<![CDATA[NBC New York - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usSat, 01 Oct 2016 03:08:34 -0400Sat, 01 Oct 2016 03:08:34 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman, 82, Found Dead, Bound in NYC Apartment: Police]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 23:19:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/east+village+elderly+woman+killed.jpg

An elderly mother and her 39-year-old daughter were found tied up inside an East Village apartment Friday evening, one of them dead, law enforcement source say. 

Police say officers responded to a 911 call for two women assaulted inside the Lillian Wald Houses at 711 FDR Drive at about 5:30 p.m. and inside found an 82-year-old woman bound with tape by her wrist and ankles. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Her daughter, who was also bound inside the apartment,  was able to free herself and call police, sources said. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital for her injuries.

The deceased woman has been identified as Ella-Nae Biaz.

Neighbors were shocked.  

"She was a sweet old lady, no problems. Always says hi to everybody," said a man who declined to give his name. 

Law enforcement sources say Biaz's grandson has been taken into custody for questioning. They're continuing to investigate. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies in Police Confrontation]]> Sat, 01 Oct 2016 03:00:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/9-30-16+Pasadena+death+investigation+thomas.JPG

Demonstrators marched in the streets of Pasadena on Friday, protesting police involved in a confrontation that led to the death of a man.

The protesters, many carrying signs, marched on streets, bringing traffic to a halt at some intersections in Old Town Pasadena.

They came out after the girlfriend of the man who died demanded answers, claiming officers used excessive force when they restrained him.

The man's girlfriend, Shanie Lindsey, identified him as 36-year-old Reginald "J.R." Thomas. 

"I'm hurt, disgusted, disappointed and just upset," Lindsey said.

Pasadena police received a call reporting a family disturbance around 2 a.m. Friday, said Capt. Steven Katz of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau. 

Then they received a second call around 2:35 a.m., and were told that a man had a knife and a fire extinguisher. Authorities said the caller identified the man, and that they heard a struggle during the call.

Although investigators do not know who made the calls, they believe both were made by the same person. Katz noted detectives were working to identify who that caller was.

Police were able to trace the second call to an apartment, and responded to the 200 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, according to authorities.

When Pasadena police officers arrived, they attempted to detain Thomas to take him into custody, and "he struggled with the officers," Katz said. Police used a Taser and non-lethal force, and restrained him with handcuffs and ankle restraints.

Officers noticed Thomas was no longer breathing and removed all of his restraints and started performing CPR, according to authorities. Pasadena Fire paramedics "took over life saving efforts," before Thomas eventually died, Katz said.

Lindsey believes officers used excessive force on her boyfriend, who she says was mentally ill.

"They knew he was disabled, they knew he was bipolar, they knew he was on social security, and they still killed him," she said.

Lindsey said Thomas called police claiming someone was in their apartment, and said he was holding a knife in one hand and a fire extinguisher in the other when police arrived.

Officers told him to drop both items and used a Taser twice when he did not, according to Lindsey. Then, Thomas got up and slammed the door on the officers.

"They busted through the door and they wrestled him down to the ground, they started kicking him and beating him with the stick, and then they start tying him up," Lindsey said. "And that was it, and they told us to get out."

Los Angeles County Sheriff investigators are investigating the circumstances of his death, and Katz noted that there were six detectives at the scene Friday around 11 a.m., adding that the investigation was in its "infancy."

Two officers were also injured during the confrontation, Katz said.

Police had not identified the man as of 12:30 p.m. Friday.

Anyone with information about this investigation was encouraged to call the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Information Bureau at 213-229-1700.

Photo Credit: Shanie Lindsey]]>
<![CDATA[Bystander Rushed to Help Woman Killed in Hoboken Train Crash]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:43:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fabiola+bittar+de+kroon+good+samaritan.jpg

The woman killed in the New Jersey Transit train crash into Hoboken Terminal was alive in the initial moments after impact, aided by a man who tried desperately to save her. 

Rahman Perkins, 29, of Rahway, says he was rushing through the Hoboken Terminal to get to class Thursday morning when the train came barreling in.

"I was walking behind the station by the pier and everyone started running out, and I started running in, like an instant," he said. "I saw the train just hit the wall." 

The crash brought down structural debris that hit Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, the 34-year-old mother who had just dropped off her toddler daughter at day care. 

"I was just moving people and picking up beams and metal, and I happened to see her feet on the ground," Perkins told NBC 4 New York Friday, describing the heartbreaking encounter. 

"It was just chaotic -- I mean, really, it was dangerous everywhere," he said. 

A photo from the scene shows Perkins amid the debris, in a light blue jacket and backpack. He said he had been running late for class at the nearby Cortiva Institute, and took a shortcut through the train station moments before the crash. 

Perkins found de Kroon under the debris, amazingly still alive.

"I told her, 'Just breathe, focus on your family, focus on your loved ones,'" he said. "I told her, 'I'm here, I'm not going to leave you.'"

"She fought. She really did her best," said Perkins. 

As De Kroon struggled to breathe, "I could see she was in so much pain, I didn't want to pick her up and run anywhere because there was so much blood and I didn't know where it was coming from," said Perkins. 

In the chaos that followed, Perkins said police finally told him he had to leave, but he continued to inquire about de Kroon while at school.

"I kept calling back downstairs out of my school, 'Did someone check on her, did someone check on her?'" he said. "They were like, they took her to the hospital."

He went to the hospital, where he received the devastating news that the Hoboken resident -- a wife and mother of one who recently moved from Brazil -- had died. 

"I know that she knew I was there. I know that she knew I was going to make sure she wasn't going to be by herself so it just puts a little peace in my heart," Perkins said. "I just want her family to know I tried my best."

