U.S. Coast Guard press release(JUPITER, Fla.) -- The Coast Guard has searched 27,000 square miles for two teenagers believed to be lost at sea off the coast of Florida.
An area roughly the size of West Virginia had been searched for Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen as of midnight Tuesday. The two 14-year-olds were last seen Friday when they left Jupiter, Florida, for a fishing trip.
Their boat was found capsized off the coast of the Ponce de Leon Inlet, about 180 miles from Jupiter, on Sunday.
Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said on Monday that the two could likely survive about four or five days at sea based in part on survivability charts.
"I have a 13 and 14-year-old at home and this resonates with me," Fedor said.
The Coast Guard's search is now focused north of where the boat was found, Fedor said.
gloch/iStock Editorial/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- The Boy Scouts of America voted to remove the ban on gay adult scout leaders on Monday.
A statement posted to the organizations' website from the Boy Scouts National President (and former Defense Secretary) Robert Gates said, "For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us. Now it's time to unite behind our shared belief that the extraordinary power of scouting can be a force for good in the community and in the lives of its youth members."
He added, "The best way to allow BSA to continue to focus on its mission and preserve its core values is to address the issue and set our own course. And that's what we've done." The full statement was posted to the organization's website.
Despite the ban, local scout troops, according to the organization, "may continue to use religious beliefs as criteria for selecting adult leaders."
Alex_Schmidt/iStock/ThinkStock(HOUSTON) -- A 29-year-old woman died in police custody in Houston Sunday, police said, marking the second custody death in the city in less than 10 days.
The deaths, which are under investigation by the Houston Police Department, come amid an uproar into the case of Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in her cell in nearby Waller County on July 13.
Although Waller County is part of the greater Houston metro area, the Waller County Jail and Waller County District Attorney’s office are not affiliated with the city of Houston or the Houston police.
The woman in the Houston case, whose identity has not been released, was arrested for public intoxication, the Houston police said Monday.
She was examined at the scene by paramedics and then taken to the Houston PD's Southeast Jail by a patrol officer, police said. "Upon arrival [at the jail] and before being booked into the jail, the woman was found to be unresponsive," police said.
Jail personnel performed CPR, police said, and she was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where she was declared dead.
The incident is under investigation by the Houston Police Department's Homicide Division and Internal Affairs Division. Autopsy and toxicology results are pending, police said.
Eight days earlier, a man who had been "showing signs of mental distress" also died in police custody, the Houston police said.
On July 18, an officer was at a Houston convenience store when he saw a man "bleeding from the head," Houston police said in a release.
The officer tried to help the man "who became combative and was showing signs of mental distress," the police said. "As the officer tried to get the suspect medical attention, the suspect charged the officer."
The suspect then "charged at" other responding officers, "so the suspect was restrained," police said. Paramedics were attending to the suspect "when he went from fighting to suddenly being non-responsive," police said. The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.
According to the police, witnesses said the man was injured before the incident and police had "made multiple attempts to calm the suspect in order for him to be treated for his injuries."
This incident is also under investigation by the Houston Police Department's Homicide division and Internal Affairs division. Houston police said today they are still awaiting the man's autopsy results. Both of these deaths come on the heels of the widely-publicized arrest of Bland, who died at a jail in nearby Waller County, Texas, on July 13.
On July 10, Bland was pulled over in a traffic stop in Prairie View, Texas, and after a confrontation with a Texas trooper, she was arrested on an assault charge.
On July 13, Bland was found hanging in her Waller County Jail cell, with the plastic cell trash bin liner around her neck, officials said.
Details from Bland's autopsy indicated that she died as a result of suicide and that there were no signs of struggle that would be consistent with a violent death.
However, Bland's family is disputing the cause of death and is awaiting the results of an independent autopsy.
A review committee will look into everything related to Bland's arrest and death, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Monday.
WXYZ-TV(DETROIT) -- The "largest public satanic ceremony in history" took place Saturday in Detroit, a city that has the largest and oldest chapter of a national Satanist organization.
