Bookmark and Share

rss logo Top Charlotte Area Local News Stories

Source: MedleyStory

Expert: Feds to closely monitor adoptive parents of Erica Parsons

Criminal defense experts said federal authorities will be closely monitoring the parents of a missing Rowan County teenager while they await trial on 76 counts of fraud and theft.
 
Casey and Sandy Parsons were fitted with electronic monitoring systems Thursday at the federal Probation & Pre-Trial Services Office in their hometown of Fayetteville.
 
The Parsons also turned over a firearm that remained in their home following a search on Wednesday by FBI agents, per orders of a federal judge in court on Wednesday.
 
No one was inside the Parsons' home when a Channel 9 crew went there Thursday but experts said they are free to come and go as they please pending trial.
 
"Traditionally, in fraud sorts of cases, where it's not an act of violence, the presumption is an unsecured bond and that's how the person has been released," said criminal defense expert Brad Smith.
 
Smith, an attorney who defends his clients in federal court, said the case of the Parsons' adopted daughter Erica Parsons who is missing has no bearing on whether a judge would decide to keep them behind bars.
 
“As outraged as the public may be, the judge's hands are tied,” Smith said. “He has to treat every single person that comes in front of him the same."
 
Smith said federal judges set bond based on two conditions; whether the defendants are a flight risk and if they are considered a danger to society.
 
"Do they have a private jet? No. Do they have a home in a non-extradition country? No. Are they felons? There's no prior criminal history in this case that I'm aware of," Smith said.
 
As part of the conditions of their release, the Parsons will have to remain in the eastern part of North Carolina and must abide by all local and state laws.
 
The Parsons must also wear the electronic monitor bracelets and meet periodically with the pre-trial officer assigned to their case.
 
"Those conditions are almost like a contract. You're going stay out of jail, pending trial, as long as you (abide) by these conditions," Smith said.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:30:00 -0400

CMPD chief: Officer dragged, run over, saved by helmet

Charlotte’s police chief said an officer dragged and then run over by a car he was trying to stop Tuesday may have been saved by his helmet.
                  
Officer Richard “Brad” Starnes, a motorcycle officer, had road rash and a broken leg after he managed to free himself from that car on Reagan Drive in north Charlotte. 
                  
“He's very fortunate. He knows that and we know that,” Chief Rodney Monroe told Eyewitness News Thursday.
                 
Monroe said Starnes had pulled the car on West Sugar Creek Road and then tried to reach into the car to keep it from taking off again.
 
“He made a motion to either put the car in park or retrieve the keys, and that's when the individual grabbed him and more or less pulled him into the vehicle,” Monroe said.
 
Monroe said he has seen video from a patrol car’s dash camera that shows Starnes’ helmet hitting the pavement after he is freed from the car.
                 
“He was at grave risk -- based on the speed and the way that he came off of that vehicle, it could've killed him,” Monroe said.
                  
The two suspects in the case, Clay and Maurice Cash, said nothing as they made their court appearances on Thursday afternoon.
    
Family members also declined to comment on the case.

Read past coverage: 2 charged with attempted murder after CMPD officer injured

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:26:56 -0400

Iredell Co. deputies surround dump truck following chase

Iredell County deputies have a dump truck surrounded off Interstate 77 near Mooresville.

The scene is the result of a police chase that occurred a few miles away.

The chase started as a person-to-person armed robbery on the west side of Statesville.

Officials said the robber got into the dump truck and took off on I-77.

The man is armed inside the truck.

Authorities are trying to talk him out of the truck.

The scene is near mile marker 39 north of Mooresville.  The ramp is closed.

Viewers tweeted Channel 9 saying they saw a lot of sheriff cars heading toward the scene.

Watch Eyewitness News at 5 p.m. for live updates from Chopper 9.


Stay with wsoctv.com for more on this story.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:34:54 -0400

House to decide on proposed budget

State lawmakers on Thursday are just hours away from an expected vote to approve the first version of the budget this short session that's expected to go to the governor's desk.

If it's passed, no teacher will make less this year than they did last year.

But, some teachers will make much more or much less than the average 7 percent raise proposed by lawmakers.

Debbie Rubenstein has two daughters in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

"I would say I'm fanatical about this issue," Rubenstein said.

She and other CMS parents have been vocal this short session, worried what might happen if teachers don't get pay raises.

"We formed a group called Public School Friends for the sole purpose of advocating for teacher pay raises," Rubenstein said.

