Dad's heartwarming letter to daughter

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 09 Mei 2013 | 20.01

Dr Kelly Flanagan's letter to his daughter on the importance of picking a man who truly loves her has received plenty of online love. Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

  • Dad's letter has received 121,000 Facebook likes and counting
  • He acted after discovering 'How to keep him interested' was trending on Google
  • He wrote it for every woman who has never known a father's voice

WHEN daddy blogger and clinical psychologist Kelly Flanagan posted a letter to his young daughter about picking Mr Right, he was bowled over by the public response.

Entitled A Daddy's Letter To His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband), Dr Flanagan's letter has received thousands of Facebook likes since appearing on a popular blog called The Good Men Project.

The site and its Facebook page were set up to "have a conversation about what it means to be a good man".

"I dedicated this post to my daughter ... but I also wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of 'boy'," Dr Flanagan said.

"I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office — the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.

"And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important — my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out."

Below is Dr Flanagan's letter in full. Share your thoughts by scrolling down to the comments box.

Dear Cutie-Pie,

Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was 'How to keep him interested'.

It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.

And I got angry.

Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to 'keep him interested'.

Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul — in that unshakeable place that isn't rattled by rejection and loss and ego — that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)

If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.

Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn't need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:

I don't care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table — as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can't stop looking.

I don't care if he can't play a bit of golf with me — as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.

I don't care if he doesn't follow his wallet — as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.

I don't care if he is strong — as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.

I couldn't care less how he votes — as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.

I don't care about the color of his skin — as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.

I don't care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion — as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.

In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:


Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to 'keep him interested' is to be you.

Your eternally interested guy,


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Jodi Arias found guilty of murder

Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder after a lengthy trial for the killing of her boyfriend in Arizona. Courtesy Fox News

JODI Arias has been found guilty of first degree murder in the stabbing death of her one-time boyfriend Travis Alexander.

As the guilty verdict was read, Arias opened her mouth, licked her lips and swallowed hard, and then fought back tears with a look of disbelief. Alexander's family smiled and hugged each other. Outside, people cheered and hugged, then began chanting "USA, USA, USA."

Jurors reached a verdict after deliberating about 15 hours over four days on whether the former waitress should be convicted of murder in the 2008 fatal stabbing and shooting of her one-time boyfriend at his suburban Phoenix home.

Authorities said Arias, 32, planned the attack in a jealous rage after being rejected by Alexander, a motivational speaker and salesman, while he pursued other women.

The trial will now move into a phase during which prosecutors will argue the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner, called the "aggravation" phase. The outcome of their decision on aggravating factors will affect how harsh Arias' sentence could be. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence during a mini trial of sorts. The jurors won't change.

Authorities said Arias, 32, planned the attack in a jealous rage after being rejected by Alexander, a motivational speaker and salesman, while he pursued other women.

The trial will now move into a phase during which prosecutors will argue the killing was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner, called the "aggravation" phase. The outcome of their decision on aggravating factors will affect how harsh Arias' sentence could be. Both sides may call witnesses and show evidence during a mini trial of sorts. The jurors won't change.

Following news of the verdict, some racy modelling shots of Arias, never seen before, emerged.

A mob of spectators gathered outside the courthouse to learn the verdict, while TV crews, media trucks and reporters lined nearby streets. Family and friends of Alexander wore blue ribbons and wristbands with the words "Justice For Travis."

Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias. Picture: Supplied

Arias initially denied involvement and later blamed the killing on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she said she killed Alexander in self-defence.

Jurors got the case on Friday afternoon. They reached a decision overnight.

Testimony began in early January, with Arias later spending 18 days on the witness stand. The trial quickly snowballed into a made-for-the-tabloids drama, garnering daily coverage from US cable news networks, and spawning a virtual cottage industry for talk shows, legal experts and even Arias, who used her notoriety to sell artwork she made in jail.

Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, was shot in the forehead and had his throat slit before Arias dragged his body into his shower. He was found by friends about five days later.

Arizona woman Jodi Arias has been found guilty of the murder of her boyfriend Travis Alexander. Picture: AP

Arias said she recalled Alexander attacking her in a fury after a day of sex. She said Alexander came at her "like a linebacker," body-slamming her to the tile floor. She managed to wriggle free and ran into his closet to retrieve a gun he kept on a shelf. She said she fired in self-defence but had no memory of stabbing him.

Arias acknowledged trying to clean the scene of the killing, dumping the gun in the desert and working on an alibi to avoid suspicion. She said she was too scared and ashamed to tell the truth at the time, but insisted at her trial she wasn't lying to jurors.

As deliberations dragged on, dozens of people gathered daily on the courthouse steps waiting for a verdict.

A first look at some old modelling shots from Jodi Arias.

Arias faces either life in prison or a death sentence.

20.01 | 1 komentar | Read More

Castro 'threatened ex over court case'

Triple kidnap suspect Ariel Castro shields his face after being confronted by reporters in the Cleveland police station where has taken for questioning. Source: Fox News

  • Ariel Castro charged with four counts of kidnap, three of rape.
  • FBI investigators return to examine properties either side of Castro's house.  
  • Amanda Berry gave birth inside inflatable pool because of the 'mess'.

ARIEL Castro's former wife claimed she didn't testify about his violent behaviour after he paid her off with cash and a car before threatening her safety.

Puerto Rican-born Castro has been charged for the kidnap and rape of 27-year-old Amanda Berry, 23-year-old Gina DeJesus and 32-year-old Michele Knight, all of whom went missing separately not far from each other in Cleveland, Ohio. Castro also faces a count of kidnapping related to Berry's six-year-old daughter Jocelyn, who was born in captivity.




An undated picture taken of Michele Knight before she was held in a house in Cleveland against her will with Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry. Picture: Fox News 8


Grimilda Figueroa, who had three daughters and a son with Castro, died last year from a brain tumour and it is not clear if she and her estranged husband had ever formally divorced, though the pair lived separate lives. Both had other long-term partners and Ms Figueroa had a son with her partner Fernando Colon, whom she met in 1995.

In 1994 a grand jury was due to her testimony relating to allegations Ms Figueroa had made regarding the brutal violence she said she suffered at the hands of Castro following surgery in 1993.

In a sworn statement, she said she dropped the charges after her ex bought her silence with a car, cash and an open threat to her safety, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Aduio of police officers comments when responding to Cleveland house call

"You know what will happen to you if you do testify," Ms Figueroa said in the affidavit. "I knew that he would find me and assault me again. … I was unable to offer my testimony before the grand jury. I did not tell anyone about the threats."  

Ms Figueroa's partner, Fernando Colon, was questioned over the 2004 disappearance of Gina DeJesus as his stepdaughter was her close friend.  He said he told the FBI to look into Castro's activities. He was later convicted of sexually molesting both Arlene and Emily.  Mr Colon told Fox 8 News that has always denied the charges and thinks Castro orchestrated the case against him which included testifying to divert attention away from his own crimes.

"Actually, that was something brilliant because if you come to think about it, he's got these girls prisoner in there, and put an accusation as such to me, makes him look like an angel, like he is such a proud father, such a trustworthy person," Colon said.

"If people would have listened, when I told them to look into this individual, these girls would not have been missing so long," he added.   

Hope dangerous for grieving families

Members of the FBI evidence response team carry out the front screen door from a house where three women were held, in Cleveland. Three women who disappeared a decade ago were found safe Monday, and police arrested three brothers accused of holding the victims against their will. Picture: Tony Dejak

 Thousands of children are missing all across America. The longer they are gone, the smaller the chances they will be found alive. So when three women who had been missing for a decade or more emerged from the house where they had been held captive, it provided an extraordinarily rare happy ending.

"I would definitely say it was a miracle," said Kelly Murphy, who founded Project Jason after her own son vanished to help other such families.

Murphy had worked with two of the Cleveland families while their daughters were missing. After they were found, she heard from many others who are still searching.

"The general response is that it gives us all hope," Murphy said. "I'm in the situation too, with my son almost missing for 12 years without a trace and without clues. It definitely gives us hope that there is a chance. If it happened to those girls, it can happen to us."

Action News 19 reporter Ed Gallek confronts Ariel Castro in the Cleveland police station

"To have hope helps you get through each day, hope that there's a good answer instead of the answer that nobody wants. It just helps you keep going, because it's very difficult to have to live with ambiguous loss."

But how much does it help to hope for a miracle, which by definition is almost impossible?

Some, like Murphy, need to keep that spark alive, however small. Others, like Jody Himebaugh, need to protect their emotions.

Himebaugh knows about what happened in Cleveland, but has avoided the details. His son Mark disappeared in 1991, at age 11.

FBI agents search another Cleveland house close to where three women were held.

"Every time I watch this kind of stuff, it rekindles the last 23 years," he said. "All it does, it just gives us hope again."

For Himebaugh, hope hurts. Whether hope is more painful than saying a permanent goodbye - that's impossible to figure.

"For the past 23 years, I've been happy for the families over that time who have recovered their kids, dead or alive," he said. "At least they've got closure. My biggest fear is I'm going to go to my grave and never know what happened to Mark, and why."

