Mother, son found dead along interstate highways in Southeast identified after 20 years

More than two decades after the bodies of a woman and 10-year-old boy were found in separate states, each discarded along the side of a highway, officials announced Tuesday a DNA analysis identified the victims as a mother and son — and helped authorities to elicit a confession from their killer.

The identity of the woman was revealed Tuesday to be Myoung Hwa Cho. Cho was suffocated before her nude body, bearing ligature marks around the wrists, was discovered dumped in the woods along Interstate 85 in South Carolina in May 1998, The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

In September 1998, 215 miles away from where Cho’s body was dumped, the remains of a young boy were found under a billboard by workers mowing grass along Interstate 85 in Mebane, North Carolina.


The Orange County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina said its own news release that, after trying other forensic analysis techniques — including even creating a bust of the child — the department used the analysis of an online DNA database to identify the child, who was a first-generation, biracial Caucasian and Asian.

Robert Adam Whitt's body was identified using a DNA database.

Robert Adam Whitt’s body was identified using a DNA database. (Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

“I always kept the case file box under my desk, where it was purposefully in my way. Every time I turned, I hit it with my leg. I did this so the little boy couldn’t be forgotten,” Orange County Sheriff’s Maj. Tim Horne, who worked the case from the beginning, said in a statement.

After identifying the race of the boy, the agency enlisted the help of a consultant, Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter. Rae-Venter, whose work led to an arrest in the Golden State Killer case, matched the child’s DNA to DNA from a close relative who had submitted information to an online DNA database. After contacting the relative, investigators learned the boy’s name: Robert “Bobby” Adam Whitt. They soon found out Whitt’s mom — who had disappeared the same year as her son — was also dead.


With help from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, authorities in North Carolina said an unidentified female matching the search criteria was located in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. After contacting officials there, the DNA of the victims were compared and soon proved to be mother and son.

Authorities in South Carolina used fingerprints, with the help of the Korean National Police and INTERPOL, to identify the woman as Myoung Hwa Cho.

Myoung Hwa Cho is shown on a poster provided by the Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Office.

Myoung Hwa Cho is shown on a poster provided by the Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office. (Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office via AP)

“This case is an example of dogged determination of investigators who refused to give up,” Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said. “The efforts of Major Tim Horne and the entire investigation division were exemplary.”


Investigators then were led to Cho’s husband and Whitt’s father who is currently serving federal time for unrelated convictions, according to FOX Carolina.

The husband confessed to the murder of both victims within several months of each other in 1998, according to police.

Officials said that it does not appear that either killing took place in Spartanburg County or Orange County, so the man’s identification is being withheld until authorities can determine where the mother and son were killed and a prosecutorial decision can be made.

Authorities commended the work of both offices in utilizing new technology to finally crack the cold cases. Last year, detectives across the country said they were able to locate suspects in 28 cold cases after uploading crime scene DNA to, a public genealogy website.

“With technology what it is today, crimes that have gone unsolved before are now ripe for resolution,” Blackwood said.

Fox News’ Robert Gearty contributed to this report.

Irish top model, mother of 4 reportedly found dead hours after cryptic Facebook post

A fashion model and mom of four has been found dead hours after a mysterious and profanity-laced Facebook post.

Alli MacDonnell, 37, was one of Ireland’s top models and was signed with the Andrea Roche’s AR Model Agency.

News of her shocking death came hours after she wrote online: “Why is it ok for a man to call a girl a fat ugly c–t?????? Seriously new level of pushing someone to the edge.”


It is not clear whom she was referring to or when the alleged incident occurred.

Police have decided to not treat her death as suspicious but will be investigating anyone who was in contact with MacDonnell before the tragedy.

“It is not believed that anyone else is involved with the death but anyone who has had recent contact with the deceased will be asked to provide statements to the gardai [the state police force of the Irish Republic],” a source told the Irish Mirror.

“A coroner’s file will be prepared for an inquest to be held.”

MacDonnell was a single mother of four children — Alex, 17, Sara, 15, Harry, 9, and Siena, 2 — whom she described as her “world” on her Instagram.

