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Texas mom accused of handcuffing, seriously injuring 3-year-old son

A Texas mom is in jail after authorities say she put handcuffs on her 3-year-old son – then, along with the boy's father, resorted to dangerous methods to remove them.

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>> Watch the news report here

According to KHOU and Harris County court documents, Savanna Nicole Coats, 25, of Houston was charged with serious bodily injury to a child after police say she handcuffed the boy's ankles last month, then misplaced the key. After searching for the key for five hours with help from Steven Joe McGaha, the boy's father, Coats held down the crying boy as McGaha "tried to cut the handcuffs with a sawzall, followed by a knife sharpener, then ultimately was successful when using a grinder," court records say.

The boy reportedly suffered burns and cuts from the grinder, but his parents did not take him to the hospital until four days later, "when the wounds started to get red and infected," according to court records.

"We didn't want to get the cops involved because we knew what would happen," Coats reportedly said, adding, "I know we should have taken him on the first day, but we didn't."

A pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital told investigators that the child will be permanently disfigured by his injuries. 

>> Read more trending stories

KHOU reports that Coats' children have been placed in foster care. 

Coats, who was booked Wednesday, is being held at the Harris County jail without bail. As of Wednesday evening, no charges had been filed against McGaha, KHOU reports.

Read more here.

Heartbreaking video shows Jose Fernandez's joy when he learned he was having a daughter

In August, Jose Fernandez nervously cut into a cake with his smiling, pregnant girlfriend, Maria Arias, nearby.

POR FIN YA ME TOCABA SER ABUELOPosted by Orlando A. Sanfiel on Thursday, August 11, 2016

The cake was pink. The two were going to have a baby girl.

“I knew it! I knew it!” Fernandez can be heard saying in a video posted on Facebook by Arias’ father, Orlando A. Sanfiel.

It was clear the Marlins’ star pitcher was excited to be a dad.

>> Watch the heartbreaking video here

On Wednesday, Fernandez's teammates, family and friends celebrated the 24-year-old’s life, which was cut short Sunday in a fatal boating wreck that also killed two of his friends.

The Marlins held a public memorial service for Fernandez, starting with the departure of the funeral motorcade, which was followed by a public viewing at St. Brendan's Catholic Church.

As the motorcade entered the roads alongside Marlins Park, fans could be heard chanting, “Jose!"

The funeral motorcade departed from the park at 2:16 p.m., a time set in honor of Fernandez’s jersey number, but not before his teammates had an opportunity to pay their respects and surround the hearse.

>> WATCH: Dee Gordon pays tribute to Jose Fernandez with emotional home run

The procession came with the sobering reality that this would be the last time that Fernandez’s body, a body that just days ago represented the hopes of a fan base and the city's Cuban community, would be at Marlins Park.

Following the departure of the hearse, Marlins Tom Koehler and David Phelps went over to the memorial wall that was set up by the Marlins and left their friend and teammate one final note.

Several other teammates also took time to sign the memorial wall.

>> Read more trending stories

Fernandez’s family, including his grandmother, who was wearing a Marlins jersey with pink lettering, arrived at the church a short time after the procession departed.

Following a priest blessing the casket, Fernandez’s family placed his All-Star Game and Marlins jerseys on the casket.

Trooper accused of groping woman during traffic stop arrested

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he groped a women during a traffic stop.

>> Read more trending stories 

Trooper David Gonzalez, 35, is facing a battery charge and was booked into the Lake County jail.

The 21-year-old victim said Gonzalez pulled her over earlier this month for speeding on U.S. Highway 441 near the Port Mall.

She told investigators that Gonzalez told her to move her vehicle down a side street after complimenting her looks.

She said he asked her to get out of the car and he took her phone to add himself to her Snapchat account before taking a selfie of the two of them.

The woman said Gonzalez hugged her, kissed her neck and groped her breast under her shirt.

Gonzalez allegedly continued to message her on Snapchat after the traffic stop.

On Tuesday, detectives monitored a Snapchat conversation between the victim and Gonzalez, during which they said Gonzalez said things that confirmed the victim’s account of the traffic stop.

A warrant was issued for Gonzalez’s arrest and he was taken into custody.

He was being held on a $10,000 bail. 

The Florida Highway Patrol said Gonzalez has been terminated.

Preschool teacher donates kidney to save 4-year-old student

A mother is thanking a preschool teacher donating a kidney to save her 4-year-old daughter’s life.

Four-year-old Lyla was diagnosed with microscopic polyangiitis in October 2015. The disease can can cause organ damage. Her family has been waiting for months to find a kidney donor.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Earlier this month, teachers the Kids Express Leaning Center in Madison, Wisconsin, planned the big surprise for mom Dena Carreyn, who showed up for a parent-teacher conference. She was sitting down with Lyla’s teacher, Beth Battista, when she got the good news, which she later shared in a Facebook post.