Sherry Hamby, a psychology professor at Sewanee: The University of the South who studies the victimization of children, said some families can become frozen in time at the point their child disappeared.

Dashcam footage shows the kidnapping suspect being questioned by an officer in 2008. Courtesy Fox News Official 16

"At some point, after so many years have gone by, there's a lot to be said for closure," Hamby said. "It's just not a natural state of being for humans to be frozen in this time, waiting. We can't stay in that kind of limbo forever."

The most difficult decisions, Hamby said, can involve what seem like mundane details.

"Are you going to pack up that child's things? Are you going to convert that room to another use?" she said. "I think the need for psychological closure just is necessary because of the concrete limitations that we are facing. It's just hard to go through life trying to not make any changes."

Murphy, of Project Jason, knows families who have chosen to believe their missing child is dead, and she does not begrudge them that choice.

But Murphy holds onto hope, "because it keeps us focused on the future."

"It's just unfortunate that in our case," she said, "we don't know what the future holds."

Castro faces court in next few hours

The former US school bus driver charged with holding three young women in captivity and raping them in a decade-long horror, is due to appear in an Ohio court on Thursday local time, three days after their dramatic rescue.

Castro is due in court  in the next few hours for arraignment.

A photo of Ariel Castro released by the Cleveland Police Department following his arrest.

His two brothers are also scheduled to make a court appearance, but on misdemeanour charges unrelated to the kidnappings and rapes, authorities said.

Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said that a paternity test on Ariel Castro was being done to establish who fathered Berry's child. He reportedly made sure Joceyln didn't know the real names of either Knight or DeJesus in case she accidentally mentioned them when he took her on trips to the outside world.

The young girl was said to be home schooled and none of the women were ever visited by or went out to see a doctor or medical professional during their years in captivity.

The police chief refused to comment on reports that Castro had impregnated Knight at least five times and would punch her in the stomach until she miscarried.

Amanda Berry, left, and Gina DeJesus have been found alive after disappearing in the US city of Cleveland about a decade ago. Picture: AFP

Police Chief Michael McGrath earlier told NBC he was "absolutely" sure police did everything they could to find the women over the years.

He disputed claims by neighbours that officers had been called to the house before for suspicious circumstances.

Castro, a former school bus driver whose family hails from Puerto Rico, has been described as a friendly neighbour who raised few suspicions but who also kept to himself, rarely if ever allowing anyone inside his home.

"Ariel kept everybody at a distance," Tomba said. "He ran the show."

Castro 'marked captivity with cake'

Details have emerged of the horrific circumstance in which the 3 women were held in a US house for 10 years

Inside the Seymour Avenue house, the three women who last celebrated birthdays with their families about a decade ago saw year after year perversely marked by Castro's serving of a cake on the day each woman was abducted, according to one of DeJesus's cousins.

"He would celebrate their abduction day as their new birthday," the cousin said, adding that DeJesus had pleaded with family not to ask her about her years in captivity.

Technology helps thwart kidnappers: experts

Experts say the implementation of the amber alert system for a child abduction emergency which ensures saturation coverage on cable television and social media is helping them put pressure on abductors.

"When an Amber Alert goes out, there is so much public pressure on the abductor that they often release the child before they can get hurt," Robert G. Lowery Jr. from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children told The Washington Post. "The vast majority of children now escape death because of Amber Alert."

The system enacted means stories are quickly transmitted on 24 hour cable TV shows, CCTV vision is scrutinised by the police, known sex offenders are looked at, hotlines for tips are quickly set up, alerts are sent via Twitter and Facebook plus police study traffic images.  Lowery's non-profit group has also recently launched a service to send amber alert information to every mobile phone within range of the mobile phone tower where the child went missing.

The ability of computer programs to create realistic images of what a kidnapped child may look like years after they went missing is also vital.

Audio reveals moment of girls' rescue

A stunned police officer called "we found 'em, we found 'em" when three kidnap victims were rescued in Cleveland on Tuesday. Now they're not sure exactly how many were held at the house.

The three women were subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse and suffered miscarriages, a city councilman briefed on the case said.

At the time of the rescue, Michele Knight told police she was unsure exactly how many women were detained inside the house, but that there may have been other victims.

A source has reportedly told The Mirror: "Police are unsure as to how many victims there may have been over the past 10 years but they are following up on every single lead they get."

FBI investigators have begun examining houses on either side of the Seymour Ave, Cleveland, property in which the three captives were kept locked in separate rooms. Fox News reports these properties had previously been owned by the Castro family.

Cleveland's safety director Marty Flask said human remains have not been found at the Castro home on Seymour Avenue. More than 200 items of evidence have so far been taken from the house in which the three were held.

Audio has been released of the frantic emergency call Amanda Berry made after escaping a kidnapping lasting ten years.

Meanwhile, Cleveland police have released the audio recording of the officers' point of view while responding to Amanda Berry's and Charles Ramsey's 911 calls.

Upon arriving at 5.55pm, the officers immediately realised the callers were not cranks.

"This might be for real," one of the officers said while asking for an ambulance.

"Georgina DeJesus might be in this house also," another said.

Audio released by the Cleveland Police Department captures Charles Ramsey's call to emergency services.

With the sound of a woman crying in the background, one officer calls: "We found em. We found em".

Later: "We also have a Michele Knight in the house. I don't know if you want to look that up in the radio, uh the system."

Police press conference

Police told media at a press conference this morning that the three captives never left the property and were only allowed outside twice.

The women were allowed to leave the home briefly, both times to go "into the garage in disguise,'' deputy police chief Ed Tomba told reporters.

"They were in that home. They don't believe they've been outside of the home for the last 10 years,'' he said.

"They were not in one room, but they did know each other and they did know each other was there.''

He refused to comment on reports that the women had become pregnant on several occasions and had lost the babies.

The house was found to be in "disarray" when investigators entered.

Monday was the first time Amanda, Gina or Michele tried to escape - ever,  Tomba said.

Councilman Brian Cummins said many details remained unclear, including the number of pregnancies and the conditions under which the miscarriages occurred.

He said the women were kept in the basement for some time without having access to the rest of the house.  Earlier, city police chief Michael McGrath had said the women were "bound and there were chains and ropes in the hall''.
"It sounds pretty gruesome,'' Cummins said.

Suspect 'needed help'

Sources told the local Cleveland news outlet that Ariel Castro "talks about a sex addiction and needing help" and that he "puts some blame on the victims for getting in the car with him."

WEWS-TV reports sources as saying Castro had offered Amanda Berry and Michele Knight rides home, but took them to his house instead.

Neighbors in the largely Puerto Rican neighborhood said he had taken part in the search for one of the missing women, performed music at a fundraiser for her and attended a candlelight vigil, where he comforted her mother.

The captives reportedly watched the vigils on television from their basement prison.

"When we went out to look for Gina, he helped pass out fliers,'' said Khalid Samad, a community activist who said Castro was friends with DeJesus' father.

Castro, just like everyone else in the tight-knit, mostly Puerto Rican neighbourhood, seemed shaken by the 2004 disappearance of Ms DeJesus.

Fox news reports the three Castro brothers are being held in separate cells under additional police protection as inmates - even though they are kept separate - are doing all they can to give the men "a hard time".

Prosecutors brought no charges against his brothers, Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50, saying there was no evidence they had any part in the crime. Police said they were detained because they were with Ariel at the time of his arrest and have outstanding warrants.

"There is nothing that leads us to believe that they (the brothers) were involved or had any knowledge of this,'' Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said.

"We found no facts to link them to the crime.''

The police chief told the news conference that a paternity test on Ariel Castro was being done to establish who fathered Berry's now 6-year-old child.

As recently as 2005, Castro was accused of repeated acts of violence against his children's mother. A domestic-violence court filing at the time accused Ariel Castro of twice breaking the nose of his children's mother, knocking out a tooth, dislocating each shoulder and threatening to kill her and her daughters three or four times in a year.

Victims' families speak

Two of the women were welcomed home Wednesday by jubilant crowds. Neither Berry nor Gina DeJesus, about 23, spoke publicly, and their families pleaded for patience and time alone. The third captive, Michele Knight, 32, was reported in good condition at a local hospital.

Ms Berry was expected to front the media today to make a statement but instead her older sister, Beth Serrano, appeared outside her home overnight (about 2am AEST). 

Ms Serrano thanked everyone for their support over the years and requested privacy for the family.

"I want to thank the public and media for their support and courage over the years. At this time our family would request privacy so my sister and niece and I can have time to recover," she told a thicket of microphones and lenses.

"We appreciate all you have done for us throughout the past ten years. Please respect our privacy until we are ready to make our statements. And thank you," she added, before breaking down in tears.

Ms DeJesus also arrived home giving a thumbs up to those gathered outside her home but not speaking to reporters.

Her aunt Sandra Ruiz made a statement on behalf of the family in which she asked the community not to retaliate against the Castro family and to keep searching for another missing girl, Ashely Summers, who was 14 when she disappeared in 2007 from the same Cleveland neighbourhood.

