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Weld County Sheriff(DENVER) -- The Colorado man convicted of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters was called a "heartless monster" by his father-in-law at Monday's sentencing hearing.

Chris Watts, 33, was sentenced to five life sentences with no possibility of parole for the murders of his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, 34, and their daughters Celeste, 3 and Bella, 4.

Shanann's father, Frank Rzucek, said Chris Watts "carried them out like trash."

"I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them. And they also trusted you," said Rzucek, who was overcome with emotion. "You disgust me."

"They were loving and caring people" who "had all their lives to live," the grieving father and grandfather said. "Life will never be the same."

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors will not pursue the death penalty, the Weld County District Attorney's office said. The victims' family agreed to those terms, the district attorney's office added.

Chris Watts faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"They looked up to you because you promised to keep them safe. Instead, you turned on your family," Shanann's brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., wrote in a statement read in court Monday by prosecutors.

"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't cry for my family. They were my whole world," Rzucek Jr. said. "Why would you do this? ... What kind of person slaughters the people that love them the most?"

He called his sister his "best friend" and said his brother-in-law "took away my privilege of being an uncle to the most precious girls."

"Hearing my mother and father cry themselves to sleep ... causes me anguish beyond words," he continued. "I hope you spend the rest of your life ... being haunted by what you've done."

Sandra Rzucek, Shanann's mother, said they loved Chris Watts "like a son."

"We trusted you," she said. "Your faithful wife trusted you. Your children adored you.

"I didn't want death for you because that's not my right," she added. "Your life is between you and God and I pray that he has mercy for you."

Chris Watts' mother, Cindy Watts, called the crime an "absolute horror" for both families.

"This is something we will never get over," she said in court, shaking. "I am still struggling to understand how and why this tragedy occurred. I may never be able to understand and accept it, but I pray for peace and healing for all of us."

To her son, who sat in just steps away in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, Cindy Watts said, "I've known you since the day you were born into this world. I've watched you grow from a quiet and sweet child who Bella reminded me so much of."

"As your mother, Chris, I have always loved you and I still do. I hate what has happened," she said, crying. "But we will remain faithful as your family ... we love you and we forgive you, son."

In August, right after the killings, Chris Watts spoke out to reporters, saying his wife and daughters disappeared without a trace, leaving her purse and keys at home.

"My kids are my life," he told ABC Denver affiliate KMGH. "I mean, those smiles light up my life."

"When I came home and then walked in the house, nothing. Vanished. Nothing was here," he said.

Within days of the disappearance, Chris Watts was arrested and the bodies of his wife and children were found.

Prosecutors claim his "desire for a fresh start" to begin a new relationship was a motive for the crimes.

At the time of the killings, Chris Watts was dating another woman, 30-year-old Nichol Kessinger, she told The Denver Post.

Chris Watts and Kessinger met through work in June and started dating the next month, she told the newspaper.

Chris Watts told Kessinger he had two daughters and was going through a mutual divorce, which was almost finalized, Kessinger said.

At the end of July, Chris Watts told her that his divorce was official, Kessinger said in the report, which was published online last week.

"He lied about everything," she told the Post.

Chris Watts pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him: five counts of murder in the first degree; three counts of tampering with a deceased human body; and one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The lawyer for one of the suspects in an alleged GoFundMe scam released a secret bombshell tape recording Monday that he says shows his client's ex-boyfriend and the homeless veteran they were purportedly helping duped her into joining the $400,000 swindle.

Kate McClure's attorney played the tape on ABC's Good Morning America, saying she made it after Johnny Bobbitt accused her and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, of cutting him out of his share of donations.

In the tape, which has not been verified by ABC News, McClure, 28, and D'Amico, 39, engage in a heated and expletive-laced argument in which she put the onus on him and he countered by saying she was complicit in the fleece.

"You started the whole f------ thing. You did everything. I had no part in any of this, and I'm the one taking f------ fall," McClure's is heard supposedly telling D'Amico on the recording.

D'Amico allegedly responded, seeming to say, "You don't go to jail for lying on TV, you dumb f---."

He was apparently referring to the blitz of media interviews the now-former couple and Bobbitt, 38, did to further the scam, according to New Jersey prosecutors.

"But who made me lie on TV?" McClure is heard on the tape asking D'Amico.

"Who cares?" D'Amico allegedly shot back.

He then asked her about $2,500 in ill-gotten gains she allegedly spent on a trip to California.

"You act like you didn't spend a dollar. Stop it!" D'Amico allegedly told McClure.

McClure is then heard replying, "I'm not acting like that. I never said I didn't spend a dollar."

In a stunning twist in what the public and more than 14,000 people who donated during last holiday season, thinking they were helping a homeless veteran get off the streets, prosecutors charged McClure, D'Amico, and Bobbitt last week with second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception.

"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie," Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said at a news conference on Thursday. "Less than an hour after the GoFundMe campaign went live McClure, in a text exchange with a friend, stated that the story about Bobbitt assisting her was fake."

Attorneys for D'Amico and Bobbitt have yet to respond to ABC News' requests for comment on Gerrow's allegations or the tape.

Prosecutors say McClure was well aware that the trio concocted the tale that got the whole criminal feat rolling: the heart-tugging story that Bobbitt used his last $20 to buy her gas when her car stalled out near the I-95 offramp in Philadelphia near where the former Marine was living on the streets at the time.

GoFundMe says it is refunding all donations made to Bobbitt and sent donors an email last week explaining how to get their money back.

