WQAD News

Family receives hateful letter after disabled daughter shows goats in competition

CORYDON, Iowa - The Turnbulls have had to figure out a lot of things when it comes to caring for their daughter, Stella. The 12-year-old was born with the children's version of ALS and she was only given a month to live. So, when she told her parents she wanted to show goats, it was just one more challenge to overcome.

“One thing we’ve learned about her is if there’s something she wants to do, we’ll try to help her to figure out how to make that happen,” Sarah, her mother, told WHO. 

The solution was a platform next to her motorized wheelchair for the goat to put its front legs on. While Stella can’t groom or feed her goat, Lou, she had to train her to use the platform and walk with her.

“Stella had to work a lot with her out on our farm to make sure that Lou was in good position and had to practice for being out in the ring,” said Sarah.

Stella has had early success, winning her first competition at the Southern Iowa Fair. Her parents say they were just happy she was there.

“To see her out there on her own doing something she loves to do is priceless. She speaks with her eyes, and when she came out of there her eyes were bright and she was very proud, and it just makes us proud as parents,” said Travis, her father.

But not everyone was as supportive. After Stella’s win, her parents received an anonymous letter suggesting Stella didn’t do enough work to show a goat, and that her parents should be “ashamed.” But it was one particular line that upset the family the most.

“It said, ‘you need to quit trying to make your daughter normal,’ and what is normal? To us, you need to just go out and do your best. If nothing else, it just motivates me, even more, to make sure she can do everything that everyone else can do."

“It said, ‘you need to quit trying to make your daughter normal,’ and what is normal? To us, you need to just go out and do your best. If nothing else, it just motivates me, even more, to make sure she can do everything that everyone else can do,” said Travis.

The family says they don’t want to dwell on the letter, saying they want to focus on motivating others who might have a disability.

"We hope that the fact that she was able to do this just inspires others to not give up and being able to help others say 'OK, we can do this,'" said Sarah.

On Sunday, Stella showed her goat at the Wayne County Fair and plans to show at other fairs in the future.

Bullet found lodged in woman’s bra strap after deadly Brooklyn park shooting

BROOKLYN N.Y. — One person was killed and 11 others were injured in a Saturday shooting at a Brooklyn park, but it could have been worse if not for one of the victim's bra straps.

Daniesa Murdaugh, 21, was one of thousands at the annual Old Timers Event when gunfire erupted. She said her bra strap stopped a bullet from piercing her spine.

“I believe God covered my baby," Murdaugh's mother said. "When EMS  had cut her bra strap off, the bullet was just sitting on her bra strap."

Murdaugh was one of seven men and five women between the ages of 21 and 55 who were injured. A 38-year-old man died from a bullet wound to the head.

"It stings and it's sore and I can't put any type of pressure on my left side," Murdaugh said after she was released from the hospital Sunday.

She feels unsafe in the aftermath of the shooting.

"You can't go outside and have fun without thinking somebody got a gun and I got to run soon," Murdaugh said.

No arrests have yet been made.

6-year-old boy killed at Gilroy Garlic Festival remembered as ‘happy kid’

Stephen Romero

The shooting death of 6-year-old Stephen Romero at a popular festival in Northern California stunned his family and neighbors.

Stephen’s father, Alberto Romero, told CNN affiliate the San Jose Mercury News newspaper that he was at home when his wife called to say she, her mother and their son had been shot at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, maybe I was dreaming,” he said.

The dad went to a hospital to see his son.

“They told me he was in critical condition and that they were working on him,” he said. “Five minutes later they told me he was dead.”

When paternal grandmother Maribel Romero found out the boy had been shot, she went from hospital to hospital looking for him. Stephen was a happy kid, she said.

“This is really hard, there’s no words to describe (it),” she told CNN affiliate KRON of her grandson’s death. “I don’t think this is fair.”

Stephen was among the three people killed Sunday evening when a gunman sneaked into the festival and began firing. Twelve others were injured at what was supposed to be a family-friendly event. About 100,000 people attend the decades-old festival each year, previous records show.

And collectively, the event has helped raise “millions of dollars for local schools, charities, and nonprofit organizations,” the festival’s website says.

Officers engaged the suspect within one minute, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said, and the suspect was shot and killed.

‘We need to know … there’s justice’

The boy’s mother was shot in the hand and in the stomach and is expected to survive, KRON reported.

