Timeline: Wisconsin man accused of financially preying on women he met on dating apps

Racine Police Department

(FRANKLIN, Wisc.) — The arrest of a man accused of financially preying on women he meets through dating apps followed weeks of warnings from Wisconsin police to be on the lookout for the alleged perpetrator.

It also came as the man — 52-year-old Timothy Olson — was being sought for questioning in the recent death of a woman he was with at a South Milwaukee bar when she fell unconscious, dying days later, according to police. She was the third woman to have fallen unconscious while in his presence, according to police. Her death is under investigation and it is not known at this time if any crime has been committed, police said.

Olson was arrested in Franklin, Wisconsin, on Tuesday after allegedly committing three burglaries in the city, including one involving a 79-year-old woman who rebuffed him in a bar. A warrant was also out for his arrest on personal identity theft charges after he allegedly withdrew hundreds of dollars from a date’s bank account in September.

“We’re glad he’s off the street,” Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva told reporters Tuesday. “There’s no doubt this person would continue to do what he did until caught.”

As multiple investigations involving Olson are underway, here’s what we know so far.

Sept. 2

A woman who resides in Mount Pleasant, a village in Racine County, goes on a date with Olson that allegedly ends with him stealing her debit card and withdrawing $800 from her account, according to a criminal complaint. The woman was only identified by her initials in the complaint.

The victim connected with Olson on Match.com, where he reportedly went by the name “Tim Wilson,” according to the complaint. She had met him in person once or twice before this date, during which they visit several establishments in Racine, Zion, Mount Pleasant and Caledonia, according to the complaint. At around 10 p.m. she asks him to drive because she is tired and “she soon blacked out,” according to the complaint. The woman doesn’t remember anything else from that night and believes she might have been drugged, according to the complaint.

When she wakes up, she discovers Olson had taken her car, according to the complaint. When she contacts him about it, he claims he can’t remember anything from the night and suggests she drugged him, according to the complaint. He allegedly tells her he left the car at an Applebee’s and she is able to retrieve it there.

At some point the victim also discovered four unauthorized withdrawals on her debit card totaling $800 from two gas stations, prompting her to contact law enforcement, according to the complaint. She initially thought her card was stolen from a bar that night, though surveillance footage allegedly captured Olson withdrawing the funds from ATMs at both locations — on Sept. 2 at around 10 p.m. and Sept. 3 at around 6 a.m., according to the complaint.

Detectives with the Mount Pleasant Police Department were unable to locate Olson’s Match.com profile and believe he deactivated the account, the complaint stated.

Nov. 9

A warrant is issued for Olson’s arrest in connection with the Sept. 2 incident, court records show. He faces multiple counts of felony personal ID theft for financial gain, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint notes that Olson goes by several aliases, including Timothy Wilson.

The Racine Police Department issues a safety alert regarding Olson to “caution the women in Racine County and get the public’s help in locating a male subject who has met women on dating apps and victimizes them, resulting in financial loss.”

“The Racine Police Department is looking to speak to Olson regarding a similar incident out of our jurisdiction,” the department said. A spokesperson later confirmed to ABC News they are unable to share any further details due to the ongoing investigation.

Nov. 17

Olson is with 55-year-old Kim Mikulance when she loses consciousness at Powers on 10th, a South Milwaukee bar, according to local police. Mikulance suffers an “unknown medical emergency” at the bar and is transported to a local hospital, police said.

Surveillance video shows Olson and Mikulance, a Cudahy resident who was a regular at Powers on 10th, sitting together at the bar before she loses consciousness, police said.

“I saw the look on her face and I saw she was holding a drink and she kind of started leaning back,” Sam Anderson, who was bartending at the time, told ABC Milwaukee affiliate WISN. “She was in here for maybe five minutes until she hit the ground.”

Nov. 21

The Racine Police Department updates its initial safety alert to say that Olson has been linked to “another woman in a bar who fell unconscious while in his presence” on Nov. 17 — the incident at Powers on 10th, a spokesperson for the department confirms.

This marks the third woman Racine police are aware of from other jurisdictions who “ended up unconscious while being in Timothy Olson’s presence,” the department said.

Nov. 22

Mikulance dies at the hospital, according to police. Her death is under investigation by the South Milwaukee Police Department, which is awaiting autopsy results. Olson is a person of interest in the investigation and is being sought for questioning, police say.

