- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2006

ARIZONA

Body found at bottom of Grand Canyon

PHOENIX — Crews searching for a Japanese tourist found a body at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but it was not known whether the body was that of the visitor.

Tomomi Hanamure, 24, of Tokyo has been missing since Monday, when she checked in at a lodge in the village of Supai on the canyon’s floor. But she apparently never slept in the room, and her belongings were still there Tuesday morning, said Coconino County Sheriff’s spokesman Gerry Blair.

The body found Saturday was reported by a Supai resident, who notified deputies of a person floating in water just north of the village.

The death is considered suspicious and is being investigated, he said.

CONNECTICUT

Mentally ill troops forced into combat

HARTFORD — U.S. military troops with severe psychological problems have been sent to Iraq or kept in combat, even when superiors have been aware of signs of mental illness, a newspaper reported for yesterday’s editions.

The Hartford Courant, citing records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act and more than 100 interviews of families and military personnel, reported numerous cases in which the military failed to follow its own regulations in screening, treating and evacuating mentally unfit troops from Iraq.

In 1997, Congress ordered the military to assess the mental health of all deploying troops. The newspaper, citing Pentagon statistics, said fewer than 1 in 300 service members were referred to a mental-health professional before shipping out for Iraq as of October 2005.

Twenty-two U.S. troops committed suicide in Iraq last year, accounting for nearly one in five of all noncombat deaths and the highest suicide rate since the war started, the newspaper said.

FLORIDA

Mom says ‘demons made her’ kill baby

MIAMI — A woman accused of killing her 9-month-old baby and wounding her 3-year-old daughter said demons told her to do it, police said Saturday.

Police found Liset Hernandez, 36, in a closet holding the toddler, who had multiple stab wounds Friday night. The infant girl, who was slashed in the chest and abdomen, was found wrapped in a white sheet in the bathroom sink, officials said.

“She confessed totally to the murder and the child abuse, citing that demons made her do it,” Miami Detective Delrish Moss said.

Hernandez was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated child abuse. She was being held without bail.

The toddler was hospitalized and listed in serious condition.

ILLINOIS

Police say pastor spanked girl

ELGIN — A pastor was charged with spanking a 13-year-old girl with a piece of wood because he thought she was lying when she said she was sexually abused by a relative.

Police said the Rev. Daryl Bujak struck the girl hard enough to cause bruises and welts after she was brought to him for counseling because her mother doubted the claims.

Officials said they believe the girl’s accusations of sexual abuse, and last week, authorities in McHenry County charged a 33-year-old man with abusing her from September 2003 until March 2005.

“I feel terrible,” said the mother. “I feel like a heel. I didn’t know.”

Mr. Bujak, who was charged with misdemeanor battery, surrendered to police Wednesday and was released after posting $500 bail.

MICHIGAN

Kidnapped woman found after 30 years

PONTIAC — A woman whose father was charged with kidnapping her as a child 30 years ago has been found living in Arizona, her mother and sheriff’s officials said.

On Mother’s Day weekend in 1976, Laura Gooder’s estranged husband, Eric Douglas Nielsen, picked up 21-month-old Genevieve Rachel Nielsen for an overnight visit. They never returned. This Mother’s Day weekend, a police officer arrived Saturday at Mrs. Gooder’s home in Frederic, Mich., with news that her daughter — now 31 — had been found, the Detroit News reported.

Mrs. Gooder’s daughter had been raised under another name and grew up believing her mother had been killed in an auto accident. Law-enforcement officials declined to release her other name.

“It is pretty surreal,” Mrs. Gooder, 53, said. “I am keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for her to call.”

Eric Nielsen was incarcerated in Arizona under a different identity on an unrelated charge, authorities said. A tip led investigators to visit an Arizona prison Thursday, said Michael Bouchard, sheriff in Michigan’s Oakland County.

OREGON

Girl gets 12 years for poisoning milk

LAKEVIEW — A 13-year-old girl convicted of attempting to kill two classmates by slipping rat poison into their milk was sentenced to up to 12 years in a juvenile detention center.

Holly Sweeney was ordered Friday to remain at the Hillcrest Girls’ School in Salem until she is 25 with early release possible if she responds to treatment, the judge ruled.

Earlier this month, the judge found the Lakeview girl and her friend, Stephanie Quesnoy, 12, guilty of plotting and executing a plan to kill two classmates. District Attorney David Schutt said the girls planned the poisoning to retaliate against the victims for putting shaving cream in Stephanie and Holly’s hair at a slumber party. Stephanie is to be sentenced May 22.

The girls put rat poison in the milk of two classmates Sept. 19 during lunch at Daly Middle School. The victims noticed green crystalline pellets in the bottom of their milk cartons, and neither was injured.

TEXAS

Teen dies of rabies from bat bite

HOUSTON — A Texas teenager who was bitten by a bat while he slept in his home has died of rabies, the Houston hospital that treated him said.

Zachary Jones, 16, died Friday, a week after he became ill from the bat bite he received about a month before.

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, only 10 other persons have died of rabies in the United States since 1998.

“Rabies, which causes devastating neurological damage, is almost always fatal once symptoms appear, as was the case with this child,” Texas Children’s Hospital said.

A 15-year-old girl from Wisconsin who contracted rabies in 2004 survived after the onset of symptoms. Doctors at Texas Children’s were trying the same treatment on Zachary that saved the girl, but a spokeswoman told the Houston Chronicle that the boy’s illness was more advanced and that he had a different strain of rabies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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