- The Washington Times - Friday, February 25, 2005

Girl goes missing from Florida home

HOMOSASSA, Fla. — The family of a 9-year-old girl who disappeared from her bedroom pleaded for her return Friday, calling her an “angel” who needs to be home.

The father and grandparents of Jessica Marie Lunsford cried as they described a girl who they say would never run away.

“I want my daughter home,” said Mark Lunsford, who discovered the third-grader missing Thursday morning. “If there is anything anybody knows, there are a lot of numbers you can call. Help me find my daughter and bring her home.”

Jessica lives in the house with her father and his parents. Her father told authorities he had returned Thursday morning from a girlfriend’s home and was getting ready for work when he realized his daughter’s alarm clock was sounding and she wasn’t there.

The clothes she had laid out for school were still in place and none of her shoes were gone.

Man kills ex-wife over child support

TYLER, Texas — A man angry about being sued for unpaid child support opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle outside a courthouse, killing his ex-wife and a bystander who intervened to protect the couple’s 23-year-old son.

The gunman, David Hernandez Arroyo Sr., 43, was killed Thursday in a gunbattle with officers after fleeing the scene of the shooting, in which his son and three law enforcement officers were wounded.

Police estimated that Mr. Arroyo, who had a history of spousal abuse and weapons violations, shot 50 rounds in the historic town square. He was wearing a military flak jacket and a bulletproof vest.

Joshua Wintters, an attorney representing Arroyo’s ex-wife, Maribel Estrada, 41, said he doesn’t believe she thought her ex-husband was dangerous.

Soldier set to be court-martialed

SAVANNAH, Ga. — An Army mechanic who refused to deploy to Iraq for a second tour of duty will be court-martialed on desertion charges, officials said yesterday.

Sgt. Kevin Benderman, 40, missed his unit’s deployment flight last month after giving his commanders notice that he planned to seek a discharge as a conscientious objector. Sgt. Benderman said he had become opposed to war after serving in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Fort Stewart commanders contend Sgt. Benderman had an obligation to deploy with his unit, the 3rd Forward Support Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division, while the Army processed his objector application.

The soldier will be tried by a general court-martial, the most serious form of court-martial, on charges of desertion and missing movement.

Rockefeller to run for Arkansas governor

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The billionaire son of former Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller and great-grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller has announced he will run for governor in 2006.

Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, currently the lieutenant governor, said Thursday he informed the state Republican Party of his decision in a letter this week and has opened a campaign office. Mr. Rockefeller, 56, was elected lieutenant governor in 1996 when Mike Huckabee resigned to become governor. Mr. Huckabee is in his final term in office.

Mr. Rockefeller has not said how much of his personal wealth he would be willing to spend on a campaign, but he added: “Nobody is ordained or destined to be governor. A person has to earn the right to serve.”

Former Rep. Asa Hutchinson, who resigned as undersecretary of the federal Homeland Security Department this year after being passed over for secretary, has indicated he could be interested in a run.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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