A climber died at Crowders Mountain State Park Monday.
Emergency crews responded to a call that a climber had fallen late afternoon.
Return to www.wsoctv.com and watch Eyewitness News at 10 and 11 for more on this story.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 18:33:55 -0400
A plan to install security cameras at Charlotte Mecklenburg elementary schools could be approved by the board Tuesday. District officials told Eyewitness News the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six staff members dead, prompted them to take a closer look at security measures and speed up the process of enhancing security at the 160 schools in the district.
Security cameras are like extra eyes for a district hoping to keep thousands of students safe, said CMS Police Chief Randy Hagler.
"Nationwide you've seen an uptick in the amount of money spent on security," Guy Chamberlain, the CMS associate superintendent for auxiliary services, said. "I don’t think it is wasted money."
Inside the CMS police department, 24 hours a day, schools are monitored.
But so far, only district high schools and some middle schools have security cameras, between 70 and 100 per campus, Chief Hagler said.
Tuesday, the board will vote on whether to approve the first round of cameras to be installed at elementary schools.
"We're going to do everything in our power to ensure that our students and our staff are in a safe environment during the period of time that they're on our property," Eric Davis, the District 5 board of education member, said.
Davis says he thinks the $20 million in taxpayer money approved last year by the county is worth it. Of the total amount spent on this security enhancement project ($19,320,917), more than half ($12,045,027) will be spent on cameras.
Chamberlain, who oversees the project for CMS, says there is more pressure on schools now than ever before to have intense security measures, and more than the technology, he says it is a mindset.
"One thing I think has been missing in schools that have had these problems is an attitude and culture of vigilance and that is what we are trying to build here," Chamberlain said.
If approved, cameras at some elementary schools could be installed in the next couple of months.
By the start of next school year, the goal is to have the cameras at every elementary school districtwide.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:59:19 -0400
Someone in Rock Hill is posing as a police officer and then stealing hundreds of dollars from people by telling them they've broken the law.
Police are concerned because someone is claiming to be one of their own, then ripping people off.
So far in two cases, a caller has introduced himself as Lt. Gary Fields, of the Rock Hill Police Department.
In each case, the caller told the victim that police have an arrest warrant out for the victim for failure to show up for jury duty. Then he said he will take care of it if the victim will put $300 on a Green Dot MoneyPak card and send it to a specific account.The victim was then told to send the money from a CVS store on Celanese Road, in Rock Hill.
Both people went ahead and sent the money. Eyewitness News learned there is no Officer Gary Fields with the Police Department.
Channel 9 called the number on the police report to try to talk to the mystery caller. He answered by saying, "Warrants division," then hung up when learning that reporter Greg Suskin was on the phone.
A warning on the back of a MoneyPak card alerts users to fraud and says that the cards can be traced.
That's what police are working on right now.
Both victims did call in quickly after getting suspicious.
"I think these people, as soon as they knew they were scammed, they called us right away," Bollinger said.
However, they didn't call before sending all that money. With one phone call to dispatch, they could've learned that Fields is not a police officer in Rock Hill. They also could've found out if there were really any warrants on them.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:56:24 -0400
The man who told police he was driving the car that hit and killed a pedestrian in north Charlotte last week will make his first court appearance on Tuesday, but even if he’s convicted, it’s unlikely he would spend much time in prison -- and the mother of another hit-and-run victim says that needs to change.
Victor Mendez turned himself in over the weekend and is charged with felony hit-and-run in the death of Margaret Rutledge, who was hit crossing North Tryon Street.
Police released pictures of the van that hit her, and several days later Mendez approached an attorney who contacted police and arranged for Mendez to turn himself in.
“They seem to be very nice, mind-their-own-business type of people,” said Gloria Jackson who lives across the street from Mendez and his family in east Charlotte.
But Cora Hilliard had a very different view when she heard the story.
“I just sat there and I was enraged. I was mad that another family has to go through this,” she said as she wore a picture of her son pinned to her blouse.