MacDonnell, who studied at Trinity College Dublin, campaigned for autism awareness as an ambassador for Autism Action after Harry was diagnosed with the condition in 2016.

Her best friend John Compton revealed the model was in talks to host two new TV shows before her death.

One was a prank show and the other was a program about autism.


Compton described how he had spoken to the model hours before he learned of her death.

“We are all beyond devastated,” Compton told the Irish Mirror.

“She was the life and soul and one of the happiest people you would ever meet. She had so much to live for. She was an amazing mom and a fantastic campaigner for autism. She did such good work.”

News of the mom of four’s death emerged Monday with heartbroken friends paying emotional tributes on social media.

She had only celebrated her younger sister’s 21st birthday last week.

Model and actress Vivienne Connolly said she was “devastated.”

“You were not only beautiful on the outside but inside too. Such a loss to everyone who ever had the pleasure to know you,” friend Tori Dempsey-Walsh said.

“Absolutely devastating. What a beauty inside and out. No matter how beautiful we knew you were it’s how you feel inside that matters,” friend Stephanie Whelan added.

“You were a very proud mammy and you children will grow up knowing how strong their mammy was and make you so proud. RIP beautiful. Shine bright like the diamond you were.”

The model had called for a greater understanding of people with autism.

Speaking in 2017, MacDonnell said how she felt alone when her son Harry was diagnosed with autism, which came shortly after she gave birth to baby Siena.

“I had just had a baby four days before that. There was a lot going on and when I got Harry’s diagnosis … I cried for days,” she told the Irish Independent.

“I hadn’t got a clue about autism. I’m learning more about it every day as I meet more kids and adults on the spectrum.”

In October 2018, she revealed how 2-year-old Siena also has autism.

“I’m only human so some days are difficult but I get there and some days I want to crawl into a ball and sleep for a year,” she said.

“I take each day as it comes and try my best. I work hard and I love my kids with every inch of me. They may have ASD but they are healthy and happy and very much loved.”

Autism Ireland CEO Samantha Judge said McDonnell was an “amazing mother” and a tireless campaigner for autism.

“Here at Autism Ireland, we are very shocked and saddened at the loss of Alli. Alli was an amazing mother, a beautiful woman, inside and out,” she said.

“She was a very strong voice for autism as a mother, and she was so supportive of her children and of the charity.


“She will be a great loss to us. Alli worked tirelessly to raise awareness of autism. She was a great friend and an amazing ambassador for Autism Ireland.

“We could call her and ask for her help at any time and she worked with us whenever we needed her.

“She was truly an inspirational person and we are all grieving a huge loss today.”

This article originally appeared in The Sun.

4-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother in the face: police

A 4-year-old boy in Washington State found a loaded gun under a mattress in an apartment on Saturday and shot his pregnant mother in the face, authorities said.

The 27-year-old woman, who is eight months pregnant, was watching TV with her boyfriend when her son found the firearm, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said. The shot was unintentional.

The woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. She was transferred to another hospital on Sunday when her condition improved.


Abbott said the gun was unregistered, the report said. The boy’s father allegedly told authorities he had borrowed the gun for protection. The case is under investigation.


Under a new state law, gun owners could face criminal charges for not safely storing a gun, but Abbott noted that the law doesn’t go into effect until July. The condition of the unborn baby was not reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Democratic senator to bring mother and child separated at the border to State of the Union

Democrats select Stacey Abrams to deliever SOTU response


    Democrats select Stacey Abrams to deliever SOTU response


Democrats select Stacey Abrams to deliever SOTU response 00:51

Washington (CNN)Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon announced Friday that he will bring a mother and daughter who were separated at the US-Mexico border last year as guests for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week.

