The latest local news

Vacationing teacher finds 2.12-carat diamond at Arkansas state park

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This Nebraska teacher will surely win show-and-tell once the school year begins.

Josh Lanik, 36, was vacationing with his family when he discovered a brandy-colored gem at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

(Source: Arkansas State Parks)

"It was blatantly obvious there was something different about it," Lanik said, according to a press release from the park issued Monday. "I saw the shine, and when I picked it up and rolled it in my hand, I noticed there weren't any sharp edges."

The teacher from Hebron, Nebraska, showed the stone to his wife and then put the treasure in a bag where he collected other finds. The family spent two hours looking through the park's 37.5-acre diamond search area on July 24. Before leaving, they stopped by the Diamond Discovery Center in the park to see what kind of treasure they'd unearthed.

Unbeknownst to Lanik, he was carrying around the largest diamond found in the park so far this year. It weighed in at 2.12-carat.

More than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the park since the first ones were discovered in 1906. So far this year, 296 diamonds have been registered at the park, weighing a total of 53.94 carats.

“It was blatantly obvious there was something different about it ... I noticed there weren’t any sharp edges," Josh Lankin said describing his 2.12-carat diamond he found at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Full Story: https://t.co/zKRQbFFjio pic.twitter.com/Xuqv59vzyy

— Arkansas State Parks (@ARStatePark) July 29, 2019

"Mr. Lanik's gem is about the size of a jellybean and has a dark brown color, similar to brandy," park interpreter Waymon Cox said in the news release. "It has a beautiful natural pear shape and smooth, curved facets that give the gem a metallic shine."

Cox noted that the recent rainfall likely contributed to Lanik's discovery.

"About 14 inches of rain fell at the park on July 16. In the days after the rainfall, park staff registered numerous diamonds found right on the surface of the search area, including two weighing over one carat," he said.

The park has a "finders keepers" policy. When asked if he would sell his gem, which he dubbed the Lanik Family Diamond, he told the park he plans on keeping it for now.

An Amazon delivery driver stole a Texas couple’s dog and tried to sell it online, police say

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An Amazon delivery driver was fired and arrested after police say she stole a dachshund from in front of a Texas couple’s home and attempted to sell it online.

The suspect, 22-year-old Mycah Keyona Wade, was in a Weatherford neighborhood on July 5 making deliveries as a contract driver for Amazon when she spotted the dog, Parker County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Danie Huffman said.

The dachshund, a 2-year-old named “RJ,” had darted out of his home as his owners opened the door to go to the grocery store and run across the front yard, Huffman said.

Wade snatched the dog from the street in front of the home, Huffman said. A landscaper who reported having a conversation with the suspect about the dog and private security footage from the neighborhood helped police identify Wade.

After an arrest warrant was issued for her arrest, she turned herself in and initially denied she’d taken the dog.

She later turned RJ over to investigators, who returned the dog to its original owners.

“This does not reflect the high standards we have for delivery service partners. We’re glad the customer has been reunited with their pet, and we have been in touch with them to make it right. We take these matters seriously and these individuals are no longer delivering Amazon packages,” Amazon said in a statement to CNN.

Wade told police she asked landscapers where the dog came from but they were unable to tell her. However, landscapers told police they pointed directly at the dog’s home when she asked.

An ad for RJ was located on Craigslist, Parker County Sheriff’s Property Crimes Investigator Ethan Stark said, according to the Cleburne Times-Review.

“There was no contact information, but we’re pretty sure it was RJ that was for sale on Craigslist for $100,” Stark said. “The ad immediately changed once I contacted the suspect.”

Wade was arrested on July 16 on one count of theft of property, which is a class B misdemeanor, Huffman said.

She was held on $2,000 bond, which she posted later that day, and was released.

Man dead, woman injured after crash on I-80 near Walcott

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WALCOTT, Iowa — One man is dead and one woman is injured after an SUV rear-ended a semi-truck tractor on Interstate 80 just after 7:30 p.m. on Monday.