Ms Ruiz described Amanda Berry and Michele Knight as "members of our family now."

"Thank you, again, for your prayers and support. There are not enough words to say or express the joy that we feel for the return of our family member Gina," she said. "Now we need to, as a whole, to rally together, to look next door, and bring our other family member that is missing, Ashley Summers, OK?"

"Be patient with us," she said.  "When we are ready ... we will talk to all of you."

Family members of Ms Knight said she remains in hospital but is doing well.  A cousin told CNN that she "has the mind of a child."

Life in house of horror

Details are emerging about the house that they were held captive in.  Police have confirmed that chains were found on the walls and that the women were only allowed outside for very brief periods of time.

WKYC reported that Ms Knight was forced to deliver Ms Berry's baby, Jocelyn, in an inflatable pool "so the mess was easier to clean up".

"Michele stated that Ariel told her that if the baby died, that he'd kill her," the police report states.

The report said Ms Knight put her mouth to the Jocelyn's mouth and "breathed for her" to keep them both alive.

NewsChannel5 reports Michele Knight was pregnant by Ariel Castro five times. They allege he forced an abortion each time by punching her in the stomach.

19 Action News says its reporter has been told Ariel Castro made a suicide note years ago detailing why he committed the kidnappings.

Police told media at a press conference this morning that the three captives had initially been chained in the building's basement. However, they were later allowed to live in separate rooms upstairs and were hidden in the attic when visitors came to the house.

"We have confirmation they were bound and there were chains and ropes in the hall," Michael McGrath, Cleveland's chief of police told the US Today show.

However, reports have suggested that six-year-old Jocelyn, who was born to Ms Berry while in captivity, was allowed out of the house to visit Ariel Castro's mother, Lillian Rodriguez, who she called 'grandmother'.  It is unconfirmed if Ariel Castro is the father of Ms Berry's child.

Neighbours say they reported seeing three women outside on leashes and a woman pounding on a window with a child in her hand's but that police did nothing.

Mr McGrath said that there had been no record of those calls coming into police over the past 10 years.  Asked if those calls could be made but that a recording was documented, Mr McGrath replied  "We have no record of those calls coming in over the past 10 years''.

CNN is reporting details about Amanda Berry's escape bid.

Castro had left the house without locking the main door. A lighter "storm door" was locked, however.

Castro had previously "tested" his captives by pretending to leave the house with the door unlocked. He would then return suddenly.

Amanda had "reached breaking point" before making her escape bid earlier this week.

20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

Run-down street 'perfect hiding place'

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 08 Mei 2013 | 20.01

Fox News reports that police are investigating the 911 dispatch handling of the Amanda Berry call as well as digging for evidence. Fox News

THE RUN-down houses and derelict buildings near Ariel Castro's house made it easier to hide a secret, his neighbours said.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, who all went missing separately about a decade ago, were found on Monday in a home in Cleveland, Ohio.

Those who live near the modest home where the women were kept, say their neighbourhood has a dark side which may have helped the main suspect keep the three women from prying eyes.

"That was a perfect place for him because people couldn't hear any noise," community organiser Khalid Samad told NBC News.

Mr Samad said main suspect Ariel Castro had accompanied him on local searches for the missing women.

The 52-year-old's job as a bus driver also made him relatively well- off in a neighbourhood where many houses are boarded up and others have been foreclosed on in an area that has clearly seen better days.

"In terms of money he probably made more money than anyone else on the street when he was driving the bus," he said.

Neighbours and relatives say they didn't have a clue about Ariel Castro's suspected crimes, even as his own daughter was interviewed in 2005 on Americas Most Wanted. Fox News

Jennifer Faykus who knew Gina DeJesus' sister, moved from the area because she felt it had lost its sense of community.

"In this kind of neighbourhood you don't [pry] because you're afraid to talk to your neighbours," she said.

Did Castro target his daughter's friend?

Ariel "Anthony" Castro said he fears his father may have targeted the 14-year-old who went missing in April 2004 as she was such a close friend of his daughter Arlene. She was the last person to see Gina before she disappeared.

The 31-year-old told The Daily Mail he thinks it is "conceivable" that Gina got into his father's car instead of walking home as she recognised the elder Mr Castro as her best friend's father.

"That's one of the thoughts that went through my head because Gina disappeared in broad daylight on a very busy street. It's probably the busiest street on the west side of Cleveland," he said.

Fox News reports that the three brothers under arrest will be facing multiple charges for the ten year period of captivity and assault they subjected three young women to. Fox News

"It make you think how could she possibly disappeared without any trace. If she was abducted forcefully somebody would have seen it."

It is thought the teenager knew the person who took her and initially willing went with that individual on the day she disappeared.

Victims say they are fine

Close relatives of the three abducted women have told of how they're coping as more details emerge about their horrific life over the last decade.

Amanda Berry's grandmother Fern Gentry said Amanda told her that she's "fine" and that the six-year-old girl named Jocelyn also rescued from the Cleveland home is hers.

"I love you honey, thank God," her tearful grandmother said, in a call recorded by CNN affiliate WJHL. "... I've thought about you all this time. I never forgot about you."

The sister of 23-year-old Georgina "Gina" DeJesus said 'Gina' is in "good spirits."

Local police efforts are in question after calls were made by several neighbours over the past years, and was the suspect deliberately trawling for younger and younger girls? Fox News reports

Five pregnancies

As the world waits to see what will happen to Ariel Castro and his brothers Pedro and Onil who were arrested, relatives have told of their shock, painting Ariel Castro as a recluse and violent man at times.

Sources told WKYC that as many as five pregnancies occurred in the house. They were also told the captors would beat the pregnant girls and that the babies didn't survive.

Police in Cleveland have been reportedly searching a property for "possible aborted babies" after finding the three women who had been kidnapped and held as sex slaves.

According to local reporter Scott Taylor of 19 Action News, "investigators are looking for possible aborted babies in the backyard" of the residence where three brothers allegedly held three young women.

There are reports that the three women were also tied up with chains and tape and kept in separate rooms, The Daily Mirror reports.  One of the women is thought to have suffered three miscarriages due to malnutrition.

Police to gently quiz victims

Reluctant hero Charles Ramsey tells how he helped rescue Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight ending the women's kidnapping ordeal. Courtesy WKYC3

Since the three women have found their freedom, questions have been raised about abductions in the local area, including whether 14-year-old Ashley Summers is the fourth victim of the kidnapping.

She vanished from the same Cleveland neighbourhood where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight went missing.

FBI investigators have removed vehicles and items from the home where the women were held captive.

FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson said. An FBI child victim specialist has interviewed all three abducted women as well as Berry's 6-year-old daughter in a "comfortable setting."

The three brothers arrested in the abduction case will be interviewed tomorrow local time, likely by both federal and local law enforcement officers.

FBI forensic personels remove evidence from the house where three women were held captive for a decade, May 7, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand Source: AFP

A photo of Ariel Castro released by the Cleveland Police Department following his arrest.

FBI forensic personnel remove evidence from the house where three women were held captive for a decade on May 7, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand Source: AFP

Suspects' lives in spotlight

More photos and details of the suspects have also emerged as locals have come to show their support for the women.

Investigators removed a number of items from the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, including an amplifier, a storm door and black trash bags full of items.

Young residents come to show their support near the house where three women were held captive for a decade, May 7, 2013 in Cleveland. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand Source: AFP

 New photos of Ariel Castro have also surfaced.

This undated combination photo released by the Cleveland Police Department shows from left, Pedro Castro and Onil Castro.

 911 call reviewed

Cleveland officials are now reviewing the actions of the 911 dispatcher who took Amanda Berry's call.

The call-taker asked the name of Berry's captor, his age and ethnicity. But the dispatcher's repeatedly told her: "Talk to the police when they get there."

Cleveland Department of Public Safety Director Martin Flask said police were dispatched and on scene in the west side neighbourhood in less than 2 minutes.

"While the call-taker complied with policies and procedures which enabled a very fast response by police, we have noted some concerns which will be the focus of our review, including the call-taker's failure to remain on the line with Ms Berry until police arrived on scene," Flask said in a statement.

Audio has been released of the frantic emergency call Amanda Berry made after escaping a kidnapping lasting ten years.

Amanda Berry's family prepare a warm welcome. Picture: Twitter.

Locked house at centre of case

In another strange twist one of the brothers, Pedro Castro, was filmed by Fox News in July last year as excavating crews dug through an empty lot after a tip from an Ohio inmate that Ms Berry's body was buried there.

"That's a waste of money," Castro told Fox.

And even more bizarrely the son of suspect Ariel Castro, wrote a journalism piece in 2004 as a student on the disappearance of Ms DeJesus.  It is not believed that Ariel "Anthony" Castro knew she was locked up in his father's house.

Anthony Castro has also given an insight into the house where the three women were held captive.

"The house was always locked," he told The Daily Mail. "There were places we could never go. There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage."