The decision is intended to “highlight the human suffering caused by President Trump’s child separation policy,” a news release from the senator’s office stated.
The mother-daughter pair — Albertina Contreras Teletor and Yakelin Garcia Contreras, who will be 12 years old on Tuesday, the day of the address — were separated from one another at the southern border for a period of roughly two months and were reunited in July 2018, according to a statement from the senator’s office.
Inviting guests to the State of the Union offers congressional lawmakers a chance to send a pointed message during the speech that takes place annually in the House chamber before a joint session of Congress.
    Trump’s speech this year takes place as a contentious debate plays out between congressional Democrats and the White House over immigration and border security.
    A standoff over funding for the President’s long-promised border wall triggered a partial government shutdown that began in December and stretched into January. Trump has demanded $ 5.7 billion for a border wall and congressional Democrats have so far remained firm in insisting that number is a non-starter.
    The fight has yet to be resolved. The government reopened late last month after the President signed a stop-gap funding measure that will keep agencies open until February 15, while lawmakers negotiate over border security in an attempt to find common ground in the border wall fight.
    But the President has already indicated he is not optimistic that congressional negotiators will meet his demands for border wall funding, calling the talks “a waste of time” in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday and suggesting he will take executive action to circumvent Congress in an effort to fund the wall.
    As a result, Washington may be careening toward yet another shutdown.
    Merkley’s invited guests will bring attention to the administration’s highly controversial practice of family separation at the border that ended last year.
    The President reversed course in June 2018 and signed an executive order to end family separations after facing widespread backlash over the practice, including from members of his own party. In the same month, a federal judge ordered that the US government reunify separated families.
    “I’m bringing Albertina and Yakelin as my guests to the State of the Union because we need to bear witness to the suffering that this cruel policy inflicted, and resolve to make sure that nothing like this ever happens in the United States of America again,” Merkley said in a statement.
    “No child should be torn away from her mom or dad,” Albertina Contreras Telator said in a statement released by the senator’s office. “We believe in an America that is better than the treatment we received, and we invite all Americans to join us in making that America a reality.”
    “It was really terrible when they took me away from my mother, because I had no idea that we were going to be separated,” Yakelin Garcia Contreras said in a separate statement outlined in the same release. “If I could say anything to the President, I would tell him to stop separating kids from their parents because it is just too hard for us kids to lose our parents like that.”
    Merkley isn’t the only Democratic lawmaker who invited guests with the apparent aim of sending a critical message about the President and his administration’s immigration policies.
      An undocumented worker fired from Trump’s New Jersey golf club will be in attendance at the State of the Union address after being invited by Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey.
      Victorina Morales, a Guatemalan native, worked for years at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey before describing herself as an undocumented worker to The New York Times in December. She was ultimately terminated from her job and currently faces deportation.

      Mother becomes first person found guilty of FGM in UK

      A court at the Old Bailey in London convicted a mother-of-three of performing female genital mutilation on her daughter.

      A court at the Old Bailey in London convicted a mother-of-three of performing female genital mutilation on her daughter.

      (CNN)A mother-of-three has become the first person to be found guilty of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK, in a landmark verdict given at the Old Bailey in London on Friday.

