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October 2003


2 October 2003

Police in Kenya report that Alfonse Mumbo accused his wife, Penina, of having an extramarital affair. Officers said that, deciding to teach her a lesson while she was out and wanting "to give her a free hand to go after other men", he used a kitchen knife to remove his penis and testicles. Penina, who insists that she was not having an affair, came home a few minutes later and found the 38-year-old former barber unconscious in a pool of blood.
The Kajulu Wath Orego man later told the East African Standard that "I found myself disgusted with the penis and decided to cut it off. ... The knife was too sharp and before I realised what I had done, it was too late."

A Port Huron, Michigan, woman faces charges of throwing her seven-month-old baby out a window. LaFayre Marie Banks is accused of throwing the child from a bathroom window in her second-floor apartment, causing the infant severe internal and head injuries. The 32-year-old Banks denied the allegations, explaining that she was bathing the child when it reared up and went through the window. The child has been placed with a foster family.

The BBC report that a couple in Czerniejow, Poland, were arrested after five babies were found in a vat of pickled cabbage in their basement. The babies, found by DNA tests to be the couple's offspring, "were born live and killed shortly after birth, over a period from 1992 to 2003", according to prosecutor's spokesman Andrzej Lepieszko. The couple, identified as Jolanta, 38 and Andrzej K., 44, have four living children, aged between 12 and 17. Two of them found the bodies while playing in the basement. Prosecutors say Andrzej denied knowing that his wife had been pregnant. Jolanta disappeared after initial reports were filed.

A brother and sister in Cherokee County, Alabama, apparently wanted money to buy crack cocaine when they visited their great-grandfather, Ernest C. Goza, at 4 a.m. Jennifer Gaza, 27, spoke with the 89-year-old Ernest, then let brother Waylon into the home to beat him with a wooden stick. After making off with his wallet, which contained $250, the siblings left Ernest for dead. DeKalb County Sheriff Cecil Reed said "it took all his strength to get up and go over to his son's house for help". He spent three days in the trauma unit in a Tennessee hospital.

Keith Howarth grew tired of the dead ash tree outside his clothing store in downtown Royal Oak, Michigan, and hoped city officials would replace it. In an attempt to attract attention to the leafless tree, which he claims was healthy until city workers repaired the pavement next to it so it couldn't get water, he hung 50 or so brassieres from the branches. Tom Trice, recreation and public services director, said there is no money to replace the tree. City Attorney Chuck Semchena says Howarth had to remove his bras or face the consequences.

A 70-year-old man's car was stolen in Camden, New Jersey, and recovered by police the same day. That didn't help its owner. Mayor Gwendolyn Faison began using the car as her official vehicle. In the wake of bad publicity surrounding her refusal to return the car to its rightful owner, Faisan returned the Lincoln Town Car after a few weeks. In a subsequent audit ordered by County Prosecutor Vincent P. Sarubbi, it was revealed that the police department was using two other stolen cars. Sarubbi has cleared the mayor of any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors in Olathe, Kansas, said a nine-year-old boy was being punished for stealing biscuits when he died. The boy's adoptive father, 48-year-old Neil Edgar Sr., had the help of his wife Christy and nanny Chasity Boyd, 20, in duct-taping the child from head to toe, leaving only his nose exposed. The Edgars had to go to the store and buy more duct tape at one point. The child suffocated on his vomit after they left him for the night. Christy pleaded guilty last week, while Neil and Boyd were tried and found guilty of first-degree murder and child abuse. The defence argued that Christy had manipulated members of Neil's storefront church, who considered her a prophet, and told them God said to discipline children by tying them up. The dead child's siblings said they had been tied up but thought it a reasonable form of punishment.

Officials in Georgia say Curtis Grayer Jr., 37, killed his baby the day after it was born and dumped the body in a lake. While the boy's body hasn't been found in the lake, his teddy bear has (along with an ATM, several tyres, and a 'phone booth). Grayer's wife, Sheila Hearns, said Grayer had told her and her 10-year-old daughter not to get attached to the boy, but the 10-year-old girl - the baby's mother - had made a crude birth certificate for him. Hearns added that she and her daughter were often locked in the home and not allowed to leave on their own. Grayer denies the allegations.

Appearing on the panel debate programme Crossfire, CNN commentator Tucker Carlson spoke in support of telemarketers. Asked if he would reveal his home 'phone number on the air, Tucker did provide a number - that of rival Fox News's Washington bureau. Deluged with 'phone calls, Fox posted Carlson's unlisted home 'phone number on its Web site. When Carlson complained to Fox about the obscene calls he was receiving, he was told that an on-air apology would be enough for his name to be removed.
After Carlson apologised, Fox spokeswoman Irena Briganti said "correcting this mistake was good journalism". Speaking to The Washington Post, Carlson called Fox News "a mean, sick group of people".

