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Latest from Veronica Waters

    An outraged and heartbroken mother has seen video of her son banging on the door, calling for help, and then dying in the Rockdale County, GA jail after being locked up for nine days for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Atlanta attorney Mawuli Davis says an anonymous whistleblower sent them video of Shali Tilson’s final eight hours alive in a solitary confinement cell, one without a bed, toilet, or running water.  A lawsuit in the 22-year-old’s death contends he died in March 2018 of blood clots in his lungs caused by dehydration.  It names Rockdale County, Sheriff Eric Levett and several deputies and has been amended to include details from the videos.  Tilson had been arrested as he was in the midst of a mental health crisis on March 3, Davis says, for allegedly trying to kick in a stranger’s door on Lakeview Drive. An incident report says Tilson was rambling, yelling profanities, and pacing back and forth.  He wriggled out of handcuffs the first time Rockdale County deputies tried to put him in the patrol car.  He was labeled “disruptive” and the lawsuit says Tilson was placed on “suicide watch” at the jail, which is meant to segregate mentally ill inmates into solitary confinement. Tilson lost more than 20 pounds during his nine days in custody and despite being on suicide watch, no doctor ever saw him, the lawsuit alleges. Tynesha Tilson tells WSB she felt as if she had to watch the video so she would know what her son went through in his final hours.   “He went through torture and agony,” she says, explaining that she wanted the video released so other people could see what her son endured. The video, while without audio, captures Tilson's desperate pleas for help and show him repeatedly pressing a call button that was not operational, trying to climb the door, and banging on the door before collapsing to the floor. Even though Sheriff's Department policy required him to be checked every 15 minutes, he lay motionless on the floor of his cell for more than two hours before jailers discovered him.  “We want the world to know what happened to Shali Tilson,” says attorney Harold Spence, “A young man who died naked, alone, afraid.” The cell remained brightly lit for 24 hours a day, says attorney Davis, who points out trash littering the floor of Tilson’s otherwise barren cell.  “The grate in the middle of the floor was where he was supposed to defecate and urinate,” says Davis.   On the day Tilson died, the lawsuit says, deputies pushed a food tray into Tilson’s cell at 4 p.m. and he pushed the broken buzzer 45 minutes later. He sat against the wall of his cell at 5 p.m. and lost consciousness minutes later. No one checked on Tilson from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. His mother says that was the hardest part to see. “When I watched Shali sit down on the floor and his back up against the door, and his head slump,” Mrs. Tilson says, her voice cracking.  “I watched his head slump and I watched him sit there in that same position for over three hours, I think it was?  “I watched my son take his last breath on video.”  Mrs. Tilson says the sheriff and the jailers should lose their jobs.  “They need to be in prison. They need to pay for this,” she says. The Rockdale County sheriff’s office declined to address the updated allegations specifically, when contacted, but a lawyer representing the county, the sheriff, and others named in the suit replied to an e-mail seeking comment. “In an effort to preserve the integrity of the judicial process and avoid any potential to bias jurors who may be asked to decide the case in the future, it is the policy of our office to avoid commenting on the substance of pending litigation against our clients. My clients have all filed motions to dismiss the federal lawsuit, and those motions remain pending,” attorney Jason Waymire tells WSB in a written statement. As lawyers played video clips for reporters on Wednesday, Mrs. Tilson and one of Shali’s sisters, Diamond, wept.  Shali’s mother excoriated the Rockdale County District Attorney Alisha Johnson, whom she contends has seen the video, too, for not taking action against the jailers.   “They treated my son worse than an animal! And you want to tell me what she saw, nobody’s being held accountable?” she said angrily. During an internal investigation, jail supervisor Sgt. Dan Lang admitted to falsifying the suicide watch logs to show the mandatory 15-minute checks. The next time anyone actually checked on Tilson was around 8:25 p.m., according to the lawsuit.  Davis points out that Lang is the same deputy who had been under investigation for taking guns from the agency’s evidence room and selling them to pawn shops for cash. He was transferred to the jail after that. “You can’t trust him with property, but you’ll put the lives of human beings under his care,” Davis says. “What kind of decision is that?”  The Georgia Bureau of Investigation examined the circumstances surrounding Tilson’s death and turned over its files to a district attorney who has convened a special grand jury to investigate Tilson’s death, Davis said. The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages and attorney’s fees. Davis contends someone should be held criminally responsible for Tilson’s death.   “This was essentially a death chamber. That’s what this amounts to.  A death chamber,” says Davis.
