||Here are a few recent stories related to the kinds of issues we cover on the web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly.
We'll also present stories about the criminals and criminal acts that impact our communities all across the nation. The few we place on this page are the tip of the iceberg, and we ask you to check your local newspapers and law enforcement sites. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" makes a big difference.
February 2011 - Recent Crime News - News from other times
FEB - Week 2
||Police: Mom In Abduction Prostituted With Girl In Home
Caseworker Says Mother Was In 'Panic State'
INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indianapolis mother accused of abducting her 9-month-old daughter, prompting an Amber alert, originally lost custody after engaging in prostitution while the child was in her home, police said.
Shyane Harden, 19, the noncustodial mother of Shaniya Harden, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two counts of criminal confinement, one count of neglect of a dependent and a count of interference with custody.
Shyane Harden was arrested early Tuesday after police found her and Shaniya at the apartment home of a friend on Indianapolis' northeast side.
Police said Shyane snatched her daughter Monday from a day care, where workers knew she had lost custody and tried to stop her, but investigators said Shyane threatened them and fled. Authorities were worried that the child's asthma medication was left behind.
At the time of the abduction, investigators said Shyane Harden was awaiting trial on charges of prostitution and child neglect.
Police said they began investigating Shyane Harden after they found a personal ad on the site Backpage.com that included racy pictures of Harden, posting under the name India, and a description of massage services she offered.
Investigators posed as clients and went to Harden's home, where they said she solicited them for sex, prompting her arrest.
"These alleged allegations happened inside the resident in which she lived with her child. As a result of that, she was arrested," said Indianapolis police spokesman Kendale Adams.
According to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday, a Department of Child Services caseworker who had been working with the family for nearly a year said she noticed a change in Shyane Harden's behavior and demeanor in the past few weeks.
"Shyane has become very unstable, is not thinking clearly and is in a very panic state," the caseworker said she was told by a health care worker who evaluated Shyane. "She does not believe that Shyane would intentionally harm her child, but that the changes in Shyane could cause her to put herself and her child in harm's way."
Harden is due back in court Friday.
Convicted child molester set to be released; OC prosecutors seek to keep him confined
February 15, 2011
Orange County prosecutors are seeking to commit a convicted child molester to a mental institution before he is released on parole for molesting a young boy in Irvine more than a decade ago.
Douglas Mackenzie, 34, pleaded guilty last month to six felony sex charges stemming from a 1999 incident in which he was accused of sexually assaulting and videotaping a 10-year-old boy he met several years before at a church youth group in London.
After the boy's mother discovered a videotape of the sex acts and reported it to police, Mackenzie fled to Canada and was arrested by Toronto Police in 2001.
Because Mackenzie has been in custody and has received credit for time served as his case worked its way through the Canadian and American courts, his 10-year sentence has already been completed and he was set to be released on parole as early as last month.
Prosecutors on Thursday filed a petition to have Mackenzie committed under a state law that allows sexually violent offenders to be transferred to a mental health facility if they have been diagnosed with mental disorders and are considered a threat if they are released without being treated.
"Based on his history, we decided that he is a sexually violent predator," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Noorul Hasan. "We filed a petition to make sure he is not released and remains confined."
Mackenzie is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, when a 45-day hold to allow an evaluation by the state Dept. of Mental Health is set to expire. Prosecutors will ask the court to authorize detaining him until a jury decides whether to classify him as a sexually violent predator.
Beverly Hills movie producer pleads guilty to molestation
February 15, 2011
A Beverly Hills movie producer pleaded guilty Monday to molesting a teenage girl he met on MySpace.
Orange County prosecutors said Iren Koster, 62, met the girl on the website when she was 14 years old and starting chatting with her online.
He met her in person four times starting in 2007, when she was 15 and 16 years old, and had oral sex with her at her home and in his car, prosecutors said.
Someone in the Internet community became concerned about communication between Koster and the girl and alerted Fullerton police in 2009.
Koster pleaded guilty to two felony counts of lewd acts on a child and two felony counts of oral copulation of a minor. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
His credits include producing the movies "Invisible Kids" and "Mustang Sally's Horror House."
Police Defend Delay Issuing Amber Alert
Alert Issued 12 Hours After Girl Abducted
(Video on site)
INDIANAPOLIS -- Law enforcement officials are defending the handling of an Amber Alert issued Monday, 12 hours after a 9-month-old girl was abducted by her mother, police said.
Shyane Harden, 19, is accused of taking her noncustodial daughter from the Little Dreamers Day Care at 3905 Sadlier Drive just after 10 a.m. Monday.
Indianapolis police issued an alert to local media, which broadcast the girl's picture and a description of the car Harden was last seen driving.
For an Amber Alert to be issued, the child must be believed to have been abducted and be in danger of serious bodily harm or death. Police must also have enough descriptive information to believe the broadcast will help.
Initially, state police said Harden's case did not fit the criteria.
"Everyone is concerned when it comes to the safety of a child, but we have to have information that makes us believe the alert will be worthwhile," said 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten.Meanwhile, police investigated initial reports that Harden, who is known to carry a gun, may have been headed to Florida, possibly with a boyfriend with a criminal record.
"We received what turned out to be erroneous information," said Capt. David Allender with Indianapolis police's missing persons unit.
The vehicle Harden was thought to have been driving was recovered at 3:30 p.m. Monday near 42nd Street and Mitthoeffer Road. As the night wore on, though, police said they became increasingly concerned for the child's safety.
The girl suffers from medical issues that require her to take amoxicillin and albuterol four times a day, but those medications had been left behind.
"There was a feeling there could be an imminent threat to the child, not so much from the mother doing anything, but more from the aspect of health issues, and that led to issuing the alert," Bursten said.
The alert was issued just after 10 p.m. Monday. The child and her mother were found in a friend's home at the Hearts Landing Apartments in the 9300 block of Wittfield Court early Tuesday after a tip to police. Shaniya was turned over to Child Protective Services in good condition.
Shyane Harden was arrested on charges of criminal confinement, neglect of a dependent and violation of a court order.
Some commenters on TheIndyChannel questioned the handling of the case, saying it shouldn't have taken so long to issue an Amber Alert. "If they had issued the Amber Alert sooner, maybe they would have found the little one that much more quickly," wrote Kelli S.
"If a child is abducted anytime on any day, the radio stations and TV stations across the U.S. need to issue Amber Alerts, period," another commenter wrote.
"If a kid is picked up by riding their bike or is snatched while in bed… the radio and TV stations… need to have the authority to issue Amber Alerts the minute it happens. Just leave it at that."
Others argued on the side of due diligence, saying police should follow every possible lead before resorting to an Amber Alert.
"If an Amber Alert was issued every day, people would quit paying attention," karebear wrote.
"If they issued them for every missing person… then you would be missing your episodes of 'Maury' and 'Jerry Springer' all day long due to interruptions from Amber Alerts," another commenter wrote.
State police stressed that 1,200 children are reported missing every year in Indiana.
"If we issued an Amber Alert for every single one of those, you'd hear those squawky tones come on your radio and TV every 43 minutes," Bursten said.
Since the alerts began in 2002, Indiana State Police have had 105 requests. Bursten said 34 were activated, resulting in the recovery of 43 children. Three children have been found dead after an alert was issued.
Death of girl found in truck in West Palm Beach probed as abuse case
by CAROL MARBIN MILLER
Hazardous materials suits and a bag for hazardous waste sit beside I-95 early Tuesday morning, at the site where a body was found in a plastic bag in a truck Monday, hours after the driver and his son were taken to the hospital.
LANNIS WATERS / PALM BEACH POST
Eight hours after 10-year-old Victor Doctor stumbled out of his adoptive father's pickup truck overcome by toxic fumes, Florida child welfare investigators dispatched to the boy's West Miami-Dade home on Monday were confronted with a startling question: Where was Victor's twin sister?
