Fox News 2024-03-09 16:07:57


Elusive Eastbound Strangler’s body count rises, amid fears he’ll never be caught

Four women’s murders and the meticulous way their bodies were staged has the feel of a ghost story, not an actual criminal case.

In the fall of 2006, a serial killer hunted women in Atlantic City, and at least four women — Kim Raffo, Barbara Breidor, Molly Dilts and Tracy Ann Roberts — lost their lives. 

Their bodies were left along Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, and positioned with their arms stretched out in the water and their heads pointed east, giving birth to the sinister moniker “Eastbound Strangler.” 

But the killer remains a shadowy boogeyman nearly two decades later. Various theories that attempted to give this phantom a face have fallen apart. 

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An A&E special, appropriately titled “Will the Identity of the Eastbound Strangler Ever Be Revealed?” aired in February. 

Criminal profiler John Kelly, whose team at STALK Inc. has an open $25,000 reward for this case, said his team still gets tips, including a couple the team is looking into, but his “level of confidence is not high.”

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“When this first happened, there was a frenzy and panic that was taking place,” Kelly told Fox News Digital. “You had a guy who was pretty much killing a girl a week or a girl every 10 days. It was like, ‘Wow, he got a live wire here.'”

A couple of women accidentally stumbled upon 35-year-old Raffo’s remains behind the since-demolished Golden Key Motel in November 2006. 

Law enforcement found the remains of Roberts, 23, Breidor, 42, and Dilts, 19, in the same pit. The women were individually discarded over a five-week period in a pit with a creek behind the motel, nicknamed the “Motel from Hell.”

Each victim was fully clothed except for their feet, which the killer used to anchor them to the side of the ditch so they didn’t float away. They were placed about 320 feet apart in the water with their arms stretched out and their heads pointed east. 

That led Kelly and his team at STALK — System To Apprehend Lethal Killers — to theorize they were looking for a man with a foot fetish and/or someone who killed as part of some kind of religious ritual. 

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“To me, this was someone who was concerned about DNA, concerned about some ritual and concerned about possibly coming back, which most (serial killers) do to relive the situation,” Kelly said. 

“It was not about somebody trying to hide the bodies, because if you really wanted to hide bodies in that area, you’ve got a lot of places you can hide them. And all the women were found with nothing covering them.”

‘Eastbound Strangler’ and Long Island Serial Killer are not the same

Because the victims’ bodies were out in the open and diligently displayed, Kelly and his team ruled out a popular theory that the Eastbound Strangler and LISK, the Long Island Serial Killer, were the same person.

That became a popular theory after the bodies of the “Gilgo 4,” all sex workers, were found on Gilgo Beach along Long Island’s south shore in late 2010. 

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But the methods never matched. The victims on Gilgo Beach were covered in burlap and hidden, so Kelly ruled LISK out in 2011 or 2012. 

Even after the alleged Long Island Serial Killer was identified as Rex Heuermann, who was charged with the murders of the “Gilgo 4,” there’s nothing definitively tying him to the Atlantic City victims, according to Kelly. 

The Suffolk County District Attorney also said there’s no evidence connecting Heuermann to the Eastbound Strangler murders. 

Kelly’s profile: Eastbound Strangler is ‘narcissist’

The Eastbound Strangler may not have a face, but Kelly worked up a personality profile based on the evidence. 

“This lethal predator is a local male, who is familiar with the Atlantic City area and the disposal site of his victims,” he wrote in his most recent update on his website. 

“He has a very organized personality which influences his personal and everyday activities, including his work. He is very rigid and structured in his everyday life.”

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He likely has a foot fetish with a collection of women’s shoes and socks, nonsocial and narcissistic, according to Kelly. 

“In his pre-offense mode, he may have spoken about the sinful nature of prostitution, or he may have voiced economic concerns about prostitutes destroying Atlantic City’s value or reputation,” he wrote. 

“In his post-offense mode, he would say things like, ‘They got what they deserved’ or ‘Good riddance.'”

