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Search warrants served on owner in Southern California dive boat disaster that killed 34

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Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — Investigators executed search warrants Sunday on the headquarters of the company that operated the charter dive boat that caught fire on Labor Day and sank off the coast of Southern California, killing 34 people trapped by flames in the doomed vessel’s below-deck bunk quarters.

A team of investigators from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies searched Truth Aquatics’ offices in Santa Barbara and the company’s two other boats, Lt. Eric Raney, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, told ABC News.

The search warrants were served in conjunction with National Transportation Safety Board, which is overseeing the probe of the deadly maritime inferno that erupted aboard the triple-deck dive boat Conception.

Details of the searches conducted Sunday at Truth Aquatics were not immediately released.

NTSB officials are expected to release a preliminary report on the disaster as early as this week, officials said, but warned it could take up to 12 to 24 months to come up with a definitive answer on what caused the calamity.

The Conception was on a three-day Labor Day weekend scuba diving excursion to the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara when a fire broke out and spread rapidly on the wooden-hulled boat in the early morning hours of Sept. 2.

The ship’s captain and four crew members, who were on the top deck when the blaze erupted, jumped overboard and survived as flames blocked them from rescuing the trapped passengers and one crew member in the bottom-deck sleeping quarters, officials said.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said at a news conference last week that a stairway and an escape hatch in the sleeping quarters were blocked by flames.

The bodies of 33 people who perished in the disaster were recovered by dive teams and are being identified through DNA collected from loved ones, officials said. One person killed in the incident remained unaccounted for on Sunday after the search was suspended on Friday due to rough seas.

The search for the lone missing victim and efforts to raise the Conception from the ocean floor for a thorough inspection by investigators is expected to resume on Monday, pending weather conditions, officials said.

U.S. Coast Guard officials said the boat, which came to rest upside down on the Pacific Ocean floor in about 65 feet of water was up-righted by crews before the salvage mission was suspended.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office has positively identified 23 victims, who ranged in age from a teenage girl celebrating her birthday to a 62-year-old man who died along with his wife and three daughters.

The victims were identified as Tia Salika-Adamic, who was celebrating her 17th birthday, and her parents, Carol Diana Adamic, 60, and Steven Salika, 55, all of Santa Cruz, California; Justin Carroll Dignam, 58, of Anaheim, California; Daniel Garcia, 46, of Berkeley, California; Marybeth Guiney, 51, of Santa Monica, California; Yulia Krashennaya, 40, of Berkeley; Alexandra Kurtz, 26, of Santa Barbara; Caroline McLaughlin, 35, of Oakland; Wei Tan, 26, of Goleta, California; and Ted Strom, 62, of Germantown, Tennessee.

Other victims identified were Kendra Chan, 26, of Oxnard, California, and her father, Raymond “Scott” Chan, 59, of Los Altos, California; Andrew Fritz, 40, of Sacramento; Charles McIlvain, 44, of Santa Monica; Neal Gustav Baltz, 42, of Phoenix; Patricia Ann Beitzinger, 48, of Chandler, Arizona; and Vaidehi Campbell, 41, of Felton, California.

Also killed were sisters Angela Rose Quitasol, 28, Evan Michel Quitasol, 37, Nicole Storm Quitasol, 31, their father Michael Quitasol, 62, and their stepmother, Fernisa Sison, all of California. Sison’s body has yet to be positively identified.

Susana Solano Rosas, the mother of the three sisters, posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook.

“My hopes were that Evan, Nicole, and Angela Rose were only injured. They were such strong swimmers. For sure they would have made it to land. They had only had 20 yards to swim. I was hoping we would be able to hug them and hold them. Instead we don’t have them,” Rosas wrote.

She added, “We can’t bring them home yet. I know our children don’t belong to us. As parents, we have plans for their life. They had surpassed my expectations I had for them. I was so proud of them and their accomplishments. They each knew it, too. My three girls were very happy with their lives. They each had found their loves, were well established in their communities, with the best part of life ahead of them.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Husband of missing California mother Heather Gumina arrested after remains found: Authorities

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El Dorado County Sheriffs Office(PLEASANT VALLEY, Calif.) — The husband of a 33-year-old California mother missing since July has been charged with homicide after remains thought to be hers were located.

On Friday, deputies from the El Dorado Sheriff’s Office went to the home of Anthony Gumina, 44, to arrest him on an outstanding no-bail warrant for domestic violence, according to a news release. Detectives simultaneously served a search warrant on the property — located in the Pleasant Valley area — and human remains were found during the search, authorities said.

Anthony Gumina’s wife, Heather Gumina, was last seen on July 16. The black 2005 Infinity she was believed to have been driving at the time of her disappearance was found on Aug. 9, according to the sheriff’s office.

Gumina is a mother to two children — a 13-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, according to a GoFundMe campaign for the family.

Anthony Gumina was charged with first-degree murder after the remains were discovered. He is being held at the El Dorado jail without bail, online jail records show.

Authorities did not release any additional details to protect the integrity of the investigation

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Rescuers searching for 4 crew members after 650-foot cargo ship catches fire, capsizes off Georgia coast

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U.S. Coast Guard(BRUNSWICK, Ga.) — The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for four crew members after a cargo ship caught fire and capsized off the coast of Georgia.

Twenty people have been safely removed from a 656-foot vessel named the Golden Ray after it became disabled on the St. Simons Sound off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia, around 2 a.m. Sunday, Coast Guard officials said in a release.

The number of people on board included 23 crew members and one pilot, four of whom have not been accounted for.

