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    With less than three months until the mid-term elections for the U.S. House and Senate, four more states hold primaries today for the Congress, but the roster of races is unlikely to produce the news associated with last week’s tight race in a special U.S. House election in Ohio, which amplified questions about whether the GOP can maintain control of Capitol Hill after November. Primaries take place on Tuesday in four states: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. No sitting incumbents in the Congress are on upset alert at this point – though there could always be some out-of-the-blue defeat that no one saw coming; but really, this is more about setting the roster for the final races in November. At this point in time, the Congressional change for November is 57 seats in the House, and 3 in the Senate. (Please note that various news organizations calculate these numbers differently.) As you can see from the data, the total change is already equal to that for the House in the 2016 election cycle, as a large amount of turnover continues in the Congress. Most people don’t realize that currently in the U.S. House, almost 200 of the 435 seats are held by lawmakers who were elected since 2012 – that number will grow substantially after the 2018 elections. In the Senate, fully half of Senators have less than eight years in office, just over one term. The primaries for 2018 are rapidly coming to an end – next Tuesday brings Alaska and Wyoming; Arizona and Florida vote on August 28. Then, after Labor Day, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island finish out the primaries for the 2018 mid-term elections for Congress. November is not that far away.
  • When a 3-year-old boy from Clayton County, Georgia, died in a ritual in the northern New Mexico desert, the other children there were allegedly told he would come back to life as Jesus and tell them who to kill. >> Remains of child found at New Mexico compound identified as missing Georgia boy, grandfather says That’s among the jarring allegations leveled Monday by prosecutors, who are accusing the child’s father and four other adults of setting up a squalid isolated compound and plotting violence. Police raided the property in Taos County on Aug. 3 and say they have evidence the occupants were Muslim extremists training their children to become killers with high-powered weapons. >> Atlanta dad planned ‘exorcism’ on son before desert camp found, police say Authorities initially went to the compound looking for Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, who is accused of taking his son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, from the child’s mother in late November after claiming he was taking the boy to a Jonesboro-area park. A month earlier, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj made a trip to Saudi Arabia and came home wanting to stop his son’s medicine and perform rituals to rid him of “demonic spirits,” the father’s family told authorities. The child suffered from brain damage caused during birth, as well as seizures. >> On AJC.com: Death in the desert: What led to Atlanta dad’s mysterious journey? The father and son had apparently arrived at the compound in January, along with four adult relatives and 11 of their children. The adults are each charged with 11 counts of child cruelty (none relating to Abdul-Ghani) and were in court for a bond hearing, which was streamed online by Albuquerque news station KOB. Judge Sarah Backus said the testimony was troubling, but she wasn’t convinced the suspects were a danger to the community. She granted each $20,000 bond to be released from jail, with the conditions that they wear an ankle monitor until they get stable housing in the county and have only supervised visits with their children. One of the children told an FBI agent the boy would foam at the mouth during the rituals, which consisted of the father reading from the Quran and placing a hand on the boy’s head. The agent said the rituals began before the dad left Georgia and continued in New Mexico at the urging of another of the compound’s occupants, Jany Leveille. Leveille is the “Islamic wife” of Wahhaj and believed that she was originally supposed to be the toddler’s mother, according to FBI agent Travis Taylor. Taylor testified that Leveille believed Wahhaj’s legal wife in Georgia used “black magic” to steal the child from Leveille’s womb. During the final ritual on Abdul-Ghani, his heart stopped, the agent said. Leveille allegedly said she believed the child had already been dead and was only still animated because he was possessed by demons. After his death, the boy reportedly was washed, prayed over, wrapped in a sheet and placed in a tunnel near the camp. At least one child told authorities that the adults led them to believe Abdul-Ghani would come back as Jesus and instruct them on what “corrupt institutions they needed to get rid of,” authorities said. The institutions were expected to include teachers, law enforcement and the military. When police searched the site, they allegedly found a shooting range and a number of firearms, as well as a document with instructions about how to build an untraceable AR-15. Some guns were in the tunnel. Prosecutors said Siraj Ibn Wahhaj had also taken extensive firearms training in Georgia. While the group was at the compound, relatives and friends were trying to locate them, including Wahhaj’s father, the well-known New York City imam also named Siraj Wahhaj. The father has said something must have gone wrong mentally for the group to cut ties suddenly and travel west. In addition to his namesake, the group includes two of the imam’s daughters and his son-in-law. >> Read more trending news  Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s brother, Muhammad, received a letter from someone at the compound (authorities aren’t sure who wrote it) instructing him to bring all his money and weapons to the site, prosecutor Timothy Hasson said. The letter said not to tell his father. “Allah says he will protect you always,” the letter reportedly said in part, “so follow until he makes you a martyr.” That martyrdom, Hasson said, was supposed to come after Muhammad joined the group in New Mexico. Further details about the trip to Saudi Arabia weren’t revealed. Hasson conceded that countless Muslims make the hajj pilgrimage to the country, which could be a logical explanation for the trip. “The evidence as a whole says this family was on a mission, a dangerous one and a violent one,” the prosecutor said.
