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Parents who allegedly kidnapped their kids found, detained in Georgia

Two parents from North Carolina were detained in Coweta County, Georgia, on Wednesday after authorities said they kidnapped their own children.

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Police found the parents with their two children behind a gas station in Grantville, Assistant Police Chief Cliff Schriefer said.

The man was identified as Christopher Stewart Bryant by a Coweta County sheriff’s official. The woman’s identity was not released, and she was never booked into the jail, the official said.

The children were safe and taken to the Sheriff’s Office.

The parents allegedly took the children from their grandparents, who have legal custody.

FBI agents found the parents by tracking one of their cellphones, and they got a “ping” in Grantville, according to Schriefer. They then called police and the Sheriff’s Office.

North Carolina authorities have taken over the case, according to the sheriff’s official.

Missing ballet dancer found in rural Missouri lake in mysterious death

A St. Louis ballet dancer was found in a rural Missouri lake Wednesday dead from unknown causes after she disappeared Tuesday, according to news reports.

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The body of Raffaella Maria Stroik, 23, was found in Mark Twain State Park, about 100 miles northwest of St. Louis, after a park ranger found her car in the park Tuesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

During a search of the park Wednesday, a pilot flying over the lake spotted her body. There were no obvious signs of foul play, the Post-Dispatch reported, citing the Missouri Highway Patrol, but authorities are continuing to investigate her death. 

It’s unclear why she was at the park, but investigators believe her car had been there since at least Monday, CNN reported. She was last seen Monday morning at a Whole Foods store in suburban St. Louis.

The ballet company’s artistic director, Gen Horiuchi, issued a statement Wednesday on Stroik, who joined the company in September 2017.

>> Trending: Body of 7-year-old Colorado boy found hidden in home; 16-year-old girl arrested

“She was a wonderful dancer and a beautiful person,” Horiuchi said. “We extend our condolences to her family. We are very sad over the loss of this talented and beautiful spirit.”

Stroik had performed in company productions of “The Nutcracker,” “Giselle,” “Cinderella” and others.

An autopsy on the ballerina was scheduled for Thursday.

Missing North Carolina teacher killed in Mexico, according to Facebook post

A Facebook page dedicated to the search for a missing Mooresville, North Carolina, teacher announced that Patrick Braxton-Andrew died on Oct. 28 at the hands of a criminal organization while traveling in Mexico.

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Chihuahua officials and Braxton-Andrew's family desperately searched for the missing backpacker for weeks. The family thanked the Chihuahua governor and attorney general for their "unwavering commitment to locating Patrick."

Braxton-Andrew's brother, Kerry, said the 34-year-old was last seen by a hotel employee in Urique, a remote town in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

The state government said in a statement Monday that searchers checked cabins in the area surrounding the village of Urique and rappelled down into 900-foot-deep ravines looking for Braxton-Andrew.

Urique is a former mining village at the base of one of the many canyons that make up Mexico's Copper Canyon National Park.

The family said the search for Braxton-Andrew's body will continue so he can return home. 

The family said in a statement:

Patrick died doing what he loved —traveling and meeting people. Join us in celebrating his life as he would want us to do. We will always remember Patrick and his joy for life. We love you PBA."

SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 rocket  from Space Coast and lands it

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday afternoon from the Kennedy Space Center and landed it on a droneship off the coast of Florida.

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The unmanned rocket carried the Es'hail-2 communications satellite built by Mitsubishi and owned by the nation of Qatar. 

>> Related: Starman driving Tesla Roadster beyond Mars now, SpaceX says

“Es’hail-2 also features multi-transponder Ka-band capacity, providing business and government sectors with secure communications across the Middle East and North Africa region,” SpaceX said in a press release.

The rocket blasted off at 3:46 p.m. when the launch window opened and deployed its payload just over 30 minutes later.

After the separation, the rocket booster returned to Earth and landed on SpaceX’s “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which was waiting in the Atlantic Ocean, the aerospace company said.

>> Related: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa first paying passenger on SpaceX 2023 moon flight

SpaceX has now landed 31 boosters and reflown 17 of them, according to Space.com, which is part of the company’s plan to make spaceflight more affordable.

WFTV.com contributed to this reported.

Sour Patch Kids cereal coming to store shelves, but not everywhere

After weeks of rumors, Post has confirmed there is, in fact, a Sour Patch Kids cereal coming soon.