The answer would turn the red truck, near I-95 in West Palm Beach, into a crime scene: The girl was found inside a bag, dead, in the bed of the pickup.
Both Victor and his twin, who has not been identified by police or child welfare administrators, had been the subject of a troubling call to the Department of Children & Families' abuse hotline only four days earlier. The children, a schoolteacher said, were being bound hand-and-feet with duct tape.
The children, the report said, were being untied only so they could eat.
In the aftermath of Monday's tragedy, two other children who were adopted by Jorge L. Barahona, Victor's adoptive father, were taken into custody by DCF Tuesday. Their case will be heard Wednesday before Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman, who has been asked to place them, once again, in foster care.
Jorge Barahona was charged late Tuesday by West Palm Beach police with aggravated child abuse, police told reporters at a Tuesday night news conference. "We expect other charges to be forthcoming," said police spokesman Chase Scott.
Child welfare administrators offered few details Tuesday as to what happened to Victor and his twin.
"We are in the preliminary stages of a very tragic and extremely complex investigation," said Mark Riordan, a DCF spokesman. "We are working side-by-side with law enforcement in two jurisdictions, and protective investigators in two jurisdictions.
"Though there is an open investigation involving this family," Riordan added, "our primary concern is the safety of these children."
Sources say Victor remains hospitalized in critical condition, having been placed on a respirator so he can breathe. Barahona, police said, was speaking with investigators Tuesday night.
Scott said the chemicals on Victor's body were so toxic that an officer who was exposed to the child became ill -- suffering from headaches and chest pains. Officers still do not know precisely what chemicals were being kept in the truck's cab. Barahona is an exterminator.
According to sources with knowledge of the case:
Victor and his twin became foster children when their birth mother's drug and alcohol abuse led to persistent neglect. They were sent to live with Jorge Barahona, 53, who owns a pest control company, and his wife, Carmen, 60, who worked for a pediatrician. A few years ago, the Barahonas adopted the twins.
The Barahonas appeared to be traditional suburban parents. They had two dachshund puppies, a parrot and had been foster parents for a decade. In the chambers of Circuit Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr, the two children said privately that they wanted the couple to adopt them.
Before the adoption, the Barahonas had been the subject of three reports to the abuse hotline, said Riordan, who declined to specify the allegations. A source said one report stated the girl had been going to school dirty, while another report claimed one of the children had been bruised. The allegations did not result in any action against the Barahonas.
The Barahonas also had custody of two other children adopted from the state, a 7-year-old girl and an 11- or 12-year-old boy, and often cared for a grandchild in their home, at 11501 SW 47th Ter. in West Miami-Dade.
On Feb. 10, DCF's abuse hotline received an alarming report: Victor and his sister were being physically abused by their adoptive parents, who allegedly were tying the twins up with duct tape. The twins, the report said, "are being untied to be fed."
A neighborhood child had reported the alleged abuse to a teacher, who, in turn, called the state.
But between Feb. 10 and Monday, child welfare investigators had not taken the children — who were being home-schooled, and had little visibility in the community — out of the home. Carmen Barahona had told investigators she and Jorge were separated, and she had custody of only the other two children — not Victor and his twin.
ON THE HIGHWAY
On Monday, during early morning rush-hour, a highway road ranger found Barahona and his adoptive son in the pickup — emblazoned with CJ Pest Control and a Miami-Dade phone number — on the side of Interstate 95 between Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and 45th Street.
Barahona was slumped behind the wheel. The boy, Victor, was clambering out of the truck, in the midst of a seizure, and suffering from what appeared to be chemical burns.
The boy was taken to St. Mary's hospital, his father to Columbia Medical Center, police say.
Police called DCF administrators, who realized quickly that they already were investigating the report from four days earlier. They dispatched investigators to the Barahonas' West Miami-Dade home, where they noticed Victor's sister was missing.
IN THE TRUCK
About 5 p.m., Hazmat teams were asked to return to the truck. A state Department of Environmental Protection worker found the girl's body in the bed of the truck. Police said late Tuesday the body was partially decomposed.
The body remained inside the flatbed Tuesday afternoon — black tarps draped over the truck — until late Tuesday evening.
West Palm Beach police told reporters late Tuesday that the pickup was to be taken to a ‘‘secure'' facility where the FBI will examine it.
Since the girl's body was found, at least one of Victor's adoptive siblings has confirmed to authorities that the children were being bound in the Barahona's home, a source told The Miami Herald.
Missing Man's Family Speaks At Capital
Billy Smolinski Missing, Presumed Dead
HARTFORD, Conn. -- An effort to take even greater steps in adult missing persons cases is under way at the state Capitol.
Leading the charge were the parents of a Waterbury man presumed dead, and not seen in almost seven years. The parents of Billy Smolinski waited all day to speak, but before their testimony, they heard arguments both for and against more missing persons provisions becoming law in Connecticut.
The crusade of Janice and Bill Smolinski has taken them to Connecticut's capital city, Hartford, and the United States Capitol all in the name of preventing what they say happened to their son -- a slow police response to his missing person's case in 2004.
"The police are here to serve and protect," said Janice Smolinski. "And I really feel they should serve and protect."
While the couple was instrumental in getting new missing persons guidelines in place in a 2007 bill that became law, they are looking for even greater steps, something supported by Rep. Vickie Nardello.
Leaders from the Connecticut Police Chiefs' Association said the bill, however, aims to put into law things already being done.
"What it comes down to is putting this type of stuff into in law," said Chief Anthony Salvatore, of the Connecticut Police Chiefs' Association. "That's already, basically, given to us by the police officers standards and training council. I really don't think it's needed at this time."
The Connecticut Police Chiefs' Association was also questioned about how many departments have put new guidelines regarding adult missing persons cases since the 2007 law was passed. The association did not have an exact figure, but it said it was significant and will bring lawmakers a more exact number soon.
Joint DHS-DOJ "Operation Protect Our Children" Seizes Website Domains Involved in Advertising and Distributing Child Pornography
February 15, 2011
Washington, D.C.—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced the execution of seizure warrants against 10 domain names of websites engaged in the advertisement and distribution of child pornography as part of "Operation Protect Our Children"—a new joint operation between DOJ and DHS' U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to target sites that provide child pornography.
"Each year, far too many children fall prey to sexual predators and all too often, these heinous acts are recorded in photos and on video and released on the Internet," said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "DHS is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to shut down websites that promote child pornography to protect these children from further victimization."
"For all its positive impact, the Internet has also unfortunately created a new way for child predators to commit their inexcusable crimes," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. "The production and distribution of child pornography wreak havoc on innocent lives. With these domain seizures, we are taking our fight against child pornography to websites that facilitate the exchange of these abusive images."
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ICE's Cyber Crimes Center (C3), under a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children. Individuals attempting to access the seized websites will now find a banner notifying them that the domain name of that website has been seized by federal authorities.
"Operation Protect Our Children" leverages the resources of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the DOJ Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and the DOJ Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section to investigate and prepare seizure warrants against the domain names of websites that host child pornography.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE . Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com
For more information, visit www.ice.gov
Internet predator group member sentenced to 15 years in prison for engaging in child exploitation enterprise
PITTSBURGH - Fred Woolum of Lexington, Va., was sentenced Feb. 15 in the Western District of Pennsylvania to 15 years in prison and a lifetime of supervision on his release and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment fee for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Department of Justice Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David J. Hickton and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan.
Woolum, 59, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise before U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Schwab on July 22, 2010.
According to court documents and proceedings, Woolum and others distributed images and videos of children being sexually abused to other members of an international Internet group that had restricted membership and was formed on a social networking website. Members of the group distributed to one another thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of children, many of which graphically depicted prepubescent, male children, including some infants, being sexually abused and sometimes sodomized or subjected to bondage.
This case was investigated by HSI in Pittsburgh and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig W. Haller of the Western District of Pennsylvania and CEOS Trial Attorney Andrew McCormack prosecuted the case.