VIDEO: WHY FILMMAKER NEVER THOUGHT LISK CASE WOULD EVER BE SOLVED

The killer likely follows news about his murders, has a prior record of sexual or physical abuse toward women and is likely detached from his father and abused as a child, according to the profile.

But no crime scenes that Kelly studied matched the victims’ purposefully thought out placement, Kelly told Fox News Digital. And there hasn’t been any update on potential DNA recovered from the scene or if it was tested using the latest advancements. 

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What’s even more troubling is Kelly’s belief the killer likely killed before these four victims were found and likely killed others after. 

“This was not his first rodeo,” Kelly said. “I truly believe he killed before because it’s rare for somebody to evolve that quickly, very rare. And so I have to believe he killed people somewhere else.

“And I would believe that there’s a really good chance that he killed after. And why I’m not saying definitely killed after is because we have seen some of these guys go through a cooling-off period.”

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Why the killings stopped could be for any number of reasons, Kelly said, ranging from a suspect not wanting to get caught to settling down in a relationship with someone the suspect genuinely cared about. 

That’s assuming the homicides are driven by substance abuse, like serial killer Ted Bundy, who killed essentially every time he drank, Kelly said. 

Tip could be best bet to catch Eastbound Strangler

Killers like the Eastbound Strangler would often solicit sex workers, Kelly said, which could be in Atlantic City, somewhere else in New Jersey or in a different state. 

That doesn’t mean he would’ve killed every prostitute, but they would “routinely habituate” sex workers, according to Kelly, which would likely be the key to unlocking this particular case. 

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“They are constantly with prostitutes, and somebody out there knows him,” Kelly said. “And you know, if it’s because they all have a fetish, whether it’s a foot fetish or something ritualistic, it could be how he’s caught.”

Tips can be sent to johnkelleyprofiler@gmail.com, your local police department or the Atlantic City Police Department at (609) 347-5780. 

Family of mom who died on flight home from vacation still dealing with ‘uncertainty’

The family of an Indiana mom who died on an American Airlines flight from the Dominican Republic are still in the dark as to how she passed, her brother told NBC News Friday. 

Stefanie Smith, 41, was on American Airlines Flight 2790 from Punta Cana to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 28 when her health took a sudden turn, police said. 

She was given CPR on the plane and then the aircraft was diverted to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where she was taken to a local hospital but could not be saved.

INDIANA MOTHER APPEARED FIT AND HEALTHY BEFORE SUDDENLY DYING ABOARD AA FLIGHT, FAMILY AND FRIENDS SAY

“I’d say the uncertainty, the not knowing how she died, the not knowing when her body will be returned to us, has been the hardest thing recently,” Chris Volz, Smith’s brother, told NBC News. “It’s been a week so we’re past the initial shock. But now, it’s the uncertainty.”

Volz told the outlet the family has picked out a potential date for his sister’s “celebration of life.” However, they still do not know when the Turks and Caicos hospital will release her body and Volz said they have yet to hear from American Airlines. 

“We are hoping to find out soon,” Volz told NBC. 

He also told the outlet the family has been struggling to handle the situation after his sister’s passing. 

“My sister was the kind of person who saw the best in everybody,” Volz told NBC. “She was very much into her relationships with her family, with her friends. She put smiles on peoples’ faces.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Volz for additional comment. 

INDIANA MOTHER FALLS ILL, DIES ON AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT FROM DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Smith’s cause of death has yet to be announced. The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said “a female passenger fell ill mid-flight,” after which “the Police Control Room received a call from the Air Traffic Control Tower requesting medical assistance for a 41-year-old female, who at the time was receiving Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).”

“A medical team, along with police units, were dispatched, and the patient was transported to Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, where she died. A post-mortem will be conducted to ascertain the cause of death,” police said in a statement released on Feb. 28. 

Fox News Digital reached out to police and the hospital for comment. 

