Police: Workers held against their will in Bellevue brothels

NOTE: First published on kiro7.com in Jan. 2016. A KIRO 7 News crew streamed this event live on our website. I wrote this copy as information was streamed lived. 

Bellevue brothels, created by a website, held workers against their will and then trafficked them across the west coast, according to local law enforcement.


  • 12 brothels in Bellevue
  • 12 victims rescued, according to Bellevue police
  • Women were victimized in 15 U.S. states
  • At least one recent murder is related to the trafficking case
  • National prostitution website, reviewboard.net, seized in investigation

How did this happen?

King County Sheriff John Urquhart, the Bellevue police chief, and an FBI special agent held a news conference on Wednesday and announced they investigated reviewboard.net and a website called “The League.”

According to investigators, who call the case backpage.com “on steroids,” reviewboard.net facilitated prostitution and “The League” started the brothels in Bellevue.

Twelve brothels, most that operated out of high-end Bellevue apartments, have been shut down. See where the brothels in Bellevue were located in the map below; click on a “point” for the apartment name.

Police say Donald Mueller and Michael Durnal ran the ring and sold women all over the county.

Continue reading Police: Workers held against their will in Bellevue brothels

Oldest known orca spotted in ‘high spirits’ off San Juan Island

NOTE: First reported on kiro7.com on Aug. 3, 2016 (All photo credits in this story go to Heather MacIntyre.) Sadly, Researchers considered J2 Granny dead as of Jan. 2017

Estimated to be around 105 years old, J2 Granny is thought to be the oldest known living orca.

The Orca Network posted photos of Granny to its Whale Sighting Report on July 27. She was spotted near San Juan Island’s False Bay.

“We watched the J11s (J27, J31, and J39) traveling with J2 and adopted son, L87. They sure seemed to be in high spirits … And then there was that humpback that popped up surprisingly in the distance breaching over and over and over,” photographer Heather MacIntyre wrote.

The Orca Network tells KIRO 7 News that Granny is said to be around 105 years old, but there is a 12-year margin around her age meaning she could be as young as 90.

Continue reading Oldest known orca spotted in ‘high spirits’ off San Juan Island

‘I’ve been to the mountaintop, and I don’t mind’

NOTE: First published to wmcactionnews5.com. I curated the photos and wrote the copy.

Martin Luther King Jr. made his last speech in Memphis to sanitation workers, who, in his words, were facing the issue of injustice and the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants.” But before the Mountaintop speech and King’s untimely death in April 1968, the civil rights leader influenced Memphis in more ways than one.

How to use this interactive: If on a desktop browser then use your mouse or trackpad to hover over the image. If on a smartphone or tablet then touch anywhere on the image. You will see a variety of dots. Click one of the dots that come up for tidbits of information, videos, or links.

Martin Luther King Jr. flies to Memphis July 31, 1959 for a Freedom Rally, which is part of a political campaign for several African-American candidates running for City of Memphis election.

Continue reading ‘I’ve been to the mountaintop, and I don’t mind’

Company gives ‘experimental’ drug to ailing 7-year-old St. Jude patient 

First published on wmcactionnews5.com in 2014:

In some pictures, 7-year-old Josh Hardy boasts a big smile in sports jerseys, but the last three months in the intensive care unit at St. Jude Children’s Hospital has replaced the eye black with tubes and gauze.

A company’s decision to provide drug access could be a game changer in the fight for Josh’s life. Initially, Chimerix refused to give brincidofovir—a drug that might cure Josh’s adenovirus infection—because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had yet to approve it.

“They have given us excuses about challenging them financially, but we really don’t care what excuses there are. They have something that can help our son, and we as parents are going to do everything we can possible do to help him. The thing is he’s had  a very challenged life,” said mother Aimee Hardy on Monday.

Continue reading Company gives ‘experimental’ drug to ailing 7-year-old St. Jude patient