South Jersey's News Talk Leader!           Radio You Can Depend On!          
ABC National
Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- A Dallas police officer charged with manslaughter in the wrong apartment fatal shooting of a man was fired Monday morning, according to an email sent by Police Chief Rene Hall.

Officer Amber Guyger, 30, "engaged in adverse conduct" when she fatally shot Botham Jean, 26, at his apartment on the night of Sept. 6, Hall said in her email.

Hall said her decision to fire Guyger was made after an internal affairs investigation concluded on Sept. 9.

"Officer Guyger was terminated for her actions," Hall said in her email.

She said Guyger, who was hired by the police force in November 2013, has a right under civil service rules to appeal her discipline, Hall said.

Guyger's dismissal came just 10 days after Jean held a news conference and called for Guyger to be fired immediately.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family, said Hall spoke with the victim's family and attorneys in a conference call on Sunday to tell them she intended to fire Guyger and explained why there was a delay in the action.

"Specifically she explained that a premature administrative suspension could have possibly implicated Guyger’s fifth amendment protections and compromised the criminal prosecution," Merritt said. "The Jean family expressed satisfaction in this explanation and in Guyger’s termination."

He described the move by Hall "as an initial victory," noting that the decision was announced on the same day Botham Jean was buried in his native country, the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

"However, we are committed to seeing through the next steps of the process of a proper murder indictment, conviction and appropriate sentencing," Merritt said.

Merritt said his office is conducting a parallel investigation of the shooting and is preparing to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Guyger and City of Dallas.

ABC News had reached out to Guyger's lawyer for comment but he has yet to respond.

Jean -- who worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services firm with an office in Dallas -- was killed when Guyger mistook his apartment for her own and shot him when she opened the ajar door of the unit and saw a "large silhouette" that she thought was a burglar, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Guyger was arrested and charged with manslaughter three days after the shooting but Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said a grand jury will decide the ultimate charge. She has not ruled out seeking a murder indictment.

Earlier this month, Kaufman County Sheriff's Office released video of Guyger behind bars in handcuffs and jail attire. She does not speak during the video and was later released after posting $300,000 bond.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Southern California Regional Rail Authority(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) -- A suspect has been detained for allegedly stabbing a man in the neck in an unprovoked attack at a Southern California Metrolink station, police said.

The suspect was caught on surveillance video at the time of the broad-daylight assault Sunday morning in Riverside, the Riverside Police Department said.

"After a brief verbal exchange," the knife-wielding suspect stabbed the 69-year-old man, police said. The suspect then fled the scene.

"He said, 'I've been hit. I've been hit.' He was holding his neck and I seen blood coming all down on his clothes," the victim's friend, Katrina, who had just dropped him off at the station, told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV.

"He was saying, 'I'm not going to make it... I'm not going to make it.' I said, 'Yes, you are Albert," she told KABC-TV.

The victim was hospitalized "in critical but stable condition," police said.

Riverside Police spokesman Ryan Railsback told ABC News Monday morning that a suspect has been detained. He declined to comment further.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Twitter/@SCEMD(HORRY, S.C.) -- Florence flooding is far from over.

Ten days after the deadly hurricane hit, rivers are continuing to crest and some South Carolina residents are preparing to evacuate.

In Horry County, South Carolina, flooding is expected to reach or exceed levels from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Horry County police said Monday.

The Waccamaw River in Horry County crested at a record level of 20.22 feet this weekend, more than 2 feet higher than during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and more than 3 feet higher than it did two years ago for Matthew.

Horry County officials anticipate about 21,000 people could be displaced by the flooding, county spokeswoman Kelly Moore told ABC News Sunday.

Evacuations aren't mandatory but shelters are available for those who choose to leave, according to police.

"Our officers are out across the county, checking roadways for flooding and educating communities that may be at risk," the Horry County Police Department said Monday. "If you feel that you may be in danger, do not wait too late to evacuate. But, if you do, we'll do our best to rescue you, even when it means putting our own lives at risk."

Flooding is also threatening Georgetown County, South Carolina.

