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Georgia State soccer player withdraws from school after backlash over racial epithet

A Georgia State University soccer player who was suspended from the team after she used a racial epithet on social media has withdrawn from the school, officials said.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Georgia State soccer player suspended over racial slur used on social media

Some students had called for the expulsion of 18-year-old freshman defender Natalia Martinez after the epithet appeared on her Finsta page, a secret version of Instagram that is growing in popularity among teens.

>> On AJC.com: What is a ‘Finsta'? Teens and their secret Instagram accounts

“As a progressive, diverse university, we ... feel like this sort of behavior should not be tolerated,” said India Bridgeforth, who created a petition demanding the university take a tougher approach with Martinez.

The petition had garnered more than 500 signatures by Monday afternoon when the university announced Martinez had “officially withdrawn.”

Associate athletic director Mike Holmes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that officials were made aware of Martinez’s post Friday morning — just days after the University of Alabama expelled a 19-year-old student who posted a video of a racist rant on her Finsta page.

>> Read more trending news 

That student, Harley Barber, uploaded a second video on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in response to people who were upset by the language and threatened those who wanted to report her fake Instagram account, The Washington Post reported

In a statement, Georgia State University said the school does “not tolerate the language (Martinez) used in her post.”

Heath Ledger's sister remembers him 10 years after his death

Heath Ledger’s sister, Kate Ledger, is opening up about how his family is honoring his memory 10 years after his death.

Kate opened up for a rare interview with WHO last week before the 10th anniversary of her brother’s Jan. 22, 2008, death. She told the publication that keeping Ledger’s memory alive in her home has helped her cope with the pain of his death and said she still misses her “soul mate” brother.

“We spoke almost every day regardless of where Heath was in the world or what he was doing,” she recalled. “Our conversations ranged from talking about projects to what we were having for dinner. Nothing was off limits.”

>> Read more trending news 

Now, Kate is trying to share her brother’s legacy with her children.

“Heath is hugely important in the lives of my children,” she said of her two daughters, who are too young to remember their uncle before he died. “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t share stories or talk about him. He is very much alive in our house.”

She said that to help her children remember, she often shares some of his films with them, even though it is “especially difficult” for her.

“It’s especially difficult to see his moving images on screen and hear his voice — something which we as a family have had to learn to cope with constantly,” she said. “But it’s a blessing that we have all the images and footage, so that we can share a part of him with our girls.”

Kate said she is regularly in contact with Ledger’s ex, Michelle Williams, and their daughter, Matilda, 12.

“She is an amazing girl and a source of delight to us all,” she told the publication of Matilda.

The Ledger family has memorialized the late actor’s love of filmmaking by creating the Heath Ledger Scholarship, which helps support young Australians who want to work in the industry.

>> Mark Wahlberg donating reshoot fee after pay discrepancy controversy

“Heath himself helped so many of his Aussie actor mates by letting them stay at his house when in L.A.,” she said. “It is with this same generosity we continue the legacy.”

Ledger died after an accidental overdose. He was 28 years old.

Florida woman, 81, smashes car into McDonald's: 'Glass flew everywhere'

An 81-year-old woman suffered minor injuries after she lost control of her Toyota Solara and backed into the glass windows of a McDonald’s west of Boynton Beach, Florida, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

The woman will be charged with careless driving, PBSO spokesperson Teri Barbera said Monday.

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: PHOTOS: A history of cars crashing into things in South Florida

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. at Military Trail and Boynton Beach Boulevard when the woman backed up and inadvertently drove through the window.

“Glass flew everywhere,” said a witness, who said she was drinking a soda inside when the car plowed through the window.

>> Read more trending news 

The witness, who asked not to be identified, said the glass cut her fingers. She said the driver then drove forward and hit her parked Volkswagen. The driver continued about 150 feet and hit a tree next to a canal, Barbera said.

A McDonald’s representative declined to comment. The store and drive-through remain open.

12-year-old charged as adult in armed carjacking at Walmart

A 12-year-old boy in Lauderdale Lakes has been charged as an adult in a carjacking last week, Broward County Sheriff deputies said Monday. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to the sheriff’s office, Shaquille Dixon is one of three juveniles who carjacked an elderly woman at gunpoint on Jan. 15 in a Walmart parking lot. 