The driver of the SUV, 22-year-old Colton Drye was pronounced dead at the scene, according to an Iowa State Patrol report.  The Texas resident, who was headed eastbound near Mile Marker 289, did not slow down while merging for the road construction and crashed into the truck that was fully stopped, the report said.

An ambulance took a 22-year-old woman from California to a nearby hospital for injuries caused by the crash.  It was not immediately clear which vehicle she was riding in.

Her current condition is unknown.

[Photos] Can you identify the News 8 crew from their school pictures?

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Do you recognize any of these faces?  In honor of school starting back up, we’re reminiscing on our old school photos.

Artists installed seesaws at the border so kids in the US and Mexico could play together

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(CNN) — It may seem like an ordinary scene: Children and adults playing on pink seesaws, carelessly laughing and chatting with each other

But this is a playground unlike any other. These custom-built seesaws have been placed on both sides of a slatted steel border fence that separates the United States and Mexico.

The idea for a “Teeter-Totter Wall” came from Ronald Rael, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, an associate professor of design at San Jose State University — and it was a long time coming.

In 2009, the two designed a concept for a binational seesaw at the border for a book, “Borderwall as Architecture,” which uses “humor and inventiveness to address the futility of building barriers,” UC-Berkeley said.

Ten years later, their conceptual drawings became reality. Rael and his crew transported the seesaws to Sunland Park, New Mexico, separated by a steel fence from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

People from both sides came together Monday to play in a “unifying act,” the University of California said in a statement. Participants on the Mexico side had no planning, it said.

In an Instagram post, Rael said the event was “filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall.”

“The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S -Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side,” he wrote.

Rael says that counterproposals for the wall created by his studio “reimagine, hyperbolize, or question the wall and its construction, cost, performance and meaning,” according to the book’s website.

A group of American families plays on a toy with a Mexican child over the Mexican border with U.S. at the Anapra zone in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, Mexico on July 28, 2019. (Photo by LUIS TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

Rhino calf could help save a subspecies from extinction after a North America scientific breakthrough

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(CNN) — A southern white rhino named Victoria gave birth to a healthy baby boy at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park after a 493-day pregnancy, the zoo announced on Monday.

The rhino calf, which the zoo referred to as “a tiny tank puppy” on Instagram, is the first successful artificial insemination birth of a southern white rhino in North America, the zoo said in a statement.

Zoo officials say that Victoria “did extremely well and remained calm during the 30-minute labor” on Sunday, and that the calf is nursing well and the pair are bonding.

The artificial insemination birth is a big deal for the zoo and the southern white rhino, which is classified as “Near Threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. There are an estimated 18,000 southern white rhinos remaining in the wild.

It’s an even bigger deal for the northern white rhino.

Conservationists say there are only two northern white rhinos alive on Earth and they are both female. The last male died last year.

“We are so pleased Victoria and the calf are doing well. She is very attentive to her baby, and the calf is up and walking, and nursing frequently. Not only are we thankful for a healthy calf, but this birth is significant, as it also represents a critical step in our effort to save the northern white rhino from the brink of extinction,” Barbara Durrant, the Director of Reproductive Physiology at the Zoological Society of San Diego said in a statement.

The northern and southern white rhinos are distinct subspecies, but a study published last year in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B has revealed that the two subspecies are closer than previously thought.

The zoo said that once the processes of artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer are perfected on southern white rhinos, they could be used on other endangered species.

Southern white rhinos could one day even be used as surrogate mothers for northern white rhino embryos.

Researchers are optimistic that a northern white rhino calf could be born from these processes within 10 to 20 years.

Victoria and her calf are resting and bonding and will be off exhibit for an undisclosed period of time, the zoo said. The calf will eventually be introduced to the other five females at the zoo.

The calf should have company in the fall.

The zoo says a female named Amani is also pregnant by artificial insemination and is scheduled to give birth in September or October.

