CNN-National & Wolrd

Virginia Tech Shootings Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is some background information about the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007, one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history.

Twenty-three-year-old Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, before taking his own life.


Seung-Hui Cho was a senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in English. He was born in South Korea in 1984 and became a permanent US resident in 1992.


December 13, 2005 – Cho is ordered by a judge to seek outpatient care after making suicidal remarks to his roommates. He is evaluated at Carilion-St. Alban’s mental health facility.

February 9, 2007 – Cho picks up a Walther P-22 pistol he purchased online on February 2 from an out-of-state dealer at JND Pawn shop in Blacksburg, across the street from Virginia Tech.

March 2007 – Cho purchases a 9mm Glock pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition from Roanoke Firearms for $571.

April 16, 2007 – (Events are listed in local ET)
7:15 a.m. – Police are notified in a 911 call that there are at least two shooting victims at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a four-story coed dormitory on campus that houses approximately 895 students.

9:01 a.m. – Cho mails a package containing video, photographs and writings to NBC News in New York. NBC doesn’t receive it until two days later due to an incorrect address on the package.

9:26 a.m. – The school sends out an email statement that a shooting took place at West Ambler Johnston Hall earlier that morning.

9:45 a.m. – 911 calls report a second round of shootings in classrooms at Norris Hall, the engineering science and mechanics building. At least 32 students and faculty are killed.

9:50 a.m. – “Please stay put.” A second email notifies students that a gunman is loose on campus.

9:55 a.m. – University officials send a third message about the second shooting via email and text messages to students.

10:16 a.m. – Classes are canceled.

10:53 a.m. – Students receive an email about Norris Hall shooting, with the subject line, “Second shooting reported: police have one gunman in custody.”

12:42 p.m. – VT President Charles Steger issues a statement that people are being released from campus buildings and that counseling centers are being set up. He announces that classes are canceled again for the next day.

April 17, 2007 – Virginia Tech Police announce that they “have been able to confirm the identity of the gunman at Norris Hall. That person is Seung-Hui Cho. He was a 23-year-old South Korean here in the US as a resident alien.”

April 18, 2007 – NBC News announces that they have received a package containing pictures and written material which they believe to be from Cho, sent between the two shootings.

August 15, 2007 – It is announced that the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, funded by private donations, will donate $180,000 to the families of each of the 32 victims. Those injured will receive $40,000 to $90,000, depending on the severity of the injuries, and a waiver of tuition and fees if applicable.

March 24, 2008 – The state proposes a settlement to the families related to the shooting. In it, $100,000 is offered to representatives of each of the 32 people killed and another $800,000 is reserved to those injured, with a $100,000 maximum. Expenses not covered by insurance such as medical, psychological, and psychiatric care for surviving victims and all immediate families are also covered.

April 10, 2008 – Governor Tim Kaine announces that a “substantial majority” of the families related to the shootings have agreed to the $11 million settlement offered by the state. It isn’t clear how many families have not accepted the deal. The settlement will pay survivors’ medical costs for life and compensate families who lost loved ones. By accepting the settlement, the families give up their right to sue the university, state, and local government in the future. Neither the attorneys representing the families nor the governor would discuss the exact terms until final papers are drawn.

June 17, 2008 – A judge approves the $11 million settlement offered by the state to some of the victims and families of those killed in the shooting rampage. Families of 24 of the 32 killed, as well as 18 who were injured are included in the settlement.

April 10, 2009 – Norris Hall reopens. The 4,300-square-foot area will house the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, which relocated to the building.

December 9, 2010 – The US Department of Education releases a report charging that Virginia Tech failed to notify students in a “timely manner,” as prescribed by the Clery Act.

March 14, 2012 – A jury awards $4 million each to two victims’ families who sued the state for wrongful death. The jury finds Virginia Tech failed to notify students early enough following the discovery of two shooting victims at West Ambler Johnston dormitory. The families of Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde argued that had officials notified students and staff earlier of the shooting, lives might have been spared. The Peterson and Pryde families did not accept a portion of an $11 million settlement between the state and the families of victims, opting instead to sue for wrongful death. The amount is later reduced to $100,000 per family.

October 31, 2013 – The Supreme Court of Virginia overturns the jury verdict in a wrongful death suit filed against the state by the families of two of the victims, that “there was no duty of the Commonwealth to warn students about the potential for criminal acts” by Seung-Hui Cho.

January 21, 2014 – The court denies a request by the Pryde and Peterson families to reconsider its ruling.

April 2014 – Virginia Tech pays fines totaling $32,500 to the Dept. of Education for violation of the Clery Act, a law requiring colleges and universities to provide timely notification of campus safety information.

The Victims

West Ambler Johnston Hall (dorm)
Ryan Clark, 22, Martinez, Georgia
– Senior, English, Biology and Psychology
– Resident Assistant on campus, also in the Marching Virginians college band
– Known as “the Stack” to friends

Emily Jane Hilscher, 19, Woodville, Virginia
– Freshman, Animal and Poultry Sciences

Norris Hall (dept. bldg/classrooms)
Ross Alameddine, 20, Saugus, Massachusetts
– Sophomore, English
– Died in a French class

Dr. Christopher “Jamie” Bishop, 35, Pine Mountain, Georgia
– Instructor, Foreign Languages and Literatures (German)

Brian Bluhm, 25, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Graduate Student, Civil Engineering

Austin Cloyd, 18, Blacksburg, Virginia
– Sophomore, International Studies and French

Jocelyn Couture-Nowak, 49, born in Montreal, Canada
– Instructor, French

Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva, 21, Woodbridge, Virginia, originally from Peru
– Junior, International Studies
– Died in French class

Dr. Kevin Granata, 46, Toledo, Ohio
– Professor, Engineering Science and Mechanics

Matt Gwaltney, 24, Chesterfield, Virginia
Graduate Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Caitlin Hammaren, 19, Westtown, New York
Sophomore, International Studies and French

Jeremy Herbstritt, 27, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
– Graduate student, Civil Engineering

Rachael Hill, 18, Richmond, Virginia
Freshman, Biology

Jarrett Lane, 22, Narrows, Virginia
– Senior, Civil Engineering

Matt La Porte, 20, Dumont, New Jersey
– Sophomore, Political Science

Henry Lee, 20, Roanoke, Virginia
– Sophomore, Computer Engineering

Dr. Liviu Librescu, 75, from Romania
Professor, Engineering Science and Mechanics
– A Romanian Holocaust survivor

Dr. G V Loganathan, 51, born in Chennai, India
– Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
– Had been at VA Tech since 1981

Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan, 34, Indonesia
– Doctoral student, Civil Engineering

Lauren McCain, 20, Hampton, Virginia
– Freshman, International Studies

Daniel O’Neil, 22, Lafayette, Rhode Island
– Graduate student, Environmental Engineering

Juan Ramon Ortiz-Ortiz, 26, San Juan, Puerto Rico
– Graduate student, Civil Engineering

Minal Panchal, 26, Mumbai, India
– Graduate student, Architecture

Erin Peterson, 18, Centreville, Virginia
– Freshman, International Studies
Died in a French class

Michael Pohle, 23, Flemington, New Jersey
– Senior, Biological Sciences

Julia Pryde, 23, Middletown, New Jersey
– Graduate Student, Biological Systems Engineering

Mary Karen Read, 19, Annandale, Virginia
– Freshman, Interdisciplinary Studies

Reema Joseph Samaha, 18, Centreville, Virginia
– Freshman, University Studies
– Went to the same high school as Cho

Waleed Mohammed Shaalan, 32, Zagazig, Egypt
– Doctoral student, Civil Engineering

Leslie G. Sherman, 20, Springfield, Virginia
– Junior, History and International Relations

Maxine Turner, 22, Vienna, Virginia
– Senior, Chemical Engineering

Nicole Regina White, 20, Smithfield, Virginia
– Sophomore, International Studies

CNN-National & Wolrd

Atlanta Courthouse Shootings Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s some background information about Brian Nichols and the Atlanta courthouse shootings. On March 11, 2005, 33-year old Brian Nichols escaped from the Fulton County Courthouse while on trial for rape, and killed four people.

About Brian Nichols

Birth date: December 10, 1971

Birth place: Baltimore, Maryland

Birth name: Brian Gene Nichols

Children: with Sonya Meredith: a son, March 8, 2005; with Stephanie Jay: Jasmine Jay, 1992


Judge Rowland Barnes, 64, Fulton County Superior Court Judge

Julie Brandau, 46, court reporter

Hoyt Teasley, 43, sheriff’s deputy

David Wilhelm, 40, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent


1995 – Moves to Atlanta with his family.

1996-1999 – Is on probation from 1996 to 1999 for a felony drug case in Cobb County, Georgia. He is arrested with a small amount of marijuana.

Summer 2004 – Is charged with the rape of his former girlfriend.

March 11, 2005

8:45 a.m. – While being escorted to his retrial for the rape and other charges, Nichols attacks a sheriff’s deputy when she removes his handcuffs, in a struggle that lasts about three minutes and is caught on surveillance video. He takes the key to a lock box where her gun is stored.

Nichols retrieves the gun, changes clothes and crosses a sky bridge into the next building and heads for the courtroom.

Nichols then goes to Judge Rowland Barnes’ private chambers, tears out the phone lines, takes three hostages and inquires about the judge’s whereabouts. He leaves a number of times, finally returning with another deputy taken hostage.

8:55 a.m. – Seizes the second deputy’s gun and enters the courtroom from behind the bench, fires a single shot into Barnes’ head, then shoots and kills court reporter Julie Brandau.

