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    U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., has been diagnosed with whooping cough, a rare and contagious disease that's officially known as pertussis.

    The freshman Republican has been ill for several weeks with the disease, which has largely been quelled in the U.S. through vaccination.

    Curbelo was vaccinated as a child, his office said, but did not receive recommended booster shots as an adult. He was probably contagious in early- to mid-July but no longer is so.

    The disease is typically marked by a severe cough that is often followed by a deep breath that sounds like "whoop." It has a reputation as a childhood disease but often strikes adults whose immunity has faded.

    The Capitol physician's office has referred Curbelo's case to the Washington, D.C., health department.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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  • 08/04/15--06:34: 1 dead in Miramar shooting
  • Police said one man is dead after a shooting Monday night in Miramar.

    The shooting occurred at a home in the 2000 block of Southwest 67th Lane.

    A neighbor said he heard eight gunshots and called 911.

    "I counted them -- pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop -- and that's when I grabbed my wife and myself and went inside," the man, who asked not to be identified, told Local 10 News.

    Police said one person is in custody.

    No other details were immediately released.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Police have made an arrest in a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a 16-year-old boy in northwest Miami-Dade County.

    Miami-Dade police said Gabriel Fleuricourt, 28, turned himself in at the Miami Police Department. He was then taken to Miami-Dade police headquarters, where he confessed to committing the hit-and-run, Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said.

    Police have also identified the teen killed as Cash Pereira. Zabaleta said Pereira was skateboarding on Northwest 18th Avenue near Northwest 108th Street when he was struck by a Hyundai Sonata.

    The car was later found at 1268 NW 111th St.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A 3-year-old boy opened a drawer, took out a gun and apparently shot himself in the head Tuesday morning, the boy's mother told Local 10 News.

    Dorphise Jean said her son, who is almost 4, was rummaging through a drawer looking for an iPad when she heard a loud bang. She said she grabbed the boy and took him to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center.

    Jean said she and her husband both keep guns in their apartment for safety because of where they live in Miami's Little River neighborhood. She said they always keep the guns away from the boy, but he climbed a chair and to get to the drawer, which doesn't have a lock on it.

    Miami police Sgt. Freddie Cruz said the incident appears to be a tragic accident. He said investigators are speaking with the family.

    The boy underwent surgery, and police said he was in critical condition.

    Crime scene map

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    Follow Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres @MiamiCrime


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  • 08/04/15--23:00: On this day: August 5
  • The Mayflower departs England, the first electric traffic signal is installed, Marilyn Monroe dies, the Beatles release "Revolver," and President Reagan fires striking air-traffic controllers, all on this day.


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    Robert Downey Jr. has been named the world's highest paid actor for the third year in a row by Forbes, thanks in no small part to the power of the Chinese box office.

    "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" star took home $80 million last year, according to the ranking published Tuesday, helped by moviegoers in China where the film grossed a whopping $240 million.

    The list of leading men saw Hong Kong action hero Jackie Chan, who stars in "Dragon Blade", come in second with $50 million. Vin Diesel was not far behind, netting $47 million for his part in "Furious 7."

    It was the first time the ranking included international actors. Bollywood favorites Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan tied for 7th place, both earning $33.5 million. Akshay Kumar slid into 9th place with $32.5 million.

    Rising stars and newcomers to the list included Seth Rogen ($17 million) who starred in the controversial film "The Interview," and Jonah Hill ($16 million).

    The full list includes 33 actors from seven countries. Together they earned a combined $877 million before taxes and fees.

    Forbes will be publishing a separate list of highest-paid actresses later.

    The World's Highest-Paid Actors 2015 are:

    1. Robert Downey Jr: $80 million

    2. Jackie Chan: $50 million

    3. Vin Diesel: $47 million

    4. Bradley Cooper: $41.5 million

    5. Adam Sandler: $41 million

    6. Tom Cruise: $40 million

    7. Amitabh Bachchan: $33.5 million

    7. Salman Khan: $33.5 million

    9. Akshay Kumar: $32.5 million

    10. Mark Wahlberg: $32 million


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    Investigators found three people hammered to death with their throats slit inside a Florida home in a case that authorities said Tuesday could be linked to witchcraft.