Middle schoolers sentenced for life-threatening prank on teacher with food allergy

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Students at an Ohio school were given probation after they played a dangerous prank on their teacher, according to WSYX .

The art teacher at Starling K-8 school in Columbus made it clear – her classroom was a “banana free zone.” She posted signs outside of her classroom that informed students she was severely allergic to bananas. She asked any student who may have eaten one to wash their hands before entering the room.

Last November, the teacher nearly died when three students smeared a banana on her door and then started throwing bananas at her, WSYX reported. The teacher went into anaphylactic shock in less than 15 minutes.

“She starts to change colors,” a school security employee can be heard saying on police body camera video as officers arrived at the school. “They gave her one EpiPen. It wasn’t working. They gave her another EpiPen. Her throat was starting to close up.”

Her colleagues called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital where recovered.

“All of the kids know she is deathly allergic to bananas,” the employee said. “If it touches her she will go into anaphylactic shock.”

Officers found a piece of banana under a table after it had hit the teacher’s arm and leg.

According to WSYX, a 13-year-old girl and two 12-year-old boys were sentenced to probation for the attack.

Suspected Boko Haram attack on a funeral leaves 65 dead in Nigeria, official says

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(CNN) — At least 65 people are dead following a suspected attack by Boko Haram on a funeral gathering in northeastern Nigeria, according to local officials.

The attack occurred Saturday during a burial in the Nganzai district, near the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, local government chairman Muhammed Bulama said.

Twenty-one people were initially killed during the burial ceremony, Bulama said. An additional 44 people were killed when villagers ran after the assailants, the official said.

At least 10 people were injured in the attack. Eight of them were critically wounded and were being treated at an area hospital, he said.

Boko Haram militants have inhabited the northern states of Nigeria for the past decade. The terror group says its aim is to impose a stricter enforcement of Sharia law across Africa’s most populous nation, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.

The group has bombed churches and mosques; kidnapped women and children; and assassinated politicians and religious leaders.

The escalating violence forced 30,000 Nigerians to flee the country over a two day period in January, the UN refugee agency said.

Back in 2014, the terror group kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from a boarding school in the village of Chibok sparking a #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media.

Five years later, more than 100 of the girls have been set free after negotiations with the government, but about half are still imprisoned, according to a New York Times article.

Six things to watch on night one of CNN’s Democratic presidential debate in Detroit

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(CNN) -- The second round of Democratic debates kicks off Tuesday night in Detroit with the primary's leading progressives, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, sharing a stage with a handful of their most vocal moderate rivals.

Warren and Sanders are both running on the promise of a universal health care program run by the federal government ("Medicare for All") and a crackdown on powerful business interests, from Wall Street to the pharmaceutical giants. But they will be flanked at the Fox Theatre by a range of skeptics, from Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, to Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The debate could also be the last best chance for former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke to deliver on the early promise of his campaign, which has floundered in the polls and with donors. O'Rourke has signaled he will try to revive his bid with a more aggressive approach in Detroit as he tries to channel the excitement that drove his near-miss 2018 Senate campaign.

Here's what to watch for in Tuesday night's debate:

1. Toe-to-toe or side-by-side? Warren and Sanders share the stage

If it's debate night drama you're craving, both of these campaigns have a warning: look elsewhere.

Sanders and Warren will be the highest-polling candidates onstage Tuesday. The pair run about even in a handful of early state surveys, and they share a similar message. While the demographic look of their support is different, it skews predictably left. If either is going to bring together a winning majority next year, they will need to build it up from a bedrock of dedicated progressive voters and activists.

Your guide to where the 2020 Democrats stand on the issues

That big picture imperative makes a dust-up over their real but relatively minor policy differences -- like whether to forgive all student debt (Sanders) or much-but-not-all of it (Warren) -- that much more unlikely. The better bet is that Sanders stresses his direct action approach to politics while Warren leans in to her detailed policy proposals. And the surest assumption might be that both are targeted by the moderate candidates lined up on either side of them.

