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iStock/Thinkstock(WICHITA, Kan.) -- A 5-year-old boy who has been missing since the weekend may have been the victim of abuse, a relative told ABC News.

Lucas Hernandez disappeared from his Wichita, Kansas, home around 3 p.m. on Saturday, police said. Lucas’ great-aunt Sally Rasmussen, who lives in New Mexico, told ABC News that she saw marks on the boy's arms and on his cheek in a photo she saw of him last May.

Rasmussen, who said she's worked at-risk youth before, said she is familiar with the possible signs of abuse and reported the marks to Kansas Child Protective Services.

Rasmussen said relatives grew more concerned when Lucas and his father, Johnathan Hernandez, visited New Mexico in November. She said they told her they saw more signs of abuse and reported them to authorities in New Mexico.

However, Rasmussen does not believe Lucas’father hurt his son.

“He loves his son dearly!” Rasmussen wrote in a Facebook message to ABC News.

She added that she believes Hernandez, who often travels out of state for work, was out of town working when Lucas disappeared. According to police, Lucas' stepmother told investigators she last saw him in his bedroom just before she took a shower and fell asleep. Police were called to the home about three hours later.

The New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department told ABC News that its cases are confidential and did not confirm whether it has an open case involving Lucas.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families, of which Child Protective Services is a part, said it couldn't share any information on its cases either but expressed worry for Lucas.

“We share the public’s concern regarding Lucas Hernandez," Theresa Freed, communications director for Kansas DCF, said in a statement to ABC News. "In the event the agency has information, we will share it with law enforcement, assisting them as requested.”

Wichita police confirmed in a media briefing Monday that they have had contact with the family before, but did not elaborate on the nature of that contact.

Authorities said they as many as 100 officers working the case and have searched the Hernandez home as well as Wichita’s Chisholm Trail Park, Grove Park and Harrison Park using horses, dogs and drones, but have found no sign of Lucas.

At a prayer vigil on Monday night, Lucas’ father told ABC affiliate KAKE he was thankful for the community's help.

“I think it’s good to see people in this community treating Lucas like he’s their child," Hernandez said. "This is a serious thing and we want him home.”

The family is cooperating with the investigation, authorities said.

ABC News has reached out to other relatives of Lucas, but did not immediately receive a response.

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Subscribe To This Feed, Fla.) -- More funerals were held Tuesday for Florida teenagers who were gunned down at their high school six days ago.

Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Carmen Schentrup and Peter Wang will be laid to rest. They were among the 17 people killed in the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect, a former student, was arrested.

Peter, 15, was a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) cadet and was killed in his uniform while helping his classmates to safety, witnesses said, according to ABC affiliate WPLG. His friends started a petition for him to be buried with military honors.

"I want people to know that he died a hero," friend Aiden Ortiz said, according to WPLG. "That he died saving many people."

Members of the military came to pay their respects, accoring to WPLG. 

Gina, 14, "was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered," her mother, Jennifer Montalto, said in a Facebook post.

"She will be missed by our family for all eternity," the post said.

Carmen, 16, "was dedicated and accomplished" and "was going to change the world," her parents said in a statement that was posted on her brother's Facebook page.

"She was quite literally a 'straight A' student and a National Merit Finalist (Carmen never knew this. Her award letter arrived the day after she died)," the statement said. "Earlier this month, she was accepted into the University of Florida Honors program and was exuberant to begin her college experience. She wanted to become a medical scientist and discover a cure for horrible diseases, like ALS.”

Cara, 14, a freshman, "was an excellent student" who loved the beach and her younger cousins, her aunt, Lindsay Fontana, wrote on Facebook.

"We are absolutely gutted," Fontana wrote. "While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING. This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it can not happen to other people’s families."

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iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) --  Cadet Peter Wang was being buried Tuesday wearing his JROTC uniform - and with him - the U.S. Army's Medal of Heroism.

Wang, 15, was wearing his JROTC uniform when he was killed in last week's Parkland, Fla. high school shooting.

"He was pointing the door open for other people to escape and then he was struck by the bullets," classmate and friend Aiden Ortiz told ABC affiliate WPLG. "I want people to know he died a hero. He died saving many people."