Nichols goes down the stairwell, leaves through an emergency exit and sets off an emergency alarm.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, witnesses say he fires multiple shots into the abdomen of another sheriff’s deputy, Hoyt Teasley.

9:05 a.m. – Nichols first steals a dark SUV (2001 Mazda Tribute), drives fewer than three blocks and crashes through the gate of another parking deck.

9:07 a.m. – A tow truck driver, Deronte Franklin, says that after he directs police into the deck, Nichols comes back down and steals his truck at gunpoint.

9:14 a.m. – Nichols then drives to another deck about six blocks away where Almeta Kilgo, an employee of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, says he stole her 2004 Mercury Sable. She says she escaped after refusing Nichols’ order to stay in the car.

9:15 a.m. – Atlanta Police Command staff are notified at APD Communications that a Fulton County deputy has been shot.

9:16 a.m. – Nichols carjacks a blue Isuzu Trooper from Sung Chung, at 250 Spring St.

9:19 a.m. – The tow truck (1999 Ford F-350) stolen at 9:07a.m. is recovered at a parking deck at 98 Cone St.

9:20 a.m. – Nichols drives a couple more blocks to another deck, Centennial Parking, 130 Marietta St., where he steals the car of AJC reporter Don O’Briant, a green 1997 Honda Accord. He says Nichols orders him into the trunk and pistol-whips him when he refuses. O’Briant manages to run away.

9:30 a.m. (approx.) – Police say they believe Nichols moved unnoticed across the street through a crowd gathering for a college basketball tournament, making his escape on a MARTA subway train to the Lenox area. Officials say nothing about Nichols’s whereabouts for the next 13 hours.

9:45 a.m. – The Atlanta Police Department takes command of the crime scene.

By about 7 p.m. – Authorities announce they are offering a $60,000 reward for information leading to Nichols’ capture.

10:40 p.m. – Nichols attempts to rob a couple at an apartment on Lenox Road, getting into a scuffle before fleeing.

Sometime later but less than five minutes away on foot, Nichols encounters US ICE Agent David Wilhelm and he shoots and kills Wilhelm, taking his gun, his badge and his blue Chevrolet pickup.

11 p.m. – An AJC employee finds O’Briant’s green Honda Accord on a different level of the same downtown parking garage, Centennial Parking.

March 12, 2005

About 2:30 a.m. – Ashley Smith returns from running an errand to her apartment in Duluth, about 20 miles northeast of Atlanta. Nichols forces his way into her apartment at gunpoint and binds her hands and feet.

Smith says as they spoke for hours about religion and family, Nichols began to relax, and eventually unbound her hands and feet.

After 6 a.m. – Smith says she followed Nichols so he could hide the truck and then took him back to the apartment in her car. She says that Nichols did not take any weapons on the trip, and that she had her cell phone but did not call police.

About 6:30 a.m. – 7 a.m. – Construction workers arrive at David Wilhelm’s home, find his body and call police, who put out an alert for the blue Chevrolet pickup truck.

Smith says Nichols allowed her to leave at 10 a.m. to visit her daughter. Nichols gives her money, saying he was going to stay at her apartment for a “few days.”

About 9:50 a.m. – Smith dials 911 and within minutes, a SWAT team converges on the building.

About 11:24 a.m. – Nichols is taken into custody after surrendering by waving a white t-shirt or towel.

READ MORE: Hostage says she gained trust of Atlanta killings suspect

After capture

March 15, 2005 – Nichols makes his first court appearance after being captured.

May 5, 2005 – A Fulton County grand jury indicts Nichols on 54 counts, including four counts of felony murder. District Attorney Paul Howard says the state will seek the death penalty. In addition to the felony murder charges, Nichols is indicted on four counts of murder, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, 18 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated battery, seven counts of kidnapping and kidnapping with bodily injury, seven counts of armed robbery and five counts of robbery by force, theft by taking, escape and hijacking a motor vehicle.

May 17, 2005 – Nichols pleads not guilty to all 54 counts.

September 27, 2005 – Ashley Smith’s book, “Unlikely Angel,” is published by Zondervan/Harper Collins. The book recounts the seven hours she spent as Brian Nichols hostage.

February 8, 2006 – Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller rules that Nichols’ trial will take place at the Fulton County Courthouse, the scene of some of the crimes.

November 9, 2006 – Judge Fuller rules that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom, though he leaves open the possibility of some restrictions once the trial begins.

October 15, 2007 – Jury selection begins.

October 17, 2007 – Judge Fuller suspends jury selection indefinitely due to lack of state funding for the defense.

January 30, 2008 – Judge Fuller announces he is stepping down from the case due to the perception by many that he is biased.

July 10, 2008 – The trial resumes and jury selection begins. Nichols pleads not guilty by reason of insanity.

September 17, 2008 – A jury of eight women and four men (six black females, two white females, two black males, one white male and one Asian male) is selected.

September 22, 2008 – Opening statements begin.

November 7, 2008 – After twelve hours of deliberation, a jury finds Nichols guilty on all 54 counts. The jurors reject the defense attorneys’ claim that Nichols suffers from a mental illness.

December 13, 2008 – Superior Court Judge James Bodiford sentences Nichols to life in prison without parole, the maximum for all counts, a day after the jury deadlocks on a death penalty sentence.

READ MORE: Jury deadlocked on penalty for Atlanta courthouse shooter

August 18, 2015 – Ashley Smith’s book, “Unlikely Angel,” is published by HarperCollins/William Morrow as “Captive: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero.”

September 18, 2015 – The film “Captive” is released by Paramount Pictures and is an adaption of Smith’s book. It stars David Oyelowo as Nichols and Kate Mara as Smith.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) a religious sect that broke away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also known as the Mormon Church over the practice of polygamy.

2002-present – Warren Jeffs is the spiritual leader of the FLDS. His brother Lyle Jeffs overseas daily affairs.

2011 – Warren Jeffs is sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault of a child under age 14 and 20 years for the sexual assault of a child under age 17.

About FLDS

The FLDS has an estimated 10000 members most of whom live in Colorado City Arizona and Hildale Utah. The group also has followers near Eldorado Texas and in South Dakota Colorado Nevada British Columbia and Mexico.

The spiritual leader of the FLDS church is considered a prophet of God. He is the only person able to perform marriage and can punish followers by “reassigning” their wives and children to other men.

They believe in practicing polygamy.

Critics of the FLDS maintain that underage females are often forced into marriages with older men.

Eleven of 12 suspects from the 2008 raid on the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch have been tried and convicted on charges of child sexual assault bigamy or performing an unlawful marriage. The charges against Lloyd H. Barlow the doctor indicted on three charges of failure to report child abuse were dismissed.


1890 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also known as the Mormon church suspends the practice of polygamy in order to gain statehood for Utah. Members who continue to practice polygamy are excommunicated.

1930s – Fundamentalists who practiced polygamy are excommunicated by the Mormon church and settle in Arizona.

July 26 1953 – Thirty-six men 86 women and 263 children are either arrested or taken into custody during a pre-dawn raid in Arizona.
– The men are placed on probation after promising to discontinue practicing polygamy.
– Most of the women and children return to the ranch after two years of being wards of the state of Arizona.

November 1986 – FLDS prophet and leader LeRoy Johnson dies at age 98 after leading the FLDS since 1954.

1986-2002 – Rulon T. Jeffs rules as prophet of FLDS until his death at age 92.

September 8 2002 – Rulon T. Jeffs’ son Warren Jeffs becomes prophet.

May 2005 – A Utah court freezes the assets of the United Effort Plan trust which encompasses all of the FLDS sect’s land houses and other assets. The trust established in the 1940s is worth more than $100 million. While the trust was established for the benefit of all FLDS members critics charge that Warren Jeffs has used it to punish dissenters by kicking them out of their homes.

June 9-10 2005 – Warren Jeffs is indicted in Mohave County Arizona on felony charges of arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 28-year-old man who was already married. A state warrant is issued for Jeffs’ arrest although he hasn’t been seen in public for months.

2006 – In the ongoing dispute over the United Effort Plan trust a judge strips the trust of its religious tenets and allows former church members to join as beneficiaries.

April 6 2006 – Jeffs is charged in Utah as an accomplice to rape for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and an adult man.

May 6 2006 – The FBI places Jeffs on its top 10 most-wanted list of fugitives.

August 28 2006 – Jeffs is arrested after being pulled over for a routine traffic stop near Las Vegas.

January 28 2007 – Attempts to hang himself in his cell while awaiting trial.

September 25 2007 – Jeffs is found guilty of two counts of rape by an accomplice in Utah. He is sentenced to ten years to life in prison.

April 4-7 2008 – In response to phone calls to a family violence hotline alleging abuse and rape police raid the FLDS Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Eldorado Texas.
– 416 children are initially removed from the YFZ Ranch (The number of children removed rises to 468 after some of the mothers are determined to be younger than 18). About 130 women voluntarily leave the compound.

May 22 2008 – The Texas Third Court of Appeals in Austin rules that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) illegally removed the children from their families.

May 29 2008 – The Texas Supreme Court upholds the appellate court’s ruling 6-3.

July 22 2008 – A Texas grand jury indicts Warren Jeffs and other FLDS members on bigamy and sexual assault charges.

June 9 2010 – An Arizona judge dismisses the four charges against Jeffs of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor due to his more serious pending charges in Texas.

July 27 2010 – The Utah Supreme Court overturns Jeffs’ two 2007 convictions by reason of erroneous jury instructions and orders a new trial.

November 30 2010 – Jeffs is extradited from Utah to Texas to stand trial on two charges of sexual assault of a child and bigamy.