It was five years ago, almost to the day, that Jamel Hilliard was hit and killed in west Charlotte, and it took two weeks for police to find the car and the woman driving it.
When her case went to court, she was sentenced to five months in prison, and Hilliard said that’s not enough.
“And it's a shock when you go to court and you think you get some kind of justice and it's really not,” she said.
Hilliard has been on a mission ever since — to bring tougher penalties for hit-and-run drivers, who, unless they have a long criminal record, are not required to spend time in prison.
She has started a petition that she wants to take to lawmakers in Raleigh that will send a message to anyone who thinks about driving away from tragedy.
“Give them something to think about. You murder somebody and just leave them like they're trash. That's not right, that's not right,” she said.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:56:16 -0400
The Cherryville Police Department is building itself back up after a scandal involving fellow officers rocked it more than a year ago.
Starting next week, all patrol officers in Cherryville will have video cameras on their shoulders. The department hopes these body cameras will help in their mission to regain the public’s trust.
With one click, the camera will record every interaction an officer has with the public.
Erin Williams is one of two officers testing the camera system right now. She has worn it for about a week.
“I turn it on, but I don’t even think about it being on and still recording,” said Williams.
The police chief said this new tool is a necessity for a department in which three officers recently were convicted for providing security for a criminal enterprise while off duty, and a former chief was indicted for embezzling money.
“This is a new day. We are a new agency. We put the past behind us,” said Chief Chad Hawkins.
However residents still give the force a black eye.
“I think to some degree they’re still skeptical about it,” said resident Wylie Stansell. “We want people to know that they can trust their police department.”
Stansell said the city wants to be proud of the department again and he thinks the cameras will help.
“We want people to know they can trust their police department,” said Hawkins.
The camera can record up to 12 hours’ worth of video. Officers will be required to record every public encounter so any complaints from the public will be available for review.
“It helps ensure that we have professional standards,” Williams said.
Officers will not be able to record in restrooms or any place where people expect a level of privacy. The cameras were paid for by a $5,000 donation from an anonymous resident.
Video footage will be kept on a secure drive for 90 days unless it is needed for case evidence.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:47:16 -0400
A Filipino child who disappeared during Typhoon Haiyan is now in Charlotte with her new parents.
The Martins were on a mission trip when the storm hit and had no idea she was missing until they got back.
On Monday, they spoke with Eyewitness News anchor Sarah Rosario about their adoption process and talked about ways they plan to help families interested in adoption.
For Randy and Nancy Martin, having their daughter Kali is a dream come true.
"The first thing we wanted to do was hug her," said Randy Martin.
The couple has been trying to adopt for the past two years.
Four months ago, their adoption process was put in jeopardy when Typhoon Haiyan hit and their daughter Kali disappeared.
She was the only one missing out of nine children matched with families through Christian Adoption Services in Charlotte.
"It was a major rescue effort all for one little child," said Randy Martin.
Kali lived in the hardest-hit area near Tacloban City and was found about a week later.
Afterwards the 9-year-old met with counselors to see if she was still ready for adoption.
Last week, the Martins traveled more than 48 hours to the Philippines to get her.
"There were 50 children everywhere. They were dancing and screaming and little Kali was right out front," said Nancy Martin.
Now that she's found her home in Charlotte, the Martins are enjoying taking the time to bond.
"We got our haircut and our nails done." Nancy Martin said.
They're hoping their story will help others interested in adoption.
Christian Adoption Services is working with more than 60 families hoping to be matched with children by the end of this year.
We're told the greatest need is for children older than 7, sibling groups and children with special needs.
For more information visit http://christianadopt.org
To see more local news stories, click here.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:35:58 -0400
The wife of a longtime Union County School Board member who suddenly died said she is struggling with her loss and questions what may have caused his death.
John Crowder, 77, died Sunday from a stroke, and his death came while Union County schools are in the middle of a heated redistricting battle where a lawsuit is looming over the controversy.
One of the attorneys said they should be ready to file an injunction to try to stop the redistricting plan by Wednesday but it may be delayed because of Crowder’s death.
