The latest local news

Weather service says be prepared, the Mississippi will continue rising

WQAD News -

QUAD CITIES- The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities says that several rounds of thunderstorms with heavy rainfall over the weekend will lead to rising river levels.

“The Mississippi River may resume rising as early as Sunday to a level of 18-20 feet at the Rock Island location by May 23rd.”-David Donovan, Emergency Management Coordinator

The NWS has the following suggestions for the next round of storms:
  • Residents and businesses are encouraged to maintain existing flood protection.
  • Residents and businesses that need assistance with barriers that have already been removed should contact their local City Public Works Department or Scott County Emergency Management Agency.
  • Debris clean-up scheduled in the unincorporated areas of Scott County will be delayed until further notice.
  • Individuals in need of volunteer help or individuals interested in volunteering are encouraged to call 563-484-3086 (Monday-Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM).

Prosecutor: Mom and daughter strangled pregnant Chicago teen

WQAD News -

*Editor's Note: Details in this article are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers

CHICAGO (AP) — A pregnant Chicago teen who was killed and whose baby was cut from her womb was strangled while being shown a photo album of the late son and brother of her attackers, a prosecutor said Friday in urging a judge to keep the defendants locked up.

Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy told Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz that 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez managed to get her fingers under the cord around her neck and that the woman strangling her, Clarisa Figueroa, then yelled at her daughter, "You're not doing your (expletive) job!"

The daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, then pried Ochoa-Lopez's fingers from the cord while her mother continued to strangle the teen for another five minutes, Murphy said. With Ochoa-Lopez showing no signs of life, Clarisa Figueroa, 46, cut her open with a butcher's knife and removed the placenta and baby, which she put in a bucket.

She then put the teen's body in a garbage can and called 911, claiming that her newborn baby was not breathing, authorities said. When first responders arrived, the child was blue. They tried to resuscitate the infant and transported Clarisa Figueroa and the boy to a nearby hospital, where police said he remained in grave condition and was not expected to survive. Figueroa, meanwhile, had blood on her upper body but no physical sign that she'd given birth, according to investigators.

Ortiz denied bond to the Figueroas, who are charged with murder, saying she felt "the presumption is great" that they committed a "heinous and brutal murder" and that they pose "a real and present" danger to the community. She also denied bond to Clarisa Figueroa's boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, who is charged with the concealment of a homicide.

The mother's lawyer asked Ortiz to place the Figueroas in protective custody for their safety, given "the nature of the case."

Clarisa Figueroa apparently wanted to raise another child after her adult son died of natural causes last year, authorities said. Murphy told the court that she told her family last October that she was pregnant and later posted on Facebook ultrasound results and photos of a room decorated for a baby. He said Desiree Figueroa was surprised because her mother had had her fallopian tubes tied to prevent pregnancy.

The arrests came three weeks after the disappearance of Ochoa-Lopez, whose decaying body was later discovered in a garbage can in the backyard of Figueroa's home on the city's Southwest Side, about 4 miles from Ochoa-Lopez's own home. The cord used to strangle her was still around her neck.

According to police, the young woman had driven from her high school to Figueroa's home in response to an offer of free clothes that Figueroa had posted on Facebook.

Police did not connect the Ochoa-Lopez's disappearance and the 911 call about the baby until May 7, when friends of the teen directed detectives to her social media account, which showed she had communicated with Clarisa Figueroa in a Facebook group for expectant mothers.

At the same time, Clarisa Figueroa had started a GoFundMe campaign for the funeral of what she said was her dying baby, said Sara Walker, a spokeswoman for Ochoa-Lopez's family. Police then conducted DNA tests, which showed that Ochoa-Lopez and her husband, Yiovanni Lopez, were actually his parents, Walker said.

When police arrived to question Clarisa Figueroa, her daughter told them that her mother was in the hospital with some kind of leg injury, before adding that she had just delivered a baby, said Brendan Deenihan, deputy chief of detectives.

"She told an extremely odd story," and officers "kind of knew where this is headed," Deenihan said.

Police then searched the neighborhood and found Ochoa-Lopez's car a few blocks away. On Tuesday they returned with a search warrant, finding cleaning supplies as well as evidence of blood in the hallway and in the bathroom. They later found the body in a trash can behind the house and recovered surveillance video that showed Ochoa-Lopez's vehicle driving through the neighborhood on the day they believed she was killed, authorities said.

