Kitten's plight exaggerated
Web Posted: 06/20/2007 01:32 AM CDT
The story had just the right elements for heart-rending and heartwarming drama � a kitten, tied with a shoelace to a section of South Side railroad tracks, rescued by two off-duty security guards who said they happened upon the cruel sight early one morning last week.
There even was a fast-paced car chase and the flash of a handgun as the heroes tried but failed to apprehend two evildoers.
Reported first to police, the story made its way onto television and into the San Antonio Express-News, inspiring readers to curse the villains, fret about the kitten and praise its saviors. Meanwhile, police opened a case that could have led to a separate animal cruelty investigation by the city.
But in an interview with the Express-News on Tuesday, John Hernandez, who said he'd adopted the imperiled kitten and named it Tracks, admitted that he and the other guard, Jacob Salinas, exaggerated certain elements of their account.
In some places, the pair outright invented.
Turns out the kitten, Hernandez said when questioned Tuesday, wasn't actually tied to the tracks, but rather was "pinned up underneath."
When pressed, Hernandez, 22, conceded moments later that the kitten was actually "squirming and walking around" when he and Salinas drove up.
Oh, and there might not have been a gun after all, he said, blaming his own fibs on "overreacting."
Salinas did not return phone messages left Tuesday.
Hernandez, meanwhile, called the Police Department's public information office after admitting the fibs to a reporter. Police spokesman Joe Rios later said he told Hernandez that a detective assigned to the case would likely contact him to discuss inconsistencies.
It wasn't immediately known Tuesday if Hernandez or Salinas faced charges of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor.
Still, city officials were not amused.
"Anytime somebody makes a false report to a city department, that wastes not only man-hours but taxpayer money," said Lisa Norwood, spokeswoman for Animal Care Services. "We have two animal cruelty investigators for the entire city. We probably need five times as many to do the job we'd like to."
Rios said the misdemeanor of filing a false report, committed when someone intentionally deceives an officer, distracts police from legitimate offenses.
"It takes away from the level of service when we're chasing our tails, basically," Rios said.
As for Tracks, the scrawny kitten remained Tuesday at a South Side house where Hernandez lives with his grandparents. Hernandez said he's grown attached to the creature, which appeared cleaner and better fed yet remained afflicted with a lingering flea problem.
Man run over by truck while lighting cigarette
By KEVIN MORAN
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
A Pasadena man died after he accidentally walked into the side of a tanker trailer in the 9300 block of Lawndale Sunday, police said.
Mack Herbert Vance III, 36, was lighting a cigarette when he hit the side of the truck trailer as the rig made a left turn onto Central from Lawndale, HPD accident investigation Off. L.C. Morrison II said today. The incident occurred at about 9:15 p.m.
No charges will be filed against the truck's driver, who Morrison said was so upset at Vance's death that he wept and vomited at the scene.
Vance had been dropped off by a friend near his workplace, a friend told police.
The truck driver said Vance was walking in the intersection but the man was not in the truck's path, Morrison said. Vance had his head lowered as he was lighting a cigarette and made a sharp turn toward the truck as he did so, witnesses told police.
Vance was crushed under the truck's wheels, Morrison said. His head struck the cargo tank's side and his baseball-style cap ended up on the trailer, he said.
Vance leaves a wife, who is pregnant, Morrison said. The wife and Vance's father came to the scene. Their names were not released.
Woman charged in soup poisoning at Randalls
A woman is arrested - accused of dropping mothballs in the soup at a Randalls grocery store on Mesa Drive in Northwest Austin. APD Lt. John Romoser says store employees noticed a strange smell eminating from a pot at the self-serve soup bar.
Management then set up a surveillance camera and located the suspect through her "Remarkable Card." Lea Sechler is charged with tampering with a consumer product - a second degree felony.
Texas league coach killed by line drive
11:31 AM CDT on Monday, July 23, 2007
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. � Tulsa Drillers coach Mike Coolbaugh died after being struck in the head by a line drive as he stood in the first-base coach's box during a game.
