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Police investigating after sex offender allegedly got phone numbers, texted children

Police in Michigan are warning parents after a sex offender was able to get the phone numbers of two children through unknown means.

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT Aug. 13: Police initially said the phone numbers were obtained through the online game Roblox. In an update Friday, authorities said investigators were unable to determine how the numbers were obtained.

In a statement, officials with Roblox said the entertainment platform “supports imaginative play in a safe, supportive environment.”

“We can assure you that we take safety on our platform seriously and have features and processes in place to protect our community from sharing personally identifiable information,”  the statement said. 

Among other measures, the company uses automated technology to monitor and “when appropriate filter” the communication between users. The company also has restrictions surrounding what users under 13 years old can share.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Mom alarmed about gaming site after 7-year-old's virtual character sexually assaulted

Original report: According to the Marshall Police Department's Facebook page and WWMT, a "concerned parent" contacted authorities after the children, who are 9 and 10, began receiving text messages "from an unknown subject." Police described the conversations as "non-offensive and short," WWMT reported.

>> On WSBTV.com: Are your kids safe? Predators reaching children through online games

"Officers researched the number that was contacting the children and discovered it belonged to a subject on parole and who is also on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry," the department posted Saturday. "The suspect was arrested by local parole agents for the offense."

>> See the post here

Police also issued the following warning:

>> Read more trending news 

"Popular online cell phone games such as 'Roblox' and 'Minecraft,' when played online in public mode, allow other players to obtain personal information from each other," the department wrote. "Parents are encouraged to monitor their children’s online use of games, who they are speaking with, and the dangers of speaking with unknown subjects."

Read more here or here.

21 Savage provides free school supplies to over 2,500 students

More than 2,500 people lined up in the Georgia heat last week to share in the generosity of 21 Savage.

>> Man shot at back-to-school event attended by rapper 21 Savage

The Atlanta rapper hosted his third annual “Issa Back 2 School Drive” on Aug. 5 to benefit students from DeKalb County Schools. The event, which last year attracted about 700 people, outfitted students in grades K-12 with backpacks, shoes, uniforms and school supplies.

Kids and their families snaked along the sidewalk of the 285 Flea Mart off Glenwood Road in a shopping center the lanky “Whole Lot” rapper, 25, said he used to hang around as a teen. Many of the beneficiaries also received free haircuts and food from tents stationed in the parking lot.

It was a scene that made 21 Savage quietly proud.

>> Read more trending news 

“I might rap about a lot of stuff, but that’s just a reflection of what I’ve been through,” he said while seated in his manager’s truck a few feet away from the throng of fans. “In real life, everything I do, I want to bring everybody together. I want to give back to the community, help the kids, get them uniforms, books, book bags, everything they need ... just do better. That’s where it starts, the kids.”

U.S. Rep. Henry "Hank" Johnson, D-Georgia, and his wife, DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, also attended to check out the scene.

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

The event and supplies were funded by 21 Savage and his Leading By Example Foundation. Other sponsors included City National Bank, Spotify, Epic Records and 10:22 p.m. Records.

During a recent appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” 21 Savage launched a “Bank Account” campaign to help young adults learn financial responsibility and donated $1,000 to 21 kids in partnership with the nonprofit organization Get Schooled.

Read more here.

Parents say airline never notified them about unaccompanied children's diverted flight

Two parents in Orlando are upset after they say their children were stranded in Atlanta without their knowledge while the children were flying as unaccompanied minors on a Frontier Airlines flight from Iowa.

They say no one contacted them after the plane carrying their children was diverted to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport due to weather and that Denver-based Frontier should have called them to ask if it was okay to drive the children to a hotel before they decided to make that move.

>> Read more trending news

Etta, age 7, and Carter, age 9, were flying July 22 from a visit to see their grandparents in Des Moines, Iowa, back home to Orlando, scheduled to arrive at 10:46 p.m. 

But storms in Orlando caused a ground stop, and the flight diverted to Atlanta late at night.

The children stayed at a hotel with an airline worker and shared a room with four other children. It was the children’s first flight without their parents.

The incident highlights what can go wrong when children fly unaccompanied -- even on a nonstop route -- if a flight is diverted to an unfamiliar city.

