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  • Dominican Republic authorities on Sunday announced six arrests in connection with the brutal killing of a beloved American teacher who was strangled during an alleged robbery in her apartment. Patricia Ann “Patty” Anton, 63, was found dead in her Cabarete, Puerto Plata, home on Nov. 12, bound at the hands and feet, according to a news release from the Dominican Republic National Police. Her body was sent to the National Institute of Forensic Pathology in Santiago, where it was determined she died of asphyxiation. Hoy Digital, an online news site based out of Santa Domingo, reported that Anton, who was found gagged with a rag, had been tortured before she was killed. >> Read more trending news The alleged killers stole Anton’s cellphone, her laptop, a 40-inch plasma television, bedsheets and a pair of athletic shoes, the news release said. A later news release said $80 in cash was also taken. Anton’s husband, Patrick Anton, was not in the apartment when the break-in and killing took place, according to Inside Edition. Hoy Digital reported that he lives in the United States. “I don’t know what to say. Everybody’s heartbroken,” Patrick Anton told the news program. On Sunday, authorities announced the arrests of six of the seven people investigators have identified as suspects in the case: Michael Mariñez Rosario, Heuri Flores Hernández, Junior Alexis Suarez, Juan José Andújar Mella, Oroniel Canario Montero and Alexis Maquey, also known as Alexis Makenley. Four of the suspects, Mella and Rosario and Haitian nationals Maquey and Suarez, have prior criminal records, police officials said. Investigators are still looking for a seventh suspect in the case, who goes by “Eiden and/or El Venezolano,” or “The Venezuelan.” “Our researchers from the Central Research Directorate (DICRIM) continue to deepen the investigations together with the Public Ministry and continue the search and capture of Eiden and/or El Venezolano to apprehend him and make him available to justice along with his accomplices,” a translation of the agency’s Sunday announcement said. The group is accused of traveling to Puerto Plata in order to commit crimes in the province, which is located along the Dominican Republic’s northern Atlantic coast. They are suspects in at least one robbery that took place in the days before Anton was slain. Hoy Digital reported that a phone call one of the accused made to a friend, using Patty Anton’s stolen cellphone, helped lead investigators to her alleged killers. The man reportedly left the friend a voicemail saying the group was in trouble because police were seeking them in the homicide. The news site reported that one of the men arrested in the investigation was a Haitian man who cleans the building where Anton reportedly moved in days before she was killed.  9&10 News in Cadillac, Michigan, reported that investigators in the Dominican Republic also used surveillance footage from the apartment building to identify the suspects. Anton’s slaying has aimed yet another international spotlight on the country, which sits alongside Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, following a recent spate of deaths of American tourists there. According to Inside Edition, tourism in the beleaguered nation has fallen by more than 100,000 visitors this year. Patty Anton was a teacher and consultant at 3 Mariposas Montessori in the resort town of Cabarete, described on the school website as one of the Caribbean nation’s poorest communities. Half of the school’s students attend on full scholarship. “However, the full student population has children from various cultures, nationalities and socioeconomic backgrounds,” the website reads. “We are proud of our diversity, which reflects the community in which we live.” Anton worked at the school for six years before she was killed, according to her biography on the school website. “Born in Italy, Patty spent a large portion of her life traveling with her family before settling down in Michigan to raise her own family,” the bio reads. In Michigan, Anton raised three children, sons who are now in their 30s and a now-28-year-old daughter. 9&10 News reported that Anton spent 12 years as a teacher at The Children’s House, an independent Montessori school in Traverse City. The U.S. school mourned Anton on its Instagram page. “Our Montessori family tragically lost an incredible light this week,” the statement reads. “Patty touched the lives of so many children, parents, co-workers and loved ones. Her bright spirit courses through the halls of The Children’s House and the legacies she left behind are indelible. “We have shared so many stories of Patty together this week. We remember her as caring, spirited, generous, and creative. She was truly a champion for every child and encouraged each one of them to believe in themselves and their special and unique gifts.” The school’s statement said the community would continue to “carry the torch” that Anton lit through