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FBI announce that dental records confirm the remains found at Florida environmental park are those of Brian Laundrie

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that the human remains found at a North Port, Florida environmental park on Wednesday belong to 23-year-old Brian Laundrie. The FBI’s Denver Division wrote in a press release on Thursday that medical examiners used a comparison of dental records to positively identify the remains.

A North Port, FL police spokesperson earlier had confirmed that partial human remains recovered at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park where Laundrie was last believed to have been a day ago were described as “skeletal.” Two senior law enforcement officials also revealed that the human remains discovered yesterday at the Carlton Reserve during the search for Laundrie include a portion of a human skull.

The latest development Thursday comes after Steven Bertolino, attorney for the Laundrie family, said the remains found at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park by parents Chris and Roberta the morning prior were likely those of the missing 23-year-old. The FBI field office in Tampa confirmed the basic findings at a news conference Wednesday. In addition to the human remains, the FBI said investigators found a backpack and a notebook believed to belong to Laundrie near a path at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. The agency revealed that the items were underwater up until recently, and were only found now that the water had receded.

Officials said that the FBI teams will likely be on scene processing potential evidence for several days and the park will remain closed to the public until further notice.

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House votes to hold Steve Bannon in contempt for ignoring Jan. 6 subpoena

On Thursday the House voted to hold Steve Bannon, top advisor to former-President Trump, in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena to testify. The chamber voted 229-202 in favor of the resolution, which will refer a criminal contempt charge to the Justice Department. Nine Republicans voted with Democrats — Reps. Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Nancy Mace, Fred Upton, Peter Meijer, John Katko, Brian Fitzpatrick, Anthony Gonzalez and Jaime Herrera Beutler. The Justice Department has full, independent authority to decide whether to enforce the prosecution.

The vote comes two days after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol also decided to hold Bannon in contempt. Bannon ignored deadlines to produce documents related to his discussions with Trump in the days before the violent insurrection in which radical Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were voting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. According to subpoena documents, Bannon said on his radio show on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” He also allegedly spoke with Trump on Dec. 30 and urged him to focus on Jan. 6.

Trump previously instructed Bannon and other fellow aides — former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino and former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel — to defy subpoenas from the select committee, citing executive privilege.

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Cleveland Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield expected to undergo shoulder surgery following 2021 season

According to NFL Network, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to need surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder. It is believed that Mayfield could hold off on the surgery until the offseason, as long as the pain does not become unmanageable.

Mayfield tore his labrum in Week 2 and re-injured his shoulder last Sunday in the Browns’ loss to the Cardinals after taking a hard hit from J.J. Watt. He missed the first start of his career on Thursday when the Browns played the Broncos, and will have two weeks off before the Browns’ next game on October 31 against the Steelers.

Report: Baker Mayfield likely to need surgery, hopes to wait until after season

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FBI says apparent human remains, personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie were found in Florida nature reserve

The FBI announced on Wednesday that investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items Wednesday in a North Port, Fla., park in their search for Brian Laundrie. FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson said that in addition to possible human remains, searchers found a backpack and notebook that belonged to the 23-year-old Laundrie, adding that at least some of the items had “until recently been underwater.” McPherson made the announcement in a press conference but declined to take questions.

The announcement came after representatives from the Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office were called to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, the last place Brian Laundrie’s family said they remember seeing him. Laundrie’s parents, Chris Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, informed law enforcement officials on Tuesday that they planned to search the park. North Port police officers and FBI agents met them at the park Wednesday morning to assist in the search of trails Brian Laundrie was known to frequent. Steven Berolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, confirmed that “some articles belonging to Brian were found” at the park.

Brian Laundrie’s parents reported him missing Sept. 13, less than two weeks after he returned home from a road trip out West without his fiancée, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22. Searchers found Petito’s body Sept. 19 at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and determined she died of strangulation.Investigators have sought Brian Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s death and on federal charges of using someone else’s credit card. They focused their search efforts on a wildlife preserve in Florida as well as the Myakkahatchee park, which is where Brian Laundrie’s parents said they last remembered seeing him.

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FDA authorizes ‘mixing and matching’ Moderna and J&J booster shots

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) authorized boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, giving its approval for people to “mix and match” booster shots. The agency granted emergency use authorization for the booster doses; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) must also give its approval before additional shots get in arms. The CDC is scheduled to meet Thursday to examine data and requests related to the available coronavirus vaccines.

The FDA approval comes after an advisory committee recommended their authorization last week. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said: “Today’s actions demonstrate our commitment to public health in proactively fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues to impact the country, science has shown that vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective way to prevent COVID-19, including the most serious consequences of the disease, such as hospitalization and death. The available data suggest waning immunity in some populations who are fully vaccinated. The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against COVID-19 disease.”