“I just wish that they get the people who did it,” Maribel Romero said. “We need to know that they got this person and that there’s justice.”

Gilroy City Council member Fred M. Tovar told CNN early Monday he was saddened by the news of the child’s death.

“I pray that God will grant his family strength. My most sincere condolences. I will keep your family close in my thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks as you are going through the process of grieving,” he said in a statement.

Las Vegas’ grasshopper invasion is so big you can see it on weather radar

A wet spring in Las Vegas has spawned hordes of grasshoppers so large, they’re showing up on the weather radar.

In viewing the radar, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said it looked like there were two storms over the Vegas area: one north of the city (that was actual rain) and another right over Las Vegas. But the second one wasn’t moving as rain normally would, she said.

“It looked as though it should be torrentially downpouring in Las Vegas,” said Chinchar.

By changing the settings on the radar, meteorologists could see that the other “storm” was actually the massive hordes of grasshoppers that have settled over the city in recent days, Chinchar said.

The National Weather Service office in Las Vegas said in a tweet Saturday that people have been asking about “the widespread radar returns” in the city over the past few nights.

Las Vegas, like all of Nevada, has had almost twice as much rain in 2019 than normal, Chinchar said. The city has had 4.63 inches of rain to date — much more than its usual average of 2.38 inches in the same period.

“It appears through history that when we have a wet winter or spring, these things build up often down below Laughlin and even into Arizona,” Jeff Knight, state entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, said. “We’ll have flights (of grasshoppers) about this time of the year, migrations, and they’ll move northward.”

Knight said the swarms aren’t terribly unusual given the amount of rain the state has had this year.

“We have records clear from the ’60s of it happening, and I have seen it … at least four or five times in my 30-plus years,” he said. “There are some special weather conditions that trigger the migration.”

FBI searching for ‘Pink Lady Bandit’ accused in bank robberies across the East Coast

The FBI is on the hunt for a woman they have dubbed the “Pink Lady Bandit.”

The woman, described by the FBI as either white or Hispanic, has robbed four banks across the East Coast since July 20. Federal authorities gave her the Pink Lady Bandit nickname because of the distinctive pink handbag she carried during at least two of her robberies, the FBI in Charlotte, North Carolina, said. The FBI says the woman is 130 pounds and between five-feet-two to five-feet-four inches tall.

During each robbery, the FBI said the Pink Lady Bandit showed a bank teller a note demanding money.

The first robbery took place July 20 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, about 23 miles west of Harrisburg.

Help the #FBI identify the "Pink Lady Bandit." She is believed to have robbed at least 3 banks along the east coast. The most recent in Ayden, NC. @FBIBaltimore @FBIPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/8zeJewSKDm

— FBI Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) July 26, 2019

Three days later, authorities say the Pink Lady Bandit robbed a bank in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on the state’s eastern shore.

Between Thursday and Saturday, the Pink Lady Bandit robbed two banks in North Carolina. The first in Ayden, about 90 miles east of Raleigh, on Thursday. The Pink Lady Bandit then traveled 180 miles southwest to Hamlet and robbed another bank on Saturday, the FBI said.

There is a $10,000 reward for anyone with information on the Pink Lady Bandit.

Fortnite gives away $3 million to its first-ever solo world champion, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania

Fortnite has wrapped its first-ever massive sporting event in New York’s Arthur Ashe tennis stadium. It was anyone’s game: It didn’t matter how famous a player was nor what large organization was backing each member of the playing field.

Beating out other pros and famous streamers, Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf, 16, made a name for himself by dominating from the first round and ultimately taking home the $3 million grand prize for individual players. That’s the largest-ever payout for a single player in an esports tournament.

After securing a victory in the first round and nine in-game kills, Giersdorf went on to rack up dozens of in-game kills each round, until he ended up with 59 points — a huge lead over the second-place winner.

“Words can’t really explain it. I’m so happy,” Giersdorf said. “Everything I’ve done in the grind has all paid off and it’s just insane.”

He said that in the last round, after finding a safe spot to scope out enemies and collecting a lot of loot to use as ammunition, his championship win “was pretty much sealed from there.” After celebrating his win, he turned around to hug his family members who had traveled from his hometown in Pennsylvania to see him play.

