iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MORIARTY, N.M.) -- Authorities in New Mexico say that a girl who called authorities repeatedly on Friday was not kidnapped, and that she was acting out a scenario out of a movie she had watched.
On Friday, the Torrance County Sheriff's Office said that the girl, 7, had called approximately 40 times, saying that she was being held against her will in a vehicle. Deputies located the semi-truck and questioned the driver, who they later determined was the girl's uncle.
Sheriff Heath White said that the man had adopted the girl, who is believed to have learning disabilities. The girl, White said, had recently watched a film in which a character was being held hostage inside a car, a scenario that she mimicked on Friday.
Purestock/Thinkstock(HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.) -- A teenager was arrested on Saturday after he allegedly made threats of violence in advance of the U.S. Open of Surfing.
The U.S. Open of Surfing is the world's largest surf event, with officials telling ABC's Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV that they expect about 500,000 people to attend the nine-day event. Lt. Mitch O'Brien of the Huntington Beach Police Department said that a search warrant was served and the 16-year-old was placed under arrest.
Last year's event was marred by looting and fighting. O'Brien warned attendees that security is going to crack down on bad behavior this year. "If you want to come down and watch surfing, we're going to welcome you. If you want to come down here and try to repeat last year, we're going to identify you as quick as we can and send you home."
KABC said a shotgun and a handgun were found at the teenager's home.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BILLINGS, Mont.) -- The family of Matthew Campbell, a Montana man who is in prison after allegedly plotting to hire a hit man to kill his mother, says they have forgiven him.
“He wants to move on and put everything past him and we do too,” his sister Nikki Campbell told Nightline Prime.
Campbell, of Billings, Montana, was just 19 years old when he was arrested in 2010 after being accused of hiring a hit man and plotting the murder of his mother, Dana Campbell. He pleaded guilty to using a cellphone with intent to commit murder for hire. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison, but is set to be released next month.
Dana Campbell learned from an FBI agent in 2010 that she was the target for the hit man her son allegedly hired.
"He asked to speak to me out in private and he said, 'I hate to be the one to inform you, but we've been notified that there's been a contract put out on your life,'" Campbell said of the conversation with the FBI agent at the time. "It sounds insane."
According an FBI agent, Matthew Campbell had offered to pay $5,000 upfront for killing his mother and another $5,000 after the job was done.
“The fact that he was only thinking of himself and what he could get out of it made me question everything I ever knew about him,” Nikki Campbell said. “Was I next? Was my sister next?”
Nikki said she thought their family had an unbreakable bond. She said they enjoyed family trips together and bickered the way brothers and sister do.
“We picked on each other and pick on my little sister a lot but we knew that we had each other,” she said.
But the bond frayed, she said, when Matthew started to get into trouble.
“He didn’t want to live at home with my parents any more it was a tough living situation and he decided to run away basically,” Nikki Campbell said. “We didn’t know where he was and he got himself in a little bit of trouble with some cars and what not.”
Matthew Campbell ended up in a halfway house in Helena, Montana, where Campbell said he had conversations with some of his fellow inmates about whom they could kill for money. According to court documents, Campbell wanted his mother killed so he could collect insurance money and a recent inheritance that she had received, as well as other household items.
But one of the inmates informed the authorities about Matthew’s plan.
“That other person went to the Department of Corrections and basically told on my brother and said, ‘Matthew Campbell wants to hire someone to kill his mother,’” Nikki Campbell said.
That ultimately lead Matthew Campbell to meet unknowingly with an undercover FBI agent, according to court documents. Then the undercover agent approached Campbell and told him was a hit man. Nikki said Matthew had written her a letter saying he was afraid of the man and felt pressured to go through with the plot.
“If he tried to back out of this that the guy would come after him just because now my brother has a name of a contract killer,” Nikki said.
That’s how Matthew Campbell’s plan was exposed.
The family now believes Matthew never really intended to kill his mother and are waiting for him to come home from prison.
Nikki shared a recent email she received from her brother, saying, “Hey I need an address from you so I can send you this [birthday] card and how is the shoe hunting coming?”
“My birthday is coming up and he is still going to be in prison when my birthday is here and he is still going to send me a card. It’s the first time I’ve gotten a card from him since he’s been gone,” she said. “It’s touching, I guess… I think we are going to flourish probably into the best relationships we’ve ever had.”
iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- A Boeing 777 operated by United Airlines made an emergency landing Friday due to a strange odor onboard, marking the second such incident this month.
United Airlines Flight 328 took off from Denver, bound for Honolulu, but was forced to land in Salt Lake City on Friday afternoon due to an “electrical odor,” according to airline spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm.
There were 269 passengers and 10 crew members on board.
“Our passengers deplaned normally, and our maintenance team will inspect the aircraft,” Dohm said in an email to ABC News.
Earlier this month, another Boeing 777 operated by United made an emergency landing on the tiny Pacific island of Midway after passengers reported a burning smell.