The budget proposal details the state's salary schedule plan, which groups and pays teachers according to years of experience.

A teacher with five years of experience will now get the same pay as a teacher with nine years.

Longevity pay, normally given each year to teachers with 10 or more years in the classroom, will be eliminated to help pay for raises for all teachers.

Teachers with extra qualifications could get more money.

Raises will range from about 2 to more than 18 percent with an average of 7 percent.

"While it's not exactly what we want, it's not exactly what we deserve. For eight years we really haven't had any movement on our salaries, so for this to happen is a big win," Cameron Campbell, who resigned yesterday as a CMS math teacher said.

He's leaving for a much higher paying private sector job.

Even if he knew the 7 percent raises would go through, he said he doesn't see a financial future in teaching, a career path he said he will miss.

"That's why I became an educator. To walk into a room and see a bunch of kids that are as excited to see me as I am to see them," Campbell said.

Parents like Rubenstein know good teachers are leaving.

"Right now we are still able to support public schools financially. I think for that to continue. People need to stay involved," Rubenstein said. 

The state will use $113 million in education lottery revenue to pay for teacher assistant positions.

That's a $60 million cut statewide but it's not yet known how that cut will affect individual districts. 

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:34:22 -0400

Police: Pizza delivery man shot at in north Charlotte

Police are searching for a gunman after a pizza delivery man was shot at in north Charlotte.

Employees at the Papa Johns on Statesville Road confirmed the driver was shot at off Northwood Road.

They said he is being interviewed by police.

Channel 9 reporter Trish Williford is at the scene and will have more at 5 p.m.

Stay with wsoctv.com for more on this story.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:25:05 -0400

Charlotte police work to solve three homicides

Police in Charlotte are appealing for leads in a two week old murder case while working to solve two more homicides from Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, Rashad Porter's body was found in the middle of Major Street.

His family said he was gunned down while attending a party at a neighborhood liquor house.

Delorise Herron was at home nearby and heard the shots.

"I said Lord have mercy somebody done got shot," Herron said.

CMPD investigators said although lots of people were around when it happened, no one is talking.

Thursday, an officer went door to door passing out flyers asking people to call Crime Stoppers with any piece of information they may have.

They're working to solve Porter's murder while investigating two other deadly shootings from yesterday.

A man was last at the Dillehay Courts apartments off North Pine Street and another man was killed early Thursday morning on Tillman Road.

"It put pressure on us to bring closure to the families and get these cases to the DA's office,” Officer Rosalyn Harrington said.

It's a need for closure Herron understands.  She said her grandson was shot in a separate incident earlier this month.

He survived but the shooter hasn't been caught.  Thursday night, she's praying for all the families waiting for justice.

"I'm praying and hoping and trusting they will find the people that done that,” she said.

Channel 9 told you about a CMPD task force cracking down on violent crime this summer.  The department said the specialized unit is working to help them solve all of the recent homicides.

Read our past coverage:

CMPD: Father of 2-year-old gunned down in west Charlotte

CMPD investigating west Charlotte homicide, victim identified

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:09:46 -0400

200 pet rats rescued from apartment

More than 200 pet rats are being rescued from a studio apartment in Ohio.

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton said there might even be as many as 300 of the rats – also called "fancy" or "pocket" rats – inside.

The humane society is at the apartment on working with a rescue group out of Cincinnati called "Rattie Tattie."

"They make great pets for children," said Sheila Marquis, of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. "They are very durable and they are very sweet and very nice; however, you don't want to have 200 of them. What becomes a problem is, you have one or two and with small pocket pets like that, if you don't spay and neuter, they breed quite rapidly.

"They have large numbers of litters," she sad. "So you may have one or two but in a couple of months, you will have 13 or 14 and become quickly overwhelmed."

The housing inspector was also called out because of the condition of the apartment. The renter is no longer living there and has turned over the animals.

A neighbor said the owner loved the rats.

"He's a good guy," said Darryl Tucker. "And you know, he just chose to raise rats. He's real close to his rats, he can tell you anything about them."

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:35:00 -0400

Stricken doctor requests experimental Ebola serum be given to fellow patient

An experimental serum for treating Ebola arrived in Liberia, and a Samaritan’s Purse doctor requested it be given to his colleague, according to a news release from Samaritan’s Purse.

Dr. Kent Brantly with Samaritan's Purse and Nancy Writebol, who is from Charlotte, are in grave condition after contracting the serious disease in Liberia. Their conditions are stable, officials said. Samaritan's Purse said Brantly took a slight turn for the worse overnight.