  • Update: 3:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 9: The grandfather of a missing Georgia boy confirmed that the remains of a child found at a remote desert compound in New Mexico are those of his grandson, according to WSB-TV. >> Read more trending news  The boy, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj of metro Atlanta, disappeared in December. His mother told authorities that the child’s father took the child because he wanted to perform an exorcism on the 3-year-old, who suffered from health problems. Investigators discovered the remains of a child at the compound in Taos County on Tuesday. Five adults, including the boy’s father,  Siraj Wahhaj, were already in custody on a number of charges related to the condition of 11 children found at the location and the filthy conditions where they were living. >> Related: Metro Atlanta man arrested at compound trained kids for school shooting Siraj Wahhaj is also accused of training the children at the compound for school shootings. He was armed with multiple firearms, including an assault rifle, when authorities raided the compound Friday, according to WSB. >>Related: Photos: 11children found starving, living in New Mexico compound, police say Update: 3:00 p.m. EDT Aug. 8:  The father of a missing Georgia boy,  who was arrested Friday at a compound in the New Mexico desert where 11 starving children were found, was at the compound to train the children on how to carry out school shootings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Suspect Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was conducting weapons training, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which cited court documents filed on Wednesday. Prosecutors filed the documents related to a request that Wahhaj remain jailed without bail. He was arrested, along with four other adults found at the makeshift compound, last week after authorities discovered 11 malnourished and dirty children living there in squalor. >> Related: DA: Georgia man was training kids to do school shootings in desert The remains of a child were found on the grounds Tuesday, according to investigators, but there’s been no word, yet, on the identity of the child and whether it my be Wahhaj’s son, who disappeared from metro Atlanta last December. Update: 5:00 p.m. EDT Aug. 7: Investigators found the remains of a child on the grounds of a compound in New Mexico  where five adults were arrested and 11 children were discovered starving, according to WSB-TV.  The remains have not been positively identified, so it’s too early to tell they belong to a missing Georgia boy. Abdul-Ghani Wahajj, who would celebrated his 4th birthday Monday, disappeared in December. His mother told police the child’s father took the boy and had said he wanted to “exorcise” demons from the boy, who had a number of health problems. Siraj Wahhaj was one of two men arrested at the compound. (Original Story) Two Georgia men have been taken into custody after authorities in New Mexico served a search warrant on what they are calling a compound, where they said they found women and children malnourished and living in deplorable conditions. Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said the department swore out a search warrant on the makeshift compound in Amalia, New Mexico, on Thursday. Hogrefe said there was a reason to believe that Lucas Morten and others, including Siraj Wahhaj, 39, were living inside the compound. >> On WSBTV.com: Police searching for missing 3-year-old, father Siraj Wahhaj was wanted in connection with the abduction of 3-year-old AG Wahhaj. The warrant came after a two-month investigation with Clayton County, Georgia, investigators and the FBI. The sheriff said the FBI had recently given them information and surveillance video of the compound, but they didn’t feel there was enough cause to get a warrant for the property. “That all changed for me when a message was forwarded to us from a Georgia Detective that we reasonably believed came from someone at the compound – the message sent to a third party simply said in part ‘we are starving and need food and water,’” Hogrefe said in a news release. “I absolutely knew that we couldn’t wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible, so I began working on a search warrant right after I got that intercepted message – it had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief. We also knew from the layout of the compound they would have an advantage if we didn’t deploy tactfully and quickly.” >> Man accused of killing nurse used Tinder to find victims, may be serial killer, police say On Friday morning, eight members of the Sheriff’s Response Team and four state investigators executed a search warrant of the compound. The sheriff said the two men initially refused to follow directions. Hogrefe said Wahhaj was held up inside the compound and was heavily armed with an AR-15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines, four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down. Authorities also found more rounds of ammo inside the compound. Investigators said the compound consisted of a small travel trailer buried in the ground covered by plastic with no water, plumbing or electricity. >> Read more trending news  “The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer,” Hogrefe said. “But what was most surprising, and heartbreaking, was when the team located a total of five adults and 11 children, that looked like third-world country refugees, not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing.” Morten and Wahhaj were taken into custody. However, the missing child from Georgia was not located among the children. Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive and Wahhaj was booked on his no-bond warrant on a child abduction charge out of Georgia. Three women, believed to be children’s mothers, were detained for questioning and later released pending further investigation. The 11 children, ranging in ages from 1 to 15, were taken into protective custody. “We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had – it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen,” Hogrefe said. None of the adults would give a statement to the whereabouts of 3-year-old AG Wahhaj, but it is believed he was at the compound a few weeks ago. His mother said AG Wahhaj suffers from seizures, developmental and cognitive delays and is unable to walk due to suffering a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) at birth.  The investigation into locating him is being coordinated between Clayton County investigators and the FBI.
  • A Pennsylvania woman who police say is responsible for the death of a 23-month-old girl in Clairton turned herself in on Monday. >> Watch the news report here Deasha Ringgold is charged with homicide and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the death of Aubree Sherrell, Allegheny County police said Monday. >> More on WPXI.com: Woman accused of killing toddler taken into custody An unresponsive Sherrell was taken to a hospital on April 27 and later pronounced dead, police said. An investigation determined Aug. 10 that Sherrell’s death was a homicide, and a warrant was issued for Ringgold on Monday. Police said the girl died from strangulation and had bruises around her neck. Ringgold was dating Sherrell's father and was babysitting her the day she died, police said. Ringgold allegedly told police that she put the girl to bed in her apartment on Glenn Drive in Clairton and went to sleep herself. According to investigators, she told them she found Sherrell lying on her back and her lips were blue.  >> Read more trending news  Police said Ringgold told them she took Sherrell to the hospital right away, but cellphone records show that an hour before she did, she allegedly Googled the following: 'How to do CPR on a baby?'  'How to wake up a knocked out person' 'My friend got choked out, what do I do?'  The girl died in April, but Ringgold was charged after the autopsy and police investigation. According to the complaint, the baby's father was at work during the incident and has not been charged. 
