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  • The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is making progress on a massive backlog of rape kits and has already identified 88 suspects in those cases. Only Channel 2 Action News was there as the GBI briefed key lawmakers about its progress. House Speaker David Ralston and other Georgia lawmakers toured the GBI's crime lab Monday to find out more about the kits. Georgia had more than 5,000 kits backlogged for as long as 10 years. After the legislature passed a law requiring testing, the GBI started processing them last summer. Since then, they've tested 979 kits, and from those, they got 88 hits on a national DNA database, meaning they've identified 88 suspects in those cases. RELATED STORIES: State investigating hundreds of untested rape kits linked to children Channel 2 investigates Georgia rape kits going untested State crime lab to get hundreds more untested rape kits Ralston, who helped push the law through the state house, says this is a big step to getting justice for victims. 'It's really, really gratifying to know that we can really look victims in the eye now and tell them that ... we're serious about bringing justice,' Ralston said. State Rep. Scott Holcomb wrote the bill requiring the testing. He says it's just as important to make sure that there's never a backlog again. 'I'm very encouraged,' Holcomb said. 'We know that this problem is going to be solved.' GBI director Vernon Keenan says they expect to have 95 percent of the rape kits tested by June 2019. 'We're bringing justice to sexual-assault victims and law enforcement and prosecutors are very thankful, and I know that the victims are,' Kennan said. The crime lab also has to test new rape kits, along with DNA from other crimes, too. We have new information about how the GBI is reducing the state's large number of backlogged Sexual Assault Kits. pic.twitter.com/CxSpC1CttY-- Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) July 24, 2017
  • Channel 2 Action News has confirmed DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann returned to work Monday morning, following a 40-day governor-ordered suspension. The suspension was linked to findings from an investigation into Mann's arrest on May 6 in Piedmont Park. Mann is charged with indecency and obstruction for exposing himself in Piedmont Park before running from an Atlanta Police Department bicycle officer. Mann's case is still pending in Atlanta Municipal Court, where his attorney has entered a motion to dismiss the case based on double jeopardy. Mann is asking the court to consider his suspension, which was ordered by Gov. Deal, as punishment served in the case. As of Friday, Judge Crystal Gaines had not yet made a ruling on the case. The case is scheduled to be heard Thursday afternoon, following a reset earlier this month. Since June 13, Capt. Ruth Stringer has served as interim sheriff of DeKalb County. RELATED STORIES: Judge appoints interim sheriff in place of DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey Mann Sheriff accused of indecency headed to trial DeKalb sheriff suspends himself after indecency arrest Investigation into sheriff's alleged indecent acts to continue DeKalb sheriff ran after being caught in park for indecent acts, police say Residents say sheriff's arrest one more dark cloud on DeKalb County Her appointment was made by a DeKalb County Superior Court judge following the governor's executive order. That appointment also followed a self-imposed suspension in late May that Mann announced to his staff via an internal memo. Voter reaction Some DeKalb voters seemed indifferent to news of Mann's return Monday. 'When you have that much power, you can kind of do what you want to do,' said Niya Johnson. 'That's how it's working nowadays in today's society, unfortunately.' Johnson never expected Mann's career to suffer from the incident. 'He can do whatever he wants and still go back to work,' she said. 'That's how that works.' Kailand Davis's only problem with the case is Mann's request for it to be dismissed from Atlanta Municipal Court. 'Nah, see, that's him trying to get above the law. He needs to face charges,' said Davis. 'Everyone gets suspended for doing something at work, but this is a criminal offense he committed so he should trialed (be tried) just like anyone else.' DeKalb resident Lisa Keys said she found it difficult to explain the situation to her children. 'What if you have your kids there at the park and they see something like that? That's not fair to those kids. That's something he should have did (in) personal time. That's a personal thing.' Mann entered a plea of not guilty to both charges prior to the case reset last month.