  • America's education gap is not just between white and black—it is between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots,’ and a startling example of it is in Atlanta.  In a district of about 52,000 students, there is a lot to celebrate.  >>LISTEN TO VERONICA WATERS’ FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW. Once rocked by a cheating scandal, Atlanta Public Schools have seen graduation rates jump more than 20 points to 80 percent in the past five years.  “The struggle is real. The lift is intense,” says Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen.  Still, Dr. Carstarphen tells The Atlanta Journal Constitution Editorial Board, more work is left to do—and socioeconomics matter.  “The last Census data said that the average white family made $167,087 a year [in median income], compared to the average black family [at $23,803],” Carstarphen says.  That income inequality exacerbates the achievement gap traditionally cataloged between white and non-white students, and it shows in test results. Take literacy, for example--the simple ability to read, write, and engage with language in meaningful communication.  The 2019 Georgia Milestones test assessment of English Language Arts finds students’ proficiency rate under 40%. The stunning gap between black and white students is almost 60 percent. Eighty percent of white students in APS are proficient and above; the number is 25.3 percent for black students—and the district is majority black.  “When you start pulling back poverty; when you pull back race, there’s the gap,' says Carstarphen. 'And we’ve closed the gap over five years. We’ve been chipping away at it, closing it, but that still means it’s sitting at 58.8 percent.”  The statistics showing improving ELA proficiency in APS indicates that Atlanta could be bucking the national trend in that area when it comes to the widening achievement gap. But the gap is staggering.  In fact, white students in APS are beating the nation, while their black classmates are lagging behind. The more affluent the family, the larger the academic achievement gap.  'White kids are 2.9 grade levels ahead of the average in America,' says Carstarphen. 'Our black kids are 1.5 [behind]. But when you take APS black kids and APS white kids and put them side by side, that means the gap in grade levels is [almost] 4.5 grade levels.'  Carstarphen explains that the academic achievement gap is closely tied to inequity—not just in Atlanta, but nationwide.  “It is a sobering statement about the state of affairs for black and brown kids, compared to non-minority kids in America,” Carstarphen says.  Richer parents have more time and money to invest in their children, exposing them to more academically-enriching vocabularies and experiences. Atlanta's is a district where millionaire families live just a few miles from those in poverty, and the superintendent notes the stark differences.  “When you’re in the neighborhoods, walking, and I mean you’re in it, the living conditions for our kids and housing is appalling,” Carstarphen says, adding, “The mobility is like 30-40 percent; people chasing low rents, just trying to make ends meet.  “Food deserts is another piece to it. They don’t have access to transportation.”  Carstarphen points out that three of the poorest schools in Georgia are all in Atlanta: Boyd Elementary, Thomasville Heights, and Fain Elementary.  “It is why we didn’t close Thomasville Heights,” Carstarphen explains. “If I closed it and sent them somewhere else, those families would never see their kids.  “Never have an opportunity to go to PTA meetings and be involved in the school.”  Carstarphen believes the answer lies--in part--in investing in the communities themselves, not in a neighborhood already overflowing with development. She questions why tax abatements are given to developers who sometimes admit that they'll go ahead with a project whether they get the tax break or not, when the project in in question is, say, another fancy hotel in an area that already has five or 10 of them--while other neighborhoods saddled with low wages and few job opportunities sit untapped.  “Over here in south Atlanta, where we know there are no jobs, no investment, very little at best,” Carstarphen says, “We want to try to shift some of the resources to the very families who make up the majority of Atlanta Public Schools; the communities where they live. Get them a grocery store, help them with housing, get some job development down there. Maybe some transportation?”  Community investment creates opportunity, capital, resources, and training in disadvantaged and under-served communities. It is a way to start breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The superintendent recalls hearing a high-profile company in a development meeting discussing a potential opportunity for 5,000 jobs; she says there are 5,000 parents in Atlanta who would need them. Those worlds will never meet at this rate, she says, because kids and their families need the education and training to step into better-paying jobs.  'You have to be literate enough to at least learn the job,' she states.  That could go a long way for families in Atlanta, which is the most unequal city in America when it comes to income disparity.  Carstarphen says, 'The question that Atlanta has to ask itself, whether you're sitting in a school bus, on the school board, or in one of these board rooms: Do we have the moral courage to do the right thing for black kids, poor kids--and even white kids could be doing better in Atlanta--but for all of our kids? Are we willing to do that?'  For her part, Carstarphen looks forward to staying in Atlanta, if the school board renews her contract which is up in June 2020. The superintendent and the board this year have been working on policy to right years of 'historic inequity' in APS.  'I'm committed. I want to see the job through for a city that I love.
