Multiple injuries in Virginia Beach shooting, suspect in custody: Police

Twelve people are dead, including the suspected gunman, after a shooting occurred at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday afternoon, according to police.

Six additional victims were taken to the hospital with injuries, Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera told reporters during a press conference. An emergency services spokesperson would not comment on the condition of the injured victims.

At least five patients were transported to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and one victim was transported to its Level I Trauma Center, according to Dale Gauding, senior communications advisor for brand engagement at Senatara Healthcare.

Authorities are asking people to avoid the Municipal Center area.

PHOTO: An ambulance turns on Nimmo Parkway following a shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, May 31, 2019, in Virginia Beach, Va.Kaitlin Mckeown/The Virginian-Pilot via AP

An ambulance turns on Nimmo Parkway following a shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, May 31, 2019, in Virginia Beach, Va.

Both the FBI and ATF have sent agents to the scene.

PHOTO:Virginia Beach Police respond to reports of an active shooter, May 31, 2019.WTKR

PHOTO:Virginia Beach Police respond to reports of an active shooter, May 31, 2019.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

ABC News’ Alexander Mallin and Amanda Maile contributed to this report.

Good Old Boy Network: 16 women allege gender bias at FBI Academy

Sixteen women this week filed a lawsuit against the FBI with detailed allegations of gender discrimination while they were trainees at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

The civil suit, filed Wednesday, alleges that what it calls a so-called ‘Good Old Boy Network’ at the academy resulted in female trainees being written up and dismissed at higher rates than male trainees.

“Through passive tolerance, the FBI has intentionally allowed the Good Old Boy Network to flourish unrestrained at the FBI Academy,” the lawsuit alleged.

David Shaffer, a lawyer representing the women, told ABC News he hopes the lawsuit inspires a culture change within the department.

One of the women named in the suit, Lauren Rose, was a staffer who joined the FBI in 2009 and attended the academy, according to the lawsuit.

Rose claims that she passed all of her tests, but received three notation failures for the tactical training portion, and because of this she claims she was dismissed from the academy, despite her male colleagues failing the same tests and not getting dismissed, according to the lawsuit.

Rose then took matters to top leadership of the FBI, even writing an e-mail to then-Director James Comey “informing him of the prejudicial and discriminatory practices running rampant at the FBI Academy.”

“In his response, Director Comey denied such discrimination was occurring and instead suggested she use her ‘pain’ to reflect on her strengths and weaknesses,” the lawsuit said.

“That response is insulting to the woman who wrote it,” Shaffer told ABC News.

A representative for Comey didn’t immediately return an ABC News request for comment.

According to the FBI, 36% of applicants to the FBI are female and 20% of agents brought on board are female.

PHOTO: Former FBI Director James Comey speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Washington, Dec. 17, 2018, after a second closed-door interview with two Republican-led committees.J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Former FBI Director James Comey speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Washington, Dec. 17, 2018, after a second closed-door interview with two Republican-led committees.

The lawsuit also alleges that the male instructors defined the women trainees by “subjective citations,” such as “candor,” “insubordination,” and “lack of emotional maturity,”

“For example, any effort to seek clarification, or better understanding of course curriculum or training scenarios by female trainees consistently resulted in female trainees being labeled as “argumentative” and written up for ‘lack of candor,'” the lawsuit says.

Shaffer said that if women are treated like “objects” at the training academy by their male counterparts, then it could happen to other women when they get out in the field.

Shaffer added that since the group came forward, he’s been hearing similar stories alleging discrimination many years prior to those cited in their civil suit.

“This has been going on for 20 years,” Shaffer said in a phone interview.

“While we are unable to comment on litigation, the FBI is committed to fostering a work environment where all of our employees are valued and respected,” the FBI said in a statement. “Diversity is one of our core values, and to effectively accomplish our mission of protecting the American people we need people of different genders, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives,” the statement said.

Maleah Davis stepfather confesses to killing her

Maleah Davis’ stepfather has confessed to killing her and dumping her body on the side of a road in Arkansas, hundreds of miles from her Texas home where a black bag that was giving off a ‘foul odor’ was found this morning. 

Derion Vence made his confession to Quanell X, a community activist who was representing Maleah’s mother, on Friday.  He is now being flown to the spot in Arkansas where he says he dumped her. 

Before he arrived, authorities in Hope, Arkansas, found a black garbage bag which they say is giving off a foul odor. 

It is unclear if they found it as a result of his confession or if it the discovery prompted Vence’s confession.

Police will not confirm if it contains Maleah’s remains.   

Derion Vence allegedly made his confession to Quanell X, a community activist who was representing Maleah's mother, on Friday.

Derion Vence allegedly made his confession to Quanell X, a community activist who was representing Maleah's mother, on Friday.

Maleah, four, was reported missing on May 4 but she has not been seen since April 30

Maleah, four, was reported missing on May 4 but she has not been seen since April 30

Derion Vence made his confession on Friday. He claimed to have killed his young stepdaughter ‘by accident’ and dumped her body hundreds of miles from their home 

Vence is seen leaving the family's apartment with a blue laundry basket carrying a large black trash bag on May 3. It is the day he claimed they were all kidnapped

Vence is seen leaving the family's apartment with a blue laundry basket carrying a large black trash bag on May 3. It is the day he claimed they were all kidnapped

Vence is seen leaving the family’s apartment with a blue laundry basket carrying a large black trash bag on May 3. It is the day he claimed they were all kidnapped 

Vence is taking police 300 miles from Houston to Hope in Arkansas where he says he dumped her body

Vence is taking police 300 miles from Houston to Hope in Arkansas where he says he dumped her body

Vence is taking police 300 miles from Houston to Hope in Arkansas where he says he dumped her body

The Houston Police Department, which has not commented on the case for more than a week, would not confirm that he had made the confession when contacted by DailyMail.com. 

A police department in Arkansas confirmed that Vence was on his way with them on Friday.  