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Military Academy, known as West Point, posthumously offered admission to Wang for his heroic actions during the shooting. It was Wang's lifelong dream to attend the Academy.

A West Point statement said, "It was an appropriate way for USMA to honor this brave young man. West Point has given posthumous offers of admissions in very rare instances for those candidates or potential candidates whose actions exemplified the tenets of Duty, Honor and Country."

In addition to Wang, the U.S. Army Cadet Command is awarding the medal to two other Cadets, Alaina Petty and Martin Duque, also among the 17 who died.

The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, once was a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) Cadet as well.

The Medal of Heroism is a military decoration awarded by the Department of the Army to a JROTC Cadet who performs an act of heroism.

According to the Army, the act must be "so exceptional and outstanding that it clearly sets the individual apart from fellow students or from other persons in similar circumstances."

"The performance must have involved the acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibilities, exemplifying praiseworthy fortitude and courage," the Army said.

Wang's family was being given a "keepsake" medal - and the family of Cadet Alaina Petty received a similar "keepsake" medal at her funeral Monday. The Florida Sun Sentinel reported that about 1,500 people attended the service for the 14-year-old who was part of the female color guard team.

Wang's friend Aiden Ortiz and another classmate started a petition on the White House website "We the People" to have the federal government bury Wang with full military honors. As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had over 61,000 signatures.

Service members in uniform were expected to attend Wang's funeral, and his family is reportedly receiving hundreds of military patches and coins in their son's honor.

The family of Cadet Martin Duque, 14, will receive the medal during his funeral Saturday.

His aunt described Duque to ABC station KTRK as a good student who loved football and attending church. A Go Fund Me page set up to raise money for the family has already received nearly $40,000 in donations.

A spokesperson for the Army told ABC News that awards for other Cadets wounded in the shooting are going through a review process.

"However, the immediate focus right now is on supporting the funerals with dignity and honor, so deserved by these Cadets and their families," the spokesperson said.

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Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- On the day after the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school, the East Brunswick Board of Education in New Jersey approved a resolution to collaborate with its local police force to put armed officers in all 11 of its public schools.

The Feb. 15 vote was a unanimous action that came after 17 people died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when a gunman opened fire on Valentine's Day.

The officers will volunteer for this security position through the police department but will be compensated.

"We expect the cost [to be] $430,000 and that’s on top of their budget of $1.7 million for their existing unarmed security officers," Victor Valeski, the superintendent of schools, told ABC News.

Armed officers were present Tuesday at some schools, but the rest of the officers will be in place at all the schools by next week, Valeski said.

The school district won't announce how many armed officers they are adding to the schools because of security protocol, but this addition will supplement the 71 security officers, who are all retired law enforcement officers, already employed.

The armed officers would be at the schools throughout the entire school day, according to a press release.

Though the vote came after the shooting in Florida, the board of education has been working on this action for quite some time.

"This is something [that] has been in the works for two and half years," said Valeski, adding that the Florida high school shooting was a "catalyst" that made the board feel it was time to vote.

The day after the board of education's vote, East Brunswick schools responded to a threat that was made online.

"A high school student was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat based on an online posting," the district said in the release, and Valeski confirmed this incident happened on Feb. 16.

"The importance of our unarmed force is one of the things I'm proud of," said Valeski, noting that it was their action that aided in vetting the threat made to the school. "The relationships [the security officers] built with students is invaluable."

Valeski went on to add: "We have a very cooperative relationship with local township police and local administration, mayor and council, and we couldn't do this without their support."

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Subscribe To This Feed, Ohio) -- Ohio police are looking for a man who was caught on video slipping out of his handcuffs and escaping from a jail booking room after being arrested for shoplifting.

James Hlavsa was arrested along with two other men for shoplifting from a Home Depot. After being booked at the jail in Brooklyn, Ohio, an officer handcuffed the 31-year-old to a security bench to await bond and left him alone with another handcuffed suspect, ABC affiliate WEWS reported.

A surveillance camera mounted in the corner of the room captured Hlavsa, clad in a blue sweatshirt, jeans, and boots, chatting with the woman who was handcuffed next to him as he wiggles his hands and wrists, trying to get free of the handcuffs. Improbably, the cuffs slip off and Hlavsa is free.