United did not say when the passengers on Friday’s flight would be able continue on to Hawaii.
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- The Federal Aviation Administration told ABC News on Friday that it is looking into reports that a drone recently hovered above the observation deck of Seattle’s famous Space Needle.
While curious tourists waved, the mysterious flying object gave security quite a scare.
Authorities said a man launched the drone out of his hotel room window on Tuesday.
“There was no malcontent or malice,” said Drew Fowler of the Seattle Police Department. “He wasn’t trying to do anything wrong. He was just trying to capture some interesting footage.”
While recreational drone usage is legal in Washington state, the incident was the latest raising questions about whether it’s safe to fly drones above crowded cities.
Last year, a drone buzzed over the busy streets of New York, flying past iconic landmarks like the Chrysler building and then crash-landed, nearly hitting pedestrians during the height of rush hour.
And there have been close calls with planes. A drone last year came within 200 feet of a jumbo jet.
Drones have been exploding in popularity but the rules for how and where they can be used have not caught up. The FAA said it is working on new safety guidelines but it could take two years for them to take effect.
iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- At least one gym in California is trying to conserve water during what is called the state's worst drought in nearly four decades using a technology appropriate for its Silicon Valley setting.
Almaden Valley Athletic Club in San Jose, California, started using a trademarked product this week that coats brown lawns into green grass with paint.
Jeff Griffith-Jones, general manager of operations of the 38-year old fitness center, said the gym decided to pay about $600 for the services of Green Polymer Systems, a company based in nearby Los Gatos. The green treatment should last three to six months, he said.
"It looks phenomenal," Griffith-Jones said.
While some cities in California are responding to a severe drought by charging more for water or limiting water use, San Jose doesn't have those restrictions. Last week, the state's water regulators voted to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents' excessive water use.
But the fitness center's management decided to take measures upon the concern of some of its 6,000 customers.
"The important thing is we’re saving water and that's what our members are looking for, so that’s what’s important to us," he said.
After all, the five-acre athletic club has two swimming pools and plenty of showers and bathrooms for its guests.
When his gym members saw workers applying the treatment onto the lawn, they started asking whether the product is available for residences. (Green-Canary.com states that a treatment for the average residential lawn is about $175.)
"The members love it so much," he said. "They love the concept of it, so we display brochures," he said.
The product that coats the grass is called Green Canary and is described on the company website as an "eco-friendly solution to dried, dormant or diseased grass." The company claims on its site that it is waterproof, non-toxic and "safe for children, elderly and pets."
The company did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Griffith-Jones said Green Polymer Systems asked the gym to first let its grass turn fully brown before the treatment is applied. Otherwise, the treatment would create two tones of green on the lawn. So the gym stopped using its sprinklers about two weeks ago.
The gym still waters the lawn to keep the roots alive, but it uses only 10 percent of its former sprinkler use, Griffith-Jones said.
What if the gym's management wants to return to naturally green grass?
"If and when we decide to stop using the pigment -- the grass is still alive--we can mow off the paint," he said.
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A 28-year-old Chinese citizen pleaded guilty Wednesday to a plot to illegally export U.S. sensors.
Bo Cai planned to export defense articles made for military purposes to China, according to offcials. He and his cousin, 29-year-old Wentong Cai, plotted to take the technology without a license to give in order to give to a customer.
The sensors, orginally created for sale to the U.S. Department of Defense, were intended for use in motion control systems. Cai admitted that from March 2012 to December 2013, Bo Cai enlisted the help of his cousin to acquire the products under the cover that he would use the sensors at Iowa State Univeristy for academic purposes.
Wentong Cai was a Chinese citizen in the country under a student visa at the time of the incident.
Bo Cai obtained a sensor from undercover agents in New Mexico, then developed plans to smuggle the product out of the country. He was arrested in December 2013 before boarding a flight to China.
“It is a top priority for the Justice Department and the District of New Mexico to protect our national security and our technology from disclosure to foreign governments," U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said. "This prosecution demonstrates the federal law enforcement community’s commitment to safeguarding our nation’s military secrets by keeping America’s critical technology from falling into the wrong hands.”
Bo Cai faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. His cousin, who was arrested in January 2014, pleaded not guilty.
iStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- Six researchers who have been living in a mock-up Mars habitat on a Hawaiian volcano returned to the real world Friday, feeling a breeze and hearing birds for the first time in four months.
The second Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation mission, known as HI-SEAS, ended 120 days of the Red Planet exploration on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano.
Expedition leader Casey Stedman and his five crew members had been living inside their 1,000-square-foot solar-powered dome, which includes common areas such as kitchen, dining room, bathroom with shower, lab and exercise space.
“I haven’t seen a tree, smelled the train, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months,” Stedman posted on his Instagram account.