‘What happened to Maleah was an accident,’ Quanell X told The Houston Chronicle. ‘He says it was an accident. And he confessed to me where he dumped her body.  

‘He was very specific with the amount of distance and time. 

‘When I was able to leave and look it up on my phone, he was to the point on the distance and time.

‘He said that he pulled over in Arkansas, got out of the car, walked to the side of the road, and dumped the body off the road.’

He said he had met with the director of Equusearch, which works with the police in missing persons cases, to find her. 

‘I think it’s true enough that I have an airplane lined up at 3 p.m. to fly a detective, and several officers to go up there and go ahead and start the search.’ 

The director did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries on Friday. 

The confession comes nearly a month after Vence reported Maleah missing on May 4. 

He stumbled into a hospital with his one-year-old son claiming all three of them had been kidnapped by Hispanic assailants the day before while driving to the airport to pick up Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens. 

Maleah Davis' mother Brittany Bowens' former spokesman, Quannell X, (shown with her) says Vence made the confession to him on Friday. Police have not yet confirmed it

Maleah Davis' mother Brittany Bowens' former spokesman, Quannell X, (shown with her) says Vence made the confession to him on Friday. Police have not yet confirmed it

Maleah Davis’ mother Brittany Bowens’ former spokesman, Quannell X, (shown with her) says Vence made the confession to him on Friday. Police have not yet confirmed it 

In what is believed to be the final image of Maleah alive, the four-year-old is shown entering the apartment in a pink tutu

In what is believed to be the final image of Maleah alive, the four-year-old is shown entering the apartment in a pink tutu

In what is believed to be the final image of Maleah alive, the four-year-old is shown entering the apartment in a pink tutu 

Maleah Davis is shown walking into stepfather Derion Vence's home in Houston but was not seen again

Maleah Davis is shown walking into stepfather Derion Vence's home in Houston but was not seen again

Maleah Davis is shown walking into stepfather Derion Vence’s home in Houston but was not seen again

Vence and his one-year-old are shown on May 3, the day he said all three of them were kidnapped, but there is no sign of Maleah

Vence and his one-year-old are shown on May 3, the day he said all three of them were kidnapped, but there is no sign of Maleah

Vence and his one-year-old are shown on May 3, the day he said all three of them were kidnapped, but there is no sign of Maleah

Another surveillance photo shows Vence entering the hospital with his one-year-old son the day on May 4, after he said they were all taken captive

Another surveillance photo shows Vence entering the hospital with his one-year-old son the day on May 4, after he said they were all taken captive

Another surveillance photo shows Vence entering the hospital with his one-year-old son the day on May 4, after he said they were all taken captive 

Vence’s far-fetched version of events claimed the kidnappers let him and his son go but kept Maleah. 

Police quickly poked holes in it, saying he was not telling the truth, but they had been unable to produce any leads since. 

Surveillance footage also emerged of Maleah entering his home on April 30 but she was never seen again. 

Vence was seen leaving the family’s apartment with a blue laundry basket carrying a large black trash bag on May 3.

Police then found blood in his car.  

Quanell had been representing Bowens – who maintains she had nothing to do with her daughter’s disappearance – but he distanced himself from her earlier in the week, claiming she too had changed her story. 

The silver Nissan Vence was driving when the alleged attack took place was found on Thursday at a shopping center in Missouri City, Texas, off Highway 6

The silver Nissan Vence was driving when the alleged attack took place was found on Thursday at a shopping center in Missouri City, Texas, off Highway 6

The silver Nissan Vence was driving when the alleged attack took place was found on Thursday at a shopping center in Missouri City, Texas, off Highway 6

Bowens says she was out of state when Maleah vanished. Rather than call 911 when her ex failed to turn up for her, she waited for someone else to collect her. 

She then claimed that he had done ‘something’ with her daughter in revenge against her for dumping him and calling him homosexual. 

Quanell has since claimed to have found his own evidence that Vence was molesting Maleah. 

He insists that Bowens did not know. 

Maleah was taken out of her mother’s care last year amid claims of domestic abuse. 

She required surgery on a brain injury that her mother says she got by falling over.  

Maleah suffered a brain injury last year which she had to have surgery for

Maleah suffered a brain injury last year which she had to have surgery for

Davis's father released these photographs of the four-year-old on Wednesday

Davis's father released these photographs of the four-year-old on Wednesday

Maleah suffered a brain injury last year which she had to have surgery for. Police said she needed extra care because of it

Missouris last abortion clinic wins reprieve

Attendees chant and march through downtown St Louis during a rally and march to protest the closure of the last abortion clinic in Missouri on 30 May, 2019 in St Louis, MissouriImage copyright
Jacob Moscovitch/Getty Images

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Abortion protestors march through downtown St Louis during a rally on 30 May

A judge has temporarily blocked Missouri from becoming the first US state not to have an abortion clinic in nearly half a century.

Planned Parenthood won a court order to keep the state’s only abortion clinic open, on the day it was due to close.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has refused to renew its operating licence, alleging “deficient practices”.

Nine US states have passed anti-abortion legislation this year.

On Friday, Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer said the Missouri abortion clinic’s licence could remain in effect while Planned Parenthood seeks a preliminary injunction against the state.

A ruling on that matter is expected next Tuesday.

Earlier this week, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released a statement citing “ongoing concerns” about the clinic in the wake of its annual inspection.

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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A supporter of Planned Parenthood stands near an anti-abortion demonstrators as they hold a protest outside Missouri’s last clinic

These concerns included violations of Missouri law and “failed surgical abortions in which patients remained pregnant”, according to state officials.

Planned Parenthood dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

“Today is a victory for women across Missouri, but this fight is far from over,” said Dr Leana Wen, president of the reproductive health organisation.

If Planned Parenthood ultimately loses the case, Missouri could become the first state not to have a legal abortion clinic since 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled that US women have the right to choose an abortion.

The legal battle comes days after Missouri enacted a bill to outlaw nearly all abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, making no exceptions for rape or incest.