HSI's involvement in this investigation is part of the agency's national initiative known as Operation Predator, an ongoing enforcement effort targeting those who prey upon and sexually exploit our nation's children-including Internet pornographers, international sex tourists, and foreign national sexual predators.
Operation Goodbye, a multi-year HSI cyber investigation based in Pittsburgh, specifically targeted the predator group Woolum was engaged with. Earlier this month, predator group members Stephen Simms of Palm Springs, Calif., and Ryan Chiles of Hampton, Va., were also sentenced in the Western District of Pennsylvania to prison for child exploitation enterprise.
HSI encourages the reporting of suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE . This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an ICE partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com
For more information in HSI's predator investigations, go to www.ICE.gov
Cyrus Aaron Parvizi
||16-Year-Old High School Student Missing
February 14, 2011
Los Angeles: A local family and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) are asking for the public's help in locating the 16-year-old who has been missing from the LAPD's Van Nuys area.
On January 29, 2011, at around 7:00 p.m., Cyrus Aaron Parvizi attended a wrestling event in the 5700 block of West Century Boulevard. Parvizi was last seen in front of the Hilton Los Angeles Airport. Parvizi did not return home in the evening and his family has not heard from him, causing them great concern. Cyrus does not have a history of running away and there is no evidence of foul play in his disappearance.
Parvizi is described as a male Hispanic, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 160 pounds with a medium build and medium complexion.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Parvizi is asked to call LAPD Van Nuys Division detectives at 818-374-0001 . During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 . Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS . Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.
||Amber Alert issued for abducted baby Indianapolis
February 15, 2011
A statewide Amber Alert has been issued in Indiana for a 10-month-old baby girl, who police say could be in danger.
Sha'niya Harden was last seen at an Indianapolis daycare Monday morning. Police believe the girl's mother, 19-year-old Shyane Harden, abducted her from the daycare around 10 a.m.
Harden recently lost custody of her daughter to the child's grandparents. Police say Shan'niya suffers from medical issues and requires daily doses of amoxicillin and albuterol, but Harden left those medications behind.
Police believe the two could be heading to Florida. According to our sister station WTHR, Harden has a prior arrest for prostitution and neglect of a dependent in Marion County. She is also known to carry a pink and black small caliber weapon.
If you have any information on this case, immediately call 1-888-58AMBER
Elijah Jayden Rivas
||Missing Riverdale Baby Found, Father Arrested
February 15, 2011
by Norma Yuriar and Winston Whitehurst
Fresno County, Calif. (KMPH News) - After two sleepless nights, a young mother from Riverdale is resting with her little boy by her side.
Monday, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department called off an Amber Alert for 10-month-old Elijah Jayden Rivas.
His own father, 19-year-old Edgar Ramos, is under arrest for kidnapping. Investigators say Ramos was in the middle of a custody battle with his ex when he snatched the infant.
KMPH News reporter Norma Yuriar has more on where the baby was found and why Elijah's mother says she will allow Ramos to see his son again.
||New leads in hi-profile missing persons case
February 14, 2011
by Jeff Ferrell
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – KSLA News 12 has obtained new information about a local missing persons case that's drawing national attention. It involves Clinton Nelson who disappeared four and-a-half years ago.
Nearly 10-people have been through a polygraph test according to the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office. That has helped narrow the search for those 'possibly' responsible for nelson's disappearance. And we're told detectives now have a couple of new suspects in this drug-related case.
Investigators now suspect that then-21 year old Clinton Nelson likely suffered one of two fates when he disappeared after leaving a house party in Princeton, LA September 1st of 2006. The first possibility: Nelson may have overdosed from drugs and those with him panicked and hid the body.
The second possible scenario Bossier Sheriff's detectives are leaning towards: That Nelson was robbed and killed because of the cash he had on him at the time. "So, we're trying to narrow down which of those scenarios, or another possible one, that there may be and find out who did it," said BSO Spokeswoman Erin Habich.
The last person to ever speak with Nelson was his father Jeff Mason who was near the house party that night and dialed up his son after spotting police lights near that area. "When I called him, he answered the phone and he told me in a whisper that he thought the police were chasing him. Jeff, that's the last words I ever heard out of that boy."
Detectives confirmed through phone records that the dad's phone call did take place. And Mason was among those who underwent a polygraph test. "With a good examiner they're up to 90-percent accurate according to the schools," explained Cecil Carter. He conducted those polygraph tests. But Carter is not allowed to share his results.
I'm told that these new suspects have not been polygraphed yet, but could be soon. Cecil Carter added, "the only person, in the schools that they teach you, that will really beat a polygraph is someone who has duel personalities."
Habich said two detectives are working this case and new leads are still coming in. They just need that one break to find Nelson. "There's got to be somebody out there that knows something that they're not telling. I mean, the only person who has the full story is the person who harmed Clinton Nelson," added Habich.
But detectives also must walk a fine line, because they don't want those responsible for Nelson's disappearance get nervous and take off.
Man sentenced in teen sex case
by Juan Perez Jr.
A 30-year-old Arizona man was sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison Monday, roughly six months after he tried to take a 15-year-old girl he met on the Internet to Alabama, spurring a massive search and Amber Alert.
Authorities said Robert Olney met the girl, then 15, inside the chat room of an interactive video game.
They spoke online, frequently in sexually explicit conversations.
Olney also bought a cell phone and mailed it to the girl, so the two could speak without her parents' knowledge.
Eventually, Olney planned to drive from Alabama to Ainsworth, Neb., where he would meet the girl and take her across state lines.
The girl went missing on July 14, prompting a massive search by local authorities and the FBI. Authorities determined Olney's identity after tracing his Internet protocol address and issued an Amber Alert.
During this time, Olney told authorities, the two drove to motels in Valentine, Neb., and Kansas City, Mo., where they had sex.
“Robert Olney stated that he knew the entire time that (the victim) was 15 years of age,” a court affidavit said.
Investigators contacted Olney's brother, who agreed to call Robert and urge him to surrender.
Olney turned himself in to police in Little Rock, Ark.
Olney pleaded guilty in November to federal charges of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in sexual activity.
||Police search for two missing men
from the Current-Argus
February 14, 2011
CARLSBAD — Local law enforcement agencies are currently searching for two different missing persons - both elderly men with mental and physical impairments.
Sheriff's officers are seeking Louis Fanning, a white male 72 years of age. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 175 pounds, and has gray hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue western-style shirt and blue slacks.
Fanning disappeared from his residence on Stormy Lane, just south of Carlsbad, at about 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11.
He suffers from Alzheimer's and a heart condition.
He apparently left his home in a turquoise blue 1993 Ford Ranger extended cab pickup with New Mexico license plate FBY121.
The truck had approximately half a tank of gas, and it is estimated that Fanning could have driven up to 200 miles in any direction.
The vehicle should show front-end damage from driving through fences in his neighborhood.
Fanning is believed to be disoriented and in need of medical care.
Anyone with information about this person can contact the sheriff's department at (575) 887-7551 .
At around noon Monday, Carlsbad Police were notified by a caregiver from Comfort Keepers that Anastacio Gomez, 81, had left his home for a walk at 11:15 a.m.
His wife told officers that her husband had taken a walk earlier in the day, and left the second time without notifying her. Gomez suffers from dementia and has poor eyesight and hearing.
Officers and staff from Comfort Keepers searched throughout the afternoon, police said.
BES Rentals and Sales provided a helicopter and fuel, and officers spent a great deal of time searching from the air.
As of 6:30 p.m., Gomez had not been located.
He is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 162 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a black cowboy hat, denim jacket, flannel shirt and black pants. He may be wearing tennis shoes.
Gomez, who goes by the nickname "Tacho," tends to walk westerly toward the Guadalupe Mountains where he once was a rancher for several years.
