A Michigan woman has been charged and is facing loss of parental rights after she overdosed her 6-week-old daughter on methadone “because she was fussy,” police officials said.
Jennifer Lynn Pickerd, 37, of Grand Rapids, is charged with second-degree child abuse in the Sept. 30 incident at her apartment, ABC13 in Grand Rapids reported. Court records show that the case against Pickerd was filed Nov. 2.
She was booked into the Kent County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond, but she has since been released, according to jail records.
ABC13 reported that Grand Rapids police officers responded to a 911 call Sept. 30 about an infant having trouble breathing. Pickerd reportedly admitted giving the baby 20 mg of methadone, which she obtained from a clinic at which she was a patient, because the baby was crying and would not go to sleep.
Court documents obtained by ABC13 showed that Pickerd told investigators she believed the baby was going through withdrawal after Pickerd stopped breastfeeding the girl.
“She denied calling (the child’s) doctor before deciding to give the baby the controlled substance,” the documents said.
Pickerd told investigators she gave the baby Narcan when she found her unresponsive and realized she was overdosing on the drug.
Methadone is an opiate typically used to wean addicts off narcotic pain medication. Narcan is a drug that is administered to people overdosing on opiates.
The infant girl was hospitalized for several days, ABC13 reported.
“The baby was released from the hospital on Oct. 5 after going through detox for methadone,” Sgt. Catherine Williams with the Grand Rapids Police Department said.
The girl has been placed in the custody of Kent County Children’s Protective Services, ABC13 said. A hearing has been set for later this month to terminate Pickerd’s parental rights.
Police are searching for a California woman who attacked a McDonald’s manager after she entered the back of the fast-food restaurant and asked for ketchup, KABC reported.
On Oct. 27 around 11 p.m., the woman entered the work area of a McDonald’s in Santa Ana and asked for ketchup. When told to leave the employee area, the suspect punched and choked the manager, the television station reported.
The incident was caught on surveillance cameras.
"The manager tells her, 'I'll be glad to help you, you just need to go up front,' and for whatever reason she took it upon herself to assault the manager," Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told KABC.
The video shows the suspect, dressed in a light T-shirt, putting her hands around the manager’s neck and slamming her head into a drink machine.
Later in the video, a man wearing a gray hoodie comes through the same back entrance and escorts the suspect out of the restaurant.
The restaurant manager said the suspect did not seem intoxicated or impaired, but was just angry, KNTV reported.
"There is no reason that any employee at any business should be assaulted by a patron, much less over not getting enough ketchup," Bertagna told told KABC.
Police are searching for the suspect, Bertagna told the television station.
A Texas thief stole a $300,000 Ferrari that was parked in the driveway of a suburban Dallas home, but left his damaged Chevrolet Suburban at the scene, WFAA reported.
The owner of the car -- a white, 2018 Ferrari GTC4Lusso T -- said his car was parked in the driveway on the side of the home, unlocked and with the keys still inside the vehicle, when it was stolen Nov. 4, The Dallas Morning News reported. There also was about $2,000 of pain medication in the car, the owner told police.
The Ferrari, which can reach speeds of 199 mph, was recovered Monday, Lt. Lance Koppa, a Highland Park Department of Public Safety spokesman, told the newspaper.
Police found an open beer can in the console of the Suburban, and the SUV had damage on the right front and back quarters of the vehicle, WFAA reported. A police report said the SUV was registered to a man in Fort Worth, but did not say if the owner was a suspect, the television station reported.
The Suburban was impounded by police, the Morning News reported.
Ronnie and Cindy Watts are frustrated.
The parents of Chris Watts, the Colorado man who pleaded guilty Nov. 6 to killing his wife, Shanann Watts, and their daughters, Bella, 4, and 3-year-old Celeste, told ABC7 in Denver that they are not convinced that the public knows the whole story of what happened that August morning at their son and daughter-in-law’s Frederick home.
Watts’ parents said in an interview from their North Carolina home that they were not allowed to get all the answers in the case before their son entered his guilty plea.
“I asked Chris, ‘If you did not do this, do not confess to something you didn’t do,’” Cindy Watts told ABC7. “(His defense attorney) shut me down. She completely shut me down.”