An experimental serum arrived in the country Wednesday but there was only enough for one person.

“Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who has survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care. The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”

The safety of the staff is top priority for Samaritan’s Purse and the organization is working to evacuate all but the most essential personnel to their home countries.

The evacuation should be completed by this weekend, according to the organization.

None of the evacuating staff is ill and the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people are not contagious unless they begin showing symptoms.

Samaritan’s Purse said it’s taking precautions that exceed the standards recommended by the CDC.

CNN was reporting that U.S. government officials are in ongoing talks to bring them back from Africa, according to an administration official and a State Department source.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:23:17 -0400

Stricken doctor requests experimental Ebola serum be given to Charlotte missionary

An experimental serum for treating Ebola arrived in Liberia, and a Samaritan’s Purse doctor requested it be given to his colleague, according to a news release from Samaritan’s Purse.

Dr. Kent Brantly with Samaritan's Purse and Nancy Writebol, who is from Charlotte, are in grave condition after contracting the serious disease in Liberia. Their conditions are stable, officials said.

Samaritan's Purse said Brantly took a slight turn for the worse overnight. The condition of Writebol worsened Thursday, according to SIM, the missionary organization she worked for.

"We continue to pray for Nancy’s full and complete recovery,” said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA. “Even though her condition has worsened, we know she is receiving the best possible medical care, and we are thankful that she has access to this experimental drug. We believe in the power of prayer and ask people around the world not only to pray for Nancy and Kent, but also for everyone affected by this terrible virus.”

"She's tired and she's wearied and a bit sad as well. I know it's been hard because she never imagined that this would be something that she would have to deal with,” son Jeremy Whitebol said.

An experimental serum arrived in the country Wednesday but there was only enough for one person.

“Dr. Brantly asked that it be given to Nancy Writebol,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “However, Dr. Brantly received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who has survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care. The young boy and his family wanted to be able to help the doctor that saved his life.”

Read more on symptoms and treatments for Ebola.

The safety of the staff is top priority for Samaritan’s Purse and the organization is working to evacuate all but the most essential personnel to their home countries.

The evacuation should be completed by this weekend, according to the organization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel warning Thursday to avoid nonessential travel to West African nations. It was a level 3 travel warning.

“This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. Far too many lives have been lost already,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “It will take many months, and it won’t be easy, but Ebola can be stopped. We know what needs to be done. CDC is surging our response, sending 50 additional disease control experts to the region in the next 30 days.”

None of the evacuating staff is ill and the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people are not contagious unless they begin showing symptoms.

Samaritan’s Purse said it’s taking precautions that exceed the standards recommended by the CDC.

No other SIM personnel have tested positive for Ebola.

CNN was reporting that U.S. government officials are in ongoing talks to bring them back from Africa, according to an administration official and a State Department source.

Emory University Hospital was informed Thursday there are plans to transfer a patient with Ebola virus infection to its special facility containment unit within the next several days. The hospital said it did not know when the patient will arrive.

Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases.

Read more past coverage:

Hundreds gather to pray for Charlotte woman fighting Ebola

Charlotte missionary second to contract Ebola in Liberia

U.S. doctors on alert after 2 Americans contract Ebola

CDC prepares for remote chance Ebola spreads to U.S.

Samaritan's Purse doctor who contracted Ebola in grave condition

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:23:17 -0400

Weather kills 2,000 a year, but storms aren't the main offender

Extreme weather is killing roughly 2,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to a new study released by health officials Wednesday. (Via masaru minoya / CC BY NC ND 2.0)

But most of the deaths aren’t from floods and tornadoes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the deadliest weather conditions are heat waves and cold snaps.

It took a look at weather-related deaths from 2006-2010. Of the more than 10,000 deaths reported, one-third of them were caused by excessive heat. Excessive cold was significantly more lethal, accounting for two-thirds of deaths.

The study found, older people, men, non-Hispanic black people and people living in lower-income areas had a higher risk of dying from both extreme heat and cold. (Via Matt DeTurck / CC BY NC ND 2.0)

That said, according to the study, the number of deaths attributed to weather is likely underreported.

For example, heat can exacerbate pre-existing heart problems. But it’s not likely heat would be listed as the cause of death in this case, even though it played a role. (Via Kullez / CC BY 2.0)

The CDC adds, “The frequency and intensity of all types of extreme weather events ... is expected to increase in the future as a result of changing weather patterns.” 

