What Mega Millions winner plans to do with some of her $1.5 billion fortune

The $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot winner came across her history-making lottery prize when she decided to go on a scenic drive during down-time on a trip to Greenville, South Carolina, her attorney said.

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That’s when she drove past a KC Mart, and when its signs about the jackpot caught her eye, she stopped in to buy a ticket, Jason Kurland, the attorney, said in a Thursday statement.

“After checking her ticket the morning after the drawing, she was in complete shock and disbelief,” Kurland said. “She stared motionless at the ticket for what felt like hours, then came the jumping and screams of joy.”

The sole winner of the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot from October 2018 came forward to claim her prize last week.

The winner, a South Carolina woman who chose to remain anonymous, selected the cash option of a one-time payment of $877,784,124. The payout is the largest to a single winner in U.S. history.

“Words can’t describe the feeling of such incredible luck,” the winner said in a statement released by her attorney Thursday. “I do realize that such good fortune carries a tremendous social responsibility, and it gives me a unique opportunity to assist, support and contribute to charities and causes that are close to my heart.”

Kurland said the winner is donating money to the Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Columbia, South Carolina, the Red Cross Alabama Region’s tornado relief fund, the city of Simpsonville, South Carolina, Art Center, the One SC Fund for Hurricane Florence relief, and In The Middle, a Columbia, South Carolina, charity for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

ABC News’ Jenn Leong, Janice McDonald and Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

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Fast-moving storm bringing snow, rain to Northeast

The storm that brought 10 reported tornadoes to five states in the South and heavy snow to Minnesota and the Dakotas on Saturday is quickly moving through the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Sunday.

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The snow is stretching from Minnesota to New York on Sunday morning, while it is lightening in parts of the Upper Midwest. However, there are two factors that will limit snowfall totals in the Northeast. First, mild air is quickly moving into the region and will prevent any significant impacts in the Interstate 95 corridor during the morning. Secondly, the storm is moving fast.

Some snow will move through New England during the morning hours, but mild air will quickly change much of the Northeast over to mixing and then some rain. The storm will be out of the region by mid- to late-afternoon.

Snowfall totals in parts of the Northeast away from the major cities could exceed 2 to 4 inches Sunday morning — especially in some of the higher elevations in parts of New York, and northwest Connecticut. About an inch, along with some ice, is possible in areas like Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts. Nearly no accumulation is expected in New York City or Boston.

Gusty winds will impact parts of the Midwest from Chicago to Detroit behind the storm.

New storm developing in West

A new storm is moving along the shoreline of California on Sunday and will bring some rain to the coast line and some snow to the higher elevations outside Los Angeles. Through Sunday night, 4 to 8 inches of snow is possible in the Ventura Mountains, and 1 to 2 inches of snow could fall near Grapevine, California. Travel along Interstate 5 could be affected.

A part of this system will move inland into the Southwest on Monday and Tuesday and start to bring in heavy rain to parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Localized flooding is possible with some of the more intense rain showers.

The storm will strengthen and begin to organize in the middle of the week. Initially it will usher in a good amount of moisture to parts of the Southern Plains on Tuesday.

Then, by Tuesday night and early Wednesday, the storm will begin to rapidly intensify and reorganize itself as it moves off the Rocky Mountains and into the central U.S.

This will likely bring a round of severe weather in the Southern Plains. Steady and heavy rain will overspread much of the central U.S. — even in parts of Minnesota where they just received 6 to 12 inches of snow this weekend.

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What happened when a Texas doctor was killed in an alleged murder-for-hire plot

When a Texas doctor was found shot and stabbed to death, an investigation found that he might have been the victim of an alleged murder-for-hire plot by his girlfriend’s apparently jealous ex.

In 2012, Dr. Joseph Sonnier, a Lubbock, Texas, pathologist, was found murdered in his own home. Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon, a plastic surgeon from Amarillo, Texas, was eventually convicted of the murder in 2015.

Prosecutors argued that Dixon paid his friend David Shepard to stalk and then kill Sonnier because he was jealous that Sonnier was dating Dixon’s former girlfriend Richelle Shetina.

Though Dixon was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole, he appealed, and his conviction was overturned in 2018. Today, Dixon, who was released on bond, is awaiting his retrial.

