TIME Crime

California Woman Arrested for Trying to Steal Two Babies, Leading to One Death

Shooting Baby Death
Scott Varley—AP Long Beach police chief Robert Luna, left, and Mayor Robert Garcia stand during a news conference in Long Beach, Calif., on March 25, 2015

Giseleangelique Rene D'Milian wanted to convince her boyfriend that he was the children's father

In a crime that authorities could only describe as “evil,” a 47-year-old woman in Long Beach, Calif., stands accused of attempting to snatch two infants, resulting in the death of a 3-week-old girl and serious injuries to both of their mothers.

Colluding with three other suspects, Giseleangelique Rene D’Milian, of Thousand Oaks, hatched a plot to steal two children in order to convince her boyfriend that she had given birth to his twins while he was abroad, according to police.

D’Milian spotted her first victim in January, a woman with a newborn who had gotten off a bus and was walking home, reports the Associated Press. Accomplice Anthony McCall, 29, of Vista, waited a couple of hours before he kidnapped the newborn Eliza Delacruz, shooting both of her parents and an uncle in the melee. Eliza’s body was found the day in a dumpster around 100 miles south.

Then in February, D’Milian used a fake charity as a front for luring an acquaintance with a son who was only 4 months old to a hotel, where McCall then assaulted her with a baseball bat. However, he fled when staff were alerted to the ruckus.

“In my notes, I had the word evil several times, and my staff told me to take it out but I can’t summarize it any other way,” police chief Robert Luna told reporters.

D’Milian and McCall are being held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and conspiracy.

[AP]

TIME Research

If Either of Your Parents Smoked, Go and Get Your Heart Checked Out

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Getty Images

Lasting damage may have been done

A study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulati suggests smoking in front of children may increase their chances of developing dangerous carotid plaque later in adulthood.

For the study, researchers used data gathered on Finnish children between 1980 and 1983, and were able to identify which children grew up in smoking households by noting the amount of cotinine that had been found in their blood samples. (Exposure to smoke increases the presence of cotinine in the blood.)

They then correlated this with examinations of the carotid artery conducted on those same — but now fully grown — individuals between 2001 and 2007.

They concluded from this that participants who had one or two parental smokers had an almost two times (1.7 times) greater risk of developing carotid plaque in adulthood compared with participants whose parents did not smoke, regardless of other factors.

The buildup of plaque can lead to the narrowing of the carotid arteries, which is linked to strokes.

The study’s findings add to the mounting evidence that exposure to smoking from parents has lasting effects on children’s physical health later in life, reports Science Daily.

Read next: 9 Subtle Signs You Could Have a Heart Problem

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME health

Study Shows Benefits of Breast-Feeding as Popularity Continues to Rise

May 21, 2012, cover of TIME
Cover Credit: PHOTOGRAPH BY MARTIN SCHOELLER FOR TIME The May 21, 2012, cover of TIME

A look back at TIME's 'Are you mom enough?' cover story, which charted the rise of attachment parenting

Word that a new study has found that children who were breast-fed for longer ended up smarter and richer will be welcome among one group of mothers in particular, those who practice the “attachment parenting” style that supports a longer-than-average time before weaning. (The study looked at babies who were breast-fed for at least a year, versus those who did for less than a month; some attachment-parenting adherents breast-feed their children for far longer.)

Those mothers — and the man who introduced the world to attachment parenting, Dr. Bill Sears — were the subject of a 2012 TIME story which, controversially, ran with a cover image of real-life mom Jamie Lynne Grumet breast-feeding her 3-year-old son. And, as the story explained, even as some criticized Sears and his ideas, at least one of his pieces of advice seemed to be permeating society: breast-feeding was more common than it had been in decades.

As TIME’s Kate Pickert put it:

Fans and critics of attachment parenting can agree on two things: there has been a sea change in American child rearing over the past 20 years, and no one has been a more enthusiastic cheerleader for it than Sears. Slings and carriers, like the kind Sears sells on his website AskDrSears.com, are now on every list of must-have baby gear. Breast-feeding is more popular than at any other time since the baby-formula boom of the 1950s. And despite public-health warnings against it, in 2005, according to the CDC, 19% of 2-month-old babies slept in beds with their mothers, a phenomenon almost unheard of 20 years ago.

“So many of the ideas of attachment parenting are in the culture even if you don’t believe in Dr. Sears per se,” says Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé, a new book on French parenting, which Druckerman says demands far less of mothers than its American counterpart. “This is a new common sense.”