The Texas League game was suspended in the ninth inning Sunday after the 35-year-old former major leaguer was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Tino Sanchez of the Arkansas Travelers. Coolbaugh was taken to Baptist Medical Center-North Little Rock, where he was pronounced dead.
Foxy Brown Accused of Lying to NJ Police
MAHWAH, N.J. � Foxy Brown is accused of lying to police during a traffic stop, the latest addition to the rapper's legal woes, according to a published report.
Brown, whose real name is Inga Marchand, was driving a sport utility vehicle on Wednesday when she was stopped for talking on a handheld cell phone and failing to stop at a stop sign, police told The Record of Bergen County.
After a check showed the SUV's registration had been suspended, the 27-year-old rapper gave officers a variation of her real name and a date of birth that was a year off, authorities said.
When a search for the name she gave turned up no records, the officers asked her again for the information, and she gave her correct name and date of birth, authorities said.
The officers then learned that Brown's license was suspended, and she was taken to police headquarters, where she was issued seven traffic tickets and released on her own recognizance.
She was told to appear in municipal court in Mahwah on Sept. 4.
Brown's lawyer, John L. Sampson, did not immediately respond to requests for comment by The Associated Press on Monday night.
The traffic stop came a day after Brown was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a neighbor in New York City's Brooklyn borough.
Police said that the two women got into a fight over the rapper blasting her car stereo and that, when they passed each other on the street a few days later, Brown hurled her BlackBerry device at the woman, cutting her lip and knocking a tooth loose.
Brown is already on probation after pleading guilty to assault in a 2004 dispute over paying for a manicure.
Relatives suspect her grandfather, who wanted a grandson. Surgery is scheduled for today to remove 6 of the objects.
By Ching-Ching Ni, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 11, 2007
BEIJING -- -- Her relatives had always described her as a colicky baby.
When Luo Cuifen was 26, she found out a likely reason why.
Doctors discovered more than two dozen sewing needles embedded in her body, some piercing her vital organs.
X-rays of her head and torso look like a dart board.
Doctors believe the needles were driven into her body when Luo was days old. One in the top of her skull could only have been stuck there when the bones in her head were still soft.
"They wanted her dead," said Qu Rei, a spokesman at Richland International Hospital in Yunnan province, which has agreed to surgically remove the first six of the 26 needles in her body today. "The fact she is still alive is a medical miracle."
Luo does not remember ever being stabbed. Relatives suspect her grandparents. They wanted a grandson instead of a second granddaughter.
"I was horrified," said Luo, now 29, in an interview by phone Monday from her hospital room. "How could they do such a thing to me when I was so young?"
Luo, an impoverished farmer, has had to wait for three years for her operation because she had been unable until now to find a hospital willing to perform the difficult and expensive procedure for free.
Female infanticide is common practice in cultures that prize boys. China's strict one-child policy has exacerbated the age-old prejudice by making the male heir an even more precious commodity. Lopsided sex selection through such means as abortions has skewed the gender ratio; it now stands at about 119 boys to 100 girls. In industrialized countries the balance is closer to 107 to 100.
China's family planning restrictions have also led to a surge in child trafficking. On Friday, Chinese police rescued 40 kidnapped infants purchased in relatively impoverished southwestern China and bound for potential buyers on the country's more prosperous east coast.
Thousands of baby girls are abandoned every year. Some are left on the street or even in the trash.
Luo's case is not the first in which children have been pierced with metal objects. This year, state media reported the case of a 40-year-old woman who had suffered from headaches all her life. It turned out she had a 4-inch needle stuck in her head. Relatives said she had been born out of wedlock and passed from friend to friend as an infant. By the time she came home to stay with her mother she had developed a habit of sobbing hysterically that no one could explain.
A 47-year-old woman late last year had a seizure while doing housework and was taken to the hospital, where she was found to have an embedded needle.
