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News In Brief

400 Gallons Of Sewage Spill Into Lake Norman; Cause Of Massive Fire In Raleigh Still Unknown

Mecklenburg County is banning all swimming near a cove on Lake Norman after nearly 400 gallons of sewage spilled into the water Thursday. Meanwhile, fire investigators in Raleigh say they still haven't determined what caused a $50 million fire at an unfinished apartment building in March. And, police in Charlotte are investigating after an infant was allegedly abandoned by her mother overnight.

Here are some of Friday afternoon's top headlines on WFAE.

Swimming Banned After 400 Gallons Of Sewage Spills Into Lake Norman

Mecklenburg County is banning all swimming near a cove on Lake Norman after nearly 400 gallons of sewage spilled into the water Thursday.

County officials say the spill occurred in Cornelius near 20220 Bethel Church Road when a sewer line was broken by nearby construction. The county is collecting water samples of the spill. The swimming ban will remain in effect at least until Monday, when sample results will be available. The swimming ban will continue until the county determines that bacteria levels in the water are safe.

In April of this year, the county reported 8,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Lake Norman off I-77 exit 33 near Mooresville. County officials said that spill was caused by a clogged manhole.

Cause Of Fire That Gutted Unfinished Raleigh Apartments Is Unknown

Fire investigators say they still don’t know what caused a $50 million dollar fire that destroyed an unfinished downtown apartment building in North Carolina's capital.

Raleigh officials say weeks of work by more than 100 investigators, hundreds of interviews and the results of multiple search warrants have failed to find the cause for the March 17 blaze. The fire forced the evacuation of nearby business and residential buildings and shut down roads.

Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath has previously said that The Metropolitan apartment building had been inspected dozens of times during the course of construction and met all code requirements.

Woman Accused Of Abandoning Infant Overnight In Charlotte

The North Carolina Department of Social Services is investigating after police say a woman abandoned her infant Thursday night in west Charlotte.

A man told police he was walking through the Lakewood Manor complex on Watson Drive around 9 p.m. when a woman asked him to watch her child for a while. He later told police she never returned.

The child was taken in by the Department of Social Services at 7 a.m. Friday. The mother later identified herself to police. Police say they’ve received conflicting statements from the man and the woman, though the two appear to know each other. The child remains in DSS custody.

Update: CMPD has issued the woman, 29-year-old Ya'kesha Patterson, with a citations for misdemeanor child neglect.

North Carolina Inmate Escapes Gaston County Prison

A North Carolina inmate has escaped from a Gaston County prison. The state's Department of Public Safety is searching for Tony Meeks, 40, who officials say was discovered missing Friday morning.

Meeks was serving an 11 month sentence for robbery with a dangerous weapon and is scheduled to be released in September 2020.

Prison officials have not said whether they know how Meeks escaped from Gaston Correctional Center in Dallas, NC.

Co-Defendant Testifies Against Minister In Church Abuse Case

One of five people charged with trying to beat "homosexual demons" out of a fellow church member in North Carolina testified for prosecutors on Friday, saying she threw the first slap after their minister began the attack.

Sarah Anderson took the stand despite defense objections in the trial of Word of Faith minister Brooke Covington. Anderson accused her of starting the confrontation with Matthew Fenner after a January 2013 service at the Spindale church.

Anderson, 30, left the church in February 2016 after accusing Covington and other church leaders of abusing her 1-year-old son. She said she made no deal with prosecutors, and gave no reason on the stand why she decided to incriminate herself.

Covington, 58, faces up to two years in prison if convicted. She is the first of the five church members charged to face trial.