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Sgt. Connor Mendez/U.S. Army (LINCOLN COUNTY, Nev.) -- The Air Force is warning people against storming Area 51 in Nevada, after a Facebook event page, organizing a meet up at the "Alien Center tourist attraction," went viral.

Conspiracy theorists believe that the U.S. government has kept UFOs and extraterrestrial life at the location, which is actually an Air Force training range.

As of Wednesday morning, over 1.5 million people said they were "attending" the event, called "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us." The event is scheduled for Sept. 20 at 3 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Another 1.1 million Facebook users indicated they were "interested."

"We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry," according to the Facebook page. "If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets [sic] see them aliens."

"Naruto" refers to the running style of the Japanese anime character, Naruto Ozumaki.

"The United States Air Force is aware of the Facebook post," Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews told ABC News in a statement. "The Nevada Test and Training Range is an area where the Air Force tests and trains combat aircraft. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss specific security measures, but any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous.”

The range is the largest contiguous air and ground space available for peacetime military operations in the free world, according to the Air Force, spanning 2.9 million acres of land and 5,000 square miles of airspace which is restricted from civilian air traffic.

The range is also used by the Department of Energy for testing, research and development.

Area 51 is just Coachella for conspiracy theorists

— Tank.Sinatra (@GeorgeResch) July 15, 2019

It's unknown how many of the 1.5 million Facebook attendees would actually travel to the remote location in Nevada for the event, as the page has sparked Internet memes poking fun at the idea of storming the Air Force range for the opportunity to see aliens.

The Air Force did investigate UFOs under Project Blue Book from 1947 to 1969, but the project was headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, not at the range in Nevada.

me and the boys on our way to sneak in Area 51 to save the aliens

— Michael Scott 📚 (@michaelgclump) July 14, 2019

Project Blue Book concluded that none of the UFOs investigated were a threat to U.S. national security and there was "no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as 'unidentified' were extraterrestrial vehicles," according to the Air Force.

The project's findings are available in the National Archives for public review.

He’s training to free the aliens at Area 51...

— Guy (@apiecebyguy) July 15, 2019

Earlier this year, the Navy updated its guidelines for how its pilots report the sighting of "unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft" due to an increase in the number of reports in recent years.

"There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," Joseph Gradisher, spokesperson for Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, told ABC News in May.

Me and my new pals when I bust them outta Area 51 👽👽👽#Area51

— trafficlightsandwich (@LightSandwich) July 15, 2019

"For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] take these reports very seriously and investigate each and every report. As part of this effort, the Navy has updated and formalized the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities," he said.

Gradisher added that senior Naval intelligence officials and aviators "who reported hazards to aviation safety" have briefed congressional members and staff in response to requests for information.

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Zinkevych/iStock(IDAHO FALLS, Idaho) -- In the 1990s, Christopher Tapp was sent to prison for the rape and murder of Idaho teen Angie Dodge.

Despite his DNA not matching evidence found at the crime scene, he was still convicted based on the theory that multiple people were involved in the crime.

On Wednesday, after decades of proclaiming his innocence and claiming his confession was coerced, Tapp may finally be exonerated due to the novel DNA technique of genetic genealogy, which was used to find identify a new suspect in Dodge's murder.

"It's hard for me to fathom or believe it still," Tapp told ABC News. "For me it's just the disappointment I've received over the last 22.5 years.... I just didn't know what was gonna happen, if the state or the judge or anybody would do the right thing."

Mystery DNA and a coerced confession

The case dates back to June 13, 1996, when 18-year-old Dodge was raped and killed in her Idaho Falls apartment.

Semen and hair was collected at the scene and DNA testing showed they belonged to the same suspect, according to the Idaho Falls Police. Detectives canvassed the neighborhood in their search for the killer, but to no avail.

In January 1997, Tapp, then a 20-year-old living in Idaho Falls, confessed to being involved in the rape and murder, according to authorities.

His DNA didn't match the semen and hair samples but police said "an existing theory was that multiple people were involved and Tapp was suspected to have been one of those people."

Tapp -- a "kid" "scared for his life" -- sat through nine interrogations, his attorney, John Thomas, told ABC News.

"Tapp's confession matched details from the crime scene and included assertions that he had not acted alone," said police. "Based on his confessions, knowledge of the crime, and other facts that supported a theory that multiple people had been involved in the rape and murder, Tapp was convicted in 1998 by a jury."

No information from Tapp -- who is now 43 -- led to more arrests or the person who left behind DNA, police added.

A proclamation of innocence

In 2001, Tapp said his confession was coerced and that he was innocent, but Idaho's supreme court affirmed the conviction, police said. The Idaho Innocence Project took up Tapp's case as one of their first and pushed for his exoneration.

