Compiled by Thomas Ehlers
Hallie Turner opened up the show with a breaking news story about arrests in a 30-year cold case of a badly beaten and suffocated baby dumped in a trashcan.
The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office arrested Scott Gordon Poole, 54, and his wife, Robin Lynn Byrum, 51 on Oct. 21. DNA analysis on the infant’s body found in the North Carolina Outer Banks led to identifying the parents of the child.
Both were charged with concealing the birth of a child, which is considered a first-class felony. When announcing the arrests Monday, the Nags Head Police Department said more charges are expected to follow pending further investigation.
A Fox News report stated that at 10 a.m. on April 4, 1991, police officers in the town of Nags Head were dispatched to the 8600 block of East Tides Drive upon discovering infant human remains. Due to the decomposition, the gender was unable to be determined.
The Pitt County Medical Examiner’s Office in Greenville concluded that the child died of blunt force trauma to the face and asphyxiation.
The Nags Head Police Chief Phil Webster said, “The tragedy of this child’s death and the manner in which his body was disposed of is compounded by the fact that, until now, no one has been found responsible for this incredibly heartbreaking act. But, through the hard work of Nags Head Police investigators and our law enforcement partners in the case, those who did this will be held accountable for a death that has remained unsolved for three decades.”
Throughout the last 30 years, the Nags Head police investigators worked tirelessly examining and re-examining evidence from this case to find the people who were responsible.
In 2019, they finally had a lead when a private lab in The Woodlands, TX received the unidentified infant’s rib bone to use hereditary material to conduct a genealogical profile that led to a family in North Carolina.
Fox News reported that in August, investigators from the police department, sheriff’s office and North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation performed an operation to gather DNA from Poole and Byrum. According to authorities, the DNA sample confirmed that they both were the parents of the deceased infant.
Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman said his office was grateful to be able to help bring closure in the 30-year cold case. He also emphasized “the importance of teamwork in these types of investigations.”
Sarah Train contributed a state story about a grand jury on Tuesday returning an eight-count indictment against two law enforcement officers in connection with the 2016 killing of a man shot 76 times during an attempted fugitive arrest in the Atlanta area.
Train reported that officers Eric Heinze and Kristopher Hutchens face charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, making false statements and violation of oath by a public officer.
Officers entered the apartment of Jamarion Robinson and shot him on Aug. 5, 2016. Officers believed that Robinson was the man responsible for pointing a gun at Atlanta officers and fleeing. Robinson had been a college football player at Clark Atlanta University and Tuskegee University, and he had no criminal convictions.
While there is no body camera video of the shooting, cell phone video from outside the apartment captured nearly three minutes of gunfire. Attorney Gerald Griggs, who is close with Robinson’s family, stated that the family celebrated the decision – one they have waited on for five years.
Hallie returned with a local story about a former graduate student at the University of Georgia pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to charges from an alleged extortion of a woman he hired for online sex.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Gary Leach entered the plea to extortion by threat of injury to reputation and two counts of cyberstalking during a hearing this week in Boston.
The FBI affidavit showed the woman contacted Leach in October of 2019 on Instagram after she used the hashtag “FitPics,” which is code for people who are willing to pay for sexual interaction online.
The two agreed that $200 was sufficient enough for 10 minutes of performing. The two did have more exchanges in December of 2019 when Leach showed her a video of an interaction between the two of them. The FBI stated she was not aware he had made a tape.
Leach began making demands and threatened to show the video to the woman’s parents if she did not cooperate. The woman made numerous requests for Leach to stop and when he refused, she went to the FBI.
A plea was filed on Tuesday as Leach waived the indictment process.
The 24-year-old woman who was in contact with Leach resides in Massachusetts, which is why the case was prosecuted by Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell.
Although Leach has yet to be sentenced, he is expected to receive two years in federal prison with an undisclosed fine.
After a break, Sarah returned with an entertainment story. She reported that ABC News is planning on making a significant investment in its coverage of climate change tied to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which begins Oct. 31 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The series, “Climate Crisis: Saving Tomorrow,” will be a month-long series that begins with coverage of the conference. It will continue through November and will span all seven continents while reporting on the causes and risks of climate change.
Chief meteorologist Ginger Zee will also lead a new unit focused on climate change, joined by producers Tracy Wholf and Stephanie Ebbs. ABC World News host David Muir will lead the coverage of the climate change conference, where President Biden and former President Obama are slated to attend.
Muir will go to Madagascar, which could be the first place to see a climate change-induced famine. Other places that Ginger Zee will report from include the Maldives, Iceland and Pennsylvania. Coverage from all seven continents will appear on ABC’s programs and platforms.
Caleb Struchtemeyer gave an update on campus spending. UGA is investing an additional $8.5 million over the next three years to enhance campus safety, including additional lights, security cameras, police personnel and a nightly rideshare service for students.
This coincides with the nearly $6 million the university already spent in safety improvements over the last four years for a seven-year commitment of $14 million. UGA and Athens-Clarke County have combined efforts to prevent crime in and around downtown where UGA has assigned officers to focus on the safety of students coming to and from downtown late at night.
They have also put resources into monitoring high-traffic pedestrian pathways during the busiest nights of the week. All of this comes in light of off-campus robberies and crimes where students have been victims.
Yara Manasrah delivered a story on a drug company. Major pharmaceutical company Merck has issued a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 pill, allowing the drug to be made and sold in the world’s poorest nations for cheap. The pill will be made in 105 nations, mostly African and Asian, whose access to coronavirus vaccines have been in extremely short supply.
Caleb returned with an international update. The environmental group, Greenpeace, released a study that shows over one-third of the busiest short-haul flights in Europe have less-polluting train alternatives.
On Wednesday, the group called on European governments to boost train travel so that there are fewer polluting planes flying across the continent. OBC Transeuropa showed that 34% of the 150 busiest short-haul flights had better train alternatives of less than six hours.
They report that boosted train travel could save around 23.4 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. This study comes ahead of Sunday’s U.N. climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland. However, airlines argue short haul flights are necessary as they provide needed connections to longer-distance trips.
After a short break, Yara finished up the show with a story on foreign affairs. She reported that Democrats are racing against the clock to fund their social and climate programs before President Biden leaves for Europe on Thursday.
While the plan has already been whittled down to half its size, The New York Times reports that Senators Kryrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia continue to hold out their support for the bill. Both senators met with White House officials for more than an hour on Wednesday morning, leading some to believe that a compromise could occur sooner rather than later.
However, when asked if a deal could be reached by the end of today, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), the chairman of the Budget Committee said, “I don’t think so, I’m not quite clear. In terms of the revenue package, every sensible revenue option seems to be destroyed.”