Surveillance video from the store on North State Road 7 shows Dixon and two other suspects following the woman into the store. When she is done shopping the woman is seen walking to her car, with the suspects close behind. 

Once the woman got to her car, two of the suspects walked up behind her and the other suspect walked around to the front of the car, pointed a gun and demanded the car keys. The woman complied and the suspects fled with the car so quickly, they almost hit the victim. 

Deputies took Dixon into custody on Jan. 19 and he’s facing felony carjacking charges. 

Neil Diamond diagnosed with Parkinson’s, retiring from touring

Neil Diamond will retire from touring due to a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

>> Read more trending news 

The renowned singer-songwriter announced the news in a statement Monday that said his doctors advised that he cancel the upcoming leg of his 50th anniversary tour set for Australia and New Zealand.

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” Diamond said. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows. I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks go out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

Diamond turns 77 on Wednesday and, in a bittersweet turn, this weekend will be honored at the Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The storied songwriter behind such chestnuts as “Love on the Rocks,” “I Am, I Said,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Heartlight” and dozens more, launched his anniversary tour in April 2017.

>> Related: Grammy Awards 2018: What time, what channel, who is nominated, who will perform 

His most recent non-holiday album, “Melody Road,” was released in 2014.

Woman who killed two children in murder-suicide had no history of ‘mental problems’

Dozens of people gathered Sunday night in northwest Charlotte to remember three lives lost.

Mourners lit candles and prayed for Isaiah and Iliyah Miller, as well as their mother, Christina Treadway, near their home on Sebastiani Drive.

Police said Treadway killed her two children before killing herself along Interstate 485 earlier this month.

>> Read more trending news 

In a new and emotional interview with Treadway's parents, Al and Patricia Treadway said were still in disbelief over their daughter and two grandchildren’s deaths.

Christina Treadway, 34, killed her two children before jumping off a bridge on Interstate 485, police said.

“She was just a lovely person. She was loved by so many people,” Patricia Treadway said. “She’s never had a mental problem. We never had a problem with Christina in any shape or form with mental or depression or anything to do with depression at all."

The Treadways told Eyewitness News that their daughter left the family a suicide note on Facebook with instructions to delete the note after reading what she had to say.

“She said she was sorry and to pretend to just forgive her and pretend she was 3,000 miles away happy," Al Treadway said. "Part of the message that she left for us said she couldn't leave her children without a mother and no one else would ever raise her kids. No one.”

Investigators are trying to figure out what led to the deaths of Treadway and her two children, 7-year-old Isaiah and 3-year-old Iliyah.

“Iliyah had a lot of what Tina had. She was a primper. She wanted to wear makeup. She’d say, 'Mommy do my makeup' so Christina would do her makeup for her and then they'd snap pictures and things. Isaiah, he was all boy. He was a prankster,” Patricia Treadway said.

>> Related: Charlotte neighborhood left shaken by deaths of 7- and 3-year-old kids

The Treadways said that their daughter was a singer and aspiring entrepreneur who wanted to start her own business to teach women about makeup and beauty and to encourage them to look and feel confident for job interviews.

Their daughter also had a YouTube channel where she displayed her talents and often featured her children singing.

"When she walked into a room, she lit it up just like her children," her mother said. “Their whole life was so much ahead of them, much like Christina.”

"We are devastated. My whole family is devastated and the question right now in everybody's mind is, ‘Why?" her father said.

The family said days before the death of their daughter and grandchildren, Christina made plans with her parents to move back to California.

“The plans were already made. We didn’t buy the tickets because we hadn’t heard from her,” her mother said. “If she was hurting that bad, I wish she would have called me that day to let me know.”

As investigators work to find out key details leading up to their daughter’s death, the Treadways are willing to wait as long as it takes to get those answers.

“I would rather them investigate, and investigate, and investigate and find out exactly what happened, no matter what the result. Rather than just say, ‘Oh, she just snapped and jumped off a bridge.'"

