ELLIS COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Two children are safe and their father is behind bars tonight, arrested after an Amber Alert.
Authorities in Ellis County said Bryce McDowell crashed into the mother of the children’s car and took the two kids.
The Amber Alert went out around 5:00 a.m. Wednesday. After some time, the children were safely found just west of Webster Lake, thanks to a tip from McDowell himself. The situation certainly caused a stir in the small community.
Investigators looking into what happened on US 183 in Ellis County are calling it a domestic situation.
“The male pulled in front of the female and made her stop on the highway and bumped her a few times, and rammed. she said rammed,” said Bruce Hertel, Undersheriff of Ellis County.
Hertel said the woman claims that Bryce McDowell ran her off the road and then took their children and left, leaving behind only skid marks and debris.
“They went ahead and worked the accident and put out a APB for the run vehicle,” added Undersheriff Hertel.
The Amber Alert was issues, but the tip didn’t come from the public.
“In fact he (McDowell) called them,” said Hertel.
Hertel said McDowell picked a spot to meet police near the Webster Reservoir.
“So the officers went up and met him and that resulted in him being arrested,” explained Hertel.
It was a shock for those who live in the area. Annette Overlease, a local resident, said her husband saw the commotion early this morning near their home and bait shop.
“And he said that he seen a sheriff’s officer go by heading really really slow kind of looking over the place,” noted Overlease. “It had him pretty curious of what was going on. Then it was later on that we heard that it was the Amber Alert going on so you just never know what could happen.”
The children were safely taken into police custody with no injuries. Right now we’re told this case remains under investigation.
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — A new pilot program just launched in southwest Kansas for refugees and immigrants. It’s meant to help them get a driver’s license by removing the language barrier that many face.
When Najah Abdi took her permit test without a translator, she got 14 questions wrong and failed.
“It’s like if I was to come up to you and start speaking Swahili to you,” said Ifrah Ahmed, a volunteer translator. “You wouldn’t understand what I’m saying, right? Now the only thing we are going to do is translate.”
Ahmed was also a refugee and understands what a license means.
“It gives them that sense of belonging that they do belong here,” she said. “’Yes, I feel like I do belong in Kansas, because I have my Kansas ID, I have my Kansas driver’s license. This could be my new home. That’s what we want, is for people to feel like they’re welcome here.”
The program was launched by Kearny County Hospital. CEO Ben Anderson said an ID is crucial to living a healthy life.
“Really you need a form of identification primarily a driver’s license to do so,” he said. “And so if well-screened translators can remove a barrier to health for people, we feel like that’s consistent with our mission.”
Officials with the Kansas Department of Revenue were quick to support the initiative.
“I was super excited, because it’s something that I’ve always been wanting to do, at least with our knowledge testing,” said Breana Berroth with the department. “There are several states surrounding Kansas that have other languages already in their knowledge-testing system.”
While Abdi did significantly better with a translator, she fell short, but she’s not discouraged.
“She feels very confident with it that she’s going to be able to get her driver’s license,” said Ahmed, translating for her.
With a translator, Abdi got six questions wrong — just one away from passing. She said she’ll study tonight and be back tomorrow morning with Ahmed to try again.
Residents who need a translator are encouraged to contact Kearny County Hospital to make arrangements for themselves or a friend.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The woman who was charged in connection to a young Wichita girl’s death has been sentenced.
Tyerria Miles will serve 18 months of probation for one count of interference with law enforcement for the death of 2-year-old Jhornee Bland.
Last year the child’s body was found in a field in north Wichita. An autopsy was performed but an exact cause of death could not be pinpointed.
Miles admitted to police that the girl became unresponsive in her care so she dumped the body.
Jhornee’s family said they are upset about Miles’ sentencing.
“18 months is not enough,” said Jackqailine Hardin, Jhornee’s mom. “I mean we all want answers into what happened to Jhornee and we still have not gotten that answer yet.”
The family said they are still wanting more investigations into Jhornee’s death.
WASHINGTON (AP) — First-time candidate Donald Trump got a late start on fundraising in 2016, holding his first big-ticket donor event only five months before Election Day. That won’t be the case next time.
Some 40 months ahead his next election, the president holds court at a $35,000-per-plate donor event Wednesday night at his hotel in Washington. About 300 people are expected to attend an event that will pull in about $10 million, said Lindsay Jancek, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there was nothing unusual about raising political cash so early.