Despite the progress that many urban women have made, the situation in the countryside is often vastly different.
Luo is the daughter of peasants in a village in southwestern China; her mother gave birth to two girls. Her father beat his wife and daughters and denied them meals and the right to sit at the family table, relatives said.
Luo's earliest memories were of huddling in tears with her sister and mother.
When she was 3, her parents divorced and her mother remarried and gave birth to a boy. When he was 2, he wandered off while his mother was working and drowned in a pond.
"Villagers who came to fetch water saw his clothes floating on the surface, and when they went to fish them up they found his body," Yang Yunfen, Luo's older sister, said from her sister's hospital bedside.
Their mother, who later had another baby son, had little energy to devote to Luo's constant crying. Pins began emerging from her body when she was 6 months old.
The first instance started off as an infected wound in her lower back. Her mother poked at it and, to her surprise, pulled out a sewing needle.
There was no hospital nearby and no money to seek treatment, relatives and doctors said.
When Luo was 3, another sewing needle jabbed out from under one of her left ribs.
It took more than two decades before the family learned how many needles had been pushed into her body.
"My mother cried and cried after she found out," said Luo Jiaxing, 20, Luo Cuifen's younger brother. "She kept saying, 'No wonder my daughter cried all the time as a baby. She must have been hurting from all the needles, but she did not know how to speak.' "
Luo says that as an adult she never felt any unusual pain. She married and gave birth to a healthy son who is now 6. After blood showed up in her urine and she discovered what was lodged in her body, she found it difficult to fall asleep or do heavy farm work for fear of shifting the needles to a more lethal position. Her husband supports the family of three on just $400 a year.
Relatives suspect her grandfather because whenever the family brought up the needles, he would fall silent.
"After we found out about the needles, he stopped seeing us or even talking to us," Luo's sister said.
Villagers told relatives after the grandfather died this year that he had hired a fortuneteller who told him before Luo was born that she would be a curse on the family. He also vowed to get rid of her, they said.
"I knew my grandfather looked down on me because I was a girl, but I had no idea he hated me that much until I found out about the needles," Luo said.
Today's surgery is aimed at removing the most life-threatening needles in her abdominal area, including in her bladder, intestines and uterus.
Dozens of doctors, including some in the United States and Canada, have been consulted. Five or six more operations would be needed to remove the rest of the needles.
"When I first heard about this case I couldn't believe it was real," said Xu Mei, the hospital director. "In the X-ray you can see the needles very clearly. They are thick and long, used for knitting bedding covers. It had to have hurt a lot when she was a baby."
[Note the (unintentional?) puns in the story.]
Man indicted for putting 2-year-old in dryer
LUMBERTON � A Southeast Texas man accused of putting his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter in a clothes dryer has been indicted on a charge of injury to a child, officials said.
The Hardin County District Attorney's Office said 27-year-old Bobby Lynn Curtis was indicted Tuesday. He remained jailed with bond set at $150,000.
Lumberton police have said Curtis was giving the child a bath on Aug. 19 while her mother was at the store. Curtis is accused of putting the child in the dryer after she started acting up. He started the dryer for a short time, then took the child out and put her to bed, police have said.
The girl, who was treated for first- and second-degree burns, was left in custody of her mother after an inquiry by Child Protective Services.
"I'm surprised he got indicted this quick," defense attorney Glen Crocker said. "The D.A.'s apparently put this case on the front burner."
Crocker said he's worried about his client's chances for a fair trial.
"It's a pressing concern of mine," he said. "This is still the hot story. It hasn't died down."
South Texas man dies after bee attack
MISSION, Texas � A disabled South Texas man has died after being stung by as many as 1,000 bees, fire officials said.
Paul Lee Campton, 57, who used a walker, was covered by a swarm of bees after he and his brother, Lester Campton, 41, opened a garage door Wednesday. His brother ran to neighbor's house to call for help.