Anyone with any information about his location is asked to call Officer Rory Castaneda at the CPD, 885-2111.
Former MU student among hundreds of missing people in Missouri
There are 1,200 active missing persons reports in Missouri.
by Jimmy Hibsch
February 15, 2011
When former MU student Nick Coppola vanished in December, his family was left heartbroken.
His disappearance is one of 1,176 active missing persons reports in Missouri, statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol show. Although Coppola is listed as missing in St. Charles County, there are 17 active searches in Boone County.
Highway patrol Cpl. Erik Eidson said any time a person is declared missing by a Missouri law enforcement agency, his or her name is added to the Highway Patrol's database. When in the database, investigation and contact information is provided for every entry.
“We serve as sort of a liaison between the public and the law enforcement agency,” Eidson said. “We're the middleman, I guess you could say.”
So far in 2011, 339 adults and 674 juveniles have been reported as missing in Missouri. Of those, only 61 adults' and 112 children's whereabouts are still unknown. There are 665 adult and 511 juvenile total active cases, which date back to 1953.
Eidson said the number of missing persons reports stays fairly steady.
“It's pretty consistent,” Eidson said. “Obviously it might vary by like 100 or so from year to year, but for the most part, it doesn't change much.”
Because cases in the database can be more than 50 years old, many are no longer being actively pursued by their respective law enforcement agencies. Even if this happens, the responding department is always looking for tips that could lead to a conclusion in the case, Eidson said.
“Whether a search is called off or not is up to the individual officers that are there at the scene,” Eidson said. “If they feel a thorough search has been completed and there's nothing else they can do, then obviously they would call off the search.”
A specific instance is the case of Kristina Bishop. Bishop, who vanished in 1994 at age 13, and over 15 years later, her family is still left clueless.
On the morning of Oct. 19, 1994, Bishop prepared herself and left for school at Jefferson Junior High School. But she never actually ended up at school, officials later told the Columbia Police Department. She didn't return home either.
Eidson said it is highly likely, though not certain, that Bishop or anyone in a similar situation could still be alive today.
“Just because they're listed as missing, that doesn't necessarily mean they are endangered or in harms way,” Eidson said. “It might just mean for one reason or another they just decided to not be in contact with anybody anymore. Anybody can report anyone as missing.”
Amber Alert for baby boy missing from Fresno area
The Associated Press
RIVERDALE, Calif.—An Amber Alert has been issued for a 10-month-old boy who authorities believe was taken by his father from in front of his mother's home in the Fresno area.
Fresno County sheriff's officials said Sunday that 19-year-old Edgar Ramos was visiting his son Elijah Jayden Rivas in front of the home in Riverdale on Saturday night.
They say when the boy's mother briefly went inside, Ramos apparently took the child.
Mother Lupe Bueno tells KABC-TV that she and Ramos were fighting over child custody.
Ramos's car was found later Saturday night in Wasco, where he lives.
Authorities are searching the Fresno area and believe Ramos may be headed to Southern California.
Elijah has brown hair and brown eyes and was wearing a black sweat suit when he disappeared.
Keeping seniors safe
New alert system would focus on elderly who are ‘lost'
by Kim Norvell
AMBER Alerts may soon be expanded to include lost and disoriented senior citizens.
Missouri Rep. Sara Lampe has written a bill (HB 41) that would expand the system to include Silver Alerts that are sent locally and statewide to notify communities of lost seniors.
The text of the proposed legislation does not specify a certain age that would qualify for a Silver Alert, but Ms. Lampe said the intent of the bill is to have a system to notify the public of “elderly folks who are lost.”
Kansas has a Silver Alert program, which is used when someone older than 65 years, or a person suffering from dementia, is reported missing by family or caregivers. Law enforcement and media are not issued a Silver Alert if it is believed the person or persons have left voluntarily.
If approved, the Silver Alert in Missouri would be similar to the neighboring state's.
Currently, the state has a Endangered Persons Advisory for missing persons who do not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert. Ms. Lampe said she thought the state would benefit from a Silver Alert, in order to focus the search on lost or missing seniors.
“One of the things that is important that makes AMBER Alert work is everybody knows what that phrase is, it means children,” she said. “That's part of the phrasing with Silver Alert, it means elderly.”
Joe Freudenthal, owner of Vintage Gardens North of St. Joseph, said while they don't care for seniors in late stages of dementia, persons at risk for wandering would certainly benefit from the community on extra alert in order to locate them.
“Anything that keeps seniors safe, I'm for,” he said.
Ms. Lampe said she realizes there will be some opposition to the bill, especially with the boy-who-cried-wolf effect. However, she said a Silver Alert is hoping to address those who are especially vulnerable to drastic effects of being lost.
Dorthy Stucky Halley, with the Kansas attorney general's office, said since the program's inception in July 2009, there have been successful results.
Seven Silver Alerts have been issued, one of which was issued statewide.
Of those seven, six Silver Alerts have resulted in the individual or couple located. The first alert was in September 2009, when Billie “Bob” Black and Mary Lou Black went missing. Mr. Black suffered from diabetes and Mrs. Black had a severe case of Alzheimer's. The two have not been located.
Thirty-one states have an alert system that is specific to missing senior citizens.
240 perverts in 15 countries snared from just 1 laptop |
||240 perverts in 15 countries snared from just 1 laptop
February 14, 2011
A missing schoolgirl's laptop computer has helped to snare hundreds of predators in 15 countries and across the UK.
by Paul O'Hare
The Record can today reveal how a simple missing person's inquiry led to the launch of Scotland's biggest paedophile grooming investigation ever.
Operation Defender has uncovered 240 top-level offenders and, almost two years on from its launch, arrests continue to be made on a weekly basis.
As well as international tip-offs pointing police in countries including the US, India and Australia in the direct ion of child sex predators, Central Scotland Police have also sent pervert dossiers to 42 forces across the UK.
Scots Andrew Byrne, a university student, and school support worker Brian Syme are among those jailed for a series of sickening crimes involving kids as young as eight.
But police called in to look for a 13-year-old girl missing from her home in central Scot land in May 2009 had no idea what their inquiries would uncover.
Detective Inspector Charlie Mitchell said: "It spawned an investigation that has had an impact across the UK and beyond.
"It was our first experience of a massive online inquiry and the more we looked the more we found.
"It was ever expanding but, despite the volume of information, there was nothing we could ignore."
The missing girl was found within hours but a cop had already taken her computer to find out who she had been in contact with.
Mitchell said: "In one month alone she was contacted from 100 email addresses. Of that number, 76 had sexual content and appeared to be from adult males."
As well as explicit chatlogs, officers also had to examine hundreds of graphic pictures and webcam footage sent to the girl, who was encouraged to pose naked by the predators.
Mitchell said: "The sexual chat ran into the thousands. We then had to establish if the person knew the girl was under age.
"We then had to focus on those who met her or made serious attempts to meet her."
At the end, the force was left with a list of a dozen of Britain's most dangerous perverts.
The most prolific was Glasgow University microbiology student Byrne, 21, who groomed 250 kids as far afield as Australia for sex.
He was jailed for six years.
Byrne's arrest led cops to school support worker Brian Syme, 32, who posed as a teenage girl called Nikki D - and became a target for Byrne.
Syme , from Sauchie , Clackmannanshire was jailed for four years and eight months.
The girl's laptop also led detectives to Essex cop Russell West. He admitted sending sexual messages and was jailed for 30 months.
Some offenders managed to escape a jail term, including Christopher Baig, 31, a trainee pathologist at Glasgow's Western Infirmary, who bombarded the schoolgirl with explicit messages.
There was fury after a sheriff put him on probation.
Mitchell said: "We are still getting offenders arrested by other forces on a weekly basis."
The number of victims is unknown but runs into the hundreds as each pervert detected was in contact with more than one child.
Mitchel l said the case was a warning to parents to closely monitor their kids' computer use - and to perverts that they would eventually be tracked down.