Amanda Berry, left, and Gina DeJesus have been found alive after disappearing in the US city of Cleveland about a decade ago. Picture: AFP

Amanda, Michelle and Gina according to sources were also gagged for years in the basement before moving to separate rooms.

WKYC says the windows had garbage bags over them so no one could see in or out.

Even more chillingly, Anthony Castro says he had a conversation two weeks ago in which his dad asked him if he thought the police would ever find Amanda Berry.

He responded that he assumed she was dead because she had been missing for a decade, to which his father responded "Really? You think so?"

'He doesn't deserve to have his own life anymore. He deserves to be behind bars for the rest of her life. I'm just thankful they're alive.'

Three brothers have been arrested in connection with three kidnapped US women found after being missing.

His account came as neighbours revealed they reported seeing a girl crawling on her hands and knees in a backyard but police did nothing.

Previous calls to the house

In a Tuesday morning media conference (midnight AEST) police said they had received no calls to the house other than a 911 call in March, 2000, after a fight broke out in the street, and again in January 2004, when child welfare authorities attended the home after Ariel Castro left a child on the school bus that he drove for work. Authorities deemed there was no case to answer and that the child had been left on the bus accidentally.

However, two neighbours said they were alarmed enough by what they saw at the house to call police on two occasions.

Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter once saw a naked woman crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard several years ago and called police. "But they didn't take it seriously," she said.

A house where three women escaped is shown Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Cleveland.

Other neighbours have reportedly seen naked women crawling in the backyard of his house on all fours with dog leashes around their necks and three men controlling them, The Daily Mail reports.

Another neighbour, Israel Lugo, said he heard pounding on some of the doors of Castro's house, in November 2011. Mr Lugo said officers knocked on the front door, but no one answered. "They walked to side of the house and then left," he said.

Neighbours also said they would see Castro sometimes walking a little girl to a neighbourhood playground. And Ms Cintron said she once saw a little girl looking out of the attic window of the house.

First taste of freedom

The three women have been enjoying their first day of freedom after being released from hospital at about 8am (10pm AEST).

Ms Berry was the one to raise the alarm, getting the attention of neighbour Charles Ramsey, and making a frantic call to 911 in which she told the dispatcher, "I'm free now."

Neighbour Charles Ramsey speaks to media near the home on the 2200 block of Seymour Avenue, where three missing women were rescued in Cleveland.

Heartwarming: Sisters reunited after a decade

Mr Ramsey, told WEWS-TV that he saw Berry, whom he didn't recognise, at a door that would open only enough to fit a hand through.

"I heard screaming," he said. "I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house."

Anna Tejeda, who lives across the street, said Ms Berry was nervous, crying and appeared dressed in pajamas and old sandals after she kicked out the screen in a door to escape and call police. Ms Tejeda speaks Spanish, and a friend translated her comments to The Associated Press.

On a recorded 911 call Monday, Ms Berry declared, "I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years."

"I'm free now." Amanda Berry, centre, with her sister and a young girl believed to be her daughter, told police she had been kidnapped and held for 10 years.

She said she had been taken by someone and begged for police officers to arrive at the home on Cleveland's west side before he returned.

"I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years," she told the dispatcher. "And I'm here. I'm free now."

Ms Berry disappeared at age 16 on April 21, 2003, when she called her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King. Ms DeJesus went missing at age 14 on her way home from school about a year later. They were found just a few kilometres from where they had gone missing.

Police said Ms Knight went missing in 2002 and is 32 now. They didn't provide current ages for Ms Berry or Ms DeJesus.

Police said Ariel Castro, 52, lived at the home, and Onil, 50, and Pedro, 54, lived elsewhere. Ms Berry also identified Ariel Castro by name in her 911 call.

Mr Ramsey, the neighbour, said he'd barbecued with Ariel Castro and never suspected something was amiss.

"There was nothing exciting about him - well, until today," he said.

Juan Perez, 27, who has lived two houses down from the home in question since he was 5, and has known the arrested man, Ariel Castro, since he was a child, he told US ABC News.

"My heart is feeling rough right now to know that this happened two houses from me and that none of us noticed anything," Mr Perez said. "I feel ashamed of myself and my community right now and this neighborhood that we didn't see anything."

Mr Perez said Castro was well known on the block as a "charismatic" guy who always wanted to take the neighbourhood kids on bike rides up and down the block.

Attempts to reach Ariel Castro in jail were unsuccessful. Messages to the sheriff's office and a jail spokesman went unanswered, and there was no public phone listing for the home, which was being searched by dozens of police officers and sheriff's deputies.

The uncle said Ariel Castro had worked as a school bus driver. The Cleveland school district confirmed he was a former employee but wouldn't release details.

Charles Ramsey said he heard a girl screaming before helping her escape the house she was being held captive in. Courtesy Fox News

Loving families never gave up hope

The women's loved ones said they hadn't given up hope of seeing them again.

A childhood friend of DeJesus, Kayla Rogers, said she couldn't wait to hug her.

"I've been praying, never forgot about her, ever," Ms Rogers told The Plain Dealer newspaper.

Ms Berry's cousin Tasheena Mitchell told the newspaper she couldn't wait to have her in her arms.

"I'm going to hold her, and I'm going to squeeze her and I probably won't let her go," she said.

Ms Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, had been in hospital for months with pancreatitis and other ailments, died in March 2006. She had spent the previous three years looking for her daughter, whose disappearance took a toll as her health steadily deteriorated, family and friends said.

Councilwoman Dona Brady said she had spent many hours with Miller, who never gave up hope that her daughter was alive.

"She literally died of a broken heart," Ms Brady said.

Mayor Frank Jackson expressed gratitude that the three women were found alive. He said there are many unanswered questions in the ongoing investigation.

At Metro Health Medical Centre, Dr Gerald Maloney wouldn't discuss the women's conditions in detail but said they were being evaluated by appropriate specialists.

"This is really good, because this isn't the ending we usually hear in these stories," he said. "So, we're very happy."

In January, a prison inmate was sentenced to 4 1/2 years after admitting he provided a false burial tip in the disappearance of Ms Berry. A judge in Cleveland sentenced Robert Wolford on his guilty plea to obstruction of justice, making a false report and making a false alarm.

Last summer, Wolford tipped authorities to look for Ms Berry's remains in a Cleveland lot. He was taken to the location, which was dug up with backhoes.

Two men arrested for questioning in the disappearance of Ms DeJesus in 2004 were released from the city jail in 2006 after officers didn't find her body during a search of the men's house.

One of the men was transferred to the Cuyahoga County Jail on unrelated charges, while the other was allowed to go free, police said.

In September 2006, police acting on a tip tore up the concrete floor of the garage and used a cadaver dog to search unsuccessfully for Ms DeJesus' body. Investigators confiscated 19 pieces of evidence during their search but declined to comment on the significance of the items then.

No Amber Alert was issued the day Ms DeJesus failed to return home from school in April 2004 because no one witnessed her abduction. The lack of an Amber Alert angered her father, Felix DeJesus, who said in 2006 he believed the public will listen even if the alerts become routine.

"The Amber Alert should work for any missing child," Felix DeJesus said then. "It doesn't have to be an abduction. Whether it's an abduction or a runaway, a child needs to be found. We need to change this law."

Cleveland police said then that the alerts must be reserved for cases in which danger is imminent and the public can be of help in locating the suspect and child.

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What you didn't know about Castro

Onil Castro, Ariel Castro, and Pedro Castro, who were arrested after three women who disappeared in Cleveland a decade ago were found safe. Picture: Cleveland Police Department Source: AP

WHILE Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight can now enjoy their freedom after being held captive for nearly ten years, a more detailed picture is emerging of the man at the centre of the case.

What we know so far

Cleveland Police have arrested three brothers - Ariel Castro, 52, Onil Castro, 50 and Pedro Castro, 54 - who they have identified as suspects in the case.  This came after Ms Berry managed to alert a neighbour, who broke down the door to free her and the six-year-old daughter she apparently bore as a prisoner.

"Hello? I need them [the police] now, before he gets back," an emotional Berry told the 911 operator.

"Who's the guy that went out?" asks the operator.

"His name is Ariel Castro. He's 52. I'm Amanda Berry. I've been in the news for the last ten years."

Police responding to Ms Berry's desperate 911 emergency call found two more women in the modest detached home in Cleveland with American and Puerto Rican flags on the porch.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michele Knight went missing in 2003, 2004, and 2002, respectively. Berry was abducted at age 16 in April 2003, DeJesus was taken at 14 in April 2004, and Knight was taken at age 21 in August 2002. All three are being assessed and treated at MetroHealth Medical Centre.

They were found in the house of former school bus driver Ariel Castro, which is situated in a poor neighbourhood.  Ariel is now at the centre of investigation into the girls' ordeal.

Cleveland police have undertaken an extensive search of the property and are questioning the women about what happened in the house. There are reports there were as many as five pregnancies which occurred during the years the girls were held in the house.

Missing Cleveland woman Amanda Berry with her sister and unidentified girl after rescue. Picture: WOIO-TV/passantino/Twitter

Police are also said to be investigating a possible connection between Castro's daughter and Amanda Berry, who may have been classmates.