Tapp filed several petitions for post-conviction relief over the years, and in 2017, while a petition was pending, he made a plea deal to amend his sentence.

To secure the deal, Thomas presented new DNA evidence and argued that Tapp's confession was coerced.

In 1997, after being "coerced and pressured" by investigators, Tapp told police he held Dodge down by her wrists during the rape and murder, Thomas said. Dodge's hands were swabbed for DNA but were not tested until 2016; that test found DNA was only present from Dodge and the killer -- not Tapp, said Thomas. It was unclear why the evidence wasn't tested at the time.

In the 2017 deal, the rape conviction was vacated, Tapp's murder sentence was reduced to time served and he was freed, said Thomas.

New technology finds a new suspect

Idaho Falls police say the search for the mystery suspect who left DNA at the crime scene never stopped in the years after Dodge's killing.

In November 2018, police turned to genetic genealogy.

Genetic genealogy -- a novel technique that compares unknown DNA evidence to public genetic databases to identify suspects through their family members -- has been called a "game-changer" in the effort to crack cold cases.

Since the arrest of the suspected "Golden State Killer" in April 2018, about 70 suspects have been identified through the technology, according to CeCe Moore, the chief genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs, which investigated the Dodge murder among others.

Moore, who also appeared as an expert in ABC News "20/20" episodes, said she started building family trees of people who shared DNA with the unknown suspect and with each other, and found where those intersected in one marriage. She was spurred on by Dodge's mother who inspired her to push thru this case even though it was so difficult.

"I knew the suspect had to be a descendant of that marriage, so I narrowed it down to six men who were descendants of that couple. And five of the six on that list lived over 1,000 miles away, didn't have any connection to Idaho that we could find. One of them did live in Idaho," Moore told ABC News.

In February, investigators surveilled the man who lived in Idaho, obtaining a wad of discarded chewing tobacco from him, said police.

That man not only was not a match to the DNA at the crime scene, but he was also found not to be close relative to the suspect, Moore said.

While Moore felt like she "was back to square one," she said she also was "aware of the fact there could be a missing descendant."

Moore remembered that one of the men in the family had gotten married early and then divorced. While there didn't appear to be a child from the marriage, she thought it was possible that a child was born shortly after they separated.

"I went back to my research and tried to find what happened to that woman... we finally found her by finding her mother's obituary, which listed her current name and listed a son," Moore said.

It turns out Moore's hunch was correct -- that son was from the first marriage but carried his stepfather's last name -- Dripps.

In May, detectives went to Caldwell, Idaho, to investigate Brian Dripps Sr.

Investigators recovered a cigarette butt Dripps threw out of his car window -- and the DNA on the cigarette butt was found to be a match to the semen and hair at the crime scene, police said.

As it turned out, Dripps lived across the street from Dodge when she was killed. Detectives even spoke to him five days after the slaying during a neighborhood canvass, police said.

But he moved away from Idaho Falls the year of the murder, police said.

Dripps, 53, was arrested on May 15 and charged with Dodge's murder and rape, police said. In a police interview, once confronted with the DNA evidence, he admitted to the crime and said he went into Dodge's apartment alone.

Dripps has not entered a plea and his attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment. He has a motion hearing set for Thursday and a preliminary hearing on Aug. 7.

Also, in May of this year, a key witness in the case reportedly recanted her testimony, according to the Post-Register newspaper.

'The power of genetic genealogy'

Tapp, who was released from prison in 2017, is married and working at a local plastic bag factory, his lawyer said.

"He's doing well," his lawyer, Thomas told ABC News on Tuesday, but getting back his family's name will mean a lot to him.

"It is a huge thing for him and his mom. They're the last two Tapps of his particular line," he said. "He hasn't had any children. He's an only child for his mom."

On Wednesday afternoon, a judge is expected to approve prosecutors' motion for post-conviction relief, making Tapp the first person to be exonerated for murder thanks to genetic genealogy, said Moore.

Moore called Tapp's case a highlight of her career.

"I'm more excited and exhilarated about this than I think anything else. It's just such an incredible feeling to be a part of clearing an innocent man's name," she said.

Moore believes genetic genealogy will help with more exonerations going forward.

"There's been so much focus put on arresting the violent criminals -- which is very important -- but I always thought there wasn't enough attention put on the fact that when we do that, we're clearing a lot of other potential persons of interest, or even suspects," Moore said.

"So it's been less formal with all the other cases, but there are many other cases where people's names have been cleared thanks to genetic genealogy, people who have carried burdens for years," she said. "So I think this is very important to demonstrate the power of genetic genealogy, not just to convict people, but also to exonerate."

