- - Monday, April 30, 2012

ENSENADA — The widow of a yachtsman killed with two others during a 124-mile race between California and Mexico said Monday that her husband was a veteran sailor and the destruction of their boat is a mystery.

Leslie Rudolph of Manhattan Beach confirmed that Kevin Rudolph, 53, was the third sailor who died in the weekend race between Newport Beach and Ensenada.

The others were William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Calif., and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla. A fourth sailor was missing.

Wreckage of the yacht Aegean was found Saturday near the Mexican border, and there is speculation that a freighter or other large boat hit it in the middle of the night. No distress signals were sent.

Mrs. Rudolph said her husband was competing in the race for the third time with the Aegean’s skipper, Theo Mavromatis of Redondo Beach.

“I didn’t like him doing the races,” she added. “I never liked it. I mean, they were out in the middle of the ocean. I always used to worry.”

However, Mr. Rudolph had no qualms about the event and trusted his friend, she added. “He was a very experienced captain. Nobody understands how this could happen,” she said.

The Rudolphs would have celebrated their 27th anniversary on May 26, and he leaves two grown children, his widow said. Mr. Rudolph and other crewmembers worked for the Raytheon company in El Segundo, she said.


Police eye ex-Marine in missing woman case

PANAMA CITY — Panamanian police named an American ex-Marine as a person of interest Sunday in the disappearance of a 42-year-old California woman last seen on an archipelago near the Costa Rica border.

Police in Panama and the United States haven’t identified Brian Brimager as a suspect as they investigate the case of Yvonne Baldelli, who was reportedly dating Mr. Brimager.

But Panama national police official Alexis Munoz said Sunday that Mr. Brimager had raised investigators’ interest.

Ms. Baldelli’s mother, Lillian Faust, who is in Panama for the investigation, said she thinks her daughter is dead and she begged for Mr. Brimager to tell what he knows about what happened to her.

“My husband, I, the family know that something happened to her. Some people want to say that she’s out there somewhere, but everyone in the family knows that’s not possible,” Mrs. Faust said.

“We did not want to accept it for a long time, but we have accepted it,” she added.

Panama police said Mr. Brimager left Panama for Costa Rica and the United States some 10 days after last being seen with Ms. Baldelli in November on the Bocas del Toro islands.

Ms. Baldelli’s family reported her missing in January.

Mr. Munoz said witnesses at the hotel where the couple stayed reported they had a “violent” relationship and frequently fought and argued. Panamanian officials said Mr. Brimager is between the ages of 35 and 40 and had brought Ms. Baldelli to the islands.

On Thursday, FBI and Panamanian forensic investigators visited the hostel.

The mother said she had never met Mr. Brimager, who she thinks is from Southern California.


Missing police officer found alive in Peru

LIMA — Peruvian authorities said a police officer has been found alive nearly three weeks after disappearing in an ambush by Shining Path rebels.

Military spokesman Col. Alejandro Lujan said locals led police to Luis Astuquilca near the southeastern jungle town of Kiteni after a $3,700 bounty was offered. He says the officer was being treated for gunshot wounds in a leg and arm.

Officer Astuquilca and another officer went missing April 12 during combat that killed four of their comrades. Their patrol had been searching for 36 kidnapped construction workers who the Shining Path later freed. His colleague remains missing.

The Shining Path is a small remnant of the rebel movement that nearly brought Peru to its knees two decades ago, but Peru’s military has been hard-pressed to neutralize it.


220 youngsters fall ill from Children’s Day party

ACAPULCO — Mexican authorities said a festival celebrating Children’s Day went badly wrong and more than 200 youngsters were sickened after eating apparently rotten food in a village near the Pacific resort of Acapulco.

Guerrero state Health Secretary Lazaro Mazon Alonso said the party was held Friday at a school in Organos village and people began showing up at hospitals the next day for treatment of food poisoning.

He said those fallen ill included 220 children as well as nine adults, among them teachers, parents and school staff.

Mr. Mazon Alonso said Sunday that the state health department is analyzing food served at the party to determine exactly what caused the food poisoning.


Peru to investigate mass deaths of pelicans

LIMA — Peru’s oceanographic agency said it will investigate the deaths of hundreds of pelicans on northern beaches where nearly 900 dolphins were recently found dead.

Puerto Eten fisherman’s association President Fernando Niquen said his group found about 1,200 dead pelicans Thursday and Friday along a 105-mile stretch of coastline.

The government’s Institute of the Sea said it found nearly 600 dead birds, mostly pelicans but also gannets, along a 43-mile stretch.

Its regional chief, Edward Barriga, recalled a mass die-off of pelicans and cormorants in the same area in 1997 from the absence of anchovies blamed on the El Nino meteorological phenomenon.

Coast Guard official Cesar Villanueva in Lambayeque said Sunday he has never seen so many dying pelicans on the beach in 25 years on the job.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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