      The Central Criminal Court confirmed to CNN that a 37-year-old Ugandan woman from Walthamstow, London, was found guilty of performing FGM on her daughter in summer 2017.
      The mother wept in court when the verdict was announced, the UK’s Press Association (PA) news agency reported, while her partner, 43, from Ghana, was acquitted of all charges. The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied the charges of performing FGM and failing to protect a girl from the risk of genital mutilation.
      “You have been found guilty of a serious offense against your daughter,” Judge Mrs Justice Whipple said, as she warned of a “lengthy” prison sentence. The woman has been remanded in custody and will now be sentenced on March 8, according to London’s Metropolitan Police.
        Detective Chief Inspector Ian Baker from the Metropolitan Police acknowledged the “bravery” of the victim since the ordeal, and confirmed in a statement that she has made a “very speedy recovery” and been placed with another family.
        Under UK law, anyone found guilty of performing FGM can be imprisoned for a maximum of 14 years. It has been illegal in the UK since 1985 under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act, which was later modernized in the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
        CNN has contacted the woman’s lawyer for comment.
        The victim’s case was raised to police after she was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital in northeast London suffering from severe bleeding. Doctors subsequently confirmed that her injuries were consistent with being cut with a scalpel, police said in a statement.
        The two defendants maintained, however, that the victim sustained her injuries after falling and cutting herself on a kitchen cupboard after reaching for a biscuit tin, said police.
        “It’s a big accusation. Someone who would cut a child’s private parts, they’re not human. I’m not like that,” the mother told the jury, according to PA.
        The victim’s older brother told police that he had seen his sister crying and “blood dripping on the floor.” The victim also told a foster carer following the incident that she had been held down and cut, the police said.
        Police found evidence that the mother had practiced “witchcraft,” casting spells at her home in a bid to silence her accusers; including police, social workers and lawyers.
        “Two cow tongues, they were bound in wire with nails and a small blunt knife also embedded in them, 40 limes were found and other fruit, which when opened contained pieces of paper with names on them,” Caroline Carberry QC, who was prosecuting the case, said according to PA.
        “These names embedded included both police officers involved in the investigation of the case, the social worker, her own son and the then director of public prosecutions.
        “These people were to ‘shut up’ and ‘freeze their mouths.’ … Another spell was hidden under the bed.”
        The father denied engaging in “witchcraft,” and claimed he was not in the premises at the time his daughter was cut. He nevertheless accepted that his daughter had been cut.
        Sajid Javid, the UK’s home secretary, welcomed the “landmark” conviction on Twitter. “Female genital mutilation is a sickening, depraved form of child abuse and we will do all we can to ensure all perpetrators are brought to justice,” he wrote.
          Nimco Ali, co-founder of Daughters of Eve — a charity dedicated to ending FGM — also tweeted: “I am so heartbroken we let this girl down, but we have now given her some justice. To all those who say FGM is not an issue or it’s your culture, be on notice that we will seek to do whatever we can to protect girls.”
          Only three other cases of FGM have been brought to trial in the UK, all of which ended in acquittal. There have been 298 prevention orders put in place in order to protect children who have been perceived as at risk.

          Woman says her elderly mother with Alzheimer’s was left outside a locked care facility at 2 a.m.

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          (CNN)A California woman is outraged after a video showed her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, left alone outside a locked assisted living facility in the middle of the night in her bathrobe and sandals.

          Long Beach resident Costanza Genoese Zerbi said her mother, Savina Genoese Zerbi, 84, was taken from the Regency Palms assisted living facility to the emergency room at the College Medical Center on January 12 after she made suicidal comments.
          Hours after Zerbi arrived at the ER, her daughter said, the hospital put her in a cab back to the Regency Palms, where she arrived about 2:15 a.m. on January 13.
          Security video shows the elderly woman wearing a bathrobe and sandals and carrying a large envelope. She tries to open the front door unsuccessfully, then pounds on it several times before she walks away.
            Another security video shows her pacing up and down a dark alley before returning to the door. Her daughter said she was eventually let into the assisted care facility around 3 a.m. It’s unclear who let her into the facility.

            Daughter will meet hospital officials

            Costanza Zerbi said she has filed a complaint with the California Department of Public Health against College Medical Center for sending her mother back to the care facility in a cab.
            “My mom has the cognitive abilities of a toddler,” she told CNN affiliate KCAL. “It’s like taking a child and dumping him on the street in the middle of the night — it’s insane. It’s criminal.”
            Savina Zerbi turned down an offer to assist with transportation and asked to be taken home, the hospital said, according to the affiliate. It added that a relative and the care facility were told she was being discharged.
            Costanza Zerbi said her mother was especially vulnerable because she’d just started living at the assisted care facility and was having a hard time adjusting to her new life.
            The reason for the complaint against the hospital is not to sue but to create awareness and ensure the hospital improves how it handles patients like her mother, she said.
            “I would just like to see the hospital operate in a more responsible way,” she said.
            CNN has called Regency Palms, College Medical Center, and the California Department of Public Health, but has not heard back.
            The California Department of Public Health told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that details on ongoing investigations are kept private until the investigation is complete.
            The College Medical Center defended its actions, saying it complies with regulations on patient discharge, but will discuss the concerns with Zerbi’s family, KCAL reported.
              The daughter plans to meet hospital officials February 11. She said her mother remains at Regency Palms.
              Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of memory and intellectual abilities. It is a slow-moving disease that starts with memory loss and ends with severe brain damage.