  • Shaye Marie Sauers Kilby has a butterfly tattooed on her hip.  'I had it done after my scoliosis surgery,' she says, 'And my mom was like, 'You want a tattoo after all you've been through? That's weird.'”  'It's a good memory,' smiles Shaye Marie.  She's looking at a photo of herself as a toddler, cropped from a larger picture showing her being held by former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski.  The butterfly on the flyer, which was the model for the one on her hip, is the logo of the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children, founded by Shaye's parents, Sheila and Rick Sauers, in 1983. Their daughter had been diagnosed at Egleston with medullablastoma, a malignant brain tumor on the cerebellum, in 1980 when she was just five months old. The prognosis was grim: Shaye was given just a 2% chance of living another six months. The Sauerses dug into medical books and sought out advice and support, but there wasn't a lot of it at that time--so the BTFC was born. It was a place where parents going through the same thing with their children could find support, information, and advice. The BTFC grew into a source that provided financial assistance for those families in the southeast. Bartkowski spent time as a spokesperson for the foundation. In the meantime, Shaye was surviving. Photos show her blonde-eyed and smiling, whether posing in a studio or beaming from a hospital bed. She doesn't have much memory at all of her cancer fight, seemingly having purposely blocked it out, and is learning a lot of her own story now, as a 39-year-old adult.  'I wanted to find out how it feels to be about to hit the big four-oh, knowing that as a baby, your parents were told, 'This little girl is not going to make it,'' asks WSB's Veronica Waters.  'I would say pretty freaking awesome,' Shaye Marie says.  Shaye says her sense of humor helps define her, and says her father taught her to laugh, even as a baby. As a child, she idolized comedienne and actress Gilda Radner, who fought cancer herself, and rehearsed Radner's routines to amuse herself and emulate Gilda's positivity.  She's a two-time cancer survivor.  'The cancer came back again when I was [9] as bone cancer, from the radiation,' she says. 'The radiation that I was given at the time they don't even give a child today. It was cobalt radiation, which was the highest dose they could ever give a child.' She says she's actually just now learning her history--having blocked most of it out as a child, not wanting to hear her mom talk about it as a teen, not wanting to feel different than the other kids her age, wanting to fit in with everybody else. In the past year, she's started combing through two big binders that document her medical history.  She remembers only snippets which she says are like scenes from a silent movie: “terrifying” spinal taps; a stay in the ICU; nicknaming the staffers who sometimes drew her blood as 'vampires;' the MRIs that she said 'sounded like a bad rock & roll concert,' in which her mom Sheila would sometimes get fussed at for grabbing Shaye's hand and tracing the phrase, 'Love you more' with her fingertip in her daughter's hand, wiggling her in the machine.  That's Shaye Marie's second tattoo, inked inside a bracelet on her left wrist. She loves that one, and says it shows 'pure determination. It shows somebody that can beat the odds of anything. I consider this not part of a bracelet, but like a lifeline.' She doesn't cover that one up any longer, the way she did at her 2015 wedding.  Shaye Marie says she's learning who she is now, and is no longer blocking it out; she's proud of what she came through.  She tells WSB that the idea for the BTFC was broached in the very same room at Emory where she would meet her future husband, Darren Kilby, decades later in a brain injury group meeting.  