December 29 2010 – Pleas of not guilty are entered on Jeffs’ behalf. If convicted he faces a maximum sentence of up to 99 years in prison.

July 25 2011 – Trial begins in Texas on charges of sexual assault of a child. Jeffs is granted the request to represent himself.

August 4 2011 – Jeffs is convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child under age 14 and sexual assault of a child under age 17.

August 9 2011 – Jeffs is sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault of a child under age 14 and 20 years for sexual assault of a child under age 17.

January 2012 – Texas prison officials find Jeffs guilty of “a major disciplinary infraction” for violating policy by making conference calls to preach to his congregation.

October 9 2012 – The bigamy charges against already-imprisoned Jeffs and three other sect members are dismissed. The motion states “in the interest of judicial economy the State moves to dismiss the indictment.”

November 28 2012 – The Texas Attorney General’s Office announces it has begun legal proceedings to seize the 1600-acre YFZ Ranch near Eldorado Texas.

April 17 2014 – Officials confirm that Texas authorities have initiated the seizure of the YFZ Ranch.

February 23 2016 – Eleven FLDS members including Lyle Jeffs are indicted. They are accused of fraud and money laundering.

March 7 2016 – A federal jury finds that the city governments in Short Creek — Hildale on the Utah side and Colorado City on the Arizona side — were so corrupted by the FLDS that they discriminated against non-members by denying them police service water hookups and other utilities. A federal judge has set aside four days in late October for testimony to help him decide what steps to take.

June 2016 – While under house arrest awaiting a fraud trial it is discovered that Lyle Jeffs has removed his FBI tracking bracelet and fled.

April 18 2017 – Federal Judge H. Russel Holland rules that police in the Short Creek community along the Arizona-Utah border must retrain officers and hire an independent mentor after discriminating against non-members of the sect and turning a blind eye to church misconduct. The order will last for 10 years.

June 14 2017 – A tip leads to Jeffs’ arrest in Yankton South Dakota. He had been on the run for over a year.

August 4 2017 – The court announces Jeffs’ trial is postponed until October.

September 5 2017 – Warren Jeffs is ordered to pay $16 million to a former child bride.

December 13 2017 – Lyle Jeffs is sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for his role in food stamp fraud and escaping house arrest.

June 18 2019 – District Court Judge Richard McKelvie rules that a community board is authorized to decide who is entitled to buy homes and commercial properties in the United Effort Plan trust ending court oversight that began in 2005.

CNN-National & Wolrd

National Exercise Program Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the National Exercise Program, the US system for emergency preparation drills. These exercises are mandated by Congress to test and strengthen federal, state and local government ability to respond to potential catastrophic events.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Exercise Division (NED) oversees the National Exercise Program (NEP).

The first series of drills was called TOPOFF, which ran from 2000 to 2009.

The second series was called National Level Exercises (NLE), and ran from 2009 to 2012.

The National Exercise Program began Capstone Exercises in 2012.

TOPOFF Operations

TOPOFF is short for TOP OFFICIALS. Governors, mayors, city managers, top federal and state officials, and others play active roles.

Sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security Office for State and Local Government Coordination.

Designed to involve all levels of government as well as emergency service responders including police, fire, public health workers and others.

States volunteer to participate in TOPOFF; two are chosen for each cycle.

May 20, 2000 – The first TOPOFF drill is mandated by Congress in 1998. It lasts ten days and costs $3.5 million.

The exercise features a bioterrorism attack in Denver, a chemical warfare attack in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and other activities in Washington.

In New Hampshire, a mix of garlic and Gatorade is substituted for a bomb armed with mustard gas.

State officials say the drill taught them that rescue personnel need better training and protective gear.

May 12-16, 2003 – Takes place in Chicago and Seattle.

TOPOFF 2 is a “five-day, full-scale exercise and simulation of how the Nation would respond in the event of a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack.”

TOPOFF 2 is the first large-scale counter-terrorism exercise since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Created by the Department of Homeland Security, the weeklong set of drills cost an estimated $16 million.

More than 8,500 people from 100 federal, state and local agencies, as well as the American Red Cross and Canadian government, are involved.

The Seattle event is a dirty bomb, while the Chicago event is the release of a deadly biological agent.

April 4-8, 2005 – Takes place in Connecticut and New Jersey. Approximately 10,000 participants from 27 federal agencies, state, county and local officials and more than 150 private sector and non-government organizations take part. In total, over 275 government and private organizations participate. Interrelated events take place in Canada (TRIPLE PLAY) and Great Britain (ATLANTIC BLUE).

The Connecticut event simulates a chemical weapons attack in New London; the New Jersey event simulates a vehicle-launched bioterror attack.

TOPOFF 3 carries a budget of approximately $16 million.

October 15-19, 2007 – Takes place in Portland, Oregon, Phoenix, and the US territory of Guam.

The event is based on a scenario in which terrorists detonate a simulated “dirty bomb” in Guam, with similar, coordinated attacks later taking place in Phoenix and Portland. Dirty bombs, formally known as Radiological Dispersal Devices, are conventional explosives that release radioactive material upon explosion.

TOPOFF 4 involves more than 15,000 federal, state, territorial and local participants. Of that number, approximately 4,500 are involved in the activities in Oregon.

This is the first TOPOFF event to include the participation of a US territory.

National Level Exercises

2009 – It is announced that TOPOFF exercises will continue under a new name, Tier 1 National Level Exercise (NLE). These are conducted annually in accordance with the National Exercise Program.

NLE 2009:
July 27-31, 2009 – Takes place at federal headquarters facilities in Washington, DC and in federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector facilities in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and California. Additionally, Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom participate.

The NLE 2009 scenario begins in the aftermath of a national terrorist event outside of the United States, and the exercise centers on preventing efforts by the terrorists to enter the United States and carry out additional attacks.

The exercise focuses exclusively on terrorism prevention and protection, as opposed to incident response and recovery.

NLE 2010:
May 17-18, 2010 – NLE 2010 engages federal, state and local partners in a series of events to demonstrate and assess federal emergency preparedness capabilities pertaining to a simulated terrorist attack involving an improvised nuclear device. As part of NLE 2010, all federal agencies within the NCR participate in Eagle Horizon 2010, an exercise that requires federal departments and agencies to demonstrate their capability to perform mission essential functions in the event of a major emergency.

NLE 2011:
May 2011 – Takes place at command posts, emergency operation centers and other locations, including federal facilities in Washington, DC and federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector facilities in the eight-member states of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium. The eight-member states are: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Missouri.

NLE 2011 simulates a major earthquake in the central United States region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

NLE 2012:
March-June 2012NLE 2012 tests the nation’s response to cyber incidents that have “virtual and real-world implications.”

NLE 2012 simulates a series of significant cyber incidents involving physical impacts on infrastructure, that require coordination among all levels of the US government, cyber centers, states, the private sector, higher education institutions and international partners.

Capstone Exercises

2012 – The NLE changes its name to the Capstone Exercise.

2013 – The Capstone Exercise changes its format to a two-year cycle.

March 30, 2014 – The 2014 National Preparedness Report, which covers 2013 preparedness activities, is published.

2014 – The Capstone Exercise includes the following multi-event exercises: The Alaska Shield 2014, Ardent Sentry 14, Nuclear Weapon Accident/Incident Exercise, Eagle Horizon 2014, and Silver Phoenix 2014.

2014 – The Eagle Horizon 2014 exercise, which tests the government’s response to potential attacks on public spaces like the DC Metro subway system, is canceled by the White House for undisclosed reasons. There are plans to resume the exercises with Eagle Horizon 2015.

2015 – The White House releases a list of planned exercises for Capstone 2016. The names are Cascadia Rising, Ardent Sentry 2016, Vigilant Guard 2016, Eagle Horizon 2016, Ultimate Caduceus and JLOTS.

April 20-21, 2015 – Eagle Horizon 2015 takes place throughout Washington.

May 2015 – A series of Continuity Exercises are conducted to assess response to such emergencies as earthquakes, nuclear accidents and chemical attacks. The exercises are called Vibrant Response 2015, NUWAIX 2015 and Ardent Sentry 2015. The FBI Marble Challenge 2015 is meant to replicate the complex process of locating and defusing a nuclear device on a timer.

March 30, 2016 – The 2016 National Preparedness Report, which covers 2015 preparedness activities, is published.

May 2016 – A series of Capstone 2016 exercises take place across the federal government in a series of five events.

January 2017 – The 2017-2018 National Exercise Program begins.

August 28, 2017 – The 2017 National Preparedness Report, which covers 2016 activities, is published.

May 2018 – More than 90 Federal departments and agencies participate in preparedness exercises to study and evaluate lessons from major US hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

November 14, 2018 – The 2018 National Preparedness Report, which covers 2017 activities, is published.

2019 – The 2019-2020 National Exercise Program begins.

January 2020 – The 2020 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Doctrine is published. The doctrine provides guidance and a set of principles for the exercise program of a jurisdiction or an organization.


Cloning Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s some background information about cloning, a process of creating an identical copy of an original.


Reproductive Cloning is the process of making a full living copy of an organism. Reproductive cloning of animals transplants nuclei from body cells into eggs that have had their nucleus removed. That egg is then stimulated to divide using an electrical charge and is implanted into the uterus of a female.

Therapeutic Cloning is the process where nuclear transplantation of a patient’s own cells makes an oocyte from which immune-compatible cells (especially stem cells) can be derived for transplant. These cells are stimulated to divide and are grown in a Petri dish rather than in the uterus.

Gene Cloning creates copies of genes or DNA fragments. Gene cloning is the most common form of cloning performed by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Genes are cloned for scientists to study in a laboratory setting.