"While this type of behavior by an individual is extremely rare, it's unacceptable and clearly it has consequences. Committing fraud, whether it takes place on or offline is against the law," GoFundMe said in a statement, adding that it is fully cooperating in the investigation.

In an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on GMA Monday, Gerrow claimed McClure was not complicit in the alleged scheme.

"I think that first of all people have to understand that this was an abusive relationship," Gerrow said. "One of the reasons that I provided you the tape was to show you the nature of that. From the start, Kate thought she was helping a veteran who was homeless and that Mr. D'Amico was the one behind this and he was calling all the shots."

Gerrow also downplayed the apparent trove of evidence Coffina laid out against the former couple last week, saying they purchased a luxury BMW, numerous high-end handbags, and "hit the casinos hard."

Gerrow conceded D'Amico did purchase a handbag worth about $1,000 and that McClure bought one for about $800, but said they were purchased online and that the bags were used.

"In terms of the BMW, we're talking about a 2015 BMW, hardly top of the line and they paid $17,500 for it," Gerrow said.

Asked why McClure didn't go to authorities sooner to implicate D'Amico and Bobbitt in the alleged scam, Gerrow said McClure always thought she was helping a down-and-out homeless veteran.

"At that point in time, she didn't understand or appreciate the fact that this might very well be a crime," Gerrow said. "What she's talking about and what she thought all along was the fact .... that she was trying to help this homeless man."

Gerrow said McClure is remorseful.

"One of the things that she does feel remorse about is the fact that this has garnered such publicity and will cause people perhaps to have second thoughts about giving, especially in this time of year," Gerrow said. "I know she's concerned about what this has done to her family and, quite frankly, it has traumatized her."

D'Amico and McClure were arrested last week and released from custody pending a court hearing on Christmas Eve.

Bobbitt was arrested in Philadelphia last week and remains in custody, facing extradition to Burlington County.

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Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The number of people who remain missing in the wake of a pair of wildfires that have been blazing across both ends of California remains close to 1,000 as of early Monday morning.

The two blazes, which both ignited last week, have claimed a total of 80 lives while laying waste to a total area of nearly 400 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials said that 63 of the remains have been positively identified so far.

The vast majority of the deaths -- 77 total -- were due to the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildland fire in the state's history.

The number of people missing or unaccounted for in Butte County was 993 as of late Sunday, though those figures may continue to fluctuate as authorities track down the names on the list, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

President Donald Trump arrived in California on Sunday to survey the devastation and meet with firefighters, alongside California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's governor-elect, Gavin Newsom.

The president stopped first in Paradise, where he called the damage "total devastation."

"We've never seen anything like this in California," Trump said.

The president later visited Malibu to tour devastation from the Woolsey Fire.

Meanwhile, the smoke from the flames has descended across the Golden State and choked the air in major cities, including San Francisco. Officials have advised residents in the affected areas to remain indoors and wear a protective mask outside.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for California through Sunday as humidity drops and wind gusts could get up to 40 mph in the Camp Fire zone.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Record cold is headed to the Northeast for Thanksgiving.

It could be the chilliest Turkey Day on record for New York and Boston, with wind chills below zero in some areas on Thanksgiving morning.

Here is what you need to know:

-- A minor clipper system is moving from the Great Lakes to the Northeast Monday night into Tuesday morning, which could bring two to six inches of snow to parts of New England, as well as rain for the coast.

-- No major storms are in the forecast for Thanksgiving.

-- Rain is headed to the West Coast Wednesday night and into Thursday, which will provide some relief to firefighters battling the deadly wildfires.

-- On Thanksgiving, many Northeast residents could wake up to temperatures in the teens or single digits.

-- Thursday is likely to be the coldest Thanksgiving along the East Coast since 1996.

-- Boston could experiences its coldest Thanksgiving on record since 1901.

If you are bundling up to hit the road for Thanksgiving, be mindful of the dangers on a week when so many are traveling.

The National Safety Council projects that 433 people may be killed and another 49,400 may be seriously hurt in car accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday, which runs from Wednesday night to Sunday night.

Last year, Thanksgiving was the second deadliest holiday on the roads, the safety council said. The deadliest holiday was the Fourth of July.

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Leavenworth County Board of County Commissioners (TOPEKA, Kan.) -- The governor of Kansas is demanding the resignation of a white county commissioner who claimed he was "part of the master race" when talking to an African-American consultant during a public meeting last week.

Gov. Jeff Colyer is asking Louis Klemp, chairman of the Leavenworth County Board of Commissioners, to step down following his "inappropriate remarks" made during a public meeting on Nov. 13.

"Racial and discriminative language have no place in our society, and most especially when spoken by someone holding a public office," Colyer said in a statement. "The inappropriate remarks made by Leavenworth County Commissioner Louis Klemp are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of the county which he represents. As such I call on him to step down as county commissioner."

During a public meeting on Tuesday, Triveece Penelton, a consultant for VIREO Planning Associates in Kansas City, was making a presentation to the board of commissioners about community engagement on a potential development of rural land in Tonganoxie, Kansas.

In a video of the meeting, posted on the Leavenworth County Board of Commissioners' YouTube channel, Klemp expressed his displeasure with a plan to develop the land as residential. He said he favored an industrial development that would return revenue to the county.

Speaking directly to Penelton, Klemp said, "I don’t want you to think I'm picking on you because we're part of the master race. You know you got a gap in your teeth. You're the masters. Don’t ever forget that."

Klemp did not explain what he meant by the comment.

The term "master race" stems from Nazi terminology, often describing Adolf Hitler's belief in a superior Aryan race.

