- - Tuesday, October 23, 2012

STOCKTON, Calif. — Four people were killed in an apparent murder-suicide in California that included the deaths of an 88-year-old woman and the suspected gunman at an upscale retirement home, police said.

A possible motive for the killings discovered Monday was not disclosed, and police did not say if the victims might have been related.

The deaths brought to nine the number of people killed in a 51-hour period in Stockton, an agricultural city in Northern California.

Police investigating the murder-suicide said they initially found a 64-year-old woman fatally shot at her home near the University of the Pacific. A minivan spotted leaving the scene was located minutes later at the retirement home, where police found the 88-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man — the suspected gunman — dead from gunshot wounds inside a room.

The body of a 57-year-old woman was then found in the back of the minivan.

TENNESSEE

Coroner: Body found may be linked to four slayings

FAYETTEVILLE — Authorities say the slayings of three women and a toddler in southern Tennessee and a death just across the border in Alabama may be linked.

Alabama coroner Craig Whisenant said a body found Tuesday in Madison County may be that of Warren Vincent Crutcher, who was wanted for questioning by Lincoln County, Tenn., authorities.

On Monday, Tennessee officials found three women and an 18-month-old boy dead at two homes in Lincoln County. The cause of death hasn’t been released.

Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said two children survived the attacks and identified one of them as Mr. Crutcher’s 3-year-old son.

Mr. Whisenant said authorities haven’t positively identified the dead man in Alabama.

CALIFORNIA

Teacher fired for porn sites wants job back

STOCKTON — A teacher fired after being accused of operating pornographic websites on a school-issued laptop wants her job back.

An attorney for Heidi Kaeslin argued before an administrative law judge in Stockton on Monday that the Lincoln Unified School District crafted disconnected events into a theme that simply didn’t happen.

Ms. Kaeslin was a special-education teacher at a high school when the accusations surfaced last year.

The attorney, Tom Driscoll, said Ms. Kaeslin’s participation in the websites was brief and did not involve pornography, although he did acknowledge that she ran a photo shoot that included topless women.

NEW MEXICO

Report: Inmate steals money walking out of jail

SANTA FE — An inmate on his way out of jail was quickly thrown back in after authorities say he stole another inmate’s cash and then treated himself to a hearty lunch.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office told KOAT-TV that Frank Rodriguez-Tapia, 20, swiped $80 while a guard’s back was turned as Rodriguez-Tapia was walking out of jail. The cash belonged to an inmate who was going through booking.

Police say Rodriguez-Tapia was supposed to report immediately to the electronic monitoring office, but bought lunch at Blake’s Lotaburger. He later admitted to the theft, turned over the remaining $67 and was sent back to jail.

NEW JERSEY

Official: Teen brothers charged in girl’s death

CLAYTON — Two teenage brothers were charged Tuesday with killing a 12-year-old girl who had been missing since Saturday, prompting a frantic search by her small hometown until her body was found stuffed into a home recycling bin.

The boys’ mother played a part in cracking the case involving Autumn Pasquale, Gloucester County prosecutor Sean Dalton said. She came forward with information about a posting on a son’s Facebook account, leading police to the boys, Mr. Dalton said.

The girl died in a manner consistent with strangulation, he said. She had been riding her bicycle before she disappeared and was lured to the boys’ house, where her bicycle was found.

Authorities did not discuss a motive. There were no signs of sexual assault, Mr. Dalton said.

The boys’ names were not released because they are juveniles.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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