1952 – Scientists demonstrate they can remove the nucleus from a frog’s egg, replace it with the nucleus of an embryonic frog cell, and get the egg to develop into a tadpole.

1963 – Chinese scientists reportedly create the first cloned fish by transferring the DNA from a male carp into the egg of a female carp.

1984 – A researcher in Britain claims that he has cloned the first mammal, a lamb that was produced via the nuclear transfer of sheep embryo cells.

February 22, 1997 – Scientists reveal Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from cells of an adult animal. She was actually born on July 5, 1996.

1998 – More than 50 mice are reportedly cloned from a single mouse over several generations. Separately, eight calves are reportedly cloned from a cow.

2000 – Pigs and a goat are reportedly cloned from adult cells.

2001 – Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts, says it produced a six-cell cloned human embryo, in research aimed at harvesting stem cells. Separately, five bulls are cloned from a champion show cattle named Full Flush.

2002 – Rabbits and a kitten are reportedly cloned from adult cells.

December 27, 2002 – Clonaid claims to produce first human clone, a baby girl, Eve. The company declines to provide proof that Eve is a clone or even that she exists.

January 23, 2003 – Clonaid claims to have cloned the first baby boy. The baby was allegedly cloned from tissue taken from the Japanese couple’s comatose 2-year-old boy, who was killed in an accident in 2001. Clonaid again declined to provide physical evidence of the cloning.

February 14, 2003 – The Roslin Institute confirms that Dolly, the world’s first cloned mammal, was euthanized after being diagnosed with progressive lung disease. She was 6 years old.

May 4, 2003 – Scientists at the University of Idaho say they have cloned a mule, naming it Idaho Gem. Two additional mules are cloned that same year as part of a joint project between the University of Idaho and Utah State University.

August 6, 2003 – Scientists at the Laboratory of Reproductive Technology in Cremona, Italy, say they have created the world’s first cloned horse, Prometea, from an adult cell taken from the horse who gave birth to her.

September 26, 2003 The journal Science reports that French scientists at the National Institute of Agricultural Research at Joy en Josas, France, have cloned rats for the first time.

February 12, 2004 – South Korean researchers falsely report they have created human embryos through cloning and extracted embryonic stem cells. An investigative panel concludes in 2006 that the human stem cell cloning research was faked.

August 3, 2005 – South Korean researchers announce they have successfully cloned a dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy.

2008-2009 – Five cloned puppies from Trakr, a German Shepherd Sept.11 Ground Zero rescue dog, are born.

May 2009 – Clone of two-time quarter horse world champion Tailor Fit is born, one of several cloned horses born that year.

September 2011 – At South Korea’s Incheon Airport, seven “super clone” sniffer-dogs are dispatched to detect contraband luggage. They are all golden Labrador Retrievers that are genetically identical to Chase, who was the top drug detention canine until he retired in 2007.

May 15, 2013 – Oregon Health & Science University researchers report in the journal Cell that they have successfully reprogrammed human skin cells back to their embryonic state.

April 2014 – For the first time, cloning technologies are used to generate stem cells that are genetically matched to adult patients. Scientists put the nucleus of an adult skin cell inside an egg and the reconstructed egg went through the initial stages of embryonic development, according to research published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

January 24, 2018 – For the first time, scientists say they created cloned primates using the same complicated cloning technique that made Dolly the sheep in 1996. Shanghai scientists created two genetically identical long-tailed macaques. The research is published in the journal Cell.

February 18, 2021 – Scientists announce that for the first time, they have cloned an endangered US animal, creating a black-footed ferret named Elizabeth Ann from the frozen cells of an ancestor in a landmark achievement that boosts conservation efforts.

CNN-National & Wolrd

CIA Leak Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the 2003 CIA leak involving then-operative Valerie Plame and senior members of the George W. Bush administration.

After a lengthy investigation, one member of the Bush administration, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was brought to trial and convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements.


February 2002 – Joseph Wilson, a former US diplomat, travels to Niger for the CIA.

March 2002 – Wilson tells the CIA he doubts Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Niger.

January 28, 2003 – In his State of the Union speech, President Bush says, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

June 12, 2003 – According to the New York Times, a conversation takes place between Vice President Dick Cheney and Libby, his chief of staff, about the covert identity of Plame, who happened also to be Wilson’s wife.

June 23, 2003 – According to 2007 testimony by Judith Miller of the New York Times, the date when Libby revealed to her that Wilson’s wife may have worked for the CIA.

July 6, 2003 – Wilson’s editorial piece appears in the New York Times: “What I Didn’t Find in Africa.”

July 11, 2003 – Karl Rove, President Bush’s top political adviser, tells Time reporter Matthew Cooper that Wilson’s wife “apparently works at the CIA on WMD issues,” according to an e-mail Cooper sends to his editor.

July 13, 2003 – Cooper’s “A Question of Trust” is posted on Time magazine’s website. The article about President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech includes named sources as Libby, Wilson, Plame’s superior Alan Foley, and former State Department proliferation expert Greg Thielmann.

July 14, 2003 – Robert Novak’s Chicago Sun-Times column names Plame as a CIA operative. He lists two senior administration officials as sources. (At the time, Novak also works at CNN.)

September 2003 – The Justice Department launches a full criminal investigation into the leak, an aggravated felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

September 29, 2003 – Rove denies any knowledge of the leaked name when asked by an ABC reporter.

September 30, 2003 – Bush says, “If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.”

February 15, 2005 – A federal appeals court in Washington rules that Miller and Cooper may have witnessed a federal crime (disclosure by government officials of a CIA officer’s identity), and will have to cooperate with the grand juries investigating the crime.

June 27, 2005 – The US Supreme Court declines to hear appeals by Miller and Cooper.

June 30, 2005 – Norman Pearlstine, Time’s editor-in-chief, agrees to provide documents concerning the confidential sources of Cooper to a grand jury.

July 6, 2005 – New York Times reporter Miller goes to jail to protect the identity of the person who leaked the identity of a CIA operative to her, despite never having written a story using the information.

July 12, 2005 – Cooper appears before a grand jury investigating the case.

September 19, 2005 – Libby calls Miller in prison to free her from the pledge of confidentiality. She is released on September 19.

October 12, 2005 – Miller testifies for more than an hour before a federal grand jury about a second conversation she had with Libby.

October 28, 2005 – Libby is indicted on one count of obstruction of justice and two counts each of perjury and making false statements. He resigns his position at the White House.

November 3, 2005 – Libby pleads not guilty at his arraignment and is released on his own recognizance.

April 26, 2006 – Rove makes his fifth and final appearance before the federal grand jury investigating the leak.

June 13, 2006 – Rove is told by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald that he will not be charged in the CIA leak case, according to Robert Luskin, Rove’s lawyer.

July 13, 2006 – Plame and her husband file a lawsuit in US District Court against Cheney, Rove and Libby. The suit alleges that they conspired to ruin Plame’s career in order to seek revenge against Wilson for criticizing the Bush administration’s motives in Iraq.

September 7, 2006 – Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage publicly acknowledges for the first time that he was the source who first revealed Plame’s identity to Novak, which he said he did inadvertently. His name is added to the Plame/Wilson lawsuit a week later.

January 16, 2007 – Libby’s trial begins.

March 6, 2007 – Libby is found guilty of four of five counts in his perjury and obstruction of justice trial.

June 5, 2007 – Libby is sentenced to 30 months in prison for lying to investigators about what he told reporters about Plame, two years of probation after his prison sentence, fined $250,000 and $400 dollars in court costs.

June 14, 2007 – Judge Reggie B. Walton rules that Libby is not to remain free while his appeal is pending. Libby’s attorneys say they will appeal this decision to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

July 2, 2007 – A three-judge panel from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejects Libby’s bid to remain free on bond while appealing his conviction, ruling that Libby has not raised a question for judges “that is ‘close’ or that ‘could very well be decided the other way” – the standard for remaining free on appeal. On the same day, Bush commutes Libby’s prison sentence but leaves in place the $250,000 fine and 2 years of probation.

July 19, 2007- A federal judge in Washington, dismisses the lawsuit brought by Plame and her husband against Cheney, Libby and Rove. A federal appeals court later upholds the dismissal.

October 22, 2007 – Plame’s memoir “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House” is published. A movie adaptation of the book, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, is released in 2010.

April 12, 2018 – President Donald Trump pardons Libby.

April 18, 2018 – The Washington Post publishes an op-ed by Plame in which she criticizes Trump for pardoning Libby and discusses the national security risks associated with outing a covert operative.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Penn State Scandal Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. On November 4, 2011, a grand jury report was released containing testimony that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young boys over a period of at least 15 years. Officials at Penn State purportedly failed to notify law enforcement after learning about some of these incidents. On December 7, 2011, the number of victims increased to 10. Sandusky was found guilty in 2012.

Included is a timeline of accusations, lists of the charges against Sandusky, a list of involved parties, a post grand jury report timeline, information about The Second Mile charity and Sandusky with links to the grand jury investigation.

Jerry Sandusky

Birth date: January 26, 1944

Birth place: Washington, Pennsylvania

Birth name: Gerald Arthur Sandusky

Marriage: Dorothy “Dottie” (Gross) Sandusky (1966-present)

Children: (all adopted) E.J., Kara, Jon, Jeff, Ray and Matt. The Sanduskys also fostered several children.

Occupation: Assistant football coach at Penn State for 32 years before his retirement, including 23 years as defensive coordinator.