Klemp did not respond to requests for comment Sunday from ABC News.

Penelton also could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Leavenworth County Administrator Mark Loughry issued a statement defending Klemp, saying the commissioner was referring to a gap in his own teeth and noting that Penelton had a similar gap.

"The use of the term 'Master Race,' as ill-advised as it may be, was not a reference to Nazis or used in a racist manner in this instance," Loughry said in a statement. "Leavenworth County has a zero tolerance for racism or discrimination in any form from any staff members. I am deeply sorry that one misconstrued comment by a member of our elected governing body has caused so much grief, sorrow and hatred."

But Robert Holland, one of Klemp's colleagues on the commission, said Klemp needs to be disciplined.

"When he said 'master race,' there is no master race," Holland told ABC affiliate station KMBC-TV in Leavenworth. "I mean, we're all Americans, we're all human beings. There is no master race."

Holland said he is considering a motion to remove Klemp, whose term on the board runs through Jan. 15, from being chairman of the board.

Meanwhile, the Leavenworth City Commission held a special meeting on Thursday and issued a statement condemning Klemp's remark and asked that he apologize and step down.

"These comments have resulted in widespread negative attention and have harmed the overall perception of residents, businesses, cities, organizations and agencies in Leavenworth County," the Leavenworth City Commission said in its statement. "The City Commission unequivocally denounces the use of 'master race' or any other language that has historic ties to racism, division and bigotry in any setting at any time."

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The search for a San Francisco 49ers' fan who mysteriously went missing during a football game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, took a grim turn when fishermen discovered a body in the water near where the man vanished, police said.

Santa Clara and San Jose police have been searching for Ian Powers, 32, a U.S. Army veteran from Spokane, Washington, since Nov. 12 when he got separated from his girlfriend and her two children during a Monday Night Football game between the Niners and New York Giants, police said.

On Saturday afternoon, fishermen discovered the body of a fully-clothed man face down in the water about a mile offshore from a marina near Levi's Stadium, Lt. John Hutchings, spokesman for the San Jose Police Department told ABC San Francisco affiliate station KGO-TV.

"I believe the body was visible because of the low tide," Hutchings said.

He said the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the identity of the body and the cause of death.

Powers’ girlfriend, Chelsea Robbins, said she and her two children attended the game with Powers and that they got separated in the fourth quarter.

"He went to the bathroom and then got lost, or something happened," Robbins told KGO on Friday.

Surveillance cameras showed Powers walking out of Levi's Stadium about 8:52 p.m. during the fourth quarter of a close game that the Giants won 27-23. Security cameras showed him walking west through the parking lot before losing sight of him at 9:03 p.m., authorities said. 

Robbins told police she had texted Powers and video chatted with him to coordinate a place to meet, said Santa Clara Police Department Capt. Wahid Kazem.

Police tracked Powers' cellphone to a parking lot near the stadium and found his car abandoned, officials said.

The body discovered Saturday was found in the water off Alviso Marina, which is more than a 2-mile walk from Levi's Stadium.

The marina is in the jurisdiction of the San Jose Police Department.

Santa Clara Police Department officials, who are investigating Powers' disappearance as suspicious and had asked the public for help in finding the man, were immediately notified that a body was discovered, Hutchings said.

Power's uncle, Sean Powers, said he is baffled by his nephew's disappearance.

"It's incredibly unlike him," Sean Powers, told KGO of his nephew leaving the stadium without his girlfriend and her children. "I've said this before, he's probably the most responsible person in my family."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The fire danger in California continues on Sunday, but firefighters in the region are about to get a needed respite.

A red flag warning is in effect for the Sacramento area, near the Camp Fire, due to low relative humidity and the potential for wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph. This will not only make it difficult to fight existing fires, but could spread new fires if they were to ignite.

But rain is on the way for the West Coast beginning late Tuesday night. This is extremely good news for the firefighting efforts in California. Also, this will help alleviate the widespread air quality issues in the state.

The bad news is too much rain on the scorched ground could cause mudslides and debris flows. It is important to watch the progression of the pattern as some areas could see several inches of rain by the end of the week.

Cold travel outlook for eastern US

Another cold blast is on the way for one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Wind chill values will be below zero in northern Minnesota on Wednesday morning, while 20 degree wind chills extend as far south as Kansas City, Missouri, and Nashville, Tennessee. Boston and New York will feel like the teens and 20s, and a few record-cold values are possible on Tuesday morning in the Plains and upper Midwest.

Though it will be cold in the Plains and Northeast, the weather is looking good overall for both road and air travelers across the majority of the country.

There are select trouble spots due to the threat of rain, including the Pacific Northwest through central California and south Texas along the Gulf of Mexico.

Mild weather will stick to the southern half of the country.

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FBI Charlotte(WASHINGTON) -- Authorities are asking residents in North Carolina's Robeson County to check their properties this weekend for "anything unusual or out of place" amid the ongoing search for kidnapped 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar.

"If you see something that doesn’t belong or is not normal, do not touch anything (you could damage possible evidence) and call the tip line or 911," the Lumberton Police Department wrote in a Facebook post Friday night. "You know your property best and can most easily determine if something is worth contacting law enforcement to help us."

Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill told reporters earlier this week that investigators are following "every conceivable lead" to find the eighth-grader.

Hania was kidnapped just before 7 a.m. local time on Nov. 5 outside her home at the Rosewood Mobile Home Park in Lumberton, a city in Robeson County, according to police.