I have been sitting on this INCREDIBLE news for nearly a week, and I'm SO happy to finally share it with all of you . ....Posted by Dena Carreyn on Thursday, September 15, 2016

 

A video posted to Facebook shows the touching moment. Battista handed Carreyn a short letter that read, “I may just be her teacher now, but soon a little piece of me will be with Lyla forever. I’m Lyla’s kidney donor.”

Carryen immediately broke down in tears, hugging Battista and thanking her.

Watch the heartwarming  moment in the video below.

Posted by Dena Carreyn on Thursday, September 15, 2016

Man walks U.S. perimeter to raise money for homeless vets

A Virginia man has spent more than two years walking around the country to raise money and awareness for homeless veterans in America.

Leroy Bailey, 54, started walking in Virginia Beach on June 30, 2014. So far he has traveled 10,000 miles around the perimeter of the United States.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

"This is what God said, if I wanted to build hope centers around America I had to walk around America," he told WFXT. "I want to build places where people feel like they have space, they have their identity, like they're a human being.”

On Tuesday, he passed through Boston.

"It's ridiculous in this country that we care more about animals than we do people and it's really ridiculous that we are more willing to take in refugees from other countries and house them but we don't take care of people that serve this country it's the saddest thing in the nation," he said.

The journey hasn't been easy for Bailey, though.

"I've sprained my ankle, I've had stress fractures in both my feet, lost my backpack in San Francisco somebody stole it, I lost my wallet in Seattle had to wait there 10 days for my wife to mail me my new ID, broke my glasses," he said.

Bailey said he's gone through several pairs of sneakers so far on the journey, and has strict orders by his wife to be home by next month.

His goal is to get one-million people to donate $10 each month so a new hope center can be built every month.

More information on Bailey's journey can be found at the Servants of God Ministries website.

Knott's Berry Farm closes Halloween attraction after complaints

The famous Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, holds its annual Halloween Haunt in the form of Knott's Scary Farm every year since 1973, but one seasonal attraction won't be active this October.

KABC reported that a virtual reality component of the Halloween Haunt called FearVR has been removed from the amusement park following complaints that the ride is insensitive about mental health.

>> Read more trending stories

According to KABC, the attraction included a storyline about a possessed patient running around in a hospital. Park visitors are strapped into chairs and take part in the attraction with VR goggles.

The attraction had the option to press a panic button if the ride became too upsetting for them.

The Orange County Register reported that the original name of FearVR was FearVR: 5150, which is a section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code that authorizes a qualified officer to involuntarily confine a person who is suspected of having a mental health disorder and is presenting themselves as a threat to themselves or others.

The name was changed when mental health advocates left emails and phone calls with Cedar Fair, Knott's parent company.

Kay Warren, wife of megachurch pastor and author Rick Warren, whose son died of a suicide after battling mental illness, also called out Knott's in a Facebook post Monday.

The park released the following statement:

California's Great America is proud of its popular annual Halloween Haunt event. For nine years we have delivered unique and immersive haunted experiences to our fans and loyal guests. Our evening attractions are designed to be edgy, and are aimed at an adult-only audience. Over the past week we have heard from a number of people expressing their concern that one of our temporary, Halloween attractions - FearVR - is hurtful to those who suffer from mental illnesses. Contrary to some traditional and social media accounts, the attraction's story and presentation were never intended to portray mental illness. As it is impossible to address both concerns and misconceptions in the Halloween timeframe, at this time we have decided to close the attraction.

California’s Great America in Santa Clara, California, also cancelled the attraction.

Father waltzes with daughter on wedding day despite debilitating burns

A father who suffered terrible injuries in an accident has finally fulfilled his promise to his daughter to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.

Vance Easter suffered severe burns in 2011 in an explosion at his welding shop, CBC reports. He spent almost a full year at a hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, recovering from the devastating injury that left him legally blind. His entire body was covered in burns.

Doctors thought he would never be strong enough to live at home again.

But through perseverance, he proved those doctors wrong.

“To me, you’ve got to have the willpower, and when somebody tells you you’re going to be this way for the rest of your life, well, you’ve got to prove them wrong,” Easter told CBC.

In 2014, his daughter, Jewel MacLennan, told him she wanted him to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. She delayed her wedding by two years to make it happen. Easter promised to fulfill her wish and started the long fight to regain his strength.

“I didn’t think I was going to do it, but I said, ‘If I thought I wasn’t, it wasn’t going to happen,'” Easter said. “She was determined that I was going to do it, and I was determined.”

For the next two years, he walked around his neighborhood every day, slowly regaining strength.

Three weeks ago, Easter finally fulfilled his promise.

Photos show him walking Jewel down the aisle, and even twirling with her on the dance floor at the reception.

Easter has new goals in mind now. He says he’s working on his eyesight, and hopes to get his driver’s license back soon. He also plans to reopen his welding shop when his hands get strong enough.

