- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Suspects sought in cop’s death caught

BIRMINGHAM — Police acting on a tip captured a third and final suspect yesterday in the fatal shooting of a Fairfield policewoman who was gunned down after she interrupted an apparent burglary.

Demetrius Avery Jackson Jr., 21, of Jefferson County was arrested at an apartment about 11:30 a.m., or about 16 hours after two other suspects were taken into custody.

Fairfield Police Chief Patrick W. Mardis Sr. said investigators think all three men were involved and likely would be charged in the killing of Officer Mary Smith, 48, and the wounding of another officer.

Mr. Jackson was thought to be the triggerman and will be charged with capital murder, Mr. Mardis said, but charges were being formulated against the others, whose names were not released.


Fishermen rescue very tired dog

KEY LARGO — After fishing without a bite for hours in the Florida Keys, a Massachusetts couple finally pulled something into their boat: a 5-year-old cairn terrier named Tigger.

Ray Truche Jr. and Lisa Largrassa were motoring their 23-foot fishing boat earlier this month on Florida Bay when they suddenly felt they had hit something in the water.

“As we came back upon it, I realized it was a little fat dog,” said Mr. Truche, of Manchester, Mass.

Tigger apparently had fallen overboard from Diane and Richard Beckman’s boat during their trip from Key Largo to Marathon, the Key West Citizen reported Monday. The Beckmans frantically searched the waters for 2 hours.

Mrs. Beckman said she felt elated when she got home and listened to her messages. She went quickly to pick up Tigger.

“As soon as he realized it was me, he jumped in my arms and wouldn’t let go,” she said.


Study: Flu shots safe for babies

CHICAGO — The biggest study to look at the side effects of flu shots in children confirmed that the vaccine is safe for babies and toddlers.

Researchers studied 45,000 U.S. children and found almost no side effects requiring medical treatment during the six weeks after the youngsters were vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 90 children younger than 5 die of the flu each season.

Flu vaccine has a good safety record, the researchers wrote, though some formulations have been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare paralyzing disorder.

“This is really reassuring for parents and for doctors who want to protect children from what’s a pretty nasty disease,” said study co-author Dr. Simon Hambidge, an investigator at Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s clinical research unit.


Hospital staffer finds, turns in $12,450

NEW YORK — The temptation was there: an envelope stuffed with $12,450 in cash, stashed under a hospital patient’s pillow.

But the housekeeper at St. Luke’s Hospital didn’t hesitate before doing the right thing.

“Some people are crazy about money,” said Marie Toussaint, a 50-year-old Haiti native. “But my conscience would kill me if I took it, because I believe in God.”

Miss Toussaint found the envelope, filled with $100 bills and “a few 50s,” after the patient checked out on Oct. 4. She handed it over to the nurse in charge.

A relative of the unidentified patient, an elderly woman, later collected the money.

Miss Toussaint will be honored for her honesty next month at a hospital Thanksgiving party.


5 bodies pulled from Rio Grande

HARLINGEN — The bodies of four men and a woman — all thought to be illegal aliens who drowned in the treacherous Rio Grande while trying to slip into the United States — were pulled from the rain-swollen river.

The bodies were recovered Monday after a Mexican fisherman spotted them and notified U.S. authorities.

Authorities said it was unclear whether the victims tried to wade across or were using a raft. The current had been made rough by recent rain.

The river’s calm surface is notoriously deceiving, and illegal aliens drown trying to cross each year, said Todd Fraser of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington.


Lottery winner plans orphanage donation

SEATTLE — A woman who grew up in a Laotian orphanage in the turbulent 1960s and ‘70s says she plans to donate part of a $55 million lottery jackpot she and her husband won to the people who raised her.

Xia Rattanakone said she also plans to return to Laos to search for her birth family. Mrs. Rattanakone, 44, came to the United States in 1979 after being adopted by an American family.

She and her husband, Sommay Rattanakone, 52, said they plan to retire from their jobs and travel. Neither has been back to Laos since they moved to the United States, and returning for a visit is a top priority, the couple said after claiming their winnings Monday. During that visit, they plan to donate some of the money to the Catholic orphanage where Mrs. Rattanakone was raised.

The couple bought the winning Mega Millions ticket last week at a supermarket and opted for a lump-sum payment. They stand to receive about $23 million after taxes.


Man said tot died, accepted donations

ROCK SPRINGS — A man who wanted time off from work told his co-workers a made-up story that his 2-year-old daughter had died, then pocketed more than $1,300 in donations from them, authorities said.

Henry Eugene Bingham, 26, was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses. If convicted of the felony, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, fined as much as $10,000, or both. He has not entered a plea.

According to court documents, workers at Snelson Pipeline Co. in Granger raised $1,319 after Mr. Bingham told them Oct. 16 that his daughter had fallen ill and died.

When someone from the company called his home Thursday, Mr. Bingham’s wife, Angela, said the child was alive and well. She turned over $1,236 to authorities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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