In second place, 24-year-old Harrison “Psalm” Chang — a former professional Heroes of the Storm player — won $1.8 million. Epikwhale took third, winning $1.2 million. He has not publicly disclosed his full name. In fourth, Nate “Kreo” Kou, 18, from Parkland, Florida, won $1.05 million.

At 24, Chang was one of the oldest competing on Sunday.

“It’s great representing the old dudes: Experience and composure trump everything,” Chang told CNN Business. “Fortnite is a young man’s game though.”

He said he plans to either “gamble it all or invest” his money, but hasn’t decided yet.

The stadium was more packed Sunday than on previous days, when Epic games hosted a duos tournament and an amateurs vs. pros competition. More than a million viewers tuned in to watch online, according to Twitch, YouTube and Fortnite in-game stats.

Giersdorf’s social media accounts, including YouTube and Twitter, have grown exponentially in followers after his win. He’s signed to Sentinels, an esports organization based out of Los Angeles.

Unlike Saturday’s European duo champions, Aqua and Nyhrox, who were relatively lesser known on the global stage, Giersdorf already has established a presence in the competitive Fortnite scene — but the World Cup certainly solidifies it more.

“He’s such a good player, it’s impossible to not know who he is,” said Perri Cox, 17, who attended the Fortnite World Cup for all three days with several of her friends she met online playing the game. “I don’t think casual players knew of him. But if you were following the competitive side of things, you definitely were aware of him.”

In fifth place was 13-year-old Thiago Lapp — also known as “King.” Lapp is the only non-American to make top five, and represents Argentina and, more broadly, the South American Fortnite region. Thirteen is the minimum age to compete in the World Cup.

Lapp made waves during Sunday’s competition for playing extra aggressive, chasing down enemies at times when he didn’t need to pick fights. He accumulated dozens of points from in-game kills alone, earning $900,000.

“I’m still shook. At such a young age, I can really say I’m living the dream,” Lapp told CNN Business. “I want people to recognize that there are pros in South America, since we’re basically not considered relevant in the esports world.”

He said he played aggressively because in South America “most of the players I faced were of average skill level so it’s been easy to outplay them.”

Everyone who participated in the games on Sunday, including those who placed last with no points at all, takes home at least $50,000 for playing. That makes this one of the biggest tournaments in esports so far. Epic Games is promising there will be more competitive events later this year.

Refreshing temps in the days ahead… No rainfall for a while

Sun is returning in our afternoon skies as plenty of subsidence or drying builds in from the departing cool front.

Skies will be mostly clear this evening and continue for the rest of the night with overnight lows around 60 degrees.

Steering winds aloft out of the northwest will remain so for the next couple of days allowing daytime highs to only reach around 78 to 83 degrees.

Flow will become more zonal in the days to follow resulting in temperatures slowly improving each day.  The mercury will peak by the weekend with highs approaching 90 degrees.

What about any needed rainfall?  Well, we certainly missed out on most of our towns early this morning, and it appears to be the trend not only the rest of this week but into the weekend.  Next potential chance may not be until this time next week.  Ugh!

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

A woman woke up in her Memphis hotel room to find a snake on her arm

Melinda Major was asleep in her hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday morning when she felt something moving around on her arm.

She was in town from Nashville for a doctor’s appointment and at first she thought it might have been her husband, until she remembered he wasn’t there with her. When she finally opened her eyes, what she saw was the stuff of nightmares.

A thin, green garden snake was stretched out across her arm.

“I’m not a snake person,” Major told CNN. “I can deal with spiders and all the icky things, but snakes are not my thing.”

Major said she immediately jumped up and slung the snake off her arm. It hit the headboard and bounced back onto the bed, she said. She then leaped onto the other bed in the room and snapped a picture.

The snake then started moving under the blanket, Major said, so she jumped onto the desk in the room and called the front desk at the Hampton Inn Walnut Grove in East Memphis.

Hotel staff soon came up to her room and escorted her out, and Major said that the manager went back into the room shortly after and called pest control.

Hampton Inn Walnut Grove confirmed the incident to CNN and said that “everything has been resolved.”

“It was a scary, scary situation,” Major said.

Despite how frightening the incident was, Major said she had stayed at the hotel many times over the years and that she would “most definitely” go back.

“As horrified as I am of snakes, they acted on it quickly,” she said. “They were very helpful.”

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