>> Related: USA Gymnastics board of directors to resign

“It is impossibly difficult to relive these experiences, and it breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo in 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” Biles said in a Jan. 15 statement before USA Gymnastics severed ties with the ranch.

Abbott noted that multiple athletes have said they had been sexually abused while training at the Texas facility.

“The public statements made by athletes who previously trained at the Karolyi Ranch are gut-wrenching,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

>> Related: NCAA opens investigation into Michigan State's handling of Nassar abuse

“Those athletes, as well as all Texans, deserve to know that no stone is left unturned to ensure that the allegations are thoroughly vetted and the perpetrators and enablers of any such misconduct are brought to justice. The people of Texas demand, and the victims deserve, nothing less.”

Abbott’s letter noted that while the Walker County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the allegations, the Texas Rangers are in a better position to investigate criminal action that has taken place “across multiple jurisdictions and states.”

>> Related: Larry Nassar writes letter to judge complaining it's too hard to listen to accusers testimonies

Addressing Nassar in the Lansing, Michigan, courtroom on the sixth of seven days of victim-impact statements, Larson said the ranch — a remote location without cellphone service at the end of a long dirt road — was “the perfect environment for abusers and molesters to thrive.”

Nassar took advantage of her fear of the adult coaches to strike up a false friendship, she said.

“I also didn’t tell my fellow teammates because, the times he treated me at the ranch, besides when we were traveling and get treatments in his room, it happened to be in the same room as all of them — a lounge where we would watch TV on a big couch and the treatment tables were behind it,” Larson said in court. “I figured if he was doing this in front of my friends, it can’t be that bad, right?”

>> Related: Signs a doctor may be a sexual predator

Larson said she once pretended to slip on a wet floor, slamming her head into a tub, to fake an injury.

“I was willing to physically hurt myself to get out of the abuse I was experiencing at the ranch,” she said. “In the midst of all these adults who I was scared of, Larry, you were the only one I trusted. In the end, you turned out to be the scariest monster of all.”

Man accused of stabbing couple to death, fatally shooting their 17-month-old daughter

A Missouri man has been charged in a triple homicide that has left a young couple and their toddler daughter dead.

Drew D. Atchison, 24, of Williamsville, is accused of stabbing to death Harley Michael Million, 24, and Samara Fontaine Kitts, 23, in their Wayne County home, KFVS in Cape Girardeau reported. Atchison is accused of then driving the couple’s 17-month-old daughter, Willa Fontaine Million, to a remote area of neighboring Butler County and shooting the girl before dumping all three bodies under blankets and some trash. 

Atchison is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, felony child kidnapping, felony armed criminal action and felony tampering with evidence, according to the news station. He was charged in Wayne County in connection with Million and Kitts’ deaths and in Butler County with the death of their daughter. 

“They were a loving family and amazing parents to Willa,” read a statement from the victims’ families obtained by KFVS. “They weren’t married, but they had been together for the last eight years, since high school. They both have large families who love them very much and a large circle of lifelong friends.”

Wayne County Sheriff’s Office investigators said that Atchison admitted killing the family late last week. They were reported missing by family members on Sunday after they had not been heard from for several days.

Court documents obtained by the news station indicate that responding deputies found evidence behind the couple’s home that suggested a possible homicide. During the investigation, detectives interviewed Atchison, who authorities said admitted being at the home on Thursday, when the first of the killings occurred. 

Investigators said that Atchison told them he stabbed Million and Kitts to death that day and placed their bodies in Million’s truck. He then went inside and shut the baby up in a room with the family’s dogs overnight before leaving and going home, the documents said.

Atchison told investigators he returned to the couple’s home the following morning and attempted to get rid of evidence of the slayings before putting Willa in her father’s truck -- with her parents’ bodies still in the bed -- and driving the truck south to Butler County. On private land off a highway there, he threw the knife used in the stabbings into the woods and hid Million’s and Kitts’ bodies, the investigators wrote. 

Atchison then took Willa out of the truck, shot her to death and put her body with those of her parents, investigators said in the documents. 

He told police he drove Million’s truck to a home behind his own home and parked it under the carport, placing tarps over the front and rear to hide it. He said he threw the vehicle registration into a nearby river. 

No motive for the slayings has been given. Atchison’s relationship to the couple was not clear, but posts on social media indicated they knew each other for several years. 

>> Read more trending news

Family and friends mourned the young family on social media, where their pleas for the trio’s safe return on Monday soon turned to horror. Kitts’ mother, Christa Kitts, wrote before the bodies were discovered that she could not stand not knowing where her daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law were. 

“Are they cold? (Are) they sheltered, hungry?” Kitts wrote on Facebook. “We have to find them.”

Later in the day, Kitts shared Atchison’s mug shot, using expletives to describe the man accused of killing her family.