Perkins said he'd welcome any contact from de Kroon's family if they wanted to speak to him. 

"It was a terrible situation. Sometimes, a stranger is called upon to help another stranger," Perkins said. 

"I hope she watches over me," he said, visibly emotional. 

De Kroon was the sole fatality in the train crash. More than 100 people were injured, and 16 of them remained hospitalized Friday. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY
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<![CDATA[Homeowners Still Waiting on Build it Back After Sandy]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:11:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/build+it+back+queens.jpg

It’s been nearly four years since Sandy pushed four feet of water into Bob and Nancy Huffman’s Brooklyn home, and the couple is still grappling with the city program designed to help homeowners rebuild.

“There are no return emails and no return phone calls,” said Bob Huffman.

The Huffmans haven’t been able to get back into their Gerritsen Beach home since the storm because they’re still waiting for the city to begin work through its Build it Back recovery program. But across from Jamaica Bay, Dan and Kathleen Klohe’s basement sits completely refurbished – to the tune of $200,000.

They’re just two outcomes of the city program, which was recently allocated $500 million in taxpayer funds. The funding prompted disbelief from some city council members upset that the original $2 billion allocated to the program has helped less than half of the people who need it.

“We've blown through this money, under half the people have been helped and now we are told there are no federal resources left and many are out of the program now and still facing severe financial burdens,” said Councilman Mark Treyger, the chairman of the city Committee on recovery and resiliency.

Huffman said that he’s had to pay his mortgage and home insurance since the home. He said that even if work started right now “it will still be a year and a half until anything would be complete.”

The city told the I-Team that they can't move forward with construction until the Huffmans "sign their grant agreement and pay their transfer amount." Both the city and the Huffmans acknowledge they are in the process of negotiating that amount. The Huffmans are working with the city to resolve these issues.

Still, the Bob Huffman said it feels like “nothing moves forward,” even as work on a neighbor’s home was completed.

“It’s like groundhog day,” he said.

The Klohes, meanwhile, were sarcastic when they described the rennovated basement of their Rockaway Beach home, which the city said cost $200,000. That price tag included $38,000 in finishes $86,000 on “hard cost contingency and another $8,856 for “wood and plastics.”

"Our basement as you can see, there must be something really dazzling about it,” Kathleen Klohe told us, sarcastically. “It has a floor, walls and a ceiling--it's amazing!”

In response to the basement renovation that cost more than $200,000, the city said.

"Different factors contribute to higher construction costs including the rising cost of the overall construction market as well as regulatory requirements such as sprinklers and new foundations. however, city does negotiate or rebid work where the prices are too high," the city said.

Kathleen Klohe said the money could have been better spent.

“This was a colossal waste of money,” she said. “Money that could have been used to help others.”

<![CDATA[Family Searches for Missing Bipolar College Student in NYC]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:42:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/missing+bu+student.jpg

The search for a missing Boston University student has intensified in New York City as relatives comb city streets looking for the bipolar man. 

Zachery Camhi, 25, has not been taking his medication, according to family members, and has been missing since Sept. 18, when he wandered away from the W Hotel in midtown. He was wearing a maroon button-down shirt and dark gray pants at the time, his brother Sam Camhi said.

“We’ve been going to shelters and hospitals,” said Sam, who has been in New York with his wife since Monday. “We still need a lot of help, of course, because Manhattan is such a large place that we can only focus on particular things each day.”

Sam says his brother, an award-winning musician, may be disoriented and may not remember his name. He may even be speaking a foreign language. 

Zac had similar episodes in Boston but has never been missing more than a few hours, his brother said.

“This time when he got lost, he didn’t have his wallet, he has no money, and he has no phone,” Sam Camhi said.

Sam Camhi says he and his wife have checked hospitals and churches. The NYPD has also issued a missing persons alert for Zac.

“It’s almost two weeks now so it’s dire,” Sam Camhi said.

Sam Camhi said his family hopes to raise some money on GoFundMe to bring more relatives to town to search. None of Zac Camhi’s relatives live in the area, and travel expenses and hotel bills are adding up.

If anyone thinks they have seen Zac, or have information about this whereabouts, they should call the NYPD or e-mail helpfindzac@gmail.com.

<![CDATA[Wanted NJ Man Linked to Lewdness, Luring Attempt of Girl]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 21:41:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/jair+ramirez.jpg

A New Jersey man wanted on charges of terroristic threats and weapons offense is now being sought for questioning after someone exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl and attempted to lure her Friday morning, police say. 

Elizabeth police say they had already been looking for Jair Ramirez for allegedly threatening a 15-year-old girl at knifepoint on Sept. 15.

Now he's a person of interest in the incident involving the 10-year-old girl Friday morning, police said. 

In that case, a man exposed his genitals to the girl and tried to lure her into a secluded alleyway on Orchard Street. He ran away when a concerned neighbor intervened, according to police. 

The suspect's identity in the case has not been established, and Ramirez is only considered a person of interest right now, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Elizabeth police at 908-558-2111 or 908-558-2004. 

Ramirez should be considered armed and dangerous, police said. 

<![CDATA[Woman, 35, Found Dead in Brooklyn Park: NYPD]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 21:47:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

A 35-year-old woman was found dead inside a Brooklyn park Thursday morning, and police say they're investigating it as a homicide. 

Jennifer Cohen of Bay Ridge was found with trauma to the head inside Owl Head Park, not far from her home, at about 10 a.m., according to NYPD. 

Cohen was pronounced dead on the scene. 