The crew have been cooking with dehydrated food that doesn’t require refrigerated food and venturing out of the dome only for simulated spacewalks in mock spacesuits.
“It’s really great to taste fresh fruit and vegetables again,” Stedman told ABC News on Friday.
“The main purpose of the project is to learn about the problems that might occur to crew members if they went to Mars,” Kimberly Binsted, principal investigator of the project, told ABC News.
Binsted said crew members have to deal with disagreements and conflicts with each other, and solve depression and anxiety.
“It’s not like if you have a problem with someone, you can go out for a run in a park on Mars,” Binsted said. “You have to get along with each other in a very small space.”
Not only were the members confined physically, they couldn'tt surf the internet to kill time either.
“Communication with the outside world has a 20-minute delay each way,” Binsted said. “So one click on the internet will take 40 minutes to refresh.”
Binsted said one of the technologies tested in the past four months is a device that detects the voice and proximity between two crew members.
“It was a really good experience,” Stedman said. “The first thing I wanted to do after I come outside was to squint.”
“We had little direct contact to the sun in the past four months,” Stedman said. “We wear our spacesuits when we go out, and the masks cover most of our face.”
“There weren’t really altercations among the crew,” Stedman said. “But even in a family vacation, you disagree with someone over something.”
Stedman said most disagreements were about procedures to get things accomplished.
“We all come from different backgrounds, so we have different interpretation of data,” Stedman said.
Stedman said he found sun dried tomatoes taste really good with mustard during the past four months.
“We have the dried and ground tomato powder,” Steadman said. “You can make a paste out of it.”
iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- An Atlanta woman who said she was duped into renting a house from a fake homeowner has been evicted along with her children.
“I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say,” Lyna McNeil told ABC News affiliate WSB-TV after she was forced to abruptly move out Thursday evening.
McNeil has eight children, but at least one of her kids is an adult. It's not clear how many were living with her in the house.
Animal control officers were also on the scene, taking the family dogs because they no longer had a home.
“Animal Control came and took our dogs,” said McNeil, “The children are crying because they’re taking our dogs."
Animal Control did not return calls to ABC News.
McNeil's furniture and belongings were stacked in the yard Thursday evening and she spent the night in her car while her children stayed with friends, WSB-TV reported.
McNeil said that she moved into the northwest Atlanta neighborhood after renting the Caron Circle home from a man named “Shawn,” under the agreement that she would pay $750 a month after making minor repairs, WSB-TV reported.
After moving in, McNeil says she was contacted by the real homeowner, identified only as Mr. Carr, demanding that she and her eight children leave the house.
“I have offered to pay him rent. I’ve offered to pay him security deposits, but he doesn’t want that,” McNeil told the station.
The homeowner filed an intruder affidavit with the Superior Court of Fulton County demanding that McNeil be out by Thursday, a representative from the Fulton County Sheriff’s department told ABC News. Officers arrived at the scene “to keep the peace while the order was executed,” said the representative, who said the sheriff’s department could not comment on the issue any further.
A neighbor of the family told ABC News that the house the McNeils were living in had been empty for as long as she could remember, and the house had never been up for sale.
“I just don’t understand how somebody could rent a place that’s not theirs,” said the neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous.
“They were nice and polite,” the neighbor said of the McNeils. “I pray things work out for her.”
WSB-TV reports that McNeil is getting a lot of support from the community in finding a home.
McNeil could not be immediately reached by ABC News for comment.
iStock/Thinkstock(DARBY, Penn.) -- A patient opened fire at a hospital campus in Pennsylvania on Thursday, killing his case worker and wounding a psychiatrist, according to police.
District Attorney Jack Whelan announced charges Friday against Richard Plotts, the suspect in the deadly shootout in Darby.
Plotts had an appointment with his doctor, Lee Silverman, scheduled for 2:30 p.m., but showed up about an hour earlier.
Silverman had the suspect's case worker, Theresa Hunt, meet him and the patient in the office. According to the doctor, Plotts was agitated, refusing to sit down. He removed the gun from his waistband and start to rant, then pointed the weapon at Hunt and shot her in the head.
In response, Silverman said he pulled out a semi-automatic gun he had in the office, and returned fire with the suspect. The doctor was shot through his thumb as he was covering his face, and was also grazed in the head, according to officials. He was treated and released Thursday night.
Another doctor and caseworker wrestled with Plotts to subdue him until police arrived.
The patient was found with an additional 39 bullets, which authorities believe indicate that he was going to reload and shoot others.
Plotts criminal history dates back to 1990 and he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
"If it wasn't for the heroic action of the doctor and the case worker, we believe he was there and going to reload that revolver, and continue to fire and continue to kill," Whelan said.
Officials believe Plotts had an issue with a rule that banned guns from the medical facility.
He is being treated for his injuries, including two gun wounds to the stomach, and is sedated, according to Whelan.
The District Attorney's Office is in the process of charging him with murder and the attempted murder of Silverman.