• The Gorilla Foundation/Koko.org(NEW YORK) -- Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language and became a pop-culture phenomenon, will be laid to rest Saturday in a ceremony at an animal sanctuary in Northern California where she lived for decades.The western lowland gorilla died in her sleep Tuesday morning at the age of 46, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which is headed by animal psychologist Francine "Penny" Patterson, who worked with and cared for Koko since the primate was a year old.Koko was renowned as one of the most intellectual apes in history, beloved by millions of people around the world. Under Patterson's tutelage, she learned more than 1,000 words in sign language and came to understand over 2,000 words spoken to her in English."She taught me more than I taught her, for sure," Patterson, 71, told ABC News in a telephone interview Thursday. "She had opportunities to show her brilliance and that’s what we saw. We saw a person, really. She had all the attributes of a person and then some."Born at the San Francisco Zoo, Koko was loaned to Patterson at the age of 1 for a research project at Stanford University on interspecies communications. When the zoo wanted Koko back for breeding, Patterson raised more than $12,000 to officially adopt the super-simian.Koko will be buried at a grave site on the Gorilla Foundation's seven-acre preserve in Woodside, California, alongside Michael, a western lowland gorilla who was rescued from poachers in Cameroon and came to live with Koko at the sanctuary. He was originally Koko's intended mate, but the pair developed a close friendship instead, according to Patterson.Michael died in 2000 from cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart to become enlarged."They were great playmates and companions. They were good together, and she loved him so much," Patterson said. "It just feels right to have them close."Patterson said Koko looked "peaceful" after she died, when Patterson arrived to be by her side."We’re still trying to understand what the cause was," Patterson told ABC News. "Many gorillas have a heart condition, cardiomyopathy, and she had it, but it was apparently a mild case and was being treated for that. That’s one possibility."Patterson recalled one of the last conversations she had with Koko in sign language."She was looking a little sad and worried, and she looked straight at me and held two signs," she said. "One was ‘patient’ and the second one was ‘old.’ So she was trying to explain, 'Hey, I’m getting on.'"Saturday's funeral and burial ceremony will take place near Koko's dwelling so that the organization's other gorilla, 36-year-old Ndume, can "see the whole thing and participate," Patterson said.Patterson recently took Ndume to see Koko's body to help give him closure."He's sad," she said. "When he came to see her, he brought some blankets. He brought a chair, he brought his favorite barrel and he arranged her blankets so they were off of her and around her. And then he sat on his barrel and he could see that I was sad, and he signed, Know.’ ‘I know.’ Basically, he was telling me he knew what happened. And he also signed, ‘cry,’ which, of course, is what we’re doing."Born at the Cincinnati Zoo, Ndume was also brought to the sanctuary to be Koko's mating partner. Koko did get pregnant but had a miscarriage. The two remained close companions after that, according to Patterson."I think that's one of Koko's deepest regrets is not having a baby," she told ABC News.Koko's beloved cats, Ms. Gray and Ms. Black, whom she "adopted" in 2015 and considered her offspring, will also be at Saturday's ceremony, along with volunteers and staff members of The Gorilla Foundation who helped care for Koko."It's really a celebration of life," Patterson said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hundreds of thousands of people upset about the separation of immigrant families at the border are putting their money into the fight, and making history in the process.A Facebook fundraiser called "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child" has now raised more than $19.4 million in less than a week, with more than 500,000 people contributing.Facebook spokesperson Roya Winner told ABC News it is the largest fundraiser to date created on the Facebook Fundraisers tool.Winner said it became the social platform’s largest single fundraiser in less than four days.Since it launched Sunday, June 17, the money-raising effort has regularly increased its goal as it continued meeting previous targets that have included $5 million, $8 million and $15 million.As of Saturday morning, the target was $25 million, increased from $20 million on Friday.The money is to go to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, a non-profit that according to its website provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in central and south Texas.The fundraising page was launched by Silicon Valley power trio Malorie Lucich and Dave and Charlotte Willner, who were among the original employees at Facebook and now work at Pinterest, the popular image-collecting site. The Willners also work at Airbnb.Public outrage over the border separations prompted President Donald Trump to sign an executive order Wednesday aimed at keeping immigrant families together."I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," Trump said at the signing in the Oval Office.Under the executive action, the Justice Department is to start a legal process to change an existing court settlement that restricts the government to keeping children in detention with their parents for no longer than 20 days. The sought-after change would allow children to stay with their families for however long the adults are detained.The order does not do anything to affect the fate of families that have already been separated.ABC News Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Kevin Mazur/Getty Images(SANTA FE, Texas) -- Two of the biggest comedians of the past decade took time out from their tour to meet with survivors of the Santa Fe High School shooting on Friday.Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart met with the students on Friday afternoon, according to Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen's Twitter page. Rosen shared pictures of the two A-list stars shaking hands and talking with the students.Santa Fe student Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, allegedly burst into an art room at the Texas school on May 18 with a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver, killing 10 and injuring 13 others. He was taken into custody and has been charged with murder. Two faculty members and eight students were killed.Students at the school didn't return until May 29.Chappelle and Stewart performed together on Thursday and Friday nights at the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land, Texas, and have shows on Saturday and Sunday at the Abraham Chavez Theatre in El Paso, Texas.The tweet from the constable said the comedic duo were also in town to attend the Big 3 Basketball League -- a three-on-three league consisting of many recently retired NBA players -- which kicked off its second season in Houston on Thursday.Stewart is a well-known advocate for stricter gun control. The former "Daily Show" host dedicated a segment to the Emanuel AME Church shooting in June 2015, not long before he stepped away from the show he made famous. A resigned Stewart said, "I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other."Chappelle has worked gun violence into his act before. Less than three weeks ago, at a show in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the comedian -- who has a deal to produce specials for Netflix -- joked gun laws would only change if more black people registered for legal guns, according to Philadelphia magazine.The comedians weren't the first A-list celebrities to visit students from Santa Fe High School. Pop star Justin Timberlake visited Sarah Salazar, who was wounded in the shooting, at the hospital in late May. Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt also visited Salazar after the shooting.The Santa Fe shooting was the second in 2018 at a school in which over 10 people were killed. A former student walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 and killed 17 students and teachers with an AR-15-style rifle.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Antwon Rose/Facebook(PITTSBURGH) -- Authorities took issue with multiple "irresponsible" reports about the police shooting of East Pittsburgh teenager Antwon Rose -- a case that has gained national attention and generated local protests in the past three days.Rose, 17, was shot and killed by a police officer Tuesday night after the teen and two others were pulled over in a car believed to have been connected to an earlier shooting that night.The deadly shooting was caught by a bystander on cellphone video, which is being reviewed by authorities.The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office released a lengthy statement on behalf of Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough disputing a report that surveillance video showed Rose firing a gun in connection with the shooting earlier in the night."The Allegheny County Police Department (ACPD) continues to receive inquiries related to reports from police sources that 1) a video of the drive-by shooting in North Braddock shows Antwon Rose firing a gun; and, 2) that gunshot residue has been found on Antwon Rose’s hands," the statement reads."While ACPD does have a video showing the North Braddock incident, that video does NOT show Antwon Rose firing a gun," the statement adds. "The information about gunshot residue is also false. Crime Lab reports are still pending and have not yet been issued."Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA had reported both pieces of information, attributed to anonymous sources, earlier in the day Friday.The D.A.'s office admonished the media for the reports."We caution the media about providing irresponsible information from sources that are not verified," the office said in its statement. "Once published, such false information can be widely spread. We share your interest in providing answers to the many questions in our community, and are working expeditiously to gather all of the available information and detail so that it can be reviewed, and answers provided."District Attorney Stephen Zappala reported on Friday that an empty gun ammunition clip was found in Rose's pocket after the shooting. He did not have a gun, authorities said.In an interview with Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE, Zappala confirmed the video of the first shooting and that the car Rose was in matched the description given by witnesses.East Pittsburgh is about 11 miles southeast of downtown Pittsburgh.The officer who shot Rose was identified by the Allegheny County Police Department as 30-year-old Michael Rosfeld, who had been on the job for just three weeks. The Allegheny County Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting. Zappala said he expected Rosfeld to be interviewed Friday.Protests continued late into the night on Friday, with marchers rallying outside PNC Park, where the Pittsburgh Pirates were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks, and on Homestead Grays Bridge, which crosses the Monongahela River between East Pittsburgh and Homestead, Pennsylvania.Several arrests were made, WTAE reported, though the marchers were largely peaceful.Zappala said Friday he does not plan to turn over the case to the state Attorney General's office.ABC News' Kenneth Moton contributed to this report.