Fox News 2024-02-22 16:33:44


Lou Holtz posts cryptic message as presidential election looms

It seems like Lou Holtz made it known who he will be voting for in November.

While not yet official, it looks like former President Trump and President Biden will face off in this year’s election for the second time in a row.

Holtz has shown his support for Trump in the past, and it seems like he is still on the bandwagon.

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“We need to coach America back to greatness!” Holtz posted on X on Wednesday.

Holtz, who spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump in 2020, shortly after Biden defeated him in the election.

“It’s the highest honor or award you could possibly receive, and I receive it with mixed emotions. First of all, I’m humbled,” Holtz told Fox & Friends afterward. “There are many more people far worthy than me I can assure you. Nobody is more appreciative than me. So, I’m excited to have this opportunity and at the same time, I’m excited to receive it from President Trump. The president I admire and respect. I think he did a tremendous job.”

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He continued: “I’m sad he’s not going to be with us for another four years because he has done so much for this country, and he really cares about it, so I stand here very proudly to accept this award from President Trump.”

At the time, Holtz also called Trump “one of the great presidents of my lifetime.”

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A former national championship head football coach at Arkansas and Notre Dame, Holtz coached college football for 33 years. He was the head coach of the Fighting Irish for 11 seasons from 1986-1996, where he finished with a 110-30-2 record. In 1988, Notre Dame finished with a perfect 12-0 record and claimed the Fiesta Bowl — their last national championship.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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Cellphone outage hits AT&T, other carrier customers nationwide

Tens of thousands of AT&T customers have been reporting outages this morning for their home phone, internet and mobile phone services, according to Downdetector.

The outages started popping up just before 3:30 a.m. ET, according to a graph shown on the website that tracks outages. As of 10:30 a.m. ET, the number of reports has declined to nearly 63,000 after spiking at more than 74,000 just after 9 a.m. ET.  

Most users still impacted, 51%, say they are having issues with mobile phone service. More than a third of customers reporting being affected say they have no signal at all, and 8% of users say their mobile internet is down.

“Should get a stimulus check for this,” one man wrote on the website.

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“I lost my cell service at 5:56 a.m. est! I was in the middle of working when I lost it,” another commented.

“Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored,” an AT&T said in a statement to Fox Business. No cause for the outage was given.  

Most reported locations of customers impacted are in the south and southeast U.S.

Downdetector also showed a spike in reported T-Mobile outages around 4 a.m. ET. A T-Mobile spokesperson told Fox Business they did not experience an outage and that their network is operating normally.

“Down Detector is likely reflecting challenges our customers were having attempting to connect to users on other networks,” the T-Mobile statement reads. 

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“Verizon’s network is operating normally,” a statement from Verizon to Fox Business said. “Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation.”

“UPDATE: Texts to 911 from affected AT&T users are now being received. If you have an emergency, and cannot dial out, send a text message to 911,” Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in Florida posted in a subsequent post to X, after alerting people nearly an hour and a half prior about the outage.

Putin puts West on notice with flight on nuclear-capable bomber

Russian President Vladimir Putin flew on a nuclear-capable strategic bomber on Thursday, in a likely move to flaunt Russia’s nuclear capabilities in defiance of the West.

Moscow said Putin took a brief flight on a modernized Tu-160M bomber, codenamed “Blackjacks” by NATO.

State media showed Putin, 71, taking off in the giant plane from a runway belonging to the factory in Kazan, which makes the supersonic aircraft.

The plane landed less than an hour later, Russian news agency TASS reported. Moscow did not provide specifics on its flight path, which is considered a military secret, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

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The giant swing-wing plane is a modernized version of a Cold War-era bomber owned by the former Soviet Union. While it was not used during the conflict, it would have deployed to deliver weapons at long distances, Reuters reported.

The Tu-160M is capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles or 12 short-range nuclear missiles and can fly approximately 7,500 miles without needing to refuel. It has just four crew members.

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In 2005, the Russian president flew inside another version of the aircraft.

Russia signed a contract in 2018, to purchase 10 modernized Tu-160M nuclear bombers. They are expected to be delivered to the Russian Air Force by 2027.

Each bomber cost about $163 million.

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The flight comes just days after opposition politician Alexei Navalny was found dead in his prison cell and as Putin is seeking re-election in the Russian presidential race next month. He is expected to easily win another six-year term.

