- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Lawyer: Mother of missing baby not guilty of abuse

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The lawyer for a Memphis woman whose 7-week-old daughter has been missing for five days said Monday that abuse and neglect charges against her should be dropped, but he is also preparing for the possibility that charges could be upgraded to homicide.

Andrea Walker, 33, wore an orange jail jumpsuit during a brief court appearance Monday in General Sessions Court. She has been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect in the disappearance of her daughter, Aniston Walker, who was reported missing Thursday.

Police said Walker told them she left the baby at home with her 3-year-old son while she took her 5-year-old son to school Thursday. When she returned home, the baby was gone, but the 3-year-old was still there, she said.

Walker said there was no sign of a break-in and only two other people had keys to the house, according to an arrest affidavit. She said she called the baby’s father, who reported her missing.

Police used cadaver dogs to scour homes, backyards and a pond in the northeast Memphis neighborhood where Walker lived with her three children. Police suspended the search Saturday after three days of looking.

Police charged Walker after interviewing her, saying in the affidavit the baby may have suffered “serious bodily injury.” Walker has not been as cooperative as investigators would like, and she is a suspect in the disappearance, Police Director Toney Armstrong said.


Former ETSU track coach Dave Walker dies

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - Dave Walker, who coached East Tennessee State’s track program for about half a century and was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, has died. He was 82.

Keith Biddix, manager at Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, said Monday night that Walker died Saturday at Johnson City Medical Center.

Walker coached East Tennessee State’s track program from 1963 until his retirement in 2012. He was a member of the ETSU Hall of Fame and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame as well as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Walker served on the NCAA track and field committee for seven years and chaired that committee for five years.

East Tennessee State named its home track after Walker in 1995.


NC sheriff seeks trade: Old Tommy guns for rifles

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina sheriff looking to trade two vintage Tommy guns for dozens of new rifles for his deputies is doing what law enforcement agencies have done for decades.

The Forsyth County commissioners scheduled a vote Monday on whether to allow the trade of the fully automatic Thompson machine guns owned by its sheriff’s department to a Tennessee gun dealer for 88 new Bushmaster rifles valued at $60,000. Sheriff’s department officials say trading the machine guns seen in gangster movies will help reach a goal of equipping every deputy with a rifle, pistol and a Taser.

Police agencies from rural counties in Ohio to cities such as Elizabeth, N.J., are doing the same - pulling old armaments from storage to unlock their value, said Tracie Hill, the author of two books on Tommy guns who has appraised the value of the old weapons for police departments that own them.

“A lot of police departments are finding out that they’ve got gold sitting around in their armories,” said Hill, of Newark, Ohio. “They’re turning them out to collectors to try to generate revenue and maximize their benefit to the taxpayers.”

Law enforcement agencies have for decades been selling off or trading away the Tommy guns that entered their arsenals from the 1920s into the 1960s, Hill said. It was common for major employers to buy the weapons and give them to police for protection on paydays, when payrolls were met by handing out cash to workers, Hill said.

It’s not clear when the Forsyth County sheriff acquired its Tommy guns. Federal gun registration documents from 1968 state that the sheriff’s department acquired the machine guns sometime before 1936. The .45-caliber weapons are described as 1928 models.


Kemper drug maker lays off 75, may owe state money

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Kemper County drug maker has laid off about 75 employees, leaving questions about its future and whether it has to repay economic development money.

Pharma Pac LLC made the layoffs Dec. 19, according to a notice filed with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Kemper County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Craig Hitt said Monday the DeKalb company has about 80 remaining workers.

That calls into question whether Pharma Pac is meeting an agreement in which the state gave it $500,000 to buy and renovate a building. That agreement requires Pharma Pac to employ 179 through Sept. 30, 2014.

Pharma Pac, which makes and packages drugs with a focus on creams and ointments, hasn’t returned calls or emails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Hitt and Mississippi Development Authority officials met with company officials Thursday to inquire about its status.



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