<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.pngNBC Connecticuthttp://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usThu, 27 Apr 2017 16:56:56 -0400Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:56:56 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Milwaukee Man Removed From Delta Flight After Bathroom Break]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:46:03 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Delta-Plane-Generic.jpg

A Milwaukee man was removed from a Delta Airlines flight in Atlanta last week after going to the bathroom during a delay on the flight, according to footage and witness accounts. 

Video of the incident was posted to social media Friday, showing what appeared to be a flight attendant and a second employee asking the passenger to leave Flight 2035 from Atlanta to Milwaukee just moments after he returned from what he said was an emergency bathroom run. 

“I need more information sir. I haven’t done anything and I paid for this ticket and I actually have– I have to get home,” Kima Hamilton said to the first employee who asked him to leave the plane to discuss the matter.

But when Hamilton asked the man if the plane was going to depart when he exited, the attendant replied with “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Multiple passengers are seen recording the conversation as it unfolds, some even asking the attendant if Hamilton would be able to return to the plane.

In a second conversation with what appeared to be another employee, Hamilton was told that his bathroom break had forced the plane to return to the gate. 

“Because we had to come back, that’s why we want to talk to you about that,” the employee is heard saying before telling Hamilton their conversation was “inconveniencing everyone.”

Hamilton explained that he had tried to use the bathroom earlier but was told he needed to wait, otherwise the plane would lose its place in line for takeoff. After 30 more minutes, he said he could no longer hold it and it was an emergency. 

Witnesses noted the plane did not move while Hamilton was in the bathroom. 

Hamilton, who told Milwaukee NBC affiliate TMJ4 that he is an art teacher, continued to plea with officials, telling them he had a field trip with 94 students the next morning and needed to return home.

Soon there was an announcement telling everyone they would need to leave the plane, passengers told TMJ4.

"The whole thing was uncalled for,” Michael Rosalino, who was sitting across the aisle from Hamilton, told the station.

One passenger who filmed the incident wrote in a blog post that she witnessed “the most outrageous treatment of a paying customer.”

“Not only did your staff truly harm and humiliate one person who was forced to pay hundreds of dollars for a new same-day flight, but you forced the rest of us passengers to endure a 2 hour saga of watching a man being targeted for having a bathroom emergency,” Krista Rosolin wrote. “I am disappointed and horrified at how Delta Airlines staff treated their customers/passengers.”

Rosolin told NBC News she felt the urge to record the incident "to have video of whatever transpired." 

“What I couldn’t understand was, 'Okay, why is this being pursued against him when we didn’t move?'” she said. 

Hamilton told TMJ4 that the rest of the passengers were able to re-board the flight and he was forced to stay back. Delta did refund him for part of his ticket, but his luggage remained on the plane and he ultimately purchased a flight home for three times the original price via another airline.

"It all escalated so fast," he said.

In a statement to NBC, Delta said its “flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers.”

“It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at critical points of takeoff and landing,” the statement read.

The incident comes as airlines face heightened scrutiny following incidents on United Express and American Airlines flights in recent weeks. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File
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<![CDATA[2 Members of US Military Die in Afghanistan ISIS Operation]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:30:37 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/pentagon0GettyImages-136114173.jpg

Two members of the U.S. military were killed in an operation on an ISIS target in Afghanistan, NBC News reported. Another was wounded.

More information on the soldiers, including what service they were in, wasn't immediately available, pending notification of their next of kin, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement Thursday.

The operation took place in the Achin area, where the military dropped a massive, non-nuclear bomb called the "mother of all bombs" on an ISIS target in Afghanistan two weeks ago, the weapon's first-ever use in combat.

Another American soldier died this month during an operation against ISIS in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and ISIS are fighting over territory, and with government and American coalition forces.

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Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Flynn Was Warned About Accepting Foreign Payments in 2014]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:22:16 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Flynn_Investigation_Full-149330824475800001.jpg

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn was warned by the military in 2014 not to accept foreign payments without prior approval, according to documents released on Thursday by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the House oversight committee. Separate letters released Thursday show no evidence that Flynn ever sought that approval.

<![CDATA[Promises, Promises: What Trump Said He'd Do But Hasn’t]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:11:58 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/AP_17019801482842.jpg

President Donald Trump hasn't followed through on most of his key campaign promises in his first 100 days in office, according to an NBC News analysis.

Of the 10 core goals NBC News tracked, the president made progress on two, faltered on four, and did little to nothing on the rest.