“On Feb. 28, American Airlines flight 2790 with service from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ) to Charlotte (CLT) diverted to Providenciales International Airport (PLS) for the medical needs of a passenger. First responders met the aircraft and one passenger was taken to the local hospital,” American Airlines told Fox News Digital in a statement on Friday. 

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Smith’s friend, Maria Yannotti, told ABC News Smith’s boyfriend was sitting next to her on the flight and said her eyes rolled back and she started convulsing. Yannotti was also on the trip but traveled separate from Smith and her boyfriend. 

Yannotti said Smith’s boyfriend initially thought she was joking around but soon realized she was in distress.

A doctor and nurses on board the plane helped administer CPR before the plane made an emergency landing in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory located in the southeast of the Bahamas.

Smith was vacationing with her boyfriend for five days and seemed healthy right before the flight, Yannotti said. 

Fox News Digital reached out to Yannotti for additional comment. 

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Smith was the mother of two children, an 18-year-old son named Coen and 16-year-old daughter, Macee.

Homeschooling mom documents ‘destruction’ of liberal Northwest city

Piles of propane canisters, tarps, mangled furniture and other belongings littered the side of Northeast 33rd Drive. Scraps of plastic clung to the fence next to a sign reading “natural area.”

Nestled in the remains of the RV encampment was a Minnie Mouse plush on a bright pink scooter. Tara Faul snapped a photo and then paused, her normally unruffled expression darkening briefly.

“It’s always unnerving when you see kids’ toys,” she said.

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The homeschooling mother of four had never considered herself political, aside from once being “really into Ron Paul.” But after witnessing the city she loved decline, she picked up a camera and began documenting the problems she felt were being ignored — or flat out denied — in polite society.

“What I saw on the news and on social media did not match up with what I was seeing in real life,” Faul said. “And then I realized that maybe the whole truth wasn’t getting put out there.”

Faul grew up on the Oregon Coast and bought a house in Portland in 2018. At first, she loved everything about the city — the food, the entrepreneurial spirit and the feeling that people were “free to be themselves.”

That changed around 2020. Riots erupted in the city following George Floyd’s murder in Minnesota and lasted more than 100 consecutive nights.

“It was violent and scary,” Faul said. “People were trying to light buildings on fire with people inside of them.”

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Faul said she was physically attacked more than once while recording the mayhemYet, in her moderate social circle, she said people either didn’t know how violent the protests could be or “didn’t want to say anything negative because it could be conceived as being racist or against social justice if you acknowledge that something bad was happening.”

National news reports and people on social media insisted the demonstrations were limited to a few downtown blocks around the Multnomah County Justice Center and federal courthouse. But in reality, many nights saw crowds marching through neighborhoods chanting “wake up motherf——, wake up” at quiet bungalows and Craftsman homes.

“It was kind of like a gaslighting moment, I guess,” Faul said.

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Meanwhile, homicides spiked to levels not seen in more than 30 years. Vandalism and smash and grabs became pervasive. Emergency response times doubled, and many Portlanders grew frustrated with the sparse prosecutions coming out of their new, progressive district attorney’s office.

“Crime, I guess, became acceptable,” Faul said. “If we don’t prosecute people for crimes or you can’t get the police to show up, everything’s just kind of fair game.”

“The social contract is kind of destroyed,” she added.

Faul remembers calling her kids in from the yard when a man wandered by with a machete. A nearby house was shot up so many times it became difficult to distinguish the new bullet holes from the old.

“I just started taking pictures of what I saw around me,” she said.

If we don’t prosecute people for crimes or you can’t get the police to show up, everything’s just kind of fair game.

— Tara Faul, Portland photographer

Mostly, that has been piles of trash. Faul goes by Garbage Ghost on X, trying to put an artistic flair and “investigate the story” in the litter she finds around town. 

“I was really upset about seeing just destruction everywhere,” she said. “It was making me angry, and I would come home mad all the time or just despairing. So I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to try to make this into an art form.'”