From the moment Dixon and Shetina first met to Dixon’s release from prison, here is a timeline highlighting some of the key events in the case.


Richelle Shetina meets Dr. Thomas Dixon after visiting Sensi Med Spa in Amarillo, Texas, for Botox injections. Dixon was the owner of the spa and administered the shots. They become friends on Facebook and developed a friendly relationship.


Shetina and Dixon begin an affair. His wife finds out and quickly files for divorce. The couple begins dating exclusively but Shetina recalls their relationship as rocky. At one point, the defense would argue at trial, that Shetina thought Dixon might propose, but he bought her a tea-of-the-month club subscription instead. After months of highs and lows, Shetina breaks it off with Dixon.


Shetina begins taking dance classes at D’Venue Dance Studio in Lubbock, Texas, in July 2011, where she meets a tall, handsome pathologist named Dr. Joseph Sonnier. Their friendship quickly turns into a romance that Shetina describes as the love of her life.

While Dixon is desperate to get back with Shetina, she lets him know by text message in September 2011 that she is now in love with her dance partner. The defense argued that Shetina was playing a cruel game and leading Dixon on.

Shetina and Dixon meet in person for the last time on Oct. 31, 2011. Shetina says Sonnier, then her boyfriend at the time, was aware of the meeting and that she decided to meet Dixon to show him that she was over him and never coming back.

February 2012

Shetina and Sonnier continue dating, taking trips to Los Angeles and a romantic vacation to Paris for her 50th birthday. While Shetina says they were very much in love, strange things seemed to be happening.

She says she felt like she was being watched at her local gym, and in February 2012, she came home to an odd note claiming to be from an ex-girlfriend of Sonnier. Shetina said Sonnier thought that it must be someone trying to “drive a wedge” between them.

July 2012

Dr. Joseph Sonnier is stabbed and shot to death on July 10, 2012, as he arrives home from work. His body isn’t discovered until the next day when landscapers arrived to do work at the home.

Later that week, a man named Paul Reynolds contacts police and tells them that the man he is staying with, David Shepard, mentions that he killed someone in Lubbock. Reynolds tells police he did an online search and found information about Sonnier’s death, and thought he might have been Shepard’s victim.

Later, when police questioned him, Shepard said his friend Dixon paid him three silver bars and gave a box of expensive Cuban cigars in return for killing Sonnier. Pawn shop records show that David Shepard had cashed silver bars the day after the murder.

July 16, 2012

Dixon is arrested in connection with the killing, the same day the Sonnier family held the funeral for their father in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Oct. 27, 2014

Dixon’s first trial begins with the prosecution using David Shepard, who had already given them a lengthy confession, as their star witness. Shepard, who is pictured above, had accepted a plea deal to testify against Dixon in exchange for pleading no contest to the charge of capital murder and avoiding the death penalty. He is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. As part of his plea deal with prosecutors, Shepard waived his right to appeal his conviction.

But on the stand, Shepard surprises everyone and changes his story. He now claims that Dixon was not involved in the murder at all and that he acted alone. The defense argued that Dixon only asked Shepard to take photographs of Sonnier out with other women with the intent to show his ex-girlfriend, Richelle Shetina, but he never wanted Sonnier dead. They also said the silver bars Dixon gave to Shepard was part of a business investment for a company they were starting together.

The trial ends in a hung jury and the judge declares a mistrial.

October 2015

Almost one year to the day later, testimony begins in Dixon’s re-trial for murder. The prosecution does not put David Shepard on the stand this time, but rather his house guest, Paul Reynolds, who recounts his story about staying with Shepard. But perhaps the most powerful testimony of all for the prosecution comes from David Shepard’s own daughter, Haley Shepard, who testifies that she believes her father lied on the stand in the first trial to protect his friend, Dixon.

Nov. 18, 2015

Dixon is found guilty on two counts of capital murder and is sentenced to life in prison without parole. His defense plans to appeal the verdict.

Dec. 13, 2018

The 7th District Court of Appeals in Amarillo, Texas, reverses Dixon’s conviction and grants him a new trial after his reviewing his appeal.

Jan. 17, 2019

Dixon’s bail is set at $2 million bond.

Jan. 28, 2019

Dixon is released from prison on a $2 million bond as he waits for a retrial.

