ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
79°
Clear
H 87° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 87° L 77°
  • clear-night
    78°
    Morning
    Clear. H 87° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    90°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National
Austin bomb victim's father thanks authorities in letter, questions son's death
Close

Austin bomb victim's father thanks authorities in letter, questions son's death

Austin Package Explosions: Suspect Dead

Austin bomb victim's father thanks authorities in letter, questions son's death

The father of the first Austin bombing victim, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House, thanked local and federal law enforcement officers for their handling of the investigation in a letter released Thursday that also questioned the meaning behind the attacks.

>> Read more trending news

“I wish to express my deepest appreciation for the exhaustive efforts and work of the Austin Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency, and other agencies that participated in this investigation of the series of explosive devices,” Elliot House, Anthony House’s father, wrote in a letter first reported by CBS News.

>> Related: Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

“Hopefully, the death of the bomb maker suspect ends the ring of fear and terror in the Austin area, although it leaves a few questions, shared with both the family of my son, Anthony House, and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, both being black and the only deaths in the series of bombings,” House continued. “We are plagued with how they were selected and why.”

American-Statesman Staff
Austin police have identified the people killed in two separate package explosions as Draylen Mason, left, and Anthony House. Mason died in a bombing Monday morning. House died after an explosion March 2. Photos: Courtesy of Kylie Phillips and Norrell Waynewood.
Close

Friends remember Austin bomb victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

Photo Credit: American-Statesman Staff
Austin police have identified the people killed in two separate package explosions as Draylen Mason, left, and Anthony House. Mason died in a bombing Monday morning. House died after an explosion March 2. Photos: Courtesy of Kylie Phillips and Norrell Waynewood.

Anthony House was the father of an 8-year-old girl and a Texas State University graduate.

Elliot House said he also appreciated the “personal condolence” from Christopher Combs, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the San Antonio Field Division, and Mayor Steve Adler. House noted that he especially appreciated that Adler “apologized for the initial investigation of the bombing involving my son by APD.”

>> Related: Austin bombings: How to help the victims

Many in the community have criticized the Austin Police Department for its handling and characterization of the first bombing. Several people in an East Austin town hall last week questioned whether Austin police would have more readily sounded the alarm and warned the community about the package bombs sooner had the first bombing killed a white person in a neighborhood west of Interstate 35.

>> Related: 55 hours of terror, and a final blast in Austin serial bombings

Elliot House expressed his grief, saying that the death of his son in the bombing left him childless, as his other son, Corey Alan House, was killed in 1994 at age 17.