She had grabbed her aunt's car keys that morning so she could turn on the vehicle before school. That's when a witness saw a man clad in all black with a yellow bandanna over his face approach the girl and force her into the green, 2003 Ford Expedition, police said.

The suspect then drove away in the family's SUV with Hania inside, police said. The stolen vehicle was located several miles away on Quincey Drive three days later, but Hania was nowhere to be found.

So far, investigators said there's no indication to believe Hania isn't alive.

The FBI, which has named Hania's disappearance its "Most Wanted: Case of the Week," announced Tuesday that it had raised its reward to $25,000 for information on the case. The state of North Carolina is also offering a reward of up to $5,000, bringing the total possible reward amount to $30,000.

Authorities also released a handwritten statement in Spanish by Hania's mother, Elsa Hernandez, pleading for her daughter's safe return while dismissing the rumors swirling on social media.

"I trust in God that my daughter will return," Hernandez wrote. "No one knows the pain I have in my heart. Despite all the criticism and speculation against me, I would never use my daughter’s name in order to take advantage of this situation. I thank all those people who have provided me help.

"Please," she continued, "if you know something, call. I ask everyone not to make absurd comments. For the love of God respect my pain. I only want Hania, my princess, back. I miss her."

The FBI subsequently posted a statement on Twitter in support of Hania's mother.

"Social media can be cruel. Hania Aguilar is still missing. Her Mother wrote this note to ask people not to say such mean things on social media. Support this Mother, her daughter was kidnapped," the FBI's field office in Charlotte tweeted Tuesday night.

Investigators are still trying to track down a man who was seen in surveillance footage walking in the neighborhood that Monday morning, around the time Hania was abducted. The three videos, which the FBI released earlier this week, show the unidentified man wearing light-colored shoes, a light-colored shirt and a hoodie.

The man is not considered a suspect or person of interest at this time. Rather, he's someone authorities "want to speak with" because he may be able to help investigators narrow down a timeline of Hania's kidnapping, according to FBI Supervisor Andy de la Rocha.

Authorities are seeking additional surveillance footage from anyone who lives or owns a business on or near Quincey Drive.

Hania is described as a Hispanic girl who is 5 feet tall and weighs about 125 pounds, according to the FBI. She has black hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a blue shirt with flowers and blue jeans.

Authorities have set up a special tip line that anyone can call if they have information to help investigators find Hania: (910) 272-5871.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Flames from the deadly Camp Fire won't reach California's Bay Area, but that doesn't mean it's not still wreaking havoc on the region. Smoke from the Northern California fire is leading to record-high levels of air pollution.

Masks have become the fashion statement du jour in San Francisco the past few days.

The air quality index in San Francisco rose to 258 at noon on Friday, a reading that qualifies as "very unhealthy." That reading had only sunk to 209 by 9 p.m. local time on Friday. Meanwhile, across the Bay, the air quality index in Oakland was 248 Friday night -- also in the "very unhealthy" range.

Officials warned that once the index reaches "very unhealthy," everyone is susceptible to experiencing trouble breathing or coughing. Sensitive groups, such as those with asthma, may experience even more serious issues.

Sacramento, California's capital, reached a "hazardous" level of 332 at noon on Friday.

For Chico, the region where the Camp Fire continues to burn, the air quality index was an astronomical 450 on Friday night.

The air quality in San Francisco was the worst the region has ever experienced, according to Berkeley Earth. Breathing in air outside all day on Friday was the equivalent of smoking 11 cigarettes.

San Francisco Department of Emergency Management advised people to stay indoors if possible and wear special masks designed to filter the polluted air. The California Department of Public Health shared information on specific masks to wear.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MORGANTOWN, W.Va.) -- A student at West Virginia University is in critical condition after a fall at the school's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house -- leading to the suspension of the chapter pending an investigation.

David Rusko, 22, remains in the intensive care unit after the fall on Nov. 10. The school said Rusko appears to have fallen down a set of stairs at the home and was knocked unconscious. It then took two hours for his fellow frat members to call an ambulance, the school said.

"Officers have discovered that more than two hours lapsed between Rusko’s fall and the 911 call," according to a press release from the school.

The senior is a finance major from Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

Eric Dyson, the property manager for the building, told Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE-TV, "It appears that he had taken a misstep on the staircase. There was no organized function or anything like that. A couple of guys were playing pool upstairs."

WTAE-TV reported that Rusko underwent surgery on Friday.

West Virginia University said Thursday that it had placed "a number of students on interim suspension, and additional students may face disciplinary action" over the incident.

"I am deeply disappointed in the apparent actions and inactions of these students and the decisions that were made," Dean of Students Corey Farris said in a statement. "As our investigation moves ahead, we remain very concerned about David’s condition. He will continue to be in our prayers."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Winter weather alerts are in place across nine states on Saturday as a clipper system will deliver snow from the Rockies through the Central Plains into the Great Lakes.

Slick travel conditions are to be expected Saturday morning.

Snow associated with a cold front is being pushed to the south by an arctic high pressure system to the north. The snow will begin in Wyoming and move south through the day, ending in Colorado and northern Kansas. Another area of snow will be working through the Great Lakes region on Saturday.

Snowfall totals in the Rockies will be 1 to 3 inches throughout the area and up to a foot in higher elevations.

Further east, the snow associated with the low pressure will generally bring 1 to 3 inches of snow to parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. There will be slippery driving conditions during the early part of the day.

A weak cold front will push across the Great Lakes and bring light snowfall into interior New England through Sunday.

Snowfall accumulations are expected to be low, but roadways will be slick, especially overnight Sunday into early Monday, when there is the risk for re-freezing.