According to a 2014 CDC report, about a quarter of U.S. babies were still breastfeeding (though not necessarily exclusively) at 1 year.

Read the rest of the story, here in the TIME archives: The Man Who Remade Motherhood

TIME Infectious Disease

Parents Hunt for Answers on Kids’ Mysterious Paralysis

Mikell Sheehan Eight-year-old Bailey Sheehan was diagnosed with mysterious paralysis in October.

"Over 100 kids are paralyzed and no one’s talking about it"

In August 2014, a small number of children began turning up at emergency rooms around the country with symptoms of severe respiratory disease.

“Our hospital was overflowing,” recalls Dr. Sam Dominguez, a microbial epidemiologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, in Aurora.

From the last week of August through the first three weeks of September, the hospital admitted 325 patients with respiratory symptoms, compared to an average of 130 during the same period the previous two years. “This disease was unprecedented for that time of the year,” says Dominguez.

Soon, it was discovered that many of the children were suffering from a specific strain of enterovirus: EV-D68. Many children who get enteroviruses have no symptoms at all; others develop what amounts to a nasty flu. But in this new outbreak, some kids were turning up with weak or paralyzed limbs, stumping doctors.

When the first case of sudden and unexplained partial-paralysis turned up at his hospital, Dominguez says the situation was unusual but not completely unheard of. Two weeks later, another child showed up with limb weakness and paralysis. The following week, there were four more cases. “We were very worried,” says Dominguez. The hospital called the health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for insight.

The CDC reached out to public health authorities in other states and sure enough, states across the country were reporting bizarre cases of children coming in unable to move their limbs. From August 2014 to early March 2015, 115 children in 34 states have been diagnosed with what authorities are calling acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).

One of them is an 8-year-old named Bailey. Bailey’s mother, Mikell Sheehan, says that a few days after the family came down with what she describes as a bad cold, she discovered her daughter collapsed in the bathroom in their Oregon home, unable to move her leg.

In December, in California, Megan and Ryan Barr noticed their 6-year-old son Ryder was playing with only his left hand because his right arm felt funny. “It’s hard to explain to a six-year-old what’s happening to them,” says Megan.

One problem for doctors is that the sudden onset of paralysis among children, while rare, happens from time to time with other ailments, including West Nile or Guillain-Barré syndrome. Sorting between the possible causes—and deciphering what’s normal and what’s cause for concern—can be difficult, but experts agree this recent cluster is out of the ordinary.

“The short answer is yes, I think the cluster [of AFM] is connected,” says Dr. Jim Sejvar, a neuroepidemiologist with the CDC investigating AFM. “One of the challenges is there are a lot of different reasons kids can develop [sudden paralysis]. It’s a fruit salad. I think what we saw in the summer and fall of 2014, the vast majority of those children had the same thing. Whether it’s directly related to EV-D68, that’s the part we are trying to sort out.”

No Smoking Gun

Even more confounding to experts is the fact that no two cases are quite alike. Medical officials say a link between EV-D68 and AFM seems obvious, since the two upticks in cases occurred simultaneously. But while some of the paralyzed kids have tested positive for EV-D68, many haven’t. In January, the CDC reported that among 71 paralyzed patients who had their cerebrospinal fluid tested, not a single one was positive for enterovirus.

“The concurrence of EV-D68 and AFM is pretty difficult to ignore,” says Sejvar. “In the absence of any clear alternative, there is a suspicion that EV-D68 could potentially have played a role [in these cases of paralysis and limb weakness]. Unfortunately we don’t have the smoking gun that would allow us to say with absolute certainty that’s the case.”

An early attempt to establish diagnostic criteria for AFM was highly specific, with MRI images of lesions in the spinal chord being a requirement. But now experts worry that criteria set the bar higher than it should have been. “We know we are missing cases,” says Sejvar, who says MRI images can appear different based on when it’s taken. “It’s entirely consistent and possible that some children do have AFM, but for one reason or another were not meeting the CDC case definition that includes the MRI findings.”

While the CDC is still actively investigating what may have caused the recent cluster of AFM cases, it’s hit roadblocks. For instance, the agency developed an antibody test to see whether children with AFM were also more likely to have antibodies against EV-D68 compared to other healthy children. But the researchers discovered that nearly everyone in the general public has those antibodies, making the comparison useless to investigators.