But it’s too early to link weather-related deaths to climate change, according to a health scientist at the National Center for Environmental Health. “We examined weather-related deaths over a five-year period. The time period studied is not long enough for us to draw conclusions about trends in weather-related deaths” (Via HealthDay)

But that hasn’t stopped some from making predictions. A UK study released in February estimated that heat wave deaths in England and Wales could triple by the 2050s. (Via LiveScience)

We haven’t forgotten about hurricanes and thunderstorms. But it turns out these types of weather events only accounted for 6 percent of weather-related deaths. (Via The Weather Channel

To which a WQAD meteorologist speculates, “It is likely the rate of death for severe storms is decreasing due to accurate forecasting by Meteorologists and more attention by local news media.”

So then let us be the ones to tell you, be careful in the extreme heat this summer by staying hydrated and inside when possible. And when winter rolls around, layers and the indoors are your best friends.

 

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:57:50 -0400

Sheriff: Boy, 12, charged with killing homeless man

A 12-year old boy has been arrested on a murder charge.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested Sharron Sherman Townsend in the killing of 54-year-old Thomas Trent last month.

Trent was homeless.

Early in the investigation, police posted surveillance video to YouTube showing two minors walking down the street.

>> Read more trending stories  

Authorities identified one of the adolescents, a 16-year-old already in jail on unrelated charges.  He led police to Townsend, according to detectives.

Police then questioned Townsend who they said admitted to being in the video and to shooting Trent one time in the head.

The Sheriff's Office said neither the teen or Townsend knew Trent and that the killing was a random act of violence.  Police said robbery, or any other crime, was not a motive.

Townsend, according to reports, had been arrested in the past on burglary charges .  

Townsend is not the first 12-year-old to face murder charges in Jacksonville.

In 2013, Jacksonville's youngest murder suspect, Cristian Fernandez, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his 2-year-old brother.

Investigators said Fernandez, 12 at the time of the attack, beat his younger brother to death in 2011.

Doctors said Fernandez's brother, David Galarriago, suffered more than a dozen strikes to his head.  He lost consciousness and died days after the beating.

Fernandez will be held in a juvenile jail until he turns 19.  He will then be placed on eight years of probation.  He faces up to 15 years in prison as an adult if he violates his probation.

His mother, Biannela Susana, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for her role in her child's death.  She received a suspended sentence of 10 years in prison.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:52:58 -0400

Wedding interrupted as 300 guests take part in fight

The wedding after-party was seven hours old when the alcohol fueled brawl began.

More than 300 people were throwing jabs and left hooks before cops could break up the skirmish

The Asbury Park Press reports things got started when two people began to fight.

Two security officers, both of-duty cops tried to break things up. However, minutes later nearly 100 people were involved and as anchorman Ron Burgundy once pointed out, “that escalated quickly.”

When additional officers arrived, things finally calmed down Cops in Middletown, New Jersey arrested two of the partiers who were afterward charged with disorderly conduct.

Fights at weddings have been on the rise for several years. See some of them in the videos on the left side of the page.

More here.  

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:43:06 -0400

New owner gives polygamist sect mansion surprising makeover

It is quite the transformation.

"Good Morning America" reports that the former compound owned by Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs is now open to the public as a bed-and-breakfast.

The compound was built in 2010-2011 for Jeffs and his many wives and children while Jeffs was awaiting trial. Jeffs was convicted of two accounts of sexual assault on teenage girls and sentenced to life in prison in Texas.

While the sect leader never lived there, his presence will be felt at the property because of the name chosen for the new business.

Now called America's Most Wanted Suites and Bed & Breakfast, the $3.6 million property has been transformed into a resort designed to attract those with a love of the outdoors and nature. The location provides access to both Zion's National Park and the Grand Canyon.

The former bodyguard of Jeffs, Willie Jessop, was able to purchase the property with funds he received from a lawsuit filed against the polygamist sect. Jessop was excommunicated from the group and claimed his business suffered afterward.

Jessop has converted the former polygamist compound into 14 rooms that are each personally decorated and feature big-screen televisions with satellite service. Breakfast is included and served at the Merry Wives Café, according to the Salt Lake Tribune report.

Room rates are not yet listed on the property’s website, but reservations are being accepted.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:41:11 -0400

Durham assistant police chief sues city

(AP) Durham Assistant Police Chief Winslow Forbes is suing the city and Police Chief Jose Lopez, alleging civil rights violations.

