World News

Ind. Grandma Allegedly Drowned Boy, 4, Telling Cops He’d Be ‘Better Off in Heaven’

A 56-year-old Indiana woman has been arrested and charged in connection with the drowning death of her 4-year-old grandson, allegedly saying he’d be “better off in heaven,” say authorities.

On Saturday, Helen Martin of Kokomo was arrested and charged with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death, local station WTHR reports.

Officers were called to Martin’s home where the child was unresponsive and unconscious, local station Fox 59 reports.

Her husband, Brian Martin, allegedly told officers that his wife had drowned the child while he was out running errands, according to court documents obtained by Fox 59.

He said she climbed into the tub while the child was taking a bath and held his head underwater, a probable cause affidavit states, the Kokomo Tribune reports.

When Brian returned home, he pulled the child out of the tub.

The boy was rushed to a local hospital where he later died.

Martin told investigators that she suffers from depression and sometimes has lapses of memory caused by PTSD from a “past abusive marriage, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder,” the documents state.

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Martin allegedly went on to tell police that she had been “so depressed recently” that she thought her grandson would “be better off in heaven than to be with her,” court documents said.

Martin is being held without bond, according to the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office. Her initial hearing is scheduled for April 2.

It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

The district attorney’s office and police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

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Man Said Missing Girlfriend Was Quarantined with Coronavirus — But Family Suspects Murder

A North Carolina man grandmother was found dead in her home after her boyfriend allegedly told her family she was sick with Coronavirus and quarantined.

Toni Handy, 46, was reported missing by her family on March 23. The following evening she was found dead inside her Winston-Salem home.

Handy’s family became worried for her safety when they hadn’t heard from her since March 21. She had last spoken to her daughter, Gidget Dunlap, and told her she was on the way to work and that she loved her, according to a GoFundMe page started by Dunlap to help pay for funeral expenses.

But when Handy never called her back and was unreachable, Dunlap reached out to her boyfriend, Christopher Mock.

Mock allegedly told Dunlap her mother wasn’t missing, saying she was just quarantined after contracting Coronavirus. Right away, Hardy’s family knew something was wrong, the Winston-Salem Journal and WXII report.

On Tuesday afternoon, Forsyth County deputies saw Mock, then a person of interest in Hardy’s disappearance, driving his girlfriend’s truck. When deputies attempted to stop him, Mock refused to pull over the vehicle and a pursuit ensued, WFMY reports, citing Winston-Salem police.

During the pursuit, four civilian cars were damaged, injuring one driver, and Mock was fatally shot by deputies, police said.

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Hours later, shortly before 6 p.m., deputies found Handy’s body inside her home as they executed a search warrant. She had been fatally shot, Dunlap writes on the GoFundMe page.

“She left behind four children and seven grandchildren,” Dunlap writes. “She thought the world of her grandchildren and her children. She would help anybody that she could with anything they needed. She would give you the shirt off of her back.”

Handy and Mock had an off-again-on-again relationship for two years, Winston-Salem police Lt. Gregory Dorn told the Journal. 

A cause of death has not been released as of Monday.

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World News

Mich. Mom Was Fatally Shot in Front of Kids — and Boyfriend Was Allegedly Seen Running from Home

Police in Michigan continue to search for the boyfriend of a 29-year-old woman who was found slain inside her home Sunday evening.

Adrian Deshawn Hill, 32, has been identified by police as a person of interest in the shooting death of Markia Leggett, who was killed Sunday evening at her residence in Southfield, Michigan, reports WDIV-TV.

Officers have been unable to locate Hill.

According to WXYZ, Hill had been employed as a contract worker with a tree removal company.

Authorities said he has ties to Detroit, Westland and Ann Arbor, reports The Oakland Press.

Neighbors started calling 911 Sunday evening shortly before 10 p.m., saying they’d heard gunfire. Officers located Leggett fatally shot inside her apartment.

Leggett’s two children were witnesses to the killing, according to police. The oldest, who is 13, also called 911 after his mother’s killing.

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Hill is not the father of Leggett’s children.

Police say eyewitnesses reported seeing Hill sprinting from the apartment building soon after the shooting. He allegedly fled in either a maroon or white Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck bearing Michigan license plate DWC9109.

The vehicle sped off, according to police, and during an immediate search of the area, officers failed to find any trace of the truck.

He remains at large and may be armed and dangerous.

The Oakland Press spoke to Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren about the murder.