He wastes little time checking to make sure the coast is clear before scampering off as two other surveillance cameras catch him fleeing down a hallway and then out the police department’s garage.

ABC News reached out to the Brooklyn Police Department for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

Hlavsa is still on the run and has multiple active warrants for contempt of court, larceny, and failure to appear, according to ABC affiliate WEWS.

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Philadelphia Police (PHILADELPHIA) -- One day after the mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead, a teenager in Philadelphia was caught on camera bringing a gun to a school entrance.

The incident took place at about 3:20 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the Frederick Douglas Mastery Charter School, the Philadelphia police said.

The unknown teenager is seen trying to open the door but it's locked.

He tries knocking, but then turns around and leaves.

No shots were fired, police said.

The suspect, believed to be between the ages of 13 and 16, is wanted for firearms violations, police said.
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Peter Larsen/Getty Images for MegaFest 2017(DALLAS) -- The mayor of Dallas urged the National Rifle Association on Monday to find another city to host its annual convention, taking a stand against gun violence in the wake of last week's deadly mass shooting in Florida.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said that the NRA, the nation's largest gun lobby, would be met with "marches and demonstrations" if it went ahead with plans to host the three-day meeting scheduled for May 4-6.

"It is a tough call when you ask the NRA to reconsider coming to Dallas, but it is putting all citizens first, and getting them to come to the table and elected officials to come to the table and to address this madness now," Caraway told reporters on Monday. "At the end of the day, we need to connect the dots. The NRA needs to step up to the plate, and they need to show leadership."

"I am saddened the fact that every time that we turn around is some type of gun violence," he added.

If the NRA moved its event, that could cost Dallas as much as $40 million, according to some estimates.

Caraway, a self-proclaimed strong "believer" in the second amendment, said the NRA has a national responsibility "to address this madness now" as he called on the group to help establish better gun laws.

"We should not allow people to possess assault rifles and weapons," he said. "While we are worrying about terrorists, we're living in a terrorist society amongst us Americans today."

"The NRA needs to step up to the plate and they need to show leadership," he added.

The 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits, slated to take place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention center, is expected to attract more than 80,000 gun enthusiasts, according to the organization's website.

A representative for the NRA pushed back against Caraway's criticism in a statement to ABC affiliate WFAA.

"No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city. We are already there," Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA's managing director of public affairs, told WFAA. "Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members."

The NRA, which regularly backs Republican politicians, has come under intense pressure in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where a former student allegedly used an AR-15 rifle to kill 17 people.
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Large majorities of Americans say neither President Donald Trump nor Congress are doing enough to try to prevent mass shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, last week, with improved mental health screening and treatment leading the public’s preferences for action.

Most in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 58 percent, say stricter gun laws could have prevented the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But which laws remains an open question: A ban on assault weapons still splits the country evenly, with no change from 2016.

See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

Far more, 77 percent, say better mental-health monitoring and treatment could have prevented the Parkland shooting. Much lower on the list is allowing teachers to carry guns, called an “opportunity and an option” by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week. Forty-two percent think this could have prevented the killings.

Desire for action is evident in this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates: Seventy-seven percent of Americans say Congress is not doing enough to try to stop such shootings, and 62 percent say the same of Trump. Large numbers feel “strongly” that action to date has been inadequate -- 59 percent in the case of Congress, 50 percent as to Trump.

The public’s especially broad endorsement of improved mental health screening and treatment is in line with another result: Americans by a 2-to-1 margin blame mass shootings mainly on problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems, rather than on inadequate gun control laws.

Still, compared with a 2015 ABC News/Post survey, somewhat fewer mainly blame mental health screening (down 6 points) and somewhat more blame inadequate gun control laws (up 5 points). Greater concern about mental health screening over gun laws was 63-23 percent then, vs. 57-28 percent now.

Support for mental health surveillance also was evident in a 2011 ABC News/Post survey after the shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. An overwhelming 83 percent supported increased funding for a system to report individuals treated for mental illness to the federal database used to screen gun purchases.

