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Family makes emotional plea after daughter's wheelchair disappears

A Massachusetts family is issuing a desperate plea after a Brighton girl's wheelchair disappeared from their driveway.

The 6-year-old girl with special needs depends on her customized wheelchair to get around, and her parents believe it could be months before they replace it.

The family keeps the wheelchair in the driveway because it's difficult to carry up and down the stairs. 

>> Quadriplegic paraglider raising awareness for ‘disability-friendly’ parks has trailer stolen in Utah

They say they're not sure why someone would take it, but they want the thief to know how much this is already affecting their child's life.

"She's pretty much stuck. She's big. She's heavy. We have to carry her everywhere," said Gabriella Rodriguez, the girl's mother.

Rodriguez has been carrying her daughter, Maliyah, since her wheelchair vanished Friday.

"I panicked because it's the only thing she has to get around," Rodriguez said.

>> On Boston25News.com: New wheelchair allows 12-year-old with cerebral palsy to enjoy beach

Maliyah suffered brain damage during a traumatic birth and isn't able to walk on her own. Her family is struggling to understand why someone would take the girl's only source of mobility.

“It’s horrible. Not only is it a wheelchair; it’s a child’s wheelchair," said Marina Rodriguez, Maliyah's grandmother. "For someone to come onto our property and take it is disgusting."

Maliyah's father believes whoever took the wheelchair did so intentionally but perhaps didn't realize how much it means to his child.

“You don’t have to say anything. I don’t care if it’s in the middle of the night, just give it back. We just want it back," said Keith Roberts, Maliyah's father. "That way I don’t have to go through the hassle of getting a new one."

>> Read more trending news 

The family says it could take up to six months and could potentially cost them thousands of dollars, even after insurance.

Without it, her parents don't think she'll be able to attend summer camp this week. 

"We will not press charges; no questions asked. Just bring the wheelchair back," Marina said.

A report has been filed with police.

Toronto shooting: 1 killed, suspect dead after gunman shoots 14 in Greektown, police say

One person was killed and the suspect is dead after a gunman shot 14 people in Toronto’s Greektown neighborhood Sunday, police said. A child was among the injured, police said.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 2:01 a.m. EDT July 23: Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said the child in critical condition is an 8- or 9-year-old girl, the Washington Post reported. He described the victim who was killed as a “young lady,” according to The Associated Press.

No further information about the condition of the victims was immediately available.

Saunders said the shooter used a handgun in the rampage and was killed after exchanging gunfire with officers. The shooting did not appear to be random, Saunders said.

One witness, John Tulloch, said he heard as many as 30 gunshots, the AP reported.

A video circulating on Twitter appeared to capture the sound of gunfire.

>> Click here to watch (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)

Update 1:06 a.m. EDT July 23: The child who was shot, a young girl, is currently in critical condition, according to Toronto police.

Police say it is “too early to say whether the shooting is terrorism,” The Associated Press reported.

One city official, Councillor Paula Fletcher, said the shooting was not gang-related. Fletcher and Councillor Mary Fragedakis also said the gunman was emotionally disturbed.

>> Read more trending news 

Anonymous donor pays tuition for entire inaugural University of Houston medical school class

An anonymous donor pledged $3 million to pay the full tuition for the University of Houston’s inaugural class when its medical school opens in 2020. 

>> Read more trending news

The school will begin accepting applications for the 30 College of Medicine spots next year, and they expect a competitive applicant pool, according to KHOU.

“It’s going to be a different school with a different curriculum," Dr. Stephen Spann, dean of the future medical school, told KHOU. "Secondly, it’s new. And that offers students an opportunity to help shape the learning environment. And third, for this first class, they get to go tuition-free for four years.”

Students who are from Texas and want to practice medicine in the state will be given preference, Spann told KHOU

“Student debt is the number one deterrent for students when applying to medical school,” Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston, said in a news release. “This generous gift will allow such students an opportunity to attend and ultimately lead the future medical workforce.”

Construction of the school has not yet started. It also must still attain accreditation, KHOU reported.

Man drowns trying to save 3 boys from rip current

A man jumped into the Outer Banks in an attempt to save three boys caught in a rip current and was himself pulled out to sea on Thursday. 