The tangible progress is mostly due to headline-grabbing executive orders on creating 25 million jobs and rebuilding industry, along with deporting undocumented immigrants. But on others like uniting a divided nation, having so many big wins that America would get bored, and rebuilding the country with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, Trump has achieved little or nothing.  

"He's issued executive orders in line with what he's said and appointments as well, but at the same time … to a remarkable degree, he doesn't feel his previous statements bind him to anything," presidential historian Michael Beschloss said.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Little Green Men? Alien Prank Calls Flood New ICE Hotline]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:50:26 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_17116593407075.jpg

Reports of space aliens and UFOs have flooded the telephone lines at Immigration and Customs Enforcement's newly launched VOICE hotline, established Wednesday through an executive order, which aims to provide public information and resources to the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, NBC news reported.

The calls are part of a protest campaign started on Twitter by Alex McCoy, 28, who encouraged others online to call the hotline and report encounters with extraterrestrial beings.

"I thought this was a chance to push back on how Trump has demonized the immigrant community. [The idea] really took off," McCoy told NBC News.

ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox confirmed to NBC News that the office received alien-related prank calls. He said additional operators will be added if future data reveals long wait times.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Food Recalled After Samples Test Positive for Euthanasia Drug]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:48:02 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/042617+party+animal+dog+food+recall.jpg

Party Animal has issued a nationwide recall of its Cocolicious dog food after lab tests of some products showed traces of the euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, a retailer in Texas alerted Party Animal of the contamination after a customer presented two cans of dog food that tested positive for pentobarbital, a drug used for euthanasia mostly of dogs, cats, and horses.

The affected products include 13-ounce-cans of Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food (Lot #0136E15204 04) with a best by date of July 2019, and 13-ounce cans of Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food (Lot #0134E15 237 13) with a best by date August 2019. The company said the food had been manufactured and distributed in 2015.

Party Animal contacted two retailers that may have sold the customer the food and asked them to remove all remaining cans from these lots from shelves. Pet owners who have cans with the recalled lot numbers to throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

The company said there was one report of a pet who experienced discomfort, but there have been no deaths reported.

"The safety of pets is and always will be our first priority. We sincerely regret the reports of the discomfort experienced by the pet who consumed this food," the company said in a statement.

Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[California Gears Up to Fight Trump on Car Emissions]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:18:00 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/134002821-405-traffic-generic.jpg

Even as President Trump pulls back on regulations governing car emissions, part of a broader policy of overturning environmental protections enacted by the Obama administration, California is determinedly headed in the opposite direction with stricter rules it alone is authorized to enact.

During a visit to Detroit last month, Trump halted the imposition of standards that would cut car emissions almost in half by 2025, including greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming. The administration instead will reopen a review of the standards at the request of the major automakers, giving them the chance to argue that the rules should be eased.

"This is going to be a new era for American jobs and job creation," Trump said in Detroit.

But California is moving forward with the more stringent tailpipe rules, setting up an expected showdown with the Trump administration. A week after Trump's announcement, the California Air Resources Board not only voted to reaffirm the standards and but also began to consider new ones to take effect after 2025. Likely to join the fight will be the dozen other states that follow California's standards rather than the national ones. States can choose either.

"The Trump administration really is very aggressively proclaiming that we should not be addressing climate change at the federal level," said Sean B. Hecht, the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law. "And the auto companies have taken this as an opportunity…to say, 'Hold on, let's try to back out of this deal where we have these federal fuel economy standards through 2025.'"

Trump has had a mixed record in his first 100 days in office. He began dismantling former President Barack Obama's major climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan, with an executive order lifting carbon restrictions, but has made little headway on many of his other campaign promises. His travel ban is tied up in the courts and an overhaul of Obamacare was withdrawn from the House because it had little support. Now California and other, mostly blue states are vowing to fight any easing of regulations governing car emissions.

California needs to control emissions to meet its ambitious plans for battling climate change, with zero-emission vehicles such as electric cars from Tesla and Chevrolet part of the mix. Last year, legislators passed a bill requiring that by 2030, the state cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below its 1990 levels. To send a message about their willingness to take on Trump, Democratic leaders of the California legislature hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to represent them in legal fights with the White House.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's other top Democrats called Trump's move to roll back the emissions standards a cynical ploy.

"President Trump's decision today to weaken emission standards in cars is an unconscionable gift to polluters," Brown wrote to the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on March 15. "Once again you've put the interests of big oil ahead of clean air and politics ahead of science."