the belief in the potential of every human being. “Rest in peace, beautiful Patty,” it reads. The Children’s House will be the site of Anton’s memorial service on Nov. 30. Anton, who was certified to teach ages 6 to 12, had more than 20 years of experience teaching, consulting, writing curriculum, developing elementary programs and mentoring in the Montessori community, her bio page for 3 Mariposas reads. “In addition to her teaching experience, Patty (had) served as a legislative aide at the Michigan State Capitol and, prior to joining 3 Mariposas Montessori’s faculty, she also served as a volunteer in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Matagorda, Dominican Republic,” the bio states. “She (brought) her love for children and dedication to making positive changes through education to our school.” Sarah Ludwig-Ross, the founder and head of 3 Mariposas Montessori, issued a statement to NBC News about the sadness Anton’s slaying has brought upon the school community. “The children, parents, teachers and the community in general are completely heartbroken over this loss,” Ludwig-Ross said. In a statement shared on the school’s Facebook page, school officials said Anton gave her “heart and soul” to the school. “Patty loved each and every one of our children just as if they were her own,” the post read. “She would light up a room upon entering it and be sure to make everyone smile and laugh with her wonderful sense of humor. Patty was a mentor, a friend, a leader, and a counselor to many. “She will be missed here on Earth but will forever stay in our hearts. We love you, Patty.” The school celebrated its 10-year anniversary last weekend, and school officials said Anton had been looking forward to the event. “Even though she was struggling from back pain, she said that she was looking forward to celebrating our 10 amazing years, even if she had to come with a walker,” school officials said. The school held a memorial service for Anton on Sunday, the same day police announced they had arrested her alleged killers. Inside Edition, which sent a news crew to the Dominican Republic, was on hand for the ocean-side memorial, in which mourners, including both adults and children, laid flowers on the sand that were then gathered and released among the waves. Watch Inside Edition's segment on the death of Patty Anton below. “We are devastated, and our family will never forget her. We are devastated,” one woman told the program’s crew. Anton’s cousin, Adrianne Machina, told ABC News last week that the Dominican Republic was Anton’s “happy place.” “I think her dream was to retire down there,” Machina told the news network. “The Dominican Republic really gave her purpose and peace.” On Monday, after police announced the arrests related to Anton’s death, Machina released a video in which she read a written statement on behalf Anton’s husband, children and extended family. “We would like to thank both the Dominican Republic and American law enforcement communities for their vigorous efforts to find and arrest the perpetrators of this crime. The world lost a bright and beautiful soul, but we are committed to keep her light shining bright on the values she held so dear,” Machina said. “She embodied the Montessori philosophy of respect for self, for others and our world. “Patty loved America and she loved the Dominican Republic and the 3 Mariposas Montessori school where she worked. In her honor, the school will be creating a peace park in her name.” Anton’s family requested that donations be made to the school for the creation of the park. Patrick Anton told ABC News the peace park would be a “lasting legacy in the Cabarete community she loved so much.” In her video, Machina turned again to the crime that took Patty Anton’s life. Watch Adrianne Machina speak about her slain cousin below. “We hope that bringing the perpetrators to justice will bring some measure of peace to those who loved her and restore confidence for residents and tourists alike that the Dominican Republic is a safe and beautiful place that, like many other places, has experienced an unfortunate tragedy,” Machina said. Veering from the family’s written statement, Machina offered her own recollections of her cousin. “Patty was just one of those really special people who had magic and a sparkle of mischief in her eye,” Machina said with a smile. “One family member said, ‘She was like a saint, except for way more fun.’” Machina said Anton wore her heart on her sleeve and was prone to easy tears over kind words. “And it was just as easy (for her) to burst into a fit of giggles,” Machina recalled fondly. In a Facebook post, she shared a memory of a time during a family vacation when Anton sidestepped a compliment. “So, my dad and I started showering her with praise: ‘You’re the best mom ever. Your students are the luckiest kids in the world. You’re so beautiful,’ until she cried and begged us to stop, and we all burst out laughing,” Machina wrote. “All of it was true. I will miss that