According to Australia's Herald Sun, a 25-year-old Victoria man was seriously injured when he and some friends were trying out different methods of blowing up pumpkins in a Chelsea Heights home. A police spokesman said it seemed "the man had ignited a fuse that failed to activate the material", so the man hit the stubborn firecracker with a hammer. The firecracker exploded, damaging his hand. He was taken to Frankston Hospital.

Parachutist George Parker of Bristolville, Ohio, jumped from a plane successfully but missed his landing area at Gates Airfield. The 52-year-old Parker landed in the path of the aeroplane, which had itself just landed. His parachute lines became caught on the right wing. Parker is in critical condition.

A candle started a fire in a Madison, Wisconsin, frat house, but firefighteres couldn't figure out what had caused an alarm to sound. Fire department spokesman Jon Frank said, "The members of the house weren't real forthcoming with information on where the fire was". Firefighters were later called back to the house, which is a National Historic Landmark. Eventually, it was discovered that the blaze was in a hidden room off the basement. The room, which can be accessed only by an entrance under the back yard, was used for Sigma Phi rituals.

The Arizona Republic tells of Delano Yanes, who was the subject of reports to the police and Child Protective Services in April. An investigation showed that his five-month-old child, Elijah Alexander, had a broken arm, which the family blamed on the boy's four-year-old sister. Six months later, Delano called paramedics to report that he'd found his son in his playpen not breathing and had tried to perform CPR. An autopsy revealed that the child's heart had ruptured when he was sodomised. The 25-year-old Delano was taken into custody.

William Tremmel used the nearest portable toilet on Virginia Beach; however, it belonged to construction workers who were tired of passers-by using it. Tremmel, 68, claims that a Weeks Marine worker drove an earth-mover or similar vehicle in front of the door so he couldn't leave again. Weeks says the employee was within his rights. Tremmel is suing for $100,000 in connection with the incident, during which he says he was locked inside the portable toilet for 25 minutes and was shouted at by the worker's foreman. Weeks disputes the latter claims.

Dakeysha Lee was sent to prison but didn't tell anyone that her two-year-old daughter was in her Jacksonville, Florida, apartment. Three weeks after the 22-year-old Lee was sent to prison, the child's father, Ogden, found the malnourished girl in the apartment, where she had survived by eating mustard, ketchup, rice, and raw pasta, according to police. Ogden says his wife, from whom he is separated, had told him by telephone from prison that their daughter was with neighbours.

Prague's Tomas Kaspar didn't want to have children, but girlfriend Jitka Bouchalova did. In 1999, Bouchalova asked Kaspar to provide sperm samples to a clinic so her doctors could devise a more effective form of birth control for the couple. Later, she was artificially inseminated using the sperm and gave birth to twins. After Bouchalova and Kaspar broke up, Bouchalova sued Kaspar for child support. Bouchalova told the court that Kaspar couldn't have believed her story, as "when you enter a fertility clinic ... do you think you are there to decide about birth control?". A court ruled that Bouchalova and the Gest Fertility Clinic misused Kaspar's sperm, and he was awarded the equivalent of $36,800 in compensation. He has begun paying child support since the ruling.

Marcus Tian Washington was caught hiding marijuana in his underwear while serving time for hitting a man with a bottle and shooting at him. Before a judge for sentencing, Washington decided to take advantage of the situation. The 25-year-old West Chester, Pennsylvania, native decided to be married by the judge after she added six to 23 months to his prison term. Judge Paula Francisco Ott repeatedly asked 19-year-old Timalin Douglass, who wore a beaded wedding dress, if she was sure she wanted to marry Washington, who wore shackles for the occasion. Washington will be in jail for at least three more years.

A woman in Johannesburg, South Africa, thought it would be funny to send SMSes to her boyfriend in which she claimed to have been kidnapped and abandoned in the north-eastern part of the city. As a result of the three text messages, 20 police vehicles from various units and two helicopters searched for the woman for about four hours. While 100 officers looked for her, the woman was sitting in her father's car. Rudolf Mastenbroek of the office of the national Director of Public Prosecutions said a charge relating to defeating the course of justice could be laid.

Three boys in Pascagoula, Mississippi, were injured by an undetonated shell that remained on the beach after the local Fourth of July celebration. Heaven Price, the mother of two of the boys, ages nine and 10, is suing Precision Pyrotechnics, who she claims were negligent. The boys were burned after they opened the shell and its tubes, then applied a cigarette lighter to the contents. Police Sgt. George Tillman stated in a report that he was told that Gregory Powe, the father of the third boy, had told the children to "see if it will light". Powe said he didn't realize that saying that could prompt the boys to light the powder.

In Morrilton, Arkansas, police officer Sonny Stover changed his 'phone number. He then received several calls from someone who insisted on buying a 'quarter bag'. Police set up a sting operation, which netted Victor Purifoy, who has been charged with misdemeanour possession of marijuana. According to AP reports, his trial has been set for Monday.

Jeremy Lepianka of Syracuse, New York, called for backup when he pulled over a pickup truck and the occupants fled. According to police spokesman Lt. Joe Cecile, the 22-year-old Lepianka "told investigators he had been working as a volunteer deputy for about two years", with an emphasis on traffic violations. Lepianka, who has pulled over several motorists and lectured them while posing as a police officer, was also charged with criminal possession of pepper spray.

