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7-year-old cat who walked 12 miles to owners who gave him away finds forever family

A 7-year-old cat given away by his family walked 12 miles back home -- only to be given away again.

WRAL.com reported that, according to an April 4 Facebook post from the SPCA of Wake County, Toby, a fluffy orange and white cat, was given to another family but found his way back to his home.

>> Read more trending news 

“When he arrived, he was met with heartbreak,” the post said. “The family he thought had loved him took him to a shelter and asked staff to euthanize him. The shelter called us at the SPCA to ask if we could take him in and help him find a new family. Of course we said YES!”

The animal shelter said it took Toby in from a county shelter at the end of February.

Toby was adopted by his new mom, Michele, on Friday the 13, SPCA of Wake County communications manager Tara Lynn said in a blog post.

“It’s funny. He’s very sweet, but he didn’t get along with his (feline) roommate,” Lynn told People Pets. “We thought he’d need to be adopted out as the only cat in a home, but his new family has two other cats and he’s fine with them. He’s just been through a lot and wasn’t settled yet.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Lynn told People that she wasn’t sure if Toby, who is FIV-positive, was given up by his family because of his disease, but it didn’t seem to impact interest from potential adopters.

“It’s cool, people were interested in him despite his FIV,” Lynn said.

Toby’s life with his forever family is captured on his own Instagram page, a.cat.named.toby. The page has more than 15,000 followers and includes a post supporting the SPCA of Wake County’s annual Dog Walk, which benefits all animals in the shelter.

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Manhattan nanny guilty in brutal stabbing deaths of 2 young children

A Manhattan nanny accused of stabbing to death the two young children in her care more than five years ago has been convicted of murder after jurors rejected her claim that she was too mentally ill to know what she was doing.

Yoselyn Ortega, 55, will be sentenced May 14 for first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the deaths of Leo Krim, 2, and his sister, Lucia “Lulu” Krim, 6according to The New York Times. The guilty verdict was announced Wednesday after two days of jury deliberation. 

Ortega, who was silent as the verdict was read, faces life in prison. 

>> Related story: ‘You’re evil!’ Mother of slain children screams at nanny on trial in grisly deaths

The children’s father, Kevin Krim, sat in the front row for the verdict, holding hands with two alternate jurors who were released from duty before deliberation began, the Times reported. He wept and rocked back and forth when the verdict was read.

One of the jurors took his glasses off, wiping away his own tears. 

In a Facebook post following the verdict, Krim thanked the judge and jurors, as well as prosecutors and police investigators, for their dedication to seeing justice done. 

“This process has been very challenging for us, but it has also reaffirmed our love of New York: a city that Lulu and Leo loved dearly,” Krim wrote. “We got through this trial because of our family, our friends, our fellow New Yorkers and the loving memory of Lulu and Leo’s lives.”

Krim also said that he and his wife, Marina Krim, are supporting state legislation that would make it a crime to falsify the job application and references of someone working in child care. He accused Ortega’s family of deceiving them about her qualifications, saying they “remain wholly unaccountable for their role in the murders of (the Krim) children.”

Ortega’s six-week murder trial was fraught with emotion from the very first witness. Marina Krim took the stand first, testifying about finding her children’s bloody, lifeless bodies in a bathtub Oct. 25, 2012, at the family’s Upper West Side apartment. 

She had taken the couple’s younger daughter, 3-year-old Nessie, to a swimming lesson and the pair then went to Lulu’s dance studio to pick the little girl up. When the frantic mother realized Lulu never showed up, she rushed home. 

She searched room to room, finding no sign of her children until she reached a bathroom. 

“I go down, I walk down the hall and I see the light on under the back of the door, and I’m like, ‘Oh God, it’s so quiet in here, oh God. Why is it so … quiet?’ And I open the door … and I open the door, oh God,” Marina Krim said, weeping, The Associated Press reported at the start of the trial. 

Inside the bathroom, she found Lulu and Leo in the bathtub, both covered with blood. Krim testified that she knew immediately that Lulu was dead because her eyes were open and fixed. 

Ortega stabbed herself in the neck as Marina Krim walked into the room. 

Lulu suffered at least 30 stab wounds and her brother, who could not defend himself, suffered five, prosecutors said. Both children’s throats were slashed so deeply that first responders initially thought they had been decapitated. 

