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Fathers, uncle of Marines killed in California helicopter crash speak out: 'Should not have happened'

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Two fathers and the uncle of three of five Marines killed in a helicopter crash during a storm in Southern California this week are lamenting their deaths as avoidable. 

“Maybe this is the one instance to where they wake the f— up and they say, ‘What are we doing to our service members? We’ve got to stop this,’” Steven Langen, father of Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, told the New York Post on Saturday. 

Sgt. Alec Langen was serving as crew chief on the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter when it crashed in the mountains near San Diego on Tuesday night. 

Steven Langen called their deaths, “an all too familiar story in the military community.”

5 US MARINES CONFIRMED DEAD AFTER HELICOPTER WENT MISSING IN CALIFORNIA

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The five Marines who were killed in a CH-53E helicopter crash in Pine Valley, Calif., on Feb. 6, have been identified. From left to right, Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis, 21, of Olathe, Kan., Sgt. Alec Langen, 23, of Chandler, Ariz., Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, of Emmett, Idaho, Capt. Jack Casey, 26, of Dover, N.H., and Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, of Traverse City, Mich. (U.S. Marine Corps | CalFIRE)

Bradford Moulton, whose nephew was Capt. Benjamin Moulton, 27, said he wished the men would have been kept “on the ground” during the “thousand-year storm” when they were flying from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego on a routine training exercise.

“They’re Marines, they fly in nasty weather, they do what they’re supposed to do,” he told the Post, “but I sure wish the operations officer would have kept them on the ground.” Moulton was one of two pilots on the helicopter. 

Gregory Davis, a retired naval aviation officer and Lance Cpl. Donovan Davis’ father stated, “Not only did it not have to happen, it should not have happened.” 

MARINE KILLED IN CAMP PENDLETON TRAINING EXERCISE IDENTIFIED

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Davis, 21, also served as a crew chief on the helicopter. 

He added of his son, “He was so proud to be a Marine, he loved his job, he loved what he did. “We’re proud of Donovan and everything he was able to accomplish in his short 21 years.” 

Langen said the only thing his son asked for on his 17th birthday was to enlist in the Marines. “The next thing you know, (there’s) a knock at the door. And there’s the Marine recruiter that is standing there,” he remembered. 

Moulton shared that Benjamin was determined on his career goals. “He was going to be a Marine pilot no matter what,” he said. The 27-year-old was a pilot on the helicopter along with Capt. Jack Casey, 26, who was also killed in the crash. 

Capt. Miguel Nava, 28, was the fifth victim in the crash. 

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“Miguel was the kindest soul you’d ever meet,” a fundraising page for his family said of him. “His warmth, positive energy, and compassion will be missed by all who were grateful to know him.” 

US MILITARY AIRCRAFT CRASHES IN MEDITERRANEAN SEA AFTER TRAINING MISHAP, ‘NO INDICATION’ OF HOSTILE ACTIVITY

Lt. Col. Nicholas J. Harvey, commanding officer of the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 (HMH-361), said of the five Marines after the crash: “We have been confronted with a tragedy that is every service family’s worst fear. Our top priority now is supporting the families of our fallen heroes, and we ask for your respect and understanding as they grieve. The Flying Tigers family stands strong and includes the friends and community who have supported our squadron during this challenging time. We will get through this together.”

The last known contact with the Super Stallion was at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, when waves of downpours and snow were hitting the region during an “atmospheric river.”

The CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest helicopter in the military and is designed to fly through bad weather, even at night.

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The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

A photo of an Osprey

A U.S. military CV-22 Osprey takes off from Iwakuni base, Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan. The Osprey fleet was grounded in December after eight Air Force service members were killed in a crash off Japan.  (Kyodo News via AP / File)

Davis enlisted in the Marine Corps on Sept. 3, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on Jan. 1 of this year. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Langen enlisted in the Marine Corps on Sept. 14, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on Oct. 1, 2022. His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

Moulton was commissioned into the Marine Corps on March 29, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Aug. 1, 2023. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.

Meanwhile, Casey was commissioned in the Marine Corps on May 16, 2019, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Sept. 1, 2023. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.