The group unveiled a nearly 9-foot tall bronze statue of a goat-headed Baphomet in a private ceremony attended by 600 ticket holders, Lucien Graves, co-founder of the national Satanic Temple organization in Boston told ABC News. The Satanic Temple in Detroit has more than 200 registered members.
"They are so active and well-organized," Graves told ABC News. "There's probably been another wave of interest since this event."
The Detroit chapter is the first of the national organization, Graves said. He credits the Detroit chapter's founder Jex Blackmore with the growth of the chapter since it was established there in August 2014.
"It's more or less because of her. She was just a very confident person who started working with us," Graves told ABC News. The pair met in Boston and then she moved to Detroit and set up a chapter there.
Blackmore told ABC News it is largest chapter.
"I think the Temple appeals to the radical, politically-charged spirit of the city and many are drawn to us as a force of positive, effective change in this community," Blackmore told ABC News.
The statue was originally planned to sit at the Oklahoma state capitol, but the state's supreme court banned all religious displays there, including the Ten Commandments. The statue was created through $28,180 fund-raised by 1,041 people on Indiegogo.com last year. The fundraising page said the statue's purpose was to contrast the Ten Commandments monument that was previously on display.
Greaves said there are 20 chapters across the country with about 20,000 members as a whole.
Tickets for Saturday's event were $25 and the location was revealed only to ticket-holders, ABC affiliate in Detroit WXYZ reported. Meanwhile, Christians in Detroit protested the event nearby. The event served "as a call-to-arms from which we’ll kick off our largest fight to date in the name of individual rights to free exercise against self-serving theocrats," according to the invitation.
"People are trying to push religious agenda, whether it’s part of the public opinion or not," Greaves said. "Groups will take it as slander against them and it’s just not the case. We don’t really care if they’re offended or not."
According to its mission statement, the national organization, The Satanic Temple, "facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty." Among the causes it supports are gay marriage, reproductive rights and eliminating corporal punishment in schools. The national organization does "not promote a belief in a personal Satan."
"To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions," the FAQ of TheSatanicTemple.com indicates.
MarkRubens/iStock/ThinkStock(PONCE INLET, Fla.) — As the search for two teenagers lost at sea continues, new video shows what the teens' recovered boat looked like as it floated off the central Florida coast Sunday.
The boat, belonging to Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, was spotted around 11 a.m. Sunday, the Coast Guard said.
It was found capsized and damaged 67 nautical miles off the Ponce de Leon Inlet, the Coast Guard said, noting that neither boy was in or around the boat.
New video released by the Coast Guard captures waves crashing against the overturned, 19-foot, single-engine boat on Sunday, as crews inspect the scene.
The boat was missing one personal flotation device as well as the boat cover, according to ABC affiliate WPBF.
Austin and Perry left on a fishing trip Friday morning and were reported missing Friday evening.
As of early Monday morning, the search for the boys had covered 26,000 nautical square miles, the Coast Guard said.
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s the beach without the heat and an ocean full of nearly one million small plastic balls.
That’s right -- the ultimate ball pit. The 10,000-square-foot exhibit has taken over the Great Hall of the historic National Building Museum in the nation’s capital. Families are lining up to stream into the unique attraction, which has been breaking summer attendance records.
It's such a huge draw, ABC News reporters Mary Bruce and Kenneth Moton had to check it out.
The giant, 4-foot deep ball pit has all the makings of a day on the shore. Umbrellas and beach chairs, usually filled with waiting and attentive parents, line the white “sand” floor. On a nearby wall, there are a list of rules for "swimmers" near a lifeguard who has his or her whistle ready for those not abiding by the rules.
The ball pit was the idea of a Brooklyn-based firm hired to design a fun concept for the National Building Museum. The attraction is just one of the latest successes for the museum known for its out-of-the-box exhibits. While children are doing backflips and cannon balls, their sounds of laughter fill the Great Hall, where visitors are surrounded by beautiful architecture and floor-to-ceiling marble pillars.
The cost of admission ranges from $5 to $16 and the giant ball pit will be open to "swimmers" until Sept. 7.
Santa Cruz Police Department(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) -- A state-wide search, assisted by the FBI, is underway after an 8-year-old California girl vanished over the weekend.