So who is Ariel Castro?

The Cleveland Leader has reported Castro lived in the house where the women were found since 1992. The 52-year-old was a bus driver and local musician who relatives and friends described as social and outgoing.

Tito DeJesus who performed with Ariel Castro for years said the bassist was a "great talent" who was known for "high spirits, always joking around". "I would have never thought in a million years that it was him who was allegedly holding Gina, Amanda and Michelle," he told CNN.

Juan Alicea says the arrests of his wife's brothers have left relatives "as blindsided as anyone else".

Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, who have been found after being abducted separately as teenagers in 2003. Picture: FBI

Ariel and his two brothers grew up with a love of classic cars, thanks to time spent at their father's car lot off West 25th Street. They were characterised by friends and family as smart and funny, though two of the three were said to be heavy drinkers, reports.

"They used to be beautiful people," said their uncle Julio Castro. Mr Castro who lived half a block away from Ariel said Ariel had distanced himself from his family after his father's death in 2004.

Talking to CNN en Español about his withdrawn nephew, Mr Castro said  "perhaps, he was the type of person who was living two lives".

Ariel's brushes with the law

Ariel Castro's former wife Grimilda Figueroa filed a domestic violence petition against him in 2005.  She alleges in the complaint that he beat her, broke her ribs, broke her nose twice, knocked out her tooth, dislocated her shoulder twice and caused a blot clot on her brain that led to an inoperable tumour, according to Channel 3 News.

Ms Figueroa also said he threatened to kill her and their two daughters on several occasions in 2005.

She was given full custody of their children with no visitation rights, but the petition stated: "Nevertheless, Respondent (Castro) frequently abducts daughters and keeps them from mother."

The case was later dropped, but during the same month he was arrested for disorderly conduct and pleaded guilty.

NewsChannel5 also reports that he was stopped six times by Cleveland Police between 1995 and 2008 for traffic violations.

In 2004, officers went to the home after child welfare officials alerted them that Ariel Castro, a school bus driver, had apparently left a child unattended on a bus. No one answered the door. At some point in the investigation, police talked to Castro and determined there was no criminal intent.

Police calls to the property

Neighbours say they have called the police in the past about strange things they witnessed at the house. Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter once saw a naked woman crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard several years ago and called police. "But they didn't take it seriously," she said.

Another neighbour, Israel Lugo, said he heard pounding on some of the doors of Castro's house, which had plastic bags on the windows, in November 2011. Lugo said officers knocked on the front door, but no one answered.

"They walked to side of the house and then left," he said.

Neighbours also said they would sometimes see Castro walking a little girl to a neighborhood playground. The girl is thought to be the daughter of Ms Berry who was born in the house. And Cintron said she once saw a little girl looking out of the attic window of the house.

"Everyone in the neighbourhood did what they had to do," said Lupe Collins, who is close to relatives of the women. "The police didn't do their job."

Police did go to the house twice in the past 15 years, but not in connection with the women's disappearance, officials said.

In 2000, before the women vanished, Ariel Castro reported a fight in the street, but no arrests were made.

The daughter who slashed a baby

In 2008, Ariel's 20- year-old daughter Emily Castro was sentenced to 30 years in jail with five years probation for attempted murder and battery after she slashed her 11-month-old baby Janyla's throat, The Journal Gazette reported.

The young mother said in her trial that she suffered from mental illness."I don't know how this happened," she said. "I want you to know I am a very good mom."

She was required to undergo mental health treatment as a condition of the five years of her sentence that was commuted to probation.

The son who wrote about Gina DeJesus

Ariel "Anthony" Castro, 31,  has spoken of his shock following his father's arrest, but said there were always part of his house that were locked and out of bounds.

"The house was always locked," he told The Daily Mail. "There were places we could never go. There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage."

"The only thing I can express is a tremendous level of shock," he said. "To those girls, it's beyond comprehension what happened to them. It's just a nightmare. I just feel so horrible for them. Unspeakably horrible."

He also said his father was violent and he brutally beat his mother in 1993 while she was recovering from brain surgery. 

His violent nature meant the 31-year-old and his sisters didn't have a close relationship with their father and Anthony said he hadn't spent more then 20 minutes in the house since the 1990s.

He also said his uncles Pedro and Onil have been alcoholics for years and are frail and in poor health.

In another odd twist in the case, Anthony published an article in community newspaper The Plain Press in 2004 when he was a journalism student which focused on the disappearance of Gina DeJesus. 

The article reads: "The day 14-year-old Gina DeJesus was last seen on her way home from Wilbur Wright Middle School, neighbourhood residents have been taken by an overwhelming need for caution.

"One thing is for certain, however. Almost everyone feels a connection with the family, and Gina's disappearance has the whole area talking."

In the article, Castro quotes DeJesus' mother Nancy Ruiz.

"It's a shame that a tragedy had to happen for me to really know my neighbours. Bless their heart, they've been great.

"People are really looking out for my daughter."

Continue the conversation via Twitter @newscomauHQ

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Sandwich thrown as Julia Gillard abused

Kyle Thomson, 16, and his mother speak to Channel 9 tonight. The teen has been suspended for throwing a sandwich at the Prime Minister during a school visit but he denies being the culprit. Source: Supplied

A STUDENT suspended for throwing a sandwich at the Prime Minister during a visit at a Logan school has denied he did it.

Kyle Thomson, 16, was one of many teens who mobbed Julia Gillard during a visit to Marsden State High School, south of Brisbane,  this morning.

While speaking to students a vegemite sandwich was hurled in the direction of Ms Gillard, flying past her and hitting another student.

A teacher declared Kyle was the one who threw it and he was subsequently suspended for 15 days.

But Kyle has denied the allegations, instead claiming he tried to stop another student from throwing the sandwich.

"I hit the sandwich out of the kids hand because he threw it," he told Channel 9.

"There was another one, so I hit it out of his hand."

Kyle's mother believes her son is being unfairly blamed for the incident and has demanded all footage from the visit be reviewed to find the real culprit.

PROTEST?: A student throws a sandwich at Prime Minister Julia Gillard as she visits a school in Queensland. Picture: Nine News Brisbane

"Kyle's no angel, don't get me wrong, but I think there is a lot more to the circumstances," she told Channel 9.

"I honestly wonder if he would have been suspended on the first day without all the investigations being done if it wasn't the Prime Minister."

She went on to say the incident had been blown out of proportion.

"I'm sure she's had more than a sandwich thrown at her throughout her life,"

Ms Gillard laughed off the incident as 'high-jinx.'

"One kid thought they might just be a little bit naughty," she said.

Earlier, it was reported that a student threw a sandwich but others cheered support for the Prime Minister as she arrived for a morning tea at Marsden High this morning.

iPhone vision of the scene at Marsden High School in Queenland, where students yelled abuse at the PM and hurled a sandwich as she passed by. Vision: Andre Grimaux

Some students lining the footpath to the school hall yelled "loser" at Julia Gillard, but the reception was largely positive and drew comparisons to the adulation afforded Kevin Rudd on his way to an election victory in 2007.

A sandwich was thrown at the Prime Minister but it missed the mark as she made her way through the school grounds.

The PM's security struggled to keep up with the PM as students "went crazy" according to one bystander.

Ms Gillard used the function to announce $2.4 million for data collection on cancer over four years. The Prime Minister said cancer touched literally every Australian family in some way.

But Australia also leads the country in cancer treatment and prevention. "That is a key priority for me and my government,'' she said. Hundreds swarmed towards the PM after the speech asking for photographs.

The Prime Minister was at the school to attend a Biggest Morning Tea and meet community leaders from Logan.

An onlooker said some teachers tried to calm students while others looked disgusted at some students who were yelling abuse.

"It was complete chaos," she said.

Marsden High P & C president Michelle Campbell witnessed the incident, and said it was "disappointing".

"Kids will be kids though," she said.

Heidi Braithwaite, Michael Madigan and Stephanie Bennett

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Ad's secret message for abused kids

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 07 Mei 2013 | 20.01

Knowing the average height for adults and children under 10,GREY has created two different messages. Using an outdoor lenticular we show adults an awareness message, while children see a message where we offer them our help and show them the telephone number.

This Spanish ad for the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation holds a hidden message, which can only be seen by children. Source: Supplied

THIS ad has a secret message hidden in it, especially for abused children.

The Spanish billboard for children's organisation Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation uses different layers so it appears differently when it's viewed from different heights.

The layer for adults shows a child's face, with the message: "Sometimes child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it".

But when viewed from below the height of an average 10-year-old, the bruised face of an abused child appears next to the message: "If somebody hurts you, phone us and we'll help you".

The ad is designed to empower abused children, even if their abuser is standing right next to them.

Watch how it works in the video above

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N Korea's Kim watches grass grow

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting grass at a new Turf Institute in Pyongyang. Picture: AFP/KCNA via KNS Source: AFP

NORTH Korea has hit the "provocation pause" button on its aggressive nuclear rhetoric after pressure from China, as Kim Jong-Un literally watches grass grow.