Roads may be impassable in Horry and Georgetown counties this week, with over 150 roads already closed across the state, South Carolina Emergency Management Division said Monday.

Additional law enforcement resources have been sent to both counties, the emergency management division said.

"Be prepared to leave your home if told to do so by local public safety officials, but you do not need to wait to be told to evacuate if you feel unsafe," the emergency management division said Monday.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted Saturday, "Every asset in the state is being directed towards this region as they are bracing for and experiencing historic flooding.”

At least 43 people, including several young children, have died from Florence, which brought unprecedented rainfall and flooding to North and South Carolina when it hit Sept. 14.

"We have never seen one like this," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said last week. "This one has been epic, it has been disastrous and it has been widespread."

President Donald Trump visited the devastated region last week, calling Florence "one of the most powerful and devastating storms ever to hit our country."

As the states look toward recovery, Trump pledged that the federal government will "do whatever we have to do to make this perfect."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images(NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania) -- Anticipation inside and outside a Pennsylvania courthouse was growing Monday morning as Bill Cosby arrived for sentencing as the first major celebrity convicted in the #MeToo era for sexually abusing a woman.

When the Montgomery County Court in Norristown opened its doors at 9 a.m., there was already a line of people outside waiting to get a seat in the courtroom for Cosby's sentencing.

Inside the courthouse, across a marble balcony overlooking an atrium from where news reporters were lined up 30 deep waiting to get the best seats in court, one of the jurors who convicted the 81-year-old Cosby this spring was spotted slipping into a court office.

He declined to comment when approached by an ABC News reporter.

Outside, as a phalanx of camera crews lined the path, Cosby walked from his black SUV into the courthouse. One of those outside the courthouse waiting for Cosby was a frequent protester Bird Milliken, who came with an effigy of Cosby in a shopping cart with a bright pink sign around the neck, reading, "America's First #MeToo Conviction," followed by the words. "Guilty, Guilty, Guilty."

Milliken, also known the "Bubble Lady" for the bubble machine she totes around, is an ardent supporter of Cosby’s accusers. During the second trial, she got Cosby victim Andrea Constand – the primary accuser in both trials – to autograph her arm.

Milliken later had the signature tattooed to her arm permanently.

Cosby was convicted in April on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from drugging and molesting Constand in his suburban Philadelphia home 14 years ago.

The conviction came about 11 months after a mistrial was declared in Cosby's first trial when a jury failed to reach a verdict.

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated a little over 12 hours before reaching a unanimous verdict in the case.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Gastonia Police Department(GASTONIA, N.C.) -- A massive search effort is underway in southwest North Carolina where a young boy with autism vanished over the weekend after going to a local park with his father.

The search for 6-year-old Maddox Ritch ramped up on Sunday as the FBI joined more than two dozen local and state law enforcement agencies to look for the boy, who was last seen at a park in Gastonia, North Carolina, about 20 miles west of Charlotte, authorities said.

"We're going to explore all possibilities, including abduction," FBI Special Agent Jason Kaplan said Sunday, "but we're also going to make sure we search every inch of land around here to make sure that he's not simply lost.”

Maddox, who is described as nonverbal, was walking near a lake at Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday when his father lost sight of him, authorities said.

"They were walking around the lake," Rachel Bagley, Gastonia spokeswoman, told Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC. "They got around to the back side of the lake. He started running, according to the parents, and when they started running after him, they lost sight of him, and no one has seen him ever since."

In addition to the FBI, at least 24 local and state law enforcement agencies and more than 100 volunteers are helping with the search, according to the Gastonia Police Department.

Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton said officers were searching the lake, reviewing the park’s surveillance footage and interviewing residents in the area for clues.

"If you were at Rankin Lake Park on Saturday and saw Maddox or took video or photos of their outing at the park, call us,” Helton said Sunday. “We know a lot of people were in the park and we have spoken to many of them, but we have not spoken to everyone.

“No piece of information is too small. Something you may think is insignificant could be helpful to our case,” he added.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is also assisting in the search, said Maddox may be in need of medical attention, according to a statement on its website.