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How a 10-year-old boy found murdered in 1998 was finally identified

A 10-year-old boy found murdered in North Carolina in 1998 has finally been identified, according to officials, who have since learned the boy’s mother was also found dead that same year one state away.

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On Sept. 25, 1998, a lawn maintenance crew found the remains of the child — now identified as Robert “Bobby” Adam Whitt — under a billboard in Mebane, North Carolina. At the time, no matches were made to known missing children, officials with the Orange County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Efforts to identify the boy included a rendering created by a Smithsonian forensic anthropologist, a bust created by a forensic sculptor and publicity on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” officials said — to no avail.

Through DNA technology advancements over the years, it was determined Bobby was “first-generation, biracial Caucasian and Asian,” officials said, and analysts were able to create a facial reconstruction.

Then, a genetic genealogy consultant successfully found a relative of the unknown boy, and investigators reached out to family members, officials said.

In December 2018, a relative responded to a message from investigators and provided the boy’s name and “critical details related to the case,” officials said.

“Investigators determined a strong possibility existed that the child’s mother had also been killed during the same time period,” officials said. “With the assistance of NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), an unidentified deceased female matching the search criteria was located in Spartanburg County [in South Carolina].”

Their DNA was compared, officials said, and Bobby and slain woman were confirmed to be mother and son.

Bobby’s mother, Myoung Hwa Cho, was found strangled to death in Spartanburg County on May 13, 1998, officials said.

After Orange County Sheriff’s officials reached out about Bobby’s case, Spartanburg County used fingerprints to identity her, according to authorities.

Cho’s husband, who is Bobby’s father, has since “confessed to the murder of both victims within several months of each other in 1998,” Spartanburg County officials said.

The suspect, who was not identified, is already behind bars in “long-term incarceration” on unrelated federal charges, Orange County Sheriff’s officials said.
According to The Raleigh News & Observer, he’s serving an armed robbery sentence and is up for parole in 2037.

When Bobby and his mother left their home in Ohio, family members weren’t suspicious because they thought the boy and his mother had moved to South Korea, where Cho was from, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Bobby was born in Michigan and raised in Ohio, according to officials.

Family members were shocked to hear they were killed and now “our hearts are broken into a million pieces,” relatives said in a statement, ABC Raleigh station WTVD reported. “Bobby was the sweetest, kindest, and funniest little boy. He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. And to think of that being snuffed out brings a chill to our hearts.”

It appears neither killing occurred where the bodies were found, Spartanburg County officials said.

“Once jurisdictional issues are addressed,” charging can begin in this case, Orange County Sheriff’s officials said.

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Parole fugitive suspected of gunning down officer was shot by the alleged victim

A parole fugitive suspected of gunning down a young Provo, Utah, police officer was shot and injured during the confrontation by his alleged victim, according to police.

Officer Joseph Shinners, 29, was trying to apprehend the parole fugitive, who had active warrants for his arrest, in the nearby town of Orem when he was shot Saturday night, authorities said.

Shinners managed to return fire, striking his suspected killer, identified as parole fugitive Matt Frank Hoover, authorities said.

Shinners died at a hospital late Saturday night, Provo Police Chief Richard Ferguson said.

Fellow officers apprehended the injured suspect that night and took him to a hospital where he remains under guard, authorities said.

Hoover, whose lengthy arrest record includes drug and theft charges, is in stable condition, Orem Police Lt. Trent Colledge told ABC News Tuesday.

Hoover allegedly made recent threats of violence toward police, authorities said.

He is expected to be charged with aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, possession of a weapon by a restricted person and possession of methamphetamine with a prior history, Colledge said. No court date has been set at this time, Colledge said.

Colledge called Shinners’ slaying a “tragedy.”

“He is no longer with us because a wanted fugitive did not want to go back to prison,” Colledge told ABC News via email. “He was an outstanding Officer that was just trying to make the community a safer place for all of us. We will forever remember the ultimate sacrifice he gave on that dreadful night.”

Shinners, a Massachusetts native who was on the job for three years, is survived by his wife and 1-year-old son, Provo police said.

Shinners came from a family of service. His brother is a police officer and his father was a fire captain in Everett, Massachusetts.

His funeral will be held Saturday, the Provo police said.