“At this time, the investigation is ongoing and it is not known if any crime has occurred, or if this incident is related to any other investigations by other jurisdictions,” the department said.

Nov. 23

Olson allegedly finds his next victim at a bar in Franklin, a city in Milwaukee County. He approaches a 79-year-old woman at an unidentified establishment and offers to buy her a drink, though she declines, according to Oliva. When she leaves, he allegedly approaches her in the parking lot with a gun, forces her into her car and holds her “for a number of hours,” Oliva said. They drive to at least one ATM and he allegedly takes her cards and withdraws cash, according to Oliva.

Nov. 28

Olson is spotted in Franklin at a business on South 27th Street at night, according to local police.

Nov. 29

Officers spot a man believed to be Olson pushing a bicycle on the 7000 block of South 35th Street in Franklin at around 10:15 a.m. local time, according to Oliva. As officers approach, he flees into a nearby condominium complex and after a “brief struggle” is tased and taken into custody, according to Oliva.

He faces charges of kidnapping, burglary and identity theft stemming from the Nov. 23 incident in Franklin, Oliva says. Prior to his arrest, Olson was allegedly involved in at least two burglaries in Franklin, according to Oliva.

While in custody of the Franklin Police Department, Olson is interviewed by detectives from the police departments in Franklin, Racine and South Milwaukee, according to Oliva.

Olson is being held by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, online records show. It is unclear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Police across the jurisdictions are continuing to work through evidence.

“These are active investigations,” Oliva said. “There’s a lot of evidence to be processed.”

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Judge declares mistrial in Danny Masterson rape case

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(LOS ANGELES) — A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the Danny Masterson rape case after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The “That ’70s Show” star had pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony rape following accusations by three different women. The alleged attacks took place between 2001 and 2003.

On count 1, two jurors voted for guilty and 10 voted for not guilty. On count 2, four voted for guilty and eight for not guilty. Five voted for guilty and seven for not guilty on count 3.

The three alleged victims were members of the Church of Scientology, as was Masterson. All three women said they were initially hesitant to speak to law enforcement because they said church teachings discouraged reporting to police. The women eventually left the church.

Masterson, who was arrested in 2020, said each of the encounters was consensual. “That ’70s Show” was still on the air at the time of all three alleged rapes.

The Church of Scientology told ABC News in October that there’s “no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of Scientologists, or of anyone, to law enforcement. … Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land.”

Masterson was facing 45 years to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said it will now consider its “next steps as it relates to prosecuting this case.”

“While we are disappointed with the outcome in this trial, we thank the jurors for their service,” the office said in a statement. “We also want to give our heartfelt appreciation to the victims for bravely stepping forward and recounting their harrowing experiences.”

Two of the alleged victims are also involved in an ongoing civil case against Masterson and the Church of Scientology over the allegations.

“We are obviously disappointed that, at least for the time being, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal accountability for his deplorable acts,” they said in a joint statement, adding that they are “collectively resolved to continue our fight for justice, including in civil court.”

Alison Anderson, their attorney in the civil case, said her clients “remain hopeful that Mr. Masterson will experience some criminal consequences for his vile conduct.”

“Our clients showed tremendous courage in testifying about such personal and horrendous acts in a very public forum and despite persistent harassment and intimidation,” Anderson said in a statement.

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FTX crypto collapse: Ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried denies ‘improper use’ of customer funds

ABC News

(NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS) — Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled former CEO of cryptocurrency giant FTX and trading firm Alameda Research, told ABC News he was ultimately responsible for the downfall of both companies, but denied that he knew “that there was any improper use of customer funds.”

“I really, deeply wish that I had taken a lot more responsibility for understanding what the details were of what was going on,” he said. “I should have been on top of this, and I feel really, really bad and regretful that I wasn’t,” he said. “A lot of people got hurt. And that’s on me.”

Bankman-Fried spoke to George Stephanopoulos and ABC News for his first network interview since both companies in his cryptocurrency empire filed for bankruptcy this month. He addressed rumors that have swirled since the collapse and discussed his uncertain path forward. The interview took place in the Bahamas island of Nassau where FTX was headquartered.