It will be cold on Sunday for a majority of the country due to the arctic air being ushered in by the high pressure in the Plains. Wind chills will be in the 20s Sunday morning in New York City. It will feel like minus-8 degrees in Ely, Minnesota.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Search crews have found eight more sets of remains in the burned-out rubble of Northern California, as officials there fear more deaths in the destructive wildfires raging at both ends of the state that has already claimed a total of 74 lives, including three lost in Southern California blazes.

The deadliest and most destructive of the two massive blazes is the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, which has killed at least 71 people.

There were more than 1,000 people still missing in the Butte County fire zones on Friday night, though authorities were working to track them down. Officials asked residents to go to the Butte County Sheriff's Department's website to check the missing persons list to make sure they are not on it.

Thom Porter, chief of strategic planning for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the death toll from the Camp Fire is expected to climb higher as search crews comb through more than 12,000 structures destroyed by the flames.

"It is by far the most deadly single fire in California history and it's going to get worse, unfortunately," Porter said of the Camp Fire.

California Gov. Jerry Brown toured the devastation caused by the Camp Fire earlier this week with Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The government leaders visited the firefighters still battling the inferno, which has burned an area of 142,000 acres and obliterated the city of Paradise, ravaging nearly every home in the bucolic community of 30,000 people.

"This is one of the worst disasters I've ever seen in my career, hands down," Long said at a news conference Wednesday in Northern California. 

Brown said the destruction "looks like a war zone." He said he spoke earlier Wednesday to President Donald Trump, "who pledged the full resources of the federal government" to help in the recovery effort.

Trump said he plans to visit the area on Saturday to meet with survivors and firefighters.

A public health emergency

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday declared a public health emergency in California, where the wildfires forced the evacuation of at least two hospitals and eight other health facilities.

"We are working closely with state health authorities and monitoring the needs of healthcare facilities to provide whatever they may need to save lives and protect health," Azar said in a statement. "This declaration will help ensure that Americans who are threatened by these dangerous wildfires and who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have continuous access to the care they need."

A smoke advisory was issued for portions of Los Angeles County amid concerns that smoke from the fires could present a "significant health threat" for people with asthma and other lung conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The best time to venture outside will be in the early afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Aviva Braun told reporters Wednesday night, blaming the light winds for the continued poor air quality.

On Saturday, stronger northeast winds mixing in the valley will help improve the air quality, according to Braun.

Lisa Almaguer, public information officer for Butte County Public Health, recommended residents stay indoors as much as possible and to wear properly fitting masks when going outside.

In addition, an outbreak of norovirus has occurred at one of the shelters, Almaguer said, describing its presence as "not uncommon," especially at this time of year and "with hundreds of people living in close quarters."

People who are ill at the shelter have been taken to a separate location, are using separate restroom facilities and are being cared for by public health experts, according to Almaguer.

Battle rages on

Thousands of exhausted firefighters battling the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California appeared to be getting a handle on the two massive blazes this week.

Chief Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said weather conditions at both fires have improved and the strong winds firefighters were seeing over the past three days have started to dissipate.

But Pimlott said "critical fire conditions" still existed with an abundance of dry vegetation in both fire zones that could flare-up with the slightest spark.

"We're not keeping our eye off this ball at all," Pimlott said Wednesday, adding that 9,000 firefighters were working on the front lines of both blazes.

Firefighters, with the help of out-of-state fire crews, were showing progress in their twin battles to subdue the widely destructive blazes that have blackened a combined acreage larger than the size of New York City.

The Camp Fire showed "continued activity" on its northeast side, along the Feather River drainage basin, as it pushed toward the community of Big Bar, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced Tuesday night.

The lower part of the area continued to be a challenge because of the "extremely steep, extremely rocky" terrain, fire officials said.

Dry conditions will continue this week but precipitation is expected next week, Braun said.

Camp Fire

The Camp Fire ignited Nov. 8 in Northern California's Butte County and has since burned an area of 142,000 acres. The flames were 45 percent contained on Friday morning.

The death toll from the monstrous blaze now stands at 71, making it the deadliest single wildfire in California's recorded history. Officials have tentative confirmation of the identities of at least 53 of those found dead, but are awaiting DNA confirmation, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters Thursday night.

The sheriff warned that the remains of some of the missing may never be recovered due to the severity of the fire.

Two prison inmate firefighters were among three injured battling the Camp Fire, fire officials told ABC News.

Many of the deaths from the Camp Fire have taken place in Paradise, which was virtually destroyed by the flames.

"The entire community of Paradise is a toxic wasteland right now," Paradise City Council Member Melissa Schuster, who lost her home in the calamity, told ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "In addition to that, and this is the hardest part for me to even talk about, is the number of fatalities is [among] things that we don't know at this moment and that's something that has to be determined before people can move back in."

Schuster said teams from the Butte County coroner's office are combing through thousands of destroyed homes and burned cars in Paradise.

"We will rebuild our homes, we will rebuild our town stronger, better, safer and more beautiful than ever," she told ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.

Woolsey Fire

The Woolsey Fire, which also started on Nov. 8, rapidly spread from Southern California's Ventura County to Los Angeles County, jumping the 101 Freeway before sweeping through the celebrity enclaves of Malibu and Calabasas.

Authorities had warned the flames could potentially spread all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

It has burned 98,362 acres and was 78 percent contained on Friday night, as firefighters successfully stretched containment lines. But the blaze has already damaged or destroyed over 900 structures, including many homes and a legendary Hollywood film set.