The Second Mile

Initially founded by Sandusky in 1977 as a group foster home for troubled boys, but grew into a non-profit organization that “helps young people to achieve their potential as individuals and community members.”

May 25, 2012 – The Second Mile requests court approval in Centre County, Pennsylvania, to transfer its programs to Arrow Child & Family Ministries and shut down.

August 27, 2012 – The Second Mile requests a stay in their petition to transfer its programs to Arrow Child & Family Ministries saying, “this action will allow any pending or future claims filed by Sandusky’s victims to be resolved before key programs or assets are considered for transfer.”

March 2016 – After years of dismantling, and distributing assets to Arrow Child & Family Ministries and any remaining funds the Pennsylvania Attorney General to hold in escrow, The Second Mile is dissolved.

Timeline of Accusations

Source: Grand Jury Report

1994-1997 – Sandusky engages in inappropriate conduct with different boys he met separately through The Second Mile program.

1998 – Penn State police and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare investigate an incident in which the mother of an 11-year-old boy reported that Sandusky showered with her son.

1998 – Psychologist Alycia Chambers tells Penn State police that Sandusky acted the way a pedophile might, in her assessment of a case in which the mother of a young boy reported that Sandusky showered with her son and may have had inappropriate contact with him. A second psychologist, John Seasock, reported he found no indication of child abuse.

June 1, 1998 – In an interview, Sandusky admits showering naked with the boy, saying it was wrong and promising not to do it again. The district attorney advises investigators that no charges will be filed, and the university police chief instructs that the case be closed.

June 1999 – Sandusky retires from Penn State after coaching there for 32 years, but receives emeritus status, with full access to the campus and football facilities.

2000 – James Calhoun, a janitor at Penn State, tells his supervisor and another janitor that he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in the Lasch Building showers. No one reports the incident to university officials or law enforcement.

March 2, 2002 – Graduate Assistant Mike McQueary tells Coach Joe Paterno that on March 1, 2002, he witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the Lasch Building showers. On May 7, 2012, prosecutors file court documents to change the date of the assault to on or around February 9, 2001.

March 3, 2002 – Paterno reports the incident to Athletic Director Tim Curley. Later, McQueary meets with Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. McQueary testifies that he told Curley and Schultz that he saw Sandusky and the boy engaged in anal sex; Curley and Schultz testify they were not told of any such allegation. No law enforcement investigation is launched.

2005 or 2006 – Sandusky befriends another Second Mile participant whose allegations would form the foundation of the multi-year grand jury investigation.

2006 or 2007 – Sandusky begins to spend more time with the boy, taking him to sporting events and giving him gifts. During this period, Sandusky performs oral sex on the boy more than 20 times, and the boy performs oral sex on him once.

2008 – The boy breaks off contact with Sandusky. Later, his mother calls the boy’s high school to report her son had been sexually assaulted and the principal bans Sandusky from campus and reports the incident to police. The ensuing investigation reveals 118 calls from Sandusky’s home and cell phone numbers to the boy’s home.

November 2008 – Sandusky informs The Second Mile that he is under investigation. He is removed from all program activities involving children, according to the group.

Timeline (post Grand Jury report)

November 4, 2011 – The grand jury report is released.

November 5, 2011 – Sandusky is arraigned on 40 criminal counts. He is released on $100,000 bail. Curley and Schultz are each charged with one count of felony perjury and one count of failure to report abuse allegations.

November 7, 2011 – Curley and Schultz are both arraigned and resign from their positions.

November 9, 2011 – Paterno announces that he intends to retire at the end of the 2011 football season. Hours later, university trustees announce that President Graham Spanier and Coach Paterno are fired, effective immediately.

November 11, 2011 – McQueary, now a Penn State receivers’ coach, is placed on indefinite administrative leave.

November 14, 2011 – In a phone interview with NBC’s Bob Costas, Sandusky states that he is “innocent” of the charges and claims that the only thing he did wrong was “showering with those kids.”

November 15, 2011 – The Morning Call reports that in a November 8, 2011, email to a former classmate, McQueary says he did stop the 2002 assault he witnessed and talked with police about it.

November 16, 2011 – Representatives of Penn State’s campus police and State College police say they have no record of having received any report from McQueary about his having witnessed the rape of a boy by former coach Sandusky.

November 16, 2011 – A new judge is assigned to the Sandusky case after it is discovered that Leslie Dutchcot, the judge who freed Sandusky on $100,000 bail, volunteered at The Second Mile charity.

November 21, 2011 – It is announced that former FBI Director Louis Freeh will lead an independent inquiry for Penn State into the school’s response to allegations of child sex abuse.

November 22, 2011 – The Patriot-News reports that Children and Youth Services in Pennsylvania has two open cases of child sex abuse against Sandusky. The cases were reported less than two months ago and are in the initial stages of investigation.

November 22, 2011 – The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts announces that all Centre County Common Pleas Court judges have recused themselves from the Sandusky case. This is to avoid any conflicts of interest due to connections with Sandusky, The Second Mile charity, or Penn State.

November 30, 2011 – The first lawsuit in the scandal is filed on behalf of a person listed in the complaint as “John Doe,” who says he was 10 years-old when he met Sandusky through The Second Mile charity. His attorneys say Sandusky sexually abused the victim “over one hundred times” and threatened to harm the victim and his family if he alerted anyone to the abuse.

December 2, 2011 – A victim’s attorneys say they have reached a settlement with The Second Mile that allows it to stay in operation but requires it to obtain court approval before transferring assets or closing.

December 3, 2011 – In an interview with The New York Times, Sandusky says, “If I say, ‘No, I’m not attracted to young boys,’ that’s not the truth. Because I’m attracted to young people — boys, girls — I …” His lawyer speaks up at that point to note that Sandusky is not “sexually” attracted to them.

December 7, 2011 – Sandusky is arrested on additional child rape charges, which raises the number of victims from eight to 10 people. He is charged with four counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and two counts of unlawful contact with a minor. He also faces one new count of indecent assault and two counts of endangering a child’s welfare, in addition to a single new count of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors.

December 8, 2011 – Sandusky is released on $250,000 bail. He is placed under house arrest and is required to wear an electronic monitoring device. He is also restricted from contacting the victims and possible witnesses, and he must be supervised during any interactions with minors.

December 13, 2011 – Sandusky enters a plea of not guilty and waives his right to a preliminary hearing.

December 16, 2011 – A hearing is held for Curley and Schultz. McQueary testifies he told university officials that he saw Sandusky possibly sexually assaulting a boy in 2002. Following the testimony, the judge rules that the perjury case against Curley and Schultz will go to trial. The incident is later said to have happened in 2001.

January 13, 2012 – Curley and Schultz enter pleas of not guilty for their failure to report child sex abuse and waive a court appearance scheduled for later this month.

January 22, 2012 – Paterno dies at the age of 85.

February 14, 2012 – Penn State says that the Sandusky case has cost the university $3.2 million thus far in combined legal, consultant and public relations fees.

June 11, 2012 – The Sandusky trial begins.

June 22, 2012 – Sandusky is found guilty on 45 counts after jurors deliberate for almost 21 hours. His bail is immediately revoked, and he is taken to jail.

June 30, 2012 – McQueary’s contract as assistant football coach ends.

July 12, 2012 – Freeh announces the findings of the investigation into Penn State’s actions concerning Sandusky and child abuse. The report accuses the former leaders at Penn State of showing “total and consistent disregard” for child sex abuse victims, while covering up the attacks of a longtime sexual predator.

July 23, 2012 – The NCAA announces a $60 million fine against Penn State and bans the team from the postseason for four years. Additionally, the school must vacate all wins from 1998-2011, and will lose 20 football scholarships a year for four seasons.
– The Big Ten Conference rules that Penn State’s share of bowl revenues for the next four seasons – roughly $13 million will be donated to charities working to prevent child abuse.

August 24, 2012 – “Victim 1” files a lawsuit against Penn State.

September 20, 2012 – Penn State hires Feinberg Rozen LLP (headed by Kenneth Feinberg who oversaw the 9/11 and BP oil spill victim funds).

October 2, 2012 – McQueary files a whistleblower lawsuit against Penn State.

October 8, 2012 – An audio statement from Sandusky airs in which he protests his innocence and says he is falsely accused.

October 9, 2012 – Sandusky is sentenced to no less than 30 years and no more than 60 years in prison. During the hearing, Sandusky is designated a violent sexual offender.

October 15, 2012 – Plaintiff “John Doe,” a 21-year-old male, files a lawsuit against Sandusky, Penn State, The Second Mile, Spanier, Curley and Schultz. Doe alleges that he would not have been assaulted by Sandusky if officials, who were aware he was molesting boys, had not covered up his misconduct.

October 18, 2012 – Sandusky’s lawyers file an appeal.

November 1, 2012 – The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania files eight charges against former Penn State President Spanier in connection with the rape scandal. The charges include perjury and endangering the welfare of a child. Former university Vice President Schultz and former Athletic Director Curley face the same charges, according to Attorney General Linda Kelly.

November 15, 2012 – The Middle States Commission on Higher Education lifts its warning and reaffirms Penn State’s accreditation.

January 30, 2013 – Judge John M. Cleland denies Sandusky’s appeal for a new trial.

July 30, 2013 A judge rules that Spanier, Curley and Schultz will face trial on obstruction of justice and other charges related to the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

August 26, 2013 – Attorneys announce Sandusky’s adopted son and six other victims have finalized settlement agreements.

October 2, 2013 – The Superior Court of Pennsylvania denies Sandusky’s appeal.

October 28, 2013 – Penn State announces it has reached settlements with 26 victims of Sandusky, and the amount paid by the university totals $59.7 million.