              Young mother holding 1-year-old daughter in stroller dies after falling down subway stairs: cops

              A Connecticut mother died Monday after she fell down New York City subway stairs while holding her young daughter in a stroller, police said.

              Malaysia Goodson, 22, of Stamford, tumbled at the 7th Ave. Station in Manhattan at around 8 p.m., police said. Goodson was taken to Mt. Sinai West and later declared dead, the New York Post reported.


              Commuters who saw Goodson fall rushed up the staircase to tell a station agent that a woman had fallen, the New York Daily News reported.

              The 1-year-old was not hurt in the fall.


              It’s unclear how Goodson managed to fall down the stairs. Investigators were trying to determine whether she had a medical episode prior to the incident or if she was killed from the impact from the fall, according to the New York Post.

              Kim Porter, model and mother of Diddy’s children, died from pneumonia, autopsy reveals

              Kim Porter, the mother of three of Diddy’s children, died from a form of pneumonia.

              According to an autopsy report obtained by Fox News on Friday, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner listed the 47-year-old’s cause of death as lobar pneumonia – which is the inflammation of an entire lobe of the lungs.

              The coroner’s report indicated Porter died from “natural” causes after she was found unresponsive in her Los Angeles-area home on the morning of Nov. 15.


              Just a few days prior to her death, Porter was visited by a doctor after she complained of experiencing flu-like symptoms. According to the autopsy report, Porter said she was feeling “nasal congestion” with a “mild streak of blood with phlegm” during coughing – as well as intense sweats, body aches and a sore throat. Porter also had a fever of 102 degrees.

              Per the report, Porter received a message from her goddaughter on Nov. 14 – just one day before her body was discovered.

              On the eve of her death, Porter was “watching movies with family” and was in bed at 11:30 PM. The next morning, Porter’s goddaughter saw her at 8:30 AM, but assumed she was still sleeping. It wasn’t until housemates checked on Kim at 11:30 AM, that she was found unresponsive and paramedics were called.


              Upon inspection, investigators found a small amount of blood in Porter’s nose as well as a white froth issuing from her mouth. They also discovered a number of empty bottles of water, Pedialyte and sports drinks on a nightstand near her bed. A bowl of tomato soup was also nearby.

              Following Porter’s death, Diddy shared a touching tribute to the model and actress in which he called Porter his “soulmate.”

              Alaska dad, son sentenced for killing mother bear, ‘shrieking’ newborn cubs

              An Alaska man and his son were sentenced Tuesday over the poaching of a  black bear mother and her two cubs in their den after they were caught by a nearby research camera.

              Andrew Renner, 41, was sentenced to three months in jail and his son Owen Renner, 18, received 30 days of suspended time in the April 2018 killings. Each was ordered to pay $ 1,800 in restitution, with the elder Renner owing an additional $ 9,000 fine, the Anchorage Daily News reported. 

              The father and son skied to the site on Esther Island in Prince William Sound, where the son killed the mother bear in front of her two cubs. The father turned his rifle point-blank on the newborns “shrieking in the den,” prosecutors said. The son shot the sow bear twice as she slept, they said, according to the paper.


              A motion-activated camera set up outside the den as part of a bear study by the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game captured the carnage.

              Assistant Attorney General Aaron Peterson told the court it was the “most egregious bear cub poaching case his office has ever seen.”


              “What we saw is that there were two bear cubs that were completely defenseless and were shot at point-blank range,” Assistant Attorney General Aaron Peterson said.

              The father was convicted of eight counts related to the illegal killing and transporting of the bears, and the falsifying of the sealing certificate. His hunting license has been revoked for 10 years, while his son’s license has been suspended for two years, according to the Daily News.