    The way the victims were killed, the position of their bodies and the timing of the slayings has detectives wondering whether a triple homicide was a "ritualistic killing" tied to last week's blue moon, a sheriff told reporters Tuesday.

    The victims' throats had been slit and all three of them were hit with a claw hammer, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said, according to video posted on The Pensacola News-Journal's website.

    There are "some indications in the investigation that witchcraft may have been involved," sheriff's office spokeswoman Sena Madison told CNN.

    Authorities have questioned a person of interest, Morgan said.

    "Initial research has led us to believe that there was a potential that it was a ritualistic killing," he said.

    Sheriff: Slain family was 'reclusive'

    Combing through the crime scene of the complicated case has taken investigators days, he said, and they still haven't arrested or charged anyone in the killings.

    "The elements of the case," Morgan told reporters, "are odd at best."

    The three victims -- 77-year-old Voncile Smith and her sons, 49-year-old Richard Thomas Smith and 47-year-old John William Smith -- came from a "very reclusive family," the sheriff said. Neighbors who'd lived near them for years told investigators they'd never met them. Richard Thomas Smith, a Department of Homeland Security employee, had also been shot in the head in what authorities believe was an effort to incapacitate him.

    The method of the killings and how the bodies were positioned when investigators found them on Friday also made the crime scene "very complex," the sheriff said.

    The timing of the killings is also notable and coincided with last week's blue moon, Morgan said, though he didn't specify exactly how.

    The bodies were discovered on Friday, the same day as the rare lunar event. Investigators believe that the killing occurred Tuesday evening, Morgan said.

    No signs of forced entry

    Authorities haven't released the identity of the so-called person of interest or detailed why they believe that person, who practices witchcraft, is tied to the case.

    "There are different factions of (witchcraft). While it doesn't bother me to release that particular thing, I most assuredly do not want to defame or demean any particular practice," Morgan said.

    There were no signs of forced entry or robbery at the home, he said, and authorities are still searching for information about what happened.

    "While we have a person of interest," Morgan said, "there are still many things about this case we want to pursue."


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    The Florida Highway Patrol said a trooper and a passenger were taken to a hospital after getting into an altercation.

    Sgt. Mark Wysocky said the trooper stopped the car for speeding Tuesday night on Interstate 75 near Weston. As the trooper approached the passenger-side window to speak with the driver, the passenger got out of the vehicle.

    Wysocki said the passenger started arguing with the trooper, who used a stun gun on the passenger.

    Both were taken to nearby Cleveland Clinic with minor injuries.

    Wysocki said the passenger will likely be arrested. The driver will also be cited for speeding.

    The names of the trooper, the driver and the passenger weren't released.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A South Florida patient said his penis was deformed by a former Boynton Beach surgeon who did not have a license to operate.

    Mark D. Schreiber, 60, of Tamarac, was arrested Friday on a charge of unlicensed practice of health care, causing serious injury.

    Hialeah police said the unidentified patient paid Schreiber in February to remove a material that had been injected into his organ to make it longer and thicker.

    Police said the man who performed the initial procedures, Nery C. Gonzalez, 48, is wanted on the same charge.

    The patient said his penis is now severely deformed and is unable to function sexually.

    Schreiber was given a two-year sentence in 2008 on similar charges of unlicensed practicing.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Authorities are searching for an escaped prisoner in Palm Beach County.

    Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said Philip Peletz, 53, walked away from a work detail on Okeechobee Boulevard about 9:40 a.m. Tuesday.

    Peletz was an inmate at the Loxahatchee Road Prison.

    Witnesses said they saw Peletz get into an older-model white pickup truck.

    Plessinger said Peletz was serving a five-year prison sentence for grand theft and petty theft.

    The FDLE, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Corrections are involved in the search.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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  • 08/05/15--08:28: 3 men shot in Miami
  • Three men were injured in an early morning shooting in Miami.

    Miami police said three men were shot in an area off Southwest 37th and Florida avenues.

    The men were driven to the hospital in a private car. Two were shot in their lower bodies, while the other man was grazed by a bullet, police said.

    Bullet casings were found at the scene.

    The victims' conditions were not immediately known.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    The families of two 14-year-old boys who have been lost at sea since July 24 said they are thankful for the U.S. Coast Guard's help despite the 19-foot boat they were on disappearing after it was located.

