Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
Sheriff: Case of missing baby, mom was scheme for donations
LAURINBURG, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a multi-agency search for a missing woman and her newborn were based on false reports meant to solicit donations.
News outlets report the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office says 30-year-old Danilla Mitzia “Missy” Bethea was arrested Friday and charged with offenses including obtaining property by false pretenses.
Deputies were told Thursday that newborn Lee Ann Morrison was missing and mother April Morrison may have been deceased or was being held against her will.
The sheriff’s office says authorities were led to believe the Morrisons were victims of human trafficking, but an investigation concluded that April Morrison and her baby didn’t exist.
Investigators say Bethea told them the pair was safe, but gave inconsistent details. It’s unclear if she has a lawyer.
2 climbers rescued from Looking Glass Rock in North Carolina
BREVARD, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a climber injured in a fall of more than 100 feet and another person were rescued from Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah National Forest.
Multiple media outlets report the two were airlifted late Saturday to Mission Hospital in Asheville.
The Transylvania County Rescue Squad said on its Facebook page that its members responded around 5 p.m. Saturday to a report of one fallen climber and another potentially stuck on the rock.
Authorities said the climber took more of a “tumbling fall” than a free fall. The person on the side of the rock was able to lower himself or herself to the base safely.
Looking Glass Rock is about 5 miles northwest of Brevard and reaches an elevation of almost 4,000 feet.
As expansion debate grows, major changes soon for Medicaid
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina politicians are gearing up for a big debate this year over Medicaid expansion, and the state is already prepping for other big changes in how it pays for and treats most current enrollees.
The state Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce this week which groups won managed-care contracts to serve about 1.6 million Medicaid recipients.
The switchover is likely to influence the debate over whether it makes sense to bring another 300,000 to 500,000 low- and middle-income enrollees on board though the Affordable Care Act at the same time.
Lawmakers agreed in 2015 to shift most Medicaid programs from traditional fee-for-service coverage to those in which companies or medical networks get flat monthly amounts for each patient covered.
SMALL PLANE CRASH
Small plane crashes in NC marsh after taking off in Virginia
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
KNOTTS ISLAND, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say no one was injured when a small private airplane crashed in the marsh of a North Carolina island.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Virginia, reports that the Currituck Fire and EMS said in a news release that pilot got out of the plane uninjured after the crash Saturday on Knotts Island. Chief Ralph Melton says rescuers used a ladder to get the pilot to dry land.
The plane experienced mechanical trouble after taking off from Suffolk Executive Airport in Virginia, about 35 miles from Knotts Island by air.
The Cessna was found flipped over after it crashed into the marsh about 5 p.m. Saturday.
The crash is under investigation. Authorities didn’t identify the pilot.
Last of 3 charged in Millinocket killing found guilty
BANGOR, Maine (AP) – The last of three people charged in a home invasion that left a Maine man dead has been found guilty of murder.
A jury convicted 39-year-old Christopher Murray Friday after deliberating for about 4 1/2 hours following a four-day trial.
The trial of the 39-year-old Murray, of Red Springs, North Carolina, began Monday.
Prosecutors say Tony Locklear, Alexis Locklear and Murray, her boyfriend, shot Wayne Lapierre and his wife at their home in Millinocket in December 2017. Wayne Lapierre later died of his wounds.
Tony Locklear pleaded guilty to murder on Jan. 8. His 22-year-old daughter, Alexis, of Maxton, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to robbery last month.
Court documents indicate the trio went to the home of Lapierre, a medical marijuana grower, to rob him. They fled with marijuana and cash.
The Latest: Trump: Photo would’ve doomed Northam’s campaign
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – President Donald Trump says Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s Republican opponent would have easily won the 2017 governor’s race if the racist photo in Northam’s yearbook had been discovered during the campaign.
Trump tweeted Saturday night that Republican Ed Gillespie must believe his opposition research team committed “malpractice” and “dereliction of duty” by not uncovering the photo ahead of the 2017 election.
The photo on Northam’s medical school yearbook page shows one person in blackface and another hooded in white Ku Klux Klan regalia.
Northam defeated Gillespie by about 9 percentage points, but Trump says Gillespie would have won by 20 points if someone had found the photo.
SUPERINTENDENT-KRISPY KREME RUN
NC schools’ chief successfully runs, eats 12 doughnuts
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The head of North Carolina’s schools is among those who completed a 5-mile run that included eating a dozen doughnuts.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson tells The News & Observer of Raleigh that he trained all year for Saturday’s “Krispy Kreme Challenge,” although his regimen didn’t include downing the doughnuts.
The challenge raises money for North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Contestants run the first leg, eat a dozen doughnuts and complete the second leg to N.C. State University, all in an hour. Johnson promised he would participate if 95 percent of educators would respond to the annual working conditions survey last year.
The Department of Public Instruction says a record 91 percent responded, but Johnson ran anyway. He says he finished the dozen doughnut before crossing the finish line.
TAPROOM-CURFEW FOR KIDS
NC taproom sets 8 p.m. curfew for people under age 21
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina taproom has set a curfew for people under the legal drinking age, causing angst for parents who want to bring their children with them to breweries.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that Hi-Wire Brewing in Durham originally set a 7 p.m. curfew for anyone under the age of 21. After hearing from the public, Hi-Wire creative director Javier Bolea said the curfew was pushed back to 8 p.m.
Hi-Wire posted the curfew on Facebook, where it said the policy was in response to complaints about unattended children. The brewery described the policy as a compromise between those who want to bring their children and those who complained about large groups of unattended children.
Hi-Wire opened in Asheville in 2012. The Durham location opened in November.