Alabama's Kenneth Hood, 47, was drinking with friends by a river when one of them accidentally backed a sport-utility vehicle into the water. Hood pulled friend Obie Jordan from the vehicle and called the police. When officers showed up, they arrested Hood and two others at the scene for public intoxication. Spanish Fort's police chief, David Edgar, said, "I guess it does seem a little harsh, but if he and his friends wouldn't have been drunk, his friend wouldn't have been in the water".

At his sons' insistence, homeless West Virginia handyman Jimmie Lovett bought a $5 rubber duck and entered Charleston's rubber duck derby. He won $10,000 and used the money to buy a trailer. Lovett, 42, has now been sentenced to a year's home confinement for driving a friend's car while drunk in June. Unable to pay the county's home confinement fees, which aren't normally waived, he will spend the year in jail instead. Meanwhile, the final $1500 on his mortgage will go unpaid. "I'm going to be right back where I started", says Lovett, who nonetheless looks forward to the jail's alcohol addiction programme and "feel[s] like I've got to pay a debt".

Police are on the lookout for Steve Danos, 24, who is accused of entering 12 young women's apartments in the Louisiana State University area and watching then sleep. One said the intruder wrapped his arms around her while she was sleeping. When the women woke up, sometimes he would ask them where the after-party was. Sometimes he folded clothes or arranged shoes. Danos was arrested in March in connection with a similar incident. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge, he paid $940 and agreed to stay away from the victim and her apartment complex.

Parents at a school in Sotra, western Norway, contacted the police when they saw a nine-year-old park a car and go to class. In the car was a 27-year-old man who is a friend of the boy's parents and who had been asked to start driving him to school. The child has apparently driven the car to school before. Officer Thomas Sørensen told Bergensavisen, "According to the 27-year-old, the boy is a good driver". Neither has a driver's licence.

Reuters reports on a presentation on the work of a children's cancer society in Mexico. First lady Marta Sahagun was among those treated to the charity's slide show, which featured pictures of naked men and women. The incident, blamed on a technical error, is thought to have occurred because the pictures might have been saved in the wrong location on a computer used during the presentation.

Janine Bloom, a 21-year-old mother from Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been sentenced to life in prison for smothering her six-month-old son with her hand. After the killing, Bloom allegedly had sex with her husband's best friend, Jeremy Ellis, in the next room. Defence attorneys suggested that Ellis or SIDS caused the death. A suicide note that Bloom addressed to two other boyfriends and her husband on the day after the child's death was read into evidence.

Finally, in a report from Australia's NEWS.com.au, a five-year-old girl had a surprise for 'show and tell' at school. The Darwin, Northern Territory, student showed the class how to make a bong out of a Coke bottle. One teacher said, "Usually it's just a bit of dope - they've probably nicked it from their mum's purse and brought it along to show off". Police did not name the school involved.

9 October 2003

Joe Francis of Crescent City, California, headed to Oregon to buy a new car on the day after his truck was stolen from outside his workplace. He noticed his truck headed in the opposite direction and tailed the vehicle until the driver pulled in at a home. Francis then drove the truck away. He explained, "I knew the key gets stuck in the ignition, so I figured it would be in there. That's probably why it got stolen in the first place." When he rang the California Highway Patrol, the miscreant, a parolee, was placed under arrest.

Approximately 1200 people attended an open house at the new Ontario County Jail in New York. Sheriff Phil Povero said, "Unfortunately, in some areas, if the door closed behind them, they got locked in". Some people accidentally locked themselves in a cell, and another group was locked in a storage room. "People were impressed with the security", Povero said.

This is an unusually heartwarming story for the Clippings. Tennessee's Shirley Martin stabbed her boyfriend, Larry Henry, with an eight-inch butcher's knife when she thought he was looking up the skirt of another woman. Martin, who was sentenced to two months in prison for assault, testified that Henry had bitten her finger in the incident as well. State prosecutor Tiffani Taylor said that the pair have "worked out their differences, and they plan to get married next month".

Barbara Harris, 63, weighed over 500 pounds when she died. The Norwood, Ohio, woman's family say they checked with the funeral director to be sure the casket would be large enough. Mercedes Norris said she and other family members were told that all would be fine. At the burial, however, "they asked me to lay on the top of the casket [with a funeral home employee] to try to get the lock down", in the words of Harris's grandson, Joe Moreno. Michael Harris said these efforts failed, leaving a three- or four-inch gap when Barbara was buried. The funeral director said he knew of no problems with the burial.

Dr. William Stefanich is under investigation by the Ohio State Medical Board due to complaints from two patients, one of whom said the doctor stitched her anus shut. The woman said that Stefanich operated on her haemorrhoids and she then had to go to the emergency room, where doctors found that her anus had been sutured closed and part of the anal canal removed. Stefanich said that he could counter all the accusations.