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office(NEW YORK) -- The message from the grave was defiant. But was it the truth?For five years, Kim Pack suspected her stepfather, Dr. James Kauffman of killing her mother, a bubbly host of a popular local radio show. But it wasn’t until January of this year that the prominent New Jersey endocrinologist was charged with putting a hit out on April Kauffman’s life.Before he could go to trial, Jim Kauffman was found dead of an apparent suicide inside the county jail where he was being held.“I was stunned,” said Damon Tyner, the Atlantic County prosecutor who charged Kauffman with orchestrating the plot that ended with the murder. “But in retrospect, that’s what convinces me now more than ever that he understood the end was near.”Bringing a stunning climax to a murder mystery that riveted the Philadelphia-South Jersey region, Tyner and his team had charged Kauffman with devising a murder-for-hire plot to kill April Kauffman after, prosecutors say, she’d threatened to expose an illegal drug ring he was allegedly running with members of the notorious biker group, the Pagans Motorcycle Club.Kauffman was accused of working with a reputed Pagans leader named Ferdinand Augello to arrange the hit on April Kauffman after, prosecutors believe, she threatened to go public with the shocking revelation that her husband had never served in the military, though he promoted himself as a Green Beret veteran who performed acts of heroism during the Vietnam War.“Jim Kauffman was involved with the Pagan outlaw motorcycle gang,” Tyner said. “You had a prominent endocrinologist that was prescribing opioids and all kinds of other painkillers… when that wasn’t ‘his practice.’”April Kauffman, a vivacious 47-year-old who earned a following on the radio and as a veterans activist, was found shot dead on May 10, 2012, in the bedroom of the Linwood, New Jersey, home she shared with her husband.For years, no arrests were made in the Kauffman murder case, but her daughter from her first marriage, Kim Pack, and her attorneys continued digging for answers.“We were talking to people that were critical witnesses to us that had not spoken to the prosecutor's office,” said one of Pack’s lawyers, Andrew D’Arcy.James Kauffman seemed to move on with his life. He remarried and filed to collect on April’s life insurance policy. Pack objected and sued her stepfather for causing the wrongful death of her mother.That lawsuit would prove critical, giving Pack’s lawyers the opportunity to question James Kauffman under oath. It was the only time he was ever questioned under oath about his wife’s death.In the deposition, the doctor talked about running into the house and seeing his wife’s body.“I ran upstairs,” he said. “I looked inside and unfortunately saw April lying there and she wasn’t moving. … I ran downstairs, [out to the] lawn, and was hysterical and started vomiting.”At one point, he was asked who he thought may have killed his wife. Jim Kauffman offered first that it could have been the police, then he suggested it might have been a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress. Kauffman mused it could have been a “slum lord,” whom April had criticized, and then he mentioned the biker group."Also, the last choice was that it was someone in the motorcycle gang… the Pagans,” Jim Kauffman said during the deposition.Prosecutors believe that it was less of a theory at the time and, perhaps, more of a confession.James McClain was the previous county prosecutor who had overseen the Kauffman case for almost five years. He had been appointed to the post less than two months after she was killed. Pack said when she met with him, he said little about the case other than that it was active, making her question the efforts being put into the invest
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(LANCASTER, Calif.) -- A 10–year-old California boy has died after a fall investigators are calling “suspicious" and authorities removed seven other children from the apartment where the child was found, ABC station KABC reported.Anthony Avalos was found unresponsive in his family's apartment in Lancaster on Wednesday, reportedly suffering from a fall, officials said.Deputies from the Lancaster station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to the apartment complex on the 1100 block of East Avenue K around 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, “regarding a medical rescue call of a 10-year-old boy not breathing,” according to as statement from the LASD. Lt. Derrick Alfred of the sheriff's departmen ttold ABC News that Anthony's mother made the emergency call.“Upon arrival, the victim was discovered in his family's apartment unresponsive,” said to have “suffered injuries from a fall,” the statement said. Anthony was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced died the next morning.The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed they have had previous interactions with this family before.Seven children, ages 11 months to 12 years, who were associated with the victim’s family have been removed from the home, pending further investigation by the L.A. Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Special Victims Bureau."As a Department, our first and foremost priority is the safety of our County’s children and we grieve whenever we hear of a child’s death," Bobby Cagle, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, said in a statement to ABC News. "We also try to understand how such tragedies occur and we work hard to figure out how they might have been prevented in the first place. But, unfortunately, we are reminded at times that people are capable of the unspeakable."As of Friday morning, no arrests have been made.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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