While the Frontier flight diverted to Atlanta, sometimes flights get diverted to an airport in a small town where the airline may not even have staff.

“This was the first year I said okay, they’re old enough to fly on their own, they know their phone number, they know their address,” said Etta and Carter’s mother Jennifer Ignash. But when the flight got diverted, “it was like, okay, panic.”

Frontier charges a $110 unaccompanied minor fee per child and does not allow unaccompanied minors on connecting flights.

The airline said in keeping with its policy, “the children were attended to at all times by a Frontier supervisor, placed in a hotel room overnight, and provided with food. Our records show that the children were in contact with their mother before being transported to the hotel and with their father the following morning before leaving on the continued flight. We understand how an unexpected delay caused by weather can be stressful for a parent and our goal is to help passengers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible.”

Ignash, who was waiting at the Orlando airport for her children that night, said multiple flights were diverted from Orlando, and “when that happens, it’s just a madhouse.” She got word that the children’s flight was diverted, and tried calling Frontier’s customer service line but says they couldn’t get her information about her children.

Ignash says she didn’t get a call from a Frontier employee until the next morning.

But an older unaccompanied minor on the flight let the children use his cell phone to call and text their parents.

“Without that child, we would have had zero idea where our kids were,” Ignash said.

Ignash says an employee using a personal vehicle took the children to a hotel, where six kids from the flight stayed in adjoining hotel rooms. The parents say they do not know who the employee was who drove the children or stayed with them in the hotel room.

“We never gave approval for that to happen,” Etta and Carter’s father, Chad Gray, said.

Alan Armstrong, an Atlanta aviation attorney Gray contacted, said he thinks there should be procedures and personnel at the airport to handle the problem.

“They just make it up as they go along,” Armstrong said.

Ignash said if parents decide to let their children fly as an unaccompanied minor, they should “understand what the airline’s policy and procedure is and get a direct contact.”

Gray said the worst part was not knowing what was happening.

“It was a bunch of circumstances that came into play all at the same time. I just don’t think Frontier is prepared to handle all those at once,” Gray said. “You like to minimize the risk that your kids have and you want to protect them. And not having any control over the process whatsoever, I think, is really, really frustrating.”

WSBTV.com contributed to this report.

Disney sleep hotline offers bedtime messages from Mickey, other fan favorites

Can't get the kids to go to sleep? Maybe Mickey can help.

According to USA Today, Disney's new sleep hotline lets kids hear a goodnight message from Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck or Goofy. If you're in the United States or Canada, you can dial the toll-free number, 1-877-7-MICKEY, to hear one message per call through Aug. 31.

>> Read more trending news 

The hotline's launch came as the Disney store announced its new Sleep Shop product line, which includes pajamas, stuffed animals, blankets and other bedtime goodies. Learn more here.

Revival of so-called hot water challenge sparks warnings from parents

Parents across the country are warning others after a prank among teenagers in Indiana left a 15-year-old with second-degree burns

The hot water challenge consists of pouring boiling water on an unsuspecting friend or drinking boiling water through a straw and uploading video of the prank on the internet.

The challenge reportedly began online years ago, but the recent incident in Indiana  is drawing more attention to the prank.

Kyland Clark, 15, said skin fell off his chest and face after he and his friend looked up and tried the hot water challenge on YouTube, according to WXIN.

>> Read more trending news 

“I looked down at my chest. My skin just fell off my chest, and then I looked in the mirror and I had skin falling off here and on my face,” Kyland told WXIN July 26.

WXIN reported that Kyland is expected to heal from his injuries, according to Fox 59, but Doctors in Indiana say they have seen an increase in emergency room visits from victims of the so-called challenge. 

“It’s suggesting to people that they can try it and they won’t be hurt, but they will be, I can guarantee it,” Dr. Ed Bartkus of Indiana University School of Medicine told WXIN.

In 2017, an 8-year-old girl in Florida died after drinking boiling water from a straw on a dare after watching a series of boiling water challenge videos on YouTube. 

That same year, an 11-year-old girl in New York City was burned on over 85 percent of her body when a friend poured boiling water on her while at a neighborhood block party. 

Alina Dow, who attended the party, told WPIX at the time that she hoped the 11-year-old girl’s recovery would inspire others. 