Watch George Stephanopoulos’ full interview with Sam Bankman-Fried on “Good Morning America” on Thursday

FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in November after a rival cryptocurrency exchange announced it was backing out of a plan to acquire it. The filing follows reports that FTX used deposits to pay Alameda Research creditors, a claim reportedly made by former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison during a call in early November. Bankman-Fried said he was not aware that was true but said Alameda had a large position open on FTX that was “overcollateralized a year ago.” He also partially blamed a market collapse that “threatened that position quite a bit” as well as mismanagement.

Ellison did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

“I failed to have someone in place who was managing that risk, who was managing that position, managing that account. I failed to have proper oversight” that led to the crash of FTX, Bankman-Fried said.

In the interview, Bankman-Fried also denied he witnessed any illegal drug use by FTX employees, and he said reports that he and Ellison were in a polyamorous relationship are false and his romantic relationship with Ellison lasted only six months. “I lived with a bunch of monogamous couples when I was here, some of whom got married over the course of their time here. I don’t know of any polyamorous relationships within FTX.”

Bankman-Fried, 30, said he currently owns just one ATM card and has $100,000 in his bank account, a drastic reversal from the estimated $20 billion net worth that thrust him into the spotlight. He ultimately blamed the collapse of FTX on his struggle with risk management.

“There is something maybe even deeply wrong there, which was I wasn’t even trying. Like, I wasn’t spending any time or effort trying to manage risk on FTX and that that was obviously a mistake,” he said. “If I had been spending an hour a day thinking about risk management on FTX, I don’t think that would have happened. And I don’t feel good about that.”

Today, Bankman-Fried said his focus is on working through the regulatory and legal processes and “trying to focus on what I can do going forward to be helpful.” In the future he said he hopes he will be able to say he “made it up to everyone who got hurt.”

He added, “At the end of the day, it’s not my call what happens. And the world will judge me as it will.”

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Animal protection groups file emergency court challenge to stop black bear hunt in New Jersey

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(TRENTON, N.J.) — Animal protection groups are seeking an emergency court challenge to stop a black bear hunt from taking place next Monday in New Jersey. The state’s Fish and Game Council authorized the hunt earlier this month.

The groups allege that the council bypassed required procedures for a hunt by misusing an emergency rule-making loophole. Plaintiffs are asking the court to allow them to file an emergency motion.

The Fish and Game Council approved emergency regulations on Nov. 15 to “control the black bear population and reduce the threat of dangerous encounters between bears and humans through regulated hunting and non-lethal management measures,” according to the council’s website.

The council claimed the hunt was authorized due to increasing public safety concerns associated with the growing bear population. The hunting season is set to run from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10. Hunting is allowed a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset.

Hunters will not be allowed to take or kill a black bear weighing less than 75 pounds or if the bear is in the presence of cubs, according to the council.

The hunt does not limit the total number of bears that can be killed, according to animal protection groups.

The council will hand out 11,000 black bear hunting permits. Each hunter can get up to two permits for different hunting zones but is only allowed to kill one bear during the whole season.

Animal protection groups say black bears are “extremely slow to reproduce” and dispute the council’s assertion that the state’s bear population will grow by 33% in two years.

Opponents also claim officials do not know the accurate number of bears in the state.

“Scientific studies show only a weak correlation between the population of bears and bear attacks. Bear-human interaction is more closely connected with specific human behaviors that drive encounters. Some states with large black bear populations have fewer conflicts than states with much smaller bear numbers,” the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement.

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Accused Colorado Springs shooter praised by online extremists calling for copycat attacks: DHS

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(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — The suspect accused of opening fire inside an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been praised by online extremists who have called for copycat attacks, according to a Department of Homeland Security bulletin made public Wednesday.

“Following the late November shooting at an LGBTQI+ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado — which remains under investigation — we have observed actors on forums known to post racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist content praising the alleged attacker, the latest National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin (NTAS), dated Nov. 30 says. “Similarly, some domestic violent extremists in the United States praised an October 2022 shooting at a LGBTQI+ bar in Slovakia and encouraged additional violence. The attacker in Slovakia posted a manifesto online espousing white supremacist beliefs and his admiration for prior attackers, including some within the United States.”

The NTAS bulletin, brought back by the current Homeland Security secretary, is the seventh after the current one expired on Wednesday.