Kevin Krim testified about coming home from a business trip and seeing his children’s bodies at a hospital, CBS News reported

“They still had this perfect skin and these long eyelashes,” Kevin Krim said. “They had, like, sandy brown hair. You could see they tried really hard to wash all the blood out, but there was still kind of an auburn tint to it that I remember to this day.”

Weeping could be heard throughout the courtroom, including from the jury box, CBS News said.

“It’s worse than you’d imagine,” Krim testified. “It’s worse.”

At a news conference following the verdict, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. praised the jurors for their “diligence throughout this incredibly difficult and heartbreaking trial,” the Times reported

Vance said that the Krims lived every parent’s worst nightmare. Jurors seemed to agree.

“As a father of two children myself, I can’t imagine. No parent should have to experience the loss of a child,” a teary-eyed juror, David Curtis, said. “This was a very difficult decision for us. There were some raised voices and a lot of tears.”

The Times reported that Ortega’s defense painted a portrait of a mentally ill woman who had been suffering from delusions and hallucinations since her teen years in the Dominican Republic. Her lawyers argued that she heard voices, including that of Satan, telling her to kill the children.

Two defense psychiatrists testified that Ortega was having a severe psychotic break when she stabbed Lulu and Leo and could not remember killing them.

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A prosecution expert testified, however, that Ortega suffered from anxiety and depression, but was not paranoid or delusional when she committed the crime, the Times said. The forensic psychologist played for jurors a 2016 interview he had with Ortega in which she denied hearing voices.

It was not until months later that she claimed the devil made her kill the children, the newspaper reported. 

Prosecutors argued that Ortega, who was jealous of Marina Krim’s life and wealth, planned the murders. They pointed to the fact that she left a purse holding valuables, ID cards and keepsakes for her own teenage son with her sister.

She had also recently pleaded with her sister to take care of her son and “raise him well,” the state argued. 

Ortega’s son had arrived in the U.S. to finish high school in the months before the murders, putting added financial pressure on his mother, who enrolled him in a private school. 

Despite witness testimony from Ortega’s family and friends about a series of mental breakdowns over the years, the only written documentation of mental issues came from a therapist Ortega visited three days before the murders, the Times reported. The therapist testified that he saw no signs of delusional thinking and that Ortega said nothing about hearing voices. 

Instead, she talked about stress and feelings of failure in her relationship with her son, who she left with family in the Dominican Republic when he was 4 years old. 

Marina Krim testified that, in the past, she and her husband had bought Ortega plane tickets to visit her family back home and even made the trip themselves to meet her loved ones. 

Ortega also told police investigators immediately after the killings that she hurt the children because she had money problems and was angry at the Krims, the AP reported. She complained about a shifting schedule and having to work as a cleaning woman when she did not want to. 

ABC News reported that some of those extra cleaning jobs were efforts by Krim to help Ortega make more money to better support her son.

CBS News reported that, although Ortega showed little to no emotion throughout the trial, she forcefully shook her head and mouthed the word “no” during some testimony -- when it was said that her employers treated her well. 

The Krims, who started the Lulu & Leo Fund following their children’s slayings, have since had two more sons, Felix in 2013 and Linus in 2016. 

The Lulu & Leo Fund provides funds for Choose Creativity, which the fund’s Facebook page describes as a curriculum-based initiative that centers on 10 principles of creativity. Working with schools and community organizations, the program brings the initiative to children and families in underserved communities. 

As of November, the curriculum was being taught in more than 20 schools and community centers, impacting more than 2,000 students, the page states. 

Father, 4-year-old son run over by teens stealing Bud Light, police say

A father remained hospitalized Thursday, days after he and his young son were run over by a teenager in the parking lot of a popular south Charlotte shopping center.

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According to a police report, the teen stole a 24-pack of Bud Light from the Harris Teeter supermarket in the Blakeney Village shopping center on Rea Road Tuesday evening and ran out of the store.

The thief jumped into a waiting car, which sped away and collided with 41-year-old Nathan Green and his 4-year-old son, knocking them both to the ground.

Green suffered multiple skull fractures, and the boy had a deep gash on his head. Both were hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center, where Green continued to recover Thursday.