“He’s raising money for the party,” she said. “I don’t think that’s abnormal for any president.”
Sanders’ statement that Trump is raising cash for the GOP tells only part of the story, though.
The first cut of the money raised goes to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. The rest gets spread among the RNC and other various Republican entities. Having multiple beneficiaries is what allows Trump to ask for well above the usual $5,400 per-donor maximum for each election cycle.
Those contribution limits are likely to change because this fundraiser is so early that new donation limits for 2020 have not been set by the Federal Election Commission.
Breaking with tradition, the White House initially planned to bar reporters from seeing Trump’s speech at the fundraiser. But it relented after reporters objected and agreed to let a pool of reporters watch the president’s remarks.
Trump’s historically early campaigning comes with benefits and challenges.
In the first three months of this year, the Trump campaign raised more than $7 million, through small donations and the sale of Trump-themed merchandise such as the ubiquitous, red “Make America Great Again” ball caps.
The RNC also is benefiting from the new president’s active campaigning, having raised about $62 million through the end of last month. The party has raised more online this year than it did in all of 2016 — a testament to Trump’s success in reaching small donors.
Trump’s re-election money helps pay for his political rallies. He’s held five so far, and campaign director Michael Glassner says those events help keep him connected to his base of voters.
The constant politicking, however, means it is challenging for government employees to avoid inappropriately crossing ethical lines. Some watchdog groups have flagged White House employee tweets that veer into campaign territory. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters says the employees work closely with lawyers to avoid pitfalls.
Walters also says the White House takes care to make sure that Trump’s political events and travel — including the Wednesday fundraiser — are paid for by the campaign and other political entities.
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
Newton, Kan. (KSNW) – If you buy or sell drugs in Newton or Harvey county, the drug field is about to get a little more crowded.
“We are serious about doing something more to fight drugs,” says Harvey County Sheriff, Chad Gay. “We needed to be more aggressive with our drug investigations so we promoted someone out of our patrol division specifically to work drugs. So we took someone off patrol to be on the drug fight (and) I went to county commissioners and said I need a couple more guys to allow our investigator to focus solely on drugs. I need a general investigator as soon as possible. And one more for drug task force.”
The Police Chief of Newton welcomes the help. A Newton Police investigator has been full-time on drug investigations throughout the county.
“The drug problem here is no different from anywhere else,” says Newton Police Chief, Eric Murphy. “We’ve partnered with Harvey County and we provide one investigator to Harvey County and the Sheriff’s department also has one drug investigator that are working side-by-side as partners.”
Chief Murphy says one or two people working the drug problem is neither proper nor safe. Murphy says they often have to pull other investigators or other resources to go assist with drug investigations.
Both agencies, working together, are asking for a total of about $186 thousand extra to hire, outfit and equip and train three positions, total.
The increase for at least one of those positions would have to come from the Harvey County Commission. City leaders say they stand behind the use of more resources.
“We know from some very recent experience with some measures here in our community, that public safety is a number one priority,” says Newton City Commissioner, Barth Hague. “We also face, like a lot of other municipal and county governments, some real tough budget realities. So we have to make sure we’re spending our money as wisely as we can. That said we have heard presentations about the (drug) task force and in general we are all in agreement with the need to ramp up those kinds of services.”
Sheriff Gay says he recently moved a patrol officer to the drug investigation division, and that has left an opening that needs to be filled. In addition to filling the patrol division member within the department, the sheriff says they will soon have another general investigator, as early as August. The other drug investigator should be hired by the first of the new year.
“I think just talking to people in the community? They are buying into it. This is something we have got to get a handle on. This stuff goes on everywhere but for me, this is where I grew up. This is my home . This is my family. This is where my family will raise their family.”
Both the sheriff and Chief Murphy says they know meth and marijuana continue to be problems. And they expect heroin to follow the national trend in the area. But, they say, with the first dedicated task force to fight drugs in the county in about a decade, they will be better equipped to fight the problem.
“Will we ever win the war on drugs?” asks Sheriff Gay. “Good question. We know we are putting a dent in it. And now it will be a bigger dent.”
TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging a former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper with violating an individual’s civil rights by using excessive force.
The indictment was announced by Thomas E. Wheeler, II, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Tom Beall, U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas and Darrin E. Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City Field Office of the FBI.