Biohazard cleanup crews still processing the rest of the Northeast 33rd Drive encampment eyed Faul skeptically as she walked through the rubble, squatting occasionally to photograph an unusual find. She chatted with one of the camp’s former residents as she snapped his portrait.

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Across the Willamette River, Faul parked in Portland’s Chinatown neighborhood. She pointed out a corner where she recently took one of her “epic” pictures of human excrement splattered on walls and sidewalks.

The fecal photos have been especially relevant as the city’s homeless community faces a surge in the waste-borne illness Shigella. But they’ve also sparked a bit of an inside joke with Faul’s followers.

The chronically online scrutinize her appearance, trying to figure out where she falls on the political spectrum. Most can’t place her as a Trump voter. Confused by her piercings, beanies and tattered band T-shirts, they instead assume she must have voted for this — whatever “this” is.

“I get it,” Faul said. “I look like I voted for the poop.”

She added, “I’m not going to change the way I dress myself to make people stop yelling at me. But I’m also not progressive enough to make people like me here. So nobody likes me.”

And nobody (online at least) seems to want her moving to their state, Faul said, even though she counts herself among the 56% of Portlanders who said they would leave the city in a recent poll.

“I had a lot of people going, ‘Don’t you f—ing move to my state and ruin it like you did Portland,'” she said. “If I want to leave, don’t you think that says something?”

She stopped to ask a group of people sitting on the sidewalk if she could take their picture. Most declined, but one man volunteered his friend, flirting with Faul as she set up her shot.

The subject struggled to light a flame under his meth pipe and tried to block the wind with his swollen, pink fingers. Finally, he ducked under a wool blanket, emerging a moment later along with a thick plume of smoke.

“Really sad,” Faul said after taking the picture, asked how it feels to document the moment. Before she could continue, another man started shouting obscenities from underneath a Portland Timbers blanket. “And sometimes scary,” she said. “We should probably move.”

I had a ton of pride in Portland.

— Tara Faul

Faul does see glimmers of hope. She pointed to the 2022 election, when voters replaced a progressive city commissioner with a moderate newcomer. Homicides and car thefts, two of the most reliably reported crime categories, both dropped in 2023, according to Portland Police Bureau data.

“It looks like [the city is] headed in a more positive direction right now,” Faul said. “But it’s still kind of a dump.”

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While her husband’s job and high housing costs have stymied plans to move out of Portland anytime soon, Faul still finds herself daydreaming on Zillow.

“It would make me sad because I love this place, and I used to tell everybody that it was the best city in the country,” she said. “I had a ton of pride in Portland.”

To hear more from Faul, click here.

Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.

Biden rebukes Trump after Hungarian PM makes US trip to meet with former president

Former President Donald Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and received his endorsement, sparking outrage from President Biden.

Orbán traveled to Florida to visit Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday.

The duo discussed “a wide range of issues affecting Hungary and the United States, including the paramount importance of strong and secure borders to protect the sovereignty of each nation,” according to the Trump campaign.

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“There’s nobody that’s better, smarter or a better leader than Viktor Orban. He’s fantastic,” Trump said. “He’s a noncontroversial figure because he said ‘This is the way it’s gonna be,’ and that’s the end of it. He’s the boss.” 

The Hungarian leader endorsed Trump following the meeting, claiming the former president is one of the few world leaders who can bring peace.

“It was a pleasure to visit President [Donald Trump] today. We need leaders in the world who are respected and can bring peace,” Orbán said on social media. “He is one of them! Come back and bring us peace, Mr. President!”

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Orbán, who has been in office since 2010, has promoted what he calls “illiberal democracy” and has been criticized by international human rights observers, including the U.S. State Department

He has received intense scrutiny for leading an increasingly autocratic system in Hungary, including allegations that he has rolled back minority rights, seized control of the judiciary and media and manipulated the country’s election system to remain in power, according to The Associated Press. 

Biden decried the meeting during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania — characterizing the pair as enemies to democracy.