When a woman went to Philadelphia's Abington Memorial Hospital to have a baby, her husband insisted that no black staff members assist with the delivery. So, for several days, supervisors kept black doctors, nurses, and other staff from entering the woman's room in what hospital vice president Meg McGoldrick described as an attempt to avoid a confrontation with the patient's husband. McGoldrick said the hospital made the wrong decision and that "the whole incident has greatly upset many of our employees".

Norway's Ilseng prison is the scene of our next story, in which an inmate was caught making blackcurrant wine in his cell. The berries grew under the windows of the prison director's former residence, and other inmates' assignment to kitchen duty allowed the man to mix the berries with water, sugar, and yeast. The prison's Arnt-Roger Hoeiby said, "We seized two jugs, recycled garbage cans that had a total capacity of 20 litres". The existence of the wine, at a prison where many are doing time for driving under the influence of alcohol, came to light only after the man mentioned the wine in a letter to an inmate at another prison.

Eight-year-old Stephen Crawford was found bleeding and covered with dirt on a Metairie, Louisiana, street. The boy, who hadn't eaten for two days when he was found, said his father had finally acted on his threat of 'dumping him', sending the child off with a punch in the nose. Paul Crawford, 40, was arrested a few days later, whereupon he confessed to selling the medicine the child was prescribed in hospital to treat the insect bites he got when forced to wait outside the house during Paul and girlfriend Samantha McCarthy's prostitution operation transactions.
Feeling sorry for Paul and his wife, whom he has since kicked out in favour of girlfriend Samantha McCarthy, a local couple had bought them a house and later contacted Child Protective Services about Stephen, who has never been to school and can't read or write. McCarthy, explained that Paul abandoned his son because he couldn't deal with him anymore.

Stacy Lynn Gilligan, a 22-year-old New York woman, was drunk when an ambulance took her to Glens Falls Hospital. She then gave birth to a baby whose blood alcohol content was 0.18 per cent, more than twice the state legal limit for driving. Contacted by the attending physician, Child Protective Services contacted the police, whose Capt. Stanley Wood said, "It's something I haven't seen in my 35 years as a police officer". Gilligan was arrested on a misdemeanour charge of endangering the welfare of a child, and the child was taken into protective custody.

A New Haven, Kentucky, woman has been arrested for trading sex for drugs. She is also charged with trading sex with her daughters, aged 12 and 14, and another child for "approximately $25 to $50, and/or some marijuana", according to Detective Mark Gillingham. "She was taking three female juveniles to a person, having those three engage in sexual intercourse with that adult, and she was receiving profits for that in the manner of either money or narcotics", said Gillingham, who added that the 2500-person town's police force deals with "speeding tickets, if that". The woman's daughters are now in foster care.

A woman in Edmonton, Alberta, dialled 911 to report that Canada Post delivered a possibly hazardous letter to her home. After she opened the letter, which wasn't addressed to her, it changed colour while she watched - from white to pale yellow and then brown. Police and firefighters, including a biohazard team, responded, and neighbouring homes were cordoned off. Investigators report that the woman had unwittingly placed the letter on an unnoticed coffee spill.

A 35-year-old Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, woman was afraid that her 15-year-old daughter would be placed in foster care. The woman plotted with her daughter's 20-year-old boyfriend to get the teenager pregnant so that she could be considered an adult in the eyes of the law and could, as an emancipated minor, choose to continue living with her mother. The boyfriend's lawyer, Charles Kroboth, and the mother's lawyer, Ed Blanarik Jr., both said they hope to reach an appropriate resolution to the case.

Central China's Cao Qianjin, 27, wanted to sell more water purifiers, so he bought 20 bottles of '3911' pesticide and used 500 mL of this to poison a reservoir that serves 9,000 families in Henan province. About 64 residents became sick, of whom 42 were hospitalised. A local health official said that the main effect was to make the water smell bad. The smell was apparently not enough to help Cao's sales. He was detained by local officials.

From a Reuters report from Rabat, Morocco, we learn of two schoolboys who were injured when their teacher threw them out of a first-floor classroom window. An Education Ministry official from the Casablanca delegation, said one was a nine-year-old whose injuries sent him to hospital and the other, aged 10, suffered minor injuries. The teacher had apparently warned the boys that she would throw them out of the classroom if they kept making noise. The official said of the teacher, "She suffers depression."

Wisconsin's Mark J. Kroening, 48, had a school bus route and a law degree, which he recently began putting to use. He also had a child porn collection, children's clothes and toys, and a "mannequin of a young adolescent female with a brown wig", according to a police report.
Kroening and his sister just ended seven years of arguments about the disposition of their dead father's house, in which Kroening lived off and on. A Waukesha real-estate agent was preparing the house for sale when he found some of the pornography collection in an open filing cabinet drawer, and some in the form of thousands of videotapes in various rooms. It is unclear whether Kroening will continue to represent himself in court.