The fire burned down a portion of Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills known as “Western Town,” where hundreds of movies and television shows, including HBO’s “Westworld,” have been filmed, dating back to the 1920s.

The blaze has been blamed for the deaths of at least three people, and three firefighters sustained injuries while battling the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The attorney for the female member of a New Jersey trio charged with launching a GoFundMe campaign that warmed the hearts of millions and generated more than $400,000 in donations for a seemingly selfless homeless military vet claimed in a new interview with ABC News that she herself was victimized by the other two men.

Attorney James Gerrow acknowledged that his client, Kate McClure, was in on the initial plan to concoct a story about allegedly homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt using his last $20 to help her out of a roadside jam when she ran out of gas but said she was only interested in creating the ruse for a brief time to help Bobbitt.

“The story about the gas was what I refer to — and this is where the prosecutors and I have a disagreement — on Kate’s part. It was puffing, it was exaggeration trying to help this veteran.”

Despite what Gerrow described as his client’s good intentions, he said the fund campaign “just took off.”

'A bit naive'

Gerrow also claimed that his client was too trusting and unsophisticated to understand what was unfolding.

“She’s a bit naive, and she’s come out of a troubled relationship … and now she was with D’Amico, who [is] 10 or 11 years her senior, and she was under his influence," he said. "And all of this occurred because of her trust in D’Amico.”

 It wasn’t until McClure and her attorney’s second meeting with New Jersey prosecutors that he claims she pieced the entire scam together and realized that she had been duped.

“At the second conference, the prosecutors were talking about evidence,” Gerrow said. “At that point in time, I turned to Kate and said, ‘Do you understand what they’re saying?’"

“At that point, she became very emotional,” he said. “She was in tears, she was crying, visibly shaking because she realized what they were saying — and that is that she had been being used by D’Amico and by Bobbit. She had been set up."

An attorney for D'Amico and Bobbitt was not immediately available to respond to Gerrow's claims on Friday night.

On Thursday, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said at a news conference that the entire story of Bobbitt using his last $20 after McClure ran out of gas was "predicated on a lie" designed to dupe thousands of people into contributing to the campaign.

"Less than an hour after the GoFundMe campaign went live, McClure, in a text exchange with a friend, stated that the story about Bobbitt assisting her was fake."

In one of the texts read by Coffina, McClure allegedly wrote to a friend, "OK, so wait, the gas part is completely made up but the guy isn't. I had to make something up to make people feel bad. So, shush about the made up stuff."

McClure, 28, D'Amico, 39, and Bobbitt, 34, were all charged with second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception. McClure and D'Amico voluntarily surrendered to authorities on Wednesday, and have since been released, Coffina said.

If convicted, each of them faces five to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Gerrow said that despite her deception, McClure’s initial instinct was to help Bobbitt and that once the campaign reached a fever pitch in the media, she tried without success to end the ruse.

“At $10,000, Kate tried to cut it off with GoFundMe, [but] they told her that couldn’t be done," Gerrow said. "She also tried to cut it off again at $100,000 because she was very concerned about the amount of money that was coming into the fund.”

A spokesperson for GoFundMe, which has cooperated in the investigation and has agreed to refund money to the 14,000 people who donated to Bobbitt, countered Gerrow’s claims.

"Campaign organizers are in full control of their campaigns, including their ability to turn off donations," spokesman Bobby Whithorne told ABC News late on Friday.

In fact, on the couple's GoFundMe page, McClure notes to supporters that "Johnny asked me to please stop accepting donations today. ... He asked, instead of donating to his campaign, to maybe take a second to search for another worthy cause that, for whatever reason, hasn't gotten the attention his has."

Yet, in a subsequent post, McClure acknowledged closing out the campaign, only to reopen it shortly afterward.

"For the short time that we took it down, though, it is obvious that people still want to donate to his cause... You guys continue to amaze us."

Earlier this week, GoFundMe released a statement about the case.

"While this type of behavior by an individual is extremely rare, it's unacceptable and clearly it has consequences. Committing fraud, whether it takes place on or offline is against the law. We are fully cooperating and assisting law enforcement officials to recover every dollar withdrawn by Ms. McClure and Mr. D'Amico," company officials said in a statement.

'They hit the casinos hard'

Coffina said the suspected fraudsters might have gotten away with the scam had Bobbitt not filed a lawsuit against McClure and D'Amico in August, accusing them of withholding the funds from him.

The money is all gone, most of it allegedly squandered by McClure and D'Amico on luxury handbags, a New Year's trip to Las Vegas and a BMW; the couple also used the donated funds to pay back $9,000 they owed to relatives and "hit the casinos hard," Coffina said. Bank records showed they withdrew more than $85,000 at or near casinos in Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, he said.

They were ordered to appear in court on Christmas Eve.

Bobbitt was arrested Wednesday night by the Philadelphia Police Department on charges of being a fugitive from justice, according to Philadelphia police. He is expected to be extradited to Burlington County to face charges related to the GoFundMe case.

Reached Thursday, an attorney for McClure and D'Amico told ABC News, "We have no comment. Have a nice day."

Media blitz

In numerous media appearances, McClure claimed she was driving to meet a friend in September 2017 when she ran out of gas around midnight on the I-95 exit ramp near Philadelphia. Bobbitt, who was sleeping under a nearby overpass, came to her rescue, she would say. She claimed Bobbitt spent his last $20 to buy her gas.

"I pulled over to the side of the road as far as I could and I was going to get out and walk to the nearest gas station because it was not that far away, and that's when I met Johnny," McClure said last November in a "Good Morning America" interview. "He walked up and he said, 'Get back in the car. Lock the doors. I'll be back.' I was just like, 'OK.'"