Neighbors have set up a small memorial in front of Christina Treadway’s home. The family is planning a service for Treadway and her children in California in the coming weeks.

Here’s what the children in the California torture house did to cope with the abuse

Authorities are releasing more information about the California “torture house” where over a dozen children were kept in subhuman conditions by their parents, including that the victims kept journals.

>> Read more trending news 

Though the children in the home, ages 2 to 29, were only allowed to bathe twice a year and eat once a day, they were allowed to write all the time. Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a press conference on the case that the children kept hundreds of journals and that he believes they will be “very significant” in the upcoming court case, the Desert Sun reported. Hestrin added that he thinks the journals will provide “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”

>> Related: Couple behind California torture house just appeared in court — here’s what they had to say

Researchers are also interested in the journals as they detail the first-hand accounts of horrific abuse. One academic told the Desert Sun “There is a good chance that being able to write may have kept them sane. In an interesting way, this may have helped them come to terms with the bizarre world they lived in.” He even compared them to the journals kept by Anne Frank.

The journals could prove valuable for prosecutors as they might provide damning evidence that could be used to cross-examine the parents, David and Louise Turpin. The Turpins are facing life behind bars for a series of charges, including torture.

The journals have not been made public, and law enforcement officials are currently in the process of reviewing them.

>> Related: Giant burning spider spreads flames in apartment, after torched by tenants

The conditions in the home were unimaginable. The children were reportedly beaten and chained to furniture. Neighbors recalled seeing them marching during the night, and they were almost never allowed outside. They were finally liberated when one girl escaped and managed to find a police officer. She was 17 years old, but her growth was so stunted that police allegedly estimated her to be closer to 10 years old when they first saw her.

Most underrated fried chicken in America named best in new survey

There are plenty of reputable options if you want to pull up to a drive-thru and devour some crispy, golden chicken, i.e. KFC and Popeyes. However, an unsuspecting alternative you might have ignored at your last gas tank fill-up has been crowned the true bastion of fried chicken.

>> Read more trending news 

Krispy Krunchy Chicken, established in 1989 in LaFayette, Louisiana, has bested some much more familiar names as Thrillist’s choice for America’s best fried chicken chain. The online entertainment site described the chain’s Cajun-style chicken as “the most underrated item in fast food today.”

KKC, which is typically attached to convenience stores, has more then 2,300 locations in the U.S., Malaysia and American Samoa, according to its site.

Krispy Krunchy doesn’t leave it up to its spicy chicken to do all the work though. Its honey butter biscuits, daubed in honey, Cajun rice balls and macaroni and cheese are also mouthwatering.

The vote of approval was even co-signed by New York-based restaurateur and “Top Chef” contestant Dale Telde.

“Their fried chicken is ill,” he told Thrilllist. “I go there every time that I’m in Miami, and I’m in Miami once per month." 

The Louisiana chicken standard only began expanding outside of its home state in 2000, and its fast-growing franchising is due not only to the winning taste but affordable prices, according to the company’s bio.

>> Related: Best way to lose weight with the most minimal effort

If you haven’t yet tried America’s best fried chicken, according to Thrillist, the site said you need to.

10-month-old baby drowns after intoxicated mother falls asleep in tub, police say

A 35-year-old Melbourne Beach mother has been arrested in the drowning death of her 10-month-old baby, Brevard County authorities said.

>> Read more trending news 

Rosa Regina Feeney was arrested Monday and faces charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child and child neglect.

Deputies said the investigation began Dec. 6 at Deangelo’s By The Sea, a hotel in Melbourne Beach, after reports of an unresponsive child.

Deputies believe Feeney had been drinking, went to take a bath while the child was playing on the bathroom floor, then put him in the tub with her, before falling asleep.

When Feeney woke up, she found the child under water and unresponsive, and ran for help, according to Brevard County sheriff officials.

Feeney appeared to be inebriated during her contact that night with law enforcement and medical professionals, deputies said.

>> Related: NASA remembers space pioneer and astronaut John Young

She’s being held in the Brevard County Jail on a $60,000 bail.

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