A 14-year-old student is still missing more than 72 hours after she was last seen leaving her high school in Northwest Atlanta.
Caitlin Winchester vanished on her first day of class at North Atlanta High School in the upscale Paces neighborhood near Buckhead in Atlanta.
She was last seen walking east on Northside Parkway toward North Paran Road around 4 p.m. Thursday, police say.
Caitlin went missing a day after two women were found dead in Atlanta-area parks. Atlanta police and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms insist a serial killer is not on the loose in Atlanta.
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Caitlin was wearing a black long-sleeve top, a brown and red plaid skirt and a black face covering (see video below). Her brown hair was styled in long braids. Her eyes are brown.
Caitlin's father, Roger Winchester, told police he last heard from her at 5:40 p.m. when she texted to say she was on the school bus.
The school reviewed video on Caitlin's bus and did not see her on it.
Family members deny reports that Caitlin is a runaway or a problem child.
A friend tweeted: "As we rapidly approach this Alert reaching 72-hours, as usual, doubt creeps in & accusations have now started to fly -- I want to confirm she's a Straight-A Student & Parents Are Solid."
Caitlin is the only child of Roger and Angela Winchester. She was raised in an upper-middle class neighborhood where household incomes exceed $100,000.
Caitlin's mother is a middle school theology teacher at Notre Dame Academy in Duluth. Ga.
"Our child is a straight-A student, and she was so excited to start her French 3 class, Angela Winchester said on Friday.
Roger Winchester is a senior information security engineer at Insight Global.
911 actress Aisha Hinds issued an urgent plea to help find the missing teenager.
Crime Stoppers is offering $100,000 for information leading to Caitlin's safe return. Anyone who knows her whereabouts is asked to call 404-802-2000.
Former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed has officially entered Atlanta's mayoral race for a historic third term.
Reed, who left the mayor's office under suspicion of corruption in 2017, is running again after serving as mayor for eight years.
He is pictured with Atlanta's current Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in a photo dated October 4, 2017.
AJC.com reports Reed filed paperwork Tuesday night forming a committee that will allow him to begin accepting campaign donations for the 2021 mayor's race.
Reed, who turns 52 on Thursday, will celebrate his birthday with a party that will double as a $1,000-per-guest fundraiser.
Speculation swirled that Reed would run for a third term after embattled Atlanta Mayor Bottoms announced she couldn't take the pressure anymore and would not run for reelection.
Megan Varner/Getty Images
Bottoms' announcement was historic -- the first time since Mayor Maynard Jackson that an incumbent mayor chose to not seek reelection.
Reed becomes the first mayor since Jackson to run for a third term.
Reed's second term was marred by a federal corruption investigation into several members of his administration, including bribery convictions against his chief procurement officer and a deputy chief of staff. Reed’s chief financial officer is currently under indictment for fraud and weapons charges.
Fox 5 Atlanta
Atlanta mayoral candidate Antonio Brown was nearly killed Wednesday when four boys, ages 7 to 11, stole his Mercedes Benz in broad daylight.
The Atlanta city councilman was attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony in northeast Atlanta around 12 noon when four boys jumped into his car, FOX 5 Atlanta reported.
The white Mercedes-Benz coupe had a keyless push-to-start ignition and Brown didn't realize the car had started, he said.
Brown struggled with the 11-year-old driver and held onto the door handle as the boy hit the gas. The Councilman was dragged one city block before he let go of the handle. He was not injured.
Brown doesn't plan to file charges against the kids, who he says acted out of desperation, Atlanta's WSB-TV reported.
"This is a generational poverty issue. These kids, it's 12:30 in the afternoon. Why aren't they in school? Why aren't we enforcing systems to ensure that if they are not in school, they're in recreational centers?" he said.
Young children are recruited to steal cars for car theft rings because they typically receive less jail time than adult car thieves.
Fox 5 Atlanta
Brown voted earlier this year to withhold $73 million from the Atlanta police budget, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
The news outlet aired video of the Councilman shaking hands with the overworked and underpaid Atlanta police officers who responded to his 911 call (see video below).
The Mercedes has not been recovered.