>> Read more trending news

Kenny Ray Gooch, 32, of Powells Point, tried to save his girlfriend’s 12-year-old son,  who was swimming near the Kitty Hawk pier with two teens, when they were pulled 75 yards out by a rip current, WTKR reported.

Gooch rushed in to help but was pulled out to sea and disappeared. 

Bystanders rescued the 12-year-old. The 19- and 14-year-old made it back to shore on their own, according to WTKR

Gooch was later found by water rescuers who brought him to shore but were unable to revive him, according to WTKR. 

Gooch is the eighth victim of the Outer Banks surf this year. Two years ago nine people died. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

1 dead, 1 injured in Nevada church shooting, officials say

A man fatally shot one person and injured another at a Nevada church during service Sunday afternoon, officials said. 

>> Read more trending news

One person is dead. The other victim was taken to a hospital with a leg injury, Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford told KOLO. The identities have not been released. 

The suspected gunman, John Kelley O’Connor, 48, walked into Fallon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around 1 p.m., started firing, then left and walked home. He is in custody, Tedford told KOLO

“Our hearts go out to the family members of those who have lost someone and those who were in the church today where the tragedy occurred,” Tedford told KOLO.

The shooting happened in front of about 50 other parishioners, KOLO reported.

“It’s really too early to understand the motive,” Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman told KOLO. 

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) shared his condolences on Twitter

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

3 children found with malnourished disabled man; parents arrested

Police arrested the mother and stepfather of three unsupervised children and a disabled adult who appeared to be malnourished after officers found them in a southwest Atlanta residence.

Officers arrived to the house on Saturday at about 5:30 p.m., police spokesman John Chafee said in a statement.

>> Read more trending news

The people who called police had moved out of the house about three weeks ago, Chafee said.

“They returned to the home today to retrieve some of their property when they located the children and 21-year-old in the home,” Chafee said

This family apparently had moved into the home after the people who called police moved out, police said.

The mother and stepfather returned to the scene and were taken into custody and charged with violating state law on protection of disabled adults and elder persons.

The children appeared to be in good health, police said. Their ages were not released. 

Chafee said it is his understanding that the woman is the mother to the disabled man and the three children.

“The children have been placed in the care of a family member, and (the division of family and children services) is following up with them,” Chafee said.

The disabled man, who is 21, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment.

No identities were released, and police are still investigating.

Scammers using photo of former councilman to catfish women

By most accounts, Alex Wan is a good-looking guy

In fact, he might be so good-looking that dozens of men around the world want to be him — or at least have his face. 

>> Read more trending news

Images of the former Atlanta City Councilman and current executive director of Horizons Atlanta are popping up all over social media on the pages of men claiming to be him. 

Like Kim Chan Sun. And Wilson B. Larry. And Kim Lee Alex. And the South Korean doctor. Or the Atlanta heart surgeon. 

All, Wan said, appear to be using his image to attract Asian women. 

“It is just awkward,” Wan said. “The fact that I am a gay man and they are using my picture to go get women.” 

Many of the casual photos of Wan — at least the ones where he has not been Photoshopped performing surgery — were taken at Pride parades. 

Wan’s image, in a sense, is being used to “catfish” people. 

In the era of online dating and virtual courting, the term “catfishing” rose out of the 2010 documentary and subsequent MTV series “Catfish.” 

It is used to describe when a person posts a fake social media profile — particularly photos — to make social and romantic connections. 

In February, the Better Business Bureau reported that more than a million Americans have been victims of “romance scams,” and over the last three years, more than $1 billion has been scammed from lonely Americans and Canadians looking for love on the other side of a screen.

But why Wan? 

“I guess it is something about my image that they think will attract women,” Wan said. 

Wan isn’t clear how many people are using his image, or whether one person is using it multiple times on different profiles. Wan said his image has shown up on Facebook and WhatsApp.

“It started earlier this year. I had a woman reach out and say, ‘Someone is using your image.’ I thought it was a one-off, but it seems to have increased recently,” Wan said. “I had a friend in Chicago who got hit on by a guy using my face. She reported it.”

Another woman, Connie Lu, who lives in Taiwan, got a strange wedding proposal from a “Kim Lee.” 