              The Associated Press contributed to this report.

              Missing Kentucky mom’s ex-boyfriend, mother shed light on disappearance

              The ex-boyfriend of Savannah Spurlock – the young mother of four who’d given birth to twins in December and vanished early Jan. 4 after she was spotted on surveillance leaving a Lexington bar with two men — told Fox News on Wednesday he believes the men know where she is.

              Police searched a home Tuesday in Garrard County, Kentucky, in relation to her disappearance. Fox 56 reported that its crew saw officers at a home at Perkins Lane and Fall Lick Road on Tuesday, and that a car was towed from the scene. WLEX reported the residence is owned by the parents of a man seen in the surveillance video.

              Police remain tight-lipped in the case of the missing mother, 22, and are not confirming how the house or car might be connected. Garrard County is about an hour’s drive from Lexington.

              The two men seen in the surveillance video with Spurlock have not been named or publicly identified as suspects, though Richmond police say the two men aren’t necessarily cleared. Investigators are actively talking to everyone connected to the case. No arrests have been made thus far.

              “I do think the guys she was with that night know exactly where she is,” Spurlock’s ex, Shaquille Smith, 27, wrote in a message to Fox News. “I do think she is out there somewhere worried and thinking about her kids, family and friends.”

              Savannah Spurlock, 22, was last seen on Jan. 4 leaving the Other Bar in Lexington with two men, police said.

              Savannah Spurlock, 22, was last seen on Jan. 4 leaving the Other Bar in Lexington with two men, police said. (Richmond Police Department)

              Smith says he knows the names of the men but is not releasing them to protect the investigation. He tells Fox News he does not recognize the men and considers them out-of-towners.

              Savannah’s mother, Ellen Spurlock, 47, also tells Fox News she doesn’t recognize the men and says she’s devastated over the disappearance of her daughter. She has described Savannah as kind, “very responsible” and always in touch.

              “I don’t sleep at night. It’s a nightmare,” Ellen Spurlock told Fox news. “I’m just trying to get information out to the public in the hopes and prayers that somebody is going to come forward that will lead to her.”


              Savannah Spurlock’s oldest child has a father that is absent and often stays with his grandfather, according to her mother.

              Shaquille Smith says he and Savannah were in a three-year relationship that ended in March of last year. Together, Smith says he and Savannah have a 2-year-old son and 7-week-old twins.

              According to Ellen Spurlock, she and Savannah have lived together in a Richmond home for about one year. On the night of Thursday, Jan. 3, Savannah left their house in Ellen’s car with a female friend. The females stopped at a male friend’s house in Lexington and together the three got into a different car bound for a bar in Lexington. Ellen says Savannah’s purse and wallet were discovered in one of the cars — something that’s out of character for her.

              At some point, Savannah ended up at The Other Bar in Lexington and was seen on surveillance walking with the two men around 2:30 a.m.

              Ellen says around 3 a.m., Savannah FaceTimed her from the driver’s seat of a car driven by an African-American male, with two people in the back seat, to tell her she would be home in the morning. Ellen says she did not get a good look at the people in the back, who were being loud. Ellen Spurlock says she didn’t recognize the driver and can’t say definitively that he was one of the men in the surveillance video.

              Ellen says she called Savannah’s phone around 8.a.m. on Jan. 4; the call went straight to voicemail, though, something that immediately caused her to worry. Ellen says Spurlock’s twins are too young to realize what’s going on – but her 2-year-old is hurting.

              “He really misses her. He saw her on TV one night and yelled, ‘Mommy, Mommy,’” Ellen tells Fox News.


              Ellen Spurlock and Smith say Savannah was not the type to go out often. They say she went out to bars once every couple of weeks or months.

              Smith says what troubles him the most is the length of time Savannah has been missing. “I think she just wanted to go out and have a drink or two with some friends,” he said.

              Savannah Spurlock is described as about five feet tall. She currently has brown hair with some blond highlights. She has tattoos, including a rose on her left shoulder. She was last seen in the surveillance video wearing a black shirt, a maroon skirt and heels.