ProPublica: ‘Death and Valor on an American Warship Doomed by Its Own Navy’ (February 6, 2019)

This is footage from the deck of the USS Fitzgerald, a U.S. Navy destroyer, of the moments immediately after it was struck by cargo ship MV ACX Crystal, in the South China Sea around 1:30 a.m. on June 17, 2017. The picture goes dark for a second as the Crystal hits, then the Fitz is knocked into a 360-degree rotation. 7 sailors died. Our investigation found that the collision was preventable. Read the investigation here -ProPublica

ProPublica:
Part I: Death and Valor on an American Warship Doomed by its Own Navy
Part II: Years of Warnings, Then Death & Disaster: How the Navy Failed Its Sailors
In Navy Disasters, Neglect, Mistakes, and 17 Lost Sailors (Snapshot of Sailors)
How We Investigated the Navy’s Twin Disasters in the Pacific
Senate Committee Grills Navy Official Over 2017 Collisions, Seeking Data to Prove Conditions Have Changed
Exclusive: Footage of USS Fitzgerald After Collision w/ ACX Crystal (YouTube)

USS Fitzgerald Casualties (June 17, 2017):
Shingo Douglass, 25
Noe Hernandez, 26
Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25
Xavier Martin, 24
Gary Rehm Jr., 37
Dakota Rigsby, 19
Carlos Victor Sibayan, 23

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

USS John McCain Casualties (August 21, 2017):
Kevin Bushell, 26
Dustin Doyon, 26
Jacob Drake, 21
Timothy Eckels, 23
Charles Findley, 31
John Hoagland, 20
Corey Ingram, 28
Abraham Lopez, 39
Logan Palmer, 23
Kenneth Smith, 22

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the News:

An investigation with our reporting partners at ProPublica into the 2017 collisions of U.S.S. Fitzgerald and U.S.S. McCain suggest that the Navy had ignored warnings, and postponed critical training and repairs before those deadly accidents. -NBC News

A ProPublica investigation revealed new details into two separate collisions of the U.S.S. Fitzgerald and John S. McCain that led to the deaths of 17 sailors. Robert Faturechi was one of the authors of the investigation, and joined CBSN to discuss their findings. -CBS News

Related Links:
Investigation Into Fatal Navy Collisions Reveals Failures In Repairs And Training
Investigation reveals new details about two 2017 naval ship crashes
The seven sailors who died in USS Fitzgerald collision
10 Who Served at Sea: The Sailors Who Went Missing in the Navy Collision
USS Fitzgerald Victims: Photos to Remember the Sailors’ Lives
ACX Crystal: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Bryce Benson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
USS Fitzgerald officer pleads guilty to role in deadly collision
Former USS John S. McCain commander pleads guilty in plea deal, will retire
Defense team: Navy brass made it impossible for former Fitzgerald skipper to get fair trial
No dismissal in court-martial of USS Fitzgerald commander
Fitzgerald, McCain collisions: Are the right people being held to account?
On This Day: Seven Sailors Died After the U.S. Navy Destroyer USS Fitzgerald Collided with the Container Ship ACX Crystal Off the Coast of Japan (June 17, 2017)

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (February 2018)

January 2018 copy 2

Reward Offered:
Reward offered in case of service dog found shot, dumped at train tracks

*************************************************

ACTIVE DUTY

Stateside Deaths:
Army Ranger died during free-fall training in January
CMC facing court-martial committed suicide, police say
Altus airman killed in bicycle accident
Special Forces soldier dies in motorcycle crash outside Fort Bragg
Virginia Beach sailor killed in crash had “high aspirations” for a better life in America
Airman from Vandenberg Air Force Base killed in early-morning crash
Air Force identifies airman killed after being run over by bus
Identity revealed of airman killed near Vandenberg; donations being solicited for services
Young Army soldier found dead in parking lot from apparent suicide
Army: Paratrooper, 19, found dead in North Carolina
Army Ranger killed in accidental shooting at training facility has been identified
Officials ID Army Ranger who died at Oregon training facility
Soldier commits suicide after Army wives bullied her, told her she should die
Marine from Riverside who served multiple deployments killed in car crash
Death of 82nd Airborne Paratrooper in Fayetteville under investigation
Shooting death of Army Ranger at Camp Rilea prompts investigation
Soldier dies in accidental shooting at Oregon’s Camp Rilea
Soldier dies in shooting at Oregon’s Camp Rilea

Continue reading

Oxygen Premiered ‘Killing Versace: The Hunt for a Serial Killer’ (February 11, 2018)

“Killing Versace: The Hunt For A Serial Killer” re-examines the infamous manhunt for Cunanan through new and revisited expert insider interviews. Watch new episodes of Killing Versace, premiering February 11th at 7/6c, only on Oxygen.

