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National
Colorado mom accused of killing daughter after faking years of ‘terminal’ illnesses
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Colorado mom accused of killing daughter after faking years of ‘terminal’ illnesses

Mother accused of killing daughter after faking ‘terminal' illnesses for years

Colorado mom accused of killing daughter after faking years of ‘terminal’ illnesses

Olivia Gant gained national attention in 2017 as the sweet-faced 7-year-old was granted her dying wishes of being an honorary Denver police officer and a firefighter before succumbing to what her mother said was a lifelong battle with multiple rare diseases.

Authorities now allege that Kelly Renee Turner faked all her daughter’s medical conditions, forcing the girl to suffer while raking in thousands of dollars in donations from charities and bilking Medicaid for her daughter’s unnecessary medical care.

Turner, 41, is accused of killing Olivia and lying to doctors about a cancer diagnosis involving an older daughter, who is now 11. KUSA in Denver reported that Olivia was one of Turner’s three daughters.

South Metro Fire Rescue
Olivia Gant waves from atop a fire truck in an April 2017 photo. The girl's mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in her Aug. 20, 2017, death. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill.
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ColoMom

Photo Credit: South Metro Fire Rescue
Olivia Gant waves from atop a fire truck in an April 2017 photo. The girl's mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in her Aug. 20, 2017, death. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill.

The charges against Turner include two counts of first-degree murder, child abuse, three counts of charitable fraud, three counts of theft, two counts of attempt to influence a public servant and two counts of second-degree forgery.

Turner was arrested Friday morning at a hotel in Glendale, sheriff’s office officials said in a news release. She is being held without bond in the Douglas County Jail.

A reporter with KUSA went to the Highlands Ranch home where Turner was living with her parents prior to her arrest. The news station said a man who answered the door did not identify himself.

“No comment,” the man told the reporter. “Get off our property. We’re going through enough.”

The Associated Press reported that no one questioned Olivia’s death or her mother’s actions until last year, when Turner took her middle daughter to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where Olivia had also been a patient, for complaints of “bone pain.”

It was also last year that the older girl’s primary care doctor retired, and she started seeing a new one, KUSA reported based on court documents. That doctor grew suspicious after Turner claimed her daughter had undergone three years of cancer treatments prior to the family’s move to Colorado in 2013.

The doctor called his counterparts in Texas and learned there had never been a cancer diagnosis.

During an initial investigation by Department of Human Services caseworkers in Jefferson County, where the family lived at the time, the workers learned about Olivia’s Aug. 20, 2017, death. The investigation moved to Douglas County after Turner and her surviving children did the same, court records indicate.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigators interviewed the then-10-year-old daughter at her school on Oct. 11, 2018, which presumably alerted Turner to their suspicions, KUSA reportedThe AP reported that Turner was also separated from her daughter during the investigation.

According to the court documents obtained by KUSA and other media outlets, the girl “has not had any additional medical problems or complaints of pain since” that day.

Turner eventually admitted that she fabricated the girl’s cancer diagnoses, but maintained that Olivia’s medical issues were real, the indictment in the case says.

‘Our precious Olivia’

Local and national news stories from 2017, just prior to Olivia’s death, painted a portrait of Turner as a doting mother who, when her daughter’s life expectancy became a matter of months instead of years, began helping the girl cross items off her bucket list. In April of that year, Olivia was granted the wish of becoming a Denver police officer for a day.

Turner, who was then going by her married name of Kelly Gant, told ABC News that Olivia grew to love the first responders who would come to her aid when she had to call 911, which was often. Becoming an officer was one of the items on the girl’s list of dying wishes.

Footage from the Denver Police Department showed Olivia holding up her crooked and misspelled list, which also included being a fireman, riding a balloon, feeding sharks and going to an American Doll store.

“That’s a day she’ll never forget,” Turner, who lived in Littleton at the time, told ABC News of her daughter’s day with the police. “It was little things to them (the police officers) that meant a lifetime to her. We don’t know how long we have with her. They have no idea the impact they’ve had on our family or our Olivia.”

