The children, ages 1 and 2, were found at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, not properly clothed and barefoot, when the temperature was about 50 degrees and windy, according to a police report.
A woman called police after she found the children at her front door. She told police she didn’t know where the children lived.
Police canvassed the area and found a home where there were toys and car seats scattered in the yard and the front gate was open. The woman who answered the door told police she was babysitting the children and other juveniles.
The mother showed up and told police she had left the children in the care of the babysitter while she went to the store.
The babysitter was issued a summons for child endangering. Police also forwarded a copy of the report to Butler County Children Services.
A South Dakota woman who works as a clinical psychologist is accused of trying to kill herself and her 6-month-old son in a car crash out of fear the baby has an attachment disorder, court documents allege.
Julia Jacquelyn Alzoubaidi, 34, of Sioux Falls, is charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder and abuse or cruelty to a child under the age of 7, records show. The Argus Leader reported that bail has been set at $250,000.
According to the court documents, computer data from Alzoubaidi’s Mazda CX-5 indicate she accelerated from 50 mph to 70 mph just before the crash. She never hit the brakes, the arrest affidavit says.
“Our hearts go out to the Alzoubaidi family during this incredibly difficult time, and we are holding them in our prayers,” Avera Health said in a statement obtained by The Argus Leader.
Sioux Falls police spokesman Sam Clemens said 911 dispatchers received a call around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday about a vehicle that had left Interstate 229 near Minnesota Avenue and rolled into a ditch. The scene of the crash is close to the Big Sioux River.
The court documents say that Minnesota state troopers were first on the scene.
“As they made their way to the SUV, they heard splashing and moaning near the river,” the arrest affidavit said.
One of the troopers found Alzoubaidi facedown in the river under a bridge that crossed a culvert, the document said. He pulled her to shore, where he found her unresponsive, but breathing and shivering.
The temperature at the time was 37 degrees, with a wind chill of 32 degrees, the affidavit said.
Alzoubaidi’s 6-month-old son was found on the bank of the river, wet, cold and not breathing. The affidavit says the troopers began CPR and continued performing it until Sioux Falls fire medics arrived.
Both Alzoubaidi and the baby were taken to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center for treatment. According to the arrest affidavit, the baby was rushed into the pediatric intensive care unit, where he was treated for hypothermia and aspiration pneumonia, or water in his lungs.
Meanwhile, the first responders were unsure if there were more victims in the water. Clemens told reporters the morning of the crash that the uncertainty of the situation resulted in a large response -- 15 patrol cars from the Highway Patrol and Sioux Falls Police Department, as well as two fire trucks and a rescue unit.
“I think part of it was they thought it was going to be a water rescue,” Clemens said. “Both of them had been in the water at some point in time. I think that was probably part of the response.”
Initially, first responders also believed more people might have been involved in the crash, but Alzoubaidi’s husband, when reached by police, was able to confirm his wife and son were likely the only people in the vehicle, Clemens said.
See Clemens brief the media on the crash and the charges against Alzoubaidi below, courtesy of The Argus Leader.
The troopers noted that all the doors on the SUV were closed, except the door next to the infant boy’s child safety seat, and they determined that Alzoubaidi and her son were not ejected into the water.
A suicide note was found in the vehicle, the affidavit says. The note, the contents of which were included in the affidavit, indicated that Alzoubaidi believed her son had signs of reactive attachment disorder.
According to the Mayo Clinic, reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which an infant or young child fails to establish healthy attachments with his parents or caregivers.
“Reactive attachment disorder may develop if the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met and loving, caring, stable attachments with others are not established,” the Mayo Clinic website says. Signs of the disorder include a failure to smile, a listless appearance, failure to seek comfort or respond when comfort is given, failure to engage in social interaction and a failure to reach out when picked up.
“The prognosis is poor and I couldn’t let him live a life of misery and pain,” Alzoubaidi wrote in her suicide note. “Most kiddos I know with the disorder are institutionalized, suicidal and homicidal and tortured souls. (Name redacted) doesn’t deserve that.”
The note also indicated she blamed herself for her son’s condition and believed she’d caused her husband nothing but pain, the affidavit says.
Read the affidavit seeking an arrest warrant for Julia Alzoubaidi below.
According to the document, Alzoubaidi told emergency room staff treating her that she believed her son had the disorder because he did not enjoy being held.
“When she picked the baby up, he would cry,” the affidavit reads. “The defendant told the ER staff that her solution was to kill the baby and herself.”
