Homeless Family Of Four Found Dead In Van Parked Outside California CVS

"They were in pajamas and sleeping gear and it looks like they were all asleep."

A homeless family of four died in their van in the parking lot of a Southern California CVS store, police in Garden Grove, Calif. said Friday (May 16). The adult man, woman, and two small children had been dead for at least three days prior to the gruesome discovery.

"They were in pajamas and sleeping gear and it looks like they were all asleep inside the van," Whitney said Garden Grove Police Lt. Carl Whitney.

Phunyouphone Kanyavong, 41, has been identified as the adult male. His girlfriend and their their two young children, both of whom were under the age of 2 years old, have not yet been positively identified.

Authorities believe that the family died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. An official cause of death has yet to be determined, and the vehicle was not running when the family was found.

Kanyavong was from Garden Grove and had reportedly been living in the van with his family for a while. He was reluctant to get help from friends and nearby relatives, who were aware of his housing predicament.

"What is tragic about this is we have our special resources teams that have connections to different resources," Whitney added. "We don't want these people living in their cars, and especially with small children. We want them to be off the streets for their own safety."

Police were alerted to the scene on Thursday evening, after a passerby called the cops to report a foul odor coming from the white Honda Odyssey. The windows of the van were covered with blankets and a sunscreen. “She called the police department because she was concerned because she knew the people that sometimes hang out in this van,” Whitney explained.

“It’s sad for the family and bad for the kids,” Dan Walbon, a 64-year-old man who knew the family and had also been homeless until recently, said according to the Orange County Register. “They didn’t have a chance at life.”

Homelessness has been on a steady rise in the U.S. over the last seven years, but the family tragedy sheds more light on California’s growing homeless epidemic, amid rising housing costs.

In 2017, more than half a million people around the country were reported homeless, with most of them residing on the West Coast. Over 100,000 people are homeless in California, which accounts for more than a quarter of the national homeless population.

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High school students in South Carolina may now have to pass a personal finance class in order to receive their diploma.

According to reports, Republican lawmakers Luke Rankin and Horry County Senator have filed a pre-bill that will require high school students to take a class that will aim to help students learn how to better budget their money.

"You can really put yourself in a really bad hole that you're gonna be digging yourself out of the rest of your life," financial planner Dr. Christopher St. John said.

The course will cover insurance, taxes, retirement planning, budgeting, banking, and how to avoid too much debt.

Finance website Make Lemonade reports there are more than 44 million borrowers who owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt within the United States. Student loan debt has become the second highest debt among consumers followed by mortgage debt.

The class of 2016, reportedly has $37,172 in student loan debt.

If the bill is passed, it would go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. The course would be required and student who take a test at the end of the year prior to graduation.

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Former Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Sentenced For Killing Laquan McDonald

Former Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, could end up serving just over three years in prison for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months Friday (Jan. 18), and according to the Chicago Tribune , the former officer is eligible to receive credit for good behavior.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan had to decide between sentencing Van Dyke for second-degree murder or aggravated battery, the latter of which carried a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, the Tribune reports. Gaughan decided that it made more sense to sentence Van Dyke for murder, which makes him eligible for early release.

McDonald was shot to death in 2014. At the time, authorities claimed that the teen was behaving erratically while carrying a small knife. The police department waited 13 months to release video of the shooting. In the footage, McDonald is seen walking away from the cops as Van Dyke opens fire, shooting him 16 times. Van Dyke, a 14-year veteran of the CPD, was arrested and quickly released on bond the day that the video was made public. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and more than a dozen charges of aggravated battery last October.

Darren O'Brien, Van Dyke’s lawyer, pushed for sentencing “leniency,” due in part to his client’s clean criminal record. Depicting O’Brien as the victim, Van Dyke stated that his client feared for his life when he killed McDonald.

“He didn’t start the confrontation,” O’Brien said. “He reacted to what Mr. McDonald did..Everything that happened was set in motion by Mr. McDonald.”

Gaughan called the court case a tragedy for families from both parties. “It’s just so senseless that these acts occur because you can see the pain on both sides. This is a tragedy for both sides."

Van Dyke's sentence came a day after a Cook County judge acquitted three CPD officers charged with covering up the shooting.

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Rep. Maxine Waters meets with CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity, Kim Goodwin, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Christopher Isham, on Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Waters Office)

Maxine Waters Meets With CBS To Discuss Media Diversity And Inclusion

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Their meeting steemed from the network's recent release of their predominately clear  team for the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Comprised of 4 white producers, 5 white-passing reporters and 3 journalists of color, though the 2020 campaigns reporting staff does not have any black anchors.

It's Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled! https://t.co/0GBCw4mj7s pic.twitter.com/E0rUDAkzf7

— Ben Mitchell (@bfmitchell) January 11, 2019

Waters, like other prominent speakers in the black community, have discussed their reluctance to embrace the staff citing issues with who will tackle the roles that racism will play in elections and the role racism has been playing in the United States. Taking the issues directly to the source, the congresswomen had a discussion with the higher up's to talk redirection.

“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics-- and subsequent public backlash -- that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,"  Waters said in a press statement.

"They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections."

The 43rd district representative has vowed to hold CBS accountable for their diversity issues and is dedicated to working alongside her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

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