Denver Police Department
Olivia Gant goes on a ride with a Denver police officer in a still from video shot in April 2017, about four months before the 7-year-old's death. Her mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of lying about the girl's health for years before killing her.
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Photo Credit: Denver Police Department
Olivia Gant goes on a ride with a Denver police officer in a still from video shot in April 2017, about four months before the 7-year-old's death. Her mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of lying about the girl's health for years before killing her.

Denver police Cpl. Tim Scudder was later honored by the department for taking the time to give Olivia her wish, which the news network reported included a tour of the police station and being sworn in as chief.

“One of her wish lists is to ‘catch bad guys with police,’” Scudder said in video footage from the Denver Police Department, which includes images of a sunglasses-clad Olivia riding shotgun in a patrol car. “That’s what I think being a police officer is all about -- making an impact on those in the community and those around us.”

At one point, Scudder told the girl, “We got a call. We’re gonna go catch a bad guy, right?”

An ecstatic Olivia grinned as the camera rolled.

“You’re going to jail!” Olivia shouted over the siren at one point in the footage.

See Inside Edition's piece on Olivia Gant's adventures as a cop and a firefighter below. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, a grand jury on Thursday handed down a 13-count indictment against the mother, who apparently began documenting the alleged medical problems of two of her girls as far back as August 2011, when the family was living in Texas.

KUSA reported that at that time, Olivia was 13 months old. The older daughter was 3 and Turner’s oldest daughter, whom she never claimed to be ill, was 11.

The charges against Turner include two counts of first-degree murder, child abuse, three counts of charitable fraud, three counts of theft, two counts of attempt to influence a public servant and two counts of second-degree forgery.

Turner was arrested Friday morning at a hotel in Glendale, sheriff’s office officials said in a news release. She is being held without bond in the Douglas County Jail.

A reporter with KUSA went to the Highlands Ranch home where Turner was living with her parents prior to her arrest. The news station said a man who answered the door did not identify himself.

“No comment,” the man told the reporter. “Get off our property. We’re going through enough.”

That same spring, the Make-A-Wish Foundation helped Olivia become a firefighter for a day.

“She’s in intestinal failure, and we don’t know how much longer she has,” Turner told KUSA in a story about Olivia’s day as a firefighter.

Footage of that day shown by local and national shows, including Inside Edition, shows a fire truck pulling up outside the girl’s house.

“Look how huge it is!” Olivia exclaimed.

Later, the little girl helped firefighters extinguish a fire.

Watch KUSA's report on Olivia Gant's day as a firefighter below. 

Olivia died four months after her adventures of what her mother told people were complications of a neurogastrointestinal disorder that shut down the girl’s organs, including her intestines.

“Our precious little princess will now have a new body, no tubes, no more pain or sickness and everlasting joy with our Lord,” Olivia’s obituary read. “See you in heaven, our precious Olivia.”

KUSA reported that the first entries on Turner’s blog back in 2011 described Olivia as having “a misshapen head and a vascular malformation in her brain that could cause seizures, blindness or an aneurysm.” The older girl, Turner claimed, had a bone infection in her ear and an immune deficiency.

Entries obtained by the news station showed frequent updates over the next 14 months. In that time frame, Turner claimed Olivia had seizures, celiac disease, autism, excess fluid in her brain that required a shunt for drainage and a thinning of the membrane between the lobes of her brain, KUSA reported.

The older sister, whose name is being withheld because of her age, had cancer, both in the form of tumors in her neck and around her pelvis and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Turner claimed, according to the news station.

‘High maintenance mother’ 

As harrowing as Olivia’s alleged medical journey appeared, the court documents in Turner’s criminal case paint a much darker portrait of what her daughter actually endured.

KUSA said the indictment alleges Olivia died after her mother withdrew both medical care and nourishment, which Olivia took in through a feeding tube, in the final weeks of the girl’s life.

Multiple doctors argued with Turner, telling her they did not believe her daughter’s condition was terminal, the news station reported. She was persuasive enough, however, to get one doctor to sign a “do not resuscitate” order.

She told doctors that her daughter’s quality of life was so poor that the “humane” thing to do was to stop all care and let her go, according to KUSA.

The indictment states that doctors who treated Olivia described Turner as a “high maintenance mother,” KMGH in Denver reported.

According to KUSA, at least five doctors at Children’s Hospital spoke with investigators about their suspicions.