Police are investigating the woman's death. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File]]>
<![CDATA[Witness, Officer Who Thwarted Chelsea Bombing Honored]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:32:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chelsea+bombing+heroes.jpg The NYPD bomb squad officers and the woman who reported seeing the pressure cooker were honored Friday. Andrew Siff Reports.]]> <![CDATA[Officer Slams Suspect's Head Into Windshield, Cracking Glass]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:40:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Pele+Smith+Arrest.jpg

A man suing a northeast Ohio police department alleges his rights were violated by an officer who slammed his head into a cruiser's windshield with enough force to crack the glass.

Dashcam video of the September 2014 arrest, obtained by NBC affiliate WKYC, shows 32-year-old Pele Smith, being escorted to the patrol car by four Loraine police officers while handcuffed. Smith's head then violently hits the windshield. The glass cracks from the impact.

"Why are you doing this to me?" Smith is heard saying as he is held on the car’s hood.

He was treated at Mercy Regional Medical Center for facial injuries, WKYC reported.

Smith was later charged with "tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. In a plea deal with prosecutors, Smith pleaded guilty and received probation," according to court records WKYC reviewed.

Last month, Smith filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and several officers.

In his lawsuit, Smith says that Lorain Officer Zachary Ferenec, who was walking Smith to the cruiser and pushed him into the windshield, used excessive force during a 2014 arrest that he claims was warrantless.

"It’s unbelievable. It’s sad. It’s frightening that an individual while in handcuffs has something like that happen to them,” Mark Petroff, an attorney representing Smith, told WKYC.

Smith also alleges that three other Lorain officers at the scene did not intervene and that one of the officers, identified in the lawsuit as Michael Gidich, got in the back of Ferenec’s cruiser and “began to taunt and insult the bleeding [Smith]” while being transported in the patrol car for treatment.

The video does not show the beginning of the traffic stop.

Lorain police Capt. Roger Watkins said Smith swallowed suspected drugs and struggled with officers during the arrest, The Associated Press reported. He says the slamming of Smith's head into the windshield was unintentional.

In a statement, Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera said "During the arrest and Mr. Smith’s active resistance, he was placed on the hood of the police unit to gain control and conduct a search, as per policy." Rivera called Smith a "violent drug trafficker" and said the cautioned "observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police on scene."

But according to the Lorain County Clerk of Courts website, Smith has no felony convictions for violent crimes. He has prior convictions for drug offenses and possessing a firearm.

WKYC says it has requested all records associated with Smith’s arrest and any subsequent internal investigations. Lorain police have not provided any records related to the incident, the station says.

Photo Credit: WKYC]]>
<![CDATA[Rainbows Shine Before, After Arnold Palmer's Funeral]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:05:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_0997-rainbow.jpg

Arnold Palmer’s family spread his ashes at his country club in Pennsylvania on Thursday and locals took solace in several rainbows, which they said reminded them of the golf great. 

Palmer died on Sept. 25 due to heart complications. His former assistant Doc Giffin said that a rainbow appeared at 9:55 a.m. at Latrobe Country Club, one hour before his intimate funeral.  

Steelers Radio Network host Gerry Dulac tweeted a photo snapped by a friend to commemorate the moment.

“When Arnold Palmer wants to play through, you let him,” Dulac said in the caption. 

That wasn't the only rainbow connection on that day. At 3:50 p.m., Duane Stein captured another image of a rainbow, this time framing Palmer’s statue where he works at Laurel Valley Golf Club, in Ligonier, about 11 miles southeast of Latrobe.

The photo he shared on social media was unfiltered and unedited, as Stein isn’t especially tech-savvy, he said.

"It’s a moment you’ll never forget," Stein said. "Kind of like he was looking down on us."

He was one of many to pull out a phone and flash a pic there.

Chris Mcknight, head golf professional at Laurel Valley, took a nearly identical image to Stein's that was shared on Twitter by the Tri-State PGA as an homage to Palmer. 

Photo Credit: Duane Stein]]>
<![CDATA[El Cajon Shooting Video's Release]]> Sat, 01 Oct 2016 00:09:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ECPD-Olango-Video.jpg

The El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) released two video clips Friday showing the controversial deadly police shooting of an unarmed black man that has fueled days of protests in the community in San Diego's East County.

ECPD Chief Jeff Davis said the decision to release the video of the Tuesday shooting of Alfred Olango, 38, was due in part to a concern for public safety.

One video was captured by a witness's cellphone as she worked her shift at a nearby taco shop, while the other comes from one of the shop's surveillance cameras. They show two ECPD officers, Richard Gonsalves and Josh McDaniel, approaching Olango. Olango's sister, wearing nurse's scrubs, can also be seen near the officers in one of the clips.

Olango appears to move in the moment before the shooting takes place. Gunshots are audible in the cellphone video, followed by a woman's piercing scream.

Police have said Olango pulled a 4-inch-long vaping device out of his pocket and held it in a "shooting stance." McDaniel deployed a Taser while Gonsalves fired multiple rounds from his gun at the man, critically striking him.

"For the sake of the wellbeing of the community, the decision was made to show you this video," Davis said, calling the event tragic. "It is that vital, we felt, to present it today to show what we have at this point."

Olango was shot and killed by the officers on Tuesday in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 800 block of Broadway in El Cajon.

According to the ECPD, Olango was reported to be “acting erratically,” walking in and out of traffic, and did not follow orders to remove his hands from the pockets of his pants when approached by two officers.

Earlier this week, Chief Davis promised a complete and transparent investigation into Olango's shooting. He was joined Mayor Bill Wells and San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis as they released the footage for the first time at an afternoon news conference.

The high-profile case has prompted uproar in the community and several days of protests, some of them peaceful, some violent.

Davis discussed the timeline of those protests and their impact on those who live and work in El Cajon.

He said the protests began peacefully Tuesday hours after the shooting and continued Wednesday morning. That day, the crowd grew to about 400 demonstrators who later blocked intersections and shut down traffic on Broadway.