“I have no more sons. I continue to mourn my losses,” House wrote in the letter to authorities. “But continue the good work.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • A Florida charter school principal is packing heat. >> Watch the news report here The principal of San Jose Academy & Preparatory High School in Jacksonville is one of the first Duval County charter school employees to graduate from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s training academy for “safe school officers.” Principal and Executive Director Alan Hall now walks through school hallways with the weight of a heavy responsibility on his belt. If a school shooting happens there, it’s on him to respond. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Discussion of armed officials, teachers inside schools “I’ve always worried, 'Oh my gosh, what would happen?' How am I going to put myself in those principals’ shoes that have actually had to live this? And I say, now, I at least have a chance to do something about it,” Hall said. >> Read more trending news  Before the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, many charter schools in our area hired private armed security guards. The new law requires all Florida schools to have either a sworn law enforcement officer or a safe school officer, which is a school employee who receives high-level firearms training. In August, ActionNewsJax was the first to report JSO would provide armed officers at all Jacksonville charter schools until the Sheriff’s Office could train school employees to take over. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Charter schools scramble to comply with law requiring armed officers At San Jose Academy & Preparatory High School, Hall and another employee just completed their four-week JSO training. “I’ve always had the leadership style that I’m not going to ask any of my people to do something I’m not willing to do,” Hall said. Hall said the schools’ board approved a full-time safe school officer position. He plans to hire someone this school year. JSO said employees at Seacoast Charter Academy and Global Outreach Charter Academy have also completed JSO firearms training.
  • Controversy continues to swirl around Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of decades-old sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by a pair of women. >> Read more trending news What was expected to be a simple nomination process has become mired in allegations involving incidents alleged to have occurred while Kavanaugh was in high school or college. Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker he made unwanted advances toward her during a party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University. Earlier this month, Christine Blasey Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s, when they were both teenagers. Update 6:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Friday morning on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ford is set to testify before the committee on Thursday about the assault she said she suffered at the hands of Kavanaugh at a party when the two were still in high school. There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will get a chance to tell her story before the committee votes, but committee staffers interviewed Kavanaugh Tuesday about her allegations and he denied them again, according to news reports. Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: An attorney representing Ramirez said Tuesday that his client wants the FBI to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh. “We remain adamant that an FBI investigation, where all witnesses are questioned under threat of perjury, is the only way to get the truth,” attorney John Clune wrote on Twitter. Clune added that Ramirez stands by her account of drunken wrongdoing by Kavanaugh, as told to The New Yorker and published Sunday. Original report: President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of using the allegations to play a “con game” with Kavanaugh. >> SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in first TV interview repeatedly denies sexual assault accusations The president claimed that Deborah Ramirez, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of making unwanted sexual advances toward her during a college party in the 1980s, said, “She was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up, and she doesn’t know it was him, but it might have been.” “This is a con game being played by the Democrats,” Trump said. Ramirez is the second woman to go public with accusations against Kavanaugh. She told The New Yorker in a story published Sunday that he made unwanted advances toward her during a party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University. >> Second Kavanaugh accuser: Who is Deborah Ramirez? University professor Christine Blasey Ford is expected to provide testimony Thursday at a public Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about a separate alleged encounter she says she had with the Supreme Court nominee when they were both teenagers. Ford told The Washington Post earlier this month that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has issued several denials of the allegations. >> Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court? 'I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,' Kavanaugh said in an interview that aired Monday on Fox News. 'I've always treated women with dignity and respect.' The Supreme Court nominee is also expected to testify at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