One doctor said she found no evidence of the seizures Turner claimed Olivia was having and warned her three times to stop giving her daughter anti-seizure medication that had harsh side effects, the court documents said. Another said he did not believe Olivia had autism as her mother claimed.

Multiple doctors described the girl in glowing terms: “Very active, interactive, social, fun to be around, always smiling and playful.”

Dr. Robert Kramer told investigators the same, saying he did not diagnose her with “any of the diseases that Turner wrote about in the GoFundMe page,” the indictment says, according to KUSA.

Kramer told detectives he was shocked to learn Turner had withdrawn her daughter’s medical care and that the girl had died.

Children's Hospital declined comment Monday to KMGH, citing the pending criminal invstigation. 

Tasneem Nashrulla, a Buzzfeed News reporter who wrote about Turner’s arresttweeted Tuesday that GoFundMe officials told her they were refunding the more than $22,000 people had donated to Turner for Olivia’s care through a page on the fundraising site. The page has since been removed.

‘In a position of trust’ 

Olivia’s death was attributed in 2017 to intestinal failure.

Investigators looking into Olivia’s case had her body exhumed in November, however, and Dr. Kelly Lear, the Arapahoe County coroner, found no signs of intestinal failure or any of the other conditions Turner had claimed her daughter suffered from.

Lear could not pinpoint the exact cause of Olivia’s death and ruled it to be undetermined.

KUSA gave a detailed rundown of the allegations against Turner. One of the murder counts alleges that she killed Olivia “while in a position of trust” and the second, that she killed the girl with deliberation.

The child abuse charge pertains to her other daughter, who the indictment said was “unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury.” The charitable fraud charges allege that Turner “devised or executed a scheme” to gain money, property or services by false pretense.

The theft allegations involve the $22,700 she obtained through GoFundMe, along with nearly $539,000 she is accused of defrauding from Medicaid and/or HealthFirst Colorado, which is the state’s Medicaid program. Both of her daughters were covered by Medicaid, according to the court records.

Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Kelly Turner, pictured in Oct. 18, 2019, booking photos, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in the Aug. 20, 2017, death of her 7-year-old daughter, Olivia Gant. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill. Douglas County Sheriff's Office
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Photo Credit: Douglas County Sheriff's Office
Kelly Turner, pictured in Oct. 18, 2019, booking photos, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in the Aug. 20, 2017, death of her 7-year-old daughter, Olivia Gant. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill. Douglas County Sheriff's Office

The theft charges also cover more than $11,000 from the Make-A-Wish Foundation for what the documents describe as a “Bat Princess” party they threw for Olivia, as well as $3,000 from Professional Miracles Foundation, a Denver-based group that helps improve the lives of children with serious or life-threatening medical conditions.

Turner is also accused of failing to pay Heflebower Funeral Home and Seven Stones Cemetery for more than $5,000 related to her daughter’s funeral.

Mike Heflebower, owner of the funeral home, told KUSA that the situation was a difficult one for all parties involved.

Rebecca Holm, the director of customer care at Seven Stones, was more blunt in her statement to the news station.

“Us being a victim of theft is so minor compared to what happened to her daughter that it’s irrelevant,” Holm said.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation Colorado also released a statement.

“We are deeply disturbed by the allegations in this case and intend to follow it closely in the hope of learning exactly what happened,” the statement read. “Our procedures for granting a wish require a referral from the child’s medical team, and we rely on their assessment.

“As we seek to learn more about the circumstances that led to Olivia’s death, we fondly remember her spirit and hope that granting her wish brought some joy to her tragic life.”

Denver Police Department
Olivia Gant grins while riding with a Denver police officer in a still from video shot in April 2017, about four months before the 7-year-old died. Her mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of lying about the girl's health for years before killing her.
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Colomom

Photo Credit: Denver Police Department
Olivia Gant grins while riding with a Denver police officer in a still from video shot in April 2017, about four months before the 7-year-old died. Her mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of lying about the girl's health for years before killing her.

The two counts of attempting to influence a public service, as well as the forgery charges, are related to Turner’s application for benefits, including Medicaid, that she filed in July 2013, after she and her children moved to Colorado without their father, Jeff Gant.

