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tv   ABC World News Tonight  ABC  July 26, 2015 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT

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welcome to "world news tonight." lost at sea. two 14-year-old boys setting out on a fishing trip. vanishing hours later. the pleas from their desperate families, and the massive search to locate them. tonight, the disturbing find. plan to kill. the journal belonging to the movie shooter gunman. details of his sinister plan inside. as families prepare to say goodbye to the two young women whose lives he took. up in flames. the fast-moving fire at a las vegas hotel. 14 stories high. a rooftop pool turned into an inferno. new details from the high-rise firefight. highway danger. the giant automaker and the record fine. the safety violations involving 11 million vehicles. millions of them are still on the road. are you driving one?
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and, what a tip! the waitress who picked up the tab for two firefighters after their battle with a massive blaze. and what they did for her after her random act of kindness. good evening, thanks for joining us on this sunday. i'm tom llamas. we start in florida, two families holding out hope after their sons disappeared. the two 14-year-olds set out on a fishing trip on friday. their families joined by nfl great joe namath on the search. kendis gibson with the story. >> reporter: tonight, an ominous clue in the search for two missing florida teenagers. the coast guard confirming a boat discovered overturned and damaged 67 nautical miles off the coast of central florida, is the same single engine vessel the teens set out on two days ago.
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but no signs still of austin stephanos and perry cohen. >> it's unimaginable for any parent to have to be faced with not knowing where your child is. >> reporter: the 14-year-olds left their home in jupiter, florida, friday morning to go fishing in a nearby inlet. but by midday the duo was text messaging friends, and posting on snapchat, saying they were heading to the bahamas. at least 75 miles away. they have no gps aboard their boat. >> we will do anything to get our children back. >> reporter: the boys last spotted buying $100 of fuel at this marina. their panicked parents calling authorities. joined today by friend and neighbor, hall-of-famer joe namath, who has helped the family, raising a $100,000 reward for their safe return. local boaters on the lookout. today's discovery, nearly 150 miles north of where the boys departed, consistent with the gulf stream currents. the coast guard search area now spanning more than 25,000 square miles with boats and aircraft. that search planned to go through the night.
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it's a race against time to find these boys. at one point, the families had their own planes and boats searching for the pair. >> thank you. and in louisiana tonight, the family of those two women killed at a movie theater are preparing to say good-bye. but we're learning that the gunman kept a journal. ryan owen in louisiana for us again tonight. >> reporter: he planned it and even wrote it down. that's the conclusion police have come to after reading the journals of john rusty houser. detectives found those journals along with wigs and glasses,
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disguises inside his motel 6 room. and calling him a drifter, visiting seven local movie theaters before settling on this one, perhaps because they don't have security on thursday nights like on the weekends. police say he parked his car right next to the emergency exit but he ran back into the theater and took one more life his own. his own family had him committed. despite that he was able to buy a gun at an alabama pawnshop. at sunday services in this deeply religious community prayers for the nine injured and the two killed jillian johnson
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and maycie breaux. the funerals tomorrow. and two others shot remain in the hospital both in good condition. tom? >> thank you. and next to the battle against wildfires in california. 24 burning in five states take a look at that. the fires near sacramento forcing families out of their homes. here's clayton sandell. >> reporter: tonight, an air war. 45 miles northeast of sacramento, they're burning so hot, you can see them from space. hundreds told to evacuate their
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homes. >> we decided to get home load up the camper. >> reporter: it's already been a bad fire season. 5.6 million acres this year so far, despite 1.6 million at this time last year. at the federal fire science lab in montana, they study how far fires spread but they worry stopping the fires is getting tough tougher. more homes are built in fire zone. longer more intense monster fires. >> fires that do the kind of damage it's very difficult to recover from. >> reporter: and the fire in california still burning out of control. firefighters say tomorrow strong winds could push the
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flames closer to homes. tom? >> thank you. and in las vegas tonight, in fact -- investigators searching for clues on a rooftop fire at a hotel. tonight, new details from the frightening moments after the fire broke out and the battle to contain it. alex perez is there. >> reporter: tonight, new images of that fast moving fire that destroyed part of the pool deck at the trendy cosmopolitan hotel on the vegas strip. you can see the flames as firefighters worked to contain it. >> unbelievable. unbelievable. >> reporter: plumes of dark smoke filled the sky within minutes. helping fuel the blaze, artificial palm trees and cabanas. >> the artificial material is what made this fire danger. it's very toxic. >> reporter: kristen reynolds one of a few hundred people on the deck. she says hotel staff quickly directed everyone to the stairs. the crowd scrambling 14 stories to safety on the ground. >> i remember hearing people
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screaming as we turned to run to the exit. we could feel the fire behind us. >> reporter: it was just after noon saturday when a small fire quickly became a towering inferno. >> it's so bad. >> reporter: the images a frightening reminder of the blaze that killed 85 at the mgm grand in 1980. >> fire swept through the lower floors of the mgm grand. >> reporter: authorities crediting sweeping changes made since then, including mandatory sprinkler systems and pressurized elevator shafts. authorities now working to pinpoint what exactly triggered all this. and investigators tonight say they have narrowed down the origin of the fire to a ten square foot area they are now analyzing for clues. tom? >> thank you. back here on the east coast, two are dead after a boating accident near baltimore. it happened near the francis scott key bridge at 4:00 a.m. in the morning.