Alzoubaidi’s husband told investigators that he did not worry when his wife was not in bed because she often woke during the night to feed their son or pump breast milk, the affidavit said. He did not realize anything was wrong until he was awakened by police officers knocking on the door around 4 a.m.
He told officers he was aware that his wife was concerned about the possibility of reactive attachment disorder, but he did not know his wife intended to harm their son or herself, the document says.
Alzoubaidi reiterated her concerns when investigators interviewed her in the hospital, the affidavit says. She said the lack of bonding she felt with her son made her feel “inadequate as a mother.”
“(Alzoubaidi) sought assistance and advice from her peers and colleagues,” the affidavit says. “This intervention helped for a time, and then she stated her thoughts would eventually turn to ending her life.”
Alzoubaidi’s husband told detectives his wife suffered from anxiety and depression, but that she had gone off her medication during her pregnancy and while breastfeeding their son, the document said.
As of Wednesday, both Alzoubaidi and her son remained hospitalized, KELO-TV reported.
UPDATE 4:58 p.m. EDT Oct. 18: The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said that during an investigation of a woman who left a a 2-year-old boy in front of a stranger’s house the found out she was a family friend.
“On the morning of October 18, 2018, the father was leaving his residence when he was approached by our media partners asking if he knew anything about the child,” authorities said in an update Thursday. “At that time, the father was shown the video and immediately identified the child as his son.”
KTRK reported that the father told authorities that the mother of the child, who was in the hospital, texted the boy’s father to let him know a friend was going to drop off the boy at his home Wednesday afternoon. The father said he assumed plans changed when his son didn’t arrive and had left his house.
“The suspect in the video dropped the child off after the father had left his residence and at the wrong residence,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “The female in the video then left location without verifying anyone was home or who she was releasing the child to.”
The woman is being charged with felony child abandonment. Authorities are not releasing her name, KTRK reported.
Police in Texas are investigating after a woman left a 2-year-old boy in front of a stranger’s house.
KTVT reported that deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home in Spring, Texas, when a 911 caller said she heard a knock at her door. When she answered it, she found the child but no adult.
“When deputies arrived they viewed video surveillance and observed a black female arrive at the residence in a white passenger car,” Lt. Scott Spencer, with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, said in a Thursday morning news release. “The suspect is observed running toward the front door of the residence while lifting the child in the air by one arm. Once the suspect arrives at the front door she rings the door bell, knocks on the door and then flees back to her vehicle abandoning the 2 year child and two bags she was carrying. The entire incident lasted 23 seconds.”
“The child is uninjured and appears to be in good health,” Spencer said, adding that Child Protective Services took custody of the boy.
In an update later Thursday morning, the Sheriff’s Office said the father of the child had been found. The identities of the woman and child have not been released.
“With the help of our local media and our community, the father of the abandoned child has been located.”
KTRK reported the identity of the child and said that the boy’s father lives next door to the house where the child was abandoned.
A Georgia teacher accused of sexually abusing a DeKalb County middle-school student was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday afternoon, police said.
Zachary Meadors, 28, of Lawrenceville, was found dead in a vehicle in the 1200 block of Scenic Highway around 5:15 p.m., Gwinnett County police said in a news release.
He was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a sixth-grade male student at Freedom Middle School, according to an arrest warrant by DeKalb County police. He faced charges of child molestation, computer pornography and child exploitation, WSB-TV reported.
He was a sixth-grade English teacher at the school in Stone Mountain, and he had worked there for two years, WSB-TV reported. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave on Friday.
His parents filed a missing persons report Monday with police after Meadors left letters and an iPad at his parents’ front door. He was last seen Saturday.
The missing persons report said Meadors apologized for his relationship with the student and asked his parents to divide his money among family members, WSB-TV reported.
“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star Tommie Lee was arrested Tuesday at her child's middle school in Smyrna, Georgia.
WSB obtained the arrest warrant for Lee, whose real name is Atasha Chizaah Jefferson.
Jefferson is accused of shoving her child’s head into a locker, among other things, at Griffin Middle School.
According to Smyrna police, Jefferson was charged with felony aggravated assault, simple battery, first-degree child cruelty and disruption of public schools.
WSB reported she posted $27,000 bond Wednesday morning and is out of jail.
Jefferson has had several other run-ins with the law. She was arrested in July after police said she refused orders from officers and hit a valet on the head.
