Editor's note: Nancy Grace's new show on HLN, "Nancy Grace: America's Missing," is dedicated to finding 50 people in 50 days. As part of the effort, which relies heavily on audience participation, CNN.com's news blog This Just In will feature the stories of the missing.
This is the 49th case, and it was shown Thursday night on HLN.
Monica Carrasco was 16 years old when she disappeared in the middle of the night from her aunt and uncle's home in Balmorhea, Texas, in October 2003.
The last time they'd seen her was around 1:30 a.m., before she went to sleep. The room she was staying in had a door to the outside, which wasn't locked when officers checked the home.
Monica was said to have had difficulty dealing with the death of her father three years earlier. She was under a doctor's care and needed medication.
Canines with the border patrol did a sweep of the area and were unable to pick up any scent of her. Since then, police have received thousands of tips, but none that have led anywhere.
The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.
Woman sentenced for baby's sex abuse via webcam: A Maine judge handed down a 15-year prison sentence to a woman convicted of sexually abusing her 2-year-old daughter and streaming the acts over the internet to a teenager in the United Kingdom.
Quake hits Myanmar: A powerful earthquake hit Myanmar Thursday near its borders with China, Thailand and Laos, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
15 places kids should see by age 15: A definitive list of 15 must-see attractions for anyone under 15 that are fun, educational, and especially magical through the eyes of a child.
More U.S. states find traces of radiation: Colorado and Oregon have joined several other Western states in reporting trace amounts of radioactive particles that have likely drifted about 5,000 miles from a quake and tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant in Japan, officials say.
Two jetliners land without traffic control: Two planes landed safely early Wednesday morning at Washington's Reagan National Airport after they were unable to reach anyone at the airport's air traffic control tower, according to the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
CNN Situation Room correspondent Brian Todd, producer Dugald McConnell and photojournalist Doug Schantz spent a week embedded with a USAID search-and-rescue team from Fairfax County, Virginia. The team traveled in some of the most devastated areas in Japan searching for bodies and survivors. Unfortunately, the team found no survivors in the rubble. Here's Brian's reporter's notebook. (The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer airs weekdays 5-7 p.m. ET and Saturday 6 p.m. ET):
I think what stands out most in my memory is the images of standing in the middle of the rubble. The pictures we saw were amazing. To stand in the middle of it and look around at the complete devastation and realize the force of the water, and what it must have been like to stand there and watch everything just get swept away, that was just an amazing sensation.
It was also amazing to look at the people coming back and picking through their houses, that just weren't even there anymore, looking for remnants of their lives. One of the rescuers told me that can be a way of preventing themselves from falling into depression: to find a remnant of their past lives in order to start anew.
The biggest challenges were sometimes just walking 10 or 15 feet over the rubble. I'm following one of the rescuers, to try to bring that home to viewers. It can be tricky going sometimes - stepping over something, squeezing through openings or crossing a pile of rubble.
Another challenge was transmitting our material, where there is no power or internet or cell service. We used batteries and generators and a machine called a b-gan, which let us transmit by connecting our laptop to the internet using a small satellite antenna. It has to be outside and costs about $16 a minute. The other challenge was consuming the MREs, meals ready to eat, in plastic pouches. You're eating what the soldiers eat in wartime. We were eating this every day for about eight days.
But those challenges were nothing compared to the difficulties the people we saw faced in the disaster and will face in rebuilding.
Spring may have officially sprung, but snow is still on the ground in 24 states.
Much of the snow covering the United States has resulted from days or even weeks of accumulated snowfall. But residents in parts of the Northeast, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies woke up Thursday to snow falling outside.
Not all that surprising, considering the long winter most of us have experienced, which included at least one day when 49 of 50 states were covered in snow.
The latest developments on the situation in Libya, where coalition forces launched a series of coordinated airstrikes on Saturday after they were convinced Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was not adhering to a cease-fire mandated by the United Nations. Read our complete story and check out our full coverage on unrest in the Arab world. Also, don't miss a gripping, high-resolution gallery of images from Libya.
[7:52 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:52 a.m. Friday in Libya] White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement Thursday welcoming the "important contribution by the United Arab Emirates to the enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 in Libya," referring to the UAE's announcement that it will contribute 12 military aircraft to the operation. He added: "This critical participation by the UAE further underscores the broad, international support for the protection of the Libyan people."
