Mother reunites with son after 13 years
BELLA VISTA — A mother and son who were separated while the boy was an infant have been reunited more than a decade after the child disappeared with his father.
Tosha Blevins had not heard anything about her son, Stephen Kao, in 13 years until she received a call earlier this month from relatives of the boy’s father.
“My wife is Stephen’s dad’s sister,” the caller, David Henson of Douglasville, Ga., said. “Your son came to live with us after his dad died four years ago.”
Stephen’s relatives in Georgia were able to locate his mother using records they found in his baby book.
The day after the call, the mother went to Georgia and spent more than a week with her son, now 14, who returned to live with her in Arkansas.
Jury raises money for abused girl’s family
DENVER — A 10-year-old girl traumatized by her stepfather got more than justice from a jury — she also got presents.
Members of the jury that convicted the girl’s stepfather on child molestation charges also raised money for the victim’s family.
Jury forewoman Jennifer Volk said it was sad the trial was held during the holidays and that she could see the pain the victim was experiencing.
She asked the judge whether it was appropriate for her to buy presents and raise money for the family, and the judge gave his approval. An informal fundraising campaign began, and $500 was collected.
Girl, 9, kills brotherin accidental shooting
RIVERDALE — A 9-year-old girl fatally shot her 13-year-old brother while playing with a semiautomatic handgun that she found in her parents’ bedroom, according to police in this Chicago suburb.
The shooting was unintentional, but the parents might be charged with not having a trigger lock on the weapon, authorities said.
“She didn’t mean to hurt her brother. They were just playing,” police Sgt. Dan Dempsey said.
Authorities said the mother of the children had left the house for about a half-hour to visit a sick relative and the father was at work Friday when the children found the loaded .380-caliber pistol.
Hong Kong firm fined in ship discharge
BOSTON — A Hong Kong-based shipping company has agreed to pay a $10 million fine for dumping 40 tons of oil sludge into the Atlantic Ocean, federal prosecutors said yesterday.
Coast Guard officials said it is the biggest criminal fine paid anywhere in the world in a case involving deliberate pollution from a single vessel.
Under a deal with prosecutors in Boston, MSC Ship Management Ltd. agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, making false statements and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said one of the company’s container ships, the MSC Elena, discharged the sludge during a five-month period in 2004 by using a specially fitted steel pipe to bypass required pollution-prevention equipment.
Storm dumps snow in Sierra Nevada
RENO — The strongest storm of the season in Sierra Nevada dropped as much as 3 feet of snow, snarling travel through the mountain range but improving ski resort conditions.
Controls were lifted yesterday morning on the two major highways linking Sacramento, Calif., to resorts in the Lake Tahoe area: Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and U.S. 50 over Echo Summit, authorities said.
However, the third major trans-Sierra highway, California Highway 88, remained closed near Kirkwood, Calif., because of avalanche-control efforts. Chains or snow tires were required on other highways in the area.
The Kirkwood Mountain Resort just south of Lake Tahoe reported 2 to 3 feet of snow from the weekend storm. Alpine Meadows ski resort just north of Lake Tahoe reported 19 to 27 inches.
Drug dealer sues police dog
ATHENS — In a lawsuit filed by a convicted drug dealer, one of the defendants has more than two legs to stand on. He has four.
Andi, a dog used by the Athens County Sheriff’s Department, is listed as one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed by Wayne Francis Green, 46, who sued Nov. 18.
Green, who is representing himself, says a search of his business in 2003 was illegal. The search turned up 50 pounds of marijuana, and Green was convicted last month of possession and trafficking in the drug.
Green’s lawsuit, which seeks $450,000 in damages, also was filed against police investigators, Athens County Sheriff Vern Castle and the trial judge.
Last Thursday, Andi the German shepherd was informed that he had been sued — sort of. With a paw print, the dog “signed” the paper indicating that he had been formally served with the complaint.
Gold teeth given to Salvation Army
YORK — The Salvation Army often has found some odd items in its famous red kettles. But gold teeth?
A worker tallying collections Thursday found a pair of golden molars in a plastic bag inside a kettle, said Maj. Darren Mudge of the nonprofit organization in York County.
“I have no clue what we are going to do with them,” Mr. Mudge said. “It’s a wonderful gesture, I guess.”
Less than two weeks ago, Salvation Army workers wondered whether three golden rings placed in two kettles were generous donations or lost items.
Mr. Mudge joked at the time that workers would keep checking for two more rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. Then, two more golden rings appeared. And then 13 more.
Man recovers ticket, gets lottery money
DALLAS — A man who lost a winning lottery ticket and recovered it five days later got a $25,000 check from the Texas Lottery yesterday, just in time for some last-minute Christmas shopping.
Mike Sargent, a 51-year-old AT&T facilities specialist from Alvarado, signed paperwork and picked up the check yesterday morning, one month after he turned it in to a lottery claims center, said lottery spokesman Bobby Heith.
The agency had to run forensic tests on the scratch-off ticket because Mr. Sargent’s signature had been partially erased. The investigation was completed Friday, Mr. Heith said.
Mr. Sargent bought the Wheel of Fortune instant game ticket on Nov. 15 and lost it moments afterward. A water meter reader found it five days later while working near the store and returned it in exchange for a $2,500 reward.
From wire dispatches and staff reports