Green and his wife own Southern Olive in Fort Mill, South Carolina, WSOCTV reported.

Witnesses said there were several people in the getaway car, but police have not released any descriptions.

No arrests have been made.

Rape victim outraged after Uber driver posts bail, flees country

Massachusetts  woman is outraged after she says an Uber driver raped her and then left the country. 

The suspect was arraigned on Friday, posted bail and is believed to have fled the country. 

>> Read more trending news 

Boston 25 News would not normally identify victims of sexual assault, but Emily Murray insisted that she wanted to be seen and heard. She said she wants everyone to know what happened to her, and how the system failed her.

"It happened. I'm not ashamed, I'm not embarrassed. I understand what happened. I know I did nothing wrong," said Murray. "A loss for words. I was angry I'm still angry. I'm confused."

>> Related: Woman accuses employee of poisoning her coffee cream after disciplinary action

On April 8, Emily said she was trying to get home when her Uber driver, identified as Frederic Amfo, allegedly locked the doors and raped her in the backseat of his car, just after dropping off another customer.

"Within minutes I was in a situation I couldn't control and I was assaulted," Murray said.

DNA evidence collected from both a rape kit and Amfo's car led to his arrest.

At a court appearance Friday, Amfo was given a $10,000 bail and ordered to stay away from Murray.

Records also show Amfo was also given 24 hours to surrender his passport, if he made bail.

>> Related: 911 operator sentenced to jail, probation for hanging up on emergency calls

On Friday afternoon, Amfo, who was in the United States illegally, made bail, but he did not surrender his passport, instead he fled the country back to his native Ghana.

"If I went to Ghana and I committed a crime, I wouldn't expect to be able to hop on a plane and say sorry about that, here's some money. I would expect to answer for it. Accountability. And there has been just zero,"Murray said.

"That detainer should have followed the alien as he transferred from the Quincy Court House. The court chose not to forward the detainer to Norfolk County, allowing for his subsequent release on bail from custody,” according to a U.S. Customs and Enforcement official.

>> Related: Cops save suicidal teen, tell her 'nothing is that bad'

Tuesday evening, the Massachusetts Trial Court issued a  statement that said in part:

“Today, April 17, 2018, the court issued an arrest warrant for the defendant after learning from the prosecution that the defendant has left the country. At the time the defendant posted bail and was released from the House of Correction, the defendant had not surrendered his passport to the court.

A review of the circumstances indicates that the court allowed the defendant to be released without first surrendering his passport, providing him 24 hours to do so. As a result of this review, the court has now implemented procedures to ensure that defendants who are ordered by the court to surrender their passports surrender them when they post bail and prior to their release."

>> Related: Investigators: Man intentionally set fire that killed 24 horses

It’s unclear what happens next in the case or whether authorities will try to locate Amfo in Ghana.

Alaska Airlines introduces new rules for emotional support animals

Alaska Airlines announced Thursday it is making policy changes for passengers who fly with emotional support and psychiatric service animals.

Starting May 1, the airline will require passengers traveling with those type of animals to provide animal health and behavioral documents. The airline said a signed document from a medical doctor or mental health professional will also be needed.

>> Read more trending news 

All of the documents must be submitted at least 48 hours before flight departure, Alaska Airlines said.

Ray Prentice, Alaska Airlines’ director of customer advocacy said, "We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals."

The airline reported at least 150 emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel on its planes daily.

The airline said passengers can obtain the necessary documents on alaskaair.com beginning April 30.

The policy changes do not apply to traditional service animals, Alaska Airlines said.

Learn more here.

Investigators: Man intentionally set fire that killed 24 horses

A man is in jail on suspicion of arson charges after a fire ripped through a stable and killed two dozen horses, Clayton County officials said Wednesday.

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Jonathan Espinoza-Vasquez, 23, is accused of intentionally setting fire on April 4 to a horse barn on Noah's Ark Road in Jonesboro in an act of domestic retaliation, killing 24 horses and injuring one more, authorities said.

Espinoza-Vasquez told police that he didn't set the barn on fire, but investigators said his cellphone records proved he did.

Police said there were photos on Espinoza-Vasquez’s cellphone tagged with GPS locations less than a mile from where the fire took place on the night of the incident.

