TIME Crime

A Man Has Been Charged With Kidnapping a Boy as Part of a Sex-Trafficking Hoax

The mugshot of Nathan Firoved taken by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Posted on February 5th
Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Mo. The mugshot of Nathan Firoved taken by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Posted on February 5th

The terrifying ordeal was supposed to teach the child to avoid strangers

Felony kidnapping charges have been laid against a man from Troy, Mo., following an incident on Monday in which a 6-year-old boy was kidnapped at the behest of family members.

The boy’s aunt, 38-year-old Denise Kroutil, asked her 23-year-old co-worker, Nathan Wynn Firoved, to kidnap him in what appears to be an elaborate hoax to teach the child about the dangers of trusting strangers, according to a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Firoved waited for the kid to walk home from school and then lured him into a pickup truck, police say. Once the boy was in the truck, Firoved allegedly told him he would never “see his mommy again” and would be “nailed to the wall of a shed.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office, at this point the boy began to cry and the suspect showed him a handgun and threatened to hurt him if he did not stop. When the boy could not stop crying, Firoved bound the boy and covered his face with a jacket.

The suspect then drove to the boy’s house and left him in the basement, where Kroutil allegedly removed the victim’s pants and told him he could be sold into “sex slavery.”

The victim remained in the basement until he was unbound and told to go upstairs where his family lectured him about the danger of going with strangers, say police.

The boy’s family was in cell-phone contact during the entire incident.

When the police investigated the incident, the family told them that they were trying to teach him a lesson and believed they did nothing wrong.

The aunt has also been charged with felony kidnapping, along with the boy’s grandmother Rose Brewer, 58, and his mother Elizabeth Hupp, 25, who both agreed to the plan.

All four suspects remain in jail on a $250,000 bond.

The boy has been placed in protective custody.

TIME Economy

See the State With the Cheapest Gas in the U.S.

Gas prices in Missouri plummeted to $1.58 in January

At first look, the collapse in oil prices over the past year, from $107 per barrel in June to below $50 a barrel today, seems like the proverbial free lunch for American consumers. The decline in prices is the equivalent of a $125 billion tax cut. And it’s effectively a progressive one, since the biggest beneficiaries will be working- and middle-class people who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on gas for their cars and heating fuel for their homes. American households with oil heat could save $767 each this winter. That cash can now be spent on a new car—or a washing machine, an electronic gadget, clothes or a few dinners out.

That should boost spending, and …

Read the full story, which appears in the Feb. 2, 2015 issue of TIME, here.

TIME Travel

You Can Now Buy Art From a Vending Machine

SouveNEAR
SouveNEAR SouveNEAR vending machine

Here's a quick solution if you forgot to pick up a souvenir for your loved one

There’s a new way to experience local flavor at the Kansas City airport. A recently installed vending machine in Terminal B dispenses not food but products made by local artisans.

SouveNEAR, a new company that seeks out and showcases local artists, curates and sells goods as mementos for travelers. Instead of generic mugs and mass produced t-shirts stamped with a city name, visitors can try locally designed products. Stationary, soaps, artwork and jewelry are some of travel-sized gifts, ranging from $2.50 to $40.

Aside from the vending machine in KCI, SouveNEAR goods are also sold at the Nelson-Atkins Museum Store in Kansas City, Missouri, and a few locations in Kansas. Due to a great response from consumers, the company hopes to expand to more locations and other cities by summer of 2015.

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

More from Travel + Leisure:

TIME Crime

Ferguson Police Spokesperson Suspended for ‘Pile of Trash’ Comment

A Christmas tree is seen near a memorial to Michael Brown in Ferguson
Aaron Bernstein—Reuters A Christmas tree is seen near a memorial to Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., on Dec. 25, 2014

The police department said "disciplinary proceedings" had been initiated over the remark, made to a Washington Post reporter

A spokesman for the Ferguson, Mo., police department has been suspended after he admitted calling a memorial for an unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white officer “a pile of trash,” the city said on Saturday.

Officer Timothy Zoll was put on unpaid leave when he told his superiors that the Washington Post had correctly quoted him as referring derogatorily to the stuffed animals and flowers placed where Michael Brown, 18, was killed by Officer Darren Wilson, Reuters reports.

Zoll had been the Ferguson Police Department’s spokesman on the fatal shooting, for which Wilson was not indicted. The case became a flashpoint for national protests and sparked an ongoing debate about race relations on the U.S.

Zoll had at first insisted that the Washington Post misquoted him when it cited him as referring to Brown’s memorial as “trash.” A Post reporter called Boll on Friday to ask about reports that someone had intentionally driven over the memorial, to which Zoll allegedly replied: “I don’t know that a crime has occurred. But a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?”

The city of Ferguson said in a statement that “negative remarks about the Michael Brown memorial do not reflect the feelings of the Ferguson Police Department” and reiterated the department and city’s commitment to “rebuilding a trusting relationship with he entire community.” The tribute to Brown has since been rebuilt.