The bees also attacked firefighters who drove the swarm away, then followed after paramedics who took the man to Mission Regional Medical Center. Campton died late Thursday night at the hospital.
His brother and rescue workers were not seriously hurt. Pest control workers later destroyed the bees.
Des Moines police investigate attack by onion
REGISTER STAFF REPORTS
September 20, 2007
A Des Moines man went to jail Wednesday afternoon for allegedly throwing an onion at his wife.
The police report begins: "(The victim) states her husband had been drinking and they got into an argument."
James Izzolena, 54, of 3515 Sheridan Ave., was charged with domestic assault causing injury. Police said he became upset with his wife, Nicole Izzolena, 27, and tossed an onion at her, striking her in the back of the head.
She told police it made her head hurt. James Izzolena admitted throwing the onion, police said, but he claimed he did not intend to hit her with it. He was being held without bond pending a court appearance today.
Health officials confirm amoeba killed Lubbock man
Tests have confirmed that the death of a Lubbock man who swam in Lake LBJ last month was caused by an amoeba that can be found in warm water.
Texas health officials on Monday received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Colby Sawyer, 22, died from primary amebic meningoencephalitis, the Department of State Health Services stated. The CDC result validated the outcome of a preliminary test by Lubbock health officials.
Only 35 cases of the infection have been reported in Texas since 1972, and all those people died, officials have said.
Sawyer's death was the second this summer. John Patrick "Jack" Herrera, 12, of Travis County, died in early August after contracting the rare form of meningitis from swimming in the same lake.
Mom's nude stargazing leaves toddler dead
ENCINO, N.M. � The body of a 15-month-old boy was found in a field Wednesday, a day after his mother told authorities that she lost him when she fell asleep stargazing.
Search and rescue crews found the body of Richy Willis-Brown near a highway junction in Torrance County in central New Mexico, according to state police Lt. Rick Anglada.
Anglada said an autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.
"Right now we don't know if the child died of exposure or any other trauma," he said.
Deputies said the boy and his mother had been seen along U.S. 60 before dawn Tuesday. The woman, wearing no clothes, showed up a few hours later in Encino and told authorities her baby was missing.
The woman told investigators she was driving through the area when she decided to stop, take off her clothes and star gaze. She said she fell asleep and when she woke up, her son was gone.
The boy's mother was in an Albuquerque hospital Wednesday. Authorities were considering filing charges against the woman, whose name has not been released.
Fla. man condemned in girl's gator death
MIAMI (AP) � A man convicted of murder for leaving a 5-year-old girl to be eaten alive by alligators in the Everglades was sentenced to death Monday.
A defense attorney said Harrel Franklin Braddy, who already served time in prison for attempted murder but was released early for good behavior, had befriended Shandelle Maycock and her daughter, Quatisha, through his involvement in church outreach programs.
Maycock testified that Braddy showed up at her house in 1998 and grew enraged when she asked him to leave.
Prosecutors said Braddy drove the girl's mother to a remote sugarcane field, choked her to unconsciousness and left her to die. Maycock woke up bleeding and disoriented, but managed to flag down help.
Braddy drove the girl to a section of Interstate 75 in the Everglades known as Alligator Alley and dropped her in the water beside the road, prosecutors said. She was alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, a medical examiner said.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: Prosecutors | Everglades | Harrel Franklin Braddy | Quatisha | Shandelle Maycock
Authorities found the girl's body two days later, her left arm missing and her skull crushed, prosecutors said.
Braddy, 58, was convicted in July of first-degree murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and other charges.
Judge Leonard E. Glick also sentenced Braddy to three consecutive life terms for kidnapping and burglary with an assault charges. He also got 30 years in prison for the attempted murder of Maycock, 15 years for child neglect causing great bodily harm and five years for attempted escape.
"I'm saddened for both families," said Braddy's attorney, G.P. Della Fera.
Maycock sobbed during the initial sentencing as she told jurors how her life without her only child would never be the same. The girl she nicknamed "Candy" had just started kindergarten and loved writing her name and singing along with the church choir.