  • An expecting mother said she feels humiliated after she was asked if she was trying to shoplift from a Staples store in North Carolina. >> UPDATE: Staples manager fired after accusing woman pregnant with twins of shoplifting Shirell Bates said she now regrets leaving her home on Friday for back-to-school shopping. >> Woman used identical twin's name during drug arrest, sister claims 'Being pregnant is already high-risk, and having to deal with that, just additional stress that I don't need,” Bates said. Bates said a police officer asked her if she was shoplifting while she was checking out of the Pineville store. >> More on WSOCTV.com: Manager at North Carolina Staples fired after accusing pregnant woman of shoplifting 'Mid-transaction, a police officer approached me and insisted he wanted to speak with me,” Bates said. “He asked what was under my shirt.” Bates is pregnant with twins. 'Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, 'Twins,’” Bates said. “I'm 34 weeks with twins. I'm having a boy and a girl.' Bates said the officer didn’t believe her the first time, and he asked her again. 'At that point, to avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I'm just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” Bates said. >> Read more trending news  Pineville police said a Staples manager approached the officer and asked him to speak with Bates because the manager believed Bates may have been “concealing merchandise.” 'When I confronted her about what happened, she admitted that, 'In the past, we've had a lot of people putting school supplies or merchandise in their clothes and hiding, so I asked the officer to reach out to you,’” Bates said. Staples issued the following statement: 'Yesterday at our Pineville location, while a customer was shopping, a manager mistakenly thought they were possibly shoplifting and asked a police officer that happened to be in the store to talk with the customer. 'After a quick conversation, the issue was resolved, the manager apologized to the customer and refunded their transaction due to the inconvenience. At Staples, we want all customers to feel welcome in our store, and work with our store associates to try and foster an inclusive culture. As an organization, we would like to apologize to the customer if that was not the case in this instance.' Bates said she plans on contacting Staples' corporate office on Monday and possibly seeking legal action. 'You pretty much jumped the gun without any type of evidence, except my stomach is large,” Bates said. “That’s not fair. No mom should have to go through that.
  • Your Downtown Jacksonville drive could look much different in a few years, with the City of Jacksonville hoping that’s a key step in changing the makeup of Downtown overall. It was close to two years ago that the idea of taking down the Hart Bridge ramps in Downtown was first put forward by Mayor Lenny Curry. Since then, Jaguars owner Shad Khan and his development team have promoted the concept, as something that’s vital to their redevelopment efforts at the Jacksonville Shipyards and Sports Complex.  WOKV has now obtained a copy of the City’s BUILD 2018 federal grant application, which gives new insight on exactly why the City sees this move as so valuable. We’ve also obtained a new map of the proposed project, providing insight on the change you can expect for your drive, if the funding lines up.  Overview  The City’s grant application puts the project’s total cost at $37,462,500. The Florida Department of Transportation has made $12.5 million available for the City, as a matching grant. Curry is proposing the City borrow its $12.5 million share- a plan that still has to be approved by the City Council. That leaves $12,462,500 in funding that still needs to be secured, and this grant is asking for that from the US Department of Transportation.  This BUILD grant application comes after the City fell short on a previous bid for $25 million in federal funding. Since that time, they’ve been able to drop the price tag on the overall project, so that the gap is around $12.5 million instead, and still includes a contingency.  Curry’s Chief of Staff Brian Hughes tells WOKV they expect to find out if they receive this new grant funding by the end of October. While he says they’re “optimistic” that will come through, the project is designed in phases, so that they can continue moving forward regardless.  The grant application says the project is expected to be done and open to traffic by mid-November 2021.  Economic impact  Khan and his development team have made it clear in recent project proposals that taking down the Hart Expressway ramps is necessary for future development. They recently pitched a $2.5 billion vision for the Sports Complex and Shipyards area, but say removing the ramps is an important step toward achieving that.  The BUILD grant application explains why.  The elevated Hart Expressway lanes in Downtown were designed to quickly bring people in and out of the heart of Downtown. When this three-quarter mile stretch was built decades ago, the Shipyards was active. The expressway was designed to get people past that industrialized area, and it was elevated in order to get over gantry cranes used at the site. The express route further served as a quick and easy way people could expand to live in new suburbs, while still working in Downtown.  While the elevated lanes served their purpose for their time, they now bypass not only the Sports Complex and Shipyards, but the neighborhoods there. Keeping people on the elevated lanes on this route- quickly going in and out of the core, with no way to stop along Bay Street- therefore means vehicle traffic and foot traffic alike are diverted from any businesses that may want to set up along the 85 acres of property that can be developed along the St. Johns River.  “People are not only going into downtown to work and be entertained but are moving closer to the urban core. This structure has become an impediment to progress in Jacksonville,” the grant application says.  