The Santa Cruz Police Department was first called to the Tannery Arts Center, a housing unit for artists, when Madyson “Maddy” Middleton was reported missing from her home there Sunday evening.
Madyson was last seen riding her white Razor scooter, wearing a purple knee-high dress with black leggings, and a black baseball-style helmet with long, dark hair pulled to the side in a braid.
The FBI has joined the effort in addition to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team. It was not immediately clear if foul play was involved and the investigation was in the early stages, police said.
Specially trained K-9’s from the State Office of Emergency Services have helped track down Madyson’s scent in the city's main beach area about 2 miles away.
The search is expected to continue near the beach during daylight hours and include the San Lorenzo River waterway and levees, where watercraft, aircraft and foot teams will be utilized.
Madyson is described as being 4 feet tall, 48 pounds with long brown hair and blue eyes.
U.S. Coast Guard press release(PONCE INLET, Fla.) — The families of two teenage boys who are missing off the Florida coast after they set out three days ago on a fishing trip said they are confident that their sons have the skills to survive at sea.
The boat belonging to Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, was found capsized and damaged 67 nautical miles off the Ponce de Leon Inlet on Sunday, the Coast Guard said. Neither boy was in or around the boat.
The boys left on a fishing trip Friday morning and were reported missing Friday evening. As of early Monday morning, the search for the boys had covered 26,000 nautical square miles, the Coast Guard said.
As the search continues, here's what we know about the teens' survival skills and potential supplies. Boating licenses:
“Both boys have their boaters certification,” said Pamela Cohen, Perry's mother. Boating experience:
Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath, a neighbor of the families who's known the boys for years, said Sunday, "I know they know what they’re doing."
“Austin’s been sharp and on the water a good while. Perry is just as sharp as can be," Namath said.
"Perry has been on a boat really since he was seven," said Pamela Cohen.
"Austin, this is his fourth boat," said Carly Black, Austin's mother. "He's been around boats since before he could walk."
Perry's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, added, "I have all the confidence in Austin and his abilities to operate a boat." The boys may have a life jacket:
Their recovered boat was missing one personal flotation device as well as the boat cover, according to ABC television affiliate WPBF.
Korniloff said Sunday they don’t know how much food and water the boys have, but insisted the boys "know what they're doing out there."
"From my understanding, the boys are avid fisherman. They've been fishing their whole entire lives," Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said. "But at the same time, they're still 14-years old."
A $100,000 reward has been issued for their safe return, Korniloff said.
"We are positive that our boys are still out there," Korniloff said. "We’ll do anything to get our children back."
The Vigilant Fire Company(GREAT NECK, N.Y.) — A 20-year-old woman got an early wake-up call when a massive tree crashed into her bedroom Monday morning - trapping her for hours until rescuers could unpin her from its limbs.
The 5,000-pound tree fell onto the woman's bedroom just after midnight in Great Neck, New York, a spokesperson for the Nassau County Police Department told ABC News Monday. The woman, who was in bed at the time, was trapped by the tree and debris for more than two hours, the spokesperson said.
Firefighters told WABC that they had to take down power lines and created a hole through the roof before cutting the woman free.
“They stabilized the tree as best they could ... and notched the tree out to lift the limb around eight inches off of her and were able to slide her out,” said Joshua Forst, chief of the Vigilant Fire Company in Great Neck.
Steven Blocker, a paramedic firefighter with the Vigilant Fire Company, lives across the street and responded to the scene.
“I hear this whooshing sound," he said, "It turns out it was the tree falling."
He added, "I thought this was a tree falling on the house and hit a window, but it was a one in a million chance for it to fall directly on someone."
Multiple fire departments worked with the Nassau County Police Department to free the victim, according to the press release from the Nassau County Police Department.
The victim is being treated for multiple trauma injuries and is in serious but stable condition, according to the press release.
Fuse/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- A visitor at Ohio’s Columbus Zoo is in hot water with zoo personnel for getting a bit too friendly with some cougars.