'Did you know when you met Darren that he was the one, right then?' Veronica asks.  'Pretty much when I asked him out, yes!' Shaye Marie laughs.   She estimates they dated perhaps six months before getting engaged, both all too aware of the importance of seizing the moment. Darren had suffered a brain injury from a head-on collision, but Shaye says they were seeing a lot of people pass on.  'We just knew that time goes by so fast, and we were losing every survivor that was around my time zone, especially...with the Brain Tumor Foundation there were a lot of my friends that were dying. He and I were both like, we need to do something,' says Shaye.  The night they were carting cupcakes in to celebrate the news of their engagement with their support group, Shaye Marie's sense of humor was on full display. She giggles as she recalls saying, 'I don't remember if I told our brain injury group we're engaged or not. Well, it doesn't really matter because we're all brain-injured and none of us are going to remember if we say it again!'  Shaye had several surgeries and hospitalizations, including two bouts of spinal meningitis. One snippet of memory involves her parents saying that one of her shunts had infiltrated her heart. She says a doctor doing an exploratory surgery used a hanger to get it out.  'My mom and dad both remember the doctor coming out with the coat hanger with my shunt on it,' she demonstrates, holding up her arm. 'It was like a fishing rod. He was so excited.'  She had a scoliosis surgery at 15, in which she had two rods implanted in her back.  'I'm a lot of fun to take through the metal detector,' she jokes.  She also deals with the autoimmune disease lupus and has endured some balance and coordination problems as a result of what she calls her harsh, but lifesaving medical treatment as a child. Her adult life includes regular doctor's visits and check-ins for one thing or another. But she doesn't let any of it faze her. In fact, she makes clear that hope is in her blood.  'I actually have the blood type of B positive,' she smiles.  Shaye Marie now volunteers multiple days a week at the hospital which helped save her life, saying it was God's calling that brought her to donate her time at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  'Hope gives you the strength to move on. Hope gives you the ability to go through everyday life. You always hope things will get better. You always hope that if you you're ill, you'll get better. It's a very powerful word, and without it, you'd be lost,' says Shaye Marie.  'Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is a wonderful place to be. They saved my life almost 40 years ago. Parents, I know are scared; I've seen parents that are unbelievably scared when they come through the emergency room when they walk as fast as they can I know that they are wondering what's wrong with their child. I think kids are in the best place they can be. This place is absolutely wonderful. I've had the best number of doctors and people that have helped me along the way. I just think it's a wonderful place to give people hope that there is hope.”
  • The man shot after trying to defuse a road rage incident is alive and hospitalized as the search for his shooter continues. The dust-up took place Monday morning, July 22, near the intersection of Rockbridge Road and South Indian Creek Drive around 8:15. The victim was actually a pedestrian bystander who stepped in to try to calm down the occupants in each of the vehicles. 'One of the vehicles drove off and turned around and came back. A passenger in that vehicle got out and fired several shots at the victim, striking him in the head. That vehicle then fled the scene,' says DeKalb County Police Sgt. Jacques Spencer.