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As a major Pacific storm heads east, 2 more head for the West Coast

A massive Pacific storm over the weekend brought powerful wind, torrential rain and heavy snow to the western U.S., causing widespread power outages, major travel delays and a mudslide near Malibu, California, near where the Woolsey Fire recently burned through.

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In the Seattle metro area, winds topped 60 mph and resulted in thousands of power outages on Sunday, as more than a foot of snow fell in the Sierra Nevada. Mountains outside of Salt Lake City saw more than 2 feet.

More heavy rain in the Bay Area created flooding on Sunday night, following strong wind and high tides on Saturday. This powerful storm has moved east as part of an active pattern delivering winter weather coast to coast in the next few days.

After getting out from under that major Pacific storm, the West Coast is expecting two more this week. More rain and snow are expected, as whiteout conditions are possible today in the Sierra Nevada, where total snow accumulations from the weekend through today could top 4 feet.

The next Pacific storm is due to arrive early later on Tuesday and could be a tad wetter. Heavy rain is expected in much of Northern California and the Northwest, with more snow forecast for the mountains. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches will be possible.

The following Pacific storm is lurking near the Aleutian Islands off Alaska. That storm’s potential impact isn’t clear at this time.

This morning, that storm that just left the Pacific is delivering wintry precipitation to parts of the upper Midwest, with a foot of snow possible today on parts of Michigan’s upper peninsula.

The storm is expected to quickly slide off to the east today and deliver snow to New England by Tuesday morning, with snow and a wintry mix possible throughout the suburbs of New York and Philadelphia. The major cities are more likely to see just rain.

Snowfall totals should remain light across much of the Northeast, but a few areas could see 3 to 6 inches locally, leading to travel issues.

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3 dead, 4 injured in shooting at California bowling alley

Three people were killed and four other injured in a shooting at a bowling alley in Torrance, California, late Friday evening.

The shooting stemmed from a fight that took place between a group of people at Gable House bowling alley, according to eyewitnesses on the scene.

“Upon arrival, officers discovered multiple subjects with gunshot wounds inside the location,” Torrance police said in a statement. “Officers began life-saving measures which included CPR and the use of a defibrillator.”

In addition to the three dead at the scene, four others were treated for injuries. Two men were transported to the hospital by ambulance, while two others “opted to seek their own medical attention.”

“There was a big group of people, seemed like they were having fun earlier,” eyewitness Dana Scott said. “People were laughing, having a good time, next thing we know there was a fight and it was the girls. … So they were yelling and cussing and fighting and people were on the floor and then some young men got into the fight. … Probably not even a good minute later, we heard gunshots.

“People started running to the back of the bowling alley and on the floor and between the lanes and between the cushions and the benches. … It was nothing good to see.”

Torrance Police Department said it responded to the scene at 11:54 p.m. They had tweeted just after midnight, “Reports of shots fired with multiple victims down.”

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and it is unclear whether any shooter or shooters are on the loose.

Torrance is about 20 miles south of Los Angeles.

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Police send condolences to officers mourning burned Krispy Kreme truck

There’s no use crying over spilled milk, but a burned-out doughnut truck sent law enforcement officers all over the world into a tizzy of sadness.

On New Year’s Eve, the Lexington Police Department in Kentucky posted a photo of a Krispy Kreme truck covered in soot and burn marks, writing, “No words,” with a crying emoji.

The truck caught fire Monday afternoon and was fully engulfed in flames by the time first responders arrived, Lexington ABC affiliate WTVQ reported.

Physically, there were no injuries, but police officers around the globe empathized with the emotional toll the loss took on the Lexington Police Department, offering condolences and assistance to their law enforcement brothers and sisters.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol replied with a photo of a Krispy Kreme truck overturned in the snow.

The New York Police Department responded with a photo of two of its helicopter operators, saying they were on their way to them with sprinkle-covered pastries.

Some police departments used memes and GIFs to express their shock and dismay.

The Colorado State Patrol warned officers in Lexington to stay away from brownies.

Officers in the Windy City and beyond also sent their condolences.

The news even made its way across the Atlantic.

On Wednesday, Lexington Police Officers got their source of sugar rushes back after the doughnut company, which is heralded in the South, offered to send doughnuts their way, Fox Lexington affiliate WDKY reported.

