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tv   Nightline  ABC  July 25, 2019 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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this is "nightline." tonight, answers for the beloved old miss student murdered. and dramatic pictures of a take down of the suspect. now the desperate hunt for a motive. plus, brave battle. one year after a devastating diagnosis, what actress selma blair wants people to know. >> i have more joy now than i ever have. >> reporter: and feline frenzy. meet the newest celebrity cat to grace the social media catwalk. hanging out with the perfect crowd and the cattiest character from the "office." >> pyea cat lady, i am a real cat lady. >> reporter: but first, the
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"nightline" five.
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thank you for joining us. new details in the murder case of a young, promising college student. tonight, the clues that helped trigger a multi-state manhunt and an arrest. here's abc's har cumarcus moore.
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>> reporter: she was the girl with the bright smile and even brighter future. this newly released surveillance video may have captured the last images of her alive. >> a college student from st. louis has been found dead in mississippi. >> reporter: the 21 year old college student was found in the remote mississippi woods. her autopsy revealing she died of multiple gunshot wounds. >> foul play is involved. >> reporter: but how she ended up in those woods 30 miles away remained a mystery until police arrested this man. it turns out he was ally's classmate at old miss, seen by her side in this photo in a social media post. >> possibly armed. >> reporter: police in tennessee track him down at this gas station in memphis. >> 23, male. >> reporter: tonight the mystery
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surrounding one woman's horrific murder. it is the summer before her senior year, and alexandria is taking courses at the university of mississippi. known around the country warmly as ole miss in oxford. >> it's an arts town known for color and flavor, a local melting pot. >> reporter: this is the land of football. >> and six for ole miss. >> reporter: tailgates and friday night lights. 21 year old ally was last seen inside a local bar in the town scare. you can see here walking down the street and looking at her phone. police say eventually getting into a ride share. >> she did not go into the bar. she left and went home. that's where the puzzle is still waiting to be pieced together. >> reporter: police say after ally returned home at around midnight she left again a short time later. the next morning, her body was
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found near a popular lake in mississippi, about 30 miles away from the ole miss campus by a deputy on routine patrol. >> this is the spot, the very remote spot where the deputy found her body, off this curvy dirt road that goes toward a fishing post there, and you see how remote this is and the crime tape near the scene, thick woods, and it gives you a sense of the area investigators had been working in as they try to piece together how ally was killed. >> it's not a place where kids hang out. they go and have weekend parties but that area is not normally known for gatherings or parties. when you find any kid is found there it would raise questions. >> reporter: ally's father confirmed the news of his daughter's death on facebook, posting saturday afternoon we were visited by police who communicated to us that our beautiful dear alexandria was the victim of a homicide.
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authorities launched a multi-agency manhunt for the suspect. >> gas station, lafayette county. murder investigation. pinging the suspect's phone. male white in a ford f-150, black, possibly armed. >> 23, male white in custody over here. >> reporter: on monday they get their suspect, brandon. these new melaniimages capture dramatic take down in a tennessee gas station, memphis police with their guns drawn, spotting the suspect in an ole miss baseball shirt, taking him into custody. >> he is being held in our jail without bond. >> reporter: still authorities are being tight-lipped on the details of the crime. is there anything else you want to say that you think is important? >> not at this time. >> law enforcement and prosecutors tth public. they're trying to play out some leads in the case that they believe talking about them
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publicly could j j j j j j j identifies tjeopardyize the case. >> i have never once had a bad conversation, never once felt threatened, never once, you know, thought he was capable of that. >> reporter: the suspect making a court appearance tuesday in an orange jumpsuit and shackles. his father, a doctor, a texas physician is seen here leaving the lafayette, mississippi jail after visiting his son. in a statement to abc affiliate wfaa, the doctor saying i've spoken to brandon, i ask that everyone give him the benefit of the doubt that he is innocent. >> any homicide case, the first thing you look for is any sort of connection or relationship between the victim and the suspect. were they ever a couple? did they ever date? were they in class together? these are all things law enforcement will look for. if that is there, enforcement e
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more to look for, to build their evidence against the suspect. >> reporter: ally's friends meanwhile are remembering her for her warm personality. >> she was one of the most positive, radiant people i've ever met. >> i'm going to miss the fact that she was always there for me if i needed to talk to her. >> reporter: those closest to her still stunned they won't be seeing their friend again. >> everyone misses her, like you wouldn't believe. i just wish she was back. >> reporter: in a statement, the university of mississippi offering its condolences. we extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends and classmates. jake thompson is a reporter for the oxford eagle newspaper here in t iasovering high school r around and cover a high-profile murder investigation. for me it's jarring personally and professionally. >> reporter: on campus, showing us the impact of a life lost. >> this is sorority row.