[7:13 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:13 a.m. Friday in Libya] All 28 NATO allies have authorized military authorities to develop a plan for NATO to take on the broader mission of civilian protection under U.N. Resolution 1973, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday. Clinton said she will travel to London to attend an international meeting on Libya on Tuesday.
[7:04 p.m. ET Thursday, 1:04 a.m. Friday in Libya] The international coalition is in control of the skies above Libya and humanitarian relief is beginning to reach people who need it, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.
The number of U.S. planes being used has decreased significantly while the number of non-U.S. planes has increased, she said. Troops have pushed back Gadhafi's forces but they remain "a serious threat to the safety of the people," Clinton said.
[6:45 p.m. ET Thursday, 12:45 a.m. Friday in Libya] Command of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya is expected to be handed over to NATO by Sunday night, NATO sources told CNN Thursday.
Elizabeth Taylor's funeral on Thursday caught many media outlets by surprise, prompting news helicopters, news vans and crews to scramble in front of Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.
We waited outside the wrought-iron gates under threatening skies in for nearly two hours for the funeral procession of five black limos.
Still photographers with long lenses lined both sides of the street, shutters clicking while camera crews shot the limos as they glided through the entrance.
The procession was small and quick. There was no hearse, and a law enforcement officer later confirmed the family rode in the limos.
These are the same gates where we, members of the media, stood in front of when pop star Michael Jackson was buried. The longtime friends will be entombed in the same building.
The family leaves after saying its final goodbyes, and so do we, before the rain starts.
Gregg Canes is a photojournalist for CNN in Los Angeles.
Shoppers at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Los Angeles are worried about food contamination amid concerns over airborne radiation from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant reaching California.
Mei Lee, 26, is stocking up on nori, the Japanese name for dried seaweed, and udon noodles. She rummages through shopping bags and holds up several packs of nori.
"This is from the ocean, it’s not very far from the nuclear power plant, so I’m worried about radiation" she says.
The air traffic controller involved in the radio silence incident at Reagan National Airport fell asleep as planes approached the airport for landing, the National Transportation Safety Board says.
The controller, who had 20 years experience, 17 of those at Reagan, told officials he had fallen asleep for a period of time while on duty, according to an NTSB statement. The controller was working his fourth consecutive overnight shift (10p-6a.) The NTSB says it has opened an investigation.FULL STORY
Plato, Missouri, population 109, is the new geographic center of the population of the United States.
U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves congratulated the southeast Missouri town during a news conference Thursday.
"2010 is a special decade in our nation’s history," Groves said. "The center of the population has moved in a southerly direction in the most extreme way we've ever seen."
A fire ignited by lava from the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island is threatening what a National Park Service spokesman calls "a living laboratory of Hawaiian plants and animals," the Star-Advertiser in Honolulu reports.
The fire, which began on March 5, has burned 100 acres of a 2,750-acre special ecological area in a lowland rain forest, according to the Park Service.
Among the creatures in the area are happy face spiders, carnivorous caterpillars and the endangered Hawaiian bat, the newspaper said, citing Park Service fire information spokesman Gary Wuchner.
"It best represents what Hawaii was, and is a seed source for plants and refuge for birds," Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Mardi Lane told the Star-Advertiser.
Forty Park Service firefighters from Hawaii and western mainland states are battling the fire, according to the report.
The retired physician is being called "Bakersfield College's $14 million man." Levan gave the California school the largest known gift to a community college in U.S. history, according to KGET. Administrators were floored by the generous act. "We're staring down these budget scenarios that are just absolutely frightening and potentially devastating to our students," said Amber Chiang, spokeswoman for Bakersfield College.
Levan, who amassed a fortune through investments, is a dermatologist who used to treat former college President John Collins. The Bakersfield Californian said he has made massive donations to other higher education institutions around the world.
Levan's thoughts on his gift: "Relieved! I'd hate to die rich!"
The legendary actress shared profound — and often blush-worthy — insights about the late Elizabeth Taylor on Wednesday night during an exclusive interview with HLN's Joy Behar. Reynolds last spoke to Taylor two weeks ago, she said, adding that the actress was in great pain before her death. Reynolds also cherished their longtime friendship, which survived a scandal that made them the Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie of their era.
"No one could equal Elizabeth's beauty," Reynolds said. "Women liked her, and the men adored her — I know, because my husband left me for her." In 1959, singer Eddie Fisher left Reynolds and her two young children, Todd and actress and novelist Carrie Fisher, for Taylor.