If the past few months have been any indication, Medicare for All will come under attack by the likes of Hickenlooper, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Klobuchar and others. Buttigieg and O'Rourke, too, could seek to contrast their support for modified takes on the plan -- which allow some room for private insurers to operate -- with the progressive standard, which does not.

2. O'Rourke tries to rescue his chances

O'Rourke roared into the campaign with a massive first quarter fundraising haul and the affection of Democrats around the country following his energetic and innovative, albeit unsuccessful, Senate campaign.

But after a few months on the national stage, the energy is running low and O'Rourke will need to turn it up to reinsert himself into the heat of the primary fight. That means a dialed up debate prep regimen and the promise of a more aggressive performance than the one he put on during the last debate in Miami.

How to accomplish that without risking his generally affable, optimistic brand will be a challenge -- and remains a mystery. He is ideologically to the left of the other low-polling candidates onstage, but to the right of Sanders and Warren, most notably on health care.

O'Rourke could choose to zero in on Buttigieg, with whom he's sparred a bit over the last few weeks. But his most intense recent rhetoric has focused on President Donald Trump. With Trump's continued racist attacks on members of Congress, the Texan could try to direct his sharpest barbs at the White House -- something no Democrat will hold against him.

3. The progressive platform on trial

Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, free college, student debt forgiveness, stricter financial regulation, new taxes on the wealthiest Americans, trade and US policy in the Middle East -- it will all come under intense scrutiny Tuesday night.

The issues that Sanders mainstreamed during his 2016 presidential run and Warren has spent years advocating for have galvanized the base but also created clear dividing lines within the party.

Tuesday night, with Sanders and Warren (literally) center stage, could turn into a referendum on the direction Democrats take going into their general election showdown with Trump.

The arguments are familiar by now. Moderates like Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Klobuchar, Hickenlooper and Delaney are warning that a turn left would allow Trump and the Republicans to label Democrats as socialists. Progressives like Warren and Sanders argue that embracing the grassroots and turning out new voters is the way to win. And Buttigieg and O'Rourke, whose views on the question seem to cut down the middle, are pushing for a more cautious move to the left.

The fireworks, then, could come when the moderate faction begins to throw darts at Sanders and Warren, trying to poke holes in their agenda and convince Democrats that their path is doomed. Those broadsides will be met with equal and opposite force -- embracing the fight is as core to the progressives' brand as the policies themselves.

It's a debate-within-the-debate both Warren and Sanders will be glad to take on. Given the state of the horse race, there will also likely be jockeying among the moderates to land the harshest, or most memorable, blow. Their risk: drowning each other out. Their opportunity: emerge as a moderate alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden.

4. The man who won't be there

Biden figures to have his hands full on night two, but he will also be present -- as conjured up by his rivals -- on Tuesday, especially when it comes to health care.

The Sanders campaign has directed the lion's share of its attacks at the former vice president, who has been openly, and sometimes mockingly, skeptical of the party's move left and, specifically, the political prospects of Medicare for All. His objections and stated concerns have occasionally been misleading -- like when he suggested a transition to single-payer could leave people with gaps in coverage -- and quickly met with a series of stinging rebuttals from the Sanders team.

Warren has been less obviously in search of fronts for engagement with Biden, but their history is no secret. He remains the standard-bearer for a Democratic Party she argues is out of touch with working-class voters and too closely aligned with the financial industry. Whether she calls out Biden by name or keeps her message more general, Warren -- separated from him by a random draw for a second straight round -- could still use the big audience to cast herself as the progressive wing's best answer to his politics.

Biden's absence is less of a conundrum for the rest of the field, which is closer to him ideologically but far off his pace in the polls. For those candidates, the goal will be to offer up a similar policy agenda in what they hope is received as a more appealing -- or at least younger -- package.

5. Pete Buttigieg: Can he take the next step?

Buttigieg's candidacy is at a crossroads. The South Bend mayor is printing campaign cash, but his embrace of big dollar donors to supplement his grassroots support makes it difficult to measure precisely where he stands.