Police said Maddox is 4 feet tall with blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing an orange T-shirt with the words "I am the man" and black shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department’s special tip line at 704-869-1075.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock

(DALLAS) -- Cody Wilson, the controversial 3D gunmaker, was extradited to the United States from Taiwan and appeared in a Texas courtroom Sunday on felony charges of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

The U.S. Marshals Service took custody of Wilson after he arrived at George Bush Intercontinental Airport escorted by Taiwanese police.

He appeared in a Harris County courtroom in handcuffs and was informed that a warrant had been issued for his arrest in Travis County on the felony offense of sexual assault and advised of his rights to an attorney.

When asked by a judge if he had any questions, Wilson responded, "No."

He was later booked at the Harris County Jail, and released on $150,000 bond late Sunday. Wilson did not respond to questions from reporters as he exited the jail and a taxi driver rushed to cover his face with a towel.

Wilson's lawyer, Samy Khalil, provided a statement to Houston ABC station KTRK Sunday night: "We are glad that Cody is back in Texas again where we can work with him on his case. That's our focus right now, representing our client and preparing his defense."

Wilson, 30, was arrested on Friday night at a hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, authorities said.

"This was a collaborative effort that demonstrates the dedication of local, state, federal and international officials working together to bring this fugitive to justice," Susan Pamerleau, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas, said in a statement.

Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Wilson on Wednesday in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a minor investigated by the Austin Police Department.

Wilson, who lives in Austin, owns Defense Distributed, which sells blueprints for producing plastic firearms using 3D printers.

Austin police launched an investigation after learning a 16-year-old girl from Central Texas told a counselor she'd had sex with Wilson on Aug. 15 in a local hotel before he paid her $500, according to the arrest warrant affidavit filed Wednesday in Travis County District Court.

Wilson traveled to Taiwan after a friend informed him the victim had spoken to police, Austin Police Cmdr. Troy Officer said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Marshals worked with their Taiwanese counterparts to locate and detain Wilson after he missed a scheduled flight back to the United States, authorities said.

In the arrest warrant affidavit, Austin police said they received a call from a counselor Aug. 22. The counselor reported that a client, a girl under the age of 17, had reported having sex with a 30-year-old man a week before.

On Aug. 27, police were present when staff from the Center for Child Protection interviewed the alleged victim. The girl said she'd met the man on a so-called arrangement dating website and that he'd used the screen name "Sanjuro," according to police.

A search of the girl's cellphone uncovered messages to the site as well as links to messages from "Sanjuro," police said. And, in one message, "Sanjuro" identified himself as Cody Wilson, police said.

Wilson's Texas driver's license picture also matched the "Sanjuro" profile image on the website, police said.

Wilson and the girl met at a coffee shop Aug. 15 and left together in a black Ford Edge, police said. Officials said the vehicle was similar to a 2015 black Ford Edge registered with Wilson's business, Defense Distributed.

Police said Wilson took the girl to the Archer Hotel in Austin, where surveillance footage reviewed by police showed them exiting an elevator on the seventh floor. Hotel records also showed that Wilson was the lone registered guest for room 718 on that date, police said.

Wilson sexually assaulted her and then "retrieved five $100.00 bills from a bag on the floor" and gave her the money, the alleged victim told police, according to the affidavit.

Video showed the two leaving the hotel, the affidavit alleged. Wilson later dropped her off at a Whataburger restaurant, she told authorities.

Wilson could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, authorities told ABC Austin affiliate station KVUE-TV.

In 2013, Wilson -- a self-described "crypto-anarchist" -- successfully fired a bullet from the world’s first 3D-printed handgun and posted its blueprint online. The video got nearly half a million views and the design was downloaded nearly 100,000 times.

The link was later terminated by law enforcement officials.

Years of litigation followed, leading to a settlement in July allowing Wilson to re-release the gun’s downloadable blueprints.

Over the summer, however, a federal judge temporarily stopped him from putting the blueprints online and in August, a federal judge in Seattle extended the injunction after a coalition of states and the District of Columbia said making untraceable plastic weapons available would create a public safety issue.