The City says poorly placed infrastructure like this has obstructed Downtown development in recent years, with this project specifically also serving to separate the Riverfront from the property on the other side of the elevated roadway.  “The elevated bypass expressway is a remnant of an old planning vision for infrastructure, when highways were designed to provide commuters the ability to avoid urban cores. This planning philosophy resulted in urban areas all over the country being split in half. One side saw upward mobility and the other side was literally walled off from prosperity,” the grant application says.  The City says, in the area now, the elevated lanes only serve as a barrier.  “The challenge today for Jacksonville is that the elevated expressway destroyed all possibility of urban renewal and investment on the eastern end of the north bank of the St. Johns River, one of the city’s best natural transportation and amenity assets. The elevated Hart Bridge Expressway creates not only a physical barrier to development, but a practical and psychological barrier as well by forcing traffic to completely bypass the former old shipyards, the Sports and Entertainment Complex, and approximately one-third of the downtown footprint,” the grant application says.  The belief is that bringing the Hart Bridge traffic down on to Bay Street by the stadium will create more foot traffic, meaning restaurants, shops, and similar businesses would have the customer base needed to survive.  “The city owned land continues to lack development and thus, any meaningful productivity. This project will reverse this stagnation and quite literally pave the way for a more progressive and vibrant city,” the grant application says.  Investment in the area  The City and Khan have partnered in recent years to push redevelopment in this area.  They partnered to build an amphitheater- Daily’s Place- at the site of TIAA Bank Field, which hosts concerts and other events, in addition to being activated for game day experiences. That deal also included big improvements to the stadium itself, including upgraded Club Level seating.  Khan was chosen by Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority to redevelop the vacant Shipyards site with hotels, apartments, restaurants, retail, and more. GALLERY: Shad Khan’s vision for the Jacksonville Shipyards Those negotiations were recently granted an extended timeline, which could allow them to continue for a couple of years, although the Jags have said they don’t plan to wait that long to work on their next project, which is the development of Lot J. This is an existing parking lot at the stadium, which the team wants to change in to an entertainment space, while also adding hotel rooms, office space, and a parking garage.  A potential first phase of the Shipyards development itself could be a Convention Center and hotel. While the DIA solicited bids for building those at the site of the old County Courthouse and City Hall Annex, Khan’s team put forward a competing proposal to instead have those built on the Shipyards property, as the first phase of the redevelopment. The DIA has not yet commented on the proposal.  GALLERY: Iguana Investments’ plan for a Shipyards Convention Center/Hotel Between Lot J, the Shipyards, and a greater vision for the Sports Complex, Khan believes the development could be worth some $2.5 billion in all. They will be seeking City partnership along the way, including with this project, saying that it is vital to their vision.  “This $37.5 million project will fund less than one mile of transportation improvements while inducing $2.5 billion in private sector investment into the urban core of Jacksonville,” the grant application says.  That’s far from the only redevelopment effort in Downtown as well- the Birkman Plaza II was recently sold, the Laura Street Trio is undergoing a large-scale revitalization, The District is moving forward on the Southbank, and many other smaller projects are in motion. The City believes this is a turning point for Downtown, and this project is the key to unlocking the potential.  Project proposal  It all leads to the question of what exactly the changes would look like.  WOKV has obtained the most recent map of the proposed project. This is subject to change, as design efforts continue, but the City says it’s a good representation of what they’re hoping to achieve.  The ramps from the Hart Bridge to MLK and Liberty Street on the east side of the stadium will remain intact, and traffic will flow on to those ramps to head to the bridge the same as well. The ramps that currently carry traffic to “Downtown”- or Duval and Adams streets- are the ones that would instead now go down to grade at Bay Street. A new signalized four-way intersection would be created at the intersection of Gator Bowl Blvd and Bay Street, where the road now just turns around the stadium.  “This will reverse the decades-long negative effects of historic federal highway planning that bifurcated the city’s most valuable land,” the grant application says.  The capacity on Bay Street would be increased, with at least three lanes heading in each direction- instead of a total of five lanes- and some additional turn lanes. The map indicates there will be medians added to the road, although we’re told the plan is to still use reversible lanes, like the ones currently in place, where the direction of the lane can be changed, depending on the traffic flow needed for a certain event or time.  