Ochoa-Lopez's family had been looking for her since her disappearance on April 23, organizing search parties and holding news conferences as they pushed police for updates in the investigation.

Her father, Arnulfo Ochoa, said relatives were grateful to have found her. Now they want justice. The family was also bracing for the baby's death, while still hoping for a miracle.

"We plead to God that he gives us our child because that is a blessing that my wife left for us," Yiovanni Lopez told reporters through a Spanish interpreter outside the county morgue where his wife's body was taken.

The three suspects were scheduled to appear Friday in bond court.

Ben Butterworth closed, Sylvan Island reopened

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois- Moline has announced one opening and one closing as flood waters recede.

The city says, starting Friday, May 17,  Ben Butterworth Parkway (22nd – 55th Street, along River Drive) is closed to all pedestrian and bicycle traffic including the bike path, playground, shelters, restrooms, and off-trail areas until cleaning and repairs can be completed.

“This is for your safety, the safety of our staff and to allow work to be concluded as efficiently as possible. Thank you for your patience.”

The city does not yet have a date for when it will be reopened.

The city also says as of Thursday, May 16, Sylvan Island (2nd Street and 1st Avenue) has reopened for public use.

58-year-old rookie on Memphis Police force finally fulfilling his dream

WQAD News -

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ever since he was a kid, Don Brown knew he wanted to be a police officer.

He had always worked out, and knew he could do the physical part of being an officer, the academic work, and he knew how to shoot.

After talking with someone at the police academy, he discovered the Memphis Police Department would take him, as long as he could pass the tests — even at the age of 58.

That's right. When most people are starting to think about retirement, Brown is starting a new career, hitting the streets of Memphis as an officer.

"That feeling never went away," Brown said. "I always wanted to serve this community.”

It’s a story that started eight months ago at the Memphis Police Academy, the first time the rookies were introduced to Brown.

"You don’t really see that many people that are older like that, that already had a career to come and want to be a police officer, so it was pretty cool,” fellow officer Trevoris Bogan told WREG.

For years, Brown put his dream on hold while life got in the way.

"You know, I went to college, got married and started having kids, it’s like, not a good time." So he put it off and took care of his family. He spent 30 years in the food business and retired two years ago.

There were 85 cadets in Brown’s class. He was by far the oldest, but he still finished near the top of his class.

"It does push you," Brown said. "You don't understand sometimes why you're having to do these push-ups or the flutter kicks or whatever, but there’s a reason to everything.”

Brown is the oldest “rookie” in recent memory, and some believe he might be the department’s oldest “rookie” ever. "They would call me Uncle Brown, which I take as an endearing term, and it was, it was a great experience,” he said.

His family thought he was crazy.

“She worries of course and the kids do, but they're glad I'm doing what I want to do,” he said.

But when the laughter faded, reality set in. A badge, a gun, is an enormous responsibility that occasionally comes at a tremendous cost. "You know, if something were to happen tomorrow, today, whatever, I'm doing what I told them, I told my family: 'I'm doing what I want to do.' And so, I'm happy with it. I'm good with it."

His superior officers are good with it too, saying his age is not a disadvantage. "I was actually excited to have someone that age," MPD Lt. Jay Dorning said.

Older officers like Brown don't require as much training because they've been trained their whole lives, he said.
"He has the personal skills because, in the days that we grew up, you actually had to communicate with people face-to-face, whether you talked to him on the phone, you didn't have texting. So it makes him relate with the people in the city,” Dorning said.

Brown said the best part of the job is being out in the community, making a difference every day.

"I love the city of Memphis," he said. "I'm telling you one thing I found out since doing this job, the people are really great. You know we see a lot of bad things on TV, and I'm telling you, the majority of the people that I run into are very supportive. It's just been very rewarding for me."

He only has one wish, "I wish I had another life to give another 25 years. And maybe if I stay here another 25 years, I’ll be 83. I don't know. We'll see how it goes.”

Oklahoma man finds 7 foot snake slithering into dryer vent

WQAD News -

YUKON, Okla. - An Oklahoma man was forced to act quickly when he realized he had a slithering surprise waiting for him in his dryer vent.