“Never felt so much hate in my heart for anyone,” Kitts wrote. “And to think he sat at my kitchen table when they were teens. Was at my granddaughter’s first birthday party with his own daughter. I hope (you) never see light of day and burn in hell for eternity. And that life here on Earth, you don’t deserve.”

She thanked people Tuesday for their prayers and support, saying that her daughter, Million and Willa would be missed forever. 

“They were amazing parents. I was so proud of them,” Kitts wrote. “And two young people couldn’t have loved each other more than Sammi (and) Harley.”

Kitts wrote that her granddaughter brought her happiness missing from her life since her younger daughter, Bobbie Jo Buffkin, died. According to her obituary, Bobbie Jo died in February 2013, three days before her 15th birthday. 

Others also expressed their grief on Facebook. Million’s aunt, Sherra Emerson, wrote that he was a happy baby and her “little buddy” when he was young.

“You were such a great daddy to sweet baby Willa,” Emerson wrote. “I love and miss you already!”

Emily Griffin, a friend and former classmate of Million and Kitts, reminisced about the fun they had together.

“Samara Kitts, I’m so privileged to have known you and called you a friend,” Griffin wrote. “Harley Million, I will never forget your mean streak and jokes! You could make anything into a dirty joke. It was a gift.

“I hope y’all are smiling while reading all of the positive things people are saying. May the positive words outweigh the negative energy surrounding today. I love you guys and will forever mourn you all.”

65 pounds of marijuana found in police dispatcher's home

Narcotics officers in North Carolina arrested a police dispatcher’s husband after authorities said they found 65 pounds of marijuana in the couple’s home.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators said Tuesday that they arrested Blong Ly Vang, 34, after executing a search warrant at his home in the 4600 block of Belvedere Drive in Claremont.

Officials told WSOCTV that Vang's wife worked as a dispatcher with the Hickory Police Department.

Police said Vang and his wife allowed officers to search the home, but revoked consent after authorities found 3 pounds of marijuana.

Officials said they then applied for a warrant and conducted a second search of the home. In a bedroom, authorities said they found two large plastic storage containers with several bundles of high-grade marijuana inside.

Officers said a handgun reported stolen from Georgia was also found, along with digital scales, a vacuum sealer and another weapon.

The marijuana had a collective weight of about 65 pounds and a minimum estimated street value of $130,000, police said.

“An operation this size is not someone sitting around their home with a ‘smoke bag,’” Capt. Jason Reid said. “This has a low-end street value of over $130,000. Our drug investigators continue to remain relentless on the distribution of controlled substances in our community.”

Authorities charged Vang with one felony count of trafficking marijuana by possession, one count of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, one count of maintaining a dwelling for controlled substances, one count of possession of a weapon by a felon and one count of possession of a stolen firearm, all felonies.

Vang was being held Tuesday at the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $250,000 secured bond.

Hickory police told WSOCTV that Vang's wife is no longer employed with their department and that an internal investigation is underway.

HGTV pilot star accused of sexually assaulting 10-year-old girl

A man who starred in a TV pilot that aired on HGTV was arrested Monday over allegations that he molested a 10-year-old girl.

According to The Associated Press, Christopher J. Dionne, from the former show “Family Flip,” turned himself in to police in Connecticut despite denying the allegations.

>> Scott Baio denies sexual misconduct allegation by 'Charles in Charge' co-star Nicole Eggert

Police said the 36-year-old Dionne is accused of touching the girl’s chest when she was sleeping over after a birthday party for her friend. Dionne also is accused of taking pictures of the girl’s chest and asking if she wanted to see his genitals.

Fox News reported that “he allegedly touched her buttocks under her clothes as well as her chest.”

>> Read more trending news 

While he denies the accusation, Dionne said the girl put her hand on his stomach and began rubbing, but he told her it was inappropriate.

Dionne appeared on "Family Flip" with his identical twin brother, Michael. Together, they bought homes and renovated them with reclaimed material, then sold them. According to Fox News, they still do this and were in talks with A&E about pursuing another TV venture.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Police: Man kills wife, self day after judge grants protective order

A Maryland couple are dead in an apparent murder-suicide that authorities say unfolded the day after the wife obtained a protective order meant to keep her husband from harming her. 

Charles County Sheriff’s Office officials identified the couple as Candace and Calvin Carnathan, both 33 years old, of White Plains. The shooting took place about 15 hours after a judge ordered Calvin Carnathan to stay away from the scene of the crime. 

Candace Carnathan was granted a temporary restraining order Friday afternoon, and it was served to her husband within an hour of it being issued, a Sheriff’s Office news release stated. Members of the Sheriff’s Office’s domestic violence unit delivered the order to Calvin Carnathan.

“In that protective order, the husband was ordered to vacate the house and have no contact with his wife or children,” the news release said

WJLA in Washington reported that the couple’s children include a 12-year-old girl, and two boys, ages 10 and 7.