Electricity production accounted for most of the greenhouse gases produced in 2014 at 30 percent, but transportation was right behind at 26 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's website. In California, that percentage was even higher: Transportation generated 37 percent of its emissions in 2014.

"For sure California is gearing up," said Deborah Sivas, an environmental litigator at Stanford Law School. "Part of it depends on the next moves by the administration."

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment about its plans for the emissions standards. In a statement last month, Pruitt said that along with the Department of Transportation, the EPA would consider whether the emissions standards were good not only for the environment but also for consumers.

"These standards are costly for automakers and the American people," he said. "We will work with our partners at DOT to take a fresh look to determine if this approach is realistic."

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao echoed his statement, calling Trump's position a "win" for the American people.

Attempts to undercut the standards will prompt drawn-out litigation from states such as California or New York, Sivas predicted. To reverse an earlier decision, the EPA will have to go through the same series of elaborate steps that were taken to put the rules into place.

"They can't just say, 'Oh yeah, well forget that,'" Sivas said.

California earned its unique authority to set regulations tougher than national ones through its pioneering efforts to curb air pollution. When Congress amended the Clean Air Act in 1970, it gave the EPA authority to restrict air pollution from tailpipes as a way to tackle smog. But because California had established its own laws a decade earlier, and because it successfully argued that its air pollution was naturally worse than other states', it was given special status in the law. California may ask the EPA administrator for a waiver to restrict pollution more stringently than the federal government if, in the law's language, the state's standards are at least as protective of public health and welfare and needed to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.

The EPA has denied California's request for a waiver just once, during the administration of President George W. Bush, when California first moved to regulate greenhouse gases in addition to more traditional pollutants. California sued but the case was never decided because Obama was elected.

If the Trump administration were to deny future waivers, California would certainly push back. 

Hecht said that in the past, California has argued that it has compelling and extraordinary circumstances because it has a very large economy and sells many cars, and so its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will make a difference. It also has said that climate change will have specific, negative effects on the state: the loss of the snow pack which will threaten its water supply, for example.

"They were accepted by the Obama administration, and the question will be, Will California win that court fight?'" he said.

Nor is there anything in the law giving the EPA administrator the authority to withdraw a waiver already granted.

"It doesn't speak to the issue one way or the other," said Richard Frank, an environmental law professor at the University of California-Davis.

The Trump administration would likely argue that it has the discretion to revoke any waivers granted by a previous administration, while California would say that absent specific language in the law, the EPA lacks the authority, he said.

"Given all that it will be tough for EPA to say we're going to rescind your waiver," Sivas said. "So I think California has the upper hand in that fight if it comes down to that."

At Pruitt's confirmation hearing, he refused to commit to keeping the waiver in place. Pressed by California's Sen. Kamala D. Harris, a Democrat, he said, "I don't know without going through the process to determine that. One would not want to presume the outcome."

If the Trump administration were to try to withdraw the waiver, Sivas thought California would win in court.

"It's pretty clear under the statue that the deference goes to California not to the EPA on whether the waiver is appropriate," she said. "The Congress wrote the statute that way."

The EPA has already concluded both that elevated levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere "may reasonably be anticipated to endanger" public health and that emissions from new cars contribute to the dangerous levels of greenhouse gases.

The so-called "endangerment finding" came about after Massachusetts sued the EPA under the George W. Bush administration to force it to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court determined that greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act's "capacious definition of 'air pollutant,'" meaning the EPA had the statutory authority to regulate their emissions from new cars and other vehicles.

When it was challenged, the finding was upheld in a federal court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

"It is there, and it needs to be enforced and respected," Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing. "There is nothing that I know that would cause it to be reviewed."

Massachusetts — which along with Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington follow California's lead — is committed to the stricter standards, said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

As with California, Massachusetts is relying on lower car emissions to achieve its climate change goals. The administration of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker wants to place 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road in Massachusetts by 2025 as part of a multi-state effort.

"Any weakening of those standards would raise concerns about Massachusetts' ability to meet emissions reduction goals and maintain ozone standards," Coletta said.

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation also said it would stick with the California standards to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.

"While federal leadership is essential, New York will not stand idly by while clean air protections are eviscerated, and will take any and all actions necessary to ensure public health and our environment are protected," it said.

Meanwhile, the attorneys general of eight of the states plus the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection criticized Trump's position as a dramatic wrong turn for the country that would undermine successful efforts to combat pollution.

"An extensive technical study by the Environmental Protection Agency already found that the standards are fully and economically achievable by the auto industry," their March 16 statement said. "Relaxing them would increase the air pollution that is responsible for premature death, asthma, and more – particularly in our most vulnerable communities."