The portion of the ramps that drop traffic off on Duval and Adams, and pick traffic up off Forsyth and Monroe, will remain standing. Around Georgia Street, which is between the stadium lots and A. Philip Randolph Blvd, drivers heading west on Bay Street would then have a choice to make. They can continue on Bay Street, in which case they will continue on the lanes in a similar manner as they are now, or they can connect back up to the existing ramps, and get dropped off closer to the Downtown core. The ramps pick back up just east of APR, near Intuition. The City is currently not planning to remove the portion of those ramps at the western end of Bay Street, because there is no immediate push for development there- where we have the Duval County Jail, Maxwell House, and more- so the ramps are not the same obstruction that they are closer to the stadium. Traffic from west of the ramps, heading east, can either pick up at the ramps as they are now- which would carry them to Bay Street instead of the Hart Bridge- or drive down Bay Street directly.  Safety and other features  In addition to getting rid of an “eyesore”, this project would also improve safety, according to the grant application. They would use traffic calming measures- like raised medians and curbs- to increase bike and pedestrian usability, among other things. The project map shows several areas of new or upgraded sidewalk and some bike lanes.  The speed limit in the area would be 35 miles per hour. The City hopes that the reduced speed- compared to the elevated lanes- along with the other proposed improvements, would make the area much safer for walking and riding a bike, in addition to driving.  WOKV previously told you the Jacksonville Transportation Authority is seeking federal funding, with partners, to build a transportation corridor in Downtown- including Bay Street- which could include driverless shuttles. This BUILD grant applications says taking down the Hart Bridge ramps could serve to create an active corridor for pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles, and ride sharing services.  Additionally, the grant application says the Hart Bridge Expressway has “reached its useful life”. Life cycles costs are expected to drop with a newer road structure, especially one that’s planned to better meet current and future needs.  Aside from the roadway infrastructure, the grant application also says the City would install broadband conduits, to allow future providers to better serve low-income neighborhoods in that area. Old lights would be swapped for new LED lights, which are expected to have a longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs.  There is also consideration given to environmental concerns. The grant application says there are plans for mitigating flooding and maintaining weather resiliency overall.  Next steps  The Finance Committee, and then the full City Council, still need to sign on to the Mayor’s funding plan for the City’s $12.5 million contribution to this project. That final vote will take place as part of the overall City budget approval process, which will be completed before the start of the next fiscal year on October 1st.  The Hart Bridge funding specifically is part of the City’s Capital Improvement Program, which is vetted alongside the overall $1.2 billion City budget proposal.  WOKV continues to go in depth on the Mayor’s budget and spending plans for the City, to track how your tax dollars may be spent. Stay with us as we continue to gather more information.
  • A Congolese man living in Houston listened to his 8-year-old son beg for his life before slitting the boy’s throat, as well as that of his toddler daughter, and leaving their lifeless bodies as “a present” for his estranged wife, police said.  Jean Pierre Ndossoka, 61, is charged with two counts of capital murder in the Aug. 4 slayings of Marcel Ndossoka, 8, and Anna-Belle Faith Ndossoka, 1, at his Houston home. Ndossoka was found early the following morning in Pasadena, Texas, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Ndossoka was taken to Clear Lake Regional Hospital in stable condition, Houston police officials said. He was booked into the Harris County Jail two days later, where he remained Monday. Ndossoka is being held without bail. >> Read more trending news Court records depict the heartbreaking moments before Ndossoka is accused of killing his children inside his apartment at The Willows Apartment Homes. The Houston Chronicle, which obtained the records, reported that Ndossoka’s wife, Sabine Ntongo, dropped Marcel and Anna-Belle off at their father’s home the morning of the slayings for a scheduled visitation.  The couple, who married six years ago, had recently separated, police said. Ndossoka, a native of Congo, is a U.S. citizen.  Ndossoka called Ntongo repeatedly throughout the day while she was at work, the Chronicle reported. That afternoon, he told her that she needed to come to his apartment because he’d killed the children and “left her a present.” Ndossoka told her she could use a key left under the doormat to get inside, the court documents said.  Ntongo rushed to the scene and found the children lying on a bed with their throats slit. She called 911, the Chronicle reported.  Responding officers found her screaming and crying at the scene, KPRC2 in Houston reported.  Ndossoka left behind the bloody knife used in the slayings, as well as a handwritten note in French. He wrote in the note that Ntongo would “carry the burden of our souls, me and my two children,” KPRC2 said.  “I am dying with my two children,” Ndossoka also wrote, according to the news station.  Police put out a description of Ndossoka and his vehicle, a 2008 black Nissan Titan, which was found about 1 a.m. Aug. 5 in Pasadena. Ndossoka was inside, bleeding from a gunshot wound but still alive. Though he initially told detectives he did not remember what had happened, Ndossoka eventually admitted he “did something bad,” the court documents said.  “The defendant then admitted that he had done something to his children and when asked, ‘What?’ he motioned towards his neck,” the documents said, according to CBS46, which also obtained the court records.  Ndossoka told investigators he first choked the children before using the knife, the news station said.  “Daddy, I’m sorry,” Marcel reportedly pleaded before he was slain, the court documents said.  Anna-Belle “just kept crying,” Ndossoka told investigators.   If convicted of the murder charges, Ndossoka could be sentenced to death. 