KUSA reported that court documents show Turner claimed Gant was unemployed and an “absent parent.”

Gant told detectives, however, that he was employed and had health insurance that would have covered the children, the news station said. He said he also provided Turner $900 a week in living expenses for her and the kids.

Gant, who is divorcing Turner, told investigators his estranged wife asked him to remove the children from his health insurance a short time after they arrived in Colorado because she claimed she could get coverage cheaper through the hospital.

Bank records “corroborated Jeff’s account of his deposits and withdrawals,” the affidavit said.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy 

The AP reported that authorities interviewed Turner during their investigation into Olivia’s death. At that time, she spontaneously brought up the topic of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Munchausen syndrome, also known as factitious disorder, is a mental illness in which a person fakes being sick, either physically or mentally, in order to fulfill an “inner need” to be seen as ill, which brings with it sympathy and concern from others.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy, or factitious disorder imposed on another, is when a person acts as though another person, a “proxy,” is ill. The Cleveland Clinic’s website states that the condition is considered a form of abuse by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

The target of the abuse is most often a child under the age of 6, the clinic’s website says.

South Metro Fire Rescue
Olivia Gant prepares to help put out a fire in an April 2017 photo. The girl's mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in her Aug. 20, 2017, death. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill.
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MomofColo

Photo Credit: South Metro Fire Rescue
Olivia Gant prepares to help put out a fire in an April 2017 photo. The girl's mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in her Aug. 20, 2017, death. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill.

“It is not done to achieve a concrete benefit, such as financial gain,” the webpage on the disorder states. “People with FDIA are even willing to have the child or patient undergo painful or risky tests and operations in order to get the sympathy and special attention given to people who are truly ill and their families.

“Factitious disorders are considered mental illnesses because they are associated with severe emotional difficulties.”

According to KMGH, the Department of Human Services caseworkers who investigated Turner's case expressed concern in their report about her behavior involving her daughters.

“There is a concern that (Turner) may have been benefiting from this attention and motivated some of the medical treatment (she) sought for both (name redacted) and (name redacted),” the report said, according to the indictment. “There is a concern that (Turner) has lied about the children’s medical conditions and therefore may have caused harm to the children and or caused them to have significant medical procedures.”

The caseworkers wrote in their report that Turner “reported several conditions and procedures that never happened,” including her older daughter’s supposed treatment for lymphoma, KMGH said.

When Turner introduced the idea of Munchausen syndrome by proxy during her interview with detectives, she denied the disorder.

“That has never been my case, like at all, whatsoever,” Turner said, according to the AP.

The indictment indicates she also told detectives she would not be talking to them if she had anything to hide.

South Metro Fire Rescue
Olivia Gant, center, walks with firefighters in an April 2017 photo. Olivia's mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in her Aug. 20, 2017, death. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill.
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Colomom2

Photo Credit: South Metro Fire Rescue
Olivia Gant, center, walks with firefighters in an April 2017 photo. Olivia's mother, Kelly Turner, is accused of murder, fraud and other charges in her Aug. 20, 2017, death. Authorities say Turner, 41, lied about her daughter being terminally ill.

The most recent high-profile case involving possible Munchausen by proxy involved Clauddinnea “Dee Dee” Blanchard and her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

Dee Dee Blanchard, a native of south Louisiana who evacuated herself and her daughter to Springfield, Missouri, following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, spent the majority of her daughter’s life claiming Gypsy had a variety of ailments, including cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and mental impairments.

Blanchard’s lies were blown apart in June 2015 when Gypsy, then 23, and her secret boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, 26, were arrested and charged with murder in the brutal stabbing death of Blanchard in the Habitat for Humanity home the mother and daughter had been gifted.

>> Related story: Mom's murder uncovers years of fake illness and fraud

Greene County investigators told a shocked community, who had rallied around the family in the decade they lived in Springfield, that not only was Gypsy -- who acquaintances believed was wheelchair-bound -- completely healthy, she could also walk.

The subsequent investigation found that Dee Dee Blanchard had spent decades fooling doctors, reporters, charities, friends and family, including Gypsy’s father, into believing the girl was sick. Though Gypsy knew she could walk, she has said in media interviews that she believed her mother when she told her she was ill.

