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  • Onslow County couple accused of starving foster children

    By Katy Harris
    Published On: Oct 20 2014 11:24:34 AM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 20 2014 06:13:19 PM CDT
    ONSLOW COUNTY -

    An Onslow County husband and wife allegedly starved their foster children --just 4 and 5 years old-- by giving them one meal a day, causing them to require hospitalization, arrest warrants say. The suspects are also accused of causing other injuries to the victims.

    The Onslow County Sheriff's Office said 29-year-old Jonathan Earl Savage and 29-year-old Brandi Michelle Savage turned themselves in Friday morning. They face multiple child abuse charges.

    Arrest warrants say the suspects, who live on Batchelor Road about 12 miles southwest of Richlands, were foster parents to a 4-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy.

    According to the warrants, the couple "provided one meal daily to [their foster children]... who became severely chronic malnourished to the point that [they] had to be hospitalized [at Vidant Medical Center]." The warrants say doctors ruled the children's conditions as "deliberate starvation."

    The alleged abuse happened from Nov. 1, 2013 to Aug. 15, 2014, the warrants say.

    "One meal a day. I can't make it off that much less a growing child," said Sheriff Ed Brown. "[The suspects] were getting $750 per month for each child. That is a lot of money to take care of one child and why that money wasn't provided for the food and stuff, at least the food for those children, I don't understand."

    OTHER ALLEGED ABUSE:

    Jonathan Savage is also accused of "deliberately" holding his 5-year-old foster son underwater in the suspect's above-ground pool to teach the child to swim on July 6, 2014, according to the warrants. The incident caused the boy to have seizures, Sheriff Brown said.

    "The person was trying to use tactics to try and get the child to swim and restricted him of the air for too long a period of time, which caused him to start having seizures," Sheriff Brown explained.

    In addition, Jonathan Savage caused non-accidental bruises to the five-year-old's genitals during potty training between June 15 and Aug. 15, the Sheriff's Office said.

    Furthermore, Brandi Savage is accused of causing bruises on her 4-year-old foster daughter's face, the warrants say.

    Sheriff Brown said the foster kids are the biological children of Brandi Savage's cousin. Authorities in Tennessee appointed the suspects as foster parents in September 2013, investigators said. The children are now back in Tennessee.

    CRIMINAL CHARGES:

    Jonathan Salvage is charged with three felony counts of negligent child abuse causing serious bodily injury and one count of misdemeanor child abuse, the warrants say. Meanwhile, Brandi Savage is charged with two felony counts of negligent child abuse causing serious bodily injury and one count of misdemeanor child abuse.

    Jonathan Savage was being jailed under a $100,000 bond while his wife was being held under a $75,000 bond. They made their first court appearance Monday morning.

    Jonathan Savage is a Marine sergeant and a staff member at School of Infantry East at Camp Geiger, a satellite facility of Camp Lejeune, a base official said. Savage is originally from Livingston, Tenn. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on Aug. 25, 2008 as an infantryman and was promoted to sergeant on Aug. 2, 2013, said the base official.

  • Lejeune Marine accused of killing transgender transferred to base in Philippines

    By WCTI Staff
    Published On: Oct 21 2014 06:51:44 AM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 22 2014 02:18:39 PM CDT
    MANILA, PHILIPPINES -

    A Camp Lejeune Marine accused of killing a transgender woman in the Philippines has been transferred to a military base.

    The Philippine military chief says U.S. Marines transported PFC. Joseph Scott Pemberton by helicopter to the Philippine military's headquarters in Manila.  That's where Pemberton will be detained.

    The transfer happened on the same day Pemberton did not appear before a prosecutor.  But Inquirer.net reports that Pemberton was "not required to appear" at the Olongapo City Prosecutor's Office Tuesday morning, even though the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said he should appear before the prosecutor "for his own sake."

    Pemberton, a member of 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines at Camp Lejeune, is accused of killing 26-year-old Jeffrey Laude, a transgender Filipino who went by the name, Jennifer. Laude's was found dead in the bathroom of a hotel room in Olongapo City on Oct. 11, a police report states. Her head was in the toilet. Laude's death certificate says she died of asphyxia by drowning, Inquirer.net reports.

    According to Inquirer.net, Pemberton's legal counsel told the Olongapo Prosecutor's Office that the subpoena delivered by the DFA to the U.S. Embassy on Oct. 17 did not require Pemberton to appear Tuesday morning to submit his sworn statement.

    Pemberton's lawyers said they have been given until Oct. 27 to submit a counter affidavit. They said they will use this time to study the documents further, reports Inquirer.net.

    Pemberton has not been formally charged and is currently being held aboard the amphibious assault ship, U.S.S. Peleliu.

    Four other service members considered witnesses in the case also did not appear Tuesday, reports ABS-CBN News. They have already left the Philippines, but will be "made available by the U.S." for the trial procedure, said officials with the U.S. Embassy.

    Laude's family lawyer, accompanied by three police officers, filed a murder complaint against Pemberton on Oct. 15, according to Inquirer.net. The complainant was Marilou Laude, the victim's sister.

    A memorandum from the Phillippine National Police says a witness positively identified Pemberton as the suspect through a photo lineup process provided by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. That witness was with Laude on Oct. 11 when they met the suspect, reports Inquirer.net.

    The Marine Corps said it is fully cooperating with the Philippine National Police.