  • A Jacksonville family is devastated at the loss of their 7-year-old daughter.  Heydi Rivas-Villanueva was waiting in the car with her father and sibling in a strip mall on Jacksonville's Westside on Saturday evening when she was shot.  He said Rivas-Villanueva had many dreams, but now that they’ve been taken away, he feels destroyed.  'I’m asking for justice … and that my daughter’s death isn’t left unpunished. She was a baby.'  Heydi Rivas-Villanueva was killed Saturday after getting caught in the crossfire between gunmen at a strip mall on 103rd Street.  VIDEO: Surveillance footage relating to fatal shooting of 7-year-old Heydi Rivas-Villanueva She was waiting in the car with her father and sibling while her mother went into the store.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is still actively working to the find the persons of interest in this case, so we’re not showing his face for his protection.  “It’s going to be hard to live with this I’m going to need time to recover.”  The pain was just too much to bear. Her father broke down in tears as he explained his final moments with his daughter.  “I loved my daughter I was with her until the last second of her life. She died in my arms when we were on the way to the hospital,” he said.  JSO has surveillance circulating that shows two men, one in a red shirt and one in a white shirt. They believe these are the persons of interest.  “If the law doesn’t punish them, God will; they took the life of an innocent angel who had her whole life ahead of her,” he said.  While her father believes she’s in a better place, he still has one final wish for his daughter.  'I’m going to send her to my country [of Honduras] because that way I can leave flowers on her grave. [Because] I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it here.”  Villanueva's family is trying to raise money so they'll be able to have a funeral for her in her native country of Honduras: https://www.gofundme.com/5ycvzyg  Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
  • A Florida woman is warning others after she said she was stung by a venomous caterpillar at a park in Port St. Lucie. Tara Forbes told WPTV she was sitting on a park bench watching her son at a playground when she felt an “excruciating” burning sensation on her arm. “My arm was out on the bench, I thought maybe I was getting a little sunburn,” Forbes told WPTV. “I looked down and I had black and white fuzz here, and white fuzz on the inside. It just immediately felt like fire, like somebody took a flame to my skin.” She said her arm completely swelled up and she became dizzy and nauseated. >> Read more trending news Forbes believes she was stung by a puss caterpillar, which are often found in oaks and citrus trees in Florida. A spokesperson for Port St. Lucie said officials searched the park, WPTV reported, but they did not find any of the caterpillars. The spokesperson said park grounds are checked daily for hazards. According to the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa, Florida, puss caterpillars can grow up to an inch long and are covered in gray or brown hair. The hair contains toxic spines that can cause severe pain that sometimes requires medical attention. Related: Experts warn against touching furry, venomous asp caterpillar Some symptoms include an itching or burning sensation, according to the Poison Information Center. The center recommends people apply tape to the affected area and strip it off repeatedly to remove the caterpillar’s spines. To help with the stinging sensation, it is advised to apply ice packs to the area and following up with a paste of baking soda and water.  If the sting triggers an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Former WWE wrestler Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, best known as part of The Hart Foundation tag team in the 80’s and 90’s, has died, WWE officials confirmed Monday in a statement. >> Read more trending news Neidhart played football with the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys before launching his wrestling career. He earned his nickname after winning an anvil throwing contest. He married Ellie Hart, the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart, before joining the WWE. As part of The Hart Foundation, Neidhart wrestled alongside his brother-in-law, Bret “Hit Man” Hart. He is survived by his wife and three daughters, including Natalie Neidhart, who wrestles in the WWE under the stage name “Natalya.” Friends, fans and fellow wrestlers took to Twitter to share condolences Monday.

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  • With less than three months until the mid-term elections for the U.S. House and Senate, four more states hold primaries today for the Congress, but the roster of races is unlikely to produce the news associated with last week’s tight race in a special U.S. House election in Ohio, which amplified questions about whether the GOP can maintain control of Capitol Hill after November. Primaries take place on Tuesday in four states: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. No sitting incumbents in the Congress are on upset alert at this point – though there could always be some out-of-the-blue defeat that no one saw coming; but really, this is more about setting the roster for the final races in November. At this point in time, the Congressional change for November is 57 seats in the House, and 3 in the Senate. (Please note that various news organizations calculate these numbers differently.) As you can see from the data, the total change is already equal to that for the House in the 2016 election cycle, as a large amount of turnover continues in the Congress. Most people don’t realize that currently in the U.S. House, almost 200 of the 435 seats are held by lawmakers who were elected since 2012 – that number will grow substantially after the 2018 elections. In the Senate, fully half of Senators have less than eight years in office, just over one term. The primaries for 2018 are rapidly coming to an end – next Tuesday brings Alaska and Wyoming; Arizona and Florida vote on August 28. Then, after Labor Day, Massachusetts, Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island finish out the primaries for the 2018 mid-term elections for Congress. November is not that far away.