“If he didn’t kill the children, I want him to face that and let them prove it,” Ronnie Watts told the news station.
Chris Watts entered a guilty plea to nine charges last week: three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree murder of a child under the age of 12 by a person in a position of trust, one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy and three counts of tampering with a deceased body.
Shanann Watts, 34, was about 15 weeks pregnant with a son they planned to name Nico.
The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reported that Chris Watts held back tears as he pleaded guilty, his voice wavering each of the nine times he uttered the word. Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke took the death penalty off the table -- at the request of Shanann Watts’ family.
The minimum sentence on all five murder counts is life in prison without parole, according to Watts’ signed guilty plea. Unlawful termination of a pregnancy carries a sentence of 16 to 48 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
Tampering with a body carries a sentence of four to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000, the document said.
Chris Watts is scheduled for sentencing Monday.
Even prior to the guilty plea, Chris Watts admitted strangling Shanann Watts, 34, to death Aug. 13. He claimed that Shanann Watts strangled their young daughters after he asked for a separation, prompting him to do the same to her while in a rage.
Shanann Watts returned home from a business trip around 2 a.m. the morning of the slayings. According to Chris Watts’ arrest affidavit, he initially told investigators that the couple woke around 5 a.m., at which time they had an emotional conversation about splitting up.
He said he loaded some tools into his truck around 5:30 a.m. and went to work at his job for Andarko Petroleum Corp., at which time Shanann and the girls were still alive. He claimed that Shanann said she was going to take the girls to visit a friend later in the day.
A friend of Shanann Watts reported her and her daughters missing later that day when she could not locate them.
A two-day investigation determined that Chris Watts was having an affair with a coworker, the affidavit said. During subsequent questioning -- and after speaking to his father -- Watts admitted to killing his wife.
Chris Watts claimed he told Shanann he wanted a separation that morning. He said he went downstairs for a moment and, upon returning upstairs, he saw his wife killing their children.
“While in the bedroom, via baby monitor located on Shanann’s night stand, he observed Bella ‘sprawled’ out on her bed and blue, and Shanann actively strangling Celeste,” the arrest affidavit said. “Chris said he went into a rage and ultimately strangled Shanann to death.”
Chris Watts told investigators he loaded the bodies into his truck and drove them about 60 miles to a tank battery belonging to Andarko, where he buried Shanann in a shallow grave. Bella and Celeste were found submerged in crude oil in two nearby oil tanks.
The autopsy results on the victims have not been released to the public.
The charges against Chris Watts indicated that his daughters may have been dead before Shanann Watts returned from her business trip Aug. 13.
Ronnie and Cindy Watts told ABC7 they wonder if their son was coerced into confessing to killing the children.
“To me, all they wanted to do was save his life, just save his life,” Cindy Watts told the news station. “Save his life and life in prison, to me there’s no difference. He’s going to die in prison. I just want him to fight. I don’t want him to take this plea deal. I want him to plead not guilty to the children.”
Cindy Watts told Fox31 in Denver that she can not imagine her son killing his entire family.
“I don’t know how he could do that. I want to stop it before it’s too late," Cindy Watts told the news station. “I want to talk to him; we haven’t been able to talk to him. I know I raised a good man and he was such a good person, such a good person. He was not a sociopath or psychopath or kill animals or anything like that ... didn’t do any of these things people are saying he did.
“He’s not that monster people are portraying to him to be. I love my son no matter what. I want to fight for him. I don’t want him to go down for something he didn’t do.”
Shanann Watts’ family issued a statement in response to Ronnie and Cindy Watts’ interview, in which they accused their former in-laws of making “vicious, grotesque and utterly false statements about Shanann.”
“Their false statements, however hurtful and inaccurate, will never alter the truth about Shanann and will never alter the truth about the crimes committed by their son, Chris Watts,” the statement said, according to Fox31. “Shanann’s memory and reputation deserves to be protected. And her family is fully prepared to do so.”
“Shanann Watts was a faithful wife, and the most gentle and loving mother in the world to her children Bella, Celeste, and Nico,” her family wrote. “She was also the best daughter any parent could ever hope for. Shanann was a wonderful soul.