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Nava was commissioned into the Marine Corps on May 26, 2017, and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Nov. 1, 2021. His decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Camp Pendleton

The entrance to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. (AP Photo / Gregory Bull / File)

In December, a Marine was killed and 14 others injured in a training crash at Camp Pendleton in Southern California when a tactical vehicle rolled over. 

Last November, five Army special operations soldiers were killed in a training “mishap” when their helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean and eight Air Force service members died in an Osprey crash off the coast of Japan when the aircraft suffered a mechanical failure. 

The Osprey fleet has been grounded since the crash as the Air Force weighs when it’s safe to return to service. 

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The Marines didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s Saturday evening request for comment. 

Fox News Digital’s Michael Dorgan contributed to this report. 

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West

2 arrested after remains of Colorado children missing since 2018 found in storage unit, suitcase

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Two suspects have been taken into custody in connection to the murders of two children who had been missing for more than five years, according to the Pueblo Police Department. 

Police confirmed in a statement Saturday that Jesus Dominguez, 35, had been arrested as a suspect in the murders of Yesenia Dominguez and Jesus Dominguez, Jr.

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In January, Pueblo Police began an investigation after a child’s body was found encased in concrete in a storage unit and another found in a suitcase in the trunk of a scrapped car.

According to police, Jesus Dominguez and Corena Rose Minjarez, 36, were interviewed in late January as persons of interest, after Dominguez was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

SUSPECT IN DOUBLE SLAYING LEAVES BEHIND RECORDINGS: ‘IN MY MOVIES, EVERYBODY ALWAYS DIES’

The Pueblo Police Department announced that they have arrested two suspects in connection with the deaths of two children who had not been seen in more than five years. (Pueblo Police Department)

On Feb. 15, police received DNA confirmation that the remains found in the metal container belonged to Yesenia Dominguez and the remains found in the suitcase belonged to Jesus Dominguez Jr. 

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According to police, no missing person reports were ever submitted for Yesenia Dominguez or Jesus Dominguez Jr., and authorities were not aware that the children were missing until Jan. 20, 2024.

Investigators stated that Yesenia Dominguez was approximately 3-years-old when she was last seen, and would be 9-years-old now. Jesus Dominguez was approximately 5-years-old when he was last seen, and would have been approximately 10-years-old.

COLORADO POLICE IDENTIFY 2 KILLED IN COLLEGE DORM SHOOTING

Corena Rose Minjarez was taken into custody on Thursday and Jesus Dominguez was taken into custody on Saturday as suspects of interest in double homicide.  (Pueblo Police Department)

An arrest warrant was issued for Minjarez and Dominguez on two counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of Abuse of a Corpse.

Minjarez was arrested shortly after the warrant was issued on Thursday and is being held at the Pueblo County Detention Center on a $2 million bond.

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Dominguez was located with the community’s assistance and was arrested on Saturday. He is also being held at the Pueblo County Detention Center on a $2 million bond, police said.

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San Francisco, CA

SF supervisors grill health dept. on 400 mental health treatment beds promised in 2021

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SF supervisors grill health dept. on 400 mental health treatment beds promised in 2021


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors budget and finance committee on Wednesday questioned the health department on the effectiveness of their planned treatment bed expansion plan.

For two hours, San Francisco supervisors questioned the city’s public health department for two hours mostly asking where the treatment beds were.

“It sounds like for most of the beds for people with severe behavioral health needs – those are ‘as needed’ beds and we have no idea. In school they talk about butts in seats. We have no idea based on the numbers we are looking at today, how many San Franciscans with several health needs are in those ‘as needed’ beds?,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman during the budget and finance committee on Wednesday.

In 2021, San Francisco announced a plan to add 400 new treatment beds for mental health and addiction treatment. On Wednesday, the city’s health department said they expansion has led to a total of 2,550 treatment beds, but Supervisor Mandelman said their numbers may not be accurate.

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“They had a plan to add 400 additional beds. They believed and they are telling us that they are close to having added those beds but they have some key foot notes that are concerning to us. One is 15-20% of those beds may be unavailable because of staffing challenges,” said Supervisor Mandelman.

MORE: SF to implement state’s CARE Court program to treat severe mental health disorders

The public health department said the staffing shortage is part of a nationwide staffing crisis for mental health professionals.