On Thursday, Louisiana approved legislation banning pregnancy terminations after a foetal heartbeat is detected. Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi have passed similar bills.

Image copyright
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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Missouri recently enacted a bill to outlaw nearly all abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy

Meanwhile, Alabama has passed an outright ban on abortion in nearly all cases. None of these laws are yet to take effect, however, and they face a barrage of legal challenges.

This recent batch of laws is backed by anti-abortion activists who have been emboldened by President Donald Trump’s appointment of two conservative justices to the US Supreme Court.

“Pro-life” campaigners hope that the highest court in the land will ultimately overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling.

Missouri is already among US states that have limited access to abortion with such rules as requiring women seeking abortions to undergo counselling and wait 72 hours before the procedure.

Other, liberal states have taken steps to bolster protections for women seeking abortions.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in Illinois passed a bill that would repeal its restrictions on certain late-term abortions. The legislation is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled state Senate.

California, Vermont, Maine and Nevada have taken steps to protect abortion rights in case Roe v Wade is ever overturned.

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 8 Months After Hurricane Michael, Florida Panhandle Feels Left Behind

Nearly eight months after last year’s Category 5 Hurricane Michael, communities like Lynn Haven along the Florida Panhandle are still rife with downed trees, blue roofs and piles of debris.

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Nearly eight months after last year’s Category 5 Hurricane Michael, communities like Lynn Haven along the Florida Panhandle are still rife with downed trees, blue roofs and piles of debris.

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When Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle of Florida last October, Keith and Susan Koppelman were huddled in the bathroom of their small, two-bedroom rental trailer just north of Panama City.

“When the winds came we both started praying,” says Keith, 49. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is a big storm.’ “

After four hours, they finally emerged to survey the damage. The storm’s 160-mile-per-hour winds had torn off the porch and peeled away the trailer’s tin siding.

“It was like an atomic bomb went off,” says 52-year-old Susan. Oak trees were lying flat on the ground, and a neighbor was calling for help.

The couple had been living there for only a month and a half, but the damage was so serious that their landlord evicted them to make repairs.

Susan Koppelman, 52, and Keith Koppelman, 49, stand for a portrait at a rural property outside Marianna, Fla., where they have been staying since being evicted from their trailer home after last year’s hurricane. The landowners allow the couple to live in the storm-damaged house rent-free in exchange for help with the horses.

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Susan Koppelman, 52, and Keith Koppelman, 49, stand for a portrait at a rural property outside Marianna, Fla., where they have been staying since being evicted from their trailer home after last year’s hurricane. The landowners allow the couple to live in the storm-damaged house rent-free in exchange for help with the horses.

William Widmer for NPR

They say they were denied FEMA housing assistance, so they lived in their car while looking for a new place to live.

The Koppelmans are among the tens of thousands of Floridians who have been forced out of their homes since Michael, the strongest storm ever to hit the region. Some are still homeless. Many more have left the region entirely.

Small cities along the Panhandle — a mostly rural region of coast, farmland and timber — are struggling to see a way forward between shrinking revenue and the burden of fronting relief costs. The area’s largest employer, Tyndall Air Force Base, is years away from returning to full capacity.

Delaying the recovery is an impasse in Congress, which has yet to pass a disaster relief funding bill — something that normally happens in the weeks following a major storm. To top it all off, the new hurricane season begins on June 1.

An American flag flutters above a pile of rubble near downtown Panama City.

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An American flag flutters above a pile of rubble near downtown Panama City.

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(Left) A church on U.S. Highway 98. (Right) A house on McKenzie Avenue near downtown Panama City.

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(Left) A church on U.S. Highway 98. (Right) A house on McKenzie Avenue near downtown Panama City.

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Hurricane Michael downed millions of trees across Florida and Georgia. The region’s lumber industry is in peril, and the dead trees are a wildfire risk.

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Hurricane Michael downed millions of trees across Florida and Georgia. The region’s lumber industry is in peril, and the dead trees are a wildfire risk.

William Widmer for NPR

Post-Michael, the Florida Panhandle is transformed. The Category 5 storm wiped out thousands of homes across its path: Michael smashed buildings to splinters, tore off roofs and sent trees careening through walls.

With the housing stock decimated, an apartment in Panama City that might once have gone for $500 per month now rents for more than $1,000. The Koppelmans were dumbfounded.

“I mean, where is the common sense?” says Keith. “Being a renter, and you’re still trying to work your job, still trying to make a living — it’s just so unbelievable.”

The Koppelmans are temporarily staying in one room of a house an hour north of Panama City. For now, they cook meals in the microwave. “I’ve gotten tired of them,” says Susan. “I want to cook so bad.” When they finally get a place with a full kitchen, they already have their first dinner in mind: steak or pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.

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The Koppelmans are temporarily staying in one room of a house an hour north of Panama City. For now, they cook meals in the microwave. “I’ve gotten tired of them,” says Susan. “I want to cook so bad.” When they finally get a place with a full kitchen, they already have their first dinner in mind: steak or pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.

William Widmer for NPR

The only affordable situation the Koppelmans could find was an hour’s drive from their jobs in Bay County — Keith on a painting crew; Susan, as a community aide at the elementary school on Tyndall Air Force Base.

A homeowner in neighboring Jackson County offered up a room in his own damaged house. There was no kitchen, so the Koppelmans would have to do dishes in the bathroom sink — but they could live there free if they agreed to help take care of the owner’s six horses. They took the deal.

Before the storm, they were paying $450 per month in rent. Now, they pay that much in gas every month commuting.

“It’s like our jobs don’t end,” says Susan. “We come home and we try to get as much done before dark so we get in bed at a decent hour, and [then we] get up at 4 a.m. and do it all over again.”

Housing continues to be the most pressing issue.

“Ninety percent of our homes and buildings were damaged,” says Mark McQueen, the city manager of Panama City. “That was massive.”