Banning assault weapons -- the alleged shooter in Parkland wielded a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle -- remains more divisive, with 50 percent in support, 46 percent opposed. That’s almost identical to a 51-48 percent division in June 2016, after a gunman killed 49 at an Orlando nightclub. Results have ranged over time from a high of 80 percent support for an assault weapons ban in mid-1994 and a recent high of 58 percent in January 2013, to a low of 45 percent in late 2015.


Views of inaction by the president and Congress are heavily influenced by partisanship, with a notable gender gap: Politically independent women are sharply more critical of Trump’s work on the issue than independent men, 77 vs. 56 percent, as well as more critical of Congress, 83 vs. 70 percent. Independent women also are 13 points more apt than independent men to think stricter gun control laws could have prevented the Parkland shooting (63 vs. 50 percent), 11 points less apt to think armed teachers could have done so (40 vs. 51 percent) and 12 points more likely to support banning assault weapons (51 vs. 39 percent).

Opinions on banning assault weapons are marked by especially sharp differences among groups. Fifty-five percent of women support a ban, compared with 43 percent of men. That reflects a vast gap between white women (60 percent support) and white men (39 percent); there’s no such gender gap among nonwhites. The gap widens further comparing support for an assault weapons ban among college-educated white women (65 percent) vs. non-college white men (36 percent).

Support for banning assault weapons soars to 66 percent in the Northeast, vs. the mid-40s elsewhere. It’s somewhat higher in big cities and suburbs than in rural areas and small cities, 51 vs. 43 percent. And it’s a hugely political and ideological issue; 74 percent of liberals and 71 percent of Democrats support a ban, vs. support in the mid-40s among moderates and independents, dropping to about three in 10 conservatives and Republicans. At the widest gap, support ranges from 83 percent among liberal Democrats to 26 percent among conservative Republicans.

These views also play out in red vs. blue states. Fifty-seven percent in states won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 support banning assault weapons, vs. 44 percent in states won by Trump. But here, too, gender plays a role. A ban is supported by 63 percent support of blue-state women, about half of blue-state men and red-state women alike and 38 percent of red-state men.

In attitudes on whether problems with mental health screening or gun laws are chiefly at fault in mass shootings, men are more apt than women to cite mental health surveillance (62 vs. 53 percent), as are whites vs. nonwhites (62 vs. 48 percent). Political and ideological differences again are sweeping; 80 percent of Republicans chiefly blame mental health screening and treatment; 62 percent of independents agree, dropping to 33 percent of Democrats. In the 2016 red states, 64 percent mainly blame the mental health system; in the blue states, 47 percent.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Feb. 15 to Feb. 18, 2018, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 808 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.0 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-24-40 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pa. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

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iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The principal of the Florida high school where 17 were killed last Wednesday said the school is aiming to start classes up again on Feb. 27.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High principal Ty Thompson made the announcement in a recorded call, which was obtained by ABC News.

"We will begin by inviting all students and parents to a voluntary campus orientation event on Sunday, Feb. 25, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.," Thompson says in the call. "A variety of support services will be available on campus for those in need."

He later adds: "Our goal was to resume classes on a modified schedule on Tuesday, Feb. 27."

"We are MSD Strong," he concludes.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the Valentine's Day massacre.

Authorities believe Cruz had access to 10 firearms, all long guns, law enforcement officials briefed on the matter told ABC News.

A law enforcement source said Cruz is believed to have purchased seven of the long guns himself. The other three firearms were weapons authorities believe Cruz had access to but did not purchase, the source said.

In addition to the AR-15 variant Cruz allegedly used in the school shooting, he also purchased an AK-47 variant, one law enforcement official said.

All appear to be legal purchases, sources said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Third-graders in Missouri have sparked a firestorm by selling AR-15 raffle tickets in order to fund their baseball team.

The fundraiser attracted backlash online in the wake of last week's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where an AR-15-style rifle was used to kill 17 people.

But the baseball team's coach thinks too much has been made of the issue. When ABC News reached Coach Levi Patterson, he said "this has been blown out of proportion."

"My heart breaks for those victims in [Florida.] I simply ask that you pray for them,” the Neosho-based coach said.

