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Colorado boy Gannon Stauch's body found 2 months after going missing; stepmother facing new charges

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Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(PENSACOLA, Fla.) — The remains of an 11-year-old Colorado boy missing since Jan. 27 were found nearly 1,400 miles away from his home Friday, confirming his family’s worst fears.

Gannon Stauch’s body was found near Escambia River Bridge on Interstate 90 near Pace, Florida, by a Florida Department of Transportation construction crew, said Sgt. Rich Aloy of the Santa Rose County Sheriff’s Office. Pace is 15 miles north of Pensacola.

The news was devastating to Gannon’s mother, father and younger sister.

“They’re distraught with this information,” said El Paso County Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Allen. “They were still holding out hope that Gannon would come home alive.”

The discovery of Gannon’s remains led Colorado’s El Paso County District Attorney’s Office to file nine additional charges against his stepmother, Letecia Stauch, who was arrested for Gannon’s murder on March 2 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Stauch was the last person to have seen Gannon in late January when she told police he stayed home from school. She told them he went missing that afternoon after leaving the family home to play with a neighborhood friend.

Surveillance video from that day captured by one of Stauch’s neighbors revealed that she left with the boy in a truck and returned four hours later in what appeared to be an empty vehicle.

For weeks, searchers combed fields and streams in the area near Gannon’s home by horseback and on foot with no luck.

The new charges against Letecia Stauch include one count of first-degree murder after deliberation and eight counts of committing a crime of violence, an enhanced charge that would be used to increase punishment.

“I filed eight counts of crime of violence, for the alleged use of a firearm, a blunt instrument, a knife or other sharp object,” Allen told reporters Friday during a televised news conference.

Allen would not elaborate on what he believes happened to Gannon.

Florida authorities said they’re assisting with the Colorado investigation to find out if Stauch was in Florida during a specific time, posting to Facebook, “Anyone who has seen Letecia Stauch in Pace or Pensacola, Florida between Feb. 3-5 is asked to call the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 719-520-6666.

Stauch’s mother, Landen Hiott, told ABC News that she will bury her son in South Carolina, where he spent most of his life.

Letecia Stauch faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

Her next court appearance is set for April 14 in Colorado Springs.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Restaurant workers file for unemployment as owners try take-out to stay afloat

No Comments National News

MNStudio/iStock(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has turned America’s urban restaurant hot spots into virtual ghost towns.

Dine-in restaurants, shuttered over public health concerns, are forecast to lose $225 billion in business nationwide over the next three months, according to an industry trade group. Five to seven million restaurant service and kitchen jobs could be eliminated over the same period.

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. restaurant workers this week alone have already received bad news, analysts say.

“I am like wondering what I’m gonna do for like money and how I’m gonna support myself in the future, coming weeks,” said Sharnaye Raiford, a 20-year-old high school graduate and server at Barcelona wine bar and tapas restaurant in Washington, D.C. “They’re telling us to file for unemployment and then hopefully when everything is over, they’ll gladly hire us back.”

“But they want us to be secure with like funding and financial stuff, so that’s why they’re really pushing the unemployment,” she said of her employer.

Raiford said she made between $1,200 and $1,500 a month, on average, enough to cover her $500 rent, transportation and food for herself and her dog — but she he can’t afford a cell phone or cable TV.

She added that she also financially helps out her father, who was recently released from prison, and her mother, who receives disability benefits for multiple sclerosis when she can.

But with no savings in the bank, Raiford now faces an imminent financial crisis.

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

Almost 40% of American adults wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency with cash, savings or a credit-card charge that they could quickly pay off, a Federal Reserve survey found .

“I’ve never been laid off before. I was incredibly shocked. I just never imagined I would be person who’d get laid off.” said Max Rees, a 23-year-old barista at Compass Coffee in D.C., who also lost his job this week. “I just didn’t ever see that coming.”

He added, “I would say my biggest financial worry right now is probably health insurance just because that got taken away. If I get sick or something like that, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do in that case.”

Rees and Raiford have now joined the ranks of Americans applying for unemployment benefits. New claims have surged to the highest level in more than two years, according to the Department of Labor.

Some restaurant owners are trying to soften the blow. Rose Previte — who owns Maydan and Compass Rose in D.C. — is extending health benefits for around 50 of her furloughed employees.

“When you start a new business, you think of all the terrible things that could could ruin you, and this is not one that I thought of. Global pandemic was not on my list of worst case scenarios,” she said in an interview with ABC News at her flagship restaurant. “We had to let our entire front of house staff go — so that means servers, bartenders, food runners and bar backs, and they were very, very difficult calls to make.”

Previte’s kitchens – like those at thousands of other restaurants – are for the first time attempting take-out service to keep at least some employees on the job.

“Hopefully, if we can keep this going we’ll be able to keep our kitchen staff working with minimal layoffs,” Previte said.

She projects maintaining about 20% of her normal revenue with the slimmed down operation; not enough to make profit, but enough to sustain wages for 15 staff.

“We have to figure out a creative way to not bring too many people here at the same time. So we’re only allowing five people at a time to pick up their orders in like a 20-minute, 30-minute period,” she said. “That will minimize lines outside and minimize the amount of people who are here together.”

But is the model sustainable, and are consumers ready to pay restaurant prices for high-end meals to-go?

“We’ve had so many people just say, like, ‘We’re buying this to support you, we know what you’re going through’,” Previte said. “It means so, so much.”

ABC NewsWashington, D.C. restaurant chain Little Sesame, shut down during the novel coronavirus pandemic, is using its kitchen facilities and excess food supply to prepare meals for needy families.Washington, D.C. restaurant chain Little Sesame, shut down during the novel coronavirus pandemic, is using its kitchen facilities and excess food supply to prepare meals for needy families.