laugh -- just thinking about her smile brings a smile to my face.” Kindness was Anton’s strength, her cousin said, and she built community wherever she went. “Walking by, she knew the shopkeepers by name,” Machina said in the video statement. “I’m sure every single student thought that they were her favorite student.” Machina said her cousin was initially overwhelmed by the task at hand when she moved to the Dominican Republic to teach. She ultimately drew strength from her students, whom she said Anton realized had overcome obstacles much larger than those she faced. “She drew strength from them, just as we are drawing strength from her now to be bigger, better and tougher,” Machina said. She pointed out that, as a preschool teacher, Anton spent her days teaching her students to use their words and manage their emotions. “Yes, we’re mad, and we’re sad, and we will channel those emotions into seeking justice and to sowing seeds of kindness and to reaching out and embracing people who are different,” Machina said. “In a world that can be unkind and unfair, she sought to make a difference, and we hope that you, too, will seek to make a difference,” she told those watching. “Be kind. Be generous. Have respect for yourself, for others and our world.” Those who knew Anton responded in droves to the school’s announcement of her death on Facebook. “I met this shining star briefly near the beach and, when she learned that I did music, I was immediately enlisted to meet her kids,” Mike Tangen wrote, sharing a photo from his visit with Anton’s students. “What a wonderful person. Such a loss to all of humanity! My heart aches for all of Cabarete.” “This picture captures her spirit beautifully,” Jennifer Rybka Orwig wrote. “Patty’s kindness and love touched so many people. She spoke so highly of your school and the people of the Dominican Republic. Her spirit will live on in each act of kindness that we share.” A parent, Erin Rowe Wilson, wrote that her family loved Anton. “She, along with the entire 3MM family, welcomed us and made us feel happy and safe,” Wilson wrote. “Our hearts will hold her, and our minds will never forget her. May God’s grace be with her children and family and all who loved her.” The 3 Mariposas Montessori website’s homepage on Friday hosted a donation button asking for contributions to help build both a new school and the Patty Anton Peace Park. The request included a quote from Anton herself. “Seeing the beautiful development of these children, who would otherwise be lost to the brutal cycle of poverty, confirms my belief that education is the most direct path to change -- and peace,” the quote read.
  • The CDC issued a Food Safety Alert on Friday warning consumers to avoid romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California, because of another food poisoning outbreak. >> Read more trending news  The officials urged people not to eat the leafy green if the label doesn’t say where it was grown. They also urged supermarkets and restaurants not to serve or sell the lettuce, unless they’re sure it’s grown elsewhere. Officials say the warning applies to all types of romaine from the Salinas region, include whole heads, hearts of romaine and pre-cut salad mixes that have romaine. The warning comes almost exactly one year after a similar outbreak led to a blanket warning about tainted romaine. The USDA recently announced a recall of salads, packaged by Missa Bay, LLC, that were made from Oct. 14 through Oct. 16 because it could be contaminated by E. coli. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 40 people in more than a dozen states. The agency said its inquiry led investigators to farms in Salinas and that they were looking for the contamination source. Romaine has been tied to repeated food poisoning outbreaks, including the one right before Thanksgiving last year. It’s not clear exactly why romaine keeps sickening people, but food safety experts note the difficulty of eliminating risk for produce grown in open fields and eaten raw. “It’s very, very disturbing. Very frustrating all around,” said Trevor Suslow, of the Produce Marketing Association. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • More than 55 million people will be flying or driving to destinations this Thanksgiving, the American Automobile Association said. >> Read more trending news  That is the most travelers since 2005, according to the AAA news release. Most travelers will drive to their destinations, and AAA said Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time for traffic congestion.The Thanksgiving travel forecast released by AAA projects that 49.3 million people will drive and 4.45 million people will fly this year. While AAA notes that gas prices have been fluctuating lately, it says the national average right now is slightly lower than last year's prices, which averaged $2.57 per gallon. For those flying, AAA notes that the Monday before Thanksgiving is the best day to fly, followed by traveling on Thanksgiving Day.