“This was a senseless murder of a loving mother of two, senselessly gunned down as a result of a domestic dispute,” Barren said.

Police have yet to disclose a possible motive for the violence.

Hill is described as a black male standing 5 feet 9 inches and weighing around 190 lbs. He was last seen wearing a white jacket.

Anyone with information about Hill’s whereabouts is urged to call either 911 or the Southfield Police Department at (248) 796-5500.

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World News

Fla. Man Told Wife He Had a Vast Fortune — and Allegedly Killed Her When She Learned He Was Lying

Shanti Cooper-Tronnes and David Tronnes had been married for just a year when she was found dead in her upscale Florida home in April 2018. Police soon focused on Tronnes, 52, who initially told police that Cooper-Tronnes slipped and fell while in the a bathtub.

But an autopsy revealed Cooper-Tronnes died from blunt force trauma to the head and strangulation. Moreover, crime scene investigators noted that the woman’s body was completely dry, which contradicted her husband’s claim that she had been in the partially-filled tub.

Four months after the body was discovered, Tronnes was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be held without bond.

So why would a man kill his new wife after just one year of marriage?

Authorities allege Tronnes had predicated the entire relationship on a lie. After the couple met on, he allegedly told her that he had inherited between $4 million and $6 million from his father — a claim that turned out to be untrue.

Friends started noticing that Tronnes paid for very little of the couple’s bills — and that he expected Cooper-Tronnes to keep them afloat financially. “He always talked about how he had a ton of money, but she couldn’t figure out why he was such a miser,” Cooper-Tronnes’ friend Melissa Burzinski told police after her death.

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Authorities allege Tronnes killed his wife after she learned the truth about his finances — and also about the fact that he was going to bathhouses for anonymous sex with men.

“We all thought we knew David Tronnes,” Shanti’s friend, Laurie Holt, tells PEOPLE in its latest issue. “Come to find out, what we knew was a facade. He was living a total lie.”

Interrogation footage released last year show Orlando Police detectives were unconvinced by his story — and accused him of faking weeping.

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“You’ve fake cried for about seven or eight hours today,” Detective Teresa Sprague told David Tronnes after his interview. “Not one tear came out of your eyes — not one. You have fake cried over this woman’s death since we made contact with you. There is not a lick of remorse for what you did to this woman.”

Tronnes has claimed that he is indigent, and will now be represented by a public defender. His trial is scheduled to begin later this year.

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World News

Two face attempted murder charges for defying South Africa quarantine

Two people face attempted murder charges in South Africa after ‘refusing to go into quarantine when they tested positive for coronavirus’

  • One suspect is a tourist who tested positive during a stay at Kruger National Park
  • He allegedly left his lodge and interacted with others despite orders to isolate
  • Second suspect is a salon owner who allegedly continued working with the virus
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Two people are facing attempted murder charges after allegedly refusing to go into quarantine in South Africa, it has emerged. 

One of them is a tourist who tested positive for coronavirus while staying in the Kruger National Park but is accused of ignoring orders to self-isolate in his lodge, South African media says. 

The other is a salon owner in the city of Ladysmith, who was arrested after 27 people came into contact with him at his workplace and a religious gathering he attended after allegedly refusing to go into quarantine.  

South Africa’s 57million people are today beginning a nationwide lockdown as the number of cases hit 709, becoming the worst outbreak in Africa. 

South Africa is investigating two people who are accused of refusing to go into quarantine (file photo, a health worker unrelated to those cases tests a motorist Johannesburg)  

According to TimesLive, the infected tourist is accused of leaving Kruger National Park despite being ordered to remain in his lodge.

Police minister Bheki Cele said the man was tracked down to holiday accommodation and then taken into quarantine in hospital. 

‘The tourist ignored the instruction and proceeded to St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, where he apparently interacted with an unknown number of people,’ he said. 

Health officials are now desperately trying to trace anyone who might have come into contact with him.

Police are investigating the man under emergency regulations announced by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.  

The second suspect, a 52-year-old salon owner, was ordered to quarantine himself after returning from ‘various’ other countries, according to The South African. 

‘On his return on March 18, he was tested positive with Covid-19 and was instructed to self-quarantine for at least 14 days pending the blood results,’ a police spokesman said.

‘However, he allegedly continued with his business and in doing so disregarded the instructions by a doctor.’

Authorities are seeking 27 people who may have come into contact with him, either at his salon or at a religious service he attended. 