Blanchard had painful procedures performed on her daughter, including the insertion of a feeding tube into her stomach, despite Gypsy’s ability to eat on her own, and the removal of teeth which deteriorated from needless medications she was given.

Gypsy Blanchard, who has said she is now perfectly healthy, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for her role in her mother’s death. Godejohn, who stabbed Dee Dee Blanchard to death as Gypsy Blanchard hid in the bathroom of their home, is serving life in prison.

People magazine reported in July that Gypsy Blanchard is engaged to a man who began writing to her after seeing an HBO documentary on her case, titled “Mommy Dead and Dearest.” The case has also been depicted in a Lifetime movie, as well as “The Act,” a Hulu miniseries that won actress Patricia Arquette an Emmy for her role as Dee Dee Blanchard.

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Because “mass numbers of unknown people” need to be notified, the officials released a brief timeline of the person’s whereabouts last weekend, including stops at a bar called Backwater Jacks, a bar and restaurant that has a pool, as well as a dining and pool venue called Shady Gators and Lazy Gators. Backwater Jacks owner Gary Prewitt said previously in a statement that no laws were broken, though the images appeared to show people violating Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s state order requiring social distancing. Parson allowed businesses and attractions to reopen May 4, but the state order requires 6-foot social distancing through at least the end of May. US judge won’t lift 50-person cap on Nevada church services Update 8:10 p.m. EDT May 5: A federal judge rejected a rural Nevada church’s request Friday for an emergency injunction that would allow it to exceed Gov. Steve Sisolak’s 50-person cap on religious gatherings. Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley filed a lawsuit against the governor last week that argued the previous ban on religious gatherings of more than 10 people was unconstitutional. Sisolak raised the limit to 50 people under strict social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus when he announced this week the reopening of several business categories previously considered non-essential. That cleared the way for casinos to open June 4 for the first time since mid-March. Washington DC starts reopening in fits and starts Update 6:50 p.m. EDT May 5: As the nation’s capital took the first tiny steps toward reopening Friday, the continued threat of coronavirus was ever present. Showing IDs was not enough at the Dacha Beer Garden in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood. Would-be customers had to answer a series of questions about any possible exposure to the COVID-19 and whether they themselves had shown any symptoms. “Please keep your mask on when you’re not dining and drinking,” hostess Amy Symonds told the patrons, laying out a series of rules and taking down everyone’s’ phone numbers before they were seated at socially-distanced tables. “It’s good to have some level of normalcy again,” said Jeff Gullo, who was one of the first in line to get in. Fifteen minutes after opening, nearly two dozen people were seated at the popular all outdoor facility. But the gradual reopening of the District of Columbia as a three-month stay-at-home order was lifted came in fits and starts, with not everyone ready for even a limited return to pre-pandemic normality. Barbers and hair salons welcomed back clients grown haggard from months of self-maintenance. Nonessential businesses, shuttered since late March, started offering curbside pickup. And restaurants that have been operating solely on takeout began limited outdoor seating. UK officials report 2,095 new cases of COVID-19 Update 6:20 p.m. EDT May 5: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 2,095 new coronavirus infections early Friday evening, raising the country’s number of COVID-19 cases to 271,222. The previous day, 1,887 new coronavirus cases were reported. Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced that a total of 38,161 have died in the U.K. due to the novel coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins University, which releases its own numbers on a rolling basis, here are the countries with the highest numbers of reported coronavirus cases: 1) United States: 1,743,235 cases 2) Brazil: 438,238 cases 3) Russia: 387,623 cases 4) United Kingdom: 272,607 cases 5) Spain: 238,564 cases 6) Italy: 232,248 cases New Jersey announces reopening of child care centers, youth day camps Update 4:35 p.m. EDT May 29: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans to reopen more businesses and programs across the state. Murphy said child care centers can reopen June 15, and non-contact organized sports activities can resume June 22. Youth day camps can start July 6. “We want our children to be able to enjoy their summer with friends, participating in the activities that create lifelong memories,' he said. 'We know day camp is one of those memory building places.” Horse racing in the state can resume without fans beginning next weekend. Murphy said the data continues to move in the right direction, with new hospitalizations down by 70% since the state’s peak. To date, 11,531 people have died in New Jersey due to COVID-19. New Jersey health officials confirmed 158,844 coronavirus cases Friday. President Trump announces U.S. will pull out of World Health Organization Update 3:05 p.m. EDT May 29: President Donald Trump announced during a news conference Friday that the United States will terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization. The president said the move was made because he does not agree with the way the organization has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly but they have refused to act. Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,' he said. Trump called out China’s role in the spread of the virus. “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency,' he said. New York City to begin opening June 8  Update 2:50 p.m. EDT May 29: New York City is on track to begin reopening on June 8 as the state gradually loosens restrictions put in place during the coronavirus crisis. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made that announcement Friday, saying the nation’s worst pandemic hot spot is meeting goals set for hospital rates and testing. The governor said the city will “stockpile” personal protective equipment like masks, and will focus on infection rates in hot spots by ZIP code. Cuomo made the remarks as a large swath of upstate New York got the go-ahead Friday to reopen hair salons, retail shops and offices under strict guidelines. New York City remains the only region of the state that has not yet commenced economic rebirth. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier Friday that masks or face coverings are necessary for all employees and customers for reopenings to be safe and effective. Connecticut colleges and universities to hold in-person classes this fall Update 2:00 p.m. EDT May 29: Mark Ojakian, the president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, said the university system plans to reopen campuses this fall. CSCU consists of 17 campuses, including UConn and Yale, and will open Aug. 24, the Hartford Courant reported. The first day of classes will be Aug. 26. Ojakian said there will be safety policies and procedures put in place to keep faculty and students safe. “We still have a lot of planning to do and more questions need to be addressed in the coming weeks and months,' he said. Each school will have to prepare and present plans to reopen that meet state health and safety standards. Many classes will have online portions. According to the Hartford Courant, students will be able to attend in-person classes on campuses until Thanksgiving break. Students will be asked to leave campus for the holiday break and will remain off-campus, completing the rest of their courses and final exams virtually. Coronavirus cases continue to drop in New York; city prepares for phase one of reopening Update 12:20 p.m. EDT May 29: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is nearing milestones that would allow the city to begin reopening in the next few weeks. “We are confident that we will be able to go to phase one in the first two weeks of June,' he said during a news conference. “This is going to be based, of course, on the tangible indicators and thresholds from the state and the city. So that’s what will lead the decision. We have to have that factual evidence.' De Blasio said officials have not confirmed which day phase one will begin. He said officials are conducting conversations that will help them determine “the exact right date to start.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of hospitalizations due to the coronavirus are down. De Blasio said Thursday that 5% of New York City residents tested positive for COVID-19. “Every day we’ve seen progress in recent weeks, today the lowest we’ve ever seen,” he said. “Congratulations everyone, this is putting us well on the way to our goal of opening in the first half of June. Well done NYC.' Sen. Bob Casey tests positive for COVID-10 antibodies Update 11:55 a.m. EDT May 29: Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey revealed Friday morning that he received a positive test result from a COVID-19 antibody test, which means that he “likely had COVID-19 at some point over the last several months and [has] since developed an antibody response to the virus,” he wrote in a statement. Casey said he experienced a low-grade fever and mild flu-like symptoms for days and he contacted his physician, but he was never tested for the coronavirus. He said he self-isolated and continued to work remotely, as his symptoms were “mild and manageable.” “I will continue to follow the guidance of public health experts by wearing a mask in public and observing social distancing practices, and I hope that others will do the same to help slow the spread of this virus,' Casey wrote in the statement. Doctors sue for mail access to abortion pill during coronavirus pandemic Update 5:55 a.m. EDT May 29: A group of doctors, in concert with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, challenging a rule that requires patients to visit medical facilities in order to obtain abortion pills. In the suit, the physicians argue patients should be allowed to have prescriptions for the drug mifepristone filled by mail, avoiding direct contact with potentially contaminated health care settings during the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Of the more than 20,000 drugs regulated by the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration,) mifepristone is the only one that patients must receive in person at a hospital, clinic or medical office, yet may self-administer, unsupervised, at a location of their choosing,” the lawsuit states. Tyson Foods shuts down 7th meatpacking facility amid latest coronavirus outbreak Update 2:53 a.m. EDT