It also comes as Russia’s military continues to occupy territories in Ukraine amid a war that is nearing its two-year milestone. The war has further worsened already strained relations between the U.S. and Russia, as Washington has accused the Kremlin of cyberattacks and interfering in its elections with misinformation campaigns on social media.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Judge in Trump Georgia case set to rule on whether to disqualify DA Fani Willis

Both sides in Georgia’s high-profile election-interference case involving former President Trump are preparing their final arguments over whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified over her personal relationship with a special prosecutor on the case, Nathan Wade. 

After a drama-filled two-day hearing on the motion to disqualify Willis, the public is now waiting for the next steps.

First up is an in-camera hearing with Judge Scott McAfee and the defense’s so-called “star witness,” Terrence Bradley. A source confirmed to Fox News this hearing has been set for Monday, Feb. 26.

Bradley could barely get a word out during his testimony last Friday as lawyers for the state, as well as Bradley’s own lawyer, both called out objections to nearly every question. 

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The arguments centered on whether Bradley’s testimony would violate attorney-client privilege, since he was Wade’s divorce lawyer for a time. 

Anthony Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, described the little information Bradley was able to share in open court as “basically a dud.”

However, what is said behind closed doors in the upcoming hearing could change that. The judge is likely to determine whether Bradley’s answers actually break attorney-client privilege and how much weight to give any testimony that ends up being admissible.

After that, a final hearing is expected, during which the state and defense would summarize their evidence and present their final arguments on the issue. Multiple sources told Fox News this will likely be scheduled for sometime next week, but an exact date is still being finalized. 

Kreis pointed out that there has been “no clear precedent” in this case and that it “all comes down to what standard of ethics Judge McAfee applies.” 

JUDGE IN TRUMP GEORGIA CASE SAYS DA FANI WILLIS’ ALLEGED ‘IMPROPER’ AFFAIR ‘COULD RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION’

The prosecution stated that it wanted the judge to use the standard of an actual conflict needing to be proven, while the defense has argued that even an appearance of conflict is enough to disqualify Willis. 

“Judge McAfee is really in a pretty, I think, unenviable position of having to wade through the law, wade through this particular case… and then make a decision accordingly,” Kreis explained. 

The bottom-line questions are whether Willis’ relationship with Wade appeared to create a conflict of interest in the case, if there was an actual conflict of interest, and which legal standard the judge would believe is the right one to use. 

Kreis said typically, the standard for prosecutors would be a concrete conflict of interest. He suggested that if that was what the judge were to choose in this case, “there’s an unlikely scenario the DA’s office will get kicked off the case,” considering the evidence presented in hearings so far.

GEORGIA DA FANI WILLIS WILL NOT TESTIFY FOR SECOND DAY ON ‘IMPROPER’ AFFAIR WITH NATHAN WADE

Regardless of the outcome, it is very likely an appeal will be filed immediately, according to Kreis. 

Under Georgia law, defense attorneys could file what is called a “certificate of review.” This is essentially a court filing asking the judge if they could appeal his decision. If the judge were to say yes, it would go to the Georgia Court of Appeals. If the judge were to decline, then the defense would have to wait until after the entire trial is over before they could bring it to the state appeals court.

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Still, Kreis noted, “The appeals court here in Georgia doesn’t necessarily have to take it up, so it’s discretionary on their part, as well.”

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He said he believed, though, that McAfee would grant any appeal because of his “by-the-books” approach to the case so far. “He seems to understand that this case is so important and that everything should be followed methodically.”

It is unlikely McAfee will rule from the bench, Kreis said. He anticipated a more detailed ruling filled with supporting legal memorandum, rather than a definitive decision from the bench.

American figure skating legend details decision not to treat 3rd brain tumor diagnosis

Scott Hamilton, who won figure skating gold for the U.S. in the 1984 Olympics, revealed on Wednesday that he will hold off on treating a third brain tumor until he shows symptoms.

Hamilton went through surgery twice to deal with cancer in his brain, in 2004 and 2010. The second time was more complicated than the first as he dealt with nine different surgeries. He told People magazine he did not want to go through another “complicated” surgery.

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“When they gave me the diagnosis, they said, it’s back,” he told the magazine. “And so they brought in this guy, a really young, talented surgeon, and he said, ‘We could do the surgery again. It’d be complicated, but we’ve got really talented people here that we could bring in, and I know we could pull it off if that’s an option for you.’”

Hamilton said he told his doctor he was going to “go home and get strong” instead of immediately jumping onto the operating table again. He said this current tumor had shrunk initially, but when he got back for a checkup in early 2020, it had grown a bit again.

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“And then COVID hit and going into any kind of hospital situation was almost impossible,” Hamilton said. “So in my spirit, in my inner being, I realized, I’m totally at peace with not even looking at it again unless I become symptomatic.