Later that month, Wilson said he'd started selling the plans for producing plastic firearms using 3D printers despite an injunction blocking it.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Friends and family gathered on Saturday to remember Wendy Martinez, the woman who was stabbed to death in Washington, D.C., while out for a jog in an apparently random attack.

The service was held at the Miracle Theatre, just a mile from the U.S. Capitol Building.

Martinez, 35, was stabbed Tuesday night in what police called an "unprovoked" attack in the capital's Logan Square neighborhood. She had gotten engaged to her boyfriend, Danny Hincapie, just one week prior.

She stumbled into a Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood after police say she was stabbed seven times. Restaurant patrons called 911 and tried to stop the bleeding, but Martinez died at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.

Anthony Crawford, 23, has been charged with first-degree murder in her stabbing.

"It's a gift to uncover the memories, and at the same time, it's sad," Martinez's friend Kristina Moore told Washington ABC affiliate WJLA-TV at the memorial service.

Martinez's mother, Cora Martinez, said last week that her daughter was the "most beautiful, special, vibrant young girl."

Cora Martinez said her daughter will be buried in her wedding gown, which she chose the weekend before she was killed. Services will be held at Christ Fellowship Church in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday.

A memorial fund has garnered more than $15,000 in donations online.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Heavy rain stretches from eastern Texas all the way to New Jersey early Sunday as moisture interacts with a stationary front lingering in the southern U.S.

Heavy rain dropped nearly 5 inches of rain in western Virginia and eastern West Virginia overnight, causing numerous reports of flash flooding in the region.

Flood alerts are still in effect Sunday for parts of the Southern Plains and Ohio Valley.

Widespread strong thunderstorms with heavy rain will develop in much of the Mississippi River and Ohio valleys, eventually spreading into parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast by late Sunday and into Monday.

Locally, 3 to 5 inches of rain is expected in parts of the Mississippi River Valley through Tuesday, especially from Paducah, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee. There is a chance of some flash flooding in the region through Monday night.

Parts of the I-70 corridor from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh could see 2 to 3 inches of rain. Localized flash flooding is possible there.

On Tuesday, a cold front will finally kick a lot of this unsettled weather eastward, but it will first bring a chance for severe storms to parts of the Midwest. Damaging winds and large hail are the main threats.

Temperatures dipping

Meanwhile, north of the unsettled weather, the cooler air is beginning to spill into northern parts of the U.S. The jet stream is dipping south, allowing the coolest morning temperatures in four to five months for some areas. Low temperatures on Sunday morning will be in the 40s from North Dakota to Maine.

Temperatures will rebound over the next few days, but another shot of cool air is in the forecast for the end of the week in the Northern Plains and upper Midwest. There is a chance that some of that region could see below-freezing temperatures by the end of the week.

All of this is wonderfully on time with the arrival of astronomical fall.

No concern yet for Tropical Storm Kirk

There are still a number of areas that are being monitored in the Atlantic; however, none of them will have an immediate impact to land.

Tropical Storm Kirk, which formed Saturday, has winds of 40 mph and is moving west at 18 mph as of Sunday morning. The storm is located approximately 465 miles south-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. The storm will pick up speed over the next few days and likely will strengthen as it moves westward. However, by the middle and end of the week, Kirk will begin to weaken.

The current forecast track has Kirk reaching the Lesser Antilles late this week as a weakening tropical storm. However, there is a possibility that Kirk will not be able to maintain tropical organization before approaching the islands. Therefore, it remains uncertain if Kirk will bring any impact to land.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(VALPARAISO, Ind.) -- A school bus driver in Indiana is under arrest after students filmed her allowing kids to drive the bus.

Joandrea Dehaven McAtee, 27, was arrested on Friday and charged with felony neglect of a dependent. A person can be charged with neglect of a dependent if a decision "places the dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent's life or health," according to Indiana state law.

According to police, McAtee allowed three students -- an 11-year-old, 13-year-old and 17-year-old -- to drive the school bus for short distances Thursday in rural Valparaiso, Indiana. There were other students on the bus at the time, some of whom recorded the incident.