South African president Cyril Ramamphosa, pictured in Cape Town last month, has ordered a 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus 

Both suspects are facing charges of attempted murder, South African news outlets reported yesterday. 

South Africa currently has 709 confirmed coronavirus cases, with no reported deaths. 

The country’s health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that infections are expected to keep rising.

President Ramaphosa himself has tested negative after taking the test as a precautionary measure, his office said today.   

The president underwent the test on Tuesday on the advice of physicians and received his results on Wednesday night, a statement said. 

Ramaphosa has ordered some of the toughest measures on the continent, including a 21-day lockdown which starts today.

He has also deployed the army to support the police.

Businesses are bracing for the lockdown, with Airlink becoming the latest local airline to suspend flights from midnight on Thursday. 

State power utility Eskom has applied for its critical staff to be exempt from the stay at home order so electricity supplies can continue uninterrupted. 

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World News

10-Year-Old Alaska Girl Is Found Dead, and Family Says She Was Abducted and Murdered by 'Monster'

A family in Western Alaska says they’re searching for the “monster” who abducted and killed their 10-year-old daughter.

When Ida “Girlie” Aguchak, 10, didn’t return to her Quinhagak home on March 15, her family immediately began to search for her. The following day, her family found her body in a dumpster.

“Girlie was abducted by someone in our community, murdered and then thrown into a dumpster,” her family said in a statement on a GoFundMe page. “We are in shock at the evil brutality and heartlessness of this. We want justice.”

They continued: “Our community is devastated, trying to cope with the horrific reality that one of our own suffered at the hands of a monster.”

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Alaska State Troopers are working with local police to search for Girlie’s killer, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

PEOPLE could not reach either agency for comment on Monday.

“There is nothing we can do to change the circumstances of this event, but we are reaching out to you to ask for prayers for comfort and to find who did this to Girlie,” the family’s statement said. “Thankfully, though, we belong to a caring community that comes together to help our friends and neighbors when they need it most. We can all help.”

Quinhagak is a community of about 700 people, according to the Daily News.

In honor of their loved one, Girlie’s family is asking people to help those in need, saying in their statement: “Girlie loved helping others and at whatever expense it was to her own family. For someone so little, she had a big heart that truly cared for others. Your assistance to others will help her loving spirit live on in all communities by your acts of kindness.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact local police at 907-556-2202 / 8314 or the Alaska State Troopers at 907-543-2294.

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World News

Gannon Stauch’s Father Issues Statement After Son’s Remains Are Found as Estranged Wife Sits in Jail

The father of Colorado Springs boy Gannon Stauch released a statement Sunday expressing his gratitude and appreciation for the support he received during the long search for his 11-year-old son.

His statement was released two days after human remains were found in Florida and tentatively identified as Gannon. Gannon’s stepmother, Letecia “Tecia” Stauch, has been charged in connection with the boy’s death.

“As you can tell from the initial missing child report, to the arrest and charges in early March, and now the wonderful, yet gut-wrenching news that Gannon’s body has been recovered, this has been a heartbreaking and absolutely devastating time period in my life,” Al Stauch wrote in a statement posted on the Facebook page of Restoration Church in Colorado Springs, where he attends.

On March 18, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office announced they had been contacted by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office about remains found in Pace, Florida.

“An autopsy was performed by the District One Medical Examiner and the deceased male has been tentatively identified as Gannon Stauch,” according to a sheriff’s office press release obtained by PEOPLE. “We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Gannon.”

According to Sgt. Rich Aloy of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, the remains were found by a work crew from the Florida Department of Transportation working Highway 90, near the Escambia River Bridge.

“They found a body and contacted us,” Sgt. Aloy told PEOPLE. “It is a long bridge — [the body] was along the side of the bridge, but not in the water. We don’t know when the body was placed there.”

The remains were found between 9 and 10 a.m. on March 17.

The cause of death is still undetermined.

In early March, Letecia Stauch was charged with murder, child abuse and tampering charges in connection with Gannon’s death. On Friday, the 4th judicial district attorney filed additional charges against Stauch, which included one count of first-degree murder after deliberation and eight counts of committing a crime of violence, the Denver Post reports.

More than 107 search warrants have been filed in the case, the Post reports.

Gannon was reported missing on Jan. 27 by his stepmom. Initially, the sheriff’s office described Gannon as a “runaway,” but on January 30, his status changed to missing and endangered.

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Authorities have not revealed details about what evidence they allegedly have against Stauch, and a motive has not been publicly discussed.

The press release indicated Stauch may have been in Florida from Feb. 3 to 5.