The indictment alleges that James Carson, 43, Independence, while acting under color of law as a trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol, used excessive force amounting to punishment against a victim identified in court records as R.T. The indictment further alleges that Carson’s use of excessive force resulted in bodily injury to R.T. The crime is alleged to have occurred June 25, 2013, in Labette County.
If convicted on the civil rights charge, Carson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita man was sentenced Wednesday in a kidnapping case where the teen victim was tortured.
Robert McDowell pled guilty to one count of aggravated kidnapping and criminal threat in December of 2016. It stems from a 2015 case where McDowell kidnapped a 15-year-old autistic teen near Douglas and Grove. Prosecutors said that McDowell then tied him up at his house with shoelaces and shocked the teen’s ears with jumper cables. McDowell believed the teen had stolen from him.
At the request of the defense, a pre-sentence investigation was ordered to be conducted at Larned State Security Hospital.
During the sentencing, the judge heard from the family of the named victim and from the state’s attorney in support of the 147 month term. The defense requested a disposition departure to probation. The court denied the dispositional departure request but found the defendant’s mental health issues provided a “substantial and compelling basis” (the legal standard under Kansas law) to support a downward durational departure from 147 months to 36 months incarceration.
McDowell will have to register as a violent offender upon his release. At the time of sentencing today, McDowell earned 640 days of jail credit.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita city crews are starting to repair a massive crack on Ridge Road. It formed around 5 p.m. in the 300 block, near Second Street and Brunswick.
Alan King, Wichita Public Works and Utilities Director, told KSN News on Tuesday night that the heat over the last few days may have caused the road to buckle.
Right now, the street is down to one lane as crews work to make the repair.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford is recalling more than 400,000 Transit vans and buses to fix cracked drive shaft couplings that can cause the vehicles to lose power.
The company says the recall covers North American vans, buses and chassis cabs with medium, long and extended wheelbases from 2015 to 2017.
The coupling can separate from the drive shaft, causing loss of power or unintended movement while in park. It also can damage surrounding parts.
The company says it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries from the problem.
Ford says its data show the couplings won’t deteriorate enough to cause separation in vehicles with fewer than 30,000 miles.
So drivers should schedule an appointment to get the coupling replaced after the vans hit that threshold.
Ford is working on a permanent fix.
HOLTON, Kan. (AP) – Northeast Kansas jurors in the second trial of a man facing a string of sexual assault charges that have divided the small town of Holton heard testimony from one of his accusers.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the woman testified Tuesday against Jacob Ewing, detailing for more than an hour how he allegedly sexually attacked her in May of last year during a struggle after a party at his home. She said she told Ewing she didn’t want to have sex.
Another alleged victim was expected to testify Wednesday.
The trial involves allegations from two of the five women Ewing is charged with sexually assaulting. Additional trials are scheduled in August and October.
During Ewing’s first trial in April, he was acquitted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department said a detention deputy has been arrested for alleged DUI.
This morning around 2:40 a.m., a patrol sergeant with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office stopped a white 2013 Toyota for a traffic violation near I-235 and South Seneca in Wichita. The detention deputy was booked into jail on allegations of DUI. The deputy has been in the department for eight months.
The DUI case will be presented to the District Attorney’s Office for charges. The department said no further comments will be made.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – ABC says it has reached a settlement with a South Dakota meat producer that filed a more than $1 billion lawsuit against the network over its reports on the company’s lean, finely textured beef product that critics dubbed “pink slime.”
ABC spokeswoman Julie Townsend says in a statement that the network has “reached an amicable resolution of its dispute with the makers” of the product. Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products Inc. sued the television network in 2012, saying ABC’s coverage was a “disinformation campaign” that misled consumers into believing the product is unsafe, is not beef and isn’t nutritious.
The defamation trial against ABC and producer Jim Avila started in June. Neither Townsend nor BPI immediately responded to telephone messages requesting comment.
NESS COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – One man was killed Tuesday night in a crash in rural Ness County.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, 41-year-old Justin D. Leighty of Warsaw, Indiana was killed when his truck overturned on County Road C south of Beeler.
Authorities said for an unknown reason, Leighty left the roadway to the left, returned to roadway, and overturned. He was ejected.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Capitol police arrested a man after Arkansas’ new Ten Commandments monument was smashed to pieces when someone rammed a vehicle into it early Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the 6-foot (1.8 meter) granite statue was placed on state Capitol grounds.
Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Chris Powell said capitol police arrested the male suspect early Wednesday.
The driver is identified in an arrest report as Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Arkansas. A Facebook Live video shot early Wednesday and posted on an account belonging to a Michael Reed appears to show the destruction of the monument.
In the video, the sky is dark and the Arkansas Capitol’s dome is visible. Music is heard followed by a female voice, likely on the radio, saying, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?” The driver is then heard growling, “Oh my goodness. Freedom!” before accelerating into the monument. The vehicle’s speedometer is last shown at 21 mph (33 kph) and then a collision can be heard.
Pulaski County jail records show that Reed was booked into the jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief, with Capitol Police listed as the arrest agency.
Arkansas’ monument fell from its plinth and broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground.
“As far as what happens to the monument, it’s unclear at this time,” Powell said. “The first thing will be to clean up the debris.”
Nearly three years ago, a Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma’s Capitol met a similar fate, when a driver crashed his car into the statue, shattering it. That driver was identified as Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Arkansas. He was admitted the next day to a hospital for mental treatment and formal charges were never filed. It is not yet clear if he is the same person who attacked the Arkansas monument.
The privately funded, granite monument in Little Rock weighed 6,000 pounds (2,721 kilograms). It was installed Tuesday morning on the southwest lawn of the Capitol with little fanfare and no advance notice. A 2015 law required the state to allow the display near the Capitol, and a state panel last month gave final approval to its design and location.
Plans for Arkansas’ monument sparked a push by the Satanic Temple for a competing statue of Baphomet, a goat-headed, angel-winged creature accompanied by two children smiling at it. Efforts to install that display, however, were blocked by a law enacted this year requiring legislative approval before the commission could consider a monument proposal. The Satanic Temple has vowed a lawsuit over the measure, and said it didn’t believe the law should be applied retroactively to its proposal.
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is reaching another milestone, announcing that it now has more than 2 billion users.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the new marker was reached early Tuesday and in a Facebook post said that he’s proud of the role his company is playing in connecting people around the world.
Facebook says more than 175 million people declare they “love” something on the site daily and an average of more than 800 million people hit Facebook’s like button.
Facebook users will likely see a personalized video celebrating the milestone in the next few days.
The Menlo Park, California, company is putting more emphasis on creating virtual communities within the site while it also works to reduce violent, hateful and misleading content on the service.
SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Concerns over ambulance response times could lead to changes in an agreement between the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County.
Some people in Wichita are waiting too long for non-emergency ambulances, according to City of Wichita officials.
Under the current agreement between the city and the county, Sedgwick County EMS serves as the exclusive ambulance provider for both emergency and non-emergency calls within Wichita, with a few exceptions.
A recent review found that Sedgwick County EMS is providing, “high quality care.”
The Sedgwick County EMS goal for non-emergency calls is a 60 minute response time. In 2014 and 2015, that goal was achieved 83 percent of the time, according to a study on response times. This year, thanks to added resources, the county is in compliance with the goal 96 percent of the time.
But that’s not enough, according to some Wichita officials.
A new proposed agreement would keep Sedgwick County EMS as the exclusive provider for both emergency and non-emergency ambulance services within Wichita, but it would also create room for a third party, private ambulance provider to keep response times up.
If changes aren’t reached by July 1, the current agreement would automatically renew for another five years under the same terms.
Both city and county officials will meet Wednesday to talk about the agreements with a recommendation to approve an agreement and get a signature from the mayor.
That meeting is at 1 p.m. in the first floor board room of the Wichita City Hall, 455 N. Main St. Wichita, KS 67203.
POLICE SAY CADENN LEE MCDOWELL AND HIS BROTHER MASON JAY MCDOWELL ARE SAID TO BE MISSING.
CADENN IS ONE YEAR AND 4 MONTHS. MASON IS 3 YEARS OLD.
THE SUSPECT 33 YEAR OLD BRYCE JAY MCDOWELL. LAW ENFORCEMENT SAYS HE HAS BROWN HAIR AND BROWN EYES, AND IS ABOUT 5-FEET-8 INCHES.