  • A judge sentenced comedian Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in state prison Tuesday, five months after a jury found him guilty of drugging and molesting a onetime friend in 2004. >> Read more trending news Judge Steven O’Neil handed down the sentence after ruling earlier Tuesday that Cosby, 81, is a “sexually violent predator.” The designation means he will have to undergo lifetime counseling and report regularly to authorities.  Update 6:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Bill Cosby has left the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania, according to local media reports, where he was taken directly after his sentencing Tuesday.  He has been moved to a state prison, the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix, CNN reported, where he’ll undergo testing and evaluations which will help authorities determine a permanent placement for him. Every inmate goes through the process, which could take months. Cosby was sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison on three counts of aggravated indecent assault against former friend and victim Andrea Constand. Dozens of women had accused Cosby of drugging and raping them dating back to the 1970s. Update 5:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Bill Cosby is being moved to the state correctional facility after his sentencing Tuesday afternoon. Several news outlets have posted his jail booking photo on social media. Once he’s checked into prison, officials will issue him the following:  prison attire, one blanket, two sheets, one towel, one washcloth, one hygiene kit (containing a toothbrush, tooth paste, a bar of soap, shampoo, deodorant, a pen and a comb), according to WCAU-TV.  Update 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Tuesday that he was “pleased” with the “fair and significant sentence” handed down to Cosby on Tuesday. “He used his acting skills and endearing TV personality to win over his victims and then keep them silent about what he did to them,” Steele said. “Finally, Bill Cosby has been unmasked.” He praised Andrea Constand, who was drugged and molested by Cosby in 2004, for her steadfast resolve in seeing the actor prosecuted.  “We are all better off because she is in our lives,” Steele said. “She’s been through an ordeal these past 14 years and she’s been solid and steadfast. She’s been a rock. She’s done the right thing over, and over, and over again.” >> Bill Cosby sentenced to prison: Read Andrea Constand's impact statement Constand said in a victim-impact statement released Tuesday that life as she knew it “came to an abrupt halt” in January 2004, after she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. “After the assault, I wasn’t sure what had actually happened, but the pain spoke volumes,” she said. “The shame was overwhelming. Self-doubt and confusion kept me from turning to my family or friends as I normally did. I felt completely alone, unable to trust anyone, including myself.” She said that she is still grappling with fallout from the incident. Update 3:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office told The Associated Press that Cosby will be held at the county jail for a few days before he’s taken too SCI Phoenix, a new state prison outside of Philadelphia. >> 5 things to know about Bill Cosby, his prison sentence, victim Andrea Constand “(There) staff will assess his physical, medical and security needs,” the AP reported. “Cosby could end up in a long-term medical care unit.” Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, called his client’s trial “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States” after a judge sentenced him Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison. Wyatt said jurors never heard of Cosby’s history as a pillar in the community during his trial. The comedian did not take the stand during the proceedings. “Mr. Cosby knows that God is watching over him. He knows that these are lies,” Wyatt said. “They persecuted Jesus and look what happened. (I’m) not saying Mr. Cosby is Jesus, but we know what this country has done to black men for centuries.” Wyatt said Cosby and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused by at least two women of sexual misconduct, are victims of a “sex war.” “What is going on in Washington today with Judge Kavanaugh is part of that sex war that Judge O'Neil along with his wife are a part of,” Wyatt said. Update 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Cosby kept his gaze down after Tuesday’s sentencing hearing as he was escorted from the courtroom with his hands handcuffed in front of him. Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 32 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, said the court sent an “important message” with Cosby’s sentence. 'This is a very important day,” she said. “Judgement day has come.' Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: O’Neil denied bail for Cosby after handing down his sentence Tuesday, according to WHYY. Cosby’s attorneys had argued for bail, the news station reported. “I’ve imposed sentencing at this stage,” O’Neil told Cosby’s attorneys, according to KYW-TV. “If you want to take it up with another court, you can.” >> Bill Cosby found guilty in sexual assault trial Update 2:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: O’Neil sentenced Cosby to three to 10 years imprisonment Tuesday. Cosby will serve out his sentence in state prison, WHYY reported. Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison while the defense asked for Cosby to be sent home on house arrest.  Cosby was convicted in April of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. A jury determined that Cosby drugged and molested Andrea Constand, who then worked as the director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, in 2004 at his suburban Philadelphia home. >> Camille Cosby says ‘mob justice, not real justice’ led to Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction O’Neil earlier deemed Cosby a “sexually violent predator.” The designation means he will have to register as a sex offender and undergo counsel for the rest of his life. Cosby’s conviction was the first of a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era. Update 12:35 p.m. EDT Sept 25: O’Neil told people gathered in court Tuesday that he will announce Cosby’s sentence at 1:30 p.m., The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Update 12:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Andrea Constand said in a victim-impact statement released Tuesday that life as she knew  it “came to an abrupt halt” in January 2004, after she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Cosby. Constand was working as director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team after a professional stint with a team in Italy when the assault happened. She said the incident made her feel powerless and left her with years of unrelenting pain, stress and anxiety. >> Temple University rescinds Bill Cosby's honorary degree after sexual assault conviction “When the sexual assaulted happened, I was a young woman brimming with confidence and looking forward to a future bright with possibilities,” she wrote. “Now, almost 15 years later, I’m a middle-aged woman who’s been stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward.” Cosby was found guilty in April of drugging and molesting Constand in 2004. The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the same charges.  