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one of them has the black ribbons in front of it. in remembrance of ally, their fallen sorority sister. that's the hardest part, the sorority house. you spent your non-class hours in there with each other sharing your lives and stories and best friends, gossiping, all sorts of stuff that you would do with your friends. when they come back, that's going to be a tough day. >> reporter: and i can't help but think, you know, ally spent four years at this school. she was a senior. >> yeah, this was going to be the start of her senior semester next month and was set to wrap up in spring, graduate and move on with the rest of her life. unfortunately, now that doesn't get to happen. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm marcus moore in oxford, mississippi. >> brandon thesefeld remains in
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cat videos are not hard to find online, and some famous felines are breaking the internet. now celebrating our furry friends who really don't care what you think. they know they're number one. >> reporter: this is what fame looks
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meet nahla, the most famous fee line on instagram, with 4.1 million followers, from living it up in sin city to trying on new shades. this cool cat rakes in hundreds of thousands of views and likes and she doesn't even know it. nahla's the newest queen bee in influencers. is she your full time job? >> she's been my full time job for a year now. >> reporter: nahla is the one paying the bills. how much is she making? >> well, enough that we bought two houses. and we have two adopted kids and we have six cats and a dog. >> reporter: wow. from cat video compilations with almost 100 million views to memes and movies, like the viral cats trailer released last week.
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for whatever reason, nothing holds a candle to kittens when it comes to being able to break the internet. and for these divas and their owners, today is the most purrfect day of the year, we're at cat con. from the insta-famous felines themselves to the cat ladies, real and legendary, this is where cat people meet. and i'm a little out of my element. i grew up a little scared of cats. so we're going to see how this works out. cat con boasts center stage for some of the most influential felines in the world. what makes them internet royalty? >> people want something to relate to. >> reporter: susan michaels is the founder of the event in southern california. >> i think like these kitties and what they stand for and even cat de, people need a break. they need something to believe in.
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>> reporter: after meeting up with nahla, it's pretty clear she's living the dream. >> i found her from a shelter, and right now she's the most popular cat on instagram. i think it's because we be authentic and we be ourselves and we try to bring like a good to the world. >> reporter: fresh off of a flight from alberta, canada we caught up with suky, a bengal cat with 1.5 million followers who traveled in with her owners to meet her beloved fans. have you noticed the crazy cat lady is becoming younger? >> it is becoming younger. i think a part of that is social media, finding so many cute cats. >> reporter: catconisn isn't ju about the felines but the owners themselves and we're about to hang with one of the most famous cat ladies of all time. the real-life cat lady version of the character on "the office." >> this is halloween last year.