  • Technology helped track a prolific thief in Sandy Springs. Police believe Matthew Robert Brown, 34, may have unknown numbers of identity theft victims nationwide. On July 9, a Ring doorbell camera recorded video of a porch pirate tiptoeing away with someone's package from a neighborhood near Peachtree Dunwoody Road. Another resident's package was stolen from a house a little over a mile away. The thief could be seen getting into a light-colored SUV and driving away.  The neighborhood had installed a Flock Safety tag reader camera, which captured the suspect’s vehicle and tag number.  Sandy Springs Police Sgt. Sam Worsham says police paired that information to have the Flock system send officers an alert if that license plate was captured on another camera. Days later, it was. Officers responded to an alert from a city Flock camera that the SUV was driving near Roswell Road and pulled Brown over on July 15. Brown gave police a phony ID, says Worsham. Officers figured out who he was, though, and found that he had outstanding warrants in Atlanta and in Fulton County for identify theft, fraud, and burglary.  'We did find in the vehicle eight credit cards with different names, 17 piece of mail with different names, drugs in the car,' says Worsham. 'We currently have him booked in Fulton County Jail on 34 warrants.' They had no way of immediately knowing that Brown was the person they'd been hunting in connection with a big ID theft case out of Michigan back in April. Sandy Springs Police were contacted then by an American Express investigator who said a customer's credit card had been stolen and used online to buy a $59,000 piece of artwork that was shipped to an address in the city. 'The person had used a false name to obtain an apartment, and at the time that the officers and detectives started to catch up with him, had already been evicted,' Worsham says.  An eagle-eyed investigator noticed that the name used to buy the SUV that Brown--the suspected package thief--was driving was the same as the name police had been given in the April probe. 'Officer Hunt noticed that the name was the same and put two and two together and said, 'Oh, this guy's kind of running an identity theft ring,'' Worsham says.  A search warrant at Brown's last known residence revealed a treasure trove of potential stolen identities. 'We have boxes and boxes of mail, [and] several possible credit cards in other people's name,' says Worsham. 'We are anticipating more and more victims coming forward and saying that they were also a victim of Mr. Brown's and that they've had their identities stolen and used.' Worsham says investigators would likely have caught up with Brown anyway, but that the camera technology gave them a big break--not only giving them a look at the suspect but at his vehicle--and helped it happen sooner. 'Using the camera system and the license plate readers, it's kind of a force multiplier. It's sort of like electronic surveillance,' says Worsham, who adds that criminals may be less likely to strike if they suspect their actions may be captured on video in many different places. 'It's very helpful to us. It benefits the neighborhoods. It's kind of a good all-around technology. It may actually in the future begin to prevent crime because people know, 'I'm going to get caught.'' 
  • They are calling it an attack upon a sworn law enforcement officer. Now, the reward has jumped to $23,000 to find and prosecute the arsonist who has hit twice in southwest Atlanta.A contingent of dozens of Atlanta public safety personnel gathered Tuesday afternoon on the block where it happened as the reward increase was announced, sending a clear message of the importance of the crimes.The arsonist was brazen, attacking in mid-afternoon both times. Atlanta Police say the first fire was set at a house in the 300 block of Betsy Avenue, on January 15, 2019. The second Betsy Avenue blaze came months later--June 26. The latter was at the home of an Atlanta Police officer who was just moving into the neighborhood. 'We believe she was an actual target,' says Atlanta Police Maj. Michael O'Connor, who calls the crime particularly egregious. The motive for the first one is unknown. No one was injured in either fire.
  • Shaye Marie Sauers Kilby has a butterfly tattooed on her hip. 'I had it done after my scoliosis surgery,' she says, 'And my mom was like, 'You want a tattoo after all you've been through? That's weird.'”  'It's a good memory,' smiles Shaye Marie.
  • A would-be slider targeted a woman at the gas pump in Conyers. She targeted him right back.   It happened at 8:32 Tuesday evening, July 2, at the Abbott Ridge BP off Sigman Road. Rockdale County Sheriff's Deputy Lee Thomas says video shows the suspect creeping toward the woman's Dodge Challenger after he was dropped off by someone in another vehicle. The man is crouched low as he approaches the far side of the white car, with its driver door standing open.   'While she was pumping gas, she didn't realize that he had slid into the vehicle through the passenger door until he was behind the driver's [wheel],' Thomas tells WSB.    As the man revved the engine, the car's owner reacted quickly.  'When she noticed that he was in there, she actually took the gas hose and doused him with gasoline,' says Thomas. The suspect darted out of the vehicle and ran back toward his buddy's car, a silver Chrysler 300. The sheriff's office says it is a first-generation model, from the model years 2005-2010. They believe at least two other people were inside. Thomas says this is the first time he's heard of someone fighting off a slider this way. 'I think it was very good. She obviously had good situational awareness of her surroundings to react that way,' he says.  Still, Deputy Thomas advises that everyone take steps to prevent themselves from becoming burglary victims--even close calls such as this one.  'We have a 'Lock It or Lose It' campaign that we've had going on for some while now. What we're trying to get the citizens to try and do is to make sure that they're aware of their surroundings. Lock the vehicle, and by no means should they ever leave it running,' Thomas says. The suspect's description is somewhat vague, as he appears to be a slim black male standing 5'10' to 6'0' tall. But Thomas says one thing would tip off people who might have come across him after the crime: 'Probably smelled of gasoline, definitely.