1) Jeffrey Trail was [Andrew] Cunanan’s friend.

According to Newsweek, Cunanan told friends in April 1997 he was headed to Minneapolis “to visit an old friend with whom he had unfinished business.” The old friend was Trail, who had previously been a naval officer. Vanity Fair reports Cunanan described Trail as his best and “my brother.”

CBS News reported Trail was a Gulf War veteran and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Friends called him “an upbeat, fun-loving, compassionate man.” Trail’s father told The Washington Post in July 1997, “Jeff was the kind of guy who was always trying to help people out… He went out of his way to be helpful to people.”

Read more from Harpers Bazaar here.

Related Links:
Five Lives Cut Short (1997)
Friends Remember Cunanan Victim (1997)
First Killing May Offer Clues to Four Others (1997)
Killing Versace: Hunt For a Serial Killer | Oxygen
The Gianni Versace Case, Explained – Very Real | Oxygen
Killing Versace: The Hunt for a Serial Killer – Premiering February 11th at 7/6c | Oxygen
Inside look at the Gianni Versace murder | ABC News
American Crime Story Season 2: The Assassination of Gianni Versace Trailer (HD)
Andrew Cunanan, the Versace Killer | The Crime Network
A Look Back at the Murder of Gianni Versace, 20 Years Later | Inside Edition
Versace’s murderer Andrew Cunanan kills his first two victims
Why Did Andrew Cunanan Go on a Killing Spree? American Crime Story Explores His Motives
Who Were Jeffrey Trail and David Madson? American Crime Story Explores Andrew Cunanan’s First Victims
Who Were Jeffrey Trail And David Madson, Andrew Cunanan’s First Victims?
Who Was Jeffrey Trail? ‘The Assassination Of Gianni Versace’ Explores Andrew Cunanan’s Alarming Fixation On Him
Who Is Jeff Trail In ‘The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’?
Versace: Watch Jeff Trail’s Real-Life Interview About Being Gay in the Military
‘American Crime Story’: Watch Jeff Trail’s Real ’48 Hours’ Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Interview (Video)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Bring My Baby Home’ on Investigation Discovery: Maritza Beato Rentz & Paul Rentz (February 7, 2018)

Preview: A four-week-old girl is kidnapped, leaving her mother in anguish and police scrambling to find her. As days go by with no sign of the baby or demands for ransom, sergeants Joe Kenda and Robert Sapp fear she’s been sold on the black market or worse. -Homicide Hunter, Investigation Discovery

On February 19, 1988, 5 week old Rachel Ann White was abducted from her grandmother’s Colorado Springs, Colorado home. Detective Joe Kenda met Robert Sapp of the Colorado Springs PD Juvenile Crimes Unit at Evelyn Reed’s house. Evelyn explained that she was taking care of Rachel for her daughter Cora Abbott and was interviewing potential baby sitter candidates. One of the potential candidates was a hispanic woman by the name of Sharon Sanchez. Evelyn was interviewing Sharon when the phone rang and Evelyn asked ‘Sharon’ to hold Rachel while she went into the other room to answer it. When Evelyn returned, Sharon and Rachel were gone and when she ran outdoors to see if she could stop her, Sharon was driving away in a light colored vehicle with Texas plates.

Investigators were not sure where to go with the investigation because Sharon Sanchez was an alias but they worked on the case around the clock and used the media to reach out to the public. Then they got a phone call from an Air Force Major. The Major informed Kenda that he had an Air Force officer, Captain Paul Rentz, working for him who said his wife had a baby and this was suspicious because Paul never said anything about his wife being pregnant. The Major and his wife stopped by Captain Rentz’s home to give the baby a proper Air Force welcome and to congratulate them. But his wife Maritza made excuses and was reluctant to let them in the house to see the baby; she eventually relented. After visiting the baby and leaving their home, the Major’s wife said it was not a newborn baby and she definitely wasn’t 3 days old. Then they saw the news that a baby was kidnapped and called the police right away. Kenda and Sapp didn’t hesitate to investigate this promising tip.