The raffle, which was launched before last week's bloodshed to boost support for the young baseball players, was promoted online, accompanied by the South Elementary School's Wildcat mascot. According to The Kansas City Star, the baseball team is not affiliated with the school district.

However, in the hours after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, South Elementary School principal Lee Woodward plugged the raffle on her own Facebook page, pushing for support of the “9u Neosho baseball players, coaches, and parents," according to the Star.

The mascot can be used in connection with non-school functions, a school district official told ABC News. However, approval must be secured beforehand, which it wasn't in this case, the official said.

"Community little league teams in our town have been given permission to use our logos with district approval prior to usage," the Neosho School District said in part in a statement. "The use of our logo on the raffle flyer was not approved but we do not believe it was an action done in ill will. The team removed our logo from the flyer as soon as they were made aware of the situation."

Woodward, the principal, is also a mother of one of the players on Patterson's team and was acting as a concerned mother and not as school principal by supporting the raffle, the official added.

In a statement, Woodward said: "As the mother of a community league baseball player and a school principal, I am truly sorry to any who were offended or concerned by the team's raffle. It was never my intention to offend anyone but to simply support my son and his teammates.

"My family is no longer participating in the fundraiser and because of death threats and other violence toward my family from across the nation, I have chosen not to comment further on this topic."

According to its website, the school prides itself on its stewardship.

"The Vision of South Elementary School is to instill positive character traits in our students so they will become both academically and socially productive citizens in society."

In the wake of the attacks, Patterson, who is not an employee of the school district, told the Star he feels he's been pilloried.

"One of the people from the hate group turned in [a Facebook post about the raffle] for I don't know what," he said.

He dismissed the notion that the AR-15 is a "killing machine" and defended his decision to carry on with the raffle in a Facebook post Wednesday.

"We appreciate your 'concern' but please understand, we are not, have not, and will not force one of our boys to sell raffle tickets for the Black Rain AR15 Spec 15, if they are uncomfortable doing so," he wrote, according to the Star. The winner must pass a background check to score the weapon.

“Are you all tone deaf?” wrote one person in a comment on Patterson’s page, according to the Star.

Patterson later amended his "hate group" remark to the Star, suggesting instead that critics are merely misguided in their attacks.

"I just think they have feelings to this specific type of gun [that are] different than people around here do," he told the Star.

The coach added that many have come to his defense as well. Patterson said he's had people from other states come forward over Facebook offering to purchase raffle tickets.

One of the players' fathers, according to the Star, co-founded Black Rain Ordnance, the manufacturer that produced the weapon and donated it to the raffle.

Black Rain Ordnance told ABC News: We were approached by a local Neosho youth traveling baseball team to donate a product that we manufacture here in our local gun friendly community of Neosho, Missouri. As always, we do everything in our power to support the community that also supports us as a business. We support other organizations whether it be local, regional or national with firearms donations to help support their initiatives. The winner of these donations must abide by all Federal, State and Local regulations that are set in place for taking ownership of a firearm." . According to the company's website, the variety of AR-15-type firearms sold by Black Rain Ordnance "use only American metal so that each of our products is truly an authentic American creation."

AR-15s shopped on the site range from just under $1,000 to almost $3,000. Specifically, the company claims on its website that its line of AR-15s and pistols are "built to meet bid requirements for law enforcement and military personnel and as an affordable option for civilian use."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the days since the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, student survivors have taken the baton from adults to demand justice for their dead friends and teachers, and protection for themselves in the classroom.

"It's incredibly unprecedented. And my initial response is these folks are too young to be cynical and they don't really care about the politics in D.C., and they're going forward and it's exciting," said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

"These young people are showing it's a different world," said Horwitz, who has been an advocate for gun control laws for three decades. "They have an authentic voice. It's hard to hear their pleas and be immune to that."

At gun control rallies and in countless interviews, student survivors of the shooting have clearly articulated their opinions that adults have failed to protect them and that politics should not play a role in their safety.

"What I wish people would know is that this is something that people cannot get used to,” student David Hogg, 17, told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America” a day after the shooting left 17 dead at his Parkland, Florida, school on Feb. 14.