The standards that Trump wants to ease were set in 2012 in an ambitious effort that also created consistency across the country. The agreement, which grew out of an accord that Obama crafted in 2009 after the financial melt-down, brought together the Obama administration, the car manufacturers and the California Air Resources Board. The rules require each company's fleet of vehicles for the model years 2022 through 2025 to achieve on average 54.5 miles per gallon and they enable the manufactures to avoid making two versions of vehicles for different states.

As part of the agreement, the EPA undertook an evaluation mid-way through the period, but expedited its analysis just before Obama's term ended. In November, with Trump about to take office, it announced it would leave the regulations in place.

That decision left many of the car companies crying foul, saying the review had been rushed, and urging Trump to intervene and weaken the standards. Manufactures warned of price hikes over what consumers could pay, and the loss of 1 million automotive jobs, and pointed to the popularity of pickup trucks and other less fuel-efficient vehicles.

"The Trump Administration has created an opportunity for decision-makers to reach a thoughtful and coordinated outcome predicated on the best and most current data," the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement after Trump’s announcement.

Now that the review has been reopened, a final decision from the EPA could come as late as April 2018.

Meanwhile in court, the alliance is arguing that the EPA's speeded up review was arbitrary and capricious. California responded by asking the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit that it be allowed to defend the feasibility of the standards in court.

An earlier analysis by the EPA found that the standards would reduce oil consumption by nearly 40 billion gallons of refined gasoline and diesel fuel, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 540 million metric tons and save consumers more than $1,650 per vehicle, the California politicians said.

"Your action to weaken vehicle pollution standards — standards your own members agreed to —breaks your promise to the American people," Brown wrote to the automobile manufacturers. "Please be advised that California will take the necessary steps to preserve the current standards and protect the health of our people and the stability of our climate."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Through the Years]]>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:34:36 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trumpthumb.jpgWhat Donald Trump's presidency will look like is unclear to many observers. He has not previously worked in politics, and has made contradictory statements on policy issues in several areas during his campaign. Despite the unknowns, Trump has an extensive public profile that, along with his real estate empire and the Trump brand, grew domestically and internationally over the last few decades. Here is a look at the president-elect's personal and career milestones and controversies.

Photo Credit: AP, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newlywed Grieves After Wife Killed in Dallas Office Shooting]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:09:46 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dennis+Canada.jpg

A North Texas man is planning his wife's funeral, just 39 days after they were married.

Lana Canada was shot and killed Monday morning by a co-worker at a North Dallas office building.

"I'm having a hard time with it. They pulled the love of my life away from me in just an instant," Dennis Canada told NBC 5 from the Sulphur Springs home he shared with his wife.

Everything in the backyard of their home reminds Canada of Lana, including a rose garden they worked on together just two days before she was killed.

"That's hard for me to look at," Canada said.

Lana was a mother of eight – seven daughters and one son – and a grandmother of seven. Together they had a blended family and were the picture of wedded bliss.

"The greatest marriage. The greatest relationship I'd ever been in," Canada said.

He recalled kissing his wife goodbye Monday morning before she left for work. Lana was a supervisor at Dignity Team Health, a Texas-based provider of in-home Hospice Care.

Hours later, she was killed in a conference room by a disgruntled employee who Canada says was "pretty mad" about Lana recently being named a co-partner. The shooter, 60-year-old Matthew Kempf, then turned the gun on himself.

Canada said he received a text about the shooting from one of his wife's co-workers.

He rushed to the north Dallas office building with Lana's 16-year-old daughter.

"When the detectives came out and they told me that Lana did not make it," Canada said through tears. "My world had been taken from me." 

Lana's funeral will be held Friday afternoon in Alba, Texas.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Va. Mom Says She Was Led Out of Church for Breastfeeding]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:16:19 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/042717+annie+peguero.jpg

A Virginia woman who was trying to comfort her baby during a church service says she was escorted out of the sanctuary for breastfeeding.

Annie Peguero, of Dumfries, says in a Facebook Live video that she was questioned twice as she breastfed Sunday in Summit Church in Springfield: first as she sat near the church's "baby room" without a nursing cover over her breast and a second time as she nursed openly in the sanctuary during the sermon.

Peguero, a military wife and mother of two, said a church official told her it went against church policy to nurse openly.

"We don't want to make a man uncomfortable in church, and we also don't want to make a new churchgoer feel uncomfortable," Peguero said she was told.