Forbes' lawsuit says he was passed over for promotion because of complaints he had made about discrimination in the department.

The lawsuit also accuses Lopez and city officials disregarded Forbes' right to be free from illegal race discrimination in the workplace.

Lopez said he could not talk about the lawsuit. City Attorney Patrick Baker also said he could not talk about the lawsuit.

"We'll respond to the allegations and look forward to defending the city in this matter," Baker said.

The suit comes after a discrimination complaint Forbes filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last August. That complaint charged discrimination on the basis of race.

After the federal investigation, the Justice Department indicated earlier this year it would not pursue the case itself.

The lawsuit says Lopez promoted a white lieutenant to captain over a black female lieutenant who was at the top of the rating list for promotion.

The lawsuit also says Forbes was passed over for promotion to a deputy chief position at least twice, including at least once where he was the top-rated candidate.

Forbes' suit requests a jury trial and asks that the defendants be assessed punitive damages "exceeding $10,000," and his attorney's fees and other costs.

The city has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:54:00 -0400

Lawmakers in last-minute moves over NC budget

Legislative budget-writers struggled Wednesday to finalize an annual spending document for North Carolina four days after leading lawmakers announced a deal and a day after describing its main points.

Chief Senate budget negotiator Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said a final document would not be complete until late Wednesday. Senators planned to hold the first of two days of budget votes on Thursday. The House may take until Saturday for its final vote.

READ: 2014 Budget Bill

The budget is nearly a month overdue; the new fiscal year began July 1.

Legislators also are shaping plans that could extend their annual session for weeks or months. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said lawmakers, who in even-numbered years usually shut down their two-year session after wrapping up the budget, may resume the session in about two weeks. Under the state Constitution, continuing the session would give Gov. Pat McCrory 10 days, rather than 30, to decide whether to veto the spending plan.

Lawmakers also are talking privately about adjourning the session until after November's election and then returning to discuss ways to restructure the state Medicaid program. Senate Republicans favor one method, and McCrory and the House another.

Asked about that timeline, Berger said: "Sounds like a good idea."

WRAL first reported that lawmakers were thinking about delaying the Medicaid discussion until later this year.

The state spends $3.5 billion annually to treat 1.7 million Medicaid recipients, and the program has had almost annual cost overruns for years. Efforts to revamp the program to hold down costs were removed from the budget legislation so they could be tackled later.

The Senate wanted both private, for-profit companies and hospital-led health plans to compete for contracts to serve patients. The state would give health plans a set amount of money based on the number of Medicaid patients in the regions. The House and McCrory would limit managed care to smaller networks run by hospitals and doctors.

The 2014-15 budget includes a 1 percent cut in Medicaid provider reimbursement but eligibility will stay the same, said chief House budget writer Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake. The Senate had proposed eliminating Medicaid eligibility for more than 15,000 people.

MORE: New pay scale for teachers

The $21.25 billion budget also gives an average 7 percent raise for teachers who are now among the lowest paid nationally, and preserves teacher assistant positions. The budget also maintains funding for the public university system and gives most state employees a $1,000 annual raise and five extra vacation days, legislative leaders said.

The new state budget provides more money for kindergarten through college classrooms, raises for public school teachers and a boost for vouchers for children attending private and religious schools.

The $21 billion spending plan detailed in documents Thursday outlines spending for the year started a month ago.

The plan cuts some items while using $620 million in savings from the previous year to cover new priorities such as $282 million needed to raise salaries for public school teachers and making up for tax collections hundreds of millions of dollars below expectations.

Legislative staffers say income tax cuts approved last year are worth $680 million this year, more than $200 million higher than previously estimated.

Vehicle owners also can now choose a license plate that honors early demands for American independence.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:41:28 -0400

Obama: Women on paper currency 'pretty good idea'

During a speech in Kansas City yesterday (July 30th), President Obama said he'd received a letter from a young girl asking him why there aren't any women on American paper money, and he said he thought it would be a "pretty good idea."

Currently, dollar coins with Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea on them are still in circulation, but new ones are no longer being minted.

>> Read more trending stories  

So Time magazine came up with their own poll of women who'd be good potential candidates to appear on paper currency -- with a pop culture figure also thrown in for some fun -- and asked readers who they'd choose:

  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Abigail Adams
  • Sally Ride
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Ayn Rand
  • Beyonce

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:33:55 -0400

More owners, vets claim dog deaths may be linked to Trifexis drug

WSB-TV consumer investigator Jim Strickland has discovered that hundreds more pet deaths are being blamed on Trifexis, a popular dog medicine designed to kill fleas, control parasites and prevent heartworm.