Lu told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she got a simple friend request on Facebook that quickly turned into conversations about relocating to open a gas station in Taiwan. After the proposal — she said no — she did an image reverse search and discovered that “Kim Lee” wore the face of Alex Wan. 

Lu then reached out to Wan. 

“I felt confused and my friend reminded me about scammer news,” said Lu, 42. “So I thought that Alex must know this. In Taiwan, there are many TV news reports about this. Alex is a public person. I hope Alex didn’t get hurt or humiliated.” 

Wan attempted to take matters into his own hands this week, reporting a persistent “Lee Kim” whose Facebook profile lists him as a cardiologist at West Point who is from Kyoto, Japan, but lives in Atlanta.

Wan reported the man to Facebook and sent him a message.

Wan: I have reported you to Facebook officials for impersonating me. 

Lee Kim: You are the fake Alex, i have also reported you to the Facebook officials for impersonating me, i will find you When i catch you, you are going to pay for all the damages you have cause around the world. 

Lee Kim subsequently took down his page.

Wan posted his troubles on his Facebook page, where he has gotten hundreds of responses. Most have been good-natured. But there has also been a sprinkling of women who claim to have been duped by some of the fakes. 

One woman said she has lost money to one of them. 

Wan said he does not know whether his image has been used on any other sites. And he said he hasn’t suffered any financial or identity theft issues as a result of his visage being compromised. Still ...

“It does feel very invasive and I get even more inflamed when I hear that he is posing as me to bait women out of their money,” Wan said. “I get angry.” 

Woman impaled by unattended beach umbrella, police say

A 46-year-old woman was impaled by an unattended beach umbrella Sunday afternoon, police said. 

>> Read more trending news

The Pennsylvania woman, who has not been identified, was pierced in the chest at 3:11 p.m. by an unattended rental umbrella that had not been returned, Ocean City Beach Patrol Cpt. Butch Arbin told WMDT

Responders secured the errant umbrella with the help of other people on the beach. Rescuers were able to cut the wooden pole, but some of it remained underneath the woman’s skin, according to WMDT

The woman was airlifted to a hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening, according to WMDT. Doctors there will determine the best way to remove the remaining portion of the umbrella.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches at Cape Canaveral 

SpaceX lit up the night sky over the Space Coast this weekend with the launch of the Telstar 19 Vantage satellite around 1:50 a.m. Sunday.

>> Read more trending news

The space launch company said Saturday that its Falcon 9 rocket was vertical on the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Telstar 19 Vantage is described as a “state-of-the-art, high throughput satellite optimized to serve growing markets in the Americas,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat's president and CEO.

Telstar 19 Vantage will help improve mobile communication signals from Latin America to Northern Canada.

Following the launch, SpaceX will also attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on its droneship, “Of Course I Still Love You,” in the Atlantic Ocean.

Baby bald eagle dies less than week after first flight

Flyer, the baby bald eagle who took her first flight Tuesday, has died.

Jim Weller, founder of Eastwood Eagle Watchers, confirmed that the 87-day-old eagle was struck by a delivery truck while attempting to cross Interstate 75 in Dayton Sunday morning.

>> Read more trending news

She flew across the highway from the north riverbank area and attempted to land but missed her perch. Weller said this is common for eagles at this age. She then flew back across the highway to the north riverbank area, but she was too low and was struck by the delivery truck.

A member of the Eastwood Eagle Watchers witnessed the accident. 

Weller said she flew outside of Carillon Historical Park for the first time Saturday.

According to Weller, 50 percent of eagles do not survive their first year. A lot goes against them, he said, such as electrical wires, automobile traffic and planes.

Flyer had a wingspan of 6 feet and hatched in April, said Weller.

Her remains were recovered and taken to the Glen Helen Raptor Center in Yellow Springs. She will then be transported to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to a federal eagle repository, as required by federal law, Weller said.

Flyer’s father, Orv, and mother, Willa, were still active in her life. Orv had caught her a fish to eat and Willa was perched nearby Saturday.

Weller said her father and mother will spend about one to two weeks searching for her. 

Bald eagles were absent from Dayton for 70 years until a pair appeared near Eastwood Metro Park in 2008.

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