April 2, 2014 – The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania also denies Sandusky’s appeal.

September 8, 2014 – NCAA ends Penn State’s postseason ban and scholarship limits. The $60 million fine and the 13 years of vacated wins for Paterno remain in place.

January 16, 2015 – The NCAA agrees to restore 111 of Paterno’s wins as part of a settlement of the lawsuit brought by State Senator Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord. Also, as part of the settlement, Penn State agrees to commit $60 million to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.

December 23, 2015 – A spokeswoman for the State of Pennsylvania employee retirement system says Sandusky will receive $211,000 in back payments and his regular pension payments will resume. This is the result of a November 13 court ruling that reversed a 2012 decision to terminate Sandusky’s pension under a state law that allows the termination of pensions of public employees convicted of a “disqualifying crime.” The judge said in his ruling that Sandusky was not employed at the time of the crimes he was convicted of committing.

January 22, 2016 – A three-judge panel reverses the obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges against Spanier, Curley and Schultz, and the perjury charges against Spanier and Curley.

May 4, 2016 – A new allegation purports Paterno knew that his assistant coach Sandusky was sexually abusing a child as early as 1976, according to a new court filing. The ongoing lawsuit, filed in 2013, seeks to determine whether Penn State or its insurance policy is liable for paying Sandusky’s victims. At least 30 men were involved in a civil settlement with Penn State, and the number of victims could be higher.

May 6, 2016 – CNN reports the story of another alleged victim who explains how he was a troubled young kid in 1971 when Sandusky raped him in a Penn State bathroom. He says his complaint about it was ignored by Paterno.

July 12, 2016 – Newly unsealed court documents allege that Paterno knew about Sandusky’s abuse and that he dismissed a victim’s complaint.

August 12, 2016 – In a bid for a new trial, Sandusky testifies at a post-conviction hearing claiming his lawyers bungled his 2012 trial. On the stand, Sandusky describes what he said as bad media and legal advice given to him by his former lawyer, Joseph Amendola. That bad advice, he said, included an interview he granted to Costas on NBC.

November 3, 2016 – The Department of Education fines Penn State $2.4 million for violating the Clery Act, a law that requires universities to report crime on campuses. It’s the largest fine in the history of the act.

March 13, 2017 – Curley and Schultz plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of children in exchange for the dismissal of felony charges.

March 24, 2017 – Spanier is found guilty on one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child. Spanier was acquitted of more serious allegations, including conspiracy charges and a felony count of child endangerment.

June 2, 2017 – Spanier, and two other former administrators are sentenced to jail terms for failing to report a 2001 allegation that Sandusky was molesting young boys. Spanier whose total sentence is four to 12 months incarceration, will be on probation for two years and must pay a $7,500 fine, according to Joe Grace, a spokesman for Pennsylvania’s attorney general’s office.

— Curley is sentenced to seven to 23 months’ incarceration and two years’ probation, Grace said. He will serve three months in jail followed by house arrest and pay a $5,000 fine.

— Schultz is sentenced to six to 23 months’ incarceration and two years’ probation. He will serve two months in jail, followed by house arrest and pay a $5,000 fine, according to Grace.

January 9, 2018 – Penn State reports that the total amount of settlement awards paid to Sandusky’s victims is now over $109 million.

February 5, 2019 – In response to an appeal for a new trial that also questions the validity of mandatory minimum sentencing, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania orders Sandusky to be re-sentenced. The request for a new trial is denied.

April 30, 2019 – US Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick vacates Spanier’s 2017 conviction for endangering the welfare of a child. Spanier was set to be sentenced on the one count conviction, instead, the court ordered the conviction be vacated because it was based on a criminal statute that did not go into effect until after the conduct in question. The state has 90 days to retry him, according to court documents. The following month, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro appeals the judge’s decision to throw out the conviction.

November 22, 2019 – Sandusky is resentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, the same penalty that was previously overturned. The initial sentence of at least 30 years in prison was overturned by the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which found that mandatory minimum sentences were illegally imposed.

March 26, 2020 – The US Office for Civil Rights (OCR) finds that Penn State failed to protect students who filed sexual harassment complaints. OCR completed the compliance review after it was initially launched in 2014, and found that the University violated Title IX for several years, in various ways. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announces that the US Department of Education and the university have entered into a resolution agreement that compels Penn State to address deficiencies in their complaint process, reporting policy requirements, record keeping, and training of staff, university police and other persons who work with students.

December 1, 2020 – Spanier’s conviction is restored by a federal appeals court.

Sandusky Verdict

Victim 1
Count 1 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 2 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 3 – guilty: Indecent Assault (Felony 3)
Count 4 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 1)
Count 5 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 6 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Felony 3)

Victim 2
Count 7 – not guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 8 – guilty: Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 2)
Count 9 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 1)
Count 10 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 11 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Misdemeanor 1)

Victim 3
Count 12 – guilty: Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 2)
Count 13 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 3)
Count 14 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 15 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Felony 3)

Victim 4
Count 16 – ****DROPPED****: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 17 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 18 – ****DROPPED*****: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 19 – ****DROPPED*****: Aggravated Indecent Assault (Felony 2)
Count 20 – guilty: Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 2)
Count 21 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 1)
Count 22 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 23 – guilty” Endangering Welfare of Children (Felony 3)

Victim 5
Count 24 – not guilty: Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 25 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 3)
Count 26 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 27 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Felony 3)

Victim 6
Count 28 – not guilty: Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 29 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 3)
Count 30 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 31 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Misdemeanor 1)

Victim 7
Count 32 – guilty: Criminal Attempt to Commit Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 2)
Count 33 – ****DROPPED****: WITHDRAWN BY PROSECUTORS (unlawful contact with minors)
Count 34 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 35 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Misdemeanor 1)

Victim 8
Count 36 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 37 – guilty: Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 2)
Count 38 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 1)
Count 39 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 40 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Misdemeanor 1)

(Due to 2nd indictment, counts start over with Victims 9 and 10)

Victim 9
Count 1 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 2 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 3 – guilty: Indecent Assault (Felony 3)
Count 4 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 1)
Count 5 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 6 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Felony 3)

Victim 10
Count 7 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 8 – guilty: Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Felony 1)
Count 9 – guilty: Indecent Assault (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 10 – guilty: Unlawful Contact with Minors (Felony 1)
Count 11 – guilty: Corruption of Minors (Misdemeanor 1)
Count 12 – guilty: Endangering Welfare of Children (Felony 3)

CNN-National & Wolrd

Buddy Roemer Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the life of Buddy Roemer, the 52nd governor of Louisiana.


Birth date: October 4, 1943

Birth place: Shreveport, Louisiana

Birth name: Charles Elson Roemer III

Father: Charles “Budgie” Elson Roemer II, farmer and aide to Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards

Mother: Adeline (McDade) Roemer

Marriages: Scarlett (Osborn) Roemer (2001-present); Patti (Crocker) Roemer (1973-1990, divorced); Frances (Demler) Roemer (1963-1972, divorced)

Children: with Patti Roemer: Dakota; with Frances Roemer: Charles IV “Chas;” Caroline

Education: Harvard University, B.S., 1964; Harvard Business School, M.B.A., 1967

Religion: Methodist

Other Facts

One of five children raised on 2,000 acre cotton and cattle farm in north Louisiana named Scopena Plantation.

Roemer’s father served eight years in the administration of Democratic governor Edwin Edwards.

His brother, Danny Roemer, was convicted of bank fraud in 1993.

His father was convicted of bribery and kickbacks and serves 15 months in prison. The conviction is later overturned.

Served four terms in the US House of Representatives as a conservative Democrat before switching to the Republican party. He vowed never to accept super PAC money.


1970 – Starts Innovative Data Systems, a computer software company.

1973 – Delegate to the Constitutional Convention of Louisiana.

1973 – Starts Red River Valley Bank in Bossier City, Louisiana.

January 3, 1981-March 14, 1988 – Democratic US Representative from Louisiana.

October 1987 – Wins 33% of the vote in the Louisiana governor’s race. Runner-up incumbent governor Edwin Edwards declines to participate in a run-off.

March 14, 1988-January 13, 1992 – Serves as the 52nd governor of Louisiana.

March 11, 1991 – Announces plans to leave the Democratic Party and run for re-election as a Republican.

October 1991 – Roemer comes in third in the Louisiana governor’s race, behind Edwin Edwards and David Duke.

1993 – Starts The Sterling Group, a Louisiana plastics company facilitating trade among and between companies in Mexico, Brazil, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Louisiana.

October 1995 – Roemer comes in fourth in the Louisiana governor’s race.

1998 – Starts The Business Bank in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 2005, the bank is sold to BancorpSouth of Mississippi.

June 2005 – Undergoes triple bypass surgery.

2006 – Starts Business First Bank in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

2008 – Forms investment management company Roemer, Robinson, Melville & Co., LLC (RRM).

July 21, 2011 – Officially announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

May 31, 2012 – Drops out of the 2012 presidential race.

July 3, 2012 – Announces the formation of the Reform Project to fight corruption in politics.

April 2014 – Roemer’s company, RRM provides four million dollars in seed financing to the online news network, The Young Turks.

August 2014 – Suffers a stroke, according to his son, Chas Roemer.

September 19, 2017 – Roemer’s book about his childhood, “Scopena: A Memoir of Home,” is released.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Missing Children Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at missing children in the United States. There are several different types of missing children: runaways, family abductions, lost or “thrown away” and non-family abductions. Advances in technology, communications through public alerts and greater cooperation from law enforcement have facilitated the recovery process.