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World News

New Orleans Woman Was Fatally Shot and Put in Car’s Trunk — But Police Don’t Know Who Killed Her

Police are continuing to search for a suspect in the case of a missing woman who was found dead inside the trunk of her car, according to

Huong Nguyen worked at an insurance office and her boss allegedly saw her leave work in her silver Toyota Camry at about 5 p.m. on March 11.

Her boss reported her missing the following day after she didn’t show up for work and her family was unable to reach her, according to

She was reported missing from the 7th District of New Orleans, officials told the website in an earlier story. The New Orleans Police Department released her photo and asked for the public’s help.

At 8 p.m. on March 13, a woman’s body was found in the trunk of a silver Camry about seven blocks from the home Nguyen shared with her mother, the website reported.

In an update from FOX8 reporter David Bernard’s Facebook page, he confirmed Nguyen’s death.

“I’m sorry to report that Huong was found dead today in New Orleans East,” he wrote. He didn’t have any additional details.

Police told the site that the woman died from “at least one bullet wound” and her death was being investigated as a homicide.

Nguyen’s best friend Linda Cao said a funeral was planned but was unsure how many people would be able to attend due to the government’s restrictions on crowds intended to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“I want everyone to remember that she celebrated life,” Nguyen told the website, “and her life was taken so suddenly.”

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New Orleans City Councilwoman Cindy Nguyen told that she was a cousin of the slain woman.

“The family is dealing with this as best they can,” Nguyen told the site. “We would love to find out what happened to her to provide some closure to her for the family.”

Police have not named any suspects or discussed a possible motive in the case. Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.


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World News

Fla. Inmate Who Killed 2 Is Now Charged in 1995 Rape Case After Alleged DNA Match

A 46-year-old Florida man already serving a 35-year sentence for running over and killing two people in 2001 learned this week he might be spending more time behind bars.

PEOPLE confirms that, over the weekend, authorities filed a sexual battery charge against Octavio Berrera.

The new allegation comes after investigators claim Berrera’s DNA matches genetic evidence collected from a sexual assault victim back in 1995.

According to investigators, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spoke to a 35-year-old woman about her rape in 1995. The victim said a man grabbed her from behind while she was walking in West Palm Beach. The man dragged her into a wooded area, where he raped her.

The victim told police she did not know her attacker, but that, during the attack, he had said he knew her from a local bar. Afterwards, he threatened to kill her if she went to police, she said.

Berrera has been in prison since 2003, when he pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter.

He was 22 when he ran over two people in Boynton Beach in December 2001 with his van.

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One of the victims in the intentional attack was Delray Beach firefighter Pete Firehock.

The 1995 rape case was reopened in 2018.

In 2018, investigators reopened the case after receiving a Combined DNA Index System notification which helped lead to Berrera as a possible suspect.

Investigators used a search warrant to get a DNA sample from Berrera and in March 2019, the results came back as a match.

PEOPLE was unable to determine if Berrera had appeared before a judge to plea to the new charge he faces. Information on his new attorney was also unavailable.

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Mom Charged with Murder After Falling Asleep on Top of Baby

The 28-year-old tested positive for meth, ecstasy, amphetamines and marijuana.

A Louisiana mother has been charged with the death of her 9-month-old child after reportedly falling asleep on top of the infant on Thursday.

According to USA Today’s News Star, Ouachita Parish Fire Department personnel were dispatched to the home of Heather Lucille Hall, 28, after they received a call about a baby not breathing, where they found Hall with an unidentified female witness attempting CPR on the child on the kitchen floor. The infant, however, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hall’s boyfriend told police that Hall’s uncle had called him to wake up his niece so she could "go to the store" on Thursday, per police records. The boyfriend said when he went into Hall’s bedroom, he found her asleep in the same bed as her three small children. Hall was on her back with her legs on top of the 9-month-old, who was lying face down and not breathing, said the boyfriend.

Per the arrest warrant, Hall was woken up and immediately grabbed her baby, ran to the kitchen and dropped the child on the floor, where the witness began CPR.

The witness said she was outside the house when the baby was first found unresponsive.

Hall said she couldn’t remember whether her legs were on top of the infant or not. She confessed, however, to using meth on Tuesday and ecstasy on Wednesday, before going to bed with the children.

Hall tested positive for both drugs as well as amphetamines and marijuana following a field urine analysis that was conducted by Child Protective Service investigators.

Hall was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center on a charge of second-degree murder.

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