Cosby’s conviction marked the first of a celebrity in the #MeToo era. A judge is expected to hand down the comedian’s sentence Tuesday. Update 11:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: A judge ruled Tuesday that Cosby is a “sexually violent predator,” meaning that he will have to undergo lifetime counseling and report regularly to authorities, according to The Associated Press. The designation was made Tuesday by Judge Steven O’Neill on the second day of a two-day sentencing hearing for Cosby. Prosecutors are asking that the 81-year-old get five to 10 years in prison for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004. Cosby’s attorneys have asked for house arrest. Update 8:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: Cosby arrived at the courthouse Tuesday morning to start the second day of his sentencing hearing on charges of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby’s spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, told The Associated Press that the 81-year-old comedian doesn’t plan to make a statement in court. Cosby did not testify at either of his trials. >> ‘The Cosby Show’ reruns are gone from Bounce TV Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. His attorney wants the judge to send Cosby home on house arrest, saying he’s too old and frail for prison. Update 5:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: Comedian Bill Cosby could see less than 4 years in jail after the judge Monday merged the three counts of aggravated indecent assault Cosby was convicted of into one for sentencing purposes because the counts were all connected to one event, according to news outlets. Cosby may not even see any jail time based on criminal guidelines in Pennsylvania and the fact that he has no previous record. He was facing as much as 30 years behind bars. Also during proceedings Monday, victim Andrea Constand and members of her family delivered impact statements. >> Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expels Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski Constand said she just wants “justice” in the case, according to CNN. 'I have testified, I have given you my victim impact statement. You heard me, the jury heard me and Mr. Cosby heard me. All I'm asking for is justice as the court sees fit,' Constand said in court. Her mother, father and older sister also delivered impact statements. The defense has not called any witnesses, yet, including Bill Cosby, but could tomorrow.  Original report: Cosby, 81, could spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is facing as many as 30 years in prison, although state guidelines for someone like Cosby, who does not have any prior convictions, call for between one and four years in prison. The sentencing hearing will begin with testimony about Cosby's sex offender evaluation and whether he should be deemed a sexually violent predator. That would make him subject to lifetime counseling and community notification. A jury found Cosby guilty in April 2018 of drugging and molesting onetime friend Andrea Constand in 2004. Constand was in court Monday for Cosby’s sentencing hearing. Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault, making his the first conviction of a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era. The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the same charges.  Jurors deliberated for more than 52 hours over six days in June 2017, but they couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on whether Cosby drugged and molested Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home, The Associated Press reported. Cosby maintained that he and Constand shared a consensual sexual encounter. Cosby's attorney said Constand was a 'con artist' who leveled false accusations against the comedian so that she could sue him. Dozens of women have made high-profile accusations that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them, but Constand’s case was the only one to result in criminal charges against Cosby.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The desperate search for a 6-year-old North Carolina boy who vanished from a Gastonia park continued for a fourth day Tuesday as authorities offered a reward for information leading to the return of Maddox Ritch. >> Watch the news report here The boy was last seen Saturday at Rankin Lake Park with his father and a friend. Update 4:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 25:  Maddox Ritch’s mother, Carrie, is pleading for help, asking anyone who may have seen her son to come forward. 'Continue praying for him, because I just want my baby home,' she said, breaking down in tears during a news conference on Tuesday. 'Please, anything you can do.' The FBI is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the child. The little boy with special needs disappeared Saturday from a park in Gastonia. Officials said search crews on ATVS checked new areas around the park Tuesday, looking for any trace of the boy.  Gastonia police officers and troopers went door-to-door Tuesday morning at businesses along Highway 321 just a few blocks away from the park. They were trying to obtain security camera footage that could reveal what happened to the child. An employee at a local business said law enforcement has come to the shop six times since the boy went missing looking for video. “They’ve checked the dumpsters, we’ve seen them go from business to business, and they’ve just been in and out of our office,” Faith Gates said. Gates also said it’s comforting knowing that investigators are thoroughly searching for the the boy. Update 10:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 25: Officials said they're using recorded messages from Maddox's mother and father to play during the search, hoping he'll recognize their voices. Neighbors told WSOCTV that the terrain around the park has many deep holes and they were concerned that Maddox could have fallen in one. 