“I really don't know what I'm going to do,” his wife, Minnie Crowder, said.
He suffered a stroke Saturday while in bed and died the next day, on their 52nd anniversary.
She said Crowder only took medication for arthritis and he was healthy.
Doctors said he had one of the healthiest bodies at his age that they'd ever seen, she said.
“It has really bothers me so much,” Crowder said. “What could have happened?”
Just last week, Crowder made the surprise motion to approve the controversial redistricting of thousands of students in Union County, upsetting many parents.
Some even sent harsh emails to board members.
“If he was upset, he was keeping it on the inside,” Crowder said of her husband. “He was the kind that did not let you know how he felt, never.”
But she said he was vocal about how much he cared about the students. He served a combined 31 years on two different school boards.
“He was just such a jewel, such a jewel,” Crowder said.
To see more local news stories, click here.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:19:01 -0400
The National Guard rescuers performed a mountain rescue after a man fell while climbing in Linville Gorge.
Chopper 9 flew over the scene.
Two rescuers rappelled into the gorge and lifted the 23-year-old man out on a backboard.
Burke County sheriff’s deputies said the man was rappelling down the mountain when he fell.
A Black Hawk helicopter was called in to aid in the rescue. Rescuers rappelled down from the Black Hawk to rescue the climber.
CHOPPER 9: Crews leave after rock climber safely lifted from gorge
CHOPPER 9: Rescuers rappel into Linville Gorge to save rock climber
CHOPPER 9: Emergency crews rescue rock climber who fell
CHOPPER 9: Crews aid rock climber hanging from rock
The entire rescue took three hours to coordinate.
WSOCTV.com livestreamed the entire rescue and watched as the man was pulled out of the gorge.
They then took him to a landing area where he was flown to an Asheville hospital.
Officials said the man was hanging off a rock but was conscious and alert and talking to rescuers, officials said.
Burke County Special Operations was being assisted by Lake James Fire and Rescue, Burke County Rescue, Burke County REACT and Chesterfield Fire and Rescue.
Stay with wsoctv.com for more on this story.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:03:57 -0400
Families in one neighborhood in Hickory are concerned tonight that a washed-out bridge could slow firefighters and paramedics during an emergency.
It has been more than seven months since flood waters took out part of a road in the Hickory Woods subdivision.
The repairs could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Channel 9 was in the St. Stephens area along Snow Creek last summer when it flooded after a foot of rain fell in Catawba County. Nearly eight months later, 24th Street Place in northeast Hickory is still a mess near the creek, causing families to drive miles out of the way to avoid the washed-out bridge.
"I'm worried that if an ambulance or a fire truck needed to get over here quickly, it would (be) minutes that would be lost and that is important,” neighbor Melanie Holmes said.
Catawba County said not only are response times delayed, but not being able to use the road cost the school district $14,000 a year extra in fuel cost.
"We take if when we go to the grocery store, the library...pretty much everywhere. So it is a big inconvenience,” neighbor Gina Raines said.
Channel 9 has learned the developer, Shook Tarlton, is responsible for the private roadway, but when we called the developer today, they told us they weren't aware of the problem even though the companies name is listed right on the county plat. Greg Sakatos has spent months trying to get help to make the repairs here. Like many he is frustrated and losing hope.
"Right now it does not look like it is going to be fixed aside from a miracle. Something...I've given up. I'm not sure what it is going to take,” said neighbor Greg Sakatos.
Seventy of the neighbors have come together to hire an attorney in hopes of getting the developer to make the repairs here. He never returned Channel 9’s calls Monday.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:44:53 -0400
â€‹Authorities in Alabama say a 78-year-old Decatur woman had been living with the body of her deceased husband for at least a month.
According to WAAY, police were at the home for a welfare check after they were told family members had not heard from the couple in several weeks.
That’s when they found 75-year-old Jessie Kirby lying dead in his bedroom. Authorities say he suffered from multiple health problems and believe he died of natural causes.
