- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 13, 2004

2 border agents found dead

TUCSON, Ariz. — Two off-duty border agents based in Texas were found dead Friday southwest of Tucson in what authorities were investigating as a murder-suicide.

The agents, who worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso, were found by a Tohono O’odham Nation police officer who was responding to a report of an abandoned vehicle, the tribe said in a news release.

Doug Mosier, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in El Paso, said the agents were identified as Arturo Betancourt, 45, and Elizabeth Granillo, 31. Mr. Betancourt had worked for the Border Patrol for 15 years and Miss Granillo for 2 years, Mr. Mosier said.

“The case is being investigated as a murder-suicide,” said Mr. Mosier, who declined to elaborate. It was not immediately clear what the two agents were doing in Arizona, he said.

Virgin Mary statues missing from town

WAITE PARK, Minn. — Joe Fautsch was mowing his lawn when he came around a corner and expected to see the Virgin Mary. The Holy Mother wasn’t there.

“I don’t think she walked away by herself,” Mr. Fautsch said. “Who would take her?”

He found out last week that his Virgin Mary statue was one of four that have been stolen in this central Minnesota town within the past few weeks, Investigator Ben Theisen said. They can be worth up to $400, he said.

Mr. Fautsch’s statue had stood on his lawn for about five years. He estimated the cost at $125.

“I put it out just to show that I’m Catholic,” he said. “It might wake some other people up. Guess it didn’t wake up whoever stole it.”

Police called to stop massive food fight

WOODBURY, N.Y. — Some 300 teenagers waged a food fight in their school cafeteria so fierce that educators had to call police to help them restore order.

The students at Monroe-Woodbury High School, about 40 miles north of New York City, had ignored school officials’ attempts to end the disturbance.

With officers standing by, the teens were ushered out of the cafeteria and into the gymnasium, where school officials tried to determine who instigated the melee. A surveillance video was being reviewed to determine those responsible.

Nine police cruisers from three agencies, including state police, responded to the call, the Times Herald Record of Middletown reported Friday. No one was injured during the fight.

Man who beat parrot sentenced to service

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A man who attacked his pet macaw, breaking its beak and leg, must complete 120 days of community service and take anger-management classes, a judge ruled Friday.

Anthony James Ellis, 53, had been sentenced to 120 days in jail but Orange County Superior Court Judge Susanne Shaw said she would allow him to complete the sentence as community service.

Judge Shaw also ruled that Ellis must pay $3,577.26 in restitution for surgery and care of the bird and cannot have pets or consume alcohol during three years of probation. Ellis was convicted April 27 of felony animal cruelty and abuse of an animal.

Witnesses testified that Ellis punched the bird — named “Johnny” — and slammed its head against the deck of his boat outside the Newport Harbor Elks Lodge, where the parrot was the mascot.

Ellis testified that the bird, which he had owned for 11 years, was injured after it bit him on the arm and he fell down, and that witnesses outside the lodge misunderstood what they saw.

The parrot survived the March 2003 attack and was adopted by an animal-care agency.

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