  • A small airplane landed on Ga. 316 in Gwinnett County on Monday afternoon, police said. The plane is registered to a Buford man, FAA records show. It appears to be designed to look like a Messerschmitt BF 109, a plane used by Nazi Germany in World War II. The design includes a swastika on the plane’s tail. The aircraft landed safely just before 1 p.m. and there were no injuries reported, according to Gwinnett County police. The plane landed on the highway near Harbins Road, the same intersection where an accident involving a milk truck spill snarled traffic earlier this month.  Gwinnett teen suing CSX after train accident severed his legs Fred Meyer, who was piloting the plane, was the only person on board. He does not own the aircraft but built the engine and helps take care of the maintenance, he told Channel 2 Action News. “The engine just quit, it just died,” Meyer told Channel 2. “You just sort of fall back on your training at that point in time. You dont think of the circumstances, you just think of your training.” The landing took place about three miles east of the Gwinnett County Airport at 12:45 p.m. After the landing near Dacula, the plane was pulled into the median. The plane was described by a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman as a “Sonex experimental, amateur-built aircraft.” Sonex is a company that sells kits that allow people to build their own airplanes. Meyer told Channel 2 the Nazi design was “just for fun.” “A lot of people like to paint these planes up like old war birds,” Meyer said.  Like Gwinnett County News on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram In other Gwinnett news:
  • Criminal charges are possible after a 5-year-old boy drowned at a South Fulton County summer camp. The drowning happened Friday at the Cochran Mill Nature Center in Palmetto. According to the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, the camp was not licensed but the department said in some cases camps don't have to register with the state or get a license. In a statement late Monday evening, the department said: 'Our investigation today has confirmed that Camp Cricket Summer Day Camp at Cochran Mill Park was operating without a license or exemption from licensing. Our agency is issuing a cease and desist order for the program.' The boy's family told Channel 2's Lori Wilson that they are heartbroken after entrusting their son to the care of camp counselors. 'Never in a million years did I think that I would be standing here doing something like this,' mother Ayisat Idris Hosch said. 'His brother was his best friend. He was his father's shadow, and he was my heart.' TRENDING STORIES: Teen accused of DUI, livestreaming video of crash that killed sister Waitress outraged after she says man handed her menu with swastika Family mourns father of 5 shot to death in car Hosch is talking about her son Benjamin Kamau, 5. He died Friday while attending Camp Cricket at the Cochran Mill Nature Center. Police said he was with a small group of children who took their lunch near a waterfall. It wasn't until the group of 13 children and 4 adults got ready to head back to camp that they noticed Benjamin was missing. 'They robbed us of his life, of his potential. They took that from us and I am broken,' Hosch said. A statement from the camp today said: 'The Board, Staff and Volunteers of the Cochran Mill Nature Center are heartbroken and distraught over this tragedy. On Friday, July 21, a group of 13 children attended day camp at Cochran Mill Nature Center. This small group of children, supervised by 4 adults, walked down a nearby trail for a lunch outing. 'Following lunch, the children were allowed to splash in a shallow adjacent creek. 'When the group gathered to leave the creek, the adults realized that one child was missing. The child was found a short distance away in a pool of water in an area that had not been visited by the group. CPR was administered and the child was transported by EMS to the hospital. 'Cochran Mill Nature Center has hosted summer camps and other outings for children of all ages for 23 years. The camps focus is on nature and the outdoors. Thousands of children have attended the camps over the years without incident except for minor scrapes, bumps and bruises. 'In 2016, over 15,000 children visited. Cochran Mill is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help injured wild animals and provide educational tours and camps for children. Please Note: According to Press reports, a lawsuit is being filed against the camp. The Board, Staff and Volunteers have been advised to submit no further comments at this time.' 'This isn't an accident, this is gross, insane negligence.' Attorney for the boy who drowned at camp, speaking out right now. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/IfS0NbzPsW-- Audrey Washington (@AudreyWSBTV) July 24, 2017 'Their negligence killed my son. They didn't tell me what they were doing with my son,' Hosch said. The mother said Benjamin couldn't swim. 'Somebody's got to pay for what happened. Someone has to be held responsible,' Hosch said. 'I can't go on. I have to live (with the fact) that I gave them money to kill my son, for the rest of my life. I paid them to kill my son.' In a statement to Channel 2 Action News, spokesman Reg Griffin wrote: 'Camp Cricket Summer Day Camp at Cochran Mill Park is an unlicensed program that was unknown to the State of Georgia until the reporting of this tragic incident today. We are currently investigating this incident. Georgia law allows for situations where a child care service can be exempt from state licensing requirements based on the ages of children, duration of the program, hours of operation, specific activities, or where services are offered free of charge. It appears that Camp Cricket was neither licensed nor had it applied for and received exempt status from the state. Due to the pending investigation, that is all the information I have at this time.
  • A police cruiser has struck an elderly pedestrian, and then crashed into a house in DeKalb County early Tuesday morning, authorities said. Both the officer in the vehicle and the elderly woman were taken to the hospital in critical condition, DeKalb police said. The officer was later listed as stable. According to DeKalb police, the accident happened on Chamblee Tucker Road near LaVista Road around 7:30 a.m. We have a reporter and photographer at the scene -- We'll have a live report on Channel 2 Action News at Noon. Triple Team Traffic's Mark McKay was over the scene where a cruiser could be seen crashed into the corner of the home. TRENDING STORIES: Sole survivor, 9, of deadly attack now home with family Mother shares heartbreak over losing son in camp tragedy Newborn's parents accused of giving her drugs to cover heroin withdrawal 'He was swerving trying to avoid a pedestrian and lost control of his vehicle,' said DeKalb Police Spokesperson Shiera D. Campbell. Both lanes of Chamblee Tucker Road were blocked due to the police investigation. Neighbors told Channel 2 Action News that several police cars responded to the scene. 7:40a DeKalb Co: A DeKalb Co PD cruiser into a home closing Chamblee Tucker Rd north of Lavista. #atltraffic @wsbtv @wsbradio pic.twitter.com/V0NnfHbVNr-- Mark McKay (@mckayWSB) July 25, 2017
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday night issued a subpoena to compel President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort to testify publicly Wednesday. >> Read more trending news A spokesperson for Manafort previously confirmed to CNN that he had received a request to testify on Wednesday. In a statement released Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee said Manafort was subpoenaed to testify about attempts to influence U.S. elections.