Shelly and Sam Summers stand with daughter Gabby in front of a makeshift shelter on their rural Bay County property. They opened their backyard to people who were homeless after Hurricane Michael. At the peak, about 50 people lived there. Now, there are 18. “We still have our home,” Shelly says. “They have nothing. So if we can at least offer them the comforts of home, it was worth it.”

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Shelly and Sam Summers stand with daughter Gabby in front of a makeshift shelter on their rural Bay County property. They opened their backyard to people who were homeless after Hurricane Michael. At the peak, about 50 people lived there. Now, there are 18. “We still have our home,” Shelly says. “They have nothing. So if we can at least offer them the comforts of home, it was worth it.”

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Amanda Bohn, 29, has been living on the Summers’ property with her sons Isaiah, 8, and Dominike, 9, for two months. She had been living in a rental trailer in nearby Parker but was evicted after the hurricane.

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Amanda Bohn, 29, has been living on the Summers’ property with her sons Isaiah, 8, and Dominike, 9, for two months. She had been living in a rental trailer in nearby Parker but was evicted after the hurricane.

William Widmer for NPR

In Panama City, the largest and best-funded city in Michael’s direct path, the effects of the storm are painfully clear, more than seven months later. Telltale blue tarps cover thousands of roofs, while others are brand new. Most unsettling, many buildings look as though the hurricane struck last week — walls collapsed, windows shattered, trees bursting through.

In Bay County, where Panama City is located, the post-storm housing crisis has been exacerbated by the high percentage of residents like the Koppelmans who are renters. Nationwide, about a third of people rent their homes. In Panama City, it’s more than half.

And because of the region’s tourism economy, rental properties make up an enormous portion of the available housing — further complicating things when the number of livable units dropped precipitously after the hurricane struck, just as the number of people seeking shelter spiked.

The Fletcher Black Memorial Homes public housing complex in Panama City closed indefinitely after substantial damage from Hurricane Michael. Officials say the storm knocked 43% of the city’s subsidized housing stock out of commission.

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The Fletcher Black Memorial Homes public housing complex in Panama City closed indefinitely after substantial damage from Hurricane Michael. Officials say the storm knocked 43% of the city’s subsidized housing stock out of commission.

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Mark McQueen (left) and Greg Brudnicki, the city manager and mayor of Panama City. Brudnicki says the storm left Panama City looking like a war zone, “except trees were the missiles.”

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Mark McQueen (left) and Greg Brudnicki, the city manager and mayor of Panama City. Brudnicki says the storm left Panama City looking like a war zone, “except trees were the missiles.”

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McQueen says Panama City and the rest of the Florida Panhandle need federal assistance to address this crisis.

For its part, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided around $116 million in housing assistance for the area. More than 21,000 Florida residents received FEMA rental assistance, though that assistance mostly came to an end in April.

Longer term, President Trump earlier this month committed $448 million of Housing and Urban Development grants to hurricane-affected regions in Florida. The long-delayed disaster relief bill, which is expected to pass next week, contains additional funds.

But rebuilding housing stock through HUD grants takes years to complete. The needs of the hurricane-affected region are much more urgent.

Right now, McQueen says, it’s difficult to find rooms for workers coming in to repair and rebuild.

“It’s sort of the chicken and the egg,” says McQueen. “If we don’t get housing up, we can’t get workforces. And if we don’t get workforces here, we can’t get the economy going. If we can’t get the economy going, we can’t get housing going.”

The area’s economic recovery also depends on the reconstruction of Tyndall Air Force Base. Counting active duty service members, retirees and their dependents, Tyndall accounts for more than 10% of Bay County’s population and drives one-third of the county’s economy, according to officials.

Tyndall Air Force Base’s Hangar 5 lost most of its roof after the eye of the hurricane passed over the base last fall. The base is using temporary inflatable hangars to continue operations.

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Tyndall Air Force Base’s Hangar 5 lost most of its roof after the eye of the hurricane passed over the base last fall. The base is using temporary inflatable hangars to continue operations.

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An officers club on Tyndall near the water still sits in ruins. Every structure on the base was damaged or destroyed.

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An officers club on Tyndall near the water still sits in ruins. Every structure on the base was damaged or destroyed.

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The eye of Hurricane Michael passed directly over Tyndall, causing catastrophic damage. Every structure on the base was damaged or destroyed.

Even now, the damage is evident. A massive hangar is still missing half its roof. Numerous other buildings stand smashed and ruined by the storm, awaiting demolition.

With most of its permanent housing destroyed, Tyndall was forced to house service members in tents erected in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael. But these tents can’t withstand heavy winds — personnel were evacuated every time there was a heavy thunderstorm — and can’t be used during hurricane season. They’re in the process of being dismantled.

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With most of its permanent housing destroyed, Tyndall was forced to house service members in tents erected in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael. But these tents can’t withstand heavy winds — personnel were evacuated every time there was a heavy thunderstorm — and can’t be used during hurricane season. They’re in the process of being dismantled.

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Operationally, the base is carrying on about 80% of its previous mission, says Col. Brian Laidlaw, Tyndall’s commanding officer. But the base is “still very much in recovery mode,” he says.

Many base operations are being conducted in temporary modular buildings. The control tower reopened only recently.

The Air Force has made a commitment to rebuild Tyndall, echoed this month by Trump at his rally in Panama City. Officials estimate rebuilding will cost $4.7 billion.

Most of the funds needed to rebuild Tyndall must come from Congress. The longer Congress takes, the longer it takes to begin projects necessary to return the base to full capacity. “I can’t bring lots of people back until I rebuild my childhood development center. I can’t bring new and additional airmen in until I rebuild some of the dorms,” says Col. Brian Laidlaw, Tyndall’s commanding officer.

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Most of the funds needed to rebuild Tyndall must come from Congress. The longer Congress takes, the longer it takes to begin projects necessary to return the base to full capacity. “I can’t bring lots of people back until I rebuild my childhood development center. I can’t bring new and additional airmen in until I rebuild some of the dorms,” says Col. Brian Laidlaw, Tyndall’s commanding officer.