She said Bobbitt used his panhandling money to get her out of the jam.

"I almost couldn't believe it," McClure added. "I said, 'Thank you... I swear, I'll be back. I promise I'll be back to give you [the] money back.'"

Hoping to repay Bobbitt for the apparent generous act, McClure said she and D'Amico set up a GoFundMe online. The fund was launched on Nov. 10, 2017, just hours after D'Amico took a photo of McClure posing with Bobbitt near the I-95 exit ramp, Coffina said.

"I just got her gas to help her get back on her way. I didn't think anything about it. I wasn't expecting anything in return," Bobbitt told "Good Morning America." "That's how I got the money to start with — from other people. [I had to] return the favor. I can't constantly take and not give back."

'No Good Deed'

Coffina said investigators believe McClure and D'Amico first met Bobbitt about a month before they launched the GoFundMe campaign near the Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia, close to the I-95 off-ramp where Bobbitt was living on the streets at the time.

Asked who came up with the idea of the scam, Coffina noted a 2012 Facebook post written by Bobbitt that was "remarkably similar" to the narrative on the GoFundMe page.

"He reported that he helped a woman who had both run out of gas and had a flat tire at a Walmart, spent his last supper money to get her on her way and fix her flat tire," Coffina said. "I don't think that's a coincidence."

Among the few things about the story that's true is that Bobbitt served in the Marine Corps and was homeless, Coffina said.

Military records obtained by ABC News show that Bobbit served in the Marines as an ammunition technician from December 2002 to February 2004, and was awarded a National Defense Service Medal.

"He deserves our appreciation for his willingness to serve our country as a United States Marine and he has our sympathy and concern for the homelessness that he's experienced, as well as his publicized struggle with addiction," Coffina said.

"But it is imperative to keep in mind that he was fully complicit in the scheme to defraud contributors, promoting the campaign in multiple media appearances and posing with D'Amico and McClure for a Philadelphia Inquirer story in front of a gas station that he did not buy gas from."

In August, Bobbitt filed a lawsuit accusing McClure and D'Amico of committing fraud by taking more than half of the money they raised for themselves. His pro bono attorney alleged in court papers that the couple treated the donations like their "personal piggy bank to fund a lifestyle that they could not otherwise afford."

D'Amico and McClure denied the allegations.

In September, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office launched a criminal investigation into the missing GoFundMe donations and raided the couple's home, seizing a BMW and other belongings.

Coffina said that even after burning through most of the money and getting sued by Bobbitt, D'Amico was allegedly thinking of ways to keep the scam going, including landing a book deal.

"He was certain the payday from the book deal they were pursuing would dwarf the money from the GoFundMe campaign," Coffina said. "A few months later, when the dispute with Bobbitt became public, D'Amico was not dissuaded. Instead, he pitched a title for the book that would encompass the controversy, 'No Good Deed.'"

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Florida teenager accused of killing his mother over an argument about his school grade has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder.

A Volusia grand jury indicted Gregory Ramos, 15, this week on one count of first degree murder -- a crime that could be punishable by a life sentence, according to Spencer S. Hathaway, a spokesman for Florida’s State Attorney’s office.

The grand jury charge appeared to catch the state attorney's office off guard.

“I’m surprised, I’m shocked, I’m bewildered by the fact we’re in a position to have to prosecute a 15-year-old for murdering his mother,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said of the decisions in the statement.

“That’s a sad day, and it’s a sad announcement I’m making, and I take no pleasure in the fact that the state attorney’s office will be prosecuting the 15-year-old for the murder of his mother as an adult.”

Ramos' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday from ABC News.

Ramos confessed to killing of his mother, Gail Cleavenger, 46, according to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

Ramos later led the police to the body of his mother which he buried in a fire pit at a church, Chitwood said.

Ramos allegedly strangled his mother to death on Nov. 2 after the two had an argument about his D grade while his stepfather was on a business trip in Seattle, Washington.

In previous press conferences, Chitwood has said that during police interrogations, Ramos seemed proud of himself.

“He believed he was the smartest person in the room and he continued to tell us his theories of what he believed and why: what happened to his mom and where we should be focusing our attention,” Chitwood said earlier this month.

Eventually, officials said, the teen changed course, admitted to the murder, and walked investigators through his plot and its execution.

“She was a mom," Chitwood said of Cleavenger earlier this month. "She was a wife. She was a sister. By all accounts she was an amazing human being.”

After Cleavenger’s killing, Ramos allegedly got two friends to come and help him stage a fake burglary at his home. Ramos and both co-defendants -- Dylan Ceglarek, 17, and Brian Porras, 17 -- remain confined at the Volusia County jail, according to Hathaway.

Porras' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday from ABC News. It was not immediately clear who is representing Ceglarek.

“The co-defendants were charged by information with being accessories after the fact of a first degree murder,” Hathaway told ABC News. He went on saying that the two could be sentenced to 30 years in prison if found guilty.

The trio are set to be arraigned in December and they have not yet entered a plea.

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Marcus Yam /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(PARADISE, Calif.) -- Search crews have found seven more bodies in the burned-out rubble of Paradise, California, as officials there fear more deaths in the destructive wildfires raging at both ends of the state that has already claimed 66 lives.

The deadliest and most destructive of the two massive blazes is the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, which has killed at least 63 people.

The seven bodies, which were discovered Thursday, were all as a result of the fire, officials said.