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just a couple of kittens. out on the town. >> reporter: seriously, so why are you here today? >> why am i here? do you have to ask? because i'm cat lady. i played a cat lady. i am a real cat lady. i love cats. i mean, my character may be a little bit more than myself. i don't know, she has like 13. i've never licked one of my own cats' faces. >> reporter: one thing she brought up is the modern cat lady is changing, what do you think about that? >> the modern cat lady is sassy. i saw a lady who had something that had something you might wear to the met gala, and i think she's sassy, out there, ready to mingle. >> reporter: the cat lady is changing and so is the industry. cat con and the influencer cultu culture are a shifting market
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with millennials making up the majority, about 35% of the group. >> the baby boomer was the number one consumer of pet products until two years ago the and they didn't expect the millennial to usurp it until 2020. and they already have. >> reporter: american owners spent $72 billion on their pets in 2018. >> this we're we have over 200 vendors. and one dollar of every ticket goes to help animals in need. >> reporter: now four years in, cat con featured a record 16 dozen people traveling far and wide with the whole kit and caboodle. >> i have to be a little crazy to travel to meet a bunch of people with a bunch of cats. >> a real-life take away that's memorable. whether it's a catnip toy they buy or a selfie they take. >> reporter: or a cat they adopted. >> or a cat they adopted.
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we' we've gotten 504 cats adopted at cat con. >> reporter: an adoption center, a real chance to find a home for some of these fur balls. and i'm finally making friends. >> this is victoria. >> reporter: victoria? hey, buddy. >> about two months old. just got adopted. so we're super happy for him. and best friends at cat con, we're trying to get over 200 cats and kittens into homes. >> reporter: and they were able to do just that. cat con and best friends successfully found a home for 200 cats. and while i'm over here getting over a lifetime of fears, for the attendees of cat con, today's about living out their furriest of fantasies, strutting their stuff from whiskers to tails. >> i think people love cats because cats do not care about us at all. they're like, i don't care. do what you want to do. you want to take my picture?
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fine. don't care. >> reporter: for "nightline," in pasadena. and next, one year after a shocking diagnosis, the new, inspiring message of strength from actress selma blair. woman 1: this... woman 2: ...this... man 1: ...this is my body of proof. man 2: proof of less joint pain... woman 3: ...and clearer skin. man 3: proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... woman 4: ...with humira. woman 5: humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further irreversible joint damage, and clear skin in many adults. humira is the number one prescribed biologic for psoriatic arthritis. (avo): humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common and if you've had tb, hepatitis b,
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are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. woman 6: ask your rheumatologist about humira. woman 7: go to to see proof in action. woman 7: go to ♪ ♪ ♪
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and finally tonight, selma blair, fighting a dark diagnosis with grace and grit. here's abc's linsey davis. >> reporter: with her signature mega watt smile and rocking her cane as an accessory, a vibrant selma blair opening up to "people" magazine nearly one year after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. >> i have more joy now than i ever have. >> reporter: the actress who said she was suffering from ms years before it was diagnosed last august talks about balancing her health alongside her day to des rousses teen ay . >> when you were first diagnosed what initially went through your mind? >> i cried. i had tears. they weren't tears of panic. they were tears of knowing i now
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have to give in to a body that had lost control. and there was some relief in that. because ever since my son was born, i was no an ms flareup and didn't know. and so when i got the diagnosis, i cried for some relief. oh, good, i'll be able to do something. >> reporter: since then, selma has become an advocate, bravely sharing her struggles, dealing with the disease with millions of fans on social media. >> when i go in the bathroom. i have women, like it's a '80s movie, like woo. i think anytime you come out and have a sense of humor and just show, this is how i'm living my life today and it's okay today. you know, just for some inspiration. >> reporter: back in february, selma discussed how she pushed through some of her darkest
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moments. >> what gets you through those difficult days? >> i get in bed, and i don't move. you just half to. you can't do it all. it's fine to feel really crappy. >> reporter: but also gushing about her son arthur. >> he knows what he wants. he doesn't put up with garbage. yet he's very empathetic and very grounded. sense of humor. he has great hair, good-looking kid. he makes me laugh all the time. i love being with him. >> she is an inspiration. the newest issue of "people" can be found on newsstands this friday. it was maya angelou who said we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. that's "nightline." you can always catch our full episodes on hulu. thanks for the company, america. goodnight.
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