"Elizabeth and I were able to get all past that," Reynolds said. "She did a really nice creation with her life. She went on to work for AIDS (to) become very charitable, (and) get off the path of man-hunting."
CAPT. MARK KELLY
On Wednesday, NASA abruptly canceled several one-on-one media interviews that were to occur Thursday in Houston with the space shuttle commander. Kelly said he was concerned that the questions would focus not on the upcoming Endeavour launch but on the condition of his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Giffords is undergoing rehabilitation after being shot in the head January 8 at an event in Tucson, Arizona. Six other people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, were killed. Previous interviews with Kelly's brother and fellow astronaut Scott Kelly have focused on Giffords, a NASA spokeswoman said.
Kelly will appear with the other crew members during a news conference at 3 p.m. ET, which CNN will air live.
VCU and Richmond have made their Virginia hometown proud. The teams are preparing to do battle in Sweet 16 matches against Florida State and Kansas, respectively. Mayor Dwight Jones said, "It's kind of like Christmas here." No matter how the games shake out, one thing is certain, as SI.com’s Ann Killion points out: This tournament season couldn’t have been better for the city of Richmond.
Killion elaborates, "The city of about 200,000 has as many basketball teams left playing as the vaunted Big East. VCU's athletics website spiked from 800,000 hits a day to 2.5 million over the weekend, causing concern it might crash. (Coach) Shaka Smart and VCU were national trending topics on Twitter. Traffic is up 48 percent on the admissions page of the Richmond website. Players are getting standing ovations in class. Coaches can't order lunch without the other patrons gushing over them.”
There is no doubt that the universities have their differences, but their ability to the overcome low seeds and even lower expectations with two of the most talked-about young coaches in the game has made them teams to contend with.
The U.S. military's European Command is ordering all U.S. troops in Europe not to wear their uniforms outside military installations, the newspaper Stars and Stripes reports.
The order comes three weeks after a gunman opened fire on a U.S. Air Force bus at Frankfurt, Germany's, main airport, killing two U.S. airmen. It also comes as U.S. forces in Europe help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, which is across the Mediterranean Sea from Europe. That operation is led by U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
“The directive specifically forbids the wear of uniforms for travel between duty and domicile, short convenience stops, conduct of physical fitness, travel between installations, and off post messing,” the Stripes report quotes an order issued over Armed Forces Network - Europe as saying.
Who knew a child's peanut allergy would start a parental smackdown, or that a cell phone could deflect a bullet? In today's Gotta Watch videos, find out why a school's allergy guidelines have caused a parental uproar; how a cell phone can save a life and get a sneak peek at the next big thing in social networking.
Parental peanut controversy – A 6-year-old girl’s peanut allergy has ignited a parental firestorm at one school. When a public school took steps to save a student from potentially fatal contact with peanuts, parents picketed to remove the rules. How far should a school go to protect a child from a deadly allergen?
A powerful earthquake hit Myanmar Thursday near its borders with China, Thailand and Laos, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The quake hit in eastern Myanmar, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) north of Chiang Rai, Thailand, the survey reported.
It had a magnitude of 6.8, the survey said, revising the estimate down from an initial reading of 7.0.
It was a relatively shallow quake, which can be very destructive.
The Geological Survey initially said the quake had a depth of 142 miles (230 kilometers), but it later revised its estimate to say the quake was 6 miles (10 kilometers) deep, putting it fairly close to the surface.
A young finless porpoise was rescued this week from a flooded rice paddy in Ishinomaki, Japan – where it had apparently been dumped by the March 11 tsunami – and released into the ocean, according to news reports.
Pet-shop owner Ryo Taira told Reuters a motorist spotted the animal in a field two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the coast on Tuesday. The man called Taira, who has been coming to the aid of animal victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
Tairo said he waded into the field and grabbed the porpoise.
"It was pretty weak by then, which was probably the only reason we could catch it," Reuters quoted him as saying.
Elizabeth Taylor tributes – Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday, is remembered not only for her beauty and her acting career, but also for her early AIDS activism and her sometimes overlooked time as a glamorous political wife in Washington. Recently retired CNN interviewer Larry King called his friend Taylor "a helluva woman."
Obama returns home to criticism over Libya – President Barack Obama is back in the White House after his five-day trip to Latin America. Waiting for him on his return was a letter from House Speaker John Boehner that criticizes the administration's handling of the situation in Libya. "Military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," Boehner wrote. Other conservatives also criticized the conduct of the attacks, as did liberals in Congress: "We will fight in Congress to ensure the United States does not become embroiled in yet another destabilizing military quagmire in Libya with no clear exit plan or diplomatic strategy for peace," a group of them said.