"First, what you gotta do, is put your foot on the brake," the driver, identified by authorities as McAtee, is heard saying in one video.

The student who filmed the video said it was a middle schooler who was driving.

McAtee was immediately fired by First Student, the company that operates buses in Porter Township, after the video and allegations surfaced.

"We are incredibly disappointed by the actions of our former driver," First Student said in a statement to ABC News. "There is nothing more important than the safety of the students we transport. Behavior such as this is completely unacceptable and totally at odds with what we stand for as a company. The driver has been terminated. We have a zero-tolerance policy for employees whose actions may harm or put others at risk."

Porter Township School Corporation said students and parents both reported the conduct to the school administration, and its investigation "quickly substantiated" that McAtee allowed students to drive the bus.

"Upon receiving information regarding this incident, PTSC administration, First Student (our bus service provider) and the Porter County Sheriff’s Department immediately began an investigation," the township said in a statement. "The investigation quickly substantiated the allegations, and the driver was relieved of all duties involving Porter Township School Corp. The Porter Township School Corp. is angered and disappointed in the actions of this driver. The safety of our students is a top priority."

"This individual’s actions are not reflective of the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of our staff," the statement continued. "We are thankful for the students and parents who came forward quickly with this information to both PTSC administration and law enforcement, allowing us to respond expediently and take the proper steps to insure student safety."

McAtee's only previous arrest in the state was for speeding in her own vehicle in New Chicago, Indiana, in February 2017 for driving 54 mph in a 35 mph zone, court records show. She was found guilty and paid the resulting fine.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Indianapolis police are searching for a burglar suspected of stealing items from inside a home and using a Bird electric scooter to leave the scene of the crime.

Michael Leppert said he was getting ready at home on Tuesday morning when he heard what sounded like footsteps coming from the first floor. He yelled to check who was there, but when he didn't get a response, he assumed it was either his wife or dog, he said. When he went downstairs, however, he found that his wallet, laptop and backpack were missing.

There were no signs of forced entry, Leppert told ABC News, adding that the burglar must have entered through the back door, which was unlocked.

While he waited for officers to arrive, Leppert said he spoke to his neighbor, who saw a man riding an electric scooter outside of his home at the time of the burglary.

Bird, an electric scooter rental company that requires users to download an app on their phone and link their credit card, sent the following statement to ABC News:

“We do not condone criminal behavior regardless of the mode of transportation that is used to commit the crime. When any type of irresponsible or criminal behavior is associated with someone on a Bird, we encourage people to report this behavior to us to investigate. Bird investigates each report and takes appropriate next steps, which can include removing individuals from the platform. We are currently investigating the situation, and fully cooperating with local authorities during this process.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The woman who allegedly stabbed five people, including three babies, in a birthing center has been charged with attempted murder, the NYPD said Saturday.

Yu Fen Wang, 52, was hit with five counts of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing five people in what authorities described as a birthing center, which didn't appear to be licensed with New York City or the state, officials said.

Wang, who had what appeared to be self-inflicted slash wounds on her left wrist, remained hospitalized Saturday, according to the NYPD.

Wang allegedly went into the facility in the Flushing neighborhood of the city's borough of Queens about 4 a.m. Friday and stabbed five people, including the infants, who ranged in age from 3 days to 1-month-old, police said.

The victims were expected to survive, police said.

Investigators recovered two knives at the scene.

A motive has not been determined and the investigation was still active, the NYPD said Saturday.

Local and state officials said a probe into the facility, which may have provided maternity care or hospitality services for the largely Chinese immigrant community, had begun. The investigation was looking into the legality of the center, too, officials said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Kaufman County Jail(DALLAS) -- Investigators are looking to trace the movements of a Dallas police officer leading up to the night she shot and killed an unarmed man in his own apartment after, according to the officer, mistaking it for hers.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office has requested records from Ring Alarm security system and are seeking to obtain search warrants for footage from doorbell security cameras at townhouses near the apartment complex where the Sept. 6 shooting took place in downtown Dallas, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA.