“Everyone who knew Shanann knows this to be true. Even Chris Watts knows this to be true. Yet Chris Watts still chose to murder Shanann, Bella, Celeste and Nico. Chris Watts still chose to dump the bodies of his own family in oil tanks. And Chris Watts still chose to lie about it until he could lie no more. He pled guilty to murdering his family because he is guilty.”
Indiana police said a woman murdered her husband on Friday and did not report it until Monday morning, WXIN reported.
Sheila Ridenour, 55, was charged with murder and failure to report a body, the Indianapolis Star reported, citing an arrest report by police in Montgomery County.
According to police, Ridenour called 911 at 3:24 a.m. to report the death. Officers responded and found Billy Ridenour, 62, dead at the couple’s Crawfordsville residence, WXIN reported.
Ridenour told a 911 dispatcher she shot her husband on Friday, the Star reported.
Police said the case is still being investigated, WXIN reported
George Zimmerman entered a no contest plea to resolve a misdemeanor charge of stalking a private investigator in the latest run-in with the law for the neighborhood watch leader who killed Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman will be placed on 12-month probation, during which time he is not allowed to possess a firearm.
The Associated Press reported that Zimmerman entered the no contest plea in absentia, meaning he did not have to be present at the courthouse. Under such a plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt, and a conviction is withheld if the conditions of the plea are met.
Zimmerman was accused of sending threatening messages to a private investigator who had contacted him about a documentary series on Martin.
According to court records, the private investigator contacted Zimmerman about the film on Sept. 21, 2017 and mentioned the producer, Mike Gasparro, and left a voicemail with Gasparro’s contact information.
Deputies said Gasparro told the private investigator that Zimmerman was extremely agitated with him and threatened physical harm because the investigator had been contacting Zimmerman’s family.
Zimmerman allegedly told Gasparro, “Help (the investigator’s wife) out and give him a heads-up. I’m going to find him. And I’m bringing hell with me.”
He allegedly texted Gasparro and said, “(The private investigator) is a (expletive) who bothered my uncle in his home. Local or former law officer, he’s well on his way to the inside of a gator as well. Ten-four?”
On Dec. 16, the private investigator said he, too, began receiving threats from Zimmerman. In total, he received 21 calls, 38 texts and seven voicemails in a two-hour time span.
The investigator called deputies to report the alleged threats.
The responding deputy told the private investigator to make a call to Zimmerman and ask him to cease communication. According to documents, Zimmerman told him, “No,” and to go ahead and “pursue charges.”
He also said, “Text me again. I’ll show up at your house,” the documents said.
Zimmerman also sent the victim a website link to a December 2017 news story on celebrity gossip site The Blast, in which Zimmerman was quoted, saying, “I know how to handle people who (expletive) with me. I have since February 2012,” and, “Anyone who (expletive) with my parents will be fed to an alligator.”
According to The Blast, Zimmerman himself said that he was being harassed by production crews working on the documentary about Martin.
In March 2017, Variety reported that JAY-Z was a partner with the Weinstein Company on the project. The documentary series, titled, “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story,” aired from July to September, examined Martin’s life, the shooting by Zimmerman and the 2013 acquittal.
According to the court documents, Zimmerman continued to send text messages, emails and phone calls.
Court records show the private investigator received 55 phone calls, 67 text messages, 36 voicemails and 27 emails throughout December. The voicemails, deputies said, contained what appeared to be ticking sounds and tones that would slowly increase in frequency.
On Jan. 3, a deputy who was familiar with Zimmerman from a domestic dispute between Zimmerman and his ex-wife, called Zimmerman.
Court documents said he berated the deputy.
Zimmerman fatally shot the black teenager in 2012 in the central Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, was acquitted of all charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Four people have been arrested Tuesday in connection to the murders of eight people in Pike County in Ohio in 2016, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
In a media release, the office said four members of the South Webster, Ohio, family -- George Billy Wagner III, 47, Angela Wagner, 48, George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward Jake Wagner, 26 -- were taken into custody.
The Wagners have been charged with planning and carrying out the murders of eight people on April 22, 2016. The victims included a husband, wife, their two adult sons, and the fiance of one of the sons.