Brown is under federal indictment related to alleged charges in the years prior to him winning the council seat in 2019, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
AFP via Getty Images
If you can't find gas in your city that's probably because your fellow Americans are hoarding gasoline in everything from garbage bags to inflatable swimming pools.
Florida, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina declared states of emergency as residents panic buy gasoline, leading to severe gas shortages in the southeast. 1,000 gas stations in the south ran dry as a result of unnecessary hoarding.
When a state of emergency is declared during a gas shortage, the police are supposed to monitor gas stations to prevent hoarding.
People should be limited to 1 or 2 gallons of gas so the shortage doesn't worsen.
Twitter users posted photos of craven hoarders. Not only is filling trash bags with gasoline dangerous, it's also illegal.
Megan Varner/Getty Images
Florida, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina declared states of emergency as residents panic buy gasoline, leading to gas shortages.
Gas prices soared and fears of a nationwide shortage caused people to panic buy gas after a cyber attack shut down a major gas pipeline over the weekend.
The national average for retail gasoline was $2.985 on Tuesday -- the highest since November 2014.
Megan Varner/Getty Images
Panic buyers lined up outside gas stations in Atlanta on Tuesday, May 11. Some drivers walked up with gas cans after bypassing stations that were closed.
The FBI has confirmed that Russian hacking collective DarkSide is responsible for the ransomware cyber attack that crippled a Georgia-based fuel pipeline.
Colonial Pipeline, which is operated out of Alpharetta, near Atlanta, is the largest pipeline on the East Coast. It runs from Texas to New Jersey and transports 45% of the East Coast's fuel supply, including gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel.
Colonial officials announced it shut down the pipeline out of an abundance of caution after discovering the ransomware.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks a company's data and threatens to delete the data unless a ransom is paid, typically in Bitcoin.
The attack is unleashed after an employee unwittingly clicks a phishing link in an email that impersonates an individual or company known to the employee.
Hundreds of major corporations and even hospitals have been hit by ransomware cyber attacks over the years.
Atlanta gas stations reported dwindling gas supplies on Monday, 2 days after a cyber security breach shut down a major gas pipeline.
A Twitter user posted a photo of a safety conscious Atlanta resident pumping gas at one of the few stations that didn't run dry on Monday night.
Colonial Pipeline, an Alpharetta-based company, shut down its gas pipeline system after a ransomware attack crippled its IT systems.
The pipeline supplies less than half of the gas to the East Coast. Colonial Pipeline operates about 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New York. The ransomware attack was announced on Saturday.
AFP via Getty Images
Tensions escalated on Monday as many gas stations ran dry and long lines formed at gas stations in Atlanta.
The Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency urged motorists to take precautions to conserve gas so the pumps don't run dry.
The agency urged residents not to fill up their gas tanks unless they absolutely have to. Those who have multiple cars should consider driving the most gas efficient vehicle. Plan to run several errands in a single trip. Residents are also advised to take the bus or MARTA public transportation.
North Carolina declared a state of emergency as stations in Virginia, Atlanta and Florida began to run out of gas on Monday.
If the pipeline is not operational by Wednesday, a significant fuel disruption is expected on the East Coast.
Megan Varner/Getty Images
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will not seek re-election this fall. The first-term Democrat made the announcement in a letter posted on Twitter.com late Thursday.
In her letter, Bottoms thanked her supporters and highlighted her accomplishments since winning the election in 2017.
Bottoms said she and her husband "have given thoughtful prayer and consideration" and decided not to seek another term.
Bottoms was the 60th mayor of Atlanta and the 2nd Black woman to serve as mayor of Atlanta.
The news comes hours after Bottoms defended her decision to terminate Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot last June.
Bottoms said she fired Rolfe to prevent riots in Atlanta in the wake of other high-profile police shootings last summer.
But the city burned anyway and an innocent child was shot dead during the riots.
The Atlanta Civil Service Board reinstated Rolfe with back pay this week. The board cited the city's failure to follow proper protocols in terminating Rolfe without due process.
Rolfe is still on administrative leave until murder charges in Brooks' case are dropped.