“Threat actors have recently mobilized to violence, citing factors such as reactions to current events and adherence to violent extremist ideologies. In the coming months, threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence, including certifications related to the midterm elections, the holiday season and associated large gatherings, the marking of two years since the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and potential sociopolitical developments connected to ideological beliefs or personal hostility,” the bulletin said. “Targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.”

Senior DHS officials reiterated on a conference call with reporters the threat environment in the United States remains “heightened.”

The bulletin also mentions threats to the Jewish community, and perceptions of government overreach. The official added the Jewish community “seems particularly targeted” in recent days.

“Some domestic violent extremists have express grievances based on perceptions that the government is overstepping its Constitutional authorities or failing to perform its duties,” the bulletin says. “Historically, issues related to immigration and abortion have been cited by prior attackers as inspiration for violence. Potential changes in border security enforcement policy, an increase in noncitizens attempting to enter the U.S., or other immigration-related developments may heighten these calls for violence.”

John Cohen, the former acting head of intelligence at DHS said the bulletin serves as a reminder of the threats that the country faces.

“This most recent DHS NTAS reflects dangerous nature of the current threat environment which includes mass casualty attacks by lone offenders motivated by a combination of ideological beliefs and personal grievance cultivated through the consumption of online content,” Cohen, now an ABC News contributor said. “This bulletin is important in that it informs the public regarding the threat facing the United States. That said – while informing the public is critical, I remain concerned that enough isn’t being done to adjust our investigative and threat mitigation efforts to actually prevent the attacks that continue to impact far too many communities and families across America.”

Officials on the call cited a man who appeared at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house looking for him, and well as the recent attack against the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, in which the suspect allegedly was looking for Pelosi herself.

Threats against the midterm elections were “isolated” according to the bulletin.

“While violence surrounding the November midterm elections was isolated, we remain vigilant that heightened political tensions in the country could contribute to individuals mobilizing to violence based on personalized grievances,” the bulletin says. “Over the past few months we observed general calls for violence targeting elected officials, candidates, and ballot drop box locations.”

Once speech crosses the line, the department becomes alerted to it, senior officials on the call said.

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Idaho murders: Chief believes attack was targeted, school prepares for vigil

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(MOSCOW, Idaho) — University of Idaho students, back on campus following Thanksgiving break, will gather Wednesday night for a vigil for their four classmates who were mysteriously stabbed to death this month.

Kaylee Goncalves, 21, her lifelong best friend, Madison Mogen, 21, another roommate Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, were killed in the girls’ off-campus house in the early hours of Nov. 13.

“You can’t imagine sending your girl to college and they come back … in an urn,” Goncalves’ father, Steve Goncalves, told ABC News this week. “You’re numb … you can’t absorb that amount of pain and agony.”

No suspects have been identified. Two other roommates in the house at the time survived the attacks, according to police. The surviving roommates are not considered suspects, police said.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry told ABC News on Wednesday that police still “believe this is a targeted attack,” but he won’t reveal why they think that. Fry would not say if a person or the house was a target.

“Everyone wants answers… we want to give those answers as soon as we can,” Fry said, adding that some details must be withheld.

Police initially said they believed there was “no imminent threat to the community,” but later walked that back. Fry told ABC News, “I own the messaging problem at the very beginning. We should’ve done a little better than that. … we needed to correct that.”

Goncalves said the only thing worse than losing his child is knowing that her killer is “having a great life out there — and you’re just left in shambles.”

He said the families deserve justice.

“We just have to come together as a community,” Goncalves said. “Submit all those pieces of evidence … and get this guy off the streets.”

Police urge anyone with information to upload digital media to fbi.gov/moscowidaho or contact the tip line at tipline@ci.moscow.id.us or 208-883-7180.

“Detectives are looking for context to the events and people involved in these murders,” Moscow police said. “Any odd or out-of-the-ordinary events that took place should be reported. Our focus is the investigation, not the activities. Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be a piece of the puzzle.”

Wednesday’s candlelight vigil is at 8 p.m. ET.

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Four pilot whales euthanized after stranding event on Massachusetts beach

International Fund for Animal Welfare

(EASTHAM, Mass.) — Four pilot whales that had been stranded on a Massachusetts beach have been euthanized, according to conservationists.

The health of the whales had “greatly declined” after three days of being stranded, with the whales initially being lifted by the high tide but then getting stranded again, Stacey Hedman, communications director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team, told ABC News. The weather and the exhausted state of the whales contributed to the grim outlook for the large mammals, Hedman said.