Davis said some protesters threw bottles at officers and deputies. At one point, a civilian was assaulted in the crowd, and a freelance news photographer had his camera stolen amid the protest.

"These events marked a change in the protesters from peaceful to more aggressive behavior," Davis said.

He said a demonstration Thursday evening grew even more heated, with protesters blocking traffic again. This time, some protesters stopped cars and broke windows. Davis said his department was flooded with 911 calls reporting the disturbances stemming from those Thursday night protests.

Since the shooting of Olango, civil rights leaders, including Rev. Shane Harris of the San Diego chapter of the National Action Network, have pushed for police and the District Attorney's office to release the full video of the incident, saying the single still image of Olango initially released by the ECPD does not tell the full story and, in Harris' words, serves to "shape the narrative" of the police department.

Recently, Dumanis issued new protocols for the disclosure of officer-involved shooting video evidence in San Diego. The new practice states agencies will release video "as soon as it’s appropriate to do so."

Photo Credit: El Cajon Police Department
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<![CDATA[Video of Trump Deposition Released]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:32:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TrumpScreenShot2.jpg

Video of Donald Trump giving a deposition in a case involving one of his hotels was released Friday. The case is part of Trump’s ongoing legal feud with celebrity chef and restauranteur Geoffrey Zakarian.

Zakarian and another chef pulled out of deals to open restaurants at a new Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., NBC News reports, after Trump’s 2015 speech in which he referred to “rapists” crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, “bringing crime” to the United States.

“All I’m doing is bringing up a statement that is very real about illegal immigration, and I think most people think I’m right,” Trump testified under oath.

He further defended his speech on-camera and objected to the chefs being “politically correct” and “grandstanding.”

Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[Returning Marine Meets Son For First Time]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:41:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MarineBaby0930_MP4-147526448627400001.jpg A Tennessee Marine returning from deployment met his newborn son for the first time Thursday. ]]> <![CDATA[Cop Smashes Car Windshield With Man's Head]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:47:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Windshield0930_MP4-147526444380600001.jpg Police in Lorain, Ohio, are defending themselves against brutality claims raised by a man whose head was slammed into a cruiser with enough force to shatter the windshield. The incident took place in September of 2014 and the video was recently obtained. ]]> <![CDATA[NoCal Nudist Retreat Opens Doors to Loma Fire Evacuees]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:30:04 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LMX_N5A+LUPIN+LODGE+CHARGES+VO_KNTV_000000012250324+-+00003714.jpg

A nudist retreat nestled below the Santa Cruz Mountains is opening its door to all Loma Fire refugees and their animals "until the fire’s out.”

Lupin Lodge CEO Lori Stout told NBC Bay Area on Friday that many shelters aren’t allowing displaced Santa Clara and Santa Cruz county residents to bring their animals, like horses, to stay with them as Cal Fire crews battle the fire, which as of Friday, had scorched 4,300 acres and destroyed eight homes.

So, Stout decided to invite the evacuees and their pets – including farm animals - to her Los Gatos retreat on Aldercroft Heights Road, which boasts to have been “freeing the nipple for 82 years.”

And the offer gets better: The stay is open to any of the cabins, yurts, dormitories and 100 campsites, for free. Prices vary, but a typical yurt costs $125 a night.

“Hey, we got lots of room,” she said.

Stout said she came up with the idea on Thursday, but has not yet received occupants. 

But if history is any indication, the guests, clothed and not, will come.

During the 2015 Lake County Valley Fire, Stout invited the staff at the Harbin Hot Springs in Middletown, Calif., to stay at the lodge. During the Corralitos Fire near Watsonville last year, the lodge also opened its doors to evacuees, some of whom decided to try the nudist colony out. And in the 1980s, she said more than 1,000 firefighters stayed on the 112-acre property during the Lexington Fire and 1989 earthquake. Her retreat has been open since 1935.

Stout and her late husband, Glyn Stout, was accused last year of diverting water from a nearby waterfall during the drought; a topic she didn't want to discuss on Friday. She pleaded no contest to trespassing charges, and was sentenced to probation and 100 hours of community service, along with a fine of $9,800 to the Midpenninsula Regional Open Space District, the Mercury News reported.

Stout told NBC Bay Area that she plead no contest because her husband had died unexpectedly, but that she never actually trespassed.

As for making sure she doesn’t get duped or taken advantage of, Stout said that all guests have to undergo screening, including a database check through the Megan’s Law sex offenders list. They also have to provide a license plate number and driver’s license, which will show where they live. Only local residents will be approved, she said, and determining when it’s time for a guest to leave will be on a case by case basis.

“They can stay until the fire’s out,” she said.

Stout said evacuees looking for help should call the retreat at 408-353-9200 or email relax@lupinlodge.org.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fake Cops Wanted in Robbery Spree]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:03:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CopImpersonationArrest+1.jpg

Police are on the hunt for two men who they say posed as law enforcement officials in a string of taxi driver robberies. A third suspect is already in the case.

Driving in a white cargo van, the suspects posed as police officers in uniform and robbed seven taxi drivers between Sept. 8 and 25, police said. 

The victims were asked to pull over and exit their cars before they were subsequently searched and had their personal belongings stolen from them. Three drivers were sprayed with an unknown substance before the suspects fled the scene. A 33-year-old victim was robbed of $300.

Authorities said the Intelligence Bureau's Leads Investigation Unit had been investigating unauthorized transmissions over police radio frequencies since April when they identified Ricardo Torres as a person of interest.

Torres, an amateur radio enthusiast, provided the other suspects with two-way radios, authorities allege. He was taken into custody Sept. 25 after he was found to be in possession of two radios and a burglar tool, officials say. 