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San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department(LAS VEGAS) -- Authorities are continuing to search for a 69-year-old woman who has been missing for almost a week after hiking in California’s Mojave Desert.

Barbara Thomas was last seen last Friday when she and her husband, Robert, were making their way back to their trailer after hiking in the desert, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Colorado River Station said in a press release.

The two had nearly reached their vehicle when Robert stopped to take a photo and she continued on ahead in the area of Kelbaker/Hidden Hills near Interstate 40, he told ABC Las Vegas affiliate station KTNV.

It was the last time he said he saw her.

The trailer was still locked when he arrived and Thomas was nowhere to be found.

She was wearing a black bikini, red baseball cap and tan hiking boots with black socks, according to authorities. She does not have any supplies or a cellphone.

Officials with the sheriff’s department, search and rescue volunteers, K9s, park rangers, and a helicopter are all part of the search efforts to find Thomas.

The sheriff’s department has scoured the area daily since she was reported missing and had been out Wednesday morning "since the sun came up," a spokeswoman said.

Robert believes she may have been picked up on the road near their trailer. He said he wouldn’t press charges on anyone who did take her.

“I just want my wife back and if somebody out there has her, which I feel somebody does, please drop her off at a safe place where she can contact us and that’s it,” he told KTNV. The two are residents of Bullhead City, Ariz.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department told ABC News there is no evidence at this time suggesting foul play.

Anyone with information regarding Thomas’ whereabouts is urged to contact the Colorado River Station at (760) 326-9200 or Sheriff's Dispatch at (760) 956-5001.

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OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced to life in prison, a federal judge in Brooklyn decided Wednesday.

Guzman, 62, was convicted in February of charges that mandate life in prison, proving he was "a ruthless and bloodthirsty leader of the Sinaloa Cartel," federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said in a court filing.

"The horrific nature and circumstances of the defendant's offense, his history and characteristics and the fact that the defendant committed some of the most serious crimes under federal law make a life sentence warranted," prosecutors wrote.

“My case was stained,” Guzman told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan before he was sentenced. “You denied me a fair trial.”

The complaint derived from a VICE report that jurors consumed media about the trial despite the judge’s instructions.

Dressed in a gray suit and dark tie, Guzman said he endured “total torture” in jail from the lack of fresh air, clean water and sunlight. He also complained about a noisy air duct.

“In order to sleep I have to use plugs in my ears made of toilet paper,” Guzman said.

The U.S. had agreed not to seek the death penalty as part of its deal with Mexico to transfer Guzman into American custody.

“It was an inevitable sentence,” defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said outside court, alleging up to five jurors broke the law by reading about the trial. He promised to appeal.

Guzman's trial has spanned four months. In 10 weeks of testimony, 53 prosecution witnesses described a naked journey through a secret tunnel, plastic bananas filled with cocaine and spied-on mistresses.

The government presented evidence that Guzman ordered the murder of or, in some instances personally tortured and murdered, 26 individuals and groups of individuals. His army of assassins carried out violence on his orders, prosecutors said.

Testimony also showed that from the 1980s until his arrest, Guzman was an innovator in drug trafficking, devising new methods to evade law enforcement from detecting the multi-ton quantities of cocaine he brought from South America to the U.S.

"He was a killer. He was a murderer. He was a manipulator. But he was also very, very, very smart, very street smart," Ray Donovan, special agent in charge of the New York field office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, told ABC News after Guzman's conviction. "He was he was willing to use extreme violence to control his territory and control his organization."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Slow-moving remnants of Barry delivered 16 inches of rain in southwestern Arkansas on Tuesday, breaking the state's record for the most precipitation from a tropical system.

What's left of Barry now is forecast to combine with a frontal system, producing more severe storms, rainfall and potential flooding.

Flash flood alerts were issued Wednesday morning in seven states from Minnesota to New Jersey. Some areas could see more than 4 inches.

The frontal system and tropical moisture from Barry also could ignite multiple severe storms in the Plains and Upper Midwest later in the day.

Damaging winds, large hail and a slight tornado chance likely are the biggest threats in the region.

From Nebraska to New Jersey, two dozen states are under heat alerts on Wednesday morning, with the heat index in some sections probably topping 110.

The massive heat wave should continue into the weekend, from Kansas City to Chicago and all the way into New York City.

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Michigan State Police(DETROIT) -- The parents of a missing 2-year-old girl who was found alive and healthy in the dense woods of rural Michigan on Tuesday morning said it's a miracle she survived.

Gabriella Roselynn Vitale was reported missing on Monday morning in northern Michigan's Oscoda County, where she and her family had been camping.