"The State is grateful that Quatisha's small voice was finally heard, and that the defendant received the sentence he so rightfully earned," prosecutor Abbe Rifkin said in a statement.
What is more cruel and unusual...leaving a 5 year old baby girl in the everglades to be killed and eaten by alligators or taking the needle for your crime?
Woman stabs tied-up lover to drink his blood
MESA, Ariz. � A woman who stabbed her tied-up lover so she could drink his blood has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tiffany Sutton told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Udall that she was sorry for the incident and said she never meant to hurt anyone, but received the stiff sentence anyway after he called the crime especially heinous.
Sutton, 24, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in August. She was arrested by Tempe police in February after she repeatedly stabbed her lover during an alcohol- and drug-fueled sexual tryst.
According to police reports, the victim, 46-year-old Robert McDaniel, agreed to be tied up during sex but became alarmed and asked to be untied when Sutton pulled out a knife and said she liked to drink blood. Sutton then attacked him, slicing his leg, puncturing his arm, shoulder and back and cutting his neck and stomach. When he escaped, she chased him with a pickax.
Sutton's attorney, Elizabeth Houck, told the judge at Tuesday's hearing that she suffers from a personality disorder that causes instability and has taken responsibility for her actions, according to the East Valley Tribune.
Houck wrote in a sentencing memo that prison records show Sutton thought she was a vampire for the first several weeks she was in jail.
'Purple' Boy Found Near Death In Halloween Spider Web
A 6-year-old Central Florida boy nearly died when he became tangled in a large spider web Halloween decoration hanging at his home.
The Hampton family built a fake spider web out of nylon and draped it inside their Tampa home for Halloween this year.
Dawn Hampton said her son, Cade, became entangled in the web and was unable to breathe.
She said she will never forget finding her son in the web.
"His little face, I saw it around his neck and his face is completely reddish purple," mother Dawn Hampton said.
The spider web was so tight that Cade's parents said they were not able to get a finger between it and his neck. The couple quickly cut the nylon with scissors and saved the child.
"All I was doing was wrapping it around my shoulders and it caught up to my neck and I couldn't breathe," Cade said.
Cade suffered bruises around his neck but no serious injuries.
* * * * *
With great power comes criminal responsibility?
It's all youuuuuuur fault I screeeeeeeeeen my phone calls... no matter matter matter matter who calls I gotta screeeeeen my phone calls....
I gotta admit, when I was a kid, I'd have played spidey in the decorations too.
Don't speak. I know what you're thinking.
HPD: Shooting suspect found dead, may have tripped
Authorities say the man's shorts fell down to his thighs while he was fleeing
By MIKE GLENN
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
A man accused of shooting an off-duty Houston police officer was found dead Sunday in a thick grove of woods near the westside apartment complex where the officer was wounded, authorities said.
The gunman, identified by police as Eric Titov, 22, apparently shot himself in the head following a violent confrontation about midnight with HPD officer Victor Hill at the Reserve by the Lake Apartments, 18600 South Park View, police said.
It was unclear Sunday whether Titov committed suicide or shot himself accidentally.
"Looks like his shorts fell down to his thighs; he may have actually tripped," HPD homicide Capt. Steve Jett said. "And, trying to catch himself with his hands, wound up pulling the trigger as he was falling."
11-year-old boy killed by pit bull
Seth Lovitt was bitten in the neck by his family's dog Tuesday night
By Patrick George
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
An 11-year-old Killeen boy died Tuesday night after being attacked by his family's pit bull, police said.
According to the Killeen Police Department, Seth Lovitt, 11, was running through his home with his younger brother about 6:30 p.m. when the dog jumped from the couch and knocked him to the ground. The dog then began to bite Seth on the neck, police said.
Seth's grandmother and mother restrained the dog and called 911. The boy was taken to Darnall Army Medical Center in critical condition. He was pronounced dead there by Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin about 8:30 p.m.
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