According to AL.com his wife, Doris Kirby, had Alzheimer’s disease and was staying in the living room. The coroner told the website: “I don't think she was comprehending he was not in there with her ... The Alzheimer's was advanced enough to know she should eat something, but that's about all she knew.”
WAFF spoke with a neighbor who says she had known the family for decades.
“To think that all of us live right here this close and none of us know anything about it.”
Officials have ruled out foul play in Jessie’s death. Doris was taken to the local hospital where she is recovering.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:37:23 -0400
March 10, 2014: Chiquita has combined with Dublin-based Fyffes to become the world's top banana company.
Nov. 29, 2011: North Carolina Economic Investment Committee approved $22 million in incentives for Chiquita to move its headquarters to Charlotte, N.C.
2005: Chiquita acquired Fresh Express, the No. 1 seller of packaged salads in the United States, with 40 percent retail market share and approximately $1 billion in revenues.
2004: Fernando Aguirre named Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
2003: Chiquita acquires German produce distribution company, Atlanta AG.
2003: Chiquita marked 100th anniversary of its stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
March 19, 2002: Chiquita changed its name to Chiquita Brands and operates with that name to this day.
March 1999: Chiquita celebrated its 100th Anniversary...and what a century it was!
1998: Chiquita completed the expansion of the world's largest banana processing plant located in Costa Rica.
1994: Chiquita celebrated the 50th anniversary of Miss Chiquita.
1989: The Company introduced "Chiquita. Quite Possibly, The World's Perfect Food."
1987: The company’s logo changed from a banana with a fruit hat into woman.
1980: Chiquita was the official sponsor and supplier of bananas to the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.
1968: The first year more than 4 billion pounds (1.8 billion kilograms) of bananas were shipped and sold by the company worldwide.
1966: The Chiquita brand was introduced in Europe.
1963: Peel-off stickers with the logo started being placed on bananas and are still placed by hand in order to avoid bruising the fruit.
1899: Fruit Dispatch Company was formed to distribute bananas throughout the United States. The company broke new ground over the years in the distribution of fresh perishable produce to interior regions.
1871: Minor C. Keith traveled to Costa Rica and contracted to build a national railroad. Since he needed cargo and passengers for the railroad, he planted bananas alongside the tracks to provide paying fares both inland and back to the sea.
1870: Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker purchased 160 bunches of bananas in Jamaica and sailed them to Jersey City in 11 days, where he sold them for a profit.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:25:47 -0400
Mobile food truck owners want Charlotte officials to lessen regulations on their business.
David Stuck opened the Tin Kitchen food truck when he moved to Charlotte from Portland, Ore.
"Food trucks like this really add to the vibrancy of a city and the rules do need to be loosened up so people can enjoy them during evening activities," said customer Ellen Engelhardt.
Stuck said stiff city rules can sometimes make business stale.
Food trucks can't park with 400 feet of another truck, restaurant or residence.
"If you're parking right in front of their entrance that can cause problems with taking business from them," said customer Edwin Thompson.
Mobile food vendors can only operate between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
"You have people coming out of bars and they are frequently hungry." said Stuck. "We could service that."
Food trucks also must buy monthly permits and change location every 30 days.
The city created the rules in 2008 after residents expressed concerns about traffic, trash and safety.
"At the last city meeting there were people saying prostitution was rampant at the trucks," said Stuck. "I don't know what trucks they're going to, but I've never seen that at any truck."
Food truck owners are asking for less regulation.
"I hope they look at it as an opportunity to create another cool thing about Charlotte," said Stuck.
City leaders want residents to weigh in first.
Officials will hold a meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Government Center.
Council should make a decision on the rules this summer.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:21:40 -0400
Test results have returned for illnesses in the Dunkin’ Donuts case.
A couple of weeks ago officials with Union County’s health department said they were investigating reports of a dozen illnesses at the business’ West Roosevelt Boulevard location.