The valet didn't press charges, but Jefferson was charged with "disorderly under the influence" and booked at Atlanta City Detention Center.
Jefferson was also accused of attacking an Atlanta mall employee in February.
A 5-year-old boy last seen in Massachusetts about two years ago was found 1,500 miles away in Orlando, Florida.
An anonymous tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Tuesday helped Florida sheriffs locate the boy.
Police in Webster, Massachusetts, said Matthew Hale was kidnapped by his mother, Christina Hale, in 2016, first going from New York to her mother's home in Webster.
The child's father showed up in Webster in January 2017 and asked police for help.
"He was from New York. He had paperwork stating he had full custody of his child, and he wanted officers to go with him to keep the peace," Master Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte said.
When they arrived on Emil Street, they came up empty-handed.
"When they went there, Christina and Matthew were not there," Tejada-Monforte said. "They learned she had left a few weeks prior."
Police filed a missing person's report, with posters featuring Matthew and his mother's pictures going up across the area.
Seven months later in July, the mother's car was found in Maine. That trail went cold, as the two eventually made their way to Florida to stay with a cousin, authorities said.
The anonymous tip led the Florida sheriffs to the home, where an arrest was made.
"She was located down in Florida with a relative, I assume, because it’s the same last name [Warren Hale], and she was taken into custody," Tejada-Monforte said. "Matthew was taken into custody of the Department of Children and Families, and they’re working on reuniting him with his father.”
The mother will face a charge of parental kidnapping in Webster, while Matthew's father gets a weight lifted off his shoulders.
“For the father, this is a good relief for him to know that his child is OK and is in good health," Tejada-Monforte said.
Tennessee officials are struggling to explain why an apparently loving mother shot her four adopted children to death before taking her own life.
Cynthia Collier’s adult biological son called 911 shortly after 6 p.m. Monday after he returned home from work and found Collier, 55, and his four youngest siblings dead of gunshot wounds in their Columbia home. Evidence found at the scene indicated Collier committed the killings, officials said Tuesday during a news conference.
“There was some information that was left -- it was very brief and vague -- that would indicate that it would be murder-suicide,” Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland said.
Rowland on Tuesday identified the dead children: Kaileigh Lin, 17, Lia Lin, 15, and 14-year-olds Meigan Lin and Bo Li. Court records indicate the children were adopted from China, The Tennessean reported.
Rowland did not specify where in the house the children were killed, but he said there were multiple crime scenes in the home. Investigators recovered two weapons believed to have been used in the slayings.
The sheriff described Collier as a stay-at-home mother who homeschooled her adopted children. Fox17 in Nashville reported that Collier had properly registered with the state to teach her children and submitted curriculum and attendance records.
The children did not participate in extracurricular activities in Maury County, and neighbors said the family kept to themselves, the news station said.
Rowland said the motive for the shootings remained elusive. By all accounts, Collier was a “very loving mother, with the exception of this one incident.”
“This appears to be a loving home,” the sheriff said. “It’s an immaculate home and a very loving family, so a motive would be very important to know what would lead someone to do this to her loved ones.”
Watch Rowland’s entire news conference below.
Besides her adopted children, Collier had three adult biological children -- two sons and a daughter. The Tennessean reported that Collier and her long-estranged husband, Randall Collier Sr., began divorce proceedings in March after 36 years of marriage.
They attempted to reconcile in May, according to court records obtained by the newspaper, but it was unclear how the reconciliation was going. Randall Collier did not live in the house where the homicides took place.
In sworn statements the four youngest children gave during the divorce proceedings, they asked to continue living with their mother, The Tennessean reported. The teens said they barely knew their father.
The three biological Collier children also gave statements in which they said their relationship with their father had also been a strained one, including their interactions before Randall and Cynthia Collier’s 2007 separation, the court records said.
Rowland said Randall Collier and other family members were interviewed during the investigation into the shootings, but the department has no evidence that the crime was anything other than a murder-suicide. His department had no record of any domestic calls to the home prior to the son’s 911 call Monday.
The sheriff asked the public to keep the victims and their family in prayer, as well as the deputies and other first responders who witnessed the crime scenes in the Collier home.
“We deal with difficult situations, we deal with carnage each and every day, but the magnitude of this, it was more than what we’re used to on a day-to-day basis,” Rowland said.
Rowland said it is difficult for law enforcement agencies to deal with potential issues involving mental illness. He encouraged those in crisis to seek help.