Other first-responder units took time to acknowledge the loss as well.

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3 dead, including 2-year-old, after car plunges into frigid river during police chase

Three people are dead, including a mother and her young daughter, after an SUV fleeing police plunged into an icy river in Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve.

Officers from the Milwaukee Police Department began chasing a black Chevrolet Trailblazer Monday after it matched the description of two armed burglaries that occurred earlier that evening, authorities said.

Around 7 p.m., a victim reported that three suspects — two men and a woman — approached him as he was checking the fluids under his vehicle on West Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee, demanding money at gunpoint, Milwaukee Police Department Capt. William Beauchene told reporters Wednesday. One of the suspects then struck the victim in the face and took his phone before the three suspects got back into the SUV and left, Beauchene said.

The second incident occurred about 25 minutes later on nearby South 23rd Street, Beauchene said, when officers responded to calls from ShotSpotter, a technology that detects and alerts authorities to gunfire.

The two victims told police that the suspects, one of them brandishing a semiautomatic pistol, demanded valuables at gunpoint, Beauchene said. A good Samaritan who witnessed one of the suspects push a victim to the ground and kick him in the head multiple times then intervened, chasing them on foot with a machete, Beauchene said.

During the chase, one of the suspects turned around and began firing several shots at the witness, but no one was struck by gunfire, Beauchene said.

Police determined that the incidents were related due to the proximity and the descriptions of the suspects and vehicle and put out a description of the Trailblazer to all police officers in the city, Beauchene said.

Just after 8:30 p.m., officers spotted the SUV around South 17th Street and West Greenfield Avenue and began a pursuit, Beauchene said. The driver of the Trailblazer refused to stop, traveling at a high speed, swerving into oncoming traffic and disregarding traffic signals, said Milwaukee Police Capt. Alex Ramirez.

The SUV then continued past East Greenfield Avenue before crashing into the Kinnickinnic River. It became submerged and immediately sunk to the bottom, Beauchene said. Police did not know a woman and child were in the car during the chase, Ramirez said.

Members of the Milwaukee Fire Department dive team responded before locating and recovering the body of 19-year-old Shannan Nehmer inside the vehicle, Beauchene said. Measures to save Nehmer’s life were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead on the scene, Beauchene said.

Attempts to then recover the vehicle from the river that were not successful, and the search was then delayed to the next day, Beauchene said, adding that visibility for the divers was only about 1 to 2 feet.

During the rescue attempt, one of the divers became entangled in debris after he located Nehmer and was “dazed and confused” once he was free, but never let go of Nehmer’s body, Milwaukee Fire Department Chief Kevin Hafemann told reporters.

“It takes a special individual to do that,” Hafemann said.

In addition, the near-freezing temperatures caused the equipment to malfunction, Hafemann said.

On Tuesday, dive team was able to recover the vehicle, submerged about 30 feet deep in the river, Beauchene said.

Inside the SUV, emergency workers discovered the bodies of 29-year-old Charles Bearfield and Nehmer’s 2-year-old daughter, Annamelia Hernandez, Beauchene said. A firearm matching the description of the one used in the robberies was also found inside the vehicle, Beauchene said.

Surveillance video showing the chase shows the SUV traveling eastbound on West Greenfield Avenue over railroad tracks, followed shortly by multiple police cars. Police estimate that the vehicle was driving at 85 to 100 mph as it went from West to East Greenfield Avenue, Ramirez said.

It is unclear who was driving the car at the time of the crash, said Milwaukee Police Assistant Chief Steve Caballero. Police believe the toddler was in the car during the robberies based on information given to investigators by a friend of Nehmer’s, who had spoken to her 30 minutes before the police pursuit began, Caballero said.

Investigators believe Nehmer and Bearfield were involved in the earlier robberies, Beauchene said. A third suspect, believed to have taken part in the robberies but was not involved in the police chase, has been arrested, Beauchene said. Police plan to present a case to prosecutors against the third suspect but did not release his identity.

Caballero issued a reminder that fleeing police is a felony and poses a danger to those involved as well as the public.

“They are risking their lives and they are risking the lives of other motorists,” Caballero said. “…So, please understand that our policy is to chase, especially when people do violent felonies.”

ABC News’ Cheryl Gendron contributed to this report.

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