    "Our families praise the Coast Guard's dedicated efforts, both before and after the vessel was located," the Cohen and Stephanos families said in a statement Wednesday. "The priority of the Coast Guard was to rescue Perry and Austin, not the boat. We remain thankful for their quick reaction, and then redirection of the enormous search plan for the boys after the capsized boat was discovered. We have been assured and remain confident that all possible scenarios regarding this incident were entered into the Coast Guards search model."

    The Coast Guard suspended search efforts for the boys at sunset last Friday. The friends were on a fishing trip in the Jupiter Inlet, when authorities believe they wandered out to sea, perhaps attempting to travel to the Bahamas.

    TowBoatUS said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contacted it to retrieve the boat about 67 nautical miles east of the Ponce De Leon Inlet. But the company said it's no longer in the area where the Coast Guard last spotted it.

    The Coast Guard does not normally tow boats to shore. Coast Guard officials said that after a diver determined that no one was on board, officials marked the location and kept searching for the boys.

    The teens' families said private searches are still underway for the boys by air and sea. They said a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the private searches has been fully funded and is no longer accepting donations.

    "We are committed to continuing the search to find our Austin and Perry," the families said in a statement. "The outpouring of community support for our families in our time of need has been overwhelming. From the pilots and mariners who have provided their planes, helicopters, ships, and boats, to the volunteers who have conducted beach searches, provided electronic surveillance, and launched social media campaigns to heighten awareness, to the financial contributions that fund the search; the generosity, goodwill, and heartfelt prayers of so many have sustained us during this trying ordeal."

    A family representative said the private search spans from the coastline of Jupiter to Wilmington, North Carolina.

    Those searching for the boys are hoping to find articles that may have been on the boat in hopes that it will narrow the search for Perry and Austin. The spokesperson said canine-life tracking experts are on hand to assist in the processing of items recovered during the search.

    Items missing from the vessel include life vests, a white YETI Tundra 35-quart cooler, a recently painted engine cover (Yamaha silver-grey) with no decals, a translucent Plano tackle box and a pair of white Royal brand fishing/rain boots.

    Anyone who finds items believed to have been on the boys' boat is asked to call 1-352-222-3314 or email findperryandaustin@gmail.com.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Doral officials will consider a request by community activists to rescind Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's key to the city.

    Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz will present a resolution denouncing Trump's controversial comments about Mexicans. Ruiz, who is of Mexican descent, is expected to make a motion to condemn Trump's remarks during Wednesday's City Council meeting.

    Several equal rights groups are expected to speak during the public comments portion of the meeting, during which time they'll ask their elected leaders to take back the key to the city and stop doing official business at Trump National Doral.

    Trump hasn't said whether he'll return the key to the city if asked.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    Most notable moments from Donald Trump's 2016 presidential run


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    The Broward Sheriff's Office arrested a deputy from Pasco County on Tuesday after he traveled to South Florida to meet with a boy, authorities said.

    Matthew Bondi, 22, was arrested on suspicion of enticing a minor.

    Although he has yet to be formally charged, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said it fired Bondi due to his probationary status. Bondi had served as a deputy with the department for less than a year.

    "We hold ourselves accountable for our actions," Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

    Bondi remains in the Broward County jail on a U.S. marshals hold.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Three men were injured after two homes caught fire in Fort Lauderdale early Wednesday morning.

    Fort Lauderdale firefighters said two of the three men are in critical condition, while the third is in serious condition.

    The fire began about 3:30 a.m. at a home on Tortuga Lane near Riverland Road. Flames spread to an adjacent home, which was vacant.

    Both homes were on fire when firefighters arrived.

    "It looked like they were having a bonfire in the front yard," neighbor JP McGinnis told Local 10 News.

    Three men and a dog were rescued from the home where the fire began. Firefighters said the dog was OK.

    No firefighters were injured.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    Federal regulators are finalizing new rules to offer consumers better fraud protection in the growing market of pre-paid debit cards.

    Despite its growth, the pre-paid market is still largely unregulated at the federal level.

    New rules are expected in early 2016. Authorities said pre-paid card scams come in various forms. That is why the Call Christina team is working to make sure you recognize the red flags.