  • When a 3-year-old boy from Clayton County, Georgia, died in a ritual in the northern New Mexico desert, the other children there were allegedly told he would come back to life as Jesus and tell them who to kill. >> Remains of child found at New Mexico compound identified as missing Georgia boy, grandfather says That’s among the jarring allegations leveled Monday by prosecutors, who are accusing the child’s father and four other adults of setting up a squalid isolated compound and plotting violence. Police raided the property in Taos County on Aug. 3 and say they have evidence the occupants were Muslim extremists training their children to become killers with high-powered weapons. >> Atlanta dad planned ‘exorcism’ on son before desert camp found, police say Authorities initially went to the compound looking for Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, who is accused of taking his son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, from the child’s mother in late November after claiming he was taking the boy to a Jonesboro-area park. A month earlier, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj made a trip to Saudi Arabia and came home wanting to stop his son’s medicine and perform rituals to rid him of “demonic spirits,” the father’s family told authorities. The child suffered from brain damage caused during birth, as well as seizures. >> On AJC.com: Death in the desert: What led to Atlanta dad’s mysterious journey? The father and son had apparently arrived at the compound in January, along with four adult relatives and 11 of their children. The adults are each charged with 11 counts of child cruelty (none relating to Abdul-Ghani) and were in court for a bond hearing, which was streamed online by Albuquerque news station KOB. Judge Sarah Backus said the testimony was troubling, but she wasn’t convinced the suspects were a danger to the community. She granted each $20,000 bond to be released from jail, with the conditions that they wear an ankle monitor until they get stable housing in the county and have only supervised visits with their children. One of the children told an FBI agent the boy would foam at the mouth during the rituals, which consisted of the father reading from the Quran and placing a hand on the boy’s head. The agent said the rituals began before the dad left Georgia and continued in New Mexico at the urging of another of the compound’s occupants, Jany Leveille. Leveille is the “Islamic wife” of Wahhaj and believed that she was originally supposed to be the toddler’s mother, according to FBI agent Travis Taylor. Taylor testified that Leveille believed Wahhaj’s legal wife in Georgia used “black magic” to steal the child from Leveille’s womb. During the final ritual on Abdul-Ghani, his heart stopped, the agent said. Leveille allegedly said she believed the child had already been dead and was only still animated because he was possessed by demons. After his death, the boy reportedly was washed, prayed over, wrapped in a sheet and placed in a tunnel near the camp. At least one child told authorities that the adults led them to believe Abdul-Ghani would come back as Jesus and instruct them on what “corrupt institutions they needed to get rid of,” authorities said. The institutions were expected to include teachers, law enforcement and the military. When police searched the site, they allegedly found a shooting range and a number of firearms, as well as a document with instructions about how to build an untraceable AR-15. Some guns were in the tunnel. Prosecutors said Siraj Ibn Wahhaj had also taken extensive firearms training in Georgia. While the group was at the compound, relatives and friends were trying to locate them, including Wahhaj’s father, the well-known New York City imam also named Siraj Wahhaj. The father has said something must have gone wrong mentally for the group to cut ties suddenly and travel west. In addition to his namesake, the group includes two of the imam’s daughters and his son-in-law. >> Read more trending news  Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s brother, Muhammad, received a letter from someone at the compound (authorities aren’t sure who wrote it) instructing him to bring all his money and weapons to the site, prosecutor Timothy Hasson said. The letter said not to tell his father. “Allah says he will protect you always,” the letter reportedly said in part, “so follow until he makes you a martyr.” That martyrdom, Hasson said, was supposed to come after Muhammad joined the group in New Mexico. Further details about the trip to Saudi Arabia weren’t revealed. Hasson conceded that countless Muslims make the hajj pilgrimage to the country, which could be a logical explanation for the trip. “The evidence as a whole says this family was on a mission, a dangerous one and a violent one,” the prosecutor said.
  • Update: 3:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 9: The grandfather of a missing Georgia boy confirmed that the remains of a child found at a remote desert compound in New Mexico are those of his grandson, according to WSB-TV. >> Read more trending news  The boy, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj of metro Atlanta, disappeared in December. His mother told authorities that the child’s father took the child because he wanted to perform an exorcism on the 3-year-old, who suffered from health problems. Investigators discovered the remains of a child at the compound in Taos County on Tuesday. Five adults, including the boy’s father,  Siraj Wahhaj, were already in custody on a number of charges related to the condition of 11 children found at the location and the filthy conditions where they were living. >> Related: Metro Atlanta man arrested at compound trained kids for school shooting Siraj Wahhaj is also accused of training the children at the compound for school shootings. He was armed with multiple firearms, including an assault rifle, when authorities raided the compound Friday, according to WSB. >>Related: Photos: 11children found starving, living in New Mexico compound, police say Update: 3:00 p.m. EDT Aug. 8:  The father of a missing Georgia boy,  who was arrested Friday at a compound in the New Mexico desert where 11 starving children were found, was at the compound to train the children on how to carry out school shootings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Suspect Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was conducting weapons training, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which cited court documents filed on Wednesday. Prosecutors filed the documents related to a request that Wahhaj remain jailed without bail. He was arrested, along with four other adults found at the makeshift compound, last week after authorities discovered 11 malnourished and dirty children living there in squalor. >> Related: DA: Georgia man was training kids to do school shootings in desert The remains of a child were found on the grounds Tuesday, according to investigators, but there’s been no word, yet, on the identity of the child and whether it my be Wahhaj’s son, who disappeared from metro Atlanta last December. Update: 5:00 p.m. EDT Aug. 7: Investigators found the remains of a child on the grounds of a compound in New Mexico  where five adults were arrested and 11 children were discovered starving, according to WSB-TV.  The remains have not been positively identified, so it’s too early to tell they belong to a missing Georgia boy. Abdul-Ghani Wahajj, who would celebrated his 4th birthday Monday, disappeared in December. His mother told police the child’s father took the boy and had said he wanted to “exorcise” demons from the boy, who had a number of health problems. Siraj Wahhaj was one of two men arrested at the compound. (Original Story) Two Georgia men have been taken into custody after authorities in New Mexico served a search warrant on what they are calling a compound, where they said they found women and children malnourished and living in deplorable conditions. Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said the department swore out a search warrant on the makeshift compound in Amalia, New Mexico, on Thursday. Hogrefe said there was a reason to believe that Lucas Morten and others, including Siraj Wahhaj, 39, were living inside the compound. >> On WSBTV.com: Police searching for missing 3-year-old, father Siraj Wahhaj was wanted in connection with the abduction of 3-year-old AG Wahhaj. The warrant came after a two-month investigation with Clayton County, Georgia, investigators and the FBI. The sheriff said the FBI had recently given them information and surveillance video of the compound, but they didn’t feel there was enough cause to get a warrant for the property. “That all changed for me when a message was forwarded to us from a Georgia Detective that we reasonably believed came from someone at the compound – the message sent to a third party simply said in part ‘we are starving and need food and water,’” Hogrefe said in a news release. “I absolutely knew that we couldn’t wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible, so I began working on a search warrant right after I got that intercepted message – it had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief. We also knew from the layout of the compound they would have an advantage if we didn’t deploy tactfully and quickly.” >> Man accused of killing nurse used Tinder to find victims, may be serial killer, police say On Friday morning, eight members of the Sheriff’s Response Team and four state investigators executed a search warrant of the compound. The sheriff said the two men initially refused to follow directions. Hogrefe said Wahhaj was held up inside the compound and was heavily armed with an AR-15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines, four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down. Authorities also found more rounds of ammo inside the compound. Investigators said the compound consisted of a small travel trailer buried in the ground covered by plastic with no water, plumbing or electricity. >> Read more trending news  “The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer,” Hogrefe said. “But what was most surprising, and heartbreaking, was when the team located a total of five adults and 11 children, that looked like third-world country refugees, not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing.” Morten and Wahhaj were taken into custody. However, the missing child from Georgia was not located among the children. Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive and Wahhaj was booked on his no-bond warrant on a child abduction charge out of Georgia. Three women, believed to be children’s mothers, were detained for questioning and later released pending further investigation. The 11 children, ranging in ages from 1 to 15, were taken into protective custody. “We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had – it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen,” Hogrefe said. None of the adults would give a statement to the whereabouts of 3-year-old AG Wahhaj, but it is believed he was at the compound a few weeks ago. His mother said AG Wahhaj suffers from seizures, developmental and cognitive delays and is unable to walk due to suffering a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) at birth.  The investigation into locating him is being coordinated between Clayton County investigators and the FBI.
  • A Pennsylvania woman who police say is responsible for the death of a 23-month-old girl in Clairton turned herself in on Monday. >> Watch the news report here Deasha Ringgold is charged with homicide and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the death of Aubree Sherrell, Allegheny County police said Monday. >> More on WPXI.com: Woman accused of killing toddler taken into custody An unresponsive Sherrell was taken to a hospital on April 27 and later pronounced dead, police said. An investigation determined Aug. 10 that Sherrell’s death was a homicide, and a warrant was issued for Ringgold on Monday. Police said the girl died from strangulation and had bruises around her neck. Ringgold was dating Sherrell's father and was babysitting her the day she died, police said. Ringgold allegedly told police that she put the girl to bed in her apartment on Glenn Drive in Clairton and went to sleep herself. According to investigators, she told them she found Sherrell lying on her back and her lips were blue.  >> Read more trending news  Police said Ringgold told them she took Sherrell to the hospital right away, but cellphone records show that an hour before she did, she allegedly Googled the following: 'How to do CPR on a baby?'  'How to wake up a knocked out person' 'My friend got choked out, what do I do?'  The girl died in April, but Ringgold was charged after the autopsy and police investigation. According to the complaint, the baby's father was at work during the incident and has not been charged. 
  • An expecting mother said she feels humiliated after she was asked if she was trying to shoplift from a Staples store in North Carolina. >> UPDATE: Staples manager fired after accusing woman pregnant with twins of shoplifting Shirell Bates said she now regrets leaving her home on Friday for back-to-school shopping. >> Woman used identical twin's name during drug arrest, sister claims 'Being pregnant is already high-risk, and having to deal with that, just additional stress that I don't need,” Bates said. Bates said a police officer asked her if she was shoplifting while she was checking out of the Pineville store. >> More on WSOCTV.com: Manager at North Carolina Staples fired after accusing pregnant woman of shoplifting 'Mid-transaction, a police officer approached me and insisted he wanted to speak with me,” Bates said. “He asked what was under my shirt.” Bates is pregnant with twins. 'Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, 'Twins,’” Bates said. “I'm 34 weeks with twins. I'm having a boy and a girl.' Bates said the officer didn’t believe her the first time, and he asked her again. 'At that point, to avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I'm just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” Bates said. >> Read more trending news  Pineville police said a Staples manager approached the officer and asked him to speak with Bates because the manager believed Bates may have been “concealing merchandise.” 'When I confronted her about what happened, she admitted that, 'In the past, we've had a lot of people putting school supplies or merchandise in their clothes and hiding, so I asked the officer to reach out to you,’” Bates said. Staples issued the following statement: 'Yesterday at our Pineville location, while a customer was shopping, a manager mistakenly thought they were possibly shoplifting and asked a police officer that happened to be in the store to talk with the customer. 'After a quick conversation, the issue was resolved, the manager apologized to the customer and refunded their transaction due to the inconvenience. At Staples, we want all customers to feel welcome in our store, and work with our store associates to try and foster an inclusive culture. As an organization, we would like to apologize to the customer if that was not the case in this instance.' Bates said she plans on contacting Staples' corporate office on Monday and possibly seeking legal action. 'You pretty much jumped the gun without any type of evidence, except my stomach is large,” Bates said. “That’s not fair. No mom should have to go through that.

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