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Most of the funding needed to rebuild Tyndall will have to come from Congress. The pending disaster supplemental funding bill contains more than $1 billion for construction and repair projects at Tyndall, along with a second base in Nebraska that was damaged in flooding earlier this year.

Although the Air Force funding was never in question, Congress took months to come to agreements on other contentious issues in the funding bill like money for Puerto Rico recovery and border wall projects. The House is expected to pass the bill in early June. Trump has indicated his willingness to sign it.

Because the bill has been tied up for so long, the base’s long-term reconstruction has been delayed. Laidlaw estimates there are roughly 100 projects that the base is “ready to start” but can’t until the funds are formally appropriated.

“As soon as the money shows up to start the base rebuild, we’re gonna be ready to go. We are ready,” Laidlaw says.

For the small municipalities near the base, Tyndall’s recovery — including the jobs that go along with it — is one of many things to worry about.

Operations continue at Tyndall despite the catastrophic damage that remains nearly eight months after the hurricane.

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Operations continue at Tyndall despite the catastrophic damage that remains nearly eight months after the hurricane.

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Just across a bridge from the base is Parker, which had 4,500 residents last fall. Since Michael, the city has lost about 15% of its residents. Parker’s utility revenue, its main source of income, has shrunk proportionately.

Mayor Rich Musgrave says the financial challenge is the “most frightening aspect” of Parker’s recovery. The city’s annual budget is $5 million; the debris removal bill alone totaled $7 million. Those contractors haven’t demanded payment yet, Musgrave says.

“They’ve been very kind to us and not forced the issue,” he says. “But at some point, the chickens are going to come home to roost.”

The city of Parker employs just 33 people, a number that includes the police force, fire department and library. Normally that’s plenty to run the city, Musgrave says.

But Hurricane Michael swept in a mountain of financial and bureaucratic challenges that Musgrave says small cities like his are not equipped to handle: securing debt or lines of credit; filing project worksheets and reimbursement paperwork with FEMA; applying for HUD grants.

“The demands for the paperwork and the procedures and the process on us is exactly the same as it is on a city of 50,000, and they’ve got the staffing” to support that, Musgrave says. “I’ve got a city clerk that is doing 12 jobs at once.”

Rebuilding has begun on El Governor Motel on Mexico Beach.

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Rebuilding has begun on El Governor Motel on Mexico Beach.

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But numerous other buildings, like this house near Mexico Beach, look as though the hurricane struck yesterday. Many owners are awaiting inspections or insurance payouts before beginning repairs or demolition.

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But numerous other buildings, like this house near Mexico Beach, look as though the hurricane struck yesterday. Many owners are awaiting inspections or insurance payouts before beginning repairs or demolition.

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For small cities in nearby rural counties, the challenge is even greater. Away from the coast, the Florida Panhandle is rural and poor.

“Most people think Florida is all palm trees and resorts. This is not. This is North Florida,” says Craig Fugate, the former FEMA administrator and former director of Florida’s state emergency management department.

In Marianna, a city of 6,000 about 55 miles inland from Panama City, Hurricane Michael wrecked the power grid, downed trees and tore off facades along the city’s historic downtown.

“We just don’t have the resources a lot of communities have,” says Jim Dean, Marianna’s city manager. The small town can’t lean on an Air Force base or beach tourism for economic recovery, or a well-funded county government that can lobby Washington for help as can Panama City and Bay County. Many people work in agriculture or timber. “It’s just a bigger challenge for us.”

One daunting choice he faces is whether to take on debt to address problems like debris removal more quickly.

The federal government and the state of Florida will eventually reimburse 95% of these costs. But Marianna would have to pay upfront by taking on debt. Reimbursement can take months, even years. All the while, that debt accrues interest — which isn’t reimbursable.

“You’re going to have to be very selective at what you do, or you’re going to put yourself so far in debt that you’re going to be paying off debt from this storm before you even begin to provide a baseball field for your kids to play baseball on,” Dean says. “Before you buy a new police car, before you buy a fire truck. Just because you’re picking up trees.”

Mayor Ralph Hammond of Springfield, Fla., one of the small cities in Bay County, rode out the hurricane in City Hall. The building was destroyed and has since been demolished. The site is now used as a staging ground for debris haulers. “We thought we’d be here for a long time,” he says. “Michael decided it wasn’t going to be.”

William Widmer for NPR


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Mayor Ralph Hammond of Springfield, Fla., one of the small cities in Bay County, rode out the hurricane in City Hall. The building was destroyed and has since been demolished. The site is now used as a staging ground for debris haulers. “We thought we’d be here for a long time,” he says. “Michael decided it wasn’t going to be.”

William Widmer for NPR

Even if the delayed disaster bill passes next week as expected, it will be a long time before those funds reach Marianna and even longer before the city can break ground on any new project. That’s a clock that Dean says should have started months ago.

“That money could potentially have already been on the street. There could be projects underway. There could be projects in the design phase or being bid out right now,” he says. “If we had done this 200 days ago, we’d probably be in a lot better position. But we’re not.”

Looking into the future, the long-term financial challenges for small cities like Marianna are considerable: If the population loss is permanent, then tax and utility revenue will drop. School systems are funded per student, so a drop in enrollment could force layoffs and school closures. And if the population doesn’t rebound before the 2020 census, the region could lose millions of dollars in federal funds over the following decade.

“This area was already in some cases depressed economically. The storms made it worse,” says Fugate, the former FEMA administrator. “Just rebuilding from the disaster will not ensure this community recovers.”

“The sun always comes up on the Gulf of Mexico,” he says. “They’ll eventually recover. But [for] the interior parts of the state, it’s going to be a bigger challenge.”

The Florida Panhandle is a heavily forested region. The hurricane tore down millions of trees.

William Widmer for NPR


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The Florida Panhandle is a heavily forested region. The hurricane tore down millions of trees.

William Widmer for NPR

Jolie Myers edited the audio stories. Maureen Pao edited the Web story.