“This is something we can't let keep happening," he said. "Because if we do and we get used to it, it’s going to happen again. This is a time for our country to take a look in the mirror and realize there is a serious issue here."

Like Hogg, fellow students at Stoneman Douglas have organized protests and seized opportunities to speak out.

Emma Gonzalez, 18, a senior at Stoneman Douglas, prompted rousing applause when she spoke at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, and called out lawmakers, including President Donald Trump, who take money from the National Rifle Association.

"We are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see," Gonzalez told the crowd.

Student Jaclyn Corin, 17, a junior at the school, and about 100 of her classmates plan to board buses on Tuesday and travel to the state capitol in Tallahassee as part of the “Never Again” movement spawned by the mass killing and spreading across the country via social media. The students plan to meet with legislators to demand stronger gun laws and bolstered school security.

"It shows that we are mature enough," Corin told ABC News. "We will come at them and do whatever it takes to change the way our state runs and the nation [operates]."

The students have also organized an event for March 14, in which they plan to walk out of class for 17 minutes in honor of those who died.

Kim Russell, executive adviser of Women's March, told ABC News that her organization's youth empowerment group, comprised of young people 15 to 20, has been helping organize the March 14 event and that students at schools across the country have vowed to participate.

Ten days after the walkout, a "March for Our Lives" is planned for Washington, D.C. A group of Stoneman Douglas students made the announcement this weekend they will march on Washington next month to demand action on gun control.

"People are saying that it's not time to talk about gun control. And we can respect that," Cameron Kasky, an 11th grader at Stoneman Douglas, told ABC News' Martha Raddatz on "This Week." "Here's a time: March 24 in every single city. We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives."

The students say they hope the march transcends politics, with Kasky saying "this isn't about the GOP. This isn't about Democrats. This is about the adults."

Students are also planning a nationwide class walkout for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre that left 15 dead, including the gunmen, in Littleton, Colorado. As of Monday evening, more than 66,000 students and teachers across the country had signed a petition pledging to walk out of classrooms that day.

"I can just say, I am proud of them and I'm moved and inspired by the work they are doing. We need them in order to get Congress to act," said Russell, the mother of a 12-year-old daughter.

Russell, who in 1999 survived being shot in a robbery that left her close friend dead, has been working for 5 1/2 years on gun control issues and was a regional organizing manager of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

"I needed their inspiration," Russell said of the Parkland students who have spoken out.

"I think this feels very different this time. I think we've finally reached a tipping point," she said. "This is a moment for these students to understand that they have the power to make their schools safer. They understand that. This is their reality now."

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iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Joshua Thiede has been missing for over a week and his family is concerned for his safety.

The 29-year-old was last seen at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 11 in downtown Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. His family hasn't heard from him since.

"This doesn't feel right," said Yokeena Jamar, Thiede's friend, to ABC station KABC in Los Angeles. "Honestly, it didn't really feel real to me until after the news stations started calling."

An investigation into Thiede's disappearance is ongoing and active, according to police.

Thiede was an Uber and Lyft driver, according to police. He drove a 2014 black Nissan Altima with license plate No. 7CSD450, police said. His car was located on Monday afternoon just east of Hollywood.

Police describe Thiede as white with brown hair, blue eyes, 6 feet tall and weighing around 170 pounds.

Janet Thiede, his mother, said on Twitter that her son, or someone using his phone, called 911 on Feb. 12 and then hung up.

"The 911 phone call was made on Monday at 2:30 p.m. We're not sure why he made that phone call," Jamar told KABC. "There was no transcript of that phone call because they did not record it. It was a hang-up call."

Thiede was using Uber and Lyft to make money while preparing to start his own footwear line to benefit homelessness, according to KABC.

"We are aware of the situation and have been working with the LAPD. We certainly hope Joshua is found safe and urge anyone who can help to call police," said a spokesman for Uber in a statement to ABC News.

Lyft has not immediately responded to ABC News' request for comment, but according to KABC, issued a statement saying, "Our concern is with Mr. Thiede's safety and wellbeing. We have been in touch with his family and law enforcement and will continue to assist in whatever way we can."