Officers searched his home, where they found a plethora of police paraphernalia including portable radios, scanners, cellphones, laptops, and desktop computers, police said.

Torres is being held on a host of charges including two counts of robbery and criminal impersonation. Two other men, Jay Peralta and Kevin Remache, are wanted for criminal impersonation and robbery.

Following the investigation, authorities discovered that Peralta and Remache allegedly lit a black Chevrolet SUV on fire shortly before 3 a.m. on Aug. 8. Both men were charged with arson and reckless endangerment. 

Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Thwarts Attempted Kidnapping]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:37:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_attemptedkidnap0929_1920x1080.jpg

One Albuquerque, New Mexico mother got the shock of a lifetime when she turned around just in time to see a complete stranger running away with one of her children.

Quick thinking and protective, the mother was able to chase down 29-year-old Dustin Sherman and wrestle her child from his arms.

"He was carrying her like he was carrying his own child," the mother said. "He was holding her close you know trying to hold her really close to him and that bothered me really bad."

Sherman was arrested, and authorities say he has a criminal history that includes battery on a peace officer as well as domestic violence charges.Read more from KOB here.

Photo Credit: KOB]]>
<![CDATA[Experts Looked Inside Mylan's Upgraded EpiPen]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:34:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/epipen-julie-brown-injectors-nbc-news.jpg

With Congress trying to figure out Mylan's business model for the EpiPen, a medical technologies expert and a Seattle doctor have been physically taking apart the auto-injectors to find out exactly how the device has changed since Mylan acquired it, NBC News reported.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch testified last week that it invested more than $1 billion enhancing the product, which is one of the reason the Epipen's price has risen from $100 to $600.

After a Seattle doctor cut open EpiPens from before and after Mylan's upgrades, NBC News sent versions of the epinephrine auto-injectors to a medical technology consulting firm. Despite seeing safety and graphics upgrades, both found the devices shared a similar "core."

After NBC News sent the firm's results to Mylan, a spokesman for the drugmaker said it was "not familiar with the research referenced in your email" but contended that "anyone who has used the product knows, the epinephrine auto-injector we have in the market today is substantially different than the one we acquired."

Photo Credit: James Cheng / for NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Supreme Court Takes on Case of Portland Band 'The Slants']]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:15:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/the-slants.jpg

Asian American boy band "The Slants" is headed to the nation's highest court and the fate of the Washington Redskins' name could hang in the balance, too.  

The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to hear the case involving The Slants' controversial name choice in the question of whether the group should be allowed to trademark it. The case could have implications for the Washington Redskins’ trademark status by setting a precedent on the matter of free speech in trademarks, according to The New York Times.

In 2011, band founder Simon Tam filed for a protected trademark for The Slants with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) but the office denied it. The band is still allowed to use the name, but without the trademark they are not able to prevent others from using the same name, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The band saw a major victory last year when a federal appeals court backed the band, calling the PTO’s rejection of an offensive trademark a violation of the right to free speech. The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn that ruling.

In February the appeals court categorized the band’s name as “private speech” and called the rejection of the trademark a result of the government’s own disapproval of the message. The First Amendment can protect even hurtful speech. Lawyers for Tam have said that the PTO has been inconsistent on when it deemed names “offensive,” citing the 1980s hip-hop group N.W.A. as an example. That group was allowed to trademark their name. 

In response to the appeals court, the Justice Department said that a trademark is in fact a government benefit, not private speech, and therefore could be seen as an endorsement. In a dissent on The Slants’ name, the Justice Department argued that granting a trademark “would convey that the United States regards racial slurs as appropriate,” Los Angeles Times reported. 

The Slants, originally from Portland, Oregon, was formed in 2006. The self-proclaimed “Chinatown dance rock” group has released four albums under an independent label.

The Supreme Court has so far declined to hear the Washington Redskins case. The team has had a history of controversy over its name. In 2014, the PTO canceled the team’s six trademarks, including the team’s logo, following the years-long complaints from Native American groups. The team name has been called offensive, as the term “redskin” is a derogatory term for Native Americans. President Obama has called on numerous occasions for the D.C. team to change its name, citing a need to “break stereotypes.”

Tam, for his part, has called the Redskins a racial slur against Native Americans. He has said that the difference lies in the fact that The Slants does not intend to offend anyone and is not an inherent racial slur.

The court is not expected to rule on the issue for several months.

The Slants has not returned NBC’s request for comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Safest Place to Sit on a Train, What to Do If It Crashes]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:22:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/train34.jpg

Paul Worley from the North Carolina Department of Transportation shared with the "Today" show's Jeff Rossen a handful of suggestions on how to minimize the danger if you're involved in a train crash.

Among the tips: sit in the middle of your train because the worst damage in a derailment is likely to be in the front and back cars; sit facing backwards so that if the train stops short or crashes you'll be pushed back instead of thrown forward; and the best way out in a emergency could come from removing an emergency window or popping out a door manually.

Photo Credit: Today.com]]>
<![CDATA[White Helmets Video Shows Despair]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 12:55:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16253598019602.jpg

The volunteer group known as the White Helmets are not immune to the tragedies they face while trying to save civilians in Syria, NBC News reported.

Aleppo has been the target of airstrikes and bombs, transforming the city into a rubble-filled battleground. The video, which was filmed Thursday in the Idlib province, shows emotional volunteers after the hours-long rescue of a baby.

Doctors Without Borders reported that from Sept. 21 through Sept. 26, more than 278 people, including 96 children, have been killed from the attacks. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power has condemned the Syrian government and Russia for “unleashing a savagery” against people they’re labeling terrorists.

“Children are not terrorists,” she said. “Rescue workers are not terrorists. Hospital workers are not terrorists.”

