A woman, her three children and their grandmother were returning home from a family gathering when their car veered off a Long Island highway, crashed into a tree and burst into flames, killing all of them, authorities said Sunday.
Myriam Lebrun, 37, was traveling on the Southern State Parkway toward Brooklyn just before 11 p.m. Saturday when her Honda Accord left the westbound lanes near Exit 38 in Babylon and smashed into the tree, state police said.
All five family members in the car died. State police identified the other victims as Moise Yolande, 68, Marcus Jeanty, 14, Marcel Jeanty, 9 and Kayla Jeanty, 8.
It was unclear why the car veered off the road.
“It looks like a combination of speed and we’re investigating the possibility of alcohol,” lead state police investigator Charles Knapp said.
A child-care worker charged with killing a toddler in her home told police that she threw the boy to the floor and stepped on him three times, and that afterward he could no longer walk on his own, authorities said.
Athena Skeeter, 40, was arraigned Sunday on charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.
The Administration for Children’s Services in New York City did not immediately respond to a message seeking information on Skeeter, whom police said was a licensed child-care worker.
According to a court document, Skeeter told police she had been wrestling Friday with Cardell Williamson, 20 months, at her Bronx home after his father dropped him off that morning. She said the child was on the bed when she put him on the floor. She told police she stepped on his stomach but “didn’t use full force.”
Skeeter said she then put her son on top of Cardell and stepped on his stomach.
She said she put him in a bathtub and put cold water on his face and then stepped out for a short time. When she came back, she told police, Cardell’s head was in the water and steam was coming up. She said he had burns on his arm and face.
Police responding to a 911 call found Cardell lying on a bed, struggling to breathe. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
Skeeter is in custody and is due back in court Thursday.
— Associated Press
U.S. journalist James Foley, who was killed last week in Syria, was living his faith by bringing images to the world of people suffering from war and oppressive regimes, a Roman Catholic bishop said Sunday at a Mass in his honor.
Bishop Peter Libasci said even after Foley was captured for the first time in Libya in 2011, he “went back again that we might open our eyes.”
The Mass was attended by Foley’s parents, John and Diane Foley, and hundreds of others in their home town of Rochester, N.H. The bishop read aloud a letter from the Vatican extending the condolences of Pope Francis.
Foley was kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising. The Islamic State group posted a Web video Tuesday showing his killing and said it was in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq.
— Associated Press
Four found dead off Florida coast: The Coast Guard said late Sunday it was continuing a search for any more possible bodies or “anyone in distress” after four people were found dead in waters miles off the South Florida coast. Two males were found about 20 miles east of Hollywood beach Sunday morning, authorities said. The Coast Guard responded and later found two other men off the coast, adding that its search involved a Coast Guard cutter and air crews. “Our main concern is to make sure there’s no one else out there in distress that might need help,” Petty Officer Mark Barney said. He said a Coast Guard plane reported what appeared to be as many as three other bodies in the vicinity. No boat belonging to the victims has been located, he said.
Three killed in shootings near L.A.: Three people killed and four others injured within an hour Sunday in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles were victims of random attacks that may have been carried out by the same gunmen, police said. Witnesses spotted two men in a tan- or gold-colored SUV with tinted windows at two of the three crime scenes in the San Fernando Valley area Sunday morning, Sgt. Frank Preciado said. In the first attack, a family of five riding in a car to attend church was struck at 5:50 a.m., Preciado said. A woman in her 20s was killed, her mother and father were critically wounded and two children sustained minor injuries. About 40 minutes later, a man was fatally shot at a Sylmar park. Then 15 minutes later, a woman in her late 50s who was sitting in a parked car by a church was shot in the head.
Boy finds ancient arrowhead on N.J. beach: A boy playing on a New Jersey beach has unearthed a 10,000-year-old arrowhead possibly used by ancient Native Americans to spear fish or hunt mastodon. Noah Cordle, 10, and his family were vacationing on the Long Beach Island last week when he found it at the edge of the surf in Beach Haven. The family, from Springfield, Va., contacted the Archaeological Society of New Jersey, whose president, Greg Lattanzi, also is a curator at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. He told the Asbury Park Press that the arrow point probably dates back 8,000 to 11,000 years. Lattanzi said that his museum has about two dozen of the Paleoindian points, but that most were found by professionals at archaeological digs. The family said it plans to donate the arrowhead to a museum.
— Associated Press