More than 24 hours later, Gabriella was found between a quarter to a half-mile west of the campsite. She had walked up to the porch of a home that was outside of the zone that had been searched thus far, and residents immediately notified authorities, according to the Michigan State Police.

Gabriella was reunited with her family and taken to a hospital to be evaluated, but Michigan State Police said she was "in good condition and even in good spirits for a little girl who had been out in the woods all night."

"We would like to express our thanks to God for keeping our sweet Gabriella safe," Gabriella's mother said in a statement Tuesday. "Thank you to the countless public safety officers, first responders, and those that helped locate our girl."

Gabriella's father said he wasn't on the camping trip but drove up north as soon as he heard his daughter was missing.

"At this point, my mind is like running races and laps, and I just can’t think straight," Dominic Vitale said in an interview with ABC Detroit affiliate WXYZ-TV on Tuesday.

And now, being able to hold his little girl in his arms again, the father struggled to find the words.

"That's the type of feeling that you can't really explain," he told WXYZ. "It's something that you feel when I held her. I felt like I was bullet proof. I felt like I was bulletproof. I felt like nothing could harm me and nothing was going to harm her."

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iStock(BREVARD COUNTY, Fla.) -- Astronaut Michael Collins, 88, returned to where it all began -- the spot where Apollo 11 launched into space 50 years ago Tuesday. He reflected on the mission that brought man to the moon and what he hopes to see for space exploration in the future.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be back at Launchpad 39A,” Collins told Robert Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Once referred to by some as the loneliest man in the universe, Collins appeared on stage as he was in the command module 50 years ago -- without fellow Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.

During the mission, while Armstrong and Aldrin made man's first steps on the moon, Collins stayed in the command module.

Had the mission failed, Collins could have been faced with the prospect of riding back to Earth alone across a quarter-million miles of space.

“I want to turn and ask Neil a question, maybe tell Buzz Aldrin something, of course I am here by myself, but I know they would enjoy joining in to this sort of a conversation as much as I’m looking forward to it,” Collins said.

Collins recalled the training and preparation that went into the Apollo 11 mission, when he spent more than 600 hours in a simulator preparing for the unprecedented journey.

“No matter how well things are going for you, you can't just relax and pat yourself on the back and say, ‘isn't this wonderful?’”

“Apollo 11 ... was serious business. We, [the] crew, felt the weight of the world on our shoulders,” said Collins. “We knew that everyone would be looking at us, friend or foe, and we wanted to do the best we possibly could.”

When asked where we go from here, Collins said that he “loved” the name Artemis, but his ideal space pursuit would be to go to Mars.

Artemis 1, according to NASA, is "America’s moon to Mars approach for human space exploration."

The program's stated goal is to land "the first woman and the next man" on the moon by 2024.

“I think women can do anything that men can do in space, perhaps they can do it better,” said Collins. “But I don't want to go back to the moon, I want to go direct to Mars, I call it the JFK Mars express.”

Artemis 1 launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson said she enjoyed listening to Collins reflect on his experience and said she "couldn't help but feel the goosebumps come up on [her] arm as [she] saw the final seconds tick off the countdown clock in the video.”

Blackwell-Thompson’s launch team joined the original Apollo 11 launch group in Firing Room 1 to celebrate and share lessons learned from one launch team to another.

After his interview, Collins also visited the Launch Control Center and Firing Room 1 to reconnect with the launch controllers from the Apollo 11 quest and meet with those who will launch the Artemis missions.

As the 50th anniversary of the moon landing approaches on Saturday, July 20, there are a host of other events to commemorate the historic feat.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will project the image of a 363-foot Saturn V rocket onto the Washington Monument, while a 17-minute show, “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” detailing the mission, plays on screens nearby. The simple projection of Saturn V will light up the Washington Monument starting Tuesday, and the “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” show will play Friday and Saturday.

The National Air and Space Museum also displayed the spacesuit astronaut Neil Armstrong wore during his 'giant leap for mankind' on Tuesday morning for the first time in over a decade.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- A man suspected of murdering 17-year-old Bianca Devins alerted police to the killing by posting photographs of her dead body on multiple social media platforms, police said.

Now, Instagram is facing criticism from social media users for allegedly failing to swiftly remove the gruesome images.

"I have seen the pictures. I will FOREVER have those images in my mind when I think of her," Devins' stepmother, Kaleigh Rimmer, wrote on Facebook on Monday morning. "When I close my eyes, those images haunt me."

Instagram users took matters into their own hands by posting photos of pink clouds in Devins' honor to drown out the images of her untimely death, technology and business magazine Fast Company reported.

