Florida 8-year-old missing for 33 years ‘takes over’ police Twitter account, live tweets final days

More than 30 years ago, an 8-year-old girl walked barefoot out of her Florida home in search of food for her cats. Police still don’t know what happened to her. Marjorie “Christy” Luna was wearing a turquoise swimsuit when she disappeared Memorial Day weekend in 1984. She walked a few blocks down to Belk’s General Store where she purchased cans of food for her pets and that was last anyone saw of her. In an effort to revive the long-cold case, officers in Palm Beach County let Christy “take over” their Twitter account through the weekend. Authorities used the young girl’s voice to recount in real-time what Christy may have felt and experienced more than three decades ago. The sheriff’s office kicked off the eerie campaign May 26, which would have been the day before Christy vanished, and continues on to detail the aftermath in a series of more than 50 tweets. The social media version of Christy had control of the account for the entire weekend. “Let me take you back to 1984, at the time when I was a happy child, living in Greenacres with mommy, sister Allie, Mama Kitty and her babies,” the Sheriff’s office tweeted on Friday. “Who would have thought that tomorrow would be the day I disappeared and was probably brutally beaten, raped, sold or murdered?” The imagined voice of Christy details a fun day with her mother and sister. The young girl thought they were headed to Disney, but actually spent the day Dubois Beach instead. "Hi kitties, finally home. Did you miss me?" she says upon return from the mini vacation. The social media posts continue through the anniversary of her disappearance, May 27. The voice of Christy recalls digging through her mother’s car in search of cash for the cat food as well as her love for the Pacman game at the Belk two blocks away from her home. Then the tweets begin to take a darker turn: “Wait Continue Reading

Revisiting the O.J. Simpson trial, 20 years after the infamous Bronco chase

It’s been two decades since the white Bronco carrying O.J. Simpson in a strangely serene, low-speed police chase burned itself into our collective psyche. The NFL Hall of Famer — armed with a gun, his passport and a fake beard — was threatening suicide after authorities decided to arrest him on suspicion of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and her waiter friend Ronald Goldman, 25. Simpson’s friend Al Cowlings piloted the ghostly SUV from one freeway to another as an estimated 95 million television viewers looked on. The shocking slayings took place June 12, 1994, just steps from the Brentwood, Calif., condo where the young Simpson children, Sydney and Justin, slept upstairs. Cops eventually found two blood-soaked leather gloves and a trail of bloody Bruno Magli shoeprints — evidence that would factor prominently in the televised soap opera that was the People vs. Orenthal James Simpson. The voyeuristic circus dubbed the “Trial of the Century” ended Oct. 3, 1995, when a jury of nine blacks, two whites and one Latino found the Heisman Trophy winner not guilty. The racially charged courtroom drama introduced a memorable cast of characters including Simpson’s legal Dream Team, his house guest Kato Kaelin and embattled Los Angeles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman. Two decades later, the Daily News checks in on the key players who captivated America: THE SUSPECT O.J. Simpson, 66, has spent the last five years at Lovelock prison in Nevada on an armed robbery and kidnapping conviction. He’s serving up to 33 years for leading a group of men in a Las Vegas casino confrontation with two memorabilia dealers. He won’t be eligible for parole until 2017, but he filed a new appeal Wednesday. “He’s depressed,” his manager Norman Prado recently told The News. Prado said he regularly corresponds with the former Buffalo Continue Reading

Woman runs Bensonhurst nail salon for 33 years and now has written the book on life’s essential truths