  • Another ransomware attack targets offices in Georgia--but the hackers' demand is puzzling.The attack on Georgia's Administrative Office of the Courts, which provides website and other digital support to the state's judiciary on multiple levels, was found Saturday, June 29, during routine server maintenance. Bruce Shaw, spokesman for the AOC, says two servers have been compromised.'We confirmed that it is, indeed, ransomware,' says Shaw. 'There was a note left on the server.'There's no amount.
  • Nearly a year after the previous Roswell Police Department chief promised a 'top-down' review of the department, an external audit has been completed. Since then, that chief, Rusty Grant, has stepped down and Center for Public Safety Management LLC has found a department that is suffering from low morale. The 182-page audit, however, focuses most of its 86 recommendations on management and organization--not police work. The draft report was released in late June, with the department under the leadership of interim police chief Helen Dunkin. WSB Radio has reached out to Interim Chief Dunkin for comment.
  • Veronica  Waters

    Reporter

    Veronica Waters is an anchor and reporter for News/Talk WSB. She is also the staff expert on legal affairs and the courts. In 2007, the Radio-Television News Directors Association named Waters' series on "Snaring Internet Predators" best in the region with an Edward R. Murrow award for Investigative Reporting.She has been honored by several professional organizations for news and sports feature reporting, and was named in 2003 as the Atlanta Press Club's Radio Journalist of the Year. Waters has covered an assortment of high-profile cases from Mayor Bill Campbell's corruption trial to the murder trials of activist-turned imam Jamil Al-Amin and of former DeKalb County, GA Sheriff Sidney Dorsey.She served as the station's correspondent for the murder trial of accused "Black Widow" Lynn Turner, and the death penalty case of double murderer Stacey Humphreys. One of the biggest legal cases in Atlanta history involved the notorious Gold Club racketeering trial. Waters covered this unfolding drama not only for WSB Radio and radio stations throughout America, but also for a worldwide audience on BBC Radio. Waters joined WSB in 1997 as an anchor and reporter. She began her journalism career at the Southern Urban Network and Mississippi Network in Jackson, MS. Waters attended Alcorn State University and Mississippi State University, and enjoys cheering for the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

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  • Days after his release from the New England Patriots, Antonio Brown has reportedly enrolled back in school. MLive.com reported that, according to a Monday post on Brown's Instagram story, he's taking four classes at his alma mater. >> Read more trending news  'Antonio Brown is currently enrolled in online degree completion coursework at Central Michigan University,' Heather Smith, a school spokeswoman, told MLive.com. 'He does not attend classes on a CMU campus.' According to the image Brown posted on social media, he appears to be taking an introduction to management class, a class on technical writing, a sociology class on racism and inequality and a religion course in death and dying. ESPN reported Brown played football at Central Michigan from 2007 to 2009. In 2010, he was a sixth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brown was released from the Patriots after 11 days on the team. He is facing multiple lawsuits in which he is accused of sexual assault and rape. Brown said he was 'done with the NFL' after he was dropped by the Pats.
