A 14-year-old Texas girl was miraculously found alive after a man kidnapped her while she was checking the mail.
51-year-old Randy Johnson allegedly took Elizabeth Rex, who has both autism and down syndrome, on Monday when the teen went outside to check the mail. Johnson, who is homeless and battling colon cancer, had previously been living at the Rex’s home before Elizabeth’s father Patrick kicked him out over suspicions of inappropriate behavior with the 14-year-old.
"I mean we were literally listening to every conversation and it was in code,” said Elizabeth’s mother Jennifer Black. "So once we decided what the codes were, it was like 'You have to go. You can't be here.'"
Johnson was not living with the family when the kidnapping took place, and by Tuesday, authorities issued an Amber Alert. Elizabeth’s parents initially searched through their home for the 14-year-old disabled girl and had no luck, but did stumble upon a phone number. When they called the phone number, Elizabeth answered, but almost right away, Johnson grabbed the phone away and taunted the girl’s parents.
"You'll never see Lizzy again," said Johnson to Patrick Rex during the phone call. "I've got her and where we are going you can't get across the checkpoint because you don't have an ID. Come get me."
Eventually, authorities were able to track down Johnson through his cell phone and take him into custody. The two were found in a trailer park, and the 14-year-old girl was reportedly unharmed.
"She is fine, she is a little scared, because no one is with her,” said Patrick Rex prior to reuniting with his daughter. “They asked us if we can head down there to pick her up.”
Johnson is currently being held on charges of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault of a child.
11Jenny McCarthy Who Said She'd Rather Have Measles Over Vaccination Claims She's Not 'Anti-Vaccine' (Video)
Television personality Jenny McCarthy, who repeatedly said that vaccines are unsafe, wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times Saturday in which she stated she is not “anti-vaccine.”
“I am not ‘anti-vaccine,’” McCarthy wrote. “This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted. For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, 'pro-vaccine' and for years I have been wrongly branded as ‘anti-vaccine.’”
But McCarthy has not only said that vaccinations are unsafe; she has also minimized the deadliness of preventable diseases by stating that parents of children with autism would rather they get sick than get vaccinated.
“People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines,” McCathy told Time Magazine science editor Jeffrey Kluger in 2009. “Please understand that we are not an anti-vaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins. If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f------ measles.”
In that same interview, McCarthy predicted some preventable diseases, like measles outbreaks in California and New York, would come back, but she says it’s not the fault of parents who don’t vaccinate.
“I do believe, sadly, it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe,” McCarthy said. “If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f------ fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.”
In her op-ed McCarthy said she was branded anti-vaccine by, “Blatantly inaccurate blog posts about my position have been accepted as truth by the public at large as well as media outlets (legitimate and otherwise), who have taken those false stories and repeatedly turned them into headlines.”
Her story was published as the U.S. measles outbreak now stands at 51 cases. Last year measles was at a 17-year high in the United States, with 189 cases. Measles is a highly contagious disease spread through the air.
Many children are too young to be vaccinated against it, and some groups, like children with such development disorders as cerebral palsy, are too vulnerable to be vaccinated themselves. They rely on herd immunity, which means the rest of the population should be at least 95 percent vaccinated against preventable diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio and meningitis.
Chili’s is celebrating National Autism Awareness Month by donating 10 percent of its profits to an anti-vaccination group.
More than 1,200 Chili’s restaurants are participating in a fundraiser for the non-profit National Autism Association, which advocates parents not vaccinating their children because it triggers autism.
“While mainstream science discounts vaccinations as a cause, members of the National Autism Association feel vaccinations have triggered autism in a subset of children, and that an overly aggressive vaccination schedule coupled with toxic adjuvants in vaccines could affect individuals who have a family history of autoimmune disorders specifically,” the group says on its website.
The nonprofit says, “Vaccinations can trigger or exacerbate autism in some, if not many, children, especially those who are genetically predisposed to immune, autoimmune or inflammatory conditions."
The one and only study that supported the connection between autism and vaccination was published in the journal Lancet in 1998 and was debunked when it could not be replicated by any other scientists. In 2004, the journal itself backed off, stating that the data had been misinterpreted in the study.
There are 49 cases of measles in California so far this year and 20 cases in New York City.
NAA reportedly sponsors a website called “Age of Autism,” which is virulently anti-vaccination.