Kenda and Sapp went straight to the Rentz’s home. When they arrived at the home, the first thing they spotted was a small silver car with Texas plates that matched the description of the vehicle they were looking for. Kenda and Sapp questioned Maritza Rentz and asked her where she had the baby, who was the doctor, and where was the birth certificate. When Maritza produced a birth certificate, the birth certificate lead one to believe the baby was two days old. Kenda and Sapp knew this wasn’t a real birth certificate because they both had children. They demanded to see the baby. Maritza retrieved the child and she was a perfect match to the composite drawing. They also observed this was not a newborn and they knew immediately it was Rachel White. Captain Rentz appeared to be dumbfounded that the baby wasn’t his. Kenda and Sapp notified Cora Abbott that they found her baby.

Kenda said that when Cora was reunited with her daughter, the daughter she never thought she would see again, it was a very touching moment. Maritza Rentz was charged with kidnapping and Paul Rentz was questioned. He told investigators that Maritza didn’t have sex with him throughout the ‘pregnancy’ because she said it was harmful to the child. She also wouldn’t let him see her body. He admitted that things were rocky. Paul Rentz’ culpability was definitely in question because investigators couldn’t imagine that he didn’t know. But Maritza confirmed Paul didn’t know. She told investigators that she was pregnant but lost her baby and didn’t have the heart to tell Paul. She said she put pillows under her clothes so it appeared she was pregnant. She said she couldn’t see any other way and hoped the baby would help the relationship. When it was time for the baby to be born, Maritza said she was faced with a choice: come clean to her husband or find a baby.

Maritza read the newspaper ads and the difficulty she ran into was that most of the kids were too old. And then she found Cora Abbott’s ad looking for someone to watch her infant while she was at work. Maritza created a false identity, responded to the ad, and visited Evelyn Reed’s home for the interview. She admitted she almost didn’t follow through with the abduction but when the phone rang, the opportunity presented itself and she took it. When she returned home, she called Paul and told him she just got back from the hospital where she had the baby. Paul didn’t question any of it. Kenda reminded the viewer that being stupid isn’t against the law and believing your wife is not a criminal act. He admitted it was difficult to prosecute Paul Rentz because they didn’t have enough evidence to prove anything against him. As a result, he was found not guilty. Maritza pleaded guilty to second degree kidnapping but the judge didn’t give her any jail time. Instead, she claimed mental insanity and was confined to an institution for one year. The happy ending is that Rachel was found against all odds and she is thriving as a young woman.

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Baby Recovered Four Days After Kidnapping
Woman Alledgedly Abducted Infant to Aid Marriage
Timeline of Maritza Beato
Baby Snatcher | TV Movie (1992)
Baby Snatcher Movie (true crime movie)
Infant Snatcher – The Narrative That Motivated the Movie Starring Veronica Hamel
Baby Snatcher – True Narrative That Stimulated the video Glaring Veronica Hamel
‘Baby Snatcher’ true story of Maritza Beato aka Maritza Rentz
Movie Based on the Case of Cuban American Maritza Beato
Bring My Baby Home | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Bring My Baby Home | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (YouTube)
Cora Abbott with daughters Brittany and Rachael Ann White/Below Kidnapper Maritza Beato Rentz

Fort Hood Army Sgt. Sean Callahan Passed Away Unexpectedly in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Remembered Fondly at Memorial Service (2017)

Thumbnail-1

Sgt. Sean Callahan, US Army

Army Sgt. Sean Callahan, 31, passed away unexpectedly in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on February 18, 2017. Sgt. Callahan initially entered the Army in March 2008 as an M-1 Armor Crewman but since 2014 was assigned as a ceremony coordinator and flag custodian for the Secretary to the General Staff section, Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps, at Fort Hood. According to the obituary, Sgt. Callahan deployed to Iraq in December 2009 as part of Operation New Dawn and was re-deployed in December 2010. The HHB III Corps at Fort Hood held a memorial service for Sgt. Callahan on March 2 2017, and his fellow soldiers remembered him fondly for his positive attitude and great work ethic.