“The ace I have up my sleeve is that now there is a targeted radiation therapy that will shrink the tumor,” he continued. “And in that, I can avoid a lot of other things like surgery and chemo. So I don’t know, I’m mostly trying to be in the moment and taking all the information and do the right thing when the time comes.”

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Hamilton’s victory at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo in the former Yugoslavia ended a 24-year gold medal drought for men’s Olympic figure skating. He then won gold at the 1984 Ottawa World Championships before turning professional.

MLB under fire after new jerseys revealed — but some players are defending them

Major League Baseball’s new jerseys are not getting a warm welcome.

Nike’s new on-field Vapor Premier uniforms for the 2024 MLB season were recently revealed as pitchers and catchers reported for spring training.

While some players have given mixed reviews on the jerseys, highlighting that they do feel better, fans have ripped Nike for their looks.

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Pitchers Rich Hill and Miles Mikolas said they look “cheap,” as the last names on the back, and numbers on the front, are noticeably smaller. There also have been viral photos of tucked-in jerseys very visible through new pants.

MLB senior vice president of global consumer products Denis Nolan maintained, though, that the uniforms are top-notch.

“In acquiring Majestic and its MLB uniform manufacturing facilities in Easton, PA — which have been making player uniforms for nearly two decades — Fanatics has consistently produced world-class uniforms, including every Nike-branded MLB on-field jersey and all City Connect gear since 2020,” Nolan said, via MLB.com.

Another global consumer exec, Stephen Roche, said that the jerseys’ respective color schemes match up 100% for the first time.

“That was all part of the tightening up of the entire process,” Roche said. “Clubs were able to approve how everything matched Nike’s standard colors. For the first time, we had a uniform where all the colors matched exactly with the hats and the on-field colors. They had always been close, but they weren’t exact. Now they are.”

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The league site notes that this year’s jerseys have 25% more stretch compared to last year’s. The league tested the uniforms on hundreds of players, debuting them in last year’s All-Star Game to favorable reviews. Fanatics actually measured every player last year, and Nike body-scanned over 300 players to get the ideal fit.

“It was a very technological approach to outfitting players,” Roche said. “Everything was performance-driven.”

Defending NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. said the new uniforms “fit better and feel lighter.”

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“I play fast and want to wear something that won’t pull when I’m running. Feeling free in the jersey is the best feeling in the world,” the inventor of the 40-70 club said.

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NFL player addresses ‘very mean’ video about him on famous girlfriend’s podcast

Braxton Berrios is set to become an unrestricted free agent once the NFL offseason officially begins next month after one season with the Miami Dolphins.

Berrios, a wide receiver who primarily returns punts and kicks on special teams, was an All-Pro with the New York Jets in 2021 and signed with the Dolphins before the 2023 season. He returned 23 punts for 235 yards and 18 kicks for 441 yards during the year.

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His future with the team is a bit up in the air. He joined his girlfriend Alix Earle’s “Hot Mess” podcast last week and responded to a “very mean” video, saying Berrios got dropped from the Dolphins. The NFL player cleared up any confusion around his future, specifically pointing to an Instagram post he made when his year ended. He called it a season-recap post.

“Also my post, after every season – like everybody does it – you just basically do a recap of the season post,” he explained. “Like, ‘This was an amazing season.’ Post all the pictures with your teammates yada, yada. 

“So, I do it every year. And I guess this one, because of whatever, everybody’s like, ‘Oh my god. He’s done. He’s not coming back.’ … So, I signed a 1-year deal and, technically, this coming March, technically, I’ll be a free agent.”

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Berrios said he could go back to the Dolphins or somewhere else.

“But the fact of the matter is, all that, the fact is not ‘dropped.’ Entering free agency. So is, 20% of NFL players. It’s just a part of how it goes when your contract is up with that team.”

Earle said her dad texted her wondering if the Dolphins had let Berrios go, and she had to explain his contract situation.

Berrios maintained he was just trying to say that this year was the “most fun year” he has ever had.

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“There was nothing else to that,” he said, “but everyone else took it and ran with it.”

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Reality exposed when housing biological males who ID as trans with female prisoners

EXCLUSIVE: The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) revealed the trailer and details about its new documentary series exposing the reality of housing biological males who identify as transgender with female prisoners to Fox News Digital Wednesday.

The series, titled “Cruel & Unusual Punishment: The Male Takeover of Women’s Prisons,” will consist of multi-episode interviews with various insiders, prison guards and female inmates on the impact of forcing biological women to share facilities with transgender women. Each episode will be approximately five to ten minutes long and available for free on IWF’s YouTube account.