Despite the strong fundraising numbers, he's mostly seen his polling flatten out. His campaign, though fundamentally strong so far out from Iowa caucuses, has yet to carve out a clear base of support.

Amid that uncertainty, Tuesday's debate could represent a turning point.

Buttigieg's politics don't fit neatly into the Democratic Party's progressive-moderate-centrist divisions. He has repeatedly rejected the most popular line of attack against Sanders, that the Vermont senator's democratic socialism would be used against the whole party. Buttigieg's rationale is that Republicans will lodge those charges against the nominee whomever it is, so the wiser path is, as he said recently in Iowa, to "just do what we think is right, make the case for it, and then let (the GOP) do what they want."

But he does not support Medicare for All and has rejected the idea of free college.

Buttigieg will have every opportunity to carve out his place on Tuesday to make his generational argument for change -- and why he's the one to deliver it. In a campaign that has begun to see some consolidation of support around Biden, Sanders, Warren and Harris, it's an opportunity he simply can't pass up.

Some of Buttigieg's most animating moments have come when he discusses his own faith and how it has guided his worldview. Those moments have distinguished him from the rest of the Democratic field.

6. Can Steve Bullock bust the governors' slump?

There will be one new face on the stage over these next 48 hours: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

Bullock's late entry into the race saw him closed out of the Miami debates, but he qualified for the Detroit stage and will, on Tuesday night, be given his introduction to a national audience of Democratic voters.

Even a cursory glance at his Twitter feed makes clear the message he's banking on to break through: that as the popular Democratic governor of a red state, he knows firsthand what it takes to operate effectively in a politically divided government.

Whether that record will be enough to stir up the Democratic primary voter base is another question. Hickenlooper, a popular former governor from another Western state, has so far failed to catch on and the crowded debate stage will make Bullock's task that much more difficult.

But all it takes, with so many months still before the first ballots are cast, is a moment -- that one viral clip or exchange that so many candidates are after, but few can will into reality. Bullock is no firebreather, further complicating the task, so expect him to lean heavily on his status in Montana and hope that viewers come away wanting to know more.

TSA found a missile launcher in checked luggage at a Maryland airport

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A missile launcher was found in a man's checked luggage at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Maryland on Monday morning, Transportation Security Administration officers said.

TSA officials said they tracked down the traveler and detained him for questions. The man, a resident of Jacksonville, Texas, told TSA officials that he is an active military member and was traveling home from Kuwait.

He told the officers that he wanted to keep the launcher as a souvenir.

TSA says military weapons are not permitted in checked or carry-on luggage and the item was confiscated and handed over to the state fire marshal for safe disposal. The launcher was not a live device, TSA officials said.

The man was able to catch his flight.

Worried about the Capital One hack? Here’s what to do

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(CNN) -- Millions of Capital One customers have been affected by a data breach that the bank says happened in March when a software engineer allegedly exploited a vulnerability to access its systems.

Approximately 100 million people in the United States and 6 million more in Canada are affected, the company said, with about 140,000 Social Security numbers, 1 million Canadian Social Insurance numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers compromised.

If you're a Capital One customer worried about your data, there are immediate steps you can take to safeguard your personal information, experts say.

Here's what you should do.

Don't panic

First off, "get ready to spend some time and energy," to make sure everything's in order, said Erica Sandberg, a consumer finance expert based in San Francisco.

The bank says it will notify everyone who was affected by the breach, and offer them free credit monitoring and identity protection services.

Take advantage of those services.

Check your accounts now

Look over your credit card and banking statements, and report any suspicious activity to the bank as soon as possible.

"If you find suspicious activity on your credit card, banks like Capital One allow you to freeze your card so that purchases can no longer be made," said Sara Rathner, a credit card expert at personal finance website NerdWallet.

"You can do this easily on the Capital One app or online."

Some experts suggest being extra cautious to avoid potential future hacks.

"Change your passwords on all accounts," said Sandberg. "Yes, again."