“In terms of the intersection between impact of staffing on ‘as needed’ beds – we don’t know that. Meaning we apply for a placement. The facility accepts or doesn’t accept and we don’t track if they are not accepting,” said Hillary Kunins, director of San Francisco’s Behavioral Health Services during the meeting.

When it comes to getting treatment beds San Francisco competes with other counties for access.

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“Particularly for the highest levels of beds the competition is fierce. We have never replaced the state mental health hospitals that have been closed. There are these private facilities that are sort of providing but there are not nearly enough beds for the needs of all the counties, and San Francisco has a lot of need,” said Supervisor Mandelman.

The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center has 136 beds. The city funds 65 of those beds. They are urging the public health department to pay for more treatment beds within the city.

MORE: Why accessing drug addiction treatment is so hard in San Francisco

“We have basically 50 to 60 beds open that the city can purchase today,” said Adrian Maldonado, director of the Salvation Army’s detox facility, called the Harbor Light Center.

Luz Pena: “You are saying they are empty?”

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Adrian Maldonado: “They are empty. If they chose to do thatm we can then fill up harbor light. If people stop using dope, they are not in crisis in the street. They don’t go to the emergency room. They don’t have the police coming to arrest them.”

Supervisor Mandelman wants the city to change its plan for treatment beds

“I think we need to own more of those buildings ourselves and if we have excess we share them with other counties,” said Supervisor Mandelman.

MORE: Will Prop. 1 help solve CA homelessness? Experts weigh in on $6B bond for mental health facilities

The need for treatment beds in San Francisco is climbing and according to experts mental illness among the unhoused population across California is as high as 80%.

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“I talk to my colleagues across the country and we are seeing really substantial demand for resources that include medical but go well beyond medical particularly those who are experiencing homelessness. Those who are experiencing behavioral issues and even more so perhaps when they overlap,” said Dr. Christopher Colwell, chief of Emergency Medicine at Zuckerberg SF General Hospital.

After Wednesday ‘s committee meeting, supervisors are planning to request a follow up with the department of public health for more clarity.

We asked the San Francisco Public Health Department how many beds are “empty.” In an email, they said:

“To view bed capacity and availability for someone seeking substance use or mental health treatment, please visit at: https://findtreatment-sf.org/.

The majority of beds are utilized. However, Behavioral Health staffing challenges are a federal, state, and local issue and we know that staffing has intermittent impacts on service availability. However, we have seen increases in clients served in our bed expansion in a number of areas including substance use disorder residential, substance use disorder residential step-down, and in withdrawal management, psychiatric respite, drug sobering programs and facilities.”

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In their presentation, the health department broke down the bed expansion:

Additional bed expansion projects in progress include:

– Additional Enhanced Dual Diagnosis (18 beds)

– Transition-Age Youth Residential (10 beds)

– Crisis Diversion (16 beds)

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– Dual Diagnosis Women’s Therapeutic Residence for Justice-Involved

– Women (33 beds)

– SUD Stabilization (20 beds)

– Other projects pending approval of Behavioral Health Bridge Housing spending plan”

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Seattle, WA

Seattle weather: Mild conditions with sunbreaks on Thursday

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Seattle weather: Mild conditions with sunbreaks on Thursday


Wednesday was a gray and soggy day, but temperatures were mild today, once again warming into the lower 50s.

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Enjoy the warm-up, as we are tracking cooler temperatures for early next week. 

Overall, rainfall amounts today were generally light, but we did have a few brief, heavy downpours. Rainfall amounts ranged from just a few hundredths of an inch to more than a half inch. 

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Showers will continue through tonight into early Thursday. By Thursday afternoon, skies will turn partly cloudy and fog will form overnight and early Friday morning. 

With the additional sunshine, afternoon highs tomorrow will be warmer. Some spots will even see the upper 50s.

We continue to monitor the snowpack in the Cascades. They remain low, but a cold, wet system heading our way is forecast to bring 1-2 feet of snow to our mountains! The heaviest snowfall will be between Sunday and Tuesday. Be sure to monitor the mountain passes during that time if traveling. 

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While the mountains are picking up some much-needed snow, Sunday will be very wet in the lowlands. Snow levels will lower to near the surface and the lowlands may again see a wintry mix with some minor accumulations on grassy spots. Monday and Tuesday morning is the best time to see this. We will continue to watch this forecast closely in the coming days. 



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