For information on staying safe online, visit www.thinkyouknow.co.uk
Peng Gaofeng carries son Peng Wenle, 6, who was
missing for three years after being abducted.
||In China, family reunited with son kidnapped three years ago |
Peng Winle was snatched at age 3. Thanks to microbloggers, he is found with a family 800 miles away. The Chinese Internet campaign aims to find more abducted children.
by Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
February 13, 2011
Reporting from Beijing
When 3-year-old Peng Wenle vanished into the night in March 2008, his parents despaired of ever seeing him again. Although a surveillance camera had captured video of a man scooping up the youngster from a crowded street outside the family's small shop in the southern city of Shenzhen, the images were too grainy to identify the perpetrator or provide clues on where he might have fled.
"China is such a big country. We thought it would be like finding a needle in the ocean," his mother, 29-year-old Xiong Yili, said in a telephone interview.
Technology, however, made a crucial difference in this case. An all-out campaign by Chinese microbloggers to circulate photographs of abducted children has led to the boy's reunion with his family.
A university student who had seen an Internet posting by the child's father, Peng Gaofeng, on Sina.com — which hosts a Chinese version of Twitter — thought the missing child looked a lot like a 6-year-old boy he'd seen in a village in Jiangsu province, about 800 miles away. He e-mailed a photograph of the 6-year-old to Peng Gaofeng, who recognized the child as his son.
DNA tests have confirmed the relationship.
This is not the first time an abducted child has been reunited with parents thanks to the Internet, but it may become the most celebrated. Chinese censors have allowed only snippets of news coverage about child abductions, usually upbeat reports praising police who bust rings of child traffickers.
Not this time. The reunion was widely tweeted and televised to the point that it seemed like a reality TV show.
Crews from Phoenix Television, a Hong Kong-based private broadcaster, followed the tearful father to Jiangsu to bring back his son. The reunion has also been covered by state media.
The two set eyes on each other Tuesday outside a police station. The boy, dressed in a red parka, was escorted by a policeman. Peng Gaofeng was too choked with sobs to speak, but when the policeman asked the youngster, "Who's that?" he reportedly answered, "That man crying is my father."
After the DNA results came back, Peng was given custody of the boy.
"When I was giving him a bath, I could still recognize his body. The tears started flowing again and my son asked me with a Jiangsu accent, "Dad, what happened? What's wrong with you?" he wrote on his microblog.
On the way home to Shenzhen, the boy was quiet and morose, leading Peng to speculate, "Maybe he misses the family he was living with."
Well-wishers and television crews crowded the Shenzhen Airport on Thursday night when the boy, escorted by his father, flew home and into the arms of his waiting mother.
Child abduction is a scourge for China's poor, particularly migrant workers. Thousands of small children have disappeared from Shenzhen and other manufacturing boomtowns of southern China, where the anonymity of millions of people coming and going makes it easy for traffickers and their victims to blend into the crowd.
Most of the children snatched are boys, who are then sold for as much as $10,000 to families, sometimes thousands of miles away, that are childless or without sons. Peng Wenle had been living with such a family for three years.
The kidnapping had been a garden-variety case. Peng Wenle's parents had come from Hubei province two years earlier and operated a small store where fellow migrant workers paid to call home. It was just after dinneron a balmy evening that the boy wandered out to the street to play with friends. That is the time of day that most abductions take place, activists say.
"We were busy. It happened in just a minute that we weren't paying attention," said Xiong, his mother. "It is so easy to lose kids in the city, not like the countryside where everybody knows each other."
The couple put huge red posters with their missing child's photo on their shop and distributed fliers begging for information around Shenzhen. Convinced that they would never find their child, they had another son a year ago.
"This is a very ordinary case. There are so many like them," said Yang Guan, an activist with the non-governmental agency Baby Come Home, which has helped reunite 180 children with their parents over 2 1/2 years. She said that the use of social networking and microblogs has made it far easier to find children because of the speed with which information can be conveyed.
"By pushing just one button, you can send information all over the country," Yang said. "Microblogging has made people much more aware of the problem."
Peng Wenle's rescue coincides with a well-publicized Internet campaign launched by a professor at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Yu Jianrong is encouraging people to take and post photographs of child beggars to determine whether some had been abducted.
In less than three weeks, more than 1,800 pictures have been posted, according to the Chinese state news reports. An eager volunteer has even developed an application that allows people to upload photos from their cellphone to a database.
So far, however, those pictures haven't led to the positive identification of any kidnapped children. One man who was begging with a young child in Zhuhai was picked up and given a DNA test, but the child proved to be his son.
‘Senior Alert' Could Expand Missouri Amber Alert
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A Senior Alert may be coming to Missouri. The Amber Alert system has successfully brought home a number of missing children, but one Springfield lawmaker wants to see it expanded.
Representative Sara Lampe of Springfield says expanding the Amber Alert system to senior citizens suffering from dementia and mental disabilities should be part of the system.
However Republican Representative Gary Fuhr of St. Louis County wonders about the logistics.
“My concern for the bill is primarily two things,” Fuhr says. “That we would have the systems in place that would be able to handle the additional load of these sort of calls being placed and secondly, that the number of alerts people would be hearing wouldn't necessary make them immune.”
Fuhr says he will wait to make his decision on the bill until it is perfected.
New partnership will expand AMBER alerts in Ohio
Cleveland Daily Banner
As part of the efforts nationally to protect children, the Office of Justice Programs recently announced a partnership between the National Center for Missing amd Exploited Children and Facebook to expand the distribution of AMBER Alert postings.
AMBER Alerts are named for Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and murdered 15 years ago. They are issued by law enforcement in serious child abduction cases that meet specific criteria. AMBER Alerts involve the entire community in the search for, and safe recovery of, a missing child.
OJP coordinates the National AMBER Alert program, assisting state and local officials with developing and enhancing AMBER Alert plans and promoting regional coordination.
The new partnership with Facebook will enable users to receive AMBER Alerts directly on Facebook. This is just one of many current initiatives aimed at protecting our nation's youth. To join the effort to recover missing children, register at www.facebook.com/AMBERalert.
To address the subject of child abduction and the protection of our children, Bradley County and surrounding areas have an excellent educational resource through The Santa Project, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making children aware but not afraid of their surroundings.
Besides programs for children and youth, Executive Director Pete Vanderpool is also available for adult programs that assist in making adults aware of the issues children are currently facing. These topics include internet safety and awareness, cell phone usage as it relates to bullying, enticement, and inappropriate behavior, runaway potential and dangers, as well as awareness programs for personal safety.
For more information, visit www.thesantaproject.org, or email Vanderpool at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dept of Justice
||Virginia Man Sentenced to 102 Months in Prison for Engaging in a Child Exploitation Enterprise
WASHINGTON – Ryan Chiles of Hampton, Va., was sentenced today in the Western District of Pennsylvania to 102 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David J. Hickton and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan.
Chiles, 22, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Schwab on July 14, 2010, to one count of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. According to court documents and proceedings, Chiles and others distributed images and videos of children being sexually abused to other members of an international group that had restricted membership and was formed on a social networking website. Members of the group distributed to one another thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of children, many of which graphically depicted prepubescent, male children, including some infants, being sexually abused and sometimes sodomized or subjected to bondage.
This case was investigated by HSI in Pittsburgh and the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig W. Haller of the Western District of Pennsylvania and CEOS Trial Attorney Andrew McCormack prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov
||Former college professor sentenced to 6 years in prison for possessing, distributing child pornography
CHICAGO - A former local college professor was sentenced to six years in prison Wednesday for possessing and distributing child pornography via computer.
The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Kevin Fuller, 41, of Oak Park, was sentenced Feb. 9 by U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo, Northern District of Illinois, to 72 months in prison. He was further ordered to register as a sex offender and will serve a lifetime of supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.