HERE’S A LOOK AT THE TRUCK POLICE ARE LOOKING FOR. IT’S A 2008 RED CHEVY SILVERADO WITH A FLATBED ON THE BACK. MCDOWELL IS SAID TO HAVE RAN THE VICTIMS CAR OFF THE ROAD AND FORCEABLY TOOK THE TWO CHILDREN. HE IS SAID TO BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS AND IF YOU SEE HIM, CALL 9-1-1.
Early on, it looked like the Wingnuts would once again cruise to an easy win over Texas at Lawrence Dumont Stadium.
For the second straight night, Harrison Kain led off the game for Wichita with a home run to left. Brent Clevlen followed Kain’s home run with one of his own a few batters later, and the Wingnuts led 2-0 after the first inning. But from there it was all Texas, as they rallied to tie the game in the seventh inning and take the lead in the ninth inning. The two teams are back in action tomorrow night at around 7:05 p.m.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Hutchinson couple is putting their passion for storytelling and puppets to good use.
The story of Jim and Natalee Ganyon is far from ordinary. The two lived in the Southwest for decades, each pursuing a love of teaching and helping others.
Natalee was a preschool and kindergarten teacher in New Mexico. Jim, a United States Army Veteran, was a special education teacher and also worked for law enforcement in Nevada. The pair met online a couple of years ago. That’s when they realized they were a match made in puppet heaven.
“Our puppets have talked to each other through Skyping a lot. We Skyped through our puppets a lot,” laughed Natalee Ganyon.
Soon after meeting each other online, Jim and Natalee married and moved to Hutchinson. Next, the retirees decided to use their passion for puppets as a way to educate people and spread joy throughout the community. The pair now travels around the state storytelling to different groups including local YMCA’s, juveniles at the detention center and senior citizens.
“It’s a way of providing encouragement, joy, and as a certified teacher every time we do a puppet program, from adults to kids, you can get people to laugh and that’s the thing when you walk away from it, you say, I did a good thing,” said Jim Ganyon.
On Tuesday, the Ganyon’s put on a show for the residents at one of the Comfort Care Homes in Wichita. All of the residents at the home have Alzheimer’s or the early stages of the disease.
“They are kind of like tools that we can use to touch people’s lives,” Jim said.
“It’s very therapeutic to use a puppet,” Natalee said. “It’s a cognitive thing where they get their memory going again.”
The residents also get a kick out of the puppets.
“I thought those were so funny!” said resident Rita Mendal.
The Ganyon’s said, ultimately, storytelling through puppets is their way to give back to the community and help spread happiness throughout Kansas.
“In my career, I’ve seen too many bad things, I mean horrible things in law enforcement and the military. It’s a way of changing lives,” Jim said.
“That’s the reward, when you actually feel like you are making a deposit into someone’s life,” Natalee said.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Buckle up or pay up.
Starting this Saturday seat belt fines are tripling in the state of Kansas. They will go from $10 to $30.
Crash survivor, Kaela Moore knows all too well what a difference wearing a seat belt can make.
“It seemed like I had everything together and in the blink of an eye, my life changed 100 percent,” said Moore.
November 15th, 2015 marks the day Kaela Moore’s life took a turn for the worst.
The 23-year-old was riding home with some friends that evening when the truck they were in rolled. Kaela and another passenger were not wearing their seat belts and was ejected from the vehicle.
“Which probably caused a majority of my injuries,” explained Moore.
She spent more than three months in the hospital, coming to terms with her new norm.
“I am paralyzed from T7 down, which is your abdomen down,” stated Moore.
Fast forward almost two years and this strong survivor is sharing a message with the public.
“I know that there are hundreds of thousands of lives that could be saved by wearing a seat belt and keeping you in that vehicle,” Moore said.
Which is why Moore is happy to know that two thirds of the new seat belt fine will go to the seat belt safety fund, to educate high schoolers on the dangers behind not wearing it.
“Those seat belts can save lives,” said Lt. Lin Dehning of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.
Of all the people killed or seriously injured in Kansas crashes, 71 percent were not wearing their seat belts.
Lt. Dehning said the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement entities are hoping this increase in fine will cause people to think twice, and buckle up.
”Kansas doesn’t have the highest usage percentage. We’d like to see 100 percent of people sitting in cars wearing their seat belts,” stated Dehning.
Since June of 2010, Kansas state law says that seat belt laws are a primary violation, meaning if law enforcement sees you driving without one, you will be stopped and given a ticket.