Thirty three years of painting nails with unicorns, flowers and (in one case) private parts has taught Tina Panariello enough about life to fill a book. And now the Bensonhurst salon owner has actually written that book, “Polished: Filing Away at Life’s Truths,” which tells the story of how she turned a $50,000 loan from her parents into Nail Artistry by Tina, the legendary 86th St. beauty parlor. Our own Reuven Blau chatted up this Italian grandmother to see if she would share her life lessons, chipped or otherwise. One lesson: Nails are a growth industry. Daily News : Your book has an intriguing title, but come on, what can any of us learn from your experience with nails?Tina Panariello : Don’t take anything serious and work very hard to get what you want. Know where you want to go. Set your sites high.DN : Perhaps we should start at the beginning. How did you get into this nail racket?TP : About 35 years ago, my son, Wayne, was in elementary school, and I used to do my own nails. The other mothers would look at them and ask where I got them done. Then I got three clients. I put enhancements on them, primed them for nail polish designs and then I’d give them a design. All for $5.DN : What’s the craziest design someone asked you to paint?TP : You sure you want to put that down? I had a client who wanted me to paint the female and male genitals underneath her nail. The nails were very long. I paint very miniature. She did it for her husband on their anniversary.DN : What was the hardest design and most unique customer?TP : A cockatoo bird. I had a four-hour window to paint 10 nails at the World International Nail and Beauty Association competition. And on the other finger I had to paint a unicorn sitting in the bed of flowers. I won first place in 1989. My most interesting customer was a young lady who was getting married. I had to paint all 10 fingers with three whole flowers on each nail and it had to match her wedding gown.DN : Continue Reading

It’s been a year since a woman had a No. 1 single. Why is the Hot 100’s top spot all-male?

This month, the Billboard Hot 100 charts celebrate a depressing anniversary: it’s been one year since a female-fronted track went No. 1.The Hot 100, the industry-standard chart that tracks the country's most popular songs, has seen some exciting achievements this year, from Kendrick Lamar and DJ Khaled earning their first proper No. 1 hits to the unparalleled success of the Spanish-language Despacito. Yet, every artist to score a No. 1 hit in 2017 has been male. Zero female-fronted singles have reached No. 1 this year, and it's been 51 weeks since any woman did, the last being Sia with Cheap Thrills on Aug. 27, 2016. You can cut the drought back to 39 weeks if you count the Chainsmokers' Closer, which includes Halsey as a featured artist.Since then, 11 all-male songs in a row have reached No. 1, the gender disparity reaching its peak on the April 29 charts, where there wasn’t one female artist in the top 10 for the first time in 33 years. More: 5 female artists that can break the male-only No. 1 streak Swift is among the artists whose singles fell just short of topping the Hot 100 this year, with with I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker) reaching No. 2, as did DJ Khaled's Wild Thoughts with Rihanna."Women may not be at No. 1, but that doesn't mean they're not on the charts," Billboard's charts manager Trevor Anderson told USA TODAY. "We've seen a solid number of hits from women this year. Taylor (went to) No. 2, Katy Perry was in the top five, and even a newcomer like Alessia Cara got to No. 7 with Stay, her collaboration with Zedd."Then there's Bodak Yellow, Cardi B's breakthrough single, which is currently the highest-charting track by a female rapper, without any male featured artists, since Nicki Minaj's Anaconda in 2014."She's No. 14 right now after only five weeks on the chart, so for a lesser-known artist that's a Continue Reading

‘I still miss him’: Yoko Ono tweets image of John Lennon’s bloodied glasses in plea to end gun violence on occasion of 44th wedding anniversary

On what would have been their 44th wedding anniversary, Yoko Ono tweeted a photo of her late Beatles husband's bloodstained glasses and lent her voice to America's gun control debate. Ono, 80, tweeted the same photo four times in quick succession to her more than 3.6 million Twitter followers Wednesday morning. The image was an old photo of the glasses her husband John Lennon wore the night he was killed. The left side of the glasses is covered in his blood and the right side had some splattering on it. Inside the photo was a message: "Over 1,057,00 people have been killed by guns in the U.S.A. since John Lennon was shot and killed on December 8, 1980." Lennon and Ono were entering their New York City apartment building on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980, when gunman Mark David Chapman shot the singer four times in the back. The singer was transported to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Chapman pleaded guilty to murder charges and was sentenced to 20 year to life in prison. He remains imprisoned and has been denied parole seven times. "The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience," Ono tweeted. "After 33 years our son Sean and I still miss him." The image of the bloodied glasses is similar to the cover art Ono used for her first studio album "Season of Glass" that was released in 1981, six months after Lennon's death. The cover included a half-full glass of water and the gray New York City skyline behind it. The singer, artist and political activist also tweeted an excerpt from a 1971 Rolling Stone article in which Lennon said, "We decided that if we were going to do anything like get married that we would dedicate it to peace." Lennon went on to say in that interview, "And during that period, because we are what we are, it evolved that somehow we ended up being responsible to produce peace." In 1971, Lennon and Ono co-produced the song "Imagine" that asks the listener to envision Continue Reading