Parents are looking for answers, too. A few days after Sheehan’s daughter was featured in a local news story, a woman named Erin Olivera, from Moorpark, California, sent her a friend request on Facebook. She said she’d gone through the same experience with her 3-year-old son Lucian in 2012. Though Lucian has slowly gained back some control over his legs since the initial onset, Olivera says he’s not “100%” and that she’s still looking for answers.

“I realize it’s frustrating to not have a definitive answer, particularly for parents,” says the CDC’s Sejvar. “We are working as hard as we can to establish the underlying cause.”

Parents Band Together

Together, Olivera and Sheehan created two Facebook support groups—one public, one for members—for families impacted by AFM. They launched the groups in January and now have about 90 members.

“We have a lot of polls going to see if we can figure out similarities,” says Sheehan. The patterns the women have noticed include: Most of the kids, their parents say, developed respiratory infections some time between August and December 2014, and shortly after that, their children had numbness, weakness or paralysis in one or more of their limbs. Many of the children were given steroids to treat their respiratory symptoms. Many had siblings who were also ill with a respiratory virus but had no paralysis. And many of the children have family members who have autoimmune diseases. (Some of these shared experiences are more substantiated than others.)

Some of the parents have signed up their kids for a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins that’s comparing the DNA of children with AFM who had an enterovirus infection to their siblings who also got sick but were not paralyzed. The researchers want to see if there are any genetic mutations that may make one child paralyzed and the other not.

Sheehan and Olivera plan to create a hub where science-based information about the disease can be easily shared by families facing similar situations. They hope growing awareness will encourage more attention for their children and the mysterious disorder. And just as much as the parents share research, they also share frustration. “There’s over 100 kids who are paralyzed and no one’s talking about it,’” says Megan Barr. “We are all kind of feeling around in the dark.”

Read next: Nearly Half a Million Babies Die From Poor Hygiene

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Cameroon

Children Rescued From Boko Haram Can’t Remember Their Own Names

They had been freed from a camp in Cameroon

A group of children rescued from Boko Haram have no recollection of their own names or where they come from, according to an NGO official who visited the orphanage where they are being housed.

The 80 children were rescued in November from a Boko Haram camp in Cameroon, to where the militant group has extended its operations from Nigeria, the BBC reports.

“They’ve lost touch with their parents,” said Christopher Fomunyoh, a director of the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute. “They’ve lost touch with people in their villages, they’re not able to articulate, to help trace their relationships, they can’t even tell you what their names are.”

Fomunyoh told the BBC that the children, the youngest of whom was 5 and the oldest 18, were unable to speak English, French or any other local languages.

Security forces rescued the children from a supposedly Koranic school where they were being forced to learn jihadist ideology by Boko Haram, which is trying to establish a hard-line Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

[BBC]

MONEY Kids and Money

The Hidden Downside to Rewarding Your Kids for Good Behavior

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Alamy

Giving your kids treats for getting an A at school or doing chores can come with surprising consequences, a new study suggests.

Next time you want to show your children you’re pleased with their perfect report card or good behavior, skip the visit to the toy shop.

Though your intention might be to reinforce responsible or thoughtful actions, new research suggests that providing treats like money, toys, or sweets can backfire on parents. A study published Wednesday in the Journal of Consumer Research found that children who receive more material rewards grow up to be more, well, materialistic.

“Parents don’t want their children to use possessions to define their self-worth or judge others, yet loving and supportive parents can also use material goods to express their love, paving the way for their children to grow up to be more likely than others to admire people with expensive possessions,” said authors Marsha Richins of the University of Missouri and Lan Nguyen Chaplin of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

By using possessions to reward—or, on the flip side, punish—children, parents may be setting the stage for long-term overconsumption, the study found. Children raised in households where acts of discipline involved giving or taking away belongings were more likely to continue rewarding and defining themselves with material things. They also grew up to admire people with expensive possessions and judge people based on what they own.

If that doesn’t sound bad enough, materialism in adulthood has also been linked to reduced feelings of well-being, marital problems, and financial difficulties, the authors noted.

Of course, many parents might wonder what they can do to reinforce good behavior without using material rewards. While the authors caution that using experiential rewards (say, a trip to Disneyland) can also make kids more materialistic, teaching your children to be grateful can mitigate the negative effects of any rewards you provide.

“One viable strategy might be to encourage gratitude in children—reward children, but also teach and encourage them to be thankful for the people and things in their lives,” they wrote. “Gratitude has been found to increase the value placed on connections to people, mindful growth, and social capital.”