Photo Credit: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP
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<![CDATA['Great Man': Obama, Clinton Pay Tribute to Shimon Peres]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 06:57:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-611524328.jpg

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres was remembered as a "great man" as scores of world leaders attended his funeral Friday, NBC News reported.

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton were among 90 delegations from 70 countries paying their respects to Peres, who died Tuesday while hospitalized for a major stroke. He was 93.

"Even in the face of terrorist attacks, even after repeated disappointments at the negotiation table, he insisted that as human beings, Palestinians must be seen as equal in dignity to Jews and must therefore be equal in self-determination," Obama said.

Clinton said Peres was Israel's "biggest dreamer" and called him a "wise champion of our common humanity."

After the ceremony, the casket was led to the gravesite carried by eight members of an honor guard and led by soldiers carrying wreaths. Netanyahu and Obama chatted along the way, also talking with Peres' family.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Creepy Clowns Reportedly Spotted in NY, NJ: Officials]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:53:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/clown-generic.jpg

Officials in at least four towns in New York and New Jersey said they've been investigating reports of creepy clowns trying to scare children and others recently.

Authorities in Suffolk County and the Ulster County village of Ellenville in New York and Toms River and Pohatcong in New Jersey said that they'd received reports of creepy clowns in recent days in what appears to be the latest in a nationwide trend of reports of clown sightings.

In Lindenhurst, school officials said in a Facebook post that they were keeping students inside during recess after reports about people dressed as clowns in North Babylon and Brentwood. The district also alluded to a tweet that indicated that the village might be the next target.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we will be keeping elementary school children in during recess today and our security team is on high alert," the district said in the post.

The district said it's referred the matter to the Suffolk County Police Department.

Suffolk County police added that investigators haven't been able to confirm any sightings in the county and that no officers had seen anyone wearing a clown costume.

"We understand this may be a social media prank throughout the country, but we take quite seriously all calls that involve intentional harassment, trespassing, disturbing of the peace, and reported activity that results in the citizens of our county feeling threatened," the department said.

Parents at the school on Friday were split on the reports. At least one said it sounded like a joke, and another said that they're worried that coverage of the clowns could make for meaner pranks.

"I think you're just going to make whoever is doing this say, 'Ha, I got them. What else can we do? Let's take it up a notch," said Jessica Kulish.

In Ellenville, police said they were investigating false reports of acts committed by a clown who calls himself "Bubbo Theclown" on Facebook. The department said in its own Facebook post that any purported crimes committed by "Bubbo Theclown" were hoaxes.

"This is not humorous in anyway, and in fact causes unnecessary stress, and in some cases traumatizes the children who are victims of these heinous acts," the department said. 

In Pohatcong, New Jersey, authorities cited an 18-year-old riding on the hood of a hearse at a Wal-Mart on Tuesday. Police there said the man hadn't made any contact with shoppers and called the episode a "hoax." 

"This odd phenomena is happening all over the country but it will not be tolerated in this township," said Pohatcong Mayor James Kern III. "Hopefully those considering these type of actions will now think otherwise."

Authorities in Toms River are likewise investigating reports of clowns, though police didn't confirm any sightings in the Jersey Shore town. Authorities in the town said that there had been threats to schools that originated from outside the Garden State and they haven't found any credible threat from the clown reports. Still, additional officers will be posted at schools in the town. 

The incidents are among the latest in a series of frightening encounters involving clowns nationwide. Since August, people South Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia have reported scary or suspicious incidents with people dressed as clowns.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect in Viral Purse-Snatching Video Arrested]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 20:38:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Frederic+Mordon+Mug+Video.jpg

A man suspected of stealing a purse from a Florida woman's car in a viral video has been arrested, authorities said. He is also accused of stealing an SUV with a baby inside in North Lauderdale days later, according to an arrest warrant.

When a local television station aired surveillance footage of a woman jumping on the hood of a car driven by a man who stole her purse, several people called Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives to identify him, county officials said.

Three people told officers that they "were certain" the bald man seen in the Mobil Gas Station video grabbing a purse and driving off was Frederick Mordon Jr., a convicted felon, according to an arrest warrant released Thursday.

Mordon’s parole officer also said the suspect "appeared to be his client," a detective wrote in the warrant.

The 35-year-old was arrested Thursday in connection to the Sept. 17 incident. Cameras captured Mordon pulling up to the gas station in a light-colored car, opening a woman's driver side door while she pumped gas, and then taking her purse. The victim jumped on his car, falling off when he sped away.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, he was released from prison June 18 after an 11-year jail sentence for grand theft, burglary of a dwelling and reckless driving. Acquaintances who recognized Mordon in the viral video had advised him to turn himself in, but he refused, saying he was scared and "didn't want to go back to prison," the warrant said.

Authorities said that Mordon was also connected to a car theft at a shopping plaza in North Lauderdale on Sept. 24. A two-month-old infant was inside the Nissan Murano when it was stolen as the baby's mother spoke to a store manager nearby.

The SUV was later found abandoned nearby, with the unharmed baby still inside.

Mordon was booked into jail Thursday evening and was being held without bond on charges charges including burglary, strong arm robbery, kidnapping, child neglect, grand theft auto, and violation of parole, Broward Sheriff's Office officials said.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[No 'Red Flags' for Engineer in Hoboken Train Crash: Sources]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:51:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/thomas+gallagher+operator.jpg

The engineer aboard the NJ Transit train that plowed through walls at the century-old Hoboken Terminal Thursday morning has no infractions, medical episodes or criminal history, sources familiar with situation told NBC 4 New York.

Three sources said that according to a preliminary review, engineer Tommy Gallagher had no "red flags" in his history prior to the crash that killed one woman and injured 108 others.