Investigators specifically want footage recorded on that day, from 8 a.m. local time to midnight, in an effort to track Amber Guyger's movements, WFAA reported.

A spokesperson for the district attorney's office told ABC News on Saturday that she cannot confirm the information because the investigation into the shooting is active and ongoing.

Guyger, 30, was still wearing her police uniform when she arrived home at the South Side Flats on the night of Sept. 6 after working a full shift. She told police she opened the ajar door of the unit she believed was hers and saw a "large silhouette," which she thought was that of a burglar, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The off-duty patrol officer, who is white, fired her weapon, striking 26-year-old Botham Jean, who is black. The officer called 911 for help, and the responding officers administered aid to Jean at the scene. He was then taken to a local hospital where he later died, police said.

A funeral service to commemorate Jean was held last week at the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in the Dallas suburb of Richardson. Loved ones recalled Jean as a strong Christian, a beloved friend, dependable work colleague and a gifted singer who had aspirations of becoming a politician in his native country of Saint Lucia.

Jean will be buried in Saint Lucia.

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, was arrested three days after the shooting on a manslaughter charge. She was released from jail upon posting $300,000 bond.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said a grand jury will decide the ultimate charge against Guyger and that she has not ruled out pursuing a murder indictment.

Guyger remains on administrative leave amid the ongoing investigation. But attorneys representing Jean's family are calling for the officer to be fired immediately.

"She should not still be on the payroll," family attorney Lee Merritt said at a press conference Sept. 14. "There's no place for her ... This is non-negotiable."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Steven Ferdman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The last time we heard Ambra Gutierrez’s voice was on a recording she made at the behest of the New York City Police Department during an encounter with Harvey Weinstein.

She had already gone to police alleging that the movie mogul had sexually assaulted her during a meeting.

“You sit there and have a drink,” Weinstein appeared to say on a recording obtained by The New Yorker.

“I don’t want to,” Gutierrez can be heard replying.

“You touched my breast,” she's heard telling him.

“Oh, come on, I’m used to that,” Weinstein allegedly said.

That was 2015. Police presented the case to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which ultimately declined to prosecute.

"Our best lawyers looked at the case,” Mr. Vance said, speaking to reporters after an event at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. “I, like they, was very disturbed by the contents of the tape. It’s obviously sickening. But at the end of the day we operate in a courtroom of law, not the court of public opinion, and our sex crime prosecutors made a determination that this was not going to be a provable case.”

She spent the last three years in a self-described “exile” but emerged as the #MeToo movement that she helped fuel marks its anniversary.

“The #MeToo movement is for changing the future,” Gutierrez told ABC News in an interview. “Telling your story is huge. I admire women who had the strength to do it. But, if you can, you should also go to the police, file a lawsuit, or do anything to help prevent it from happening again to you or someone else.”

After her criminal case was rejected, Gutierrez says she retreated to the Philippines to be with family while she battled depression, shame and international smear campaigns.

Now 25, the Filipina-Italian model has returned to New York to work on a new Univision podcast, “In Our Words,” which focuses on overcoming adversity.

“My name is Ambra Gutierrez and I was sexually assaulted ... No one believed me ... I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was forced into exile and it forever changed my life. But now, I’m back and stronger than ever,” she introduces herself in the first episode.

“I’m trying to give voice to other people, to provide a safe platform. Some of my guests came and spoke about how they were sexually assaulted,” she told ABC News, emphasizing that she also has guests on to talk about the positive changes they made.

She cited her interview with American model Sara Ziff, who founded Model Alliance, to promote fair treatment, equal opportunity and more sustainable practices in the fashion industry.

Gutierrez’s alleged sexual assault became public almost a year ago when Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker article featured the stories of multiple women accusing then film mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment.

Farrow's reporting in the magazine was also supported with the 2015recording obtained from a New York Police Department sting operation involving Weinstein and Gutierrez. It revealed Weinstein admitting to groping the then-22-year-old model, describing it as behavior he is “used to.”

 Lurid articles about Gutierrez soon appeared in the tabloids, depicting her as a blackmailer and an opportunist.