Today reported that the company announced a cereal with the flavors of the sour and sweet gummies will be available Dec. 26.

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The item will only be at Walmart.

According to Thrillist, the cereal has a smell similar to the candy. The cereal pieces, which are shaped like the candy, all taste the same. 

“This tastes like Sour Patch Fruity Pebbles, and that is not a bad thing,” the publication said.

Related: ‘Golden Girls’- inspired cereal flying off store shelves, already hard to find

Those looking to get their hands on the item will pay $3.98.

A representative for Walmart told Today the cereal will be at other stores nationwide in June.

Guns seized at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson checkpoints sets national record

More guns have been seized at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s security checkpoints in 2018 than at any other airport in the nation, setting a record even before the year is out.

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The Atlanta airport has held the No. 1 spot in the nation for guns uncovered at checkpoints for the last two years.

A total of 293 firearms have been found in carry-on bags and as improperly packed or undeclared guns in checked luggage so far this year. On average, 80 to 90 percent of them are loaded, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

“I know you can’t imagine this, but the passenger will say, ‘I forgot it was in the bag,’” said TSA’s Atlanta federal security director Mary Leftridge Byrd at an airport press conference Wednesday.

Last year, a record 245 guns were discovered at security checkpoints at the Atlanta airport.

Of the 293 guns found most recently, 248 of them were seized from carry-ons at security checkpoints. Another 45 improperly packed or undeclared guns have been found in checked baggage.

Of course, there’s still time for other airports to catch up before the end of 2018.

>> Related: Pilot error cited in military plane crash that killed 9 near Savannah, Georgia

Check your bags, check your purses,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Double and triple check before you come to the airport to make sure you do not have a firearm, if you intend to fly.”

Pak said he’s looking at ideas for more ways to get the message out, such as reminders to travelers when they check in online with Delta Air Lines and more signs at airport parking notifying passengers that guns are not allowed at security checkpoints.

Guns caught at checkpoints increase security wait times and result in penalties for offenders, including a civil TSA penalty of up to $13,333, according to officials.

“If you are caught with a weapon in your bag, even a first-time offender will pay a fine. You will be issued a citation. You’ll have to appear in court to resolve the citation. You’ll lose your gun. You won’t make your flight,” said Jim Hurley, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Atlanta.

Repeat offenders could be charged with a federal misdemeanor, punishable with up to a $100,000 fine and a year in jail, Pak said.

>> Trending: Homemade silencer last piece of evidence in arrest of 4 family members in 8 murders

While Hartsfield-Jackson is the airport that handles the most passengers in the world, it does not have the most passengers going through security checkpoints. That’s because the majority of passengers at the Atlanta airport are just passing through and connecting, and they go through security at other airports.

Hartsfield-Jackson officials also said Wednesday they expect more than 96,000 passengers at security checkpoints on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which would be a record for Atlanta.

The most recent record was set over the Memorial Day travel periodthis year, when more than 93,000 passengers were screened in a single day at the Atlanta airport.

While the Sunday after Thanksgiving will be the busiest day for travel for the upcoming holiday period, Thanksgiving Day itself will be the lightest, according to the airline industry group.

Over the travel period from Nov. 16 through Nov. 26, a total of more than 3 million passengers are expected to pass through Hartsfield-Jackson.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the airport’s busy period will run from the Thanksgiving period all the way through the Super Bowl in Atlanta next February.

>> Trending: Cyclist riding across country for charity killed along 3,500-mile route

Nationally, the Transportation Security Administration also expects a record-breaking Thanksgiving travel season. At a press conference at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said the agency expects to see a 5 to 6 percent increase in the number of passengers at checkpoints over the holiday season compared with last year.

The U.S. airline industry expects to fly a record 30.6 million people over the Thanksgiving travel period, up from 29 million last year, according to industry group Airlines for America.

The total daily passenger count on all U.S. airlines will reach as high as 3 million during the peak period.

FBI investigating death of American on cruise ship bound for Aruba

Investigators with the FBI are probing the death of an American woman on a Princess Cruises ship bound for Aruba, according to multiple reports.

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The 52-year-old woman, whose name was not released, died early Tuesday while aboard the Royal Princess, The Associated Press reported.