2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren compared to Rachel Dolezal in interview

In an interview on “The Breakfast Club” Friday morning, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was asked a host of questions about her Native American ancestry claims and compared to Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP leader who was outed as a white woman pretending to be black in 2015.

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“I grew up in Oklahoma, I learned about my family, the same way most people learn about their family, from my momma and my daddy and my aunts and my uncles, and it’s what I believed,” Warren said about her previous claims to be of Native American heritage.

“But I’m not a person of color. I’m not a citizen of a tribe. And I shouldn’t have done it,” she said.

Charlamagne Tha God, a co-host of the morning radio program that has become an increasingly popular platform for candidates looking to reach young, minority voters, asked Warren if she would choose not to take a DNA test to prove her heritage, which she did in October and which was largely criticized by tribes who said DNA was a separate discussion from tribal identity and citizenship. Warren revealed the DNA test after constant attacks from the president, who frequently calls Warren “Pocahontas,” a nickname that some critics say amounts to a racial slur.

PHOTO: Nkechi Diallo, then known as Rachel Dolezal, poses for a photo in Spokane, Wash., May 20, 2017. The former NAACP leader in Washington was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black.Nicholas K. Geranios/AP, FILE

Nkechi Diallo, then known as Rachel Dolezal, poses for a photo in Spokane, Wash., May 20, 2017. The former NAACP leader in Washington was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black.

Pocahontas was a historical figure often revered for her role as a Colonial-era emissary.

Warren said she couldn’t “go back now,” but that she can “try to be a good partner” moving forward. “I’m not a person of color. I’m not a citizen of a tribe. And tribal citizenship is an important distinction. And not something I am,” Warren said.

Chalamagne then compared Warren to a woman who rose to the headlines in 2015 who claimed she was black and had risen through the ranks at the NAACP. Her parents eventually told the media that she was white.

“You’re kind of like the original Rachel Dolezal, a little bit. Rachel Dolezal was a white woman pretending to be black,” he said to Warren.

“Well, this is just what I learned from my family,” she responded.

Warren’s campaign did not respond to an ABC News request for comment.

The host also asked her if she’d benefited from stating Native American as her heritage, such as writing “American Indian” on a State Bar of Texas registration card in 1986, which the Washington Post reported in February. DJ Envy, another co-host, asked if she had received a discount to go to college, referencing the government’s program for Native American education grants.

“Nope. Boston Globe did a full investigation. It never affected – nothing about my family ever affected any job I ever got,” Warren said.

Warren was also asked about her past as a Republican, which she was registered as until the late 1990s.

“So what made you register as a Republican back then? Because that’s the Reagan years, that’s the War on Drugs,” Charlamagne asked her.

Warren, who has been a pacesetter for policy ideas in the 2020 cycle, said she wasn’t “politically active” during those years and eventually broke into politics to get into “the policy end of it.”

Charlamagne said that Warren had “a lot of confusion back in the day” between her Native American heritage and switching political allegiances.

“You know, a big part of it was when I got into the fights over — you gotta make the law reflect our values, you gotta have a law that doesn’t just work for those at the top and that works for everyone else,” Warren said, circling back to different policies she’s proposed ahead of the 2020 election.

In large part, the majority of the nearly hour-long interview was spent discussing Warren’s plans for historically black colleges and universities, which she wants to give $50 billion in grants to, and addressing redlining that held black homeowners back until the 1960s with new affordable housing units.

Warren also talked about her support for reparations, though she said she had yet to hear a conclusive decision from experts on the best way for the reparations to be paid to the descendants of those who were enslaved in the U.S.

But hours later, it was Dolezal who was trending on Twitter.

America Rising, a Republican opposition research PAC, posted the video on their YouTube and was using it to fundraise on Twitter.

Warren isn’t the first politician to land in hot water on the show. Earlier this year Sen. Kamala Harris drew criticism when she was asked directly if she ever smoked marijuana. Harris confirmed she smoked, and was asked what music she listened to at the time.

Harris said she listened to rappers Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur while she was in college. Both rappers however were not producing music by the time she graduated in 1986.

Former Sen. Hillary Clinton was asked on the show what item she always carries with her, her response was hot sauce.

ABC News’ Beatrice Peterson contributed to this report.

YIKES! Homeowner finds 11-foot gator in kitchen of Clearwater home

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CLEARWATER, Fla.Can you imagine walking into your house and seeing an 11-foot-long alligator hanging out in your kitchen?

 

Well, a homeowner in Clearwater did.

 

Clearwater police said they believe the sneaky gator broke into the home through low windows in the kitchen.

The homeowner called police. A trapper also arrived at the scene to remove the large reptile.

The gator was captured, and no one was injured, police said.

Perhaps the homeowner will make sure those windows are shut from now and on.



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Laura Ingraham features white supremacist Paul Nehlen, cites him as prominent voice

Fox News host Laura Ingraham featured white supremacist Paul Nehlen in a graphic of “prominent voices censored on social media” on her show “The Ingraham Angle” on Thursday night, and some are outraged.

In one segment, Ingraham claims that recent criticisms from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about Facebook proliferating doctored videos are part of a plan by liberals to “silence conservative voices” ahead of the 2020 election.

