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Kaitlyn Hunt pleads no contest; Elderly couple charged with murder; Paul Oliver commits suicide

National news headlines for the week of September 30, 2013.

Juliana Norwood | 10/4/2013, midnight

Alabama

Detectives are trying to determine why four people were found shot to death in a car on a rural Alabama road. The car, which was parked in a remote area, was spotted Wednesday morning by a woman going to work and then again that night when that woman was heading home, Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris said. That is when she called police. One female and three males were found in the car, Harris said. Authorities released little information on the victims, and Harris said the car was located on a narrow road that is difficult to get to. The vehicle had an out-of-state license plate, Harris said. “Right now we have more questions than answers,” Harris told CNN affiliate WBRC. Winston County is about 80 miles northwest of Birmingham.

California

Last month Google announced a new medical company called Calico, whose explicit aim is to take on aging itself. Calico—or the California Life Company—has been set up to research subjects related to aging and its associated diseases. Announcing Calico at a media briefing, Google said that the new and independent company will largely focus on age-attendant conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease. Larry Page, Google’s ever youthful CEO said: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.” But the question is, what will Calico actually do? At the moment, the company isn’t giving many details away: “(Incoming CEO Arthur Levinson) and I are excited about tackling aging and illness,” Page wrote in his Google+ blog post. But repeated requests from CNN to interview either Page or Levinson were politely declined. In the absence of any real information, many commentators have speculated that Calico will pursue a ‘big-data’ approach to health: gathering massive amounts of information from patients and ‘crunching it’ to help speed the way to healthcare discoveries.

Colorado

Fundraising efforts for victims of the Colorado floods have fallen far short of the billions of dollars in estimated damage. Last month’s historic flood damaged nearly 20,000 homes—roughly 1,500 of which are completely destroyed—and displaced more than 10,000 residents. The total economic toll is estimated to be more than $2 billion, according to Eqecat, which conducts loss estimates for the insurance industry. Yet, major aid organizations have raised less than $7 million for Colorado flood relief thus far. The Red Cross had raised only $3 million as of last Thursday. Meanwhile, the Salvation Army has raised about $1 million through online and phone donations, while a relief fund set up by a local United Way chapter for efforts specifically in Boulder and Broomfield counties has raised just $2.1 million. “We still have a long way to go to be able to provide the recovery assistance we project in the coming months,” said Heather Spencer, communications manager for the Foothills United Way.

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Kaitlyn Hunt

Florida

Kaitlyn Hunt, the 19-year-old who has been jailed in Florida over a sexual relationship she had with a 14-year-old girl, pleaded no contest Thursday to five charges as part of a deal brokered by prosecutors and her attorneys. Hunt pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor contributing to the dependency of a child and two counts of felony interference with child custody. Hunt has been in jail since Aug. 20 for violating a court order not to contact the alleged victim. Under the terms of the agreement, Hunt will be sentenced to four months in jail, to be followed by two years of house arrest with electronic monitoring, and nine months of monitored probation after that, according to prosecutor Brian Workman. If she has no violations, she will not be a convicted felon under Florida law, and she will have the possibility of sealing her file and having the case expunged after 10 years, he said.