<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Texas News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/feature/texas-news http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:04:48 -0500 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:04:48 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Texas State Trooper Injured in Wreck]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:20:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/trooper-hurt-angleton.jpg

A Texas State Trooper was injured in a wreck involving multiple vehicles in Angleton Monday afternoon, officials said.

Authorities said the trooper was on the shoulder of Texas 288 south of Houston after pulling over a semi-trailer when a driver crashed into the back of the trooper's vehicle, trapping him inside.

The trooper was taken to a nearby hospital, according to police. There is no word yet on his condition.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the wreck.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Suspected Indiana Serial Killer Has Texas Connection]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:00:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Darren-Vann.jpg

Police investigating the slayings of seven northwestern Indiana women whose bodies were found over the weekend said Monday they believe it is the work of a serial killer, and that the suspect has indicated there could be more victims going back 20 years.

The Lake County prosecutor's office on Monday charged 43-year-old Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana, in the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Her body was found Friday night at a Motel 6 in nearby Hammond.

Gary officials were expected to charge Vann later this week in the deaths of six more women, whose bodies were found Saturday and Sunday. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said at a news conference that Vann confessed to Hardy's slaying and gave police information that led to the other bodies in Gary, including three on the same block.

Vann was a convicted sex offender in Texas, where he pleaded guilty to raping a woman in 2009 and was released from prison in July 2013.

The Austin Police Department issued a statement Monday saying it would review missing persons and cold cases to determine if there could be a link to Vann, and asked anyone with information to come forward.

Doughty said police have no specific indication that any slayings have occurred in another state, and the Gary slayings appeared to have happened recently. He said Vann is cooperating with investigators in the hope of making a deal with prosecutors.

"It could go back as far as 20 years based on some statements we have, but that has yet to be corroborated," Doughty said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety listed his risk level as "low" on its sex offender registry. He did not register in Indiana.

Court records in Travis County, Texas, show that Vann served a five-year prison sentence, with credit for the 15 months he was in jail awaiting trial, after pleading guilty in 2009 to sexually assaulting a woman at an Austin apartment two years earlier.

The woman told police that she went to Vann's apartment, where he asked if she was a police officer. After she told him no, he knocked her down and began to strangle and beat her, hitting her several times in the face and telling the woman he could kill her. He then raped her.

Vann allowed the woman to leave and she called police the next day.

Indiana authorities said Hardy, the woman Vann is accused of strangling, was involved in prostitution and had arranged to meet him at the Motel 6 through a Chicago-area website. Police were called by someone who attempted to reach Hardy and "was provided suspicious text responses that she believed to be from the suspect while he was still inside the motel room."

Police said they took Vann into custody Saturday afternoon after obtaining a search warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary.

They found the body of 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville, Indiana, on Saturday night in an abandoned home. She had been missing since Oct. 8.

Five more bodies were found on Sunday in other homes, said Doughty, who identified two of the women as Gary residents Teaira Batey, 28, and Christine Williams, 36. Police have not determined the identities of the other three women, including two whose bodies were found on the same block where Jones' body was found on Saturday.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said only Jones was reported missing, perhaps indicating that Vann "preyed on individuals that might be less likely to be reported missing."

Hardy's mother, Lori Townsend, said police told her that Vann asked that Hardy to perform a certain sex act, and "when she said `no' and put up a fight, he snapped and strangled her."

"This man is sick," Townsend said from her home in Colorado.

Hardy graduated from high school in late 2013 and planned to go to college to study music, Townsend said.

"She was full of life. She lit up a room with her smile and her beauty," she said. "And she had a voice like a songbird."

Gary, once a thriving steel town of 178,000 where thousands worked in the mills, has been struggling for decades. Its population has shrunk to just over 78,000 and its poverty rate hovers around 40 percent. Thousands of homes are abandoned, many with weeds choking broken sidewalks -- often on the same streets where other homes are tidy and well-kept.

On Monday, people in Gary tried to make sense of the tragedy.

"That's devastating," said Jay Jackson, 25, a health care worker visiting a woman a few houses from where one of the bodies was found. "All we can do is pray for the city and hope for recovery."

Tarm reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Tom Davies in Indianapolis, Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Hammond Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[3 More Babies Test Positive for TB in El Paso]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:31:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-03.jpg

Three more babies have tested positive for tuberculosis after a nurse's assistant infected with the illness possibly exposed about 860 babies at an El Paso hospital's nursery.

El Paso Public Health Director Robert Resendes said Thursday that of the total of 11 cases at Providence Memorial Hospital, seven are possible false positives because they had been vaccinated against TB previously. Parents of 95 percent of those possibly exposed have been contacted.

Preventive medical treatments have been offered for all positive cases and for 205 babies under 6 months of age. None of the positive cases have active TB, the often deadly and contagious form of the disease.

The worker reported TB-related symptoms in July but was allowed to continue working for weeks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Belton ISD Closes 3 Schools to Assess Ebola Risk]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:24:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/generic-school-bus.jpg

A Central Texas school district closed three campuses Thursday after learning that two students were on the same flight as a health care worker who tested positive for Ebola.

Belton Independent School District Dr. Susan Kincannon sent a message to parents Wednesday night stating that North Belton Middle School, Sparta Elementary School and the Belton Early Childhood School would be closed.

Kincannon said the decision came after learning that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are re-evaluating the health risk to some passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas Monday.

"We do not know if this will include either of the two Belton ISD students who traveled on the flight," she said.

The two students attend North Belton Middle School and Sparta Elementary School, Kincannon said, but some prekindergarten students at the Belton Early Childhood School transfer through Sparta Elementary at the beginning and end of the school day.

"Canceling classes at the three campuses will allow us to thoroughly clean and disinfect the schools and buses that served them this week," she said.

The CDC learned Wednesday that a second health care worker who tested positive for Ebola Wednesday, 29-year-old Amber Jay Vinson, had been on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 Monday. Kincannon said she was frustrated that she didn’t learn until late Wednesday night that the CDC was re-evaluating the health risk.

"The health and safety of our students is my first priority," she said. "I will remain in close contact with state and local health officials."

All other campuses will be open tomorrow, Kincannon said, and it is safe for students to attend those schools.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>