Many restaurants have had to close their doors entirely, as the coronavirus continues to spread.

The owners of Little Sesame, a mediterranean-themed fast-casual restaurant in the D.C. business district, shut down its two locations this month. Owners Nick and David Wiseman and Ronen Tenne are now trying to pay it forward by giving out free meals in the community.

“We’re trying to use all the last ingredients we have so they don’t go to waste,” said Crystal Mendoza, director of training at Little Sesame, as she handed out lunch bags from the shop’s food truck. “It’s all pretty hearty, healthy, filling.”

The team has distributed hundreds of meals this week to needy families — including stopping by a middle school in a low-income neighborhood in northeast D.C. Edgar Morales, a Guatemalan immigrant and father of three, drove 20-miles roundtrip to pick up a meal.

He lost his job as a barista this week because of the pandemic.

“It’s very tough because, first of all, the rent is coming. We’ll see what we can do to solve that problem, but it’s very tough,” Morales told ABC News. “I’ve lived here 14 years and I’ve never been without a job.”

For now, many restaurant workers are trying to remain optimistic as restauranteurs do all they can to stave off shutting their dining room doors for good.

“The smaller the business, definitely the harder the hit,” Previte said. ” We’re still piecing together as we want to see what we’re going to be able to do, how scrappy we can get, how many other inventive ideas we can come up with. But it’s terrifying to think that we wouldn’t be able to open until after summer.”

Raiford said she’s hopeful the pandemic will end more quickly than the headlines suggest.

“I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be panicking or tripping; that’s just not what I would gear my energy towards,” she said. “I will be like, ‘Okay, this really sucks.’ Like, I’m kind of freaking out a little bit, but you know, things are gonna move forward. People are still being born every day.”

She added, “There’s new things being created. There’s new solutions happening.”

Restaurant advocates say one of the best ways to help your favorite local dining establishments stay afloat is to participate in take-out programs they may be offering and to buy gift cards, which offer owners an infusion of cash now which a patron can claim later once they reopen.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Zac Brown Band cancels all remaining tour dates for 2020

No Comments Country Music News

Diego PerníaEarlier this month, the Zac Brown Band announced plans to reschedule their spring tour dates due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Now, the group revealed that they’ve made the difficult decision to completely wipe their tour calendar for this year. 

This includes not just the band’s spring 2020 The Owl Tour, but also their upcoming summer Roar with the Lions Tour.

“We are deeply disappointed that this has happened,” ZBB says. “Touring is our life blood, and performing live for our fans is the best part of this job. Bottom line though, we want to take every precaution to put the health and safety of our fans and crew first.”

The announcement comes just one day after the group’s Zac Brown shared an emotional Instagram video explaining that he has been forced to lay off 90% of his crew due to the shutdown. 

In that clip, Zac exhorted all of his fans to self-quarantine and stay inside in order to prevent the outbreak from growing further. When the band announced the canceled tours, they reiterated those sentiments.

“It is up to all of us to change the course of this pandemic and make sacrifices for the sake of our fellow man,” they wrote. “To those of you taking proper steps to keep yourself and those around you healthy, thank you. To those of you still out there not taking this seriously, it’s time to wake up. The longer you wait to self isolate, the longer entire communities will be out of work and the longer it will take our country to recover.”

The group added that all those who purchased tickets to the upcoming shows will be entitled to a refund from the point of purchase.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Carly Pearce takes fans 'Halfway Home' in powerful new performance video

No Comments Country Music News

Big Machine Label GroupCarly Pearce is shedding new light on one of the most powerful moments of her new, self-titled sophomore album. 

The singer has shared a live performance video of “Halfway Home,” a sobering tune about the moments in a relationship that make you realize that things just aren’t working. The clip shows Carly and her band performing the song in a stripped-down, acoustic setting. 

“‘Halfway Home’ is probably the song that scares me the most on my record,” Carly admits. “I wrote it while I was on the back of my bus…I feel like this part of my story is a two-part situation. ‘I Hope You’re Happy Now’ is kind of where I’ve come to grips with it and I’m cool with it, and really have let go of my guilt.”

In many ways, though, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” is the sequel to “Halfway Home,” which delves head-first into the pain of realizing that a relationship is coming to an end. 

“‘Halfway Home’ is when I was in the middle of feeling really bad about it,” the singer continues. “I knew that it was my fault. Sometimes you don’t tell somebody that you’ve fallen out of love with them when you do.”

“For me, I woke up one day and realized that I had not loved this person I was still with for almost a year,” she reflects. “And I was too afraid to lose the comfort of that person.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Brantley Gilbert introduces Fire’t Up Fridays on Instagram Live

No Comments Country Music News

Big Machine Label GroupBrantley Gilbert was forced to cut his planned 2020 Fire’t Up Tour short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but as he reschedules the trek’s final dates for later in the year, he’s also making plans to take the party virtual. 

The singer has unveiled Fire’t Up Fridays, a weekly hang session live on Instagram in which he’ll check in with fans, answer questions and bring along some special guests. The fun kicks off tonight at 8PM ET.

When he goes live for this week’s installment, Brantley will have his wife, Amber, with him. The couple will host a Q&A for fans who tune in.

For the March 27 installment of the Fire’t Up Fridays series, which will take place at 9PM ET, Brantley will be joined by comedian Josh Pray. Specials guests in the weeks to come will be announced at a later date. 

“We don’t do a lot of acoustic stuff, but with things being the way they are, we’re going a little stir-crazy, and we wanna be able to do something special for y’all,” the singer explained on his Instagram Stories, polling fans for song suggestions.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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