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“You know who he’s meeting with today down in Mar-a-Lago? Orbán of Hungary, who’s stated flatly that he doesn’t thinks democracy works, he’s looking for dictatorship,” Biden claimed.

He added, “I see a future where we defend democracy, not diminish it.”

Fox News Digital’s Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

Attack on zookeepers by silverback gorilla captured on video

Two zookeepers found themselves in a frightening situation as they encountered a silverback gorilla in a World of Primates exhibit at the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas.

In a now-viral moment garnering 14 million views, the gorilla, who is named Elmo, was captured on video as he appeared to aggressively charge towards one zookeeper.

The zookeeper is seen running before reaching for a door and using a two-way radio to call for help. The ape then crashes into a bucket of food and pauses to watch the zookeeper who is standing in the doorway.

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A man named Ben, who told Fox News Digital that he was the “responding security officer” at the time, shared the video today on his TikTok page under the handle, @ben306069 (See the video at the top of this article). The incident occurred in fall of 2023.

The video also shows a second zookeeper who was unable to escape until Elmo moved into an area that was far enough away from the enclosure’s exit.

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The employee kept watching the movements of the gorilla and remained still after setting something down on the ground.

After Elmo fled into the corner of the enclosure, the second zookeeper escaped.

A woman and a man can be heard praying for the zookeepers as the workers try to safely escape the area.

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“God help her. God help her. God help her,” a woman can be heard saying in the background of the TikTok video.

“Please protect her,” a man said.

As the second zookeeper escapes, one of the bystanders can be heard saying, “Thank you, Lord.”

The comments on the video are filled with TikTok users responding to the prayers being heard in the background.

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Based on the video, it appears the zookeepers were able to escape the situation safely.

Elmo the silverback gorilla turned 34 years old on March 5, based on a Facebook post shared by the Gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) – an Ohio-based nonprofit. Elmo was born at the Buffalo Zoo, which is located in Buffalo, New York.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Fort Worth Zoo for comment.

A representative for the Fort Worth Zoo told People Magazine in a statement today that, “On Oct. 20, 2023, an incident led to two of our zookeepers sharing space with our 34-year-old silverback gorilla. Thankfully, there was no physical contact between keepers and gorilla; and all staff and animals are safe.”

“Every day, the zookeepers shift the gorilla troop into their indoor habitat so that keepers can place the animals’ lunch in their outdoor habitat. Due to keeper error, staff entered the yard unaware that the silverback was still in its habitat,” the statement continued.

“The zookeepers work with and train these animals every day and thanks to their knowledge and expertise, they navigated the situation calmly and were able to exit the yard safely.”

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Wholesale retailer shares major update on raising its membership prices

Costco is keeping its membership fees at their current prices, a move that may allow customers to breathe a sigh of relief — for now. The retailer, however, did not rule out a future hike.

“It’s when, not if, still,” CFO Richard Galanti said Thursday during the company’s second-quarter earnings call, referring to membership fees.

There had been speculation leading up to Thursday about the possibility that a membership fee hike announcement could coincide with Costco’s latest quarterly report, but it did not come to pass.

Galanti told analysts and investors that renewal rates, new member sign-ups and loyalty “are continuing in the right direction.” These are some of the factors that the company looks at when deciding on membership fees.

SOME OF COSTCO’S BEST TIDBITS FROM VOICE OF THE RETAILER

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
COST COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP. 725.56 -60.03 -7.64%

The company reported its total cardholders increased to 132 million as of the end of the second quarter, a 7.3% increase over the same period a year ago.

“It really is a function, and I don’t think it would be done simply because, hey, things have slowed down a bit, let’s do it now,” Galanti added. “We like the fact that we’re performing well. We like the fact that almost all metrics are going in the right direction in our business right now. We’ve got plenty of runway left.”