Dozen ill from Dunkin Donuts, Health Dept. investigating
Of those tested, six of the 10 specimens were positive for norovirus. Of those who tested positive, one person was an employee, one was a household member, and four were consumers of Dunkin’ Donuts.
The health department followed up on 51 cases. Officials cannot confirm if the illness was caused by the sewage backup found in the store. However, they say it is not uncommon for norovirus to be present in sewage.
That Dunkin’ Donuts location is fully operational.
To read previous coverage about the Dunkin’ Donuts case, click here.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:19:17 -0400
A concerned group of residents and commercial property owners sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Tata and NC DOT Board chairman Ned Curran over the weekend, to further their fight against proposed noise walls along Interstate 277 in Uptown.
This letter from the group "Citizens for a Sounder Solution" calls the NCDOT out for the controversial voting process that gave the noise wall project the green light last month.
According to the group's letter, "NC DOT violated its own written policy, wrongfully excluded eligible citizens from voting, sent the wrong voting instructions twice, and inaccurately tallied and reported voting results."
The NC DOT sent out ballots using a weighted system that gave more votes to those closest to the wall.
There were 27 votes for the wall in Fourth Ward and 74 against.
Under NC DOT rules, unreturned ballots counted as a "yes" vote, giving it approval.
Commercial property owners like John Nichols didn't have a say at all.
He owns a plot of land off North Tryon right next to where one of the walls would be built.
"It's sad because we feel helpless." Nichols said, "We kind of had to interject ourselves into this process."
Resident Mike Restaino was one of the people who voted against the noise wall. He wants the NC DOT to rethink the plan, "I think they need to be open that the urban environment process needs to be completely different than the other noise wall processes. Restaino added, "We want to have a solution that's right for the present and future of Charlotte."
Channel 9 also spoke with Greg Jonson, the man who wrote the letter to the NC DOT. He said he's hopeful the NC DOT will see the voting process was flawed and that they will work with the city to come up with a solution to tackle the noise that makes sense for everyone.
Tata responded to the letter Monday via email, saying, "Our chief of engineers is involved and will ensure this effort is executed to standard."
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:09:24 -0400
An Oklahoma man says he wound up stuck in a storm drain for two days because he was chasing after a $20 bill.
KSWO reports the unnamed man somehow fit his way into a storm drain trying to get the bill he dropped in the drain. When he wound up underground, he ended up getting lost in the city drain system.
ABC adds the man was between 12 to 15 feet underground in the drain — and it was only 42 inches in diameter. A group of high school students ended up calling 911 after hearing the man's cries for help from deep underground.
Police were able to get the man out of that drain and say he got a bump on his head while he was underground. They add the city drain system is so confusing, you'd need a map to get around it.
One police officer who responded to the scene said he had never seen anything like this in his nearly 30 years of work. Another responder said the man was confused and didn't have any idea what day it was when he was rescued. (Via The Huffington Post)
And unfortunately, after that long ordeal, the man was never able to find that lost $20 bill.
See more at newsy.com.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:11:15 -0400
Police are investigating a crash that sent several people to the hospital Monday morning in Watauga County.
Officials said the head-on crash between a pickup truck and a rollback wrecker happened on U.S. 421 near Vanderpool Road around 8 a.m.
Firefighters said one person was pinned inside the wrecker, down the steep side of the highway.
There was no word on the severity of the injuries.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 10:25:59 -0400
The Ohio man at the center of a recent large-scale manhunt and accused of fleeing with a 14-year-old girl portrays himself online to be a werewolf-like creature who recruits young women to be members of his “slayer covenant.”
The question is whether Mark Edwards — now facing charges in two separate cases of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, interference with custody, fleeing and eluding and violating a protection order — was using the group as a way to groom young victims, or was simply taking part in an increasingly popular hobby.
“Certainly they were acting out a fantasy,” Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said about videos posted online nearly two years ago of Edwards, the 14-year-old girl and other women role-playing sword fights in costume.
“The guy made himself out to be a warrior,” Kelly said. “His attempt by posting these videos on YouTube was to reach a larger audience. He wanted to publicize his alter ego.”