The cargo ship is currently “listing heavily” on the sound, according to the Coast Guard. Images show the carrier lying on its side on the water.

The Port of Brunswick has been closed for the search, and vessels are not permitted within half a mile of the overturned ship, which is visible from shore.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Moran Towing, SeaTow, Brunswick Bar Pilots Association and Glynn County Fire Department are assisting in the search.

It was not clear what caused the boat to list or whether any of the rescued crew were injured.

Additional details were not immediately available.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Boy bullied for homemade Tennessee shirt has logo become official design

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VolShop/Twitter(ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla.) — A Florida boy who was bullied and laughed at for his homemade T-shirt representing the University of Tennessee Volunteers at his elementary school’s college colors day has not only had his design made official by the university – but the demand for the product is so high that it crashed the school’s website.

It all started when Laura Snyder, the unnamed boy’s teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, posted the story about the Tennessee-obsessed student.

“This particular child came to me and told me that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he didn’t have one. We discussed that he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit. He told me every day leading up to it that he had an orange shirt that he was going to wear”, Snyder said in her post.

“After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on on [sic] his desk and was crying. Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED,” according to his teacher.

Taking things into her own hands, Snyder then took to the internet to see if she had any connections to the University of Tennessee to help make the shirt she planned to get him “a little extra special.”

The post almost immediately went viral among Vols fans and, before Snyder knew it, she was contacted by the University of Tennessee informing her that they wanted to send him and the rest of his classmates a care package in support of her student.

“I don’t even know where to begin. I am so incredibly amazed at the outpouring of love and support for my student!! So many people have reached out over the last 24 hours and I have truly lost track,” Snyder said in an updated post. Because of this, my student will be receiving an awesome care package from the University of Tennessee tomorrow morning! I’m so excited to share this with him (he doesn’t know about any of this yet)!!”

When the care package finally came, Snyder said it was a truly unifying experience for her school.

“My student was so amazed at all the goodies in the box. He proudly put on the jersey and one of the many hats in the box. All who saw had either goosebumps [sic] or tears while we explained that he had inspired and touched the lives of so many people … My student got to pass out UT swag to his classmates. They were ecstatic!! They immediately put on the bracelets and asked if they could fill up the water bottles. Then they went to our class sink and soaked the cooling towels to put around their necks. My students even enjoyed using their new pens to complete their writing quiz,” described Snyder.

The story, however, does not end here.

The University of Tennessee decided that they would take the boy’s design and make it an official school shirt with a portion of the proceeds being donated to STOMP Out Bullying, a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to eradicating bullying of all forms.

The shirt design became so popular that the University of Tennessee’s online store crashed yesterday.

“Thank you Vol Nation! Currently, our website has crashed due to the overwhelming support,” the online store tweeted. “We are working on the problem. Once the server restarts, we anticipate the issue to be resolved. #GoVols #EverywhereUT.”

Snyder couldn’t believe it herself.

“When I told [my student] that his design was being made into a real shirt and people wanted to wear it, his jaw dropped,” Snyder said in her latest update. “He had a big smile on his face, walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew today! Thank you to the UT Nation for that!!”

The University of Tennessee’s interim president even tweeted about how touched he was by witnessing this whole experience take place.

After all of the events of last week, Snyder made another important update in the ongoing story: a thank you letter from the boy’s mother detailing just how grateful she was for the whole experience and how what happened will never be forgotten.

“I can tell you that I spent a lot of my day reading all the kind words in support of my son and am touched beyond words,” his mother said.

She continued, “I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from this extended community and the pride I feel for my son and for being a VFL. Every comment, item sent, and action taken on behalf of my son will never be forgotten and hopefully will serve as inspiration for him throughout his life.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Illinois man smashed in head with bowling ball fighting for his life, suspect still on the run

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vmargineanu/iStock(CICERO, Ill.) —  A 28-year-old Illinois man is in critical condition and fighting for his life after he was struck in the head with a bowling ball during an altercation at a bowling alley last week in an attack that immediately went viral on the internet.

According to Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV, Diamante Williams was at the Town Hall Bowl in Cicero, Illinois on Wednesday night when a fight broke out during a promotional event at the bowling alley.

In the footage posted to Facebook on September 6 by Darnell Collins, security guards were trying to stop the brawl between a group of people when a man can be seen raising a bowling ball into the air and then smashing it down on Williams’ head.

People can then be heard screaming and shouting before running away from the scene of the crime.

“It is horrific,” said Tamekio, Williams, Diamante’s mother. “I just couldn’t believe somebody could be that inhumane to do that to another human being.”

The Cicero Police Department released a CCTV image of the suspect they are trying to identify who as the man allegedly involved in the horrific attack.

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“The above individual was involved in an altercation which resulted in above individual throwing a bowling ball at victim’s head, causing severe injury,” said the statement on Twitter by the Cicero Police Department on September 5.

The suspect then drove off in a 2018 Range Rover with a Wisconsin license plate that has the tag AFS-3400.

“It went viral on Facebook and it is heart-breaking to see a loved one in that capacity and no one helped,” said Valencia Williams, a cousin of Diamante Williams. “All the people who were around immediately took out their phones and recorded it.”

Tamekio Williams told WLS-TV that her son was out of a medically-induced coma as of Friday afternoon but still remains in critical condition from the injuries he suffered in the attack.

“He is slowly progressing, good vital signs, but we have a long way to go,” she said.

The Cicero Police Department are asking the public to come forward with any information they may have on the case.

“Snitch [on the suspect],” Tamekio Williams said. “Justice for Tate. Justice for Tate. If this was your family member, wouldn’t you want something good to happen for them?”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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