Police in Utica, New York, say that 21-year-old Brandon Clark -- who Devins met on Instagram two months ago -- killed her with a knife in the early hours on Sunday, and then posted photos of Devins' corpse onto Instagram, Snapchat and gaming site Discord.

Clark has been charged with second-degree murder, police said.

The Utica Police Department confirmed the authenticity of the images in a press release.

When social media users reported the images, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, sent a reply saying that the images had been reviewed, and they did not violate its community guidelines.

A spokesperson for Facebook told ABC News that the photos were later removed from the platform. But the company did not immediately say how long the images had been allowed to stay up, or why users had been told the images were in keeping with its content policies.

"Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic event. We are taking every measure to remove this content from our platforms," the Facebook spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Discord said in a statement to ABC News: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by this terrible situation. We are working closely with law enforcement to provide any assistance we can. In the meantime, our hearts go out to Bianca’s family and loved ones."

A representative for Snapchat did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Clark's accounts on both Instagram and Facebook were removed after police identified him on Monday, and the hashtags #yesjuliet, #yesjulietpicture, #checkyesjuliet and #yesjulietvideo, which may coincide with Clark's Instagram handle, @yesjuliet, have been blocked to stop the spread of the images, according to Facebook. The platform is also using technology that allows them to proactively find other attempts to upload the image and automatically remove them before anyone sees them, Facebook said.

The platform says they are currently in touch with law enforcement.

Devins graduated from high school in June and planned to attend the Mohawk Valley Community College in the fall. The pair had become acquainted with each other's families, but a mutual friend described their relationship to Rolling Stone as strictly platonic.

On Saturday, Devins and Clark went to a concert in New York City and headed back to Utica around 10 p.m., police said. Investigators believe the two had an argument, which led to Clark allegedly killing Devins with a large knife in the early hours on Sunday.

Police learned of Devins' murder after receiving several 911 calls Sunday morning detailing that a man had posted to multiple social media platforms, and stated he killed his girlfriend and was threatening to harm himself, according to a press release from the Utica Police Department.

Clark also called 911 and made "incriminating statements with respect to the homicide" and suggested he planned to harm himself, police said. As an officer approached, he began to stab himself in the neck with a knife, police said.

After Clark called police, investigators tracked his location and found him lying on the ground in a wooded area next to a black SUV. Police then noticed what appeared to be a body lying beneath a tarp and, when asked about Devins' whereabouts, police said Clark pulled out his phone and attempted to take a selfie of himself next to Devins's body.

As an officer approached, he began to stab himself in the neck with a knife, according to authorities.

Clark was taken into custody and brought to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery for "severe injuries," police said. He is still recovering from his injuries at the hospital and has not yet been booked into jail.

In a statement issued by police, Devins' family described her as a talented artist and "wonderful young girl."

"Bianca’s smile brightened our lives," the statement read. "She will always be remembered as our Princess."

A vigil for Devins was held in Utica on Tuesday afternoon.

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iStock(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- A Louisiana man has been arrested in the murder of a beloved 75-year-old community activist whose body was discovered asphyxiated in the trunk of her car, police said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

The death of Sadie Roberts-Joseph, who founded an African American museum in Baton Rouge and teamed up with police on an anti-drug and violence program, was ruled a homicide by "traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation," according to an autopsy report.

Ronn Jermaine Bell, 37, a convicted sex offender, was taken into custody Tuesday on a charge of first-degree murder, police said.

Bell was living in one of the homes Roberts-Joseph was renting out and it is believed he was several months behind in rent payments, police said. Authorities estimated Bell owed Roberts-Joseph $1,200.

"On behalf of the family of Sadie Roberts-Joseph we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all of the entities that came together in this tragedy to bring this person to justice," Roberts-Joseph's daughter, Angela Machen, said during Tuesday's news conference.

Police said numerous leads came in from community residents and helped police identify and arrest Bell in the slaying.

"All my mother ever wanted was for this community to come together. It's ironic that that happened in her death," Machen said.

Roberts-Joseph was found slain Friday afternoon when police were directed by an anonymous 911 caller to her car parked behind a vacant house northeast of downtown Baton Rouge, said the city's police Chief Murphy Paul.

"Our detectives immediately began following up on leads, interviewing witnesses and searching for evidence during the midst of a hurricane," Paul said at Tuesday's news conference. "We say we can't do this without the community and this is an example of when a community steps up and does their part we're able to put these bad actors away."

During an interview with homicide detectives, Bell denied seeing Josephs-Roberts on the day she was killed, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

But detectives obtained surveillance video that showed Bell "in the same exact area the victim's vehicle was abandoned at the same exact time the vehicle was abandoned," according to the affidavit.