Terra Noticias Populares reports that Mexican police are on the lookout for 23 Nazatlan prison inmates who escaped after a maintenance worker from an electricity company left a ladder against a wall. Police say all of the escaped convicts are dangerous. A prison spokesman said, "It is just one of those things you can't foresee. We have to see the funny side of it. "But the truth is these people don't come here often and are not completely used to our security norms." Three of the ex-prisoners have been recaptured, and one remained behind after hurting himself falling off the ladder.

Brazil's Regina Claudia Ribeiro de Souza ran away from home 17 years ago. Now 25, she was arrested for robbery and sent to Sao Paulo's Pinheiros prison, where her mother, Marina Souza, was being held after being arrested for drug dealing. The women were placed in the same cell. Regina Claudia said, "We finally had time to get to know each other, and we got very close". Souza was then sent to the state women's prison, and her daughter is campaigning for her to be sent back to Pinheiros.

Bolivia's Fernando Vásquez, 25, was arrested for smuggling cocaine after officers at a Chilean police checkpoint found a package of white powder in his luggage. An initial test on the substance came back negative, but Vásquez remained in jail. After he had been in prison for two months, a second test proved that it was talcum powder. Vásquez said after being released, "I always told them it was the talc I use on my feet, but they never believed me".

16 October 2003

Policeman John Desmarais of Central Falls, Rhode Island, says that officers were called to St. Ephraim's Syrian Orthodox Church to break up a fist fight. He said that two members of a family "appeared to have started a confrontation in the middle of the service. We have no idea who actually started it." Four people were taken to local hospitals, and two were arrested in connection with the brawl. The pastor resumed Sunday Mass about 20 minutes after police broke up the fight.

In Mount Pleasant, Indiana, Paul D. Lee broke into a vacant house that was being remodeled. When the 39-year-old Lee stumbled in the garage, he lost his dentures. A search by the building's owner, Louie Coill, and police didn't reveal the false teeth, but a relative of Coill's discovered them on the morning after the break-in and called the police. Coill said, "I was looking for things that were missing; I wasn't looking for teeth". He added, "I have fell over fences and done everything else in my life and I have never lost my dentures. How he lost his is beyond me." An Indiana law requires that dentures carry the owner's name under the artificial gum. The teeth were returned to Lee for his videotaped confession.

Andra Ferguson of Conroe, Texas, forgot to bring her asthma medication to school. When the 15-year-old had trouble breathing, she went to the school nurse's office and her boyfriend, Brandon Kivi, let her use his inhaler, as both students use the same medicine and, in Kivi's words, "I didn't want her to die on me right there because the nurse's office (doesn't) have breathing machines". The nurse reported Kivi to the campus police, and he was arrested the next day for delivering a dangerous drug. He was suspended from school for three days and could face expulsion and further charges. Principal Greg Poole said, "It's an inhaler form, but yet, if it had been in pill form or any other, it's still classified as a dangerous drug".

A 13-year-old girl was walking to Jackson Heights Middle School in Oviedo, Florida, when a man asked if she would like a ride. She declined his offer, but the man grabbed her and forced her into his house, she told police later. When the man, believed to be 25-year-old Shawn Scipio, pulled down her underwear, she screamed and he slapped her and paused. The girl took the opportunity to offer him money. She gave him $28 and was allowed to leave the house.

Dale Brenon, a private detective and former police officer - he was fired for making racist and sexist jokes - veered into a car in Lakeville, Indiana, killing a woman and critically injuring her son as well as himself. At the scene, a firefighter discovered the 50-year-old Brenon's laptop computer, which had been thrown from his van and was still running a program. Speaking for the St. Joseph County Police Department, Jaimee Thirion said the police believe Brenon "was distracted by using his laptop".

In Luling, Texas, members of the high-school's boys' cross-country team were practising with a morning run along Highway 90 when a car hit them. According to Police Chief John Cochran, "they had knelt to say a prayer on the side of the road, the shoulder of the roadway, and while they were still doing their prayer or just completed, an older male driving in the shoulder didn't see the young men and ran into them". Les Morales, 14, died, and three others were critically injured.

A 12-year-old Norwegian boy was hit by a car and thrown over the handlebars of his bike, rolling over the car's hood before hitting his head on the road. His mother said that when the boy returned to his home in Katten, Lørenskog, "he said he made 100 NOK by being hit by a car". When the boy had produced his mobile 'phone to call his mother after the accident, the elderly female driver gave him the money and said, "Buy yourself something good, and we will forget the whole thing". The boy suffered a concussion in the incident.

Ernest Dumpti of Reno, Nevada, decided to pay a year's worth of rent in advance. His landlord, uniformed city police officer Jim Stegmaier, became suspicious when Dumpti showed him the $50,000 cash. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the 39-year-old Dumpti's home, wherein they found $90,000 that he allegedly stole with the aid of Patrick Payne, 43. The men are accused of stealing the money from the attic of a home they were renovating. The elderly owner of the home was unaware of the theft until police contacted her.