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the boat towed back to shore, six injured, the bodies of two women recovered from the water. next to the fiat/jeep fine. the department of transportation revealing what led to this massive fine. here's david kerley. >> reporter: the government had to go to the expense of these crash tests, because fiat chrysler refused to share its data. one of nearly two dozen recalls. 11 million cars. the government says chrysler botched. some jeeps, dodges, chrysler cars still on the road with bad axels, ignition switches, electrical problems. fixes that didn't work. consumers not notified. inconsistent, insufficient, and inaccurate information given to the government and consumers. >> there's no way to defend what fiat chrysler was doing. and whether it's a matter of
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commission or omission the reality is that consumers were not protected in this situation. >> reporter: in an exclusive interview, secretary foxx tells us he is slapping the biggest civil fine ever on a car maker. $70 million in cash. $20 million to fix the problems. and if fiat chrysler doesn't perform, it could face another $15 million. potentially, a $105 million fine. was fiat chrysler just a bad actor when it comes to recalls? >> well, this is a good example of how not to do a recall. >> reporter: fiat chrysler says, "we accept the resulting consequences with renewed resolve" to improve how it handles recalls. as part of this record agreement, the car company may have to buy back more than a half million cars. david kerley abc news, washington. let's turn to politics now. donald trump, still ahead of the pack. the big question now, can it
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last? a a new poll making it clear, a lot of people want it to. here's devin dwyer. >> reporter: tonight, donald trump's tough talk appears to be doing the trick. 52% of republican voters in a new national poll hope the billionaire businessman stays in the race. this, despite outrage over his recent ridicule of immigrants and former p.o.w. john mccain. >> he is basically selling fear and prejudice. >> reporter: the test for trump -- can he sustain the surge? four years ago, it was texas governor rick perry leading the field of gop candidates. a month later, businessman herman cain, catapulting to the front of the pack. both eventually dropped out. mitt romney becoming the nominee. >> thank you, everybody. >> reporter: for now, trump will be center stage at next week's first primary debate. but he's already trying to keep expectations low. >> i'm not a debater. i never did that before. i don't know if i'm going to be good. >> reporter: trump's 15 republican rivals are duking it out for one of just nine spots on the debate stage. some resorting to unusual behavior.
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like senator linsey graham, whose cell phone destruction video went viral. >> the only way you can get into that debate is to do something outrageous. donald trump has set the bar of outrageousness. >> reporter: trump's message and tone have tapped into a deep dissatisfaction among many republican voters. but in the same new poll out tonight, many say they think trump is not likely to win the nomination. tom? >> still around six months before the first vote is cast. and president obama is in kenya. linsey davis is traveling with the president. >> reporter: after a rousing welcome by his half sister auma -- >> my brother, your brother, our son barack hussein obama. >> reporter: president obama's speech was half homecoming, half best practices for progress. >> i am proud to be the first
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american president to come to kenya. of course, i'm the first kenyan-america of the united states. >> reporter: his message today to 4,500 kenyans, that kenya is at a crossroads of peril and promise. saying, in order to make more progress it needs a more transparent democracy, to change the culture of corruption and start empowering women and girls. >> imagine if you have a team and you don't let half of the team play. that's stupid. >> reporter: while he also talked about the fight against terrorism and the need to treat everyone equally, despite who they worship or who they love, the visit wasn't all business. as if a presidential rite of passage, at last night's state dinner, president obama showed off his dance moves to the music of sauti sol. similar to his predecessors who have busted a move to african music in the past. here in ethiopia, the second part of the trip, human rights is expected to be a major talking point.