“The team made the difficult decision to euthanize these animals as we knew rescue efforts at this stage were no longer going to be possible,” Hedman said. “It’s the most humane decision to make in a circumstance like this.”

The whales “passed quickly,” Hedman said, adding that they are still searching for one remaining whale.

Six pilot whales were initially spotted swimming close to shore near Sunken Meadow Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, on Monday afternoon, prompting stranding experts form the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research team to respond to the scene to check on their well-being, Hedman said.

By Tuesday morning, the whales had become stranded on the beach, and one — a calf — had died, Hedman said. After the whales were briefly examined, and two were given satellite tags, the conservationists hoped the high tide in the afternoon would help push the marine mammals back into the ocean.

The five remaining pilot whales were re-floated and released shortly after the tide came in, but by 6 p.m. Tuesday, four of the whales had turned back toward shore, and rescue efforts were temporarily put on hold, the organization said.

“The five pilot whales swam off well in one direction together, but the reality is that we cannot celebrate a success yet this evening,” Misty Niemeyer, stranding coordinator at IFAW, said in a statement. “One animal is now offshore, but the others did not follow.”

The conservationists monitored satellite tag hits overnight, and a field team was able to locate the majority of the animals about 2 miles north near the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Hedman said. One whale is now offshore, she added.

The team is evaluating the next steps, Niemeyer said, describing the rescuers as “exhausted” after their strenuous efforts Tuesday.

“Large animals can be quite dangerous to work around, and it’s for our health as well as tomorrow’s continued efforts that we need to call it a day today,” she said late Tuesday.

Teams of rescuers were responding in phases Tuesday to provide supportive care until the tides were more favorable, Hedman said.

Video taken on the scene showed crews digging up sand around the whales, some of which were covered in wet blankets to help them retain moisture. Some of the whales were also administered fluids via IV to help combat the stress and shock of stranding, Sharp said.

Dolphins and small whales can indeed live out of water for many hours when receiving proper supportive care and hydration, Hedman said.

While Cape Cod is considered a global hotspot for live cetacean stranding, historically, pilot whales do not strand there, Hedman added.

IFAW typically transports dolphins to deeper water using a custom-built rescue vehicle, but the whales are too big to transport, according to the organization.

But some of the animals are “very large,” with the largest estimated to weigh about 4,000 pounds — making them too heavy to transport, Brian Sharp, director of the research center, said in a recorded statement.

“This is tough on all of our responders,” Hedman said. “We were cautiously optimistic and put a tremendous amount of work into this effort. If you were there, you likely felt our hopefulness as the whales first swam off at the end of the day yesterday.”

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Darrell Brooks begins process to appeal conviction in Christmas parade attack

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(WAUKESHA, Wisc.) — Darrell Brooks is seeking to appeal his conviction for driving his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last year, killing six people and injuring dozens more.

Brooks was found guilty by a jury in the attack and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He received a life sentence for each of the six counts of first-degree intentional homicide, to be served consecutively, along with hundreds of hours of confinement for dozens of other criminal charges.

Brooks, 40, filed a handwritten notice of intent on Tuesday to seek post-conviction relief in Waukesha County Circuit Court, initiating the appeal process.

“It is not my intention to bring any controversy before the court, but it is my intention to have this postconviction relief matter reviewed and heard as quickly as possible as there are clear issues of the law and the legal facts in this matter,” he wrote in the notice, which was signed from Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin.

Additionally, Brooks made a request to have assistance from the public defender’s office. He had represented himself during the trial and was temporarily removed multiple times by Judge Jennifer Dorow for disrupting the proceedings.

Court records show the notice of intent to seek post-conviction relief was sent to the state public defender.

Brooks needed to initiate an appeal within 20 days of the sentencing, starting with filing the notice of intent to pursue post-conviction relief. The appeal process could take months, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

A jury found Brooks guilty in October on all 76 counts for barreling his SUV into a Christmas parade on Nov. 21, 2021.

Dorow sentenced Brooks two weeks ago during a two-day hearing that featured emotional statements from dozens of victims and the family members of those killed and injured.

Dorow acknowledged that the sentencing was “largely symbolic,” but told Brooks that “it needs to hold you accountable in a very real and tangible way.”