“You gotta believe in yourself that you can do things,” Easter said.

Posted by Jewel MacLennan on Friday, September 23, 2016

Pulse survivor on Capitol Hill: I think my voice is going to be heard

A Pulse nightclub shooting survivor is the latest in a long line of people impacted by gun violence to lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill to change the nation’s gun laws. Angel Colon was shot six times when a gunman opened fire in the crowded Orlando gay club, killing 49 and injuring dozens more. He took his first steps only last month, but said preventing other families from going through what he went through led him to Washington, D.C.

>> Read more trending stories “It’s very important for me because having a voice, joining other people that have the same ideas, helps prevent the things that are going on in the world right now,” Colon said. “One of the main things is gun violence and I think we can save lives.” Colon joined advocates with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence as well as Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania. They called on Congress to pass legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists and domestic abusers. Colon said he also supports expanding background checks. Casey is introducing a bill that would stop anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime involving violence from purchasing a gun. “Why would we wait for someone’s hate to develop and manifest itself,” Casey said. “If someone is engaging in hateful conduct and it involves use of force, we should make sure we take action earlier.” Gun advocates have opposed gun reform legislation saying it violates Second Amendment rights. Republicans have opposed bills preventing guns from being sold to those on the terror watch list until it can be assured innocent people aren't on the list.

Democrats and Republicans have blocked any bills sponsored by the opposing party in recent months.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently sponsored a bill that would alert the government if anyone on the terrorist watch list over the last ten years tries to purchase a gun. He believes it has enough support to pass if it comes up for a vote.

“This is just part of it,” Rubio said. “It won’t solve every problem but I certainly think it’s better than what we have today.”

Democrats say the Rubio bill doesn’t go far enough to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands.

Survivors and their family members from past mass shooting incidents, including Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and San Bernardino, have made similar pleas to lawmakers leading up to gun votes. They’ve been unsuccessful, but Colon believes his story can make a difference. “I think my voice is going to be heard,” Colon said, with his mother by his side. “It’s something that I would never wish upon anyone in this world.” Congress is not expected to vote on any gun legislation before Election Day.

National Coffee Day: Deals and freebies on Sept. 29

As if there wasn't a National ____ Day for just about everything, here's another: National Coffee Day. 

Chances are, more people excited and willing to partake in enjoying this "holiday" than many of the other nationally recognized topics. 

>> Read more trending stories  

Looking for a way to celebrate?

Check out these deals and freebies, which will be offered on Sept. 29:

Caribou Coffee: Caribou customers can get a complimentary medium brewed coffee with the purchase of 1lb of Amy's Blend coffee, the sales of which will go to support CancerCare. The chain will also donate a free cup of coffee to caregivers at health facilities and hospitals across the country when people purchase a cup of Amy’s Blend coffee, according to USA Today. 

Welcome back Amy's Blend! Get a complimentary medium brewed coffee when you buy 1lbs of Amy's Blend (Sept 26- Oct 2) #CaribouCoffeePosted by Caribou Coffee on Monday, September 26, 2016

Cumberland Farms: Cumberland Farms is offering a free hot or iced coffee of any size to those who text "FREECOFFEE" to 64827 on Sept. 29.

Dairy Queen: For DQ's Hardest Working Happy Hour, customers can receive a small iced coffee for $1 or a small ultimate frappé for $2 between 2 and 5 p.m.

Talk about a power trio. Visit the DQ Hardest Working Happy Hour weekdays from 2-5pm for a $1 small iced coffee, $2 small ultimate frappé, or $2 small premium fruit smoothie.Posted by Dairy Queen on Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dunkin Donuts: Dunkin' Donuts customers can receive any medium-sized cup of the brand's signature hot coffee for 66 cents at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide to mark the company's 66 years in business.

Keurig: Keurig will offer 20 percent off Green Mountain Coffee recyclable K-cup pods and 15 percent off other beverages, like the Original Donut Shop, with the code GREENSAVINGS at checkout online.

Krispy Kreme: Any guest who visits a participating shop on National Coffee Day will receive a free small coffee and a free Original Glazed doughnut. 

Peet's Coffee: Peet's will give away a free medium-sized drip coffee with the purchase of any fresh food item at participating locations.

Pilot Flying J: Get one free small cup of Pilot coffee, tea or cappuccino using an online coupon.

Stop and smell the coffee this Thursday, Sept. 29 with a cup on us! In celebration of National Coffee Day, we’re offering one free small cup of Pilot Coffee – or any small hot tea or cappuccino of your choice.Posted by Pilot Flying J on Sunday, September 25, 2016

Starbucks: Starbucks isn't offering any deals, but for each cup of brewed Mexico Chiapas coffee sold at participating U.S. Starbucks stores on Thursday, the company will donate one rust-resistant coffee tree to Latin American coffee farmers in need.

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