WHY COSTCO HOT DOGS HAVE KEPT $1.50 PRICE TAG SINCE 1985

He said Costco “will at some point, I’m sure, do it,” and joked it will “be on [Gary Millerchip’s] watch, not mine.” Former Kroger CFO Gary Millerchip is expected to succeed Galanti when he retires after nearly 40 years next week. 

The price of Costco memberships last increased in 2017. In the past, the hikes have typically occurred in roughly 5.5-year intervals, Galanti has previously said.

COSTCO SAID TO BE TESTING OUT MEMBERSHIP CARD SCANNERS AT ENTRANCES

In the second quarter, the retailer brought in $1.1 billion from membership fees, an increase of more than 8% from the nearly $1.03 billion it notched in the same quarter a year earlier. 

Costco Wholesale Corp.

Costco reported $58.44 billion in second-quarter revenue, below analysts’ estimates of $59.16 billion.

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8-year-old who went viral for unique rendition of the National Anthem talks inspiration

An 8-year-old girl is wowing audiences with her unique rendition of the National Anthem. 

Kinsley Murray took the internet by storm when her performance of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at a Pacers game went viral. The child singer wowed audiences with the range of her young voice and the soul she put in her vocals.

“I don’t get nervous because I just feel really happy, and I feel like I can do this,” she told “The Story” this week. 

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The child prodigy, who says she draws from Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift and Fergie, says she feels “inspired” when she hears people cheering for her in the crowd. 

“When the crowd cheers, they’re just like, “whoa” and that gets me going,” she said. 

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Murray began singing in her father’s choir and later went on to perform at minor league baseball teams, NBA teams and college teams. 

“She likes to inspire people, and she likes to be the passion,” her father Shafer Murray told Fox News. “She wants to look glitz[y] and glamorous. So, she wants her nails done, hair done and everything to look super fab. So, I do what I can.” 

Career expert explains the real reason why younger generations can’t find a job

There are millions of job openings in the United States right now, but the youngest members of the workforce are not filling them at the rate that you might expect.

TikToker Erin McGoff, who has garnered over 2 million followers by offering young people career advice online under the handle @AdviceWithErin, joined Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” on Monday, to share her secrets to finding a job in today’s complicated working world.

A survey conducted by Intelligent.com finds 38% of employers avoid hiring recent graduates, and 58% say they feel they are unprepared for the office.

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McGoff quickly pushed back on claims that Gen Zers are resistant to working in an office, saying that “many” of the young adults she has spoken with are “very much willing” to commute to work.

“The Gen Z I’ve spoken to… many of them are very much willing to go into an office or work hybrid. The issue that I’m seeing, Sandra, is that they are going through tons and tons of interviews, and they are getting ghosted over and over and over again,” the social media star said earlier this week. 

“They are applying. They’re getting interviews, some of them as many as seven interviews. And then they are never hearing back from the job. They have no clue,” she said.

GEN Z ATTITUDE TOWARD 9-TO-5 JOB SPARKING DEBATE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE IN GENERATIONAL WORK ETHICS

McGoff continued, revealing that the biggest problem young job seekers’ are struggling with is interpersonal skills.

“They want to know exactly what to say and how to say it. And those are the things that I’m finding people are really struggling with and they really, really want direction on that,” she explained. “And I’m not sure if it’s because of a lack of working in the office and having those micro interactions and physically seeing how other people navigate interpersonal relationships and connections, but they’re certainly struggling,” she told co-host Sandra Smith. 

McGoff provided a simple tip: “Prepare.” 

The TikToker referenced a technique called the “S.T.A.R. method,” which stands for situation, task, action and result. She says that the template can “really help” job seekers’ ability to answer any interview questions. 

“The key is to be prepared. Because if you’re put on the spot, and you don’t have a question or you don’t have a story to tell, it can be really difficult to answer,” she said.