After the D.A.’s office decided not to press charges, Gutierrez "signed a highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement" with Weinstein, including "an affidavit stating that the acts Weinstein admits to in the recording never happened," in exchange for a payment, according to the New Yorker.

Gutierrez, haunted by the tabloid smear campaign, left the country for three years.

“I lived in the Philippines and in Italy and decided to come back to New York, my favorite city in the world,” she said.

Empowered by Gutierrez as well as even more high-profile accusers, including Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow, women began to speak out publicly about the abuse they say they have personally endured, leading to the attention now being paid to the #MeToo movement.

Gutierrez emphasized it is not only the stories of the accusers but also the accused.

“I interviewed a male journalist accused of sexual misconduct. He lost his job and his career. His story ... has to be heard.

“I am on the side of justice,” she said.

Though Weinstein now faces criminal charges stemming from allegations by several women, he has pleaded not guilty.

Beyond her initial involvement with the Weinstein allegations, Gutierrez is pursuing justice in another matter.

Gutierrez was the finalist for the title of Miss Italy and her agent brought her to one of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous "bunga bunga" sex parties. She said she refused to stay and, despite being threatened, escaped and took her friend, another young Italian model, Chiara Danese, with her.

Gutierrez later testified against Berlusconi in court, but he was ultimately acquitted. Berlusconi was sent to trial on charges that he paid to have sex with a Moroccan dancer Karima El Mahroug, who allegedly participated in “bunga-bunga” parties when she was underage and was paid for sex.

He was convicted in 2013, but won an appeal the next year.

El Mahroug admitted in court to receiving payments from Berlusconi, but both denied having sex. Berlusconi has also maintained that the get-togethers were not sex parties, but elegant parties.

Even the actor George Clooney was dragged into the trial but he denied having attended any of the alleged sex parties. Unlike Clooney, Gutierrez was vilified by the Italian press and called a liar and an escort.

She says her work there helped her battle her depression and her suicidal thoughts.

“In the Philippines, what kept me alive was helping charities that helped children, like Humanility. Seeing them have so little and create so much was inspiring,” she said.

As a survivor, Gutierrez believes her podcast will inspire men and women to share their stories and bring about societal change.

“We should not be scared to share,” Gutierrez said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

WFTV(MELBOURNE, Fla.) -- The airport worker who hauled a suspected thief off an empty American Airlines plane at 2 a.m. Thursday in Melbourne, Florida, said he knew right away something wasn't right about the 22-year-old.

"I knew right away -- I mean we're trained," airport maintenance worker Shayne Graves told Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV. "No badge. Looked down, no shoe on that foot. This isn't right. Nothing's right about this kid."

Nishal Kiran Sankat, 22, was charged Friday with three counts related to the alleged attempted theft of the plane: one count of unarmed burglary of an occupied conveyance, one count of trespassing in an occupied structure or conveyance, and one count of grand theft worth $100,000 or more. The burglary and theft charges are both felonies.

FBI Special Agent David Joseph Hacker testified in court Friday, saying that Sankat was set on harming himself while having no regard for the possibility of harming others as well.

"In his attempt to harm himself Mr. Sankat advised that he intended to take the aircraft in the process of harming himself," Hacker said.

Agent Christopher Castiello with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, who also testified, said that Graves, who was working on the aircraft when Sankat came on board, told him that he took Sankat to a hanger nearby on a golf cart after noticing he did not have the proper ID to be on the aircraft. Once Graves got to the hanger with Sankat, Sankat tried to run away before Graves tackled him.

"The only thing he said when he came on the plane was that he had his pilot license," Graves said.

Graves told WFTV that his mind immediately flashed to the terror attacks on Sept. 11.

"I said, 'This isn't going to happen again,'" Graves said. "He was looking around, and I said, 'You’re coming with me. You're coming off this airplane.' I put him on the ground at the entrance door, got him on that golf cart, and we went into the hangar."

Graves works the night shift at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is an airplane and power plant technician. He started working at the airport just five months ago, though he's been a mechanic for 25 years.