“Don’t be embarrassed,” the sheriff said. “Don’t hesitate. Always try to seek professional help any time that you feel a loved one or yourself may be suffering from that.”
A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper was shot and killed early Wednesday while conducting a traffic stop in the southeastern part of the state, according to the Department of Public Safety.
North Carolina State Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Baker said the trooper, Kevin K. Conner, was shot just after midnight while conducting a traffic stop on U.S. 701 near Sellers Town Road in Columbus County.
Update 10:50 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: Authorities arrested 20-year-old Raheem Cole Dashanell Davis in connection with the murder of North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper Kevin K. Conner.
Conner was shot and killed early Wednesday while conducting a traffic stop in the southeastern part of the state, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Update 12:25 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: Following the shooting, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper shared a statement on the loss of Trooper Conner:"The tragic loss of Trooper Kevin Conner of the NC State Highway Patrol weighs heavily on our hearts. We are forever grateful for his devoted service and selfless commitment to protecting the people of North Carolina. Our prayers are with his family and friends and his colleagues in law enforcement."
WRAL-TV reported that Conner was credited with helping save lives after a 2011 fiery head-on crash in Columbus County. The station reported Conner used an extinguisher to put out flames and that he and another trooper provided first aid while waiting for paramedics.
Update 9:50 a.m. EDT Oct. 17: Baker said that at around 12:15 a.m., Conner stopped a white GMC pickup truck for a speeding violation on rural U.S. 701. The driver of the truck pulled over onto the shoulder and fired several shots as the trooper approached, Baker said.
The suspect fled and Conner was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Baker said the driver then headed about 20 miles west to Fair Bluff, near the South Carolina state line, where he was pursued by police. The suspect’s truck became disabled on railroad tracks and the suspect fled on foot. Authorities said the suspect was arrested around 4 a.m. after an extensive search.
The suspect's name has not been released and charges are pending, authorities said.
“The Highway Patrol family is mourning the loss of a hero and will forever be changed by the tragic events that have occurred,” said Col. Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the state highway patrol. “We ask everyone to please keep Trooper Conner’s family and all who knew him in your thoughts and prayers.”
Conner was an 11-year veteran assigned to Troop B, District 5, in Columbus County.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to Trooper Conner’s family,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “Trooper Conner was killed while protecting and serving his community. We mourn our loss and will continue to support his family. We are grateful for his service and honor the men and women who serve in harm’s way, each and every day.”
Condolences for the trooper poured out from a number of law enforcement agencies on social media. Baker said the patrol was asking that people keep the trooper, his family and the entire organization in their prayers.
"We are definitely grieving as a result of our loss," he said.
Original report: Authorities said the trooper, whose name has not been released, was shot just after midnight while conducting a traffic stop on U.S. 701 near Sellers Town Road in Columbus County, just south of Whiteville.
The trooper was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
After an extensive search, authorities were able to find the suspect in nearby woods and take him into custody.
The suspect's name also has not been released.
– Visit WSOCTV.com for the latest on this developing story.
A woman suffered minor injuries last week when a piece of plywood struck the front of her windshield as she was driving on I-95 in Brevard County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
FHP said Rebecca Burgman, 35, was driving north on I-95 behind Jaime Riveira’s pickup truck when the piece of plywood, which had been secured in the bed of the truck, became loose and hit Burgman’s windshield.
Riveira, 51, of Haines City, was ticketed for faulty equipment and failing to secure the load, FHP said.
An Ohio mother has been accused of making child pornography of her young daughter in Pennsylvania.
Kayla Parker, 26, of Dayton, was arrested on charges of sexual abuse, child exploitation, indecent assault and endangering the welfare of a child, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Tuesday in a news release.
Authorities said the crimes took place about four years ago when Parker lived in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, with then-boyfriend David Carbonaro, The Associated Press reported. Her daughter reportedly was 3 years old at the time.
Investigators searched Carbonaro's Pennsylvania home on July 25 and found images and videos of a young girl "in various stages of undress," the news release said.
Parker, who was interviewed by Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents in Dayton on Sept. 18, said she never witnessed Carbonaro sexually abuse her daughter but was certain he was acting inappropriately with her, according to court documents.
Parker added that she moved back to Ohio about four years ago after living with Carbonaro for about a year, court documents said.
Carbonaro is awaiting trial in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, the AP reported.
Parker was extradited to Pennsylvania, where her bail was set at 10 percent of $1 million, the news release said.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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