With his camera rolling, Joshua Newell dropped his bag to the ground, climbed over a 4-foot fence, and petted two adult cougars through the final barrier on July 20. Zoo officials found out about Newell's antics after he later posted the video on YouTube.
“It was very spontaneous,” Newell said. “I jumped the barrier and showed them some love.”
Now, the 35-year-old has with a legal cat fight on his hands.
“This is very alarming,” Tom Stalf, the president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, said on Sunday. “We will take action.”
The zoo is ready to pounce, pressing charges against Newell with a misdemeanor count of trespassing and citing public safety and animal welfare as its top priorities.
“They're a large carnivore,” Stalf said. “They have the potential of doing serious harm.”
But Newell said he never felt threatened.
“Why would I be afraid?” he asked. “They wanted me to pet them.”
Overnight, Newell admitted he regretted his actions.
“I do want to apologize to the Columbus Zoo,” he said. “I am concerned that other people will try it and that's why I'm on camera to persuade them to not do it.”
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A lawyer for a man accused of killing his reality TV star girlfriend said his client acted in self-defense.
Robert Reagan, 51, was charged with murdering Loredana Nesci, the star of the Sundance TV reality show Loredana, Esq., with a knife. Nescei's body was discovered on Wednesday after Reagan called police, authorities said.
But Reagan's attorney said the woman, known as "the legal diva," attacked Reagan first with the knife.
"Robert tried to disarm her,” Reagan’s attorney, Shepard Kopp, said in a statement, “and in the intense struggle that ensued she tragically suffered a fatal wound."
The couple's troubles were played out on the TV program that centered around the tough-talking attorney, who is a former Los Angeles Police Department officer and body builder.
Friends said Nesci, 47, was tough but not violent.
"Loredana was just the nicest person you have ever met,” said friend Tori Moorhead. “She helped so many people. You'd come in and ask her for help and she would never tell you no and it was never about money with her clients.”
But Nesci was known for her sharp tongue, and neighbors say the couple fought often.
“They were always kind of yelling back and forth at each other,” said Nesci’s neighbor Adam Gorelick. “It was more often than not but nothing to where you would think someone would kill someone."
The fighting was something even Nesci's family admits.
"I've heard plenty of arguments between the two of them,” said Robert Nesci, Loredana’s brother. “But I've never seen either one of them lay a hand on each other."
Loredana Nesci’s brothers sat down with ABC News and said they're now caring for the couple's 5-year old son.
"We're just very, very distraught over the whole thing,” said Sal Nesci. “And we got a lot of healing ahead of us."
@ccyr17 posted this photo to Twitter on July 25, 2015: "Those in Vegas wondering what the smoke is... Fire at the Cosmopolitan pool." @ccyr17(LAS VEGAS) -- Saturday's fire at the Bamboo Pool of The Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas is believed to have been accidental, officials say.
Fire investigators know where the fire started, they say, but they continue working Sunday to determine what sparked it. Clark County Assistant Fire Chief Sandra Baker said the blaze is believed to be accidental, and that the investigation could take about one week.
The pool was reopened on Sunday, but an area of the rooftop pool deck was walled off. Guest rooms on the 14th floor, the same floor as the pool deck, were closed Sunday.
No one was burned in Saturday's fire, though two people were treated for smoke inhalation.
Minertree/iStock/ThinkStock(BALTIMORE) -- Eight people were on board a recreational boat when it crashed near a Baltimore, Maryland, bridge early Sunday morning, leaving two women dead and six people injured.
The 40-foot boat collided with a concrete pillar that was about 50 yards away from the Francis Scott Key Bridge, according to Candy Thompson of Maryland Natural Resources.
The two victims were identified as Wendy Lawson, 41, and Kimberly Ervin, 45, both from Baltimore, according to the Maryland Natural Resources Police.
At least one of the victims was not wearing a life jacket, according to Thompson.
Six people were hospitalized, Thompson said.
The pillar, approximately 10 to 15 feet in height and width, acts to protect the bridge from wayward incoming vessels, Thompson said.
The cause of the accident is under investigation, and it was unclear whether alcohol was involved, Thompson said.
There were 130 boating accidents in Maryland last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources, that left 12 people dead and 96 injured.