Authorities said Sankat left his car running outside the airport and he climbed the fence surrounding the facility before boarding the empty Airbus A321.

The Florida Institute of Technology released a statement confirming that Sankat was a part-time student at their school and was studying aviation management. He also has a student pilot's license.

Sankat received a stipend from his parents to go to school and has access to his parent’s bank account.

He maintains dual citizenship with Canada and Trinidad and Tobago.

Sankat is being held without bond and is due back in court on Oct. 18.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

KGO(BERKELEY, Calif.) -- An alleged serial rapist suspected in at least 10 attacks in Northern California -- some dating back almost three decades -- was arrested on Thursday after genetic genealogy led authorities to the home of a University of California, Berkeley employee.

Roy Charles Waller, 58, was charged with 12 counts of forcible sexual assault and is being held without bail.

Authorities across six counties have searched for a suspect, dubbed the "NorCal Rapist," for decades. Waller is alleged to have started his string of violent crimes in Rohnert Park, California, in June 1991. But it was a case in October 2006, the most recent tied to the suspect, which allowed police to catch the suspect.

"Waller was linked by DNA as a positive match for the DNA profile of the Nor-Cal Rapist and linked directly to a sexual assault that occurred in October 2006 in the city of Sacramento," the Sacramento Police Department said in a statement about the arrest.

Authorities had recovered DNA from many of the crime scenes, but were unable to make a match.

"For 27 years, there has been one common thread -- his DNA," Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

That changed in 2018 as authorities used his DNA and the website GEDMatch, a genetic database and genealogy site, to make a positive match.

Nicole Earnest-Payte was Waller's first alleged victim. A man broke into her home in Rohnert Park when she was 21 years old.

"I don't cry a lot about this. I've been waiting for this for a long time," a teary-eyed Earnest-Payte told San Francisco ABC station KGO on Friday. "It's interesting, when I saw his face, I felt nothing, numb."

Earnest-Payte says no one believed her when she reported to police the rape.

"I woke up to a masked man with arms around me and a gun to my head," she said. "Bottom line, they didn't believe me."

Now, officials know that was his M.O.

"This suspect is a real-life boogieman," said Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig. "He snuck into the victim's homes, under the cover of darkness ... and attacked them."

Reisig was one of several district attorneys who spoke Friday at a press conference. The attacks occurred in six counties in Northern California.

In Contra Costa County, a John Doe complaint was filed in order to keep the statute of limitations from running out on an Oct. 31, 1996 attack.

"Today we can bring some closure to the victim in Contra Costa County, who was attacked in Martinez on Halloween in 1996," Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said at a press conference Friday. "The latest development with this case underscores how law enforcement will never give up on a case. We will always pursue justice for our victims. Ten years after the attack in Contra Costa County our office filed a John Doe complaint with the specific DNA profile of this same individual. With the complaint, there was a John Doe warrant for $500,000. We filed the complaint to preserve the statute of limitations for some of the counts in this case."

The investigation into Waller's alleged crimes continues. Officials believe it is possible the suspect committed more crimes.

"Although some of these cases are close to 28 years old, this is still a very active investigation involving many different agencies," Sacramento police said. "Detectives and Forensic Investigators have worked diligently throughout this investigation to process evidence, conduct extensive follow-up, and gather new information regarding these crimes."

The technology used to link Waller to attacks on 10 women in the Bay Area was the same used to arrest alleged "Golden State Killer" Joseph DeAngelo in April. DeAngelo, 72, is facing 13 counts of murder in both Northern and Southern California with cases dating back to the 1970s.

"I think we have to assume that without this tool, it's possible that these men could have died and no one ever would have known they were the involved in these crimes," Dr. Ruth Ballard, a professor of Biological Sciences at California State University, Sacramento, told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV.

Waller is married and has worked at UC Berkeley for 25 years, according to KGO.

He is due back in court for arraignment on Monday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



On Air Now
David Spatz
David Spatz
3:00pm - 4:00pm
The South Jersey Edition
Email Comments
My Profile
WOND Facebook

Community Calendar
Weather