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LAPD's Missing Persons Unit at (213) 996-1800. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As investigators dig into Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz's background, more and more instances have emerged in which state and federal officials apparently missed opportunities to stop his runaway obsession to, as the alleged killer purportedly stated in a 6-month-old comment on a YouTube video, "be a professional school shooter."

"This kid, in his own way, was screaming out in every way the mind knows how to scream out. He did everything, including saying, 'I want to go and shoot people in school,'" Cruz's attorney Howard Finkelstein told ABC News. "I don't know what you can do more than that to get somebody's attention."

Among the growing list of warning signs either detailed by public statements from officials or public records are:

-- An admission by the FBI that it was given two tips on Cruz's potential for violence, including the September comment on the YouTube video, which the FBI said it investigated but could not verify who posted it. The bureau also said on Friday that a Jan. 5 tip that came across its Public Access Line, warning that Cruz might be planning a "school shooting" and detailing his guns, was not passed on to its Miami field office and was never investigated.

-- A report in August 2016 by the Florida Department of Children and Family that shows the agency investigated a Snapchat post showing Cruz cutting his arms and was told by Cruz that he "plans to go out and buy a gun." The agency determined Cruz "to be stable enough not to be hospitalized," according to the DCF report obtained by The Associated Press.

-- Investigators dissecting Cruz's social media accounts since the mass shooting have found posts that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel described to ABC News as "very, very disturbing."

-- Broward County School District officials saying Cruz was reprimanded regularly while a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and eventually expelled. Jim Gard, a math teacher at the school, told ABC News he believes Cruz had been banned from bringing a backpack to school when he was a student there.

-- At least 20 calls for service in the last few years regarding Cruz for a variety of disturbance complaints, including fighting with his mother, who died in November after contracting pneumonia, authorities said. In a police report from Sept. 28, 2016, a therapist who went on one of the calls cleared Cruz, concluding he was “no threat to anyone or himself.”

-- One of Cruz's classmates told ABC News that about a year ago, Cruz told him, "I swear to God I'll shoot up this school." But the student did not report the threat to school officials after Cruz apologized for making it, the student said.

During a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, Emma Gonzalez, a student at Stoneman Douglas, told a crowd that students had reported Cruz numerous times for his behavior.

"We did, time and time again since he was in middle school," Emma said. "It was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear he was the shooter."

Robert Runcie, the Broward County School District superintendent, declined to comment on Cruz specifically, but told ABC News in an interview on Sunday, that the district follows up on all complaints about students.

"They are disciplined, they are reviewed," Runcie said. "In schools, we provide counseling and support to the greatest extent possible.

"But there are limitations for what we can do at a legal standpoint right now," Runcie said. "If a student has serious issues, we collaborate when appropriate with law enforcement agencies on when to take action. But the big challenge, I believe, is that we have various agencies, including the school system, that are working really hard but in silos."

Runcie said there isn't a system available in which the schools, law enforcement, social service agencies and mental health agencies share information that could possibly connect the dots about a particular student.

"We're gonna certainly review this and all of us in our respective areas are gonna figure out how we can improve on what we are doing," Runcie said. "But at the end of the day, there's got to be legislation, there has to be some type of infrastructure built so that we're all working smarter instead of just harder in our own silos, if you will."

Israel told ABC News that he's ordered an investigation into all 20 calls regarding Cruz to "look at what our deputies did, and if our deputies acted inappropriately, or missed and didn't do what our leaders think they should've done."

But Israel said his deputies often find their "hands are tied" by laws. He said the state's Baker Act -- which gives law enforcement the ability to involuntarily take someone suffering from mental illness to a facility to be examined if they are an immediate threat to themselves or others -- needs to be expanded.

"We have to be able to when we read disturbing texts, when somebody says 'I want to be a school killer'... we need the ability to involuntarily Baker Act someone for what we think they might do," Israel said. "That has to be done in this day and age."

But Israel said nothing will change unless Congress acts to strengthen gun laws to keep weapons out of the hands of people with a history of mental illness.

"They deserve and we deserve to have them confined, and when they're examined and somebody says they're ready to be released, they should be released and they shouldn't be able to come over with an order and have us give them their handguns," Israel said.