Cost of U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan will linger over 100 years

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — If history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the next century as service members and their families grapple with the sacrifices of combat. An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans — 148 years after the conflict ended. At the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, more than $40 billion a year are going to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Iraq campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict. And those costs are rising rapidly. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said such expenses should remind the nation about war's long-lasting financial toll. "When we decide to go to war, we have to consciously be also thinking about the cost," said Murray, D-Wash., adding that her WWII-veteran father's disability benefits helped feed their family. Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator and veteran who co-chaired President Barack Obama's deficit committee in 2010, said government leaders working to limit the national debt should make sure that survivors of veterans need the money they are receiving. "Without question, I would affluence-test all of those people," Simpson said. With greater numbers of troops surviving combat injuries because of improvements in battlefield medicine and technology, the costs of disability payments are set to rise much higher. The AP identified the disability and survivor benefits during an analysis of millions of federal payment records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. To gauge the post-war costs of each conflict, AP looked at four compensation programs that identify recipients by war: disabled veterans; survivors of those who died on active duty or from a service-related disability; low-income wartime vets over age 65 or Continue Reading

Families sue as Valhalla crash anniversary nears

The families of two Westchester County men killed last year when a Metro-North train slammed into a sport-utility vehicle in Valhalla filed lawsuits this week, laying blame for their deaths on a poorly designed crossing and an engineer too slow to hit the brakes.With the one-year anniversary of the Feb. 3, 2015, crash approaching, lawyers for the families of Joseph Nadol, 42, of Ossining, and Robert Dirks, 36, of Chappaqua, filed separate negligence lawsuits in state Supreme Court in White Plains seeking unspecified damages.Among the defendants are Metro-North and its engineer, Steven Smalls Jr., Westchester County and the town of Mount Pleasant.Not named as a defendant was Ellen Brody, 49, a mother of three from Edgemont, who was driving a 2011 Mercedes SUV that was struck by a northbound train around 6:30 p.m. in the Commerce Street crossing. Six people, including Brody, were killed in the deadliest accident in Metro-North’s 33-year history. RELATED: NTSB releases details, documents on fatal Valhalla crash #lohudreacts: Readers say blame on railroad misplaced “She’s a victim of the same circumstances,” said Howard Hershenhorn, the attorney representing Christine Ueda, Dirks’ wife.The lawsuits tick off more than a dozen reasons for the defendants’ alleged negligence. Among them:Hershenhorn said he’s consulted with a number of railroad safety experts who’ve taken a close look at conditions at the crossing.“We are going to focus on the operation of the train and the train operator and his failure to recognize and stop the train,” Hershenhorn said. “We have spoken with qualified experts who have told us that these are very strong areas.”Officials say the train was travelling 58 mph — 2 mph below the speed limit — and slowed to 49 mph when he applied the brakes 300 feet before the collision after he spotted Brody’s SUV in the Continue Reading

On anniversary of murder, fugitive arrested in Jackson

JACKSON - Olympia Hobbs was murdered in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 25, 2015.Exactly one year later in Jackson police caught up with one of the suspects, 19-year-old Javier Alexander Rivas.Following a traffic stop Oct. 25, Jackson police arrested Rivas on a charge of hindering prosecution and remanded him to Ocean County Jail in lieu of  $25,000 bail. Jail records showed that he was still there Thursday. His last known address was in Lakewood.His arrest stemmed from a crime spree that occurred one year ago and hundreds of  miles away, according to police. Around 2 a.m. Central Standard Time on Oct. 25, 2015, officers from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department went to a home on Hopewood Court to investigate a shooting, police said.The victim, 33-year-old Hobbs, was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the USA Today Network reported at the time. Two of her children, ages 5 and 13 at the time, were home during the shooting. FUGITIVES: Child porn charges for poker-playing priestNashville police already have arrested two other suspects in the slaying. The first arrest came the day after Hobbs was killed.On Oct. 26, 2015, Metro Nashville announced that 21-year-old Paige Elliott had been arrested in the shooting death, which they believe had been the end result of an attempted robbery.Elliott told investigators she had driven to Hobbs' home with two people, according to a police affidavit. A friend asked her "where he could 'hit a lick'" — or collect a lot of cash — according to the affidavit.She allegedly told investigators that she had known Hobbs to be a drug dealer, so she decided to show her friend and "another gentleman" where Hobbs lived.Elliott told police that one of her friends knocked on Hobbs' door. When Hobbs answered, a shot rang out, and Elliott and her friends jumped back in the car and fled, according to the affidavit.A grand jury in Davidson County, Tennessee, Continue Reading