Preliminary reports suggest the crash was either accidental or caused by operator error, law enforcement officials said. They stressed that it is early in the investigation. 

The National Transportation Safety Board has been called in to conduct an inquiry into the crash.

Gallagher was seriously injured in the crash but was released from the hospital. He has been cooperating with authorities, according to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

NTSB Vice Chairwoman T. Bella Dinh-Zarr said investigators will be interviewing him. 

Gallagher's father told NBC 4 New York he wasn't sure about the condition of his son until after he saw a breaking news banner on TV telling him that the train's operator had survived.

"We're very upset with this whole matter," the man said.

The engineer's father said that the man had been with NJ Transit since he was 19 years old and had also served as a station master, a part-time track worker, and accident investigator. He said his son is a dedicated worker who doesn't call in sick.

Editors note: This story has been updated to say Tommy Gallagher has been working for NJ Transit since he was 19 years old.


Photo Credit: AP/NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Power Back After Universal Orlando Hit With Outage]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 12:23:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/universal.jpg

Universal Studios Florida was hit by a power outage Friday morning, prompting the Orlando Fire Department to help remove passengers from two rides before hour was restored, NBC affiliate WESH reported

The Orlando Fire Department said on Twitter that the outage impacted the Transformers and Men in Black rides and there were "no reports of distress." 

Eleven people were taken off the Transformers ride in a "routine rescue," and OFD was "checking elevators for anyone who may be stuck," the department wrote in a follow-up tweet. 

The park-wide outage was reported before 10 a.m. and Transformers riders were still being helped off an hour later, WESH reported. 

Universal's Islands of Adventure did not lose power, the station said.

The theme-park said on Twitter at 11:55 a.m. that power had been restored and all rides would be operational "soon." 

Comcast Corporation is the parent company of both Universal Orlando and this site. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Put a Ring On It: Cavs' Arena Staff Get Championship Rings]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:32:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dan-gilbert1.jpg

Like the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” the same could be said about the staff that supported the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert has announced that the entire staff of Quicken Loans Arena will receive a championship ring, along with the team.

Typically, the rings are only for the winning team’s players and coaching staff, but the franchise wants to acknowledge "The Q" staff. From vendors to seat ushers and security guards, those behind the scenes of the team for every home game of the season are getting to partake in the glory.

The arena has over 1,000 full and part-time employees. The conservative estimate for distributing the rings to all employees is over $1 million. 

The report was confirmed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier this week. The paper reported that the rings received by the arena staff will not be the same diamond-covered rings that are given to the Cavs team, but they will nonetheless be tokens for the staff who can say they worked for the 2016 champions.

This idea follows the Lake Erie Monsters' announcement to award all employees rings after they clinched the American Hockey League's Calder Cup in June. The Monsters also play at Quicken Loans Arena. 

The Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors to win the series in June. They were the first team to ever come back from a three-game deficit to win in seven. It was the first championship win for the franchise and the first win for a Cleveland-based team since 1964.

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Third Day of Protests in El Cajon Turn Violent; 2 Arrested]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:54:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-611495506.jpg

At least two people were arrested after tensions flared in a small San Diego suburb Thursday night as demonstrators gathered for a third night of protests over the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Police said between 50 to 75 protesters blocked traffic at the intersection of Broadway and Mollison, yards from the parking lot where Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an El Cajon officer.

Frustrated motorists tried to drive through the crowd and some, angry over blocked traffic, got out of there car to confront protesters. The confrontation became heated and some protesters broke car windows and in one case pushing a man off his motorcycle, police said.

The exchange prompted police and sheriff's deputies in riot gear to move in closer to the protesters. Law enforcement officials ordered the crowd to disperse at approximately 8 p.m. 

According to police, protesters began throwing water bottles and beers cans at officers and refused to leave. Officers on scene then deployed pepper-spray balls.

A 19-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were arrested for taking part in an unlawful assembly. Their names were not released.

The Thursday evening protests were a shift from activity during the day, when a few small groups were congregating near the Broadway Plaza Shopping Center where Olango was shot dead Tuesday afternoon. 

A family member called police to help Olango as he was undergoing, what was described as an emotional breakdown, but shot him when he pulled out an electronic cigarette device and took a "shooting stance." He died later that evening.

On Wednesday large crowds marched through El Cajon streets, chanting "no justice, no peace," in mostly peaceful protests. In the evening, demonstrations became heated and several protesters on Wednesday night threw water bottles at a car, and a news photographer had his camera forcibly taken from him, police said.

Thursday afternoon, the site of a shooting had become a memorial filled with handwritten signs paying tribute to Olango and calling for justice.

In a statement, El Cajon police said they continue to support the community’s right to voice their opinions in a peaceful manner.

A group of religious leaders who met on Thursday called on the community to join together to create one peaceful voice.

“If we go and loot, if we go and tear neighborhoods, we’re in the same position they are,” said Pastor Russell Bowman of Righteous Living Ministries. “So we’re trying to gather around those emotions and calm the storm before it actually breaks out.”

Several protests have been planned for the weekend and a march is scheduled to take place at an area college next month. A demonstration led by local religious leaders will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown El Cajon at the Prescott Promenade.

A second rally on Saturday is planned for 3 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center.

Next month, a third event, called a “March for Reparations,” is scheduled for Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. at San Diego City College.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[23 Giant Panda Cubs Make Public Debut]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:38:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000019152209_1200x675_775774275956.jpg Twenty-three giant panda cubs made their public debut at a panda base in Southwest China on Thursday, offering the cutest scene one can imagine. The baby pandas, aged one to four months, were all born at the Chengdu research base of giant panda breeding this year. This year, experts from the base also witnessed the birth of another four pandas overseas, raising the total number of base's newborn pandas to 27, a rare record since the establishment of the base. The number of this year's newborn pandas at the base has almost doubled that last year. experts attribute this to the improvement in breeding technology. Among the 27 newborn pandas there are ten pairs of twins, accounting for 74 percent of the total. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the base has bred 176 giant pandas, the world's largest artificially-bred giant panda population.]]> <![CDATA[New Mom Welcomes Twins, at 60!]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:45:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_60twins0929_1920x1080.jpg

Last year, Claudette Cook and her husband decided to start a family, but they knew they'd have to deal with a few bumps in the road.