Bell matched the description from a witness of a man seen abandoning the vehicle and walking away, the affidavit reads.

The suspect's DNA was also found on the victim's body, according the affidavit.

Roberts-Joseph was last seen alive visiting her sister about 11 a.m. on Friday. Her body was discovered in her car a little over three miles from her home about 3:45 p.m. on Friday, police and relatives said.

There was a 90 minute time frame that investigators focused on, from the time she was last seen alive to the time her body was found, police said.

A warrant was already issued for Bell on unrelated charges, including failing to comply with probation regulations and failing to register as a sex offender.

Bell was previously convicted for sexual assault against an 8-year-old girl, said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III, adding that Bell pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexual battery and received a seven year sentence, which was completely served.

The slaying of Roberts-Joseph, who was well known in Baton Rouge, came as a complete shock for her family and the community.

"We're devastated that someone has actually killed her and put her in the trunk of her own car," Roberts-Joseph's niece, Pat McCallister-Leduff, told ABC News.

The victim's sister, Beatrice Johnson, told The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge that Roberts-Johnson stopped by her house around 11 a.m. on Friday. She said her sister lived near her in the Scotlandville neighborhood of Baton Rouge and would check in with her daily.

"Friday, she came by [because] she had mixed some cornbread, but her oven went out, and she brought it here to put in the oven," Johnson told the newspaper. "The bread is still there. She never came back to get it."

Roberts-Joseph founded the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum in 2001. The museum, now known as the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum, is housed on the campus of New St. Luke Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.

She also organized the city's annual Juneteenth festival at the museum, commemorating the day slaves were belatedly freed in Texas more than two years after Emancipation Proclamation was signed. She also partnered with Baton Rouge police to launch a Community Against Drugs and Violence program.

In a recent interview with ABC affiliate station WBRZ in Baton Rouge, Roberts-Joseph said her work at the museum and the annual Juneteenth event was meant "to celebrate, to embrace" African American history and to "learn of our past and to be able to move forward in unity."

Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome described Roberts-Joseph on Tuesday as "one of the standout matriarchs of Baton Rouge."

"She was a part of the fabric of Baton Rouge and that is why you see so many people concerned about her death," the mayor said. "We will make her legacy a priority here in Baton Rouge ... because of what she gave to so many here."

East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said he personally knew Roberts-Joseph.

"I'm heartbroken that our community has lost such a kind and selfless soul in such a violent, tragic manner," Gautreaux said. "I've known and loved Ms. Sadie for years and admired and respected her dedication to education and our community. I'm grateful for the swift action of the Baton Rouge Police Department and the Louisiana State Police in finding her alleged killer and putting him behind bars."

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iStock(WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C.) -- A North Carolina father died while trying to rescue his children from rough waters at the state's Wrightsville Beach, according to police.

Two of Johnny Lee Vann Jr.'s kids were walking on a jetty wall on Sunday afternoon when they were swept off by a wave, Capt. Jason Bishop of the Wrightsville Beach Police Department told ABC News.

Vann was able to rescue one of his children, but when he went back into the ocean for the other child, he couldn't stay above the water, Bishop said.

Vann was underwater for about 30 seconds before he and the other child were rescued, witnesses said, according to Bishop.

CPR was performed, but Vann, 35, of Durham, could not be resuscitated, Wrightsville Beach town officials said in a statement on Monday.

Vann's wife, Dawn Vann, told ABC Wilmington affiliate WWAY-TV, "You couldn't ask for a better person."

"You could have took anybody else," she said. "I would've preferred to take me than him."

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- While overall rates of bullying in schools across the country have not changed, a new federal report released Tuesday revealed that online bullying has increased among middle and high school students.

Among the 20 percent of students who said they were bullied between the ages of 12 and 18 during the 2016 school year, 15% said they were bullied online or by text, according to the report by the National Center for Education Statistics. This is a 3.5% increase from the 2014-2015 school year.

Furthermore, the report found that roughly 41% of students between the ages of 12-18 who reported being bullied thought the bullying would happen again.

Cyberbullying can include anything from sending hateful messages to sharing harmful or defaming content about someone else online, according to, and it can be “persistent, permanent, and hard to notice.”

The report found that girls were more likely to be bullied and that 21% of girls who reported being bullied were singled out online or via text messages.

In 2018, a 12-year old girl took her own life after her parents said she was severely cyberbullied by peers and adults at her Florida middle school.

The parents of Gabbie Green, told ABC News that the bullying began on social media, though it eventually escalated to offline incidents as well.

"There were memes, they put memes out of her figure," her mother, Tanya Green, said.

Shane Green, Gabbie's father, added that there was even "a picture with a gun to her head."