May 29: Tyson Foods shut down its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant temporarily, following the latest novel coronavirus outbreak to infect the company’s operations. Citing a “delay in COVID-19 testing results” as a partial reason for the facility’s idling, the company issued a statement attributing the shutdown to “team member absences related to quarantine and other factors” as well. According to the Des Moines Register, 555 of the Storm Lake plant’s 2,517 employees have tested positive for the virus. The two-day stoppage is intended to allow for deep cleaning and sanitization with plans to reopen for business next week, the company statement said. Since the onset of the global pandemic, Tyson has shuttered six other facilities temporarily, including facilities in Waterloo, Columbus Junction and Perry, Iowa, as well as Dakota City, Nebraska; Logansport, Indiana; and Pasco, Washington, the Register reported. Iowa has confirmed a total of 18,586 novel coronavirus cases, resulting in 506 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. US deaths near 102K, total cases soar past 1.7M Published 12:49 a.m. EDT May 29: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 1.7 million early Friday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,721,750 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 101,617 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 366,733 cases and 29,529 deaths and New Jersey with 157,185 cases and 11,409 deaths. Massachusetts, with 94,895 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,640, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 115,833. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 53,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 103,813 cases, resulting in 3,993 deaths • Pennsylvania: 74,220 cases, resulting in 5,373 deaths • Texas: 60,395 cases, resulting in 1,611 deaths • Michigan: 56,014 cases, resulting in 5,732 deaths • Florida: 53,285 cases, resulting in 2,364 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut and Virginia each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 33,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 18,586 and Arizona with 17,877; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 16,000 cases; Rhode Island and Mississippi each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska, Missouri and South Carolina each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Kentucky and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,364; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Jacksonville’s COVID-19 reopening plan presented to national audience. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry praised President Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis and said their leadership really helped during the COVID-19 response.  “Together, we took actions immediately to flatten the curve and protect our health systems,” Mayor Curry said.  Mayor Curry was part of a panel of seven mayors from across the country, delivering a five-minute speech and answering questions from members of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee. Curry discussed how Jacksonville is using the $160 million it received through the Federal Cares Act Relief Package, providing $1,000 to 40,000 people.  The mayor also talked about testing.  “Our daily testing capacity is already double the amount experts say is a must and we are still adding more,” Curry said.  Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, a Republican, likes Mayor Curry’s restraint in handling COVID-19.  “I want to thank you mostly as someone who sits on the judiciary committee for respecting the constitution,” he said. Jordan asked the mayor if he closed churches and gun shops. The mayor said no.  Seattle’s mayor said this hearing isn’t the proper place for praise.  “We are here today to ask Congress, not for bumper stickers, but for help,” she said.  Congress Blaine Luetkemeyer asked if Jacksonville could handle a second wave.  Curry said, “I do not believe another shutdown is sustainable. I do not believe it’s an option..”
  • Overcoming obstacles is just what A. Philip Randolph senior Martin Folsom does. Despite living in shelters with his mom, Martin finished top of his class.  Despite being homeless and living in shelters with his mom, Martin finished top of his class -- and while he didn’t get to walk across the stage due to the pandemic, his accomplishments can never be taken away.  Hear the inspiring story of how Martin overcame every obstacle he’s faced in Action News Jax reporter Dani Bozzini’s story below.
  • According to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, there was a reported officer-involved shooting in the Casey’s Liquors parking lot. According to Sheriff Bill Leeper the NCSO Narcotics Taskforce, which includes officers from NCSO, Fernandina Beach Police and state agencies, came together in the parking lot of Casey’s Liquors for a drug bust of a suspect that had been trafficking a felony amount of heroin.  The suspect was a 3-time convicted felon from Georgia, according to NCSO.  Deputies tried to get the suspect but he fled and hit some mobile homes. NSCO said the suspect put the car in reverse and drove toward an officer.  NCSO said the officer fired his gun and killed the suspect. The officer is from the Fernandina Beach Police Department and no officers were hurt according to NSCO.  Leeper said during the press conference that FDLE would be investigating.

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