  • If you believe cats are antisocial, think again. The animals can develop bonds with their caregivers just like children, according to a new report. >> Read more trending news  Researchers from Oregon State University recently conducted a study, published in the Current Biology journal, to explore the attachment bonds between cats and humans. To do so, they observed more than 100 cats and kittens that underwent a “secure base test,” an examination often given to infants and dogs to assess their attachment behaviors. During the test, the cats spent two minutes in a new room with their caregiver before being separated from their owner for two minutes and then reunited with them for another two minutes. After analyzing the data, they found cats with a secure attachment seemed less stressed during their reunion, compared to cats with an insecure attachment. They said cats with a secure attachment were more likely to balance their attention between their caregiver and surroundings. For example, they continued to explore the room while also interacting with their owner. On the other hand, insecure cats showed more signs of stress by twitching their tail or licking their lips. They would also either avoid the person completely or cling to them by jumping on their lap but not moving. “In both dogs and cats, attachment to humans may represent an adaptation of the offspring-caretaker bond,” co-author Kristyn Vitale said in a statement. “Attachment is a biologically relevant behavior. Our study indicates that when cats live in a state of dependency with a human, that attachment behavior is flexible and the majority of cats use humans as a source of comfort.” Overall, they said 64.3% of the animals were categorized as securely attached, while 35.7% of them were insecurely attached. The percentages remained relatively the same even when the team put the cats through a six-week training course. The goal was to determine whether socialization coaching would significantly alter their initial results. “Once an attachment style has been established between the cat and its caregiver, it appears to remain relatively stable over time, even after a training and socialization intervention,” Vitale said. The scientists said they were surprised by their findings and noted this is the first study to prove cats can display attachment styles that are similar to dogs and babies. “Cats that are insecure can be likely to run and hide or seem to act aloof,” Vitale said. “There’s long been a biased way of thinking that all cats behave this way. But the majority of cats use their owner as a source of security. Your cat is depending on you to feel secure when they are stressed out.”
  • A Missouri couple were horrified to learn their house had once been a methamphetamine lab after discovering their unborn child had tested positive for amphetamines. >> Read more trending news  Elisha Hessel and her husband, Tyler Hessel, had been trying to have a child for three years, WFAA reported. The couple were elated to learn Elisha was pregnant, but when she went for her recommended blood tests she was in for a shock: the unborn baby had tested positive. 'When they called me, I didn't know what that meant. So I asked the nurse if that meant like, drugs in general,” Elisha Hessel told WAND-TV. “She basically just said 'Yes,' and asked me if I could explain that.' Neither one of the Hessels had taken amphetamines, so after researching several scenarios, they decided to have their house tested for traces of the drugs, CBS News reported. Thinking back, they recalled some hints the neighbors had made about the home. 'Just through normal conversations as we got to know them a little better they said they were so happy to finally have 'normal' people move in next door,' Elisha Hessel told CBS News. 'They had also mentioned that the police were there for a possible drug bust type situation.' The tests showed the home's ventilator system was heavily contaminated with meth and residue used to make the drug, WFAA reported. Most states, including Missouri, require home sellers to disclose any material defects in their property to prospective buyers, according to Nolo Press, a database of legal articles. The state of Missouri specifically requires sellers to disclose if their property was used to produce meth, CBS News reported. However, state and county law does not have a penalty for anyone who fails to disclose a home’s meth contamination to a buyer or who doesn’t clean a property, WFAA reported. The Hessels said they were never told. After digging through records in Jefferson County for meth seizures, Elisha Hessel told CBS News she found her property listed in the database. On Oct. 3, 2013, authorities in Jefferson County responded to a tip at the home about a possible meth lab, WFAA reported. According to a police report, authorities found a burned barrel in the backyard when they apprehended a man at the residence, the television station reported. The barrel was full of empty allergy pillboxes, empty drain opener and camp fuel bottles and other supplies often used to make meth, according to the report. “When you look at the numbers, Jefferson County led the St Louis region, the state and the nation in meth lab seizures,” Jefferson County Undersheriff Timothy Whitney told WFAA. “We could have looked the other way, but as an agency, we decided to go headlong at the problem.” “There wasn't evidence that day at that time to suggest that distribution or manufacturing was going on,” Whitney told the television station In 2016, the house became the property of a bank, then it was sold to another buyer before the Hessels bought the property, WFAA reported. The Hessels have abandoned the house and have moved in with Elisha Hessel's mother, WAND reported. 'We have moved out and really do not know exactly what to do at this point,' Elisha Hessel told CBS News. She said the insurance company denied their claim, and their attorney says the best option is to pursue the insurance company to cover the remediation of the home. That will be expensive. The Hessels said they got an estimate of approximately $100,000 -- what the house is worth -- to clean it up. While Elisha Hessel said her blood tests have been clean lately, the baby will be tested again when she is born in January, WFAA reported. If the child's amphetamine levels are detected that day, the Children's Division of the Department of Social Services will get involved, the television station reported. “Everybody wants to have their own home when they bring their baby home,” Elisha Hessel told WFAA. “A lot of it's the disappointment and being upset over it, but I have definitely been angry over it as well.” Relatives of the Hessels have set up a GoFundMe page to cover the cost of cleaning up the house.