According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File, there are 89,637 active missing person records, of which juveniles under the age of 18 account for 30,396 (34%) of the records. (as of December 31, 2020)


“AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alerts are emergency messages broadcast when a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. The broadcasts include information about the child and the abductor, including physical descriptions as well as information about the abductor’s vehicle – which could lead to the child’s recovery.”

The AMBER Alert system began in 1996 and was named in honor of Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old who was abducted in Arlington, Texas, and murdered.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands have AMBER Alert plans in place to help find missing children in danger.

As of December 2020, the AMBER Alert program has been credited with the safe recovery of 1029 children.

Notable and Recent Cases

This list represents selected notable and/or recent cases.

Carlie Brucia

February 1, 2004 – 11-year-old Carlie Brucia is kidnapped on her way home from school in Sarasota, Florida. The abduction is captured on surveillance video at a car wash.

February 6, 2004 – Brucia’s body is found.

February 20, 2004 – Mechanic Joseph P. Smith is indicted on charges of first degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery.

November 17, 2005 – Smith is found guilty.

December 1, 2005 – A jury recommends the death penalty for Smith by a 10-2 vote.

March 15, 2006 – Judge Andrew Owens formally sentences Smith to death.

July 2017 – Sarasota County Circuit Judge Charles Roberts vacates Smith’s sentence and orders a new sentencing trial, following the Florida Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling that jury recommendations must be unanimous in order to impose a death sentence.

April 2018 – The Florida Supreme Court orders resentencing for Smith in a 4-3 decision.

April 21, 2020 – A judge reinstates Smith’s original sentence of death, citing a Florida Supreme Court reversal in January that jury recommendations do not need to be unanimous in order to impose a death sentence.

Dylan and Shasta Groene

May 16, 2005 – 9-year-old Dylan and 8-year-old Shasta are reported missing from their home after their mother, her boyfriend, and their older brother are found murdered in their Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, home.

July 2, 2005 – Shasta is rescued at a Denny’s restaurant with her captor, Joseph Edward Duncan III, a convicted sex offender. Duncan is arrested for Shasta and Dylan’s kidnapping.

July 10, 2005 – Remains found at a Montana campsite are identified as Dylan’s.

July 12, 2005 – Duncan is charged with three counts of first degree murder.

October 16, 2006 – Duncan pleads guilty to murder and kidnapping and is sentenced to life without parole for the kidnappings. He is still eligible for the death penalty for the three murders.

2008 – Duncan receives three death sentences and six life terms in federal and state courts.

Amber Hagerman

January 13, 1996 – 9-year-old Amber Hagerman is abducted as she rides her bike in a parking lot near the home of her grandparents in Arlington, Texas.

January 17, 1996 – Hagerman’s body is found near a creek about eight miles from where she was abducted.

Her killer is never found and the case remains unsolved. Her abduction and murder led to the creation of the AMBER Alert system.

Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias

May 8, 2005 – Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias are reported missing from their homes in Zion, Illinois.

May 9, 2005 – Laura’s father, Jerry Hobbs, discovers Laura and Krystal’s stabbed and beaten bodies in a neighborhood park.

May 10, 2005 – Jerry Hobbs is arrested and charged with the murders.

August 4, 2010 – The murder charges are dropped and Hobbs is released from prison after DNA links the killings to Jorge Torrez, a man jailed in Virginia.

December 2010 – Torrez is given five consecutive life sentences in Virginia for kidnapping and rape.

Shawn Hornbeck

October 2002 – 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck is kidnapped while riding his bicycle to a friend’s house near his home in Richwoods, Missouri.

January 2007 – The police find Hornbeck and another missing boy, 13-year-old Ben Ownby, who had been held for four days, in the Kirkwood, Missouri, apartment of Michael J. Devlin.

December 21, 2007 – Devlin receives 74 life sentences.

Lisa Irwin

October 4, 2011 – 10-month old Lisa is found to be missing from her crib by her father, Jeremy Irwin, when he returns home from work between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. in Kansas City. Also missing are the family cell phones.

November 23, 2011 – The command post investigating Lisa’s disappearance is shut down. FBI and Kansas City police had been involved; Kansas City detectives remain on the case.

Megan Kanka

July 29, 1994 – 7-year-old Megan Kanka is lured by Jesse Timmendequas, a neighbor and convicted sex offender, into his house across the street from her own house in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, where he sexually assaults and strangles her. Her body is found in a park the next day.

1997 – Timmendequas is convicted and sentenced to death.

December 2007 – Timmendequas’ sentence is commuted to life in prison after New Jersey abolishes the death penalty.

Kanka’s death inspires Megan’s Law, which requires that convicted sex offenders register with local police and the community be notified of their presence.

Polly Klaas

October 1, 1993 – 12-year-old Polly Klaas is abducted during a slumber party at her home in Petaluma, California.

November 30, 1993 – Richard Allen Davis is arrested, and days later he confesses and leads police to Klaas’ body.

June 1996 – Davis is convicted and sentenced to death for her abduction and murder.

March 13, 2019 – Gov. Gavin Newsom signs an executive order issuing a moratorium on executions of death row inmates in California prisons, including Davis. This only suspends executions while Newsom is in office.

Klaas’ kidnapping prompts California to pass the “three-strikes” law, which gives a life term to those convicted of their third felony.

Jessica Lunsford

February 24, 2005 – 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford is discovered to be missing from her bedroom in Homosassa, Florida.

March 19, 2005 – Lunsford’s body is found near her home after neighbor John Evander Couey confesses to killing her.

May 2, 2005 – Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signs the Jessica Lunsford Act which establishes a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life for people convicted of certain sex crimes against children 11 and younger, with lifetime tracking by GPS after their release.

February 12, 2007 – Couey’s trial begins in Miami.

March 7, 2007 – Couey is found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering Lunsford.

July 17, 2007 – Mark Lunsford, Jessica’s father, makes a courtroom statement to Couey: “I hope you hear her cry as you try to sleep at night.”

August 24, 2007 – Couey is sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and murder of Lunsford. Couey dies in prison, of natural causes, in 2009.

Cherrie Mahan

February 22, 1985 – 8-year-old Cherrie Mahan is kidnapped on her way home from school in Winfield Township, Pennsylvania.

Is the first child featured on a “Have You Seen Me?” postcard put out by a company called ADVO Inc., in connection with the FBI, the US Postal Service and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Mahan is never found and her case remains unsolved.

Etan Patz

May 25, 1979 – 6-year-old Etan Patz disappears in the SoHo section of New York City while walking to the school bus stop alone for the first time.

He is the first missing child to be pictured on a milk carton.

The prime suspect is Jose Antonio Ramos, who said he had taken Etan to his apartment, but did not kill him.

November 15, 2000 – Patz is declared legally dead.

February 7, 2005 – Stanley and Julia Patz are awarded a $2 million judgment in a wrongful death lawsuit against Ramos, who is now in prison for molesting two boys.

May 2010 – The Manhattan District Attorney’s office confirms that Patz’s case has been reopened.

April 22, 2012 – A stain believed to be blood is found in the SoHo basement of an apartment that formerly belonged to Othniel Miller, a carpenter who knew Patz. The apartment is less than 100 yards from Patz’s home.

April 23, 2012 – Tests reveal the stain is not blood, and no “obvious” human remains are located.

May 24, 2012 – Pedro Hernandez, a former Manhattan stock clerk who lived in Patz’s neighborhood, is arrested in connection with the death. Authorities are alerted to the suspect by a tip.

May 25, 2012 – Hernandez is charged with the murder of Patz. Hernandez is denied bail and ordered to undergo a full psychiatric evaluation.

November 14, 2012 – Hernandez is indicted on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping.

December 12, 2012 – Hernandez pleads not guilty to murder and kidnapping.

February 2014 – Hernandez’s trial is postponed for psychiatric examinations and additional preparations.

May 8, 2015 – A mistrial is declared after the jury sends State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley a note — the third since April 29 — saying it was unable to reach a unanimous decision on Hernandez’s guilt or innocence. One juror holds out against conviction.

February 14, 2017 – A jury finds Hernandez guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Patz.

April 18, 2017 – Hernandez is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Ayla Reynolds

December 17, 2011 – Justin DiPietro reports his 20-month-old daughter Ayla Reynolds is missing from their home in Waterville, Maine.

January 28, 2012 – Police reveal that they found blood stains, identified as Reynolds’ blood type, in the basement of the DiPietro home.

February 3, 2012 – Divers search two bodies of water near the home of Reynolds for a second time, but find no sign of her.

May 2012 – Authorities say they suspect the toddler is dead.

September 2017 – Reynolds is declared legally dead.

Samantha Runnion

July 15, 2002 – 5-year-old Samantha Runnion is abducted outside a Stanton, California, apartment complex while playing with a friend.

July 16, 2002 – Runnion’s body is found near Lake Elsinore in Riverside County, California.

April 28, 2005 – Alejandro Avila is convicted of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering Runnion.

July 22, 2005 – Avila is sentenced to death.

March 13, 2019 – Gov. Newsom signs an executive order issuing a moratorium on executions of death row inmates in California prisons, including Avila. This only suspends executions while Newsom is in office.

Elizabeth Smart

June 5, 2002 – 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart is abducted from the bedroom of her home in the Arlington Hills neighborhood of Salt Lake City.

March 12, 2003 – She is found alive walking down a street in Sandy, Utah, with two adults, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Eileen Barzee.

Both Mitchell and Barzee are charged with six felony counts, including aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault.

January 9, 2004 – Barzee is ruled to be mentally incompetent to stand trial is sent to a state mental hospital.