“Just to let the little girl know that she is supported and she has friends and this is not OK,” Dow said. 

More information on how to prevent hot water burns and scalds is on the United States Fire Administration website.

Grieving mom pleads for return of stolen necklace containing baby son's ashes

A Connecticut mom is making a emotional plea for the return of an irreplaceable keepsake that was stolen from her: a silver necklace holding her baby boy's ashes.

According to WVIT, LeeAnn Winn of South Windsor said a thief made off with her purse Saturday after breaking into her friend's car in Hartford. The necklace containing the ashes was inside the handbag.

>> See a photo of the necklace here

"I am heartbroken and devastated that a part of my baby is out there somewhere and not with someone who loves & misses him," Winn wrote on Facebook.

>> Read more trending news 

Winn told WVIT that her son was 3 months old when he died nine years ago.

“I just want him back with me, with the one who loves him," she told the TV station. "It’s all I have left, unfortunately."

Read more here.

Dragon's Breath liquid nitrogen snack sends Florida boy to hospital, mom says

A Florida mom said what looked like a fun and harmless treat sent her child to the hospital

>> Watch the news report here

Dragon's Breath, a cereal-like treat, is sold at The Avenues Mall in Jacksonville.

It’s coated in liquid nitrogen, which makes it look like you're breathing smoke out of your mouth and nose after eating it.

Racheal Richard McKenny of St. Augustine said her son has very mild asthma.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Man dies after eating raw oysters at Florida restaurant, report says

She says he started having trouble breathing on the way home from the mall, shortly after eating the snack.

“Around 20 minutes in, the cough became really consistent. By the time we passed the Palencia subdivision, he was coughing so bad that he was having trouble catching his breath,” she wrote on Facebook. “We knew he couldn’t breathe, and we knew that we couldn’t get him to the hospital in time.”

>> See the post here

McKenny said they quickly pulled into a fire station, where EMTs immediately started Johnny on an albuterol treatment and hooked him up to an IV while preparing him for transport. 

“The nebulizer was not improving his breathing at all and, by the time they got him loaded into the ambulance, he needed a shot of epinephrine,” she said. “Johnny had a second breathing treatment and steroid on the way to the hospital.”

Dr. Sunil Joshi of Family Allergy Asthma Consultants in Jacksonville said even people who don’t have asthma could have side effects from the nitrogen in the treat.

“Even if you don’t have asthma it can be very, very inflammatory or irritating to the airway and your esophagus and your stomach, all of that,” he said.

>> Read more trending news 

He also said exposure to the nitrogen can cause serious burns. 

Dragon’s Breath sold by a different vendor made headlines in October when a 14-year-old girl was severely burned at a fair.

A county in New York has also moved to ban the treats.

A manager of the kiosk at the mall in Jacksonville said a notice at the cash register was updated to include an allergy and asthma warning after Johnny’s reaction.

He said the business believes it was an isolated incident and that several customers with asthma who ate Dragon’s Breath did not have a reaction.

McKenny posted a warning on Facebook, saying she hopes sharing Johnny’s experience prevents this from happening to any other family.

WATCH: Dad working 3 jobs surprises daughter with dream dress for school formal

A hardworking Pittsburgh dad made his daughter's dreams come true when he surprised her with her dream dress for her eighth-grade formal.

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

According to a Facebook post by Style Exchange Boutique, he originally told his daughter it wasn't financially possible but ended up surprising her with the dress at McDonald's, one of his workplaces. In the video, the girl is crying tears of joy as she embraces her dad.

The video was posted in June but just recently went viral. 

>> Watch the video here

A more recent post by the store, which sold her dad the dress, included a photo of the girl wearing the gown.

>> Read more trending news 

"By popular demand, we wanted to share a picture of one of our beautiful customers on her special day," the post read. "Here is a picture of Miss Smith shining on the day of her 8th grade formal last month wearing the dress her father purchased for her from the video that brought so many tears, well wishes, and positive words of encouragement from all over the world. Keep shining beautiful!"

>> See the post here

Hot Cheetos, Takis under fire after mom blames spicy snacks for daughter's gallbladder surgery

A health warning tonight for parents: Doctors say popular spicy snacks are making many kids sick.