Here’s what we know about the suspects:
Edward Jake Wagner is the 24-year-old who fathered a daughter with Hanna Rhoden. He is one of four people investigators wanted more information about after the murders of Rhoden and seven others in Pike County. His grandmother Fredericka Wagner said in April 2017 that he said nothing to do with murders.
“They have nothing,” Fredericka Wagner said in a 2017 Dayton Daily News interview. “Their searches have turned up zilch. Nothing. And they aren’t going to either because Jake had nothing to do with it.”
Angela Wagner and George “Billy” Wagner are Edward “Jake” Wagner’s parents. George Wagner IV is his brother.
Here’s what we know about the Wagner family:
In 2017, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine had not named any of the Wagners as suspects in the case. But he asked the public to come forward with information about Jake Wagner, Angela Wagner, George “Billy” Wagner III, and George Wagner IV. He believed all lived in Alaska.
DeWine’s request was met with so many calls to Alaska authorities that the Anchorage Police Department asked residents to stop calling.
Life in Alaska
According to interviews and a 2017 Dayton Daily News review of the family’s social media accounts, the family appeared to have settled on Alaska’s mountainous Kenai Peninsula -- roughly half the size of Ohio. The peninsula’s largest city, Kenai, is about three hours southwest of Anchorage and has a population of about 7,100 people.
According to Kelly Cinereski, a friend of the family who lives in Seward, Alaska, a two-hour drive from Kenai, the family has long sought to live in Alaska and made three trips there in the past decade.
Cinereski told the Daily News the Wagners fished during their previous trips to Alaska.
The peninsula is a fisherman’s paradise. The Kenai River, which winds through the peninsula, is the state’s most heavily fished river and is filled with salmon, trout and pike. Fishing and hunting appear to be Wagner family pastimes, as Jake Wagner, George Wagner III and Angela Wagner each possessed either Ohio hunting or fishing licenses over the past decade.
Life in Ohio
While rural, the Adams County, Ohio, is more affluent than much of southern Ohio. Unemployment is lower on the peninsula. Census data show the median household income is $63,684 compared to $42,778 in Adams County, Ohio, where the family lived.
Bernie Brown, who owns an Ohio 41 site where the family lived, told WCPO in 2017 that Jake Wagner sometimes worked for him fixing cars.
In May 2017, investigators also searched property formerly owned by Jake Wagner and George Wagner IV.
Then there was an abruptly arrest of James Manley, the brother of victim Dana Manley Rhoden, on charges of tampering with evidence and vandalism for allegedly destroying a state GPS tracker on his truck.
Manley’s father, Leonard Manley, accused authorities of attaching the tracker on the truck because of text messages allegedly exchanged between Jake Wagner and James Manley the night of the murders.
Days before DeWine’s announcement, Jake Wagner told the Cincinnati Enquirer the text messages “did not happen.”
A black Chicago-area church musician who was moonlighting as a security guard was killed by police Sunday morning as they responded to a call of shots fired at the bar where the man worked.
Jemel Roberson, 26, had already subdued the alleged assailant in the initial shooting at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge, in Robbins, when police arrived, witnesses told WGN-TV.
“He had somebody on the ground with his knee in his back, with his gun in his back, like, ‘Don’t move,’” Adam Harris told the news station.
An officer arrived on the scene a short time later. That officer shot Roberson, killing him.
“Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security! He was a security guard!’ Harris said. “And they still did their job and saw a black man with a gun and, basically, killed him.”
Though law enforcement officials have not confirmed the race of the officer who shot Roberson, witnesses told WGN that the officer is white.
NPR reported that Roberson was in uniform, wearing a hat with the word “Security” emblazoned on it. He had a license to carry the weapon he was holding when he was killed.
Four other people, including the suspected shooter from the initial incident, were injured, but none of their injuries were life-threatening, NPR reported.
Midlothian police officials said in a statement Sunday afternoon that their department received a call for assistance from the nearby Robbins Police Department. The call, which came in around 4:05 a.m., stated that someone was shooting people at Manny’s.
Two officers responded.
“Upon arrival, officers learned there were several gunshot victims inside the bar,” the statement said. “A Midlothian officer encountered a subject with a gun and was involved in an officer-involved shooting. The subject the officer shot was later pronounced deceased at an area hospital.”