There were 631 people still missing in the Butte County fire zones on Thursday night, though authorities were working to track them down. Officials asked residents to go to the Butte County Sheriff's Department's website to check the missing persons list to make sure they are not on it.

Thom Porter, chief of strategic planning for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the death toll from the Camp Fire is expected to climb higher as search crews comb through more than 12,000 structures destroyed by the flames.

"It is by far the most deadly single fire in California history and it's going to get worse, unfortunately," Porter said of the Camp Fire.

California Gov. Jerry Brown toured the devastation caused by the Camp Fire on Wednesday with Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The government leaders visited the firefighters still battling the inferno, which has burned an area of 142,000 acres and obliterated the city of Paradise, ravaging nearly every home in the bucolic community of 30,000 people.

"This is one of the worst disasters I've ever seen in my career, hands down," Long said at a news conference Wednesday in Northern California.

Brown said the destruction "looks like a war zone." He said he spoke earlier Wednesday to President Donald Trump, "who pledged the full resources of the federal government" to help in the recovery effort.

Trump said he plans to visit the area on Saturday to meet with survivors and firefighters.

A public health emergency

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday declared a public health emergency in California, where the wildfires have forced the evacuation of at least two hospitals and eight other health facilities.

"We are working closely with state health authorities and monitoring the needs of healthcare facilities to provide whatever they may need to save lives and protect health," Azar said in a statement. "This declaration will help ensure that Americans who are threatened by these dangerous wildfires and who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have continuous access to the care they need."

A smoke advisory was issued for portions of Los Angeles County amid concerns that smoke from the fires could present a "significant health threat" for people with asthma and other lung conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The best time to venture outside will be in the early afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Aviva Braun told reporters Wednesday night, blaming the light winds for the continued poor air quality.

On Saturday, stronger northeast winds mixing in the valley will help improve the air quality, according to Braun.

Lisa Almaguer, public information officer for Butte County Public Health, recommended residents stay indoors as much as possible and to wear properly fitting masks when going outside.

In addition, an outbreak of norovirus has occurred at one of the shelters, Almaguer said, describing its presence as "not uncommon," especially at this time of year and "with hundreds of people living in close quarters."

People who are ill at the shelter have been taken to a separate location, are using separate restroom facilities and are being cared for by public health experts, according to Almaguer.

Battle rages on

Thousands of exhausted firefighters battling the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California appeared to be getting a handle on the two massive blazes this week.

Chief Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said weather conditions at both fires have improved and the strong winds firefighters were seeing over the past three days have started to dissipate.

But Pimlott said "critical fire conditions" still existed with an abundance of dry vegetation in both fire zones that could flare-up with the slightest spark.

"We're not keeping our eye off this ball at all," Pimlott said Wednesday, adding that 9,000 firefighters were working on the front lines of both blazes.

Firefighters, with the help of out-of-state fire crews, were showing progress in their twin battles to subdue the widely destructive blazes that have blackened a combined acreage larger than the size of New York City.

The Camp Fire showed "continued activity" on its northeast side, along the Feather River drainage basin, as it pushed toward the community of Big Bar, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced Tuesday night.

The lower part of the area continued to be a challenge because of the "extremely steep, extremely rocky" terrain, fire officials said.

Dry conditions will continue this week but precipitation is expected next week, Braun said.

Camp Fire

The Camp Fire ignited Nov. 8 in Northern California's Butte County and has since burned an area of 142,000 acres. The flames were 45 percent contained on Friday morning.

The death toll from the monstrous blaze now stands at 63, making it the deadliest single wildfire in California's recorded history. Officials have tentative confirmation of the identities of 53 of those found dead but are awaiting DNA confirmation, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters Thursday night.

The sheriff warned that the remains of some of the missing may never be recovered due to the severity of the fire.

Two prison inmate firefighters were among three injured battling the Camp Fire, fire officials told ABC News.

Many of the deaths from the Camp Fire have taken place in Paradise, which has been virtually destroyed by the flames.

"The entire community of Paradise is a toxic wasteland right now," Paradise City Council Member Melissa Schuster, who lost her home in the calamity, told ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "In addition to that, and this is the hardest part for me to even talk about, is the number of fatalities is [among] things that we don't know at this moment and that's something that has to be determined before people can move back in."

Schuster said teams from the Butte County coroner's office are combing through thousands of destroyed homes and burned cars in Paradise.

"We will rebuild our homes, we will rebuild our town stronger, better, safer and more beautiful than ever," she told ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.

Woolsey Fire

The Woolsey Fire, which also started on Nov. 8, rapidly spread from Southern California's Ventura County to Los Angeles County, jumping the 101 Freeway before sweeping through the celebrity enclaves of Malibu and Calabasas.

Authorities had warned the flames could potentially spread all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

It has burned 98,362 acres and was 69 percent contained on Friday morning, as firefighters successfully stretched containment lines. But the blaze has already damaged or destroyed nearly 800 structures, including many homes and a legendary Hollywood film set.

The fire burned down a portion of Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills known as “Western Town,” where hundreds of movies and television shows, including HBO’s “Westworld,” have been filmed, dating back to the 1920s.

The blaze has been blamed for the deaths of at least three people, and three firefighters sustained injuries while battling the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

On Tuesday, fire crews quickly smothered a flare-up in the Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley areas of Ventura County that was threatening to take off in the gusty weather.

"We are not out of the woods yet. We still have tough conditions," Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said the Woolsey Fire, which has spread to an area larger than the size of Denver, was the biggest his department has battled in 100 years.

Despite Tuesday's flare-up, Osby said, "We are getting the upper hand" on the blaze.

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