Japan disaster – The level of radioactive iodine in Tokyo's water has dropped significantly, the city says, and Japan's top OB/GYN group says it's OK for pregnant and nursing women to drink it. However, Russia, Hong Kong, the United States and others are restricting Japanese food imports. Meanwhile, damage-control work has resumed at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where black smoke had forced workers out on Wednesday.
Conrad Murray prosecution – Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday in the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused of giving the late pop singer Michael Jackson a fatal dose of anesthesia. Hundreds of potential jurors will be screened in Los Angeles County Superior Court. They will be given extended questionnaires about their knowledge of the case and other issues. The trial is slated to begin May 9.
Space shuttle Endeavour – The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday in Houston ahead of next month's final mission for the spacecraft. Mark Kelly, husband of wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will command the mission, set for launch April 19 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the international space station and the final mission for Endeavour, as the shuttle program ends this year.
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the conflict in Libya and the nuclear crisis in Japan.
Today's programming highlights...
8:30 am ET - Libya debate at House of Commons - British Foreign Secretary William Hague will discuss the Libya conflict when he addresses the House of Commons in London.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit northern Japan on March 11, triggering tsunamis that caused widespread devastation and crippled a nuclear power plant. Are you in an affected area? Send an iReport. Read the full report on the quake's aftermath and check out our interactive explainer on Japan's damaged nuclear reactors.
[10:49 p.m. ET Thursday, 11:49 a.m. Friday in Tokyo] The death toll from this month's earthquake and subsequent tsunami has now topped 10,000 people, Japan's National Police Agency said.
The agency said that 10,035 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the March 11 disaster, as of 11 a.m. Friday. Some 17,443 are still considered missing.
[9:56 p.m. ET Thursday, 10:56 a.m. Friday in Tokyo] The water that three men were recently exposed to while working at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had 10,000 times the amount of typical radiation for that location, an official with Japan's nuclear and industrial safety agency said Friday.
The high reading indicates that the fuel inside the No. 3 reactor "is damaged," Hidehiko Nitsayama said. At least two of the workers were hospitalized after stepping in the water Thursday while laying cable in the turbine building of the No. 3 reactor.
Nitsayama explained that the water in this place is typically boiled and has very low levels of radiation. He said that government officials have contacted authorities with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which manages the plant, to urge the company to "improve its radiation management measures."
[9:51 p.m. ET Thursday, 10:51 a.m. Friday in Tokyo] Japan's health ministry says radiation above the legal limit has been detected in a vegetable grown in Tokyo, NHK reports. Radioactive cesium was found Thursday in a leafy vegetable taken from a field in Edogawa ward. The vegetable, called Komatsuna, or Japanese mustard spinach, contained 890 becquerels per kilogram, exceeding the legal limit of 500. This is the first time that radioactive cesium exceeding the legal limit has been found in a Tokyo vegetable.
[8:20 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:20 a.m. Friday in Tokyo] Nissan Motor Co. said it is considering shipping engines made in the United States to Japan to replace lost production at its quake-hit plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Kyodo News reports. Production at the Iwaki engine plant has been suspended due to the effects of the March 11 earthquake. The automaker said it is looking into whether its engine plant in Tennessee can supply V-6 engines to Japan.
[8:04 p.m. ET Thursday, 9:04 a.m. Friday in Tokyo] Tohoku Electric Power Co., which covers areas hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunamis, says it will forgo rolling blackouts through April 3 after being able to secure enough electricity partly through conservation efforts, Kyodo News reports. Tokyo Electric Power Co. started its own blackouts in some service areas, including Tokyo, from March 14. The unprecedented measure will continue at least through April.
[3:44 p.m. ET Thursday, 4:44 a.m. Friday in Tokyo] The outlook is generally good for two workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, who were hospitalized after they stepped in contaminated water, experts said Thursday, provided they were promptly decontaminated.
Three workers were laying cables Wednesday in the basement of the turbine building for reactor No. 3 when they stepped into the water, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters. It seeped into the ankle-height boots of two of the men, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant. Those two men, one in his 30s and a second in his 20s, were taken to Fukushima Medical University Hospital, officials said. The third was not hospitalized, because his boots were higher and covered his skin, avoiding contact, according to Tokyo Electric.