“Sean’s impact on those who knew him simply cannot be measured and the absence of his infectious smile and quick wit will be deeply missed by all.” –Obituary

Related Links:
Obituary: Sean Callahan
Obituary: SGT Sean Callahan
HHB III Corps remembers Callahan for smile, cheer
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

American Experience PBS Premiered ‘Oklahoma City’: Timothy McVeigh & Terry Nichols Conspired to Bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building (February 7, 2017)

Oklahoma City American Experience PBS

‘Oklahoma City’ American Experience PBS

“On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a former soldier deeply influenced by the literature and ideas of the radical right, parked a Ryder truck with a five-ton fertilizer bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City. Moments later, 168 people were killed and 675 were injured in the blast. Oklahoma City traces the events — including the deadly encounters between American citizens and law enforcement at Ruby Ridge and Waco — that led McVeigh to commit the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history. With a virulent strain of anti-government anger still with us, the film is both a cautionary tale and an extremely timely warning.” -Oklahoma City, American Experience PBS

Watch ‘Oklahoma City’ here.

American Experience PBS:

Premiering at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Coming to American Experience PBS on February 7, 2017 at 9/8c. -American Experience, PBS

After the Oklahoma City Bombing, Clinton’s ability to reach Americans on a personal level did much to help the nation’s grief. “It’s kind of a throwaway line now, I feel your pain, but he literally could,” says Robert McNeely. “I mean he could take people and just hug them and connect to them in a way and really listen to them.” -American Experience, PBS

Oklahoma City explores how a series of deadly encounters between American citizens and federal law enforcement—including the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco—led to the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history. -American Experience, PBS

At the time of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was home to several government agencies — and a daycare. -American Experience, PBS

During the stand-off between federal agents and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993, people gathered on a hill roughly three miles away to see what was happening at the compound. One of those drawn to Waco was a 24-year-old Army veteran named Timothy McVeigh. -American Experience, PBS

Filmmaker Barak Goodman and editor Don Kleszy discuss their newest documentary, “Oklahoma City” and how it led to the creation of another one-hour film about Ruby Ridge. -American Experience, PBS

The 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing was the largest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history. A new documentary on the PBS series American Experience takes a fresh look at the events and motivations that led to the attack by Timothy McVeigh, and finds resonance for today. -PBS NewsHour

At the 20th anniversary, we look back at the Oklahoma City bombing. Public television station OETA shares reflections from survivors and victims’ families, and Judy Woodruff talks to former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, former Director of Homeland Security of Oklahoma Kerry Pettingill and Barry Grissom, U.S. attorney for the district of Kansas, for lessons learned from the attack. -PBS NewsHour

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a former soldier deeply influenced by the literature and ideas of the radical right, parked a Ryder truck with a five-ton fertilizer bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City. Moments later, 168 people were killed and 675 were injured in the blast. OKLAHOMA CITY traces the events — including the deadly encounters between American citizens and law enforcement at Ruby Ridge and Waco — that led McVeigh to commit the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history. With a virulent strain of anti-government anger still with us, the film is both a cautionary tale and an extremely timely warning. -YouTube Movies

Related Links:
Oklahoma City Bombing
Oklahoma City Bombing – FBI
Oklahoma City bombing – HISTORY
Oklahoma City Bombing Fast Facts
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
Oklahoma City National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service)
Oklahoma City Bombing: 168 People Died in an Act of Domestic Terrorism at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building (April 19, 1995)
Oxygen Premiered ‘In Defense Of Timothy McVeigh’: Convicted Oklahoma City Bomber Executed by Feds in 2001 for Terrorism (June 25, 2018)
Film Review: ‘Oklahoma City’ | Variety
From the ashes: Documentarian revisits horrific bombing in ‘Oklahoma City’
Oklahoma City PBS Documentary Explores America’s Tradition of Anti-Government Terrorism
Review: ‘Oklahoma City’ Recalls a Chilling Attack With Lessons for Today
New film links McVeigh to far right before bombing in OKC
Movie review: ‘Oklahoma City’ bombing documentary serves as timely cautionary tale
Oklahoma City: A Cautionary Tale of Hate in America | American Experience | PBS

YouTube:
Oklahoma City Teaser | American Experience | PBS
Oklahoma City | Promo | American Experience | PBS
Oklahoma City Official Trailer 1 (2017) – Documentary
American Experience | The Oklahoma City Bombing | PBS
Chapter 1 | Oklahoma City | PBS
The Murrah Building | Oklahoma City | American Experience | PBS
Timothy McVeigh at Waco | Oklahoma City | American Experience | PBS
Interview: Barak Goodman & Don Kleszy | Oklahoma City & Ruby Ridge
Tracing the roots of the America’s biggest domestic terror attack | PBS NewsHour
‘There was no playbook’ for handling the Oklahoma City bombing | PBS NewsHour
American Experience: Oklahoma City | PBS | YouTube Movies
Clinton | American Experience | PBS