[Reuters]

TIME Crime

Missouri Mayor Urges Calm After Officer Fatally Shoots Armed Teen

"We are different from the city of Ferguson"

The mayor of the St. Louis suburb where a teenager was shot and killed Tuesday after authorities claim he pointed a gun at an officer called for calm Wednesday and sought to distance the incident from the police-involved shooting in nearby Ferguson.

Authorities claim that a man pointed a gun at an officer who was at a Mobil gas station in Berkeley during a “routine business check” and, “fearing for his life,” St. Louis County Police said in a statement, “fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him.”

The police department did not immediately confirm the man’s identity, but a woman identified him to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as her 18-year-old son, Antonio Martin. “This doesn’t make any sense for them to kill my son like this,” Toni Martin-Green told the newspaper Wednesday morning. “I am trying to be calm.”

At a news conference later in the morning, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins spoke out to both urge local residents to await the findings of an investigation and avoid jumping to conclusions about the shooting. “We are different from the city of Ferguson,” Hoskins said, adding that he is confident in Berkeley’s roughly 30-strong police force.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also advocated for calm in the wake of the shooting. “Particularly during this season that so many Americans hold sacred, the NAACP is calling for patience and peace as the circumstances of Mr. Martin’s death are thoroughly investigated,” said Cornell William Brooks, the association’s president and CEO.

Ferguson has been the scene of unrest since August when white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, prompting months of protest over police brutality and poor relations between law enforcement officials and communities of color. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the killing, reigniting tensions.

READ NEXT Police Shoot Teenager a Few Miles Away From Ferguson

TIME Crime

See the Aftermath of the Fatal Police Shooting of Antonio Martin

Missouri police say teen pointed a gun at an officer

Authorities in Missouri said a police officer fatally shot a teenager, identified by his mother as 18-year-old Antonio Martin, after he allegedly pointed a gun at the officer Tuesday evening at a gas station about two miles away from Ferguson. At least 100 demonstrators gathered at the scene of the shooting and clashed with police; Chief Jon Belmar said 4 people were arrested and one officer was hospitalized after a brick struck his face, NBC News reports.

TIME Healthcare

Nonprofit Hospitals Seize Low-Income Patients’ Wages

An investigation reveals the ongoing struggles of people too poor to afford health insurance but no poor enough to qualify for Medicaid

Many hospitals in the U.S. receive tax breaks in exchange for the community service of providing care to those who cannot afford to pay. But hospitals in at least five states employ aggressive debt collectors to garnish the wages of low-income patients with unpaid debts, a ProPublica/NPR investigation revealed Friday.

Hospitals in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama and Missouri pass debts along to for-profit collection agencies. People affected tend to be those who earn too much to qualify for assistance in states that rejected the Medicaid expansion in President Barack Obama’s health care law, but not enough to purchase health care on their own. The cost of health care services for the uninsured tend to be significantly higher than for people with health insurance.

Read more at ProPublica

TIME Crime

Missouri Scales Back National Guard Amid ‘Improving Conditions’

Peaceful night in Ferguson
David Carson—St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS/Getty Images Missouri National Guard soldiers patrol the parking lot of the Ferguson Market & Liquor store on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson a little after 10 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2014.

1,268 guards were stationed in St. Louis as of 1 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced a drawdown of National Guard operations on Tuesday, roughly a week after boosting security in the St. Louis region following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Riots erupted in Ferguson shortly after the announcement and demonstrations quickly popped up around the country. Public officials, including Ferguson’s mayor, criticized Nixon for what they claimed was a too-delayed employment of the extra law enforcement officials, resulting in a night of arson, looting and riots that transfixed the national media and smoldered into the morning. Some 2,200 National Guardsmen were on the streets last week; Nixon said Tuesday that 1,268 were on patrol as of 1 p.m., local time.

“The men and women of the Missouri National Guard have served the people of the region admirably, and I greatly appreciate their professionalism, bravery and dedication,” Nixon said in a public statement. “As the Guard begins to scale back its operations, the Missouri State Highway Patrol will continue to work closely with local law enforcement agencies to protect lives and property in Ferguson and across the St. Louis region. My administration also remains committed to helping affected communities rebuild and recover, and building a safer, fairer and more united region for all.”

TIME Ferguson

See How Cities Across the U.S. Reacted to the Ferguson Decision

Protests erupted from New York to Los Angeles

Ferguson was not the only place protesting Monday’s grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August. In New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, among others, outraged protesters shouted, “No justice, no peace” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” late into Monday night. Watch the above footage of protests in those three cities.

Should Ferguson Protestors be Person of the Year? Vote below for #TIMEPOY

TIME Ferguson

See the Nation React to the Ferguson Decision

Citizens from L.A. to New York City staged protests following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict Officer Darren Wilson

Should Ferguson Protestors be Person of the Year? Vote below for #TIMEPOY

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