IWF director of storytelling Kelsey Bolar explained that the project was born out of a “desire to take a stance in this fight and be a voice for current and former female inmates who, sadly, don’t have a voice.”

“IWF has taken a stand in defense of women and girls and female spaces. Our investment in the area of women’s prisons is really a natural continuation of our work to protect girls and women and women’s spaces. It’s unfortunate that up until now, no other women’s groups have been willing to be a voice for female inmates, and in some cases, they have actively worked against them by lobbying to put men in women’s prisons in the name of tolerance and inclusion,” Bolar told Fox News Digital.

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She added, “Once you hear these stories, I think it becomes pretty clear that there’s nothing tolerant or inclusive about these policies. In fact, they are actively discriminating against women.” 

One of the stories includes Woman II Woman founder Amie Ichikawa, who was previously incarcerated for five years at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. While she served her sentence, the facility received convicted rapist Richard Masbruch, who identified as a trans woman and went by the name “Sherri,” in a prison transfer.

“It was really a big blow to my mental health, my stability. I wasn’t on the same yard or in the same cell as this individual, but just knowing how little concern and how much disdain that the state had for the whole female population was debilitating. People on the outside thought that we were crazy, that we were lying,” Ichikawa told Fox News Digital.

“That feeling doesn’t really leave you, knowing that you are in an institution that you cannot leave from and you have that little control over even what’s in your head is very oppressive,” she emphasized.

Bolar, who co-produced the series with Andrea Mew, said the first episode will feature a former female prisoner who was housed in the same cell as a transgender prisoner. 

“I’ll tell you from a policy perspective, I thought I knew this, but you don’t realize these women are climbing up to their top bunk every night with a male sitting below them in their nightgown. It’s little details like that you don’t even think about until you really do give these women a platform and opportunity to share their story,” Bolar said.

Both women spoke about the disappointment they felt at the lack of support from other women’s organizations and the mainstream media.

“It’s been a really rough couple of years hitting wall after wall, even among my own peers, many of whom are running organizations in the state of California that are in the social justice arena who did at one point advocate for women. The population inside [prisons] feels very abandoned,” Ichikawa said.

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Bolar added, “Not only did all these women’s groups or groups that typically advocate in favor of improving the lives of inmates turn their backs on Aime and her attempt to shed light on this issue, but the media coverage has been completely biased.”

She continued, “If you look around at media coverage, it’s only from the perspectives of the very few transgender identified inmates. Who’s going to ask the female inmates how they feel about these policies and how they’ve been impacted by being forced to share extremely close quarters with biological men?”

Bolar noted that many current and former inmates were unwilling to speak about the policies out of “fears of retribution” in losing parole opportunities or even violence. 

More unfortunately, Ichikawa noted that up to 92% of female prisoners have experienced abuse in their lives and could potentially face sharing facilities with biologically male sexual offenders. 

“92% of incarcerated women in California have been battered or beaten or are subject to some form of sexual abuse. They’re now forcibly housed with intact male inmates who 33.8% are registered sex offenders. So, to place women in a situation that’s very similar to their initial trauma, many of which led them to their incarceration, is cruel and unusual. And it has caused a lot of complex PTSD symptoms that start up developing in the entire population,” she said. 

Ichikawa continued, “Women’s self-worth is depleting on a daily basis just knowing that this is what their life looks like now. It’s something every day that’s the harsh reminder that they simply don’t matter and that nobody cares. And no matter how loud they scream or who they reach out to, there is no relief. So that is definitely what we’re aiming to accomplish with this. They need immediate relief.”

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IWF plans to drop the first episode next week with a total of five episodes in the works and a potential for more as they gather more interviews.

“We kind of feel that we’re invested in this issue, and as many stories as it takes for people to listen, we will be telling them. We’ve committed to showing a diversity of voices so people can understand the full range of implications,” Bolar said.

Former staffers at kids’ camp pull back the curtain on ‘lethal combination’

The mysterious death of a 12-year-old enrolled at a North Carolina wilderness therapy camp for less than a day has exposed a lengthy history of lawsuits and allegations that stretch back more than a decade. 

Fox News Digital uncovered four separate lawsuits that have been filed against Trails Carolina dating to 2010. Two of the four suits were filed by the parents of a child at the camp who alleged sexual abuse against a minor; the other suits were filed by employees who said they witnessed physical abuse at the camp.

One of the lawsuits was filed by parents from South Carolina in 2022. The suit alleges the camp neglected their 14-year-old daughter when she tried to report being sexually assaulted by another camper.