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Laura Ingraham through the years

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American radio talk show host Laura Ingraham arrives for a meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on December 6, 2016 in New York. / AFP / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 20: Political talk radio host Laura Ingraham delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 20: Political talk radio host Laura Ingraham delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – FEBRUARY 26: Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham (R) makes a face as she goes on stage with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) for a discussion during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) February 26, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, NH – APRIL 12: Radio host Laura Ingraham speaks at the Freedom Summit at The Executive Court Banquet Facility April 12, 2014 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Freedom Summit held its inaugural event where national conservative leaders bring together grassroots activists on the eve of tax day. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: Radio host Laura Ingraham attends The Daily Beast Bi-Partisan Inauguration Brunch at Cafe Milano on January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)

NJ Governor Chris Christie arrives with talk show host Laura Ingraham to speak at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, DC (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

Political commentator and author Laura Ingraham addresses the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 18: Laura Ingraham visits Extra at The Grove on July 18, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra)

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 18: Laura Ingraham (L) and Mario Lopez visit Extra at The Grove on July 18, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra)

WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 15: Conservative radio host and commentator Laura Ingraham addresses a health care reform protest on December 15, 2009 in Washington, DC. Demonstrators, many bused in from around the country, protested next to the Capitol building hoping to derail Senate health care legislation. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

THE VIEW – (7.12.11) Reality television star, Bethenny Frankel (‘Bethenny Ever After’) appeared as guest co-host today on ‘The View.’ Laura Ingraham was a guest. ‘The View’ airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)LAURA INGRAHAM

WASHINGTON – JUNE 24: Laura Ingraham, Fox News Contributor and host of the Laura Ingraham Show, and Peter Kaplan, Editorial Creative Director, Conde Nast Traveler pose for a photo at the Washington DC Conde Nast Traveler celebration at Height’s Courtyard – Washington Hilton on June 24, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Conde Nast Publications)

WASHINGTON – JANUARY 08: Laura Ingraham attends salute to Brit Hume at Cafe Milano on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)

MAIDENS, VA – OCTOBER 07: Talk show host Laura Ingraham speaks while standing with U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA) during his 11th annual ‘Hoe Down’ fundraiser October 7, 2006 in Maidens, Virginia. Recent polls show Senator Allen is in a close race for his Senate seat with Democratic challenger Jim Webb. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Laura Ingraham during US Comedy Arts Festival 2005 – ‘Wag the Debate’ Center for American Progress at St. Regis Hotel in Aspen, Colorado, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 1: Ariana Huffington talks with Laura Ingraham and Mika Bryzsenski September 1, 2008 at the Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/WireImage)

11/17/95 – Office of attorney Laura Ingraham, 1440 NY Ave, 9th floor One of several women we will be taking photos of for a conservative women story. – Photo By Robert A. Reeder TWP (Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

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Ingraham talked about this claim with conservative commentator Candace Owens, who said that this is “just the way the internet works” and insisted that Clinton’s and Pelosi’s remarks are an attempt to silence voters.

Owens went on to say that silencing and banning conservatives “works for us,” because “when you ban somebody’s favorite political commentator … they double down and dig their heels in.”

Ingraham then featured a graphic of “prominent voices censored on social media” that included Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, Owens, Michelle Malkin, Dan Scavino, James Woods and Nehlen.

Nehlen is a notable inclusion as he’s a white nationalist so racist and anti-Semitic that he was kicked off Twitter and Gab. The Republican Party of Wisconsin even cut ties with him after his Twitter suspension, and a state party spokesman said he had “no place in the Republican Party.”

HuffPost was the first to confront Nehlen about his open embrace of explicit white nationalism back in 2017, and as of April 2018, The Daily Beast declared that he was becoming one of the highest-profile white nationalists in America.

Just some of his horrifying behavior includes his open support for the white supremacists who marched at the 2017 “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where an attende drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters and killed anti-racist activist Heather Heyer; he also has a locked Telegram channel where he calls himself “Uncle Paul’ and “shares memes praising mass murderers as religious heroes.”

The site Angry White Men, a blog that tracks white supremacists, has long documented Nehlen’s history of racist and anti-Semitic posts on social media. A recent entry in April of this year involved a report on Nehlen arguing with another white supremacist about the best way to start a race war.

Considering his background, Ingraham’s inclusion of Nehlen on a list of “prominent voices” was shocking for many on social media. Here’s what people had to say:

It’s unclear whether Ingraham’s inclusion of Nehlen will spark advertisers to leave her show, which has happened before.

Numerous companies fled the show last year after she mocked David Hogg, a survivor of the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

HuffPost has reached out to Ingraham’s advertisers and will update this report accordingly.

Thus far, Netsuite has declined to comment on its status with Ingraham and her show.

A spokesperson for the Starkist tuna brand said: “We do not endorse individual opinions. Our television ads appear on a number of cable networks as part of our national media buy.”

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m. — Fox News defended the segment in a statement released Friday, saying that, “it is obscene to suggest that Laura Ingraham was defending Paul Nehlen’s despicable actions.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

WATCH LIVE: Bag with foul odor found in Maleah Davis search

HOUSTON — Derion Vence claims Maleah Davis died in an accident before he hid her body in Arkansas, he allegedly confessed to Quanell X on Friday morning.

Quanell said he spoke with Vence, Maleah’s stepfather, in a downtown Houston jail. Vence allegedly told Quanell he dumped the 4-year-old’s body along Interstate 30 near Hope, Arkansas.

Watch the full interview: Quanell X, Tim Miller give update on disappearance of Maleah Davis

Houston police investigators confirm to KHOU 11 they are looking into the claim.

HPD is holding a news briefing at its downtown headquarters Friday at 5:30 p.m.

RELATED: Derion Vence’s attorney asks judge to prohibit jail visits from Quanell X

RELATED: For Quanell X, the Maleah Davis case is personal

Around 2:45 p.m. Friday, investigators said they “found something” in Fulton, Ark. in the search for Maleah’s body, according to CBS Shreveport. Fulton is about 18 miles from Hope.

Sheriff James Singleton with the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department said a black bag with a foul odor was located.

Sheriff Singleton said three days ago, a litter crew came through the area near exit 18 off of I-30 eastbound in Fulton. He said one employee noticed a trash bag with blood and worms on it, and supervisors told the employee to leave it alone. Singleton said it is not uncommon for people to leave dead animals in the area.

RELATED: Where is Maleah Davis? Timeline in the disappearance of 4-year-old Houston girl

Singleton said when the crew returned Friday, apparently the mowing machine hit parts of the bag. He said state police and the FBI will gather evidence from the bag before getting in touch with Houston authorities.