Freeze your credit

Taking this step means that no one will be able to access your credit reports without your permission. In other words, if someone tries to take out a loan in your name, banks can't review your report so they won't authorize the credit.

"This can be done for free online through each of the three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax [and] TransUnion," said Rathner.

Just be aware that it could lead to inconveniences, too.

"You can unfreeze it for your own applications but there will be a short delay. If you're buying a home, vehicle, or applying for a loan or credit card, give yourself time to work on this," said Sandberg.

"A lender or business won't be able to gain entry to your credit file until you unfreeze it."

Stay vigilant

Cybersecurity attacks happen all the time, but there are some best practices that could help protect your information in the future.

The key is staying vigilant, experts say.

One way to do that is to sign up for a credit monitoring service, if you're not offered one by the bank and are still worried.

You could also check your credit reports yourself to make sure fraudulent accounts haven't been opened in your name — and flag any reported balances that don't match up to your statements, said Rathner. Do this at least once every quarter.

Another option is to request notifications about activity on your accounts from banks and other service providers. "If the companies offer activity alerts via text or email, it may make sense for you to sign up for them," writes cybersecurity giant Norton by Symantec.

Watch out for scams

"Don't respond to phone calls or emails from creditors," warns Sandberg. "Call them using the phone number you find on the legitimate website."

Also, check that you're only visiting secure sites when browsing the web. "Reputable sites begin with https://. The "s" is key," says Norton by Symantec. "This is especially important when entering credit card or other personal information."

Lastly: Remember this could happen to anyone, anywhere.

"There are countless hacks going on all the time. We just don't hear about them because they're smaller, and the lenders and security teams tend to catch them before damage is done," said Sandberg.

"I'm a Capitol One cardholder and will be doing all of this."

EXCLUSIVE: Family of woman found dead in Davenport home speaks out

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DAVENPORT, Iowa -- After a weekend of heartbreak, families of both Tiffany and Casey Klemme are leaning on each other for support.

Police say they responded to a domestic disturbance call at their home in northwest Davenport on Friday night where Tiffany and her husband, 38-year-old Casey Klemme, had been fighting.

Tiffany had "fresh visible bruising on her left eye, similar to someone getting struck in the face with a closed fist," according to police. They say she also had a bloody nose, blood on her shirt and a cut on her left foot, but officers say Tiffany refused medical attention.

Casey Klemme was arrested and charged that night with domestic abuse assault. The following morning, police say Tiffany Klemme was found unresponsive.

On Monday, News 8's Bianca Reyes met with the families of both Tiffany and Casey who are shedding light on the relationship the two once had.

"He’s normally very kind, very loving," said Casey's identical twin brother, Travis. He said he shared a joint wedding with his twin brother the night he married Tiffany.

"Perfect. Their marriage has always been perfect," Travis said. Now, he said he is forced to defend his brother's name.

Tiffany and Casey's oldest son, Davyn Barksdale, said his parents never physically fought during his childhood, but admits all relationships had room for verbal disagreement.

"None of us here are perfect, we all make mistakes," Davyn said. "We all do horrible things... I want people to think of that when they see my dad. I don’t want them to see him as a monster, but as a man."

Casey was a man Tiffany's oldest brother, Brannon Barksdale, knew for years.

"I love the man, he's my brother in law," Brannon said. "I'm always going to love him." He admits he feels anger inside but said he is not ready to jump to conclusions. Something, Davyn agrees with.

"In all honesty, I have refrained from coming to a conclusion," said Davyn. "The autopsy is (scheduled for Monday) and I want to let professional people observe and tell me what they think happened."

All relatives said they are tired of the rumors trying to tear their family apart.

"Destroys you a little bit inside,"Davyn said. "Because it tarnishes the good memories you try to hold onto."

A pain that is hurting an entire family as they try to mourn.

"Yeah they lost their mother, but right now their father is locked up in jail," Brannon said. "They pretty much lost both their parents."

"We’ve always been taught one thing and that thing is no matter what you have, no matter what you don’t have, you will always have family," Davyn said.

