Web Stories Friday, March 1

An investigation into minors working dangeorus jobs. What Iowa success would look like for each Republican candidate. And a family vlogger charged with child abuse is expected to take a plea deal.

Minor who died at poultry plant used 32-year-old’s identity to get the job 

via Facebook

Questions about Duvan Perez’s true identity were raised within hours of his death on July 14, after he was killed by equipment at Mar-Jac Poultry in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He was soon determined to be 16 years old.

It turns out he’d gotten the cleaning job using the identity of a 32-year-old man — a new revelation highlighting the ease with which migrant children are finding work in a dangerous industry, and the challenges companies face in trying to evaluate their true ages.

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The number of children working illegally has skyrocketed across all industries, according to the Labor Department, nearly doubling since 2019. More than 800 child labor investigations in 47 states are ongoing across industries, according to the agency. And at Mar-Jac, Perez may not have been the only worker to use a stolen identity to obtain a job.

Read the latest in NBC News’ investigation into child labor in America. 

How each GOP candidate can succeed in Iowa

politics politicians
Getty Images; AP

Former President Donald Trump is viewed as the far and away favorite to win Iowa in the Jan. 15 caucuses. But for other candidates, success in Iowa doesn’t need to mean a first-place win. Early-state presidential politics are built on expectations, and that’s largely dictated by not just a media narrative, but also by how much each candidate has invested in the state compared to the outcome. Interviews with more than two dozen strategists, campaign officials, neutral Republicans and potential caucusgoers highlighted how there are two, or possibly three, tickets that can get punched out of Iowa with meaningful momentum.

Ruby Franke expected to enter plea agreement in child abuse case

Ruby Franke, in a selfie posted to her posted to her @moms_of_truth account.
@moms_of_truth via Instagram

The former family vlogger Ruby Franke is expected to enter a plea agreement today in Washington County, Utah, after being charged in September with six counts of felony child abuse. The mother of six had an audience of over 2 millions subscribers before her family YouTube channel “8 Passengers” was removed. She and her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt were arrested in August after police found one of Franke’s children with open wounds after escaping from Hildebrandt’s home, and another one of her children in similar malnourished condition at Hildebrandt’s home.

Parents didn’t know why their children had lead poisoning until applesauce recall 

Families found themselves frantically searching their homes for sources of lead, desperately trying to understand how their children had been exposed after being diagnosed lead poisoning. It wasn’t until WanaBana announced it was recalling its apple cinnamon fruit puree due to elevated lead levels, that parents started connecting the dots. “This was a mystery to us,” one parent wrote in an adverse event report received by the FDA on Nov. 6. 

There isn’t any known safe blood lead level in children, according to the CDC. How long and how much lead exposure a child needs before they develop cognitive or nervous system issues is still an open question, but it’s difficult to spot since most exposed to it have no immediate symptoms.

Major storm closes in on East Coast with heavy rain and hazardous winds expected

Cities along the East Coast are starting to feel some impacts from a major storm system that is expected to bring torrential rain, high winds and severe thunderstorms. The system battered Florida and South Carolina this weekend, causing record-high levels of rainfall and leaving thousands without power.

As the wet weather moves up the Eastern Seaboard, cities from Washington, D.C. to Maine have issued warnings for today over significant rainfall and impacted travel. 

A database of some of Hinds County’s unclaimed dead

It started with Dexter Wade, the Mississippi man who was buried in a pauper’s field after he died in March without his family’s knowledge. Then, NBC News reporter Jon Schuppe heard from another Hinds County family who didn’t know if where their son was. A third man was buried in the pauper’s field without authorities notifying his mother. Now, other families are left wondering if their missing loved ones were buried without ceremony in this desolate stretch of land, beyond a horse stable and a scrapyard.

In an effort to help families find answers, NBC News is publishing a list of pauper’s burials in Hinds County since 2016.

Politics in Brief

Joe Biden: A sedan ran into a Secret Service vehicle that was part of President Joe Biden’s motorcade in Delaware. The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear, but the president was unharmed. 

Florida GOP: The Republican Party of Florida voted to functionally strip all power from current Chairman Christian Ziegler, who remains under investigation for allegations of sexual assault.

Immigration: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott has divided Democrats on immigration by busing migrants to ‘’sanctuary cities,’’ leaving some at a breaking point. Abbott isn’t showing signs of stopping, but Democrats are now warning the situation is dire. 

Election 2024: Nikki Haley went after Ron DeSantis directly at an Iowa town hall as the feud between the two continues to escalate. 

Super PAC shakeup: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ key strategist at his Never Back Down super PAC, Jeff Roe, decided to step down from the position. Roe said he could not “in good conscience stay affiliated with Never Back Down” in a statement posted on social media.

Staff Pick: Most think U.S. crime is rising. It isn’t.Crime in the United States has declined significantly over the last year, according to new FBI data. Yet 77% of Americans and 92% of Republicans think crime is rising. An expert blames a familiar culprit. Mark Schone, managing editor of investigations

In Case You Missed It

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The end of the weekend can be a drag for those who prefer a great outdoor adventure. Whether it’s hiking, camping or gardening in your backyard, these gifts for outdoor lovers and adventurers will be put to good use.

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