But at this point in the investigation nothing indicates that any other minors have been victimized, Kelly said. Some of the women in the videos appear to be adults, and there are no sexual acts depicted. In one photo the teen girl can be seen sitting on Edward’s lap.
The girl’s mother, Tammy Bruce, likened the alleged relationship between her daughter and Edwards to being in a cult.
“It’s like her little brain has been drilled over and over and over that he loves her,” she said.
Edwards, now in custody at the Clark County Jail, has declined all interview requests.
But his friend RaMondo Brandon, who bumped into the wanted pair on Feb. 28 at a Springfield gas station and convinced them to surrender peacefully to deputies, said the 44-year-old’s interest in martial arts and fantasy are innocent hobbies.
“Just like I play chess,” Brandon said.
He said the relationship with the teen has to do with his desire to help her.
“He said he did it to save her … from a home situation,” Brandon said.
The sheriff’s office said there have been no accusations of abuse made by the girl or other family members. “If that was alleged then we would certainly investigate it,” Kelly said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation confiscated computers from Edwards’ McCreight Avenue home while serving a search warrant Feb. 27. Kelly said those computers will be analyzed for any evidence of criminal activity.
It’s believed the relationship between the pair grew out of a family friendship while they were neighbors.
Edwards used to go fishing with her mother while the families lived around the corner from one another and their daughters became good friends. Kelly said the sexual relationship began when the girl would go for sleepovers at the Edwards’ residence.
According to a Springfield Police Division report filed in September, the girl told her mother that the two had engaged in sexual intercourse repeatedly at his home between April and August 2013. The photo shoot in which they appear together in costume was posted online in September 2012.
Two days after Tammy Bruce reported that alleged activity to police in September 2013, Edwards is accused of attempting to run away with the teen. An AMBER alert was issued and they were located in an SUV pulled over on Ohio 41.
A protection order was put in place against Edwards and he was indicted on charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
The teen started a homeschooling program after reportedly being bullied, and Kelly said it appears she continued to communicate with Edwards online.
The Slayer Covenant
On Facebook, Edwards goes by the alias Nagamishe Shiro. His profile includes numerous posts and notes about what he called the Slayer Covenant, “A world wide secret organization of Werewolves, Vampires, Werecats or Hell cats, and Hybrid humans that work together to protect the human race from the evil of demons and other evil vampires or werewolves.”
He says the group works like a Jedi order, referencing the Star Wars franchise, “training young slayers that show remarkable powers and recruiting any new slayers.”
His notes don’t give any specific instructions, or indicate the group does anything other than werewolf and vampire role-playing. He encourages anyone interested to get in touch with him and provides an AOL email address.
In a recent February post, with his trial for unlawful sexual conduct looming, Edwards writes he was, “hoping just to make it to this coming summer.” He would be looking for people to be cosplay slayers, he writes, but specified, “Please 18 and up.”
Cosplay, a hybrid term for costumed role-playing, is a popular hobby for adults and youth all over the world. In general, cosplayers dress up as characters from comic books, video games, Japanese anime or movies and act out existing or newly made up scenes.
Popular cosplay websites such as cosplay.com feature hundreds of thousands of user-generated photos, videos and discussion forums, with posts often seeking individuals with similar interests to participate in groups and skits together.
Cosplay contests are a mainstay of comic book conventions that have become a multimillion dollar boon for cities like San Diego. The cable network Syfy features a docu-series called “Heroes of Cosplay” that follows, “legends and newbies” on their quest for notoriety.
The girl’s stepmother, Denise Bruce, said she was aware of some photos of the girl dressed in costume posted on Facebook in 2012, but said to her knowledge the teen was not a big cosplay enthusiast.
“That was very odd for (her) to do something like that,” she said. Until the photos appeared on the news during the manhunt, Denise Bruce said she was unaware that Edwards was even in the photos.
“I actually thought it was of her and her girlfriends,” she said. “It’s a real change from when she was younger.”