Fuller, a former professor at Columbia College, was arrested by ICE HSI agents in November 2009. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August. During the sentencing, Judge Castillo referred to the graphic images as "crime scene photos" that depicted children.
"Anyone who distributes or possesses child pornography victimizes the most vulnerable members of our society," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI in Chicago. "Some of these images were particularly disturbing and heinous. ICE relentlessly pursues predators that sexually abuse and exploit children by possessing child pornography."
Assistant U.S. Attorney April Perry, Northern District of Illinois, prosecuted this case.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE . This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com
Priest is relieved of duties; church official resigns
February 11, 2011
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has removed from church duties a priest who admitted a sexual relationship with a female high school student in the 1960s and has accepted the resignation of a high-ranking church official who oversaw the background checks of priests.
In an announcement released Friday night, the archdiocese said it was reacting to inquiries from a New York Times reporter researching an article about Father Martin P. O'Loghlen, who was assigned two years ago to Holy Name of Mary Church in San Dimas.
In placing him there, church officials did not fully consult records that indicated O'Loghlen's past admission of sexual misconduct, the announcement said. O'Loghlen was removed Thursday from any priestly activities. Also on Friday, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony accepted the resignation of the Archdiocesan Vicar for Clergy, Msgr. Michael Meyers. According to archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg, Meyers held that position since July 2009 and was in charge of procedures intended to ensure that no sexual predators remained in ministry positions.
The Archdiocese said it has received no complaints concerning O'Loghlen during his assignment at Holy Name of Mary Church. He is accused of having a long-term sexual relationship with the teenage girl and seeking her forgiveness later.
In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese agreed to pay $660 million to 508 people who accused priests of sexual abuse. The payout was the largest settlement in a scandal that involved an estimated 5,000 priests nationwide and cost the Roman Catholic Church more than $2 billion to resolve cases in this country.
Rev Edward V Avery
Rev Bernard G Shero
Rev Charles Engelhardt
Msgr William Lynn
Rev James J Brennan
||Philadelphia Priests Accused by Grand Jury of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up
by JON HURDLE
February 11, 2011
PHILADELPHIA — A grand jury on Thursday accused the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of failing to stop the sexual abuse of children more than five years after a grand jury report documented abuse by more than 50 priests.
The new report said a senior church official charged with investigating allegations of sexual abuse by priests had in fact allowed some of those accused to remain in posts that gave them continued access to children. It charged him with endangering the welfare of minors and accused three priests and a teacher of raping two boys between 1996 and 1999.
“By no means do we believe that these were the only two parishioners who were abused during this period,” the report said.
At least 37 priests who are subject to “substantial evidence of abuse” are still in roles that bring them into contact with children, the new report said, and 10 of those have been in place since before 2005, when the last grand jury made its allegations.
The Rev. Edward Avery, 68, and the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 64, were charged with the rape and indecent assault of a 10-year-old boy in St. Jerome Parish in Northeast Philadelphia in 1998 and 1999. The teacher, Bernard Shero, 48, was accused of assaulting the same boy in 2000.
The Rev. James Brennan, 47, was accused of assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1996. All three priests were under arrest on Thursday.
The report also charged Msgr. William Lynn, secretary of clergy in the archdiocese under former Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, with endangering the welfare of children by allowing “dangerous” priests to remain in place. Monsignor Lynn was responsible for investigating abuse allegations from 1992 to 2004.
“The rapist priests we accuse were well known to the Secretary of Clergy, but he cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again,” the grand jury said.
Monsignor Lynn faces a maximum of 14 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
In a statement issued late on Thursday, Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, rejected the report's assertion that there were active priests who had been credibly accused of abuse.
“I assure all the faithful that there are no archdiocesan priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them,” he said.
The report accused the archdiocese of lacking urgency in its efforts to eradicate sexual abuse by its priests.
It said a panel looking into the allegations dismissed charges against a priest by two independent victims, saying their evidence lacked credibility.
“These are simply not the actions of an institution that is serious about ending sexual abuse of children,” the report said.
The 124-page report, which contains graphic descriptions of abuse of the 9- and 10-year-old boys, said the grand jury decided “reluctantly” not to press charges against Cardinal Bevilacqua, who stepped down in 2003 after 15 years as archbishop, even though he worked closely with Monsignor Lynn, because it did not have enough evidence.
In 2005, a grand jury report accused the church of an “immoral cover-up” that had exposed hundreds of children to sexual assault. That report recommended no criminal charges.
If convicted on all charges, the priests and the teacher each face a maximum sentence of 67 years in prison, the Philadelphia district attorney's office said.
Burton A. Rose, a lawyer for the teacher, Mr. Shero, declined to comment on the case. Lawyers for the other defendants did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.
New bill would expand the Amber Alert System to include
missing people from all ages, and in more situations.
Lawmakers Discuss Expanding Amber Alert Guidelines
by Blake Hanson
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers discussed a bill Thursday that would expand the Amber Alert System to include missing people from all ages. It would also change the name of the system to the "Amber Alert and Silver Alert System".
The Missouri House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety heard testimony that would broaden the system of alerts in Missouri.
In its current form, House Bill 41 would expand Amber Alert guidelines to include people of all ages. Representative Sara Lampe (D-Greene), the bill's sponsor, said although the target is elderly people, she would like for the alert system to protect people of all ages.
"When we talk about people with a mental disability and a physical disability, anybody over the age of 18 is an adult, so I think we need to expand this to include those people," said Lampe.
Capt. Kim Hull, Missouri Amber Alert Coordinator, testified at Thursday's hearing. Hull argued the amber alert guidelines are too narrow as they stand right now.
"The Amber Alert criteria is very specific for what you have to meet to do an amber alert and those types of situations don't meet the criteria for the Amber Alert," said Hull.
Critics of the bill said they were concerned too many alerts might cause people to quit paying attention.
Other states such as Kansas have added similar systems. In Kansas, the "Silver Alert" applies to those 65 and older.
Hull said the Missouri Highway Patrol currently has an Endangered Silver Advisory, but it does not carry the power an Amber Alert would. Hull said authorities have yet to use that advisory.
As it works right now, authorities can send two electronic codes to newsrooms to indicate that there is an emergency. One of those codes is for the Amber Alert, and the other is for a Civil Emergency. If the bill passes in its current form, lawmakers may have to seek approval from the FCC for another electronic code. Lampe said the last time lawmakers did so, it took more than two years.
The committee hearing was the first public hearing for the bill.
In general session Thursday, the House approved a bill that will expand the state's worker compensation laws. It would include diseases picked up on the job as part of Worker Compensation System coverage. Representatives passed the bill with a vote of 102-55.
Legislators also passed the Fire Sprinkler System bill, which extends a current law. The law prevents local government from requiring residents to install fire sprinklers in their homes. The bill passed 149-9.
William Ira Pound, Jr
Missing man mystery
Police agencies failed to connect the dots in bizarre crash-missing person case
by JOEY HOLLEMAN
Two separate storylines incredibly didn't cross for nearly two months, as one law enforcement agency closed out its investigation of a one-car accident in which the bloodied driver apparently left on foot and another agency searched high and low for a missing person.
Only when someone at an auto salvage yard began looking for the owner of a wrecked car nearly two months later did the two agencies discover their oversight. The missing Batesburg-Leesville man and the man in the wreck in Fairfield County likely were one and the same.
The extended family of William Ira Pound Jr. can't understand how this could have happened. Why did the S.C. Highway Patrol not contact the Pound family after his bloody car was found flipped on Nov. 30 on Old River Road in Fairfield County? Why did the Lexington County Sheriff's Department not find the accident report after the family reported Pound missing 11 days after the wreck? And most importantly, by some miracle, could Pound still be alive somewhere?
Law enforcement officials have staged searches several times in the past week near the wreck site. Another search is planned for Saturday.