Church officials did not immediately respond to inquiries. Peguero declined an interview Wednesday evening, after a wave of negative comments were posted online.

Since 2015, Virginia law has given mothers the right to breastfeed anywhere they are legally allowed to be. There is no exemption for religious institutions.

Peguero is a personal trainer whose tagline is "finding sunshine and strength in struggle." She said she breastfeeds openly because it fulfills her daughter's basic needs. She advised other mothers to ignore stares. 

"Don't change your behavior because you're worried about what someone else thinks or does," she said. "Breastfeeding is normal." 

Peguero said she had been enjoying the service at the nondenominational church, where she had attended services several times.

"I'll never set foot in that church again, and it makes me really sad," she said, starting to cry.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Annie Peguero
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<![CDATA[Army Veteran Accused of Tying Up, Shooting Service Dog]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:23:09 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jarren+Heng+Marinna+Collins.jpg

An Army veteran is accused of fatally shooting her service dog while her boyfriend, who's also a soldier, filmed it, a North Carolina prosecutor said.

Cumberland County District Attorney Clark Reaves said 23-year-old Marinna Rollins and 25-year-old Jarren Heng tied the dog, Cumboui, to a tree and shot it multiple times with a rifle. In a video posted on Rollins' Facebook page, the two can be heard giggling and laughing as the gray and white male pit bull is being killed, The Associated Press reported.

Both are charged with cruelty to animals. It wasn't immediately clear whether they have lawyers.

Court documents show Rollins, who is originally from Portland, Maine, medically retired from the Army in January, according to the AP. Authorities said Rollins is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and Cumboui was her emotional support dog.

Prior to the shooting, Rollins posted a photo of Cumboui on her Facebook page, writing she was "sad that her dog had to go to a happier place," according to court documents, NBC affiliate WCSH reported.

A county animal control officer contacted Rollins after seeing the video on social media. The officer told the sheriff's office that Rollins gave "several excuses" as to why the dog was killed, according to WCSH.

Heng was arrested Monday evening and Rollins was arrested Tuesday afternoon.

Heng is an active-duty soldier from Nebraska assigned to a unit that reports to the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt said. Bockholt declined to give the exact unit. 

Photo Credit: Cumberland County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Utah Rep. Chaffetz Gives Transparent Reason for Leave]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:33:29 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GOPRepJasonChaffetz_1200x675.jpg

Republican lawmaker Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz revealed medical fixtures that had been holding his foot together for the last 12 years on his Instagram account.

Recently Chaffetz announced he would be taking a leave of absence and may not run for reelection in 2018. According to his Instagram post which reveals an x-ray of his foot, he said he would have the medical screws and plates removed from his foot after doctors advised him that the hardware could lead to a serious infection.

In the post, Chaffetz wrote, "Yes, I wish I could say I was cliff diving in Mexico but the truth is I fell off a ladder while repairing something in my garage." 

Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight Reform Committee and best known for his investigations of Hillary Clinton and alleged missteps by the Obama administration over the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Sees Vera Wang Diamond Ring on Sidewalk, Finds Its Owner]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:17:43 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_ringreturned0427_1500x845.jpg

Imagine looking down and finding a pristine diamond ring lying on the sidewalk. That was how Glenn Weddell found a Vera Wang diamond ring one afternoon in Sacramento, California. But instead of keeping it, Weddell hunted down the distraught owner to return the ring in a happy reunion. His method involved posting a sign to a tree downtown and hoping for the best. 

<![CDATA[Top News: Fox Employees Files Racial Discrimination Case]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:42:27 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-673374172.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:09:32 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_flights0425_1500x845.jpg

NBC reports on the steps that flyers and travelers can take to protect themselves, and their vacation, from an overbooked flight.

<![CDATA[Miami Cop, Once Hailed as Hero, Charged With False Imprisonment, Battery]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:04:50 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/042717+Alexi+Figueroa+new.jpg

A Miami Police Department officer, who at one time was honored by the governor of Florida for heroism, was arrested Wednesday after a warrant was issued on several charges including false imprisonment and battery.

Officer Alexi Figueroa, 27, turned himself in following an investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office.

According to an arrest warrant, the charges stem from an incident that happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 26, 2016.

The warrant said a 19-year-old woman left her home to go to a store in the area of Northwest 79th Street and 7th Avenue when Figueroa, who was in a marked City of Miami police car, stopped and called out to her.

The officer asked her for her name and phone number, then told her to get in his car, the warrant said.