'Pray to God that they find him alive,' resident Jerry Stewart said. He said there is a lot of wetland around the park, and that it would be easy for a child to step into a deep drop. 'If you get too close and you miss your step, you are going to go somewhere,' Stewart said. Update 10:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 24: Officials said they've received 80 leads as of Monday afternoon, and they're looking into them all. 'No piece of information is too small,” Gastonia Police Chief Rob Helton said. “Something that you may think is insignificant can help us.' Later in the evening, local and federal authorities posted to social media outlets asking people to not spread rumors. 'The Gastonia Police Department and the FBI ask the public not to spread rumors on social media about the search for Maddox Ritch,' the post read.  >> On WSOCTV.com: Search for boy with special needs at Gastonia park Original report: Overnight, dozens of people continued to look for the child, and more than two dozen agencies are helping with the search and investigation. Police said Maddox was with his father and another adult, who officials have yet to identify, before he disappeared. Maddox is autistic and nonverbal but officials said there is a special team with the FBI that is highly trained and experienced in mysterious missing children's cases that are working to find him. 'We're going to explore all possibilities, including abduction, 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,' said FBI Special Agent Jason Kaplan. Police said the boy’s family has been interviewed and they are cooperating with law enforcement. >> Read more trending news  On Sunday, search dogs roamed the area near Rankin Lake, where Maddox was last seen. Search boats also checked the lake with divers and sonar devices. Police are asking anyone who may have been at Rankin Lake Park on Saturday and saw Maddox, especially if they have pictures or videos, to call them. '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. '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.” Crews have been searching more than 1,400 acres and will continue Monday morning. Search and rescue crews have been patrolling areas of the park on foot and on ATVs. Maddox was last seen at the park at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. He was last seen wearing an orange T-shirt with “I’m the man” on the front. Maddox is 4 feet tall and weighs 45 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes. 'They were walking around the lake,” Gastonia spokeswoman Rachel Bagley said. “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.' The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's helicopter was used Sunday night once the sun set, and used its infrared technology.  The city confirmed crews are reviewing surveillance video at the park, and crews worked through the night searching on foot and with dogs. Officials said hundreds of volunteer agencies have assisted in the search, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is also helping. Gastonia police said additional search units from around the region have joined the search. They said hundreds of law enforcement, search and rescue teams, and state and federal authorities are now involved.  Officials said they are receiving assistance from the Gastonia Police, Gaston County Sheriff's Department, Gaston County Emergency Management, Gaston County Police, Gastonia and Gaston County Fire Departments, Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, Lincolnton Fire, Charlotte Fire, Stanley Rescue, Lincoln County Land Search team, Spartanburg County Search and Rescue and Search and Rescue Dog Assistance, and Central Carolina K-9 Search Team.  A spokesperson with the city said the park will be closed until further notice as crews continue their search. Police advise the public to stay away from the area surrounding the park as they continue their search in the nearby neighborhoods. Officials are also asking people who live near the park to search areas around their homes where a child might hide. “If you have a shed, barn, wooded area, go take a look and call us immediately if you find anything out of the ordinary,” Helton said. If you have any information regarding Maddox's whereabouts, police encourage you to call the new 24-hour tip line at 704-869-1075. “Every second counts when a child is missing,” Kaplan said. “Our focus is to find Maddox as quickly as possible and to bring him home.”
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has announced three arrests in connection to the disappearance of a Northside man.  According to JSO, they were called to Langford Street on March 6, 2018, after getting a report of suspicious individuals running through the area.  After speaking with several individuals, police determined Jamel Kelly was being chased by three individuals. Officers searched the area, but didn't find any sign of Kelly or any crime.  A few days later, Kelly's ex-girlfriend called JSO saying he still hadn't been heard from, which she said was unusual. JSO's Missing Persons Unit got involved from there.  As part of their investigation, JSO says detectives found reason to believe that Kelly was no longer alive.  JSO's Homicide Unit then got involved. According to their investigation, police now believe that Kelly was killed that original night, March 6, by his ex-stepfather, Gerod Studemire.  They believe he and another suspect put Kelly's body into Studemire's Lincoln Continental. Sometime after that, JSO says the car was burned and then disappeared.  JSO has also arrested Kelly's mother, Stacey Studemire, and one of Kelly's girlfriends, Shaakira Atwater, for accessory after the fact, to murder.  However, JSO says this is still a very active investigation and that they do expect to make more arrests.  They are asking anyone with information to come forward as Kelly's body has not yet been recovered. The vehicle suspected to be involved has also not been recovered at this time.  As for why Kelly was being chased, JSO believes it has something to do with family dynamics. It's believed that Kelly's mother was having domestic issues with Kelly, who had been living with her. JSO believes Kelly's mother called Studemire to confront Kelly about those issues.

The Latest News Videos