“The what-ifs are killing me,” said Pound's daughter Aimee Davis, who lives in Charlotte. “I just can't see how this happened, and I don't want this to happen to another family.”
Mark Keel, director of the S.C. Department of Public Safety, understands the family's frustration and pledges to make changes that could prevent this kind of situation.
“It's the first situation we've had like this in the 31/2 years I've been here,” Keel said. “It's more than unfortunate that it happened, and we've got to make sure it doesn't happen again.”
Nov. 29: William Ira Pound Jr. speaks with his mother by phone and promises to pick up items and bring them to her nursing home in Fairfield County.
2:30 a.m. Nov. 30: Pound is seen on a surveillance video at a Lexington Walgreens picking up toiletries.
4-5 a.m. Nov. 30: S.C. Highway Patrol responds to a report of a one-car accident along Old River Road near I-77 in Fairfield County; for several hours, an officer searches the area for the driver.
Dec. 8: Family members, who had not heard from Pound, report him missing.
Dec. 11: A missing person report is filed; Lexington County Sheriff's Department investigates.
Dec. 15: SLED is asked to further check the information on Pound with a national crime database; no match is found because numbers of the license plate were transposed in the database search.
Dec. 28: Lexington County sheriff's deputies conduct a search around Pound's home and the route to the nursing home.
Late January: A worker from a Ridgeway salvage yard notifies authorities that the owner of the wrecked car matches the name of a missing man.
Feb. 3: Pound's family members are informed that the car had been in a wreck reported on Nov. 30.
||Highway Patrol officials already have begun working on standardizing the effort troopers need to be making to contact the owners of abandoned wrecked vehicles. In the past, some troopers called the vehicle owner and left phone messages, and some sent letters through the mail. In this case, no effort was made to contact the owner of the vehicle or the family, Keel said.
The agency also plans to contact county and municipal law enforcement agencies and encourage them to search the Highway Patrol's Computer Aided Dispatch system when doing a missing persons search. And the names of the owners of any abandoned wrecked vehicle will be sent to the Missing Persons Information Center at SLED, Keel said.
The Highway Patrol deals with hundreds of cases each year in which drivers leave the scene of an accident, Keel said. Some might be injured and catch a ride to a hospital. Some might have a reason to run. Often, the vehicle has been stolen or the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Keel said he was satisfied with the effort K.W. Lazar, the trooper who worked the accident, made to find the car's driver at the scene. Lazar and an EMS worker searched the immediate area on foot. The trooper also spent nearly 21/2 hours driving nearby roads and stopped at the nearest business, a convenience store at U.S. 21 and Old River Road, to check if anyone had wandered up there.
A phone tip that a man had been seen on a nearby road with a towel held to his head also was investigated, but that man never was located.
“He made a diligent effort, but it's never enough for somebody who's got a loved one who needs to be found,” Keel said.
Family members last heard from Pound on Nov. 29, when he talked with his mother. She asked him to pick up some toiletries and bring them to her Fairfield County retirement home. He showed up on the surveillance camera at a Lexington Walgreens at about 2:30 a.m. Nov. 30, apparently buying those toiletries.
At about 4 a.m., Pound's Volkswagen Beetle ran off the road on a curve on Old River Road and flipped in Fairfield County just off I-77. The Highway Patrol received a call about the accident at 4:47 a.m., and Lazar arrived at the wreck site at 5:15 a.m., according to the incident report.
The trooper checked the vehicle's registration to see if it had been reported stolen, Keel said. A wrecker was called to clear the car from the side of the road. The registration search indicated the car belonged to Pound, but the Highway Patrol never tried to contact him.
Pound, 54, lived by himself in Batesburg-Leesville. If they had contacted his family, officers would have found he had a history of drinking problems but seemed to be getting a handle on that devil. He kept in near daily contact by phone with several family members. When nobody heard from him for several days, the initial suspicion was that he might be off on a bender.
When days turned into a week, family members contacted Lexington County authorities on Dec. 8. They were told there's a wait of 48 hours after someone is reported missing before an official missing person report can be filed. The missing person report was filed on Dec. 11.
The Lexington County Sheriff's Department sent the information to the local media. Deputies went through Pound's phone records, checked his home computer and examined the Walgreens surveillance video. They used helicopters to search the route between Pound's home and his mother's retirement home. They sent divers into a Lake Murray cove near Pound's home.
Officers entered Pound's name and the Volkswagen Beetle's identification information into the National Crime Incident Computer system on Dec. 11. Realizing some records roll off the NCIC database after 10 days, officers on Dec. 15 asked the FBI to a special check of the NCIC records back to Nov. 29. Nothing about the Fairfield County wreck showed up, according to Maj. John Allard, spokesman for the office.
But somewhere in the missing person case search process, two letters in the Volkswagen's license plate had been transposed. So the Highway Patrol's check of the license plate on Nov. 30 didn't show up on the search. Allard said it's not clear yet how or when the numbers were transposed.
Sometime in late January, somebody at Eddie's Auto Clinic was trying to determine what to do with the wrecked Beetle. A computer search of the actual license plate number indicated it matched the vehicle of a man in a missing person report. The clinic notified authorities.
Searchers returned to the crash site on Feb. 2 and 3. The Pound family said they were notified about the wreck on Feb. 3 and met that afternoon with Highway Patrol officials.
Another full-scale search is planned for Saturday. The family is realistic. It's extremely unlikely Pound wandered off, survived and hasn't contacted anyone for two months. But they're holding out a glimmer of hope.
“Maybe someone else will come forward who saw him,” Davis said.
Contra Costa Sheriff wants charges filed against Stephanie Cudd's boyfriend's mother, Eva Nichols
The following update is from the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office. It's in regards to the case of the previously missing Pacheco teen, Stephanie Cudd:
Detectives from the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff are seeking criminal charges in the missing juvenile case involving 15-year-old Stephanie Cudd of Pacheco.
Cudd went missing from her home on November 29, 2010. The Office of the Sheriff took a report and entered her into the statewide missing persons' database. Several Detectives followed up on leads and conducted numerous interviews. Forensic analysis was
conducted on her computer. There was no sign of her. Approximately two months later, Cudd contacted her family saying she was safe.
Following an interview of 39-year-old Eva Nichols of Concord, Detectives decided to pursue formal charges against her including contributing to the delinquency of a minor and providing false information to a peace officer.
Detectives say Nichols apparently hid Cudd in her home the entire time of her disappearance. In one instance early in the case, Cudd was hiding in a crawl space as Detectives searched the house. In addition, Nichols faked a phone call and misinformed investi-
"This type of behavior is unacceptable and criminal," said Captain Steve Warne of the Office of the Sheriff Investigation Division. "Detectives spent numerous hours and resources searching for Cudd. This case diverted time and resources away from our other investigations."
The case remains under investigation. It will be presented to the D.A.'s Office in the near future.
Kidnapping suspect Keith Squaire
Amber Alert Issued For Infant Last Seen In Century, Florida
February 9, 2011
A Florida Amber Alert has been issued for an infant last seen Tuesday night in Century.
The Amber Alert was issued for infant Keith Squaire, age 16 months. He was last seen in the company of Keith Squaire after 9 p.m. Tuesday in the area of the Century Woods Apartments at 20 West Highway 4.
The kidnapping reportedly happened in the City of Pensacola Tuesday night. The vehicle believed to have been used in the kidnapping was later located in Brewton, where the driver told Brewton Police that the suspect and baby were dropped off at a residence near Century Woods.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Department unsuccessfully checked several possible suspect locations including homes on Blackmon Street and West Highway 4 Tuesday night in an effort to the find the child.
The infant Keith Squaire was last seen wearing a burgundy and white jumpsuit, brown boots and has braids in his hair. The young black male is about two-feet eight-inches tall, weighs 27 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.
A photograph of the child was not available.