    You can spot pre-paid cards on sale at convenience stores. The popularity of re-loadable pre-paid debit cards is on the rise, according to the market research firm GfK.

    While there are legitimate uses for the cards, consumer groups and law enforcement said they have also become tools for scammers looking to steal your money.

    After Local 10 News viewer Aida Huertas of Miami became the victim of a pre-paid card scam she "Called Christina," sharing her story to warn others.

    It started with an ad last October to be a mystery shopper.  One of the assignments involved buying three Green Dot MoneyPak reload pre-paid cards for $500 each. She was then asked to provide the pin number on the back, which essentially unlocks the funds.

    She did this even though the back of each MoneyPak card warned consumers not to give out the 14-digit code to people or businesses they don't know.

    Huertas thought the person she was giving the code to was a legitimate business, in part because they had mailed her what she thought was a valid check for $1,700.

    She even waited a day to see if the check would clear before performing what she thought was her mystery shopper part-time assignment.

    The check turned out to be fictitious and she never heard from the company again. Huertas, who was struggling financially, which is why she picked up the "mystery shopper" gig in the first place was out $1,500 plus bank fees.

    "Once you provide the number and the ability to cash out the money on the card the money is gone," Miami-Dade Police Department Economic Crimes Bureau Detective Marcos Rodriguez said. "And once it is gone, it's gone."

    Rodriguez added that it is a difficult crime to prosecute.

    "There's really no way of tracking this money because a lot of this money is not even in the United States per say," he said. "The money could be removed outside the United States, which pretty much falls outside the jurisdiction of any agency within the U.S. It's a jurisdictional problem where the money disappears to, how the money is taken out. The money, a lot of time, is taken outside the United States. Whereas law enforcement here, we have no jurisdiction. As far as the federal aspect of it, sometimes they don't have jurisdiction either."

    Rodriguez said often "there's no real way of identifying this person or persons and get this money back."

    The FBI has been tracking this sort of re-loadable pre-paid debit card scam.

    READ: Two Charged in $5.8 Million Reloadable Debit Card Extortion Scam  

    Pre-paid cards function like traditional debit cards but are not linked to a bank account and are in favor for its convenience and with people who don't have access to a credit card.

    Rodriquez said there are plenty of legitimate uses for the cards to include parents of kids in college who want to limit the amount of money they have access to. Let's say the college-aged child needs more money for books. A parent can put more money on the re-loadable pre-paid card to cover the expense. Others like to use the cards to make online purchases or book hotel and car reservations.

    The problem is scammers find them handy too.

    Green Dot was having such an issue with fraudsters hijacking their MoneyPak cards that the company recently made a change: no more scratch off numbers. Customers now swipe cards at the register.

    Green Dot spokeswoman Hayley Cook told Local 10 News, "MoneyPak was a service to reload pre-paid debit cards with cash, and it existed in the form of a physical 'pack.' Green Dot has phased out the PIN-based MoneyPak reload method. Now that this product is gone, consumers can still load cash onto their prepaid debit cards with Reload @ the Register."

    The move gained the attention of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. The Democratic senator serves as Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and at a July 16, 2014 hearing he stated, "I can also report some good news today from Green Dot Corporation, which makes a product that has been one of the cards of choice for fraudsters in many of these schemes.Green Dot has announced plans to retire the MoneyPak card from store shelves nationwide. They've seen how this product has been used by scammers and have decided to do the right thing, even if it hurts their bottom line."

    That was in July of 2014. Receipts provided by Huertas show she purchased the MoneyPak cards months later in October of 2014.

    Rodriguez said what happened to the viewer is not unique to Green Dot.

    "Her scam focused on the use of Green Dot money card, but this sort of scheme or scam isn't unique to that," Rodriguez said. "Every company that offers this service has the same issue."

    Each scheme will have a different spin. You could be asked to purchase a pre-paid debit card to enter a fake lottery or to collect on a bogus prize. Scammers pose as bill collectors, sales agents, employers and government officials. The point is to recognize the red flags.

    Rodriguez said just about any time you are asked to give up money to get money or are asked to send back money, it is a scam.

    Once again, while there are legitimate uses for pre-paid cards, Rodriguez urges you to be wary of anyone asking you to make a payment exclusively with a pre-paid debit card.