  • Four baby squirrels will survive but may be scarred after someone tied their tails together.  The incident is being called a case of animal abuse, The Associated Press reported. The Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital in Berlin, Connecticut, said someone brought in the squirrels when they were found on train tracks.  >> Read more trending news  The animals' tails had been tied together intentionally, but hospital employees do admit that tail knotting can happen naturally, according to the AP. In this case, it was a man-made object that kept the animals bound and their tails were broken and braided together. The squirrels, according to hospital employees, were 'tangled, braided, and purposefully tied together,' the AP reported.  Officials also say since the animals were found on train tracks, that could be an indicator of animal cruelty. As for the squirrels themselves, the tails may have to be amputated because of the damage done to them.
  • Authorities in California on Monday canceled an Amber Alert issued over the weekend for a 2-year-old boy in Merced County. >> Read more trending news  Officials with the Merced County Sheriff's Office said John Weir, 2, was last seen Friday with his father, Steven Weir, and that the pair might be headed for Tuolumne or Calveras County. Update 2:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: Authorities with the California HIghway Patrol said an Amber Alert issued over the weekend for a 2-year-old boy had been deactivated. Authorities did not immediately provide information on why the alert had been canceled. Original report: Authorities are searching for a missing 2-year-old boy who may be with his 'armed and dangerous' father, the California Highway Patrol and Merced County Sheriff's Office said in an Amber Alert released Saturday. According to KTLA, police believe Steven Weir, 32, abducted John Weir from Merced County, where they were last spotted Friday evening. The pair 'could possibly be heading to the Tuolumne or Calaveras County areas,' the Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. Authorities described John Weir as a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt with tan shorts. Steven Weir, who is 5-foot-10 and weighs 300 pounds, has brown hair and eyes, the Amber Alert said. He was wearing a blue T-shirt with cargo shorts and may be traveling in a red 2005 Hyundai Elantra with California tag 5SKT544, police said. Authorities are urging anyone who sees the Weirs or their vehicle to call 911. Read more here or here.
  • He's lived almost 100 years and he's a member of the so-called Greatest Generation', having fought in World War II.  Now James South is asking for one thing to make his milestone birthday next month more than just another birthday. South went to Facebook with a simple request, for complete strangers to send him a birthday card -- 100 of them in fact, CNN reported.  He came from a family of sharecroppers. He joined the Army in 1940 and was sent to Normandy a week after D-Day, his son told CNN. Every day during his years of service, his girlfriend Sophie sent him a letter.  Sophie became his wife and they spent 55 years together. She died in 2001.  When he was 65, South retired but stayed active woodworking, gardening, golfing and attending church.  He finally moved into Brookdale Senior Living in the Fort Worth suburb of Watauga, Texas, at the age of 98, CNN reported.  >> Read more trending news  His only child, Jim South, said there are big things planned for his dad's big day including a three-day celebration this year, including a round of golf, dinner of chicken fried steak and catfish and spending time with family. If you want to help mark the occasion, you can send a card that will be hung on the wall in his room. The address is: James South 5800 North Park Drive Watauga, Texas 76148.