- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2000

Child-abuse defendant dies in hospital

LOS ANGELES Peggy McMartin Buckey, a key defendant acquitted in the widely publicized McMartin preschool child-abuse trial of the 1980s, died in a Los Angeles area hospital, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

Paramedics found Mrs. Buckey, 74, unconscious in her home and she was pronounced dead Friday. The cause of death was not known, the newspaper reported.

Mrs. Buckey, son Ray Buckey, mother Virginia McMartin and six other persons were indicted in 1984 on 115 counts of child molestation stemming from reputed incidents at the preschool they operated in the Los Angeles community of Manhattan Beach.

When the case finally ended in the acquittal of Mrs. Buckey and her son in 1990, she said: “I’ve gone through hell and now we’ve lost everything.”

The trial’s sensational allegations of animal sacrifices, satanic rituals and pornography was fodder for U.S. tabloids and produced a television movie.

Cruise ship sinks, all aboard rescued

PORTSMOUTH, Va. A Panamanian-flagged ship carrying a crew of 34, but no passengers, sank off the coast of Virginia yesterday after its engine room flooded, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Petty Officer Silvia Olvera said two helicopters rescued the crew from the Sea Breeze I shortly before the 600-foot vessel sank.

Petty Officer Olvera said the Coast Guard received a distress signal from the ship at about 11:30 a.m., saying it had lost an engine and its engine room was flooding.

“It is a cruise ship but only crew members were on board. We don’t know where it was headed,” she said.

Scooter skirmisher says she was provoked

AURORA, Colo. A woman involved in a skirmish over a scooter at Toys R Us conceded that she hit another shopper, but said the woman scratched and kicked her first, the Scripps Howard News Service reports.

“I hauled off and tried to knock her lights out, but I was provoked,” said Veda Fisher, 54. “I’m not a person who starts anything, but if you put me in the corner, I’ll come back fighting.”

Mrs. Fisher was responding to accusations by two other shoppers, Darrell Stettler, 33, and Andrea Allen, 40, who said Mrs. Fisher and her daughter attacked them at the store a week ago.

Mrs. Fisher said the fight broke out over the last scooter on display.

All parties involved in the skirmish were issued summonses to appear in Aurora Municipal Court on Jan. 8.

Jupiter moon may have a saltwater ocean

SAN FRANCISCO Scientists studying data sent back to Earth from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft have concluded that Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, may possess a huge saltwater ocean beneath its crusty surface.

Galileo probe data on two other Jovian moons Europa and Callisto have indicated that they probably have subsurface water, a key building block for life.

Now, Ganymede which is larger than Mercury or Pluto also looks likely to be concealing a thick layer of salty water beneath its icy crust, researchers told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union here Saturday.

Margaret Kivelson of the University of California-Los Angeles said that magnetic readings taken by the Galileo craft during close approaches in May and earlier were “highly suggestive” that a salty, liquid ocean existed there.

Hundreds evacuated to avoid fumes

OSHKOSH, Wis. Hundreds of residents who were rushed from their homes when fire broke out in a chemical-carrying train car may not be allowed to return for several days because of dangerous fumes, authorities said yesterday.

Hazardous material teams continued to fight the fire yesterday afternoon, more than 24 hours after it began. The car was loaded with 141,000 pounds of sodium hydrosulfite, a highly flammable chemical, fire officials said.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the boxcar, but evacuated about 750 homes for fear the fumes could cause respiratory problems.

There were no reports of serious injuries.

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