Valerie Charlene Lucie, an 11-year-old girl from Syracuse, New York, apparently hanged herself in her bedroom, prompting an enquiry. The police found evidence that she had been sexually assulted once, earlier in the day. Her father, 46-year-old Timothy, confessed to raping her after threatening to cut her hair when she wouldn't behave herself. His wife believes he is innocent, and his attorney, Raymond Dague, says the family "went through hell losing their daughter, and now that's compounded by these false allegations against the dad". After cosulting with Dague, Timothy withdrew his confession, explaining that the police threatened to have his other four children removed from the home.

Brazil's Raimundo Borges became worried when his son, 23-year-old Juscelino da Silva Borges, disappeared from his home in Goncalo dos Campos. He went to the police station, where he identified a dead body as that of his son. According to Terra Noticias Populares, whe returned home to find that his son had returned after going away with his girlfriend. The body that Juscelino paid to bury still awaits identification.

Linda Conley of Columbus, Ohio, took several pictures of her 10-year-old niece over a one-year period so that her husband could get sexual gratification from them in prison. Her husband, Russell, allegedly showed other inmates the nude photos, which a prison spokesman said entered the prison via an unknown method. The 38-year-old Conley is also accused of taking the girl to the prison and laying her on Russell's lap while performing a sex act on him.

The Boston Globe reports that graffiti in a Wellesley High School loo promised that 'on October 15 or 17 the school will burn and there will be no blacks in our schools'. Swastikas were scrawled nearby. It has come to light that the graffiti were created by a black teenager who attended the school as part of a voluntary desegregation programme. Police and school officials stressed that, while charges will be pressed against the youth, he had not intended to fulfil the threats in the graffiti.

Indiana's South Bend Tribune reports that police responded to an 8 a.m. call concerning a suspicious person walking along the road. Arriving on the scene, they found a pickup truck and the man who had been a passenger in it, Willard Ashley III. When they found him, the 32-year-old Ashley had a blood-alcohol content of .69 percent, nearly nine times the state limit for legal driving. Indiana State Police Corporal Terry Gose said, "It's hard to get your alcohol count that high because most people are going to pass out before they get to that point". The man who had allegedly been driving the pickup was found in a wooded area nearby.

In Arkansas, Fabian Villalobos was waiting to be booked into Washington County Jail. When a jailer called out the name of an inmate who was due to be released, Villalobos stood up. After signing a jail release form, he left the premises with the other inmate's ID and $239. The other inmate's bail bondsman, who was waiting outside, saw Villalobos run down the street, after which authorities figured out what had happened and began a review of their security procedures. Villalobos was found the next day.

24 October 2003

A Cedar City, Utah, radio station covered the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earlier this month. One of the speakers was Apostle M. Russell Ballard, who warned of the evil posed by the entertainment media. While the station was airing the Mormon leader's speech on a 24-second delay, there was a problem buffering the streaming data, which resulted in Ballard repeating the word 'sex' for 24 seconds. The only KSUB employee working at the time had apparently left the control booth for a drink of water at the time.

A man entered a restaurant in Chesterfield County, Virginia, where he entered a toilet cubicle and emerged 10-15 minutes later dressed as Elvis Presley. Approaching two clerks, the Elvis-masked man held out a bag and demanded money. Police spokesman Ann Reid said the clerks didn't hand over the money so the man "got irritated and left". He is described as a white male wearing an Elvis mask...

Workers at a water treatment plant in Arkansas were instructed to be on the lookout for possible terrorists. When they saw a man sitting in a car at the reservoir at 5:00 in the morning, they were suspicious of his intent and contacted the police. A sheriff's deputy discovered that Earl Henry Woodruff was sleeping in the front seat of his car. The 40-year-old Woodruff was wearing only a bra and a ladies' thong. When the deputy inquired about the large, befused item in the car, Woodruff said it was "just a thing filled with gunpowder". He explained that he had made the bomb "to scare somebody".

In a follow-up to a story from July, we discover the fate of Kathleen Wortman Jones, who drove the getaway car for her twin 14-year-old daughters after they robbed a bank. The 35-year-old New Jersey woman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. The twins pleaded guilty and are spending four years each in a juvenile facility. Defence attorney Lawrence Welle said "they're all going to jail over one aberrant, stupid day in their lives".

Breanne Pogue was called for jury duty in Canandaigua, New York. When she showed up at the Ontario County Courthouse, deputies saw something suspicious in her bag when performing the routine x-ray scans required for entering the building. Deputies say they found a small amount of marijuana and a white powder in her bag. Pogue was excused from jury duty.

In the Seattle area we find Denise Griffith, who took Rafael Gomez into her family for foster care when he was three days old and addicted to cocaine and amphetamines. The boy was returned to his parents 10 months later, then was returned to Griffith to recuperate from a broken leg. He was again returned to his biological parents, and two months later Griffith was caring for his broken femur and wounded skull. His supervising physician wrote that there was 'no doubt' that the child had been abused. In a letter asking for the boy's upcoming return to his parents to be reconsidered, Griffith said she asked a caseworker why the supposedly hyperactive child never was injured when living with her family and said the worker said "I don't know".
Griffith contacted the chairman of the state's Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee, who concluded that he was powerless to influence the case. Nine of 13 people on a 'child protective team' agreed that it was safe for the boy to be returned since he had four siblings in the home and his parents had attended drug abuse classes.
Griffith wrote in her letter, "In my opinion, a fifth time could be his final, fatal time in the system". Six months later, the boy's parents brought the unconscious child to the hospital and explained that he had choked on food. After he died, doctors found multiple skull fractures.

