- - Sunday, October 16, 2011

ALASKA

Third errant killer whale found dead in river

ANCHORAGE — A third killer whale that swam up Alaska’s Nushagak River has been found dead.

A spokeswoman for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service says the carcass of the third whale, a juvenile, was spotted near Grass Island, across the river from Dillingham in an area influenced by tides.

Julie Speegle said in a statement that biologists believe the juvenile likely swam there rather than its body being moved by the tide.

The juvenile and two female orcas, including one pregnant whale, were spotted in fresh water more than three weeks ago. Necropsies last week on the other two whales provided no obvious reasons for why they died.

CALIFORNIA

L.A. sheriff blames himself for misconduct at jails

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said he is to blame for deputy misconduct and brutality against inmates in the nation’s largest jail network.

Sheriff Baca, who is in his third term, acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times that he was out of touch about problems in the jails and failed to put into place important reforms that could have minimized violence against inmates. He said that his subordinates often insulated him from “bad news.”

“The truth is, I should’ve known,” Sheriff Baca said. “So now I do know.”

The sheriff’s department and its top official have come under intense criticism since the American Civil Liberties Union released a report last month alleging abuse and other misconduct by deputies. The FBI has demanded internal department documents detailing the use of force on inmates over several years, as well as other records.

GEORGIA

Court blocks immigration status law for schools

ATLANTA — A federal appeals court Friday blocked a key part of Alabama’s law that requires schools to check the immigration status of students, temporarily weakening what was considered the toughest immigration law in the nation.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also blocked a part of the law that allows authorities to charge immigrants who do not carry documents proving their legal status. The three-judge panel let stand a provision that allows police to detain immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally.

The ruling was only temporary. A final decision on the law won’t likely be made for months.

Groups that challenged the law said they were hopeful the judges would eventually block the rest of it.

“I think that certainly it’s a better situation today for the people of Alabama today than it was yesterday,” said Omar Jadwat, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law along with the Obama administration. “Obviously we remain concerned about the remainder of the provisions, and we remain confident that we will eventually get the whole scheme blocked.”

MISSOURI

National Guard gets involved in search for missing baby

KANSAS CITY — Military police from the Missouri National Guard joined the search Sunday for a Kansas City baby, crawling through a wooded area to make sure no evidence was overlooked in the search for the girl reported missing from her home nearly two weeks ago.

About 25 members of the guard’s 1139th Military Police Company based in nearby Harrisonville, FBI agents and officers from several police and sheriff’s departments from nearby communities in Missouri and Kansas split into several groups and scoured a large wooded area west of the family’s home.

The baby, Lisa Irwin, was 10 months old when her parents reported her missing Oct. 4. Her parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, said she disappeared from her crib sometime overnight. Previous searches have included the family’s neighborhood, nearby wooded areas, a landfill and abandoned homes. Police have said that so far there are no suspects or major leads.

Nearly 100 people were involved in the search Sunday, said Bridget Patton, a spokeswoman for the FBI, which has been assisting the Kansas City Police Department.

PENNSYLVANIA

3 charged after adults found chained to boiler

PHILADELPHIA — Three people have been charged after the discovery of four malnourished mentally disabled adults chained to a boiler in a locked northeast Philadelphia basement room that was too small for an adult to stand up straight and also reeked of waste from the buckets they used to relieve themselves, police said Sunday.

Officers were investigating a report of squatters in a building Saturday when they found three men and a woman in a 15-by-15-foot room behind a steel door that was chained shut. The subbasement room they were in called to mind a Cold War-era bomb shelter and contained a makeshift bed, mattress and sheets, said Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman.

“It was horrible,” she said. “The space was very tiny and confined.”

Charges of criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, criminal trespass, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and related offenses were filed Sunday against Linda Ann Weston, 51, and Thomas Gregory, 47, both of Philadelphia, as well as Eddie Wright, 49, officially listed as homeless but originally from Texas. Listed numbers for the defendants could not be found Sunday and it was unclear whether they had engaged attorneys.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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