The parents said they went to the school for help, but the bullying only grew worse online and even became physical.

On the day Gabbie killed herself, the Greens said she had been receiving harassing text messages.

"They were saying that they were going to spread rumors about her," Tanya Green said of the messages. The texts "were telling her that she should just kill herself" and that "nobody liked her."

The federal report found that students who reported being bullied online varied by gender, race and grade level.

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Wealthy financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein continued to have visits from young women that allegedly resulted in sexual liaisons while he was in 'jail' in Florida, a lawyer for one of his accusers said Tuesday.

Attorney Brad Edwards, who represents Epstein accuser Courtney Wild and several other alleged victims, claims that Epstein's 13-month jail sentence -- the result of a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in Florida -- failed to prevent the money manager accused of sexually assaulting numerous underage girls from having "improper sexual contact" with young women.

At a Tuesday press conference in New York, Edwards said that a recent newspaper article -- citing a Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy -- described Epstein as a "model prisoner" during his jail term in West Palm Beach in 2008 after he pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution in a deal with federal prosecutors that was kept hidden Epstein's alleged victims.

Despite being a registered sex offender, Epstein was allowed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to participate in a work-release program that permitted him to spend up to 16 hours a day, six days a week at an office in West Palm Beach that housed his non-profit organization, the Florida Science Foundation.

"Most of the time was spent in an office, a private office that was adjacent to his lawyer's office all day every day," Edwards contended at the press conference. "And what you're going to learn is he was not sitting there conducting some scientific research for the betterment of the community, but he was having office visitors, some who were flown to him from New York and continuing to engage in similar conduct, literally while he was in 'jail.'"

Edwards said he does not know the exact ages of the visitors, but that he knows of none that were under the age of 18.

"I do know that he was able to have visitors that were under the age of 21...," Edwards said.

He said he had interviewed one young woman who "personally visited" Epstein at his work-release office.

"It was not for some business arrangement and it was for, if you're in jail, improper sexual conduct," said Edwards, who declined to identify the woman.

Federal prosecutors have yet to comment on the allegations alleged by Edwards.

Epstein, 66 -- who at one time socialized with former President Bill Clinton, Great Britain's Prince Andrew, and President Donald Trump -- was arrested on July 6 for alleged sex trafficking of minor girls in Florida and New York. Some of the charges date back to the early 2000s.

A team of law enforcement officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) took Epstein into custody at the Teterboro Airport in Bergen County, New Jersey, after he returned to the United States by private jet from France, sources told ABC News. Authorities also raided Epstein's New York City mansion and seized evidence.

Since his arrest, Epstein has been held in custody without bail. Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to keep him in jail as his case proceeds because they suspect he is a flight risk. Epstein's attorneys argue that he is entitled to bail.

Edwards' client, Wild, and one other accuser, Annie Farmer, testified at Monday's detention hearing in Manhattan federal court. Both women spoke in support of keeping Epstein locked up without bail.

Farmer said she was 16 when Epstein had her sent to New Mexico where he was “inappropriate” with her. Wild told the judge she was 14 when Epstein sexually abused her in Palm Beach, Florida.

Epstein appeared to watch them address the judge but his face showed no emotion.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman said he will decide on Thursday whether to grant Epstein’s release or, as pre-trial services recommended, keep him jailed.

During Tuesday's news conference in New York, Wild read a statement asking other alleged victims to come forward.

"If you have already made the decision to come forward, thank you. If you have not, the time is now," Wild said. "To every victim out there I understand what you are going through. You may feel scared, or have feelings of shame and guilt, or feel alone. You may try to convince yourself that this was a long time ago and you have moved on. But you are not alone and this was not your fault.

"If you are a victim of Jeffrey Epstein, then you know what I know, that he will never stop sexually abusing children until he is in jail," Wild said. "We will not get justice unless you speak out."

Wild, identified in court documents as “Jane Doe 1,” sued the Department of Justice in 2008, alleging that a non-prosecution agreement reached with Epstein by federal prosecutors in South Florida was hatched in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which enumerates the rights afforded to victims in federal criminal cases, including the right "to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused."

In February of this year, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra ruled in favor of Wild and other Epstein accusers, finding that the federal government failed to confer with the victims in advance of the deal. Marra is now considering the possible remedies for the violation, which could potentially include tearing up the non-prosecutions agreement

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iStock(WAYNESBORO, Ga.) -- Georgia couple who were married for 71 years have died just hours apart.

Marilyn DeLaigle, 88, and her husband, Herbert DeLaigle, 94, both died on Friday, July 12, according to an online obituary.