Subway surfing is Eric Alvarez's claim to fame. When the Harlem 14-year-old was riding home from school, his friends dared him to climb atop the subway car. He did so. Marisa Balde, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit, said Alvarez then hit his head on a steel beam on the roof of the tunnel and fell onto the tracks. A short while later, another train ran over his body.

At a Kettle Foods potato chip plant in Salem, Oregon, workers were feeding potatoes into a machine for removal of debris when a military bomb was separated out. General manager Marc Cramer a second three-pound bomb was found in the same shipment of potatoes, from a farm in Pasco, Washington. Police determined that the units were pyrotechnic dummy ordnance left over from when the land was used as a practice bombing range. Salem police Lt. Dave Okada said, "We talked to the farmer and he said ... they usually pick them out before sending the potatoes on".

With the aid of an accomplice, Indiana's David Headrick, 19, apparently tied up an 88-year-old man with a telephone cord and punched him in the head after demanding enough money to pay a $20 debt supposedly owed by one of the elderly man's relatives. Headrick made off with $180 worth of pennies and some quarters. After the robbery, Detective Fred Mock said it wasn't hard to figure out where to find a penny thief. He was caught dumping the 18,000 pennies into a coin-counting machine at a grocery store.

Patricia Johnson was serving time in a Tennessee prison after numerous fraud and credit card theft convictions. While there, she - along with thousands of other inmates - was hired to perform data entry for the state. This included credit card transactions. She apparently used the confidential information she gained in this job to rip off various shops. Another inmate reported her transgressions. Inmates with fraud convictions will no longer be allowed to access personal information such as birth records and credit card details while behind bars.

In Georgia, Awot Gebreyesus was jailed on suspicion of killing a 67-year-old double amputee during an April robbery. Three witnesses said Gebreyesus, 17, was with them at the time of the killing, but another said the teenager had bragged about killing someone. Five months later, Gebreyesus was released after a state crime lab finally tested the blood found on his shirt and discovered that it was red paint.

The Miami Herald reports on a first grader who opened up his bag at school and pulled out a pair of handcuffs. The boy's teacher contacted school security officers, who found an unloaded handgun in another compartment of the bag. Broward County Public Schools Chief Investigator Bill Bohan said the boy had taken his father's bag from the back seat of the car rather than his own, which looked similar. The boy's father is a senior member of the Hollywood police department. The incident is under review.

A California Highway Patrol officer made a little mistake when arresting John Vincent Smith for crashing his car into the side of a city road. It appears that the officer handcuffed Smith's hands in front of him rather than behind him. Then, according to California Highway Patrol office supervisor Priscilla Brown, "the officer might have been away from the vehicle, and he (Smith) might have slid over and drove the vehicle away". Officers found the abandoned patrol car two hours later. Smith is still at large.

Connecticut's Sonya Chrucky has accused ex-boyfriend Peter Carli of biting her on the lip when she was kissing him. She is suing him, claiming that she suffered scarring, losses, and pain and suffering due to the "willful, wanton, and malicious" lip bite. Chrucky claims that Carli had promised to pay the ensuing medical bills but did not do so.

Darren Saechao, an eight-year-old Sacramento boy, died when he and his cousin were playing with a loaded shotgun. Afterward, the cousin "looked really sad, and tears came out", according to another cousin, Meg. The gun belonged to an older cousin. Two years ago, Darren's older sister, Nai, was killed at age 12 while with a group of children who were playing with a gun.

Police in Norway are searching for a woman who had about 620 euros' worth of brightly-coloured hair extensions fitted at Moss's Saksofon salon and then left without paying. Hairdresser Cecilie Corneliussen said, "We usually take breaks during such lengthy treatments. When she asked to take a quick trip to the kiosk across the street we didn't bat an eye." The woman left her handbag in the chair, but it contained only a t-shirt. The police think the woman will be easy to spot due to her 'troll-like' appearance.

Finally, a Houston man was arrested for loitering and prowling at night as well as disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Jon Anthony Wise, 39, had apparently been on Deborah Chicora's porch and in her yard, leading to his arrest. Chicora told state police that Wise was harrassing her because she hadn't yet paid him for drugs he had given her.

29 October 2003

The AP report that Stewart Kaiser and wife Nancy Vitolo have been charged with promoting a bogus anti-terrorism device in the wake of the attacks on 11 September 2001 and soliciting cheques from investors. The pair's company, R-Tec Technologies, then saw a fourfold increase in the prices of its stocks, many of which Kaiser then sold. The device, called the 'C-Band' (Chemical & Biological Alarm and Neutralization Defense System) was supposed to 'isolate and neutralize' 'harmful bio or chem-agent[s]' via 'a series of high electromagnetic frequency signals'. When the SEC alleged that no such devices existed, Kaiser produced one; it consisted of a yellow filing cabinet with flashing lights and a siren on top, according to the FBI complaint. The couple made at least $400,000 in the scam.