A GoFundMe Page has been set up for the family to cover medical expenses.

Casey Klemme is being held at the Scott County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Prison riot in Brazil leaves 16 inmates decapitated, 41 others killed

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(CNN) -- At least 57 people were killed, including 16 who were decapitated, during a vicious gang battle that erupted in a prison in northern Brazil on Monday morning.

The unrest is reported to have begun when a local gang stormed a wing of the facility in Para state controlled by a rival group, state news reported. The majority of the victims are believed to have died from asphyxiation, after gang members set fire to part of the prison complex.

State media said the violence began around 7 a.m., local time in the Regional Recovery Center in the city of Altamira and lasted for several hours. Video of the scene showed prisoners sat on the roof of the building, brandishing knifes and with their heads covered, amid smoke rising from the interior.

Two correctional guards taken captive were released, state media reported.

Ten of the 16 prisoners who were blamed for instigating the violence will be transferred to federal penitentiaries, state media reported, citing local authorities. More than 46 other prisoners will be moved to other prisons in Para.

The incident is the latest outbreak of deadly violence in recent months to have taken place in Brazil's often overcrowded and underfunded prison system.

A relative of an inmate cries as she is being interviewed while waiting for information about her loved one after a riot at the Altamira Regional Recovery Centre in the Brazilian northern city of Altamira, Para State, on July 29, 2019. (Photo by BRUNO SANTOS/AFP/Getty Images)

In May, 55 inmates were killed in gang-related riots at four prisons in western Brazil.

The local prison authorities said at the time the deaths were a result of violent clashes among rival factions within the same drug gang, known as the Family of the North.

Benjamin Lessing, a professor at the University of Chicago who studies Brazil's prison gangs, said that there were likely local factors at play in Monday's violence, but the attacks were also part of an ongoing turf war between the country's two main gangs and a "whole constellation of local gangs."

"Most of the violence has been in this region, the north and the northeast region, and it's a place where these gangs are actively fighting each other to achieve some kind of local hegemony or at least carve out space," Lessing said.

"It doesn't mean these gangs don't exist in the rest of Brazil -- they do, and there's violence in other parts of Brazil too related to these gangs. But it seems like where the fighting is very intense right now is in this north-northeast region."

The gangs used to only exist in Rio de Janeiro, but in recent decades have spread throughout the country, Lessing said.

In turn, the country's prison population has ballooned to the world's third-largest, trailing only the United States and China, according to the World Prison Brief.

Brazil's penitentiary system has for years been plagued by violence due to what analysts have described as systemic failures. The country's top prison official resigned in 2017 after a series of problems with drugs, corruption, escapes and riots.

Human rights groups have accused the government of doing too little to prevent the violence at prisons that have become recruitment centers for gangs -- and even facilitating clashes by allowing the cells to become overcrowded.

"As you start to lock up more and more people, you're really giving fuel to the fire. You're putting more people in the hands of these prison gangs, giving them more power to recruit," Lessing said.

Monday's clashes pose a challenge to the country's new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has previously vowed to crack down on criminal gangs and prison violence.

It’s official: We have the most extreme weather in North America!

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The area of greatest extreme in 2019 is centered over the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

From this January and February's near -50 wind chills to this month's 110+ degree heat index, we've had our share of extremes.

New research from Brian Bettschneider, a climatologist at the International Arctic Research Center shows which areas of North America have the widest spread in apparent temperature from winter to summer.

A new all-time record low was set in the Quad Cities January 31, 2019

Heat index values exceeded 110 degrees on the 20th of July

As expected, marine environments like the West and Gulf Coast of the U.S. have the smallest change in perceived temperature from winter to summer. Parts of Alaska, Central Canada, and the Upper Midwest have the greatest variation in temperature...around 150 degrees!

The most extreme "feels like" on the continent include the cities of Rochester, Minnesota, Madison, Wisconsin, Rockford, Illinois, and Davenport, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo, Iowa.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

 

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