Video posted on Facebook by witnesses showed the aftermath of the fatal shooting. In one video, a police officer can be seen performing CPR on Roberson as other officers mill around and hold back the distraught crowd.
Watch the video recorded by witness Adam Harris below. Warning: Images and language may be too graphic for some viewers.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Robbins Police Department are investigating the criminal aspect of the initial shooting, the statement said. The Illinois State Police’s Public Integrity Task Force is investigating the officer-involved shooting.
The police shooting was the subject of widespread criticism on social media.
“The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Unless the good guy is black, then he gets killed, too,” Wendy Osefo, a Johns Hopkins professor and political commentator, wrote on Twitter.
Michael Skolnik, a civil rights activist and board member of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, pointed out that Roberson had stopped a potential mass shooting inside the bar.
“While he was holding the suspect down, cops arrived and shot him,” Skolnik wrote.
Roberson, the father of a 9-month-old son, is described on a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for his funeral as a person who was loved by all who knew him.
“He was the light of his mother Beatrice’s life, and was a devoted, loving son,” the fundraising page said. “Jemel was a gifted basketball player and musician, and his love for God and his family were at the forefront of his life.”
The GoFundMe page had raised more than $46,000 of its $50,000 goal by Tuesday morning. A candlelight vigil was held Monday night for Roberson outside the bar where he was killed.
Roberson played keyboard and drums at several area churches, friends told WGN. He also planned to become a police officer.
“Every artist he’s ever played for, every musician he’s ever sat beside, we’re all just broken because we have no answers,” Rev. Patricia Hill of Purposed Church told the news station. “He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with took his life.”
Another pastor at Purposed Church, Rev. LeAundre Hill, expressed disbelieve on Twitter, saying that Roberson played music at the funeral for Hill’s grandmother just two days before his death.
Hill told WGN that Roberson’s death follows a pattern seen all two often in the United States.
“Once again, it’s the continued narrative that we see of shoot first, ask questions later,” Hill said.
Roberson’s mother, Beatrice Roberson, has filed a federal lawsuit in the shooting, which the filing describes as unprovoked, unjustified, excessive and unreasonable, court documents show. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $1 million.
A 29-year-old woman was arrested after she allegedly set a mattress on fire inside a Dayton, Ohio, home that reportedly belonged to her ex-boyfriend Monday night.
Carla Lanier was arrested at a Malden Avenue address and booked into Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of aggravated arson, jail records show.
According to a witness to the incident, Lanier was attempting to enter the home by banging on windows before she reportedly kicked the door in to gain access.
Once inside, she allegedly got into an altercation with the ex-boyfriend, who also had another female visitor inside the home, the witness said.
“While it was all happening, the other girl ended up hiding in the bathroom," the witness said.
Lanier then reportedly told the male resident that she had set a mattress on fire inside one of the bedrooms, according to the witness.
The resident was able to extinguish the fire, which was contained to the bedroom, before crews arrived just before midnight, police said.
No one was injured in the blaze, but the bedroom did sustain damage, the witness said.
A Tennessee father is angry after someone allegedly assaulted his son while the boy was walking his dog.
The father also told WHBQ in Memphis that the person stole his son’s rare dog.
John Black said someone assaulted his son, Brandon, while walking his white American bulldog, Diamond, in the 7000 block of Hedgington in Shelby County.
The 12-year-old told Black that before he could make it back home, a man in a Chrysler PT Cruiser "pushed my son down, grabbed the leash, took the dog and drove off,” Black said.
Black said he got the expensive, rare dog from a Sacramento, California, breeder in September for his son.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it is investigating the incident.
Officials could not release any other information regarding this incident.
"I'm glad Brandon didn't fight back,” Black said.
Black said he’s hopeful his son will get his dog back.
He said the obvious blue patch on the left side of the dog’s face will help people identify the dog.
"I've already had one young lady inbox me and tell me they saw the dog in Millington. So he could be in that area,” Black said.
Black said he is encouraging whoever is in possession of the dog to bring in to the vet.
If you have any information regarding the dog's whereabouts, call the Sheriff's Office at 901-222-5600 or 901-379-7625.
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