Waukesha’s Christmas parade is scheduled to return this Sunday for the first time since the deadly attack.

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Massachusetts couple killed in home in apparent targeted attack, suspect at large: DA

Massachusetts State Police

(MARSHFIELD, Mass.) — A manhunt is underway for a suspect accused of stabbing and bludgeoning an elderly couple to death in their Massachusetts home in an apparent targeted attack, officials said.

Police conducting a welfare check on the married couple Tuesday night found both dead with “obvious signs of trauma,” according to Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz.

“Both of the victims were stabbed and bludgeoned to death,” Cruz said during a press briefing Wednesday morning.

The incident occurred in Marshfield, a city located about 30 miles southeast of Boston in Plymouth County.

The victims were identified as the homeowners — Carl Mattson and his wife, Vicki Mattson, both 70. Vicki Mattson would have turned 71 on Wednesday, Cruz said. It is unclear when the deaths occurred, he said.

Investigators have named a suspect in the killings — 27-year-old Christopher Keeley, who was acquainted with the couple, according to Cruz. A possible motive is under investigation, he said.

“This does not appear to be a random act of violence,” Cruz said. “This appears to be a targeted attack.”

Keeley’s whereabouts are currently unknown, police said.

“We’re not sure how long he has been gone,” Cruz said.

A warrant for his arrest will be issued for homicide in Marshfield, Cruz said.

Keeley is “known to carry knives,” a law enforcement alert stated. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

The suspect was last seen driving a black 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that was taken from the scene, Cruz said. The car was later located unoccupied in a parking lot in Avon, which is about 20 miles west of Marshfield, the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office said.

“We continue to seek Christopher Keeley,” Massachusetts State Police said on Twitter.

Keeley, who goes by the name Crispy, was described as being white with blonde hair and blue eyes, approximately 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds. He may have altered his appearance by dying his hair red, police said.

His last known address was in Weymouth, Massachusetts, police said.

Anyone who sees him or has information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Massachusetts State Police at 774-434-5999 or the Marshfield Police Department at 774-380-4289, or call 911.

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Severe weather updates: Mother, son killed after dozens of tornadoes rip through South

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A mother and her 8-year-old son have died in central Alabama after a tornado with winds of up to 115 mph struck overnight, officials said.

At least reported 34 tornadoes have touched down in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, according to the National Weather Service.

On Wednesday, 11 tornadoes were confirmed near New Orleans, Shreveport, Jackson and Birmingham.

Montgomery Fire Rescue saved one person and extracted two bodies from a home in Montgomery County, Alabama, where winds measured up to 115 mph from a confirmed EF-1 tornado. The victims were identified as Chiquita Broadnax, 39, and her 8-year-old son, Cedarrius Te. The child’s father, Cedric Lamar Tell, was injured and taken to the hospital, family members told ABC News.

The deadly tornado struck Montgomery County just after 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Montgomery County officials said first responders saved the lives of many others.

The EF-1 tornado in Montgomery County wreaked havoc in the Flatwood community, according to the National Weather Service.

EF-1 and EF-2 tornadoes have been confirmed elsewhere in the region, including in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, and Magnolia, Mississippi. Another EF-1 in Eutaw, Alabama, caused severe damage to the Sagewood Apartment Complex, according to the National Weather Service.

Tornadoes were also reported near Bakers and Steens, Mississippi. In Vernon, Mississippi, hail the size of a quarter and Ping-Pong ball was reported. There were also reports of structural damage across several locations in Mississippi.

Texas and Kentucky got hail the size of golf balls.

Images from the affected areas show entire homes reduced to rubble by the tornadoes.

As the storm system moves east, more severe weather is possible for Florida’s Panhandle, southern Alabama and Georgia. The tornado threat will be low on Wednesday; the major threat now is damaging winds.

High-wind alerts have been issued for most of the Northeast, where winds could gust 40 to 60 mph. Behind this storm system, colder air will produce lake-effect snow from just south of Buffalo to Watertown, New York, where seven to 15 inches of snow is possible.

Strong thunderstorms are possible from the Florida Panhandle to the Carolinas. In addition, heavy rain and gusty winds are expected from Washington, D.C., to Boston.

ABC News’ Alexandra Faul and Melissa Griffin contributed to this report.

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