For help walking the fine line between giving your child too much and giving them just enough, see how first-time dad and MONEY writer Taylor Tepper learned the secrets to not spoiling his child.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 4

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. We’re measuring family poverty wrong. We should measure access to opportunity to find out what’s really working.

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

2. Anxiety, depression and more: “Four to five times more” high school athletes struggle with mental health issues than concussions.

By Gary Mihoces in USA Today

3. They provide social order and an economic structure. What if prison gangs actually make life better behind bars?

By Shannon Mizzi in Wilson Quarterly

4. Scientists have released the genetic sequence of the 2014 Ebola virus to crowdsource solutions to future outbreaks.

By Fathom Information Design

5. If new technology really cut jobs, we’d all be out of work by now.

By Walter Isaacson in the Aspen Journal of Ideas

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Taxes

Your Kids Are the New ID Theft Targets — Here’s How to Protect Them

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Meg Fahrenbach—Getty Images

Identity theft poses a huge risk to your children's financial future, but it could make a mess of your taxes, too.

Filing your taxes should trigger a feeling of relief — it’s a huge thing you get to scratch off your to-do list — but millions of taxpayers have submitted their taxes only to have a very unpleasant experience: that their Social Security number has already been used in a tax filing. Most people discover this when attempting to file their taxes online, and they’ll instantly receive a notification from the IRS that the return has been rejected as a fraud attempt.

Instead of marking the end of your tax adventures for the year, such a notification is only the beginning of the many months it will take to correct your taxes. Risk isn’t limited to your Social Security number — if you have dependents and someone fraudulently files taxes with their Social Security numbers before you do, it will affect your return.

It happens. Identity theft among children is sometimes harder to detect, because one of the best ways to discover fraud is by checking credit reports. Your child shouldn’t have a credit report until he or she has a loan or credit card in his or her name, so parents assume there’s nothing to use as a fraud detector in the first place.

If Someone Claims Your Child as a Dependent

When you try to file your taxes, rightfully claiming your child as a dependent, you’ll likely receive a message from the IRS saying someone has already claimed the person with that Social Security number as a dependent and your return has been modified to exclude that person. That will affect the refund you receive (or how much you owe the IRS), even though you can rightfully claim the child as your dependent.

At this point, you need to do two very important things: Start the process of fixing the problem, and protect your child’s identity from further abuse.

How to Fix Your Taxes After Fraud

Jared Callister, a partner and tax attorney at Fishman Larsen Chaltraw & Zeitler in California, said the first thing you should do is contact the IRS to dispute the rejection of your dependent claim. The message from the IRS informing you of the issue should include contact information.

“Write a quick letter to that response, saying it’s your child and you want the IRS to adjust it back to what the original return said,” Callister said.

Then you need to notify the IRS of the identity theft by filling out Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit on behalf of your child.

“And then you’re just kind of waiting for a response from the IRS,” Callister said. “My guess is it will take about 6 months to get that resolved.”

To follow up on identity theft issues regarding taxes, you can contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 — expect to be on hold for a long time, especially if you’re calling during filing season.

How to Protect Your Kids From Further Fraud

Once someone’s Social Security number has been stolen, it can be extremely difficult to prevent abuse. Contact the credit bureaus and notify them your child’s Social Security number has been stolen, and regularly request the child’s credit reports to make sure no one is opening unauthorized accounts in his or her name.

Undetected fraud can wreck a child’s credit before he or she has had a chance to establish it, which is why it’s important to intervene early. Most parents want their children to enter adulthood with a good financial foundation, and credit is a huge part of that, so take action quickly if you sense your child’s identity has been abused.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

TIME Art

Watch a Video of British Artist Banksy in Gaza

Several of Banksy's latest graffiti pieces are highlighted

British graffiti artist Banksy, known for his subversive street art, released a two-minute video from war-torn Gaza on his website Wednesday.

“Make this the year you discover a new destination,” it wryly says, in the style of a tourism video. But instead of sandy beaches, it offers viewers a glimpse of what a Gazan sees “well away from the tourist track”: tunnels, rubble and children gazing at some of the 18,000 homes destroyed last July in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

The video also spotlights several of Banksy’s latest graffiti pieces, including images of children swinging from a surveillance tower, a parent grieving over a child in a bombed-out setting, and a kitten donning a pink bow.

“A local man came up and said ‘Please — what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website — but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens,” Banksy writes.

“The cat found something to play with,” a Palestinian man says during the video. “What about our children?”

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