    "Once you provide the number and the ability to cash out the money on the card the money is gone," Rodriguez said.

    Huertas said she braved telling her story to warn others to, "be aware, be careful (and) don't trust anybody."

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is drafting proposals to offer consumers pre-paid card fraud protection.

    According to Director Rich Cordray, "The new pre-paid account protections proposed are important because they fill key gaps for consumers. People use prepaid accounts as a convenient way to store and access their funds, and many consumers see them as effective alternatives to checking accounts. But these products are still fairly new and most have not yet been brought within the coverage of federal consumer financial laws. By bringing prepaid accounts under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, we are proposing to give consumers the basic protections – including safety of the funds – they have come to expect when they pull a debit card out of their wallet or shop online with it. All pre-paid consumers would receive the same basic protections as long as they register the card with the institution that provided it."

    CFPB is now in the final stage of developing the new rules. The Bureau continues to review comments submitted from consumers, industry, and other stakeholders. They began accepting consumer complaints on pre-paid cards last July. They hope to deliver a final rule in 2016.

    Click here to submit a complaint.

    READ: Spring 2015 rule-making agenda.

    Click here for more information on pre-paid debit card scams.

    Follow Christina Vazquez on Twitter @CallChristinaTV

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A Miami man is facing a second-degree murder charge after he choked a man he claimed was masturbating near his girlfriend at his home, police said.

    Miami police were called to a home at 2255 NW North River Drive on July 22 about an unresponsive man inside the home.

    Police found the victim lying on his back in a bedroom. Paramedics arrived and tried to revive the victim, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

    According to an arrest report, Rafael Valencia, 35, gave inconsistent statements to investigators.

    Detectives said Valencia admitted that he came home on the day of the incident and saw the victim masturbating near his girlfriend. Detectives said Valencia claimed he punched the victim in the face several times and then placed him in a rear chokehold until the victim was no longer breathing.

    According to the report, Valencia saw that the victim was not breathing and that blood was coming out of his mouth.

    Valencia called 911 and fled the scene before police arrived, authorities said.

    He was arrested Tuesday and remains in jail.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A South Florida woman is accused of trying to get her 94-year-old neighbor to transfer $150,000 into an account that had been opened in both of their names.

    Employees at a Plantation bank noticed that the woman didn't appear to have the mental capacity to give consent and notified police Tuesday.

    Joyce Ann Simmons, 50, was arrested and faces charges of theft and exploitation of an elderly person.

    ALSO: Caretaker accused of stealing pricey jewelry from elderly women

    A Plantation police affidavit shows the bank representative asked the woman questions, but Simmons interrupted and answered over any answer the woman gave. The bank associate got her supervisor, who separated the two women. She asked the account holder questions and found her to be confused.

    Simmons remains in the main Broward County jail on $100,000 bond.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A South Florida man imprisoned for stealing military secrets is facing new charges that he sexually exploited and drugged teenage girls in Honduras.

    Christopher Glenn, 35, of West Palm Beach, is due in court Thursday after being accused by the FBI of traveling to Honduras to have sex with two girls who were 14 and 16.

    Investigators said Glenn tricked low-income families into having their daughters work for him and then "married" the girls in ceremonies performed in languages they did not understand.

    Glenn, who was working as a civilian contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense, has been jailed since being accused in February 2014 of stealing classified documents. He pleaded guilty last month and is serving a 10-year sentence.

    In court records, Glenn has denied any sexual involvement with minors.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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    A report released by the Florida Highway Patrol said no mechanical problems were found on a church van that crashed while carrying 18 people home from Palm Sunday services.

    The report found that the four passengers sitting on the rear bench died immediately after the van ran through a stop sign at a dimly lit intersection in rural southwest Florida and plunged into a water-filled canal. Four others in the van also died and 10 were injured in the March 30 crash at State Road 78 and U.S. Highway 27 near Moore Haven in Glades County.

    A 4-year-old girl was among those injured.

    Lt. Gregory S. Bueno said the overcrowded van was carrying a group of parishioners from the Independent Haitian Assembly Church of God in Fort Pierce and was returning from a weekend convention in Fort Myers.

    Autopsy and toxicology reports on the van driver determined that drugs or alcohol did not play a part in the crash.

    Map of church van crash

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10


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