“There was a huge snake. It went from the gate, all the way through the AC unit and we saw it up in the dryer vent, going inside,” said Wayne Melvin, who found a snake at his home.

A nearly 7-foot snake was making its way through a dryer hole, which leads straight to his house.

“We pulled the dryer out. We took it apart to see if we could find this thing. We didn’t want it in the house,” Melvin said.

Thankfully the snake didn't make it that far. Realizing there was no place to go, the reptile tried to slither its way back out.

"The only thing that was sticking out the next time was the head. And I'm not gonna try to grab that,” Melvin said.

Rather than calling a pest control company, Melvin decided to see if the snake would come out on its own.

“We gave it a little bit of time to come out naturally instead of hurting or killing it,” Melvin said.

He said with a home that backs up to a creek, he’s seen snakes nearby before. But had never dealt with anything like this before.

“It scared me,” Melvin said. “It was definitely a different location. Normally you find them hidden in very obvious locations. Not your dryer vent.”

After the vent was snake-free, Melvin threw some gloves on and carried the snake to the creek behind his house, letting it go back where it belonged.

“They eat rats and rodents. So that’s a lot better than other things that come from those woods,” Melvin said.

Air Force employee facing child porn charges downloaded manual on how to seduce, groom children for sex

WQAD News -

ISLE OF WIGHT Co., Va. - Gregory Wacks, the Air Force employee charged with multiple counts of having and distributing child porn, was denied bond Thursday, WTKR reports. 

Prosecutors argued he is a threat to the children in this community.

Investigators who forensically searched Wacks’ phone testified they not only found thousands of images of child porn involving very young children, but they also found a 170+ page PDF filed labeled “How to Practice Child Love.” The Commonwealth’s Attorney described the book to the court as a manual for seducing and grooming children into sexual acts, starting at a very young age.

The document was pulled from a known child porn trade site and had been downloaded to Wacks' phone, according to investigators.

Wacks, an Air Force veteran currently employed as a civilian by the Air Force, was charged in April with one count of distributing child porn; one count of possession of child porn first offense and 18 counts of possession of child porn, later offenses.

Investigators who forensically searched Wacks' phone said the investigation is not over and they are still combing through the evidence they had from their initial phone "dump."

After a search warrant was executed and Wacks' home was searched, investigators seized the cell phone, computer and tablet, but also mentioned finding a hidden camera in Wacks' home that he shares with his wife and young daughter. Investigators did not go into whether or not they have searched that device and have not mentioned for what purpose it was used.

This giant steak feeds 12 people

WQAD News -

At MB Steak inside Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, this dry-aged, seven-boned tomahawk serves 12. Unlike your average steakhouse steak order, however, sides are included, making the hefty price tag for the 16-pound ribeye at least marginally more digestible.

Love it or hate it, share-plate dining is far from over. But dwindling are the days when tapas and small plates monopolized the category and each diner was encouraged to order five to six items.

Making waves today is large-format dining. From whole fish to whole roasted duck to steak for two or more, the new way of sharing food may have reached its pinnacle with a $1,200 tomahawk available in — where else — Las Vegas.

At MB Steak inside Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, this dry-aged, seven-boned tomahawk serves 12. Unlike your average steakhouse steak order, however, sides are included, making the hefty price tag for the 16-pound ribeye at least marginally more digestible.

Along with the massive cut of beef, tables are served an assortment of six decadent side dishes including lobster mac and cheese, creamed corn with king crab and roasted poblano, maitake mushrooms with aged goat cheese and creamed spinach with a poached egg and truffle gouda.

The $1200 large-format steak dish served at MB Steak in Las Vegas serves 12.

Chef Patrick Munster says one to two “Feasts” are ordered each week — and the extra-large cuts must be pre-ordered as the restaurant requires advance notice to obtain the USDA Prime meat sourced from Nebraska. As is widely publicized the tomahawk can be enjoyed by up to 12 people, but Munster says he once served it to a table of eight, and the group finished it all.

MB Steak is owned by brothers David Morton and Michael Morton, part of Morton Group. The restaurant bills itself a “luxury steakhouse” though by many people’s definition, steakhouses are already luxurious by default. A 22-ounce bone-in ribeye at Bavette’s in Chicago, for example, will cost you $69.95; in Las Vegas, the price of the exact same steak curiously isn’t listed on the website and costs significantly more at $91.