"They're not better three or seven days later," he said. "They're not better, they're not healed. We don't know what's gonna happen. We need to keep their guns."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WICHITA, Kan.) -- Wichita police are continuing their frantic search for a missing 5-year-old boy who was last seen over the weekend.

Lucas Hernandez disappeared around 3 p.m. on Saturday, police said. His 26-year-old stepmother told police she saw him in his bedroom just before she took a shower and fell asleep. Police were called to the home about three hours later.

Officer Charley Davidson said at a press conference Monday that police had searched the family’s home in southeast Wichita and are using K-9 units as well as going door to door in an effort to find the young boy.

Davidson said that information from a tip line led police to nearby Chisholm Creek Park. Police are also searching Grove Park but would not elaborate further on the tip.

"We are going to be there as long as it takes," Davidson said. “Our focus right now is finding Lucas.”

Lucas has brown hair and brown eyes, weighs about 60 pounds, and is 4 feet tall. He was last known to be wearing black sweats, white socks and a gray shirt with a bear on it.

A family member who spoke to ABC affiliate KAKE said they are distraught.

“We are in shock; he is a sweet little boy and we are concerned for his safety," said Lucas' cousin Kristin Edson.

"It was devastating. You're hollering his name up and down the street. Telling him it's OK to come out. It's very hard to do. You never think it would happen to you until it happens and you just pray it never does,” Edson said.

Authorities said that an Amber Alert has not been issued because there is no evidence that the child was abducted.

“We ask that community members share any information they may have on their Facebook pages or call us with any information,” Davidson added Monday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has sent its Child Action Rapid Deployment team to assist in the search, and the Wichita Police Department has activated its Emergency Operation Command Center.

Police ask if anyone with any information about the whereabouts of Lucas to please call 316-383-4661 immediately.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SCHENECTADY, N.Y.) -- Union College has purportedly stumbled across an historic find hidden in the contents of a library book -- but the school is resisting a DNA test that could confirm the centuries-old find.

A librarian cataloging historic books in the Schenectady, New York, school's archive believes he stumbled across a lock of George Washington's hair neatly tied with a bow and kept in an envelope. But college officials do not want to risk destroying the sample by conducting a DNA test.

"It could be destructive to do DNA testing," India Spartz, Union College's head of special collections and archives, told ABC News. "[A DNA test] would take the hair and break it down."

She claims that the historical evidence that was discovered in December 2017 alongside the hair is enough for the college to consider the locks of hair as the real deal.

The hair was discovered in an envelope labeled "Washington's hair" inside an almanac that had once been owned by the father of Eliza Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton's wife.

"We have provenance that it links back to a family that were Washington's colleagues," explained Spartz of the Hamilton family's significance.

According to a note also discovered, the lock of Washington's hair was passed down through the Hamilton family.

"What was customary, often times, was that people would gift a lock of hair," said Spartz of the finding.

Difficulties could arise if the sample did undergo DNA testing.

"The biggest problem is contamination," Dr. Blaine Bettinger, a genealogist, told ABC News. "There would be DNA results [after a test], but figuring out if the results are from the hair's DNA or if it is the DNA of someone who has handled the hair would be the difficulty."

Since it is highly unlikely that the root of a strand is attached to the hair, the DNA test is limited, according to Bettinger, but it could provide in-depth knowledge of Washington's family history. Verification that the DNA was Washington's would take a comparison between the results and another person from his family's maternal line, said Bettinger.

"A test would reveal George Washingon's mother and his mother's mother and people could learn about his ancestry, which is, in this case, probably European," said Bettinger.

The issue comes with the fact the sample would be destroyed in the process.

"[The hair] would be permanently destroyed as part of the DNA testing," said Bettinger. "To me, it makes sense at the current time [to wait to DNA test]."

"I think technology will improve in a decade or two and then the amount of hair needed [for a test] could be substantially less," he added.

The college doesn't anticipate DNA testing the specimen anytime soon, Spartz agreed.

"We have a little bit of a wait-and-see approach," she said about DNA testing.

When the day comes that the hair can be tested, Spartz doesn't doubt what the results will show.

"My guess is that they would say this is from George Washington," she said.

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