Princess Cruises officials told WPLG in a statement that Aruban authorities boarded the ship, which can carry 3,600 passengers, when it arrived in the country.

“We are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities, including the FBI,” the statement said. “An official cause of death has not been announced.”

Citing local media reports, CBS News reported that Aruban authorities are investigating the case as a possible homicide.

The Royal Princess left Florida’s Port Everglades on Nov. 9 for a 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise. It will return on Saturday to Fort Lauderdale.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Missing ballerina found dead days after disappearance | Your Daily Pitch

Missing ballerina found dead days after disappearance | Your Daily Pitch

Atlanta bans pet stores from selling cats and dogs

Under a new bill signed into law Tuesday, pet stores in Atlanta cannot sell cats or dogs to customers.

The ordinance is a preventive measure, as officials aren’t aware of any stores that were selling dogs or cats in the city — a practice that has fallen out of fashion as more pet owners choose to adopt from shelters instead of large commercial breeding facilities.

The law is intended to discourage the operation of puppy and kitten mills, where breeders are often accused of raising animals in inhumane conditions. Animals seized from these mills frequently end up at animal shelters and with pet rescue organizations.

>> Read more trending news 

The legislation was proposed last month by Atlanta City Councilman Amir Farokhi, who adopted a dog named Roxie from Rescue Me Georgia last October. It was co-sponsored by Councilwomen Carla Smith and Natalyn Archibong.

“I thought it was best if the city was forward-thinking and humane in its policies, alongside our polices for people,” Farokhi said. “It seemed like a simple thing to do that would help our agencies.”

Atlanta is the ninth Georgia city to pass an ordinance prohibiting the retail sale of puppies and kittens, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The issue has also gotten statewide and national attention. More than 250 municipalities across the country have adopted similar pet sale bans, according to media reports. In February, the Georgia Senate defeated a measure that would have stopped local governments from banning the sale of dogs. A similar bill also failed in the House. In some states, the legislation is called Petland Bills, after the Ohio-based franchiser of pet stores that has been active in opposing such measures.

There are no Petland stores in Atlanta, but the controversial chain, which has been sued for allegedly selling sick dogs, has locations in the metro city area. During a Nov. 6 Atlanta City Council meeting, Lauren Petz, director of public relations for two local Petlands, sported an orange “No Retail Pet Ban” shirt and urged officials to table the vote and do more research.

The ordinance was unanimously passed 14-0.

Elizabeth Kunzelman, Petland director of public affairs, said the company is “shocked that city leaders would ban the only regulated source of puppies in favor of unregulated, black market, puppy mill operators.”

“By passing this ban, the city is encouraging the 83 percent of breeders who have no oversight and no regulation to advertise and sell within the city and they are punishing responsible regulated breeders,” Kunzelman said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.

The legislation doesn’t prohibit people from buying from “mom and pop” breeders, or from buying pets from stores outside the city limits. Pet stores in Atlanta may still house and offer dogs or cats for adoption, if they are older than 8 weeks and owned by an animal care facility or rescue organization.

“Pet stores have been the primary sellers of cruelly bred puppy mill puppies, and these unscrupulous retail outlets profit from breeding practices that can cause animals to suffer from illness and congenital problems,”Jennifer Hobgood, Southeast region director of state legislation for ASPCA -aid in a statement.

If any Atlanta store violates the new ordinance, it will face a $500 fine per offense.

Rapper Young Dolph returning to Memphis to hand out Thanksgiving turkeys

A rapper is giving back to the city that he says made him who he is today. 

Young Dolph will make a guest appearance for teens and young adults from Memphis Athletic Ministries on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m.

>> Read more trending news 

Students from all five ministry locations will be bused to a Memphis community center to hear a message delivered by Young Dolph. This event is not open to the public. 

Afterward, Young Dolph will be making sure several Memphis families have a turkey on their table for Thanksgiving Day. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to a news release, Young Dolph will be donating Thanksgiving turkeys to the community.

Butterball turkeys will be given to the residents of Castalia Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods at the MAM-Hamilton Community Center from 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m. 

The release doesn't detail how many turkeys will be given away. In past years he has donated them by the hundreds. In 2016, 300 turkeys were given away. In 2015, Dolph bought 200 extra turkeys when demand was so high that they ran out of the first round of items.

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