At The Grill, an upscale chophouse in Manhattan, the 14-ounce, dry-aged porterhouse is $74 — in short, a lot more than your now relatively average $25-30 entree.

The substantial price differential, and the noteworthy price tag on the tomahawk may explain why many chophouses (Brooklyn’s celebrated Peter Luger restaurant is among these) omit prices on their online menus — though a spokesperson for MB tells CNN Travel that it’s fairly common not to include prices as they tend to fluctuate.

MB Steak’s menu includes a few items from the sea: fennel crusted salmon, sea scallops and shrimp risotto are available on any given night, but who goes to a steakhouse and orders fish?

If you haven’t had enough luck at the blackjack table to justify the tomahawk (or if you just can’t fathom paying that much for a food item, no matter how delicious or deep your pockets), MB also has a number of “signature steaks” from which to choose.

Order one of those and you may even have room for dessert.

Chef Patrick Munster presents the meat to the table before carving tableside.

Tennessee woman says police aren’t doing enough to protect her daughters from sex trafficking

WQAD News -

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — "MPD has taken these guys into custody. They have caught them with my daughters. They are 13, 14 and 15."

A Memphis mother is trying to protect her teenage daughters after she says they've become trapped in the cycle of sex trafficking.

The mother asked not to be identified; she said her daughters have been pulled toward a downward spiral.

"They're luring them by buying them clothes, shoes, giving them money."

She said each time her girls disappear she calls police, and she has documents to prove it. She said she's told investigators numerous times about her suspicions that her daughters are being sex trafficked.

"I feel let down by the system."

Often times the desperate mother has resorted to taking things into her own hands, confronting the suspects on her own.

So far, the only man arrested is Jarvis Johnson, charged with harboring a runaway child.

"I'm hurt. I'm disappointed, and I know something can be done."

The mother believes her house was shot up after Johnson's arrest out of retaliation. Now she lives in hiding.

Throughout all of this, she said her daughter's grades have slipped, and the school district is calling them truant.

Debra Farrow, founder of Wings of Love, has been helping the family find a way out.

"When she sought out help, they started to tell her to keep a tab on [her] kids. Then she lost her job, but she was following directions," Farrow said. "It's more than just sex. They are just brainwashed."

The mother said she recently got a call from a friend telling her the girls were at a strip mall with a group of guys. They were being sold to the highest bidder in exchange for sexual favors.

"It's not just my children. It's a lot of children in Memphis that are dealing with this."

She said her daughters haven't disappeared in about three weeks, so she hopes she's close to breaking the cycle.

Brief warming Saturday will lay out more scattered storms for the area this weekend

WQAD News -

Scattered showers and a few embedded thunderstorms will will continue throughout the afternoon and early evening as a stationary boundary remains poised right over the area.  Fortunately, we’ll briefly dry out overnight as temperatures drop into the 50s.

As the boundary drifts a bit more north on Saturday, temperatures will vastly improve with the mercury averaging around the 80 degree mark.  Unfortunately, showers and a few thunderstorms return with the coverage in the morning being isolated before increasing in coverage during the rest of the day and night.  Showers and storms will slowly end from west to east later Sunday with highs just over 70 degrees.

If cutting the lawn is a priority on your list then I strongly suggest you circle down Monday on your calender.  That will be the next dry day before more showers and strong thunderstorms return in the forecast.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

NAILED IT OR FAILED IT: Wallace’s Helps Us Grow Herb Gardens for Fresh Cocktails

WQAD News -

The benefits of gardening your own herbs can pay off when the clock hits 5:00pm.

On Friday, May 17th, we took NAILED IT OR FAILED IT on the road to Wallace's Garden Center in Bettendorf. Store Manager and "Garden Girl" Kate Terrell showed us how to plant an herb garden that can freshen up your recipes, cocktails, or just the smell of your outdoor living space. Click the video clip above to hear her expert advice for growing herbs and the special tools you can use to grow your green thumb.

Since we're learning how to grow herbs, we thought we'd incorporate one of those herbs into our Cocktail of the Week. This week, we're making a Watermelon Mint Spritzer. All you need is some watermelon, Prosecco, and - of course - mint from your garden! Here's how we made it:

This isn't the first time we've taken Nailed It Or Failed It on the road to Wallace's. Click here to see how to make your own terrarium!

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