Investigators also said the owners of the horses have a daughter who has a child with Espinoza-Vasquez.

Authorities said someone in the horse owner's family assaulted a relative of Espinoza-Vasquez’s and that Espinoza-Vasquez retaliated by killing the horses. Officials said he might have had help.

“We believe there were some other members with him at the time,” Clayton County fire Chief David Vazquez said. “It’s an ongoing investigation, and those members we’re going to aggressively investigate and we’re going to bring them to justice as well.”

Neighbors said the fire was very large. 

“We looked across the street, and it was a big blaze, huge blaze,” neighbor Karla Rosemond said.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture requires that stables have a readily accessible fire extinguisher, but there are no requirements for sprinklers or smoke detectors.

Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

Two black men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks last week after the coffee shop’s manager called 911 to report them for trespassing spoke publicly for the first time Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Police detained the men after Starbucks employees said the pair was denied the use of the store’s bathroom and refused to leave, police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

>> Related: Video showing arrest of two black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that they were arrested while waiting to meet with a potential business partner at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets. They said they arrived 10 minutes early for their scheduled 4:45 p.m. meeting. A manager called 911 to report that the men were refusing to leave at 4:37 p.m., according to “Good Morning America.”

Robinson said he didn’t believe officers were at the coffee shop for him and Nelson when he first spotted them last week. Nelson said it became apparent when the officers asked them to leave.

>> Related: Starbucks manager leaves company after controversial arrest of 2 black men

“There was no question of, you know, was there a problem here between you guys and a manager? You know, what happened?” Nelson told “Good Morning America.”

The men said they were not read their Miranda rights before they were handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. A bystander recorded footage of the arrests that was later posted on social media, sparking criticism and raising questions of racial bias.

>> Related: Starbucks closing over 8,000 stores for racial-bias training after controversial arrest

“This is something that has been going on for years and everyone’s blind to it, but they know what’s going on,” Nelson said. “It’s not just a black people thing, this is a people thing. And that’s exactly what we want to see out of this … true change.”

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting with them Monday, a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what took place during the meeting.

Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz apologized Wednesday morning for the incident in an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

>> Related: Starbucks founder Howard Schultz speaks for first time since arrest of 2 black men

Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. 

More than 8,000 Starbucks stores will be closed nationwide May 29 for a one-day training aimed at educating employees about racial bias. Company officials said nearly 175,000 employees across the country will receive the training, which will become a regular part of the company’s onboarding process.

>> Related: Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia store

Johnson said Tuesday that the planned racial-bias training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local community.”

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said.

Prince Estate releases original version of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U,’ unseen rehearsal footage

The original version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” is now available for fan consumption.

The song, which was a successful single Sinéad O’Connor released in 1990, was recorded by Prince in 1984 at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his longtime engineer, Susan Rogers.

Prince composed, arranged and performed the ballad in its entirety, with the aid of backing vocals from Susannah Melvoin and Paul “St. Paul” Peterson. Eric Leeds plays sax on the original track as well.

>> Read more trending news 

The song is being released to digital retailers and as 7-inch vinyl singles in picture disc and standard black vinyl formats through the Prince Estate and Warner Bros. Records.

From April 19 to April 25, the estate is also bringing back the online pop-up store PrinceHitNRun.com, where the picture disc and other limited edition Prince merchandise will be sold. The black vinyl version will be released to physical retailers on May 25.

The track is accompanied by a video featuring Prince & The Revolution rehearsing their choreography in the same warehouse in the summer of 1984.

Prince fans can also check out the new Prince Estate website, where fans can share their love of the iconic artist, who died on April 21, 2016.

Listen to Prince’s original version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” in the video above or at one of the steaming services at this link.

No criminal charges filed in Prince's 2016 overdose death, prosecutor says

Authorities have declined to press criminal charges against anyone in the 2016 overdose death of musical icon Prince, saying Thursday that investigators were unable to determine where the artist got the fentanyl that killed him.

>> Read more trending news

>> READ MORE: Charges could be announced in Prince opioid investigation two years after his death | Prince died of fentanyl overdose, autopsy report released | Search warrants unsealed in Prince death investigation | Photos: Prince through the years | MORE

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