Calvin Carnathan defied the judge’s order and was back at the couple’s home the next morning. It was not clear if he forced his way inside or if his wife let him in, but the investigation was ongoing Monday. 

“We can’t foresee what’s going to happen once a protective order is served,” Diane Richardson, a spokesman for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, said during a news conference attended by WJLA reporters. “I mean, ideally, they work in the way in which they were intended, and that is that the person who was served the order respects the order.

“Sometimes that doesn’t happen and it can be a very dangerous time.”

The first indication of trouble came just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday, when the couple’s older son called 911 to report a fight between his parents. The boy said he was with his siblings and that he thought he heard gunshots.

A dispatcher, who remained on the phone with the boy, told him to take his siblings and to hide in the basement. When officers arrived a few minutes later, they got the children out of the house to safety.

Both parents were found dead in an upstairs bedroom, the news release said. Preliminary findings showed that the husband shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. 

It was not immediately clear why Candace Carnathan sought the order against her husband. The case remained under investigation Monday.  WUSA in Washington reported that neighbors said the couple was going through a bitter divorce.

Investigators said the couple’s children, as well as the family dog, are in the custody of relatives, the news station reported. 

Calvin Carnathan’s brother shared a photo of the couple on Facebook in their memory.

“Rest peacefully,” Tommie Carnathan wrote. “Please pray for their children. Thank you.”

A candlelight vigil was held Sunday night in White Plains in Candace Carnathan’s memory. 

A man named Byron Westbrook described the woman as a positive person who always had a smile on her face.

“It’s not fair what happened to you,” Westbrook wrote. “You’ll always be loved by your fam and friends.”

>> Read more trending news

Commenters on social media praised the dispatcher’s handling of the young boy’s phone call but lamented the fact that the protective order obtained by the victim did no good.

“Protective orders are like signing your death certificate,” a woman named Shiela Hudson wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to Maryland weather and news. “Totally worthless. Seems like a few days after women get one, they’re dead.”

“How horrible that the system failed the mom and her children,” Lisa Higgs Johnson wrote. “There needs to be a change. The protective orders did not protect people in the 80s, and still are not protecting victims.”

“To open this story and find out it’s someone you know,” Tameyka Williams wrote. “(You) never know what people are enduring. RIH (rest in heaven) Candace.”

Teen accused of trying to shoot mom as she slept

A North Carolina 15-year-old is accused of trying to shoot her mother as the older woman slept Sunday morning, police said. 

The girl, whose name was not released because of her age, was booked into the Wake County Juvenile Detention Center Sunday night. According to WRAL in Raleigh, she is charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Clayton police officials said in a news release that the girl’s parents were asleep in their home when her father got up and went to the bathroom. The mother told investigators she awoke to a loud noise and found her daughter standing at the foot of the bed.

The girl ran from the room, according to the news release

Officers responding just after 8 a.m. to a request for a welfare check at the family’s home found a bullet hole in the parents’ mattress near where the mother’s head was while she was asleep, police officials said. She was not injured in the shooting.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators found the father’s handgun, which was usually kept in a holster by his side of the bed, hidden elsewhere in the house. 

The motive for the shooting was not disclosed in the news release. 

Mom convicted of starving adopted daughter to death gets 3 life sentences

An Iowa mother convicted of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping was sentenced to serve three consecutive life sentences without parole Friday for starving three of her four adopted children until one of them died.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Family in 'torture house' case fled Texas home after one daughter escaped, neighbor says

According to the Des Moines Register, Judge Karen Romano called Nicole Finn’s actions inexcusable and barred her from having any contact with her surviving adopted children, saying, “The court cannot imagine what kind of mental trauma these children have suffered.”

>> Oldest sibling in 'torture house' case was frail, bullied in elementary school, classmate says

Finn reportedly abused three of the four children she adopted from foster care by pulling them out of public school and locking them away in her home, where she slowly starved them. At one point, the teenagers escaped the home to go panhandling for food, after which Finn forbade them from ever leaving their shared room and continued to withhold food from them, authorities said. The children said they drank from the toilet out of extreme thirst and gave each other sponge baths out of a cat's litter box.

>> Mom accused in 'torture house' case kept watchful eye on son at college, report says

In October, 16-year-old Natalie Finn died from cardiac arrest while weighing just 81 pounds and wearing only an adult diaper, authorities said.

>> Hundreds of journals found in home where 13 siblings held captive, DA says

While Nicole Finn did not comment prior to her sentencing, she indicated that she plans to appeal the decision, alleging misconduct by her attorneys and an inability to present evidence in her defense. Prosecutors, on the other hand, insisted that “if there was ever a case deserving consecutive life sentences, this would be that case.”

>> Dogs found in perfect condition in home where 13 siblings held captive

>> Read more trending news 

Nicole Finn’s estranged husband, Joseph, also faces multiple felony counts, including kidnapping and child endangerment, and is set to go on trial in April.

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