The FDA authorized a single booster dose of the Moderna vaccine at least six months after completion of the two-dose regimen for individuals 65 years and older, or 18 to 64 years old who also have a high risk of severe COVID-19 or have frequent institutional or occupational exposure to the virus. Individuals over the age of 18 may also receive a single booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months after their initial one-dose vaccine. The FDA and CDC have already signed off on booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for Americans over 65 and those with compromised immune systems or underlying health risks that make them more vulnerable to infection.

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ALCS Game 5: Houston takes 3-2 series lead with 9-1 win vs. Red Sox

The Houston Astros beat Boston 9-1 in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series on Wednesday, moving them just one win away from another trip to the World Series.

Houston pitcher Framber Valdez was perfect through four innings, bringing a two-hit shutout into the seventh. In all, Valdez gave up one run on three hits, one walk and a hit batter, striking out five. He was also the first opposing pitcher to last eight innings in a postseason start at Fenway since Cleveland’s Charles Nagy went eight in the 1998 Division Series.

Game 6 will be held on Friday night in Houston. Nathan Eovaldi will start for Boston, but Houston manager Dusty Baker has not identified a potential starter as of press time. The Astros can clinch its third pennant in five years with a victory in Game 6. The Red Sox will need a win to force a deciding seventh game on Saturday.

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Pass rusher Whitney Mercilus signs with Green Bay Packers after release from Houston Texans

31-year old Whitney Mercilus has signed with the Green Bay Packers, shortly after he became a free agent when the Houston Texans released him on Tuesday. The 10-year veteran turned down more money elsewhere to sign with Green Bay; he had spent his entire career with the Texans after being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft.

The Texans restructured Mercilus’ contract coming into this season, to clear salary-cap space. He signed a four-year, $54 million deal in 2019, but the restructuring included two voidable years that would have made him a free agent after this season.

Mercilus was second on the Texans with three sacks and tied for third with four tackles for loss. He has been an excellent pass-rusher with 115 quarterback hits and 57 sacks in 134 career games. His age and skill set are best served in pass-rush situations.

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Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska is indicted by federal grand jury on charges of lying to the FBI

Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska has been indicted, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Prosecutors said in a tweet that a federal grand jury indicted Fortenberry on charges of lying to federal investigators, and another crime in connection with a probe about illegal campaign donations provided by a foreigner.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in a press release: ““The indictment alleges that Fortenberry repeatedly lied to and misled authorities during a federal investigation into illegal contributions to Fortenberry’s re-election campaign made by a foreign billionaire in early 2016.” The announcement of the indictment in Los Angeles federal court came hours after a YouTube video was posted, featuring Fortenberry, his wife, dog and 1963 Ford 100 pickup truck, revealing he expected to be indicted for allegedly lying to FBI agents.

Fortenberry is due to be arraigned in that court Wednesday. He is charged with one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators looking into illegal contributions to his 2016 campaign.

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Freshman fraternity member at University of Kentucky dies from ‘presumed alcohol toxicity’

Officials say that a freshman at the University of Kentucky died from alcohol toxicity Monday night after he was found unresponsive at his fraternity house. University police officers were called to FarmHouse Fraternity at about 6:22 p.m. Monday where Thomas Lofton Hazlewood, an 18-year-old fraternity member, was unresponsive. Hazlewood, an agricultural economics major. was taken to a hospital where he died.

The Fayette County Coroner’s Office said Hazlewood’s cause of death was “presumed alcohol toxicity” pending investigation, and the manner of death was ruled an accident. In a statement on Tuesday, the University of Kentucky said: “Foul play is not suspected, but police are investigating the circumstances of his death.”

FarmHouse Fraternity CEO Christian Wiggins said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood, a new member of the University of Kentucky chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and loved ones as well as the entire community. We have encouraged all members and new members to cooperate with any investigation prompted by Mr. Hazelwood’s death. The thoughts of the entire UK community are with his family and all those who knew him.”

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NY Yankees manager Aaron Boone to return; signs three-year extension with team

The New York Yankees announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed manager Aaron Boone to a new three-year contract; Boone’s new contract runs through the 2024 season and includes an option for 2025.

The 48-year-old Boone’s previous contract had expired at the end of the season. He has a 328-218 regular-season record in his four-year tenure with the franchise, and the team has been 11-11 in the postseason under Boone’s leadership. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a news release: “We have a person and manager in Aaron Boone who possesses the baseball acumen and widespread respect in our clubhouse to continue to guide us forward. As a team and as an organization, we must grow, evolve and improve. We need to get better. Period. I know Aaron fully embraces our expectations of success, and I look forward to drawing on his intelligence, instincts and leadership in pursuit of our next World Series championship.”  Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said during a press conference to announce the news: “Aaron Boone is the solution. He isn’t the problem.”  However, Cashman also acknowledged the inconsistency of the ’21 Yankees, calling them “unstoppable” for stretches and “unwatchable” during others.

The Yankees went 92-70 in the 2021 regular season, but lost to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game.

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