GEN Z HARDEST GENERATION TO WORK WITH, ACCORDING TO SURVEY: ‘THEY LACK DISCIPLINE’ AND ‘LIKE TO CHALLENGE YOU’

In a statement to Fox News Digital, McGoff, who’s been offering free career advice online since 2020, revealed that her own frustrations with the “unequal distribution of career advice,” coupled with the pandemic, pushed her to give industry specific career advice on TikTok out of “boredom.”

“I posted a silly little video I recorded in my bedroom — a three-part template to answer the most annoying interview question ever: ‘Tell me about yourself?’ The video went viral, and I started to receive hundreds of (direct messages) a day from people telling me how my content not only helped them, but also made them smile and feel more confident,” McGoff explained. 

“I kept posting videos, tid bits of ‘big sister advice’ — soft things like how to send a “Thank You” email post-interview, how to write your LinkedIn headline, how to tell your boss you’re pregnant. The messages kept coming, and my audience kept growing.”

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As for her recent work, McGoff has expanded into a YouTube show/podcast, began writing a book, and provides free resume reviews 1–2 times a month on Instagram and TikTok without charging a cent. 

“I’ve also never charged a dime to be a career coach or review someone’s resume. There are plenty of people out there already that do that. I’m not interested in being a career coach. I’m more interested in keeping my education free through partnering with brands,” McGoff concluded. 

Prof starts ‘sit-in,’ moves into office to prove point about the violence Jewish students face

A Berkeley professor has moved into his office for a “sit-in” after accusing the Northern California school of an “inability to make difficult and important decisions” regarding antisemitism on campus, according to reports. 

Professor Ron Hassner, the Helen Diller Family Chair in Israel Studies at the school, brought a sleeping bag into his office Thursday after writing a letter to UC Chancellor Carol Christ and Provost Benjamin Hermalin.

“If my students feel that they cannot walk safely across campus without being bullied, then I will not cross campus either,” Hassner wrote, according to The Jewish News of Northern California. 

“I’m thinking that maybe by doing this — giving the students some hope, showing them that someone cares, the door’s open, there’s a light in the window, please come by, let’s talk — I can avert the next disaster.” 

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In a separate letter to students posted to X by Los Angeles-based Dr. Afshine Emrani, Hassner said he would now be teaching all of his classes on Zoom and encouraged his colleagues to do the same until the campus is safe from antisemitism. He told The Jewish News eight colleagues so far have agreed to start teaching their classes on Zoom in support of him.

“I will stay in my office until we take necessary steps to prevent violence between students,” he added. “I will teach, eat, and sleep in my office. My office will be open at all hours of the day and night, on weekdays and weekends, to all students who do not feel safe, or who have been subjected to antisemitic abuse, or who wish to chat. 

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“I will also leave a light on in my office window at all times, so that all students walking by on Bancroft Ave. can see that at least one faculty member is sleeping as badly at night as they are.”

Berkeley and other campuses have been the targets of antisemitic attacks since Hamas launched an unprovoked attack on Israel in October, beginning the war. 

“In contrast to recent protests, my protest is non-confrontational, non-violent, and legal,” Hassner added. “It will be easy to ignore, especially in the first few weeks before visitors and media find me and my office in a rather disheveled state. After that, it will become an increasingly embarrassing public display of the university’s inability to make difficult and important decisions.”

Hassner wrote in his letter to the administration he is “sorely afraid” over a planned protest by pro-Israel students expected to march on Monday to the school’s Sather Gate, which pro-Palestinian protesters have been blocking for a month, according to The Jewish News. 

In October, Hassner and a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the school put out a joint letter to students saying that while they “disagree vehemently,” they still treat each other with “respect and dignity” and were “heartbroken to hear of incidents of near violence between students in recent days. We will not tolerate our students harming each other.”  

Fox News Digital has reached out to Berkeley and Hassner for comment. 

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The school told The Jewish News it “remains committed to fostering an environment conducive to robust free speech and in which all members of its community feel that they may engage in campus life without fear of harassment. The administration is committed to confronting antisemitism and holds professor Hassner in great esteem, and it is in conversation with him about his concerns.”