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CALIFORNIA

F-16s force plane to land

OCEANSIDE — Air Force F-16 fighters forced a small plane experiencing engine trouble to land after the pilot did not respond to radio calls.

The Cessna was spotted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) radar operators on Wednesday about 15 miles across the U.S.-Mexico border. Operators at the Air and Marine Operations center in Riverside watched as the plane turned around and began heading north, prompting the scrambling of the F-16s.

“Once it crossed the border, it became a national-security incident,” CBP spokesman Juan Munoz Torres said.

When the plane landed at a municipal airport, it was met by Oceanside police, San Diego County sheriff’s deputies, CBP agents and a drug-sniffing dog.

The plane’s three male occupants were U.S. citizens whose plane had developed engine and communication problems, Mr. Torres said. By early evening, officials had confirmed the story and the three were released.

FLORIDA

Man charged in 1986 slaying

DEERFIELD BEACH — More than 20 years after a woman was found strangled in a roadway, a high-school classmate who had served time for killing a pregnant teen has been charged with the woman’s murder.

Gary Troutman was ordered held without bail Wednesday in connection with the March 1986 death of Angela Savage, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office declined to say Wednesday how it linked Troutman to Miss Savage’s death. Troutman, 45, recently served nine years in prison for the murder of a pregnant teen in February 1986.

ILLINOIS

4-year-old found as 911 prankster

CARPENTERSVILLE — Authorities tracked down a 4-year-old girl who called 911 nearly 300 times last month by offering to deliver McDonald’s to her suburban Chicago apartment.

Unbeknownst to her mother, the girl used a deactivated cell phone to call dispatchers 287 times in June — sometimes as often as 20 times a shift.

“We talked with her and we convinced her if she told us where she lives, we would bring her McDonald’s,” said Steve Cordes, executive director of QuadCom’s emergency center, which covers Carpentersville. “She finally gave us her address. So we sent the police over — with no McDonald’s.”

After police arrived, the girl’s mother took away the phone, Mr. Cordes said. Under federal law, deactivated cell phones still must be able to access 911.

KANSAS

Tornado reveals time capsule

GREENSBURG — A time capsule found in the wreckage of tornado-ravaged Greensburg High School documented the town’s past through 70-year-old newspapers and membership lists from a church, a band and the American Legion post.

Two 1937 graduates of the school, Ruth West and Elgeva Kerr, opened the small copper box during the town’s July Fourth festivities.

The capsule apparently was forgotten until workers discovered it while clearing away the debris left by the May 4 tornado that destroyed more than 90 percent of the tiny south-central Kansas town of 1,400 residents.

Among other things, the capsule contained membership lists for the 1937 school board, an American Legion post, the Masonic Lodge, the Methodist Church and a band that played at that year’s Kansas State Fair. It also held copies of the Kiowa County Progressive Signal and the Greensburg News.

MAINE

Suspect tells press he needed money

SOUTH PARIS — A man suspected in the deaths of three persons at a New Hampshire outdoors equipment store told reporters outside court yesterday that he did it because he “needed the money.”

Michael Woodbury spoke to reporters as he was being led across a parking lot from the Oxford County jail to the courthouse to be arraigned as a fugitive from justice.

They “busted the robbery,” Woodbury, 31, said of the victims.

A reporter asked him, “Did you do it?”

“Unfortunately, I did,” Woodbury answered.

Asked why, Woodbury replied: “Needed the money.”

In court, Woodbury waived extradition to New Hampshire. He tried to plead guilty to a firearms charge, but that charge was dropped. New Hampshire authorities immediately transported Woodbury back to the state, where he is scheduled to be arraigned today on three counts of first-degree murder.

MASSACHUSETTS

Man charged in assault on child

NEW BEDFORD — A man accused of biting off the lip and ear of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty yesterday and was ordered held without bail.

Bryan James, 34, was charged with assault and battery upon a child causing substantial bodily injuries. Police said the attack left the girl so mutilated that doctors could not fully repair the damage.

The child’s mother, Jessica Silveria, 26, pleaded not guilty to permitting substantial injuries to a child younger than 14 and intimidation of a witness. She was also ordered held without bail.

Prosecutors plan to ask at a hearing next week that Mr. James and Miss Silveria be held without bail for up to 90 days, said Lisa Rowell, a spokeswoman for Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter’s office.

MICHIGAN

Woman sues over co-worker’s perfume

DETROIT — An employee in the Detroit planning department who says she is severely sensitive to perfumes and other cosmetics has sued the city, saying a co-worker’s strong fragrance prohibits her from working.

Susan McBride’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, says the work environment is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She wants a ban on such scents at work — and unspecified damages.

City spokesman Matt Allen declined to comment, telling the Detroit News that the city does not normally comment on litigation or personnel issues.

MINNESOTA

Wading pool drain seriously hurts girl

MINNEAPOLIS — A 6-year-old girl who sat on an open drain in a wading pool lost part of her intestinal tract to the drain’s powerful suction, her family said.

Abigail Taylor was injured in the wading pool on June 29, according to her family.

Her father, Scott Taylor, said the suction caused a 2-inch tear in Abigail’s rectum and pulled out much of her small intestine. Doctors had to remove the part of her intestines that remained, said the family’s lawyer, Bob Bennett.

Abigail remained in intensive care at Children’s Hospital yesterday and appeared to be improving, Mr. Bennett said.

NORTH CAROLINA

5-year-old restrains rabid fox

KINGSTOWN — A 5-year-old boy grabbed a rabid fox by the neck and pinned it to the ground during a family cookout, protecting six other children before his stepfather could kill the animal.

“I wanted to protect my little brother,” said Rayshun McDowell, who battled the fox in the front yard of his home Sunday in Kingstown, a town about 50 miles west of Charlotte.

The fox bit Rayshun in the leg, but the 61-pound boy held the animal down for more than a minute. Animal control officials said Tuesday that test results confirmed that the fox had rabies, which is fatal unless treated before symptoms appear. Rayshun is undergoing treatment.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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