Chili’s responded to criticism of the campaign via Facebook: “The intent of our 4/7 National Give Back Event is not to express a view on this matter, but rather to support the families affected by autism. Our choice to partner with the National Autism Association was based on the percentage of donations that would go directly to providing financial assistance to families and supporting programs that aid the development and safety of children with autism. We sincerely appreciate all of the feedback we’ve heard on this topic.”
After a long court battle, a father has won the right to vaccinate his children.
The case was brought to Sydney’s Family Court when the children’s father, Mr. Randall, decided his son, 14, and daughter, 12, were missing out on extra-curricular activities because they did not have the required vaccinations.
The children’s mother, using the pseudonym Ms. Duke-Randall, was opposed to her children receiving vaccinations.
When Mr. Randall and Ms. Duke-Randall were married he agreed with her anti-vaccination stance in order to keep “peace in the household.” Since their divorce in 2011 he has changed his mind.
Mr. Randall tried to avoid court but “was simply unable to negotiate with [the mother] on the issue.”
Ms. Duke-Randall’s claim against vaccinations included the children being at an increased risk of experiencing “vaccine damage” because of various allergies she believes they suffer from, reports The Age.
According to evidence supplied by a senior consultant in immunology, both children were found healthy and did not have “any allergies or any other contraindications to vaccination.”
Ms. Duke-Randall also submitted hundreds of documents to the court about the risks of vaccinations, including a supposed possible link to autism.
Presiding Justice Garry Foster said much of the information she submitted ''is comments, submissions, irrelevancies.”
“Since the mother has raised the immunisation issue, she has been narrowly focused on it, perhaps to the point where the best interests of her children have been subsumed,” Justice Foster said.
Justice Foster ruled it was in the best interest of the children to receive the routine vaccinations, reports The Australian.
Biochemist Katherine Reid has claimed to have found the cure for autism, simply by removing MSG from a person’s diet.
MSG is a chemical compound associated mainly with Chinese food, but it's also found in all but 5% of processed food, according to Reid.
Reid’s daughter, Brooke, first showed signs of autism at age 2. Tantrums, repetitive behavior, communication issues and digestive problems were all signs. When tests revealed that Brooke was moderately autistic, Reid began researching cures.
The biochemist first eliminated gluten and dairy from her daughter’s diet. However, when she read about MSG, she came to believe that too much of it can interfere with neural function.
Reid immediately wiped MSG from her daughter’s diet and found the symptoms to be “completely removed.”
Since her discovery, Reid has claimed that 99% of the autistic children treated at the Unblind My Mind foundation drastically improved within five weeks.
A new map from the Council of Foreign Relations shows an increase in the number of preventable viral outbreaks across America and other parts of the world. The majority of the outbreaks are attributed in large part to an increasing number of parents opting not to vaccinate their children.
The map shows a startling number of measles outbreaks in America and Europe. The number of outbreaks is troubling given that the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is proven to be over 99 percent effective at preventing outbreaks in regularly vaccinated children. Until 2013, the Centers for Disease Control documented about 60 cases of measles annually. In 2013, that number jumped to 175; anti-vaccine beliefs are believed to be the main cause of the increase.
Religious beliefs often play a role in parents' decisions regarding vaccines. Numerous states currently have politicians battling it out over whether religious liberty entitles some parents to put other people's children at risk because of their personal beliefs.
Anti-vaccine views are also on the rise in the west thanks to both the discredited research of U.K. physician Andrew Wakefield and television personalities like Jenny McCarthy. Wakefield now denounces his disproven research, which attempted to link the MMR vaccine with autism. McCarthy, whose son is diagnosed with autism, continues to espouse her belief that vaccines caused her son's autism.
To be clear, there is not one bit of evidence showing that vaccines cause autism. On the other hand, it is a proven fact that vaccines prevent or reduce outbreaks of the illnesses they target. The more people choose to deny this truth, the more maps we will see like this one, showing outbreaks of preventable viruses:
A Republican House candidate who believes autism and dementia were put on the earth by God as punishment for gay marriage and abortion won her primary race yesterday. You never cease to amaze, America.
The candidate with these, let’s say peculiar, views is Susanne Atanus. After winning her primary race against fellow Republican David Earl Williams III, Atanus will run against incumbent Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D) to represent Illinois 9th Congressional district.