"Mrs. DeLaigle was married to Mr. Herbert DeLaigle for 71 years who entered into rest 12 hours prior to her," according to a post on the DeLoach-McKerley-Prescott Funeral Home's website.

The couple had six children.

"Her children said that she was a very devoted mother when their father had to be gone for months at a time," the obit said.

Marilyn DeLaigle spent six years in Germany with her husband Herbet while he was in the Army "and lived in many States during his 20 years in the service," according to the obit.

She was also a Cub Scout Leader, a former flower shop owner and a lover of animals.

Herbert DeLaigle, according to his obituary, was a retired Master Sergeant in the United States Army.

"He worked alongside his wife at Marilyn’s Nursery, he enjoyed fishing, carpentry and raising a variety of farm animals," DeLoach-McKerley-Prescott Funeral Home said. "He enjoyed writing and vacationing out West with his family."

Marilyn and Herbert DeLaigle shared 16 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

The DeLaigle family has not yet responded to ABC News' request for comment.

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iStock(MADISON, Wis.) -- A popular sushi ingredient is believed to be the cause of seven restaurant fires across the country, after officials discovered the product could self-heat and spontaneously combust.

The fires, five of which happened in Wisconsin, were the "result of a preparation technique" used to make deep-fried tempura flakes, commonly referred to as "crunch" but properly called tenkasu or agedama, according to a statement from the city of Madison's fire department.

The process to create the flakes involves using vegetable or soybean oil and deep frying the batter in patches before letting it cool in a bowl. However because the oils have the ability to self-heat, as the flakes cool off, the oil heats up in a contained environment, according to the statement.

"These conditions can create an environment for a fire to occur," the statement read.

Kara Nelson, a fire investigator with the Madison Fire Department, told ABC News Tuesday that surveillance footage from the fires confirmed the blazes started in a bowl with the tempura flakes. She compared the combustion to a similar process that can happen with oily rags.

"Let's say someone wipes the stain up with some rags. The oil will combine with the oxygen in the air and in that chemical process, it releases heat," Nelson said. "If the rags are bunched up and cannot dissipate, then the environment for a fire to occur is created."

She noted that in making the tempura flakes, the process involves heating up the oil and placing them in a bowl to cool.

"You have an oil that can undergo spontaneous combustion and its heated, so we're helping the process," Nelson said. "And anything that is gonna keep that heat from being able to dissipate, it might raise to the point where a fire could occur."

Two of the fires, both at sushi restaurants in Madison, resulted in damages totaling around $575,000, according to the fire department. Neither resulted in injuries.

One blaze broke out at Sumo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar on April 5 at around 2:30 a.m. Firefighters entered the restaurant through a hatch on the roof and found the kitchen in flames. A sprinkler managed to prevent the fire from further damaging the building, and the restaurant has since reopened.

Another fire occurred on May 10 at the Madison restaurant Takara just before midnight. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire, though the damage was extensive. Takara remains closed.

Nelson said similar incidents have happened in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Ashburn, Virginia. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives helped in each investigation.

She hopes the attention around the sushi ingredient will raise awareness to its ability to combust, and urged anyone making the tempura flakes not to leave them unattended overnight and to lay them out flat rather than piled in a mound.

However, she noted that the combustion is only possible under specific conditions.

"We've got questions like, 'If we eat this are we gonna spontaneously combust?,'" she said. "And the answer to that is no. Vegetable oil and canola oil have the highest tendency to undergo spontaneous combustion, but it's not gonna do it sitting on the shelf."

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iStock(MONROE, Mich.) -- A missing 2-year-old girl was found alive and healthy Tuesday morning after she spent the night lost in the woods while on a family camping trip in northern Michigan, authorities said.

Gabriella Roselynn Vitale was reunited with her mother and taken to a hospital to be evaluated, but first responders say she appears to be in good shape, according to Michigan State Police.

Gabriella was reported missing on Monday, launching an urgent search. Gabriella's family had told authorities that they had been camping in a wooded area for a few days and were getting ready to leave Monday morning when they noticed that the toddler was gone.

On Tuesday morning, more than 24 hours after she disappeared, Gabriella walked to a home between a quarter mile and a half mile away from the command center, said police.

A resident at the home had been contacted by authorities earlier so she knew Gabriella was missing, said police.

This house was out of the zone that had been searched so far, police said.

Gabriella was missing her bottoms and her shoes, but seemed relatively unfazed for a 2-year-old who had been missing in the woods overnight, said police.

Early into the search, the girl’s pink jacket was found several hundred yards away from where she went missing, police said.

Over 50 searchers and 10 canines were looking for the little girl Tuesday morning before police announced that she had been found.

The family says they live in the Monroe, Michigan, area, which is about 200 miles south of where they were camping.

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