CBS News reports two Musudan medium-range missiles have been packed up and moved from their launch sites on the coast of the Sea of Japan.

US intelligence reportedly warns that the missiles are mobile, and the move does not necessarily mean they can't be set to fire with little or no warning.

The move coincides with the ending of joing US-South Korean military exercises.

Pentagon spokesman George Little, who would not confirm that the missiles have been moved, said "what we have seen recently is a provocation pause."

Mr Little said pressure from North Korea's main ally China, other regional powers and "a range of factors" are behind North Korea's decision to "rachet back" from recent military tensions.

China "made some helpful statements" to help put a lid on North Korea's bluster against the US, Mr Little said.

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) overnight shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting the newly built Turf Institute. Picture: AFP/KCNA via KNS

Meanwhile, it seems North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has taken some time out from stoking nuclear fears to inspect grass growing.  A series of photos released by North Korea show the young dictator inspecting what is said to be the new Turf Institute of Bioengineering in a Pygongyang suburb.

Kim is seen examining the bright green grass as his officials take notes, and even shows them how to best hold some gardening equipment in the carefully staged photos

 The new, strategic silence from North Korea comes after escalating tensions that raised fear of a nuclear attack.

In February, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test that was condemned by the international community. In March, US-South Korea military exercises on the Korean peninsula sent Pyongyang into a frenzy, sparking increasingly aggressive rhetoric from the rogue state, led by young leader Kim Jong-Un.

However, Mr Little downplayed the incidents as part of North Korea's history of military threats to force aid and concessions from the international community.

Kim continues his turf inspection. North Korea has pressed pause on its nuclear rhetoric after intervention from China, the US said. Picture: AFP/KCNA via KNS

This week, North Korea denied it was using jailed US citizen and tour guide operator Kenneth Bae as a "bargaining chip" after sentencing him to 15 years hard labour for alleged "hostile acts" it says were aimed at toppling the regime. Mr Bae is believed to have taken photographs of emaciated children in North Korea as part of efforts to raise outside aid.

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Reunion joy after kidnap nightmare

Amanda Berry (centre) after being reunited with her sister, Beth Serrano, fled Ariel Castro's house with a girl who is believed to be her daughter (right). Picture: Source: AFP

THIS is the heartwarming moment kidnapping victim Amanda Berry was reunited with her sister after a decade of imprisonment.

In the photograph, released by Cleveland TV station WOIO, the sisters are pictured with the little girl believed to be the daughter Berry gave birth to while she was held captive. 

Berry disappeared in 2003 from a busy block in Cleveland at the age of 16. Her devastated sister, Beth Serrano, never gave up hope that she would be found alive.

Their mother died at the age of 44 in 2006 after her daughter's disappearance took a terrible toll on her health.

In the photo of the pair's reunion, the child believed to be Berry's daughter  is seen sitting next to her in a hospital bed with a hospital bracelet around her wrist.

Berry, now 27,  was imprisoned in  a house owned by Ariel Castro, who has now been arrested along with his two brothers on suspicion of kidnapping.

Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were both abducted from the same block as Berry, were also held hostage in the same house. The three women are now being treated at Cleveland's Metro Health Medical Centre.

Earlier today, Cleveland police confirmed three Hispanic males, aged 50, 52 and 54, were under arrest.  The 52-year-old man was named by city council officials as Cleveland Municipal School District bus driver Ariel Castro.

Police searched the house at 2207 Seymour Avenue after a 911 call led police to the three women and two children.

Charles Ramsey said he heard a girl screaming before helping her escape the house she was being held captive in. Courtesy Fox News

In a strange twist, it has been revealed that Anthony Castro, the son of suspect Ariel Castro wrote an article about the abduction of Gina DeJesus when he was a journalism student in 2004.

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus have been missing "for years". They had each been abducted separately when they were teenagers in 2003 and 2004.

A third woman named Michele Knight was also found at the house. Police have since confirmed Michele had been reported as missing since 2002.

All three women all went missing on the same busy block, near West 110th St and Lorain Ave, in Cleveland.

One of the women reportedly begged a passer-by for help.

"I heard screaming ... And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,'' said Charles Ramsey, the neighbour who found the women.

Police search the house at 2207 Seymour Avenue where the three missing women were held captive.

"I go on the porch and she said 'Help me get out. I've been here a long time'. I figure it was domestic violence dispute.

"She comes out with a little girl and says 'Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry'. When she told me, it didn't register."

He said he kicked the bottom of the door open so Amanda could crawl out. Amanda emerged with a young child.

"Luckily  it was aluminum, it was cheap," he said,

"She climbed out with her daughter. ... She went to my house, we called 911."

Ramsay said Berry had made her escape bid while her captor had gone for a meal at McDonald's.

Audio has been released of the frantic emergency call Amanda Berry made after escaping a kidnapping lasting ten years.

Berry asked for a phone to call 911.

"Help me, I am Amanda Berry... need police! I've been kidnapped, I've been missing for ten years and  I'm here. I'm free now," she frantically told the operator. A baby can be heard crying in the background.

"Hello? I need them [the police] now, before he gets back."

WEWS news reports a detective told Ramsey: "Charles, do you realise who you just rescued?"

Ramsey added: "When the police got here, she said there are three more girls up there. And that's when Gina DeJesus (appeared), and they brought two more girls out."

Cleveland police said Berry, DeJesus and Michele Knight are talking to authorities and appear to be in good health.

"This isn't the ending we usually hear for these stories so we're really happy," a police spokesman told assembled media outside the house.

The three women are being treated at Cleveland's Metro Health Medical Centre.

Doctor Gerald Maloney says they are fair condition.

"Currently they're safe. We are in the process of evaluating their medical needs," he said.

"They appear to be in a fair condition at the moment. They are able to speak with us.

"I can't really go into any further details."

Police outside the Cleveland house where Gina and Amanda were believed to have been held. Picture: RachelDissell / Twitter

Hundreds of people gathered in the streets near the white timber house where the women were discovered.

Amanda Berry named her abductor in the 911 call as Ariel Castro.

He was in the house - believed to be only kilometres from where the two were abducted - at the time police arrived in response to the call.

WEWS news reports the missing women were malnourished and dehydrated. Two children were seen inside the Cleveland house.

CNN reports the two children were girls.

Berry disappeared at age 16 in 2003, after calling home to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a burger restaurant.

A crowd gathers outside the Cleveland house where Gina and Amanda were believed to have been held. Picture: RachelDissell / Twitter

DeJesus vanished at age 14 on her way home from school about a year later.

Ramsey said he had "eaten ribs" with the neighbour who owned the house, and had no idea there were women in the property.

A neighbour quipped: "(He must have) big testicles to pull this off, bro, because we see this dude every day!"

Cleveland's Mayor has issued a statement welcoming the recovery of the women. "We have many unanswered questions regarding this case, the investigation will be ongoing," he said.

Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus were found in Cleveland US after decade in captivity.

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Bride, friends killed in limo fire

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 06 Mei 2013 | 20.01

FIVE women were killed and five others survived after a limousine caught on fire on a San Francisco Bay area bridge. Courtesy KGO-TV

A 31-YEAR-OLD bride-to-be was among five women killed when a limousine caught on fire on a San Francisco Bay area bridge. reports the bride-to-be Neriza Fojas was one of those killed when travelling from a friend's birthday party to her hens' party.

The limo was carrying nine female passengers and a male driver when it caught fire late Saturday night on the San Mateo bridge, California Highway Patrol officer Art Montiel said.

Five occupants became trapped, while the four others suffered injuries but managed to get out after the vehicle came to a stop on the bridge, the patrol said. The driver, who has been named as Orville Brown, 46, escaped uninjured.

Ms Fojas - a nurse at a district nursing home - was supposed to be married at a ceremony in the Philippines next month.

Bride-to-be Neriza Fojas was killed along with four of her friends when a limo taking her to her hens' night caught fire. Picture: Facebook

Rosita Guardiano, 73, mother of one of the survivors, Mary Grace Guardiano, 42, said she was in intensive care for smoke inhalation after the tragic incident.

Mrs Guardiano said she did not know how the fire started.

"She's OK, but it is very scary," the mother said.

"Thank God she survived. I've been crying all morning.

The rear of the limousine is engulfed in flames. Picture: Twitter

"My daughter is very sad and crying, too. This was supposed to be such a happy day."

She said her daughter knew the bride-to-be from a nursing home where the two had worked. Staff at the nursing home were shocked after hearing about the fatal accident.

Another survivor has been named as Nelia Arrellano, 36, of Oakland, Arrellano just moved to the Bay Area from the Philippines. She and Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro and Jasmine Desguia, 34, of San Jose, are in hospital recovering.

Montiel said that the victims were all in their 30s. Authorities said the names of the dead would be released once families have been notified.

Bride-to-be Neriza Fojas was killed along with four of her friends when a limo taking her to her hens' night caught fire. Picture: Facebook

The driver of the limo - 46-year-old Orville Brown of San Jose - was the only person to escape unhurt.