July 26, 2005 – Mitchell is declared mentally incompetent to stand trial and sent to a mental hospital until he is judged to be fit.

December 18, 2006 – Mitchell is again found mentally unfit to stand trial after screaming outbursts in the courtroom.

October 24, 2008 – A federal judge, US Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba, enters a not guilty plea on behalf of Mitchell.

May 21, 2010 – Barzee, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart, is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

May 25, 2011 – US District Judge Dale Kimball sentences Mitchell to life in prison.

September 11, 2018 – The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announces that Barzee will be released on September 19, 2018, because her time in federal custody must be counted toward her state sentence. Barzee wasn’t expected to be released for another five years.

September 19, 2018 – Barzee is released from prison. Under the conditions of her release, she must register as a sex offender and participate in a mental health treatment program.

Danielle van Dam

February 2, 2002 – 7-year-old Danielle van Dam is discovered missing from her home in suburban San Diego.

February 22, 2002 – David Westerfield, a neighbor, is arrested on suspicion of kidnapping after DNA test results showed van Dam’s blood in his motor home and on his clothes.

February 27, 2002 – Van Dam’s body is found in the southern California desert.

January 3, 2003 – Westerfield is sentenced to death for Danielle van Dam’s abduction and murder.

March 13, 2019 – Gov. Newsom signs an executive order issuing a moratorium on executions of death row inmates in California prisons, including Westerfield. This only suspends executions while Newsom is in office.

Adam Walsh

July 27, 1981 – 6-year-old Adam Walsh is abducted from a mall near his home in Hollywood, Florida. His mother had let him look in the toy department at Sears while she looked for a lamp. When she returned, Adam was missing.

Two weeks after Adam disappeared, his severed head is discovered in a canal 120 miles away from the mall. The rest of his body is never recovered.

His father, John Walsh, becomes an advocate for missing children, lobbying for legislation and nationwide alert systems, and hosting the television program, “America’s Most Wanted.”

1996 – The prime suspect in the killing, Ottis Toole, dies in prison while serving a life sentence for another crime; he is never charged with Adam’s murder.

December 16, 2008 – Hollywood police announce they are closing the Adam Walsh investigation and name Toole as Adam’s suspected killer.

Rilya Wilson

April 2002 – Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) discovers 4-year-old Rilya Wilson is missing from the home of her caregiver, Geralyn Graham. DCF did not learn of her disappearance until well after she disappeared. Case reports were falsified to show Wilson’s foster home had been visited.

March 2005 – Graham is indicted for Wilson’s murder. The indictment claims Wilson was killed sometime in December 2000; the time she went missing. Wilson’s body has never been found.

November 26, 2012 – Graham’s trial begins for the murder, kidnapping and child abuse of Wilson.

February 2013 – Graham is sentenced to 55 years in prison after being convicted of kidnapping and child abuse in January. She was not convicted of first-degree murder.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Space Shuttle Program Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at NASA’s Space Shuttle Program which ended in 2011 after 135 missions.


The space shuttle is the “world’s first reusable spacecraft” launching like a rocket orbiting like a spacecraft and landing like a plane.

Space shuttles could carry satellites space probes and other cargo into orbit around Earth on both commercial and non-commercial missions.

The space shuttle system was made up of three components:
– Twin solid rocket boosters. They provided 80% of the launch thrust.
– The external tank which provided fuel to the space shuttle main engines during launch.
– The orbiter. It acted as the crew’s home during the flight.

All of the components were reused except for the external fuel tank. It burned up in the atmosphere after launch.

Crews ranged in size from five to seven people. More than 600 crew members flew on shuttle missions.

The space shuttle program sent more than 3 million pounds of cargo into space.

The longest any shuttle stayed in orbit on a single mission was 17.5 days in November 1996.

The space shuttle was 184 feet long. The orbiter was 122 feet long.

The gross liftoff weight of the space shuttle was 4.5 million pounds.

Five shuttles flew into space during the program’s history: Atlantis Challenger Columbia Discovery and Endeavour.

An early model of the shuttle the Enterprise was used for approach and landing tests during the 1970’s but it never actually launched into space.

The Discovery Atlantis and Endeavour were each designed to fly 100 missions though they flew much fewer than that.


January 5 1972 – President Richard Nixon announces the intent to develop the first space shuttle for travel into space.

March 24 1979 – The Columbia is delivered to the Kennedy Space Center.

April 12 1981 – NASA sends its first shuttle into space as the Columbia launches from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

July 5 1982 – The Challenger is delivered to the Kennedy Space Center.

November 9 1983 – The Discovery is delivered to the Kennedy Space Center.

April 13 1985 – The Atlantis is delivered to the Kennedy Space Center.

January 28 1986 – The Challenger explodes minutes after launch due to faulty O-rings in the shuttle’s rocket booster. All seven crew members die including Christa McAuliffe who would have been the first teacher in space. Flights do not resume for more than two years.

June 27 1995 – The Atlantis is launched marking the 100th US human space launch.

June 29 1995 – The Atlantis docks at the Russian space station Mir.

February 1 2003 – The Columbia explodes over Texas during re-entry. All seven crew members are killed.

July 26 2005 – The Discovery is launched taking off on NASA’s first mission after the Columbia disaster.

August 9 2005 – The Discovery lands at Edwards AFB in California.

July 4 2006 – The Discovery is launched.

July 17 2006 – The Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center.

September 9 2006 – The Atlantis launches. The six astronauts conduct three spacewalks and deliver and install a 35000-pound addition with giant solar arrays to power the International Space Station. The shuttle lands on September 21 2006 at the Kennedy Space Center.

December 9 2006 – The Discovery lifts off beginning a 12-day mission. The crew of seven continues construction on the International Space Station by rewiring the orbiting laboratory and adding a two-ton segment to its integrated truss structure.

June 8 2007 – The Atlantis launches carrying a crew of seven astronauts headed for the International Space Station. The crew plans to install a new segment and solar panels on the space station and retrieve astronaut Sunita Williams who has been at the space station since December.

June 23 2007 – The Atlantis lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California the first time a shuttle has landed at Edwards since 2005. Aboard Atlantis is Williams returning from the International Space Station where she set an endurance record for the longest single spaceflight for a woman (195 days) and the record for most time spent spacewalking by a woman.

August 8 2007 – The Endeavour launches carrying teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan and six crew mates.

October 23 2007 – The Discovery launches. Aboard Discovery is Harmony an Italian-built live-in compartment that will be attached to the ISS. Discovery is under the command of Pamela Melroy the second woman to lead a space shuttle mission.

November 7 2007 – The Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center with Melroy becoming the second woman to land a space shuttle. Returning with the shuttle is Clayton Anderson who had been on board the ISS since June.

February 7 2008 – The Atlantis launches carrying the ISS’s newest science lab named Columbus. The Atlantis also drops off French Air Force General Leopold Eyharts who will replace NASA astronaut Daniel Tani.

March 11 2008 – The Endeavour launches the first night launch for a shuttle since 2006 and only the second night launch since Columbia disintegrated during re-entry. The shuttle is headed to the ISS where it will deliver a Canadian-built robot named Dextre and the first part of the Japanese-built Kibo lab. Also on board is astronaut Garrett Reisman who is replacing Léopold Eyharts.

May 31 2008 – The Discovery launches with the purpose of transporting components for the Kibo lab as well as a Japanese Remote Manipulator System to be attached to the ISS. Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman will leave with the Discovery crew and be replaced by Greg Chamtoff.

November 14 2008 – The Endeavour launches. The crew of seven will renovate a kitchen and bathroom on the International Space Station and are delivering a new refrigerator.

March 15 2009 – The Discovery launches. The shuttle is headed to the ISS to deliver the final set of solar array wings. With the completed array the station is expected to be able to provide enough electricity when the crew size is doubled to six in May

February 24 2011 – The Discovery launches on its final mission.

March 9 2011 – The Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center. Discovery has spent 365 days in space during the course of its 39 missions the first of which was in August 1984. It has orbited Earth 5830 times and traveled 148221675 miles.

April 12 2011 – NASA announces the locations that will host the retired space shuttles:
– Atlantis will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida
– Endeavour will be displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles
– Discovery will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia
– Enterprise will be displayed at the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum in New York

April 29 2011 – The Endeavour’s final launch is delayed due to an issue with the shuttle’s heating system. The shuttle ultimately launches on May 16 2011.

June 1 2011 – The Endeavour returns to the Kennedy Space Center after its final mission.

July 8 2011 – The Atlantis launches. This is the space shuttle program’s final mission.

July 21 2011 – The Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center marking the sunset of the space shuttle program.

April 19 2012 – The Discovery arrives at its new home the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington.

April 27 2012-June 6 2012 – The Enterprise makes a three-part trip to its new home at the Intrepid in New York. The first leg of its journey is a ferry flight atop a Boeing 747 from Washington to New York. The Enterprise is then trucked to the waterfront towed up the Hudson River and hoisted onto the deck of the Intrepid via a floating crane.

September 19-21 2012 – The Endeavour takes a three-day ferry flight from Cape Canaveral to Los Angeles International Airport on a farewell tour across the southern United States.

October 12-14 2012 – The Endeavour is transported approximately 12 miles at a top speed of 2 mph from the Los Angeles International Airport through the streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles to the California Science Center. Trees traffic signs utility poles and other structures in the path of Endeavour’s wings cause hours of delays.

June 29 2013 – The Atlantis exhibit opens at the Kennedy Space Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral Florida.

June 27 2015 – The “Forever Remembered” display which features a 12-foot section of fuselage from the Challenger and the flight deck windows from Columbia opens in the Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center.