- The Washington Times - Monday, January 29, 2007


Sex offender accused of abducting girl

MARICOPA — A registered sex offender suspected of abducting a 6-year-old girl was arrested Saturday in a nearby town, sheriff’s deputies said.

George Richard Horner, 26, was taken into custody at an airport near the town of Coolidge after negotiating with an investigator through cell-phone calls and text messages, sheriff’s spokesman Mike Minter said.

Horner was booked on charges including kidnapping and sexual misconduct with a minor, Sheriff Christopher Vasquez said.

The girl was reported missing from her mother’s home in Maricopa and found about three hours later walking down a rural road in the town of Casa Grande, about 20 miles away, officials said. Sheriff Vasquez said there was evidence that she had been sexually molested.

Horner denied hurting the child, Sheriff Vasquez said.

Horner had been staying at the girl’s home since being introduced to her mother by a mutual friend, Lt. Scott Elliott said Friday.


Navy ends search for missing crew

SAN DIEGO — The Navy called off a search Saturday for three missing crew members of a helicopter that crashed in the ocean about 50 miles off California’s southern coast.

Friday’s crash during a training mission off the USS Bonhomme Richard left one sailor dead, and the Navy had searched for the remaining crew through the night and into Saturday afternoon.

“The cold water temperature and the time that elapsed since the crash occurred led Navy officials to conclude that air crew survivability is extremely unlikely,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Meydenbauer.

The pilot radioed a mayday but gave no indications of mechanical malfunctions or fire, Cmdr. Meydenbauer said.


Duck survives another close call

TALLAHASSEE — Perky is one tough bird.

The ring-neck duck survived being shot and spending two days in a hunter’s refrigerator — and now she has had a close brush with death on a veterinarian’s operating table.

The 1-pound female duck stopped breathing Saturday during surgery to repair gunshot damage to one wing, said Noni Beck of the Goose Creek Wildlife Sanctuary. Veterinarian David Hale revived the bird after several tense moments by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Perky entered the headlines last week after a hunter’s wife opened her refrigerator door and the should’ve-been-dead duck lifted its head and looked at her. The bird had been in the fridge for two days since being shot and presumed killed Jan. 15.

Perky is recovering with a pin installed in the fractured wing and probably will not have more surgery because of her sensitivity to anesthesia, Dr. Hale said.


Baggy pants trip robbery suspect, 16

COVINGTON — Police said they caught a 16-year-old robbery suspect who previously eluded them after his baggy pants fell down, causing him to stumble as officers chased him.

“We literally caught him with his pants down,” Lt. Jack West said.

The teenager, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, is suspected of robbing a man at gunpoint and stealing another man’s car after beating him with a brick, Lt. West said. The suspect had run away from police several times in recent weeks, he said.

An officer spotted the teen standing on a street corner last Monday, called in for two backup officers, then tried to make an arrest. “He started to run, but his low-riding pants fell down and he stumbled to his knees,” Lt. West said.

The teen was booked on warrants for armed robbery, carjacking, two counts of aggravated battery and being a child in need of supervision.


Lost vessel found; crew still missing

BOSTON — The Coast Guard said yesterday that it discovered a fishing vessel missing since Friday night submerged 36 feet in Nantucket Sound. All four crew members were still missing.

Coast Guard rescuers said it appeared unlikely the crew would be found alive in the frigid waters, but they would continue the search.

The 75-foot Lady of Grace was supposed to return to New Bedford Harbor early Saturday. The boat’s last known position was 12 miles south of Hyannis, which is 60 miles southeast of Boston.

At the time the boat disappeared, the wind was blowing at 30 to 35 mph with 8- to 10-foot waves.

Searchers spotted an oil sheen on the surface of the water and some small wood chips and debris on Saturday. Officials used underwater cameras and sonar yesterday to detect the sunken fishing boat. Divers later confirmed the find.


Relatives welcome teen back home

BEAUFORT — Hours before 13-year-old Ben Ownby was rescued, his family’s living room was a desperate place, filled with volunteers folding fliers with his photo on them.

On Saturday, it was filled with cousins, friends, aunts, uncles and neighbors who threw a quiet “welcome home” celebration for the teen, who was found Jan. 12 at a suburban St. Louis apartment after a five-day disappearance.

The party was one small step in the family’s long road back to life as they knew it just three weeks ago before Ben was abducted.

Ben still hasn’t talked to his parents, Don and Doris Ownby, about what happened between Jan. 8, the Monday afternoon he disappeared, and the Friday evening when police and FBI agents rescued him. Authorities say Michael Devlin, 41, kidnapped Ben and hid him in his suburban St. Louis apartment.

More than a dozen of Ben’s relatives chipped in to get him a gift for the party. “The Wii,” Ben said in shock, referring to the newest Nintendo video-game system.


Post bureau chief dies at age 59

NEW YORK — Deborah Orin-Eilbeck, Washington bureau chief for the New York Post, died yesterday. She was 59.

Mrs. Orin-Eilbeck died of cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, newspaper spokesman Howard Rubenstein said.

Mrs. Orin-Eilbeck started her career at the Post in 1977 and was named Washington bureau chief in 1988.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush said in a statement issued yesterday that Mrs. Orin-Eilbeck had covered every presidential campaign since 1980.

“Deb had a distinguished, decades-long career as a journalist,” the Bushes’ statement said. “Deb fought a valiant battle against cancer with the same tenacity, devotion and determination that she brought to her work in the White House briefing room through numerous administrations.”


Saw accident victim drags himself to help

PROVIDENCE — Richard Simons, 71, is recovering after nearly cutting off his leg with an electric saw and dragging himself the distance of three football fields to call for help.

Mr. Simons, of Foster, was reported in good condition at Rhode Island Hospital. He sliced nearly 80 percent through his right leg when he was cutting brush and the blade detached. Mr. Simons made a tourniquet and dragged himself to his house.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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