A doctor at LeBohneur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, told WHBQ that more kids have been checking in with stomach pain.

They believe the spicy snacks are the main contributor, and they are encouraging parents to know what their kids are eating.

>> Goldfish crackers recalled over possible salmonella contamination

“There's a YouTube video called 'Hot Cheetos and Takis,'” said Dr. Cary Cavender.

The video was made by elementary school kids and has more than 16 million views on YouTube. 

The music video is from 2012; it helped to skyrocket the popularity of spicy snacks.

>> See the video here

“We are seeing a bunch of kids in clinic with tummy pain. That's about our first question now: Are you addicted to Hot Cheetos and Takis? Hot chips?” Cavender said.

Cavender is a specialist at LeBohneur Children’s Hospital and said he is seeing more toddlers to teens with stomach pain.

“Probably 100 to 150 patients a month, between our group,” he said. Many of the young patients have inflammation and stomach pain, such as gastritis.

“A lot of them have to get put on medication to block acid because they have got actual inflammation in there,” Cavender said.

>> Taco Bell cheese dips being recalled due to possible botulism risk

Rene Atkins said her 17-year-old daughter was addicted to the chips.

“Four bags a week,” said Atkins, whose daughter is also named Rene.

Atkins said her daughter experienced the problems firsthand.

“My daughter had to get her gallbladder removed for eating those hot chips,” she said.

Cavender told WHBQ that it’s hard to connect the chips directly to that surgery, but they’re causing issues, in large part due to quantity.

“Generally, kids eat the whole bag, so they don't pay attention to that,” said Dr. Cavender.

The expert says whatever the brand, eat spicy snacks on rare occasions.

The stomach pain “will disappear if they quit taking on as much heat in their diet,” Cavender said.

Atkins said she is going to watch her daughter’s – and other neighborhood kids' – consumption closely.

“Even little kids coming down the street, if I see you with some hot Cheetos, some hot fries, some hot Takis, I am taking it,” she said.

The doctor said many of the patients’ parents had no idea how many bags their kids are eating.

>> Read more trending news 

One reason: There are dealers at school who sell little Ziploc bags of the snacks.

If your child is having stomach pain, consider going to the hospital, but the cause may not be chips.

If they are having issues for days, have them drink water, eat a balanced diet and monitor the pain.

Fritos sent WHBQ a statement regarding the recent advice from doctors:

“At Frito-Lay, we aim to delight our consumers and food safety is always our number one priority. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos meet all applicable food safety regulations, as well as our rigorous quality standards. That said, we realize some consumers may be more sensitive to spicy foods than others and may choose to moderate consumption or avoid spicier snacks due to personal preference. When consumers have questions or concerns about any of our products, we are available to answer their questions through our dedicated Consumer Relations team.”

Baby boom: 12 staff members at one hospital pregnant at the same time

Something may be in the water at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington.

>> Watch the news report here

Twelve staff members in the physical therapy/rehabilitation department were at one point pregnant at the same time.

Four of them are currently on maternity leave. Three of them have delivered healthy babies.

>> 6 nurses in same unit discover they are pregnant at same time

Registered nurse Megan Ommodt gave birth to her first child, Evelyn, three months ago. She was among the first in the group to find out she was pregnant.

“It’s stressful to be a new mom, so to know that your co-workers are going through the same thing and you can be supportive of each other, it’s nice," she said.

For some other expecting moms, this was not their first time around at motherhood.

Licensed practical nurse Melissa Tucker is expecting her third child. She already has an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl.

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

“It’s kind of cool to answer their questions about things that they are experiencing that they never experienced before,” Tucker said.

Case in point: Her colleague, Jennifer Reynolds, who said her co-workers knew before she did that she was pregnant.

“I was super nauseous the week before,” Reynolds said. “When I found out, I was running to the bathroom and throwing up.”

The challenge now for the hospital is managing upcoming maternity leaves.

>> Read more trending news 

These women say the patients are loving this, and it’s been a great experience for the whole department.

“All of our patients now know who’s pregnant, how many are pregnant,” said occupational therapist Sarah Rediske, who is expecting her second child. “They love it. They joke about it and bring it up. It’s an uplifter around here for sure.”

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