The woman complied and once in the car, Figueroa started talking to her inappropriately, "as if he was interested in some type of sexual encounter with her," the warrant said.

At one point, the officer leaned over toward her, kissed her on the mouth and put his hand down her shirt, the warrant said.

The victim said she was shocked and startled by the officer's conduct and "felt compelled to do what he told her, since he was a police officer in a marked police car in a police uniform," the warrant said.

She later called the police's internal affairs department.

Figueroa faces two counts of simple battery and one count of false imprisonment, according to a statement released from Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes. 

Figueroa was relieved of duty with pay in February 2016 and will remain that way pending the outcome of his case and the department’s own investigation, Chief Llanes said.

In 2013, Figueroa was presented the Medal of Heroism award by Gov. Rick Scott. Figueroa, while off-duty, had stopped a man who was shooting at a Miami-Dade supermarket.

Javier Ortiz, President of the Fraternal Order of Police chapter for the Miami Police Department, released a statement saying Figueroa is "looking forward to his day in court to be exonerated of these charges."

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Girl Found Dead in Ill. Home, Ending 30-Hour Search]]>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:34:10 -0400http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/semaj+crosby+found.png

UPDATE:Authorities say they are investigating the case as a "suspicious death," pending the results of an autopsy. Read the latest updates here

A 16-month-old girl who went missing from her home in a southwest suburb of Chicago was found dead early Thursday morning.

After 30 hours of searching, the body of Semaj Crosby was discovered by local authorities and FBI agents around 12 a.m. inside a home in the 300 block of Louis Road in Joliet Township, according to the Will County Sheriff's Office.

An evidence van could be seen parked outside the home she was found in and yellow crime tape surrounded the area early Thursday.

The house is in the center of what had been a massive search area scoured by more than 100 officers, multiple teams of bloodhounds, divers and volunteers ever since the toddler was reported missing by her mother, Sheri Gordon, on Tuesday evening.

Gordon told authorities her daughter had been playing outside with other children before she wandered away. Semaj was last seen in the yard of the family’s Preston Heights neighborhood home with her cousins that afternoon, around 4 p.m., her mother said.

Early the next morning, Gordon came out of her home to speak to NBC 5's Lauren Petty and described what she said happened during a live interview: 

“I just want her home with mommy. I just want her home with me,” Gordon said.

Just 40 minutes before Semaj's family said she was playing outside, investigators with the Department of Child and Family Services say they saw the little girl safe at the home. A spokesperson said the agency had visited the family that day and were investigating Gordon for an allegation of neglect.

DCFS investigators checked on the home at about 3:20 p.m., officials said, and all three of the Gordon’s children were there – including Semaj. About three hours later, at about 6:30 p.m., the family reported her missing.

"We have had prior contact with this family including four unfounded investigations for neglect and two prior pending investigation[s] for neglect opened in March 2017," said Veronica Resa, deputy director of communications for DCFS. “There were no obvious hazards or safety concerns at that time. DCFS has been working with the family, offering services since September 2016.”

NBC 5 learned Wednesday that Gordon had hired an attorney as authorities searched fields from helicopters in the air, divers submerged themselves into multiple nearby ponds, and dozens of local residents and volunteers held prayer circles in hopes of finding Semaj safe.

As the search efforts marched past the first full day and Semaj was still nowhere to be found, a tearful Gordon said she was still remaining hopeful for her return.

“That’s my baby girl, that’s my only girl,” she said.

The Will County Sheriff's Office said it was Gordon's attorney that helped authorities get consent to search the home on Louis Road around 11 p.m. Wednesday, before investigators found the body of the girl an hour later.

The discovery of the girl's body prompted more questions for neighbors reacting to the news of her death early Thursday morning, wondering how the girl could have been found in the same area she was reported missing. 

One man who helped with the search, Adrian Smith, told NBC 5 that he was not surprised she was so close all along. 

“I didn’t think she would have gotten too far… for 16 months [old]?” Smith said. “She wouldn’t have gotten too far anyway, unless somebody came and picked her up. She was only 16 months old.” 

On Wednesday, Semaj’s aunt told NBC 5 the toddler had only learned to walk a few weeks prior and was still wobbly on her feet.

“She just learned to walk, so she can’t get that far,” said Semaj’s aunt Lakershia Crosby. “She’s bow-legged, so every five steps she takes she’s tripping over her feet.”

Authorities have not confirmed that Semaj was found in her own home, but Gordon and other family members were seen walking in and out of the residence during the daylong search on Wednesday.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday to determine the girl’s cause of death.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 / Family Photo
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