The parents’ lawsuit says the camp negligently and recklessly permitted their daughter’s sexual abuse in 2019 when an older camper “with a prior history of sexual assault” attacked her while she was unconscious.

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According to the lawsuit, the camp allegedly denied the 14-year-old’s request to move to another cabin, and she was sexually assaulted again several nights later.

The case was voluntarily dismissed by the parents months later, but their daughter filed the lawsuit again under her name in 2023.

The Department of Health and Human Services has a record of five “statements of deficiency” for Trails Carolina in the past five years – three times in 2019, once in 2021 and again in 2023. The statements of deficiency were followed up with plans of correction.

The preteen’s death has renewed questions about wilderness therapy camps and how they operate.

In 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office published an extensive report examining allegations of abuse, death and deceptive marketing practices at residential programs nationwide. The report covered several deaths at wilderness therapy camps, revealing a history of deceptive marketing and risky practices.

A research study from Unsilenced, a California nonprofit, found that at least 25 teens have died at wilderness therapy camps, boot camps, religious boarding schools, reform schools and teen ranches since the 1980s.

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Meg Applegate, CEO of Unsilenced, said that deaths in wilderness therapy programs are nothing new and have been happening since their very conception.

“Alec Landing dying back in 2014 was a perfect example of how wilderness therapy programs are not regulated enough to ensure safety, and considering yet another perfect example is popping up 10 years later, with little to show for any lessons learned in between, is extremely concerning,” Applegate said.

Alec Lansing, a 17-year-old from Atlanta, died in 2014 from hypothermia after running away from the program. Trails Carolina was fined $12,000 but was allowed to continue operating, according to local TV station WYFF.

“So, how the loss of life has not yet led to stricter regulations is beyond me. I don’t think things will be able to change until legislators figure out how many dead children it is going to take before we start to prioritize legislation that protects them from harm,” Applegate said.

Former Trails Carolina student “DB” spoke with Fox News Digital about their experience, saying wilderness therapy camps can be helpful but do need improvement.

DB, who did not want to give their full name, was a student at Trails Carolina at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. DB was 16 years old at the time, dealing with anxiety and depression, and the only person at the camp who had enrolled willingly; the other students had all been sent there against their will. DB ran away from the camp on two separate occasions but did not witness any physical or sexual abuse.

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“I do feel like wilderness therapy can be effective, and it was for me, but it was never because of my therapist. There is a lack of accountability, negligence from management, neglect from the top. That’s where a lot of the issues come from. The majority of the staff onsite truly care and want to help. Obviously, there are some bad seeds, but the root of the problems is from the higher-ups in management,” DB said.

A former Trails Carolina staff member, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, told Fox News Digital what the camps promise for students online is not what they get when they arrive.

“When you go to the website, and it shows kids fishing, that’s false advertisement. These kids aren’t fishing because you’re afraid they are going to use the pole as a weapon and kill someone. You see kids riding in canoes, that’s false advertisement. Those kids aren’t riding in canoes because they may go out on the lake and try to kill themselves. Those kids aren’t repelling or going on mountain hikes because you’re afraid they are going to push someone off the cliff,” the former staff member said.

The former staffer, who worked at Trails Carolina for less than a year, was not at all surprised by this most recent death of a camper.

“There were some really troubled teens that would say they couldn’t wait to kill the new student, and they treated it like a sick game. And when you mix certain students together and don’t know how to deal with them, it’s a lethal combination.”

That staffer went on to explain that while there are trained and qualified clinical staff, the students mostly interact with the outdoor counselors, most of whom have little to no clinical mental health training.

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Trails Carolina has since removed all children from the camp following the 12-year-old’s death, who was found dead on Feb. 3 in a cabin at Trails Carolina, according to the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the move on Friday.

“It was determined that action needed to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the children,” the department said in a statement Friday morning. “Parents have been notified and children will be temporarily taken into care of Transylvania County DSS.”

The letter noted that Trails Carolina is prohibited from admitting campers until April 14.

A spokesperson for Trails Carolina responded to the move from the state, saying the department “threatened and intimidated parents” of the 18 remaining children at the camp.

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“This negligent and reckless move by the state denied parents the opportunity to continue to care for their children in the appropriate manner,” the statement said.

As of Friday, the Trails Carolina website was inaccessible and password protected.

DB said they were shocked by the camp’s handling of the deadly incident.

“I think right now, if you’re an organization that’s supposedly caring for dozens of kids, your responsibility is to be open. There really needs to be transparency and communication,” DB said.