Texas EquuSearch’s Tim Miller said he is heading to Arkansas on a private flight Friday afternoon to help in the search. The sheriff in Hempstead County, near Hope, tells KHOU 11 he is ready to assist Houston authorities in the search.

maleah davis arkansas law enforcement search 4
maleah davis arkansas law enforcement search 4

KSLA

Eight deputies there are already driving slowly along I-30 searching for a trash bag that Vence allegedly confessed to dumping out of the car alongside the road. The Hempstead County Sheriff said authorities may fly Vence to Arkansas to help them locate the girl’s remains.

Hope, Arkansas is about 325 miles northeast of Houston – about a five hour drive.

Vence remains in jail at this time, charged with tampering with a human corpse in connection to the girl’s disappearance.

When Quanell was asked how he got Vence to provide more information in the case, Quanell responded, “two men talking.”

“We had a long conversation,” said Quanell. “We spoke about details surrounding Maleah’s disappearance. We spoke about his relationship with Brittany.”

“One thing he wanted to make clear to me was, what happened to Maleah was an accident,” said Quanell. “He says it was an accident, and he confessed to me where he dumped her body.

Investigators previously said they do not believe Maleah is alive, but they’re still trying to find her body.

RELATED: Quanell X on Maleah Davis’ mom: ‘She knows what happened’

Earlier this week, Quanell said he was no longer working with the girl’s mother, Brittany Bowens. Bowens has not been charged or accused in her daughter’s disappearance, but Quanell said he believes she knows what happened to the little girl.

It’s been a month since Maleah was last seen alive following Vence into the family’s Alief-area apartment.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement Tuesday afternoon after learning the new allegations:

Let’s let search teams do what search teams do. We have spoken to the defendant’s lawyer ans there is no agreement. We continue to work with the Houston Police Department to bring justice for Maleah Davis.

RELATED: Special coverage of Maleah Davis case

YOUTUBE PLAYLIST: Maleah Davis case

Missouris Last Abortion Provider Wins Reprieve, As Judge Rules Against State

Abortion-rights supporters take part in a protest in St. Louis. The Planned Parenthood clinic in the area will stay open while its legal fight with the state continues.

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Abortion-rights supporters take part in a protest in St. Louis. The Planned Parenthood clinic in the area will stay open while its legal fight with the state continues.

Jeff Roberson/AP

A Missouri judge has blocked the state’s attempt to close down Missouri’s last abortion provider.

Missouri Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer granted a request to temporarily prevent state officials from revoking the license of a clinic operated by a St. Louis Planned Parenthood chapter, as the state’s health department had sought to do.

If the license is not renewed, Missouri will become the first state without a clinic providing abortions since the procedure became legal 46 years ago.

Planned Parenthood, Stelzer wrote in his order, “demonstrated that immediate and irreparable injury will result” if Missouri refuses to renew the clinic’s license. He added that the temporary restraining order “is necessary to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable injury.”

Stelzer issued his ruling Friday, hours before a midnight deadline. The judge set a hearing on the matter for Tuesday.

“This is a victory for women across Missouri, but this fight is far from over. We have seen just how vulnerable access to abortion care is in Missouri — and in the rest of the country,” said Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.

Anti-abortion-rights groups were dismayed by the decision, echoing the governor’s position that there are health and safety concerns at the clinic that need to be investigated.

“Planned Parenthood caused this artificial crisis when they ignored the law and refused to comply with the state of Missouri’s very reasonable requests,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins, who called Stelzer’s ruling an example of “judicial activism in favor of abortion.”

In a lawsuit seeking to keep the clinic open, Planned Parenthood had warned that closing the facility could force some women to “turn to medically unsupervised and in some cases unsafe methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who recently signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws, has maintained that state officials need to complete an investigation into a patient complaint before the clinic’s license is renewed. Missouri officials have not revealed details about that complaint.

During a press conference earlier this week, Parson argued that the attempt to not renew the clinic’s license is not political.

“This is not an issue about the pro-life issue at all. This is about a standard of care for women in the state of Missouri,” Parson said. “Whether it’s this clinic or any other clinic or any other hospital, they should have to meet the same standards.”

In March, state officials cited a number of deficiencies in their inspections of the clinic as part of the annual license renewal process. One problem they noted was that not all of the staff had participated in a fire drill. Then in April, Missouri officials announced an investigation of an unspecified complaint from a patient.

State officials asked to interview seven physicians associated with the clinic, some of whom were employed by Washington University Medical School and were not part of the clinic’s full-time staff. Because of that relationship, the clinic argues it cannot force the doctors to be interviewed. It also says the state has not revealed the scope of the questioning, which the clinic’s legal team says could include criminal referrals.

Legal wrangling ensued over the interviews, with the clinic saying it did everything in its power to make the sessions happen and state officials countering that the clinic was getting in the way of the interviews.

Jamie Boyer, the attorney for Planned Parenthood, said in the suit that Missouri “is simply wrong in insisting it is entitled to refuse to act on Planned Parenthood’s application for license renewal.”

But Parson says that because of the audit and investigators’ inability to complete the investigation into the patient complaint, the clinic’s license cannot be renewed.

Ahead of the ruling, clinics in states surrounding Missouri, meanwhile, told NPR that there were real worries about a wave of patients traveling across state lines from Missouri. It would be a natural response, they said, to the looming prospect of abortions being inaccessible to patients statewide.

“Missouri is already in what’s considered an abortion desert where the majority of Missourians live over 100 miles from a clinic,” Michele Landeau, board president of the Gateway Women’s Access Fund, told NPR member station St. Louis Public Radio. The fund helps women pay for abortions.

“Closing clinics is just going to make that distance even worse,” she said.

Supporters of the St. Louis clinic praised the judge’s ruling but said the struggle for access to abortions in Missouri continues.

“While temporary, we celebrate today, and tomorrow, we go back to work to ensure access to abortion does not go dark at the last health center that provides abortion in Missouri,” said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortion provider at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. “While Gov. Parson abandoned our patients, we will not.”

NPR’s Sarah McCammon contributed to this report.