Norway's Supreme Court found a 29-year-old man from Nordmøre not guilty of sexual assault after he allegedly helped his then-step-daughter shave her pubic hair. When she was visiting the man's home, the 10-year-old allegedly went into the bathroom after her half-brother had gone to bed and called out that she needed help removing the hair. After the girl's mother asked the authorities to investigate the incident, the 29-year-old maintained that the girl shaved herself while he was sleeping and the girl said that nothing 'bad' happened.

After receiving an anonymous report of animal cruelty, police in Hollywood, Florida, visited Michael Garner, who explained that his two pit bulls had been attacked by his 70-year-old father, Vernon. Michael explained that the three-year-old dog and nine-week-old puppy needed treatment at an animal hospital because the elder Garner had stabbed them with a sword. Vernon explained to the police that he was taking care of the dogs but left for a while. When he came back, he found dog faeces and urine in the house, so he reached under the bed, grabbed the dogs, and began stabbing them with a samurai sword.

The Dayton Daily News tells us of a Troy, Ohio, man who broke into an apartment and opened a tackle box he found there. Inside, the 20-year-old burglar found photos of naked children and became enraged. A picture of his four-year-old sister was among the Polaroids. The burglar took the pictures to the police, who arrested the tenant, registered sex offender Richard Yearsley, 51.

A Deer Park, Texas, high school student says he went into the school cafeteria, picked up cheese sticks and French fries, paid for the items, then realised he'd forgotten his marinara dipping sauce. While in the sauce area, Corey Campbell picked up some melted cheese too. He was stopped by the worker at the till, who asked what he had and told him the cheese cost 25 cents. After he produced the money, the police gave him a theft ticket, requiring Campbell to be brought before a judge at a cost to taxpayers of at least $396. Campbell said, "I found it cost a quarter, and I guess I'm going to pay for it". The school explains that this is how it has chosen to deal with its one to five cheese thefts per week.

Lula Brown went to a McDonald's in Avon, Ohio, and asked for barbeque sauce to accompany her order. She says "I spent almost $10 on food and I wanted some sauce. I was told I would have to pay extra for sauce. It's not in writing and I don't feel I should pay extra for any sauce unless it is store policy and they show it to me." So she called the police, who sent a unit to solve the problem. Brown was disappointed that the officer didn't provide the help she expected. The McDonald's has now posted the cost of extra sauce.

Florida's St. Petersburg Times reports that an unidentified man pointed a handgun at an Arby's employee who was leaving work. The man demanded the bag the 31-year-old man was carrying. Brooksville police chief Ed Tincher said the suspect apparently thought the bag contained the night deposit. It was the employee's dinner, $4 worth of chicken fingers and chicken sandwiches.

Collingswood, New Jersey, residents reported that someone was rummaging through their rubbish. Officers caught the culprit, an 18-year-old boy who was five feet tall and weighed 45 pounds. Vanessa and Raymond Jackson, who adopted him in 1995, have been arrested on charges that they starved him and three other boys (ages 14, 10, and 9) they adopted through the state child welfare agency. The boys were placed in foster care, as were two adopted girls and a 10-year-old girl who was in the Jackson home pending adoption.
The parents, who apparently locked the children out of the kitchen and fed them uncooked pancake batter, cereal, and peanut butter and jelly, told people that the boys were small because of an eating disorder. The 10-year-old girl's caseworker is under investigation, and five state employees have been dismissed.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, a 79-year-old woman was walking to a bus stop in Louisville, Colorado, so she could go to hospital. The woman, Mary Danchetz, was hit by a police cruiser. She has now made it to the hospital, where she is listed as in fair condition. City police officer Jay Broawner, 42, wasn't injured in the incident.

The Beijing Morning Post reports that Sun Xiaoshan, from Honghu City, received the equivalent of $300 for helping a fellow villager build a house. When he and his wife went to work the next day, Sun placed the money under a glass plate and tied their dog nearby to attack anyone who might break into the home. On returning home, the couple found that only a sixth of the money was left. The dog had apparently eaten the rest. An angry Sun killed the dog and was then able to piece together 14 more banknotes.

A woman in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, bailed her 19-year-old daughter out of jail, where she had been deposited on a domestic violence count. Danetta Orgeron, 35, decided that she needed the $5,000 back, so she apparently hired bail bondsman Cory Robichaux to fetch Ashley Wallace from her mobile home so she could be returned to jail. Robichaux handcuffed Wallace and drove her to a rendezvous with her mother. After Orgeron showed up at the jail with her handcuffed daughter, investigators arrested her and Robichaux for charges related to kidnapping. Both have been released on bond.


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© 2003 Anna Shefl