5 things to know this morning

(Photo Credit: Santa Barbara Fire Dept / MGN)

Here are the top five stories from Local 8 News to get you out the door this morning:

1. Police: Man arrested after trying to meet homicide victim's family

A man was arrested after Sweetwater police say he tried to meet the family of a slain mother of four from Loudon.

Dominick Brown was charged by Sweetwater Police with manufacture, delivery, sell or possession of methamphetamine, possessing a firearm during commission of dangerous felony, and simple possession/casual exchange of marijuana stemming from an incident Monday.

The Knoxville Police Department recently considered Brown a person of interest in the shooting death of Kayla Viars. The 27-year-old mother was pronounced dead on January 1 after investigators say she was dropped off at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital with gunshot wounds.

Find the full story here..

2. Judge merges AJ Johnson, Michael Williams rape trials

A judge announced Wednesday that the trials of AJ Johnson and Michael Williams will be consolidated.

Johnson and Williams face rape charges stemming from an alleged incident that happened in November 2014.

Read the full story here.

3. Charges filed: Hamblen County seniors without heat

A Jefferson County woman was arrested for neglect of elderly and vulnerable adults at the southern care group home last Friday, according to Morristown Police.

Arrest warrants showed Whitley Gilbert was arrested for leaving nine elderly residents in the cold without heat for several days.

"It is absolutely ridiculous," said Gilbert. "For one, I never neglect my patients; I sacrifice all my time to give them the best."

Gilbert said the gas was out for one day.

"Last time I checked there was 24 hours in a day, so from Monday to Tuesday," said Gilbert.

Read the full story here

4. Hundreds search for victims of California mudslide

Hundreds of searchers are still hunting for survivors of the flash flooding and mudslides near Santa Barbara, California.

They slogged through ooze and poked long holes into the mud on Wednesday as they searched for victims a day after the massive debris flow passed through.

The death toll from Tuesday's pre-dawn flash flood rose to 17 as more bodies were found. Another 17 were still reported missing.

Authorities are hoped to find them alive.

By Wednesday, some 500 searchers had covered about 75 percent of the inundated area in the search for victims.

5. Missing woman dies in car crash

Two people were killed in a crash involving a freightline truck-tractor on I-40 in Cumberland County on January 6.

According to a report by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, a 2015 Mazda CX9 traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-40 in Cumberland County struck a 2017 Freightliner Truck-Tractor head on at 5:47 a.m. on January 6.

The 2015 Mazda CX9 carrying Samuel D. Foster, 24, and Jessica C. Case, 22, stopped against the guardrail. The truck-tractor driven by Jeremy S. Capps, 37, came to rest against the cable barrier blocking the eastbound lanes.

Read the full story here.