Garrett Rolfe, the fired officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta last year, has been reinstated to the police force with back pay.
Rolfe was reinstated by the Atlanta Civil Service Board, 11 Alive News reported. The board released its decision Wednesday stating:
"Due to the City’s failure to comply with several provisions of the Code and the information received during witnesses’ testimony, the Board concludes the Appellant was not afforded his right to due process. Therefore, the Board GRANTS the Appeal of Garrett Rolfe and revokes his dismissal as an employee of the APD."
Brooks was gunned down by Rolfe in a Wendy's parking lot while fleeing from police on the night of June 12, 2020.
Brooks wrestled a taser away from Rolfe during the ensuing scuffle. Surveillance video shows Brooks turning and pointing the taser at Rolfe who then fired three shots, killing Brooks.
Brooks, 27, died from 3 gunshot wounds to the back. His death was ruled a homicide by the Fulton County Coroner's Office. Rolfe was fired after officials determined the use of deadly force was not justifiable.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The shooting sparked riots and civil unrest in Atlanta and prompted calls by local Black Lives Matter activists to defund the police.
When Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined the protests to defund the police, APD officers called out sick and refused to respond to non-violent calls.
Curtis Compton-Pool/Getty Images
Mayor Bottoms further heightened tensions between city hall and the police union by attending Brooks' star-studded funeral. She is pictured embracing Tomika Miller, mother of 3 of Brooks' children.
Rolfe appealed his termination last year. He received donations from a fund created by conservative activist Candace Owens.
Getty Images, AJC
A 15-year-old girl is among 2 dead and 22 wounded in shootings around the Atlanta area over the weekend.
Diamond Johnson, 15, was fatally shot when she got into a fistfight with two groups of teenagers outside the Waffle House in the Glenwood Park shopping plaza on Saturday night.
About three hours later, 22-year-old Antonio Sykes was killed during a shooting outside Artisans Bar and Gallery on Peachtree Street.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she will hold a press conference on Tuesday morning, May 4 at 10 a.m EST, to discuss Atlanta's deadly crime wave.
Atlanta has seen a 60% rise in homicides from last year when gang bangers moved to the wide open city from locked down blue areas.
"Just as we have overcome challenges in the past, Atlanta will get to the other side of this COVID crime wave and we will get this violence under control," Bottoms said during her state of the city address a few weeks ago.
Atlanta's spiking crime stats are a hindrance to Bottoms' reelection efforts this year.
Most recent crime stats show there have been 208 shootings and 40 homicides in Atlanta in 2021.
Atlanta's crime stats are on par with Chicago, Illinois -- earning Atlanta the nickname "Chiraq South."
Chiraq is a nickname for Chicago. It combines Chicago with Iraq, and is used to refer to a violent city that is similar to a war zone.
More Atlanta police officers have resigned in the last year than in years past. The lack of law enforcement presence on the streets has emboldened criminals to run amok.
"We are committed to putting an additional 250 new officers on the street during the next fiscal year," Bottoms said.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the fatal shooting of Diamond Johnson Saturday night. Callers can remain anonymous. 404-577-TIPS (8477).
Rep. Park Cannon, the Georgia lawmaker who was dragged out of the Capitol building for knocking on Gov. Brian Kemp's door, will not be charged.
Cannon was arrested on March 25 and dragged to the Fulton County (Atlanta) Jail after she knocked on Kemp's door while he signed the voter ID bill into law.
The election bill requires voter ID to request and submit absentee ballots, limits the number of ballot drop boxes, and allows the Georgia State Elections Board to take over county elections boards if there are problems with ballot counting.
Cannon's arrest sparked outrage on social media when video of her arrest went viral.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she will not pursue charges and the case is closed.
Willis said the police officers may have found her behavior annoying," but it did not justify putting together a grand jury.
Cannon faced charges of felony obstruction and disrupting the General Assembly session. If found guilty, she faced up to high years in jail.
"My experience was painful, both physically and emotionally, but today I stand before you to say as horrible as that experience was... I believe the governor signing into law the most comprehensive voter suppression bill in the country is a far more serious crime," Cannon said at a rally last week.