Since Strickland first reported data collected by the Food and Drug Administration eight months ago, the number of death complaints is up nearly 40 percent, now coming in at a rate greater than one dog per day.

The FDA said there is no solid evidence linking Trifexis to any dog's death. The reports are simply complaints from owners and vets in which the pill is suspected.

"It's just horrendous to watch an animal die such a horrible, painful, excruciating death," said Georgia resident Anita Bergen.

Bergen's case is included in the FDA data.

Her Scottish terrier, Fergus, was 10 years old when she tried Trifexis.

>> Read more trending stories

"The initial reaction from taking that one pill was horrible," Bergen said.

"One pill?" Strickland asked.

"One Trifexis pill was all he ever had."

Bergen said the dog lost all muscle control, lost his thirst and suffered liver failure. She euthanized him two months after giving him the pill.

"I do feel deceived. I do not feel there was full disclosure," Bergen said.

TV commercials list side-effects like vomiting and lethargy, but not death.

Strickland learned through the Freedom of Information Act that the FDA lists 965 complaints of dog deaths blamed on Trifexis. 

That's an increase of 38 percent in the last eight months, and close to the total of 1,000 deaths linked to Chinese-made chicken jerky pet treats.

Drugmaker Elanco said it can find no link between the pill and any dog fatalities.

"I see that as a cause for investigation, and as they're looking at those causes. I feel confident the FDA will follow through, but from our experience, we haven't seen it," said veterinarian Toby Carmichael.

Carmichael said he and his partners have prescribed 75,000 doses of Trifexis with no adverse complications.

"My dogs have been on Trifexis since it came out and haven't had an issue once,” Carmichael said.

Physician Rochelle LePor has given her 7-year-old rescue dog Cooper nearly 40 pills over three years.

"I can only speak of my experience. For me, it’s like a wonder drug," she said.

"The FDA is not going to allow a product on the market that's going to hurt animals," Carmichael said. 

Reports to Elanco's customer hotline have had an impact. There are now nearly 1,500 complaints of lost muscle control, a condition called ataxia.

Elanco added ataxia to its list of side-effects two years ago. 

Elanco also added seizures, the malady that hit a prize bulldog named Foxy, owned by 50-year veteran breeder Nancy Harrison. 

The dog developed additional symptoms beyond her veterinarian's control.

"So you were forced to euthanize her?" Strickland asked.

"Yeah, if you saw it, you wouldn't want to live with it either. And never in 52 years had I had one before,” Harrison said.

Harrison stopped using the drug, even though her other dogs handled it without issue.

"It's hard to lose a dog. They're my children," Harrison said.

The mystery of their dogs’ deaths eats at her and Bergen.

"All the tests that are done, they're all inconclusive. No one can ever say this death is absolutely the result of administering this particular medication. But all the owners, all the pet caregivers know," Bergen said.

The FDA said it's continuing to monitor reports and considers the product label a living document. To date, there are no plans to list death as even a rare but potential side-effect.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:42:58 -0400

Strange sea creature washes up on California beaches

The Velella Velella are a cousin of the jellyfish.  They float on the seas with the help of their sail-like tops.  They feed on fish eggs and other tiny sea creatures using stinging tenticals, but are harmless to humans. 

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 06:55:52 -0400

Parts stolen from trains parked in Gastonia

Police are investigating the theft of thousands of dollars in train parts from trains parked in Gastonia in the last month.

Channel 9's partners at The Gaston Gazette reported the first theft occurred sometime between July 10 and July 14 from a train parked in downtown Gastonia.

Piedmont and Northern Railway reported that someone took train batteries and other motor parts.

Another train was targeted about a week later. The thieves took cables, a supply line and other motor parts.

The stolen items are valued at more than $150,000.

Police have no suspects.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 05:44:26 -0400

Overturned gravel truck blocks ramp to I-85

An overturned gravel truck caused traffic headaches for hundreds of motorists in north Charlotte Thursday morning.

Troopers told Channel 9 that the truck overturned on the ramp from Interstate 85 southbound to Interstate 77 southbound just before 4 a.m.

Officials said the truck lost about three quarters of its load but nobody was hurt in the accident.

Clean up crews were able to reopen the ramp around 9 a.m.

Published: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 05:36:49 -0400