When Atanus runs against Schakowsky, these are the views she will bring with her:
“I’m a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” she said. “We’ve had an increase in diseases, we have floods, we have droughts, we have plagues. We’d never heard the term arctic vortex 16 years ago. We never would have heard of autism. We never would have heard about dementia. Or Macular degeneration….the weather is terrible. 24 tornadoes in one day.
“God is angry,” she continued. “We are provoking him. We are provoking him with abortions. We are provoking him with same-sex marriage. Gay rights. Civil unions.”
Atanus’ primary victory over Williams is a sad day for the Illinois GOP, which urged Atanus to drop out of the race after her views came to light.
“Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately,” state GOP chairman Jack Dorgan said in January. “Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time.”
Two teen girls in Maryland were arrested for torturing a teen boy who has autism and filming the whole thing on their cell phones.
Lauren Bush, 17, and an unidentified 15-year-old girl are accused of stabbing a 16-year-old mentally disabled boy, dragging him by his hair, and forcing him to perform various sex acts.
They also allegedly forced the victim to walk on a partially frozen pond, according to the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office.
“Another video depicts the male on an icy pond being told to continue to walk out further, actually falling in the water several times and pulling himself out,” St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron told WJLA.
According to police, girls refused to help their victim out of the frigid water.
Bush allegedly knew the victim well. Investigators say the girls admitted to making the videos, but they don’t understand why.
“Who could harbor the ill will to do something so completely heinous?” said Cameron. “I don't know. It's hard to fathom, really.”
Bush and the other girl were charged with first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, false imprisonment and soliciting the subject in the production of child pornography.
Bush, who is being held at St. Mary’s County Detention Center, was charged as an adult.
A new study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health says toxic industrial chemicals are to blame for increased rates of neurodevelopment disabilities in children.
The study, titled “Neurobehavioral effects of developmental toxicity," is published in the Lancet Neurology journal.
The researchers say their findings show that industrial chemicals play a significant role in the increase of neurodevelopment disorders such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia found in children.
Philippe Grandjean, professor of environmental health at HSPH, spoke recently on the study’s findings.
“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis,” he said. “They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes.”
The study follows up on a 2006 study in which the researchers found five common industrial chemicals to be “developmental neurotoxicants.” The latest study provides new research on those five chemicals while adding six new ones to the list.
According to HSPH, the additions are “manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides), tetrachloroethylene (a solvent), and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants)."
Manganese is associated with reduced intellectual functioning and impaired motor skills. The listed pesticides cause delayed cognitive development. Solvents were linked to aggressive behavior and ADHD.
With all the available evidence in mind, the researchers say it’s clear we need more stringent testing of chemicals before allowing them to be used in everyday products.
“To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy,” the team writes in its abstract. “Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.”
The team proposes an international clearinghouse that would conduct mandatory testing on all proposed new chemicals.
“The problem is international in scope, and the solution must therefore also be international,” Grandjean said. “We have the methods in place to test industrial chemicals for harmful effects on children’s brain development — now is the time to make that testing mandatory.”
A University of South Florida senior was bullied on social media last week when many confused her with a New Jersey teen who shares the same name.
Rachel Canning, 22, was mistaken for 18-year-old Rachel Canning of New Jersey, who sued her parents for monetary support after leaving home. Canning referred to the latter as “spoiled” before her request was denied last week by Superior Court Judge Robert Bogaard.
“I'm clearly not the Rachel Canning who is suing her parents since I live in Florida, not New Jersey, and I'm in college...so you can all stop messaging this page saying you hope I get hit by a bus now lol. go bulls?” she wrote on her page.
Many apologized when they learned she was the wrong Canning.
Then she decided to turn the unwanted attention into a good cause.
She posted a link to her fundraising page on Autism Speaks.
“Considering my views have gone up several thousand in less than 24 hours, on a page that I assumed was obsolete since Homecoming is long over, I thought maybe some good can come from all this!” she wrote.
Last week she raised $2,300 for the organization, which sponsors autism research, promotes awareness and conducts outreach. Canning’s brother Thomas, 19, is autistic, and she is planning a walk in his honor next week.
"She's like the nicest daughter on the planet, I'm lucky she's my kid,” her mother, Mary Canning, told the Tampa Bay Times.