The blaze occurred around 10pm (3pm AEDT) on westbound lanes of the bridge, which connects San Mateo and Alemada counties, about 32km southeast of San Francisco.

The patrol said that smoke started coming out of the rear of the limo, and the driver pulled over as the vehicle quickly became engulfed in flames. Officers were trying to determine the cause of the fire, which wasn't the result of an accident.

A photo taken by a witness and broadcast on KTVU-TV showed flames shooting from the back.

Five women died when a limosuine they were travelling in caught fire on a San Francisco Bay area bridge.

Other pictures showed about one-third of the back half of the limousine had been scorched by the fire. Its taillights and bumper were gone and it appeared to be resting on its rims, but the remainder of the vehicle didn't appear to be damaged.

"We have no idea right now where they were going or where they were coming from," CHP officer Amelia Jack told KGO-TV.

The three other women who escaped the fire, Jasmine Desguia, 34, Nelia Arrellano, 36, and Amalia Loyola, 48, were taken to hospitals to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns, the patrol said.

Desguia and Loyola were listed in critical condition, said Joy Alexiou, a spokeswoman for Valley Medical Center. The condition of Arrellano, who was taken to another hospital, was not known.

San Mateo County firefighters and California Highway Patrol personnel investigate the scene of the limousine fire on the westbound side of the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. Picture: AP/Jane Tyska

The company that operated the limo was identified as Limo Stop, which offers service through limousines, vans and SUVS.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragedy last night involving the young women, five of whom lost their lives in the limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge," a statement from the company said. 

"LimoStop Inc. will do everything possible to investigate and assist authorities in determining the cause of this fire in order to help bring forth answers and provide closure to the victims and their families."

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Tomic's dad 'knocked player out'

The father of Bernard Tomic is set to face a Spanish court after an altercation with the hitting partner of Australia's top-ranked player.

Tennis Aust confirmed Bernard Tomic's father was involved in an incident with his son's training partner.

Bernard Tomic's dad John shows his frustration after a call against his son during the 2010 Australian Open. Picture: Fiona Hamilton Source: Herald Sun

John Tomic watches son Bernard train ahead of the 2013 Australian Open. Picture: Jason Edwards Source: Herald Sun

Australia's Bernard Tomic in action during his loss to Radek Stepanek at the Madrid Open. Source: Getty Images

JOHN Tomic is likely to face court in Madrid today after allegedly assaulting French player Thomas Drouet as reports emerge the infamous coach might also have attacked his son Bernard in Monte Carlo last week.

John Tomic is said to have been held in custody after his arrest at a Madrid hotel for allegedly attacking Drouet, who is employed by the Tomics as Bernard's regular practice partner.

The shocking news comes after a Monte Carlo news outlet claimed John Tomic had struck Bernard during a public practice session in Monaco last Tuesday.

There was speculation that the alleged incident at the swish Monte Carlo Country Club was the provocation for an argument between Drouet, 29, and John Tomic.

The pair reputedly argued on the flight from Nice to Madrid.

Kick him out: Assault must be final straw for Tomic Sr

The dispute continued once the Tomic group had checked into their hotel.

Drouet and John Tomic are alleged to have clashed in the street outside the hotel.

Drouet was knocked out and left with a broken nose, fractured vertebrae and stitches after the alleged attack which was witnessed by leading players, including Alexandr Dolgopolov and Janko Tipsarevic.

One report claimed a man was unconscious in the street 100 metres from the tournament hotel where Tomic and his son were staying for the Mutua Madrid Open, one of Europe's elite claycourt events.

Thomas Drouet (left) with Bernard Tomic at the Hopman Cup New Year's Eve ball last year. Picture: Alf Sorbello Source: PerthNow

Drouet was said to be bleeding from the nose, lips and face. An unnamed witness said police and an ambulance were called.

European media reported said a man - believed to be John Tomic - was arrested at the hotel and had blood on his face when taken into custody.

It is understood he spent a number of hours in custody before being released yesterday evening (local time).

Bernard Tomic subsequently lost to Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-2 in the first round of the Madrid Masters.

Tennis Australia has described the reports as "very concerning".

"We are working closely with ATP officials who are investigating the incident and are unable to comment further until the full facts are known," a statement released by the organisation this morning read.

John Tomic reacts after a Hawkeye call against Bernard during the 2010 AUstralian Open. Picture: Fiona Hamilton Source: Herald Sun

Todd Woodbridge, the head of men's tennis for TA, said they were still trying to confirm the details.

"We're still trying to ascertain if or what charges have been laid,'' Woodbridge told 3AW radio.

Woodbridge said reports that Bernard faced a potential 12-month suspension were incorrect.

"It's totally incorrect because this would have nothing to do with Bernard's behaviour.

"What's important for us at Tennis Australia is that this allegation is thrown toward John, his dad, and not to Bernard.''

Volatile history: John Tomic's shame file

Hall of shame: Tennis's five worst bad dads

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Fiery Delta v Seal clash wins ratings

Delta Goodrem and Seal took the showdown phase literally clashing openly over Michelle Martinez performance. Courtesy The Voice, Nine Network.

THE Voice coaches Delta Goodrem and Seal took the showdown phase of the reality TV competition literally, with the rival superstars clashing openly over one of his contestant's performances last night.

The pop diva had told Team Seal singer Michelle Martinez her sassy rendition of Lloyd's hip hop hit Dedication To An Ex was not up to her usual vocal standard, feedback which was later rejected by her coach Seal who attempted to "respectfully disagree" with Goodrem describing the performance as "flawless".


Goodrem was visibly angry at being chipped and when filming continued during the ad break, involving all four coaches and destined for The Voice's website, she took Seal to task over his public critique and defended her opinions.

After Ben Goldstein delivered a rousing performance, Delta Goodrem had no option but to flirt with him to get him in her team. Courtesy: The Voice, Nine Network.

The heated exchange left Ricky Martin and Joel Madden looking for the exits, while a calm Seal continued to back Martinez and Goodrem attempted to set the record straight and argued "she can do better".

Producers stepped in to play peacemaker, with Goodrem impressing her TV bosses by "gathering herself quickly and getting over it".

In some judicious editing, Goodrem's immediate reaction to Seal's correction, as well as the full debrief after the performance (which was also caught on film) was not put to air.

See Delta Goodrem's on air blunder after Steve Clisby's rendition of Barry White's 'I Can't Get Enough Of Your Love'

The show could have done with the drama to spike interest, with it's ratings enough to win it the night's 'most watched' title but tracking below the two-million-mark (1.96m).

Channel 7's heavily-promoted interview with Abba's Agnetha Falkskog helped spoil Nine's party, pulling enough focus (1.49m) to keep the talent series from an expected runaway victory.

Seven News gave the current affairs show a solid lead-in (1.5m), with Nine News (1.45m) and 60 Minutes (1.38m) rounding out the night's top five rating shows.

It is not the first time Goodrem and Seal have had words, with Delta left to cringe after Seal misunderstood her use of the word "brother" which he interpreted as being a reference to his skin colour as they gave American-born singer Steve Clisby feedback.

A more intense moment in the blind auditions - when Goodrem challenged Seal over his post-show coaching of last year's winner Karise Eden - also hit the cutting room floor.

The coaching battle was only overshadowed by stunning appearances from Team Ricky's Karen Andrews aka Miss Murphy and Team Seal favourite Harrison Craig.

Channelling the powerhouse alter ego that allows her to overcome behind-the-scenes nerves, Andrews was at her best with an emotionally raw rendition of Elton John's Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.

The Voice contestant Kiyomi Vella has been told by Seal that there should be no safety net when going for your dreams. Credit: Nine

Melbourne's title contender Craig, who remains the iTunes chart leader to beat this year, was praised for his "spell-binding" performance of Michael Buble's Home.

Four singers from Team Ricky and Team Seal sang for survival, with viewers now given the power to vote their favourites through to the finals.

The artist with the highest public vote will advance immediately to the finals, while the lowest will be eliminated during Tuesday's live results show. The two left standing will then sing for their coach's vote.

Monday night's show will feature Team Delta's Rob Edwards, Jackie Sannia, Josh Kyle and Steve Clisby; as well as Team Joel's Danni Hodson, Adam Garrett, Kiyomi Vella and Michael Paynter.  

Here are the coaches' verdicts from last night:

Showdown song: Sam & Dave's Hold On I'm Coming
This seasoned professional, who flew 30 hours from his rock band's tour in Sweden to audition, is challenged by his coach to focus on his vocals as well as his connection with the crowds.
What the coaches thought...
Seal said: "one word for that, it was measured. Hold on, I'm're here, man."
Ricky said: "you rocked the stage, man."
Showdown song: Celtic Woman's The Voice
Positioning herself as Australia's Celtic queen, this Geelong beauty snuck through to showdowns after a close battle with vocal teacher Katie Carr. Now she has to stand and deliver on her own.

