10:34 PM EDT 05/19/2013
Real People Stories
Originally posted 05/18/2013 03:00PM
Angelina Jolie's remarkable story about undergoing a preventative double mastectomy triggered an outpouring of empathy this week, as well as opened the door to the important discussion of women's health issues.
At the other end of the spectrum, good fun was had over the gift Dean McDermott gave Tori Spelling for their seventh wedding anniversary.
Here are the five stories that sparked the strongest reactions from readers over this past week – the news that made you happy, sad, laugh out loud, awestruck, even angry.
In the meantime, please keep clicking on the emoticons at the bottom of every story – one way to tell us exactly what you think.
Originally posted 05/17/2013 01:00PM
Though each was young and vulnerable, all three of Ariel Castro's alleged kidnap victims came armed with strengths that would help them endure the years of horror ahead.
Gina DeJesus, 14, had the buoyancy and affection of a well-loved child who knew that home and family were worth fighting for. Strong-willed Amanda Berry, 16, was, to her family, “the glue that kept everyone calm," says childhood friend Lisha Jacome, who lived briefly in the Berry home.
A frequent babysitter for her sister's two daughters, Berry had child-care skills when she bore Castro's child in 2007. For that birth Castro designated his oldest captive, Michelle Knight, as midwife – and threatened to kill her if the baby died. The mother of a 2-year-old son when she was kidnapped at age 21, Knight not only had experienced childbirth, she had helped perform a delivery of the family dog's puppies as a kid.
Originally posted 05/17/2013 08:10AM
Caleb "Kai" McGillvary, who has gone from overnight folk hero to murder suspect in a matter of three months, was arrested Thursday in Philadelphia and charged with homicide.
The homeless hitchhiker, 24, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. at the Greyhound Bus Terminal and charged in the murder last Sunday of Joseph Galfy Jr., the prosecutor's office in Union County, N.J., announced on its website.
Galfy, 73, an attorney, was found dead in his Clark, N.J., home on Monday of blunt-force trauma. In a post on his Facebook page Tuesday, McGillvary claimed he had woken up "in a stranger's house" and found he'd been drugged and raped, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Originally posted 05/16/2013 04:20PM
It's been seven months since PEOPLE named its first class of Teachers of the Year. But for the winners, says Chicago's Rauner College Prep band director Robert Vega, the effects, are "still continuing. "
Along with a memorable phone call from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel – "He asked me how many students I taught. I told him 350 and he chuckled," says Vega – he's had virtually non-stop calls, as well as requests from local TV and newspapers to talk about getting all those kids to play instruments. It's given him a welcomed platform: "Every single interview I give I'm pushing for why we need music in schools."
Think you could be among the next class? Apply by June 7 for the 2013 Teacher of the Year search by downloading an application.
Like Vega, the other four Teachers of the Year each received $1,000 and their schools were awarded $4,000. At Vega's urging, Rauner used its winnings to fund a teacher, props and materials for an after-school theater program. PEOPLE caught up with him and the others to find out how they are putting their wins to work for the kids to whom they are so devoted.
Originally posted 05/16/2013 02:05PM
Darian Craig was just 3 years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancerous tumor that affects mostly infants.
She was given less than a 15 percent chance of surviving.
Darian eventually beat the disease, but spent the next 14 years of her life in and out of emergency rooms battling Behcet's syndrome, a rare disorder that causes blood vessels to become inflamed, and receiving radiation treatments, chemotherapy and undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
Originally posted 05/15/2013 08:25AM
Ariel Castro, who is facing kidnapping and rape charges over the alleged abduction of three Cleveland women, will plead not guilty, his lawyers say.
"The initial portrayal of him is one of a quote 'monster,' and that is not the impression that I got," one of his two attorneys, Craig Weintraub, said in an interview that aired on Wednesday's Today show.
Added Castro's co-counsel, attorney Jaye Schlachet: "He is a human being, but what is offensive is that the women and the media want to demonize this man before they know the whole story, and I think it's unfair and not equitable."
Originally posted 05/14/2013 03:00PM
Karolyn Nunnallee still remembers that morning 25 years ago when her husband called to ask if she knew where to find their 10-year-old daughter Patty's dental records.
The authorities needed them, he told her, to identify Patty's body in the charred wreckage of what turned out to be the nation's worst-ever drunk driving crash.
"I still think about it, but not every day," Nunnallee says in a quiet voice choked with sadness. "That's a good thing, I guess. It means I'm healing."
The May 14, 1988, crash that claimed Patty's life – along with that of 26 other passengers (mostly children) in a school bus returning to Radcliff, Ky., from a church group amusement park outing – horrified the nation and paved the way for tougher drunk driving laws.
Now, to mark the 25th anniversary, one of the survivors, partnered with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), has put together Impact: After The Crash – a powerful, gritty documentary on the tragedy.
Originally posted 05/13/2013 03:00PM
Where do broken hearts go? They better not go to the airport.
An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles International to New York's John F Kennedy Airport was forced to make an emergency landing in Kansas City Friday after an unidentified woman refused to stop singing Whitney Houston songs.
Local Missouri station KCTV 5 broadcast one passenger's stealth video showing authorities escorting the would-be crooner off the plane as she was still wailing Houston's iconic cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You."
Originally posted 05/12/2013 12:10PM
The voices of the Cleveland kidnapping survivors have finally been heard, as they reached out on Mother's Day through a spokesman for all three to recognize the efforts of law enforcement and the support of loved ones.
Amanda Berry said in a statement, "Thank you so much for everything you're doing and continue to do. I am so happy to be home with my family."
While Gina DeJesus said, "I'm so happy to be home. I want to thank everyone for all your prayers. I just want time now to be with my family."
And Michelle Knight, whose whereabout is currently unknown, said: "Thank you to everyone for your support and good wishes. I am healthy, happy and safe, and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time."
Originally posted 05/12/2013 07:45AM
A 12-year-old Northern California boy – who called police to report that a stranger had fatally stabbed his 8-year-old sister, Leila Fowler – has been arrested on suspicion of murder, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department.
The slaying shocked and frightened many of the 7,500 residents of Valley Springs, Calif., who locked their doors for the first time in years, kept their kids home from school and loaded their guns after Fowler died of multiple stab wounds.
Police searched through the rugged terrain, looked in and around homes and checked in on local registered sex offenders and parolees, looking for the tall, muscular man with long, scraggly hair described by the victim's brother.
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