The suspect Keight Squaire was described as being a black male, 37-years old, five-feet ten-inches tall, 235 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the child or suspect is asked to call the Pensacola Police Department at (850) 435-1900 , the Escambia County Sheriff's Department at (850) 436-9620 or 911.
Unsolved Homicides and Missing Persons Project
February 8, 2011
LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Nevada Threat Analysis Center is looking for information on unsolved Nevada female homicides and missing person cases found in the rural counties.
According to DPS, for over a year, the NTAC's Terrorism Liaison Officer Program has collected information on unsolved rural female homicides and selected missing person cases. The cold cases include unsolved homicide and missing person cold cases that have occurred from 1972 to 2010. Unsolved male cold case homicide research is currently underway.
NTAC is looking for the public's help with leads about these cases. Ten of the cases involve female victims who have not been identified.
For the next nine weeks, NTAC will release details bi-monthly about two of the cold cases until all are profiled. The 18 unsolved investigations come from several rural Nevada counties, and do not include cold cases from Washoe or Clark County.
Anyone having possible leads regarding these cases is asked to contact Jim Lopey at (775) 687-0450 or email: email@example.com
8 News NOW will add update the cases and add details about them as the come in.
Imlay Jane Doe
- Date Found: October 27, 1978 (death approximately six months prior to being found)
- Location: Pershing County, several miles west of Imlay (Scossa Road area)
- Description: Jane Doe (unidentified), female Caucasian, 40-50 years, 5-5, 155 pounds
- Details: The victim was found inside of a piece of luggage and had been clothed in a bluish-green jacket and matching skirt, white knit sweater, white t-shirt.
Valerie Jane Doe
- Date Found: March 26, 1991
- Location: Black Rock Desert (Pershing County) 11.1 miles north of Gerlach off Hwy. 34
- Description: Jane Doe (unidentified), female white, 5-1 to 5-3, brown hair, thin build, 25 to mid-fifties (one anthropologist estimated age from 25-35). The victim had been attired in Kikku brand jeans (size 30), a black blouse, dark blue camisole, and dark socks.
- Details: A piece of jewelry had the inscription "Valerie" possibly indicating the victim's first name. She had been shot to death. One piece of jewelry found on the victim was a gold colored bracelet with a pattern of a Dragon inlaid in a sea shell type material.
Planned Parenthood to Retrain Public Staff
by ERIK ECKHOLM
Reacting to the release of videotapes in which its staff members advise an apparent sex trafficker, Planned Parenthood said Monday that it would retrain thousands of staff members across the country on its rules for reporting possible dangers to minors, and would automatically fire anyone who violated them.
All employees who have contact with the public will attend special training sessions, tailored to local laws, in coming weeks, said Stuart Schear, vice president for communications of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
“We're doing this to reassure the public that we take these reporting requirements seriously,” Mr. Schear said.
With the announcement, Planned Parenthood hoped to blunt the public impact of what it called a misleading string of covertly taped videos being released by Live Action, an anti-abortion group. On the videotapes, Planned Parenthood employees are heard telling a man who says he runs a “sex business” how to get medical care and abortions for under-age prostitutes.
When the retraining is completed in April, “termination of employment is the only possible action” when staff members do not report potential abuses of minors, the federation said in a statement.
In one of the videotapes released last week, the office manager of a New Jersey clinic is heard encouraging the presumed sex trafficker to have 14-year-old girls lie about their ages. Planned Parenthood quickly fired that manager, calling her statements a repugnant violation of policy.
In a similar case involving clinics in Virginia, the agency said its staff members had responded properly — describing the legal options to the patient who inquired about abortions for young prostitutes, then reporting him to a manager. Planned Parenthood said it had reported the suspicious visits to clinics in New Jersey, Virginia and other states last month to local and federal law enforcement.
Planned Parenthood provides health screening, gynecological care, contraception and abortion services to some three million women at more than 800 clinics around the country. Its critics condemn it for providing legal abortions but have also charged that, with its strong focus on contraception and abortion, it is insensitive to the broader welfare of young women.
Anti-abortion groups have cited the new videotapes as they campaign to cut more than $75 million in federal financing that Planned Parenthood affiliates receive to provide family planning to low-income people. A bill has gained considerable Republican support in the House of Representatives.
Some of Planned Parenthood's opponents were scornful of the safeguards announced Monday.
Lila Rose, president of Live Action, called the new measures “window dressing” and said, “Live Action's investigation has uncovered a serious, institutional crisis in which Planned Parenthood is willing to aid and abet sex trafficking and exploitation of minors and young women.”
Planned Parenthood officials rejected the charge of systemic lapses and accused Live Action of entrapping its employees and misleading viewers.
They said employees had long been trained to obey local reporting laws as well as to use common sense when confronted with evidence of the abuse of minors.
The new round of training, they said, will not involve a change in policy but a reminder about those laws. Consistent with the law, clinics in most states will continue to provide confidential treatment and contraception to girls as young as 14 without parental consent.
But it is unreasonable, federation officials said, to expect those interviewing a new patient— and who are required by law to offer confidentiality — to take action on the spot.
“We are not asking the front-line health worker or receptionist to do a legal analysis of the situation, but rather to report it when there is any hint of a risk to the welfare of a minor,” Mr. Schear said.
Live Action has said that it will be releasing more covert videotapes in coming days.
No Amber Alert Issued For Missing Boy
Police Say New Braunfels Case Does Not Meet Criteria
Eileen Gonzales, KSAT 12 News Reporter
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- Since 18-month-old Joshua Davis' parents reported he wandered away from their home on Friday night, New Braunfels police, community members and the Texas Rangers have gone to great lengths to search for him. However, his grandfather, Jerome Davis, is wondering why an Amber Alert was never issued.
"They're saying it's not enough information to go on, but why not? The baby's missing. We need to find him," he said. While Amber Alerts are issued in many missing children cases, investigators said this case didn't meet all the criteria. The five guidelines investigators have to meet include:
- Confirming an abduction
- The risk of injury or death
- A suspect's description
- The child's age
- The case must be flagged as a child abduction in the National Crime Database.
Lt. Mike Penshorn, with the New Braunfels Police Department, said investigators did try to file for the alert but were turned down.
"Being that we did not have any suspicious vehicles, suspicious persons or anything to lead us (to think) that it was an abduction, when we did send the information to conduct an Amber Alert, that was part of the criteria that it said that it did not meet," he said.
However, he said police did get the word out by phone using the emergency notification system. Penshorn said about 2,400 homes in the area received several phone messages shortly after Joshua was reported missing on Friday night.
Patricia Vasquez, who lives down the street from the missing boy's home, said she had three messages on her answering machine. However, she said she received them much later since she was one of about 100 neighbors who showed up to help search for Joshua.
"You don't expect things like this to happen in your neighborhood. It scared all of us," she said.
The director of the Heidi Search Center, Kate Shields, said she didn't have any criticisms about the way police are handling the investigation. She said police initially contacted her to make sure they utilized every possible avenue to inform the public about the missing boy. She said she believes investigators are doing the best they can considering the circumstances.
Paducah police issue Golden Alert for missing autistic woman
February 8, 2011
by Heartland News
PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Police launched a search Monday night for an autistic woman who walked away from the hospital where here aunt worked.
Police also issued a Golden Alert. This is similar to an Amber Alert, except it is for adults with special needs.
Police say Kayla Burgess was last seen around 2:30p.m. Monday at Lourdes Hospital .
Family members called police around 6:45p.m. According to Paducah police, the organization "A Child Is Missing" is also helping. The agency has been making automated telephone calls to all telephone numbers in Paducah.
Police say Kayla is autistic and requires medication.
Kayla is about five feet tall, 87 pounds, with green eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a gray shirt, black glasses, a black fedora hat and a black pea coat.
Tuesday morning police were going to local businesses showing her picture trying to find out if anyone had seen her.
As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, Burgess was still missing.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Paducah police at 270-444-8550