Now, she's a mother for the first time, after her 60th birthday.

"Isaiah came out first, and Isaac came out second," said Claudette Cook.

Claudette beat all the odds, giving birth to fraternal twins Sunday night.

"I cried. I was like, you know, you look at TV and you see other people in the delivery room and you're like, oh my goodness. And, it was me. So, joy, it was so sweet," Claudette told us while holding her husband, Ross's hand. "Everything changed in that moment. Once they're born, your life changes."

Isaac and Isaiah were born on Sunday night, each five pounds, almost a month before Claudette's due date.

Photo Credit: WFIE]]>
<![CDATA[Conn. Home of Woman Lost at Sea Searched]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:29:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Linda+Carman+house+Middletown+daylight.jpg

Police searched the Middletown, Connecticut, home of a woman who is presumed dead after disappearing during a fishing trip with her son, a source close to the investigation said. 

NBC Connecticut was at the home on Thursday night when police were at the scene for about an hour and officers took items in brown paper bags from the house. Officials said on Friday that police were given consent to go into the home.

There is a joint investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 54-year-old Linda Carman, according to police in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, and it includes federal law enforcement agencies, as well as state law enforcement in Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts.

Linda Carman has not been seen since she and her 22-year-old son, Nathan, went fishing on Sept. 17.

The mother and son failed to return from a fishing trip in their boat, the Chicken Pox, from the waters off Point Judith in Rhode Island.

For the next six days, the Coast Guard searched a span of 62,000 miles, from Block Island to New Jersey, but called off the search when nothing turned up.

Two days later, the crew on the Chinese freighter spotted a life raft 100 miles from Martha's Vineyard and discovered Nathan Carman in it. He had a supply of emergency food and water, but there was no sign of his mother.

Nathan later told the Coast Guard that he heard a "funny noise" coming from the boat's engine compartment when they were at sea. When he went to go look, it was filling up with water. Then he got into the life raft and called for his mother, but could not find her.

"I got to the life raft after I got my bearings and I was whistling and calling and looking around and I didn't see (my mom)," Carman told the Coast Guard.

Nathan Carman now lives in Vermont and officials have searched his home there as part of the investigation. The search warrant affidavit says police "believe that evidence relating to the crime of RIGL 46-22-9.3 {Operating so as to endanger, resulting in the death} will be located inside Nathan's residence located at 3034 Fort Bridgemon Road in Vernon, Vermont."

A friend of the family told investigators that Linda Carman said the pair was going fishing at Striper Rock, which is located approximately 20 miles off of the Block Island shoreline, according to the affidavit.

However, another witness told police that Nathan Carman said they were going fishing at the Canyons, which is approximately 100 miles off the Block Island shore, the affidavit reads.

When Carman was rescued about 100 miles off shore of Martha's Vineyard, he told investigators he and his mother were fishing on the Block Canyon for tuna, the affidavit said.

Sources close to the investigation also said that Nathan Carman is a person of interest into his wealthy grandfather's homicide in 2013.

The 22-year old told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he had nothing to do with his grandfather's unsolved slaying and didn't harm his missing mother.

While the investigation into what happened to Linda Carman is ongoing, Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Groll said during a news conference on Monday that the chances of Linda Carman's survival are minimal. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Cause of Minnesota Sisters' Sudden Vacation Deaths Revealed]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 23:41:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sisters.png

An autopsy report reveals two sisters who were found dead while vacationing on a tropical African island had died from fluid in their lungs, a condition commonly known as acute pulmonary edema.

Police in the Republic of Seychelles released the findings Friday morning after the bodies of 37-year-old and Annie Korkki 42-year-old Robin Korkki were found last week inside their villa at the Maia Luxury Resort.

Results showed Robin Korkki, who lived in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood and worked downtown as a trader, died of acute pulmonary edema caused by excess fluid in the lungs. Her sister, Annie Korkki, of Denver, died of the same condition, according to the autopsy, in addition to cerebral edema listed as a contributing cause. Cerebral edema is a swelling of the brain.

On their own the causes of death do not reveal much about how the sisters died, NBC News reports, but a pending toxicology report may be the key to uncovering it.

Seychelles police spokesman Jean Toussaint told NBC News officials hope to learn more from a toxicology report currently being processed at a lab on the island of Mauritius, about 1,000 miles away from the resort where the sisters were found.

The autopsy determined there were "no visible signs of injuries found on the bodies," Toussaint added.

Earlier this week their brother, Chris Korkki, told NBC 5’s affiliate station KARE that their family had been given no information on how his sisters suddenly died on what was supposed to be a “dream vacation.”

"It's all very surreal," said their brother, Chris Korkki, who lives in the suburbs of Minneapolis where the sisters grew up. "We don't know very much. Our family is still very much in shock. We're devastated."

He told The Associated Press he, his mother and brother have traveled to Seychelles for answers and to make arrangements to bring his sisters' bodies back to the U.S.

The sisters and self-described best friends had been traveling for a month and just two days from when they were scheduled to return home when they died.

"They were frequent travelers both domestically and internationally," he said. "They were kind and generous and compassionate, and were wonderful people that had a positive impact on a huge number of people."

Photo Credit: Chris Korkki]]>