Death toll for Joplin tornado rises to 142
JOPLIN, Mo. -- The numbers look increasingly bleak for families hoping for the best after a monster tornado that devastated the town of Joplin, as the city has raised the death toll to at least 142 and state officials say 100 people are still missing.
Thousands more people far beyond Joplin had been waiting for good news about a teen believed to have been ejected or sucked from his vehicle on the way home from graduation. Several social-networking efforts specifically focused on finding information about Will Norton. But his family says he, too, is among the dead -- found in a pond near where his truck was located.
''At least we know that he wasn't out there suffering,'' his aunt Tracey Presslor said, holding a framed portrait of her 18-year-old nephew at a news conference. ''Knowing that he was gone right away was really a blessing for us.''
The tornado -- an EF-5 packing 200 mph winds -- was the deadliest since 1950. More than 900 people were injured. Tallying and identifying the dead and the missing has proven a complex, delicate and sometimes confusing exercise for both authorities and loved ones.
Flooded Montana towns prepare for more water
HELENA, Mont. -- Crews and residents frustrated by a week of major flooding across Montana cleared debris from roadways and some muddied homes Saturday, even as they braced for more heavy rainfall expected over the Memorial Day weekend.
A respite in weather that has brought as much as 8 inches of rainfall over a span of a few days to some areas had allowed waters to recede slightly in several flooded communities, allowing emergency crews to fix water-damaged roads, although they said some would not be repaired before the water is expected to rise again.
But the break in the rain looked to be brief with the National Weather Service predicting up to 3 inches of rainfall from today to Monday, and meteorologist Keith Meier warned the moisture would raise flood waters.
Man who gave cop the finger has charge dropped
DENVER -- A harassment charge has been dropped in the case of a 35-year-old Colorado man who faced prosecution for displaying his middle finger to a Colorado State Patrol trooper.
The State Patrol said in a statement late Friday that it asked that the case be dropped.
The American Civil Liberties Union had argued that while the gesture may be have been rude, it amounted to protected free speech.
Casey Anthony's ex-boyfriend, mother testify
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The mother of a Florida woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter gave a tour of the family home, including a playhouse built for the toddler and the above-ground pool the defense team claims the girl drowned in.
Cindy Anthony testified Saturday at her daughter's murder trial that she and Caylee went swimming on June 15, 2008 -- the last day she saw her granddaughter. She said she removed a ladder used to help Caylee get into the pool -- something she did every time the pool wasn't being used.
Casey Anthony, who is charged with first-degree murder in the toddler's summer 2008 death, wiped away tears with a tissue during her mother's testimony. Prosecutors contend Casey Anthony suffocated the girl with duct tape. If convicted, she could be sentenced to death.
Boy, 4, mauled to death by dog in his NYC home
NEW YORK -- A 4-year-old boy playing with his young brothers in a bedroom was fatally mauled by a family dog that had been feared by neighbors, police said.
Jayelin Graham suffered horrifying wounds to his head, neck and torso Friday night in the assault at his mother's apartment in Brooklyn's Brownsville section.
His mother told police that when she tried to intervene, the dog, a male Cane Corso mastiff, turned on her, too. Even with the help of a neighbor who rushed to help after hearing her screams, she was unable to save the child, police said.
Astronauts pack up on next-to-last shuttle flight
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Endeavour's astronauts took care of some last-minute space station chores Saturday before packing up to come home and end the next-to-last shuttle flight.
The space shuttle and its crew of six will depart the International Space Station late tonight. They worked to repair one of the space station's air purifiers and straightened out the suits that were used in four spacewalks. The final spacewalk of the mission, on Friday, completed the U.S. portion of station construction.