    According to the Marine Corps, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines was deployed to the Philippines as part of a joint training exercise.

    Laude was planning to  marry her German boyfriend of two years in Thailand, her sister told Inquirer.net.

  • Wire thief knocks out power to hundreds

    By WCTI Staff
    Published On: Oct 22 2014 07:23:41 AM CDT
    HAVELOCK, CRAVEN COUNTY -

    Power is now restored to more than 1,800 residents in Havelock after an outage this morning. Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative tells us at 6:39 this morning the power was restored.

    They say the power went out around 5:30 this morning at their Havelock sub-station. The company tells us that if you still don't have power as of 8:21 a.m., call them.

    Officials from Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative tell us the outage happened because someone broke into the Havelock substation this morning and took all the ground wires knocking out power to customers in Havelock.

    The company made a choice to shut down power in order to investigate.
        

  • Schizophrenic patient accused of murdering mother captured in Duplin Co.

    By Katy Harris
    Published On: Oct 22 2014 08:29:41 AM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 22 2014 05:27:47 PM CDT
    WARSAW, DUPLIN COUNTY -

    The Duplin County Sheriff's Office says a schizophrenic patient who escaped from a Staten Island, NY psychiatric center in July 2014 was captured near Warsaw, NC by Duplin County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

    NC State Highway Patrol and the Wayne County Aviation Unit assisted in the search Thursday, October 16th says the sheriff's office.

    Vadim Babyrev was seen sitting on the 22nd car from the rear training on a 90 car grain train as it was coming through Warsaw.

    It was an unexpected sight for one CSX employee last Thursday morning.

    "We told him to get off the train. He got off the train walked over here across 117 under the overpass and stood on the other side," said Eason.

    Ronald Eason says after a couple minutes he saw Babyrev wasn't under the overpass anymore. While Eason waited for the train to go by again, he saw Babyrev sitting on the rear car. He immediately called 911.

    "I knew there was a deputy further down so we waited till we got to the deputy and we stop the train," said Eason.

    When the train stopped Babyrev ran away.

    "A deputy jumped out of the car and took off into the woods chasing the fugitive," said Eason.

    After a 45 minute chase through the fields and a chicken farm, deputies caught Babyrev.

    "Im very thankful that CSX was alert and contacted us immediately. Obviously they didn't know this man's history call when they called but had he gotten off here there's no telling what he could've done in our community," said Duplin Co. Sheriff Blake Wallace.

    Deputies found an MP3 player, $7,440 dollars, and MP3 player and two ID's. One an American green card, the other a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ID card.

    The Duplin Co. Sheriff's Office reports that Vadim Babyrev, 44, had been institutionalized after killing his mother by bludgeoning her to death with a clothing iron in 1999 in their Brooklyn home.

    The sheriff's office says a CSX railroad employee spotted Babyrev holding on to the side of a train between two railroad cars. The employee alerted authorities. The train conductor stopped the train near the DCSO deputy that had arrived on scene. The sheriff's office says Babyrev took off running when he saw the deputy. A chase ensued through a wooded area, a chicken farm, and another wooded area near Isham Frederick and Willis Carr Roads in the Warsaw Community.

    Multiple agencies were called to assist and after a 45 minute manhunt until Babyrev was taken into custody.

    The Ukrainian native was carrying several thousand dollars in cash, an MP3 player, cigarettes, and two forms of identification – a United States green card and a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ID card, according to the Sheriff's Office.

    They say Babyrev was charged with trespassing on a railroad right-of-way, riding on a train unlawfully, and resisting a public officer. He is being held in the Duplin County Jail on a $50,000 secured bond and is awaiting extradition back to New York.

  • Listeria outbreak closes ENC food distributor

    By Leland Pinder
    Published On: Oct 21 2014 07:24:55 PM CDT
    Updated On: Oct 22 2014 08:31:28 AM CDT
    VANCEBORO, CRAVEN COUNTY -

    An Eastern North Carolina food distributor has closed its doors following a voluntary recall of all its food products. The company's headquarters is in Goldsboro with distribution centers Vanceboro and Salisbury, near Charlotte. Eighty-four people, company-wide, are out of a job.

    Last week, the FDA issued a press release detailing Sunburst Foods voluntary recall of their products for possible listeria contamination. To see the complete list of all products and brands click here.

    Sunburst distributes pre-packaged cold snacks and other food items, like deli sandwiches which could be found in grocery and convenient store freezers across Eastern North Carolina.

    "Our biggest concern with Listeria is with ready-to-eat foods," said Keith Jernigan, Environmental Health Supervisor with the Craven County Health Department. It can actually grow in a cold environment."

    Officials with Sunburst would not give specific locations or a time frame in which the contaminated foods were distributed. We asked why officials decided to shut down instead of just fixing the problem.

    "We determined that it was just in the best interest to shut down," was the response given by Melanie Skinner, Human Resources Manager for the company.

    Health officials say pregnant women, young children, and the elderly are most vulnerable to infection from Listeria but if anyone thinks they may have been a consumer of Sunburst products, health officials say to see your physician and let them know you're concerned.

    Symptoms to look out for include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle aches. No illnesses have been reported at this time.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, Listeria is most often transmitted through contaminated food. It can also be found in soil and water. The most common foods to carry listeria are uncooked meats and vegetables, unpasteurized milk and cheese, and processed meat and seafood. Listeria bacteria are killed by cooking and pasteurization.

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