Dennis Marikis is a clinical psychologist working in Mansfield and Mount Vernon, Ohio, who specializes in working with adult and child victims of cults. He said role-playing games themselves are generally innocuous, but can easily take on a controlling facet for people who invest in the characters.
“Some of those situations can be dramatically influential to a certain degree,” he said.
The age difference between the suspect and the girl is the most alarming part of their relationship, Marikis said, and the main factor compounding her vulnerability and possibly a susceptibility to being controlled.
“If they were both 44 and doing this,” Marikis said it would not be of much concern. “That’s an awfully significant difference relative to maturity level.”
Kelly said the relationship has the markings of predator preying on the vulnerability of a child.
“It all fits the profile of a perpetrator who has groomed a victim. The victim is submitting and compliant and it turns into love,” Kelly said.
‘No danger to her’
Although he wears a menacing werewolf mask and fangs while wielding spears, swords and firearms in his self-made montages posted online, those that know Mark Edwards insist he’s not a violent individual.
Brandon, a self-defense instructor who trained with Edwards in the past, said he was shocked back in September when he learned his friend had been arrested. The second time around he worried that the depiction of Edwards as, “armed and dangerous,” could lead to a confrontation with law enforcement where someone might get hurt.
“There was no danger to her from him,” Brandon said.
Edwards is skilled in martial arts and trained in weaponry, Brandon said, but would never use those skills against anyone unnecessarily.
Edwards previously hadn’t been accused of any violent acts. A Springfield Police incident report about a disturbance at his home from January 2013 noted the presence of knives and swords in the home, but the civil matter was settled peacefully and no police report was required.
At one point he worked at the Upper Valley Mall as a security guard and filmed videos of himself there in costume after hours. Mall representatives previously declined to comment and didn’t release how or when his employment there ended.
He also worked as an animal trapper, kept a pet alligator and snakes for a time and told the Springfield News-Sun in 2012 that he had an encounter with Bigfoot near the C.J. Brown Reservoir.
“What he does is animal rescue. If you have snakes in your basement, he’ll get them out,” Brandon said.
In one of the videos on his YouTube channel, the avid hunter can be seen with what appears to be a coyote he has shot with an arrow. He then includes images of himself covered in blood and apparently eating a raw animal.
In some of the images a fake human head is included in the shot, so it appears as if Edwards is eating a human body.
During the search of his home last week, Kelly said deputies discovered a freezer full of animal carcasses. The sheriff said there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of animal cruelty and the animal remains could be from legal hunting activities.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 08:42:35 -0400
Next month, a new tribute to Zahra Baker will be unveiled in Hickory.
Channel 9’s partners at the Hickory Daily Record told Eyewitness News a sculpture will be moved to Kiwanis Park, near the Zahra Baker All Children's playground.
Investigators found the 10-year-old's remains scattered in Caldwell County in 2010. Her stepmother is serving 18 years in prison for her murder.
The sculpture features pinwheels -- a symbol for child abuse awareness.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 07:45:22 -0400
Police were on the scene of a deadly accident in west Charlotte early Monday morning.
Firefighters said 67-year-old Heinz Heinrich Lumpe died in the crash on Moores Chapel Road at Rhyne Road just before 6 a.m.
Police said Lumpe was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu and tried to make a left turn from Ryhne onto Moores Chapel when he was hit by a 2009 Dodge Ram driven by 36-year-old Bart Bradburn.
Paramedics pronounced Lumpe dead at the scene. Bradburn was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with minor injuries.
Investigators said alcohol and speed were not factors in the crash.
Police reopened the road around 9 a.m. and at this time, no charges have been filed.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 06:42:49 -0400
Charlotte-Mecklenburg taxpayers can weigh in on how the school district spends its money Monday night.
The superintendent is holding several community meetings to talk about the budget process and explain options.
CMS is considering allowing advertisements on school buses and adding new fees.
Tonight's meeting is at 6 p.m. at Bradley Middle School off Beatties Ford Road.
Published: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 06:28:56 -0400