  • A Wisconsin man was found Wednesday living in a bunker along the Milwaukee River. >> Read more trending news  Geoffrey Graff, 41, was in a 20-foot long bunker built 8 feet below the ground on land owned by Milwaukee Area Technical College, WDJT reported.  'Obviously it required some ingenuity for an individual to do something of this nature in, literally in an urban area, an urban setting, and it go undetected for any period,' Milwaukee County Sheriff Eaernell Lucas told WDJT.  The entrance to the encampment was concealed and the college had not given anyone permission to live on the land, the Sheriff’s Office said. “Our investigation has not determined the exact length the individual may have been inhabiting in this encampment, but it's conceivable it may have been a considerable period,” Lucas said at a news conference.  Graff had fired a gun three times in frustration after his dogs ran away, bringing attention by law enforcement to the area, investigators said.  Graff had four guns, three knives, a bow and arrow, supplies, a grill, propane tanks, a generator, and numerous hand and power tools, Lucas said.  Deputies are still investigating. Graff is in custody and could face weapons and trespassing charges, but none have yet to be filed against him.
  • Country star Sam Hunt was arrested for driving under the influence after being pulled over early Thursday morning driving the wrong way on a Nashville road, according to police. >> Read more trending news  Hunt, 34, was swerving and tried to cross the center lane several times before Metro Nashville police pulled him over, WSMV reported.  Hunt smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes. Investigators found two empty beer cans next to him, WKRN reported. Investigators said Hunt told them he recently drank alcohol, WKRN reported.  He also had trouble providing his driver license to investigators. At first, he handed investigators his credit card, then his passport, while his license sat in his lap, WKRN reported.  Hunt then failed a field sobriety test, WKRN reported. His blood alcohol level was .173. The legal limit is .08. Hunt was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and possession of an open container, WKRN reported. He was released from jail on $2,500 bond, WKRN reported. A court date was scheduled for Jan. 17. 'Wednesday night I decided to drive myself home after drinking at a friend’s show in downtown Nashville. It was a poor and selfish decision and I apologize to everyone who was unknowingly put at risk and let down by it. It won’t happen again,' Hunt said Friday on social media. Hunt is known for songs including “Body Like a Back Road, “Take Your Time,” “House Party,” and “Drinkin’ Too Much.”
  • Ken Moore is a registered sex offender but never thought that would keep him from seeing the birth of his third child. >> Read more trending news  'I did what I did,' Ken Moore told WPXI. 'I understand that was wrong, and it's something I have to live with. I was there for my other two and this one, I got to see pictures and that was about it.' Moore pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in 2017, served 49 days in jail and was released on probation. He must register as a sex offender for 25 years, and he's not allowed to have unsupervised visits with his children.  Moore admits he did something wrong by downloading images and movies, but he says he's now getting counseling and therapy and he says he has never harmed anyone.  Moore lives apart from his wife and children now, but in October, he went to Magee Women's Hospital with his wife for the birth of their third child. After he got his wife set up in her room, he went to tell security about his conviction. His counselor and probation officer told him he should alert security as a precaution.  'As soon as I told that guy, his eyes got big and everybody started walking around, and an officer came up beside me, and he told me I'm sorry,' said Moore. 'I'm glad that you came up and came forth with that, but we're going to have to have you escorted out of the building.'  'Did he give you a reason why?' asked reporter Rick Earle.  'I asked and he said, 'Because you're on Megan's Law. It's against our policy for you to be here,'' said Moore.  Moore said he was escorted off the property and wasn't even allowed to retrieve his belongings from his wife's room. He eventually got a ride home from Oakland and missed the birth of his son. UPMC told Target 11 that patient care and safety is their highest priority. UPMC officials sent us this statement: 'We understand the sensitivity involved when the father of the baby is found to be on the registered sex offender list. Under those circumstances, it is within the discretion of the hospital administration and security whether to permit him to visit the baby and/or his partner/wife. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.' Magee would not elaborate on the decision to remove Moore before the birth of his child.  Moore says security offered to escort him to the room the next day, but he declined, fearing that he might be arrested. He finally got to see his son when his wife returned home.