The Voice Australia contestants. Photo: Channel 9 Source: Supplied

What the coaches thought...
Joel said: "I can't tell if it was great or not."
Ricky said: "I will always be her fan. Congratulations, I love you."
Showdown song: Olly Murs' Army Of Two
His career false-started after the promise of success early on, after winning the 'Road To Tamworth' new talent prize. He put in a solid battle to beat whirling dervish, Kaity Dunstan.
What the coaches thought...
Joel said: "I think you are the real deal, man. You have got the whole package."
Ricky said: "I am very happy. You just showed Australia the connection you have with the audience. It was really fun to watch."
Showdown song: Elton John's Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Shy singer Karen Andrews morphs into powerhouse diva, Miss Murphy on stage and it's a transformation that has Voice fans hypnotised. But her nerves continue to worry coach Ricky.

The Voice Australia contestant, Miss Murphy, aka Karen Andrews. Photo: Channel 9 Source: Supplied

What the coaches thought...
Seal said: "You are very lucky you have a great gift. Great song choice and incredible coaching."
Ricky said: "This performance was spell-binding. You are making a powerful career and this is only the beginning."
Showdown song: Lloyd's Dedication To My Ex
The Adelaide-born now Sydney-based singer has built a 10-year career as a back-up singer for stars including Voice coach Delta Goodrem. Her challenge now is to make the stage her own.
What the coaches thought...
Joel said: "that just made me want to be your ex and your next."
Seal said: "I just want to say I respectfully disagree with Delta...I think your performance was flawless. You were spectacular and you can print that."

The Voice Australia contestants. Photo: Channel 9 Source: Supplied

Showdown song: Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence
The Canberra busker has won a legion of fans with his brand of cool lounge meets street jazz vocals, which gave him the edge in his battle singing the Oscar-winning Bond anthem, Skyfall.
What the coaches thought...
Joel said: "you said the most with the should not be anything but confident."
Seal said: 'you sing for all those people who don't get heard...that's why that performance was inspiring and you will have the career you deserve."
Showdown song: The Cranberries' Linger
Hard to miss the quirky, colourful stylings of Manly singer Hannah know how to sing for survival, after she was saved by Seal after losing a tough battle against Danni Hodson.
What the coaches thought...
Ricky said: "(The Cranberries singer) Dolores is such an unbelievable performer. I wanted something better and I didn't get that tonight."
Seal said: "I think you did a really good job...I know what you are going through. I think you need to work a little harder."

The Voice Australia contestant Harrison Craig. Photo: Channel 9 Source: Supplied

Showdown song: Michael Buble's Home
One of the great discoveries of the blind auditions, Harrison has won Australia's hearts and charged his way up the music charts with his performance tracks.
What the coaches thought...

Ricky: "where's your brother, we love that guy...oh and by the way, my mum says hi, she loves you."
Seal: "such is the power of what you do, Harrison, you just make us all feel good."

The Voice Australia contestants. Photo: Channel 9 Source: Supplied

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No one wants to bury bomb suspect

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 05 Mei 2013 | 20.01

Protesters outside the Dyer-Lake Funeral Home in North Attleborough where Tsarnaev's body was taken following its release by the state medical examiner. Picture: AP/Charles Krupa Source: AP

A FUNERAL home director is scrambling to find a cemetery that would bury a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, ignoring protesters gathered outside his business and saying everybody deserves a dignified burial service no matter the circumstances of his or her death.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died from ''gunshot wounds of torso and extremities'' and blunt trauma to his head and torso, said a Worcester funeral home owner, Peter Stefan.

He has Tsarnaev's body and on Friday read details from his death certificate.

The certificate lists the time of Tsarnaev's death as 1.35am on April 19, four days after the deadly bombing, Stefan said.

Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with authorities who had launched a massive manhunt for him and his brother, ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the United States about a decade ago.

Police have said he ran out of ammunition before his younger brother dragged his body under a vehicle while fleeing.

People boo the hearse of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev as it drives to a funeral home.

Tsarnaev died in a shoot out with police three days after the bombing. Picture: AP/Julia Malakie

Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body was released by the state medical examiner on Thursday.

It initially was taken to a North Attleborough funeral home, where it was greeted by about 20 protesters, before being taken to Stefan's Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors, which is familiar with Muslim services.

''My problem here is trying to find a grave site. A lot of people don't want to do it. They don't want to be involved with this,'' said Stefan, who said dozens of protesters gathered outside his funeral home, upset with his decision to handle the service.

''I keep bringing up the point of Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh or Ted Bundy. Somebody had to do those too.''

Meanwhile, two US officials said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators that he and his brother initially considered setting off their bombs on July 4.

Boston police said they planned to review security procedures for the Independence Day Boston Pops concert and fireworks display, which draws a crowd of more than 500,000 annually and is broadcast to a national TV audience.

Katherine Russell, right, wife of Boston Marathon bomber suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, leaves the law office of DeLuca and Weizenbaum with Amato DeLuca. (AP Photo/Stew Milne) Source: AP

Authorities plan to look at security procedures for large events held in other cities, notably the massive New Year's Eve celebration held each year in New York City's Times Square, Massachusetts state police spokesman David Procopio said.

Governor Deval Patrick said everything possible will be done to assure a safe event.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was found hiding in a tarp-covered boat in a backyard in Watertown, a Boston suburb, faces a charge of using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

Three of his college classmates were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly helping the alleged bomber by removing a laptop and backpack from his dormitory room before the FBI searched it.

The April 15 bombing, which used pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards, killed three people and injured more than 260 others near the marathon's finish line.

The brothers decided to carry out the attack before Independence Day when they finished assembling the bombs, the surviving suspect told interrogators after he was arrested.

A vehicle believed to be carrying the body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev backs into an underground garage at the Dyer-Lake Funeral Home, Thursday, May 2, 2013, in North Attleborough, Mass. The body of Tsarnaev, who was the subject of a massive manhunt and died after a gunbattle with police, was claimed on Thursday. (AP Photo/Stew Milne) Source: AP

Investigators believe some of the explosives used in the attack were assembled in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's home, though there may have been some assembly elsewhere.

It does not appear that the brothers ever had big, definitive plans, an official said.

The brothers' mother insists the allegations against them are lies.

Tsarnaev's widow, Katherine Russell, who has been living with her parents in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, learned this week that the medical examiner was ready to release his body and wanted it turned over to his side of the family, her attorney Amato DeLuca said days ago.

Tsarnaev's uncle Ruslan Tsarni, of Maryland, said Tuesday night the family would take the body.

"Of course, family members will take possession of the body,'' Tsarni said.

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posted links to Islamic websites on what appears to be his page on a Russian language social networking site. Lily Grimes reports.

Tsarnaev, who had appeared in surveillance photos wearing a black cap and was identified as Suspect No. 1, died three days after the bombing.

The April 15 bombing, using pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards near the marathon's finish line, killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Authorities said Tsarnaev and his younger brother later killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer and carjacked a driver, who later escaped.

Authorities said that during the gunbattle with police, the Tsarnaev brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the United States about a decade ago, set off another pressure cooker bomb and tossed grenades before the older brother ran out of ammunition.

In this picture taken by Bob Leonard about 10-20 minutes before the Boston Marathon blast, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Suspect Two) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Suspect One) watch runners pass by. Source: AP

Police said they tackled the older brother and began to handcuff him but had to dive out of the way at the last second when the younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, drove a stolen car at them. They said the younger brother ran over his brother's body as he drove away from the scene to escape.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured later, wounded and bloody, hiding in a tarp-covered boat in a suburban Boston backyard. He is in a federal prison and faces a charge of using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

The Tsarnaev brothers' mother insists the allegations against them are lies.

Three of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends, college classmates, were arrested on Wednesday and accused of helping after the marathon bombing to remove a laptop and backpack from his dormitory room before the FBI searched it.

A top Republican senator on Thursday asked President Barack Obama's administration to explain how one of the students entered the United States without a valid student visa.

Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, in a three-page letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, asked for additional details about the student visa applications for Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, college roommates from Kazakhstan charged with obstruction of justice in the marathon bombing case, and how Tazhayakov was allowed to re-enter the United States in January.

How did Boston terror suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev - whose mother was also on a terror database - slip through the cracks, despite warning signs?

Tazhayakov was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth when he left the US in December. In early January, his student visa status was terminated because he was academically dismissed by the university.

Peter Boogaard, a DHS spokesman, said on Wednesday that when Tazhayakov arrived in January Customs and Border Protection had not been alerted that he was no longer a student. Boogaard said the department was working on a fix to the student visa system.

The third student arrested, Robel Phillipos, was charged with willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation.

Three men accused of providing aid to Boston Marathon suspects have been arrested. Fox News

All three men charged in connection with the case began attending UMass Dartmouth with Tsarnaev in 2011, according to the FBI.

If convicted, Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov could get up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Phillipos faces a maximum of eight years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.

The lawyers for the Kazakh students said their clients had nothing to do with the bombing and were just as shocked by it as everyone else. Phillipos' attorney said the only allegation against him was "he made a misrepresentation.''

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