For parents of Etan Patz, 33 years of false hopes

The anniversary of 6-year old Etan Patz’s disappearance from SoHo has fallen on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend before. On that first Friday May 25, back in 1979, it was a cool, misty day. By early evening, more than 10 hours after Etan was last seen, hundreds of police officers were out in full force when the rain started. By the time bloodhounds were finally brought in Saturday morning, authorities were resigned to the fact the trail had probably gone cold, washed away down the neighborhood’s gutters. Now, we are being told that if the dogs had followed the trail, it would have led to a bag containing Etan’s broken body, sitting mere blocks from the Patz loft. PHOTOS: A TIMELINE OF THE ETAN PATZ CASE In a stunning turn of events, 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez was charged last week with strangling the boy, first luring him into the corner bodega near the bus stop where Etan was headed. Hernandez has told police he went back to find the body a couple of days later, but it was gone. This is the first time anyone has ever been charged in the 33-year case of what is often called “the most famous missing child since the Lindbergh baby.” That is a huge milestone. But it isn’t — by far — the first wild upswing in the decades-long case. For 33 years, law enforcement or psychics or strangers mostly, have been telling Etan’s parents, Stan and Julie Patz, that they either knew who had taken their son, or where Etan was, or even that they were Etan. Etan’s parents never changed their phone number, in hopes he might call. He never did, but plenty of strangers left messages around the clock. They reported seeing Etan in places as far-flung as New England and New Mexico. Sometimes multiple reports from across the country came in on the same day. HISTORY: ETAN PATZ CASE CHANGED THE WAY POLICE HANDLED MISSING KIDS CASES Sometimes, in instances of unfathomable cruelty, the voice at the other end Continue Reading

A tribute to 9/11 victims before the 6th anniversary

Anniversary by anniversary, the calendar has carried us ever further from 9/11, but now the time line becomes a circle. The future aligns with the past. Sept. 11 will again fall on a Tuesday. And, in the rejoining of date and day, moment and memory, today is Sept. 9, a Sunday just like the 9/9 that was for so many a last time of family and friends and doing what they loved. Every hour, every minute, every second of today will be precisely in sync with the hours, minutes and seconds of that happy 9/9 as it tick, tick, ticked unknowingly toward 9/11 six years ago. On Tuesday, James Waring's name will be read as one of those of Cantor Fitzgerald who perished on 9/11, but a truer measure of the loss comes with the thought of this doting dad at Long Beach with his wife and four daughters on 9/9, strolling along the water's edge and dashing into the waves. Or think of Laurence Curia, who found himself with his two kids on an unexpectedly hot Sunday at Jones Beach without bathing suits. They all splashed in the surf in their clothes. Or think of Brian McAleese of the FDNY at Field 5, Robert Moses State Park, building sand castles with his 4-year-old son. Or of Thomas Sinton of Cantor Fitzgerald and his wife zipping around on "his-and-hers Jet Skis" on the Hudson River. Or of Paul Rizza of Fiduciary Trust and his wife picking homegrown summer tomatoes and making sauce the way it should be made. "It was good sauce," his widow, Elaine Rizza, said yesterday. "I've never made homemade sauce since then." Or think of Thomas Brennan of Sandler O'Neill playing Grateful Dead CDs in the car as his 19-month-old daughter boogied and laughed in her car seat. Or of Christopher Wodenshek celebrating another kind of anniversary, his 12th wedding anniversary, which one of his five young children would commemorate with a post-9/11 drawing of roses "for when my dad gave my mom all these roses for [her] anniversary." Or of newly promoted FDNY Captain Timmy Stackpole Continue Reading