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president obama is also the first sitting u.s. president to visit this country as well. tom? >> thank you. still ahead, the battle brewing over a starbucks parking space. one man protecting it from people who aren't disabled. why he's in trouble. and later, the frightening scene at this small amusement park. it happens more than you may think. those stories, coming up.
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but tonight, he's not allowed back there or at any starbucks location ever again. the mammoth coffee chain sending him this letter earlier this month, expelling him, and accusing him of threatening the well being of other customers. >> the big threat i made was, i will embarrass you in front of everybody if you if you don't move your car. >> reporter: rowen says all he did was confront drivers who were illegally parking in the accessible spot. >> what about the well-being of the person who's handicapped who can't use that parking space? >> reporter: rowen says he's standing up for people with disabilities like his son in-law who has muscular dystrophy. he says most moved their cars. but one woman got so angry she called the cops on him. >> i said go right ahead, and she does. the next thing you know, she's got a ticket and i'm driving away. >> reporter: it's not just rowen who's fired up. police in lafayette, indiana, were recently forced to apologize after this photo of one of its squad cars in a reserved spot sparked outrage online. some are even blowing the whistle using a smartphone app that lets you report violators to the authorities.
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rowen says he just isn't prepared to stand by and say nothing. >> i would like for starbucks to wake up and smell the coffee. we all need to stand up for those who can't. >> reporter: a representative from starbucks says they're trying to resolve the matter and also trying to improve the parking situation at that location. >> thank you. coming up, the mystery lion on the loose. some are saying she's not alone. our "instant index," up next. with over 800 skincare awards worldwide, we're devoted to creating the most advanced skincare products. we want you to turn every head especially the one that matters most. because if you can impress the woman in the mirror... that's everything. from the worlds #1.
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now, to an update on the lion hunt in milwaukee. new sightings of the mystery cat that's lurking in the streets there. now police say the lioness may have been spotted with a cub at her side this weekend. now we're hearing that first 911 call from a witness. >> i'm calling to report the possible sighting on a young lion. i'm not joking and i'm not crazy. >> they're taking all the reports very seriously. and while that lion, whatever it is, eludes police -- this little tough guy isn't afraid at all. the tiny owl, not moving one feather, standing its ground in a face-off with a colorado sheriff's deputy, who even tried to sweet-talk the curious creature. >> hi. what's up? >> after winning a staredown that lasted several minutes, the owl got bored and flew off. when we come back, what one
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finally tonight, a heart warming reminder of the power of one good deed. it started with a waitress helping two exhausted firefighters. but when they got the bill they went above and beyond the call of duty. here's john donvan. >> reporter: it was only a few days ago that these two guys were just liz woodward's customers. she's a waitress here in new jersey, where at 5:00 in the morning on thursday, those two guys walked in. >> as they walked in, they had said, i need the biggest cup of coffee that you have. as soon as they said that, i knew they had had a day. >> reporter: they sure had. one of them, paul hullings, a
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volunteer firefighter, had just spent hours fighting this one at a new jersey warehouse. he and fellow volunteer fireman tim young were exhausted when they stopped in for an early breakfast. >> so, we were done with breakfast and she hands me the bill and then, we had no bill. >> reporter: instead, this note -- "your breakfast is on me today. thank you for all you do serving others." the guys were flabbergasted. >> here's this waitress working the midnight shift, who knows how much tips she actually made that night. and she's thrown in her money for just a couple of regular guys. >> reporter: so they put it on facebook. it gets a lot of attention. and that's when they find out some of liz's own story. >> here's this waitress doing something so nice for us when she is the one who needs the help. >> reporter: because she's been trying to raise money for a specialized van for her dad, a quadriplegic, and wasn't even halfway there. but then the two firefighters posted about her. suddenly, there's close to $60,000 pledged. this is liz when she found that out. >> it's because of you guys.
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the fact that it's reached different states, different cities, different -- it has spread across the world. and, i'm at a loss for words, a loss for words. >> reporter: all for the price of breakfast, that started as a thank you. john donvan, abc news. >> more than $60,000 raised, she deer deserves it. i'm tom llamas. good night.
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. anchor: two t i drift in the atlanticeens -- teens adrift in the atlantic. donald trump starting one controversy after another. >> now abc 7 news at 6:30, on your side. anchor: in montgomery county a man attacked because of a parking spot. kevin, this was a fight that turned violent in the blink of an eye. kevin: absolutely. the victim says he was backing his pickup truck into a


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